Monday, September 25, 2006

Politics and The Rogue Theatre

I haven’t had much time to post about the former, because the latter has been rushing toward opening night and I have been spending more time on Keats than on politics.

A discussion of “the abortion issue” morphed out of the discussion thread of my last post and x4mr has taken it up in his new blog, “Sustainability….”. If anyone is interested in continuing to flog this issue, take a look over there. Good stuff.

The Rogue Theatre production of “Endymion” previews this Thursday and opens on Friday. Anyone interested in the full story can click in here.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Arizona CD-8: Kos, Graf, and the KKK

I am about to lose the last vestiges of my reputation as a Chicago-bred political street fighter: I think that the Lofty Donkey post on Kos is over the line.

Yeah, I know, TDP put up the link to Graf’s take-down on Comedy Central but the photo-shopped pic of Graf in KKK regalia seems of an entirely different order. Even admitted to, it’s dishonest; and it accuses Graf, through innuendo and implication, of racism and anti-Semitism of the nastiest possible kind.

I have no use for Duke, and I think Graf’s guns-in-bars trip was loony, but I think that implying that because Duke likes his stance on immigration Graf is somehow cut from the same racist bolt of cloth is wretched.

Who has endorsed whom? When I go to Duke’s web site I find a lot of anti-Semitic nastiness, but I don’t find any explicit endorsement. (If I’ve missed it I’m sure someone will point it out to me.) What I do find is a two page US News and World Report piece by Angie C Marek all about Graf, his elevation of border security to a major campaign theme, and a nod in the direction of Gabrielle Giffords.

Does this amount to an endorsement by the KKK? Is such an endorsement to be found? It’s all bull-pucky.

Lest I’m misunderstood let me assure you that I have every intention criticizing Graf and his political platform. Oh, yeah, I might also treat him as an object of chirping mirth from time to time—but only in the most loving way possible.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Pardon The President?

This in the mail from

This week, the Senate is planning to quietly hold a vote that would pardon President Bush for breaking the law by illegally wiretapping innocent Americans without warrants. According to Senator Leahy, the bill would "...immunize officials who have violated federal law by authorizing such illegal activities."

President Bush broke the law, and courts are starting to agree. Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter once said the program was illegal "on its face." But he has now caved to pressure from Vice President Cheney, and introduced legislation that marks a new low: the bill justifies everything the president did. Worse, it makes it legal to wiretap Americans, in secret, without warrants or oversight, whenever the administration wants to.

Here are some quick facts about the Cheney-Specter bill:

* It allows President Bush ­and every president after him ­to wiretap Americans indefinitely, in secret, without a warrant and without any oversight.
* It effectively pardons the president for any illegal behavior by forcing Congress to concede that he has the inherent authority to conduct the program ­something federal courts, numerous legal experts and many leading Republicans disagree with.
* It completely guts FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) which has protected the privacy of Americans against illegal wiretaps for close to 30 years.
* It prevents any legal challenges from taking place in the public court system. Instead, it moves all cases to a secret court, where only Bush administration officials can argue it.

Since the program was exposed in December of last year, we've learned that President Bush personally blocked a Justice Department investigation of the program, Vice President Cheney also personally intervened to stop telecom companies from testifying to Congress about it, and a federal court recently ruled the program unconstitutional. In an effort to protect himself from further consequences, the president is pressuring Congress to let him off the hook.

–Nita, Eli, Jennifer, Wes and the Political Action Team
Monday, September 18th, 2006

To sign a petition against pardoning the President for breaking the law click here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Anti-Munsil E-Mail

The Data Port received a strange e-mail from “Len Munsil Facts.” It was paid for by an outfit called the Arizona Conservative Trust with money from the “Arizona Values Coalition.”

On the face of it, it seems to be the sort of piece conservatives would launch against another conservative in the primary season. They do realize that’s over, don’t they?

The e-mail note refers us to another site: (link) which is rich in reasons for Democrats to vote against Munsil. What’s this all about?

This whole Arizona Conservative Trust thing seems as bogus as a three dollar bill.


I’ve been very busy preparing for the opening of the next Rogue Theatre show—September 28. Happily, Data Port visitors have been keeping the site alive two cents at a time in the comments thread. Thanks… It’s all been fascinating!

My view on the gun issue. My wife and I have been enthusiastic pistol shooters. We always found shooting relaxing—an hour or two of controlled breathing on the range really set us up for our quotidian trials.

I would be well and truly pissed if the government said I couldn’t do that. At the same time I don’t mind registering my guns, or waiting three days for delivery, or even having to take a licensing exam. Geez, I’m a biker. I register my scoot, license it, take a rider’s exam, and periodically retrain.

However, the “pro gun” folks's argument that somehow gun ownership is what protects us from government tyranny is absurd. Our nation is literally drenched in guns but creeping fascism and corporate control of our lives is a continued and continuing threat under Republican control of the government... Armed to the teeth we seem helpless in the face of it.

Unless , of course, we are ready for armed insurrection-- but that would interfere with Monday night football.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

CD-8 Fun With Negative Attacks

Let the negative atacks begin, but lets have a laugh on the way. Here's Comedy Central's take on one of Randy's sillier proposals: Guns In Bars

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


A telephone call or visit to your victorious opponent is an important part of American political tradition. Its most important, if informal, function is to legitimize the election; to acknowledge that the election process was legitimate and the result fair.

It’s also the way that any wounds of political combat are forgotten and forgiven, opening the path to future political cooperation and participation.

Patty Weiss’s appearance at the Giffords victory celebration was greeted by solid applause and the general feeling that it was a class act-- the first step in continuing a political career.

I know that some folks think I was just being a wise guy when I raised the “Patty For Mayor” banner, but it’s a suggestion that has been made to her by more than one political activist in town and I hope she considers it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

CD-8 6:50 am-- I Practice Citizenship

I got up early this morning and practiced citizenship. Threw a leg over my scoot and had a lovely, if short, ride to my polling place. There were seven or eight people in line ahead of me, but the line moved quickly even though the workers had to sort through 2 precincts.

I didn’t see anyone with ID problems; all the voters approached the officials with driver’s licenses dutifully clutched in hand.

Monday, September 11, 2006

CD-8 Latas Opposes Giffords Support of Troops

The latest Latas attack ad on Giffords strongly opposes her support for the 2003 Senate Concurrent Resolution 1026. Does that mean that if he had been in the Senate he would have refused to vote for the following language? I don’t think so, but that's what he criticizes Giffords for doing.

The Members of the Legislature express their gratitude for the members of the United States armed forces who are serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and recognize their excellence, patriotism and exceptional bravery.

The Members of the Legislature extend their prayers and best wishes for the families of the United States military personnel who are serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The trouble with the “Die For a Lie’ ad is that in the last analysis it won’t get him elected this time around and it damages any hopes he might have for a future political career. (Personally, I hope he pursues those hopes by taking a shot at the legislature. We haven’t had a hell raiser since Kromko.)

CD 8: Patty Weiss Counting on Occasional Voters

Got a nice e-mail from Weiss’s campaign manager, Frank Costanzo, urgently requesting volunteers to turn out “occasional voters,” apparently the new secret weapon and the secret to Patty’s success.

Maybe attack ads aren’t working too well, but occasional voters? The thing about those rascals is that they only vote, well…occasionally. The late call for a volunteer base to phone unlikely voters seems to me to be a day late, a dollar short, and desperate.

But what do I know? Miracles do ‘occasionally’ happen.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

ABC Agitprop

Let me again recommend David Kaiser’s blog “History Unfolding.” Kaiser is a well-respected historian who regularly publishes long, reflective, very un-blog-like, articles on foreign and domestic policy.

I hope you’ll grab a cup of coffee and click over to “History Unfolding” for his latest, on the ABC 9/11 Mini-Series.


What are they thinking of? My very Republican next door neighbor has been sent an entertaining hit piece on Huffman. It shows him posed in a chicken suit and the theme is (surprise surprise) if you want a conservative you don’t want this guy…he’s chickened out six times on voting on illegal immigration.

The mailing is clearly labeled as from the Arizona Democratic Party. How will my neighbor take this? Will he think, “Thank God the Democrats have sent me this crucial information?” Or will he think, “Well, these Democratic rascals don’t want me to vote for Huffman so they must be really afraid of him. Guess I’ll vote Huffman?”


Nothing is over ‘til it’s over and I can’t wait for the end of this primary season, which is one of the weirdest in my memory. For one thing I’ll be happy to see Democrats start attacking Republicans instead of one another.

Also, I’m not sure of the wisdom of spending money to play in the other guy’s primary, mainly because I have no idea if this is an effective use of campaign funds.


I’m going to do the old fashioned thing on Tuesday and actually go to the polls. No vote by mail for me…that’s like going to church by mail.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

In Arizona CD-8 The Beat Goes On

The Arizona Daily Star poll shows Gabrielle Giffords handily beating retired anchorwoman Patty Weiss by 17 points, a figure that’s basically unchanged since the Tucson Weekly poll. This probably explains why Weiss has recently pumped her own money into the campaign…she needed to pay for the latest hit-piece mailing against Giffords.

A short quote from the Star report:

(Weiss) Campaign spokesman Andrew Myers said the campaign is betting on "occasional voters," those who did not vote in the 2004 primary but are enthused by the competitive race and Weiss' local celebrity status.
"I think the strategies of the campaigns have been very different," he said. "We know that we're going to live and die by occasional voters."

Provided those voters don't turn out, Weiss would need to claim 93 percent of the undecideds in order to win, which would be a rarity, pollster (Carol) Zimmerman said.

Read the entire Star report here.


Still, everyone thought Dewey would beat Truman. It’s best to wait until the fat lady sings next Tuesday and for the Giffords campaign to keep its nose to the grindstone. Here's an odd thought: Perhaps, thanks to early voting, someone has already won.

I caught the DCCC anti-Huffman ad on the tube yesterday. Does that mean Rahm Emanuel thinks Huffman would be the CD-8 Republican hardest to beat? Must be…and the Star poll would seem to indicate that. Yes, but which
Huffman, the middle-of-the-roader or the newly minted super conservative?

Incidentally, there’s some very interesting commentary and debate going on over at Arizona 8th.