Friday, April 20, 2007


Some Pander, Please, With A Side Dish of Conspiracy

How wonderful that Democratic presidential candidates treate black audiences with such maturity and intelligence, as evidenced here by Joe Biden's Thursday address at Al Sharpton's National Action Network conference:

Joe Biden, who followed the former president to the podium, jokingly thanked him for warming up the audience and said he'd also "warmed up the presidency" for him.

Biden, the Senate Foreign Relations committee chairman, called for military action to resolve the killing in Darfur and promoted his plan for peace in Iraq that would divide the country along ethnic lines.

He said Republicans - from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to President Bush and White House political adviser Karl Rove - had "wallowed in the politics of polarization."

"I would argue, since 1994 with the Gingrich revolution, just take a look
at Iraq, Venezuela, Katrina, what's gone down at Virginia Tech, Darfur, Imus.
Take a look. This didn't happen accidentally, all these things," he said.
Oh, really? So the administration intentionally whipped up Hurricane Katrina?...gave Cho the weapons and mental sickness to go kill 30-some people...encouraged Sudan Muslims to go slaughter the blacks in Darfur?

And how many administration officials went on Imus -- as opposed to Democratic Senators, including Joe Biden?

Speaking of 1994, does Biden also think that the Rwanda genocide -- which Bill Clinton did nothing to stop that year -- also "didn't happen accidentally"?

(Thanks to long-time RT observer ERA for the heads-up.)

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Friday Trivia! "April showers" edition

First, the answers from last week's trivia (no one got all of them):

1. On a Friday the 13th in 1307, what group had all their members in France arrested under orders from King Philip IV of France? The Knights Templar
2. After today, when is the next occurrence of a Friday falling on the 13th day of the month?
3. Who is the only actor from the original Friday the 13th movie who has his name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? Kevin Bacon
4. In the year 13 A.D., who was the emperor of Rome? Augustus
5. Which rock band released the album 13 in November of 1970? The Doors

This week's trivia:

1. What was the first song released from Peter Gabriel's 1986 album So AFTER the single Big Time?

2. Which battle was Field Marshall Arthur Wellesley best known for?

3. Who was the first running back in NFL history to gain over 1,000 yards rushing for three different teams?

4. What song, first featured in the movie The Hollywood Revue of 1929, later became the title and theme song of a 1952 musical?

5. The Rolling Stones got their name from what musician's 1950 song, Rollin' Stone?


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Thursday, April 19, 2007


AGAG On Parade

For those so inclined, summaries and video clips of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' Senate testimony over the U.S. attorneys' firings can be found here.

Things got off to a rough start with a sharp exchange between Gonzales and Arlen Specter.

UPDATE: The Corner's Byron York calls Gonzales' testimony "disastrous." CNN quotes administration official that Gonzales was "going down in flames."

UPDATE II: York's full analysis.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Open Thread

This special midweek Open Thread is here only to interrupt this Madscribe post streak on the blog. Just so you guys know that I still work here...

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An Echo, Not a Pro-Choice ...

Imus just dropped to No. 3 in the news cycle. Virginia Tech Killer still No. 1. Supreme Court might have decided something about something. Might be No. 2. Might not. Hey, what's the latest with Anna Nicole and what's-her-name in Aruba?!

Clarence Thomas: "Just say it's in the Commerce Clause, and be done with it ... "

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Simply Obama-nable

Madscribe chuckling:
Scanning the headlines this morning, I came across this link to Ben Smith's blog on Politco.Com. Just when I thought that maybe A Certain Ethnic Candidate might not be as bad as I had originally painted him, he proves my original misgivings to be correct in a recent speech in Milwaukee. In a rambling oration that plays to his (de)base(d), the Junior Senator from Illinois manages to tie every major broad theme of the left liberal Democrats (global warming, Iraq, evil corporate America) to Don Imus, and in turn, Imus' "verbal violence" to the Virginia Tech tragedy. He even managed to throw Dr. King and Selma into the pot, at the end (yes, I listened to the whole thing). How's THAT for multitasking?!

Obama deserved points, I quietly believed last week, for not jumping immediately into the Imus fracas. Some questioned (once again, and stupidly) his "blackness" for not being one of the first so-called "Black Leaders" to jump on the Imus media clusterf--k. I took it as a sign of a candidate showing maturity and thoughtful reticence in not joining a mainstream media feeding frenzy at the first sign of a microphone or camera, like the usual suspects. Then he trotted his two daughters as being "victims" of Imus' march into Poland, er, Rutgers. Stupid though that was, what politician hasn't screamed "THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!" at one time or another?

So, to the Debra Dickersons of the World: after listening to the Milwaukee speech, I've come to the conclusion that if Obama's ability to wax histrionically in vague, visceral terms without specific plans for action, yet somehow tying it all back to American Racist calumnies, doesn't prove that Mr. Chocolate Lincoln is truly a "Real Black American Leader," what does?

I find Obama's adoption of Sharpton Lite Rhetoric (plays straight, less feeling) tying Don Imus and race to a deranged killer at Virginia Tech to be sadly amusing, considering that back in his Windy City one of the formerly entrenched stalwarts of old-style race-baiting identity politics, Dorothy Tillman, was defeated yesterday in the aldermanic run-off races. For those not familiar with Chicago politics, think of her as a hat-sporting, somewhat more urbane, less batsh*t-crazy version of Cynthia McKinney. Ms. Tillman's antics during my time in the Greatest City in America (sorry, New Yorkers) included a call for slave reparations and an early 1990s very news-making imitation of Pancho Villa during a public meeting . So even as the Junior Senator adopts a more victimology-tinged hue to his speeches, some Chicagoans have decided that phantasms of white supremacy aren't enough to get support and votes (though the selection of pro-Big Labor candidates in The City That Works still bodes well for Mr. Obama's anti-Walmart thrust).

Luckily for the Senator this timeless product is still available, even in the 21st Century, for the aspiring African-American fabulist. Just ask Al ...

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Spot The Similarity

Okay, this has always bugged me since high school in the '80s. One of my favorite "obscure" groups is Badfinger. I say obscure because, as one of the first groups that the Beatles signed to their Apple record label, they never got the promotion they deserved and the group left Apple with sour grapes after just four albums.

One of my top Badfinger songs is "Day After Day." Now, as litigious as Apple Corps has been when it comes to other Beatle-related projects, I've never understood how Joe Jackson, another favorite artist, got away with lifting "Day After Day" and turning it into the second single, "Breaking Us In Two," from his 1982 mega-hit album Night and Day. Intellectual property is not an exact science, but to my lay ears it seems like Badfinger would have more of a case against Jackson than the Chiffons had against George Harrison.

So maybe this is the beginning of a new Ragged Thots feature. Lord knows, there's only so much a rock star can do with repetitive tonic chords before something gets repeated.

For the Prosecution:

For the Defense:

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Retro Record Moment

For some reason, this song and video kept running through my head, lately. Seems appropriate:

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Bloomberg's Moment?

The Virginia Tech massacre will get various gun-control and gun-rights advocates into their predictable positions. New York Daily News columnist Michael Daly can barely hold back his glee at mocking Virginia for having "lax" gun laws (others might describe it as a Second Amendment-friendly state).

I will say, however, that an incident like this is, politically, a great opportunity for a potential candidate who has made the proliferation of "illegal" guns a major point in his administration. The possibility of a Michael Bloomberg independent presidential run just increased, in my view.

The mayor visited Ohio and Kentucky last Thursday to discuss the issue. As everyone knows, there aren't that many electoral votes in Ohio, right?

UPDATE: The New York Sun's Josh Gerstein examines how the shooting makes it harder for Democrats to duck the politics of gun control, which has damaged the party with rural and Southern voters in recenet years. Still, the NRA shouldn't be crowing too much. Politics can change in the blink of an eye:

Based on the polls, there could conceivably three pro-gun control candidates running in the 2008 general election: Hillary Clinton, Rudy Clinton Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg. Now it is unlikely that Bloomberg would run were Rudy the GOP nominee.

But it's not out of the question either.

UPDATE II: The correct link has now been added to the "unlikely that Bloomberg" phrase; it's a December New York profile of Bloomberg and his possible mayoral run.

UPDATE III: The Rudy reference above was, obviously, a typo. Even despite all those marriages, there's no way Rudy would take Hillary's name...right? Um, unless there's some same-sex thing going on between Rudy and Bill...

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Obama's $tory

The full breadth of Barack Obama's first-quarter fundraising triumph is just now being realized. Dick Morris and his wife Eileen McGann list a few of the particulars:
* Hillary raised extensive contributions, certainly more than $1 million, from special-interest political-action committees (PACs) and lobbyists. Obama refused to tap this source of funding and even returned $50,000 he'd received from lobbyists.

* An estimated three-quarters of Clinton's donors have maxed out, (that is, given the legal maximum of $2,300 a person for during the primary), vs. with fewer than half of Obama's contributors, according to news reports. Most of his donors can keep giving; most of hers can't.

* Obama out-raised Clinton on the Web by 3:2. Internet money is especially valuable because it can be tapped repeatedly and quickly, as Howard Dean showed in '04.

* Hillary didn't list any expenditures for candidate travel, charter flights, makeup or hair. She may have rolled over this spending so as not to have to deplete her cash-on-hand showing.
New York magazine goes behind the scenes to track down some of the Big Apple money people making up Obama's fundraising team. Especially juicy are the insights of those making conscious decisions to go with Barack over Hillary.

There are the young guns:
But the most striking element of its composition wasn’t racial but generational: Unlike the Clinton side, which was dominated by folks in their fifties, the Obamans were mostly in their forties. “One thing we recognized early on,” says David Axelrod, the campaign’s chief strategist, “was that there is a substrata of people who in past campaigns weren’t allowed to sit at the adult table but who all of a sudden were quite formidable.”

Many of Obama’s baby bundlers cut their teeth in Bill Clinton’s administration. Mathis and Froman both worked in the Treasury Department, while Rubin, son of Bob, had been a staffer at the Federal Communications Commission. There was also Josh Steiner, another Treasury hand and now a partner of Steve Rattner’s at the Quadrangle Group. And others had no Clintonian association, but were emerging fund-raising powerhouses, such as former Goldman Sachs golden boy Eric Mindich.

At the heart of the next-gen cadre were Froman and Mathis, both law-school classmates of Obama’s. Together, they recognized that, whereas the Clinton fund-raising corps represented the financial elite tossed up by the LBO and M&A booms of the eighties, they were in a position to mine the vein of freshly minted money spawned by the hedge-fund and private- equity eruptions of the new millennium. The players behind those booms had no loyalties, and owed no debts, to the Clinton dynasty. They were looking for a candidate to call their own.

“In Barack’s speech in Selma [earlier this year],” a baby bundler says, “he talked about the Moses generation and the Joshua generation in the civil-rights movement. It’s sorta the same story here.” He continues, “If we all lined up for Hillary, we wouldn’t have even gotten into the anteroom, let alone had seats at the table—there’s no more room. It would’ve been, ‘You have an idea? Send us an e-mail and we’ll have someone get back to you. Oh, and don’t forget to send those checks.’ But that’s not how it is with Barack. We’re already at the table.”
How it must gall the Clintons to realize that they are no longer the new energetic kids on the block as they were back in 1992!

And there are the blatantly disenchanted Clintonites, including one with feeling similar to those expressed earlier this year by Hollywood mogul David Geffen:
“The first part of the calculus was about the civic good,” one former administration official tells me. “Who would be a better president? It’s a toss-up—maybe Hillary on the margin. But the likelihood is that whoever you support is going to lose, that’s just the odds, so it should matter who’d be the better candidate—I mean, better for the country. And I thought Obama, simply by being a candidate and by virtue of the policies and values he’d espouse as a candidate, had a chance to change the country. The second part is the personal: The Clintons are basically disloyal people. They have a huge track record of jettisoning people far closer to them than I am on the slightest political pretext. Loyalty has to be a two-way street. I don’t think they’ve earned the right to play the loyalty card.”
Meanwhile, The Washington Post zooms in on the fundraising veterans from Clinton and Bush past campaigns and finds many of the Bushies staying on the sidelines, not overwhelmingly taken in by any of the current GOP field.

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On Monday's "News & Notes," we discussed the missing White House e-mails and the increasing technology /celebrity/activism nexus increasingly surrounding the Darfur genocide issue.

Oh yeah, and the Confederate flag too.

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Monday, April 16, 2007


I Will Be Surprised...

...if Attorney General Alberto Gonzales ever testifies before Congress.

His scheduled Tuesday appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee was postponed, ostensibly because of the Virgina Tech shooting, until Thursday. However, ABC News has identified a teensy-weensy problem:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' assertion that he was not involved in identifying the eight U.S. attorneys who were asked to resign last year is at odds with a recently released internal Department of Justice e-mail, ABC News has learned.

That e-mail said that Gonzales supported firing one federal prosecutor six months before she was asked to leave.

Gonzales was scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, but his testimony was postponed until Thursday because of the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech University.

When Gonzales appears before the committee, a central focus will be the extent of his involvement in the firings.

Gonzales has insisted he left those decisions to his staff, but ABC News has learned he was so concerned about U.S. attorney Carol Lam's lackluster record on immigration enforcement in San Diego that he supported firing her months before she was dismissed, according to a newly released e-mail from his former chief of staff.

The e-mail, which came from Gonzales aide Kyle Sampson, appeared to contradict the prepared written testimony Gonzales submitted to Congress over the weekend in advance of his Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday.

In his prepared testimony, Gonzales said that during the months that his senior staff was evaluating U.S. attorneys, including Lam, "I did not make the decisions about who should or should not be asked to resign."

It all comes down to the definitions of "make" and "decision" and "should or should not."

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In all candor, Rudy Giuliani's stance on various social issues is NOT the main reason I'm not exactly well-disposed towards his presidential candidacy (how's that for understatement?).

But, the fact that he has a tendency to act
like an arrogant jerk -- even to those who should be his allies on other matters?

Now, that's definitely up there!

UPDATE: In fairness, Captain's Quarters obtains the transcript of Rudy's remarks and they are not as dismissive to pro-life concerns as the newspaper quote suggests. I still believe that Giuliani can act both arrogant and like a jerk, but this is not an example of that.

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Black Day in Blacksburg

Gunman kills at least 32 at Virginia Tech University, before he is slain killing himself.

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Alarming Thanks

Special shout-out to great New York blogger and pal, Karol "Queen Bee" Sheinin who both advertised my stand-up show last night -- and attended despite the ridiculous rain!

Much thanks, Karol.

With a very busy Monday (following a crazy weekend), it's light posting (pending a special essay and the Attorney General pile-on tomorrow).

Here, however, is a great post from Karol's
guest blogger John Budnick on one of my favorite candidates in the GOP presidential field, Sam Brownback, whom I respect for many of the personal qualities that John discusses.


UPDATE: A Dawn Summers review of Sunday's show!

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Sunday, April 15, 2007


The Imus Saga's Final Victim....

...succumbs many miles away from Rutgers University.

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