Things I Learned By Talking To Arlen Specter’s Office Today

845458892_42b6b8282e.jpg#1: The Republicans aren’t filibustering: it’s the Democrats.

#2: Arlen Specter didn’t vote against the Webb Amendment because he doesn’t support downtime for troops, it was because he objects to SPECIFIC AMOUNTS of downtime for troops. Oh, so that’s DIFFERENT. I get it now.

#3: Most Pennsylvanians support Arlen Specter’s filibuster. You know, the one that the Democrats are supposedly doing.

#4: No one knows how much time Arlen Specter actually spent in combat. I do actually: that amount of time is ZERO.

(Brendan also posts at BrendanCallling)

Nancy Keenan Stabs State NARAL Affiliates

2.jpg (The debacle in the Supreme Court thoroughly enraged me, and it was great to see the Lake lay the blame where it belongs: at Nancy Keenan's feet.  Jane and I first met when I forwarded her some email exchanges between the Executive Director of Connecticut NARAL and me. She's asked me to repost here ar FDL, which I am only too delighted to do — Brenden)

I used to live in Connecticut, and have never liked Joe Lieberman, a man about who the less said the better. I was elated when Ned Lamont mounted his campaign against the Senator, but was seriously disappointed to see that NARAL was backing a man who believes that Catholic Hospital should be allowed to deny emergency contraception to rape victims, and who had, by voting for cloture, helped put Samuel Alito on the bench.

I was really angry, and emailed a letter to all my friends and family in Connecticut, cc-ed to Carolyn Treiss, the Executive Director of Connecticut NARAL:

Subject: Lieberman endorsement


I am appalled and embarrassed that you endorsed Joe Lieberman for Senate.

As you well know, Lieberman believes that Catholic hospitals in Connecticut have (more…)


Planless and mindless scraps from anywhere/ Bunch of used parts from garbage pails everywhere/ Frankenstein became a monster just like you/ Your scars only show when someone talks to you/ You’re so boring boring boring/ Always tape machine recording/ I’ve heard all this before I’ve heard all this before… Dead Kennedys, "Your Emotions"

OK, so the skateboarders don't have that much to do with the song, but it was the only good version I could find on youtube, and its the lyrics that matter. They perfectly express what is wrong with punditry today. From what passes for "left" to right to really really right batshit fucking insane, it's the same boring cast of boring people spewing the same predictably boring crap day after day, week after week. It has gotten to the point with these jokers that I don't even have to read more than a paragraph or two of their spittle-flecked diatribes and unctuous (there's that word again) rhetorical flourishes before I know exactly where their train of thought is leading. In addition, usually by the end of the first few sentences, there's at least one false premise, and often as not utter lies masquerading as fact (not surprising given the way Drudge-sourced rumors are treated as fact, as Glenn helpfully illustrates).

I happened to glance at Charles Krauthammer's column this past Tuesday. It's syndicated in the piss-poor remains of the Philadelphia Inquirer, now run by Republican hack Brian Tierney, the genius who wants to hire Rick Santorum as a columnist in a city that voted against Senator Dogfuck by a margin of 84%-16%. Here's what Chuckles had to say:

The charming part of this not-to-be-missed article (titled "Heart of Darkness," no less) is that it is framed as an exercise in compassion. Since she knows that the only way for her New Republic readers to understand Cheney is that he is evil – "next time you see Cheney behaving oddly, don't automatically assume that he's a bad man," she advises – surely the generous thing for a liberal to do is write him off as simply nuts. In the wonderland of liberalism, Cottle is trying to make the case for Cheney by offering him the insanity defense. She doesn't seem to understand that showing how circulatory problems can affect the brain proves nothing unless you first show the existence of a psychiatric disorder. Yet Cottle offers nothing in Cheney's presenting symptoms or behavior to justify a psychiatric diagnosis of any kind, let alone dementia. 


Snow, and Why Mass Transit Matters

trolley 1

The Philadelphia region was brought to a de facto standstill with yesterday's freakish 24-hour sleet storm. I had the day off from work, and didn't leave the house all day, sitting around blogging, drinking beer, and watching the roads and sidewalks ice up. My companion the radio broke in every ten minutes or so to update me on the roads and highways. Naturally, we were being warned to "stay off them", and naturally, they were all jam packed due to the snow and countless accidents. If there was any good news, it was that mass transit, with the exception of buses (ie, the trolleys, subways and regional rails), was "running on schedule with no reported delays." And even though Philadelphia's transit system is but a shadow of its former glory (click on the "maps" link to see how our system of streetcars was once more extensive than about anywhere else in the country, and how that Venus Williams of a system has been starved to a Kate Moss skeleton), and is mismanaged by the Board, the fact remains that on any given day, rain, shine, sleet, or snow, SEPTA's trolleys and rail lines outperform the (more…)

In The Soup


Uh-oh. Someone's in the soup again

March 15, 2007 — New unreleased emails from top administration officials show the idea of firing all 93 U.S. attorneys was raised by Karl Rove in early January 2005, indicating Rove was more involved in the plan than previously acknowledged by the White House. The e-mails also show Alberto Gonzales discussed the idea of firing the attorneys en masse while he was still White House counsel—weeks before he was confirmed as attorney general. The e-mails directly contradict White House assertions that the notion originated with recently departed White House counsel Harriet Miers and was her idea alone.

Looks like this morning's re-confession, in which Khalid Shaikh Mohammed confessed to everything from 9/11 to the Trade Center Bombing to Daniel Pearl to ruining Christmas to the Ford Pinto, didn't have all that much traction after all.

So now we have the spectacle of the White House lying, AGAIN, to the Congress. And it looks like, GOP efforts notwithstanding, we may see Karl Rove dragged before the committeee to testify after all (and, courtesy of Josh Marshall's TPM, you can read the emails).
Senator Leahy, I hope you (more…)

The Man from S.P.E.C.T.E.R.


Philly blog round up: Philly Bits and Jesus Ride a Dinosaur, The All Spin Zone asks if "the impeachment of Bill Clinton was little more than a sting operation by the neocons in the GOP to inoculate a future GOP president from the same fate" (a must read imo, at a blog that I inexcusably neglected to mention last week,considering how much work Richard and the gang have put in, and considering how much effort Rich has personally expended on my behalf in Philadelphia), and Susie Madrak like the rest of us is losing patience about the Democratic response to Iraq. And now on with the show…

Y'all will have to pardon me if tonight's post is serious case of sophomore slump. Honestly, it's not my fault: I'm a separated parent and I've had custody of my three-year old son Sam for the past week. We don't see each other as much as I'd like: his mom lives in Montreal, and due to a long list of circumstances, the current visit schedule is a week or two every other month. As I'm sure Christy will tell you, having a Peanut (or a Sammers in my case) running around takes up a huge amount of your energy, and that is doubly so when you're doing it alone. I get up at 7:00 AM, and it's run run run until one, which is when Sam takes a nap and so do I, and then it's run run run until 8:30 and bedtime, which is about when I start to crash too. It's exhausting and exhilirating

Despite recent frustrations I vented at brendan calling, Sam's mom and I try our best to work as a team in his best interest, and 99% of our relationship is… well, not like that. I don't know how his mom does it, and if it weren't for Quebec's child care subsidies, I think we'd both be screwed.

You know, I didn't have a theme when I first started writing this post, but considering the lack of sleep, I am inclined to go easy on myself and write aboout someone I have come to loathe: the Senior Senator from Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter.   The man is a disgrace, and a truly pernicious charater in the GOP. (more…)

Ding Dong. It’s Brendan Calling.


Hi everyone.

My name's Brendan Skwire and this is my first post at Firedoglake!  Before anything else, I want to thank Jane and Pach and Christy for inviting me on board, and special thanks to RBG for leading me through a last minute backstage tour.

Frankly, I have no idea how this happened: I feel a little bit like Fielding Mellish in Bananas, a midget among real writers, real reporters. Me, I'm just a loud-mouthed guy from Philadelphia by way of Rhode Island (with an accent that falls somewhere between Raymond Marble and Peter Griffin) who lives a couple paychecks away from the federal poverty line, doing what he can to get by. I got into blogging because my friends got tired of reading my outraged emails after the shameful appointment of Mr. Bush to the Oval Office, and it's been pretty much nonstop since.

Oy. My blog. A repository of angst, bile, profanity, filth, and fist-shaking eye-popping outrage. The kind of stuff that would shock my mother if she wasn't a repository of angst, bile, profanity, filth, and fist-shaking eye-popping outrage.

What's a schmuck like am I doing in a nice place like this? (more…)