Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday Music Blogging

Now that it's official...this one is a special dedication to all my FReeper readers and their friends...

I'm Not Sure What To Make Of This...

Sometimes, I have to stop eating my morning oatmeal and ponder a story. This is one of those:
LONDON (Reuters) - Muslim extremists are plotting at least 30 major terrorist attacks in Britain and the threats may involve chemical and nuclear devices, a British spy chief said.

Eliza Manningham-Buller, head of domestic spy agency MI5, said young British Muslims were being groomed to become suicide bombers and her agents were tracking some 1,600 suspects, most of whom were British-born and linked to al Qaeda in Pakistan.

"We are aware of numerous plots to kill people and damage our economy. What do I mean by numerous? Five? Ten? No, nearer 30 ... that we know of," Manningham-Buller said in a speech to a specially invited audience in London on Thursday evening.
Several questions have to be raised:

1) MI5 is usually pretty good about routing terrorists, and annoucing after the fact they've caught them. They've had lots of practice at it, of course, and the surveillance and detective work imposed in the wake of the Irish Problem has stood them in good stead. But wasn't it just recently that they cracked down on an huge plot, and we only found out about it after the fact?

2) Has the midterm election now freed the British government to be more open about potential threats, or has it forced them into panicking that a similar wave of hostility will overwhelm the voters of the UK, so they've torn a page out of the Bush manual and decided to terrorize their own population politically? Indeed, Blair plans to make a speech to Parliament next week which will say "law and order will be a major part of the next parliamentary session and tougher security measures are expected to be outlined."

3) What's more troubling: the fact that the head of MI5 has to come out with this announcement, or a statistic buried deep in the story: "the number of cases being pursued by security services had risen by 80 percent since January"? Mind you, this all comes on the heels of the plot revealed in August to blow up airliners using liquid explosives. Manningham-Buller refused to rule out any type of attack, even including nuclear weapons.

4) We're fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here, but "there" should specifically exclude the UK, Australia, Spain, and Indonesia, wouldn't you agree?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Moment Of SIlence And Remembrance

I felt that a tribute honoring the service of those who were unelected Tuesday and those who supported them was in order to help heal the country.

Watching The Wheels Fall Off The Wagon....Among Other Republicans

Limbaugh greets Democrats as liberators

LIMBAUGH: Now, I mentioned to you at the conclusion of the previous hour that people have been asking me how I feel all night long. And I got, "Boy, Rush, I wouldn't want to be you tomorrow. Boy, I wouldn't want to have to do your show. Boy, I'm so glad I'm not you." Well, folks, I love being me. I can't be anybody else, so I'm stuck with it. But the way I feel is this: I feel liberated, and I'm just going to tell you as plainly as I can why. I no longer am going to have to carry the water for people who I don't think deserve having their water carried. Now, you might say, "Well, why have you been doing it?" Because the stakes are high. Even though the Republican Party let us down, to me they represent a far better future for my beliefs and therefore the country's than the Democrat [sic] Party does and liberalism.

And I believe my side is worthy of victory, and I believe it's much easier to reform things that are going wrong on my side from a position of strength. Now, I'm liberated from having to constantly come in here every day and try to buck up a bunch of people who don't deserve it, to try to carry the water and make excuses for people who don't deserve it. I just -- I did not want to sit here and participate, willingly, in the victory of the libs, in the victory of the Democrat [sic] Party by sabotaging my own. But now with what has happened yesterday and today, it is an entirely liberating thing. If those in our party who are going to carry the day in the future -- both in Congress and the administration -- are going to choose a different path than what most of us believe, then that's liberating. I don't say this with any animosity about anybody, and I don't mean to make this too personal.

I'm not trying to tell you that this is about me. I'm just answering questions that I've had from people about how I feel. But there have been a bunch of things going on in Congress, some of this legislation coming out of there that I have just cringed at, and it has been difficult coming in here, trying to make the case for it when the people who are supposedly in favor of it can't even make the case themselves -- and to have to come in here and try to do their jobs. I'm a radio guy. I understand what this program has become in America and I understand the leadership position it has. I was doing what I thought best, but at this point, people who don't deserve to have their water carried, or have themselves explained as they would like to say things but somehow don't be -- aren't able to, I'm not under that kind of pressure.
Sure, Rush. I'm sure you took no joy in...
Rush Limbaugh accused actor Michael J. Fox, who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, of "exaggerating the effects of the disease" in a recent campaign advertisement for Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill. Limbaugh added that "this is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting, one of the two."
LIMBAUGH: The key voters -- enough teasing here, folks -- the key voters in this year's election are the terrorists, the Islamofascists, the jihadists.
LIMBAUGH: The bottom line is this. This latest assault by Democrats will not work either, unless the Republicans surrender, stay on defense, and damage themselves. Let the Democrats resign, for crying out loud! Let them resign over -- let Nancy Pelosi resign. I can make a case that she should resign. Immediately! Now, even Snerdly's looking at me with a raised eyebrow. Well, here's my basis. Nancy Pelosi knows the person who planted the story about Foley five weeks before the election. "But Rush! But Rush! But Rush! Tell us what you know! How can you be sure she knows?" Well, I can almost guarantee it. She might not know who specifically did it. But she knows where it comes from. All the liberal Democrats do. She knows the person because this -- these emails were held by a liberal, they were planted by a liberal, and they were timed to the 2006 election cycle by a liberal. And liberals know liberals, and so Pelosi knows who Deep IM is. There's a Deep IM here. Not Deep Throat, but there's a Deep IM.
LIMBAUGH: My friends, it's time to face a hard, cold fact: Militant Islam wants to kill us just because we're alive and don't believe as they do. They've been killing us for decades. So it's time to stop pretending these terrorist incidents are mere episodic events and face the reality that our way of life is in grave danger. Now, this threat is not just going to go away because we choose to ignore it. Some say we should try diplomacy. Yeah, well, tell me, how do we negotiate with people whose starting point is our death? Ask them to wait for 10 years before they kill us? When good negotiates with evil, evil will always win, and peace follows victory, not words issued by diplomats.

But some Americans, sadly, not interested in victory, and yet they want us to believe that their behavior is patriotic. Well, it's not. When the critics are more interested in punishing this country over a few incidents of Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay than they are in defeating those who want to kill us, when they seek to destroy a foreign surveillance program which is designed to identify those who want to kill us and how they intend to do it, when they want to grant those who want to kill us U.S. constitutional rights, I don't call that patriotic. Patriotism is rallying behind the country, regardless of party affiliation, to defeat Islamofascism. Patriotism is supporting our troops in the battlefield, not undermining the mission and morale.
LIMBAUGH: I think you might then say that the obesity crisis could be the fault of government, liberal government.
And those are just THIS FALL, Rush!

You got a lot of water you been carrying there, son. Seems to me you might want to think about buying a truckload of Depends if you're going to start spilling it...

, ,

The Battle That's REALLY Shaping Up

Rangel's itching to evict Cheney


Harlem's newly powerful Rep. Charles Rangel wants to stick it to his White House nemesis Vice President Cheney - by taking over his spacious House office.
At the same time, the veteran congressman offered a limp olive branch to the vice president yesterday, saying he regretted publicly calling him an SOB last week.

"I take back saying that publicly. I should have reserved that for him when we were together privately," said Rangel. "Believe me, he would have understood."

Rangel (D-Harlem), poised to become the next chairman of the important House Ways and Means Committee, spoke of the need for bipartisanship with the Republicans, even as he continued his feud with Cheney.

"Mr. Cheney enjoys an office on the second floor on the House of Representatives that historically has been designated as the Ways and Means chairman," Rangel mused. "And, I've talked with [future Speaker of the House] Nancy Pelosi ... and I'm trying to find some way to be gentle as I restore the dignity of that office to the chair."

The White House declined to comment.

In the past, Rangel has branded the vice president a "draft dodger" and Cheney has predicted that Rangel would destroy the economy as head of the Ways and Means Committee.

Rangel, 76, will soon head the committee, which controls tax legislation and changes to Social Security and Medicaid.He shot down rumors that Democrats plan to raise taxes in 2010, when Republican-approved tax cuts will expire if they are not extended by Congress, and said that the country needs a bipartisan approach

"The American people have given the Democrats a great opportunity to provide leadership. I'm not certain they are in love with us, but one thing is certain is that they were not satisfied with the Republicans' leadership," said Rangel. "The only thing that is clear is that the way we can resolve these problems [the issues] is by working with the Republicans."

Originally published on November 9, 2006

All Your Base Are Belong To Us

Rumsfeld Was Just The First Crack In The Wall

U.S. surprised by strength of Taliban fightback

By Terry Friel

KABUL (Reuters) - Taliban insurgents have fought back against Afghan government and Western forces with surprising intensity this year, strengthened by drug money and the ability to shelter in Pakistan, a top U.S. official said on Thursday.

Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asian Affairs Richard Boucher said efforts to extend the rule of President Hamid Karzai's government deeper into the provinces had run into tougher-than-expected resistance.

"As this extension of government goes out, we are challenging those people and they are challenging us back," he told reporters at the heavily fortified U.S. embassy in Kabul.

"I think we have all been surprised by the intensity of the violence this year. It has a number of factors: part of it is drug money linking up with the insurgency. Part of it these people have the ability to operate in and out of Pakistan.

"But we need to deal with it."
OK, so how's this for a "deal," Mr. Boucher?

Ask President Bush for all those troops that are doing nothing but inciting violence in Iraq, and assisting in the fomentation of civil war. Find the Taliban, and while you guys are at it, Osama bin Laden.

And kill them.

Think of it this way: the troops will still be in the region in the event that something really awful happens once we've left-- which I doubt, since the Iraqi constitution pretty much lays the groundwork for a permanent solution to the crisis, IF WE WOULD ONLY GET THE FUCK OUT THE WAY!-- and we'd be focusing on the war nearly all Americans can support. Fight the guys who killed our citizens, and I can pretty much promise you that Bush's ratings will skyrocket.

It's a win-win proposition and shuts the Democrats up on one major sticking point the administration has yet to acknowledge: Iraq is a miserable failure and we shouldn't be there, because we caused it.

Iraq is already in chaos. Afghanistan is nearly there, but for the stronghold around Kabul which provides a very good platform to launch attacks deep into warlord territory, and is the current goal of the skeletal forces stationed there anyway. We have a slim chance of securing Afghanistan. We have zero chance of securing Iraq (although Iraqis themselves could do that, right now).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hump Day Marx Brothers

Groucho Explains How George Bush Hired Condoleeza Rice...or maybe it was the other way around

Cherry Picking The Best News Of The Day

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The wave of voter discontent that put Democrats in charge of the U.S. House of Representatives also hit state legislatures, where the party won control of more chambers than Republicans.

Democrats picked up control of at least nine chambers in Tuesday's election, winning the House and Senate in Iowa and New Hampshire, the House in Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, and Indiana, and the Wisconsin Senate, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

"The Democrats have won pretty much across the board," said Tim Storey, an elections analyst at the nonpartisan group.

He said the outcomes of House races in Maine, Montana, Oregon and Pennsylvania were still up in the air. Republicans, meanwhile, managed to tie the Oklahoma Senate, which had been controlled by Democrats.
Democrats control outright 21 legislatures, and split nine more, thus guaranteeing a hand in governing at least a majority of the states. This is excellent news, particularly in states that Republicans had been targeting for more red paint, like Iowa, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.

Moving Forward

There's a famous (but probably apocryphal) story of a football coach who benched a player after a raucous touchdown celebration. When the player stormed into the coach's office and demanded to know why he was benched, the coach turned to him and said, "We don't rub it in their faces. Act like you been there before."

Those words have stuck with me all my life, and whenever I've played well in a game (which is usually), at the end of the day, I shake hands and congratulate my opponent for his play. Yes, I celebrated touchdowns and home runs, as appropriate, but I tried hard to remember two things: 1) I know how it feels to be on the losing end of a big game, and 2) The angrier the other guy gets at me, the less angry he'll be at himself, and I want him to be thinking the next time I have to face him, not acting on impulse. I can beat him again. light of yesterday's rather stunning repudiation of all things GOP-- 28 governorships????-- it's time to spike the ball, and huddle up for the next set of plays. We got a lot of work to do. And now, the burden's on us.

Personally, I like Nancy Pelosi's concept of the First Hundred Hours: drain the swamp of corruption, where poisons fester in the muck, implement the September 11 Commission recommendations, raise the minimum wage ("Right now, someone is working too hard for the minimum wage"...see below), cut interest rates on student loans in half, make drug companies negotiate prices with Medicare, just as they do with the VA and with Congress' own health care plan, broaden stem cell research, & cut the deficit.

That's a lot, but there's more to do, and most of that is non-legislative for Democrats. We have to reverse the impression that many independents and moderate Republicans have that we are immoral and impositive.

So here's how and where you can help.

1) Listen to the rhetoric of the right. They're scared, hell, they're terrified! Bush all but called Democrats "terrorists" during the final weeks of the campaign and now he's stuck with us. But notice how many right wingers echoed that trope: Pelosi will force your sons and daughters into gay marriages, and into having abortions (altho no one quite ever worked out how both of those could happen, I don't think), the Dems will open the doors of America to terrorists, while raising your taxes!

So I propose our own agenda, at the netroots level: stop trying to scare people.

Yea, I know, we're not terrorizing people, the right is, but let's face facts: for every lefty who endorses national gay marriage, or reversing the ban on late term abortions in totality, neither of which I oppose and both of which I would welcome, we feed the fires on the right.

Small steps. Revolutionary change is never pretty, and unless you can point to a strong and continuing mandate, you allow for the fear factor to creep back in. Instead of tackling gay marriage, let's talk about economic justice for gays and lesbians: how would you feel if your gay son or lesbian daughter was thrown out of his or her job just because of who they lived with?

And yet, that law is on the books in most states in the union. Let's fix that first.

Let's wipe the health care slate clean, and make it so that anyone in a civil union, gay or straight, can add their partner to their health insurance. This is economic justice: we're asking people to be responsible for people they care about, and we're eliminating thousands of hospital visits that are paid for by taxpayer money.

Similarly with abortion: we want to eliminate it as much as possible. No one wants to see dead babies, of any stripe. We need a two pronged attack, one that allows and even encourages pregnancy prevention in the first place (and yes, abstinence has to have a place here), while allowing the option should pregnancy prevention not work. It's been said that my grandmother, driven to the right drive-in, could be driven to do it. That's wholly accurate. Teenage passions and experimentation will lead to sex. We want to make it not be a mistake, as much as possible.

2) Have faith. Literally. No one's suggesting that Democrats suddenly "find" religion, for a few reasons, not least of which is we already HAVE religion, we just are afraid to talk about it for fear of offending our more radical brethren.

But listen, if Andrew Sullivan, an HIV-positive gay Republican (and therefore somewhat about taking hate head on!) can speak of his deep Catholicism at the same time he writes articles in praise of "The Bell Curve", then we average Americans ought to be able to talk about our faith in terms of the political landscape, as well.

Note that the GOP has co-opted, cynically, the word values. Note also that word has a very fluid and amorphous definition. What are "values"? More specifically, what are American values? Aye, there's the rub. Apparently, if you buy into the Christian Coalition/neo-conservative nexus, they are tax cuts for the rich, pre-emptive wars, no more abortions but plenty of death penalties, guns for all, fun for none.

Astoundingly, last night on MSNBC, I actually heard a media pundit...might have been Howard about people being tired of tax cuts for the rich, and the perception that the rich got richer under Bush and the GOP while the middle class and poor got poorer. Which is spot on true, but something I hadn't heard anyone in the mainstream talk about, only us eco-wonks (I'm claiming ownership of that term).

Yet, Jesus tells us that "from those to whom much is given, much shall be expected." It's safe to say he wasn't talking about physical endowments. That's a value, too, and we ought not to be afraid to couch it in those terms. After all, if Christ was Bush's guiding philosopher, then he ought to be called to account for his failure to follow His philosophy, and only the left is going to do that.

A note to my atheist and agnostic sisteren and brethren: none of this should be construed as excluding you, but the fact is, if you want to live in France, eventually you need to learn to speak a little of the language. Similarly, if you want to communicate ideas to people of faith who might agree with you but for the language barrier, you might want to learn a bit of the lingo, enough to let them open their minds to you.

Think of it this way, if it will help: not every attorney believes in his clients' innocence, but any attorney who wants to make a living defending clients damn well sure better sound like she does, or the judge or jury is lost.

Besides, the Bible, apart from being a good book, is a cultural touchstone. Not knowing even just a few biblical passages that you can rattle off in American politics is a lot like attending a science fiction convention without having watched Star Wars or Star Trek.

3) All that leads to the next point I want to raise: we have to define ourselves.

Instructive is the result of several elections recently. In Connecticut, Ned Lamont won an huge upset victory over Joe Lieberman in the primary during the summer.

Then went on vacation for two weeks. I'm thinking he figured Lieberman would drop out, if only because he was so embarassed, but if I had run his campaign, I would never have let him do that until Joe actually announced he was out. By abandoning the race prematurely, Lamont allowed Lieberman, who still had the bully pulpit, to re-define Lamont as a tick, someone who's entire campaign rested on anger over Iraq. Lamont could have taken the media bounce and rolled out proposal after proposal, and talked about Medicare, and the prescription drug benefit and health care...he lost the vision thing, as "Bush the Elder" put it.

Similarly, in 2004, John Kerry got a big bounce from the DNC. "Reporting for duty," all that...he should have walked away with the election, but because the Republican convention was weeks later, and he was trying to conserve cash and had made it clear that no one was to attack Bush, as commander of a war time administration, he ceded the playing field to the Swift Boaters, who got news cycle after news cycle.

Had Kerry run a campaign in that time frame, it's likely the Swifties attacks would have been negated by his vigorous, spirited campaigning, which would have had him on the hustings, talking about issues. Instead, the Swifties laid the ground work for the perception that Kerry was defined not by who he was, but by what he could get.

I've heard from countless Republicans the following phrase (usually just before defining liberals and Democrats): "If you don't stand for anything, you stand for anything."

Well, we DO stand for something, and we have to find a way to crystalize it in a word that Americans will respond to.

Pelosi touched it last night, I think, but she needs to do more with it: let's talk about "justice". Which speaks volumes on so many issues: what is the role of government? What is the role of society? What is the role of the individual?

4) Final point: Justice. This isn't about the law, per se, so maybe a better word is "just".

America has always been about fairness, but "fairness" sounds wimpy, like "OK, I get to pick first, but to make it fair, I have to take Wheezy as the odd man on my team." Touchy-feely stuff, and Americans if anything are not touchy-feely.

So let's redirect the talk. Let's call it "justice". It's affirmative action, not quotas but a just opportunity. It's not "homosexual rights," but it's what Jesus would see as just treatment of one of His flock, and hate the sin, not the sinner. Any issue that is dear to us-- taxes, welfare, health care, education-- needs to be redrawn as an issue of justice, an issue of the American dream and how our nation has to help people see their way clear to that dream.

And that means defining government. Government's primary function ought to be protecting the individual and keeping him free from tyranny: the tyranny of the majority, as John Stuart Mill would put it, but also the tyranny of forces that he himself cannot control; things like big corporations with short term profit on their minds ahead of the health and safety of the average American, for one thing.

And if something is beyond even the government's control, then the government ought to be a partner with the individual in picking up the pieces, dusting him off, and putting him back on the road.

And no one's suggesting that the US government ought to be in charge of every snowflake that falls, no. But there are things like floods and hurricanes that are so overwhelming that even big business can't provide solutions to faster or better than the government, and we ought to be talking about that.

Notice that nothing I'm talking about here is new. Hell, it's what the middle of the Twentieth century in America was all about! But it's been taken away from us, and we ought to demand justice for that.

Right Now

FReep This Poll!

What motivated you?

As much as I wanted to vote for the entire list, I voted for "moral values," and I'll tell you why:

It seems to me that if we want persuade the right-leaning independents and Republicans of our higher purpose-- to ensure justice for Americans, to ensure security for all Americans, and to ensure opportunity for all Americans-- then we have to dissuade Americans of our "immorality," which comes up constantly.

I'm going to discuss this at length in a later post (hell, half of it is written in my head already), but for now, let's FReep this poll, vote for moral values, and drop a hint to America.

D.O.A. Courtesy Of The D.N.C.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Rumours Abound

I'm not going to attibute these, because I have no factual evidence to back anything up, but this is what I'm hearing...

Jon Tester has pulled away in Montana, as absentee ballots show him with a commanding lead and a very large number of ballots (some 25% of anticipated votes) were cast this year...John Hall has taken NY-19...Missouri has in large part given up the Diebold machines and has gone to paper ballots, which may bode well for McCaskill, believe it or not...strong Democratic turnout in northern Kentucky, where three seats are expected to turn blue, particularly around Louisville...half hours lines as polls opened in Minneapolis...Representative Jean Schmidt (R-Oz, Witchville) couldn't figure out how to get the scanner to take her ballot (film below)...Latino voters in Arizona are videotaped as they approach polls, presumably for INS harassment...Denver voting will have to be extended two hours due to computer glitches and high turnout...Webb out to a lead in exit polling in Virginia...Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (Mel's kid?) was asked for photo identification before being allowed to cast an absentee ballot, which is against Missouri law...more to come if time permits.

The First Shots Of Imperialism

Largely unnoticed in the last two Gulf Wars was the fact that the US launched many of the airstrikes and landings in Iraq from our base at Diego Garcia.

Did you ever wonder what the hell the US was doing with an air base on a tiny island just between Africa and India? How we managed to get permission from the lizards and rodents?

We stole it.
Diego Garcia is America's largest military base in the world outside the US. There are more than 4,000 troops, two bomber runways, thirty warships and a satellite spy station. Before the Americans came, more than 2,000 people lived on the islands, many with roots back to the late 18th century. There were thriving villages, a school, a hospital, a church, a railway and an undisturbed way of life. The islands were, and still are, a British crown colony.
In 1965, the Chagos Islands, which include Diego Garcia, were detached from Mauritius to form part of the British Indian Ocean Territories (BIOT). In 1966, the crown bought the islands and coconut plantations, which had been under private ownership and which had not been profitable with the introduction of new oils and lubricants. In 1971, the plantations were closed because of the agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States to make Diego Garcia available to the U.S. as a military base. No payment was made as part of this arrangement, although it has been claimed that the United Kingdom received a US$14 million discount on the acquisition of Polaris missiles from the United States. This agreement also forbade any other economic activity on the island.

Until 1971, Diego Garcia had a native population, known as the Ilois (or Chagossians), which was composed of the descendants of East Indian workers and African slaves who had been brought to the island in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to work on the coconut and copra plantations. They lived in three settlements: East Point (the main settlement on the eastern rim of the atoll), Minni Minni (4.5 km north of East Point), and Pointe Marianne (on the western rim). The islanders were transferred off Diego Garcia to Seychelles and then Mauritius amid allegations of starvation and intimidation tactics by the U.S. and UK governments, including the alleged killing of island dogs by American soldiers. Ever since their expulsion, the Ilois have continually asserted their right to return to Diego Garcia. In April 2006, 102 Chagossians were allowed to visit Diego Garcia for a week, to tend to graves and visit their birthplaces.

Quite white of us, wouldn't you agree? Chagossians were paid a princely sum of $3,000 to forfeit their rights to any claims on the island for perpetuity. Also, keep in mind that the islands are not considered part of the African Nuclear Free Zone, so it's quite likely we have nukes stored there.

Repatriation: just another service provided courtesy of the right wing of America.

So Simple, Even A Caveman Can Do It

Well, at least we know it's a bipartisan fuck-up

Hat tip to Shakespeare's Sister

You Can Dress Them Up...

....but a savage is still a savage...(hat tip to Miss Cellania)

Top Five Reasons To Vote Democratic

Happened On The GOP Watch

Happened On The GOP Watch

Happened On The GOP Watch

Happened On The GOP Watch

Happened On The GOP Watch

Monday, November 06, 2006

More Important Than The Senate And House....

State legislatures could shift to Democrats

CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. state legislatures head into Tuesday's election almost even in terms of party control, with Democrats poised to potentially shift the power base in their favor, a change that can position them to influence future elections.

Alan Rosenthal, professor of policy and political science at Rutgers University, said he thinks Democrats are "going to wind up with control of a number of more chambers than they do now."
Remember, this is where the battles over evolution in schools, abortion and gay marriage will be fought as the conservative Roberts Supreme Court starts to dismantle Federal protections for the rights of individuals in favor of the rights of, well, money.

Too, it gives the Democrats a leg up when it comes to the sneaky trick of redistricting that the Supremes allowed to go forward when they foolishly ruled in favor of Texas' illegal re-redistricting, forced by Tom Delay, after the 2000 census.

Final Pre-Election Senate Poll

On the morning before Election Day, the Rasmussen Reports Senate Balance of Power summary rates 48 seats as Democrat or Leans Democrat, 48 seats as Republican or Leans Republican, and four Toss-Ups that will determine control of the Senate. Today, we are shifting Tennessee from “Leans Republican” to “Toss-Up” and Montana from “Leans Democrat” to “Toss-Up.” They join Missouri and Virginia in the Toss-Up column. See our complete State-by-State Summary.

Rhode Island and Maryland remain in the “Leans Democrat” category.

If all of the races go as expected, Democrats would have to win three of the four remaining Toss-Ups to reach the magic number of 51 seats to gain control of the Senate. If the Democrats win just one Toss-Up, there would be a 50-50 tie. In that circumstance, Vice-President Dick Cheney would cast the deciding vote in his Constitutional role as the presiding officer of the Senate.

Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman (D) is now running for re-election as a Independent after losing a Primary Campaign to Ned Lamont (D). However, this race has no impact on the Senate Balance of Power considerations since whichever candidate wins will line up as a Democrat when the Senate convenes next January.
Someone woke up Tennessee, apparently.

Please donate to Jon Tester's campaign for one final push tonight. He needs only a few thousand dollars to get that final push in.

Election Day Music Blogging

Today's song is dedicated to my faithful and loving readers...all twelve of you

Yes, faith. That's what an election is really all about. You hold your nose, and pull a lever or punch a card or screen and hope you've made the best decision and that enough people agree with you to overwhelm any attempts to corrupt the vote.

I'm a skeptic, but I'm no cynic. I have faith in the goodness of heart of the American people, red and blue, to want to do what's right for the country.

I just wish so many of them weren't so blind.

Not A Time For Complacency

U.S. Democrats appear on smooth campaign ride

By Thomas Ferraro

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats, who have been known to bungle golden political opportunities, are holding their breath. With just days to go before voters could hand them control of the U.S. Congress, their ride has been relatively smooth.

Instead of shooting themselves in the foot, they have sat back and watched President George W. Bush's Republicans do the self destructing, dragged down by influence-peddling and sex scandals, the Iraq war and a slow response last year to Hurricane Katrina.

Democrats, by comparison, have sustained few self-inflicted wounds and suffered only a minor scrape last week with Sen. John Kerry's "botched joke" about Iraq.
The wheels may be falling off the GOP bandwagon, and indeed, even if they manage to eke out wins in both the Senate and House, they will be largely crippled in efforts to railroad legislation through the Democrats plus whatever moderate Republicans may jump ship of a lame duck President who's sure to screw up even more in the next two years, plus projected 2008 Senate races that will make this year look like fluff for the Republicans (including Liddy "The Joker" Dole (NC), Lamar! Alexander (TN), and Norm Coleman (MN), Wayne Allard (CO), Saxby Chambliss (GA), Susan Collins (ME), with possible races for open seats due to the retirement of Arlen Specter (PA), and Jim Bunning (KY)).

So anyway you slice it, even if you take the most ridiculous GOP projections...the Joker on Meet The Press yesterday actually suggested that the GOP would sweep the seven contested Senate elections AND pick up two Democratic seats...will show a severly crippled Republican congress, and far more likely, a split legislative branch (although I hold out hopes for the Senate. I believe the House is pretty much captured. People tend to vote emotionally for the House and intellectually for the Senate...something about gravitas....).

Even the McLaughlin Group, which, despite the inclusion of two diehard liberals and one liberal leaning moderate (Eleanor Clift, Lawrence O'Donnell, and Clarence Page, respectively), gives the Senate and the House to the Dems by a 4-1 and 3-2 majorities of five panelists.

I like that Pelosi has come out with a "First Hundred Hours" agenda, and support that concept. "Draining the GOP Swamp" is how it's been termed. So long as a) she keeps to it, which she should and b) it's not the same lip service that the GOP paid to the Contract On America.

That little flimflammery of political theatre, the COA and how the GOP made it DOA ASAP upon taking over the Congress, may have been the best thing to happen to the average American since Medicare. For one thing, the Contract as proposed would have devastated the American public, cutting services just ahead of the most troubled time the nation has ever known, the Bush presidency. Second, it showed middle American moderate voters that the Republicans were no more interested in them than the more corrupt Democrats in Congress. And finally, it destroyed Republican credibility as a party of responsibility and "morality", starting with Newt's temper tantrums, through the Livingston resignation, and on down to Denny Hastert's live-in, um, roommate, as well as his inability to police his own troops for pedophilia.

There's a lot at stake in this election, a lot more than usual. We need to get the vote out, even if you think your local election is a "safe" bet for progress and change. It's really important to make sure that Democrats win as many elections as possible, even if it means taking a gargantuan bite out of the Republican minority in Congress. We have to fix this country, and take it back for ourselves, for our children and for our freedom.