Friday, March 18, 2005

Terri Schiavo as Conversative Prop

Suddenly, GOPers in Congress are asking a woman who can't move or talk (or anything really) to "testify" so that they thwart a Federal Judge's ruling that Terri Schiavo's feeding tube should be pulled.

All these appeals and advocacy campaigns to keep Terri alive costs lots of money, so Attorney Jon Eisenberg wrote an article in the SF Recorder discovering that "many of the attorneys, activists and organizations working to keep Schiavo on life support all these years have been funded by members of the Philanthropy Roundtable."

The Philanthropy Roundtable, he explains "is a collection of foundations that have funded conservative causes ranging from abolition of Social Security to anti-tax crusades and United Nations conspiracy theories. The Roundtable members' founders include scions of America's wealthiest families, including Richard Mellon Scaife (heir to the Mellon industrial, oil and banking fortune), Harry Bradley (electronics), Joseph Coors (beer), and the Smith Richardson family (pharmaceutical products)." All the usual suspects. Terri's parents lawyer Pat Anderson "'was paid directly' by the anti-abortion Life Legal Defense Foundation, which 'has already spent over $300,000 on this case,'"

So why do they care? Is the life of a fetus the same as a comatose woman in their eyes? Why are they trying to bleed Terri's husband dry?

This seems like another thing Conservative activists found that can rile up people to vote GOP against their interest and all logic-- like Gay Marriage, or the Confederate Flag.

Meanwhile, they seem to have forgotten that Terri told 5 different people that she didn't want to be kept alive like this. Her parents can't let go, I can understand that, but these people are taking advantage of their grief and funding this legal grudge match against Michael Schiavo. These conservatives have also forgotten that they care about state's rights, after passing a bill allowing people to sue in federal court if any judge does order to remove life support for such people.

Back in 1996, when my cancer stricken grandfather fell and went unconscious, he had previously asked not to be kept alive by machine. So that is what my family did, after everyone around could say goodbye. I wish that is what Terri's family would do. I wish these super conversative power brokers would stay out of it.

my first job

I would like to write about my spring break, or how my Utes just barely pulled off a victory yesterday, or how I am currently leading in my NCAA pool (its just for bragging rights) with my fellow 1Ls. But it seems the only time I get traffic here is when I talk about Gay Marriage when I shouldn't or defend the DLC. Since I don't know enough about the developments in CA, I think I will go back to DLC talk.

Paperwight and other bloggers of a liberal pursuasion are upset at the DLC once again, this time for "trying to claim Obama as one of their own" when he asked not to be named on the list. And they are also tired on Al From and Bruce Reed pening their annual "secret memo" attacking liberals which gets leaked conviently to all the major MSM outlets and perhaps leads to an editorial on the WSJ. I don't know why it is ever news. Every time I read people's whining about the memo, I already know what the memo says, the same damn thing it always says: Democrats need to get tough and get back in the majority; listening to the far left and kissing up to them won't work etc.

The DLC was founded after a string of blowouts on the Presidential level (not including Carter, who got in basically because of Watergate) they were seeking despirately for a way to make the Democratic party palatable to the majority of the voting public. What they learned is that the far left annoyed/upset/worried those people a lot more than the far right, or at least there were more far right that voted than far left. Thus they sought to make their politicans tough and competitive by having "Sista Soldier" moments, but more importantly by expressing the same Democratic policies and principles in Values-language.

Of course, they also sought to change some policy and certain policy stereotypes, like "Tax-and-Spend Democrats" were to become "Fiscally Responsible Democrats" and Democrats became agents of reform and cutting government "The era of Big Government is over" "Ending Welfare as we know it."

Many bloggers point out that while this strategy worked well for a talented, once in a lifetime politican like Bill Clinton, it resulted in the loss of Congress and teh Democrats have not been able to hold on to the White House since Bubba left the building. As for Congress, there needed to be a house cleaning and some Congressional Dems still need to go. They are what makes it so hard for Democrats to retake control, these corrupt, me-first politicans who haven't had a real race since their first primary. As for Gore and Kerry, both were not charming and bad public speakers, yet they raised tons of money and won about 48% of the vote each time-- and Gore actually had more votes than Bush.

Also, let's be honest with ourselves, Bush is an amazing politican. Who else could have done such a crappy job as president, and had so many things go wrong on their watch and yet get 51% of the vote? Of course he used underhanded techniques and lies to do it, but he still has the keys to the Executive Mansion for another 4 years.

My first real job out of College was working for the DLC and my only regret is that I would have liked to have been given more responsibility. Staffers there of my generation doubted that the War in Iraq was necessary, that there were even WMDs, we pushed our bosses away from Joe Liberman and towards Edwards, Kerry and later Clark (I talked him up but people had trouble listening until he entered). We were a fairly diverse, left-center, bunch that had fun at our jobs.

As I said in the comment section, the DLC is more than just Al From and Bruce Reed memos, as much as they would like to think to the contrary. It is about the idea that Democrats need find a way to make their platform appeal to the majority of people that actually vote, and not just people like Sean Penn or the editoral board of the New York Times or The Nation. About 50-75 people work at the DLC, off the top of my head, there about 4 people I know that actually do the Dem-bashing that gets them the media attention, the rest of the employees work hard to expand the network of elected officials, develop policies and language that will pursuade voters that Democrats can keep them safe and be good stewards of their tax dollars etc. Most of the members of the DLC, the electeds, the interested citizens, yes even the lobbyists, don't sit around bashing Democrats. The only one I can think who does that regularly is Joe Liberman, and everyone who reads this blog regularly should know what a low opinion I hold of him.

The bloggosphere seems to have a need for a boogeyman to vent their frustrations out about the futility of the Democratic party since 2000, but I think the MSM seems to be all you really need and all there really is. If it weren't for the MSM trumpting those stupid memos and ignoring all the great slams against Bush, we wouldn't be having this conversation. If people like Bob Novak weren't considered "journalists" instead of horrible political hacks with no concept of truth and honor, then we wouldn't be in this mess. Why are these people given equal standing with a real writer of stories? Why do we read about California murder trials of famous people while we ignore torture, corruption, ethics violations, and propaganda?

Keep your eyes on the prize folks. The DCCC is starting to base its 2006 campaign around corruption and reform, they are finally listening to us. Focus on things like this, and stories that fall through the cracks, not some insider memo crap that From and Reed write.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

the noose is tighening

around Tom DeLay's neck. I think he can feel those stray strands of rope scretching at his jugular.

After being admonished three times by the old Ethics Committee, DeLay has instructed his staff to help the Committee "get to the bottom of this." "We want to work with the ethics committee..." he said. Why the sudden change? Well he got rid of the chairman who admonished him and another Republican replacing them with two guys who got $50,000 from DeLay-associated PACs, so I am sure they will be unbaised and neural.

DeLay, a former bug exterminator, came to DC to get Washington off the backs of small businessmen and to make the federal government smaller. Yet a few years ago, when asked to smoke his Cubans outside a resturant, he refused. The waitress politely pointed out that smoking there was against Federal Law. In response, he said "Lady, I am the Federal Government," forgetting of course, the other members of the House, the Senate, and oh yeah the President of the United States.

The Washington Post has been following up on the latest scandals that have DeLay in hot water, let's look at the handy chart:

If the man was ever pure in his motives when he first left for Washington, DC and the lure of power has corrupted him beyond recognition. Those crooks that the GOP rallied against in 1994 are now themselves. It's time to throw these bums out too.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Greenspan: dishonest political hack

My quote of the day: "I look back and I would say to you, if confronted with the same evidence we had back then, I would recommend exactly what I recommended them," he continued. "It turns out we were all wrong."--Alan, on supporting Bush's 2001 tax cuts (via the Times).

Actually, lots of people pointed out that these tax cuts were a bad idea that that they wouldn't help the budget let alone the economy.

First that, then he supports the privitization of Social Security. I wonder if he even hears what he is saying to ensure that it passes the laugh test.

I can't wait til Greenspan is put out to pasture. Its time for a Fed Chief who is non-partisan. Its too bad Clinton fell for the guy.

bloggers v. DLC, round who cares

Liberal bloggers, reacting to the dumb pro-Lieberman move of Marshall Wittman on BullMoose Blog and the Nation's silly slam on DLC, have decided to renew their attack on the organization based on the New Dem Directory.

As someone who helped make the 2003 New Dem Directory and "100 to watch," I have to say both have it all wrong. This lists are consist of people who either 1) do everything with the DLC and agree with them on almost everything or 2) have attended DLC events and seem receptive to the DLC message but haven't necessarily enacted DLC ideas or supported DLC positions or 3) are rising stars at the state and local level whom the DLC would like to have join the organization while they are still state senators instead of when they are US senators (like Obama). In fact, if you look at the 2003 100 to watch, you will see that other IL 2004 candidates besides Obama were listed on there, so that the DLC could have a future senator on their list and play it safe.

Any political organization tries to spread its influence and increase its membership. If you can get state and local politicians to call themselves New Democrats before they join Congress or become a Governor, so much the better for the organization. Plus, it is usually easier to rope in lower level politicians who are looking for the connections on the national level that the DLC provides. The political department tries to reward loyalty, punish straying from the organization's core principles (pro-trade, pro-charter school, etc.), increase turnout at events, increase perceived power and influence, and influence the next round of political leaders.

After naming people to these lists, it is often times good local press for these folks but it doesn't automatically mean the people from category 3 will join; in fact, the results are mixed. It isn't that the DLC "needs him" it is just that they would like to have Obama, like any Democratic group would.

Obama may be playing to both sides here. Once in Washington, he has done much to disappoint liberal bloggers, who expected him for some reason (he was endorsed by Howard Dean, he had some liberal code language) to be one of their own. According to the DLC, he is a member of the Senate NDC. Look at that list, and see if, other than Obama, any other Senator's name seems out of place. So either some one at the DLC forgot to update the New Dem Directory (which happens, I have made that mistake), or he is a member of the Senate NDC. Under Graham's reign, the organization in the senate was a disaster, with people claiming to be on it but no real group action. I don't know if that has changed, but I doubt it has improved.

Likely what has happened is that Obama wants to be moderate on some issues, more liberal in others, and doesn't really fit into either the DLC or the Wellstone box. So he does what any good politician does, and plays it both ways.

Sure the DLC needs to avoid bashing democrats until it is very inside baseball, but I am sure it is tempting to get all that attention. Trust me though, they hate it. During the DLC's 2002 National Conversation, Lieberman hogged the media coverage of the event by bashing Al Gore's 2000 campaign strategy, prompting editorial wars and glossing over the fact that we had many of the 2004 and 2008 candidates show up and speak to DLC members (Kerry, Hillary, Edwards, Gephardt, Lieberman, Daschle, and Bayh) and that Hillary got the biggest applause of all of them (most of her speech was Bush bashing). It is only Al From and Bruce Reed that seem to ocationally enjoy the bashing of lefties (and Marshall Wittman as well, but I don't really consider him a Democrat as much as a reformed GOPer).

Monday, March 14, 2005


so I got so excited about my spring break and the last few days of warm weather that I packed up all my wool sweaters and parkas, like I said before, but today is was pretty windy and cold.

This morning I researched post-conviction statutes for Wyoming and Nevada for the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center. We are trying to come up with ideas for how to get around their lack of DNA statutes. On our week off, 3 of us still came and I was glad for it because our supervising attorney is a great guy and we have lots of fun while we are doing this.

At the law school, I got out my giant Constitutional law textbook which weighs like 20 lbs. to fix up my outline and read for next tuesday. Sometime I have set aside 3 hours to take this practice test that ex-boss from Rep. Matheson's office (now a 2L) cooked up. Fun stuff. Maybe tomorrow, and add the fun of doing property, the hardest class for me.

For my friend Thomas, it is just the opposite: Con Law to him seems boring and hard, while Property is interesting. Then again, he wants to do Tax law and was an accounting major (while I was International Relations). Plus, he is Clarence Thomas conservative and I am definately a member of the Bush v. Gore minority.

I should turn on the heat in here, its freezing.