Thursday, March 30, 2006

You know, I forgot to mention...

... that there's been this little immigration thing going on lately, involving a bill in the Senate and some protests by high school students all around the nation.

Stace and Charles have been covering it well, and Dos Centavos in particular explains the Mexican flag thing for the unreasonable gringos among us.

And all I have to say about this is 'fuck it'. There's already a syndrome identified that accounts for the rise: B.I.T.S.

Maybe if we would ITMFA, we could curb the pandemic.

While I was away...

My "spring break" is over. Let's catch up with some (in cybertime) old news:

-- special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will likely seek additional indictments in the Plame leak case sometime in the next month, and their names might (finally) be Rove or Hadley. Herr Rove is said to be cooperating with Fitzgerald's office, and has been described lately as "jaunty" by observers. Does he have reason to think he's slipped the noose ... again?

-- Antonin Scalia had a good week; first he discussed publicly the Guantanamo case pending before the Supreme Court, has so far declined to recuse himself from it, and then made the "bafangu" gesture at reporters. As he came out of church.

-- Pastafarians rejoice! You made the mainstream media.

-- the best news in Bloglandia concerned the FEC ruling that online political discussion remains a First Amendment right. So blogs that discuss candidates and campaigns, like this one, will not be considered political advertisements. So you'll probably begin to see me mention the campaign I am working on here more often.

I'll try to be more frequent here, health permitting. Thanks as always for stopping by.

Update: Forgive my wretched Italian. It's "vaffanculo", and both Sean-Paul and Atrios have a photo of the Justice flipping us off. Why couldn't Dick Cheney have shot this bastard in the face?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The top ten reasons Cheney won't ever resign

We had some chat about this topic a while back, and Letterman has now cleared things up:

Top Ten Reasons Dick Cheney Won't EVER Resign...

10. Trying to fix up Condi Rice with his daughter

9. Turns out when you shoot somebody, if you're not vice president, you gotta do time

8. Bush leaves at two every day and then it's margaritas and Fritos

7. Set the solitare high score on his office computer

6. Wants to see if he can help Bush get his approval rating under ten

5. Too hard to give up Vice Presidential Discount at D.C. area Sam Goody stores

4. Wants to stay on the job until every country in the world hates us

3. Extra-zappy White House defibrillators

2. Undisclosed location has foosball and whores

1. Why quit when things are going so well?

Bell and Soechting on Radnofsky, Radnofsky on Kelly

OK stop thinking that.

"Barbara Radnofsky isn't just the best choice, she's the only choice. As I go forward with a real opportunity to beat Rick Perry, I need this tough lady campaigning for the U.S. Senate, making an aggressive case for the New Mainstream. She's fighting the tough fight for veterans, for teachers and for all Texans, and I know as a longtime friend of Barbara's that she has the sharp mind and moral courage needed to carry our banner high."

That's the Democratic nominee for Texas Governor talking, of course.

TDP chairman Charles Soechting:

“I believe this man is a Republican plant. It's no coincidence that, for more than a decade, Gene Kelly reaches the general election, rolls over, and plays dead for his Republican opponent."

And Radnofsky on Kelly:

“I’ve challenged my opponent to a debate, but he hasn’t responded. Perhaps I should challenge him to a dance.”

You can meet Barbara Radnofsky and Chris Bell and Charles Soechting and a host of other Democrats at the opening of her campaign headquarters Friday, March 24, at 1:30 p.m., here.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Three waystations in Bloglandia

The Kossacks really, really like Russ Feingold this month.

BobcatJH on Bush's presser today:

To watch President Bush's press conference Tuesday morning was to watch a man squarely at odds with reality. We saw Bush the defiant. Bush the angry. Bush the liar. Never has the man seemed less in charge of America.

Taking tough questions from the White House press corps, the president laughed in the face of a grim reality, blamed the media for the disaster in Iraq and boasted of progress that simply isn't there.

The long, slow march toward irrelevance is over. Bush is officially a lame duck. He doesn't matter anymore. Today proved that.

Go read it all; it's good.

R.G. Ratcliffe of the Chronic likes the odds of a cockroach skating:

The appearance of possible bias forced two judges out of the criminal case against U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay last year, and similar issues could taint some judges on two appeals panels that are now considering the charges against the former majority leader.

The two three-judge panels on the 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin are considering appeals that could effectively end the DeLay prosecution. ...

On Wednesday, one 3rd Court of Appeals panel will hear Earle's appeal of a district judge's ruling throwing out charges against DeLay, R-Sugar Land, of conspiring to violate the state's election code.

There are still charges pending against DeLay on money laundering that accuse him of participating in a scheme to convert illegal corporate cash into money Republican candidates could use in 2002 Texas House races. DeLay denies any wrongdoing in the case.

The other 3rd Court panel is reviewing an appeal brought by DeLay's co-defendants, Jim Ellis and John Colyandro. It challenges the legal theory of Earle's original money laundering indictment brought against the men.

The issues are so similar to the charges against DeLay, that if Colyandro and Ellis win, the case against DeLay could evaporate.

The real news here is not whether Republican judges Alan Waldrop and David Puryear will let DeLay off the hook if they can, but that they have Democratic challengers in this election cycle.

Remember the names: Alan Waldrop and David Puryear.

So that you can vote them out in November, irrespective of their bias in this case.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Moneyshot Quotes of the Week

"It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings."

-- Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, speaking of Texas Republican-led judicial intimidation

"My administration was satisfied that port security would not have been undermined by the agreement. Nevertheless, Congress was still very much opposed to it."

-- Bush

"He made that veto threat then he went on the trip to India and went silent basically. Karl Rove calls the people in Dubai two nights ago and tells them pull the plug on the deal, and I think as a result, the president looks weak, frankly."

-- Bill Kristol, Fox News

"My buddy Korg is a lifelong Democrat but he told me he was switching to the Republicans. Why? Because if a Republican shoots somebody in the face, the other guy has to apologize."

-- Rich Miller, writing in the Chicago Sun-Times

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Spanking the fundies with their own Bibles

My sincerest apologies to those who've been checking here for something fresh and finding nothing. Between the campaign and maintaining my small but TLC-requiring client base and some rather debilitating vertigo for the past few weeks, I just haven't kept pace.

I did find this today worth sharing.

On March 1st, in Annapolis MD, at a hearing on a proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriage, Jamie Raskin, a professor of law at American University and candidate for the Maryland state Senate, was requested to testify. At the end of his testimony, Republican Senator Nancy Jacobs said: "As I read Biblical principles, marriage was intended, ordained and started by God -- that is my belief. For me, this is an issue solely based on religious principals."

Raskin replied: "Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

The room erupted in applause.

Senator Jacobs could also stand being reminded that the Bible discloses eight varieties of "approved" marriages, including that of a rapist and his victim and assigned marriages among slaves.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The surprises from yesterday

-- First, I never thought that Bell would smash Gammage. Judging from the relentless promotion and snide personal attacks on Bell from his half-dozen supporters on BOR -- including two of his campaign operatives -- I believed that the Gammage for Governor effort was serious, significant and a viable contender for the nomination.

It wasn't.

-- Secondly, that Henry Cuellar is going back to Congress without a runoff -- in the wake of glitches in the voting machines in his native Webb County -- is more than enough to make the conspiracy theorists salivate.

-- But the most shocking example of simple voter ignorance is that Barbara Radnofsky is in a runoff with Gene Kelly. Here's how Katie O'Harra, one of her associates at V&E, put it:

SHAME on Texas Democrats for allowing Gene Kelly-- who is a perennial joke on Texas politics -- to challenge Barbara Radnofsky in a runoff for U.S. Senate. Texas Democrats MUST get the word out regarding the importance of the upcoming runoff election on Tuesday April 11, 2006: a strong, viable candidate needs a decisive victory over a clown.

Barbara Radnofsky is a strong contender for the Senate seat currently occupied by Kay Bailey Hutchison. Barbara is campaigning throughout Texas with her well-considered positions on immigration, the Iraq war, veterans' affairs, health care, and other vital issues facing Texans and the nation as a whole. Barbara Radnofsky deserves your vote-- and she needs your efforts.

I personally have had the honor of working with Ms. Radnofsky for the last 20 years at the law firm of Vinson & Elkins. Barbara is earnest, hard-working, articulate, ethical and SMART. As a candidate, she would attract contributions, Independent and cross-over Republican votes, and dedicated volunteers. As our U.S. Senator, I know that she would make all Texans proud of her leadership.

By contrast, runoff opponent Gene Kelly is an octogenarian who has made four pathetically ineffective runs for U.S. Senate. This man doesn't campaign. Instead, his political "successes" rely entirely on "name recognition". Not recognition of his OWN prior successes, mind you, but the successes of Gene Kelly of "Singin' in the Rain" fame!

Sadly, as this runoff proves, Mr. Kelly DOES get political traction with his name. That is really the only possible explanation for his most recent election results. As reported February 17, 2006 in the Houston Chronicle: Gene Kelly refuses to spend ANY money on his race -- not his own money or anyone else's money. Kelly told the Chronicle in a rarely granted interview: "if somebody sends me a dollar I send it back."

Kelly also "shuns invitations to appear at candidate forums and bypasses opportunities to lay out his campaign ideas." Unbelievably, Mr. Kelly rejected a suggestion by the Chronicle that, as a candidate, he may have a responsibility to partake in a dialogue with voters.

So here's the bottom line: Do Texas Democrats want a joke candidate or a REAL candidate for U.S. Senate? Get your friends, family, neighbors, political clubs, and everyone else to the polls on April 11, 2006 to vote in the runoff. And visit Barbara Radnofsky's website and consider making a contribution and/or help in the campaign.

I'll be posting weekly about Radnofsky, her positions on the issues, and generally promoting her candidacy right up to April 11, in the expectation that Democrats can choose wisely.

Update: A message from the BAR campaign:

A reclusive candidate who doesn't talk to the media and avoids voters, Kelly has massive name recognition after ten failed attempts in fourteen years and runs solely off his name similarity with deceased Hollywood dancer Gene Kelly, whose moniker pulls up 19 million hits on Google.

Barbara decisively beat Kelly in the primary despite the fact that he was the party nominee against Hutchison in 2000. Running as a first-time candidate without primary polling, without direct mail, and without paid media, Barbara still took first place by a clear margin against a hunter in Texas and a deceased Hollywood icon.

She has carefully managed money, staff, and a statewide grassroots volunteer effort, and is well positioned to use her resources to win the runoff -- with your help.

Karl Rove, of course, would love to clone Eugene Kelly. He has run numerous races against Democrats and his name recognition is high enough to cause multiple runoffs and to even win the Senate nomination in 2000.

Once he makes the final cut, however, Kelly keeps playing dead -- to the glory and glee of the people he supposedly runs against. Against Republicans, he does no campaigning, avoids the media and Democratic events, and gives up without so much as a whimper. In his 2000 race against Hutchison he made no appearances, received no endorsements and only granted one interview. "I'm not doing anything different, to be honest with you," Kelly said in the runup to this year's primary, indicating that he plans to keep losing even as he tries to keep others from making a positive difference.

Texas Democrats need a fighter to take our state back and to keep fakers like Kelly from ruining our party. Barbara Ann Radnofsky has made 328 campaign appearances and received the endorsement of every major newspaper in Texas. And Kelly? Commentators describe him as a clown, a perennial joke, and an embarrassment to the party.

Barbara Ann fights for veterans' rights, for education, for better healthcare, and for Texans.

The dancer is dead, folks ... please don't let him kill the Party.

Musings on the election returns

Governor Chris Bell, by a whopping margin. My happiest result.

A runoff for Barbara Radnofsky (go here for her webcast; I'm on it) and Gene Kelly, Ben Grant and Maria Luisa Alvarado in the Lieutenant Governor's contest, and Borris Miles and Al Edwards in SH-146 (still very close at 12:45 p.m., but I'm going to bed and hoping tomorrow sets off another thirty-day campaign season).

I attended the victory parties for Bell and Radnofsky and Miles this evening, and the mood was festive, excited, and determined for the battles ahead.

I conducted a successful precinct convention prior to the fun, enlisting four delegates to accompany me to the Senate District convention in three weeks.

I'm exhausted and elated at the same time.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Hammer to spend election night with lobbyists, Fastow prepares to stick it to his bosses

Too perfect for comment:

Rep. Tom DeLay, whose association with lobbyist Jack Abramoff has left him politically vulnerable, is spending Texas' primary night Tuesday at a fundraiser hosted by two Washington lobbyists. ...

The fundraiser is being held by lobbyists Bill Paxon and Susan Molinari, both former members of Congress from New York. The event will raise money for DeLay's re-election campaign. ...

Paxon, now a lobbyist with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, and his wife, Molinari, are friends of DeLay. Molinari is chairwoman and CEO of The Washington Group, a Ketchum company.

DeLay's toughest primary challenger, attorney Tom Campbell, criticized the congressman's election night plans:

"I think it's amazingly ironic and callous he would be spending election night with a group of lobbyists," Campbell said. "I don't think he understands how unhappy constituents are with what appears to be a trade of principle for power."

My prediction is that DeLay will win tomorrow without a runoff. And lose in November.

In other local felony indictee news, Jeff Fastow is all set to testify against his former bosses:

As the next witness — expected to take the stand by Tuesday — he will have his chance to redraw the portrait that Lay and Skilling have painted of him as a rogue employee, substituting the image of one made the scapegoat for a broader conspiracy.

"I've got to think he's going to defend himself and be combative and angry," said Kent Schaffer, a Houston attorney who has followed the case. "I don't think it will be particularly effective, but he will be one of the most interesting witnesses."

Keep an eye on the Chron's coverage of the Enron trial. It's the best out there.

It's hard out here for a Chimp

Well it's hard out here for a Chimp
There's a whole lotta Bushes gettin' bent.
While there's not a lot of money bein' spent
To help no hurricane survivors pay the rent.

Well it's hard out here for a Chimp
gotta make a livin' on the money Poppy sent.
When yo poll numbers start to take a dip
There's a lot of politicians jumpin' ship.

Now it's hard out here for a Chimp
When yo foreign allies think you look like Shemp.
And yo high-priced (women) don't get 'em sent
In they' Manolos to Nola, so you went.

Now it's hard out here for a Chimp
When yo clockers think dat they da prez-i-dent.
What I give to play ball wit' Jack Kemp
'Steada killah Cheney on a huntin' trip.

Well it's hard out here for a Chimp

Friday, March 03, 2006

Armed vice president to guard nation's ports

I'm in San Antonio and Austin through the weekend working on the campaign, so here's your news courtesy of Andy Borowitz:

Attempting to defuse the controversy over the decision to place the operation of several key American ports in the hands of a company based in Dubai, Vice President Dick Cheney said today that he would personally patrol those ports with a 28-gauge shotgun.

Calling himself “armed and dangerous,” the vice president used a White House press briefing to put potential evildoers at the nation’s ports on notice.

“If anyone tries any funny business at one of our nation’s ports, they’re going to have to answer to this!” he declared, brandishing his shotgun for the benefit of reporters.

Moments after Mr. Cheney pulled out the firearm, however, the room cleared as reporters ran for their lives. “I have never been more terrified in my life than when Dick Cheney whipped out that gun,” said NBC White House correspondent David Gregory. “I was sure I was a goner.”

In his remarks to the press, the vice president said that he would be “vigilant and on alert” for any suspicious activities at the nation’s ports: “I’ll have one beer at lunch, but that’s it.”

While Mr. Cheney’s offer to patrol the nation’s ports seemed designed to silence critics of thecontroversial port deal, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) said he was “not satisfied” that a shotgun-wielding vice president could provide adequate security.

“Knowing Dick Cheney, if he takes aim at a terrorist, he’ll wind up hitting a bird,” Sen. Biden said.

That had to be Feingold, not Biden. Biden isn't that quick or (rapier-like with his wit).