Monday, July 31, 2006


A Big Conn Job

I haven't discussed (with anyone) the major political story of the summer: Joe Lieberman's primary race against Ned Lamont. Perhaps it's just because I have such a problem with getting enthusiastic about anyone named Ned. Perhaps because it seemed like something of a sideshow compared to actual pick-up opportunities in the House and Senate. It's not because I don't have a rooting interest -- I've been mad at Lieberman ever since his "what the hell?!?" debate with Dick Cheney in 2000, and certainly his words and actions with regard to the war, Schiavo, bankruptcy, the judiciary and far, far more qualify him for ouster at the hands of a still-breathing Democratic grassroots.

But now I'm pissed. This article did me in:

Letter From Washington: Democrats fear backlash as Lieberman stumbles
Albert R. Hunt Bloomberg News

Published: July 30, 2006
WASHINGTON Many of the top U.S. Democrats, including Senators Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid and Representative Rahm Emanuel, are fixated on the number 51. That's the percentage of the vote they hope Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut gets in his Aug. 8 Democratic primary election.

Lieberman, the party's vice presidential candidate just six years ago, is struggling for one reason: the Iraq war, which he strongly supports and most Connecticut Democrats just as strongly oppose.

Although Democrats will likely hold the Senate seat whether he wins or not, party figures worry about the political fallout.

"A Lieberman loss is very bad for Democrats; it says we are one dimension on Iraq," says Peter Hart, a top Democratic polltaker. "Politically, Iraq should be a debate about the Bush administration. A Lieberman defeat detracts from that."

More than a few Democrats think Hart is right. This contest is intense, irrationally so, with Lieberman's opponent, a heretofore obscure wealthy aristocrat named Ned Lamont.

Joe Lieberman is a thoroughly decent, intelligent, compassionate public figure with a solid three-term record of supporting mostly liberal positions on the environment, civil rights and social issues such as abortion and gay marriage.


Lieberman, who has always enjoyed support among Republicans and independents, would be favored in a three- way race against Lamont and the current, scandal-tarred Republican standard-bearer, Alan Schlesinger, whom party leaders would like to dump.

First of all, Peter Hart is a lunatic and clearly does not care about this country or the Democratic party. He cares about maintaining his inner-circle Democratic connections, and thus his paycheck, and apparently figures that spouting gibberish will help that cause. It's notable that among his clients are Chuck Schumer and the DSCC.

[Seems like I'm not the only one who found that Hart quote to be inscrutable.]

Second of all, what really got my dander up, and will make me root with all my might next Tuesday for a Lieberman loss, is that his shills are everywhere planting bullcrap stories like this one, which completely minimize the authenticity of popular opposition to Lieberman. Fact -- this election is far more than single-issue. It's about how Democrats should and should not act in the face of the current GOP onslaught and during the reign of the worst president of our lifetimes. It's not hard to understand, and it's disingenuous to pretend not to.

(And for what it's worth, Lieberman is anti-gay marriage; Lamont, meanwhile, is "hopeful that [Connecticut] will be one of the first [states] to enact full marriage equality. Unlike Senator Lieberman, I would have opposed the Federal ‘Defense of Marriage Act’.")

And then there's this:

In 1998, after the president acknowledged an affair with an intern, Lieberman expressed shock at his "immoral" behavior.

Lieberman was probably the only person to know Clinton for three decades and still be shocked by these revelations. Yet, as Clinton understood, the senator did the president a favor by distracting focus from the Republican plan to impeach him.

In other words, Joe is a big-ass liar. A pretender. Civility, smarts, building bridges ... they're all just code for "just another lying-ass politician". The fawning "respect" laded on him by elite insider Dems and media bigwigs is only part of the game.

Mark me down as someone who hates the game ... AND the playas.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


What Would Jesus Do - Bunt or Swing Away?

At Thursday's Braves game, bring a glove - and a Bible?

By Patrik Jonsson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

ATLANTA – After the final at-bat of Thursday's game between the Atlanta Braves and Florida Marlins, the stadium seats will turn into pews.

That's because it's "Faith Day" at Atlanta's Turner Field. No, the hot-dog vendors won't preach John 3:16. But churchgoing fans - with, promoters hope, their non-Christian friends in tow - will assemble after the game to hear Braves star pitcher John Smoltz share how his life changed by believing in Christ.
Part evangelism, part marketing, all baseball, the Faith Day movement began in baseball's minor leagues after 9/11, capturing the mood of a country that began singing "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch. "Faith does coalesce with sports in a more substantial way today than [in the past]," says Andy Overman, a former athlete and minister who teaches classics at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn.
Atlanta may be a natural candidate. Half the team professes Christian faith. It's the buckle of the Bible Belt. And Christian promotions here go back to 1983, when the Atlanta Hawks held "God and Country Night."

I honestly have very little problem with this. I mean, there's already gay nights, "Latin music" nights, Boy Scout nights, what have you. Disney does the same sort of thing. Saying it's "part" marketing is a little disingenuous, since it's clearly ALL marketing, but the right-wing evangelical community seems to have long had a very friendly relationship with every conceivable expression of capitalism, so even that's not any sort of surprise.

Honestly, my only problem is the absolute nerve the Braves, the marketers, and even the otherwise smart Christian Science Monitor have in agreeing to call something "Faith Night" when it is really "Evangelical Protestant Night." This is not a place for a majority of People of Faith. It's not for Jews, it's not for Muslims (can you imagine?), it's not for Hindus, and it's most certainly not for progressive Christians, Unitarians, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, or (for the most part) Catholics. Or, for that matter, Christian Scientists.

The brand(R) of Christians who have taken control of the meaning of terms "Christian" and "Faith" include the nondenominational but quite conservative suburban megachurch crowd, the Tim LaHaye apocalyptics, the Southern Baptists and other fundamentalist powerbrokers. Conservative Catholics (and Mormons) have made their own Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with these folks, but they're not really part of them. They seem to get to decide, as far as mainstream discourse, that only born-agains, only those who have spoken "the words," are true Christians.

And, sickeningly, the media is more than happy to use the terms "Christian" and "Faith" as shorthand to talk about this very high-profile group. (And when people call out this encroaching rhetorical and political hegemony of the conservatives, they are accused of being "anti-Christian.") I have yet to see any media discussion of this hijacking of terms.

Anyway, as far as the Braves go, it's interesting that their first "Faith" night coincides with what will surely be their first season out of the playoffs in a bazillion years. Perhaps they would have been better off having "Faith" night be an evening of just George Michael songs? I know I'd be a lot more likely to show up.

Friday, July 28, 2006



Saturday, July 01, 2006


What I learned from "Hardball"

I read over the transcript of Friday's Hardball and came away with a few lessons:

1) There is no doubt in my mind that the latest New York Times revelation about the "secret bank program" was nothing more than a piece of black ops -- someone in this administration used the Times to get this relatively tame piece published so that they could go on a week+ long binge about how the media, the Times in particular, was an enemy of freedom and that this administration was doing everything it could to protect America and fight the terrorists and we'd be doing a hell of a lot better job if the elite media would just back of A LITTLE and let us do our jobs, damnit!!!! And while we don't agree necessarily with those who say the media should be LOCKED UP and perhaps EXECUTED for treason, because we can't imagine they're actually friends of the terrorists, you have to admit it's interesting to note that they must have TALKED to the terrorists and how they got the phone number for the terrorists, well, hmmm! It's just interesting.

2) The fact that the Times fell for it, and not for the first time, is remarkable. They are not smart or they are so in league with the administration that they don't mind getting punked. You only have to look at the full-court press by the right on this, and the way Matthews framed his questions to Nicolle Wallace, to know that this entire anti Times campaign is being fully orchestrated by the powers that be inside the White House. But they keep getting away with it and our institutional memory is apparently zero so we never connect the dots on how they do it. And Chris Matthews' little wink wink bizzarro converation with Ms. Wallace (who loves her job as a professional liar and says things like "Oh, Chris, we‘re well beyond tricks, and certainly, you know...") is so insidery gross that I can't believe he has one actual viewer. He's gross.

2a) When Nicolle Wallace says "This should be a very seriously and calm and orderly discussion about a free press." what she really means is "Suckers! Now we never have to talk again about how the administration has violated laws, is eroding civil liberties, or anything else again because the conversation is about one thing and one thing only! Whether the New York Times hates America or not. Heh heh." And Chris Matthews thinks that's peachy, except maybe a little Antisemitic.

3) Apparently liberal pundits are dumb, because they never mention the fact that the prisoners in question in the recent Hamdan decision are just that, prisoners, and to call them "terrorists" even though hundreds have been released from Guantanemo because they obviously were NOT "terrorists" is a mockery of what this country is supposed to stand for. We had to wait for the JAG at the end to explain that one to us.

4) Apparently liberal pundits are dumb, because to this day they fail to realize that on shows like these, everything that comes out of the mouths of a Kate O'Beirne or Michael Smerconish is in service of the right wing machine, and that Chris Matthews' only job is to facilitate their ability to service said machine, and that they can either point that out at every opportunity or make sure that every one of the words that comes out of their mouths must be in service to a liberal machine, but that their hedging on issues, agreeing on formulations, and playing nice with someone who would say that the US Supreme Court was trying to create a god damned "treaty" with god damned al Qaeda is just not effective.

5) To Chris Matthews, everything is a joke, because everything is really just about how people are trying to position themselves in terms of the next election or the election after that. He represents the height of cynicism and does not have an ounce of integrity in his body. The idiots going after Jon Stewart for making people cynical about politics only need to watch one half minute of Hardball to realize what's really going on.

6) I think the transcriber is a cool person, because of this:

7) Republicans are going to use the Hamdan decision, which few of them really care about, to try to win the election. Democrats are NOT going to use the Hamdan decision, which many of us do really care about, to try to win the election.

8) There are actually people out there who say things like this:
"SMERCONISH: I think most people look at these issues and say keep your nose clean and you really don‘t have to be concerned with this."

9) Seriously, this person has no interest in engaging in discussion, learning about issues, informing other people about what's at stake with these issues. And yet he gets a seat at the table.

10) Chris Matthews has started referring to the segment featuring his panel of pundits as "Hardbrawl." It really is all a joke to him.

Happy Fourth of July weekend to all! READ THIS and light a sparkler or two...


Come watch me, Ozzie!

When Ozzie comes to Chicago for the Gay Games in between stints in the Bronx and Detroit - two of our most important series of the first half, if not the year - I hope he takes the opportunity to watch me play, assuming I'm still alive in singles and/or doubles. Supposed to play in Evanston, I guess. Ozzie, here's the deal: you come watch me play, and stick around to discuss why you shouldn't be calling Jay Mariotti a fag in front of reporters, and I will buy a Guillen jersey and wear it at Market Days with pride. Fair enough?

Oh, and make sure you beat the pants off the Tigers when you're done with the Games.

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