Author: BooMan

Open Thread

I am confident that people are coming together. And the reason I believe this is because our party is united.

-Bush on Fox Special Report w/ Brit Hume, July 19th, 2000.

C & J on the Front Page

I think it is kinda odd that Bill in Portland Maine’s award winning Cheers & Jeers series has been front-paged over at dKos.

I think it kind of permanently blows up the ratings system over there.  But what do you think?

Why did Markos promote it?

Should we have recurring diaries?

Are YOU going to write them?

P.S. This is not naval gazing…we’re staring at someone else.

P.P.S. I guess you should all give each other mojo.

Woodruff vs. Byrd

WOODRUFF: All right. Bill Schneider, thank you very much.

The passionate debates in the Terri Schiavo case have added to the controversy over the Democrats’ use of Senate filibusters to block some of the president’s judicial nominees, as we just heard Bill discussing. A little earlier today I did speak with Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia about that issue. But first, I asked him about GOP claims that a major fund-raiser on his behalf by the left-leaning group means he’s too liberal for West Virginia voters.


BYRD: I have one word, one word for that. Horseradish.

That organization is made up of Democrats and Republicans, West Virginians, veterans, farmers, teachers, people from all walks of life. It’s a patriotic organization. It believes in having its say, saying what it thinks. And I’m proud to have the support of that organization.

WOODRUFF: Well, the Republicans say it is out and out a liberal organization and that your association with it means you’re in the same suit.

BYRD: You know, I’m just sick up to my ears concerning all this talk about labels. When I came to the Senate, I was to the right of Senator Goldwater. How about that? Now they say I’m a liberal.

Who cares? I vote the way I see an issue. And the labels just don’t count. There’s too much — too much talk about labels.

They’re not important. They’re not real. And we ought to get beyond that.

WOODRUFF: Well, let me ask you this, there are Democrats on the more moderate end who say that the vocal, the most vocal elements of the party are the liberal groups like MoveOn, and they say it’s not good for the party. Is that something you’re concerned with?

BYRD: You know, I pay no attention to the talk about labels. What I’m concerned about is the liberties of the people of this country. The liberty to speak out, to say what they think, and not be intimidated. That’s one thing that’s happening in this political atmosphere these days.

And I have to say there’s too much of the effort to intimidate. There’s an effort to intimidate those who speak out, who are critical of the administration, who are critical of the president.

They try to intimidate, intimidate the media. That’s a good one. They’ve got you intimidated.

Intimidate senators who have the backbone to stand up for the rights of the people they represent, they try to intimidate. They try to — now they’re trying to intimidate the courts. Back off.

WOODRUFF: Well, I certainly don’t believe they have me intimidated or my news organization intimidated.

BYRD: I don’t think so. But look back at debate on the war.

Where was it? The Senate was mute. The media didn’t ask questions, and the people didn’t ask questions. We were mute.

People were intimidated. That’s the effort now, is to intimidate anybody who has this common sense, and the courage and a strong feeling of what’s right and what’s wrong, trying to intimidate them. They’re trying to do that to me.

WOODRUFF: Well, when it comes to speaking out, let me ask you about this. You know the Republicans in the Senate are talking about changing the filibuster rules.

BYRD: Yes.

WOODRUFF: You’ve said you’re against that. The Republicans say that’s hypocritical, because they say, for example, back in 1977 not once, but they say four different times you helped to close a loophole that let the Republicans have their say.

BYRD: They’re wrong.

WOODRUFF: They were the minority.

BYRD: They’re wrong, they’re dead wrong. And they’ve told themselves that so much that they probably believe it.

It’s not right. They’re wrong.

The ordinary people — the elderly, the young, they’re about to have their rights curtailed by this silly notion that filibuster ought to be eliminated. The filibuster is the last weapon, the lifeline of the liberty of the people. They need to back off that.

WOODRUFF: Last question, Senator. Are you running for re- election?

BYRD: Well, I’m not going to announce it today. I’m thinking about it, seriously.

WOODRUFF: What are you leaning toward?

BYRD: Taking care of the issues here. I’m leaning toward defeating this opening of Pandora’s box, cutting off the filibuster.


WOODRUFF: Senator Robert Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia. He did go onto accuse the Bush administration of trying to pack the federal courts, in his words.

Thanks to Diane101 for the transcript.


I need to update my FAQ.  So, let me know what you think newcomers need to know about the site.

Or what you want to know.

Thoughts, and a Warning, on Israel

On the left, in the United States, Israel is probably the single most divisive issue we face. Most American Jews vote for Democratic candidates, and the Jewish community is a vital fundraising source not only for candidates, but many important progressive causes.

The struggle for racial equality and civil rights was galvanized by the Holocaust and African-American participation in the war. Without the active and energetic participation of Jewish organizations, it is doubtful that we would have seen the end of Jim Crow in the mid-1960’s.

The very soul of the modern Democratic Party is intricately wrapped up in millennia old principles of social justice exemplified by Jewish prophets like Amos.

And yet, the modern Democratic Party is essentially secular in nature. By secular, I do not mean that we are opposed to faith. I mean that we are reflexively resistant to basing policy on Biblical or Koranic texts or interpretations.

On most issues, this point of view is in lockstep with the majority of American Jews. After all, as Betty Rollin has pointed out:

“Forty-five percent of American Jews are secular — the highest rate of any religion. But “secular” includes people who may not practice their religion but who believe in God. Of secular Jews, 34 percent don’t believe in God. Still, they consider themselves Jewish.”

Open Thread

“I did denounce it. I de- I denounced it. I denounced interracial dating. I denounced anti-Catholic bigacy- bigotry.”

Bush, responding to criticism about his visit to Bob Jones University, February 25th, 2000.

Open Thread

“I think if you know what you believe, it makes it a lot easier to answer questions. I can’t answer your question.

-Dubya, speaking in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, October 4th, 2000.

“We Have the Constitutional Authority to Eliminate Any and All Inferior Courts”

Despite poll numbers that show most Americans think Tom DeLay and his minions are unmitigated assholes, they just don’t know how to shut up about Terry Schiavo. Rep. Steve King has some really choice quotes in the Washington Post:

“DeLay and his allies, however, remain infuriated that the Atlanta-based Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit refused Congress’s orders to take control of Schiavo’s case from Florida courts. Judge Stanley F. Birch Jr., who was appointed to the appellate court by President George H.W. Bush, criticized Congress’s actions as being “at odds” with the Constitution.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a Judiciary Committee member and DeLay ally, said in an interview: “That kind of judge needs to be worried about what kind of role Congress will play in his future.” King said it is not clear what steps his committee might take, but he said most people do not realize the power Congress can exert over courts if it chooses.

“We have the constitutional authority to eliminate any and all inferior courts,” he said, referring to district and circuit courts. King said some federal judges refuse to answer questions from Congress unless they are being impeached, so “that may force our hand.”
Washington Post: Free Registration

I say, “Keep it coming. Keep digging that hole.”


Okay, I’m in a silly mood. But since I wanted to cross-promote my diary about My Trip to the Barbershop and because I still smell a little too heavily of aftershave…I thought I would provide everyone with a Mobster to English dictionary.

Ya know, in case you ever visit New Jersey…or Philly.

A friend of ours: mob shorthand for introducing one made guy to another made guy. “A friend of mine” is just another jamook on the street.

A trippa di zianata: “your aunt’s tripe.”

Action: a bet that a bookie “writes” and for which you pay him his “vig.”

Administration: the top-level “management” of an organized crime Family—the boss, underboss, and consigliere.

Agita: anxiety, edginess, an upset stomach.

Anti-Trust Violations: what authorities call the mob practice of carving out exclusive territories. Wiseguys call them “mine.”

Associate: one who works with mobsters, but hasn’t been asked to take the vow of Omertá; an almost confirmed, or made guy.

My Trip to the Barbershop

I’ve been so busy since the launch of this website, that little things have gone neglected.  Little things like getting my haircut.

It’s a beautiful day in Philadelphia, and I had to walk my tax papers over to my accountant.  So, I decided to stop on the way back and get my haircut.

My barber was born in Italy and immigrated here in 1959.  He’s a wonderful guy, fun, friendly, and full of interesting stories.

Lots of mobsters come in to get a shave and a haircut, or just to shoot the shit.  It’s always a gas to sit there reading their plentiful supply of Maxim magazines and listen to the old guys talk about how much their goomah’s love Viagra.

They always have Jerry Springer on the television, or something equally stupid that I never ordinarily get to see.

Today I was lucky because there was only one person in front of me and he was already in the chair.  I picked up a magazine and starting reading about what horny co-eds like in the sack.  It’s all part of adjusting to one’s environment.

When it was my turn, we discussed how I wanted my hair done and then we began our conversation.

He was pissed off that Jimmy Carter had been told there was no room for him in the American funeral party for the Pope.  “The fatta is gunna be dere, dat’s two people frum da same fammly, why can’t dey let Cartah go?”

“And da black broad, whazzer name?”

“Uh, Condoleezza Rice?”

“Right, da black broad, wuz her job now?

“Um…currently she is Secretary of State.”

“Mmn, yeah.  Da black broad is going.  Deh don wanna see her.”

“Right. Well.  Um. Yeah, they really should let Carter go, he has more in common with the Pope anyway.”

This went on for some time.  Then we moved on to other subjects.  He told me about various millionaires he has known, and how stingy they were with their money.

“Why duz a man with one yacht gotta go buy anuddah one?  Why not give da money to hiz frends?”

And then it got more interesting.  He told me about a woman who ran for office in Italy, back in the late 50’s.  She had no platform, but she promised to close down the whorehouses.

“She convinced all da women, dis broad, she toll em, ‘you want your man goin to all deez udda women?  Or you wanim to come home to you?’.  So, she won.  And she closed down all da whorehouses.  Let me tell you it was a damn shame.  The women uzed to be so clean.  And den they was in the streets, in da cars…standing up if ya know whaddi mean.”

Then he started telling me about the old days.  He said you could go to the whorehouse and it cost about 10 cents at the time.  

Anyway, one day he and his friend saw a beautiful woman walking down the street, and his friend said, “I would do anything to make love to that woman.”  But he said it too loud.

So, the women turns around and says, “What did you say?”

So my barber says, “He said you are beautiful and he would do anything to make love to you.”

They thought she was going to slap one of them.  But she said, “I look for a man who is handsome, who has money, and who has size.”

My barber knows his friend has a lot of money, so he says, “Well, you can see that he’s handsome, and I can tell you he has plenty of money, but I can’t vouch for the size.”

The lady asks the friend how much it’s worth to him to make love to her.  And he doesn’t know what to say, so he asks what it would take.

“Ten thousand lira”, she says.

Well 10,000 lira was a lot more than 10 cents at the time, but the friend agreed to the price.

So, a few hours later the friend comes back quite pleased with himself and raving about his experience.

My barber is annoyed.  And he insists that they must now go to the whorehouse so he can have his needs met.

So, they go to the whorehouse, and it turns out that when he goes to his room…he has gotten…the same girl.  Only he only has to pay 10 cents.

Needless to say, his friend never heard the end of it.  “You coulda been wit her a hundred times…ha ha ha.”

This is what it’s like to get a haircut in South Philly.