Friday, May 27, 2005

Friday Blogaround 

It's the unofficial start of summer this weekend. Here's some stuff from The Liberal Coalition to keep you entertained and informed.

  • All Facts and Opinon is back and Natalie has her American Idol favorites.
  • archy and Coturnix are soliticing ideas for the Carnival of Bad History.
  • Bark Bark Woof Woof has some thoughts on faith-based dealing.
  • BlogAmy has Dave's shagadelic Friday questions (speaker alert).
  • bloggg has a question about real estate.
  • Best wishes to Mrs. Lefty of Chris's Corner as she recovers from surgery.
  • Collective Sigh brings us up to date with the signage in North Carolina.
  • Lambert at Corrente defines "mishandling," as in don't forget to mishandle the toilet when you're done using it.
  • NTodd on the appropriate gifts for kids in Iraq.
  • Echidne finds another activist judge.
  • First Draft follows the gaggle wherein the chicken-egg question comes up.
  • The Gamer's Nook catches us up on the season finale of Lost.
  • Happy Furry Puppy catches us up with new movies.
  • iddybud brings us news from the Greensboro blogfest.
  • In Search of Telford is off until May 31st.
  • The Invisible Library notes the end of one age of geekdom and the beginning of the next.
  • Left is Right honors the fallen.
  • Bryant has a nice rant.
  • Michael has doubts about his governor.
  • Pen-Elayne notes that there's some interesting news in the world of tracking software -- real or not.
  • Rick on fake Pottery.
  • Guy notes that the Republicans aren't doing as much state fundraising as they used to.
  • rubber hose visits the Genesis museum.
  • Scrutiny Hooligans celebrates the holiday with a bit of brew.
  • Sooner Thought notes a change of heart from the man who brought you "freedom fries."
  • Speedkill takes apart the "intelligent design" arguments against evolution.
  • Steve Gilliard looks at the numbers of blogging.
  • T. Rex on the focus of the war.
  • Trish Wilson is seeing ghostly things.
  • Wanda wonders if George Lucas is prescient.
  • WTF Is It Now?? on religion in the news.
  • The Yellow Doggerel Democrat ponders the price of news.

    Have a great holiday weekend, but also take a moment to remember the real heroes.

  • Wednesday, May 25, 2005

    Deal off? 

    Since Blogger is still bloggering my site, I'm going to post this here. Maybe, Deo volente, I can cross-post it back to my blog in the morning. Meanwhile, anybody got a good suggestion for an alternate blogging home for me?

    Anyway, on to the serious matters at hand. If you read this site yesterday, you know I'm anything but pleased about the compromise reached last night to end the nuclear option. I still think the Democrats gave away just about everything in the store and got considerably less than $24 worth of trinkets in return.

    However, the Republican extremists may yet snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, at least if a story in tomorrow's New York Times is to be believed:

    Just a day after the agreement broke an impasse that had vexed the Senate and the Bush administration for years, senators on both sides of the aisle portrayed the new framework as fragile. Republicans in particular said the bipartisan deal, brokered by seven Democrats and seven Republicans on the eve of a showdown that could have crippled the Senate, would survive only if Democrats refrained from filibustering other emerging nominees, including some who were not guaranteed a vote in the last-minute agreement.

    Other Republicans threatened to immediately invoke what some have called the nuclear option - doing away with the filibuster against judicial candidates - if Democrats tried to block any nominee except in the most extreme cases.

    "This is merely a truce; it's not a treaty yet," said Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah and a senior member of the Judiciary Committee.

    Clearly, James Dobson has whipped his minions into a froth every bit as frenzied as his own expostulation on the subject of the compromise last night. (Google it for yourselves; I'll be damned if I give that fanatic extremist any bounce.) But while I absolutely expected this kind of backpedaling from the lying Republicans in a Congress that is clearly in thrall to the most radical elements of the radical right wing, even I didn't expect it to start barely 24 hours after the agreement was reached.

    Since I hate the agreement anyway, I'd be lying if I said I felt any regrets at the prospect of waking up tomorrow and finding it lying in tiny pieces all over the floor. I could almost begin to hope for such an eventuality, since that discovery would be the missing ingredient for turning what can only be regarded as a Pyrrhic victory for the Democrats at best (we had to destroy the filibuster--in terms of its being an effective deterrent--in order to save it) into a rout the likes of which hasn't been seen since the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot, otherwise known as the Battle of the Philippine Sea, which was fought just about 61 years ago.

    So yes, let Dobson, Falwell, Bauer, Frist, and all the other radical Republican extremists "furiously rage together," to borrow a phrase from Händel's Messiah. Let them, in their folly, pull the trigger on the nuclear option sometime next week when one of Bush's other extremist judicial nominees makes it to the floor of the Senate and is filibustered. Hell, let them do it later this week, when the galactically unqualified John Bolton comes up for confirmation as ambassador to the United Nations and is sent packing.

    Because if they do so, then the Democrats get all the credit for being the party of moderation, the party that was willing to compromise on nominations it felt very strongly about, in order to get back to doing the work of the people who voted to send them to Washington in the first place. And the Republicans will be revealed for what they really are--a party of extremist zealots, whose primary allegiance is not to the voters who elected them, the nation they allegedly serve, nor even the Constitution they swore a sacred oath to "preserve, protect, and defend from all enemies, foreign and domestic," but rather to a small group of religious extremists whose ultimate goal is to destroy that very Constitution, the better to advance the warped and twisted agenda of the idol they worship in place of the God of the Bible.

    Want a Democratic Congress in 2006, Senator Frist? A Democratic White House in 2008? Go ahead, make our day: Pull that nuclear trigger.

    Just be sure you're standing at ground zero when you do so. Think your own presidential ambitions are in tatters now? Just wait until you see what they'll look like after you reap the whirlwind of the wind you've already sown.

    Monday, May 23, 2005

    What a revolting development 

    I never thought Senator Cat-Killer had the votes (or the "testicular virility," to steal a phrase from Governor Blagorgeous) to go through with his "nuclear option." I had hoped the matter would be settled when a few of the Republicans realized they would be slitting their own throats as James Dobson's patsies, and vote with the Democrats.

    But I never expected this kind of lily-livered nonsense. Three of the most extreme Republican radicals (Janice Rogers Brown, William Pryor, and Priscilla Owen) get a pass to lifetime appointments on the federal bench, and future judicial nominees "would only be filibustered 'under extraordinary circumstances,'" according to John McCain, speaking on behalf of the other 13 senators who brokered this "deal" (if you want to call it that).

    It gets worse. The full text of the agreement is available here (PDF link), and the terms are everything the Republican radicals could have wanted.

    The first laugher comes in the second sentence of the first paragraph: "This memorandum confirms an understanding among the signatories, based upon mutual trust and confidence..."

    "Mutual trust and confidence"? In the Republican majority? What have these people been smoking, and where can I get some to make the rest of the next three years bearable? I'd have thought that the last five years dealing with these radical extremists would have demonstrated beyond anyone's capacity to doubt that these people cannot be trusted to do anything except that which is either in their political interest or that which is decreed by the even more extreme radicals running the show (Dobson, Robertson, Falwell, Norquist, et aliae).

    The next interesting bit comes in Part II.B:

    In light of the spirit and continuing commitments made in this agreement, we commit to oppose the rules changes in the 109th Congress, which we understand to be any amendment to or interpretation of the Rules of the Senate that would force a vote on a judicial nomination by means other than unanimous consent or Rule XXII.

    Translated from the bureaucratese: "OK, we'll give you the filibuster for now. Come the 110th Congress, all bets are off."

    And while they "encourage" the executive branch to consult with both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate prior to submitting a judicial nomination, they make no guarantees that such consultations will either take place or involve all parties--or that they will be substantive in any way. In other words, the preznit will keep sending up more and more radical wingnuts to the federal bench, and the spineless Republicans in Congress will vote to confirm them--and to hell with the Constitution, with ethics, with the rules of the Senate or even of common sense, because the preznit must be allowed to fuck over the country completely.

    It's signed by a group I'm going to start calling the Felonious Fourteen, two of whose signatures I can't make out clearly. But here are the bad boys and girls who perpetrated this miscarriage of justice on the American people: Benjamin Nelson, Mike DeWine, ???, Susan Collins, Mark Pryor, Lindsey Graham (who, along with DeWine is already talking about how if anybody dares to propose another filibuster, they'll just come right back and vote on the nuclear option again--so much for the spirit of compromise, eh?), Lincoln Chafee, John McCain, John Warner, Robert Byrd, Mary Landrieu, Olympia Snowe, Ken Salazar, and ???. A pox on all their houses.

    (Cross-posted from Musing's musings.)

    Sunday, May 22, 2005

    It's crunch time 

    I'm not 100% convinced they'll actually do it, because I still don't think Senator Cat-Killer has all the votes he needs to go "nuclear." However, the radical Republicans in the Senate leadership have scheduled a floor vote for Tuesday on the renominated Republican wingnuts Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown. It is anticipated that if the zealots cannot reach the necessary 60 votes to close debate on whichever nomination they take up first, they will pull the trigger on the "nuclear option" on Wednesday.

    What this boils down to is nothing less than the survival of the Constitution all of those radical Republicans swore to uphold. They are threatening the very heart of our system of checks and balances that has functioned exactly as the Framers intended it should since the founding of this republic in 1789. And whether or not the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party actually goes nuclear, I think the principles on which our government was founded are worth fighting for.

    As usual, the Republicans are lying. The radicals in the Republican leadership would have us believe that the filibuster is unconstitutional, when in fact it is the "nuclear option" which violates the Constitution.

    The radicals in the Republican leadership would have us believe that the Constitution requires an "up or down vote" on all nominees. Funny, but I've never seen that provision in the text, and I've read it on many occasions. Neither did the Republican radicals--many of them the same ones leading the charge for the "nuclear option"--10 years ago when they used all manner of extra-legal tricks ("blue slips," anonymous holds, etc.) to block 62 of President Clinton's judicial nominees from receiving what they now allege was their constitutional due.

    The radical Republicans go on and on about two hundred years' worth of tradition. But they don't seem to have any problems with President Bush tossing all of that tradition overboard by renominating candidates who had already been rejected by the Senate.

    MoveOn PAC is trying to gather 500,000 signatures on a petition that will be brought to the Congress every three hours, from Monday morning until the final vote is completed. As of this writing, they're at only five percent of that goal. If you can, I urge you to sign the petition, spread the word, and give them a little turkee if you have it to spare.

    The radical Republicans and their allies on the theocratic right have repeatedly demonstrated their willingness to lie, cheat, distort, and steal in order to get what they want--which is nothing short of the complete overthrow of our constitutional system of government and the checks and balances put into place by its framers. They will literally stop at nothing to achieve their nefarious ends. We cannot allow them to succeed. A little time and a few spare pennies if you have them are surely worth it to stop these radical zealots in their tracks.

    Yet if, by some unhappy circumstance, they should prevail and eliminate the filibuster, let us warn them to expect retribution in full measure for their crimes. If they go "nuclear," we must work to guarantee that they lose the majority in Congress in 2006, and the White House in 2008--at which point the Democratic Party should begin to nominate all the ACLU lawyers, all the environmentalists, all the pro-choice activists, all the anti-business candidates it can come up with. Let the Republican radicals then squirm in impotence as all of those candidates are confirmed by a Democratic Senate they can do nothing to stop.

    There's an old, old saying that these Republican radicals have forgotten about. It goes like this: "Be careful what you ask for. You just might get it." Our first goal should be to stop these hateful people in their tracks. Failing that, we must serve out to them the revenge they justly deserve for what they will have done to this formerly great nation.

    Cross-posted from Musing's musings.