March 19, 2008 archive

Pony Party, Shut Down

stole this image from OPOL’s essay, linked below…

Congressional races round 2: New Jersey and New Mexico

District: NJ-01

Location A T shaped district in southwestern NJ, bordering PA and a tiny bit of DE

Representative Robert Andrews (D) may retire to run for senate

First elected 1990

2006 margin unopposed

2004 margin 75-25

Bush margin 2004 39-61

Notes on opponents In 2004, Daniel Hutchison raised $200K to Andrews $800K

Current opponents No declared Republicans

Demographics Not unusual on what I track

Assessment Safe for Democrats

District: NJ-02

Location Southernmost NJ, on the Delaware Bay and Atlantic

Representative Frank LoBiondo (R)

First elected  1994

2006 margin 62-36

2004 margin 65-33

Bush margin 2004 50-49

Notes on opponents neither raised money

Current opponents None declared

Demographics Not unusual on what I track

Assessment Long shot

District: NJ-03

Location The southernmost of several CDs that stretch east-west across NJ, this one from the Atlantic to PA.

Representative Jim Saxton (R) retiring

First elected  1984

2006 margin 58-41

2004 margin 63-35

Bush margin 2004 51-49

Notes on opponents In 2006, Rich Sexton raised $161K to Saxton’s $1.3 million

Current opponents John Adler

Demographics 20th fewest in poverty (5.1%)

Assessment Vulnerable.  With Saxton out, this swing district is prime pickup territory.  It’s on the DCCC list , and superribbie ranks it the most vulnerable seat.

District: NJ-04

Location Another east west strip, more or less in the middle of the state, including Trenton.  Bordering PA and the Atlantic

Representative Christopher Smith (R)

First elected  1980

2006 margin 66-33

2004 margin 67-32

Bush margin 2004 56-44

Notes on opponents Neither raised much

Current opponents Josh Zeitz

Demographics 63rd highest income (median = $54K)

Assessment Slightly vulnerable superribbie ranks this 77 of all Republican seats

District: NJ-05

Location Northernmost NJ, bordering PA and NY, including NYC suburbs

Representative Scott Garrett (R)

First elected  2002

2006 margin 55-44

2004 margin 58-41

Bush margin 2004 57-43

Notes on opponents Each raised about $500K, Garrett about $1 million in each

Current opponents Dennis Shulman and

Camille Abate

Demographics 6th highest income (median = $73K), 55th fewest Blacks (1.5%)

Assessment Somewhat vulnerable. superribbie ranks this 55th of all Republican seats.  Garrett’s winning percentage is shrinking, he did no better than Bush in 04, and that won’t be enough in ’08.

District: NJ-06

Location A strange, thready district, running from a NYC suburb (Plainfield) south and east to Long Beach and then south to Asbury Park

Representative Frank Pallone (D)

First elected  1988

2006 margin 69-30

2004 margin 67-31

Bush margin 2004 43-57

Notes on opponents Neither raised money

Current opponents None declared

Demographics 67th highest income (median = $56K)

Assessment Safe

District: NJ-07

Location Another strange shape, running east west, but shaped like the Greek letter ?.

Representative Michael Ferguson (R) retiring

First elected  2000

2006 margin 49-48

2004 margin 57-42

Bush margin 2004 53-47

Notes on opponents In 2006, Linda Stender raised $1.9 million to Ferguson’s $3 million; in 2004, Steve Brozak raised $800K to Ferguson’s $2.8 million

Current opponents Linda Stender is running again, as is Upendra Chivakula and a few Republicans

Demographics 4th wealthiest (median income = $75K)

Assessment Vulnerable. superribbie ranks this 8th of all Republican seats, and it’s on the DCCC list .  This is a competitive race near NYC, so all you NYC kossacks with time on your hands… this is a spot (but don’t ignore our own Vito Fosella, NY-13). Prime pickup material – Stender almost beat a fairly moderate Republican incumbent.  

District: NJ-08

Location More NYC suburbs, including Wayne, Patterson, and West Orange

Representative Bill Pascrell (D)

First elected   1996

2006 margin 71-28

2004 margin 69-29

Bush margin 2004 41-59

Notes on opponents In 2006, Jose Sandoval raised $200K to Pascrell’s $1 million; in 2004, George Aijan raised $100K to Pascrell’s $900K

Current opponents None declared

Demographics 41st fewest veterans 8.3%)

Assessment Safe

District: NJ-09

Location Close NYC suburbs

Representative Steve Rothman (D)

First elected  1996

2006 margin 71-28

2004 margin 68-32

Bush margin 2004 41-59

Notes on opponents Neither raised much

Current opponents None declared

Demographics 48th fewest veterans (8.6%)

Assessment safe

District: NJ-10

Location Newark, and some NYC suburbs

Representative Donald Payne (D)

First elected  1988

2006 margin unopposed

2004 margin No major party opposition

Bush margin 2004 18-82

Notes on opponents NA

Current opponents None declared

Demographics 25th fewest Whites (56.4%), 16th most Blacks (21.4%), 15th most Democratic

Assessment Safe

District: NJ-11

Location Central northern NJ, including Dover

Representative Rodney Freylinghuysen (R)

First elected  1994

2006 margin 62-37

2004 margin 68-31

Bush margin 2004 58-42

Notes on opponents Neither raised money

Current opponents Tom Wyka , who lost in 2006

Demographics 2nd highest income (median = $79K)

Assessment Long shot

District: NJ-12

Location Another east west strip, from north of Trenton (on the PA border) to NYC suburbs in the east, and almost to the Atlantic

Representative Rush Holt (D)

First elected 1998

2006 margin 66-34

2004 margin 59-40

Bush margin 2004 46-54

Notes on opponents In 2004, Bill Spadea raised $350K to Holt’s $1.6 million.  In 2006, Joseph Sinagra raised little

Current opponents None declared

Demographics 15th highest median income ($70K)

Assessment Almost totally safe

District: NJ-13

Location Yet another strange shaped district, this one runs north-south along the Hudson River and the Atlantic, with a gap

Representative Albio Sires (D)

First elected  2006 (special election to replace Menendez, who became Senator)

2006 margin 78-19 (regular election)

2004 margin NA

Bush margin 2004 31-69

Notes on opponents None raised money

Current opponents None declared

Demographics 12th fewest veterans (5.4%), 51st fewest Whites (32.3%), 26th most Latinos (47.6%), 27th most Democratic

Assessment Safe

District: NM-01

Location Albuquerque and suburbs, and some desert

Representative Heather Wilson (R) probably retiring to run for Senate

First elected  1998

2006 margin 861 votes out of 211,000

2004 margin 54-46

Bush margin 2004 48-51

Notes on opponents In 2004, Richard Romero raised $2 million to Wilson’s $3.4 million; in 2006, Patricia Madrid raised $3.3 million to Wilson’s $5 million

Current opponents Martin Heinrich ; Rebecca Vigil-Giron ; Jessica Wolfe ; Robert Pidcock are the Democrats

Demographics 86th fewest Whites (48.5%),  92nd fewest Blacks (2.3%), 32nd most Latinos (42.6%)

Assessment Very vulnerable. superribbie  ranks it the 4th most vulnerable Republican seat, and it’s on the DCCC list .

District: NM-02

Location The southern half of NM, bordering AZ, TX, and Mexico

Representative Steve Pearce (R) probably retiring to run for Senate

First elected  2002

2006 margin 59-40

2004 margin 60-40

Bush margin 2004 58-41

Notes on opponents In 2004, Gary King raised $1.1 million to Pearce’s $2 million; in 2006, Albert Kissling raised $180K to Pearce’s $1.3 million

Current opponents Bill McCamley who wrote on Daily Kos

Albert Kissling , the 2006 candidate, and  

Frank McKinnon are the Democrats

Demographics 20th lowest income (median = $29K), 73rd fewest Whites (44.3%), 60th fewest Blacks (1.6%), 29th most Latinos (47.3%)

Assessment Vulnerable, superribbie ranks it the 28th most vulnerable Republican seat, and it’s on the DCCC list

District: NM-03

Location Northern half of NM, including Santa Fe, bordering AZ, CO, OK, and TX, and touching corners with UT.

Representative Tom Udall (D) retiring to run for Senate

First elected  1998

2006 margin 75-25

2004 margin 69-31

Bush margin 2004 45-54

Notes on opponents Neither raised money

Current opponents Don Wiviott

Benny Shendo

Harry Montoya

Ben Lujan


Rudy Martin

are the Democrats

Demographics 68th fewest Whites (41.4%), 36th fewest Blacks (1.1%), 38th most Latinos (36.3%), 14th most nonWhite, nonBlack, nonLatino (mostly 18.9% Native American)

Assessment Slightly vulnerable. superribbie ranks it the 30th most vulnerable Democratic seat  

The Morning News

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Paulson admits U.S. economy in sharp decline


Tue Mar 18, 10:10 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on Tuesday described the economy as being in “sharp decline,” the closest he has come yet to conceding an election-year recession has set in.

Appearing tired after a weekend of helping to broker a fire sale takeover of Wall Street investment bank Bear Stearns to keep it from outright collapse, Paulson pushed back against efforts to have him admit a recession was under way.

“There’s no doubt that the American people know that the economy has turned down sharply. So to me much less important is the label that’s placed on it today. Much more important is what we do about it,” he told NBC’s Today Show.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

The muses are ancient.  The inspirations for our stories were said to be born from them.  Muses of song and dance, or poetry and prose, of comedy and tragedy, of the inward and the outward.  In one version they are Calliope, Euterpe and Terpsichore, Erato and Clio, Thalia and Melpomene, Polyhymnia and Urania.

It has also been traditional to name a tenth muse.  Plato declared Sappho to be the tenth muse, the muse of women poets.  Others have been suggested throughout the centuries.  I don’t have a name for one, but I do think there should be a muse for the graphical arts.  And maybe there should be many more.

Please join us inside to celebrate our various muses…

‘Shoutout’, ‘Action’, ‘Winter Soldier’, ‘Congressional Hearings’

On this day, 3-19-08, the 5th anniversary of the Occupation of Iraq, some may attend the thousands of candlelight vigils around the country.

Some may have other vigils of remembrance planned.

Some may write of their feelings.

Some may have other ways to observe and remember the Fallen and Maimed of our Military and the Tens of Thousands of the Innocent Killed and Maimed and Millions thrust into refugee status due to our countries Failed Policies.

Some may do nothing.

Protect Your Game Plan

Ever hear of Saul Alinsky?  He was the writer and teacher of “pragmatic radicals”.  His book, Rules for Radicals, is excellent reading if one wants to be any good at organizing.  As a matter of fact it is a book that Obama has said made a difference in his life and in his activism.  As an old hippie, pinko, commie from my days of protests in the 70’s, his book was an excellent resource for action and planning.

I think that maybe Obama should have kept his admiration for Alinsky to himself.  Just as in the Vietnam War, Giap’s book, People’s Army, People’s War, was required reading for the special operations guys doing the crappy work in the country.  I do believe that Clinton’s campaign has done the same thing with Obama.

I will bet that one is asking what the hell I am talking about.  Answer:  Alinsky had 3 tactics to use.  They were, 1–The real action is the enemy’s reaction, 2–The enemy properly goaded and guided in his action will be your major strength, 3–Tactics, like organization, like life, require that you move with the action.  So far both candidates have had to deal with these three tactics.

My advice would be, if you are using a game plan from a certain source, then you might want to keep it under lock and key, so that your opponent does not use it to bite you in the ass.  Just a thought.  

Picture this: 69 Times the Number at Normandy

(As we stagger into year 6 of the war, it seems appropriate to re-post this diary from last April –BL)

News item:

A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred.

It is more than 20 times the estimate of 30,000 civilian deaths that President Bush gave in a speech in December. It is more than 10 times the estimate of roughly 50,000 civilian deaths made by the British-based Iraq Body Count research group.

(update)The survey was done by Iraqi physicians and overseen by epidemiologists at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health

655,000 Iraqis are dead.

That’s a scary number. And a big number. I tried to comprehend how big it is, but my imagination failed me. What’s needed is a visual model that illustrates the enormity of the situation.

Feedback – Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Howdy folks!

Today marks the 5th anniversary of the Iraq debacle.  Or as John Stewart would put it, Mess-O-Potamia.  I really haven’t found a way to put my thoughts on this whole shit-fest into words.  Luckily, I don’t have to because many of you have found a way to do it for me.  And for many of us.

How you do it, I have no idea, but I’m thankful.

Yesterday, we sent out the unofficial first issue of Feedback, our newsletter to the people.  In it, we gathered a few diaries written by some of the most well known names in blogging: buhdydharma, Meteor Blades, Turkana, and of course Robyn.  We also have a tally of the total numbers of US soldiers dead and wounded due to the war in Iraq.  It will be updated each week–an ongoing reminder throughout our publication of the toll this misbegotten war has wrought upon our friends, family, and the entire nation.

Today, we bring that issue to you, here.  It doesn’t look as nice as our pdf file, but you’ll get a sense of how it’s set up.

If you’d like to recieve the pdf file and help distribute copies in your area, you can sign up at any time.  Just send an email to{at} with “subscribe” in the subject line.  We’ll add your email address to the list and send out the latest issue to you as confirmation of your subscription.  (Please be patient, as we’re running things by hand.  We aren’t logged into the account all the time.)  We won’t give away your email address, and we know how to use the bcc field when sending out copies to the entire list. 😉

And now, without any further ado, this week’s issue:

Year Six

Starting last week, many newspapers and Web sites began publishing their five-year Iraq war anniversary pieces. You’ve probably read quite a few of these already. The New York Times ran nine Op-Eds on the subject Sunday, which John Cole at Balloon Juice did a masterful job of condensing here .

Perhaps you are thinking about writing your own analysis on this horrendous anniversary.

If you are, can I make a recommendation? On the cusp of the sixth year since the invasion, the tally of dead Americans in uniform as a consequence of the war and occupation of Iraq is just a handful short of 4000. More than two a day since March 19, 2003. It’s easy to forget that this number, terrible as it is, is overwhelmed by some other numbers, the 308 non-American coalition numbers who have lost their lives in Iraq, the tens of thousands of Americans and coalition members who have been wounded – some of them maimed for life, some of them so badly injured that they and their families probably wish they were dead – the tens of thousands who have been mentally traumatized.

Most of all, it’s easy to forget the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have lost their lives because of the invasion. No good statistics exist. Depending on which source you trust, the ratio of Americans who have lost their lives to Iraqis who have lost theirs is anywhere from 1:37 to 1:300 – 150,000 to 1.2 million dead. There’s no point to arguing over the accuracy. Any way you count, the numbers are awful.

We know the names of all the Americans who have lost their lives in Iraq. With a little effort we can track down their stories, something the IGTNT Diaries at Daily Kos do, unfortunately, almost every day.

But we will never know the names of more than a handful of the Iraqis who have died because of the invasion. Dead because of a war whose rationale was concocted by the liars who still occupy the highest positions of power in our government: unimpeached and untried, still lying just as they have done without stopping since the events of September 11 gave them the excuse they so avidly hoped for before President George W. Bush was a gleam in Dick Cheney’s eye.

So, when you’re writing your anniversary Diary, or making your comment on somebody else’s, or talking with co-workers, school chums, your family or your neighbors, or grieving quietly for the dead Americans, don’t forget the dead Iraqis. All those dead – Americans, Iraqis and others – were put in the ground for lies, for greed, for the ideology of empire. That, too, is something we should not, must not, ever forget.

Video of American U.S. Moron Soldiers Confessing to War Crimes: Winter Soldier


U.S. Soldiers confess to murder

There is nothing in the MSM on this. It’s not being reported. We have a State Corporate Controlled Press with one token clown who acts as a stooge/sop to the left in the employ of the Corporate Controlled State. He appears  on a semi game/news show called Countdown, he is the host and probably your idol, Keith Blabberman.

“Stab an Iraqi to death and get a free 4 day pass”. Didn’t matter who he was. Those are the instructions given to some soldiers.

“Shoot all taxi cabs in the town”

Soldiers recount the men women and children they killed and how they thought at the time it was fun or just somethin’ to do to keep from being bored.

They describe the military in Iraq as vicious, racist and murdering people indiscriminately for fun, sometimes in fear, but almost always pointlessly killing innocent people. It’s the rule, not the exception that Iraqi’s are abused.

“Not once did I ever find arms in a raid in an Iraqi house. But we arrested them anyway.”America’s Moronic Soldiers Confess]

The closest you can come to what horror the American Moron people and their Moron soldiers have wrought in Iraq is the “American version” of reality of what goes on in Iraq.

Apologetic soldiers revealing that they were or perhaps continue to be Morons. Once you have been trained to be a Moron, you cannnot escape it entirely. It’s part of your history. Once you have been tortured, starved, shot or killed the results are permanent. They live on forever. It’s true for the victim and the victimizer.

“In order for us to regain our humanity and our military we demand the immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq” Camilio Meija.

Why the Stock Market Going Up Means Nothing

So, after yet another rate cut by the Federal Reserve, along with better than expected earnings from Lehman Brothers today (who many feared would follow the path of Bear Stearns), the Dow rocketed up over 400 points.  Economy solved, right?

Nope.  Doesn’t mean anything.  Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking it does.

First of all, the market in equities is now a mere fraction of the size of the market in derivatives.  The assets which are toxic right now are derivatives; Collectivized Debt Obligations and Credit Default Swaps primarily.  The big problem is that everyone knows these derivatives are worth less than they thought, but no one is sure just how much less.  So, no one wants to buy them, out of the fear that the bottom is a long way off.  Compared to these assets, stocks are incredibly stable – the market should do alright, even as these assets get worse.

But second, stock prices increasing doesn’t by default mean what you might think.  For a neat example, Bear Stearns makes for a fascinating example.

The Fed-brokered JP Morgan bailout of Bear is at a share price of $2 a share, as most everyone aware of this story knows.  So why on earth did shares of Bear Stearns close at about seven dollars the day after the sale price was announced?

The big winners from the Bear Stearns acquisition are Bear’s bondholders. They came close to an event of default this weekend; if all goes according to plan, they’ll soon own nice safe debt from JP Morgan Chase. The only thing which can derail their glide path (if Krugman can mix his metaphors, so can I) would be if the deal doesn’t go through at $2 as planned.

The main thing that needs to happen for the deal to go through is that shareholders vote in favor. And the only way that bondholders can ensure yes votes for the deal is to own those shares and vote them themselves. Says Neubert: “They will eat the difference between where they buy the equity and $2.00 in order to protect much higher numbers in debt.”

There’s another reason for bondholders to buy stock above $2.

…if the deal falls apart, the value of the company might go down, all the way to zero eventually. But on the way there, volatility will be huge – and if volatility is high then the value of the equity will go up. In this sense, the equity is a hedge against the deal falling apart. If JP Morgan doesn’t buy Bear, bondholders’ bonds will fall in value – but their stock will rise, helping to offset the loss.

So, shares of Bear are going up because Bear’s bond holders are hoping those shares go down, and are planning to vote for the shares to be sold for less than they paid for them.  But the shares also make a nice hedge for them, since if the sale fails, their bonds will become worthless but their shares will go up.  But nothing about this at all speaks to any macro positive news about the state of the economy.

Iglesia ……………………………………… Episode 41

(Iglesia is a serialized novel, published on Tuesdays and Saturdays at midnight ET, you can read all of the episodes by clicking on the tag.)

Previous episode

This time it was Rogers’ left hand that twitched which was interesting because Abe had assumed it was reaction. But most untrained people always reacted with their dominant hand, so…Rogers probably had some training. Either that, or that whole not really having a body as Abe knew it caused the interesting effect. He wondered which was …..her ….dominant hand. He wondered if she liked to punch on the line or if she preferred some kind of roundhouse action. Whether she favored palm or fist, went for the head ….or the torso first. Of course, most women were trained to go for the genitals…. Abe had actually closed his eyes and was visualizing ….her….doing high spinning back roundhouse kicks, in slow motion, when he felt Rogers’ hand strike his face

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