Friday, March 31, 2006

Arizona CD-8 ‘Cactus Roots’ Campaign

The Giffords campaign has taken a leaf out of the Dean playbook with a local version of the Dean Bat. In this case a saguaro cactus replaced the baseball bat. It turned out to be remarkably successful. In addition to raising money it resulted in something like a ten-fold increase in hits on the web site, probably the result of folks checking in to check on progress.

You can visit the "Cactus Roots" campaign here.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

CD 8 Endorsement Coup?

I was looking at campaign web sites yesterday and noted what looks like a tremendous coup for the Latas forces; they seem to have lured Patty Weiss’s campaign manager over to the Latas camp.

Tom Chandler is Weiss’s Chairman, according to her web site. Chandler is a well known attorney and long-time Democratic Party activist. He is also listed as one of Latas’s supporters. My hat is off to the Latas campaign if they have lured him away from Weiss.

Of course these may be two different Tom Chandlers, or the same guy trying to stand comfortably on both sides of the fence; or maybe Jeff and Patty just need to update their web sites.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Handsome Yellow Dog

Isn’t this yellow dog a handsome fellow! I’d like to suggest that this faithful old dog should be every Democrat's best friend. I confess that he hasn’t always been a friend of mine. I have been so annoyed with wishy-washy Democrats that I changed my registration to Independent. (The party didn’t give a rat’s ass about that, I can tell you.)

I have also announced that if the next Democratic Presidential or Congressional candidate wasn’t exactly to my taste—not left enough, not solidly committed to the dream of federally funded campaigns, not devoted to single-payer health care, and on and on—I would vote for some cranky third party candidate.

Not this time around. I’ll vote for anyone, even a yellow dog, running as a Democratic

When all the wooden-sword fencing by political junkies in the sub-basements of blog commentary lists is done, when the Congressional candidates have been chosen and then elected in the general election, the fact remains that the single most impo
rtant vote they will cast will probably be their first.

They will vote to organize Congress. This is the most effective they’ll be in their freshman term and since we desperately need to return control to the Democrats it doesn't really matter which primary candidate we send.

Our only question is which primary candidate is most likely to carry the district for the Democrats.

Wasn't Wearing a Ball Gown

I meant to comment on a story that appeared yesterday in the Arizona Daily Star. Better late than never, so….

The Star reported that a driver used his minivan as a weapon, deliberately rear-ending a motorcyclist who was blown off his bike and underneath a car waiting to make a U-turn. The driver was booked into the slammer on suspicion of second-degree murder.

The rider was dead at the scene. The Star story ends with the apparently obligatory observation that the rider was not wearing a helmet. Oh well, that explains it, it’s really the rider’s fault.

This tired old refrain is really very poor reporting, unless there is evidence that a helmet would have saved the rider’s life. If there is no such evidence, then the report that he wasn’t wearing a helmet is no more pertinent than the observation that he wasn't wearing a ball gown. All across America car drivers kill motorcyclists. In many (and I suspect most) cases they’d be dead helmet or no helmet.

It is not motorcycles that are dangerous, it’s automobiles and their drivers.

Monday, March 27, 2006

More Fun Than Politics

Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.
----James Joyce, “The Dead”

The Rogue Theatre’s production of “The Dead” opened with a preview performance last Thursday and finished it’s first week yesterday with a Sunday matinee.

What a remarkable production! Yes, yes, I know this is a little too much like blowing my own horn, which is not supposed to be done, but as part of the ensemble I think I’m entitled to one ‘brag.’

It has been a joy to be part of “The Dead,” and to work with such an amazing group of actors and musicians. There’s an old joke about how you sculpt a horse from a block of marble: You simply chip away all the bits that don’t look like a horse. This is what director Cynthia Meier has done.

What remain, in all their richness and in all their tragedy, are the words of James Joyce. That’s it- 17 actors, 6 musicians (including Round The House) and a bare stage ringed about with “antique” high-backed chairs. No scenery, no props, bring your imagination, we’ll help. The show runs Thursday through Sunday this week.

Visit the Rogue Theatre Web Site

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Short Housekeeping Note

Although I have asked those who wish to comment anonymously at least to adopt a "nom de blog" so that comments can be kept sorted out, this seems beyond some commentators. The Data Port joins Rum Romanism and Rebellion, and Stand Up and Be Counted in no longer allowing anonymous posts.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Cegelis Out, Duckworth In

Like other political junkies across the blogosphere I have been following the primary contest in Illinois’ 6th Congressional District. That seat is one which Democrats have a pretty fair shot at winning so it’s been the focus of a good deal of attention.

It’s an open seat and the primary contest has been the mirror of a contest that’s been boiling along inside the Democratic Party: Democrats who identify as progressive, ‘net-roots,’ activists versus Democrats who represent the established Democratic (read ‘inside the beltway’) Party.

In her last run for Congress Cegelis ran against the Republican incumbent, Henry Hyde, and although she lost (receiving 44 per cent of the vote) her performance in a traditionally Republican district turned winning the seat from a forlorn hope to a real possibility. Cegelis immediately started her 2006 campaign and w
on union support and an endorsement from the Democracy for America organization.

Cegelis’s performance coupled with the retirement, after 35 years, of Hyde attracted the attention of the DCCC’s Leader Emanuel Rahm, who came down on the contest like a duck on a June bug. Rahm introduced and supported Tammy Duckworth, a double amputee combat helicopter pilot, from Iraq. Duckworth is, by all accounts, a very imprssive campaigner and candidate.

Now how are we to read this primary? Is it a loss for the ‘net roots’ faction and the DFA and a win for the DCCC and the beltway? Are there national implications or is the contest simply indicative of the mood inside Illinois CD 6?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Censure or Impeach

It would be a shame to miss Mike Shuster’s NPR report on the series of Bush Administration deceptions that pushed us into the disastrous Iraq war. What makes this report riveting is sound clip after sound clip, detailing lie after lie in the words and voices of administration leaders…Bush, Rice, Cheney, Powell et al.

The story is little more than eight-and-a-half minutes long, yet constitutes in my judgement an indictment sufficient to justify censure or impeachment. I plan to e-mail this report to acquaintances who still struggle to justify the Administration.

Listen to the NPR Report here.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Pre-Emptive War Okay

From the Associated Press:

"President Bush's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, says the president believes the US must confront threats "before they fully materialize." The White House has issued an updated national security report, reaffirming Bush's policy to strike first against militants and enemy nations.

"Hadley says the strategy states that the nation's long-standing principles of self-defense don't rule out using force before attacks occur."

Okay, I get it. Like the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Funny Guy

Hugh Holub is a funny guy. He’s the editor, publisher, and (we believe) the sole literary contributor to the Frumious Bandersnatch, Baja Arizona’s premier e-zine of satire and humour. A not very funny thing happened a while back when the server/service whose electrons harbored the Bandersnatch archives vanished.

Happily, thanks to the Wayback Machine and a scouring of the web, much of the Bandersnatch has been recovered. Laugh a little, dip into the Frumious Bandersnatch.

Of special interest to all the highly excitable commentators to this blog should be the history of that part of Arizona that contains CD-8. I refer, of course to the future state of Baja Arizona, which will become a reality with the successful secession from the rest of Arizona. Where do they stand on this crucial issue?

Be sure to visit the special Baja Arizona section of the Bandersnatch, with its colorful map of the new state and other useful information. The flag at the top of the post is one of a number of suggested state flag designs.

Free Baja Arizona!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Daschle Endorses Giffords in CD-8

It was announced today that former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has endorsed Gabrielle Giffords in her run to represent Arizona Congressional District 8 in Congress.

In a press release announcing his endorsement Daschle said:

"As someone who was elected as a progressive from a fairly conservative state, I know what it takes to win over moderate and conservative voters," said Sen. Daschle. "Voters want someone who will help to reform our health care system, fix our broken political system, and find solutions to such long-term problems as social security and our dependence on foreign oil. Gabrielle Giffords has the right priorities to represent the people in Arizona's 8th Congressional District."

Former Labor Secretary to Visit CD-8

Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich will be touring Southern Arizona to support Gabrielle Giffords for Congress.

Some of Reich’s appearances are clearly intended to be fund raisers but there will be two free events at which you’ll be able to hear Reich, who is always an interesting speaker, and ask questions of Reich and Giffords.

Two notes from the Giffords web site:

Saturday, March 18th
Sierra Vista, 9:30 AM
Meet Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Senator Gabrielle Giffords for Coffee at the Windermere Hotel
2047 S. Highway 92, FREE

Saturday, March 18th
Tucson, 1:30 PM
Labor Rally with Clinton Labor Secretary Reich for Gabrielle Giffords
IBEW Hall 750 S. Tucson Blvd., FREE.

Regardless of the candidate you support in the CD-8 race either of these events is worth a look-in.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Towards A Humane Society

The latest talking head rap on the Democrats is that while they have plenty of individual issues they lack a grand theme or unifying vision that will play as well in Illinois as it does in Georgia. Slogans have done this in the past. We’ve had The New Deal, The Fair Deal and The Great Society.

Exactly what these slogans might mean has always been a tad vague until you looked carefully at the legislation that Democratic legislatures and Congresses enacted. Do that and you see that what seems common to those legislatures and that legislation is the desire to promote a Humane Society.

A humane society is one in which individuals are enabled to reach their fullest potential in an open society. Think of all the social legislation to protect and enfranchise the unprotected and disenfranchised…labor legislation, voting rights, health and welfare legislation, social security, fair housing legislation, veteran’s benefits…the list goes on and on.

To say that there is no unifying Democratic vision is absurd. You have only to look at over 70 years of legislation that characterizes the Democratic agenda. Common to all of it is the notion that intelligently crafted legislation is the way we exercise our moral obligations to our fellow citizens; to guarantee to them the virtues of an open society.

The difference between Republicans and Democrats is not revealed in disagreements about some particular piece of legislation, but in their permanent dispositions to choose types of solutions to social problems.

Republicans are as skeptical about the value of government as the old philosophical anarchists…and isn’t that odd? Democrats, for all the accusations about ‘bleeding hearts’ seem to stand with Hobbes, sadly recognizing that in the state of nature a life without government would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

If the talking heads think the Democrats have no “vision” they should simply look at the record.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Lena Saradnik Runs in Arizona LD26

The following note was buried in the comments thread to a February 23rd post. I thought it was important enough to bring to the front.

“The 2006 Arizona District races are crucial. The present Republican Legislative leadership's goal is to have a veto proof Legislature. They are one vote shy in the House and two votes shy in the Senate from being able to override the Governor's veto.

“I am a candidate for the open House seat in LD26. As yet, I am the only Democratic candidate in the race. Presently, my campaign manager, Vivian Harte, and I are in the process of setting up a web site and finalizing a campaign plan.

“I am running as a Clean Elections candidate. To qualify, I need 252 $5.00 donations from any registered voters in LD26. I also need nomination petition signatures from LD26 registered Democratic and Independent voters to get on the ballot.

“If your readers wish to help in my campaign, either as a volunteer or a donor, they can reach me by phone at 520-661-5425 or email me at

“I am eagerly looking forward to representing the voters of LD26.

Together we can make a difference.

---Lena Saradnik

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Quick Political Notes

Gabrielle Giffords will be on CNN’s “The Situation Room” today. The SR runs from 2 to 4 this afternoon…Cox channel 31 and Comcast channel 24. Sorry, don’t know exactly when on the show she’ll appear. Then she'll be on CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight" at 4:00 pm.

George Tuttle, a Latas supporter whose comments you’ve read on The Data Port, has taken the plunge and started his own blog. It’s called “Stand up and be counted,” and you can take a look at it here.

He has joined Tedski in not allowing anonymous comments and he asks that discussion be kept relevant and civil. I approve both sentiments.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Misses Morkans Feast

The cast of the Rogue Theatre's production of "The Dead" re-create the great feast at the Misses Morkan's annual dance.

This is a pot luck dinner in our lavish rehearsal hall at a real table with real food. This, or something like this, is what (we hope) you'll see at every performance.

Except that what you'll see won't be there! Visit The Rogue Theatre

Monday, March 06, 2006

Latas Gets A Mention

CD 8 candidate Jeff Latas is mentioned in an Adam Nagourney article today’s NY Times. The Nagourney piece is titled, “For Democrats, Many Verses, But No Chorus.” He quotes a different issue named by each of four Democrats:

“At the Capitol in Hartford the other morning, State Senator Christopher Murphy denounced the "disastrous prescription drug benefit bill" embraced by his Republican opponent, Representative Nancy L. Johnson.

“Jeff Latas, a Democratic candidate in an Arizona race, is talking about the nation's dangerous reliance on oil imports from the Middle East. Ed Perlmutter, a Colorado Democrat, says he is running against "the arrogance and cronyism" displayed by Washington Republicans.

“And in New Mexico, Patricia Madrid, the state attorney general, is urging the United States to set a timetable for quitting Iraq.”

From the fact of these four different themes he argues that there is no “over arching theme” that will play well in every state.

Here in CD 8 Latas and the other Democratic challengers mention all these issues as well as problems along the border. Amongst them, then, there is considerable agreement about what is important to voters in the district.

So now a question: Should there be an “over arching theme?” Do we need something like a new vision-statement for America, and if so what should it be?

(Short Houskeeping Note: New post up at The Data Port/Motorcycles)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

A Politics Free Sunday

Except for a querulous exchange with Ol’ Anonymouse down in the basement section of the comments to a previous post this has been a delightfully politics free day.

I got a long letter from an old motorcycling buddy who waxed eloquent about “The World’s Fastest Indian.” In case you’ve missed it that’s the flick about Burt Monro, the New Zealander who in his sixties set a world landspeed record with a 1920 Indian motorcycle.

It’s a wonderful performance by Anthony Hopkins in a movie that is more nearly about the triumph of the human spirit than about motorcycles… although there are enough motorcycles to warm the mechanical cockles of any old biker’s heart.

What really cheered my friend was a scene in which he actually saw, Oh.My. God his old Triumph motorcycle! Well not the actual one, of course, but the very model. He explained to his wife what that meant to him, what riding had meant and still means. His wife said there were mice in the pantry and would he please take out the garbage.

He went for a ride. So did I, as an act of solidarity.

After a number of household chores I went to a rehearsal for the Rogue Theatre’s production of “The Dead.” I’ll put up a picture or two tomorrow (I hope.)

A letter from a friend about sidecars prompted some interesting thoughts about hacks but it’s not likely that many regulars here have that special interest. If you do, look for them over in The Data Port/Motorcycles tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Infamous Scribblers

Well, it seems that at its birth American journalism was a good deal like today’s political blogs, more interested in grinding political axes than in balanced reporting of the news.

On NPR’s “Fresh Air” today Terry Gross interviewed Eric Burns about his book, Infamous Scribblers---The Founding Fathers and the Rowdy Beginnings of American Journalism. Fair and balanced? Hardly. If you owned a press you weren’t about to give an equal hearing to your opponents.

You can read the story and get the audio link here.

Speaking of infamous scribblers have you noticed that Tedski has banished anonymous comments from Rum, Romanism and Rebellion? I haven’t gone that far here at The Data Port since, thanks to some regular visitors, we are temporarily experiencing peristaltic waves of sweet reason in the comments section.