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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

SuperDay+6: Clinton Brazenly Spurs on Infighting

Emboldened, no doubt, by the Clinton campaign putting Michigan and Florida 'in play', after having agreed that they would not be, Michigan threatens the rest of the Democrats in the party:

Second, we see no justification for seating Michigan’s delegates with anything less than full voting rights. If Michigan is punished for fighting the DNC’s decision to grant New Hampshire a waiver, it will hurt the Party’s chances of carrying Michigan in November.-Ambinder

You can see why the GOP has color in their cheeks.

Michigan's supers should get observer status. They broke the rules and now they want to bully the party.


As you recall, the GOP paid operatives to go to Florida to protest the recount going on in 2000.

Well, some 'angry Floridians' have been bused up to D.C. to protest at DNC HQ...

Usually, a political party waits until it is in power before it self-destructs with internecine pettiness.


"THE CONVENTION is where most Democrats surveyed believe that the nomination will be settled, an expectation that helps Hillary Clinton enormously, ..." (also, Ambinder)

Mental Break

In Hillary, Maya Anjelou says, "I have found ... the breast President".

I'm not kidding. Hear it at 0:51.

C'mon, you gotta laugh at that...


“I must say, Paul [Gipson], I appreciate that endorsement. It means a lot to me,” she said. “I do think I have [testicular] fortitude. Women can have it as well as men.”

Afghanistan - the Forgotten Stabilization


Several hundred Marines pushed into the town of Garmser in predawn light in an operation to drive out militants, stretching NATO's presence into an area littered with poppy fields and classified as Taliban territory. [Yes, you read that right. There are, um, "terrorist sanctuaries" in ... Afghanistan.]

Helmand province is the world's largest opium poppy growing region and has been a flashpoint of the increasingly violent insurgency the last two years. British troops — who are responsible for Helmand — have faced fierce battles on the north end of Helmand.

U.S. commanders say Taliban fighters had been expecting an assault and were setting up improvised explosive devices.

- ABC News


YES, you read that right.

It used to be the saying, just months old, that the Pentagon has more lawyers than State has diplomats. Now, a new statistic: More musicians.

Oh, the humanity (and who doesn't love the boogey-woogey bugle boys). And the GOP keep peddling the b.s. that the "real" problem in America is ... elsewhere.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The State Department is short of staff to meet the Pentagon's need to reinforce the provincial reconstruction teams (PRT) in Iraq and Afghanistan, a senior US official said Monday.

To press his point, Eliot Cohen, counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, noted that the Defense Department employs more musicians than the State Department has diplomats.

Weekly Casualty Lists: Week 18, Yr OEF+7

Mass graves in the news again.
A journalist on the list - first time in a long while.

The dance with the Pentagon continues, between full disclosure and misuse for propaganda ...

Last week's list updated with names released by DoD.


-------Rank, NationalitySrv BranchCountry

Rank, Unit

Location; Circumstance of Death

Clay A. Craig, 22U.S. ArmyMesquite, TX
Staff Sergeant, 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Reg, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, (Air Assault) 101st Airborne Division
Baghdad (northeastern part); 29-Apr-08; Hostile - hostile fire - small arms fire

Bryan E. Bolander, 26U.S. ArmyBakersfield, CA
Staff Sergeant, 1st BN, 502nd Infantry Reg, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, (Air Assault) 101st Airborne Division
Baghdad; 29-Apr-08; Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack

David P. Mccormick, 26U.S. ArmyFresno, TX
Specialist, 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Reg, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, (Air Assault) 101st Airborne Division
Baghdad (western part); 28-Apr-08; Hostile - hostile fire - Rocket fire

Adam L. Marion, 26U.S. ArmyMount Airy, NC
Private 1st Class, 171st Engineer Company, North Carolina Army National Guard
Baghdad; 28-Apr-08; Hostile - hostile fire - indirect fire

Marcus C. Mathes, 26U.S. ArmyZephyrhills, FL
Sergeant, 94th Brigade Support BN, 4th Brigade Combat Team, (Light Infantry) 10th Mountain Division
Baghdad; 28-Apr-08; Hostile - hostile fire - indirect fire

Mark A. Stone, 22U.S. ArmyBuchanan Dam,, TX
Sergeant, 94th Brigade Support BN, 4th Brigade Combat Team, (Light Infantry) 10th Mountain Division
Baghdad; 28-Apr-08; Hostile - hostile fire - indirect fire

William T. Dix, 32U.S. ArmyCulver City, CA
Private 1st Class, 14th Engineer BN, 555th Engineer Brigade, I Corps
Camp Buehring; 27-Apr-08; Non-hostile

Shaun J. Whitehead, 24U.S. ArmyCommerce, GA
Staff Sergeant, 2nd BN, 502nd Infantry Reg, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, (Air Assault) 101st Airborne Division
Iskandariyah; 24-Apr-08; Hostile - hostile fire - IED, small arms fire

Guadalupe Cervantes Ramirez, 26U.S. ArmyMohave Valley, AZ
Sergeant, 2nd Transportation Company (Heavy Equipment Transport), Echelons Above Brigade Support Battalion
Camp Arifjan; 23-Apr-08; Non-hostile - vehicle accident

John T. Bishop, 22U.S. ArmyGaylord, MI
Private 1st Class, 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Reg, 1st Brigade Combat Team, (Air Assault) 101st Airborne Division
Golden Hills; 23-Apr-08; Non-hostile - vehicle rollover

Timothy W. Cunningham, 26U.S. ArmyCollege Station, TX
1st Lieutenant, 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Reg, 1st Brigade Combat Team, (Air Assault) 101st Airborne Division
Golden Hills; 23-Apr-08; Non-hostile - vehicle rollover

Ronald C. Blystone, 34U.S. ArmySpringfield, MO
Staff Sergeant, 1st BN, 66th Armor Reg, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Baghdad (eastern part); 23-Apr-08; Hostile - hostile fire - small arms fire


------Name, AgeSrv BranchCountry

Rank, Unit

Location; Circumstance of Death
Jonathan A. V. Yelner, 24U.S. Air ForceLafayette, CA
Senior Airman, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Bagram; 29-Apr-08; Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
David L. Mcdowell, 30U.S. ArmyRamona, CA
Sergeant 1st Class, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
Tag Ab Valley, Kapisa province; 29-Apr-08; Hostile - hostile fire - small arms fire
Jason Marks, 27Australian ArmyBroken Hill, New South Wales-Australia
Lance Corporal, 4th Battalion (Commando), the Royal Australian Regiment
Tarin Kowt (Uruzgan province); 27-Apr-08; Hostile - hostile fire



Counted Civilian Casualties: 211 this week.
Counted bodies found: 140 this week.

Tuesday 29 April: 49 dead
Baghdad: gunmen kill 1, Atifiya; rocket kills 2, New Baghdad; 16 (inc. 2 children) die in US air strikes, Sadr City; bomb kills 1, Shaljiya; 5 bodies.
Abu Saida: suicide bomber kills 2 Sahwa members.
Jalawla: gunmen kill 3.
Sadiya: gunmen kill 1.
Muqdadiya: suicide bomber kills 2 policemen; gunmen kill 2.
Qazamiya: 6 bodies - academics found a week after being kidnapped.
Baquba: 50 bodies unidentified are buried in Baquba.
Kirkuk: 4 killed in two bomb attacks; 2 bodies.
Mosul: gunmen kill policeman; 1 body found.
Monday 28 April: 17 dead
Baghdad: bomb kills Sahwa member; roadside bomb strikes pick-up truck, kills 1; roadside bomb strikes minibus, kills 1; mortars kill a woman and a child, Karadat Mariam; mortar hits taxi, kills driver; 6 bodies.
Mosul: gunmen kill policeman; 2 killed in clashes.
Basra: Sadr official shot dead.
DiyalaSahwa member killed defending village attacked by gunmen.

Sunday 27 April: 71 dead
Baghdad: suicide car bomber kills 2, Shaab; 1 dies in clashes, Bayaa; mortars kill 2 in Amil and Kadhimiya; car bomb kills 1, Mansour; car bomb kills policeman, Harthiya; 6 bodies.
Mosul: gunmen kill 3 in separate incidents.
Tikrit: woman killed by car bomb; 2 bodies.
Samarra: woman killed by car bomb.
Diwaniya: gunmen kill policeman.
Al-Guba: 50 bodies found in mass grave.
Saturday 26 April: 31 dead
Baghdad: suicide car bomber kills 2 Sahwa members, Amiriya; gunmen kill shop owner, Mansour; clashes between US forces and locals result in 8 deaths (2 of the dead children), Sadr City; 5 bodies.
Hatra: gunmen kill 2 policemen.
Mosul: suicide car bomber kills 3; suicide car bomber kills 6 at police checkpoint.
Bueshiqa: 2 bodies found.
Sheikh-Saad: gunmen kill policeman.
Baiji: body is found.
Friday 25 April: 25 dead
Baghdad: Us air strikes kill 7, Sadr City; 2 killed by US forces, Husseiniya; roadside bomb kills 1, Yusufiya; 2 bodies.
Tikrit: policeman is blown up by bomb in his car.
Falluja: bomb in mosque kills 1.
Iskandariya: gunmen kill 1; gunmen kill 2 in separate incident.
Mosul: gunmen kill fisherman; gunmen kill policeman; gunmen shoot dead husband and wife; 2 bodies found decapitated.
Basra: child dies after hand grenade is thrown at wedding party.
Qurmal-Ali: gunmen kill journalist on his way to work.
Thursday 24 April: 18 dead
Baghdad: bomb in supermarket kills 3, Mansour; car bomb kills 1, Zayouna; car bomb kills 1, Karrada; gunmen kill 1, Harthiya; gunmen kill traffic policeman, Camp Sara; 3 bodies.
Mosul: gunmen kill policeman; roadside bomb kills 2; gunmen kill former army officer and his brother.
Kirkuk: roadside bomb kills 3.
Wednesday 23 April: 38 dead
Baghdad: 15 killed by US forces in Husseiniya and Sadr City; rocket hits school, kills 2 teenage boys, Sadr City; 4 bodies; 3 bodies, Mahmudiya.
Mosul: car bomb kills 1; suicide bomber kills 2; gunmen kill 1; 1 policeman dies in clashes; 2 bodies.
Baquba: 1 Sahwa killed by gunmen.
Muqdadiya: 4 bodies.
Tikrit: 2 bodies.

Jassim al-Batat25-Apr-08
Jassim al-Batat was killed by gunmen in a speeding car as he left his house in the town of Qurna in his own car, said Adnan al-Asadi, the head of the local al-Nakhil radio station based in the southern city of Basra. Qurna is 55 miles north of Basra.

Hillary to Fox: "Fair and Balanced"


"Whatever became of Hill-y? Has anyone heard a thing? Once she shone on her own, now she sits home alone and waits for the phone to ring. ..." -1968

I think when this is done, and the Democrats lose the election because they've talked themselves out of it, we'll look back to this appearance on FOX as one of the turning points, if not the key turning point. Chris Wallace is one thing, but O'Reilly?

Seriously, who but Hillary's rural poor are going to support her, after a showing like that, going on to help O'Reilly with his Orwellian brand-image? Her "fair and balanced" will be around forever on a loop, just like Hillary's personal git, McAuliffe.

Who is she kidding, still, with her "personal opinion" that she gave "when asked", as if she has never turned down a hypothetical question before, let alone one that has to do with life choices of people way outside her life experience, who are living and working in depressed communities, trying to bring hope back to people who have precious few "structural" advantages.

Update: From Wonkette: Hillary Tells Bill O'Relly Her American Opinion Of Black Muslim Christian Pastor


He's saying that Dr. Wright derailed Obama's candidacy. Astonishing. Not Hannity's Priesthood, who choose to make an issue of Wright and, along with other media, created what we can now see as a wildly distorted clip containing various excerpts. The pivot is that it's Wright who is at fault. The transparency of it all can be seen from the fact that, of all the clips, only "government AIDS" survives.

The GOP is not to blame for foot dragging on Environmentalism ...

The fine art of the mustache: Travolta

Travolta is sporting a 'stache, but Eisner got a star. A star for Eisner? Welcome to Hollywood!

More (it's a crime-boss part):

SuperDay+6: Supers amble in


MSNBC reports that 16 supers have declared since Pennsylvania, a mere trickle of about 2 per day and 10-6 in favor of Barack Obama.

Obama's shortfall is now only 21, about 8% of the outstanding 280 supers.


The Clinton push-back against caucuses is at least an argument, even if one doesn't think it is sound. They argue that these people are one removed from the electorate. It's a real hypocrisy, then, to state that Hillary is still in the race and, more importantly, represent to voters that Hillary can win. That position, of course, relies on Clinton's small lead among the supers, and supers in general, who are about as removed from the electorate, in many cases, as you can get.

It gets worse. Governor Rendell admitted to Colbert that he had a laundry list of wants from Clinton, or some such. After that, how Hillary can say anything about caucuses, when she may be trading private promises to just keep people thinking she is viable, still, is a belly laugh.


The projections used here, designed to give Clinton every reasonable benefit of the doubt in order to be acceptible to ardent Clinton fans, have Obama losing by 2% in Indiana. Even so, the figures continue to show that her margin of defeat is all that is left to decide.

So, the idea of momentum coming out of Indiana is pretty much bogus. Just as it was coming out of Pennsylvania.

Why political analysts - reputable ones - focus on potential "momentum" is just bizarre (to me).

Paging Shelby Steele

The "Real Men Of Genius" at the National Review's thumb-in-pie, called "The Corner" have, through the sheer force of their massive, oversized craniums, come up with ... their solution (and it's based on numbers, not principles -see Steyn @8:52 and Goldberg @ 11:07).

Shelby, haven't they just constructed a "good [American?] jew" for themselves, if we borrow from another context, one admittedly extreme, but analogous, as German SS officers were encouraged to overlook "good jews" rather than embrace them, the very embrace they appear to be making on The Corner. Do they realize that they look like they are selecting what some others would call "House Niggers"? Couldn't you just read their lugubrious smug prose as follows: "Except for a 'sliver', the only problem with race in America is the damn, black racists."

I think they are oblivious, touting Powell as the unencumbered-by-race fix-it man.

What do you think, Shelby? Do only squares fit in The Corner?

They can put whomever they want on the ticket. Obama is still the man.

He seems likely to be the only one who can both encourage people to continue the discussions of race that need to be had, yet not get hobbled or stopped by it. That's got to be more responsible and respectful, than the Genius' magic rug-of-amensia.

The Counter-narrative that America Couldn't Handle

Mr. Wright has suggested that the United States was attacked because it engaged in terrorism on other people and that the government was capable of having used the AIDS virus to commit genocide against minorities. His remarks also cast Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, in a positive light.

- New York Times


Of course, it's true that one cannot demythologize the American myth so much as an election message. But the role of a truth-teller, a prophet, isn't to make such considerations. They just call it like they see it. Pundits ought to, as well.

Ross calls him an "SOB" and says, "We know who and what Wright is". Ever-excitable (?) Andrew reaches for his Paglia palette with this, "his open public embrace of Farrakhan and hostility to the existence of Israel Zionism, make any further defense of him impossible. This was a calculated, ugly, repulsive, vile display of arrogance, egotism, and self-regard"

I'm just enough of a pirate to step out onto the plank and ask if they cannot do a little more explaining, please. When did the radical middle drown? or get drown out?

First, let's take a moment to notice that Wright's prepared remarks for the NPC are fine, even laudatory. Like anyone facing the Press with over-confidence, he got chewed-up in the Q&A. It's not the press's fault. It's just a back-and-forth that's best left to professionals, even when it is a sensible forum (and it was not, for this).


1. Why do you think the Tuskegee experiment doesn't show the capability of the governments to do most anything?

When it was declassified not so many years ago that the government did experiments on its own service members, what does that show, except a capability to weigh a greater good against a lesser one, just as it did when the CIA probably turned a blind eye to drug trafficking, so that it could finance anti-communist paramilitaries.

So, isn't our real frustration that Wright didn't say, "No, I don't believe is it true for AIDS, because there is no evidence for it. However, we have to remain skeptical of our government."

In other words, we're upset he didn't have handlers and one, consistent message, right? The rest are style-deductions, true?

Wright gets flayed for making fun of questions/questioners, with some justification, while Addington raises it to whole artform, in a far more brazen flip-off. Who's the bigger problem in America, I wonder...

2. The missing referent for "chickens coming home to roost", yields Eureka! for everyone.

Everyone has interpreted this every which way, including, now, Wright himself (and "those who prey on hate", superbly put by Obama).

So, aren't we really just frustrated to the point that we want to stop dealing with the phrase, which the Bush Administration never dealt with either, peddling instead their bogus GWOT conceptualization and fear-mongering that got them the 2004 election, w/ and a slew of FedSoc court nominees? Isn't our easiest way out just to shoot Wright for having said it, rather than strain our brain?

Wright's sermon does not treat chicken's roosting as a justification for terrorism. It condemns violence, namely wanton violence. The hapless "clarification" at the NPC also does not justify "terrorism", but he is not clear that all violence is not terrorist. Wright IS clear that God does not sanction all kinds of violence, especially wanton violence.

Yet, so many are frustrated (in America) when we cannot use violence - VDH, Krauthammer, many more, get apoplectic, even (can you imagine them in a state like Switzerland or almost anywhere except in the USA with its 'military options'? Yet, Wright is the one who is egregious.). Using the logic that condemns Wright, we can infer that VDH is of the opinion that God has blessed almost every act of U.S. violence in its history, based on the outcomes of U.S. intervention in the world, which is just one shade better than might-makes-right.

They almost studiously refuse to see any political dimension to the problem of bringing "moral order" to the world, via the American military or otherwise. They are the epitome of the spirit of the phrase, the victors write history. Given their posture is so at risk with the Iraqi over-reach (opposed even by the Vatican), we can also add, 'no matter how long it takes'.

In fact, while the Administration uses OBL quotes to their advantage, they ignore that OBL said after 9/11, (paraphrase), "If they choose to call us terrorists [instead of jihadis or whatever else is on his wacked mind], so be it. We use violence because that is what they understand ...". From this, if nowhere else, one can see a political dimension to America's problems. One may even say a 'moral-political' one, too.

The underlying problem is that the Bush administration has failed to articulate a global strategy for countering the threat from Islamic extremists, so we're left stuck debating in the same fashion the country was in the months after 9/11, right on up to the 2004 election. That has to be the bigger failure, by far.

3. Louis Farrakhan

He's part of the nation's political untouchables caste. What can one say? You cannot touch the untouchables. Whatever his good works, however he takes to being "denounced and rejected" on National Television (which was pretty good, this time, by the way), he can never change classes or atone for being ... untouchable. He's worse than a leper - he's a political leper.

The "neocon philosophy" cost the USA over $1 trillion and counting.

Jack Abramoff (member of "Cult" of Reagan foot soldiers, College Republicans Cult) basically conspired with the GOP ruling elite to screw the public interest and got America involved in deeply unpatriotic acts of human rights abuse.

What the fuck has Farrakhan ever cost the American taxpayer? Yeah, he's pretty freaky, but on the list of grave American worries or louts, he doesn't rate high on many objective measures...


Wright's cooptation of Obama for his own agenda - his assertion that Obama's distancing from him is insincere - requires, in fact demands a response from Obama
- AS

I think that is possible, without flushing the truth in the counter-narratives, truths that need to be talked about (probably in ways that Wright is not suited to, any longer). Wright simply mangled the distinction between politicians and pastors, one that even theocracies, like Iran, maintain, right? So, he's not Billy Graham. Eh.

Except how much is really about Wright's unashamedly "black" demeanor, as he might put it (and others disagree)? How much is really about what we would otherwise excuse as eccentricity, most likely, if what he was talking about weren't so racially charged, so basically uncomfortable for so many who just 'don't want to hear it or deal with it'?

Which brings us, at last, to this shameful display. I respect Mort Zukerman, a lot, but shame on you for this over-the-top rubbish:

Gay Relationship Recognition: Defined Away

The Presbyters have ... defined away marriage for gay couples.

"Because a same-sex ceremony cannot be a marriage . . . it should not be necessary to say more," the members wrote. -LA Times

Gays can be blessed - like the animals?

Separately, those who are thrilled about erecting as many non-marriage penalties as possible, will be thrilled to know that people are getting married - for the health benefits.

[Once again, that's not an exaggeration. If you read folks like Wilcox, for instance, it's plain, whether he is aware of it or not, that he's so concerned about marriage's role in society, that inducements to marriage are considered without batting an eye...]

Media Watch

Larry King lets Jimmy Carter tout Sam Nunn for VP, without asking about whether Nunn has yet to jettison his support for DADT, of which he was an architect.

Without it, the guy is not fit to serve, to continue the discriminatory employment practices of the military.


Hillary "Better Than Some Faggot!" Clinton

Hillary's Guv sets NC straight on social pecking order.


What on earth is Hillary promising every Governor in the Nation? Whatever it is, they are drinking it up. What if they find out that she's promised them all the same thing?


Meanwhile, her latest Executive booster, ushered her onto stage with his strong-black woman attempt:

“This lady right here makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy. There’s nothing I love more than a strong powerful woman.”

Of course, Rocky is not a pansy (and not even real), so this doesn't sting quite like it might otherwise.

Did he just mean "effeminate youth"? No. Like the "light in the loafers" zinger that was aimed at Senator Lindsey Graham, it is code for gay man. He could have said "sissy" or "wimp" or, even better "coward" (assuming he had a high-brow purpose ...).


So, the hierarchy presumed here is "strong, powerful women", Rocky Balboa [strong men], weak women (presumeably), and then ... gays.


So, what will Clinton do?

She's not going to get away with a press release in the Friday trash, but you can bet she'll try...


Meanwhile, at the risk of ruining the post, I have to note Andrew's screed on the matter, a rehearsal of all his historical grievances (including DOMA, which in some weird parallel universe he imagines would not have obtained, alhtough, to my knowledge, he never explains how ...).

Who does it remind you of?

Did you say, Jesse Jackson? Yeah, that's right. Andrew's fallen in the same trap that he so often viciously attacks ... in others.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Librarian Hopeful

People who believe in limited government, constitutional order and individual freedom still have somewhere to go in this election.-AS

Somewhere to go? This is just unintentionally funny.

But, yes, the library is a good place to go to be at home with the ideas that are, in practice, really code words for other things.


That's not a flip, partisan comment, either.

For years, the Right criticized the old turks for making apologies, for intimating or saying things like the Soviet Union wasn't "real communism", so "it didn't count" that the Soviets were {insert horrible instance}.

Twenty some odd years into the Reagan Devolution seems as good as any to look around and say, "What a raucous and stupid pipe dream that these pipe-smokers are selling, to themselves and to others."
There was other empirical evidence for those considering that communism was too much of a utopian ideal, if you will (but there are plenty of other ways to think about the shortcomings of 'communism').

So, tell me, when was there ever a "small government" Government, with "individual freedom" that folks like AS bleat on about incessantly?


These small-government conservatives are guilty of the same slight-of-hand that they abhorred of late in their political opponents

Twenty some-odd years into the Reagan Devolution seems as good as any to look around and say, "What a raucous and stupid pipe dream that these pipe-smokers are selling, to themselves and to others."


Meanwhile, this reminds me of a joke (I think from Comedy Central).

A voter gets a call doing a poll, during the primaries.

He's asked:

If you think you will vote for one of the Republicans, press "1", if you you think you might vote for one of the Democrats, press "2".

Now, being sick of Bush, the guy presses "2" and gets a list:

If you think you would like Kucinich, press "1"; Gravel, press "2"; Clinton, press "3"; etc.


If you don't like any of the options, please hold the line.

[elevator music plays] "dee-dee-dee da-dee-dee-dum ..."

Then, a voice with a heavy Bill Clinton accent comes on

I knew you'd be baaack.

Miserable Days in American Politics

Last year, around this time, we had a pretty bad week.


The great American Freak Show gobbled up the Reverand Wright today, as everyone breathed a sigh of relief - some say great moral relief - that we could all participate in "denouncing" and sending up a man who probably would never have made the Great National Conversation, except for some wildly edited clips used in a concerted smear-by-association campaign. No one, Left or Right, even believes Obama subscribes to Wright's perspectives. Still, whatever public space we have, just wasn't large enough for Wright.

We have the likes of Lanny Davis, continuing to offer up his own and his overlord's "private opinion" on ... well, the first place you'd think to voice your private opinions, on National Television. What a disgusting formulation. Keep your private opinions, private, yes?


The fight in Afghanistan reflects the Bush administrations' plunging depth, long after Rumsfeld's empty, trust-me reassurances. It is revealed that, after more than five years of effort and a plan that goes out for probably another five to ten, the State Department has only a few native speakers, still.


Dick Cheney has asserted that his branch of government is King. No, that's not an exaggeration. The People's house has no authority to question him. As we know, in the Bush Administration, they may also believe they are ordained by God.


The lobbyists have yet to tell McCain what to say about hoards of military who were mobilized by the Pentagon to deal with the press, as part of a wartime operations.

Shhhh! Torture


The brick wall the Bushites are erecting around their transgressions got another block. John Ashcroft joins the list of people "pleading the fifth", in a phrase, refusing to talk about it, lest people find evidence of a criminal conspiracy (or near-criminal conspiracy), no doubt.

Watching the Watchers

Check out M. Petrelis's backgrounder on this (ha!):

As some of you are probably aware, this year IGLHRC will honor the Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO) as the recipient of our 2008 Felipa Award. The Award ceremony will be in NYC on April 28 [2008] and of course all of you are welcome to attend the award ceremony.

Question of the Day

So, how many times did President Bill Clinton go to Indiana, let alone rural Indiana, when he was President? First Lady Hillary?

Don't voters know that "I see you" is just whore's milk, without a working coalition and an end to special interests that dominate the process? That t'aint abstract. That's how the ball bounces. Even in Hooservilles.

After drinking boilermakers with the boys a while back, Sen. Clinton is now telling Indiana's blue-collar voters that "politics has become too abstract, too generalized" in Obama's elitist world.

“Most people get a lot of meaning in their life from the work that they do,” Clinton says. “People want to be seen, they want to be appreciated, they want to be acknowledged.” - R. Stein.

Pride Goeth Before The Fall

The infringement of black Americans' rights to their own bodies in the name of medical science continued throughout the 20th century.

In 1945, Ebb Cade, an African American trucker being treated for injuries received in an accident in Tennessee, was surreptitiously placed without his consent into a radiation experiment sponsored by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

Black Floridians were deliberately exposed to swarms of mosquitoes carrying yellow fever and other diseases in experiments conducted by the Army and the CIA in the early 1950s.

Throughout the 1950s and '60s, black inmates at Philadelphia's Holmesburg Prison were used as research subjects by a University of Pennsylvania dermatologist testing pharmaceuticals and personal hygiene products; some of these subjects report pain and disfiguration even now.

During the 1960s and '70s, black boys were subjected to sometimes paralyzing neurosurgery by a University of Mississippi researcher who believed brain pathology to be the root of the children's supposed hyperactive behavior.

In the 1990s, African American youths in New York were injected with Fenfluramine -- half of the deadly, discontinued weight loss drug Fen-Phen -- by Columbia researchers investigating a hypothesis about the genetic origins of violence.


I couldn't help but think that "the Ghetto" was trying, swamp-like, to engulf Barack Obama, yesterday, to hold him back, just as it did for many before him. The train wreck, predicted here but avoided in the first two at-bats with Moyers and the NAACP, unfolded in spades at the NPC.

How many questions/questioners did he disrespect? To the trained eye, he appeared like a student-driver trying to take laps with the pros. Of this, Roland Martin's face on MSNBC, during AC360, sort of said it all, yes? [I call it "AC720", but readers here know I have my own humorous names for a lot of things.]

And how else could it be? Wright has no experience "managing" a crisis of confidence, an attack on character of the scale created here. What's more, did anyone show Wright a "third-way", a way to talk but avoid going before the great Sanhedrin, i.e. using other venues and ways of reaching an audience? There is more than just begging for silence, just as there is wisdom in knowing when to be silent.

The whole premise of his visit was ... overreach. Most people at large are not of a heart to hear about "black liberation theology". They want to know about Obama. Accordingly, they are simply interested in whether Wright is a wacko, so they can get on with it. He could have done just as well by himself to read some lines of verse from the Psalms and to offer up a prayer for all politicians, using his booming voice, than try to ... overthink the situation.


His campaign did not seem quite prepared. But, that might be an illusion. We'll see.

There is no peremptory for Wright at this point. There is no distancing that will be wholly effective. If Obama were to announce that he and Michelle had decided to leave Trinity, it's not clear that the linkages would go away or that would be a 'convincing break' to the average Joe.

I suspect that Obama can get away with a combination of fact-based rebuttal and "I told you so":

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety - the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America. - The Philadelphia Speech

As such, one does not Tucker-Carlson "walk away", especially if you are trying to build community or repair community. What one does is learn how to "emphasize the positive, latch on to the affirmative ..." (and you know the rest of the song). Find diamonds in the rough, see the hand of God at work in all things, even.


As for the fact-based rebuttal, they need to nudge Wright on the "AIDS issue". Citing an AIDS ministry is not sufficient. Drawing a false conclusion from the theses of two books is not wise. Wright needs to be pressured to correct the record, not Obama.

What Wright said on Israel could get amplification, as do all the particulars that Wright listed about Trinity (just ordinary folks, not interested in "theology"-anything deserve to hear this).

For now, that addresses most of the factual problems (except for the new ones). The rest is noise.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The End of Price Insulation

For those familiar with Kling's "Iron Triangle" regarding healthcare, this might be filed under the category of 'the end of price insulation'.

April 14, 2008, By GINA KOLATA

Health insurance companies are rapidly adopting a new pricing system for very expensive drugs, asking patients to pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars for prescriptions for medications that may save their lives or slow the progress of serious diseases.

With the new pricing system, insurers abandoned the traditional arrangement that has patients pay a fixed amount, like $10, $20 or $30 for a prescription, no matter what the drug’s actual cost. Instead, they are charging patients a percentage of the cost of certain high-priced drugs, usually 20 to 33 percent, which can amount to thousands of dollars a month.

The system means that the burden of expensive health care can now affect insured people, too.

No one knows how many patients are affected, but hundreds of drugs are priced this new way.

[I assume this could affect HIV meds, directly, for those few with private insurance.]

If I didn't remember Kling's categories right, please forgive me, and just accept this as a factoid on the road to health care oblivion in the United States.

SuperDay+5: Confusion Reigns!

If runner A and runner B both take an equal step forward, runner B will be further behind and less likely to win the race, because runner A is already ahead.

Today, Clinton picked up yet another Governor and superdelegate, Gov Mike Easley of North Carolina. Not to be outdone, Obama picked up a superdelegate of his own, Senator Jeff Bignaman of New Mexico.

The average intelligence person would say, well, the race is "tight", the candidates look "stalemated" (e.g. Lou Dobbs).

As McLaughlin would say, "WRONG!"

One delegate each actually puts Clinton farther behind! How CAN THAT BE, you might ask. It's because the amount of race left to run decreases faster than she can catch up, not only at a one-for-one pace, but at paces that currently stand at 2-to-1 among elected delegates and 7-to-5 among all delegate types.


One delegate each actually raises Clinton's hurdle margin (lowers Obama's breakeven) by 2%. On the most advantaged numbers for Clinton that I have (including the bizarre case that MI, FL get seated as sent), Clinton's must-do margin goes up to 22% (i.e. implying a must-do split in her favor of 61%-39%). That's quite a supermajority to have to achieve, right? It's 25% (nearly 63%-37%) without the rogue MI, FL delegations.

Sadly, some superdelegates listen to the news programs (and now to Dick Gephardt, who is making calls for Clinton, reportedly):

After the bruising Pennsylvania primary campaign, Medley, originally a John Edwards supporter, says the race is "more unpredictable now than a month ago." [WRONG!] While still leading in pledged delegates, votes and states won, Obama is "sort of losing ground, it seems to me. He hasn't been able to close the deal."


The media keep wringing their hands about the poor, white, working class. Well, one reason Obama has a "problem", if any, is because Bill Clinton is racing out in front, before Obama gets there, and framing the debate in voters minds:

Over the weekend, Bill Clinton marked his 24th stop in Indiana, winding his way through small, rural towns in Northeastern Indiana, which were at times so remote that nary a ubiquitous Dairy Queen in sight. The former president told partially filled gymnasiums of older voters that it was individuals in communities like these that helped his wife stay in the race.-MSNBC First Read

So where is Caroline Kennedy, these days?

[Note for new readers: "SuperDay" is the day that supers should have realized that Hillary cannot win among elected delegates,so that the supers should declare themselves and we can stop having Bill Clinton going about campaigning against the Democratic nominee, for one thing.]

Official Begnning of Campaign 2008 American Cycle of Violence

Who drew first blood?

Well, the referees for the election, the FEC remain disabled this cycle by small-government conservatism, largely [the Commission has too few Governors to get anything done, because Bush wouldn't accept various nominees, as I understand it].

The Republican National Committee wants CNN and MSNBC to stop airing the DNC's new national television advertisement, calling it "false and defamatory" and illegally coordinated.

"This is a complaint about the facts that are being misrepresented in the ad, and this being a deliberate falsehood, that we are saying, stations have an obligation to protect the public from airing a deliberate falsehood," said Sean Cairncross, an RNC lawyer.

-Ambinder, via Kos


The New York Times front-pages that Obama “is making subtle changes to his campaign style and message in an effort to strengthen his appeal to blue-collar voters and to avoid a defeat in Indiana...via Domenico Montanaro, at MSNBC FirstRead

Let's get this right. The Obama campaign is mixing it up in a state that Barack should probably win or draw, rather than having experimented in a state like PA, where Barack was likely to lose to ... "Methodism", broadly understood (very broadly understood)?

If they'd only been reading this blog, they'd have been ahead of that curve. /stepping down from smug back pat

In fairness, they did shake things up a bit in PA. Some with the formats/forums, but someone from the trail would have to say about the content of the outreach. It all went by so fast, too.

Left and Right Hands

... are talking.

Undetermined, still, I guess, is how will go the walking.

Would it be a vicious stereotype smear to say that, at a minimum, we know it will be 30 minutes late?

Well, we love 'em, but we can't let them get by without ribbing. It would be ... unnatural to do so and un-American, probably.

Hodgepodge or Vibrant Coalition?

The vision to create a broad, working coalition that might rival Reagan's co-opting of a lot of Democrats is being tested, in its embryonic stage.

Can Democrats form a vibrant coalition, one that covers the middle (if there is anything left of the middle in American politics)? Or is it doomed to be a special-interest dominated party, with politicians eager to keep their own engine running by ... er... let's say, charitably, non-transformative politics.

Whatever the case, the net-roots base wants ... Strelnikov.

Kos is shooting in the right direction.

Rather than do Republican-lite or merely reassure Republicans that "real change" doesn't mean sweeping away "values", his campaign needs to come up with a vision of the kind of Republican that will fit into his "Blue-dog Republican" vision, and corral them into it, just as Reagan did for his "blue-dog Democrats".

Put another way, rather than hold up his bona-fides as "a compromiser", he needs to make an appeal to the common ground where he wants to lead the nation. I think he's got all the elements of it, he just needs to pull it together into an effective communications strategy (although I'm developing the sneaking suspicion that he likes giving speeches, but not having a "communications strategy". ruh-roh).

The Jackals and the Downticket Smears

About these downticket ads, with the same circling predator feel to them (and racist overtones?).

Update: Say, "Liberal Barack Obama" three times quickly and see what you get, Ross.

Their effectiveness may be partly a function of how quickly the Democratic Party (or the candidates) respond.

You don't get a second chance to make a first impression. Put another way, they don't need these ads used in a way that wears a groove, where other shortcomings become interpreted as re-inforcing the bad perception.

So they have to respond. Quickly. (If they intend to contest the vote, that is).

If the Party or the candidates are distracted by Hillary, that's another reason that be upset with the supers.

Jeremiah "Crazy Uncle" Wright


The interview with Moyers was just okay, perhaps even positive.

The NAACP speech so far, seems to have been an attempt to train the media eye on some topics that wouldn't otherwise get covered.

Meeting with the National Press Club? Wrong idea. Totally wrong forum. Communications 101. I can't help but think that Obama's campaign has let him down.

Twice. They'll also likely fail to drive the news cycle, this week, because of it.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

SuperDay+4: Do Florida and Michigan Matter?

The answer is not so much.

If the delegations are seated as sent, then it lowers Clinton's hurdle rates, but not the timing of when she can no longer catch-up. It continues to be a race, now, only to decide her margin of defeat among the elected delegates.

The fight to seat these delegations, to the extent it is more than "fairness", seems largely to be about increasing the pool of supers, to make a convention fight plausible/doable. Although that is dubious, in practice, because Obama has a slight combined edge among FL-MI supers, with the vast majority of MI-FL supers admittedly undeclared (according to AP's tally).

As for the supers, a long time ago I indicated that the supers for MI and FL should not be seated, as apt penalty for participating in their State Party's decision to move the election up. Crooks & Liars agrees, via EmptyWheel. However, Ambinder noted a while back that the supers are "constitutional", so to speak. It might not be possible to exclude them via a credential process, if they have an "absolute right" to ... participate? to exist?. [I'm deep in the weeds beyond my expertise, on this, however.]


In sum, if Obama's lead among the elected delegates narrows so that Clinton only needs to split the remaining undeclared supers 60-40 (20% margin), you can see why anyone might be tempted to "go for it", as improbable as it might be that the party would choose to "diss" the electorate.

You can also see why Carville was so quick to try to draw a firewall, to corral supers, just as soon as Richardson declared, perhaps.

You can also see why the Obama campaign would be self-interested in whether these delegations should submit to some type of penalty, however devised, rather than be seated "as is".

Table 3a. The Michgan delegation as it will be sent to the convention, barring a pre-convention deal. src: Green Papers.

MichiganTotalObamaClintonLead/ (Trail)EdwardsMargin
Pledged, Elected833647-11
Pledged, PLEOs17710-3
Pledged, At Large281216-4
Grand Totals1576691-25
*italics indicate estimate based on 55% of the vote that Clinton won in Michgan.

Table 3b. The Florida delegation as it will be sent to the convention. src. Green Papers

FloridaTotalObamaClintonLead/ (Trail)EdwardsMargin
Pledged, Elected1214167-261334%55%
Pledged, PLEOs241014-4
Pledged, At Large401624-8
Grand Totals21179119-401337%56%
*italics indicate estimate based on 49.8% of the vote that Clinton won in Florida.

As seen before, here is the projection of the "must-do" for Clinton (which is the same as the break-evens for Obama). Clinton gets shutout at the same point in time, whether the FL, MI delegations get seated.

Table 2a. Projections, if the elected/pledged delegates from FL, MI are seated as sent.

Projection1: Winner takes all of State's remaining "supers"Days Until
All RemainingElected RemainingSupers RemainingClinton Must Do Margin All RemainingClinton Must Do Margin Among Remaining Pledged
North Carolina8
West Virginia15
Puerto Rico34
South Dakota36
FL, MI AdjAugust303

Table 2b. The projected margins and the net pickup/(loss) under a winnder-takes-all assumption about the undeclared supers in each state contested.

Projection1: Winner takes all remaining SupersDays Until
Projected Margin Clinton over ObamaClinton Net Pickup (Loss) PledgedClinton Net Pickup (Loss) SupersObama Lead / (Trail)Obama Pledged Lead / (Trail)

...Michagan Adj
...Florida Adj
North Carolina8
West Virginia15
Puerto Rico34
South Dakota36