Wal-Mart and Appletinis

Much has been said about Wal-Mart’s effects on local business. Here’s another effect of Wal-Mart’s tremendous influence on local governments which we might not have expected. It is also another example of how the interests of Main Street Republicans conflict with those of the religious right:

While much of America put Prohibition to rest 73 years ago, large parts of the South have remained strictly off-limits to alcohol sales.

But local and national business interests that stand to profit from the sale of alcohol, including real estate developers, grocery chains, restaurant groups and Wal-Mart, are combining their political and financial muscle to try to persuade hundreds of dry towns and counties to go wet. In the process, they are changing the face of the once staunchly prohibitionist Bible Belt.

Since 2002, business groups have spent upwards of $15 million on campaigns, including professional lobbyists, to persuade voters in some 200 dry towns and 25 dry counties in six Southern states to legalize alcohol sales in stores and restaurants.

Wal-Mart has financed dozens of local elections, contributing from $5,000 to $20,000 a campaign, said Tim Reeves of Beverage Election Specialists, which supports local alcohol referendums.

All I can say about this is, how abut an Appletini? It seems as good a time as any to look back at the old Appletini Blogging from The Democratic Daily, under the fold.


Spitzer’s Message

I’ve often been impressed with the way Elliot Spitzer gets out his message. For example, see his article Capitalism With A Democratic Face. (Also available in the Kerry Reference Library.) Spitzer takes on the sterotype of liberals spread by the right wing as opponents of capitalism, concluding with:

By taking up the mantle of efficient, forward-looking, and market-oriented government action, Democrats can move from being a party that simply opposes Bush’s tainted version of laissez-faire to one that advocates for the progress that comes with real market freedom. It is a powerful argument, a true argument, and it is ours for the making.

Now that he is running for Governor of New York, Spitzer is showing the same skill in getting out the right message. Check out these ads. Really, these are ads which are worth looking at. Kos didn’t believe a political ad firm could have made commercials this good, so he did some digging about who made them:

The ads are written by screenwriter, Madison Avenue maven, and political novice Jimmy Siegel and produced by Moxie Pictures. Siegel worked until recently at the legendary firm BBDO. He put together the Super Bowl Visa ad with Bob Dole and the “Yo, Yao” ads with Yao Ming.

Democrats have wondered how they can counter the right wing noise machine without copying their deceit and hatred. Eliot Spitzer may have found the way.

Joke of the Day

Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and George Bush are placed in front of a firing squad.

Bill Clinton is placed against the wall, and just before the order to shoot him is given, he yells, “Earthquake!”

The firing squad panics and Bill jumps over the wall and escapes in the confusion.

John Kerry is the second one placed against the wall. The squad is reassembled and John notes what Bill has done.

Before the order to shoot is given, John yells, “Tornado!”. Again the squad falls apart and Kerry slips over the wall and escapes.

After the firing squad reassembles again, George Bush is placed against the wall. He is thinking,”I see the pattern here, just scream out a disaster and jump over the wall.” As the firing squad points their rifles ain his direction, he smirks his and yells, “Fire!”

Around the Blogosphere

Huffington Post (James Boyce): Can I Ask A Dumb Question? What’s An Islamic Fascist?

Put the two together and you have? Well, a system of government oppressively controlled through terror and censorship where the religion is Islam and there’s a policy of belligerent nationalism. But Osama Bin Laden does not run a government, the terrorists in Iraq aren’t a government, the 9/11 hijackers weren’t fascists, so who are the Republicans saying is a threat here?

Sounds to me like we’re not fighting terrorists anymore, because it sure sounds to me like we’re about to fight Iran.

The Moderate Voice: Joe Lieberman and the Jews

Lieberman is not entitled to anyone’s vote just because he shares their religion or even if he shares a lot of their views. He has to execise political skills that successful politicians who took controversial or even downright hated stands have for years. He has to earn it.

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: More StACLU Nonsense

Here’s the problem: they think that the ACLU opposes all law enforcement, all wiretaps, all infiltration of groups, and so forth. That’s simply false. The ACLU does not oppose all forms of search, seizure or surveillance, including any of the above. They do demand, as does the 4th amendment, that there be probable cause and that a warrant be issued authorizing the search (and yes, wiretaps and the like are searches).

The Lippard Blog: Hate mail from suggestion that Jesus was a liberal

There’s a website, www.jesusisaliberal.org, which suggests that Jesus was a liberal. . . This site has provoked some interesting hate mail which seems somewhat at odds with what Jesus would do.

Ottascope Musings: Under what authority?

Under what authority are we still engaged in combat operations in Iraq? Does a state of war exist in Iraq? Are we there to stabilize the nation, what? These aren’t purely academic questions.

Look Who Is Attacking The Moderates Now

Preemptive Karma looks at What’s Good For The Goose:

Are we seeing the beginning of the end of the “Northeast Moderate”?

Last cycle Arlen Specter barely held off a challenge from Pat Toomey, and this cycle we’ve already seen Joe Lieberman defeated in a primary to Ned Lamont and his millions.

Now the right wing Club For Growth, fresh off a primary victory in a Michigan Congressional race, has it’s focus on Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island.

Freedom Democrats writes:

So far this year, the Club for Growth has an 8-2 record in the primaries. Last night, they picked up two victories. One, in Michigan, was the defeat of a moderate Republican Congressman. But while both victories may be spun by “liberventionists” who advocate working within the Republican Party, the candidates who won last night were also extreme social conservatives.

How come it is a sign of extremism when Ned Lamont challenges Joe Lieberman, but its the right thing to do when Republicans dump their moderates and RINO’s whenever they get a chance? I bet all the same conservatives who are attacking Democrats following the Lieberman defeat also backed Ronald Reagan when he challenged Gerald Ford.

Republicans no more support centrism than they support limited government, freedom, or the free market. They just latch on to whatever words work, but their Orwellian propaganda is designed to hide their authoritarian agenda.

Bush and Cheney’s Reign of Error

The Philadelphia Daily News warns about Bush and Cheney’s Reign of Error. They are justifiably upset with Dick Cheney:

Yesterday, Cheney bashed those who voted for Democrat Ned Lamont in the Connecticut Senate primary, claiming that these votes would encourage “al Qaeda types” to think that “they can break the will of the American people.”

The idea is that since 18-year incumbent Joe Lieberman lost based on his support for Iraq, Americans opposing the war are waving a white flag of surrender to terrorists.

This is stunningly ignorant logic, as well as annoyingly consistent with the Bush administration’s fundamentalist myth that Iraq had ties to al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden – a claim by now well-discounted, most notably by a presidential commission.

And yet the presidential fog machine has continued to belch out its Iraq-al Qaeda-link fumes to the extent that a recent poll suggests that 64 percent of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein had strong links to al Qaeda. More people than ever now believe, according to a new poll, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

They are not willing to let Dick Cheney get away with this type of illogic any more, and note how dangerous to the country he is: (more…)