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longship's Journal - Archives
Posted by longship in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sun Feb 11th 2007, 01:17 PM
Why do we have to be in 365 days a year campaign mode? Year-in, year-out. It seems that we're letting the corporate media dictate our lives, our wishes, our politics, now the pace of our political campaigns.

Who cares who's running for president in 2008 now? It's totally meaningless. Hillary and Obama are both likely a mere bump in the road.


The campaign will not get into gear for a year. Until then we have much more important things to deal with. For instance, handling an out of control executive which is trying to get the US into yet another war, even before they're finished losing the first two wars they got us into. This 2008 campaign stuff is just a distraction.

Before this is all said and done we will find out just how stupid it is to declare oneself a target this far out. The only reasons I can think why one would do that is either to frame one's politics in a near hopeless presidential campaign or to feed ones unbridled self-importance. I can fully understand and support the former. I'll leave it to others to analyze the latter.

Relax about Clark, Gore, and the rest. They are the smart ones. I'll reserve judgement on the rest. One can imagine what I'm thinking, though.

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Posted by longship in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Fri Feb 02nd 2007, 02:28 PM
This is my first post on DU in over a month. I am making it from my local public library which only allows a person one hour of Net use per day. My friends here who may be wondering where I've been may better ask, "Where is Longship and what is he doing in that handbasket?"

First, my office caught fire on December 26th. Total loss, over $25K worth of computers, books, opera CDs either went up in flames or were heat/smoke damaged. Second, for a variety of reasons--all good--Ms. Longship and I have decided to separate for a period of time. At least it's going to be an amicable split. Third, I am in the process of relocating to western Michigan. I have a place there, adjacent to the national forest, where I will be moving, probably before the end of February. The final blow happened last week when my Godfather, my father's brother, passed away at 97 years old. Yes, he had a long life, and ended his time on earth quietly and peacefully, however that doesn't soften the blow that such a nice man couldn't live forever.

To DUers in the Big Rapids, MI area I'd like to get together with some DUers after I get settled. I'd like to do something like form a periodic get-together to talk politics, organize action, etc.

Springtime in Michigan is beautiful. I can't wait to get there.

I'll probably be checking in here as often as I can until I leave. My cat, Rosina, and I will be probably taking the southern route, then through Oklahoma City, to Wichita (where I have many friends), KC, then cross MO and up through IL/IN to western MI. Maybe I can connect with some DUers along the route. I would like that.
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Posted by longship in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Mon Dec 18th 2006, 01:35 PM
Forgo It's a Wonderful Life this season and go with the real Capra gem, You Can't Take It with You. If you've never seen it, it should be a must see. Absolutely pure Capra, a zany comedy with a social lesson for everybody, especially those in this greed and gore world of ours.

A plot summary


The Vanderhof household lives a spirited, care-free life in spite of the fact that they have no visible means of financial support. Grandpa Vanderhof (Lionel Barrymore) is the avuncular head of a loose collection of family, friends, and hangers-on who seem to do nothing but what they want to do. The story surrounds the fact that Granddaughter Alice (Jean Arthur) is in love with Tony Kirby (James Stewart) who just happens to be the son of stuffed-shirt, banking tycoon, Anthony P. Kirby (Edward Arnold). Of course, the elder Kirby has plans to buy up and tear down the Vanderhof neighborhood for his latest development project.

No spoilers here. The Vanderhof household is truly an exemplar of craziness, a kind of low-rent version of the Bullock clan from Gregory La Cava's similarly brilliant 1936 My Man Godfrey (another one of my favorites). That both movies feature the always comedic iconoclastic musings of Mischa Auer may be no accident. The extent that the Vanderhofs are totally unbuttoned is the extent that the Kirby's are buttoned-down stuffed shirts (except Kirby son, Tony--Stewart). Therein lies the charm. Of course, Capra's goal here is to show the Kirbys that the way of the world exhibited at the Vanderhof's might be the one true way using love as the seed.

YCTIWY is a unforgettably charming movie, a clear winner. Supporting cast, who turn in some of the best ensemble work of any movie since, are outstanding. It won the Best Picture Oscar, deservedly so.

I encourage DUers to see it this season.

Cast


Jean Arthur -- Alice Sycamore
Lionel Barrymore -- Granpa Martin Vanderhof
James Stewart -- Tony Kirby
Edward Arnold -- Anthony P. Kirby
Mischa Auer -- Boris Kalenkhov
Ann Miller -- Essie Carmichael
Spring Byington -- Penny Sycamore
Samuel S. Hinds -- Paul Sycamore
Donald Meek -- Poppins
H.B. Warner -- Ramsey
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Posted by longship in Editorials & Other Articles
Thu Dec 14th 2006, 11:48 AM
Former Lloyd Bentsen staffer, Brent Budowsky, has written a compelling argument for Time Magazine choosing the Republican Party as the "Person of the Year". It's also a very good take down of the party of war, torture, vacations, and corruption. It's one of the best reads in some time.

Time Person of the Year: The Republican Party, Which Impeached Bill Clinton For Nothing, Then Gave Us This

Here's an excerpt:
The President, with approval from Republicans in Congress, misrepresented intelligence to drive our country to war, with fear, while the Republicans in Congress, protecting him, covered up the report that would expose it.

The President, ignoring the advice of generals and demeaning those who courageously tried to warn us, with support and silence by the Republicans in Congress, approved a war plan that began with grotesque miscalculation, was conducted with war on the cheap, used troops like the toy soldiers of ideologues. and risked their safety as the petty cash of their partisan politics.

The President, cheered by the throngs of the one party Republican Congress, instituted an Iraq Reconstruction with the Proconsul he named, staffed that Reconstruction with Republican campaign operatives, stiffed that Reconstruction with war profiteers of gargantuan greed, who stuffed their pockets with taxpayers money while our troops shed their blood in patriotism, and the Republican Congress shed their responsibility for oversight, one of the great derelictions of duty in history.

...

This list could continue almost indefinitely, to make my point, but need not here, except for this: as the selection committee makes its decision for Time's person of the year there are rightful fears of future investigations, future revelations, future indictment, future conviction at every Republican level of the Republican Administration, Republicans in Congress, and Republican donors who gave dirty money to protect themselves in Republican Washington.

This is the party that impeached Bill Clinton for nothing?

...
much more at link


This rant deserves the DU front-page. Please promote it.
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Posted by longship in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Fri Dec 01st 2006, 03:55 AM
Some blessed person posted a thread here a little while ago about the 1970's BBC/PBS science series, Jacob Bronowski's "The Ascent of Man". I had watched all these programs when they were first broadcast on PBS. I have viewed some of them again, as they were rebroadcast. However, it has been years.

But now I have the entire series on DVD. Watching it again, and again. I've come to some new understandings in science in spite of all my education as a physicist and mathematics educator. It is truly the apotheosis of science documentary.

"Bruno" Bronowski was under five feet tall, but to me, he was a true giant. I have more than a couple books by Bronowski, all of them gems. During the war he used his mathematics to solve problems surrounding the Manhattan Project. After the war, like many of his colleagues--including his friend Leo Szilard--he abandoned physics and went into biology. He was an amazingly compassionate person who used his knowledge to further humanity.

Bronowski paints pictures with words of the likes I've not heard from anybody else, not even Carl Sagan. His words are spoken eloquently and with a wonderful precision. The only revelation to his Polish birth is that he consistently rolls the letter "R". A remarkable fact, related by the producers of this wonderful gem, is how Bronowski never worked from a script preferring to use his own volumnous stream of consciousness. What's sad about it is the fact that the demands of this production likely ended up killing him. During the production of the Easter Island sequence he had to be as much as carried around due to his feebleness. He passed away shortly after the program received its first airings.

For those science fans, if you've never seen this series, it is compellingly intelligent and insightful. It is an unforgettable intellectual experience.

I'd like to quote here the tag lines from episode 11, "Knowledge or Certainty". The episode combines the concepts of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle with that of the human element of the science endeavor in a way that only Bronowski could pull off. At the very end of the essay he is standing ankle deep in the pond at Aushwitz into which the ashes of so many lives were flushed. If only the people of this country would have heard, seen, and understood the following prophetic words, we might not be in the situation we are now.

It is said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers. That is false, tragically false. Look for yourself. This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. This is where people were turned into numbers. Into this pond were flushed the ashes of some four million people. And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance. It was done by dogma. It was done by ignorance. When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality, this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods.

Science is a very human form of knowledge. We are always at the brink of the known, we always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgement in science stands on the edge of error, and is personal. Science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible. In the end the words were said by Oliver Cromwell: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken".

I owe it as a scientist to my friend Leo Szilard, I owe it as a human being to the many members of my family who died at Auschwitz, to stand here by the pond as a survivor and a witness. We have to cure ourselves of the itch for absolute knowledge and power. We have to close the distance between the push-button order and the human act. We have to touch people.
<emphasis mine>


Bronowski squats down and plunges his hand down into the muck in the pond, pulling up a hand full of what must be from the ashes of thousands of dead. The frame freezes and the credits roll silently over the image. This never fails to bring tears to my eyes. This, especially since what we've had to live through the last six years.

As Democrats, and as progressives, we have a similar mandate. We have to touch people.
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Posted by longship in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Wed Nov 15th 2006, 12:23 AM
It didn't happen on one of those Constitution-shattering bills. It happened on a rather innocuous emergency funding amendment for drought suffering farmers. It wasn't Edward Kennedy or Barbara Boxer threatening to pull the trigger. It was Kent Conrad.

What happened in the well of the Senate this afternoon should leave no doubt about the extent to which these newly revived Democrats will fight for everybody in this country, even before they have the power to do so. The fact is that Democrats have always had the power, but the prospects of being a "permanent minority" undoubtedly stayed their hands. No longer. Not this afternoon.

Daniel Akaka and Kent Conrad spoke eloquently about the need to assist farmers who have suffered untold losses from drought. The amendment was to be attached to the currently being debated reauthorization of oversight for Iraqi reconstruction. The Republican response was inevitable. Judd Gregg (R-NH) stood in opposition along with Kay Bailey Hutchison. Gregg threatened to invoke Rule 16, governing appropriations bills, to crush the amendment. That's when Kent Conrad had had enough.

Conrad let the Republicans have it. He explained in all too unambiguous terms just how far the Democrats were willing to go to preserve their right to vote on the amendment. He responded to the Rule 16 threat with one of his own. If Gregg crushed the amendment, Democrats would go all the way. The proceedings of the Senate would grind to a halt as Democrats would deny support for unanimous assent motions. This is the same threat Democrats talked about using in response to the Republican's own nuclear option so many months ago. Then, it was the killing of the judicial nominee filibuster which threatened the Democrats. This time it was a funding bill for farmers. How times have changed. It's amazing what an election can accomplish.

The Republicans were notably stunned. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who controlled time on the other side, went white in the face. Nearly speechless, her sole action was to delay further proceedings by setting aside further debate on the amendment and calling for a quorum. The last one saw of her occurred seconds later as C-SPAN turned off microphones and cued the ominous sounding Prokofiev Symphony #5. At the side of the TV frame one saw Kent Conrad poking his finger in Kay Bailey's face, explaining to her the meaning of high dudgeon.

It was a pleasant sight. God, I'm proud of these people.

I posted a post earlier today about this. I thought a more full report would be appropriate for evening DUers.
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Posted by longship in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Fri Nov 10th 2006, 01:25 PM
But I unequivocally support all Democrats.

For instance, I like Evan Bayh a lot and could easily support him for President (in the absense of a Gore candidacy).

I understand that certain Democrats will vote as their constituency desires. Nelson of Nebraska comes to mind. I accept this as a necessary part of the democratic (small 'd') process.

Although my politics are ideologically liberal, I do not demonize other Democrats for their ideas. I reserve the right to challenge their positions, but with respect.

The best argument is probably one that many people have cited. "We govern best when a wide variety of ideas are put forward and a concensus is formed." No, it's not always liberal, but it's also not always conservative. Understand that this is decidedly *not* "governing from the center".

We must recognize that we all have something to contribute. In and of itself, that is a most liberal principle.

We have now seen the results of governing by ideological purity and it isn't a pretty sight.
Above all, let that be the lesson we learn from the past six years.
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Posted by longship in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Fri Nov 03rd 2006, 03:04 PM
It's like the classic Bush administration escape from accountability, "Nobody could have predicted...". But this essay is not about airliners crashing into buildings, weapons of mass destruction, Iraqi insurgencies, category five hurricanes, or any other neocon problem. I'm writing here about the 2006 midterm elections. Even few weeks ago nobody could have predicted that the Democrats would be positioned to take back both houses of Congress next week. But that's precisely what's going to happen on Tuesday.

One could easily puncuate this metaphor with all the many benefits Democrats have enjoyed the past months. Nobody could have predicted that reddest districts in the reddest states would become competitive. Nobody could have predicted that all the October surprises would come at the cost of the Republicans. Nobody could have predicted the extent and depths of the GOP meltdown. Nobody could have predicted that Republicans would be leaving their party in unprecidented numbers. And so it goes. But there is one more, and it is the most important of all.

Nobody could have predicted the extent to which this administration have painted themselves into an ideological corner. In spite of very strong indications that this would happen we all ignored the signs. The first indication might have been that this misadministration's first and sole response to any and all events is political in nature.

In spite of all the lauditory accolades on Bush's Brain, Karl Rove seems to be incapable of acting in anything other than the political sphere. The reason why all these horrible events have happened on ChimpCo's watch may be a direct result of their inability to act in the real, non-political world.

That is the reason why we keep hearing "Nobody could have predicted..." from them. In the political-sphere one does not predict, one only reacts. The problem with this is that when a hurricane is bearing down on a below-sea-level city, political actions don't save lives. Political actions also do not win wars, even though they may start them. They cannot prevent terrorist attacks, cannot find weapons, cannot stop corruption, nor any other of the outright plagues that have been inflicted on the American people under ChimpCo.

The most interesting thing about this effect is ChimpCo's response to their impending collapse of power. Maybe it's not surprising that the most ideological regime in world history could only react by hoisting themselves by their own ideological petard. Nobody could have predicted that the amazing culmination of this hoisting would happen in the last two weeks of the campaign when ChimpCo renounced their previous "stay the course" pronouncements--even lying that they never said, "stay the course"--while simultaneously showing the world in unequivocal words and actions that their ideology allowed nothing except "stay the course". Does anybody doubt the Chimp's engrained ideological path after his announcement yesterday that Rummy and Crashcart are in place for the duration?

Political action is ideologically based. And nobody has extended that base to the extent that the Republicans in power have done this past six years. The reason Democrats have gained the power with the people this past year is that the American people, mostly good and intelligent folks, have finally looked behind the curtain and seen the truth.

And so it goes. A political regime cannot govern. Pure ideology cannot react. Even though nobody could have predicted what is now undoubtedly going to happen next Tuesday, it might very well be the only non-predicted event of the past six years that was both truly non-predictable and to the benefit of our country, our world, our people.

Four days to go. Keep working hard, DUers.
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Posted by longship in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Thu Oct 26th 2006, 02:14 PM
To illustrate the depth of GOP problems this year Daily Kos is reporting three new and important stories that are becoming all too typical of this election cycle.

WY-AL: NRCC swoops in to rescue Cubin; also CA-04 and CA-11
Chairman Governor Doctor Dean's fifty state strategy is paying off better than anybody ever could have predicted. What can one say when the GOP has to devote resources to defend "safe" seats? The answer is, "No seat is safe for the Repukes."

The Colorado Democratic surge
Two more Colorado races switch to "Leans Democratic" at CQ Politics. The GOP is bleeding to death this year.

No wonder GOP freaking out at Michael J. Fox ad
We're talking a significant swing (10%) to the Democrats solely from Michael J. Fox's stem-cell advertisement. This is on top of a possibly even larger swing from the Foley mess. (Reuters/Zogby poll indicating 22% swing from Foley--FACTBOX-Reuters/Zogby poll findings before U.S. election). If this is really true, there's going to be plenty of "close" races which are not going to be close on November 7th.

No wonder Stuart Rothenberg is saying How High the Wave? Donít Just Think 1994; Think 1974, 1958, 1982

Stay the Course, DU! Work hard. We need to get all we deserve.

on edit: More concise title. Fact correct and citation to Foley poll.
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Posted by longship in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Thu Oct 26th 2006, 02:25 AM
Stuart Rothenberg has turned the corner on the 2006 midterms. Charlie Cook and Larry Sabato are nearly there, too. But here's Rothenberg's latest take on what's happening before our very eyes. This is going to big, folks. That's why we can't let down our guard, why we have to work extra hard to make sure we get all we deserve.

With only a couple of weeks until Election Day, we know there will be a Democratic wave on Nov. 7. And we can be fairly certain that by historical standards it will be high - possibly very high. But we still donít know how many Republicans once considered safe will be swept out of office.

The national political environment currently is worse than it was in 1994, when the Democrats lost 52 House seats, eight Senate seats and 10 governorships, and when Republicans won GOP control of the House for the first time in decades.

You heard me right: Itís worse this year than it was in 1994, when voters were dissatisfied with the first two years of the Bill Clinton presidency.

President Bushís approval ratings are worse than Clintonís were - Bushís are in the upper 30s, while Clintonís were in the mid-to-upper 40s - and the 16 percent approval rating for Congress in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll ranks far below where Congress stood prior to the 1994 midterms (24 percent).

<much more at link>


How High the Wave? Donít Just Think 1994; Think 1974, 1958, 1982

I feel strongly that the national pundits have had this election year all wrong. Now I'm seeing that some people other than me are seeing the true importance of those big issue poll numbers. Two weeks out and Rothenberg is the first to join me, however as I indicated above, both Charlie Cook and Larry Sabato have published similar sentiments, albeit considerably toned down. Those candidate polls are telling the picture. The GOP is in for a real shocker on November 7th.

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Posted by longship in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Tue Oct 24th 2006, 04:38 PM
Daily Kos is reporting an ASU poll that puts Pederson within two points of Senator Kyl in AZ. (See third bullet at link.)

This is one of my benchmarks for a true Democratic tsunami in November. If Pederson is making the AZ Senate race competitive, then there are going to be many embarassed Repukes on November 8th. This race has pretty much always been considered safe for the Repukes and AZ is still a conservative state. If Kyl, who has been running a pretty steady campaign, is in trouble, no seat is safe for the Repugnicans.
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Posted by longship in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Tue Oct 24th 2006, 04:07 PM
I'm optimistic. That's why I'm working very hard on this election and why I am encouraging others to do the same.

But I see too many defeatist posts around here. "We're going to lose because they'll steal our votes. Or, "We're going to lose because of some last minute Rovian plot." Etc.

You sound like the guys in "Animal House" when Dean Wormer lowered the boom. Well, meet Bluto...

D-Day: War's over, man. Rove dropped the big one.
Bluto: Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
Otter: Germans?
Boon: Forget it, he's rolling.
Bluto: And it ain't over now. 'Cause when the goin' gets tough... <thinks hard>
Bluto: the tough get goin'! Who's with me? Let's go! <runs out, alone; then returns>
Bluto: What the fuck happened to the Democrats I used to know? Where's the spirit? Where's the guts, huh? "Ooh, we're afraid to go with you Bluto, we might get in trouble." Well just kiss my ass from now on! Not me! I'm not gonna take this. Turdblossom? He's a dead man! Chimp? Dead! Crashcart?....
Otter: Dead! Bluto's right. Psychotic, but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now we could do it with conventional weapons that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part.
Bluto: We're just the guys to do it.
D-Day: Let's do it.
Bluto: LET'S DO IT!


Let's do it! Give until it hurts.

May I have ten thousand marbles, please?
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Posted by longship in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Mon Oct 23rd 2006, 05:19 PM
It's two weeks out. The general rule of thumb for undecideds (and independents) is that they will break proportionally for the incumbent party. However, that rule doesn't always hold. In 1994, it clearly did not hold true. Likewise, this year with all the advantages in the Democratic Party column, and a generally large anti-incumbent sentiment, one expects that the undecideds should break for the Democrats.

Keep that in mind when you look at all these polls tightening in favor of the Democrats--few, if any are going the other way.

As an example, look at the race for FL-24, D-Curtis/R-Feeney. Zogby has recently put this race as "tied".

R-Feeney - 45%
D-Curtis - 43%
Other -- 2%
Not sure - 10%

with Curtis leading with Independents 48% to 37%.

Now, consider how the "Not sure" voters will break. If the numbers of the independents are any indication, "Not sure" should break in the same proportion for Curtis. This may be enough to swing this election for the Democrats. I figure it at:

R-Feeney 47.4%
D-Curtis 48.6%

Close, but Curtis gets the nod.

The question here is, with upwards of 80 competitive House races today, almost all of which are Repuke-held, how many of the close races will Dems take because Dems get the benefit of the undecideds? If things go the way today's numbers indicate, Curtis takes down Feeney in November.

This is why we cannot afford to let up. This is why we all have to give time and money until it hurts. There is so much at stake this year. We could get it *all* but we have to work hard for it.
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Posted by longship in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Mon Oct 23rd 2006, 03:58 PM
The Democratic Party has all the issues on their side, now even national security. A huge majority think the country is going in the wrong direction. A substantial majority think that Democrats will do a better job in Congress. Iraq is taking yet another nose dive. Even more Repugnican scandals are coming to light. Almost every single candidate poll movement is going in Democrat's direction. The only polls moving the other way are not close anyway.

This is what has happened. The Repukes have painted themselves into a corner. They have no where to go. That's why they've now flip-flopped on Stay the Course, and even been so bold as to outright lie about it. That's why they are making personal attacks, "Hillary is ugly", Michael J. Fox is faking Parkinson's, etc. That's why they have nothing substantive to say. They are totally and politically bankrupt.

What can we do about it? Exploit it.

  1. Work GOTV
  2. Make phone calls
  3. Walk precincts
  4. Volunteer as a poll worker/watcher
  5. Give until it hurts
  6. Volunteer at a candidate or Democratic Party headquarters
  7. Vote for the Democrat of your choice


We can do this. No race is unreachable this year. With the Repukes in total meltdown there's no practical limit to the number of House seats we can win. Every day there are more going into the competitive column. My last estimation is upwards of 80 House races or more. Chairman Dean's fifty state strategy is going to pay off greater than we ever expected. We could easily take fifty seats or more in the House.

Work! Work!! Work!!!

Pick a Democrat candidate and do what you have to do.

on edit: Green Papers link, emphasis.
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Posted by longship in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Tue Oct 10th 2006, 05:53 PM
Fiery explosions
Reporter in foreground
Media bling-bling
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