Saturday, January 29, 2005

I am a reform Democrat, so....

It goes without saying that because of this, I would prefer to see Howard Dean elected as the next chair of the Democratic National Committee. I believe he has what it takes to reform the party from the grassroots up. not from the old warhorses down.

This is not between liberal and moderate, as many would have you believe, it is between reformers who believe that the activists, new and old, at EVERY level, must be allowed input into rebuilding a winning Party.

Failing that, I would hope that Simon Rosenberg of the New Democratic Network would win, he is someone who is also working along the same lines, and would reach out to the grassroots and the netroots. Josh Marshall lists good reasons to support him here.

Marty Frost would make a solid United States Senator from Texas; he would be perfect to get back the seat being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison in 2006. However, he is too much of a Washington insider to lead this Party where it needs to go.

Not surprisingly, a lot of the old hangers-on who have led this party to defeat after defeat are petrified of Dean; they have no real understanding of who he is or what he's about.

Rumors that the Clintons are among those hoping for a Dean defeat may have been disspelled by the endorsement of Dean by long-time insider Harold Ickes.

Ickes stated that "I think all the candidates who are running have strong attributes, but Dean has more of the attributes than the others. Many people say Howard Dean is a northeastern liberal, he is progressive, but his tenure as governor of Vermont was that of a real moderate."

All righty, then!

Friday, January 28, 2005

Oh well, at least he hasn't caught up to John Ford yet!

As you Memphians are aware, the mayor of our city, the honorable Willie W. Herenton, announced on Thursday that he is the father of a 4-month-old child from a recent relationship. He refused to mention whether the child was male or female, or the name of the mother, or anything like this.

Surprisingly, I really don't have a problem with this; he's not denying anything, he seems ready, willing and able to start the parenting process again at the tender age of 64. OK, but when the kid graduates high school, he will be 82 YEARS OLD!! We're talking Tony Randallesque behavior here, people!

Yes, he has the resources to do this; it's not like he's a poverty-stricken teenager. Heaven knows, I'm the last guy to tell people they're too old to get busy, but this still looks unseemly. Folks, you're never too old to use a condom, but 64 is just a teensy bit late to become a father.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

No on Gonzales

This was posted at Daily Kos, and I cannot add anything to this. Bush has found the only American more ill-suited than John Ashcroft to be Attorney General.

No on Gonzales
by Armando
Tue Jan 25th, 2005 at 12:43:07 PST

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions. In this case, we, the undersigned bloggers, have decided to speak as one and collectively author a document of opposition. We oppose the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to the position of Attorney General of the United States, and we urge every United States Senator to vote against him.

As the prime legal architect for the policy of torture adopted by the Bush Administration, Gonzales's advice led directly to the abandonment of longstanding federal laws, the Geneva Convention, and the United States Constitution itself. Our country, in following Gonzales's legal opinions, has forsaken its commitment to human rights and the rule of law and shamed itself before the world with our conduct at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. The United States, a nation founded on respect for law and human rights, should not have as its Attorney General the architect of the law's undoing.

In January 2002, Gonzales advised the President that the United States Constitution does not apply to his actions as Commander in Chief, and thus the President could declare the Geneva Conventions inoperative. Gonzales's endorsement of the August 2002 Bybee/Yoo Memorandum approved a definition of torture so vague and evasive as to declare it nonexistent. Most shockingly, he has embraced the unacceptable view that the President has the power to ignore the Constitution, laws duly enacted by Congress and International treaties duly ratified by the United States. He has called the Geneva Conventions "quaint."

Legal opinions at the highest level have grave consequences. What were the consequences of Gonzales's actions? The policies for which Gonzales provided a cover of legality - views which he expressly reasserted in his Senate confirmation hearings - inexorably led to abuses that have undermined military discipline and the moral authority our nation once carried. His actions led directly to documented violations at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and widespread abusive conduct in locales around the world.

Michael Posner of Human Rights First observed: "After the horrific images from Abu Ghraib became public last year, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld insisted that the world should 'judge us by our actions [and] watch how a democracy deals with the wrongdoing and with scandal and the pain of acknowledging and correcting our own mistakes.'" We agree. It is because of this that we believe the only proper course of action is for the Senate to reject Alberto Gonzales's nomination for Attorney General. As Posner notes, "[t]he world is indeed watching." Will the Senate condone torture? Will the Senate condone the rejection of the rule of law?

With this nomination, we have arrived at a crossroads as a nation. Now is the time for all citizens of conscience to stand up and take responsibility for what the world saw, and, truly, much that we have not seen, at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. We oppose the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General of the United States, and we urge the Senate to reject him.

Monday, January 24, 2005

The SCDP follies, part 312

Yes, we are rapidly approaching the time when the Shelby County Democratic Party begins its biennial reorganization, and the bloodbath has already begun to take shape.

At the request of SCDP Chair Rep. (and would-be State Senator) Kathryn Bowers, TDP Committeeman David Upton presented a letter asking the TDP to allow Shelby County to reorganize on July 16 and 23, rather than in April, as the rest of the state does. Given that A) Big Shelby used to organize in OCTOBER and B) the rest of the state doesn't really like us anyway and could care less, it should have been a slam-dunk.


TDP Secretary (and former SCDP Chair) Gale Jones Carson protested the move; during her term, she had sought to align the SCDP more closely with the state party in reorganizations and bylaws (FULL DISCLOSURE - I DID vote for these changes while on the SCDP Executive Committee at this time). Her objection was that the SCDP ExecCom had not discussed this, while Upton said that they had in January, albeit briefly. The TDP decided, that sure, as long as the ExecCom votes for it in February, go ahead, (thinking PLEASE JUST SETTLE THIS AND LEAVE US ALONE!!!!).

I learned of this fron a Jackson Baker column in the Flyer and sent an email to my list bashing all sides and asking everyone to just quit bitching. I received a reply or two taking me to task for not blasting the "other side".

I voted for people in my district in 2003 who I knew would vote for Kathryn over Gale, and I had my reasons, which I expressed to both of them. I like Gale; she has a good heart, but after we put all of our eggs in one basket trying to elect a Democratic slate of county officials in 2002, leaving nothing for the fall elections, I decided to vote against her in the district elections. I would not change that vote today.

The fact remains, though, that every time we bash each other in public, it HURTS the party. You're not happy with the way things are being run, ORGANIZE. If you win, CELEBRATE! If you lose, just SHUT UP and support the party publicly, like I did after Howard Dean was savaged in New Hampshire.

I like everybody in the Democratic Party here; until we stop fighting, we only help the Republicans.

Flame on!