Progressive Programmer

Progressive Politics or idle geek banter. What's on my mind when I'm irked, intrigued, bored or up too late.

Location: Michigan, United States


That's why they play the games

I'm on my way to lunch this afternoon in NC, and the sometimes-political, sometimes-apolitical AM talk show (Brad and Britt) runs a brief advertising clip from the morning's broadcast:
Host A - I wonder if these stupid democrats are gonna try and filibuster the Alito nomination, they're only delaying the inevitable.

Host B - They already delayed it--they delayed it for a week.

Now, this pissed me off.

Yes, the odds of successfully using the filibuster to cast BTK Sammy in with the dust bunnies of history were all but nil.

Yes, the democrats that attempted to push the filibuster knew this.

Yes, so did the rest of America.

But as a friend of mine used to be all too fond of saying on Mondays during football season, "That's why they play the games."

I was reminded of the Carolina Hurricanes vs the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals back in 2002. Noone anticipated the matchup. The Hurricanes had toughed out a long playoff stretch, coming back against Montreal from a 3-goal deficit to regain playoff momentum that lasted right into the finals. The Red Wings, on the other hand, were stacked. They had Yzerman, Lidstrom, Shanahan, Federov, Chelios, Hasek, Hull, Larionov. The Red Wings were picked to win from the drop of the puck of the season opener.

The Hurricanes knew about the Wings. The Hurricanes knew they were outmatched and outgunned. The Hurricanes knew that they faced at least 5 or 6 hall of famers, a team that had won 2 cups in a row a few years back. A perennial favorite with a huge payroll. A storied franchise. A team that was led by the greatest coach in the history of the game, Scotty Bowman.

Most people looked at the Hurricanes as a joke. Hockey in North Carolina? The Canes even had trouble keeping the ice frozen in their arena because it was so hot outside--they had never played that far into the post-season before. How dare this upstart franchise (spirited out of Hartford, where they were the Whalers--still a touchy subject up there in CT) try and come into Hockeytown? Didn't anyone tell them the Wings were guaranteed to win?

Well, yes.

Everyone told them. Everyone kept telling them.

But they still showed up for the games.

They won the first game 3-2 in overtime. They took the 3rd game into triple overtime in what is still regarded as a finals classic. But they lost the series in five games. They lost, just like everyone said they would.

It was thrilling. It was unforgettable. And they still lost. Just like everyone said they would. Leading up to it, I never heard a single Wings fan say, "I wonder if these stupid Hurricanes are going to try and win the series." I never heard anyone say, "I can't believe those stupid Hurricans tried to win the series." To the victor goes the spoils, and so you have to prove you should be the victor by, well, winning.

There are a great many classic underdog, David v Goliath moments in sports. And you don't hear Americans wishing they never happened. You hear Americans cheering on the underdog--congratulating them on a tough fight. You hear them recount the classic game/match/series/race. You see their eyes widen and their face light up. You hear the emotion in their voice as they try to push their emotional joy or heartbreak onto you, giving you a piece of what they already see as legend.

That's the America I love. That's the America I want for my children. And that's the America the far right, filibuster-bashers want to squash like a bug.

To them, elections, Senate rules, constitutional obligations, voters--these are a nuisance that stands in the way of their power. They would much rather have victory handed to them so they didn't have to bother playing the game at all.

But what the hell is the point in that? Not only is it one dull-ass game, it's not what the founders of my America had in mind. That's why they set up the system the way they did, and that's why the democrats were right to show up for the game with every weapon they had.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


Army Kidnaps Wives of Insurgents to Use as Bait

Will the list of things I should be ashamed of ever stop getting longer?

In one case, a secretive task force locked up the young mother of a nursing baby, a U.S. intelligence officer reported. In the case of a second detainee, one American colonel suggested to another that they catch her husband by tacking a note to the family's door telling him "to come get his wife."

I know, over the next few days--if the media actually picks up this story and runs with it for a day or two--I will hear a lot of pundits and LGFers and assorted other whackos tell me why I should support this kind of behavior b/c I should be oh, so scared that I should be willing to give up a little more decency for the sake of my "safety".

"During the pre-operation brief it was recommended by TF personnel that if the wife were present, she be detained and held in order to leverage the primary target's surrender," wrote the 14-year veteran officer.

He said he objected, but when they raided the house the team leader, a senior sergeant, seized her anyway.

But that won't work. I'll still be ashamed.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention

Mr. President, we must not allow a gay-bashing gap!

The culture of life is really the culture of White Christian Heterosexual Males who hate or fear those not like them and deeply adore the unborn and braindead that are incapable of telling the pandering bigots to stop trying to represent them.

You see, the insider-trading Bill Frist plans to Bring in da' Homophobia on the Senate floor just in time to rile up some gay-bashin' good times.

Can someone explain how gay marriage harms heterosexual marriage? I'm still waiting for that, cuz I just don't get it. 2 women married to each other, or 2 men married to each other aren't gonna do a thing to my marriage or my kids. I just don't get it. Who can blame them with a shitty economy that keeps gettin' shittier (if you can look past the damned numbers-games they float to the press), they just want to codify their affections and get the same tax and health care breaks the rest of us can get. So what's the harm?

Oh, now I remember.

Elections are coming up. Republicans haven't done anything they didn't fuck up. Bush is the anti-Midas.

Best to find a minority to bash for political gain. Best to degrade American politics into an argument over who hates minorities the most (an argument which thankfully will ALWAYS be won by anti-American Republicans like Frist).

For God's sake, do NOT talk about Iraq, Osama, Illegal Wiretaps, Abramoff, Downing Street, Katrina, Alito, Iran, North Korea, the Medicare Prescription Drug fiasco, the Economy, riDICKulously expensive health insurance, or anything else that actually affects the lives of Americans and serves as a perfect example of how ineffective, ineffectual, incapable and, most-of-all, un-American the wholly-Republican-controlled mess has become.

They have absolutely nothing, nothing to run on except two things: fear of terrorism and fear of peepee touching peepee owners.

It's not a sign of the times for America. It's a sign of their willingness to literally scare up some votes. It's a sign of the sad, sad state into which these piss-poor governors have driven our political discourse. It's a sign of their one true fear--that the American Everyman will stand back and notice just how lousy Republicans have been at their jobs.

With no record, Republicans will instead resort to sleight-of-hand, distracting the masses from profound and devastating failures by announcing their intentions to shove a bit' o' the ol' Bible into the Constitution itself.

When you're a far-right Republican and discrimination is un-Constitutional, best to re-Constitutionalize discrimination.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


An Instant Classic

From Fafblog

My favorite two Q&As:
Q. How does a War Bill become a War Law?

A. It all begins with the president, who submits a bill to the president. If a majority of both the president and the president approve the bill, then it passes on to the president, who may veto it or sign it into law. And even then the president can override himself with a two-thirds vote.


Q. Is the president above the law?

A. Nobody's above the law! As commander-in-chief the president just outranks the law.

Frickin' hilarious.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


Of Sheep and Men

Democrats and Republicans, I'm sure, will be united on this point. No bargaining with bin Laden, and he's still got to answer for killing 3,000 Americans in New York.

But the far lefties ought to pay attention to the other things he said. He was quoting our own far left and Europe's as they have cheered the polls showing Americans support for the war waning, that some Americans want to pull out from Iraq.

There's something that doesn't sit right with me when, on the day Osama Bin Laden resurfaced in a disturbing audio tape, cable television ends up in a game of name calling as a war protester is compared to Osama Bin Laden.

That's reason to be outraged - but even more outrageous is the fact that in a flurry of sound bites what was lost was a real discussion of the fact that more than four years after the devastating attacks of 9/11, more than four years after George Bush boasted we wanted Osama "dead or alive," more than a year after Osama Bin Laden showed his hateful face in yet another video, this barbarian is still very much alive and boasting of additional attacks against the United States.

Kerry is right. The first words out of every Democrat's mouth should be, "Where's Osama?". The first words out of Republican and Media maws have been to compare Osama's words to those of Democrats and to remind Americans that they should be frightened of the big, scary Osama Boogeyman. If Americans are really so scared of Osama and Al Qaeda, why aren't they demanding Bush bring him to justice forthwith? Why did they vote for Bush when Osama was still out there, scaring them? Perhaps because we don't remind them enough. Kerry reminded them during the campaign and the debates, but it wasn't central to the theme.

Personally, I can not think of one single thing, foreign, domestic, economic, *anything* that Bush has done right. Bush is the **anti** Midas. But the most glaring of all failures is the fact that Osama has been left to his own devices.

Not pointing this out will help enable the Republicans to run on the War on Terror again, twisting the truth and the facts to their will through a pliable media.

Iraq is not the "Central Front in the War on Terror" as Bush would like us to believe. Osama is. Anything in Iraq is secondary and consequential of the failed execution of an irresponsible and manufactured war.

Iraq has gone poorly and polling shows a majority of Americans are unhappy. Reminding them Osama is missing will not play into Republican hands, it will point out Republican failure. Unless Americans have this point driven home repeatedly, we might have another disappointing evening in November.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


Will someone give these guys the Internets?

As John at Americablog notes, Hillary Clinton doesn't deserve so much slamming. At least she was talking to a crowd that really understands the comment.


I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


The Problem, clearly, is the Democrats

Is Chris Matthews on the take?

No amount of dem-bashing is enough for him these days.

It's not : President Bush broke the law when he eavesdropped on Americans without getting a FISA warrant either before or after doing so.

It's : Isn't breaking the law part of the job?

In your America, Chris. Not mine. I remember when Republicans would impeach a President for breaking a law.

It's not : The Republican members of the Judiciary Committee sat by and did little to fulfill their constitutional obligation of "advise and consent". They sat there and let Bush's go-to guy for usurping legislative power glide through.

It's : The Democrats are so disorganized. They tried to make him out to be a bigot instead of making him out to be a conservative.

Excuse me, but the time will soon come when Alito hears a case in which the Administration argues that it has the right to break the law during a time of undeclared war because the President is the "commander-in-chief" and he just so happened to jot a few notes next to his signature when he signed a bill into law. It may be a close vote but we know on which side Alito will fall. Unless a heretofore conservative justice flips (with sage reason) and turns back the Administration, a precedent will be set that says the President CAN break the law in war-time. But since this isn't a time of declared war any Executive in the future will note the case as precedent whether war-time or not. When this case comes down, the Republicans will need to take a 10 day recess to stare at themselves in the mirror and weep at how they handed their branch of government over to the Executive.

Be careful what you wish for, Republicans. You just might get it.

It's not : Jack Abramoff is the tip of the Republican Corruption iceberg. It provides an example of how the Republicans have taken the legislature of this country down a path of quid pro quo and payoffs made all the more feasible by committees that won't even order ethics reviews when Tom Delay requests that his own connection to Abramoff be investigated. This is the penultimate example of single-party-Republican-rule gone bad.

It's : Democrats took some money from Abramoff Clients as well as Republicans. They can't seem to make the case to the American people that this is a Republican scandal.

Of course they can't. Every person on my TV keeps reminding me that Democrats took money from Abramoff Clients. They keep failing to mention that NO DEM took $$ from Abramoff himself. The Republican media watchdogs have been trying to scare the Press for the last 20 years into providing either a) a Republican slant, or b) a he-said, she-said faux equivalency take on the news, even when doing so is either disingenuous or an outright lie. They prefer the former but happily accept the latter. This is paying off in spades in this and other current stories.

It's not : Murtha is a war hero and Republicans are impugning him just like they did John Kerry. Why do Republicans hate war heroes?

It's : They tried bringing Murtha out as the guy that could tell the truth to the American people and have it come from an unimpeachable, respected source, and it's backfiring.

There's a great series on Kos called Fighting Dems (link isn't perfect via the tag, but they're in the ensuing pages) that highlights all of the Iraq (and other war) vets coming home to run as Democrats against the Republicans they've come to loathe. When the Republicans begin impugning their war accollades can we please hear someone in the media come on the air, mouth agape at the unmitigated gaul? Can we please hear about the unrivaled hypocrisy? Can we hear mention of the double-think? Can someone cover the tear-filled, sad laughter that one has to let out when Republicans claim the Iraq war was a good thing? That our brave men and women are all heroes? And that while a government controlled entirely by Republicans lied the troops into battle and failed to equip them, they had also crossed their fingers? That they had silently reserved a right to ridicule them as not being wounded enough? That they had planned to cut taxes on the wealthy and therefore had to cut veterans benefits? That they planned to put the troops on a merry-go-round of unending tours due to an utter lack of accurate planning?

Republicans won't even welcome our troops as liberators when they come back from Iraq.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


I hit #13 for 2005 on Kos - Navel Gazing

Which is amazing to me. Astonishing and silly all at once.

The Bush anti-response to Katrina made me ill, having been in that very convention center only a few months earlier. I reacted by spewing out a diary that people responded to and for that I was briefly proud and thankful.

All of the recommendations on that post inspired me to post almost daily for a little while. But then work, my wife, and my 2 kids kept me where my time was most needed.

That anyone can have a job, a life, AND be as prodigious as some bloggers on Kos and elsewhere is a tribute to their determination and dedication.

But what amazes me the most, is the willingness to sift through all of the bullshit the administration, its minions, and a large fraction of the compliant media pushes.

I can't see how one does it without becoming so distraught and despondent that one gives up.

Sits down.

And hopes it all has to go right eventually because it all *HAS* to go right eventually, doesn't it?

Will it?

I also threw this up as a comment to jotter's stats post.