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"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

...............................................................Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Salut! Senator Franken

Gosh darn it, that feels good to say. Somewhere out there, Senators Paul Wellstone, "Clean Gene" McCarthy and the original Happy Warrior, Hubert Humphrey, are smiling. Excellence has returned to the Minnesota Senate team in full.

This temporary Minnesotan joins the celebration to say Congratulations, Senator Franken.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Panda and Panda and Panda, Oh My....

Live at the Red River Valley Zoo—which surely must now be red panda universe—the first look at the red panda triplets. Yes, triplets. Born June 11. To be on public view starting in August. Start planning your vacation now....
because it can't be all about politics and floods'n'stuff all the time.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Close Encounters of the Health Care Kind

Nothing like a medical emergency to focus the mind and the attention. Once the dust settles and the hours drag on, and you view life through a hospital window and the limited television selection [no MSNBC!] of a hospital room, you learn to appreciate the blessings and ignore the rest for a while.

But there's no ignoring the health care system these days, and we're hearing snatches of real life about it everywhere. From the caller to NPR describing how her insurance will go from some $800 a month to over $1400 if she renews. To the couple in the ER worrying in whispers whether there'll be coverage. To...well, you and I know the examples are legion.

And it's almost inconceivable that the insiders in Washington could be so oblivious or deliberately disregarding of what's going on for their fellow citizens, their constituents, their voters every single day.

Maybe you Senators and former Senators and lobbyists and industry corporatists aren't talking to us...but we're talking to each other, and we're mad as hell that we're being ignored.

You remember us...We, the people?

Or as my dear friend Kathy shared with me from the letter she sent the White House [and the

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New Stealth Attack on Judge Sotomayor?

The elite white male national attack on Judge Sotomayor was a major fail...are they now going local with white females instead?
Under the headline "Don't Rush high court decision," a new organization in North Dakota purports to have the noble purpose of "educating" we, the great unwashed ignorati who still read dead-tree papers from time to time, fronted by a well-coiffed Republican Representative who just feels so warm and fuzzy in her heart at the opportunity to reach out to her fellow North Dakotans and invite them to join her on Facebook and Twitter and learn all about that—oooooooh, that oh-so-questionable Sotomayor.

Break out the violins.

Their purpose is as transparent and honest as Lou Dobbs protesting he's got the best interests of immigrants at heart.

I commented at my local paper's website:

Rep. Hawken and her party of "No!" and stall at any cost as long as possible [see: Norm Coleman] has zero credibility on the subject of stall, stall, stall Sotomayor now that the racist campaign by the elite Washington white males has failed.

Guess the Rep. has done too much talking to the likes of Newt and Rush instead of George H.W. Bush, who originally appointed Sotomayor...and Laura Bush, who has endorsed her. And then there's all those Republican Senators who voted for her confirmation back in the day.

Sorry, Kathy, your too-obvious launch of a new partisan assault on Judge Sotomayor isn't going to play among fair-minded and reasonable people.

Just on the off-chance that this North Dakota campaign is part of a new national "beta-testing" effort by, oh, say, former North Dakotan Dick Armey's bunch a la the recent teabagging campaign, I thought I'd share this article link and ask if you're seeing anything like the North Dakota Judicial Confirmation Network in your home state.

[Just googled and for the record it's ND JCN--yep, with a space. And lookie here whose name turned up in one of their Facebook comments: Wendy Long.]

We wouldn't want these folks to think nobody's paying attention....
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Frank Rich Carries the Baton forward from Krugman

Friday I steered you to Krugman. Tonight, add Frank Rich to the mix. Finally, we are seeing the opinion writers of trad med take a long overdue stand against the media which not only enable, they egg-on their rightwing followers into violent acts.

The examples are legion of how the establishment media have played along with the hatemongering tactics, giving the cover of their brand [MSNBC-Buchanan, anyone?] to the vilest of hate speech.

Oh, and as long as we're doing examples, Frank Rich ably takes on Fox, Limbaugh and the rest of the Usual Suspects, but how about stuff like NBC and Matt Lauer? I thought Letterman's joke was a stupid joke, too. But I also spoke out about Limbaugh's jokes about Chelsea Clinton back in the day. But in their $$$$-focused eyes, giving Sarah Palin a platform to shovel her insinuations against Letterman was probably some convoluted way to tear down Conan's competition at a critical time. Never mind that it tears down public discourse.

Meanwhile, you have hatemongers like Jon Voight with the seal of approval of Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Confederacy of ReTHUGS making not so subtle comparisons to assassinated historic leaders.

Frank Rich applauds Shep Smith, but the rest of the Fox screeders continue

Friday, June 12, 2009

Prairie Recommends: Krugman on the Big Hate

We talk about it all the time here in the progressive blogosphere. But today, Krugman brings it out front and center in the New York Times. The rightwing hatemongering media machine, folks like Murdoch Media, The Washington Times, the AEI, the Heritage Foundation, the Limbaugh-O'Reilly-Hannity-Beck alliance that screeds and distorts and twists and eggs-on until we see a dead doctor, a dead security guard, family men both.

What do these purveyors of hate and division tell these victims' families? Not our fault? Politics ain't beanbag? What do they tell their own families, once the front door closes and it's just them theirownselves and their mirrors. Do they like the look of what they see? Really, Mary?

The tactics of hate. It's just words. Ask Frank Luntz, he'll tell you. Wordwhoring is the be-all-end-all, the policy doesn't matter, the truth doesn't matter, just who gets their side "out there" first and loudest. Right, Cokie?

The thing about the Big Hate is, once it gets the blessing of Teh Village, the Establishment, the "mainstream" then those folks are just as culpable. Turning a blind eye, a deaf ear, an oh, pish-posh, let's just keep it mysterious doesn't distinguish you from the vilest of the hate culture. Does it, Peggy?

Or maybe just ask the folks at Buchenwald...those who lived right next door.

Salute to Krugman for standing up to hate today...here's just a bit of what he has to say:

one important thing that the D.H.S. report didn’t say: Today, as in the early years of the Clinton administration but to an even greater extent, right-wing extremism is being systematically fed by the conservative media and political establishment.

supposedly respectable news organizations and political figures are giving aid and comfort to dangerous extremism.

Yes, the worst terrorist attack in our history was perpetrated by a foreign conspiracy. But the second worst, the Oklahoma City bombing, was perpetrated by an all-American lunatic.
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette

UPDATE: A Letterwriter in the Minneapolis Tribune notes a darker side--the RNC itself is part of incendiary speech tactics, given the cynical use of Jon Voight and his inflammatory words at their GOP dinner. Some Confederacy you're pallin' around with these days, Sister Sarah.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Healthcare--Just Imagine

Yes, just imagine. A way to cut through all the clutter and chaff of the healthcare legislation. To focus the minds of the Congress and build a new healthcare system that serves the best interests of...the patients.

Not Big Pharma. Not the AMA. Not the medical venture capitalistic hedgefunderific pillagers. Not the hypersalaried and bonused health insurance companies. Not Mr. Lunkhead's talking points.

The Patients.

Here's how to get there.

First, the Senate and House and White House immediately suspend all their health care plans and go COBRA. And when they come up with the new health care plan, it's not just our health care plan, it's theirs, too.

Kinda like making Cornyn and Schumer fly coach, I suppose.

The President made a start at building public support today with the town hall in Green Bay Wisconsin [and if anybody wants to start smacking around the "S" word, watch out for those Packer fans. They may not take kindly to aspersions on their ownership of the team that made the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field a sports legend].

So the groundwork's been laid. But Congress putting their own healthcare where their policies...and mouths...are. Now that'll focus their attention.

Just imagine how quickly and how well they'd be inspired to move.

h/t CF via Mr. Sunshine
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Prairie's Recommended Read: Stiglitz on Wall Street

Writing in the July issue of Vanity Fair, Joseph Stiglitz gives a sobering analysis of just how much damage Wall Street has done to the economic stability of the globe.

When those who call themselves free marketers are in reality freebooters, little better than pillagers and pirates [sidebar: who can't appreciate the juxtaposition with Cap'n Jack Sparrow's alter ego Johnny Depp judiciously sprinkled all over the webpage furthering the message], long past time they be clapped in irons. And I know just the little Caribbean prison to put 'em in.

After all, it's just like Club Fed, isn't it?
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

North of the Border

Obama effect? In the Middle East right after his speech there, perhaps. But that would be a stretch in Nova Scotia...although there was that first-ever international trip the President made to Toronto some months back.

Today, north of the Border, East of Ontario, for the first time ever, the NDP won. Nova Scotia has elected, well, here's the way the ruling Conservative party put it:

NDP Leader Darrell Dexter, a former journalist and lawyer, calmly and effectively persuaded voters to ignore dire warnings from the ruling Conservatives, who demonized the Opposition party as a shifty band of irresponsible, free-spending radicals.

My kind of people.

Congratulations to the folks in Nova Scotia.

And the global climate change slowly, inexorably, continues....
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette

Monday, June 8, 2009

Rush Bites Corporate Hand

Maybe it's merely Rush Limbaugh's temper tantrum, but his current call for boycotting General Motors, seems to me, should give Comcast and all his advertisers serious pause.

Everyone knows about the Magic $400 million...Rush's contract. Clear Channel's* ditch.

But not content to thrash around attempting to discredit President Obama's economic policies or SCOTUS appointment or...hmmmm, has he turned on Bo yet?...Rush more and more is attacking his own.

He wants Obama to fail. But if Obama fails, the country fails.

He wants everybody to boycott GM. And if GM fails, jobs and small businesses by the thousands fail.

Rush didn't get his way in the last election. He's ranting and fuming and bouncing up and down, fat globules following. Wanting his enemies to fail, wanting his friends to fail, wanting everybody to fail. Joining him in his twisted, self-destructive little world that all the glittery dollars and Gulfstreams cannot put a polish on.

Maybe in the boardrooms and marketing depts of major corporations they're having a good laugh at the way Rush is stickin' it to the Dems and Obama.

Or maybe, finally, they're starting to say, hey, wait a minute...what if he started talking like that about...us?
[h/t Niemoller]
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette

*corrected by PS

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Reliable Reaction: Who? One of Us?

This morning on Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz talked to Bill Press and Kathleen Parker about whether Bill O'Reilly is accountable for the murder of Kansas women's health doctor, Dr. Tiller.

I won't bore you with the apologist, he's one of us--talkers--attitude coming from all three about O'Reilly. At least Bill Press offered some caveat about being mindful of one's words.

No one disagrees that ultimately the killer [I will not name him, I will not add to his notoriety and cause celebre...] is accountable.

However, here's what's missing from the conversation. Where among all these talkers is the woman speaking out, telling why a late term abortion was a necessary medical choice for her? No, the talkers all accept as default that "late term abortion" is wrong without having any understanding of what medical conditions are at issue.

Speaking out takes courage, as one woman writing to the Minneapolis Tribune this weekend showed in describing her infant who starved within days because of a solid esophagus and intestines that were a fibrous mass. A Catholic, she chose not to terminate the pregnancy against doctor's advice. But she had the choice.

Speaking out also takes a media environment that treats

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Today Is D-Day

Sixty-five years ago today, British, American and Canadian forces landed on the beach at Normandy. There's a lot of live coverage of the ceremony today as well as President Obama's time in Germany visiting Dresden and Buchenwald.

Many sacrificed to bring us to this day, and cliche-ifying them in a pop culture label like Greatest Generation [get it, they alliterated!] is an injustice in its dumbing-down [whoa, another alliteration!] of this pivotal event in global history.

Better we set aside the microwave mindset and ponder the times our grandparents and parents endured to leave their children a better world.

Better we set ourselves about the same task...for our children, a better world.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Who Are the Most Terroristic Threats to America?

Given that Fox News mouths have decided to double-down on Bill O'Reilly's repugnant, inciteful hatemongering, perhaps it's time to ask this question:

Who are the worse terrorists inciting hate against America?

Osama bin Laden and Zawahiri?

Or Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch?
You decide.
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Prairie Recommends: Bob Herbert on the Fading Species

The hysterical hyperbole from the bulbous blowhards of the rightwing Republi-THUGS keeps getting more and more outrageous, as Bob Herbert sums up today regarding the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.

Could we hope that these puffed-up self-important gasbags may at long last overblow their hot air so much that they just explode into the stratosphere never to be seen again?

Likely not, since the Mortal Combat media is only too eager to give these sumbitchez plenty of airtime for their rantings.

The Southern Strategy has become the Latina Strategy. You know...hot-blooded, raaadical, not quite one of "us." Yep, the us vs. them strategy is in full play.

Make note, fellow Americans. Next time it could be rants against an Asian American. Or any ol' smear they can develop against someone they can paint as part of some group of "other."

I must warn the little ol' Norwegian-American ladies serving coffee at the Sons of Norway Lodge. They could be next. What are those long skirts concealing, anyway?
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette

Monday, June 1, 2009

Imus Calls Rush Tactics "Insipid"

The rightwing screederama danced in collaboration with the shallow stenomedia against Sonia Sotomayor last week, centered around a quote pulled out of the context of her thoughtful speech—heck, it was pulled out of the full sentence, even.

You know the one: "...wise Latina woman...."

This morning, Imus, musing with his cohorts back in New York from his Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer in New Mexico, described the idiocy of the attacks on her as reverse racist as "insipid."

Maybe it's the clear fresh air away from the Eastern Corridor that festers between and among the Beltway and Broadway and Wall Street crowds—we've been known to have a bit of that here in the heartland as well.

Kudos to Imus for cutting through the rabble-rants of the rightwing Usual Suspects: Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Hannity, Rove and all the rest of the predictable sand-throwers.

The GOPasaurus [h/t dKos] media may be on a collision course with death throes [oh, yes, it is....], but it still makes a stink. Good on Imus for cutting through the thunder to point out there's no "there" there. And why is NBC still, as late as yesterday's Nightly News, still perpetuating the false clipping of Sotomayor's words?

Tuesday, Debra Dickerson will be an Imus guest. I'll be watching on RFD-TV, you can catch it on radio, tv or online livestreamed.

[Do your own google homework, it's summer and I'm not link-making]
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette