Travel Day

So no posting…other than to concede the obvious, that Bill O’Reilly is a psychic and we on the Left really do see white men like me as a problem. I can’t wait to see what Olbermann has to say about this one…

Razing Kashgar

Sadly, it looks like China is going to take a major step in destroying Uighur culture and the world (and specifically the global media) will not say a word in protest. The cultural genocide of the Uighurs is a clear path to ending the Uighur desire for freedom from Chinese occupation for East Turkestan. Obviously this is similar to the Chinese government’s policies aimed towards destroying Tibet’s culture and language as a means of solidifying their illegal military occupation and stifling Tibetan’s desire for freedom.

Stupid Attacks

Suzy Khimm is listed by The New Republic as a “reporter-researcher.” I haven’t yet waded through her three page article on Chris Dodd and his coming perilous reelection campaign to judge her overall ability as a reporter, but by the second paragraph it’s pretty easy to see that she’s not a researcher. Khimm writes:

Today, Dodd–five-term senator, established Washington powerbroker, the man whose “magnificent handshake,” The New York Times gushed two years ago, is “the grip of a pro, a … political pro, which he is”–has been reduced to shoring up his liberal bona fides by railing against credit card companies on a blog called My Left Nutmeg (motto: “Where Connecticut Dems Scratch That Progressive Itch”).

Senator Dodd’s first diary on My Left Nutmeg was on March 7, 2007, over two years ago. I know because at the time I was a front-page contributor and administrator of the site. I bumped his post from the diary section to the front page.

About two months later I joined Dodd’s presidential campaign’s internet department. Our campaign frequently posted updates from the campaign trail in diaries on MLN, so Nutmeggers could continue to see the hard work Dodd was doing both for our country and for Connecticut as a legislator, using his heightened profile as a presidential candidate to get more done for us all in the Senate. Additionally, during his frequent live chats with blog readers on the campaign trail, Dodd engaged with readers on My Left Nutmeg. Dodd wasn’t alone in the CT delegation in engaging this community from the campaign trail – Congressmen John Larson, Chris Murphy, and Joe Courtney all recorded strong endorsements of Dodd that we posted on MLN.

All of this is to say that Dodd has not been “reduced” to anything this cycle. He is doing what he’s always done – engage constituents in meaningful ways. He’s long viewed MLN as a key part of the Connecticut progressive-Democratic infrastructure and that he’s continuing to engage it not is not only not a shocking, bad thing, but a positive note that augurs well for his reelection prospects. It’s unfortunate that the TNR’s “reporter-researcher” didn’t bother to fact check one of her first sentences, as even the most cursory research would have proven her premise wrong.

Sonia Sotomayor

Obviously this is a very exciting and historic day, as President Obama is poised to name Sonia Sotomayor as his pick to replace Justice Souter on the Supreme Court. Sotomayor is by all accounts a brilliant jurist who has displayed a sterling sense of how the law works throughout her long and diverse career. Tom Goldstein at SCOTUSBlog makes a point that will surely help in confirmation:

Objectively, her qualifications are overwhelming from the perspective of ordinary Americans.  She has been a prosecutor, private litigator, trial judge, and appellate judge.  No one currently on the Court has that complete package of experience.

These qualifications, paired with the historic importance of her being the first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the court, make it seem incredibly dangerous politically for Republicans to forcefully oppose her nomination. What makes it even harder is that they spent the last eight years screaming from the top of their lungs against any and all filibusters of judicial nominations. Media Matters has launched, a site that has compiled clips of Republican senators speaking out against filibusters of President Bush’s nominees.

Glenn Greenwald makes a very important point about the importance of President Obama’s decision to nominate Sotomayor in the face of a vicious and cowardly smear campaign against her, her intelligence, and stereotypical racial demeanors targeting Latin women. Greenwald writes:

It is very encouraging that Obama ignored the ugly, vindictive, and anonymous smear campaign led by The New Republic‘s Jeffrey Rosen and his secret cast of cowardly Eminent Liberal Legal Scholars of the Respectable Intellectual Center.  People like that, engaging in tactics of that sort, have exerted far too much influence on our political culture for far too long, and Obama’s selection of one of their most recent targets both reflects and advances the erosion of their odious influence.  And Obama’s choice is also a repudiation of the Jeffrey-Rosen/Ben-Wittes/StuartTaylor grievance on behalf of white males that, as Dahlia Lithwick put it, “a diverse bench must inevitably be a second-rate bench.”

From an ideological and court-balance question, while Sotomayor does not seem to be moving towards the far left of the court’s make-up, she does preserve the court’s balance by being quite similar to Justice Souter. Jack Balkin writes:

Obama’s pick of Sotomayor gives him a liberal replacement to David Souter who is likely to form part of the liberal coalition of Justices currently on the Court. Sotomayor has a fairly long track record as a judge. As a result, Obama knows pretty much what he is getting, which suggests that Sotomayor is unlikely to disappoint Obama repeatedly on the issues he cares about, at least while Obama is President.

Hopefully Sotomayor becomes a forceful advocate for the rule of law on the court. But above all else, I think that how the Obama administration handled this search and selection of Sotomayor is one of the most heartening events in his young presidency. This is what change looks like and America will be better for it.

Good Dodd News

Yesterday Chris Dodd’s Credit CARD Act passed overwhelmingly. It’s a victory for regulation of an industry run amok and will provide a great deal of protection for consumers from predatory lending practices and usurious rates. The Hartford Courant calls it a “big win for Dodd.” Former Ned Lamont campaign manager, Tom Swam, has a great bit of analysis in the Courant piece:

 “This is the first real significant step by Congress to protect [consumers from] some of the more abusive practices,” said Tom Swan, executive director of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group. “Sen. Dodd has had a tough couple of months, and a victory like this reminds people of his ability to get things done. …[It] is this exact type of thing he needs between now and next November.”

Beyond Dodd’s Credit CARD legislation, Dodd also received high praise today from President Obama for his work on housing legislation.

Present at Obama’s bill signing Wednesday afternoon were two Democrats headed for high-profile Senate races in 2010.

One was embattled Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, who Obama credited with passing a key housing measure.

“We wouldn’t be here without my good friend Chris Dodd,” he said.

One of the ways Dodd can solidify his numbers in Connecticut is by continuing to be the effective, progressive legislator he’s been for the last 30 plus years for the citizens of Connecticut. When he leads, he gets strong recognition from key influentials both in Connecticut and at the national level. It’s this sort of success that makes me confident Dodd will be able to weather the storm and win reelection in 2010.

More Clarity

I’ve never been a fan of Jesse Ventura, but he really owns rightwing hack Elizabeth Hasselbeck on The View. What makes Ventura so powerful in this clip is that he is absolutely clear about what he believes and does not waiver from his absolute rejection of torture. Hasselbeck looks like the fool that she is arguing against Ventura in favor of torture.