Archive for January, 2007

Episode 52: Death visits after midnight

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

We’ve shared a lot of lighthearted moments here in café and there will be many more. But sometimes life takes us into darker places.

The Last Chance Democracy Cafe
Episode 52: Death visits after midnight
by Steven C. Day

Memory can be a funny thing: What our minds keep and what they throw away. In the case of our earliest childhood experiences, of course, almost everything gets tossed, victimized by what experts call childhood amnesia. But out of this blanket of early darkness, most of us retain at least one small pinprick of light in the form of our earliest memory. Often it’s nothing particularly noteworthy; an everyday event seemingly picked at random, almost like the reward given to the millionth person to drive across a bridge.

Donald, one of our Tuesday night regulars at The Last Chance Democracy Café, told me once that his first memory is of the coast of Maine. He was three years old, on the only extended vacation his family would ever take.

While walking along one of the rare bits of sandy beach to be found on the rocky coast of Maine, they came across a large piece of driftwood, probably from the main trunk of the tree. It had been run aground by the incoming tide. Donald and his sister both sat on it with one leg on each side like they were riding a horse, and their father pushed it back into the water, only to have the next large wave send them crashing back onto the sand. They did this again and again, laughing and generally having the time of their lives.

It was the only entirely unadulterated happy memory Donald would ever have of his father.

* * *

Donald had called me a couple of hours earlier. He sounded shaken.

“Steve,” he began, “tonight . . . well, actually tomorrow, right after midnight. My dad . . .”

I didn’t want to force him say the words. “I know,” I broke in quickly. “I heard.”

“Yeah, well, anyway, I had Cindy and the kids go to her parents for awhile. I thought it would be easier on them that way. And I was wondering . . . would it be okay if I came to the lounge tonight? I don’t want to be a downer or turn the place into a circus, but reporters will be calling and . . . I’d rather be out of the house when it happens.”

“Of course, we’d love to see you.”

I quickly called Horace, Tom, and Winston. Donald liked them, I knew, and, maybe more importantly under the circumstances, respected them. I figured he could use the support. I called Zach, our young college friend, too. I thought he might learn something.


You get over it Justice Scalia

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

Justice Scalia says we need to get over Bush v. Gore.

Perhaps the “good” justice should face a few facts himself: Bush v. Gore will go down in history as the worst decision ever handed down by the Supreme Court, one which, coincidentally, led to the inauguration of the worst president in American history.

History will damn Scalia (and the others) for this.

So get over that Justice Scalia.

A star is born

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

On the very unlikely chance anyone here has not yet watched Jim Webb’s SOU response, take a moment to open up a bottle of champagne/wine/beer/mineral water (whatever is your cup of tea), oh yeah, or cup of tea — and enjoy.

Fighting to put the Democrats in charge of Congress was worth it.  If this is any indication, these guys heard what we said and intend to fight.

Go here to watch.


Lordy, Cheney’s been a bad boy

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

This helicopter thing is spooky

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

Two choppers down in four days.  If the insurgents have learned how to regularly shoot down helicopters, this thing is going to get a lot bloodier fast.  Remember, taking out Soviet helicopters was a big part of how the rebels hurt the USSR in Afghanistan.

Does the name Cheney guarantee publication of just any crap at all?

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

Okay, let’s add up the score in the Cheney family literary sweepstakes:

First, one Cheney daughter writes a book that’s so awful that it tanks in sales despite tremendous free publicity, largely generated from calling John Kerry a “son of a bitch” and John Edwards a “total slime.”

Second, we have a second Cheney daughter publish an OpEd in the Washington Post that is so pathetically lame that I personally think Josh Marshall owes middle school students everywhere an apology for saying it reads like something authored by someone in junior high school.

All of which raises the interesting question: Does the name Cheney entitle one to publish in a leading outlet just any old crap at all?

Episodes and other café stuff

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Changes are a coming (actually they’ve already come) to The Last Chance Democracy Café.  Most importantly, we have committed to producing new episodes on a regular basis, something that’s been absent for a long time.  The idea is to post a new one every other Thursday.  We’ll probably miss the deadline once in awhile, but we intend to make that the exception.

Episodes are the one truly unique thing about The Last Chance Democracy Café.  There are a million political blogs out there, but only one group of wise men gathered around the large round table.  But here’s the thing: It’s hard to hook new readers on a long term series like this.  So do me a favor, regulars — whenever you can, spread the word.

Here’s another thing: Writing episodes is very time consuming.  So while I intend to keep the blog active, posts will be shorter and perhaps a little less common than they have been (you may already have noticed the trend).  We have a fine little community going here.  So I’m hoping you regulars will keep the conversation going.

In case you missed it, the last episode, posted a week and a half ago, is here.

The next episode will be going up this Thursday. 

The culture of life — Bush style

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Clinton and the legacy issue

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

Over at Talking Points Memo they’ve posted an interesting comment from reader TB on the Clinton legacy issue.  I’m not a Hilary Clinton devotee for a number of reasons (yes, of course, I’ll work for her if she gets the nomination), but I actually think this is one of her more significant drawbacks:

I think you may have touched on this before, but I’d like to reiterate the single biggest mental block that currently makes me think I will not cast my vote for Clinton. It makes my stomach hurt to think that in twenty or thirty years I could look back at a list of presidents that includes “Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton.” This country is far too great to have to rely on two families for so much presidential leadership. Think about it: a two-term Hillary would be TWENTY-EIGHT years of Bush and Clinton. It’s petty, but like I said it’s a mental block, and I’m just not sure how I can get over it.

Presidency by legacy just isn’t the American way.  Maybe it’s time for the Bushes and the Clintons to take a breather and let someone else take a turn at wheel.

Bring my people home

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

Enough is enough.  The neocons have had their chance to strut on the world stage, to try to redraw the glob with their brilliance.  Far too many people have already paid the ultimate price for their arrogance.  They don’t get anymore chances.  It’s time for our people to come home.

(NY Times) U.S. Death Toll in Iraq Hits 27 for Weekend

BAGHDAD, Jan. 21 — The United States military said that two marines died on Sunday in western Iraq and that an additional seven service members had died on Saturday. The deaths, in addition to those announced on Saturday, brought the weekend toll to 27 and made Saturday the third-deadliest day for United States forces since the war here began.

Seven of the deaths announced Sunday, including those of three marines, were caused by “enemy action” in the restive Sunni-dominated Anbar Province, while another soldier was killed in Baghdad by a roadside bomb, the military statements said.

New details also emerged about clashes on Saturday in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, which left five Americans dead. Lt. Col. Scott R. Bleichwehl, an American military spokesman, said the gunmen who stormed the provincial governor’s office during a meeting between American and local officials were wearing what appeared to be American military uniforms in an effort to impersonate United States soldiers.

The sophisticated attack hinted at what could be a new threat for American troops as they start a fresh security plan centered on small bases in Baghdad’s bloodiest neighborhoods, where troops will live and work with Iraqi forces. One of the American military’s greatest concerns, military officials have said, is that troops will be vulnerable to attack from killers who appear to be colleagues.