Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bartcop Nails it again

Twelve hours driving alone...

I've been saying for years that Democrats are all about being fair.

Remember the old westerns, when Little Joe Cartwright was in a fight,
he'd knock the guy down, then help him to his feet and knock him down again?

But when the bad guy knocked down Little Joe, he'd kick him in the face.

I always wondered, why does the good guy always want to fight fair?

That's today's Democrats and I think I see the source of their confusion.
The Democrats seem to think they're in the NFL, and it's important to
play by the rules because there's no shame in losing if you tried your best.

They want to play the game with honor and that's a laudable goal,
but the other team is cheating so there's no way we're in a fair fight.

The Democrats don't understand that this isn't some damn football game.
It's the future of our country and health care and civil rights they're supposed
to be fighting for, but they're all hung up on playing by the rules and it's killing us.

The Democrats have laid down their arms in the hope that the GOP teabaggers
will see that disarming themselves would be the fair thing to do, but the GOP
just laughs at how gullible and naive the Democrats are as they shoot at us.

I wish the Democrats would put winning first, for once, and playing fair second.

Tell me, if you're walking with your wife on the street and some asshole jumps out
from behind a bush with a knife and says, "Give me your wallet and your wife,"
a Democrat might - I say might - engage him but as soon as he knocked the
mugger down, the Democrat would be all Little Joe and help the mugger back to his feet.

Not me.

I'd wail on the bastard until a crowd pulled me off of him.

I'd beat his head with a brick until he stopped moving.

That's what we need in this life-and-death fight we're currently in.

More bartcop and less "Let's be fair."

I'm sick to f-ing death of fighting fair - and losing.

Democrats need to fight dirty - whatever it takes to win..

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Air America, RIP

Today, Air America announced that it has filed for bankruptcy and will end their live programs this afternoon. This is at least the third time they have done so and they have been bought previously and brought back. If this is really it for them this time, its sad for them but it doesn't mean the end of progressive talk radio.

First, a word of appreciation for Air America. Simply put, if it wasn't for them we liberals who are talk radio fans would still be stuck with Rush and his clones with no relief in sight.

Years ago, an article on made the argument that the reason liberal talk had failed because stations ran liberal shows in the middle of a conservative talk line-up. He said it was like placing an hour of classical or country music in the line-up of a rock radio station - the people who tuned in to hear rock didn't want to hear it and that dynamic was killing liberal talk. He suggested that the way to make liberal/progressive talk radio a going concern wasn't just putting out more shows, it would be to create radio stations where it would be all liberal talk, all day.

Air America was the first to take that advice to heart and go with it. They found failing radio stations across the country and offered them a complete package of liberal talk shows. The progressive radio station closest to me here in Oregon - KPOJ AM in Portland - was a low-power station with low listenership when they decided to take the plunge and was one of the first stations in the country to go with Air America from day one.

They had problems starting out. Unsure of how to approach liberal talk, they started out with only one experienced liberal talk show host - Randi Rhodes, who had a local liberal talk show in Florida. Otherwise, they believed that the way to do liberal talk was to fill their airwaves with entertainers - mainly comedians. Al Franken was tapped to be their 'name' flagship show and was so inexperienced as a radio show host that they had to pair him with a woman as co-host who had briefly hosted a public radio talk show to keep the show flowing and provide Franken with on-the-job training. They kept tweaking the format but eventually got to where we're at now.

However, Air America did one thing - they kicked the door open for progressive talk and showed that it could be profitable. My station went from nearly going off the air to a radio station that increased power and if it isn't the number one station in its market it is in the top ten.

Progressive radio was moving away from Air America long before today. Air America got local liberal talk stations their initial audience but now most are a mash of liberal syndicated programs. Randi Rhodes and Thom Hartmann started out as Air America programs, they are now their own separate shows. Ed Schultz was and is a syndicated show who's show is carried by liberal-only talk radio stations and ones who mix his show in with a variety of points of view. Mike Malloy, Bill Press, Stephanie Miller, even Alan Colmes - all separate syndicated programs. For my locale, about the only Air America shows left on my station are the Ron Reagan show during the week and the weekend "Ring of Fire" program.

So, it this is it for them finally, I send Air America a fond adieu and and much thanks. Thanks to them, progressive talk radio exists and continues to thrive.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

And another thing....

I'm seeing a lot of tweet, blog posts, and emails about the right wing echo chamber.  You know, who said what, the latest outrage on *** network - usually with a cry of "Won't someone DO SOMETHING about that?" 

Well hey, aren't YOU somebody?  Why, yes you are!

Ask yourself - why does the mainstream media kowtow so much to the righties?  OK, it's a given that their corporate owners' hearts are with them, but one thing that any news organization values most is its reputation for a fair, even-handed approach to the news.  The righties have shortcircuited that and got them to go their way.  How?  Well, when the righties see something they don't like, they are on the phone or computer telling them so - usually accompanied with a threat to stop watching their shows and boycott their sponsors.

It's worked.  It's why, with the Democrats in the majority in DC, we are seeing losers like Newt Gingrich and John McCain being interviewed instead of Democrats who chair committees and such.  It's why we see more right wing think tanks spokespeople from the Heritage Foundation, etc. instead of people from organizations dedicated to supporting and urging Democratic/liberal philosophy and programs.  It's why, when the Iraq War was getting going, we saw no stories about Iraq civilian causualties.

It's because the righties have scared the hell out of them and the media wants to keep them watching.

I say enough of that crap.

I say we stop complaining amongst ourselves when some news show allows some rightwing nut to baldface lie on camera without a peep.  No more weepy tweets about how the media is presenting the Republicans like they are still in charge and what they say is important.  And on and on and on.

Don't say that to us - we're already with you.  Tell it to the news media.  There's more of us than there are GOPbaggers, let them worry about offending us for a change.  When you see or hear of the traditional media pandering to the right, let them know that it's not acceptable to you.  Don't shake you head in disgust, pick up the phone or fire up the computer.

Below is contact information for news sources.  Keep this information handy and start USING IT.

Network/Cable Television

ABC News
77 W. 66 St., New York, NY 10023
Phone: 212-456-7777

General e-mail:

CBS News
524 W. 57 St., New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-975-4321
Fax: 212-975-1893

Email forms for all CBS news programs
CBS Evening News:
The Early Show:
60 Minutes II:
48 Hours:
Face The Nation:

900 Sylvan Avenue, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
Phone: (201) 735-2622
Fax: (201) 583-5453


One CNN Center, Box 105366, Atlanta, GA 30303-5366
Phone: 404-827-1500
Fax: 404-827-1784

Fox News Channel
1211 Ave. of the Americas, New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 301-3000
Fax: (212) 301-4229

List of Email addresses for all Fox News Channel programs
Special Report with Bret Baier:
FOX Report with Shepard Smith:
The O'Reilly Factor:
On the Record with Greta:

Glenn Beck:

30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112
Phone: (212) 664-4444
Fax: (212) 664-4426

List of Email addresses for all MSNBC/NBC news programs

Dateline NBC:
Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MSNBC Reports with Joe Scarborough:
NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams:
NBC News Today:

2100 Crystal Drive, Arlington VA 22202
Phone: 703-739-5000
Fax: 703-739-8458

The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer:


National Radio Programs

National Public Radio
635 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001-3753
Phone: 202-513-3232
Fax: 202-513-3329

E-mail: Alicia Shephard, Ombudsman

The Rush Limbaugh Show
1270 Avenue of the Americas, NY 10020
Phone (on air): 800-282-2882
Fax: 212-445-3963


Sean Hannity Show
Phone (on air): 800-941-7326
Sean Hannity: 212-613-3800
James Grisham, Producer: 212-613-3807

E-mail: Phil Boyce, Program Director


National Newspapers

The Los Angeles Times
202 West First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: 800-528-4637 or 213-237-5000
Fax: 213-237-4712

L.A. Times Contact Information by Department

Letters to the Editor:
Readers' Representative:

The New York Times
620 8th Ave., New York, NY 10018
Phone: 212-556-1234
D.C. Bureau phone: 202-862-0300
Fax: 212-556-3690

Letters to the Editor (for publication):
Write to the news editors:

USA Today
7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, VA 22108
Phone: 703-854-3400
Fax: 703-854-2078

Letters to the Editor:

The Wall Street Journal

200 Liberty St., New York, NY 10281
Phone: 212-416-2000
Fax: 212-416-2658

Letters to the Editor:
Comment on News Articles:

The Washington Post
1150 15th St., NW, Washington, DC 20071
Phone: 202-334-6000
Fax: 202-334-5269

Letters to the Editor:



251 W 57th Street, New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-445-4000
Fax: 212-445-5068

Letters to the Editor:

Time & Life Bldg., Rockefeller Center, 1271 6th Ave., New York, NY 10020
Phone: 212-522-1212
Fax: 212-522-0003

Letters to the Editor

U.S. News & World Report
1050 Thomas Jefferson St., Washington, DC 20007
Phone: 202-955-2000
Fax: 202-955-2049

Letters to the Editor


News Services / Wires

Associated Press
450 West 33rd St., New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-621-1500
Fax: 212-621-7523

General Questions and Comments:

Three Times Square, New York, NY 10036
Telephone: 646-223-4000

United Press International
1133 19th Street, NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036
Telephone: 202-898-8000
FAX: 202-898-8048

Comments and Tips:

Now get those phone lines burning and fill up those email boxes!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Coakley and How We Don't Do That Again

We lost Teddy's seat to a teabagger. 


Let me repeat that:  we just lost EDWARD KENNEDY'S SENATE SEAT to a rightwing nutter. 


George McGovern could lose every other state to Richard Nixon - and still win Massachusetts.  Walter Mondale could lose in a landslide to Ronald Reagan - and still win Massachusetts.  Just when I think my Democratic Party can't screw things up for themselves any worse, they go and prove me wrong.

I'm not going to blame this on sneaky Republicanism, their lies or Fox or Rush or Glenn or anybody else we normally go after.  I congratulate them, in fact - they knew what they were about and weren't afraid to go after it.  It worked, they won.  I'm not even going to blame Martha Coakley, even with her awful campaign - she'll serve just as well for a model of what we Democrats have become.

We Democrats just got shot down to earth - me included.  We were so SURE that since we so soundly routed the Bush minions out of power in Washington, they'd never find their way out of the political wilderness.  We were so SURE that we'd destroyed the conservative movement and the Republicans so well that we'd convinced ourselves that we'd never see them come back.  In fact, in our convictions that our 2006 and 2008 victories were so solid, some of us thought it's so safe for us that we can even go after our own President without consequence.  I'm just as guilty here - just look at some of my earlier posts...not so much the going after Obama part though.

OK, we lost a couple of governors but we won two House special elections we were supposed to lose so it was a push.  We even got a watered down but better than nothing Health Care bill through both houses of Congress.  Victory was ours and we thought it'd stay that way for a long time. 

Then tonight happened.  If it was any other open Senate seat in any other state, we could shrug it off as a "well, we can't win 'em all" thing.  This one was special to us - it was the Senate seat of the deceased Lion of the Senate, the last fighting Liberal from a reliably liberal state who had faithfully sent their Teddy back to the Senate for around 30 years even after Chappaquidick.  And we lost it.

OK, we still have control of Congress and the White House.  It's a 59 seat majority in the Senate now instead of 60.  Painful but not the end of the world.  


It's an obstacle that can be overcome, but it's far from small.  If this were even as recently as the Clinton era, I wouldn't be so concerned.  The Republicans hated him then just as much as they hate Obama now - and for the same reason, they won - but back then at least not all of the Republican Party was willing to scuttle the country for partisan gain.  A few even voted with Clinton from time to time.  The Democrats didn't go there either when Dubya was in - maybe a few filibusters against some nominees to be judges, but enough Democrats went along with George that 51 Republicans in the Senate was plenty.

Make no mistake about it, those days are gone.  Except for one lone Republican in the House who got called a commie and a gook by his own party for doing it, there was virtually no Republican votes for health care reform.  Just that one Republican guy in the House, not a single Republican vote in the Senate even from the "moderates."  59 votes in the Senate would be enough usually, but not when you have a Republican Party who is going to filibuster EVERYTHING and you need 60 votes just to pass the Defense Bill.

The bright spot in this is, first - the Massachusetts Republican winner this evening is only in for 2 years.  He has to run again in 2012.  Second, there is still time for the Democrats to treat this election as the wake up call it is and turn it around in time for November. 

Some suggestions on how to do that:  stop still acting like a battered wife protecting an abusive husband when it comes to the conservatives.  We Democrats still are in control and it's past time we started acting like it.  The righties have shown us what they consider to be "bipartisan" - to them it means do it their way then vote against it anyway.  Fine.  We're fair people.  We should give them one chance to participate in the process and if they refuse, then we do it without them.  That's not quite as easily done now as it was just last Monday, but there are ways.

MAJOR change - we start changing the way we talk about our issues, in fact we take the right's methods and verbiage and turn it right back on them.  Does that mean we start lying about everything like they do?  No, we still can fight with real facts and real information but we do it differently.

We on the left talk about our issues as something beyond ourselves - health care is good for the people who need help and is good for the country, as an example.  That comes from our world view of politics - we don't act solely out of self interest and our vision goes further than our front door.  Our views can stay the same but we'll never beat the right with that approach.  One thing they do well is that they make their positions personal - for themselves and who they are speaking to.

George Lakoff is a linguistics professor who wrote a book for the 2004 election entitled Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate.  It was a sort of primer version of a longer book, but the idea was that you don't win debates and elections by using the terms of your opponent.  An example of that is, as a Democrat, when discussing tax issues you should not use the term "Tax relief."  The word "relief" implies that taxes are an insufferable burden that needs to be relieved - a bad way to say it if you are arguing against, say, the Bush across the board tax cuts.  He suggests, if you are taking the anti side of a tax cut debate, calling them "service cuts."  This he calls "framing" - your use of language frames the debate in your favor.

His theory is a good start but we have to make that extra step - change it from global to personal.  Using the health care reform debate as an example again, we state our position in terms of community, country and world.  The right shoots it down by saying to the audience, "Do YOU want to pay more taxes and pay for somebody else's insurance to do this?"  Then follow that up with outlandish claims and name calling spoken clearly and forcefully.  We fluster and bluster, but that argument hits home faster than any argument about millions uninsured - count on it.

We need to come back, with facts, just as forcefully and right in their faces - just like they do to us - and make it personal to our audience as well.  No Senator - the word you're looking for isn't "misleading", it's a LIE.  Speak plainly and make them defend that lie - don't go all nuance-y and "suggest it might not be entirely true."  Florid language goes directly in one ear and out the other - say the other guy is lying his ass offThat they get.

Then, when you talk about your ideas, don't talk about the country.  Trust me, the guy and/or gal in the audience with sick kids and no health insurance isn't sitting in Oregon worried about millions of people or folk in Ohio - they want to know how what you are proposing is going to help them.  TELL THEM.  No 'we' or 'us', here's how I plan on helping you.  Say, "I don't want you or your family to get so sick that the only place you can go is an emergency room, I'm going to help see to it that you can all go to the doctor well before that!"

Harry Truman said the way to win elections is to take the battle to your opponent and never apologize.  He also said that if peoples' choice is between a Democrat acting like a Republican or a Republican, the Republican wins every time. 

We lost it for Teddy this time.  Let's not do that again.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Tea Party Timeline...

1982 - Reagan signs the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act, raising taxes by $37.5 billion per year

1982 - No Tea Party Movement

1982 - Reagan signs the Highway Revenue Act of 1982, increasing the gasoline tax by $3.3 billion

1982 - No Tea Party Movement

1984 - Reagan signs the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984, increasing taxes by $18 billion per year

1984 - No Tea Party Movement

1990 - Bush signs the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, raising taxes

1990 - No Tea Party Movement

1993 - Clinton increases taxes by 0.36% of GDP for 1st year and 0.83% of GDP in 4th year

1993 - No Tea Party Movement

2000 - 2008 - Bush cuts taxes creating the deficit the Tea Party Movement is so upset about

2000 - 2008 - No Tea Party Movement

2008 - The first African-American president is elected to office

2008 - The Tea Party Movement emerges to "take the country back"

2008 - 2010 - Obama slightly reduces taxes

2008 - 2010 - The Tea Party Movement opposes tax increases?
h/t to Mic test blog

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Conservative Theories vs. Reality Scoreboard

Now that we're past the years of conservatives telling us if we only followed their ideas, things would be just GREAT (and righties still trying to make that argument now), let's review how their ideas actually played out when conservatives controlled the White House and Congress:

Con theory:  Give the wealthy more tax breaks!  After all, a poor man doesn't give you a job!!
Result:  10% unemployment, possibly as high as 22%

Con theory:  Quit putting so much regulations on business, they'll police themselves!
Result:  Banks, financial companies, auto manufacturers bailed out to prevent total economic failure.

Con theory:  There's no need to regulate what businesses do, the invisible hand of the free market will correct anything bad going on!
Result:  Thousands die in earthquakes due to collapsed, unregulated buildings in Peru and Haiti.

Con theory:  Taxation is theft!
Result:  Collapsing infrastructure, not enough or no snowplows during winter storms, school failing, poor suffering from service cuts, states near bankruptcy.

...and more that I can think of.

Remind me again why anyone would want people who think these failed policies would work if they did more of them back into power again?

Harry Reid and the Negro

There's much ado and much hilarity over the far right's newfound love of political correctness and their usual fake "outrage" over two year old remarks from Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's comments in a new book.  The comments in question were Reid's musings that Obama would do well in 2008 because he was "light skinned" and "didn't speak in a Negro dialect unless he wanted to."  Or something like that.

Anyhow, what the right has seized on is Reid's use of the word "Negro" like he'd made some sort of racist remark and now the right thinks it is off the hook for their regular racism.  I hate to disappoint them on this but:

  1. They are still responsible for their racism, and
  2. "Negro" isn't necessarily a derogatory term towards black people.
Negro is certainly an outdated term but, like 70-year-old Reid, I'm old enough to remember when the term was considered respectful, at least by whites.  It was certainly a step up from the "colored" and "nigger" terms used by whites in the days prior to the Civil Rights Movement in the '60s.  Those were also the days when dark-hued people were considered inferior, genetically stupid, criminal and unattractive by the majority white population to self-justify discriminating against them.  I think we're all pretty familiar with what's happened since those days.

I'm also saying all of this from my own whiteness so put it all down as conjecture.  It'd be more than a little presumptive for me to declare what offends people of color and what doesn't.

However, I just don't get the kind of vibes from Reid and his record in politics that he is someone who would deliberately choose to denigrate black people.

What's a burr in everybody's saddle, left or right, is that once you get over the word usage what remains is that what white, old Mormon Harry Reid said was right on the money.  The right denies it outright and the left wishes it weren't so but the fact remains that if Barack Obama had looked like Jesse Jackson and sounded like Snoop Dogg he would never have won the Democratic nomination, let alone the presidency.  It's an uncomfortable truth but truth nonetheless.  It's also a reflection of where we are when it comes to race in America that such superficialities still affect our votes.  Now that Obama has broken the color barrier when it comes to the White House, maybe later another candidate for President who looks and sounds "more black" (or "more Hispanic" or Asian) won't find the road to the White House to be harder simply because of the darker hue of his or her skin and how he/she speaks.

That being said, let's return to our friends on the right who have been trying so hard to make this an "issue."

First of all, their main position on the Reid thing is that a Democrat is getting away with a remark that a Republican would be crucified over.  I think they're right on this too, but there's a very big "if" attached to it.  That being, if Harry Reid had said something along the lines of Obama won despite his being a "dirty Negro" or something like that and wasn't hounded out of at least his leadership post if not his Senate seat it'd be a point well taken.  Reid said nothing like that so, sorry righties but that one doesn't fly too far.  Even some Republicans have defended Reid over this (most recently Rudy Giuliani) and the Republican Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, has said that the Republicans would not pursue trying to oust Reid from anything.

This hasn't stopped the usual suspects, namely rightwing radio haters like Rush Limbaugh and cable TV's version of rightwing radio - Fox Noise - from beating the drum over it and their followers gleefully proclaiming that since Reid 'got away' with what he said they are now immune from any charge of racial prejudice.  Sorry GOPbaggers, but the next time you make some racist remark or post some picture like the one morphing President Obama into a witch doctor, you're going to find using Harry Reid to protect you as about as effective as a shield made from single sheets of printer paper glued to pipe cleaners.

The other front from the right is that they are trying just as hard to say that what Republican Trent Lott said back in the Bush era was "just as bad or not bad" as what Reid said in 2008, but he was forced out of his leadership post where Reid is keeping his.  This is supposedly proof of liberal and Democratic Party "hypocrisy" since we forced Lott out.

Let's review just what Lott did say and what he meant by it, shall we?  From an article from 2002....

The incredible thing about the controversy surrounding soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's kissing up to the racist legacy of Strom Thurmond is that anyone thinks it is incredible.
Trent Lott's "Uptown Klan"

Lott is on the hot seat for telling a 100th birthday party for Thurmond, the South Carolina senator who in 1948 ran an overtly racist campaign for president on the State's Rights Party ticket: "I want to say this about my state. When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years either."

Those remarks have caused a major stir, which is appropriate. But this is hardly the first time that Lott, who began his political career in the 1960s as an aide to segregationist Democratic Congressman William Colmer, has hailed the legacy of those who fought to defend the practices of slavery and segregation. Nor is the tortured "apology" Lott has issued the first to come from the senator.

Indeed, there is no greater constant in Trent Lott's political career than his embrace of all things Confederate.

To wit:

* In 1978, after his election to the US House, Lott led a successful campaign to have the US citizenship of Jefferson Davis restored. Davis lost his citizenship when he became president of the Confederate States of America when southern states were in open revolt against the US government.

* During the 1980 campaign, after Thurmond spoke at a Mississippi rally for Ronald Reagan, Lott said of the old Dixiecrat: "You know, if we had elected that man 30 years ago, we wouldn't be in the mess we are today."

* In 1981, when he was lending his prestige as a member of the US Congress to an effort to preserve the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University -- the notorious South Carolina college that was under fire for prohibiting interracial dating -- Lott insisted that, "Racial discrimination does not always violate public policy."

* Despite the fact that he represents the state with the largest percentage of African-American citizens in the US, Lott has throughout his career been an active supporter of the Sons of the Confederacy, a group that celebrates the soldiers who fought to defend the "right" of Mississippians to own African-Americans as slaves." Lott even appears in recruitment videos for the group.

* Speaking at a 1984 convention of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Lott declared that "the spirit of Jefferson Davis lives in the 1984 Republican Platform." Asked to explain his statement in an interview with the extreme rightwing publication Southern Partisan, Lott said, "I think that a lot of the fundamental principles that Jefferson Davis believed in are very important to people across the country, and they apply to the Republican Party... and more of The South's sons, Jefferson Davis' descendants, direct or indirect, are becoming involved with the Republican party."

* Lott gave the keynote address at a 1992 national executive board meeting of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a successor organization to the old white Citizens Councils, segregation-era groups the Southern Poverty Law Center refers to as "the white-collar Ku Klux Klan. The C of CC may have changed its name, but it remains a passionate "white racialist" group that condemns intermarriage, integration and immigration by non-whites. As Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson, who has researched the group, argues, "There is no question of the resegregationist agenda of the Council of Conservative Citizens when four of the seven links listed on the home page for former Klan leader David Duke link back to the Council of Conservative Citizens." Other links, Jackson has noted, "deny the Holocaust and sell T-shirts with swastikas and Nazi stormtrooper symbols." But when Lott appeared at that Greenwood, Mississippi, meeting of C of CC leaders, he did not address his disdain for racism or anti-Semitism. Rather, he discussed his concerns about "the dark forces" that he said were overwhelming America and said, "We need more meetings like this across the nation... The people in this room stand for the right principles and the right philosophy. Let's take it in the right direction and our children will be the beneficiaries."

* In 1997, Lott was photographed meeting with national leaders of the C of CC in his Washington office. At his side were two prominent C of CC leaders: Gordon Baum, a former field organizer for the Citizens Councils in the days when they were referred to as the "uptown Klan," and William Lord, who has acknowledged using the mailing lists of the Citizens Councils to build the C of CC in the 1980s and 1990s. That same year, the C of CC used an endorsement quote from Lott in recruitment literature.

* When the Washington Post began to detail Lott's ties to the C of CC, his office announced that he had "no firsthand knowledge of the group's views." But when The New York Times asked Lott's uncle, former Mississippi state Sen. Arnie Watson, a member of the C of CC executive board, about ties between the senator and the organization, Watson said, "Trent is an honorary member." When a reporter for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger showed up at a 1998 C of CC meeting in Mississippi, he was told by those in attendance that Lott was a member. Lott's office never challenged the report when it appeared in his homestate's largest newspaper. But a year later, when the Washington Post took the issue up, Lott said, "I have made my condemnation of the white supremacist and racist view of this group, or any group, clear."

* Yet, a column written by Lott still appeared on a regular basis in the Citizens Informer, the group's publication, alongside articles thick with statements like: "Western civilization, with all its might and glory, would never have achieved its greatness without the directing hand of God and the creative genius of the white race. Any effort to destroy the race by a mixture of black blood is an effort to destroy Western civilization itself."

* Go to the website of the Council of Conservative Citizens today and you will find, beneath the Confederate flag and the section attacking an African-American professor at Vanderbilt, a big smiling picture of the Mississippi senator next to headlines that read: "A Lott of Courage!" "C of CC Passes Resolution Commending Lott" and "Lott Needs Your Support."

When he started to face questions about his most recent praise of Thurmond's 1948 Dixiecrat campaign, Lott initially said that his remarks were just part of "a lighthearted celebration" of the retiring segregationist's career. That was enough for Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, to give Lott an initial pass. But, thankfully, Julian Bond and the NAACP, and a few African-American and progressive members of the House, refused to allow the matter to die. Only under this lingering pressure did Lott sort of apologize by saying of his statement at the Thurmond bash: "I regret the way it has been interpreted."

That's the standard line from Lott, who always apologizes when he gets caught defending the defenders of slavery and segregation. But, so far, Lott has never failed to follow each "apology" with another tribute to the Confederacy or the segregationists who seek even in the 21st century to maintain the racist legacy of Jefferson Davis, Strom Thurmond and the "uptown Klan."

Why, all of that must be JUST LIKE Reid and what he said!!  Yeah, right.

Another problem with the claim that Democrats and liberals forced Lott out of his leadership post:  Democrats were the minority party in the Senate at the time and didn't have the votes to force anyone to do anything at the time.  In fact, there is more evidence that the Bush Republicans wanted Lott out because he wasn't that effective a leader for them in the Senate and latched on to the remarks Lott made as the means to do that than any liberal group's protestations.

Ooops.  Another GOP FAIL.

So what lessons do we take away from this?  First of all, don't try to make mountains out of molehills - this just wasn't that big a deal.  Secondarily, if you are in public life, choose your words carefully - you may have to eat them later. 

Finally, if you are in a position of high visibility and you have the chance to make some racial remark - don't.  It's still too tender a subject in America for any real discussion of racial issues, and that's the worst thing about all of this.