Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

Month: March 2007 Page 1 of 4

It’s not enough, Matthew Dowd.

Josh Marshall links to this NYT piece, saying that “Matthew Dowd confesses and repents.” Matthew Dowd helped bring Bush from Texas to the White House in 2000, and was the Bush’s chief campaign strategist in 2004.

Looking back, Mr. Dowd now says his faith in Mr. Bush was misplaced.

[ . . . ]

[H]is disappointment in Mr. Bush’s presidency is so great that he feels a sense of duty to go public given his role in helping Mr. Bush gain and keep power.

Well, that’s a start.  The article goes through a number of instances which gave Dowd pause about Bush – Katrina, Abu Ghraib, and the deployment of his own son to Iraq.  Apparently, it took these things to make clear to him what an almost majority (if not a majority) of the American public knew *before* 2004 – that George W. Bush is the biggest disaster that has ever hit American shores.  And Matthew Dowd contributed greatly not only to bringing that disaster here, but prolonging it.  It seems he’s beginning to recognize the consequences of that.  So what’s he going to do?

[H]e said [of the 2008 cycle], “I wouldn’t be surprised if I wasn’t walking around in Africa or South America doing something that was like mission work.”

He added, “I do feel a calling of trying to re-establish a level of gentleness in the world.”

He owes the world a hell of a lot more than that, but perhaps that’s a start.  You’ve done enormous damage to *this* country, Matthew Dowd.  You owe it much.  Between now and 2008, you can start to put a dent in that debt.  Do it.

Reminder to Sen. Webb: You Can’t Carry in DC

As this Washington Post article explains, it’s legal for Senators/Representatives (and their designees) to carry a gun in the Capitol.  However, it is not legal to carry that gun anywhere in the District.  I understand Sen. Webb’s demurring on answering on whether he’s carried a gun in the District in the past (even if it was with some incredibly lame invocation of 9/11).  He may need to be reminded, though, that he’s not above the law – he has no business carrying a gun from Virginia to the Capitol on a daily basis.  It’s against the law, and it would get me, you, and pretty much anyone else arrested.   Don’t like it?  Fine, work with the District to rework the law.  But until then, respect it.

“Vote NO on Bob Marshall” Fundraiser for Bruce Roemmelt

From an Arlington Young Democrats/Virginia Partisans email:

When: Thursday, March 29 at 5:30PM

Where: Rhodeside Grill
1836 Wilson Boulevard (2 blocks from the Court House metro)
Arlington, VA VA 22203

Event Description:

Arlington Young Democrats and Virginia Partisans Gay & Lesbian Democratic Club are co-hosting a fundraiser for Bruce Roemmelt, who is running for the Prince William County delegate seat held by vulnerable right-wing Republican Bob Marshall, who co-sponsored last year’s anti-gay marriage amendment and desperately needs us to send him to an early retirement. Heavy appetizers will be served.


* Arlington Young Dems: $20
* Bruce Backer: $40
* Bruce Better Backer: $75
* Bruce Best Backer: $100 and beyond.

I won’t be able to make it, but my $ definitely will.


Providing one of the few instances in which something from Richmond, VA has made me smile, the Richmond Times-Dispatch is reporting that 7-Eleven, Inc. is nearing an agreement to temporarily convert some of its stores to Kwik-E-Marts! From the article:

If all goes as planned, the convenience store chain plans to refit 11 stores across the U.S.Richmond is an unlikely choice — to resemble the front of the Kwik-E-Mart, the convenience store that Homer and other characters frequent in the classic cartoon TV series.

Customers also will be able to buy products inspired by the nearly two-decades-old show, including KrustyO’s cereal, Buzz Cola and iced Squishees (the cup says Squishee, but the contents will be Slurpee).

The chain also will use pictures of Simpsons characters to promote 7-Eleven’s line of fresh foods, such as placing the face of Homer and his classic “Mmmm . . . sandwich” quip on sandwich wrappers.

No word on how the chain will handle store managers moved to violence after being called “Apu” for the 312th time in an evening . . .

(via Boing Boing)

Blair: I’ll watch your kids and pick your music

So this is what a PM on his way out thinks he can get away with:

A new-style “11-plus” to assess the risk every child in Britain runs of turning to crime was among a battery of proposals unveiled in Tony Blair’s crime plan yesterday.

The children of prisoners, problem drug users and others at high risk of offending will also face being “actively managed” by social services and youth justice workers. New technologies are to be used to boost police detection rates while DNA samples are to be taken from any crime suspect who comes into contact with the police.

That’s probably not what the American Big Brother/Big Sister program had in mind when they pitched him. And lest you think he’s only coming for the kids, check this bit out:

The [package of proposals on security, crime and justice] is sprinkled with eye-catching initiatives such as MP3 music players that can be accessed only with the owner’s fingerprints, crowd scanners that detect bombs and efficiency league tables for courts.

Apparently all of Britain’s other problems are solved, if the government has the time and resources for all this. This is absolutely mad.

Photos of A380 at Dulles

A very lucky reader was able to catch the A380 at Dulles yesterday, and is generous enough to share her pictures:

Action: Support the Bicycle Commuters Benefits Act of 2007

Congress is currently considering the Bicycle Commuters Benefits Act of 2007 (S. 858 in the Senate, and H.R. 1498 in the House), which if enacted, would permit employers to extend the same benefits to bicycle commuters that they presently extend to drivers and mass transit users. The League of American Bicyclists explains it:

The [Bicycle Commuters Benefits Act] would extend the transportation fringe benefit, currently available to transit users and car drivers, to bicycle commuters. The legislation would provide a tax benefit to employers who offer cash reimbursements to an employee who commutes by bicycle, while helping defray the costs of commuting for the bicyclist.

This is a great idea, and deserves the bipartisan support it’s getting. It still needs your support to push it to through, though. Please click here for help in writing your Senator and Represenative to urge them to support the bill.

Brzezinski: Terrorized by “War on Terror”

Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski has a piece worth reading in the Washington Post today.  When I first read it, I was often thinking – “well this is stating the obvious.”  But then I remember that stating the obvious hasn’t been such a common thing in places like the Washington Post for years now.  In fact, I’d rather like to see more of this.  A few key points from the article:

The “war on terror” has created a culture of fear in America.

[ . . . ]

The damage these three words have done — a classic self-inflicted wound — is infinitely greater than any wild dreams entertained by the fanatical perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks when they were plotting against us in distant Afghan caves. The phrase itself is meaningless. It defines neither a geographic context nor our presumed enemies. Terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare — political intimidation through the killing of unarmed non-combatants.

[ . . . ]

Constant reference to a “war on terror” did accomplish one major objective: It stimulated the emergence of a culture of fear. Fear obscures reason, intensifies emotions and makes it easier for demagogic politicians to mobilize the public on behalf of the policies they want to pursue.

[ . . . ]

That is the result of five years of almost continuous national brainwashing on the subject of terror, quite unlike the more muted reactions of several other nations (Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan, to mention just a few) that also have suffered painful terrorist acts.

[ . . . ]

Such fear-mongering, reinforced by security entrepreneurs, the mass media and the entertainment industry, generates its own momentum. The terror entrepreneurs, usually described as experts on terrorism, are necessarily engaged in competition to justify their existence. Hence their task is to convince the public that it faces new threats.

Brzezinski goes on to explore various examples of how this happens,  and it’s well worth reading the whole.  And then he closes with this:

Where is the U.S. leader ready to say, “Enough of this hysteria, stop this paranoia”? Even in the face of future terrorist attacks, the likelihood of which cannot be denied, let us show some sense. Let us be true to our traditions.

Yes.  Those traditions we used to honor as American values.

Race Report: UNC Kidney Kare 5K Run/Walk

Knowing that I was going to be in Chapel Hill on Saturday morning with not much of anything to do, I signed up for this race last week. I figured it would be a nice follow up to the St. Patrick’s Day 8K, and wouldn’t take too much out of me. And that’s what this turned out to be – pretty much just a nice Saturday morning run.

The course was something of a lasso shape, starting and finishing in a middle school parking lot while otherwise running through a neighborhood. Elevation changes were gradual, but enough to push you to a faster pace at the start, which heads downhill for a bit. Of course, this means that the finish is uphill (with the corresponding drop in pace for non-runners like me). Not particularly scenic, but well marked and attended to by volunteers. Water at 2 miles. Slightly surprised homeowners sprinkled throughout.

The field was small, with 250 or so runners. There were no shortage of quick folks – I’m sure there were at least a dozen 6:30 milers at the front. Divisions ran along the usual age/gender lines. Since it was the “Kidney Kare” run, there were additional divisions for donors and recipients (and no, I did not check to see how many people with one kidney beat me. I knew it was hopeless when a woman pushing a dual stroller blew by me . . . ). While it was advertised as a “Run/Walk”, I’d bet that there were less than 20 walkers. But with my So-Long-As-I’m-Not-DFL standard of victory, all I needed was one.

Registration (via Active.com) was $25. In addition to being fully tax deductible*, the $25 got you a long sleeved cotton shirt with a logo containing two running kidneys (I apologize to the Goodwill folks in advance). The race was manually timed (I’d guess that that probably added about :30 of time to those starting in the back), but the results were posted within 10-15 minutes of last finish. There were plenty of lime (gack) gatorade, water, and cookies/bananas at the end. It was a very family friendly atmosphere, and I’d like to think that it netted a few dollars for a worthy cause.

*I’m no tax lawyer (thank god), but I’m not at all clear how the registration can be entirely deductible AND get you a t-shirt. Maybe that’s where that Amgen sponorship comes in . . .

All That Remains

Taken in Lahore, Pakistan.

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