Awake just to participate in some fun

Vickery at my polling place

GOP Culture of Corruption hits Chicopee

Fair Districts

Vickery v. Miers

Electability Proven

Deval Patrick Blog

Romney's Flood Control Credentials

Advocate on PDM and Patrick

PDM Endorses Deval Patrick

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Northampton Local

I used to sometimes take a break from current events to plug some Northampton local artists/events etc. Here's a short review of stuff I've done in Northampton lately.

Arjuna Greist: You seriously need to check her out if she plays near you -- I've been obsessing over her CD odd numbers lately. This is her website -- She is playing at Harry's in Northampton this Sunday (July 13th). Highly recommended. suck & blow is a personal favorite and has the following lyric
what is it with me and addictive personalities?
allergic, semi-vegan, mostly substance-free me,
drawn to potheads and drunks like breath into lungs,
smokelaced and lingering between the pink folds --
could it be that i'm jealous of such constant devotion?
every day sucking in, every day blowing out,
it's gross and disgusting and bad for your health yet still you pay money,
and I give it up free.

but, anti-smoker me loves ...
... for giving half your paycheck to trent lott & jesse helms
and then asking them to please kill you and anyone else who doesn't leave despite the smell
but now i'm just going off on my favorite pet peeve
and I still don't know the answer, but perhaps it's just as well.

Love, art, politics, poetry -- you'll get it all on odd numbers (check out normal is and bad little soldier too, if you listen to clips)

Amy Gutman: a friend and neighbor has a new book: The Anniversary, a mystery/serial killer novel set in Tennessee, NY, Maine and a fictional Northampton. Just finished it. Lot's of surprises and local Western Massachusetts references (like contra dancing at The Guiding Star Grange in Greenfield). Gun-rights activists will enjoy her very positive portrayal of gun ownership, responsibility, and necessity.
The clerk looked up at her.
"Where it says reason for request, you put down personal protection."
"You'll need to speak with Lieutenant Lambert."
" that standard? Talking to him, I mean?"
"If you want a gun for personal protection. Not if it's for target practice."
Check out her website.

The New Century Theatre: I saw The Tale of the Allergist's Wife a couple of weeks ago -- this week you can see Kenneth Tigar (Hey, it's that guy) in Copenhagen. Check out their site. I am already planning on seeing Proof (which is a great play -- and this is a very good ensemble).


Anybody Who Quotes Machiavelli is OK With Me

I just had a short but cordial email exchange with the Armed Prophet over a comment I made at the Scrum regarding their analysis of meetup, which I somewhat address below. After the exchange I went over to his site -- I found his post on Liberals spitting on the graves of dead conservatives somewhat embarrassing.
As I said above, I really don't like to generalize about the relative demeanors of each side -- both have their share of extremists -- but I can't recall the last time conservatives noticeably rejoiced over anyone's death.

Make of all this what you will, but Armed Prophet does feel safe saying one thing for sure: liberals like to wrap themselves in rhetoric about tolerance and understanding in spite of differences, but too often they don't live up to it -- and boy do they have a mean streak.

Matt Singer at NotGeniuses wrote about this a couple of weeks ago.
I've been away from the computer for a while and somehow missed the news of Strom Thurmond's death until Friday evening and did not have a chance to comment until now.

I heard a comment from a liberal friend that bothered me, however. It was something along the lines of "Good Riddance."

That's a statement unbefitting of anyone who claims to have respect for our political process. Strom Thurmond held many positions I disliked. He served in the U.S. Senate for far longer than he should have (based on his ailing health).

But we should never find ourselves rejoicing in the loss of another.

Anyway, I believe that putting aside the extremists (as good conservatives have with Ann Coulter and Michael Savage) is a good practice, and we on the left should take this criticism seriously.

Bad at Math

I have a friend who says that Las Vegas is the best place on earth because it ruthlessly punishes people who are bad at math. Unfortunately, even though you can avoid Las Vegas, you still can't avoid learning some math. Here is a case in point. Over at The Scrum, they are purporting to show (with statistics) that Dean is weak in Red states. Read it if you want, but it's nonsense. There is even an update that says Kerry is stronger in MI and FL based on his meetup numbers. Here are the raw numbers of meetupers in MI and FL.

Ann Arbor29310
Broward County19236
St. Pete14201
West Palm Beach25192

You can say whatever you want and do whatever you want to pass off as "analysis", but it's all nonsense if you conclude that Kerry is stronger than Dean in MI and FL by meetup numbers alone.

Tops in Missives

NohoMissives is the top link when you search for "missives" on Google (my logs show a visitor who got to me this way, just looking for any old missives, I guess).

Questions for Ari Fleischer

Here are some questions I'd like asked:
Or maybe we can just have an investigation.

Why Only Admit it Now

Here is an article from March 8th in the Washington Post
Some Evidence on Iraq Called Fake
U.N. Nuclear Inspector Says Documents on Purchases Were Forged

A key piece of evidence linking Iraq to a nuclear weapons program appears to have been fabricated, the United Nations' chief nuclear inspector said yesterday in a report that called into question U.S. and British claims about Iraq's secret nuclear ambitions.

Documents that purportedly showed Iraqi officials shopping for uranium in Africa two years ago were deemed "not authentic" after careful scrutiny by U.N. and independent experts, Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the U.N. Security Council.
The money quote comes further on
"We fell for it," said one U.S. official who reviewed the documents.
Yes, we did.

Bush Did Not Lie

This is the White House statement today:
"There is other reporting to suggest that Iraq tried to obtain uranium from Africa. However, the information is not detailed or specific enough for us to be certain that attempts were in fact made."
I mean, it really does depend on what the meaning of "is" is.

Busy Day

Head on over to DeanNation and contribute to $10,000 Tuesday -- the Unofficial Dean Blog's DeanTeam pot.

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And call your representatives today about the rolling back FCC Media Ownership rules -- Democracy has never been this easy.

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I read this article in the Economist last week (subscribers only)
Pro-market, not pro-business

Governments should keep their distance from businesses and their bosses

After detailing abuses around the globe and listing out the various ex-business members of the Bush Administration and the effects (Cheney's Energy Task Force, Snow's pay, 40 of the 200 "pioneers" have jobs in the government, the heads of the Navy and Air Force were recruited from defense firms, etc, etc.) The Economist asks
What is wrong with all this? Surely, now that it is agreed that socialism doesn't work and that direct government ownership is usually disastrous, politicians should work closely with businessmen? After all, they are the ones who know how to make things happen and to create jobs.

They are. But that is what, as far as possible, they should be left to do, in competition with one another and at arm's length from government. The job of a chief executive is to make profits for his company and, no doubt, feather his own nest; it is not to make public policy--especially in his own industry, for that is where his selfish interests will be greatest. Inviting him to advise government, or listening to his views about promoting share options to help his industry, is sure to divert public policy to private ends. This is not the fault of executives or their companies; it is the fault of government.

The whole article is an excellent argument for the proper role of government in a capitalist society. Promote competition, transparency, free-markets, but not specific businesses or business in general at the expense of the markets. This is the problem with the GOP and to some extent, the DLC, but although business can influence government through money, they still don't get a vote. And, if you give even a small amount to candidates you support, and get others to do the same, they won't have much influence with their money either -- this is the lesson of the Dean campaign and the effort to roll back FCC Media Rules, so join in now -- Contribute to Howard Dean through the DeanNation -- Call your Representatives about the FCC rules.