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Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) to become a Democrat

Arlen Specter, member of the United States Sen...
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Senator Arlen Specter, a longtime Republican Senator announced today that he was switching parties.  He stated that he will be running for his seat in 2010 as a Democrat. 

Here’s part of Specter’s release, excerpted from the Wall Street Journal:

I have been a Republican since 1966. I have been working extremely hard for the Party, for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view. While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am. I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation.

Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans. (WSJ)

While this is a major boon to the Democrats in the Senate, giving them a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority (if Al Franken ever gets sworn in), we rank-and-file Democrats will do well to remember Specter’s actual voting record and how that rarely matches the speeches and statements he has made. Too many times in the past has Sen. Specter step outside party lines to make announcements that he’s unhappy with the Republican goal, how he doesn’t think the people he represent would like him to adhere to party lines. Yet, when it was time to vote, Specter more than ofter, voted along party lines. Sen. Specter has crafter faux-outrage into an art form.

More from his annoucement:


My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords’ switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.

Whatever my party affiliation, I will continue to be guided by President Kennedy’s statement that sometimes Party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for Pennsylvania and America.

Admirable on the surface, but we already have more than enough Blue Dogs in the Senate.  I’m not going to get excited over this, but I will be watching Specter more closely. The last last 14 or so years, I’ve taken everything he says with a grain of salt. This change of party affliation will be no different.



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Democratic National Convention and Social Media

Dan Patterson recently said something like, “In 2004 it was ‘the blogs’, now they’re old hat. 2008 is all about social media.”  I would probably agree, but what makes it frustrating is that despite the huge number of people I’m following on twitter who are working and/or attending #DNC08, there isn’t one solid list of where you can find people. So, I’m going to attempt to make that list.

Over at the DNCs website, there was an article from Dec. 2007 that gave us this video:

If you look other posts you’ll see the DNC has a Facebook and MySpace page. They also have a Twitter account, but seem to miss the point. Here’s how they tell you to follow them on Twitter:

To join the DNCC Twitter group, text JOIN to 40404. Follow the instructions and then text FOLLOW DEMCONVENTION to 40404.


Anyway…please note the following:

LinkTV has Dear American Voter where you can make video comments on what you see on the Convention floor.

Seesmic: a public account was created so that you can post your thoughts of the DNCC whether you’re there live or watching at home.

Here’s a list of people who’ll be at the #DNC08 and where you can find them:

Please come back to visit at I still have people to add, but I do have to get out of here and get some work done today.

Constitutional Rights?

ABC Action News is reporting that 3 Florida Delegates are suing the DNC.

“This litigation addresses the view of Howard Dean and the Democratic National Committee that 1.75 million Democrats can be ignored at will,” said Geller. “We believe we’ve found a winning legal strategy that will once and for all force the DNC to not only obey its own rules but to listen to the voices of millions of Democrats in one of the most influential states in the nation.”

My response below:

FISA failed

I wish I can assume that like I did, you called your Senators and exhorted them to stand with Feingold and Dodd on their FISA bills.  I wish I can assume that you care that the Bush administration wanted to give the telecom companies retroactive immunity for their breaking the law, even though the Bush administration feels that since King George says it, it is decreed and screw the Constitution.

At Booman Tribune, MikeinOhio wrote:

Last night I sat well into the wee hours watching Chris Dodd on C-Span speaking on the Senate floor, until my wife wouldn’t quit yelling at me to come to bed.  I couldn’t stop watching because in my gut I really felt that I was watching, literally, the final dismantling and destruction of the heart and soul of our republic. You call it a bright line issue, but to me it would seem to be much, much more than that.  Our representatives have completely ceded, absolutely completely ceded ALL of the responsibilities of their elected office to an executive branch which has admitted to breaking the law and violating, with impunity, the Constitution of this country.  The Constitution, the founding document of all things which have made this country the preeminent example of mans capacity for representative self government.  Indeed, it has been the benchmark on which our humanity as a country has been built.

And only a handful of us give a shit.  People would much rather worry about if their favorite show will come back on the air or if some music star is a lesbian or not.  Heaven forbid they care about their civil liberties and the right to not be illegally spied upon by their government.

As Tehanu reminds us:

Ah, but only citizens have rights.  Somewhere along the way we became consumers instead, and all consumers have is data.

My bad.  Whatever was I thinking?  I know that there are a lot of Senator’s with Ds behind their names who don’t seem to care about our civil liberties.  For all her hand-wringing and grand pronouncements, my Sen. Diane Feinstein, was true to form and decided “screw my constiutents”. I guess we don’t donate enough to her reelection campaigns.

One Senator who just happens to be running for goverment voted to protect us and the Constitution.  One Senator explained why this was important:

Senator Barack Obama statement on his votes this morning:

“I am proud to stand with Senator Dodd, Senator Feingold and a grassroots movement of Americans who are refusing to let President Bush put protections for special interests ahead of our security and our liberty. There is no reason why telephone companies should be given blanket immunity to cover violations of the rights of the American people – we must reaffirm that no one in this country is above the law.

We can give our intelligence and law enforcement community the powers they need to track down and take out terrorists without undermining our commitment to the rule of law, or our basic rights and liberties. That is why I am proud to cosponsor several amendments that protect our privacy while making sure we have the power to track down and take out terrorists.

This Administration continues to use a politics of fear to advance a political agenda. It is time for this politics of fear to end. We are trying to protect the American people, not special interests like the telecommunications industry. We are trying to ensure that we don’t sacrifice our liberty in pursuit of security, and it is past time for the Administration to join us in that effort.” (From Booman Tribune, so far)

But take heart, you phone dialing, emailing and faxing activists as  maryb2004 pointed out:

and now we have McJoan:

Despite the bitter disappointment many of us feel tonight, take a bit of heart in this–we could have lost everything in December, if Chris Dodd hadn’t mobilized a massive grassroots effort against it.

Not sure what she’s saying here.  We could have lost everything in December but … hey!!! We fought on and lost in February!!!!

Again - bloggers who become part of the process lose the distance necessary to criticize the process.

So true.

Oh.  Yeah.  If you’re wondering why despite campaigning in the area, Sen. Clinton couldn’t be bothered with showing up to do her job and vote.  Remember that next time someone brings up her misleading lie against Sen. Obama about his ‘present’ votes in the IL Senate.  Remember that she said, “When you’re president you can’t vote ‘present’.”  Remember the corollary to that is that:  When you’re president you can’t hide behind campaigning when the Constitution and civil liberties are at stake.”  Tell her I said it.

FISA Bill: Contact your representative

UPDATE:  BooMan has tallies on the vote so far: Yays are 60, nays are 34, the Judiciary version* is dead. Now amendments.

*This version did not have the telecom immunity in it. 

As you may know, Bush has been urging Congress to pass the FISA Bill. This bill gives telecom companies retroactive immunity against their illegal spying on Americans. This immunity was put in by the White House. Now, consider this…a couple of years ago, the Bush Administration brought out the old “Nixon amendment” that, by decree, when the president says something is legal, it’s legal. Obviously, they use a different Constitution than the rest of Americans. But then, logically speaking, the spying on Americans the Bush Administration forced the telecom companies to do, would be legal and retroactive immunity would not be necessary.

Former presidential candidate Sen. Chris Dodd has been on the forefront of this bill. Back in December, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) tried to push through this bill before the Christmas break, Dodd stopped campaigning, to go back to DC to fight this bill. That’s something neither Sen. Clinton or Sen. Obama would do. The media is doing a wonderful job of ignoring this fight for your rights. When they deign to mention it, a few buried paragraphs is all that’s given. They almost always neglect to mention that it’s the retroactive immunity that is key here.

Congress convened again, with Dodd leading the filibuster on this bill. Sadly, too many “Democrats” are on board with giving in to the White House and giving telecom companies their retroactive immunity.

Many of you may be wondering why the retroactive immunity is important. See, when this program was revealed, the WH told us that they were just spying on “terrorists”, but the sheer data proved that (another) lie. The WH tried to tie this to 9/11 (shocker!). Then they sorta stopped paying these telecom companies. The telecom companies were all,”Bitch better have my money.” and the WH said:

Hey, dirty, baby I got your money
Don’t your worry, I said hey.
Baby I got your money

But they lied (again). So the telecom companies were all, “Fuck this noise. I’m tellin’ Congress all your business.” So they did and the WH was all like, “Baby…You know I looooove you. I’ll make it right. I’ll fix it.” So, they tossed in this retroactive immunity bit, but the telecoms had already told Congress that the WH had started this illegal spying program on Americans in Feb. 2001. Simple math will show you that the program began less than a month after Bush’s installation inauguration and 7 months before 9/11.

So, now that you’re up to speed, we now have Sen. Dodd (D-CT) who is intent on filibustering this bill to strip the retroactive immunity from it. There are several other proposed amendments to the bill. Now a curious thing is also happening. Sen. Reid who is supposedly a Democrat is pissed at Dodd for filibustering because, you know, it will interfere with scheduled retreats for both sides of the aisle. Did you get that? Scheduled retreats for Senators may be in jeopardy because of Dodd’s concern for the law of the land. What a dick. Wait, I should quote the Reid statement that Greenwald quotes:

We have to finish FISA this week. Everyone should be aware of that point. We have to finish it this week. I know there are important trips people want to take. We have the very important economic conference in Davos that Democrats and Republicans alike would like to go to.

Isn’t that just pathetic?

Reid isn’t the only Democrat that is for this coverup. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) actually said:

“I think we will prevail,” Rockefeller said on Wednesday, adding that he hoped the Senate will finish the bill by next week. The FISA legislation expires in February, and both President Bush and GOP congressional leaders have demanded new legislation be in place by that time.

What’s this “we” shit?

It’s obvious that there’s a lot more in play here than we’ll ever know. You can let your imagination take over on what exactly is going on. Still, these representatives work for us. We are the employers, not the herd. Contact your representative regarding this FISA bill. Urge them (even if they are treasonous cowards like Rockefeller) to support Dodd’s filibuster and urge them to do whatever it takes to strip that retroactive immunity from the bill AND let this new FISA bill lapse. FWIW, both Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton are on record saying that they are against the retroactive immunity, it would be much better for them to do they jobs they were elected to do and get their asses back to DC. Show some fucking leadership you twits!

Look at it this way: The FISA law worked for decades before Bush/Cheney decided to break the law. If anything Congress shouldn’t be talking about the FISA bill, they should be discussing impeachment just on this alone.

Polls are stupid

No, acutally the people who respond to these polls are stupid. I understand the average American, or rather most Americans either willfully don’t pay attention to politics or pretend that they know something based on a 30 sec clip run on CNN. I got that. That being said, it doesn’t help that pollsters decided to waste money on incredibly dumb and pointless polls. Why? Because people fall for the majority answer all the time, not wanting to be “left out”. Americans are conformists at heart. That why people fell for that stupid GOP paid “poll” over who’d they prefer to have a beer with. Sheeple never even bothered to see who requested and paid for the poll and then regurgitated, “Well, I’d rather have a beer with Bush.” like they thought of it or something. (I should note that I almost got into a fistfight with two guys at Yankee Doodles in Santa Monica over this subject, and yes, I started it.)

Which brings me to the AP-Yahoo! poll. The headline on Yahoo!says that people think that Obama is more likeable than Guiliani. That’s a duh. That’s like asking “Would you prefer a fine 7 course meal or the stale french fries under my kid’s carseat?”. In reading the responses from some of the people you get this:

“I’d rather have a president that’s going to get in somebody’s face if he’s got a problem with them or another country,” says Stokes.

Guess what he’s registered as? :\

Oddly enough, Stokes (who is a Republican) has fallen for the Guiliani 9/11 myth, though he would prefer to bring John Edwards on a family vaction (WTF???). There’s other dichotomies, such as the Obama supporter who would prefer to go bowling with Romney. I’m not even going to wonder how that subject came up. Is beer too ‘99? I’m dying to know the actual questions asked of the respondents. I’m sure they had to pick someone from the other camp to fill in the blanks of the political Mad-Lib.

Naturally, since the media decided months ago that Clinton and Guiliani are the frontrunners, they have a pretty poll that proves them right. People seemed resigned to this finality, probably not realizing that the media decided our nominees back in March.

The poll apparently covered a lot of points, even going so far as to ask the respondents to rate themselves on their outlook on life. So apparently all 8 Huckabee supporters are deliriously happy. Meanwhile, Clinton supporters, we’re told, are mostly low-income so they’re a pretty sad lot.

And I’m left wondering, “How the flaming flapjack is any of this important?”

Sen. Chuck Hagel is retiring

Not particularly shocked, but it’s reported that Chuck Hagel (R-NE) is retiring from the Senate and won’t run for president. This is good for the Democrats because it means that the GOP will not only have to field a candidate in the district, but also throw lots of money at a seat they thought was pretty safe.

Hagel plans to announce that “he will not run for re-election and that he does not intend to be a candidate for any office in 2008,” said one person, who asked not to be named.

Hagel has scheduled a press conference for 10 a.m. Monday at the Omaha Press Club.

The GOP’s field of presidential candidates must be breathing a sigh of relief. On the face Hagel seems like your old-school non-extremist Republican. You know, the rare sane kind. The kind who didn’t accuse you of treason because you disagreed with him. The Republican Independent voters probably would have flocked to him if he decided to run for president, not to mention the surprisingly large number of so-called progressives who think Hagel is the cat’s pajamas for whatever inane reason.


Hagel, 60, was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996 and would be up for reelection in 2008.
Hagel, a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War, has emerged on the national stage as a vocal critic of the Bush administration’s Iraq policies.

Typical Democrats

I got this (snipped) email from Drinking Liberally today:

Dear friends,

This is an invitation to the Los Angeles premiere of “When the Saints Go Marching In” this Tuesday at 7pm — the two year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Robert Greenwald and Brave New Foundation will present an advocacy video for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and Rita, who — two years later — are still fighting for their homes.

WHAT: “When the Saints Go Marching In” Los Angeles Premiere
WHEN: Tuesday, August 28th 7PM
WHERE: Fais Do Do
5257 W. Adams Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016

Why wait until the ultimate last minute to notify people? Typical, typical, typical.

But here’s the video on the Brave New Films site:

FARCE: CNN/YouTube "Debates"

I am so utterly disgusted with CNN and Anderson Cooper for that farce that occured last night. If you didn’t watch, you’re lucky. First of all, as I wrote on DailyKos today:

If they’re going to call these debates, then let the candidates debate. Otherwise call it what it is, Soundbite Forum. We all know that clips from these “debates” are going to wind up in ads.

1. There were a lot of submissions available on YouTube from engaged young adults. The questions were complex and revealed the people who were paying attention. Instead, CNN chose to use the simpleton questions that they probably would have asked.

2. As annoying whiny as Gravel was about not being able to speak, he had a point. When Obama or Clinton were allowed to ramble for 95 seconds and Gravel was interrupted during his 30 sec., something ain’t right.

3. The Springeresque sandbagging of Edwards was total bullshit. Edwards supporters on DailyKos have really driven me away from this man, but even I recognize a hit and that was one big time.

4. How about NOT choosing the questions with right-wing talking points. The Asian guy asking about taxes, with the GOP talking point should never had made it. I saw at least 7 intelligent posting online from young adults regarding taxes, all without right-wing frames.

5. Don’t insult the intelligence of your viewers and the candidates by having them answer stupid questions like, “Who was your favorite teacher?” or “Do your kids going to public/private school?” Those questions do NOT help us find the ideal candidate.

Usually, I get upset because the candidates do not answer the question. However, they’ve answered these stupid questions in previous “debates” and I’m glad they chose this time to expand on what they’ve already mentioned.

That being said, I can’t wait to see what they do for the Republicans. This so-called “liberal media” has lobbed nothing but softballs to Republicans for 7 years.

  • Are we honestly to believe that CNN will have the Republican candidates ask questions about Katrina, getting out of Iraq, global warming and gay marriage?
  • Will they have almost 20 minutes of fact-checking after the Republican debates?
  • Before the debates begin, will there be a roundtable discussion with a liberal columnist, Democratic strategist, a campaign strategist, all hosted by Patt Morrison or Robert Scheer?
  • How much time will they spend on picking apart Romney’s wardrobe?
  • Will they have Maria Elena Salinas back to discuss Latino issues or will they have some old white guy doing it (as usual)?

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