Archive for February, 2007

Episode 54: Democrats: Be audacious or die

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

One thing about the gang at the large round table is they can be a little hard to satisfy. It seems, for example, that the Democrats victory in 2006 wasn’t good enough for them. No, they have the audacity to insist that Democrats can do even better.

The Last Chance Democracy Cafe
Episode 54: Democrats: Be audacious or die
by Steven C. Day

Horace set his beer bottle gently down on the table and began caressing it lovingly — well, lovingly may be a little strong, let’s say likingly — with his forefinger. As any experienced Horace watcher will tell you, this almost always means he’s ready to get down to business. The light banter about sports, movies and the like that usually consumes the first hour or two of our Wednesday night confabs at the large round table was clearly coming to an end.

The political part of the evening (the next six hours or so) was about to begin. And as so often occurs, Horace would be establishing the main topic of the night.

“Zach . . .” he began.

“Un-huh,” our young college friend replied fatalistically, no doubt assuming that he was about to face another Socratic session, where Horace, Tom and Winston would pepper him with questions.

“. . . are you familiar with the phrase a one-hit wonder?”

Zach perked up: Music is one of the loves of his life. “Of course,” he began, “it happens a lot. A musician has one big hit, then nothing. One day you’re at the top of the charts. Two years later you’re frying burgers never to be heard from again.”

“Except for Meat Loaf . . . some people called him a one-hit wonder,” announced Tom to the table’s general disbelief. Somehow Tom just doesn’t strike one as a Meat Loaf fan. “But Meat Loaf’s so-called one-hit wonder never died. Bat Out of Hell spent 474 weeks on the UK charts!” Tom was verily gushing with excitement. “I have personally seen him perform in concert seven times!”

Winston’s mouth was hanging open far enough I was actually a little concerned his teeth might fall out. And he doesn’t wear dentures.

I couldn’t blame him though. Tom as a groupie isn’t the sort of image it’s easy to get your head around.

Horace merely raised his eyebrows, before returning to his original point. “So here’s the $64,000 question . . .”

Or at least he thought he was returning to his original point.

The $64,000 question?” huffed Winston. “Good God man, no one says that anymore. It’s the million dollar question now. You know, Regis Philbin and all that. Seriously, is it too much to ask for you to keep your clichés updated?”

If music is one of Zach’s great loves, being a royal pain in the ass is one of Winston’s. But then I guess we all tend to like the things we’re good at.

From the look on his face, I think Horace was considering possible avenues of retaliation, but he apparently decided just to ignore Winston — generally the wisest course. It’s an inexorable truth of the universe that no one ever gets in the last word on Winston.

Horace began again, “As I was saying, here’s the . . . let’s just say, here’s the critical question. Is that an okay way to put it Winston?” There was just the slightest edge to Horace’s voice.

“Don’t mind me, I’m just an old man quietly enjoying the company of friends,” Winston purred in response.

Horace let that one pass too.

“Great, then the big question is this: Was the 2006 election the beginning of a long-term trend of the American people turning against the right-wing machine, or was it just a one-hit wonder?”


Dear Winston, second edition

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

Dear Winston,

I am from a family of NeoRepublicans but they don’t call me a commie pinko tree-hugging peace-loving freak anymore. In fact, lately, they refuse to even talk politics. Gee, is it me? Don’t they love me anymore?

Feeling Blue in Indiana
(This letter was reader submitted by alwayshope.)

* * *

Dear Feeling Blue,

Look at it this way: If you had to defend George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, would you want to talk politics?



* * *
* * *

Dear Winston,

Am I wrong to be terrified about what Bush may do in Iran? I just can’t get over the thought that if he decides he wants to bomb there, no power on earth will be able to stop him. And everyone with any expertise at all on the subject seems to agree that attacking Iran would prove to be a disaster for our country.

I don’t know Winston — maybe I’m just paranoid where Bush is concerned. But I can’t get over the feeling that we’re all like passengers who, while flying at 40 thousand feet in a jet running low on fuel, suddenly discover that both the pilot and the copilot both gone stark raving mad.

Terrified in Toledo

* * *

Dear Terrified,

To begin with, you are most definitely not paranoid, a condition defined as, “Exhibiting or characterized by extreme and irrational fear or distrust of others.”

Given what has happened during the last six years, only a fool or a very loyal Republican (there I go being redundant again) would be anything but worried sick over what sort of mayhem this White House may be planning.

These aren’t just liars; they’re unapologetic liars. And they aren’t just incompetents: They’re incompetents filled with an overflowing faith in their own infallibility.

Without a doubt, the next two years are going to be among the most dangerous in the history of the republic. We have a president who worships the aggressive use of military force as devoutly as Bill O’Reilly worships the sound of his own voice. War has become both a sacrament to him and the ultimate proof of his manhood. And as with many true believers, he seems incapable of hearing any music except that coming from his own choir.

As late as a year ago, I tended to doubt that Bush would actually attack Iran: “Where would the troops come from?” I would say. “And think of how much danger that would create for our troops in Iraq, not to mention for all other Americans because of the inevitable increase in terrorism that would come in response,” I’d continue. “Surely, not even Bush would be that reckless.”

But it’s clear now I was wrong. When aggressive use of warfare is your God, concern about blowback becomes just one more treasonous heresy to be condemned or even stamped out.

There’s little question that if he gets the chance Bush will take us into Iran, although probably by way of a major bombing campaign as opposed to a full-scale ground invasion. And if he does this, it will be a mistake that our great-great grandchildren will still be paying for many decades from now.

So I’m sorry not to be able to give you a cheerier answer, but the truth, Terrified in Toledo, is that you strike me as one of the sanest people I’ve “spoken” with in a long time.




What’s the deal with the café?

Sunday, February 11th, 2007

Although a note was posted on BuzzFlash, I’ve been negligent in not providing an explanation here of the changes taking place at the café.  As cafe regulars know, after a shamefully long absence, regular episodes have now returned.  They will continue to be posted every second Thursday.

We are also committed to putting up other types of quality café content on those Thursdays episodes are not posted.  This coming Thursday, for instance, we plan to post the first new edition of Ask Winston since this site was established (Winston has promised to start posting new updates regularly). 

So from now on, you can count on finding new café content posted every Thursday (okay, we might miss one once in a great while, but for the most part.)

That’s the good news.  The bad news is we’ve also decided — at least for now — to suspend daily blog entries. 

The truth is that with everything else on my plate, I simply don’t have it in me right now to do both things — or at least not to do them both well.  And as I’ve mentioned before, while I greatly enjoy doing the daily blogging, there are a million political blogs out there, but only one Last Chance Democracy Café. 

The episodes are what make the site unique.

One other thing: After playing with the idea for months, I‘ve started actively working on a Last Chance Democracy Café book.  That will obviously also take a lot of my time for awhile.

The comment function will remain open for the Thursday postings.  Please feel free to use the last episode’s comment thread at any time to discuss any subject of interest.

And thank you so much for your continued support of the café!


Episode 53: Whispering into tomorrow’s ear

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

If you had to pick something — a book, a speech, a court case, or anything else — to represent what’s best and most indispensable about American freedom, what would you choose?

The Last Chance Democracy Cafe
Episode 53: Whispering into tomorrow’s ear
by Steven C. Day

We clearly had our work cut out for us: Piled up on the large round table was a mound of books, videotapes and pamphlets big enough to fill the hole at the center of Dick Cheney’s soul. Yet, the available space was only about the size of three shoeboxes laid side-to-side.

Horace was frowning. “We have to cut out some of the excess . . . you know, the stuff that has no chance of making the final cut, before we can even begin to set priorities.”

Winston growled, “Well, let’s get rid of some of this nonsense Tom brought, like this one . . .”

“Are you nuts?!” bellowed Tom. The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money was Keynes masterpiece. It helped establish the whole field of macroeconomics and played a huge role in bringing about increased use of the machinery of democratic governance in regulating economic . . .”

Winston smirked at Zach, “And he wonders why he could never get a date back in high school.”

Horace, ever diligent in carrying out his duties as the group’s unofficial den mother, broke in before Tom could respond. “Let’s remember what we’re trying to do here, Tom,” he said gingerly. “We’re trying to provide the means for a future generation to get fired up about freedom in case the torch has grown dim. And while Keynes’ book is certainly important . . . I mean, especially to you as an economist, this may not be exactly what we’re looking . . .”

“But this is exciting stuff,” responded Tom earnestly.

“He never got a date in college either,” muttered Winston.

Actually, contrary to Winston’s chiding, I’m to understand Tom did a fair amount of dating as a younger man. In fact, in his early forties, he came very close to marrying an attractive young woman named Sally. Unfortunately, when Tom asked her one evening over dinner who her favorite economist was, Sally, who knew next to nothing about the subject, answered with the only name she could think of, the brilliant but ultraconservative Milton Friedman.

Tom broke up with her the next day.

“Sorry, Tom,” I said, bringing the conversation back to the point at issue, “but this goes into the rejected stack.”

“What, so you’re throwing out Keynes, but leaving this in?!”

He was pointing at a well-worn five volume set of books titled, “The Louis L’Amour Collection.”

“What is that doing here?” I asked cautiously.

“Marvin donated it,” smiled Molly, who was dropping off a round of drinks for the table. “He told me that nothing better exemplifies American freedom than the Old West.”

“Professor Keynes meet the Wild West,” I said as I added the five books to the reject pile.


Bush in Never-Never Land

Monday, February 5th, 2007

It must be nice to live in Never-Never Land, freed of all chains to reality, all compulsion to make the numbers at least sort of add up.  George W. Bush is clearly in such a place.  Where losing a war doesn’t foreclose claiming victory.  And where the near orgasmic joy of cutting the taxes of the rich, need bear no relationship to anything else that’s going on.

(AP) Bush budget cements expiring tax cuts

President Bush asked Congress on Monday to slash taxes by $1.9 trillion over the next decade, cementing his first-term tax cuts while changing the way health insurance is taxed.

The lion’s share of the president’s proposed tax reductions would come from making permanent his signature cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003, at a cost of $1.6 trillion over the next 10 years. Those cuts would otherwise evaporate at the end of 2010.

“Well-timed, pro-growth tax policies helped create the right climate for innovation and entrepreneurship,” powering a resilient economy, Bush said in his budget message.

The president also proposed a variety of individual and business tax breaks, including incentives for retirement and health care savings. He asked for an extension of a popular research and development tax credit, at a cost of $117.3 billion over 10 years. The cost of extending Bush’s earlier tax cuts would be $146.5 billion in 2011 alone — the first year after they are set to expire.

Yes, a lovely place to live — Never-Never Land.  It’s just too bad that it’s proven to be such a piss poor place to pick a president from.

A one way pass to hell

Friday, February 2nd, 2007

I don’t believe in hell, but if there is one, I’ll guarantee you that anyone who opposes giving vaccinations to protect girls from one day developing cervical cancer because they think that doing so “would condone premarital sex,” will earn that person a one way pass there.  In fact, I’m not so certain that God may not create a hell for just such people.

dagwood porndaily porn adultsnaggleporn daily dirtydaily porn movies freeporn free daily videosdaily gaypornmovies porn dailyclips daily porn Map

Question of the day: Is Al Franken running for the Senate good news or bad news politically?

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

I have mixed emotions: On the one hand this will be big fun and fun is, well, fun.  On the other, we desperately need to kick some GOP Senate butt in the next election, not only to get a Democratic Senate in which the Democrats can actually do something, but also to declaw Joe Lieberman.  Norm Coleman should be one of the more vulnerable GOP incumbents up in 2008. 

And while I’m comfortable Franken would make a fine Senator, I have to wonder how strong a candidate he will be in Minnesota.  Will we end up paying for our fun by losing a precious chance to extend the Democratic majority? 

Let me be clear that I don’t buy into at all the argument that he’s too liberal to win; and I know he’ll be able to raise a bucket load of money, always a huge plus.  I’m just not sure that being a political humorist (and a damn funny one, by the way) will be that good a background for mounting a Senate campaign.  I’m also a little concerned how a Midwestern state like Minnesota will respond to someone moving back home from the coast to run for public office.

On the other hand, he’s done the rounds of Minnesota politicians, folks who obviously know more about the state’s politics than I do, and what he’s heard apparently hasn’t discouraged him.

So what do you think?