VICTORY PAC

Q: “What would you like to say to those who want American troops to leave Iraq tomorrow?

A:

I can only imagine the tragic consequences that would follow…and the blood… and the price we’d have to pay….a disaster…

Let’s do something about it.I’m a liberal Democrat (pro-gay marriage, pro-choice, pro-progressive taxation, pro-equal rights, pro-environmental regulation, pro-public schools) who supported and supports the war in Iraq. As I tell my liberal friends “Did I miss the part where it was progressive not to fight medieval religious fascists?”

I’ve been waiting for four years for the White House to start really explaining the war to the American people, and to do anything sensible at all to maintain the political capital necessary to keep America in the fight – to keep us from withdrawing because the war is too messy, or too long, or just plain makes us feel bad.

During that time I was blogging about the war and issues around it here, felt I was doing my part, and hoped that the leadership of the country would wake up and realize that public support for hard things – like wars – must be earned and maintained.

I’ve given up, and decided that it’s up to each of us to start doing more. To that end, I’ve decided to start a PAC that will offer support to Congressional candidates of either party who support a foreign policy that doesn’t involve wishing problems away. Not necessarily support for the invasion of Iraq, or blind allegiance to White House policies – but some plan that’s better than taking our ball and going home and leaving the country and region to become a bloodbath that will assuredly spread to our shores. All I ask is that they have some clue as to what we should do about violent radicalism in the Islamic world other than surrender, withdraw, and hope for the best.

Here in California, defeated Gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides (who I used to work for, by the way…) has decided to raise $10,000 to “send President Bush a message” – among other things he’s threatened to use the funds to run ads in districts of anti-withdrawal Members of Congress.

(see here)

I plan to try and raise $30,000 over the next week – it will have to be pledges right now, since I don’t have a PAC yet – $10,000 for third-party legal and accounting for the next year (to set the PAC up and do the accounting necessary to make sure that we’re in compliance with election laws), and $20,000 to counter Angelides’ ads. If we can succeed at that, we’ll take it a step further and see if we can raise enough money to rattle some cages in this election cycle.

What we’ll be doing is – among other things – running short videos like the one above that I’ll be getting from friends in Iraq – I’ve asked them to simply film a message they would send in responses to Americans who want to withdraw right now.

Next up will be videos from former troops (if you know any, send their contact info my way), military families, and experts on the Middle East.

Once we get over this hurdle, I intend to build a web community of support that candidates we support can use for fundraising, finding volunteers, and reaching out to surrogates – like veterans, military families, and experts on the Middle East.

Go to www.victorypac.org and help out.

Thanks in advance for helping…

Marc “Armed Liberal” Danziger

Lenovo Update

I’m almost ashamed that I did the Lenovo post yesterday…

Dear Mr. Danziger,

I apologize that I was not able to return your call earlier this afternoon, we
experienced very high call volumes and I had to lend a hand.

I was able to get your order transmitted to our warehouse, and its in the
procurement, development, and configuration stage now. I have also
requested it added to a “critical hot order list”, which prioritizes your order
over other customers waiting for the same system. I should have an
updated ESD (Estimated Ship Date) by tomorrow afternoon for you. Once
received, I will give you a call.

Once again, I apologize I was not able to give you a call.

Well, that’s a good start.

Lenovo Heck – At Least I Avoided The Cheap “Chinese Water Torture” Joke

No, it hasn’t caught fire, at least…

I’m doing some work for a company that was kind enough to give me one of their laptops when I gave Biggest Guy my old Thinkpad because his noname laptop fell apart. But they use Dells, and I hate the keyboard and generally flimsy feel of the Latitude D600 they give out. Note that it seems to work fine today…

…and they’re paying me enough that I can buy my own laptop, and they’re getting cheaper and more capable, so I go over to the Lenovo site, and order a T60p widescreen. Dual core processor, 2GB Ram, nice video – seems like a nice upgrade, reasonably priced, etc. Hand over the Amex number and forget about the order…back on February 18.

You’ll note that I’m trying this on the company Dell and it’s March 29, and I don’t have a firm ship date yet.Apparently “a few orders got caught in the system” and delayed. Anyone else out there hung out there like I am?

I’m on the third level of escalation and a nice young woman is supposed to call me tomorrow. I’m somehow doubtful,

It makes me think of an old Doonesbury (when he was funny) in which Uncle Duke (my personal role model) goes into the import-export business in Miami. He’s shown sitting in front of the computer, talking on the phone to a customer who wonders “What happened to that last shipment?”

“It’s lost in the computer somewhere…” Duke explains.

“No problem, we’ll send a couple of guys to help you go in and look for it,” is the reply.

Sadly, that option isn’t open to potential Lenovo customers.

So – as above, let me know if anyone you know is in the same boat – let’s see how big a problem this really is. And in the event that I decide to cancel the order tomorrow, who else makes a rugged laptop with a great keyboard? No Macs, please – that’s another topic totally.

Media Help Bleg

I’m about to do a quick media project – not for biz, but for politics – and will need a few helpers. No money in it, but not much time and lots of karma. Here’s what I need: a designer – someone with Photoshop and Illustrator skills who can do print design as well as simple web design; a video editor – someone who can do low-level video editing and optimization – no effects or fancy stuff.

There will be more help needed, but two roles are the ones at the head of the list. Drop me an email if you’re interested.

Iowahawk Says It Better

…than I ever could:

BILL [Maher]: That’s right Ann, you emaciated Eva Braun sideshow freak. By supporting this good citizenship effort, you will ensure that America’s outspoken pundit community has the book and TV and speaking contracts we need to pay the critically important mortgages on our Laurel Canyon ranch homes.

ANN [Coulter]: And Manhattan apartments! So take it from me and my venereal diseased, dwarf-penis pinko fag colleague Bill – don’t be a player hater. Stop the indignation, because there are enough zippy assassination one-liners for everyone. The next time you are repulsed by something we say, remember:

ANN AND BILL: A spleen is a terrible thing to waste.

Check out his cool new ride, too. It’s depressing. He’s got this bitchin 60’s Buick and an astounding show rod. I’ve got a Honda Civic Hybrid with the licence place identifying me as an ‘Eco Fraud’…I’d want his lifestyle, but then again, he’s stuck in Chicago…

Bullying And The Internet

So the ‘Net is -rightly – fluttering with anger on reading Kathy Sierra’s post about some – outrageously inappropriate, to put it mildly – posts about her on some sites run by other members of the Internet intelligentsia. Posts which ranged from junior-high-school sexual imagery to what sure read like death threats.

Go check out Technorati on it, and go and browse through her post, the comments, and posts about it.

Most people are very reasonably outraged. The perpetrators are so far silent.

Business as usual, many people say. So what? Well, so a lot, I think. I think that we have, as a culture, forgotten what manners are for, We forget the delicate dance of power and self-control that enables people to live together in a society. This manifests itself in a number of depressing ways; Jane Hamsher and blackface as valid political commentary; Freepers and LGF commenters who think that a few well-deployed nukes would be a good substitute for a foreign policy. And on a smaller and more personal level, a bunch of upper-middle class computer wonks who can’t disagree about Internet strategy without slipping the bounds of civility and acting like asses.

Personally, I blame it all on nonviolence, but that’s a matter for another post.

Luke Ford, Cathy Seipp’s would-be Boswell, is supportive of the rights to free expression of a middle-aged man who harassed Cathy’s daughter, and posted and obscene (in the moral, not necessarily sexual sense) commentary purporting to be Cathy’s final missive…while Cathy was dying. Eliot Stein should be free to comment, and write, and we shouldn’t infringe on his freedom to be as hurtful and outrageous as he chooses to be.

I’ve been thinking about how to respond, and two things come to mind.

A few weeks ago, I did something in Las Vegas I’ve been kinda ashamed of. Seriously. And no, it didn’t involve three lithe (female!) Cirque dancers…

We are at dinner at the Bellagio, and having a kind of serious business discussion. If you’ve met me, you know that even when I’m not projecting (and oh, yes, I can) my voice carries pretty darn well. And people have at times come to me and asked me to moderate it, which I’m happy to try and do.

In this case, a somewhat tipsy man was at the table behind me, and took increasing exception to my talking. Which he eventually expressed – not politely – but forcefully and profanely – expecting I’m sure that his bullying tone and threatening affect would shut me up.

I told him to fuck off, and meant it. I was surprised and somewhat alarmed at how angry I was, and how willing I was to match his escalation, rather than do the things I knew would de-escalate. He raised an empty champagne bottle over his head and gestured threateningly with it (the counter to a champagne bottle threat, in case you’re wondering, is slightly different from a wine bottle threat, unless the bottle is from a particularly good vintage…a rising x-block trapping the wrist, at which point there are all kinds of things you can do) and we had a standoff until a whole lot of restaurant staff showed up. They were moved away, we got free desserts, and my friends were more than a little concerned about my flash of temper – as was I.

Then I read Blackfive’s little story about someone who handled a situation much better than I did, and think about the fact that civil society depends in large part on our willingness to enforce civility. Yes, I know that civility and conformity are close neighbors. But I have no worries about being able to tell the difference.

People who behave badly should expect that there will be consequences to their behavior, and that being a bullying asshole doesn’t mean that you’ll get your way, and that bad behavior online or in person – has consequences.

I value civility here a lot, and appreciate the fact that we manage to disagree heatedly and yet with some measure of mutual respect. Thank you all for that.

As for Eliot Stein, and the people who slimed themselves by posting abusive things about Kathy Sierra? Fuck ‘em.

What The Doctor Said

He said it doesn’t look good
he said it looks bad in fact real bad
he said I counted thirty-two of them on one lung before
I quit counting them
I said I’m glad I wouldn’t want to know
about any more being there than that
he said are you a religious man do you kneel down
in forest groves and let yourself ask for help
when you come to a waterfall
mist blowing against your face and arms
do you stop and ask for understanding at those moments
I said not yet but I intend to start today
he said I’m real sorry he said
I wish I had some other kind of news to give you
I said Amen and he said something else
I didn’t catch and not knowing what else to do
and not wanting him to have to repeat it
and me to have to fully digest it
I just looked at him
for a minute and he looked back it was then
I jumped up and shook hands with this man who’d just given me
something no one else on earth had ever given me
I may have even thanked him habit being so strong

— “What The Doctor Said”, By Ray Carver.

I posted this when Warren Zevon died. I thought of it last week, just before Cathy died, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I hope posting it pushes it aside…

Bye, Andres…

Andres Martinez explains to the New York Times why it’s a good thing he’s no longer editing the opinion pages for the LA Times…

“There’s a general post-Jayson Blair, post-Staples Center obsession with covering yourself to a fault. I would argue this is taking it too far. The wheels of this bus have come off. There’s not strong leadership in the newsroom, and there’s a perception that Hiller is trying to suck up to Hollywood and advertisers.”

No shit, Andres. Where do you think that ‘perception’ comes from? When the leadership of the paper is dating the publicists for major advertisers and entertainment induustry figures and handing over the flagship section to one of them?

And I love the notion that anyone in business or politics is expected to dump their hard drives and deliver the results of their blood work for the benefit of the press – but heaven forbit the press itself is scrutinized.

I’ve felt for a long time that the single best thing we could do to American politics is to make Members of Congress and state legislatures subject to all the regulations they create. I similarly think that making it clear that journalists are themselves subject to the same scrutiny they give others would be a great thing.

Cathy Seipp

I’m getting my suit out for Cathy Seipp’s funeral and reading the tributes to her while TG makes sure it’s presentable (I don’t dress up much any more…).

And read one by Jim Treacher that made me stop for a moment, because it perfectly summed up my feelings.

It’s unbelievable that the whole time I knew this woman, she was living on borrowed time. (Not that a single one of us isn’t, but she’d been given a specific return-by date. Which of course she ignored 10 times over.) I wish I’d appreciated her more. I wish she wasn’t dead.

So do I, Jim, so do I.

Think Good Thoughts For Elizabeth Edwards

I’m not the biggest John Edwards fan; on my desk are fundraising letters from Obama and Richardson that will probably get checks, and I have to deal with the fact that the foreign policy of any Democratic candidate is probably going to repel me. That’s a bridge I’ll cross in the general election.

But he and his wife are showing great courage in confronting her relapse and the reappearance of the cancer she’s fought, and continuing on with their campaign.

I wish her success in her treatment, and both of them the internal resources (I’ll believe they have all the external ones they need…) to deal with this and a campaign, too. Think good thoughts for both of them and for their kids.