Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hope from "the Cafe'"


Steven Day does it again.....fills me with unbelieveable sadness and, remarkably, simultaneously, hope.....
Here's the Latest episode of The Last Chance Democracy Cafe'

and a snippet or two....

Has there ever been another monument in all of human history so perfect? So fitting to the historical setting? The long black wall, staggeringly beautiful in its simplicity, with the names of over 58,000 American martyrs chiseled into the granite: all are equal regardless of rank, each name spelled out with the same five-inch-high letters. High ranking officers and the lowest ranking privates, all standing witness together.

58,000 stories, each one screaming out to be heard: 58,000 potentially bright futures forever lost. Oh, my God. The awful silence: all the books never written, the children’s voices never heard and the joys never expressed. The waste. The lies. The unspeakable betrayal.

Today, of course, we face another great betrayal. And a new progressive grassroots political movement, this time built to a significant degree around the Internet, is blowing across the land, as public anger over Iraq keeps growing stronger. Meanwhile, “respectable” Beltway opinion stands baffled by the forces at play.

The opportunity for fundamental change, not only in ending this miserable war, but in building a more just society is considerable, but far from inevitable. It will take hard work, but also patience. It will take toughness, but the smart sort of tough that doesn’t offend people just for the sheer joy of offending them.

read it all....but here's a hint.....bring tissue....

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Cuppa Coffee and a few grins...

Mostly courtesy of DU, but funny nonetheless....

This quote on a thread:

response #11 by tecelote: When evolution is outlawed......only outlaws will evolve!

You know, I kinda think that would make a good bumper sticker.

On the death of Marcel Marceau.

Marcel Marceau has died

response #1 by The Straight Story: His silence has been silenced RIP

response #2 by MethuenProgressive: .......................................................................

response #4 by lateo: A moment of silence please

response #6 by gratuitous: And his last words were . . . .

response #8 by spirit of wine: Will he be buried in a glass coffin? just to keep on with his theme.

response #11 by SeattleVet: I understand he went quietly. It is unknown at this time if there were any final gestures. Please join us in a moment of noise in his memory!

response #18 by soothsayer: You don't say?

On a thread about a survey taken of NASCAR drivers....

NASCAR Drivers: 59 % Republican, 0 % Democratic...

I'm not saying that we should like/dislike a sport because of its participants political leanings. But it's quite hard for me to care about a sport where no driver will admit, in a private survey, to being a Democrat...

response #4 by GreatCaesarsGhost: republicans like going around in circles really fast and getting nowhere.

response #22 by Lastlaughin08: They call it the "Iraq 500" - except the finish line keeps moving away

response #35 by The Gunslinger: But they sure turn left a lot............ .................. ...... nt

Thanks to JeffR for his weekly DUzy Awards....they're hilarious!

Thursday, September 27, 2007


If there's anything that captures the.....the....ahem ...DEPTH of the intellectual foundation of the Republican party.....THIS has to be it.....Republican Presidential hopeful Fred Thompson and "Larry the Cable Guy"....two bastions of intellectual power....

Thanks to our buddy, Attaturk for this....and the appropriate caption:


A dreaded Xpost

Hi everybody....

As those of you who know my activities locally are's been BUSY! for a week or two...but at least or efforts didn't go up in smoke...pun intended....

Next week will be worse because I will be in Madison on Monday and then in Milwaukee for (practically) the rest of the week....I'll be at a convention hobnobing with my fellow wizards and warlocks....and...and....lets just leave it there.

Here's the dreaded Xpost:

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Military parlance, of course and to make it more obvious (and bring it squarely into the world of Left Blogsylvania), try this:

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

It comes from this article in Mother Jones Magazine by Ted's a snippet that causes you to ponder: "Do I laugh or cry?"

At least Chayes can claim to have been misled; no such justification can be offered in defense of Fox News, according to a stunning new book, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (forthcoming from University of Chicago Press in November), by Iraq war photographer and reporter Ashley Gilbertson. Gilbertson describes how he and another reporter were nearly blown to pieces by an errant Air Force bomb in northern Iraq in the late days of the American invasion. They finally withdrew from the front because, as Gilbertson himself concedes, "The risk was too high, the payoff too low." And yet when he returned to his hotel in Erbil, he switched on the television and found Fox's correspondent "crouching in front of sandbags, wearing a flak jacket and a helmet. He was supposedly on the front lines, reporting via a scratchy video phone. He had to whisper, he said." But as Gilbertson studied the screen, he could discern, over the correspondent's shoulder and above the sandbags, the "distinctive architecture of our hotel." Fox's man in the field was reporting live from a foxhole he had built in his hotel room. The outraged Gilbertson dialed the correspondent's in-house phone and then hung up, allowing just enough time to send a single ring over the airwaves

We don't demand nearly enough from our "journalists", do we?

Click the linky-thing and read the whole article.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Best Democrats I ever met...

I couldn't be at the meeting last night because of other commitments.

Generally, that's no big deal but last night it was.

It was because I missed a tribute paid by the local party to two of the best Democrats I've ever met...

Norm and Loretta Tritz

Norm and Loretta were responsible for getting me active in the local party organization and I will be forever grateful to them for making sure that I got involved.

The truly special thing about Norm and Loretta is how QUIET they are. They do tons of actual work for the party and for local candidates but they are never in the limelight themselves. They're never "out front" but always in the background doing whatever organizing needs to be done.

Do you think that the Democratic Party Float just magically appears? Do you think the organization of the booth for the State Fair just happens automatically? Where do you think the tickets come from?

That's all because of Norm and Loretta and most of us don't even see them (well, we DO see Norm pulling the float behind his truck) most of the time.

I'm so happy the party decided to recognize these two outstanding Democrats last night...I understand that there was a plaque...there were flowers...and a personally autographed book by Dave Obey.....I have personal knowledge that Norm and Loretta have been big boosters of our favorite Congresscritter for many, many years. Among those saying Thanks to Norm and Loretta were Assemblyman Marlin Schneider, Senator Julie Lassa, Chairman Dave Willie and the whole party.....

Loretta....Norm...I'm so sorry I couldn't be there last night to say THANK YOU! along with everybody else....but please know that it is my distinct pleasure to know you and count you among my most admired friends.



...about cooperating with Republicans....

it's not smart....

it's not even politically expedient...

it's dumb...

here's what Scarecrow at firedoglake has to say about yesterday' MoveOn vote in the Senate:

The 22 Democrats who betrayed their party and its supporters by voting to condemn MoveOn probably thought voting for a Republican stunt would shield them from further Republican smears. For the umpteenth time, they were wrong.

Their delusions were shattered again when President Bush used his bullying pulpit to smear the entire “Democrat” party, claiming most of them are “more afraid of irritating a left-wing group like . . . than they are of irritating the United States military.”


Had enough, Senators? You were set up, again. As Jane keeps explaining, never support Republican talking points or attacks on Democratic allies. Never. And just in case you’ve forgotten what’s important here, I left a few reminders.

I keep telling our local officials that compromising with the Republicans on their issues is, just exactly as Newt Gingrich called it, DATE RAPE!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Here's a subject that almost got me "flunked out" and kicked out of my Sophomore Year Macro Economics class....primarily because I said the same things that Robert Reich is now saying.

There's a great synopsis of his new book, Supercapitalism, over at KOS this morning and I think it's a book I'm going to are some snippets and some commentary will follow afterwards.
In Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life, Robert Reich agrees that global capitalism had made goods both cheaper and more plentiful. However, the price tag at the store doesn't represent the full price we pay for this consumer bounty. In creating not just a market, but an international culture, driven almost entirely by price, we've sacrificed much of our ability to control the actions of corporations or even the quality of our own lives.


In the end what Reich has to say is that both left and right are wrong in their view of capitalism. Corporations are not people. They're not moral or immoral. They just are. And if that sounds too corporate friendly, Reich makes a terrific case for why corporations should not be given the political clout and legal protections of human citizens. In his view, a corporation should have both the responsibilities and rights of a table lamp.
The right is at least as wrong in viewing the market as some kind of self-correcting "natural" system that always tends to produce an overall benefit. There's no evidence of this now, or ever. In fact, history shows that the market needs constant adjustment and correction -- often involving huge amounts of government support that the "free market" advocates are quick to forget when the numbers are going up.

It's that area I highlighted in red that almost got me kicked out of class by the very, very, very conservative Econ Professor. Arguing that there is no such thing as a "free market" or that there are no "natural market forces at work" is quite likely to enrage any self-respecting conservative businessman and subsequently get you labeled as a "communist" (because in the mind of a conservative, there are ONLY capitalists and communists, so if you aren't one then you are by elimination, obviously the other)but it has been a long-held belief of mine which I have never had the time or (quite honestly ) the motivation to research at the depth that Reich does here...or for that matter...the depth that any serious economist would do......The argument I made then is similar to what Reich is saying now, in that I posited that problem with capitalism as we were then (and even moreso now) were practicing it, was that it required continued growth of markets and profits which were not, in my opinion, infinite. They were and are quite finite...we cannot exploit cheap labor forever because it will eventually reach the proverbial "race to the bottom". We were then, and are now, expecting to make more profits with less cost over and over again...or, put another way, we are expecting to manufacutre more and more for less and less until, ultimately, we expect to build EVERYTHING FOR NOTHING.

That's the fools dream of Supercapitalism. And that is the disaster waiting to happen.

I've admired Reich since the late 1980's because he has taken a "view from 30,000 feet" (as the new pseudo-MBAs like to say) of the American economy and how our culture is shaping that economy.
Even if you don't like studying economics....and let's face it, who'll still like Reich's work. It's unlike most essays on economics in that it's....READABLE.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Any heavy thinkers out there?

I need some help discussing this issue.....

read it over here and give me some ideas hey?

Democrats and Caffine....dangerous combination

After spending some time with some of my favorite local Democrats and consuming WAY TOO MUCH caffine....I thought I'd bring you a smorgosbord of news and comments of the day:

First....Lolo...hope you're feeling work is never fun and yours was particularly tough....I feel for you lady!
Second...there was the Bush speech last are a few reviews of his speech from the denizens of Left Blogsylvania:

So if freedom isn’t free, is it just another word for nothing left to lose?
I sure am glad the country is being guided by the wisdom of cocktail napkins.

Jane Hamser, firedoglake

The end of a blistering, spot-on Times Editorial
... [Bush's] only real plan is to confuse enough Americans and cow enough members of Congress to let him muddle along and saddle his successor with this war that should never have been started.


And the Times can do its small part to ensure that the US doesn't repeat the mistake of wars "that should never have been started."

Digby...citing a NY Times Editorial.

WASHINGTON — Eight months after President Bush made public a plan he hailed as the "New Way Forward" in Iraq, he's announced a new plan, this one called "Return on Success."The new plan was reminiscent of last year's "Operation Together Forward," which called for U.S. troops to secure neighborhoods in Baghdad and hand them over to Iraqi security forces. It bore similarities to an even older plan commonly articulated with the catchphrase "as they stand up, we'll stand down."

Atrios, citing McClatchy Newspapers rehash of the speech.

Strange thing though....I tuned in to CNN this morning and got the impression that Bush "changed the debate" last night with his I sense a "disconnect" here? Maybe THIS IS THE REASON

All networks shared the same pool video of Bush from the Oval Office. Perhaps in an effort to make its coverage look distinctive, CNN pulled a very questionable stunt during the speech. Bush made reference to a brave soldier, Brandon Stout, who died while serving in Iraq, and CNN, having received a copy of the text in advance, obligingly inserted a photo of Stout into the picture, moving Bush slightly to the left, as it were.

But it's not the job of news organizations to help politicians, even presidents, embellish their speeches or assist them in making a point. If any other network did the same thing, it was a mistake. The president gets to command television time pretty much at his discretion; the networks don't have to give him anything but the space.

Tom also had a lot to say about the other networks coverage of the it's well worth it to click on the link. but I just have to post this snippet concerning our all-time favorite bi-polar-pundit, Chris Matthews:

but Chris Matthews, looking more dignified than usual on MSNBC, compared Bush to Lucy in the "Peanuts" comic strip as drawn by the late Charles Schulz. Every autumn Lucy swore to Charlie Brown that she wouldn't pull the football away when he tried to kick it, and every year Charlie Brown fell for it and landed on his posterior. Matthews said Bush had been dealing in "false promises and false arguments again and again and again."

Third...Jane Hamser over at Firedoglake does a great synopsis of a new book by Susan Faludi (authoress of Backlash) that has some incredible insight for us to learn. The Book is named The Terror Dream and touches on what has happened to us (as a nation) since Sept 11,2001. Susan will be Jane's guest at the firedoglake book club in November so if you want to get the book, read it and join in the discussion, here's a good "head's up". Here's a "snippet" (thanks to Jane) from the book:

Throughout the fall of 2001, the media attempted to position the assault on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as a reprise of pearl harbor, a new “day of infamy” that would reinvigorate our world War II ethic of national unity and sacrifice, a long-awaited crucible in which self-absorbed Americans would at long last, be forged into the twenty-first century’s stoic army of the latest Greatest Generation. But the summons to actual sacrifice never came. No draft ensued, no Rosie the Riveters were called to duty, no ration cards issued, no victory gardens planted. Most of all, no official moral leadership emerged to challenge Americans to think constructively about our place in the world, to redefine civic commitment and public responsibility. There was no man in a wheelchair in the White House urging on us a reassessment of American strength and weakness. What we had was a chest beater in a borrowed flight suit, instructing us to max out our credit cards for the cause.

Sounds like a great book.....
What soaks up caffine? Oh....I get're supposed to "flush it with water"....lots and lots of water....
see you soon

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Yeah....I'm ranting again

whoa.....from Today's Huffington Post

This is an essay by Jon Robin Baitz on why he "liked" the much-maligned ad about General Petraeus....but it's much, much more than's what I mean.


I rather liked the MoveOn ad from the Times. It was crass, but these are crass times. It was simplistic, but these are simplistic problems, basic ones -- after all -- the American people have been treated as foolish consumers of a product -- in this case a war -- by an administration that hovers in a bipolar helix between hapless fervor and rank cynicism.


Now let's face it. We're in Iraq for the next decade. We are in Iraq for the next decade. At least. No way out. This is how America crumbles; at the hands of the most misguided ideologues since the Crusades. Men who led America to catastrophe, who betrayed all the promise we had left -- and for what? The naive and arrogant expectation that a grateful culture would be democratized magically, instantly, and with no ambivalence.


In the Atlantic Monthly, one of the ex-speech writers for the administration turns on one of his own with the ferocity of a cartoon pirate turning on another pirate after the treasure is all gone. This is how it goes down, folks. They're not conservatives. They're not even Republicans. They are de-regulating cynics who pray that capitalism works like the glorious God-Powered Rube Goldberg machine it is. Just add self-reliance and a few days in Aspen. This crowd? They make one long for the intellectual rigor of a Nixon, and they don't deserve to even speak the name Goldwater. I liked the MoveOn ad, because it was probably true, in the Freudian sense, even if it is a little shrill.

I don'know much about Baitz, except from his biography which you can find here. Initially, at least, I had some trouble with his sentence and paragraph structure and even his punctuation, but now, seeing his credentials, I understand the style is avant-garde and I am the one who is out of touch. All that is beside-the-point anyway. The writing is dead-on and captures, I think, a lot of the absurdities of "the new normal" as my favorite (and now "ex") anchorman Aaron Brown termed the phrase after September 11,2001.

One final phrase caught my eye...and resonated....loudly with me as I am sure it will with many of you.

I want to paraphrase Auden and silence the clocks and the noise and pray in the silence to a a god I don't trust or even know how to believe in -- for a way to help my country -- and everyone in it -- find a way through the dark toxic cloud that was conjured up six years ago at the tip of Manhattan.

Don't we all?




The "Onion" reports on General Petraeus

This was just too good to pass up....Our own, Wisconsin-home-grown Onion did their own analysis of General Petraeus' report to Congress. Here's the linky-thing....and the article:

Gen. David Petraeus gave his report on the effectiveness of the troop surge in Iraq to Congress Monday. Here are some of the most significant points:

  • Title Page, Acknowledgments, Introduction, Results, Conclusion, Appendix

  • Iraqi government officials still being assassinated, but just barely

  • Most U.S. soldiers can be relied upon to wake up on time

  • The six guys that Cameroon sent have been awesome

  • Due to overly negative review, footnote on every page stressing Patraeus' support of U.S. troops

    Two of the 18 political and security benchmarks have been met: Birthday parties for all Iraqi parliamentarians are in place, and nobody died at 3:19 a.m. on July 22

  • By weight, Americans are now the country's majority
    What a wild ride it's been

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sept 11, 2007

I'm back from being deprived of internet access for 4 days.....the withdrawal symptons were awful.....

anyway...I was trying to think of an "appropriate" 9/11 post but Ezra Klein beat me to's because he's SMARTER than me....

I'm reprinting all of it here for your enjoyment:

I felt a bit conflicted about writing this post. What you want to do is remember an awful crime. What you end up doing is invoking a Republican talking point. That is all that remains of the term "9/11." As Gary Kamiya correctly points out, 9/11 need hardly be remembered: The President won't stop bringing it up. "President Bush used the attacks to justify his 2003 invasion of Iraq," writes Kamiya. "And he has been using 9/11 ever since to scare Americans into supporting his 'war on terror.' He has incessantly linked the words 'al-Qaida' and 'Iraq,' a Pavlovian device to make us whimper with fear at the mere idea of withdrawing. In a recent speech about Iraq, he mentioned al-Qaida 95 times. No matter that jihadists in Iraq are not the same group that attacked the U.S., or that their numbers and effectiveness have been greatly exaggerated. It's no surprise that Gen. David Petraeus' 'anxiously awaited' evaluation of the war is to be given on the 10th and 11th of September."

9/11 has been robbed of its significance. It no longer lights up the neurons recalling an American tragedy, but instead activates that understand political strategy. I hate them for that. So this isn't a 9/11 remembrance. We've never been allowed to forget 9/11. Not for an instant. What we have been allowed to forget is 2,974 individuals who perished in that attack, who didn't die because they wanted to invade Iraq or because they thought Republicans were insufficiently competitive in elections, but because they were murdered. Remember them.

September 11, 2007

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Kabuki Dance continues....

For those of you not familiar with the term (or, more accurately Art Form) here's a short lesson:

Kabuki, like other traditional forms of drama in Japan as well as in other cultures around the world, was (and sometimes still is) performed in full-day programs. Rather than attending a single play for 2–5 hours, as one might do in a modern Western-style theater, one would "escape" from the day-to-day world, devoting a full day to entertainment in the theater district. Though some plays, particularly the historical jidaimono, might go on for an entire day, most plays were shorter and would be arranged, in full or in part, alongside other plays in order to produce a full-day program

and what makes it relevant is:

Nearly every full-length play would be performed in five acts, the first one corresponding to jo, an auspicious and slow opening which introduces the audience to the characters and the plot. The next three acts would correspond to ha, speeding events up, culminating almost always in a great moment of drama or tragedy in the third act and possibly a battle in the second and/or fourth acts. The final act, corresponding to kyu, is almost always very short, providing a quick and satisfying conclusion.[13]

How much like traditional Kabuki theatre the Bush Administration has become.....every issue is a folk-tale in five acts; each act as predictable and conspicuously staged as the first.

And, unfortunately, all the issues end just like traditional Kabuki..."is almost always very short, providing a quick and safisfying conclusion..." satisfying for Bush anyway...and almost always because Democrats collapse spinelessly in front of his faux macho-posturing and even worse pseudo-patriotism...(jingoism? probably)

So here we go again...

Act I: the great buildup of expectations for the Patraeus Report

Act II: Dog-and-Poney Shows for sympathetic and uncritical journalist to Iraq to show progress which is really just another Potemkin Village (like we talked about yesterday)

Act III: A staged extravaganza worthy of the late, great Cecil B. Demille of Bush in the Combat Zone praising the progress and slyly hinting that "some" troops can come home...staged, as always, with a background of smiling, happy US troops standing behind their "beloved" commander in Chief....(we know from the White House "advance" guide that those troops are chosen from only the most "highly enthusiastic" Bush supporters)

Act IV:......ahhhhhhhhh..... that's the Battle with Congress.... and we all know that it will end with

Act V....a swift and satisfying conclusion ....for Bush.

I'm getting tired of this.....

Once, just once, I'd like to see our Democratic Congress stand up to Bush...face him down and


win one for a change.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Propaganda 101

Here's a pretty good (I think) post on propaganda...pretty entertaining too I think

See ya soon...

on edit:

I meant to use the post as an instructional device for us. I think many of us have seen the terminology "Potemkin Village" in other blog and newspaper posts but may not have known the reference. To be sure, it's an obscure reference probably best known to "Film Majors" in college and perhaps to some World History Majors (although there is precious little information about the fomentation of the 1917 Russian Revolution) any rate, enjoy the information


Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day used to be a big deal four our party.....


Because blue-collar union workers used to be the backbone of our was a big part of "who were are".

Thanks to Reagan...Bush I and Bush II (with no help from Clinton)...labor unions have been diminished in power and prestige....

Worse yet...the manufacturing base that gave us a solid Middle-Class in America and spawned workers who could send their kids to college, buy houses and cars, and generally keep the economy humming is


The Neocon wet-dream of "pure capitalism" is slowly strangling what is left of the middle class and nobody seems to give a damn.

I still do...

And that's why on this labor day, I'll thank the working men and women of America for making us great....