Friday, April 27, 2007

Harman to be bought by private equity firms for $8 billion

No, not Rep. Jane Harman, silly. Her husband's company, a DC-beltway-based maker of high-end sound equipment.

Founder Sidney Harman, 88, will come out of the deal with about $400 million in cash. Harman, who is married to Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., will remain as chairman. He has a 5 percent share of Harman stock and plans to roll over about half into the new company.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Rest in Peace, Juanita Millender-McDonald; Special Election Soon

NY Times writeup here. For a while I lived in her district. She had been fighting the cancer for some time, as I recall a year or two ago calling her office about a vote and hearing she was on leave for illness for a stretch, and it made the Daily Breeze as well. She fought it off for a long time, though. May she rest in peace.

But hardly a few days go by before the speculation begins. starts about who will run to replace her. I guess because the election timetable is so short, it's a little more understandable.

The election will occur in less than two months -- June 26 is the day for the primary, and the Dem who wins that will be the new House member. The general election will be a formality.

There's already a Wiki page for the 37th Congressional district special election. Excellent! I think I'll be getting informed (and perhaps contributing) there.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Harman Statement on Virginia Tech Shootings

Recommending renewal of expired Assault Weapons Ban.

Would it had prevented this tragedy? Who knows?

Would the ban save countless lives if renewed? No doubt.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Rahm Emanuel to House Dem's: Stay Strong

Rahm Emanuel, the chairman of the House Democratic caucus, is urging his House Dem colleagues in a memo not to back down in the face of White House pressure over Iraq and instead to continue to marginalize President Bush by pointing out that he's weaker than ever and way out of step with public opinion.
The memo - provided in full by TPM Cafe - uses hard polling data to demonstrate the public's on our side, despite all the attention Bush has been getting in blaming Democrats.

Despite the attacks from the White House, nearly 70% of the American people continue to support our plan for a new direction in Iraq and a responsible, strategic redeployment of American troops over the course of the next year.
A Time Magazine poll released a little more than a week ago found that, when given a choice, 68% of Americans endorsed a proposal to withdraw combat troops compared to 28% who favored maintaining troops in Iraq “as long as needed until the Iraqis can handle the situation themselves.” This is a clear comparison between our plan, which the American people overwhelmingly support, and the President’s plan.
Polling conducted by Newsweek confirms that 64% of Americans, including 62% of independents, oppose the escalation of the war.
Bush’s job performance rating also continues to languish – he has remained at or below 35% for more than a year and is showing no signs of improvement. His approval rating streak is now in the ballpark of Richard Nixon’s in the months leading up to his resignation.
Rahm's also got specific advice for House Dem's -
The country has made a conscious decision to support our approach. With that support at our backs, Democrats must:

* Continue to pressure the President to negotiate with Congressional leaders on the Iraq supplemental spending bill.

* Highlight the President's stay-the-course, status quo strategy for Iraq

* Highlight the President's willingness to provide Iraq with an open-ended commitment of U.S. troops

* Emphasize the President now walking away from the benchmarks he laid out in his January speech.

* Remind the country that Congressional Republicans are willing to rubberstamp the President’s stay-the-course policies but have no plan of their own for Iraq.
On that last point, Jane Harman has not been very good. She's not aiming her fire at the rubberstampers in the House four-square behind their Decider-in-Chief. Instead, she says this:
I think President Bush is wrong on Iraq. And I think among his other legacies, he may end up having destroyed the Republican Party because people are bailing in record numbers and becoming independents and maybe even some of them Democrats.

So my advice to this President would be think carefully before you veto this bill. See whether there might be something you could negotiate with Congress that could be an outcome that would be in your interest, in the country’s interest, and in the military’s interest. (emphasis added)
According to what she said here, Republicans aren't to blame for their party being destroyed, it's the President that's doing it to them. As if congressional Republican lock-steppers aren't the reason Bush has had a free-hand so far. Republicans in the House and Senate can stop Bush if they want to. Nobody is forcing congressional Republicans to give the President everything that he wants on the war. If they want to ignore the will of the American people by rubberstamping open-ended war, they'll pay the priced at the next election. The fault lies with them.

Laying all the blame on Bush lets Republicans squirm away from their responsibility. I hope Rep. Harman will take Emanuel's memo to heart and get with the program.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Progressives are Getting It Together

Today felt like a big milestone was reached in the empowerment of progressives.

I was already impressed that MoveOn got all the candidates to participate in their Online Town Hall meeting. There was no filter between the questions that its members wanted asked, and the candidates.

But as I'm driving home from work tonight I hear the debate being broadcast on my local Air America station in Los Angeles (KTLK 1150). After the end of the debate, the president of Air America came on with the Eli Pariser of MoveOn, and made some comments about the candidates views on getting out of Iraq (Richardson was clear about getting out completely, the others were not). Then it became clear that MoveOn had coordinated all along with Air America Radio (AAR) to rebroadcast the Town Hall. (It turns out there are 34 AAR stations airing the Town Hall, many more than once.)

That makes for a pretty serious audience that will hear the event - many of them accidentally, like myself. It can only be a good thing to have Democratic primary voters hear the candidates answer the questions of the day in their own words.

But I haven't even gotten to the best part yet. MoveOn had an email waiting for me (I'm a member) which let me vote for the candidate I think is best able to lead the country out of Iraq. Members get to pass judgment - it's not up to pundits to spin what it is we supposedly think. Sure, this vote reflects members' judgments at this moment in time, but nonetheless, it will give an important indication of where active anti-war Democrats are at and send a signal on this issue to all the candidates.

Then, to top it off, after voting in the poll, I was provided an opportunity on the MoveOn website to donate to the candidate I just chose. This is powerful because it allows MoveOn to account for all the money given to candidates for their anti-war stances. If people who were moved to donate to a candidate as a result of this Town Hall, as I was for Richardson, had to go to the candidate's website, there would be no way for MoveOn or anybody else to know that was the reason for the donation. By doing this, MoveOn will be able to give the anti-war coalition "credit" for every dollar we've donated in support of ending the war.

The progressive infrastructure has a long way to go to catch up to the right-wing's, but by having the different parts of it working together it is proving that it can be a force. It's great to see it all coming together.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

New Look

On the plus side, I get a color that's a lot easier on the eyes. Down side is that I forgot to save my links before switching my template and will need to re-create them.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Snark of the Day

Phoenix Woman at Firedoglake wins for this post.

This line is so great:
Hey, Republican primary voters! Grover Norquist just called you a bunch of sheep! Have some more Kool-Aid with your grass clippings.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Harman - Pro-Occupation

The Center for American Progress just released their interview with Jane Harman.

They put up the wrong lead. I think the headline should have been:

Senior House Democrat Supports Long-Term Iraqi Occupation

She says the conduct of the occupation is the problem, not the occupation itself. And if you look at what she wants the mission to be changed to
Change the combat mission to a training mission and a counter-insurgency mission
you see there's no recognition of the situation in the country and how unprepared we are to manage to bring stability to their "democratically elected government". A training and counter-insurgency mission would require tens of thousands of military troops in Iraq for many years to come.(A look over the Armed Services counterinsurgency manual makes that pretty obvious)

Harman ignores the situation in Iraq and holds out hope where none is warranted. She clings to the pipedream of leaving Iraq better than we found it even after her self-pronounced criteria to be met within a Friedman Unit show Iraq has only gone backwards.

The sad reality is that there's nothing that the United States can do to redeem the situation in Iraq that has been so incredibly fouled up by the Bush Administration. Harman could have bit the bullet, accepted the failure of this occupation and her role in facilitating it and then moved on to try to mitigate the disaster by getting us out.

Instead, she stubbornly continues to see our presence as part of the solution, not part of the problem, and throws a bunch of head-fakes to the anti-war folks to soften the impact of her pro-occupation positions.

I should add that theoretically there's an increased level of troops, specialized Arab speaking nation building forces, and financial commitment over the long-term (ie. at least several years) that could turn things around and make things better as Jane Harman wants to. But there aren't any more troops to add to the forces already there, and there certainly aren't the specialized forces needed to build up the civil society and get reconstruction going.

Not to mention that any effort commensurate to such a mission would require a sacrifice in lives, ability to confront real threats to our nation, and treasure that an overwhelming majority of Americans would agree to it knowing those costs.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Thinking Better of Dodd (re: Reid-Feingold)

Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.) yesterday became the first Democratic presidential hopeful to join Reid in cosponsoring Sen. Russ Feingold’s (D-Wis.) war-funding plan. Dodd released a statement calling the withdrawal bill “the strongest congressional measure to get the U.S. out of Bush’s failed policy in Iraq.”
Dodd's announcement is an act of leadership. A call for others to get on board with the next step against Bush.

Clinton's response to the threatened Bush veto was less than significant:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), likewise vying for the nomination, used her campaign’s megaphone to start an online petition telling Bush not to veto the supplemental when it hits his desk, which will likely come by the end of the month.
As if Bush would ever pay attention to that.

As for some of the rest of the field:

Obama: "Still looking at it"
Edwards: It doesn't go far enough, won't yet say he supports it.
Biden: No position yet; dealing with supplemental still