Friday, November 24, 2006

The Friday Political Grab Bag

If it's Friday, it's time to take a look at what's been floating around the political world this week and that I haven't commented on, might have slipped under your radar or has just flat-out been too silly for you to notice…

Yeah, We Should Give These Guys Bipartisanship - Showing, as they always do, that any Republican talk about a new spirit of bipartisanship in Washington is just a bunch of garbage, the GOP last week elected Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole as the new head of the National Republican Congressional Committee for the next election cycle.

Cole is the same guy who, in 2004, pushed for George W. Bush to remain in office by saying that John Kerry winning would mean that Osama bin Laden also wins.

"What do you think Hitler would have thought if Roosevelt would've lost the election in 1944? He would not have thought American resolve was strengthening," said Cole. "What would the Confederacy have thought if Lincoln would have lost the election of 1864? I promise you this, if George Bush loses the election, Osama bin Laden wins the election. It's that simple."

Of course, Cole refused to retract his comments at the time so when Democrats begin thinking about extending a hand across the aisle in Congress next year, they might want to remember that this guy will be waiting to urinate on that same hand in 2008.

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George Allen Blogger Says Webb Win Due to Netroots - While this may be selling short the campaign run by Jim Webb's organization, it's nice to see Jon Henke, who was the official blogger for the George Allen Senate campaign, give props to Progressive bloggers and the effect we had on the 2006 elections.

Writes Henke:
"Perhaps the biggest success of the Leftosphere happened here in Virginia, as Jim Webb took a long-shot campaign and, with a significant boost from the netroots, capitalized on the general anti-Republican zeitgeist and the missteps of George Allen to pull out a win.

"Make no mistake, without the netroots, Webb would not have won. He may not even have been close. It was a long-cultivated activism/outreach/media-hounding New Media campaign that brought Webb to the attention of the institutional Democrats, sold him to the activists and shaped the narratives of both Webb and Allen for the media.

"Those New Media efforts lead directly to the beating that Allen eventually took in the press, and to the Democratic mobilization on Webb's behalf. The Webb campaign may have taken advantage of that, but it was the careful netroots preparation that allowed them to do so."
OK, gang, let's absorb those kudos for a few minutes and move on to the next ass kicking we're going to deliver in 2008.

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U.S. Troops Taunting Iraqi Children with Water - With all the good-hearted troops we have stationed in Iraq, it's a shame these knuckleheads are the ones undoubtedly being beamed into homes all over the Middle East right now. Here's U.S. troops driving down a street in Iraq and dangling fresh water from the back of the truck so Iraqi children will run after it:

I bet the punishment waiting for these guys from their peers -- most of whom will find this as disgusting as we do -- will be worse than anything we can say or do.

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Animations r' Us - When I started contacting editorial cartoonists to get permission to run their work on my web site, I never imagined how many of these genuine wits are creating amazing and hilarious animations as well. Please have a look at these and enjoy.

Here's Walt Handelsman of Newsday with 'The Midterm's Greatest Hits':

Click on the screenshot above or go here to see it.

Matt Davies of the New York Journal News has this great offering:

You can check out Matt's cartoon here.

And Mark Fiore checks in with Bush "Still Decidin'"

Go here to laugh at that.

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Big Meany Pelosi to Actually Make Republicans in Congress Work -- OK, these guys knew it wasn't going to be easy having Nancy Pelosi as the new House Speaker, but they never guessed that after getting so much time off in December, she would actually expect them to work for part of January.

It's true. Mark Sandalow reports in the San Francisco Chronicle that Pelosi intends on keeping the House of Representatives in session for most of the month after the 110th Congress opens on January 4. Usually, the House convenes for a week to hammer out a bunch of procedural things and then kicks back until after the president's State of the Union Address -- but not this time.

"From economic security to national security, the American people have resoundingly called for a new direction,'' Pelosi said in a statement. "It is imperative that we waste no time in addressing the pressing needs facing our nation.''

Wow. After two years of leading a do-nothing Congress, this has got to be a huge shock to every Republicans' system.

Poor babies.

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When The Iraqis Stand Up, We'll… Oh, Never Mind - Fine reporting from Thomas Ricks at the Washington Post who checks in with a piece about yet more ineptitude in Iraq that, had it come out before the midterm elections, may have cost the Republicans even more votes.

Ricks reports about the pathetic state of U.S. efforts to train Iraqi troops -- you know, so we can perhaps get out of there in our lifetimes -- and the extent to which it simply isn't happening due to poorly-prepared American trainers and shortages of everything from interpreters to basic things like office materials.

It's a disturbing, but necessary read that you can find here.

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It's Tough Being the Worst President Ever's Daddy - Poor Bush Senior took a beating while appearing at a leadership conference in the United Arab Emirates when a student took the microphone at question-answer time and wasn't quite up to the kind of fawning, softball questions Bushes are accustomed to:

"We do honor Americans, and I believe that they are highly respected in our country. However, we do not respect your son, and we do not respect what you are doing all over the world," said college student Nevine Al Rumeisi.

From the New York Daily News report:
Her comment was roundly cheered by the business and political leaders gathered in once pro-American Abu Dhabi.

The elder Bush just looked stunned.

His speech had stressed how proud he is of both his sons, the President and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and how much it hurt him when they are criticized.

"It takes a lot of guts to tell a father what you said about his son when I just told you that the thing that matters to my heart is my family," he said.

"My son is an honest man, he is working hard for peace, and how come everybody wants to go to the United States if the United States is so bad?"

That prompted another audience member, an American ex-pat, to tell Bush, "I think the remarks that you made about why people need to go to America to be very hostile and make the country look even worse."

When another audience member said he thought American wars are designed to open markets for U.S. companies - drawing more cheers and whoops - Bush grew testy.

"I think that's weird and it's nuts," he said.
Go here to read the rest.

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Who Knew (Besides Everyone) That The Elections Affected Gas Prices? - Finally, Josh Holland at AlterNet fills us in on the numbers behind what we already knew: That the falling gas prices in the weeks before the midterm elections were just Big Oil's little way of trying to save as many Republican Congressional seats as possible.

Josh reports that the prices we saw at the pump election week were -- surprise! -- the lowest of the year and that they started going up almost as soon as the polls closed.

Here's Josh:
"If you'll recall, average gas prices dropped by fifty cents, or 17 percent, between the end of August and the end of September -- when the primaries were done and the campaign season began in earnest. At the time, the White House said that any suggestion the drop was related to the midterms was a 'conspiracy theory,' prompting me to ask, not for the first time, exactly how stupid they think we are."
You can read the rest of Josh's piece at AlterNet.

As for me, I own a gas-sipping Toyota Prius and I'm staying home for the long weekend.

Bite me, Big Oil.