Thursday, January 31, 2008

And starring Hillary Clinton as Tracy Flick

Separated at birth?

McCain-Giuliani 2008

A nation's nightmare for four more years.

After their public lovemaking yesterday in advance of the Maverick-Mittens "liberal-liberal" smack-off, I remain convinced that the Neanderthals and neoconservatives in the Republic Party will overcome the Talibaptists and the millions of Mormon dollars and nominate the best candidate they have left.

They will do so in spite of the alarmed nativists who want a border wall constructed, and who keep screaming that McCain isn't actually a Republican -- a pretty hilarious bit of hysteria, truth to tell. And they will goose-step to the polls in November and pull the handle (or spin the wheel and push the button, as the case may be) for whomever is at the top of their ticket, like they always do. Caterwauling about the lack of a 'conservative' candidate aside.

Rudy on the ticket strengthens McLame in so many ways that it just makes too much sense, their personal fondness notwithstanding.

The Republics are set, they just don't know it yet.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

*heaviest of sighs*

Edwards leaving the race. Hope Elizabeth is okay.

From Dallasdoc's diary "John the Baptist", published in the wake of the Iowa caucuses:

It's been clear for over a year that the Democratic primaries would come down to Hillary vs. not-Hillary. Many of us hoped for Al Gore to come into the race and fill in the blank, but he didn't do so. It appears tonight that Barack Obama is The Alternative.

But John Edwards represents something big, something important, something the Democratic party needs to get back in touch with in order to build a durable ruling coalition: economic populism. The ongoing destruction of the American middle class by corporatism disguised as Reaganomics has progressed to the point that political reaction is inevitable. The institutionalized corruption in Washington which has replaced democracy with plutocracy has severely wounded our economy and gutted our Constitutional form of government. Fighting back against these realities is the political work of our time. John Edwards is the messenger of the Gospel of Economic Populism.

Franklin Roosevelt redefined our party and gave it a raison d'etre. His political philosophy was lost in the Cold War consensus, and was one of the casualties of the Vietnam War. The middle class his New Deal built began to fall apart when the ethics of economic democracy Roosevelt preached was forgotten. The economic royalists (as Roosevelt called them) seized their opportunity with a shiny line of bullshit and a soap salesman named Ronald Reagan. They slowly, methodically dismantled Roosevelt's achievements, as far as they could, and persuaded Americans that greed was good.

Roosevelt had a different vision, one we must recapture and honor again. From his Second Inaugural Address:

We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics. Out of the collapse of a prosperity whose builders boasted their practicality has come the conviction that in the long run economic morality pays. We are beginning to wipe out the line that divides the practical from the ideal; and in so doing we are fashioning an instrument of unimagined power for the establishment of a morally better world.

More than Iraq, more than torture, more even than the Constitution, this is the vision the Democratic Party must embrace and offer the country. The middle class is dying and must be revived. Its would-be murderers, the wealthy and big corporations, must be penalized and controlled. That is the vision John Edwards offers the Democratic party. His emphasis on poverty, his fingering of corporate influence as our true enemy, his recognition that recapturing the party will require a long tough fight -- these are lessons the Democrats must truly take to heart.

Barack Obama appears to be the anti-establishment alternative Democrats will be offered. He has a different message to offer, meeting the nation's hunger for change with a different recipe. He has adopted some of the notes in this Rooseveltian symphony, but the feel of his campaign is different. Perhaps he is charting a new winning course, perhaps he is on a detour. I hope Obama realizes that if he takes the mantle of the Democratic party that its soul was defined by Franklin Roosevelt, that Roosevelt's task will be his, and that Roosevelt's enemies will also be his.

John Edwards may not be the party's nominee this year or any year. But John Edwards' message is the one Democrats will need to embrace to build a new New Deal. He may not be the Messiah we need, but he is showing the way.

Judi's Rudy Patootie, whipped and kicked in the booty

Farewell, bald prince.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"To that Angle"

*Dateline Austin/Houston:

After two years as the voice of the Texas Democratic Party, spokeswoman Amber Moon is moving to Houston, where she will head up communications for the Democratic Party in Harris County — her hometown.

Replacement: Hector Nieto, Moon’s deputy.

“With so many competitive races on the ballot, it’s a particularly exciting time to return to Harris County, and I look forward to a repeat of last cycle’s Dallas County success in my own home town,” Moon said in an e-mail.

The Texas Democratic Trust has taken full credit for 2006 success in Dallas, obscuring the role of Royce WEST and the Dallas County Democratic Party itself.

To that ANGLE (pun intended) ...

Attorneys MATHIESSEN and BIRNBERG have added the approach of (a) quietly disparaging some of those elected in Dallas as “unqualified”, (b) staging and recruiting would-be or former GOP judges from big law firms, (c) protecting CRADDICK Democrats, (d) privileging judicial over executive candidates on the countywide ticket, and (e) projecting the “bipartisan diversity” government at City Hall out into the county.

The communication/campaign strategy will be to avoid controversy other than GOP scandals and to rely on racially segmented marketing to exploit demographic projections of likely-voter behavior to sweep Harris County offices up and down the ballot. This is new only in that the countywide slate is full and the campaign consultants may not disparage straight-ticket voting by Democrats, as they typically have done previously.

This could work -- if and only if (a) the Presidential and Senate races are actually inspiring, (b) the GOP continues to spiral into division and demoralization, and (c) scandal or conspicuous dysfunction in the “Democrat-controlled” City Hall does not allow the GOP to run effectively against “the government” they control but Democrats do not actually oppose and indeed are constantly apologizing for or collaborating with.

We could win only to find the GOP using problems with the security of GOP voting technology to get new elections ordered by the GOP-controlled courts.

In any case, the unilateral bi-partisanship -- item (c) above -- is the only thing the local Democratic Party might change now. But under Matt ANGLE’s influence, it will not.

*the musings of irregular contributor Open Source Dem.

Cut-and-run Janek

He pulled the chain because he knew he couldn't win re-election in a new, Democratic Texas in 2010:

Sen. Kyle Janek, R-Houston, announced today that he was resigning his Senate seat, effective June 2, to spend more time with his family.

The resignation date, he acknowledged, is different from the March 10 timetable he gave Senate colleagues in a conference phone call on Monday. He said he prolonged his departure to give more potential candidates time to consider a race to succeed him and to give voters in District 17 more time to consider their options.

A March 10 resignation would have allowed Gov. Rick Perry to schedule a special election on May 10 to fill out the remainder of Janek's term, which expires in January 2011. A June 2 resignation means the governor could either set the special election on the same day as the November general election, which is the next uniform election date, or declare an emergency and set a special election sometime after June 2.

There's plenty of time for aspiring politicos to line up their ducks. Such as ...

Former Harris County Republican Chairman Gary Polland, state Rep. Charlie Howard, R-Sugar Land, and state Rep. Scott Hochberg, D-Houston, have said they will consider a Senate race.

Polland and Howard -- along with extremist Dennis Bonnen of Angleton -- would be steps backward for the residents of SD-17. Hochberg would be a tremendous addition to the Texas Senate.

Kuffner has the numbers that show another seat (two actually; Janek's and Hochberg's House one) ripe to flip, particularly if it makes it onto the ballot in a presidential election year.

Ten reasons to vote for John Edwards

By voting for Edwards, you...

1. Reward and advance progressivism.
We can argue about candidates' voting records and try to gauge their instincts, but there's no question that Edwards has run the most progressive campaign. The proof is plentiful. He's embraced unions, the blogosphere, and the progressive movement as a whole. The stated and demonstrated rationale is to fight economic injustice; rhetorically and substantively, he's run the most populist presidential campaign in years. On every major issue--taxes, climate change, health care, foreign policy, trade, you name it--he's embraced policies more progressive than his rivals. He alone rejects nuclear power and the Global War on Terror frame. He alone opposes expanding the NAFTA model to South America. He alone has called on the Democratic Party to do what he's done his entire career: say no to K-Street cash. The better a progressive campaign does, the stronger progressivism becomes. To vote for Edwards is to increase the chance that progressivism becomes dominant in the party and the country.

2. Pull the race to the left.
There may not be a blogger, pundit, or publication that hasn't recognized the influence of Edwards. Paul Krugman, Ezra Klein, Dean Baker, Robert Bosorage, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Jonathan Tasini, Jonathan Singer, Matt Ygelsias, The Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Rolling Stone (among many others: they all point out the obvious: that Edwards has tugged the race to the left. And should he remain a factor in the race he'll continue to do so. To cite just on concrete example, the McCain-Lieberman global warming bill (better known as the great corporate giveaway of 2008) may come to the Senate floor during the race. With Edwards having announced his early opposition to it, Obama (who originally sponsored the bill) and Clinton will have little choice but to vote against it. Recently Edwards used his platform to make the homelessness of vets a topic of national discussion and this week he'll travel to New Orleans to give a speech about poverty. Remember New Orleans? Neither Obama nor Clinton have been talking about it much. I have a feeling they will be soon, though.

3. Preserve the possibility of (an unlikely) victory.
There are several elaborate scenarios by which Edwards could capture the nomination. Some involve the implosion of one or both of the other candidates. Others involve buyers' remorse combined with JRE's resiliency and the respect it engenders. Others involve a surprise victory in Oklahoma next week. Others involve potential Edwards strength in the March 4th states of Texas and Ohio. Others involve the prospect of a McCain nomination and a renewed focus on electability. Others involve a deadlocked convention at which Clinton or Obama agrees to back Edwards in return for the VP slot. Make no mistake, an Edwards victory is highly unlikely, but if you don't believe in long shots, why bother being a progressive?

4. Make Edwards kingmaker (or platform editor).
The more delegates he wins, the more power Edwards will have to shape the race and the party's identity. He could perhaps swing his support to the candidate more willing to embrace progressive policies or rewrite the party's platform to include stronger anti-poverty and pro-labor measures. Who knows? Maybe he'd even force the party to commit to refusing K-Street cash. One can dream.

5. Reject the self-fulfilling nominating system driven by polls, pundits, and money.
There's something disturbing, Orwellian and tautological, about the notion that Edwards can't win because pundits say he can't win. A relative few have voted. Until someone wins anyone can win. Do you want to uphold such an regressive system that effectively lets the media and the establishment choose our choices? Do you want to be another brick in the wall or part of the bulldozer the knocks the wall down? Over at Daily Kos, Bruce McF has been doing a great job making the philosophical and political case for supporting Edwards. Our current system of picking out leaders is self-fulfilling, but so is populism. Listen to Bruce:

Populist movements don't build themselves, they grow from a process of people learning how to support a series of populist campaigns in a populist way, rather than as passive consumers of candidates produced and marketed to win the greatest market share in the electoral marketplace.

It doesn't matter what the "horse race" outcome of the campaign is, if we fight the campaign. Fighting it, we learn how to fight. Learning how to fight political battles, we become citizens again. Becoming citizens again, we reclaim the Republic that lies dormant beneath the bread and circuses of modern American society.

6. Sign on to a movement.
His message isn't going away, nor is his core of support. His support may evolve into an organization -- a more powerful version of PDA, which grew out of the Kucinich campaign. In any case, his online and real world supporters will continue to organize and agitate, to fight both corporate Republican and Democrats.

7. Increase the likelihood of a brokered convention, which would be good for Democrats.
Don't believe the lie that it's essential for the party to settle on a nominee early. Drama creates interest creates viewers created voters. If the convention were an actual event rather than a choreographed variety show, ratings would go through the roof. That can only be good for the party.

8. Piss off the establishment.
Pundits and the party power structure want Edwards to go away, not least because he's John Edwards. You have a great chance to piss them off; what else really do you need to know?

9. Do something good for your soul.
If you take to his message of economic justice and enlightened populism, maybe you should say so with a vote. Maybe if you're inclined to support him you should vote for him precisely because you're inclined to do so. Maybe there's something healthy and soul-enriching about voting for the candidate you like the most. Maybe it's better -- cleaner -- to vote affirmatively rather than strategically.

10. Come Up with Your Own Reason (I ran out of time but didn't want to change the title)

Disrespectful non-handshakes aside ...

... the best line of the SOTU (I nearly type STFU every single time) goes to my man John:

"Even he and his people admit it's gonna take months for this stimulus to actually kick in," said Edwards before a buoyant crowd of over 400 people (in Nashville, TN). "The truth of the matter is, it is so important that between now and January of 2009 that we stand up to this president, that we stand up for what's right, that we don't let him continue to make it so hard for the middle class."

Earlier in Chattanooga, Edwards said, "I think a lot of us know what the state of the union is."

"And the president will walk into the Congress, to the United States House of Representatives, and he'll give a speech about his stimulus plan to try to stimulate the economy.

"And you know what'll happen is he'll go in there and the Congress - who kinda quit listening to him a while back - but they'll all stand up, cheer, clap. You know, the truth is that Washington is out of touch with what's happening here in the real world."

Let's help him reach this modest goal today.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A victory today on FISA

Great work by everyone today ... with the possible exception of the waffling, prevaricating Louisiana Democrat, Mary Landrieu. smintheus has the synopsis:

Well this afternoon we won a second improbable victory against the FISA bill that rewards telecoms for joining George Bush in breaking the law. The Republicans didn't come close to invoking cloture against Sen. Chris Dodd's filibuster. In fact, they couldn't muster even 50 votes. Cloture attracted only 48 votes (to 45 against).

Republicans then blocked a Democratic attempt to move ahead to a vote to add another thirty days to the temporary FISA extension, which is set to expire next week. Democrats wanted to allow the Senate some time to debate the complicated issues surrounding FISA legislation. Republicans, by contrast, did not think it right that a deliberative body should devote any more time to actual deliberation. Instead, they said, they feared that Bush would veto any such extension. It's is as good an excuse as they've ever come up with for doing nothing.

So tomorrow at 2:00 PM EST the Senate will resume debate on the Intelligence Committee's version of the FISA bill -- the one that provides for retroactive immunity for telecoms. And presumably Dodd's filibuster will resume as well.

Tomorrow Democrats in the House may attempt to pass their own version of a thirty-day extension and then pass it on to the Senate. If so, McConnell may be forced to permit a vote on a similar bill.

There are plenty of plaudits to go around today: To Chris Dodd for organizing an effective and critical push back against the Bush administration's further aggrandizement of its nearly monarchical powers; to nearly all Democrats in the Senate for standing foursquare with Dodd (apart from three four who voted with Republicans: Senators Pryor, Ben Nelson (NE), and Landrieu, and Lincoln); to Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama for returning to Washington for the vote; to Sen. Lieberman for staying out of DC while he campaigns for a Republican presidential candidate.

And to voters who made their voices heard in the Capitol. A lot of people were skeptical in December, when activists began organizing this effort to support the Dodd filibuster, that it was possible to budge a cynical Senate back in the direction of upholding the rule of law. Two victories later, those doubts should be at an end.

How many will wear them?

For seven long years, Preztledent Bush's lickspittles in Congress helped push forward his failed conservative agenda. This week Americans United for Change began delivering "I’m a Bush Republican" buttons to all of the Republicans in the House and Senate, in advance of Bush’s final State of the Union Address today, with this message: "Your votes helped build his legacy; you should show your support for him by proudly declaring that you’re a Bush Republican."

Tonight, as cameras scan the House Chamber during the State of the Union Address, we’ll see how many Republicans -- those who have voted for Bush’s policies on Iraq, the economy, energy and health care -- are willing to put their lapels where there votes have been and wear a button with this simple message: "I’m a Bush Republican."

Will Senator $7.5 Million Corndogs wear it? How about Kay Bailey? Will John Cumbersome? What about Goofy Louie Gohmert or Kevin "DWI/flak jacket in church" Brady?

Taking a drink for each button you spot in the crowd is not the official SOTU drinking game. THIS is.

FISA. Today.

Jane Hamsher at firedoglake breaks the good news that both Senators Clinton and Obama will be on the floor this afternoon to vote against McConnell's cloture vote on the Intelligence Committee's pro-telco amnesty FISA bill.

This is good news for keeping the fight going, and good news for us. Citizen action, our pressure, is making a difference. The massive push back from the left has actually succeeded in throwing a monkey wrench into the works. That's not yet an out and out win, but it's movement in the right direction. Defeating this cloture vote is more movement. Forcing either a short-term extension of the PAA or letting the bill lapse altogether buys more time, and more opportunity, as Glenn Greenwald explains.

Even just a two-week or one-month extension will allow more time to marshall the opposition to telecom immunity and a new FISA bill and to do what's possible to encourage the House to stand firm behind their bill -- in exactly the way that the Dodd delay in December prevented quick and easy resolution. The longer this drags on without resolution, the more possible it is to push the opposition to a tipping point, and sometimes unexpected developments or even some luck (such as McConnell's overplaying his hand on Thursday) can prevent it all from happening.

As the events of the last two months demonstrate, if citizen opposition is channeled the right way, it can make a genuine difference in affecting the course of events in Washington. Defeating telecom immunity will keep alive the lawsuits that will almost certainly reveal to some extent what the Government did in illegally spying on Americans over the last six years or, at the very least, produce a judicial adjudication as to its illegality. And, in turn, the effects from that could be extremely significant. Because victories are so rare, it's easy to get lulled into believing that none of these campaigns are ever effective and that citizens can never affect any of it, which is precisely why it's so important to remind ourselves periodically of how untrue that proposition is.

So keep pushing, all the way to until 3:30 this afternoon (CST).

The Senators we need to convince are those who voted with the Republicans to table the Leahy substitute amendment, the version of the bill that contained all of those protections and did NOT allow telco amnesty. One of them, Rockefeller, has already said he'll vote no on cloture. Call the rest of the Senators and tell them to stand with their majority on today's cloture vote and vote no.

  • Bayh (202) 224-5623
  • Carper (202) 224-2441
  • Inouye (202) 224-3934
  • Johnson (202) 224-5842
  • Landrieu (202)224-5824
  • McCaskill (202) 224-6154
  • Mikulski (202) 224-4654
  • Nelson (FL) (202) 224-5274
  • Nelson (NE) (202) 224-6551
  • Pryor (202) 224-2353
  • Salazar (202) 224-5852

In addition, call or e-mail your own Senators. Both CREDO and EFF have great tools to make it easy.

The Weekly Wrangle

Time for another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly blog round-up, compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex, with thanks to Charles from Off The Kuff for assistance.

Off the Kuff looks at the woes of the Harris County GOP and what it may mean in November.

North Texas will have one less class II commercial injection well pumping toxic soup underground, reported by TXsharon on Bluedaze.

TXDOT has dug itself into quite a hole by using your money to lobby for the Trans-Texas Corridor, and to pay for an advertising campaign to sell the wildly unpopular toll road to the citizens of Texas. McBlogger has the details and a great video.

Hal at Half Empty got his TI-83 out and ran the numbers on the presidential primaries. Conclusion? Texas has a chance to crown a king (or queen).

WhosPlayin? looks at the case of a teen brought up on charges for "huffing" hand sanitizer and is frustrated at the lack of discretion caused by "zero-tolerance" policies.

The action plan for Monday's FISA-with-telecom-immunity legislation is contained in PDid's post at Brains and Eggs. Don't strain your dialing finger, and don't forget to call Senators Corndog and Hutch. It's a waste of time, yes, but they still need to hear from us.

NYTexan at BlueBloggin explains who Voters, Pledged Delegates and Super Delegates are and how they influence the Democratic party nomination at the convention.

Are you a MOTO? If not, you will be after reading State Sen. Kirk Watson's guest blog this week at Capitol Annex.

North Texas Liberal reveals which celebrity is destroying the planet... and no, it's not Britney Spears.

Could we be looking at the first upward trend in labor membership since 1983? The Texas Blue thinks we just might be.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday Funnies (nap time edition)

GOP begins to coalesce around ... Romney?!


Looks like they’re incredibly scared of what a McCain nomination would look like, so they’re rallying around Mitt. It’s puzzling to me, especially when they railed Kerry for being such a flip flopper in 2004, but these are the times we live in and what was wrong then is now, ahem, right.

Personally, I think it’s an incredibly bad move because McCain is really the only Republican who can pull the swing voter into the Republican tent this year, but hey ... they’ve gotta do what they’ve gotta do.

A remarkable and completely unforeseen development by me. More proof that I can no longer even remotely think like a Republican (thank Jeebus).

It's turning on a matter of who-knows-best on the economy versus the Iraq war:

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and venture capitalist, casts himself as a business-savvy economic turnaround artist amid recession anxiety, while McCain, the Arizona senator and former Vietnam veteran, portrays himself as a courageous wartime commander in chief in a dangerous world.

"He has an enormous disadvantage when it comes to the topics of changing Washington or fixing our economy," Romney said Sunday, arguing that he is far stronger than McCain on both issues.

Countered McCain: "Even if the economy is the, quote, No. 1 issue, the real issue will remain America's security" — and, unlike him, Romney is deficient in that area.

Florida will be the end of the line for 9iu11ani and Huckababee. But Mittens and Maverick may battle it out all the way to the convention, like their Democratic counterparts.

Sunday Funnies (brunch edition)

Click for bigger and read all the panels, because they're even better than usual this week.

Outta Carolina

Let's go to Jerome for some what-SC-means-going-forward insight (recall as you read the following that Florida, by virtue of having moved up its primary in defiance of the DNC, has lost its certification of delegates):

The Clintons seem to have seen this blowout coming, they yesterday released PR's announcing Bill Clinton would be Kansas City, and Hillary Clinton in Nashville (last night).

This now sets up a PR/expectations battle over Florida on Tuesday. After Obama went up on the air in a national buy in Florida, the Clintons seemed to have said off-the-record that the agreement (not to campaign there) was off, but on the record they remained committed to it. On Friday, they released this PR about Florida, saying a few things in it:

1. Clinton will ask that the FL & MI delegates be seated (though not exactly clarifying as to when/if their delegates are to be counted toward the nomination).

2. That Clinton will continue abiding to the pledge to not campaign in Florida.

3. That Clinton expects others will as well.

Obama got the huge victory and momentum that he wanted out of South Carolina. With a double-digit lead in the polls heading in, it was expected, but still -- it comes with momentum. What does he do with it, especially in regards to Florida?

He could either continue to ignore Florida, ask the press too as well, and hope that it doesn't matter. Or Obama could go long and head into Florida, breaking the pledge that it doesn't matter any longer (which #3 above is trying to head off).

Neither is that great of a choice for Obama. Ignoring it sets up a process story over the next three days that ends in Clinton's favor; and his campaigning in Florida the next three days is risky because he's been behind in the polls and it would up the stakes.

Everyone would bet that the Obama campaign has already made up its mind and will ignore Florida, like he did Michigan. I don't really see how that's a winning strategy for Obama. Florida is different, first because Obama is on the ballot in Florida, and second, because it's Florida. Obama has won SC by a 20-percent plus blowout, but Clinton will be able to reverse that claim in FL. And what matters more, FL or SC? In the first big state to have a primary, a week ahead of Feb 5th, Clinton will be seen as victor over Obama.

Update: Clinton reneges on her agreement to stay out of Florida. It's only a victory speech after polls are closed, but belies the sore loser/ ungracious winner behavior Mrs. Clinton is making a habit of. This is more of the Atwater/Rove style of politics we're accustomed to now. Look for more sliming of Obama next week.

Super Duper Tuesday is where Mrs. Clinton regains the upper hand. Unless the Obama tsunami has greater extension than I think. And it could, if Frank Rich is right:

(Now that Obama has won South Carolina) -- the party needs him to stop whining about the Clintons’ attacks, regain his wit and return to playing offense. Unlike Mrs. Clinton, he would unambiguously represent change in a race with any Republican. If he vanquishes Billary, he’ll have an even stronger argument to take into battle against a warrior like McCain.

And John Edwards salvaged a bit of good news out of his home state (which he won four years ago) with his 18% showing and a handful of delegates. This benchmark, repeated in every state from here on, solidifies the kingmaker strategy that is left to him.

Sunday Funnies (breakfast edition)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

SC's primary colors will be black and white

Greg Palast makes the case that a race card does trump a gender card. But maybe it's the union card we ought to be more concerned about ...

South Carolina 2000: Six hundred police in riot gear facing a few dozen angry-as-hell workers on the docks of Charleston. In the darkness, rocks, clubs and blood fly. The cops beat the crap out of the protesters. Of course, it’s the union men who are arrested for conspiracy to riot. And of course, of the five men handcuffed, four are black. The prosecutor: a white, Bible-thumping Attorney General running for Governor. The result: a state ripped in half -- White versus Black.

South Carolina 2008: (Today), the Palmetto State may well choose our President, or at least the Democrat’s idea of a President. According to CNN and the pundit-ocracy, the only question is: Will the large black population vote their pride (for Obama) or for “experience” (Hillary)? In other words, the election comes down to a matter of racial vanity.

The story of the dockworkers charged with rioting in 2000 suggest there’s an awfully good reason for black folk to vote for one of their own. This is the chance to even the historic score in this land of lingering Jim Crow, where the Confederate Flag flew over the capital while the longshoreman faced Southern justice.

But maybe there’s more to South Carolina’s story than Black and White.

Let’s re-wind the tape of the 2000 battle. It was early that morning on the 19th of January when members of International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1422 “shaped up” to unload a container ship which had just pulled into port. It was hard work for good pay. An experienced union man could earn above $60,000 a year.

In this last hold-out of the Confederacy, it was one of the few places a black man could get decent pay. Or any man.

That day, the stevedoring contractor handling the unloading decided it would hire the beggars down the dock, without experience or skills -- and without union cards -- willing to work for just one-third of union scale.

That night, union workers -- black, white, whatever -- fought for their lives and livelihoods.

At the heart of the turmoil in South Carolina in 2000 then, was not so much black versus white, but union versus non-union. It was a battle between those looking for a good day’s pay versus those looking for a way not to pay it. The issue was -- and is -- class war, the conflict between the movers and the shakers and the moved and shaken.

The dockworkers of Charleston could see the future of America right down the road. Literally. Because right down the highway, they could see their cousins and brothers who worked in the Carolina textile mills kiss their jobs goodbye as they loaded the mill looms onto trains for Mexico.

President Bill Clinton had signed NAFTA, made China a “most favored nation” in trade and urged us, with a flirtatious grin, to “make change our friend.”

But change apparently wasn’t in a friendly mood. In 2000, Guilford Mills shuttered its Greensboro fabric plant and reopened it in Tampico, Mexico. Four hundred jobs went south. Springs Mills of Rock Hill, SC, closed down and abandoned 480 workers. Fieldcrest-Cannon pulled out of York, SC, and Great America Mills simply went bust.

South Carolina, then, is the story of globalization left out of Thomas Friedman’s wonders-of-the-free-market fantasies.

This week, while US media broadcasts cutesy photo-ops from black churches and replay the forgettable spats between candidates, the real issues of South Carolina are thankfully laid out in a book released today: On the Global Waterfront, by Suzan Erem and E. Paul Durrenberger. They portray the case of the Charleston Five dockworkers as an exemplary, desperate act of economic resistance.

Friedman’s bestseller, The World is Flat, begins with his uplifting game of golf with a tycoon in India. Erem and Durrenberger never put on golf shoes: their book is globalization stripped down to its dirty underpants.

While Friedman made the point that he flew business class to Bangalore on his way to the greens to meet his millionaire, Global Waterfront’s authors go steerage. And the people they write about don’t go anywhere at all. These are the stevedores who move the containers of Wal-Mart T-shirts from Guatemala to sell to customers in Virginia who can’t afford health insurance because they lost their job in the textile mill.

And the book talks about (cover the children’s ears!) labor unions.

South Carolina is union country. And union-busting country. But who gives a flying fart about labor unions today? Only 7%, one in fourteen US workers belongs to one. That’s less than the number of Americans who believe that Elvis killed John Kennedy.

Think “longshoremen” and what comes to mind is On the Waterfront with Marlon Brando, the good guy, beating up the evil union boss. The union bosses were the thugs, mobbed-up bullies, the dockworkers’ enemies. The movie’s director, Elia Kazan, perfectly picked up the anti-union red-baiting Joe McCarthy zeitgeist of that era -- which could go down well today.

Elected labor leaders are, in our media, always “union bosses.” But the real bosses, the CEOs, the guys who shutter factories and ship them to China ... they’re never “bosses,” they’re “entrepreneurs.”

Indeed the late and lionized King of Union Busters, Sam Walton, would be proud today -- were he alive -- to learn that the woman he called “my little lady,” Hillary Clinton, whom he placed on Wal-Mart’s board of directors, is front-runner for the presidency. She could well become America’s “Greeter,” posted at our nation’s door, to welcome the Saudis and Chinese who are buying America at a guaranteed low price.

Black vs. white, men vs. women, grown-ups vs. children playing in the mud. We'll find out who won -- or lost -- this evening.

Thank you again, Senator Dodd

Mr. President, I've spoken repeatedly about the rule of law. The rule of law isn't some abstract idea. It's here with us. It's what makes this body run, and it has for more than two centuries. It means that we hear each other out. We do it in the open. And, while the minority gets its voice, gets its right to strenuously object, the majority ultimately rules. Standing for the rule of law anywhere means standing for it everywhere, in our courts and in the United States Senate as well. The circumstances are different, of course, but the heart of the matter is the same. Last evening, I believe, the Republican party forfeited its claim to good faith on this issue. They've left to stake their case on fear, unfortunately...."

So what's next on FISA?

(Senate Democrats), under the leadership of Senator Harry Reid and with the help of Senator Jay Rockefeller (a good friend of the administration earlier in the debate on this bill), refused to let the minority ram through its substitute on Thursday and are finally forcing the Republicans to find 60 votes to kill the debate, prevent the amendments from being considered, and just move on. This Monday at 4:30 EST is do-or-die time -- our first goal must be to urge a 'no' vote on cloture so that meaningful amendments can be considered. It could be the first time in recent history that the Democrats -- who claim to want to protect the Constitution -- stand up to the administration and say no. No more warrantless wiretapping of Americans, no more give-aways to the industries that fill politicians' coffers, no more hiding the unlawful acts of this administration.

If that means the so-called Protect America Act sunsets, so be it. As House Leader Hoyer and Senate Intel Chairman Rockefeller have noted, all current surveillance orders can be extended into 2009 even if the current law expires. The intel community won't be forced to end its current warrantless wiretapping and Congress will have the time to do, well, anything else besides pass this horrible Senate bill, which is really the worst option out there. If no legislation is enacted before the sunset, the law simply reverts to the surveillance statutes in place as of last July -- with the significant addition that plans authorized over the last six months may continue even if they have been authorized without appropriate judicial oversight.

As posted here previously, I make a point of calling Democratic Senators -- particularly in adjoining states like Louisiana and Arkansas in this case -- and kindly asking them to represent me, and the millions of other Texas Democrats who have no US Senate representation:

More than ever it is crucial that you call your senator and urge a no vote on cloture – especially if your senator is one of the twelve - Bayh, Carper, Inouye, Johnson, Landrieu, McCaskill, Mikulski, Nelson (FL), Nelson (NE), Pryor, Salazar - who voted with the administration on Thursday. All we need is to knock a handful of them off the administration's bandwagon and we'll have an opportunity to get this right.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Watson: Hello, MOTO (certainly not MoFo)

(State Sen. Kirk Watson of Austin was kind enough to write a guest blog for the Texas Progressive Alliance as we continue to push our TexRoots 2008 slate of candidates.)

A few months back a certain progressive blogger took note of a piece I had published. This writer responded with an entry that was mostly complementary -- I'd guess we agree about 90 percent of the time. But then, after hitting a point I thought was pretty inarguable, the writer called me a "MOTO."

Most of you who read Texas' great progressive blogs probably know what a "MOTO" is. I, on the other hand, had to turn to my 18-year-old son (and pop culture crutch) Preston, who steered me to something called There, I finally learned the truth:

I am, it seems, a "Master Of The Obvious".

It was kind of a frustrating revelation, partly because it's true. But if I've learned anything at all in my year as a state senator, it's that what's so obvious to me (and to acronym-wielding bloggers) seems downright foreign to so many others -- particularly the Republican leadership in the Texas Capitol.

Here are just a few MOTO moments from the past few months:

•It's wrong for a governor to use a 39-percent mandate to rig state agencies in ways that benefit corporate contributors, privatize public roads, and ignore the real health and educational needs of this state.

•It's wrong for a lieutenant governor to wage a partisan campaign to ram through a voter screening bill that targets Hispanics and the elderly. It's worse to force a very ill senator to set up a sick bed outside the Senate chamber simply to block such a terrible, discriminatory proposal.

•It's wrong for a speaker of the House to stand before a body of democratically elected officials who gave him his office, and then declare he has absolute power to ignore them.

•It's wrong for Supreme Court justices to stretch campaign finance laws, or to ignore law and precedent in rulings that protect political contributors, or to take advantage of a politicized criminal justice process.

•And it's very wrong for a high court judge to slam shut the doors of justice as early as possible, especially when it means sending a man to his death.

All pretty obvious, right? Well, not to the people who've run this state for all these years. And that's where we all have work to do.

We are right. We are anxious to do great things for Texas, to restore opportunity, and to create reasons to hope for a better future.

But we can't just know that. We can't just talk to ourselves.

We can't assume it's obvious.

We must make it apparent to anyone who cares about this state and where it's headed, and we must remind them of the most obvious statement of all: Texans cannot trust the Republican leadership.

I'm talking about the political bosses, bullies, ideologues and figureheads that control the agenda, bury the opposition, and block any bill that runs counter to their dogma.

I'm talking about the folks who are more interested in taking irresponsible pledges than in solving Texas' challenges, who will deny the most verifiable fact if it doesn't conform to their ideology, and who will embrace every budget trick they can think of before they level with Texans about what people are worth to them.

I'm talking about the select group that's denied children health care at any cost, that's allowed our colleges and universities to become overcrowded, underfunded and inadequate, that's watched our highways deteriorate while forcing Texans to choose between crushing traffic and private toll roads, and that's denied and deferred environmental problems, leaving our children to fix them.

Here's what's most obvious: only the Democratic Party will bring about the positive changes that Texans need and demand.

That means we have to do all we can this year -- we must make it obvious -- that the people of Texas must challenge the so-called absolute power of the Republican leadership. Once we make MOTOs out of everyone, Texas will elect strong Democrats in 2008.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Dear Senator Corn-fed

I'm writing today to urge you in the strongest possible terms NOT to pass any wiretapping legislation that violates our rights as expressed in the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, OR that gives blanket retroactive immunity to the telecom companies who helped the Bush Administration commit violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

You swore an oath upon taking your seat in the U.S. Senate to preserve, protect and defend our Constitution. The Fourth Amendment guarantees our right to be free from searches of our persons, papers and effects without a warrant based upon probable cause. But the legislation from the Senate Intelligence Committee would allow "blanket warrants" for wiretapping -- blatantly contravening the Fourth Amendment's requirement for a warrant to "particularly describ[e] the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

The rule of law is also at stake here. It's quite clear that some telecoms, such as AT&T, helped the Bush Administration repeatedly violate the law of the land at the time (FISA). But at least one company, Quest, quite properly refused to do so. To grant the lawbreakers immunity after the fact would undermine the concept of equal justice for all and codify a Nixonian attitude towards the law -- "If the President does it, it must be legal."

So I ask to you take a strong stand against ANY legislation that grants retroactive immunity OR does not preserve our rights to privacy as guaranteed in the Fourth Amendment.

I also respectfully ask that you reply to my message as soon as possible with your views on this topic.

Corndog has never once responded to any message sent to him in the past six years, so I am not holding my breath this time. But if he does, I'll post it here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Clinton and Obama must join the fight against telecom immunity

A letter from my good friends* Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher:

Dear Friend,

John Edwards should challenge his rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to go back to Washington, DC and fight against retroactive immunity for the telecoms.

The Republicans are not going to let Harry Reid punt and extend the Protect America Act for another 18 months so it looks like the FISA bill is going to come back up again on Monday. Chris Dodd's objection to Unanimous Consent still stands, so they will pick up in the middle of the Motion to Proceed debate.

Without the help of the presidential candidates, we are doomed to lose this fight. And all their calls for change will ring hollow if they allow George Bush to railroad this bill through a supine Democratic-controlled Senate because of their absence.

You can email Senator Edwards directly at


Jane Hamsher & Glenn Greenwald

When last we were on the topic of retroactive immunity, Chris Dodd was still a presidential candidate. Clinton and Obama missed the vote because they were off campaigning.

I really don't want to see my future president failing to lead on an issue so critical again.

*They're not really my good friends, but maybe some day ...

MoDo, again

Mostly I have held the opinion that Maureen Dowd was somewhat obsessed, perhaps even a little depraved, regarding her unrelenting criticism of the Clintons. But here she is, simply and sadly, dead on target:

If Bill Clinton has to trash his legacy to protect his legacy, so be it. If he has to put a dagger through the heart of hope to give Hillary hope, so be it.

If he has to preside in this state as the former first black president stopping the would-be first black president, so be it.

The Clintons — or “the 2-headed monster,” as the The New York Post dubbed the tag team that clawed out wins in New Hampshire and Nevada — always go where they need to go, no matter the collateral damage. Even if the damage is to themselves and their party.

Bill’s transition from elder statesman, leader of his party and bipartisan ambassador to ward heeler and hatchet man has been seamless — and seamy.

This is believed to be the Clintons' strength: in boxing parlance, their counterpunch. Their steel jaw.

It appears to me as '90s style guttersniping. Slime your opponent before (you think) he can. Rovian politics without the Rove.

When he was asked yesterday if he would feel bad standing in the way of the first black president, he said no. “I’m not standing in his way,” he said. “I think Hillary would be a better president” who’s “ready to do the job on the first day.” He added: “No one has a right to be president, including Hillary. Keep in mind, in the last two primaries, we ran as an underdog.” He rewrote the facts, saying that “no one thought she could win” in New Hampshire, even though she originally had had a substantial lead.

He said of Obama: “I hope I get a chance to vote for him some day.” And that day, of course, would be after Hillary’s eight years; it’s her turn now because Bill owes her. “I think it would be just as much a change, and some people think more, to have the first woman president as to have the first African-American president,” he said.

Bad Bill had been roughing up Obama so much that Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina suggested that he might want to “chill.” On a conference call with reporters yesterday, the former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a national co-chairman of the Obama campaign, tut-tutted that the “incredible distortions” of the political beast were “not keeping with the image of a former president.”

Jonathan Alter reported in Newsweek that Senator Edward Kennedy and Rahm Emanuel, the Illinois congressman and former Clinton aide, have heatedly told Bill “that he needs to change his tone and stop attacking Senator Barack Obama.”

There is the anecdotal evidence that portends doom in the general election: in the face of Democratic leaders, even elders asking -- perhaps demanding -- that he cool it, the former president keeps his foot on the gas. That defiance could ultimately result in a blowback that destroys not just his wife, but the party he purports to lead. It's still just fun-and-games to him, though:

At the Greenville event, Bill brought up Obama’s joking reference to him in the debate, about how Obama would have to see whether Bill was a good dancer before deciding whether he was the first black president.

Bill, naturally, turned it into a competition. “I would be willing to engage in a dancing competition with him, even though he’s much younger and thinner than I am,” he said. “If I’m going to get in one of these brother contests,” he added, “at least I should be entitled to an age allowance.”

He said, “I kind of like seeing Barack and Hillary fighting.”

“How great is this?” he said. “Neither of them has to be a little wind-up doll who’s supposed to behave in a certain way. They’re real people, flesh and blood people. They have differences.”

And if he has anything to say about it, and he will, they’ll be fighting till the last dog dies.

These are truly uncharted political waters we're entering now. It's just a shame -- rather nauseating, in fact -- that this sea is taking on the appearance of a septic tank.

They lied. No one could have predicted that.

I'll just bold the vital statistics:

A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The study concluded that the statements "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses."

The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism. White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said he could not comment on the study because he had not seen it.

The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.

"It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida," according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. "In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003."

Named in the study along with Bush were top officials of the administration during the period studied: Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan.

Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq's links to al-Qaida, the study found. That was second only to Powell's 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq and al-Qaida.

The center said the study was based on a database created with public statements over the two years beginning on Sept. 11, 2001, and information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches and interviews.

"The cumulative effect of these false statements — amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts — was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war," the study concluded.

"Some journalists — indeed, even some entire news organizations — have since acknowledged that their coverage during those prewar months was far too deferential and uncritical. These mea culpas notwithstanding, much of the wall-to-wall media coverage provided additional, 'independent' validation of the Bush administration's false statements about Iraq," it said.

In January of 2002 I went into private practice. Earlier the previous fall, in the wake of September 11's tragic events, my co-workers and I had discussed the fact they America intended to go after Iraq as retribution. I thought at the time that was a positively ridiculous proposition, but as history kept unfolding it became clear to me that was exactly what my government intended to do: start an unprovoked war on a completely distinct, uninvolved third party based on a web of deception so thorough that even members of the so-called liberal media (Judith Miller, anyone?) were complicit.

In the discussion fora I was participating in at the time, I remember not only the dismay of trying to speak out against the massive , foolish rush to war and the intoxicated patriotic fervor everywhere I looked ("God Bless America", anyone?), but also the steadfast refusal to consider that the course we were on might be misguided. I remember being accused of treason many times simply for speaking out.

As more developments came to light, we learned -- eventually -- that the Bush administration took the word of an Iraqi ("Curveball") over the advice of a former United States ambassador, and then went out of their way to discredit him by revealing his wife to be a undercover CIA agent.

And then there were the (occasional) unintended consequences: the torture of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib, the detention without charge of suspected prisoners of war at Guantanamo Bay, the no-bid contracts of Halliburton, the loss of life of our brave soldiers who went to war without proper body armor or vehicular plating, the travesty of the poor treatment of our battle-wounded within the veterans' so-called health care system ...

What did I leave out?

Oh, yeah: the refusal of a Democratic Congressional majority elected to do something about it not doing anything about it.

These sad developments compelled many Americans to make the second-most ultimate sacrifice: max out their credit cards, then take out home equity loans to pay them off, then run them up again, all the while keeping their eyes peeled for any distraction from reality, such as American Idol or Dancing With the Stars. It forced mortgage lending companies to bend the rules in order to keep the stock market up and the rest of the economy humming, and it also forced the Bush Administration to cut the taxes for the wealthiest Americans so that they could prop up America's best restaurants and luxury auto dealers.

Everyone has to make sacrifices during a time of war, after all.

But geez, things are still kind of, you know, turning bad a little. So the Fed cuts the funds rate again so that the markets don't drop quite as much and Bush says he'll send us a check for 300 bucks and the surge is working, so hey, maybe we gon' be awright after all.

Ya think?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blogging for a woman's right to choose today

Today, on the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision upholding women's reproductive freedom, Roe v. Wade has never been more imperiled. MissLaura points to the ages of Justices Stevens (87), Ginsberg (74), Breyer, (69), Souter (68), Alito (57), and Roberts (52) as evidence that the coming presidential election is likely to matter significantly to the fate of Roe, and women.

Choose wisely.

Goodnight, Grampa Fred

It just won't be quite as much fun without ya.

Even Candy Crowley thinks Edwards won

Do you have any idea how difficult it was for those words to pass the Butter Queen's lips? Ohhh, those lips:

As for the press corps, they really weren't that bad. I don't think I was ignored any more than most other small-time reporters, most of whom were pretty nice people who just had lousy jobs. But the cool kids, the people working for the big papers and TV stations who really loved hobnobbing with all the pols on the plane — they were a pretty disgusting group in some ways. I think the one image that will stick with me is Candy Crowley (CNN) jamming fistfuls of complimentary chocolate chip cookies into her mouth in a bus in Houston (the Kerry campaign had given us all free cookies wrapped in American-flag-patterned bandanas) and talking about Kucinich. She's got this huge waterfall of crumbs coming out of her mouth and she's talking about how ugly Kucinich is. That to me summed up the whole campaign press crew, right there...

The words of Matt Taibbi, late of Rolling Stone. You may have seen him on Bill Maher last Saturday evening.

The worst on display

Was anyone else embarrassed by the conduct of the two front-runners for the Democratic nomination in last night's debate?

On Martin Luther King Day, of all days, for the mud to be slung with such vigor by our candidates. Disgusting. The only thing missing was them calling each other "b*tch" and "n*gg*r".

If you saw it, you know what I'm talking about. If you didn't, then consider yourself fortunate.

In a contest which has already featured a former president doing the dirty political work for his wife (who seems more than capable of doing it herself), we also got to see a visibly incensed Barack Obama call both of them liars. Lovely. And to observe the facial expressions and body language of Mrs. Clinton and Obama -- too close for comfort, CNN, in a warning to other networks about pore-revealing closeup shots in future debates -- it is plainly and painfully obvious that these two do not like each other. A lot.

This is a revoltin' development. And a best-case scenario for a plenty *ucked-up bunch of Republicans to capitalize on.

That vivid demonstration of extraordinarily unprofessional conduct in last night's debate simply does not inspire independent voters to turn out at the polls and vote for Democratic candidates for any office. It doesn't even inspire Democratic voters to do so, for Pete's sake.

In case you hadn't noticed, we Democrats tend to fight amongst ourselves. And we tend to call each other names when we do. Sometimes the bitterness from a tough campaign lingers afterward, and dampens our enthusiasm for the general election fray and the real enemy. This results in a presidential nominee failing to get enough grassroots motivation -- blockwalking, phone calling, even things as nebulous as water cooler conversation and putting a bumper sticker on one's car -- to actually win an election they shouldn't lose. This phenomenon already occurred in 2000 and 2004 to some degree (yes, there were indeed other, more significant factors like hanging chads and the SCOTUS in 2000 and malfunctioning voting machines in Ohio in 2004. I don't intend to minimize those facts in any way. But we Democratics aren't like the Republics; we don't fall in lockstep behind our nominee no matter who it is. We think. But I digress).

I was already plenty disillusioned about the prospect of supporting one of these two people, and now ... well, you tell me.

What did either Clinton or Obama say or do to earn your support last night?

I'll let Martin Luther King III, in his letter to John Edwards, have the last word for me:

So, I urge you: keep going. Ignore the pundits, who think this is a horserace, not a fight for justice. My dad was a fighter. As a friend and a believer in my father's words that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, I say to you: keep going. Keep fighting. My father would be proud.

Update: Rhymes agrees.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Remembering MLK today

On some positions a coward has asked the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.

-- Martin Luther King Jr., November 1967

More WTF: Huck and Chuck in Navasota

Huckabee's Sunday fundraiser and rally at the Lone Wolf Ranch of martial arts action star Chuck Norris was the first major presidential event for either party in the state since Jan. 1.

Unintentional humor was in blessed abundance:

Freshly bruised from a second-place finish in the South Carolina Republican primary, presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee told a gathering of Texas financial supporters Sunday that the GOP nomination may come down to the Lone Star State on March 4.

"By the time we get through Feb. 5, there still will not be a decisive winner," said Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas. "I'm having to reach down deep and swallow my Arkansas pride, and it is taking everything in me to be able to say this, but, folks, Texas may just have to save this Arkansas boy and put us over the top in March of this year."

Count on it, Huckster. The Lord's flock of sheep are going all in for ya. Texas, hold him; those weekly poker game winnings -- not to mention the commissions on Total Gym sales -- are likely to save God's Chosen Republican yet.

More from other campaigns about the potential for Texas to matter as it regards picking a president:

Houston lawyer Patrick Oxford, a national co-chairman for Republican Rudy Giuliani, said the mixed results of the early primaries have helped Giuliani because the campaign always downplayed the early contests to focus on the Jan. 29 Florida winner-take-all primary and the Feb. 5 primaries, which have 1,462 delegates at stake.

"I don't think it is any secret that chaos is our friend," Oxford said. ...

Oxford said Giuliani can organize Texas quickly by tapping into the campaigns of his top Texas political supporters: Gov. Rick Perry, Comptroller Susan Combs and Railroad Commission Chairman Michael Williams.

"You have to take advantage of their organization quickly to have a ground game," Oxford said. "Texas is a big state. Any type of media campaign even by then probably will be too expensive for everybody."

It almost sounds like he's wishing another plane would fly into a building, doesn't it? More visionary insight: "Texas is a big state". I think I've heard that one.

And this from the bright side:

"Clearly, the Clinton campaign has an advantage in creating an infrastructure overnight," said state Rep. Mark Strama, D-Austin, an Obama supporter. "They've done this before and they've got a network of past supporters."

Strama said dedicated volunteers with Texans for Obama have been working since 2006. He said many of them have worked on political campaigns in the past.

Ian Davis, one of the organizers, said part of the effort has been dedicated to having 20 percent of all students on college campuses pledged to Obama by election day. He said the San Antonio operation has 400 volunteers, some of whom went to Iowa to campaign.

But wait ... the evil Dr. No is going to have a say in the Texas outcome, yes?

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Lake Jackson, also has a small army of volunteers. Hundreds tried to vote in a state Republican straw poll last summer, but were turned away because they had not previously voted in a GOP primary.

They obviously forgot to bring their Voter ID cards. Recall that this was the Texas GOP primary that yesterday's quitter, Duncan Hunter, won. More from Oxford, who's just a laugh a minute, but first a word from another disciple of Huck:

Kelly Shackelford of the Liberty Legal Institute said having Perry's endorsement will not help Giuliani because Huckabee will have the support of social conservatives who oppose abortion and support home schooling.

Shackelford said that even if Perry were to give his political supporter lists to Giuliani, "if you get them out to vote they will just vote for Huckabee." He added the "establishment doesn't have campaign structure. Let's see if they can crush one grass-roots guy."

Social conservatives make up an estimated 35 percent to 40 percent of the Texas Republican primary vote. And they have an extensive e-mail network through church leaders and conservative organizations.

Oxford said he believes that enthusiasm will dampen after Feb. 5 if Republican voters see Giuliani as the candidate who can defeat the Democratic nominee in the November general election.

"I wouldn't be dismissive at all of the social conservative network, but we'll see if they will be kamikazes for Huckabee," Oxford said. "I don't know that they will be."

Praise God, it looks like Mike is going to make it to heaven (aka the Republican National Convention) and anoint the Saviour.

It might even be he who wears the crown.

Update: I didn't even mention that Chuck Norris, 67, thinks John McCain, 72, is too old to be president, so check for that. And Huckabee really shouldn't make comments about other people's hair color, especially since McCain obviously isn't using any.

The Weekly Wrangle

Time for another weekly roundup of Texas Progressive Alliance blog posts. This week's collection is brought to you by Steve at WhosPlayin, while Vince recovers from his wild weekend covering the AFL-CIO Convention.

takes a look at a spoof website that has turned a Denton County commissioner's race ugly.

John Coby
cautions Houston City Council about Houstonians for Responsible Growth.

BossKitty at Bluebloggin points out how Dick Cheney shows his loyalty toward the people who are supposed to take a bullet for him in Secret Service Takes The Fall - Cheney Not To Be Inconvenienced.

A report of the SDEC meeting posted by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs drew a response from several quarters.

looks at Rep. Dawnna Dukes' conflict of interest in helping the film industry and wonders if she's truly non-committal in the Speaker's race.

On The Texas Blue, contributing writer David Gurney takes a look at the short-lived influence of the baby boomer era on politics in The Downhill Run.

Off the Kuff says it's time for C.O. Bradford to start speaking out about the various messes Chuck Rosenthal has created at the Harris County DA's office.

The Texas Cloverleaf
informs everyone that the TTC Townhall 2.0 hearings have begun. If you care where TTC-69 is going, you best attend for your voice to be heard.

at Eye On Williamson points out that Democrat Diana Maldonado Out-Raises All Candidates In HD-52 and shows the problem with one-party government in ACLU Shames WCCC - Free Speech Under Attack.

Stace at Dos Centavos analyzes the Latino vote for Hillary in Nevada.

at Easter Lemming Liberal News still can't believe what has happened to what was once Houston's premiere radio news source. The new Republican Propaganda Radio Network had Rush Limbaugh calling a spade a spade and shows expertise with using hoes. Gary provides alternatives for your radio listening and a contact link to KTRH 740 AM.

from South Texas Chisme answers the question 'What does 'immigration' mean as an issue?'

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Suzanne Pleshette, 1937-2008

She was responsible for IMHO one of television's most classic moments:

Although Newhart got a new TV wife, played by Mary Frann, for his 1982-90 Newhart, Pleshette had the last laugh -- making a memorable surprise guest appearance as Newhart's previous TV wife at the end of the series' final episode.

Dick Loudon, the Vermont innkeeper Newhart played on Newhart, is knocked out by a stray golf ball. Then the show cuts to a darkened bedroom as he wakes up and turns on the light to reveal Chicago psychologist Bob Hartley's bedroom from The Bob Newhart Show.

The Vermont-set Newhart and its colorful characters, it turns out, had only been a dream, and Pleshette's Emily tells Bob he should watch what he eats before going to bed.

In a 1990 interview with CBS This Morning, Pleshette recalled that when the Newhart studio audience saw the familiar bedroom set from the old series, she heard a shocked intake of breath.

"And then they heard this mumble under the covers, and nobody does my octave, you know," she recalled. "And I think they suspected it might be me, but when that dark hair came up from under the covers, they stood and screamed."

One of my favorite bass-tenor women.

Duncan Hines quits

Oh wait, that's not his name.

So is Romney running front now or is it McCain?

Is Dr. No's second-place finish meaningful or not?

Paul took several swipes at former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who got fewer votes than Paul in Nevada and was trailing Paul in returns being tabulated Saturday night in South Carolina. He told the audience about a confrontation with Giuliani during this month's debate in South Carolina. He said Giuliani "cut me down."

"Tonight, if this is the final tally on that confrontation, we got three times as much vote as the mayor got," he said, referring to Nevada.

So when does 9ui11ani quit? Right after he doesn't win Florida? And did Grampa Fred quit last night or not? I couldn't really tell, either. And are you thanking your God this morning that the Republicans won't be nominating a guy who fried squirrel in a popcorn popper in his dorm room when he was in college?

I mean ... who knew Gomer Huckabee even went to college?

Every time I get frustrated about what's going on with the Democrats, all I have to do is look over at the Republicans, and I forget all my worries.

Sunday Funnies (brunch edition)

Thanks to my buddy Bartcop for many of this post's contributions. He's a Hillary lover but I can't hate him for it.