Happy Birthday, Hag!

Tomorrow, the Hag will be one year old.  (Not the actual Hag, obviously, just the site…)  It seemed something of an odd moment for a commie/liberal/socialist/utopian* like myself to start a blog, given that the evil Republicans had just been tossed out on their doughy asses, and we all looked forward to a bright new day, bathed in the warm sunshine of Hope and Change.  Maybe the fact that a foot-deep, weeks-long blizzard had just melted dampened my optimism, or maybe it was bitter experience, but I had plenty of reason to believe that there would be no shortage of occasions to spit gin and blow smoke at the new administration, while hurling curlers and ashtrays at its opponents. (Cocktailhags never perform well as cheerleaders, and not just because of the bunions….)

Little did I know.  Every day I heard apologies being made for the series of unnecessary and politically tone-deaf overtures the administration was making to the discredited and criminal right; multi-dimensional chess was often invoked as Obama kept the same generals, Wall Streeters, and Joe Lieberman on board, as Hope turned to mope and Change turned to mange.  Of course, it was naive to believe that any president, particularly a nominally liberal one, could bravely buck the system in the manner of an FDR, given the rottenness and corruption of our politics and the shallowness and right-wing bias of the media, but Obama did not run, as George H.W. Bush did, promising to “stay the course.”  To do so would have been political suicide, leading to a doddering coot like McCain in the White House and a lot of horny hockey players lurking around the Naval Observatory.

No, “no drama” Obama chose the death of slow poisoning, repeatedly giving in to his political foes even as they denounced him for it, while abandoning his base with Rahm Emanuel on his shoulder like Jiminy Cricket, flipping the bird and hurling obscenities when he wasn’t just saying, “Nyeah, nyeah, nyeah.”  The coalition of new voters, minorities, gays, union members, and middle class Americans who propelled him to his historic victory were, one by one, tossed aside to placate war mongers, Wall Street, and the David Broders of the world, even as the teabaggers emerged to to rage about whatever it was they were raging about, and Dick Cheney set loose his despicable progeny to dance on Obama’s political grave.

Now, Obama has turned around to find that no one is still following his parade, and he actually seems surprised by this unwelcome development.  Too bad he didn’t see this coming when he refused to do anything meaningful about DADT, the foreclosure crisis, the banking system, EFCA, or the grossly unbalanced tax regime Bush created, and quixotically chose instead to bet the farm on some nebulous simulacrum of health care “reform,” which merely rewarded the egregious behavior of the hated insurers and Big Pharma.  If Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat is lost to the Republicans, it will be because of an abject failure to deliver on anything Democrats serially promised, as did Obama himself, during the dark years of Bush.

It was that duplicitous and smarmy midget, Rahm Emanuel, who famously said a good crisis should never be wasted, but was too entranced by the smell of his own farts to realize that that homey wisdom referred to existing crises, not ones of one’s own making, like the debacle in Massachusetts.  Hint to Rahm:  If you want to be Obama’s Karl Rove, you have to turn your cannons toward the other side, unless you want to end up looking like Wile E. Coyote after the latest ACME product test.  Obama’s choice of Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff has turned out to be the dumbest political move since Bush picked Michael Brown to head FEMA, and in this case Bush wins because he did so inadvertently.

Coakley may yet pull out a win in Massachusetts, but not without further depleting what’s left of Obama’s political capital by not winning handily enough.  In short, Obama is now playing out a losing hand, and he’s damned either way.  Republicans have discovered the art of winning by losing, even as Obama has shown us, once again, that special Democratic art of losing by winning.

It’s been a long year.

*Did I miss anything, Tom?


  1. Happy B Day Hag. You’ve written some great stuff during the past year. I’m looking forward to reading more in the coming year.

    Best Regards.

  2. cocktailhag says:

    Thanks, Steven, and I appreciate your reading and commenting.

    • dirigo says:

      Definitely a milestone, or maybe a millstone, for you.

      The first year is the hardest in blog world. Now you only have to keep it up for a millennium.

      By the way, Harlan called my cell and asked that you pick up his expenses from the last two months in Naples, or else he’s going to fuel up the flying boat and head back to Hackensack.

      Apart from his concerns about making ends meet, he’s also wondering if it’s worth all the expense to CHNN (forgetting for a moment some bounced checks, backdated invoices, and several insufficient funds penalties at the Naples Co-op ATM) to stay on Silvio’s trail.

      Harlan says Silvio’s really been laying low since the facial assault, and his aides have all changed their cell numbers.

      Harlan says he doesn’t really want to interview Noemi Letizia again about that necklace, or about her modeling career.

      • cocktailhag says:

        I’m ready, with my camo turban over the curlers, to go at least another year or so. As for the expenses, have Harlan leave a voicemail with the CHNN accounting dept. in Bangalore.
        We’ll get him home, to put him on the underpants beat here, where it involves bombs rather than, well, you know. He’ll be bored silly.

  3. bystander says:

    You know, it has been a long year. But, it was made better by knowing The Hag was here to find the ironic humor in it all. Happy B’day Hag. Looking forward to the next year as chronicled by Cocktailhag News Network.

    • cocktailhag says:

      (teletype sound in background…) And here at CHNN, we’ll be bringing you News With Some Booze, every afternoon at cocktail hour. Thanks for reading, Bystander.

  4. retzilian says:

    Well, of course if you want to be in the hip crowd (like the kids at “Sadly, No!”, you are celebrating a blogiversary. Thus, Happy Blogiversary!!

    I didn’t have anything to do with the stupid terms, I’m just abiding by internet traditions (TM).

    I started my blog in the winter of 2002, without any political opinions at all, or at least none that I cared to research at the time. The internets were a little less bizarre back then and there were far fewer easy ways to set up a blog. Nonetheless, many a fledgling blogger attempted and gave it up within 6 months. The average life span of the typical blog is under 6 months, supposedly.

    Blogging is a labor of love – it’s like being an athlete or a musician – you do it because you need to. Writing daily hones your skills, having an audience (readership) makes you want to produce something of substance (as opposed to posting pictures of your fish or merely linking and grunting about other better bloggers’ material.)

    You have a fresh, unique voice, Hag. I enjoy your blog and the people who comment here. There are very few blogs where I actually participate. Thanks for being such a great host.

    Here’s to your second blog year (like dog years, as you are discovering) and the gathering of even more fans, lickspittles, minions and sycophants.

    And we do need better trolls.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Thanks, Dear… But be careful, you’ll hurt Tom’s feelings. As for the labor of love, the laptop gets tickled much more often than the piano does, for which my neighbors are no doubt grateful…..
      Just keep popping in to rant; your voice adds a lot here.
      From Counting Crows…
      “Long December, and there’s reason to believe, maybe this year will be better than the last;
      Can’t remember all the times I tried to tell myself to hold on to these moments as they pass.”

  5. Pedinska says:

    Happy Haggiversary!

    Richard and I are celebrating our 10th today so we’ll raise a glass to CHNN as well.

  6. timothy3 says:

    A year already!

    Well, I’m just slogging along, being a slogger and all, but it’s been great fun as far as I’m concerned and here’s one reason why

    It was that duplicitous and smarmy midget, Rahm Emanuel, who famously said a good crisis should never be wasted, but was too entranced by the smell of his own farts to realize that that homey wisdom referred to existing crises, not ones of one’s own making ….

    You always make me laugh, CH, and that’s precious to me.

    May you continue your lyrical ways while keeping in mind Monty Burns’ view of those like Tom who dart in rap your knuckles

    Goldbrickers…. Layabouts…. Slug-a-beds! Little do they realize their days of suckling at my teat are numbered.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Aw, I’ve kind of gotten attached to ol’ Tom; I’m surprised he wasn’t the first (un) well-wisher to appear tonight. I’m always my funniest when I’m bitching about something, which is pretty much every day. Sadly, I’ll be keeping it up in 2010.
      Thanks for reading, and commenting, T3. We at CHNN appreciate it a lot.

  7. rmp says:

    Happy birthday. Thanks for creating the Hag and giving me a platform to express my frustration and thoughts once a week. You’ve done a great job sustaining almost daily great posts and enticing quality commenters.

    I was worried about Rahm from the moment I heard he could have the job if he wanted it. The NYT Magazine published a preview of a lengthy article on Harry Reid that starts out with the story of how Reid was mad as hell at Lieberman saying he wouldn’t support the reform bill and Rahm shows up and tells him its all right, something is better than nothing. Here’s an excerpt and the link which tells some things about Reid that I wasn’t aware of .

    Joseph Lieberman, the independent Connecticut senator, had announced on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he would not support the Senate health care plan, which meant that Reid did not have the 60 votes he needed. Lieberman’s announcement, which torpedoed a compromise that Reid helped to midwife, caught the Senate majority leader by surprise. Reid had spoken with Lieberman two days earlier, and one of Lieberman’s top aides participated in the Saturday-afternoon conference call that Reid orchestrates for Democratic senators who will be appearing on the Sunday talk shows. “He double-crossed me,” Reid said stiffly, associates later recounted. “Let’s not do what he wants. Let the bill just go down.”

    Rahm Emanuel, the president’s chief of staff, arrived at Reid’s office not long afterward — casually dressed, a cup of coffee in one hand — and after a brisk meeting, a decision was reached: Reid would abandon his compromise, which was intended to appease proponents of a government-run insurance plan. The concession would not sit well with a lot of Democrats, not to mention the powerful constituency of union voters in Nevada, where Reid is up for re-election in November. But there was little discussion. Reid and Emanuel are exemplars of the just-get-it-done style of legislating.

    Reid Faces Battles in Washington and at Home

  8. cocktailhag says:

    You’re welcome, RMP, and thanks for your posts. (and links) On our local progressive talk show, Carl and Christine, which precedes Thom Hartmann, they have a Friday feature called “Weasel of the Week.” It leads with a clip of Rudy Giuliani saying, “…this obsessive concern with little weasels.” When they had “Weasel of the Year,” I shouted repeatedly to no one in particular, “Rahm!”
    If Rahm doesn’t get the boot soon, Obama is toast. Keep your fingers crossed.

  9. rmp says:

    The only way he will leave is if he has a political office he can run to. Mayor Daley’s job is unlikely because the mayor wants to die in his job. Daley’s screwed up on some major things, but his machine is very powerful and he has done a lot of good things for Chicago. It’s too late for Rahm to run for senator or congress critter in November and Durbin’s senate seat is out of question both in timing and Dick loves his job. So, I don’t know what excuse Rahm can use to leave soon.

    Rahm really did only want the chief of staff job for only two years because he knew what a burn out job it is, but there is no way he would ever get fired. Obama’s not the firing kind. Obama is going to stick to the tax the banks to get taxpayer money back and will make Wall Street more and more a target because he realizes that if he doesn’t, he could be toast in 2012.

    • dirigo says:

      Hey, rmp, I’ve got a speculative bone for you to chew on.

      If Bozo Brown wins the Massachusetts special election, it could put Boston’s influence on national affairs on ice for a long time.

      Where then would the local power base of the urban, ethnic, multi-racial, left of center Democrats be?

      Is it really Chicago? And if not, where?

      It seems to me that Obama’s Democrats have been deliberate in slicing the same half a loaf (the short half) on health care for this whole year just past. I loathe Emanuel.

      I don’t think Ted Kennedy would have stood for it. But he, and the whole Kennedy mystique, are dead, and with them the clout Massachusetts used to have.


      Martha Coakley is so bad she appears as Mike Dukakis in a skirt. Mike was tone deaf to the national constituency he was pitching in 1988. Coakley is similarly tone deaf, but only to the state’s voters. It’s really unbelievable.

      So it looks like the “Kennedy” senate seat will soon be placed in some obscure hallway in the bowels of Harvard, for passersby to gawk at.

      “Oh … such a nice man,” as the ladies in the bingo halls used to say.

      • rmp says:

        Good question and I don’t have an answer. I don’t think Brown will win. The media loves horse races and they have wished this into a close race plus polls that are increasingly less reliable because they are done on land lines not cell phones. You know Mass far better than me, will they really honor Kennedy by letting Brown win?

        • dirigo says:

          I’m very much in doubt.

          She has simply been a poor campaigner – stolid, lawyerly, timid, and dull. Her insularity and sense of establishment entitlement has been sniffed out. She said recently she couldn’t be bothered to stand in the cold during morning rush and greet voters, on subway platforms, or at places like Fenway Park. That’s deadly.

          About Fenway, the Red Sox hosted a holiday hockey game between the Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers, a huge event in a hockey-mad city, with a special outdoor rink plunked in the middle of the old Fenway sod. I don’t know if Coakley was there (sounds like she wasn’t), or Brown for that matter. But it’s where any sharp pol of the old school would’ve put on mittens and long-johns and met the people of Boston.

          On an even more prosaic level, Martha would have been well-advised to make clear that she can make the right choice among white, gray, and red clam chowders (New England, Rhode Island, and [gag!] Manhattan). There are lots of votes to be had while passing around those little bags of oyster crackers.

          Also, Brown’s people have been trying hard to hang her with some of her less than stellar calls as a DA and as state AG. Well sure …

          The Catholic vote will be important, and it’s going to be a “get out the vote” effort, precinct by precinct.

          “All politics is local.”

          – Thomas P. ‘Tip’ O’Neill

  10. cocktailhag says:

    Well, Obama has come to that realization a little belatedly. As long as Rahm’s around, liberal disgust will only grow, and where does Obama make up those lost votes? The teabaggers? Any President who doesn’t fire rank incompetents because they’re “not the firing kind” will quickly find out that voters harbor no such sentimentality.

    • rmp says:

      He’s far from a rank incompetent. He is who he is and Obama knew and wanted what he got. He’s too good at playing the game in many ways. He’s a major player in the efforts to get peace for Israel and the Palestinians. He should never be underestimated. He’s got the power seat and will only budge when he can take full advantage of it and get something equal or better. Burn out and damage to his wife and kids is the only factor that would get him out soon, whatever soon means. He is also very tight with David Axelrod and Axelrod is tighter than anyone with Obama.

      • cocktailhag says:

        Well, I don’t see any peace in Israel, quite the opposite, so that looks like another big fat fail. He’s playing “Chicago Politics,” for the other side. If Axelrod likes him, he should go, too. Maybe Lieberman needs help around the office.

  11. Two olives in the martini tonight, in honor of the Hag. And, as the immortal Dietrich once sang:

    Ein rätselhafter Schimmer,
    Ein “je ne sais-pas-quoi”
    Liegt in den Augen immer
    Bei einer schönen Frau.

    or, in (rough) English translation:

    A little glint of mystery,
    an “I don’t know quite what”
    is always there for all to see, in the eyes
    of a beautiful woman

  12. Kitt says:

    Thanks, Hag, and happy blogiversary! Your humor filled, take no prisoners, commentary has been one special blend. Looking forward to more and more. Hope there are some stories to celebrate…for cripes sake.

    Pedinska! Happy Tenth to you and your – couldn’t possibly be – better half.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Well, if Rahm gets fired, that would be something to celebrate, and who knows? Maybe Marcy Winograd will send that ol’ cocktailhag Jane Harman into retirement. (Palm Springs, no doubt…)
      Thanks, Kitt.

  13. CasualObserver says:

    Happy First, Hag, and hopes for many more. It is getting more interesting all the time.

  14. avelna says:

    Happy Blogiversary! I don’t comment often (or as well as others) but I read your blog religiously and am always disappointed when you miss a day. Keep up the good work. BTW my family and I visited your great city a couple of weeks ago and brew-pubbed our way through. It was superb!

    • cocktailhag says:

      Thanks, avelna…. Next time I have writer’s block or some other distraction, I’ll think of you and feel guilty for not writing. Glad you liked Portland; I feel lucky to have been born here, and glad I stayed. Next time you visit, you should do so when the weather is nicer; it’s quite reliable from July 5 until October.

  15. The Heel says:

    Happy Birthday Hagoblogovich,

    Love your expressions and thoughts. Not unlike Lewis Lapham’s writing, it makes me look up words on a daily basis.
    At least that way I get my daily dose of satire – although nothing beats a live session at the CHNN headquarters with herbs, beer and reading assignments. Especially when fabulous tarts (or worse) make appearances.

    Miss you. Keep up the good work!

    • cocktailhag says:

      Thanks, Heel. I’d hardly compare my writing to Lapham’s, but I take that as a compliment. Unlike you, my buddy Aaron gets pissed off when I make him look up words. Kids these days.
      I’ll be in LA from the 15th to the 22nd…. Maybe you can come up.

      • The Heel says:

        I take it you mean February. I will make a point and get a hotel room nearby. Maybe bring some serious herbal support substances and some coldies. I have been good for way too long….

  16. mikeinportc says:

    Happy Birthday CH. :)
    ( The views expresed aren’t neccesarily those of the mngt. ;) )
    Happy Anniversary , Pedinska! :)

    I saw most of the hockey game, and was wondering where all the camera-hogging pols were.Thought maybe they were being held captive in The Green Monster, but then Jim Cantori poked his head out of the scoreboard. Didn’t seem to be any bodies behind him. Wasn’t all that cold either. Just enough for atmosphere.

  17. Josh Patrick says:

    Nice work, Hag, if indeed that is your real name. Glad to hear your are still around after the 10 years we have been gone. I look forward to following your rants in the coming year.

    • cocktailhag says:

      So great to hear from you, Josh… I hope (and expect) that things are going well for you and Lora. Miss you a lot, and I’m delighted you read the Hag.

  18. nailheadtom says:

    For one year the planet has been exposed to the fevered ruminations of CH. Proof, if proof was needed, that a little effort can maintain even the most fractured illusions and misconceptions, after all the Communist Manifesto has been in print for 162 years. Congratulations indeed, for almost daily reminding us that warped thinking will never go out of style.

  19. meremark says:

    (Do change, ailhead, soon: drop dead. Or at least out of sight … being already out of your mind.)

    Not meaning to argue — the parentheses, Hag, indicate lesser-importance, even forgettable material, despite (and spitefully) appearing earlier. Now the better, having been saved for the later. Then the best, last.

    Months ago was found me and you, Hag babe, together crowded into one birthday. Perhaps that’s called soup mates; like barley with beef. Rant with rave. So many years apart, still inseparable.

    This month we find your ‘significant other’ thing’s birthday is the 17th. So is mine’s, most likely she’s someone who saved my life, last year, (that‘s sort of ‘significant’), which brings me here, which is where it’s all about: yours, a toastess to the mostest.

    Also, consider: In the last year we found President Barack has the same birthday as U and I (almost … it was our date, technically, starting midnight, here, yet where he was being born it was still late evening of the date before, International Date Line and all that jazz … plus or minus fudging a couple of hours … unless he was born on one of the Outer Islands in a further, and so earlier, Time Zone — and then no fudging needed). All told, 2009 was pretty good to him … and Hag, and yours truly. Three huskies’ cheers, a game matching set. Then, too, the year was pretty good to First Lady Michele, from about the beginning of it, on: her birthday January 17th.

    Which goes to show, perhaps, Time Zones don’t matter in the Twilight Zone.

    Just sayin’: Stamp Out Cliches. Extinctify ‘em. That‘s what CHNN & Blog means to me, and all. Sharp-witted crispy wordwork, plus book reviews, too. And ideas tossing about like jackstraws. This is such an marvelous interstate meeting hall; Homie Has Friends in Far Places. Good ones, too, including international boatloads jetting in from the Med … very too often ailhead fetches up from hell. (I mean, retches.) We’re not wondering why we’ve tasked us all here — it’s the Dear: Less spilling, talk’s great.

    Love you, love your blog. Which isn’t just you, CH, as you perfectly well demonstrate, or bristled-hackles ramblings, no. It’s relateds wishing many happy returns to you, here; the computer comraderie of cohorts; something o’cult going on. Kind of like Five emotions you never knew you had. It’s The Happening Hag makes happen.

    But, too, you’re looking pretty good your self, you are, (only, lose the curlers), what-an’-all decked out in your dictionary finest. Sign us all up for another going ’round … and we’ll tell two friends … and they’ll tell two friends … it’ll put this pad in orbit, the whole joint a’jumpin’ … off the richter, off the richter.

    Blow it out, (your candle), and let’s light up another one. It’s not as late as is thought … calendar omits last day of January, Published 01/11/2010, Grand Forks Herald.

    Yo’ da man, Lady Hag.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Ah, thank you so much, Meremark. I will treasure that comment, and hope that the good parts are true. Is it OK if I just throw a turban on over the curlers? Or one of those feather thingies?

  20. skeptic says:

    Happy Blogiversary, Hag! You have had a productive year here, and I’ve enjoyed reading your posts. Looks like the upcoming year may offer you as much fodder, if not more.

    Dirigo, how about Austin, TX for the next nexus of liberality? Not the state, mind you, just Austin.

    Happy Anniversary, Pedinska, to you and Richard. Another ten for you both.