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Saturday Roundup

* Wow: Joe Sestak really could pull this off: He's edged ahead of Arlen Specter in today's Morning Call/Muhlenberg College tracking poll.

That's Sestak's first lead in the race, with 14% of Dem primary voters still undecided.

* Josh Kraushaar notes that Sestak's closing message, directly hitting Specter's GOP past in TV ads, is clearly gaining traction, which means it could put Sestak over the top.

* Diane Wood might be more inclined to put checks on executive power than Elena Kagan, which could help tip the decision towards Kagan.

* Still more evidence that the White House is leaning towards Kagan: Advisers say her Goldman Sachs ties are a non-issue.

* But Digby says the conventional wisdom among Dems that Kagan is the only confirmable pick suggests Dems have reverted to that losing feeling again:

I'd really like to see Obama nominate one of the liberals and have a real fight over it going into the election. I don't know why everyone assumes that we will always lose but it's certain that we will if we don't try.

* Also, another potential problem for Kagan: In 1995 she dismissed Supreme Court confirmation hearings as a "vapid and hollow charade" because Senators didn't drill down deep enough into the beliefs and leanings of nominees.

The problem for Kagan, whose views are not as well known as critics would like, is that Republicans could throw this quote in her face every time she failed to answer a question during the hearings. Unclear how much of an obstacle this will prove, though.

* Justin Elliott says the Obama Justice Department has pioneered a middle ground on Miranda. Which renders the anti-Miranda camp's arguments even more ridiculous, though that won't matter in the real world because they just don't care about the facts of this debate.

* Sleeper issue of the day: Dem Senators pushing for an international ban on land mines are optimistic that Obma may soon sign on, though the administration seems to be tiptoeing a little too carefully through this, er, minefield.

* Centrist Dems wary about tough reelection battles sweat about an upcoming vote for a bill outlawing employer discrimination against transgendered people.

* Here's a very good reason for Kendrick Meek to continue making offshore drilling an issue: A new poll finds that Florida voters now strongly oppose it.

* Obama says the benefits of health reform are already kicking in, arguing that "this is what change looks like," though it's still unclear whether voters are willing to see it that way.

* Al Gore calls on Obama, and all of us, to seize on the Gulf spill as an opportunity:

This a consciousness-shifting event. It is one of those clarifying moments that brings a rare opportunity to take the longer view. Unless we change our present course soon, the future of human civilization will be in dire jeopardy. Just as we feel a sense of urgency in demanding that this ongoing oil spill be stopped, we should feel an even greater sense of urgency in demanding that the much larger and more dangerous ongoing emissions of global warming pollution must also be stopped to make the world safe from the climate crisis that is building all around us.

* And on a much more important topic, the snark o' the day, from Jed Lewison, on the Sue Lowden campaign's handling of chickens-for-checkups: "The chicken that keeps on laying eggs."

What else is happening?

UPDATE, 10:39 a.m.: Reader wbgonne flags something important: The Associated Press, one of the first to raise the specter of "Obama's Katrina," has now taken a long look at the Gulf spill response and concluded it "shows little resemblance to Katrina in either the characterization of the threat or the federal government's response."

By Greg Sargent  |  May 8, 2010; 6:16 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Foreign policy and national security , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans , Supreme Court  
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Re: Sestak Takes Lead

That same poll showed Sestak pulling even a day or two ago. I was wondering if it was an outlier, but it appears not to be. Pretty impressive in the final push with a little over a week left before the election!

We'll need other pollsters to verify this though. I believe DailyKos is going to put an R2k poll in the field for this race early next week. Their polls so far have all shown Specter with a lead (and been slightly more conservative on Sestak's chances than other pollsters, too). If that comes back with a tie/lead for Sestak...this is will intense.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | May 8, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I don't think that Obama choosing Kagan has much to do with her getting confirmed easily.

Obama KNOWS Kagan and probably knows her views. She may be pretty liberal but since she has no paper trail most people don't know it.

Plus the fact that she is 49 goes along way for she will be on the Court for a LONG time.

Posted by: maritza1 | May 8, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Re: Kagan

I'm not sure I agree with Digby here. I would also like to see Pres. Obama pick a more liberal choice - my hail mary choice was Goodwin Liu. However, the quote you post from her is at odds with a very compelling case that Dems DO lose over SCOTUS battles, by BooMan:

"Democrats and Republicans both care passionately about the Supreme Court, but they think about it differently. The Democrats want to preserve the laws that are on the books. If they want change, they look to control of Congress and the presidency as the ways to create that change. Republicans are not agitating for new legislation. They are most passionate about striking down existing legislation as unconstitutional...Regardless of who is nominated to replace Stevens, the Republicans are going to benefit in the short-term because they care much more passionately about the Supreme Court than we do."

Now...that's not to say that I think the short term loss is not worth getting a strong, passionate liberal on the court. I think it is. But Digby's argument is that we can "win" that political fight. I don't think that's right, and I think a Democratic President needs to recognize that.

I think the BEST route would be to nominate a strong liberal, and buffer the news cycle on it with some other major initiative. Be it immigration, another new jobs bill, or energy legislation...whatever.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | May 8, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

One imagines that Specter did a pretty good impression of Homer Simpson when he first saw that Sestak ad. It is one of the most effective political ads I've ever seen and it's strength comes from simplicity AND Specter's taped statement on which the ad hinges.

And Sestak will be undoubtedly aided by the anti-incumbent fervor of the day.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 8, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Good point, BBQ, thanks. All, needless to say, if you see more polling on the race, please let me know...

...and Bernie, if you're around, that's an interesting point re Ailes. I wonder if there's a broader thing to be done with examples of hihg profile figures ditching the Tea Partiers at moments when GOP electoral success is genuinely threatened...

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 8, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Greg and all.

Everybody who is a regular knows I have had my problem with this administration's tendency to cave to right wingers in the name of bipartisanship usually all for naught. But I have to say that as much as I have wanted to feel some kind of outrage about Elena Kagan being the nominee I just haven't been able to muster any. Don't get me wrong I think Dianne Wood might be a better justice when better = more progressive but I don't think Kagan's views are all that different than hers and seem to be pretty much in line with Democratic principals. I mean seriously the Goldman Sachs "connection" was all of 10 Gs a year for some advisory role. Its not like she was out selling CDOs. And the minority hiring issue seems to be overblown as well. Funny how all the people making waves about it weren't protesting outside her office at Harvard when she was there. All in all I think there are some on our side who are resorting to many of the same tactics they decry when it comes from the right and Republicans. At the end of the day if Kagan is the nominee I will support her and I think most of the people who consider themselves Democrats and or liberal/progressive will too.

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | May 8, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Re: Meek

I got an email from Meek a few days ago saying that "thousands" of people have already signed his petition. Now, not to begrudge those that have signed it (raises hand), but "thousands" isn't going to cut it. He needs "tens of thousands" before he'll start getting any major local coverage, and be able to make a true pitch out of it.

For someone who got over 100,000 signatures to get on the ballot, I'm actually a little surprised he hasn't gotten more so far. Granted, it hasn't been very long. That could be the main factor. However, he's going to have to continue to push hard on this if he wants to have ANY shot at winning this seat.

The FL Senate race is shaping up to be the most interesting of the cycle.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | May 8, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Kagan wasn't my first choice but I think she'd be fine. I think Obama underestimates the opportunity to fire up the base with pick like Wood, so I hope he's picking Kagan because he thinks she's the most qualified, and not because he thinks she's an easy confirmation.

Posted by: SDJeff | May 8, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I could live with Kagan. I think she'll be decent, maybe better than that. And, as Martiza points out, she's only 49. We must re-stock the Court to outlast Scalia and Thomas.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 8, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I really feel the ad is most effective because of the absurd way Specter says "...will enable me to be reelected."

He freakin' sounds like a cartoon villain. I always expect a "Muahahahaha" to come next. I was shocked at his level of arrogance that he would say something like that on camera. Hopefully it bites him.

Read the BooMan link I posted. You seem to personify it. Dems want to change things by creating new legislation - thus our passion rallies on Congress and the White House. Republicans want to change things by striking down existing legislation - thus their passion rallies for judicial nominations.

I am, admittedly, the same way.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | May 8, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Oh and in my non bold prediction of the day I still think Sestak loses in the primary. I have talked to too many people in PA who were not happy with Specter switching parties but have been underwhelmed with Sestak's performance so far. I still think Sestak trying to say the administration offered him a job to stay out of the race was weaksauce on his part and on the other hand leaving Specter free to flip over to the dark side again in what will almost surely be his last term also worries me. But I just have this feeling at the end of the day people will go with the guy they know rather than the guy they like.

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | May 8, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I think Sestak looks good for the nomination. Another sign that Dems are alive and well. I'd like to see Halter close on Lincoln, last I saw he was 12 points down. In any event, as I've said for a while now, Dems will be fine in November. And they'll do even better if they stay true to their beliefs and nominate candidates who espouse those views. Conservatism is dead and the Repubs got nothin'. The Dems have nothing to fear but themselves.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 8, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

@SD Jeff & @wbgonne

I'm also ok with Kagan (though I'm still rooting for Liu, lol).

The selling point that won me over was her record at Harvard, where she has a noted history of persuading the left and right to get together on things. I think she's left of center, and will be stuck on a court basically split down the middle with ONE vote up for grabs.

I want a progressive vote, sure. But I also want someone who's able to help bring that swing vote along. Kagan has a history of being able to do that to an extent.

Again...I'm not "excited" by her. I still think there are more liberal options that would be able to do just as good (or better) a job on the Court. But I'd be ok with her, if she's the pick.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | May 8, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

tpm flags this:

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican candidate for governor, paid George Rekers at least $60,900 to be an expert witness in 2008 while defending Florida's ban against gay couple adopting children. When a judge called Rekers' testimony neither "credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy," McCollum explicitly defended him in following briefs.

It's like, let me see if I understand this right... the current leading GOP candidate for Gov, paid Rekers taxpayer money... for fraudulent testimony... against teh gey. This story is truly insane.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 8, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Greg - re your post at 10:48...

As you know, I consider the "Tea Party" phenomenon a feint, the trick of it being a pretense of Republican/conservative newness. Standard rebranding. From a marketing perspective, that HAD to be done after Bush/Cheney, Iraq, economic collapse, etc. Further, it provided a means of activating the base (as polls show, that is who is activated), of controlling news narrative (which has been done effectively) and of diverting blame for economic travails (how people might believe they have come about and thus how to correct) away from corporate agency and toward government agency. And obviously, the passions and activism of the Ron Paul crowd caught strategists' attention and they couldn't let that go unutilized or uncontrolled (3rd party being a real danger which is why RNC people moved into the early Tea Party organizations and, as in the case of one group in California that we know of, explicitly stated they had concerns about a third party evolving).

But as many have noted, Republicans are in danger of creating/feeding a beast that could run amok and hurt future R electoral chances and levers of power because the narrative or the promoted values/principals of Tea Partyism are in many ways counter to real Republican/corporate goals (Paul being one clear example, allegiance to corporate entities being another, real government spending being another).

Thus what Palin and Beck have done is quite predictable as they are functioning in aid of Republican electoral gains and power. The stance of independence is theatre. Either may have, and probably do have, delusions of personal grandeur but the future for either rests in allegiance to the existing power structures of the right, not in contesting it in any significant way.

So if I have this basically right (and I do) then we'll see a continuation of Palin/Fiorino and Beck/not Hayworth by the main agencies working to enhance Republican power. That is, most pertinently, the WSJ, FOX, talk radio particularly Limbaugh, the neoconservative crowd, Chamber of Commerce, Armey and related astro-turf groups, Norquist's group or groups, and whatever the Cheney's are organizing.

But I will keep my attention on this game and how it plays out and I'll draw attention to instances of it as I see them arise.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 8, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I admit to being not quite thrilled with Kagan. Do we really know that much about her, isn't she just as likely to steer right as left being a bit of a blank slate? Her diversity record at Harvard is not too great and some believe she will be more likely to support executive powers over legislative. Do we really want that? I just haven't been able to get aboard this train yet. I'll carry the minority opinion on this one. I would much prefer a fight over Diane Wood.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 8, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Bernie, it's interesting to watch the R/Tea Party dilemma unfold as we get closer to an election. In that Palin facebook link in the last thread re complaints from her "fans" for supporting Fiorina, she actually felt compelled to issue a more in depth explanation for her support in the hopes of mitigating the damages.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 8, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

At BBQ - that Specter piece is quite something, isn't it? On the one hand, it can strike one as refreshingly honest - and that's a plus. Except for what it is honest about - "me want continuing power".

I'm a bit bifurcated on one thing in this mix. I don't assume that being a competent and effective Senator or Congressman is easy or that anyone might be able to do it. Experience clearly counts for a lot. And if one is truly motivated in significant part by real altruism towards the community, then I could see an individual crossing the aisle or moving independent as a positive thing. And quite frankly, I'm just not familiar enough with Specter's past to know what is up with the guy.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 8, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Ims- Yes. It would not be a good thing (from the Republican perspective) for Palin to become a pariah. Her symbolic value is so high on the right now among the base that there'd be serious demoralization if something really flipped over in how she is perceived. I interacted on her Facebook page for a while (until I got booted for bringing up Israel's universal healthcare) and the level of and ubiquity of worship (no other word more appropriate) is seriously scary.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 8, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Imsinca & BBQ:

Liu would be my first choice but I suspect Obama will nominate Kagan. I'm not that worried about Executive power right now. The abuse of Executive power was the main problem wit hBush-Cheney. In fact, with Obama in the White House I'd rather rely on him than Congress to get things done right. Don;t get me wrong: this is a subject worthy of discussion and investigation. I just don't think Kagan's views (as I understand them) are disqualifying. And you should remember that, as SG, she is working in the Executive branch so her bias would likely tilt in that direction. One bright point: Kagan clerked for Thurgood Marshall, probably the last great liberal Justice.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 8, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Bernie: Good analysis of the Teabaggers, probably the best I've seen. On the level of pure crass politics, you've really got to hand it to the GOP: their invention of the Teabaggers was a brilliant tactical move. While it will probably explode on them in the end, they were finished anyhow. This will just make the implosion more entertaining.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 8, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey! Look at me with a Hat Tip from Greg in the Morning Roundup! I ROCK!!!

Posted by: wbgonne | May 8, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Goodness...somebody has taken my last post into digital gitmo for questioning.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 8, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse


Nothing to do with politics...but to those interested in Space/Tech/Engineering, I just uploaded some high speed camera footage from a launch pad camera for a Space Shuttle launch (Discovery, STS-124, May 31st, 2008).

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | May 8, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Paul Rosenberg at Open Left makes an observation which had not even occurred to me but should have...

"This week marked the 40th anniversary of the Kent State shootings, and I was thinking about it all week, and (a) how little attention was being paid to the anniversary, and (b) how dramatically their killing at the hands of the government differed from that of white supremacist Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge. How was it--in this time of righteous "Tea Party" anger--that those four students, cut down as innocent youth, could fail to enrage average Americans whose souls were stirred by Randy Weaver and David Koresh instead? Why do we forever hear of Ruby Ridge and Waco, and never a word of Kent State? Much less Jackson State?"

I'm going to have to think about the differences here and why they exist. Clearly, one part of it has to do with how many on the right tenaciously hold on to any grudge. Which seems to be some aspect of the paranoid sense of being ceaselessly under attack and thus it is dangerous to forget or excuse prior instances.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 8, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

@bbq - That's very interesting. Toasty. Over on the right side beneath where the shuttle stood, there appears to be some serious hoovering taking place. Is that what it is? Is there, do you know, some need to draw some of that heat away?

And have a nice day all.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 8, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

"In fact, with Obama in the White House I'd rather rely on him than Congress to get things done right."

That may be true now, but eventually we will have both a different Congress and a different President. Here's a quote from the Savage piece Greg linked this morning and is just one of the reasons I support Wood. Bush/Cheney abused executive power and I don't want to travel any further down that path, whether Dem. or Repub. Just my opinion, but it is a big issue with me and one that I think Obama has already mis-used to a certain extent. For example, issuing a kill order on an American citizen living abroad without the benefit of due process, I don't like it. He may be a terrorist, in fact it's 99.9% guaranteed, but I think it's an abuse of power.

"Of the three, Judge Wood, of the appeals court in Chicago, has the clearest record in favor of protecting civil liberties and taking a skeptical stance toward executive power. In a 2003 essay, she spoke out against approaches to counterterrorism that she said posed “a significant threat to the continued observance of the rule of law” — like giving noncitizens fewer due process rights than citizens and sacrificing individual privacy to foster intelligence-gathering."

“In a democracy, those responsible for national security (principally, of course, the executive branch) must do more than say, ‘trust us, we know best’ when they are proposing significant intrusions on liberties protected by the Constitution,” Judge Wood wrote."

Posted by: lmsinca | May 8, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

B, Re: Kent State


~ That was, as Rosenberg says, 40 years ago, & most Americans cultural, historical memory starts the year they were born.
{Thank a pub/educ. curriculum administrator today; or your local SUNY adjunct, assistant, associate, visiting professor of SocioCulturalLearning Differentials!!!)

~ Ruby Ridge and esp. Waco were on TeeVee!!!, alot, therefore making the incidents more salient by several orders of magnitude (see above item).

~ 4 Dead in Ohio. 76 (w/20 kids included) in Waco; Ruby Ridge a home invasion, Mrs. Weaver shot via sniper.

~ FEDS did Waco & RR. Clueless Ohio Nat Guard did Kent State. IOW: Reno pulled the trigger. No one knows to this day who ordered the 1st shot in Ohio.

Grudge & paranoia (Almost Cut My Hair, it happened just the other day)...uh, actually, no.

Posted by: tao9 | May 8, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Imsinca: I'd prefer Wood over Kagan except that she's 10 years older. As to Executive Power, I agree it is a matter of concern but hardly the only issue that counts. I'm inclined toward a strong president generally, but especially now where Congress is pretty much dysfunctional (though improving perhaps). In a representative democracy there will always be grants of power and there will always be the potential for abusing that power like Bush and Cheney did. The best remedy is electing better people, which we have done with Obama. Moreover, I really don't know how Kagan will stand on the question of Executive power once she becomes a Justice. She certainly isn't one of Bush's toadies like John Yoo who thought the President was a king. In all events, Kagan would NOT be my choice but if she is Obama's I can live with it.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 8, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I get it wbgonne, I'm just contrarian by nature. Obviously, I support Obama in most things but like to raise issues of disagreement as I see them. I'm sure she'll be fine, like you she is not my first choice and I'm interested to see what if anything we learn in the confirmation process, assuming he names her. Looks like it could come as soon as Monday.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 8, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse


In the SSME Hole just under the shuttle, you can see the water of the Sound Suppression system pouring out. That's part of the "pre-lo" system, which starts gushing water 16 sec. before launch. On the LEFT side, you can see the "post-lo" start dumping water out of 10' tall spouts onto the top of the launch pad after the SRBs ignite (big white tanks). The water from this system ends up covering the whole deck of the launch pad and helps dissipate heat and sound waves.

As for the right side, where you see the flames pounding the deck...nope, that's just thick steel and special rubberized paint. Keep in mind that this is high speed footage - in reality it's off the pad in several seconds.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | May 8, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

One more thought or observation wbgonne, Congress doesn't seem nearly as ineffective when Obama comes out in favor of and applies his powers of persuasion toward certain legislation. He doesn't need enhanced executive powers for that. It's when he holds back for whatever reason that things seem to fall apart in the coalition. This I think is where some of the criticism of him from the left comes from. One day he's a populist, next day he's the pragmatist. I think it was David Corn who called him a ping pong populist, just a thought.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 8, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Imsinca: Your comments raise another point. Much of the Executive abuse Bush-Cheney got away with was because Congress totally fell down on the job of providing a check on Executive Power. It wasn't so much that Congress lacked the POWER to constrain Bush as much as Congress lacked the will to do so (and that most definitely includes the Democrats in Congress). That doesn't appear to be the issue any longer. The GOP is hardly shy about trying to restrain Obama. Again, checks on Presidential Power are quite important but the Court isn't the only other branch of government, though you might think that based on our experience during the Bush Reign of Error.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 8, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Voting is underway in Utah to determine the GOP nominees for Senator. Bennett stands a VERY strong chance of losing and not being on the ballot in November.

More details here.

Posted by: thefourthbranchcom | May 8, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Sorry- the hyperlink didn't work. Details are here:

Posted by: thefourthbranchcom | May 8, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Good point wbgonne. We have three branches for a reason. I think there are more than a handful of Dem. Senators willing to curtail Executive over reach. I pretty much disregard anything Republicans are doing right now.

On an unrelated issue 30 Dems voted for the Brown/Kaufman amendment Thursday, less than I'd hoped, but this was without the support of the President or Treasury. The fact that we got a vote and had a pretty decent showing gives me encouragement for the remaining term of this Congress.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 8, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

The first round of voting in Utah's GOP primary is now done. And with it, likely so too is Bennett's political career. Bennett finished in third place, enough to move into the second round of voting, but he isn't likely to survive this round.

Posted by: thefourthbranchcom | May 8, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, the chicken ad linked thru JLewison is an excellent ad if you aren't hip to the chicken guano of the Whole Story. Because the ad brings up the chickens, it'll get free play. The only antidote is to keep La Truth out there.

"Let Them Pay With Chickens" --Sue Lowden Antoinette.

The Chicken Story and Ms. Lowden-Antoinette's tin-ear saved my Decade. Consider Fat E aka Fate. Some eras Fat E -- whose whims compel us -- gets so derelict and deranged that despair seems the only rational response.

Fat E's recent Vile Trials perpetrated upon us range from the Tea Baggers' revival of opener racial ugliness to that other creepy and terrifying "open-carry" of weapons in public places; the pernicious persistence of repugnant Palin pollution in the political atmosphere, that pervasive rancidity; Wall Street thug-moguls' Slavering Greed (The Massacre of BullSh*t Run) leaving millions shuttered, shuddering, and shattered; the hideous hemorrhaging wound of the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico coming onshore in Louisiana at the very mouth of the Mississippi.

Stupid death and ruin. Vast stupid death and ruin. You are bludgeoned and stunned. You rage back -- or cower. Usually a ricochet of both. You know that Fat E tends to be sly and selfish and given to exceedingly dark and filthy humors.

But, now and again, she relents her beastly fathomless narcissisms and provides a present, a pearl, so preposterous, so impossibly absurd, so distilled of silly, that you melt. Your rage-ravaged, hell-bent heart knows that you have a confectionery tale of the decade. A masterpiece of the ridiculous. Oh my.

Polaroids onto the scene, enter Stage Far-Right, Sue Lowden, candidate for Senate in Nevada. At first appearance, she proposes "bartering" in a cell-phone-camera segment. Weirdish, but it could be charitably construed as her meaning "bargaining." It's rotten and stupid to saddle your constituents with the burden of bargaining while bleeding, but it's within the standard meanstream of reprehensible Republican rubbish.

Then, oh blessed then, Sue Lowden Antoinette actually says forth, "Let them pay with chickens." On tape, on the youtubes, jaw-droppingly, breathtakingly brazen, it's redlining on the Are-You-***king-Nuts-O-Meter. Oh Murgatroyd's Heaven, it's ChickenGate. Even Vlad the Impaler gazes on in wonder. ?Chickens? Gateau all around! Muy yum! The chicken's in the mail, Doc.

Posted by: wendyf | May 8, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Re: Utah's Primary Voting

The first round is done, and Bennett made it through in 3rd place. I haven't seen an update since then. Now 16% is up for grabs on the next ballot...the question is who it goes to. If it doesn't go to Bennett by a decent margin, he might fall out on the second ballot.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | May 8, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

If you haven't seen this report on the costs of the Iraq War, please give this a look. The totals of lives lost and the total amount spent ($750 billion), not to mention the amount for veterans healthcare and disability ($414 to 700 billion) is staggering.

When will the neocons apologize?

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 8, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

What bothers me is Biden & Pres Obama are campaigning for Specter and I certainly disagree. Sestak is a retired Navy Admiral, he served our Navy well and I believe he should replace Specter. Specter is no different than Liebermann except Liebermann doesn't believe in the Constitution though when he was sworn into office, he agreed to uphold the Constitution!

Posted by: Africaed | May 8, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

BG, they will never apologize and those numbers are really staggering. What a nightmare. Think how different our world would be today if we had just stayed the course in Afghanistan and finished that instead. It's really impossible for me to reminisce over the Bush years and feel anything but disgust.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 8, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

That you are still waving the bloody shirt over Waco and Ruby Ridge pretty much confirms that you are a right wing loon.

I lived in Denton, TX when Koresh decided to take everybody out. As Waco and Denton both got their local TV from Dallas, I heard about the Branch Davidians months before folks outside Texas knew anything about them. Koresh had created a cult of sycophants who willingly gave him their wives and daughters for him to defile. Yes, it was Koresh and NOT the feds that was responsible for what happened in Waco. Koresh was megalomaniacal pedophile who thought that he was Jesus Christ - a well armed Jesus, no less - and that God told him to impregnate 12 year old girls. Then, when cornered, he executed most of his followers. If you recall, many corpses were recovered with gunshot wounds to the head. The fire didn't do that. A heroic revolutionary he was not.

If you expect anybody to take you seriously, you might want to pick more sympathetic martyrs for your brand of conservatism. Maybe you are just stupid and reflexively propping up Koresh as some kind of anti government revolutionary because bloated pedophile Limbaugh told you that was what you he would allow you to think.

Koresh was a murderous pedophile and is about as loathsome a piece of excrement that has ever fouled the Earth. That you choose him to be one of the poster boys for your cause pegs you as either extremely ill informed or so extreme that you have effectively removed yourself from civil society.

You seem to fancy yourself a thinker. Quit pretending to be anything other than just another member of the brainless sheeple flock. Touting Koresh as a martyr betrays you as blind follower of hate mongering demagogues like Limbaugh.

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 8, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Tell him how you really feel Gasman1!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 8, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Greg, not sure if you're reading or, but I think a real dig into how this oil leak is going to play politically would be pretty cool. There's been a few here and there but I'm unaware if anyone has pieced it all together.

And, with the dome failing first attempt because of the methane crystal build-up, I think if this doesn't get plugged up in another week, this incident is going to be a game changer. Especially if a hurricane fires through there any time soon before its plugged up. A hurricane would cover LA, ALA, MS ten miles inland with oily gunk.

If LA, MS, ALA and FL all turned anti oil any time soon, things could get really interesting.

The Wall Street crash is to how easily this financial reform is getting through Congress as that oil leak could be to environmental reform.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 8, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

See, this administration had a bit of an uphill battle with health care reform. A majority of Americans like their health care. This admin isn't going to have to explain to anyone oil is a problem and every single American felt the repercussions of the banks and financial firms exploding.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 8, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

If Obama and the Dems use adequately small words and simple sentences, even the teabaggers could be brought onboard with financial reform that legitimately put some punitive bite on Wall Street. The one issue that sunk Bennett in Utah appeared to be his support for TARP. The teabagger crowd go insane with the thought of bailing out Wall Street. Even if the GOP desperately wants to carry water for the Wall Street crowd, to be seen doing so is anathema to the ‘baggers.

As for tao9, he is none too bright, so I made my response as unambiguous as possible. I cannot fathom how anyone could honestly prop up David Koresh as a figure deserving of our sympathies. In my book, that pretty much disqualifies tao9 from consideration as a rational, sentient being.

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 9, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse


Did you read Bernie's quote @ May 8, 2010 12:32 PM?

Paul Rosenberg at Open Left asked a question. I posted some possible reasons Kent State may pale in the American memory vs. Waco and RR. And that the outrage of Kent State was not the work of the Federal govt.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Did a methane bubble travel up your spinal cord, pass the mud column, breach your very weak blowout preventer, and detonate your petrol-soaked brain?

That's no way to go through life, son.

Posted by: tao9 | May 9, 2010 1:57 AM | Report abuse

As I reread your post, you pretty much parrot the same old brain dead conservative tripe about how the feds "did" Waco and Ruby Ridge. Weaver is no patriot. He is a psychopathic separatist racist gun nut. It was his racist beliefs and associations with white separatist groups like the Aryan Nation and his belief in armed resistance to the government that got him into trouble and directly led to the deaths of his son, his wife, and U. S. Marshall William Degan. I believe I established that Koresh was a murdering pedophile. These two criminals orchestrated the events that led to the many respective deaths in these incidents. Only the rightmost fringe views these two with anything but contempt. Quit trying to pretend that there is anything noble about your tiresome demonization of the federal government, at least when Democrats are in charge.

Weaver and Koresh sealed their own respective fates when they knowingly sought to oppose the government by force of arms.

You are more than free to hate the government as much as you like, just don’t pretend that doing so makes you some kind of super patriot.

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 9, 2010 3:03 AM | Report abuse


Nothing I wrote indicates any brief w/ the Davidians or Weaver, whatsoever. That fallacious, incoherent DVD is running in your angry, insulting, logic-free squash.

If you wish to maintain that Ms. Reno and the ATF/FBI were doing the work of the Angels on those days, carry on.

Posted by: tao9 | May 9, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: bernielatham | May 9, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Greg - yesterday and then again just now I've had posts held back in apparent need of review. Neither had links. Yesterday's was never published.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 9, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

In support of a particular thesis I push here, I wanted to quote from Weigel's post on his conversation with Rob Jordan, vice president of state and federal campaigns for FreedomWorks. Jordan said:

"You're seeing the rise of a new group of conservative leaders," said Jordan. "Maybe guys like Romney are fading a bit, even in Utah. We're going to build on the momentum from this race."

Again, Armey was Gingrich's lieutenant in '94.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 9, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Tried to post earlier piece again, same result. Is word count critical? It was a longish post, 1800 words.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 9, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Did this '71 memo from Pat Buchanan to Nixon (uncovered by David Corn) get posted here?

"Our future, if it is going to be successful, may lie in the FDR pattern of engaging them openly in heated political warfare, of not cooling off our supporters but of stirring the fires and passions often. It seems to me here that we are in a contest over the soul of the country now and the decision will not be some middle compromise—it will be their kind of society or ours; we will prevail or they shall prevail."

Posted by: bernielatham | May 9, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I guess I'm just about wrong on everything.

"Attorney General Eric Holder said for the first time today on ABC's "This Week" that the Obama administration is open to modifying America's system of Miranda protections to deal with the "threats that we now face."

"The [Miranda] system we have in place has proven to be effective," Holder told host Jake Tapper. "I think we also want to look and determine whether we have the necessary flexibility -- whether we have a system that deals with situations that agents now confront. ... We're now dealing with international terrorism. ... I think we have to give serious consideration to at least modifying that public-safety exception [to the Miranda protections]. And that's one of the things that I think we're going to be reaching out to Congress, to come up with a proposal that is both constitutional, but that is also relevant to our times and the threats that we now face."

Posted by: lmsinca | May 9, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Ims- I am willing to grant that the security situation we face now is quite unlike that of previous times. And that seems to mean that long-held policy ideas ought to change as well. That's horribly general, I know, but it reflects something quite real.

Take Britain, for example, and the steps they found it necessary to take (eg cameras everywhere) to help ward off IRA attacks.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 9, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

This Ackerman piece on Gate's speech is very interesting. One thing we have to hand this present administration is it's willingness to take on the key existing power structures that have built up over the last several decades...

"Gates Claims Eisenhower’s Mantle, Challenging Pentagon Overspending"

Posted by: bernielatham | May 9, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

and re slowness...for me, posts are taking about 30 seconds to resolve.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 9, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Hi, lmsinca
Is there a trick to keeping your old post ID? I must have been away a long time. I still have my Andy ID through Who runs gov, but I never was a Wash Post member so, I had to sign up and could not get my old ID.

Posted by: Andy94 | May 9, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

All, Sunday roundup posted, with more on Holder's claims about Mirandizing:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 9, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Hey Andy, I already had an ID so was able to sign in under that same one. Lots of others here got tweaked though. I had a little trouble figuring out who a few people were but I'd recognize you anywhere........LOL

Posted by: lmsinca | May 9, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Since the day he switched parties I've never given Specter more than even odds of surviving a Democratic primary. I do think it was and still is his best shot at another term.

I kind of hope he goes down though. If he does, I don't think process is likely to leave the Democrats too crippled to win going into the general election. Unlike Arkansas there's more than one way for a Democrat to win a statewide election in Pennsylvania and unlike Lincoln, Specter really is a moderate Republican with a moderate Republican's voting record to show for it. Pennsylvania Democrats should easily be able to do better than that.

Posted by: CalD | May 9, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I think that U.S. Senator Arlen Specter is a better choice for Pennsylvania in 2010 than Joe Sestak.

Posted by: atifgulab | May 9, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

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