Monthly Archives: January 2005

Mission Accomplished Part Deux

“Bush declares Iraq election a victory for democracy.”

versus

(Prof. Cole)

Iraq now faces many key issues that could tear the country apart, from the issues of Kirkuk and Mosul to that of religious law. James Zogby on Wolf Blitzer wisely warned the US public against another “Mission Accomplished” moment. Things may gradually get better, but this flawed “election” isn’t a Mardi Gras for Americans and they’ll regret it if that is the way they treat it.

Lou Joins The NHL Lockout Talks

From Yahoo: “The same lower-level groups that met last week were at it again, with one exception: New Jersey Devils CEO and general manager Lou Lamoriello joined the talks at the NHLPA’s request.

Lamoriello, a member of the NHL’s negotiating committee, is respected by the union and viewed as a person who wants to make a deal.”

Of course, because Lou is involved we will never know what his involvement was unless it is succssful. I can hear him now: “If there is an agreement that works for both sides we will take it, if there is not we won’t.” It is that sort of taciturn blandness that has always made the NY press hate him, even though his on-ice product constantly defeats that of the cartoon character Milbury and the dolt Dolan. Lou is bad copy.

If Lou does somehow forge a compromise that allows the season to start, will the NHL reward him for saving their bacon by, perhaps, finally letting go of the officiating bias against the Devils stemming from the great Koharski “eat a donut you fat pig” brouhaha of 1988?

No, I’m still not over the flagrant clutching, grabbing and stick holding the Avalanche defensemen got away with in 2001.

Oh how I miss ice hockey!

Are they starting to get it?

The frontal assault on Condoleeza Rice and (perhaps) Alberto Gonzales shocks me. I never expected this from Dems in the senate. Maybe a lone Representative. I’m impressed.

Maybe they’ve finally realized that people respond to guts, not nuts’n’bolts.

YES: Rice is a liar.

NO: Ms. Rice mischaracterized her statement on the AR-5RT [whatever] issue.

YES: The Republicans cost America jobs.

NO: The President needs to reconsider his objection to the Helms Amendment on SB 13.

Conservatives for Dr. Dean

Howard Dean appears to be the early front-runner for the DNC Chairmanship and already the DLC crowd, who have squandered every biannual election since 1998, are wringing their hands about him being too liberal.

It is odd how Dr. Dean got stuck with the liberal moniker. His only overt, Wellstonian leftism, is his early opposition to the second Iraq war and his interest in Universal Healthcare, which he shares with the defeated Kerry and the victorious Clinton. As an elected official, Dr. Dean has been a moderate leader of a left of center state.

Also, for a liberal, he is mighty popular with conservatives. The State Chairmen of the Democratic Party from Vermont and Washington State have endorsed him, no surprise there; but so have the chairmen from Mississippi, Oklahoma, Utah and the entire Florida Delegation. While I can’t claim to know a lot about the politics of the Democratic Party in those states, it is fair to assume that they are more “conservative” (with the possible exception of Florida).

So what gives? Well, I think that these conservatives realize the Dr. Dean’s liberalism is a liberalism of style. Back when Democrats actually competed and won in Mississippi, Oklahoma and Utah they were not afraid to stand up for core principles because it was the right thing to do and they were willing to take political risk to make change. Witness FDR rallying the public to support his court-packing scheme:

“Here is one-third of a nation ill-nourished, ill-clad, ill-housed – now! Here are thousands upon thousands of farmers wondering whether next year’s prices will meet their mortgage interests – now! Here are thousands upon thousands of men and women laboring for long hours in factories for inadequate pay – now! If we would keep faith with these who had faith in us, if we would make Democracy succeed, I say we must act – now!”

FDR lost that battle, but he won the war in 1940.

These conservatives know that Dr. Dean isn’t there to dictate his polices to each state, he is there to elect Democrats. His declaration that the Democratic Party will compete at every level nationally has probably also contributed to his support in conservative states. That he has been able to out-maneuver his moderate competitors in winning this conservative backing is proof positive of his tactical skills. After all, for all of the DLC talk about putting a moderate face on the party, the Democrats have been losing ground in Red states since Clinton was elected. What these Red state (former Blue Dog) Democrats realize is that the party needs to be led not by a pusillanimous jellyfish who will find a “reasonable” compromise on privatizing social security, but a pugnacious champion who will take the fight to the Republicans in every state at every level – now!

The Local Protests

The patchouli and brimstone crowd was out in force in my neck of the woods yesterday chanting and sloganeering away to mark their displeasure at the Bush inaugural. I generally agree with them, but waving fists only demonstrates veracious disagreement (which everyone knows about anyway), it won’t change anything. Also, it makes it very difficult for those of us who want to solve problems, not just complain about them, to study. Why does protesting have to be accompanied by ear drum-shatering, tooth-filling vibrating, horrendous techno music?

Where’s Pete Seeger when you need him?

Boxer: Stingin' like a bee; other Dems, dancin' like a butterfly

Apparently, at least one Democratic Senator has visited Dr. Dean’s reverse-spondylectomy clinic (for those of you in Red States, that wood bee a ree-verse back-bone ree-moval.) That Senator is, I’m proud to say, the one person whose oval I filled in on Nov. 2 (running for a major office) that won: Barbara Boxer of California.

First, she made sure that there would be no deja vu of Farenheit 9/11′s “The Senate is missing” scene (of course, the Republican leadership missed its chance to let John Kerry preside over the joint session!). That was a mostly empty gesture, but it is a stand up one.

Second, she voted no on Condi. She explained recently to Salon that different Senators have different standards. Well, isn’t that nice? Did the Republicans have different standards in voting to impeach or remove my President? Only what the polls told them. If the Democrats see that 58% of Americans are freaked out about Iraq, then every single one should have voted against one if its main architects, regardless of their “standard” for cabinet appointments. Besides, even if they did feel Bush should get his appointees, nothing they could do would stop it.

It will break my heart if Obama turns out to be a Feinstein instead of a Boxer.

Inauguration Day

“You don’t know me from the wind

you never will, you never did

I am the little jew

who wrote the Bible

I’ve seen the nations rise and fall

I’ve heard their stories, heard ‘em all

but love’s the only engine of survival

Your servant here, he has been told

to say it clear, to say it cold:

‘It’s over, it ain’t goin’ any further’

And now the wheels of heaven stop

you feel the devil’s riding crop

Get ready for the future: it is murder!”

- Leonard Cohen, “The Future”

An interesting article appeared recently (Detroit Free Press via Yahoo!). Apparently, a group of Canadian fans is gearing up a legal fight to take the Stanley Cup back from the NHL to Canada.

This is the best idea to come out of the lockout. You see, the Cup was given in trust; the trustees later turned it over to the NHL, so long as the NHL was a top league. If it doesn’t exist or isn’t playing, that should mean that the AHL is the top league under the [British] crown (otherwise, you’d have to say Swedish Elite). If the Stanley Cup is the symbol of the fans, then the fans should take it back from the NHL. The players, the commissioner, and the owners have broken that trust.

It would certainly give the voiceless a voice if the NHL could not have a lockout or else face not playing for the Stanley Cup when they came back.