09/15/2010 archive

Primary Thoughts

First of all, the reasons the Beltway pundits and bloggers are concentrating on O’Donnell’s defeat of Castle is that it’s in their backyard, the margin was huge, and those idiots really didn’t expect it because they have no fucking clue how much we hate their elite corporatist butt-kissing asses.

But if you really want to do a little celebrating I’d like to draw your attention to two less covered and more positive victories last night.

The first is Ann Kuster’s 42% margin over Katrina Swett in New Hampshire’s 2nd District-

Kuster  handily defeated self-styled Blue Dog Katrina Swett, who co-chaired Joe Lieberman’s 2004 presidential campaign. Kuster, a lawyer, community activist and women’s health expert, had the support of progressive groups like MoveOn, Democracy for America, Progressive Campaign Change Committee and EMILY’s List. Swett ran hard to Kuster’s right and tried to paint Kuster’s progressive supporters as an electoral liability.

The second is the abject FAILURE of Mike Bloomberg’s hand picked Wall Street Representative Reshma Saujani in her race against Carolyn Maloney in New York’s 14th District.

There is some really twisted logic behind the notion that Obama would be vulnerable in 2012 if the economy’s bad, and yet the country would look to a creature of Wall Street like Mike Bloomberg for salvation.  Of course, it’s equally twisted that the tea parties exploded in response to the bank bailouts, and yet Bain Capital billionaire Mitt Romney is their favorite for 2012. Maybe that gave them hope.

But it didn’t work out so well yesterday.  The millions that Wall Street pumped into Saujani’s campaign at the behest of Team Bloomberg cast her irrevocably as a tool of Wall Street in the eyes of voters who have had quite enough from the financial oligarchy.  She wound up with only a pathetic 19% of the vote.

Michael Bloomberg and his proxies couldn’t even orchestrate a serious challenge to a congressional seat in a year of unprecedented dissatisfaction with incumbents.   If 19% doesn’t qualify as a public rebuke of their organizing abilities, I don’t know what does.

The Morning After: Up Date x 2

Did the Tea Party just throw the Democrats a bone that will allow them to hold on to their majority in the Senate and narrow their losses in the House?

The victory last night of Tea Party candidate, Christine O’Donnell to challenge Democrat Chis Coons for the last 4 years of Vice President Joe Biden’s Senate seat along with some far right candidates for the House that even  devoted Republicans are reluctant to vote for just may have saved the Democrats from demise.

The big news last night was O’Donnell’s win over Republican Party stalwart, Mike Castle who has never known defeat. It has left Republican voters disgusted and shifted the odds of Coons winning which will help maintain the status quo. With Castle’s silence on supporting O’Donnell and the The NRSC, the Republican campaign arm in the Senate, not about to toss her any campaign money, the Coons chances rose. According to Public Polling Policy Poll, Castle primary voters support Coons over O’Donnell 44-28 in general election. Ouch!

The Alaskan and New Hampshire Senate seats will most likely stay on the Republican side of the isle. Even though in NH the Democratic candidate, Rep. Paul Hodes, is very popular, it is still an up hill battle. Democrats may be able to hold onto the Florida, Nevada and California seats. Forget Arkansas, the President and his crew screwed that pooch backing the un-reelectable Blanche Lincoln in her primary against progressive, popular, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. If the Democrats can take control of the message that “It’s the Economy, Stupid” and it was Republican policies that put it in the toilet just as it did under Reaganomics, they just might be able to cut their losses and hold the Senate.

h/t to David Dayen @ FDL, Nate Silver @ NYT and Chris Cillizza @ The Washington Post.

Up Date: From Jake Tapper at ABC News:

Speaking more broadly about yesterday’s primary results, including O’Donnell’s victory, (WH Press Secretary, Robert) Gibbs said the “practical implications” of “intra-party Republican anger has changed the complexion of a number of races at a state and a district level.  And that has real-world practical implications for the outcome of what happens in November. Again, last night, I think — I think is a pretty good example, both in a congressional race and in a Senate race in Delaware, that makes winning those races for the Republicans a fundamentally harder task.”

Asked if the conservative voter anger would now turn against establishment Democrats, Gibbs said he remains “confident.. that on election night we’ll retain control of both the House and the Senate.”

Up Date #2: This isn’t good:

New Reuters/Ipsos FL poll: Rubio 40, Crist 26, Meek 21

From the Political Wire:

When voters were asked their choice between Rubio and Crist if Meek was not in the race, the contest is essentially tied — Rubio 46% and Crist 45%.

I stand corrected. FL will most likely go to the Republicans.

Punting the Pundits

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the t internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Enough with the partisan posturing

Will the 2010 election campaign provide us with a debate worthy of a great nation in trouble? The early harbingers aren’t good. The pundit herd has already declared the election over, with only the scope of the Democratic reverses yet in question. The two parties are gearing up for a fierce debate on whether to extend the Bush tax cuts to everyone including the wealthiest 2 percent or merely to everyone except the very rich.

We can’t afford this partisan posturing. Fifteen million Americans are unemployed. Poverty is up. One in four homes is under water, worth less than what is owed on it. Voters deserve a serious debate about what is to be done. And what are the choices that the two parties present?

Eugene Robinson: Christine O’Donnell’s win is the GOP’s loss

When you ride a tiger, you go wherever the tiger wants to go – even off a cliff.

The Republican Party – viewed less favorably by voters than even the Democrats, according to polls – has been planning to win in November by harnessing the energy and passion of the Tea Party movement. But tonight’s stunning result in Delaware demonstrates that the Tea Party will go wherever it chooses, heedless of Republican strategists’ grand design.

Christine O’Donnell’s victory over Rep. Mike Castle in the Senate primary is a huge political story. How huge? This one race, in one of the nation’s smallest and least populous states, comes pretty close to wiping out the possibility of the Republicans taking control of the Senate in November.

That’s because any reasonable scenario giving the GOP a Senate majority involves capturing the Senate seat that used to belong to Vice President Biden. Castle, a veteran congressman, would have been favored to win – perhaps easily – in the general election. He is Delaware’s kind of Republican: fiscally conservative but moderate on social issues. He’s pro-choice and he favors gun control, in keeping with the attitudes and values of his state.

In Prison Forever Without Trial

If this sounds like something out of a Dumas novel, imprisoned on the word of an unknown person without charges, no legal representation or trial, held on an isolated island in a tiny cell with the only contact your jailers who are free to torture and torment you and your fellow inmates, you’d be wrong.  This is the military prison at Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba where the United States has held people from all over the world who have been charged as enemy combatants since 9/11 during the never ending, nebulous “war on terror”. President Obama promised during his campaign to close it and after his inauguration, he set a deadline of one year to shut it down that has come and gone months ago.

In a Washington Post Op-Ed, Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law School professor who served as an assistant attorney general in the George W. Bush administration, has some suggestions for the dilemma that Guantanamo poses, not all of them are legal or constitutional. There are two problems that Mr. Goldsmith attempts to address, closing Guantanamo and trials for the detainees.

Jack Goldsmith: A way past the terrorist detention gridlock

Nine years after Sept. 11 and 20 months into the Obama presidency, our nation is still flummoxed about what to do with captured terrorists. The Obama administration is stuck about where the Bush administration was, with little hope in sight for progress.

Guantanamo Bay has proved harder to close than the Obama administration anticipated. Many terrorists there are too dangerous to release and, for a variety of evidentiary reasons, cannot be brought to trial. Our allies have taken fewer detainees than we would like. These men will thus have to be held in U.S. custody. But neither Congress nor the American people is keen on transferring them to the United States…..

Difficulties with trials have left the Obama administration, like its predecessor, relying primarily on military detention without trial to hold terrorists. Courts have given their general blessing to military detention as a legitimate form of terrorist incapacitation. But military detention still raises hard legal questions, about which Congress has said practically nothing. As a result, unaccountable judges are making fateful detention decisions, demanding release of some whom the administration thinks are dangerous terrorists. President Obama pledged last May to seek congressional clarity on detention but has yet to follow through. The abundant dysfunctions in our system for incapacitating terrorists have led to increased reliance on targeted killings and outsourced renditions, neither of which is optimal from an intelligence-gathering perspective. . . .

First, give up on closing the Guantanamo Bay facility.

Second, acknowledge that military detention will remain the primary basis for holding terrorists, and strengthen the system.

Third, stop using military commissions, which are a good idea in theory but have for nine years proved unworkable in practice.

Fourth, separate the legitimacy of civilian trials from the security of such trials.

Fourth, separate the legitimacy of civilian trials from the security of such trials.

On This Day in History: September 15

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

September 15 is the 258th day of the year (259th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 107 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1963, a bomb explodes during Sunday morning services in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young girls.

The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing was a racially motivated terrorist attack on September 15, 1963, by members of a Ku Klux Klan group in Birmingham, Alabama in the United States. The bombing of the African-American  church resulted in the deaths of four girls. Although city leaders had reached a settlement in May with demonstrators and started to integrate public places, not everyone agreed with ending segregation. Other acts of violence followed the settlement. The bombing increased support for people working for civil rights. It marked a turning point in the U.S. 1960s Civil Rights Movement and contributed to support for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The three-story Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama was a rallying point for civil rights activities through the spring of 1963, and is where the students who marched out of the church to be arrested during the 1963 Birmingham campaign’s Children’s Crusade were trained. The demonstrations led to an agreement in May between the city’s African-American leaders and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to integrate public facilities in the country.

In the early morning of Sunday, September 15, 1963, Bobby Frank Cherry, Thomas Blanton, Herman Frank Cash, and Robert Chambliss, members of United Klans of America, a Ku Klux Klan group, planted a box of dynamite with a time delay under the steps of the church, near the basement.

At about 10:22 a.m., when twenty-six children were walking into the basement assembly room for closing prayers of a sermon entitled “The Love That Forgives,” the bomb exploded. According to an interview on NPR on September 15, 2008, Denise McNair’s father stated that the sermon never took place because of the bombing. Four girls, Addie Mae Collins (aged 14), Denise McNair (aged 11), Carole Robertson (aged 14), and Cynthia Wesley (aged 14), were killed in the attack, and 22 additional people were injured, one of whom was Addie Mae Collins’ younger sister, Sarah.

The explosion blew a hole in the church’s rear wall, destroyed the back steps, and left intact only the frames of all but one stained-glass window. The lone window that survived the concussion was one in which Jesus Christ was depicted knocking on a door, although Christ’s face was destroyed. In addition, five cars behind the church were damaged, two of which were destroyed, while windows in the laundromat across the street were blown out.

Prime Time

Tonight is Game 2 of the WNBA Basketball Finals.  Bet you didn’t even know.

There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South… Here in this pretty world Gallantry took its last bow… Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave… Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered. A Civilization gone with the wind…

Can I tell you how much I hate Gone with the Wind?  As over rated and romanticized as Ayn Rand and her purile pre-pubescent fantasies of noble rape at the hand of a strong and masterful man.  Not to mention the naked racism.  As bad as anything in Birth of a Nation only with sound and in Technicolor.

Once I had hopes that we had put these shameful chapters behind us, if not in the Remorseless Revolutionary Struggle that claimed over 364 thousand (I don’t count Slavers), then certainly in the Civil Rights Movement.  But Bigots will not be thwarted.  They’ll not be satisfied until their racism is met with the applause of the approving and the shameful silence of those who should know better.

The past is never dead. It’s not even past. To live anywhere in the world today and be against equality because of race or color is like living in Alaska and being against snow.


Jon has Tony Blair, Stephen Sean Wilentz.  Alton does Broccoli.  Boondocks, A Date With the Booty Warrior.

Tony Blair-

  • Liar
  • Murderer
  • War Criminal

Unable to show his face in any civilized country.

May he end his long, long life of suffering locked in a dank cell at Spandau, despised and forgotten.

I’m not asking you to forgive me. I’ll never understand or forgive myself. And if a bullet gets me, so help me, I’ll laugh at myself for being an idiot. There’s one thing I do know… and that is that I love you, Scarlett. In spite of you and me and the whole silly world going to pieces around us, I love you. Because we’re alike. Bad lots, both of us. Selfish and shrewd. But able to look things in the eyes as we call them by their right names.

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