Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Damned DINOs

What's it take to be a Democrat these days?

Does one simply have to show up to earn a (D) after their name?

The scores say they're a Dem, but they don't vote like it when it really counts. Byrd, Conrad, Johnson, Landrieu score better than 70% as Dems, but failed miserably when it came to the Alito vote this week.

What will they do when the budget comes before them, clogged up with more Republican pork? will they vote against it?

Their track records suggest they will, but each vote should be viewed with increasing skepticism when they can't vote as real progressives when it truly counts.

I don't personally believe that an overall trackrecord is enough; there are extenuating circumstances that can make any vote substantively different from previous votes. Byrd, for example, is running for office and now has a well-funded opponent; did he sell out on the Alito vote to play to the moderate base? Or is he simply slipping? He says he believes Alito, takes him at his word; I find it hard it hard to believe that Alito, who can cite verse and chapter from thirty-plus years of judicial decisions before circuit and Supreme courts, would have forgotten the details of his membership in a racist and misogynist club like CAP.

Or Landrieu, whose state was devastated by Katrina...did she think by voting with the Republican Party that she'd do better by her state? I want to shake her out of her naivete; if Trent Lott and Haley Barbour weren't able to get FEMA to do better by their state, why the hell would anything Landrieu does to curry favor make any difference now? That ship sailed. Without her. (She's got plenty of work to do on her environmental protection scores, too; this is NOT what Louisiana needs to build a future offering greater protections against hurricanes.)

I don't know what to make of Conrad and Johnson, particularly since their overall scores are better than Byrd's or Landrieu's. I know of no extenuating circumstances in South and North Dakota that would influence their votes, other than their bases may be more centrist. But Alito represented a clear threat to the working people and farmers of their states, a clear threat to the libertarians who live in these two states; it's hard to imagine why they voted as they did.

We have a lot of work to do, no matter the reason. We need to find a way to make it clear that being a Democrat means more than voting like one most of the time. It means taking a stand for Democratic and democratic principles, 7x24x365, 100% of the time, every vote.

Reinventing the wheel

Damn. Three years plus after I signed up for Userland's Radio and finally had it down to a nice little groove, I'm having to learn all over again how to use the bells and whistles of HTML and blogging.

This site is going to look gross until I remaster what I know of HTML. I hate the orange stuff. I hate orange, in general, except in food. Just not my color. Neither is anything approaching rust. I'm trying to figure out what hexadecimal codes I should change backend to get rid of the orange and rust here, but not doing very well with my hit-or-miss approach.

Oh well, change is good, time to stretch the brain again since I'm going to have to do this for a few other websites in the near future. Bear with me as I slay the HTML beast.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Grab a damned box and throw it in the bloody harbor

My Userland blog is still broken -- one heckuva way to start this new year, and late at that. Thanks to those of you who've pinged me and asked about me. I am returning, but slowly; there is a lot of work going on here in the background cutting into my blogging time. I hope I am not going to further break my other blog with this same post, but here it goes, a new Blogger blog to mirror the broken one and a post to the old one.

All-consuming my resources right now is the Tea Party; perhaps we could call it another Boston Tea Party in honor of Senators Kerry and Kennedy, but whatever the title, another Tea Party it is.

The subjects have greatly tired of the taxation without representation -- and by taxation I mean reductions in privacy, reductions in future prospects, assessments for a war based on lies, all the other general nastiness that comes of a neo-imperial presidency.

These subjects now choose to throw the tea in the harbor, to make it clear to the powers that be that we will not accept willingly this abridgement of our rights. Judge Alito represents yet another attempt to bolster the neo-imperial presidency, unable as Alito is to draw a bright line between the powers of the excutive office and those of the co-equal branches of government. He was chosen for this reason, among others; his views on an unitary (read: unilateral) executive are untenable, whether for this particular president or any president in the future, regardless of politics. He must not be confirmed without further debate on the issue of the unitary executive alone, if not for the simple purpose of preventing his confirmation.

Senators -- other than the Republicans who so readily lockstep and rubberstamp the imperial presidency as they have for five years -- are somewhat at odds, not having had a series of meetings to discuss plans of action or developed talking points or even selected a pointman, and most definitely not finding someone sent to them from whatever authoritative body to which they look for leadership.

But this being what it is, a rebellion of angry subjects, there was no advance meeting, focus groups or conference on policy, no memo sent, no Powerpoint presentations. There are simply hundreds of thousands of us -- maybe more -- boarding the ships and seizing boxes and throwing them, with all the passion we feel, punctuated with great war whoops, into the dark and salty winter waters.

To the Senators who are not yet fully on deck, I say, grab a damned box and throw it into the bloody harbor. To hell with the King.

[Picture credit: The Project Gutenberg, The Yankee Tea-party, by Henry C. Watson]

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