File this one under ain't that a shame:
The Republican Party of party-switcher Parker Griffith's native Madison County, Alabama voted yesterday to back two of his rivals, and emphatically not the former Democrat, the local Decatur Daily reports:
Mo Brooks and Les Phillip — not U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith, R-Huntsville — have the support of the Madison County Republican Executive Committee.
In a resolution passed Monday, the committee urged voters to elect Brooks or Phillip in the Republican primary because of Griffith's Democratic leanings.
On the bright side, Griffith will at least have the opportunity to get his ass handed to him in the primary -- because some party leaders didn't want Griffith to be allowed on the ballot:
Hugh McInnish, who ran twice for Congress in the 1990s, introduced the resolution that pointed to Griffith's "liberal atrocities" and argued it was impossible to believe "he has overnight shed his Democrat skin and become a Republican."
But cooler heads prevailed and it was decided to "just whoop him fair and square at the ballot box."
How's that new party working out for you, Parker?
Oh, and for the record? The "atrocities" were voting for an end to George Bush's tax cuts, a deadline for troops to leave Iraq and past donations to Democrats. Atrocities just aren't what they used to be.
Supreme Court Justice Sonja Sotomayor's issued her first signed criminal opinion this morning in Wood v Allen, upholding the death penalty for a man with a borderline IQ. It affirms the 11th Circuit's denial of habeas relief, deferring to the Alabama Supreme Court's decision under AEDPA that defense counsel was not ineffective, because he made a "strategic decision" not to present evidence of the mental deficiencies.
Justice Stevens and Kenney dissented. (Opinion here.) [More...]
The man, Holly Wood, convicted in 1994 by a court in Alabama of murdering a former girlfriend, was represented during his murder trial by three court-appointed attorneys, including one just out of school and with no experience on a capital case.
The young lawyer took charge of the sentencing phase of the case after Wood had been found guilty and jurors were deciding if he would get life in jail or the death penalty. Jurors picked execution by 10 to two. The Supreme Court found that the attorney deliberately chose not to present findings about Wood's mental profile for fear it would hurt him.
Wood had three lawyers, two experienced, one right out of school. The young, inexperienced lawyer was put in charge of the death penalty phase. All three lawyers read the experts report finding Wood mentally deficient, and the young lawyer, being in charge, decided not to bring it to the jury's attention, for fear they would hold it against him.
Sotomayor says the Alabama court's finding that this was a strategic decision, not a negligent omission, is a reasonable one.
In this case, petitioner, a capital defendant,challenges the key factual finding made by the Alabama state court that denied his application for postconviction relief: that his attorneys’ failure to pursue and resentmitigating evidence of his borderline mental retardation was a strategic decision rather than a negligent omission. Petitioner argues that the state court’s finding was unreasonable...
We conclude, however, that the state court’s factual determination was reasonable...
The factual determination upheld today:
As to Woods claim of mental retardation, the court found that, while the evidence suggested that he probably does exhibit significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning, he had failed to show that he has significant or substantial deficits in his adaptive functioning.
What a disappointment from our newest justice.
Update: I just noticed this footnote in her opinion discussing the dissent:
The dissent suggests that counsel could not have made a strategic decision not to pursue evidence of Woods mental deficiencies because there could be no reasonable justification for doing so.... This interpretation conflates the question whether a decision was strategic with the question whether a strategic decision was reasonable.Sounds like she is playing word hockey when a man's life at issue.
TPM Reader GM checks in. Regarding your most recent post, "No Need to Push," I thought I would share my story. I called up my congressman, Rep. Nadler, of the West Side of Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn (I live on the Upper West Side). More than the[...]
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Ezra Klein, whose first choice is passing -- and fixing -- the Senate health care bill, offers another alternative to doing nothing:
Democrats could scrap the legislation and start over in the reconciliation process. But not to re-create the whole bill. If you go that route, you admit the whole thing seemed too opaque and complex and compromised. You also admit the limitations of the reconciliation process. So you make it real simple: Medicare buy-in between 50 and 65. Medicaid expands up to 200 percent of poverty with the federal government funding the whole of the expansion. Revenue comes from a surtax on the wealthy.
And that's it. No cost controls. No delivery-system reforms. Nothing that makes the bill long or complex or unfamiliar. Medicare buy-in had more than 51 votes as recently as a month ago. The Medicaid change is simply a larger version of what's already passed both chambers. This bill would be shorter than a Danielle Steel novel. It could take effect before the 2012 election.
As Klein argues, it would be a terrible failure for Democrats to do nothing on health care reform after having spent the better part of seven months fighting over it. Not only would Democrats pay a political price for their paralysis, but in failing to act they would be forgetting the very reason they were elected to office: to serve the public interest.
As mcjoan argued earlier today, passing the Senate bill and fixing it by reconciliation does appear to be the best solution to the current mess. Although there are serious problems with the Senate bill, as DK's David Waldman and TNR's Jeff Davis explain, those problems can be fixed by reconciliation. Under such a process, we'd end up with the most comprehensive reform currently possible.
There's reason to hope that the Senate will head down this path. But if Congress can't get its act together to pass and fix the Senate bill, it at least should expand Medicaid and open up Medicare to more Americans. The only other option would be to do nothing, and if we do nothing after having held huge majorities in both the House and Senate, then what message do we really have other than 'we're not the GOP'?
Update (5:29PM): Klein has a new post up saying that he sees signs of optimism that Democrats will pursue a dual-track, pass it and fix it approach, including Barney Frank walking back his earlier comment that the HCR was dead.
Together again..good times we'll share..McCain/Palin to campaign in Arizona in March.
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On Monday, Scott Horton blew a hole straight through the government's lies when Harpers Magazine published the results of his investigation into the supposed suicides of three Guantanamo prisoners in June 2006. It's clear now that the men were murdered[...]
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Remember that polls were out there before the voting began, both nationally and in Massachusetts, such as the Boston Globe poll indicating displeasure that Obama had not lived up to campaign promises.
For all too long the Democratic hierarchy has concluded that progressives will vote predictably on election day for the simple reason that they have no viable alternative to the Republican opposition.
Increased warnings of displeasure drew no more than a few shrugs, but now that Republican Scott Brown has won the Senate seat long held by progressive icon Ted Kennedy perhaps the Democratic Party high command will awaken before more of the same occurs. They should be well aware that if such a result can occur in liberal Massachusetts with its top heavy 3-1 Democratic registration that it can happen anywhere.
Remember what disgusted not only progressives but many mainstream moderates as well when Congress began considering a health care bill. It was made emphatically clear that the single payer system which has served as the model of America?s neighbor to the north, Canada, would not even be discussed in the wake of national polls indicating that a substantial majority of Americans favored such a proposal.
The effort to seek a broad coalition consisting of at least some Republicans made Peter Sellers? legendary character Inspector Clousseau resemble Sherlock Holmes at his most brilliant as Charles Grassley of Iowa was pursued.
After points of opposition stated by the Iowa Republican senator were met Grassley revealed where he really stood, stating that even if every bone of contention were erased and a bill met every standard on his part that as a good party person he would still oppose such a measure as long as his colleagues opposed it.
The conclusion was what progressives believed at the outset -- that it was a waste of time pursuing Grassley.
There was also the effort to bring Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine into the fold. When a public option, something progressives strongly favored, was mentioned the New England solon spoke of such a prospect as a potential cancer on our very system, flying in the face of free enterprise American tradition, Medicare notwithstanding and never mentioned by her.
The longer that the pathetic contretemps lasted the more burning and lasting the fires within the minds and hearts of progressives became. So during this same period along came a Republican state senator running for the seat held from 1962 until his death by Ted Kennedy.
A triathlon competitor who rises at 5 a.m. and campaigns energetically , spiritedly pumping the flesh, emerges. Scott Brown is no staid prude. After all, he posed nude for Cosmopolitan to help him pays bills during law school. Here is no Mitt Romney in a tailored suit speaking corporatese. Instead here is a man who drives to and from campaign appearances in an old truck.
What did Scott Brown do that triggered the floodtide in his direction that resulted in a 5-point triumph and defied the Democratic Massachusetts party establishment?
Brown expressed vigorous dissatisfaction with the health care bill promoted by President Obama. He also sharply declared that he is his own man.
How people hunger to believe that there are still some office seekers out there who are not essentially bought and paid for to serve establishment promoting corporate lobbyists, and who really do stand for change, the kind that Obama advocated while running for president.
Let us see what happens when Scott Brown begins serving as junior senator from Massachusetts. Let us see also how the Democratic establishment responds to this volcanic shot fired across the bow by the people of that liberal commonwealth of Massachusetts, home of the Kennedy family.
It?s not like we didn?t see this coming.
Three weeks ago, the idea of a Brown victory was ludicrous, but by last week, Michael Graham was getting a sinking feeling that Coakley had well and truly blown it.
Several videos showing one of Coakley?s staffers behaving like a garden-variety thug shoving The Weekly Standard's John McCormack to the ground, then shoving him again and again while Coakley breezed on past popped up all over YouTube, and garnering comments such as ?Thank you Marsha [sic] for being so lame and lazy,? and ?We? can no longer say that John McCain ran the worst campaign in the history of politics, that distinction now belongs to Marsha [sic] Coakley!?
Worse, was where Coakley was at the time ? instead of being in Massachusetts and working to get out the vote, as her opponent was doing, she was in Washington DC? at a lobbyist fundraiser, taking money from corporate and pharmaceutical interests.
McCormack had asked Coakley a question on Afghanistan which she simply ignored, asking the crowd of reporters, ?Does anyone else have a question?? Either she didn?t have a rehearsed response for such a question or, worse, she didn?t bother formulating one, exposing both an ignorance and an arrogance on a par with Sarah Palin.
I genuinely hate to say this: Coakley so justly deserved to lose this election and the people of Massachusetts are better off without her. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
Unfortunately, they?re not better off with what they?ve now got as an alternative.
Other bloggers will examine the imminent disaster that is Scott Brown, and the damage that he and his teabagging followers will inflict on the state of Massachusetts. But that?s not what I?m focusing on today ? and it?s not really what progressive voters and politicians should be focusing on, either. Not yet.
Coakley and this election is a wake-up call for the left and for the Democratic party. No, actually, it?s an ear-shattering warning siren going off, and if the DNC doesn?t dig the crap out of their ears and start listening to the very people who voted them into power a year ago, every hard won victory they?ve had is in jeopardy.
Just because the Democrats won the White House and Congress doesn?t mean the rightwing and its hordes of wingnut teabagging loonies have magically been defeated and sent back to the netherworld to languish for all eternity. They?re watching and waiting for the DNC to screw up badly enough that the tide of anger and disappointment that swept the right out of power will sweep them back in again. We, the voters, know that the only power we have is our vote ? we also understand that all too often our choices are limited to ?bad? and ?worse?.
So when a bad candidate like Coakley treats her constituents like indentured peons, acting as if the election were a foregone conclusion and behaving in such an arrogant and offensive manner and not even pretending to pay the slightest attention to her own base, she very quickly becomes ?worse?. The people of Massachusetts have sent the only F*ck You they can to a truly dreadful politician. The problem is, of course, that in sending that particular message to Coakley and the DNC, they get? Scott Brown. God help the people of Massachusetts.
We?ve had a year of the Democrats in power. And they?ve done? not a hell of a lot. Voters came out in record numbers in 2008, drawn to a message being hammered home by the Democratic twin mantras of HOPE and CHANGE. We?ve seen precious little of the latter and are rapidly losing the former. If Democrats have any hope of winning elections this coming fall, they need to start doing what they were elected to do ? their goddamned jobs.
I?m not the only one trying to tell you this, The right had over eight years to screw up this country with an unjust war, a devastated economy, and an incompetency that buggered belief in the face of natural disasters and man-made ones alike before the voters had finally had enough of it and got rid of them ? with the only other option available ? our guys. Don?t you believe for a second that by defeating them in the last election that they can?t come back to inflict more of the same on us. They?re still in the water, hungry, circling our leaky boat. And all they care about is winning. At any cost.
Our guys, the Democrats, with the popular backing of the country and complete control of the House, the Senate and the White house have blown it? in only a year. And if the voters finally have enough of you, they will get rid of you with the only other option available ? their guys.
You?re being told: when Democrats ?fail to govern based on a morally sound, well-articulated, solidly-grounded set of ideals, you look weak.? And the sharks are out, smelling blood in the water. Stop trying to appease the right wing, whose only interest is in defeating the left. Man up and start taking a few risks and pissing off the monied special interest groups. Stop sitting on the fence and playing it ?safe? with vague promises and ?feel-good? rhetoric. Start doing more than talking, talking, talking, compromise here, bipartisanship there, and live up to the campaign pledges we, the voters, elected you to honor: produce some real, tangible results on health care, financial regulation, labor laws, the economy, unemployment relief and job creation, restoring civil liberties, ending the war in Iraq and Afghanistan ? all those desperately needed reforms this country is literally ? literally ? dying for.
I don?t know how to make this any louder, any simpler, any clearer. You?ve had a year. Pull your thumbs out and get it done. Before it?s too late. We, the people, who put you in office, are jumping up and down and screaming our heads off ? DO YOUR JOBS. Because Massachusetts just proved that if you don?t start listening to us when we?re trying to speak to you with words, all we, the voters, will have left is the ballot, and some very, very bad choices.
[Note: FDL has complete team coverage of Perry v. Schwarzenegger--including more legal analysis, court documents, videos, and liveblogging direct from the federal court in San Francisco. You can find it all on our dedicated Prop 8 page.][...]
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TPM Reader DM checks in with a question ...I'd be curious if you have any info from the hill on how much people are contacting congress over Health Care today. A lot of folks (including me) who live in liberal districts were sort of leaving it to Obama[...]
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