…if you’ve sent email to me at the ‘armed’ address in the last month. Somehow the mail server and spam filter interacted in such a way that about 10% of the mail go through, and 90% didn’t.

The servers responsible have been flogged. I’ll catch up on the 800 mail messages over the next few days, and then have myself flogged for not paying better attention.

Do Something Today

I’m normally not a fan of hyperpartisan Atrios (who is sadly part of the marching-over-the-cliff wing of the Democratic Party), but he’s got a great roundup of Senators to contact and how to contact them if you’re unhappy (as you should be) with the bankruptcy bill.

Click over and make some phone calls. (Calls are better than emails, by the way…)

Bush (Rightly) Follows Henry Farell’s Lead

Commenter John Thacker points me to a London Times article showing Bush doing a smart and moral thing.

Henry Farrell had suggested, and I approved of, the notion of Bush disinviting the Sinn Fein to the St. Patrick’s day celebration at the White House. He’s done that and more:

The sisters and the fiancée of a Catholic man said to have been murdered by the IRA will be fêted by President Bush in the White House on St Patrick’s Day as part of a strategy calculated by Washington to isolate Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein leader.

Paula McCartney and her four sisters, as well as Bridgeen Hagans, who was to marry Robert McCartney this summer, will fly to Washington on March 15 to highlight their campaign to bring his killers to justice.

Good for him.

Moral Bankruptcy

Josh Marshall has spun off an excellent temporary blog on the travesty of the new bankruptcy bill.

I’m strongly opposed to this, but resigned to it’s passage. The venal residents of Democratic SkyBoxland are too busy tongue-kissing the bought-and-paid for residents of the Grand Owned Party on this issue. Here’s a case where there are real issues – the casual washing away of debt – that need to be addressed, but not by indenturing whole classes of people to finance companies that are as culpable for bad underwriting as the borrowers are for irresponsibility.A bill that stood on three legs:

* Borrower responsibility, shared by borrowers of all economic classes;
* Lender responsibility, in limiting the fines and penalties on distressed borrowers, and in tightening underwriting requirements and marketing regulations to make it harder for lenders to push credit on people, and raise the rates to usurious levels if a payment is missed.
* Realistic provisions for health and other genuine personal disasters

…would be a good bill.

And the reality is that this is a disaster for the Democratic Party. Why??

Because instead of standing for something – the powerless against the powerful – they regularly sell out. See my old post about Kos’ client, Rep. Jim Moran, who took a personal loan of $447,000 from MBNA four days before he signed on as a lead sponsor of the bill.

This kind of thing makes it damn hard to stand up and point fingers where and when they should be pointed.

But hey, as long as the contibutions and consulting contracts keep coming in, that’s OK, right?

Goodbye, L.A. Times?

I’m actually thinking about canceling my subscription to the L.A. Times this morning.


Because, as the straw the broke the camel’s back, this morning there’s a Ted Rall comic in the Opinion section. Rall is a litigious hypocrite, who never met a better human being he couldn’t sue or slander.

I’ll give myself a couple hours to think about it, and then probably give them a call and drop an email. I know it’ll deprive me of a key source of blog material, but that just means I’ll have to work harder on things.


TG Kit & Hearns

TG is holding Hearns, our 18-year old cat, who has been dying all day.

Actually, she’s been dying for a week, refusing food and barely able to take water; we’ve been giving her IV fluids for most of a year, and we stopped yesterday. She doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort, but hasn’t had the strength to move for a day or so now.

Littlest Guy and I dug a small grave for her in the yard this morning, and talked about what it meant to have responsibility for another living thing.

Blogs, Campaigns & Regulatory Arbitrage

I haven’t managed to get anyone mad at me this week, so let me toss some fuel out there and let’s see what burns. I’m following with some interest the FEC “What do we do about the political Internet” set of issues.

So let me ask a dumb-a**s question.

If bloggers (or other website owners) are acting as auxiliaries to campaigns, or are heavily involved in raising significant funds for campaigns, why shouldn’t there be some requirements for disclosure, and why shouldn’t the funds raised fit under the same rules as any other money raised for a campaign?In some ways, this strikes me as a kind of Skype issue; on one hand we have a genuinely interesting technology -in this case mixture of social and technical engineering. It has genuine value, which should be preserved. On the other we have a regulatory arbitrage based on new technology and the simple fact that no one who wrote the old regulations knew enough to map the existing regulations to the technical means to evade them.

I’ll go in the kitchen and look for some matches now…

Paging Mel Brooks…

Franz Liebkind: Not many people know it, but the Fuhrer was a terrific dancer.

Franz Liebkind: Hitler… there was a painter! He could paint an entire apartment in ONE afternoon! TWO coats!

Max Bialystock: That’s exactly why we want to produce this play. To show the world the true Hitler, the Hitler you loved, the Hitler you knew, the Hitler with a song in his heart.

On the front page of the L.A. Times today:

N. Korea, Without the Rancor
– A businessman speaks his mind about the U.S., the ‘nuclear club’ and human rights issues.

Now one thing to note is this:

This North Korean, an affable man in his late 50s who spent much of his career as a diplomat in Europe, has been assigned to help his communist country attract foreign investment. With the U.S. and other countries complaining about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and its human rights record, it’s a difficult task, he admitted.

So “businessman” might be the wrong word to use? “Government functionary?” “Diplomat?” There’s a kind of complete lack of understanding of how a Stalinist government operates here that’s breathtaking. You know who gets to be diplomats? You know who gets to enter into foreign trade? Hint: they aren’t representatives of the private business sector.

But wait, it gets better!

“There’s never been a positive article about North Korea, not one,” he said. “We’re portrayed as monsters, inhuman, Dracula … with horns on our heads.”

So, in an effort to clear up misunderstandings, he expounded on the North Korean view of the world in an informal conversation that began one night this week over beer as North Korean waitresses sang Celine Dion in the karaoke restaurant, and resumed the next day over coffee.

See Mel Brooks quotes, above.

bq. The North Korean, dressed in a cranberry-colored flannel shirt and corduroy trousers, described himself as a businessman with close ties to the government. He said he did not want to be quoted by name because his perspective was personal, not official. Because North Koreans seldom talk to U.S. media organizations, his comments offered rare insight into the view from the other side of the geopolitical divide.

And if I described myself as the king of the Space Unicorns, would the Times cite me in a headline as “your Majesty?”

You’ve got to read the whole farcical thing…

Political Loyalty Is Not A Property Interest

Over at My DD, Chris Bowers takes on Jeff Jarvis and the rest of the Democrat-bashing liberals -I guess including me.

His basic point? I’ve pointed out, and Marc Cooper has pointed out, and Jeff Jarvis has pointed out, and Norm Geras has pointed out …and pointing this out is the reason we “party traitors” are being criticized by Bowers and Willis.

I want to see a Democratic Party built that can win, and can do so in a way that supports the basic beliefs that I have about how the world should be – free, egalitarian, prosperous. Those are serious ideological and policy issues, and guess what? Most of the country shares those issues with me. That’s why the Party keeps losing.

Listening to whiny bitch Oliver Willis complain because we’re insufficiently loyal doesn’t move me in the lest. Oliver and his ilk need to look in the mirror and realize that it’s them, not Jarvis, Cooper, Geras and me, who are hurting the interests of the less powerful. They’re doing it by building an insular, brittle, and ineffective Democratic Party that looks to keep losing well into the 21st Century.

Chris says:

I am a partisan Democrat, not a partisan ideologue.

What kind of hollow bullshit is that? What is the Democratic Party, if not some ideological core? A jobs programs for polisci majors and direct mail entrepreneurs?

I’m hopeful that the netroots will extend out of the Moveon ghetto and start spouting in the red states, empurpling the whole enterprise. I’m hopeful that Howard Dean meant it when he said he wanted the support of guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks. But unlike Chris, I only blindly root for the Dodgers.

The Democrats will have to earn my loyalty. And guess what? I’m not alone.

When Monkeys Fly Out Of My…

I had to take the car to work today, and on the way home was punching bottons on the radio and wound up listening to the news on KPCC.

I heard something that almost made me crash the car.

You can listen to it here, or look below the jump to see a summary. Just make sure you’re not operating any heavy machinery when you listen.

All Things Considered, March 1, 2005 · NPR’s senior news analyst says that recent events in Lebanon and Egypt suggest that the Middle East is moving towards democracy. Bush may have had it right when he said that a liberated Iraq could show the power of freedom to transform the region.

– News Analysis by Daniel Schorr

I haven’t been this surprised at something since Brett Gurewitz rejoined Bad Religion.