The state Republican Party bluntly told Rep. Katherine Harris (news, bio, voting record) that she couldn’t win this fall’s Senate election and that the party wouldn’t support her campaign, a letter obtained Monday by The Associated Press shows.
Party Chairman Carole Jean Jordan made a last-ditch attempt in the confidential May 7 letter to force Harris out of the race for the nomination to challenge Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson (news, bio, voting record). But the next day, Harris turned in paperwork to get her name on the Sept. 5 Republican primary ballot.
“Katherine, though it causes us much anguish, we have determined that your campaign faces irreparable damage,” the letter said. “We feel that we have no other choice but to revoke our support.”
“The polls tell us that no matter how you run this race, you will not be successful in beating Bill Nelson, who would otherwise be a vulnerable incumbent if forced to face a stronger candidate,” it said.
Let us not forget that Katherine Harris was only in a position to run for Senate because of her willingness to subvert the democratic process in order to secure Florida’s electoral votes for George W. Bush in 2000. And now their chance to take Bill Nelson’s Senate seat has imploded spectacularly, largely because of her character issues. Wow, who could have seen that coming?
Well, the baseball kids showed up again, so once again we had more players than we could handle. I ended up sitting out some defensive half-innings, which would have been great for bonus picture-taking if it hadn’t been raining… Despite facing a five-man outfield alignment, I went 4-for-4 with a sharp double, a long home run to center, 3 runs, and an RBI. Not much action in the outfield, since I only played left field for 2-3 innings and then sat out or played, um, right-right-center.
I have been insisting for quite some time now that the so-called “liberal media” is nothing of the sort – the media’s corporate ownership has resulted in a consistently pro-Republican bias in both stories and narrative. Even worse, this bias has begun to spread into entertainment programming, such as Fox’s popular series “24”, which has legitimized both torture and the use of the word “nukular.” I just looked at this fall’s lineup of new shows, and the trend is clearly accelerating. See for yourself:
Those silly liberal bloggersare gettingall worked up about how Joe Lieberman’s latest campaign button is missing a union “bug.” This is just further proof that those latte-sipping elitists think of the proud American working man as nothing more than an insect, to be crushed under their Birkenstocks as they emerge from their limousines and sushi bars.
Joe Lieberman understands that the best way to honor the American worker is to ignore his existence completely, so that he can do his job without any silly distractions. Joe Lieberman considerately steers well clear of these proud Americans so that he won’t accidentally step on one.
Three cheers for Joe Lieberman, a real American hero and patriot!
With New Yorkers already fuming about reports that the feds downplayed the danger of Ground Zero dust, the White House gave EPA chief Christie Whitman the power to bury embarrassing documents by classifying them “secret.”
“I hereby designate the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to classify information originally as ‘Secret,'” states the executive order, which was signed by President Bush on May 6, 2002.
Although the stated reason for Bush’s directive is to keep “national security information” from falling into enemy hands, advocates for thousands of ailing Ground Zero heroes are convinced there’s a more sinister motive.
“I think the rationale behind this was to not let people know what they were potentially exposed to,” said Joel Kupferman of the New York Environmental Law and Justice Project. “They’re using the secrecy thing to cover up their malfeasance and past deceptions.”
Whitman, who resigned as EPA chief in May 2003, could not be reached for comment yesterday. In a Newsweek interview that year, she said the White House never told her to lie about the air quality.
However, Whitman conceded that she did not object when words of caution were edited out of her public statements.
“We didn’t want to scare people,” she said.
Two days after the Sept. 11 attacks, Whitman declared, “There appear to be no significant levels of asbestos dust in the air in New York City.” Then on Sept. 21, Whitman reported that “a host of potential contaminants are either not detectable” or at a level the EPA considered safe.
But on Oct. 26, 2001, the Daily News slapped “Toxic Zone” on the front page and warned that “toxic chemicals and metals” were poisoning lower Manhattan.
So… what kind of “national security information” would the EPA have, exactly? I think Christie resigned about 20 months too late.
In 1886, the Buffalo Bisons, a top minor league baseball team, signed a versatile infielder from Massachusetts named Frank Grant. The next day, a local newspaper announced Grant’s arrival by describing him as “a Spaniard.”
Grant was in fact one of five African-Americans playing in the otherwise all-white minor leagues that year, on teams from Kansas to Connecticut. Their presence was accepted if not widely acknowledged in the 1880’s, passed off with a wink and a nod, a dodge that labeled players like Grant as Spaniards, Portuguese or Arabs.
The ruse did not hide what historians now concede, that some 60 years before Jackie Robinson famously broke organized baseball’s color barrier, integrated teams of white and black athletes played hundreds of professional games. African-Americans even played in the major leagues.
The recently documented life stories of Grant and White, 19th-century pioneers who dared not be recognized as such, have helped complete the chronicle of the African-American baseball experience. Theirs are the forgotten tales of men rushing to play at the highest professional tier, aware that their immediate offspring would probably be prohibited such an opportunity.
“They are the players who just vanished from baseball’s narrative, like a secret no one talks about,” said the baseball historian Jim Overmyer, who specializes in black baseball. “But it is important to know that they are the beginning of baseball desegregation. Somebody had to do the early heavy lifting, and even if few people know it, these guys were there first.”
“It complicates our understanding of race relations in sports to realize that the color barrier was not a natural outcome of mixing races after the Civil War,” [baseball historian Greg] Bond said. “The fact is there were a lot of blacks on mostly white teams. The color barrier became a choice people made at the expense of people like Grant and White, who then disappeared.”
More good stuff than I can quote, so read the whole thing. Also be sure to check out the slide show. My votes:
Sharon Stone may think Hillary Clinton has too much “sexual power” to be a viable candidate for President. But her womanly charms have earned her a place in New York’s Museum of Sex.In March, Stone declared that it was “too soon” for New York’s junior senator to enter the White House race because “a woman should be past her sexuality when she runs. Hillary still has sexual power, and I don’t think people will accept that. It’s too threatening.”
Sculptor Daniel Edwards begs to differ. Edwards, who courted controversy in April with his life-size nude of Britney Spears giving birth on a bearskin rug, has now come forth with his “Presidential Bust of Hillary Rodham Clinton.”
The startling sculpture shows an armless-but-bountifully-bosomed Hillary atop a pedestal declaring her “The First Woman President of the United States of America.”
Edwards believes his work, which portrays HRC in a plunging evening gown, is anatomically correct.
“It’s hard to find many images of her [breasts],” the Connecticut artist tells us. “She usually covers herself up in a professional way. But there are beach photos of her.”
Look on the bright side: It could have been a sculpture of Hillary giving birth on a bearskin rug…
As some readers may have heard, in January my battalion was issued substandard equipment for our deployment to Afghanistan. Originally, we were issued M-16s rather than M-4 carbines, rifles with shorter barrels and collapsible butt stocks. As a politcally active member of the battalion, I began to get in touch with Representative DeLauro and Representative Simmons, who both responded quickly and enthusiastically. Senator Dodd also responded quickly and gave me prompts on how to further validate my request for weapons.
However, I did not receive a response from Senator Lieberman’s office. I continued to leave messages for both him and his military aide, now senior counselor, Fred Downey, who reprsented Sen. Lieberman at the Battalion’s send off ceremony on Jan. 4. After several messages, I finally received a return phone call. However, I was not met with the same enthusiams expressed by other legislators; I was immediately confronted with an inquisition that seemed to have the purpose of dispelling the belief that the battalion was ill equipped. Rather than listen to our specific concerns, the “benefits” of the M16 were highlighted and teh advantages of the M4 were downplayed.
Lieberman’s office left the impression that they believed we had the equipment we needed, despite the contrasting beliefs of soldiers in my battalion, some who have been on as many as five deployments. The others in Washington were not so quick to abandon us.
Lieberman has never hesitated to voice his support for the war, and recently voted against pulling troops out of Iraq, so where was he when over 500 of his own constituents were being sent overseas to fight on behalf of his great country? It appears the senator was so concerned with climbing the political ladder, he forget what his job is really about: the people.
This letter highlights perfectly what infuriates me about the Republicans, and the message I want to see the Democratic Party shouting from the rooftops:
Supporting the war DOES NOT EQUAL supporting the troops. Opposing the war DOES NOT EQUAL opposing the troops.
You know what “supporting the troops” means? It means wanting them to have the best equipment and armor available, so they have a better chance of coming home in one piece. It means wanting to keep them out of harm’s way unless absolutely necessary.
You know what “opposing the troops” means? It means shortchanging the soldiers in the field with inadequate equipment and armor, and the veterans back home with inadequate benefits and medical care. It means inflaming the Muslim world to ensure that the troops have enormous bullseyes on their backs whenever they venture out of their heavily shielded bases. It means keeping them in a dangerous war zone for no good reason, long after even the faintest chance of success has died.
I think yon letter-writer has made it very clear that he would happily trade all the war cheerleaders back home for a few hundred M-4 carbines.
HAVE demons been talking to you lately? Don’t panic! You can learn loads of valuable information from the chatty minions of Satan — including tidbits about future business trends you can use to get rich!
That’s the claim of a controversial Bible scholar, who suggests that before phoning an exorcist, you milk demons for all they’re worth.
“About 95 percent of what demons say should be ignored — for example, if they tell you to drown your children,” explains Albert Wiltex, author of the upcoming book, How to Use Demonic Chatter to Improve Your Life.
“But 5 percent is news you can use. Remember, demons exist outside of normal time — they know a lot about the past as well as the future.
“If you skillfully manipulate them, you can get them to slip up and reveal information you can use to become rich, learn what your neighbors are up to and uncover potential family problems.”
“Most of what the demons said was blasphemous gibberish,” he reveals. “But I also found intriguing nuggets of information — including the names of hot companies like Microsoft long before they existed.”
Here, are some tips on tricking demons into spilling the beans:
1 STRING THE DEMON ALONG — If the evil entity asks you to sell your soul to Satan, feign interest to keep it talking as long as possible.
2 FOLLOW UP ON CLUES — If the demon promises that surrendering to Lucifer will make you the richest person in the world in 10 years, nonchalantly ask who the second richest will be then.
“Later do an Internet search for the name,” suggests Wiltex. “If you find it’s a young entrepreneur, invest in his fledgling business.”
3 PRAISE FOLKS YOU WANT TO SNOOP ON — If you tell the demon your boss is an “upstanding Christian” who says the Devil is full of lies, the demon might shoot back, “He’s boinking Judy in accounting” — a useful fact to have in your pocket next time you ask for a raise.
4 ALWAYS CORROBORATE — “If the demon says your wife is cheating on you, don’t take it as gospel,” says Wiltex. “Before you go for your shotgun, hire a private detective to make sure.”
“Demons are irrational, hatred-driven spirits almost incapable of logic,” he points out. “It’s not hard to outsmart them.”
That sounds awesome! Where I can find an inorcist?
He was… nonplussed to say the least. His first response was to say that if he built a liberal version of Fox, he “would be no better than Murdoch.” Okay, I can see that. Lies and propaganda do not become more noble simply because they’re on our side. But since it’s not every day I get to argue with a gazillionaire (and, quite frankly, my blogging paychecks have been pretty light lately), I pressed on:
Can you elaborate on this? What if you owned a network *different* from Fox, with controls in place to ensure fair and accurate (but aggressive) reporting? Even a nonpartisan, objective news network would be a powerful counterweight to Fox and all the rest, and I don’t think it would cost you your soul.
Or do you believe that such a beast is simply impossible to create?
His response (not just to me, there were a lot of people asking him about this):
I don’t have an answer to the many questions on the media but I know for sure that my owning media is not the answer.
I pretty much dropped the question at this point, as it seemed clear to me that he had given the idea some serious thought, had rejected it, and really did not care to discuss the matter any further. I’m not sure if he thinks media ownership is inherently dirty, or he simply believes his own involvement would be counterproductive or excruciating (i.e., that he would either suck at it, or make himself an even bigger target of the right-wing noise-and-harassment machine).
I know it’s hopeless, but I am hoping that Mr. Soros will think about it some more. Firstly, the need is too great to ignore. As I have harped on repeatedly, the media effectively control reality and even history for the large segment of the population that does not approach them skeptically or seek out alternatives. There are limits to how much they can shade the truth and muddy the waters without losing their all-important credibility (which is why Bush’s approval rating is down around 35%), but they have done a very effective job of blunting the impact of all of the Republicans’ incompetence, greed, and outright criminality.
And standing against them, we have… what? Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Keith Olbermann on the TV side (most important, IMO), Air America on the radio side, and a handful of reporters, columnists, and editorial pages on the newspaper side. And the liberal blogs, which are numerous and excellent (present company excepted), but simply not widely read by the general population.
Secondly, I think this is a wide-open market niche, just waiting to be filled. Consider all the stories that have gone underreported or misreported, like the dodgy pre-Iraq intelligence, the Plame case, shady election shenanigans, illegal wiretapping, straight hookers, gay hookers, corruption, corruption, corruption, just to name the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Now imagine a news network that aggressively investigates and reports on all of these stories. Think about how many people would say “Wow! I had no idea this was going on! Tell me more!” Imagine a network that balances conservatives with genuine, articulate progressives and lets them have their say. Imagine a network or newspaper that doesn’t uncritically repeat Republican talking points in the name of false balance. Not only would such a media enterprise get more information and liberal viewpoints widely disseminated, but it would also put a well-deserved dent in the credibility of the corporate media.
Please note that I am not advocating a liberal network, just a network that invites real liberals instead of moderates, fake liberals, and inarticulate milquetoasts to fill the left side of its talking head discussions. Reality is already kryptonite for Republicans, so why go overboard? The mechanisms for maintaining objectivity in reporting will be tricky, however: I’m envisioning a nonpartisan or bipartisan review panel, stocked with experienced, high-integrity journalists or journalism profs, and maybe some online media critics. The character of these individuals would be essential to the success of the enterprise.
Thirdly, Soros would not have to become a hands-on media mogul like a Murdoch or a Moon or a Scaife. If someone can come up with a workable business plan that just lacks money, Soros could infuse it with the needed cash to get it off the ground quickly, but distance himself from the actual operation – a silent partner, in other words. Perhaps this is easier said than done, but my suspicion is that there are a lot of smart people who are up to the job. (Question: I know there are liberal media projects out there; are there any objective ones?)
Granted, the logistical hurdles of getting Objective News Network off the ground are pretty daunting, but I don’t think they’re insurmountable; and given what’s at stake, I can’t think of any use of a few billion dollars that would have a more beneficial effect on democracy in this country. Well, okay, maybe establishing a massive “Endowment For Clean Elections” that provides competitive no-strings-attached financing to any legitimate candidate who agrees to forgo all other campaign contributions (or matching funds to candidates who spurn corporate money). Or perhaps a media fund to buy commercial airtime for candidates who agree to accept only individual contributions. Both would be dependent on FEC approval, of course…
So what do you say, Mr. Soros? Are you ready to help Reality reclaim its rightful place in American discourse? If some smart liberals (or non-liberals; I’m not picky) can concoct a workable plan for a nonpartisan, objective media entity, will you back it?
The habit of the Democratic Party to kill itself via self-referential meta-talk was on full display at the DLC meeting yesterday. Tell me if you can find what is wrong with the message coming out of the conference. From the Mercury News:
Sen. Clinton said the council’s initiative can “unite Democrats and elect Democrats.”
Now, when you preface your policy proposals by indicating that said proposals are intended to win elections and unite your party, you have already pretty much ended any chance that people will think you making said proposals because you believe in those proposals. This is because, well, you just said that the purpose of these proposals was to win elections. Americans love it when politicians admit in public that their legislative proposals are designed to win elections.
More brilliant messaging from the same article:
Stone said the council’s centrist approach has been the only proven success for Democrats in the past 25 years.
While this is not a direct quote, it is a widely held sentiment in some Democratic circles. It is also utterly self-defeating, since it strongly gives the impression that the only reason Democrats are moving to the center is because they think it will help them to win elections. Not only does this tacitly admit that Republicans have the right ideas and Democrats must move toward those ideas in order to win, it also is a pretty direct implication that Democrats don’t believe in anything, but that they are moving to the center solely for the purpose of winning elections.
It’s also completely wrong. Clinton won in spite of the DLC’s centrism because he’s a brilliant campaigner. The DLC’s approach has produced an unbroken string of underachieving failure ever since.
The bizarre Democratic need, found most often within DLC-type conferences, to preface any proposal with a public claim that the coming proposal will help Democrats win elections is a major factor in the national belief that Democrats do not stand for anything. If you tell the country that your ideas are designed to win elections, then they won’t think you stand for anything except winning elections. And then, well, you probably won’t win many elections, because Americans don’t like politicians who only stand for winning elections. If you want to do something, then just do it. Throwing the “this will get us elected” qualifier in front of your statements just makes us all look like spineless jackasses who are trying to pull one over on the electorate. If you want to talk faith, or be a centrist, or be a hawk, or stand on principles, then just go for it. Stop wasting our time and making us all look bad by telling us you are doing it in order to win elections.
My take on this is that it’s a sales job. The DLC centrists know that their strategies are out of synch with core Democratic values, so they have to claim that they’re sure-fire election winners, and thus well worth sacrificing principle and integrity for. Of course, as Bowers points out, they seem to be forgetting that the microphone is on, and just how bad this kind of talk sounds to us Great Unwashed. On the other hand, if Stoller is correct that failure is actually their goal (see below), then that part of it makes sense too…
As an aside, for those of you left hanging by Matt Stoller’s comment under my earlier post, Stoller finally did answer my question under his original MyDD post about the anti-progressive, and apparently pro-failure machine within the Democratic party:
My Post: Matt Stoller rocks! Why do the Democrats keep hiring losers? (I’m paraphrasing a tiny bit here)
Matt Stoller: Insider Democrats don’t win because they are paid to lose. That’s the point of this parallel machine. Who do you think funds third way? (Hint: It’s not left-wingers….)
Me: I don’t disagree with your comment that losing is actually the insider Dems’ objective, but I still don’t understand why the congressional Dems (and presidential aspirants, for that matter) would hire professional losers.
Do they not actually want to win, or are they just completely blind to reality?
Matt Stoller: Depends on the politician. Lots of them are insecure divas who desperately want the approval of the Broders, etc. Some are going to become lobbyists and don’t want to jeopardize their job prospects. Some want to gain power and don’t see how they can do that without having these third way people on their side (Evan Bayh, cough cough). Some just won by marketing themselves as moderates and can’t see any other way of winning.
…[W]hile we often talk about the right-wing machine and its structure of think tanks, magazines, etc, we often don’t spend enough time understanding that there is a parallel machine within the Democratic Party that wields real power, and fights progressives at every step of the way…. The DLC is part of this machine, and so is Mike McCurry, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Joe Lieberman, and Dewey Square.
I’m reminded of this because of a post I read on the Washington Post’s blog ‘The Fix’, by Chris Cillizza, on a newish group trying to put itself in the center of 2008 called The Third Way. …[H]e interviews prominent Beltway operatives. These operatives are prominent mostly because they’ve been around for a long time and have relationships with journalists, politicians, and corporate donors.
I find Cillizza’s series fascinating, because the people he interviews are basically the institutional memory of the Democratic Party. And if you read what they say, you get a sense of why we’ve been losing for so long.
Third Way is a total disaster in every conceivable way; the President, Jonathan Cowan, was an advocate for privatizing Social Security. Cowan wasn’t just an advocate, he went to the mat for Bush’s scheme, going so far as to say that “this entire discussion is really a discussion that’s at the heart of whether there’s a future for the Democratic Party.”…
But back to Matt Bennett, who is today’s featured insider. Bennett has basically been a disaster in every role he’s ever taken. He was the Communications Director for the Wesley Clark campaign in 2004, and effectively took a powerful netroots driven movement campaign and destroyed it through incoherent corporate-driven messaging. Bennett’s triangulating group Americans for Gun Safety was formed in 2000, and its foolish strategies undercut traditional gun rights groups and allowed the NRA to completely destroy Democrats on the gun issue. Bennett is such a loser that he started his career as an advance man for Michael Dukakis, and keeps the jumpsuit from the tank moment in his closet as a souvenir.
This is about the strategy of triangulation, which is in today’s world another word for appeasement of extremists. The legacy of Tony Coelho and Bill Clinton is the legacy of triangulation and compromise, only their descendants don’t really get what this legacy really meant. Clinton and Coelho were successful with this strategy, pushing progressive policies through a right-wing Congress…. Only, their political heirs don’t get that compromise only works with extremists if you are negotiating from a position of strength. You can’t triangulate from a position of weakness. And you can’t triangulate if your base is corporate money, though you can make a lot of cash and get a lot of quotes in the newspaper while progressives loses.
And that’s ultimately the problem with these ‘insiders’; they lose and take progressives with them, and learn nothing. Bennett doesn’t care that he’s screwed up everything he’s ever touched. Read the interview; Bennett sees himself as being in the center of the 2008 Presidential debate on the Democratic side even though he’s pursuing the same strategies he’s always pursued, and has done nothing but lose. So why would he see himself as being in the center of the 2008 debate? Well, I guess because he was on the advance team for Dukakis and Clinton, and he knows some corporate donors willing to fund his next failed center of bipartisan and incrementalist bullshit.
Arrrgh. I can understand why such wankers exist. I just can’t understand why Democrats ever listen to them when they are proven losers. Clinton didn’t just succeed because he was dealing from a position of strength (was he dealing from a “position of strength” in ’92?); he succeeded because he is a brilliant and charismatic politician who gave the Democratic Party an appealing face.
The most charitable explanation I can come up with, other than the uncanny persuasive powers of Al Fromsputin, is aversion to risk (or “cowardice,” if you want to be a little less charitable). In other words, the incumbents have calculated that it’s better to play it safe and hang onto their own seats and hope the Republicans continue shooting themselves in the foot, than to stick their necks out in an attempt to win big. The Republicans might call them un-American and say all kinds of mean things about them, after all.
The most plausible explanation I can think of is that they don’t just want a strategy that wins elections – they want a strategy that wins elections and keeps their corporate sponsors happy, and they refuse to admit to themselves that there isn’t one. Or they don’t really care one way or the other, so long as that corporate money keeps pouring in so they can hang onto their own seats.
Hmm, come to think of it, both of those explanations sound pretty similar: Incumbency and ass-covering trump all other considerations.
Well, our usual problem of lack of players was unexpectedly solved when a bunch of kids who normally play baseball on the same field on Saturdays showed up. I think we ended up 10-on-10 or more, with some people rotating sitting out. I had a pretty good day at the plate, 5-for-5 with 2 doubles, 2 runs, and an RBI. My defense was pretty solid, and I made some of my best throws ever in the early innings – strong, accurate, hitting the catcher on the fly. My accuracy got a little shaky as the game wore on, though.
Current Stats: 14 games, .602 BA (53-88), .989SLG, 12 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 32 runs, 27 RBI.
Career Stats: 41 games, .583 BA (165-283), .781 SLG, 29 2B, 3 3B, 7 HR, 93 runs, 67 RBI.
I love the symmetry. It almost looks like it should be set to music or something.
Also kind of symmetrical. And yes, she does have two legs, in case anyone was wondering.
I’m a happy guy, ‘cuz I just rocked an opposite field double. Not sure what the defense is happy about.
Well, Quinnipiac’s July poll on the CT races finally came out, and it’s been so chock full of interesting stuff that I’ve had a hard time digesting it into anything even halfway resembling a coherent post. But what the hell, I’ll try anyway, it’s not like coherence is any kind of gold standard for me…
Of course, the two most important numbers are Lamont vs. Lieberman head-to-head for the primary, and Lamont vs. Lieberman vs. Some Republican Guy for the general election. The other numbers are useful for trying to understand where the headline numbers are coming from, and where they might be going.
To the Bulletpointmobile!
o The primary numbers are now 51-47 in favor of Lamont among likely CT voters, way up from 55-40 Lieberman last month. The three-way numbers are 51-27-9 in favor of Lieberman, which is not so hot. Bear in mind, however, that last month it was 56-18-8, Lamont has three months to keep improving, and Lieberman has three months to continue imploding.
o In the three-way election scenario, a narrow 46-44 majority of Dem voters chose Lamont, while Reps and Indies went for Lieberman 58-7 and 54-22, respectively (yes, Joe handily outpolled the Republican candidate among CT Republicans, 58-24).
o The percentage of CT voters who “haven’t heard enough about” Lamont to have an opinion of him has dropped from 76 to 51. This is still Lamont’s biggest hurdle, but he’s making great strides here (it was 90% in May, and 93% in Feb.). It is worth noting that Lamont’s other numbers are improving as this number improves – the more CT knows about Ned, the more they prefer him to Joe. Even with what I’m loosely calling “name recognition” at less than 50% (65% among likely primary voters), Lamont is already positioned to beat Lieberman in the primary, which buys him another 3 months of general election campaigning to make himself known to the rest of Connecticut.
o Only 24% of CT voters think Lamont has “the right kind of experience to be a United States Senator,” with 39% Nos and 37% Don’t Knows. Among CT Dems, it’s 31-33-36, and among likely primary voters, it’s 37-37-26. This is easily Lamont’s biggest hurdle, convincing voters that his resume translates to the Senate. Fortunately, Lieberman’s staff has been too clueless to make this a campaign issue… yet. Ned will need to counter this effectively if/when it comes up.
o CT voters think Lieberman “deserves to be reelected,” 56-31. It’s 68-23 among CT Republicans (this is not as bizarre as it sounds – if you look at approval ratings in the poll, you will see that CT Republicans actually like Lieberman better than Bush), but only 51-37 among CT Dems, and 46-45 among likely primary voters.
o Of the 31% of CT voters who don’t think Lieberman deserves to be reelected, 42% chose some variation of “supported the war/not a real Democrat” as their main reason. Among likely primary voters, that number climbs to 56% (surprisingly, Joe’s announcement that he would run as an Independent if he lost the primary barely registers: 1% among CT general population and Dems, 2% among Repubs, and 3% among likely primary voters). This is Lieberman’s biggest hurdle, convincing Democratic voters that he’s not a Republican in Democrat’s clothing. I don’t think he can do it; his record speaks for itself.
o When asked whether their primary vote would be for their guy or against the other guy, 63% of likely Lamont voters said they were voting against Lieberman, while only 11% of likely Lieberman voters said they were voting against Lamont. This is helping to blunt the effects of Lamont’s low name-recognition: Everyone in Connecticut knows who Lieberman is, and an awful lot of them can’t stand him.
Overall, I think Ned’s in very good shape. All he has to do is stay the course and let Joe continue to make an ass of himself, and he should take the primary. The general election will be more challenging, as he will have to contend with the Republican and Independent votes, as well as a sizable chunk of the Democratic vote. I’m hoping that Joe being a colossal sore loser will hurt him among Dems and Indies, but I don’t think Ned can count on that. Ned will have to get himself out there and make sure everyone in CT knows who he is, what he stands for, and that he’s qualified to represent Connecticut in the Senate. He’ll have three months after the primary – I think he can do it.
The morning after the opening of a show of his recent work, the artist was in his studio, a concrete cell in the Pelican Bay State Prison, where he is serving three life terms in solitary confinement for murder and for slashing a prison guard’s throat. He was checking his supplies, taking inventory.
His paintbrush, made of plastic wrap, foil and strands of his own hair, lay on the lower bunk. So did his paints, leached from M&M’s and sitting in little white plastic containers that once held packets of grape jelly. Next to them was a stack of the blank postcards that are his canvases.
On Friday night, more than 500 people had jammed into a gallery in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, to assess 25 of Donny Johnson’s small, intense works…. By evening’s end, six of the postcard paintings had sold, for $500 each.
Most prison art, the kind created in crafts classes and sold in gift shops, tends toward kitsch and caricature. But there are no classes or art supplies where Mr. Johnson is held, and his powerful, largely abstract paintings are something different. They reflect the sensory deprivation and diminished depth perception of someone held in a windowless cell for almost two decades.
They pulse, some artists on the outside say, with memory and longing and madness….
He orders his supplies from the prison commissary once a month. The M&M’s are 60 cents a pack, and he gets 10 packs at a time. He puts from one to five of the candies in each of the jelly containers, drizzles a little water in and later fishes out the chocolate cores, leaving liquid of various colors, which get stronger if they sit for a couple of days.
He has tried other candy, but there are perils. “It’s the same process with Skittles,” he said, “but I end up eating them all.”
Sometimes he experiments with other materials. “Grape Kool-Aid in red M&M color makes a kind of purple,” he wrote in a letter to a reporter not long ago. “Coffee mixed with yellow makes a light brown. Tropical punch Kool-Aid granules can be made into a syrup and used as a paint wash of sorts. But it’s a bear to work with and it’s super-sticky and it never dries.”
“I’m not really responding to it aesthetically,” said Brooke Anderson, director and curator of the Contemporary Center at the American Folk Art Museum, “but I’m totally responding from its place of origin. It kind of reminds me of spin art. It feels very psychedelic, like the 1970’s hippie culture.”
Mr. Johnson is working in a rich tradition of art produced in prisons and asylums, Ms. Anderson continued.
“Time and the availability of time,” she said, “has an awful lot to do with an explosion of expression.”
I’m not entirely clear on why the prison won’t let him have real art supplies; I guess there’s some kind of message here about how Art will always find a way.
From 2002 until this year, NASA’s mission statement, prominently featured in its budget and planning documents, read: “To understand and protect our home planet; to explore the universe and search for life; to inspire the next generation of explorers … as only NASA can.”
In early February, the statement was quietly altered, with the phrase “to understand and protect our home planet” deleted. In this year’s budget and planning documents, the agency’s mission is “to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.”
David E. Steitz, a spokesman for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, said the aim was to square the statement with President Bush’s goal of pursuing human spaceflight to the Moon and Mars.
But the change comes as an unwelcome surprise to many NASA scientists, who say the “understand and protect” phrase was not merely window dressing but actively influenced the shaping and execution of research priorities. Without it, these scientists say, there will be far less incentive to pursue projects to improve understanding of terrestrial problems like climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions.
“We refer to the mission statement in all our research proposals that go out for peer review, whenever we have strategy meetings,” said Philip B. Russell, a 25-year NASA veteran who is an atmospheric chemist at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. “As civil servants, we’re paid to carry out NASA’s mission. When there was that very easy-to-understand statement that our job is to protect the planet, that made it much easier to justify this kind of work.”
Dr. Hansen said the change might reflect White House eagerness to shift the spotlight away from global warming.
“They’re making it clear that they have the authority to make this change, that the president sets the objectives for NASA, and that they prefer that NASA work on something that’s not causing them a problem,” he said.
The home planet can get bent. I suspected that starving/de-emphasizing inconvenient climate research (as well as offering up false hope of being able to escape if we trash the plane beyond repair) was the goal all along when Bush made his “Mars, Bitches!” State Of The Union address; I never thought he really gave a rat’s ass about space exploration, unless there was oil to be found.
Also, I wonder how long before they add “To boldly go where no man has gone before…”
Consider all of the sacred entities that the Republicans claim to be defending:
Babies. Republicans speak of embryos and fetuses as though they are actual babies (as long as they’re not fertility clinic surplus, of course) They are ineffably precious and must be protected at all costs… until they’re born. Once a potential baby becomes an actual baby, all that reverence and compassion and Culture Of Life goes away, and Mommy and Baby are on their own. When was the last time you saw Republicans advocating for more paid maternity leave, or better postnatal care, or financial assistance for poor single mothers?
Troops. Our Brave Young Men In Harm’s Way must always be supported, but for Republicans, that support is strictly non-material. Instead of pressing for more and better armor and equipment to protect the troops from physical attack, Republicans seek only to crush dissent at home to prevent the troops from being somehow demoralized. (I would love to see a pollster ask the troops which they would prefer, an end to antiwar talk, or more armor.)
But even the Republicans’ patronizing concern for troop morale rings hollow, as they have no problem with using stop-loss programs to keep troops in Iraq for extended tours against their will, or supplementing them with unaccountable mercenaries who make 10-20 times as much money, or putting them in position to do monstrous, soul-killing things.
And as with fetuses, once a troop transforms from an active-duty soldier to a veteran, the Republicans completely turn their back on him.
Marriage. Marriage is very important to Americans, so much so that the Republicans want to pass a constitutional amendment to protect it… from gay marriage. Not from adultery or divorce, which have obvious adverse effects on marriage (although I’m not advocating the criminalization of either), but from The Wrong Sort Of People getting married. In other words, cheating on your spouse doesn’t devalue marriage, but letting queers into the exclusive married-people club does. This is naked homophobia masquerading as family values.
Security. This has been the Republicans trump card since 9/12/01, that they are the only party dedicated to keeping America safe from terrorists, but in fact most of their efforts have been dedicated to the exact opposite. They invaded Afghanistan and defeated the Taliban, yes, but they also let Osama bin Laden escape at Tora Bora, failed to secure the country against a Taliban resurgence, and then invaded a country with no ties to al Qaeda, destabilizing the region, tying up military resources, and creating countless new terrorists. And on the home front, they have dragged their feet on securing Soviet nuclear materials, consistently opposed legislation to improve port and plant security, or to route hazardous material traffic away from major population centers. Even their supposed attempts to improve intelligence via torture and illegal surveillance have led to resources wasted chasing down false leads.
Democracy. What could be better than democracy? Republicans love democracy so much that they want to spread it all over the whole world. Free speech, free press, separation of church and state, free and fair elections, civil liberties, rule of law – all that good stuff. Unfortunately, the very values they claim to be fighting for in Iraq and Afghanistan are the very same values that they are fighting against in this country. And with far more commitment and success, I might add.
These are the most pernicious and high-profile examples I could think of, but I’m sure there are hundreds more. The Republicans have managed to cynically and dishonestly position themselves as the heroic defenders of Babies, Troops, Marriage, Security, and Democracy, when in reality they are indifferent to them at best, and actively hostile at worst. Worse yet, they have successfully painted Democrats as the dastardly enemies of all these things Americans hold dear. This is yet another example of why the media is so very important, and why the Democrats need to be more savvy and aggressive, calling bullshit on the Republican framing and spin every chance they get.
So… President Bush exercises his veto power for the first time ever in five and a half years, to protect those poor defenseless fertility clinic embryos from being plundered for stem cell research instead of just getting, um… flushed down the toilet or something.
But, on the other hand, he apparently can’t be bothered to do much of anything for all the post-embryonic Lebanese and Americans that Israel is raining explosives on.
Okay. Just so long as we’re clear.
(Note to Israel: Do not bomb any Lebanese fertility clinics, or you’ll be sorry.)