Friday, March 31, 2006
Tony Rudy, DeLay's former deputy chief of staff, admitted to conspiring with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff both while Rudy worked for DeLay and after he left the lawmaker's staff to become a lobbyist himself.Like with his "closest and dearest friend" Jack Abramoff will DeLay deny knowing his top aide? Will DeLay's lawyer say that Tom DeLay will stand by him and then a month later drop him like a hot potato?
He faces up to five years in prison, but could receive much less based on the extent of his help with the investigation, U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle told Rudy at a court hearing in Washington.
As a top aide to DeLay in his role as House majority leader, Rudy took payments from Abramoff in 2000, then helped stop an Internet gambling bill opposed by Abramoff's clients, according to court papers.
50% odds impeachment coming in 2007 - The Weekly Standard.
The neo-con press has warned their readers.
It would be easy to dismiss impeachment as a quixotic fringe movement, yet that would be a mistake. The odds are at least even that Democrats will win the House in 2006. That would make Conyers chairman of the Judiciary Committee, free to push through resolutions and hold hearings as he sees fit.BRING IT ON!
Feingold is running for president, and as he reaps political gains from the base by pushing for censure (with the possibility of impeachment), other Democratic contenders will gravitate toward his position. Remember that in 2003 the Democratic field was uniformly pro-war until Howard Dean made hay from the antiwar movement, causing the serious candidates to vacillate.
Impeachment is still in the distance, but make no mistake: Eventually the circus is coming to town.
Are You Ready to Rumble?
If the Democrats win in 2006, impeachment is coming.
by Jonathan V. Last
Also posted on Daily Kos in a different form.
Many places give out wankers, idiots, etc. of the day commendations for the particularly bad statements by the right.
Maybe we should get together and start giving out Top Dog of the day honors for those Democrats who vigorously defend the party against the vicious remarks of the right
Newshound, "we watch FOX so you don't have to," captures Alan Colmes, Bob Beckel, and Ellis Henican smartly and aggressively defending against the smears of Sean Hannity and Hugh Hewitt. They call Henican top dog. I commend all three for Top Dogs of the Day honors.
One surprising thing about this is FOXNEWS almost never allows more than one Democrat on at a time. Now we know why.
Some of the video is available.
Right radio host, author, GOP strategist and website destination Hugh Hewitt on the same show becomes my twit of the day for comparing the most popular liberal community on the web to Larry Flynt, among many other ludicrous remarks.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Off the Kuff has a good collection of links.
Charles also had another post of every vote counting.
I have experience with the Stanley-Harrison races and cases.
In the city's May 7 general election, Stanley won by one vote: 525 to 524. A recount produced a tie, and Harrison won a subsequent runoff, 591-590.
Stanley took the matter to court. In October, state District Judge James Mehaffy ruled that two votes were cast illegally for Harrison in the runoff, making Stanley the winner.
The appellate court on Thursday upheld the trial court's decision, despite Harrison's contention that the Early Voting Ballot Board had erred by excluding three votes in his favor.
I was involved with the campaign and the runoff and you had the coulda, and shoulda, experiences. On the first election one person only voted because she was driven to the polls by a volunteer, when asked about it on the way back she said her husband had convinced her to vote for the other guy. We had someone else we were going to drive to the polls but she said she would go later and never showed up.
Every vote can count. I would like more ways your vote can count like proportional representation and election of the president by popular vote.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Thinking and listening.
Subterranean Homesick Blues.
U an oldie
But a goodie?
Only if u provide me a place to get it.
Is 99 cents for the album or a dime for the song OK?
hey, dat's not a russki site!
Yes, it is. It directs you from Uruguay to Russia. They like cheap music in South America since WTO and World Bank screwed their economies.
wot if i want it free?
You mean free p-to-p? Isn't that pirating?
i'm a ninja pirate u suckers! but that song z old skool.
It's a political song.
dats real old skool. even u listen to music u messing politics inya head - thats sad
Rock-n-Roll is politics, so is hip hop and backpack.
U messing with me
Why would I mess with a ninja pirate like you?
wicked, but I want suckin on tootsie roll tunz and no politiks.
Do you think conservatives will let you listen to that if they keep going?
Sh*t, maybe best get politizing
You can wear your pod while you register people to vote.
kool, u an oldie with no tasties but kool
I get that all the time. Me and Bob Dylan.
I have expressed doubts that anything I could support would get out of the House-Senate conference. Nativists on the other side, including Lou Dobbs, are screaming about the bipartisan bill that passed the Senate committee that I could support as a compromise.
Added: Lou Dobbs, based on his guests is he a right-wing populist?
One of the great religious historians gives a long interview - her faithful account.
"Being spiritual means allowing your heart to break. In the end, death "is the great mystery, the terrible mystery."OK, this is another Reader's Digest post. I like them. It is like distilling brandy, boiling down the prime material to have the high octane stuff left.
She gets a lot of hate mail from "secularists who hate religion and feel I shouldn't be defending this evil stuff. I have no friends in London who are religious at all," she says. "People ask me not to talk about it when I'm invited for dinner. My British publisher asked me when I was going to stop writing about it. They said it was a dead end. Europe is beginning to look endearingly old-fashioned in its secularism," she says, "while the rest of the world is becoming more religious."
"People are always astonished when I tell them how religious Americans are," she says. She is very admiring of American religiosity, except for the religious right. "Like most fundamentalists, they have a pernicious, horrible, paranoid view of the 'other,' " she says. "It used to be that the Soviet Union was the enemy described in the book of Revelation that would bring about the last days. Now, they've switched to Islam. They had to regroup. But you can't equate true religion with hatred."
She mentions the "Left Behind" series about the world ending. "It's a strange thing in this country that people have this view of the world. If these people went to a psychiatrist, they would be diagnosed with a psychological disorder. The fact that so many people subscribe to this shows a profound unease, fear, a feeling of impotence, rage and pent-up fury."
"I always knew that Islam was not a violent religion," she says. "For 1,500 years Islam had a far better record of living peacefully than Christians. The point is to separate out the extremists we have in all of our monotheistic religions from the mainstream."
Stereotypes of Islam are dangerous, she said. The Holocaust, the slaughter in Bosnia -- "all that killing is about deeply entrenched stereotypes."
Because of the parallels with the Axial Age [the time period when the world's great religions were started], Armstrong believes, it's highly possible that the world is at another religious turning point. "In every single case, the catalyst of major religious change was revulsion from warfare and aggression."
Her idea is to start a new "theology of power," based on the Golden Rule. "To understand that other people and other nations, however remote and alien, are in real terms as important as Washington."
The United States is unique in the world, she says, the only superpower. "So what do you do? Do you start wars nobody can win? Al-Qaeda can't bring down the U.S., but the U.S. can't bring down al-Qaeda, either."
"Believing in God is neither here nor there," Armstrong says. "You have to make that belief work for the world. Christianity is about looking at other people's point of view. It's 'kenosis,' or emptying of the self. It means you have to dethrone yourself from the center of your world and put others there.
One of the few people who paid me for this blog, and paid me when I was desperately short of money, said he used it everyday to find out what important things were happening. At that time there were a lot more of these digests. If people send me money and say don't put digests in the blog I might listen to them more.
This is also one of my religious posts as opposed to the normal postings of outrages over the political direction of this country. I find the topics closely related.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
DeLay makes political appeal to religious conservatives at "War on Christians Conference"
Time for Jujitsu rhetoric
Ahem, When is it time to call on Americans to reject this War on Liberals that has overtaken our land and polluted the minds of our young?
We have chosen to live as Americans respectful of the Constitution and of Liberty but this is a time when our culture is being poisoned and our world is being threatened.
When can liberals drive out the money changers and the Pharisees who have made this land a den of thieves?
I don't recall corruption as a virtue in the Constitution or in the Bible.
I do recall the rulers and the priests enraging the mob to demand a thief be set free and the just be crucified. We know of those who collect their 40 pieces of silver to turn away from the light.
The hatred animosity on the right has made polite discourse difficult and prejudice common.
Our democratic faith and scientific belief has always been in direct conflict with the values of the world. We are, after all, a society that still murders its prisoners, does not provide healthcare for millions of innocent children, spends more than the rest of the world put together on its war machine, degrades the foundations of love and marriage, and all but treats liberal and scientific thought like some second-rate superstition.
As long as ultra-conservative Christians hold office, evil will not be confronted at home, nations will be illegally seized and raped for corporate profits by friends of politicians, immorality will be defended and the innocent will suffer.
Yeah, very easy to turn this kind of thing on its head. I have recently been using some free GOP model fund-raising letters and reversing the language for Democratic candidate appeals. The price is right and it is easy to get into that mindset.
Wow, did the US military blotch this one. They attacked a mosque, always an iffy proposition, and looks like they screwed the pooch.
"The Alliance calls for a rapid restoration of (control of) security matters to the Iraqi government," Jawad al-Maliki, a senior spokesman of the Shiite Islamist Alliance and ally of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, told a news conference.The US media is covering this story a little later than the foreign press:
Government-run television repeated lengthy footage of the bodies of men in civilian clothes with no weapons in sight.
Baghdad provincial governor Hussein al-Tahan said he would halt all cooperation with US forces.
U.S. military and Iraqi officials offered conflicting accounts of the raid. Iraqi officials said that as many as 22 unarmed worshipers were killed in the operation late Sunday on al-Moustafa mosque, where many loyalists of the Mahdi Army and followers of radical cleric Moqtada Sadr pray.OK, looks like the US military didn't even know it was a mosque. And that is a good thing how? The right bloggers are going to be pointing to the reports of arms and bomb making material in the mosque but the Iraqi political and religious leaders seem to have been so far been silent on that issue.
What remains to be seen is whether this rift between the Shiites and the Americans can be quickly repaired as Iraq, with the heavy involvement of U.S. diplomats and military commanders, attempts to put together a government that is widely acceptable in this increasingly divided nation.
While the U.S. military disputes essential facts of the incident, the United Iraqi Alliance was quick to condemn the raid and blamed both the Americans and Iraqi forces for acting without restraint. Many Shiite political leaders, mindful of Sadr's political clout, were unwilling to directly contradict his account.
IMHO this really changes nothing but might give the silent US media an opportunity to discuss the ruling parties in the new Iraqi almost government, their distrust of the US, and the incredibly destabilizing situation.
Spoke too soon, about blame - the
Technorati Tags: Iraq, war, mosque, United Iraqi Alliance
Monday, March 27, 2006
In the fictional election on TV Atrios nabbed a highly sought interview with the Democratic presidential candidate Santos just before the election. The producers did not get the real Atrios to play himself. I am wondering if West Wing will somehow rig it so the viewers can vote on the final episode.
Kansas moves to regain the lead as the most restrictive state for sexual activity after South Dakota gets all the attention.
One - The attorney general plans to appeal his "life begins at the instant of conception" law suit which was dismissed.
Two - He is defending his interpretation that every person, including medical personal, is legally obligated to report all sexual activity of the underaged - "all sexual activity." Over at Slate Dahlia Lithwick has been following this confused but uptight attorney general:
In this case, he says he needs to be advised of every breast that's been fondled around the state because each such incident is a crime, yet the vast majority of such fondlings harm no one, as he is well aware. As one expert testified Monday, wading through those thousands of benign reports will make the genuine abuse cases harder to pursue.Yet in a sudden retreat in this case the Attorney General's office is now insisting the written language of the law and their previous positions are wrong - it applies "only to sexual intercourse". Then under cross examination the definition expanded again to put back oral sex or anal sex but maybe not breast fondling. So under the suddenly revised interpretations his attempt to ban all underage sex activity now could legalize adult fondling of breasts or genitals of children! Read the full story. Link by Jim.
But I don't think Kline's real intent is to nail child abusers. In that sense it is entirely duplicative: The law already provides that any professional who suspects any form of child abuse must report it. Kline is merely saying he can better recognize some kinds of abuse than the doctors and counselors who treat it. That's curious. One may well wonder how state officials will know more from paper reports than treating providers.
Jim also sends links to these unrelated videos:
What If... the President's nephew was in Iraq?
Walt Disney - The VD War
EARLY VOTING: April 3-7; RUN-OFF ELECTION: April 11th
Early voting locations on both days. On election day you will have to pick the correct one, for early voting you can go to any in Harris County.
For Democratic Senator Barbara Radnofsky against joke candidate Gene Kelly.
Other races - Ben Z. Grant for Lt. Guv because of his experience. I wish Maria Luis Alvarado was running for a less important position due to her lack of experience holding political office. This is the most powerful position in Texas. (My position changed on this - it was either.)
For Boris Miles if you live in his district - State Rep 146. Against faux Democrat Al Edwards - loved by the GOP.
Democrats are getting optimistic with the primary defeat of state Rep. Kent Grusendorf, a powerful Republican from Arlington. People don't like what the GOP has done with education, insurance and property taxes.
Already one of the least effective ethics boards in the nation the TEC has ruled amounts of campaign donations do not have to be specified. If a candidate or official gets cash from someone reporting it as CASH is sufficient. A check can be specified as CHECK. This is glaringly stupid and probably illegal decision on the part of the all GOP appointed board. I think word of this ruling will quickly spread to all the sleazeball politicians.
The Texas Ethics Commission decided Friday that public officials who receive cash or other gifts don't have to disclose the value, stunning open-government advocates.Thanks for Off the Kuff for catching this.
The seven commission members, appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker, wrestled with disclosure laws that compel public officials and candidates to report gifts over $250. The law calls for a description of the gift, and some commissioners said indicating simply "cash" - without an amount - satisfies the statute. - DMN.
Technorati Tags: Texas, politics, ethics, corruption, stupidity, Texas Ethics Commission, TEC
Sunday, March 26, 2006
I've been very busy and not home much the last two days. I did see this bit of a local Fox News analysis on the race that had Bell and Perry tied at 35%. My analysis on the Chronicle Texas Politics blog a few days ago had very close to a three-way tie.
We are both just shooting from our hips and polls are little use this early. Voters now just mainly focus on name recognition. Why do you think "Gene" Kelly is in a runoff? About 90% name recognition plus a dislike of foreign sounding names like Barbara Radnofsky. Add in a few protest votes against too conservative (I heard those) or too liberal positions she has taken and you have her in a run-off
Chris Bell needs to raise money and get more publicity. Right now activist Democrats are focusing on his race as being both win able and important. If nothing else how many Texas activist Democrats get to go to the national convention depends on the number of Bell voters they can turn out in their precincts.
The best Democrat running statewide is David Van Os for Attorney General. He has an even greater fund-Raising challenge than Bell as he has told corporations he is for the people and will be an activist Attorney General.
"Too many modern-day politicians sell out to the very evils they are supposed to protect the people against. Too many modern-day politicians protect the corporations from the people, instead of the other way around." ~David Van OsOops, while this is my type of Democrat this does create a problem with the money source that fuels Texas campaigns. Here are some videos for those who have not seen David Van Os in person.
Technorati Tags: Texas, politics, Bell, Van Os, Radnofsky, 2006, campaign, Democrats
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Friday, March 24, 2006
The 2006 Economic Report of the President tells us that the real earnings of college graduates actually fell more than 5 percent between 2000 and 2004. Over the longer stretch from 1975 to 2004 the average earnings of college graduates rose, but by less than 1 percent per year.
So who are the winners from rising inequality? It's not the top 20 percent, or even the top 10 percent. The big gains have gone to a much smaller, much richer group than that.
A new research paper by Ian Dew-Becker and Robert Gordon of Northwestern University, "Where Did the Productivity Growth Go?," gives the details. Between 1972 and 2001 the wage and salary income of Americans at the 90th percentile of the income distribution rose only 34 percent, or about 1 percent per year. So being in the top 10 percent of the income distribution, like being a college graduate, wasn't a ticket to big income gains.
But income at the 99th percentile rose 87 percent; income at the 99.9th percentile rose 181 percent; and income at the 99.99th percentile rose 497 percent. No, that's not a misprint.
Just to give you a sense of who we're talking about: the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that this year the 99th percentile will correspond to an income of $402,306, and the 99.9th percentile to an income of $1,672,726. The center doesn't give a number for the 99.99th percentile, but it's probably well over $6 million a year.
EARLY VOTING: April 3-7; RUN-OFF ELECTION: April 11th Location - Early voting locations on both days.
For Democratic Senator Barbara Radnofsky against joke candidate Gene Kelly.
Other races - either for lt. Guv, for Boris Miles if you live in his district.
Citizens targeted congressional offices to protest against cuts to veteran's benefits and other social programs Watch the slide show. This often got local media coverage. Choosing an effective spokesperson and symbol helps - a little kid for student loans, an elderly veteran against veteran's cuts.
From an email:
The best moment for me was seeing the look on the staffer's face when he saw a group of people carrying signs walk into the office followed by 2 major tv news crews with cameras!
–Linda O. from Hickory, NC.
An elderly veteran spoke about how Medicare and veterans' benefits cuts would hurt him, and how his grandson (an injured Iraq war veteran) was not being properly cared for. This short speech clearly moved Rep. Kolbe's staff, and the senior aide came over and shook the old man's hand. She was visibly moved by this story.
—Geoffrey N. from Tucson, AZ.
The congressional aid we met with stated that they rarely have anyone come by with an opinion, much less a group bigger then 10, and that this alone would garner our Rep's attention.
–Kernan H, Austin, TX
In a primary marked by 10% voting Duval County claims 55%. Duval is infamous for vote fraud in the past and provided "Landslide Lyndon" the winning votes from a ballot box found after the election. Juanita wants to be buried in Duval County so she can continue to vote after she dies.
One embarrassment down...
Um, is now a good time to mention this started as a digest of news and blogs, in some cases it may be hard to tell what is my stuff, and that links are regarded as footnotes referring you to the longer and more complete originals? Nah, you are smart enough to know that, aren't you?
THE BRAD BLOG: Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Steve Smith may file an election contest or request for recount, says "serious mistakes were made."
ADDED - Tarrant County highly questionable Democratic election results approved by Dem Chair who lacked quorum.
Tom Green County GOP ballot recount stopped after not finding 1400 votes, a drop of 17%.
Some votes may be on another machine to be counted Saturday when recount resumes..
Meanwhile E-chaos in Chicago
Thursday, March 23, 2006
When is someone going to bring a radio frequency scanner to these press conferences. Or at least persuade CNN or MSNBC to look at the Fox tape which somehow caught the radio instructions in France. The best summary of all the Bush wired evidence is here and here. The Fox tape began picking up other echoes later but the person who is feeding Bush his speech is heard clearly.
Over two years of effort is starting to pay off for Pat Van Houte. Mayor Manlove says he is tired of the divisive issue and is no longer going forward with the project. Immediately after this announcement he called for the purchase of more of the homes residents were forced to abandon due to the project.
Manlove is facing a recall campaign after a surprisingly close election last year.
In his prepared remarks, Manlove said that although a majority of the City Council members had reaffirmed their support for the project at a December workshop, the two who have emphatically opposed it - Councilmen Jack Douglass and Ralph Riggs - represent districts that would be most directly affected by the extension.I had spoken before the Pasadena City Council twice when I was a resident saying the Strawberry Extension would harm businesses along Pasadena Blvd. and only benefit two churches and a couple businesses on Strawberry. The Pasadena Blvd. improvements are needed with or without the Strawberry Extension. If the section near 225 is done it will have to be redone if the Strawberry Extension is later completed.
Rather than pursuing the Strawberry extension, Manlove said he will propose that the city's Capital Improvement Plan for next year include "adequate funding to support improvements to Pasadena Boulevard."
Some of the Pasadena Blvd. proposed improvements in the Capital Improvement Plan also call for the purchase and tear down of more houses at the bend.
Don Harrison, still on Pasadena City Council despite two court rulings he had lost the election last year, was harsh in his criticism of the mayor. This surprised those who felt he was in on a conspiracy to deny citizens their right to speak at city council about the recall Mayor Manlove effort.
"I think it's wholly irresponsible and a waste of taxpayers' money," Harrison said. "There are just a few more tracts to buy. I wish you had changed your mind 2 1/2 years ago."Pat Van Houte became active in her campaign to stop the project 2 1/2 years ago. She has presented many surveys of people along the route and the area supposedly benefiting. The strongest area of support was less than 10% of residents. She has also done time studies showing a less than one minute improvement in travel time for the over $20 million project.
Harrison said he would do everything he could to reinstate the project. In another story today it was reported that Harrison had filed another appeal to stay on City Council.
Pat Van Houte, a Pasadena resident who has strongly opposed the extension, said she was "very glad" to hear the mayor's announcement but still had some concerns.The Chronicle story adds a new figure for the Second Baptist Church buy out of part of their property - $4 million. This seems greatly overstated and does not count the value improvement to the remaining property. The Chronicle does not disclose that the largest church in Pasadena - First Baptist - is shown to own the Second Baptist property on tax rolls. I mention this because of the disbelief of Second Baptist Church members of this fact and earlier work I did on determining who mostly benefitted from this boondoggle. In hard to justify projects like this find out who are the strong supporters and determine their financial interests. The Manlove political contributions from contractors and developers are on file at City Hall. The membership of the development board and their businesses and affiliations are a matter of public record.
"What he said did have some qualifications," she said. "And they did go ahead tonight and buy three more houses, one of which is currently occupied. The houses they bought in December, a couple of those are occupied."
Land acquisition for the Strawberry extension began in November 2004 with the purchase of five houses on Scott Street.
As of Tuesday, the city has purchased 29 of 33 houses slated for demolition. Three purchases were approved on second reading at Tuesday's meeting. Just two houses have been demolished.
More discussion on what is Manlove up to here. Recall Manlove website here.
The warmongers, in the true sense, that didn't: The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, New York Daily News, Chicago Sun-Times, and Boston Herald.
But, in the end, the majority agreed that the Bush administration had badly mishandled the crisis. Most papers sharply criticized Washington's diplomatic efforts, putting the nation on the eve of a pre-emptive war without U.N. Security Council support -- and expressed fears for the future despite an inevitable victory.
The Houston Chronicle said it remained "unconvinced" that attack was preferable to containment, and The Orange County Register of Santa Ana, Calif., declared it was "unpersuaded" that the threat posed by the "vile" Hussein justified military action now. The San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News wrote, "War might have been avoided, had the administration been sincere about averting it."
"The war will be conducted with less support than the cause should have commanded," The Washington Post, in backing the attack, wrote. "The Bush administration has raised the risks through its insistence on an accelerated timetable, its exaggerated rhetoric and its insensitive diplomacy; it has alienated allies and multiplied the number of protestors in foreign capitals."
South Dakota may provide Indian tribes with a new source of income. It seems state laws do not apply on reservations and at least one women's health and abortion clinic is in the planning stages.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
The GOP leaders presented and Bush signed into law a budget bill that was not passed by both houses of Congress. The difference is $2 billion dollars. It involves medical equipment for the sick and elderly. Bush signed the harsher measure, not the one that last passed.
Scoop: Bush Didn't Bungle Iraq, You Fools - Greg Palast
Greg supposedly has a copy of a state department document detailing their post-Saddam oil plans for Iraq. The big secret - the objective was to keep Iraqi oil production low and cooperate with OPEC.
"Operation Iraqi Liberation."
O.I.L. How droll of them, how cute. Then, Karl Rove made the giggling boys in the White House change it to "OIF" -- Operation Iraqi Freedom. But the 101st Airborne wasn't sent to Basra to get its hands on Iraq's OIF.
I would like to congratulate the Washington Post on its many awards and technical prowess in moving to the web. Technically you are doing a great job.
In terms of editorial judgement I agree with over 98% of the recent reader comments... you suck.
Posted by: Gary Denton | March 22, 2006 04:12 PM
Hilarious new blogger,
When will Blue America get one at the Washington Post? As someone from Texas I wonder if Domenech was responsible for the tone-death speeches and statements by our junior Senator.
People in Texas, home of the Alamo, really were jolted awake with the statement "liberties don't matter if you're dead."
I suspect Ben will be equally inspiring on the once great WP.
Posted by: Gary Denton | March 22, 2006 04:05 PM
[Some explanation: The Washington Post after a criticism from a GOP operative hired a new blogger to provide "balance" to their journalists. They did not hire a liberal blogger. The blogger they hired is a young elitist racist radical right-winger who was a speech writer for Texas Sen. John Cornyn. Go Wolverines!]
This week I will be busy with local Democratic convention stuff and research for a local candidate.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
New York Times Editorial:
Let the tax cuts expire as scheduled in 2008 and 2010 unless the budget improves significantly before then. Republicans want voters to believe that the deficit is the result of spending increases alone — not tax cuts. That's false. The swing from a $236 billion budget surplus in 2000 to a $371 billion deficit today is a huge deterioration in the nation's fiscal balance, equal to 5.3 percent of the economy. Of that, fully 62 percent is due to lower tax revenues.
Reimpose bulletproof budget rules... A real deficit-reduction plan would call for a return to the budget rules in effect from 1990 to 2001. These "pay as you go" rules helped create the budget surpluses of the 1990's by forcing Congress to pay for both tax cuts and entitlement spending increases.
An effort to reimpose the rules was defeated in the Senate as recently as last week, with 50 Republicans, including Mr. Frist and Mr. Allen, refusing to reinstate the rules. All 44 Democratic senators, 5 Republicans and one independent voted for the rules, but a majority of 51 votes is needed to win.
Texas Republican Senators Cornyn and Hutchison voted against restoring the pay-as-you-go guidelines.
Conservative Democrat F. Michael Kubosh to allow Republican conservative Houston radio host free airtime four days a week.
This has been a very revealing and disappointing last few days illustrating the problems with the Texas Democratic Party.
Just North of Houston Democratic Congressional Candidate Roger Owen has been revealed as a Florida felon intolerant of gays. He has managed to get on the bad side of liberal Texas bloggers and local Democrats.
I need to go to my Senate District Convention and the David Van Os Houston BBQ and get more optimistic and charged up. Could be some disputes breaking out at the convention as well however.
I should place more links to bloggers, news sources and candidates on the left and will try to get to that next week.
Monday, March 20, 2006
Bevilacqua, who performs under the name “Rev. Magdalen,” was stripped of the custody of her 10-year-old son because of pictures found on the Internet of her performances with the satirical comedy group The SubGenius Foundation, Inc. The images were from a members-only yearly SubGenius convention (video) in upstate New York. Other images.
Rachel Bevilacqua’s blog details the full story and is online at http://rbevilacqua.blogspot.com/.
The SubGenius Foundation Inc. (www.subgenius.com) is a satirical comedy group responsible for many publications including The Book of The SubGenius, Revelation X, Arise – The SubGenius Movie, and the Hour of Slack radio show.
On February 3, 2006, Judge Punch heard testimony in the case. Jeff entered into evidence 16 exhibits taken from the Internet, 12 of which are photographs of the SubGenius event, X-Day. [Magdalen's son] has never attended X-Day and is not in any of the pictures. Rachel is depicted in many of these photos, often wearing skimpy costumes or completely nude, while participating in X-Day and Detroit Devival events.DONATIONS for legal fees -- Praise Bob and pass the moolah.
The judge, allegedly a very strict
Catholic[Christian], became outraged at the photos of the X-Day parody of Mel Gibson's movie [The Passion of the Christ] - especially the photo where Jesus [Steve Bevilacqua] is wearing clown makeup and carrying a crucifix with a pool-noodle dollar sign on it while being beaten by a crowd of SubGenii, including a topless woman with a "dildo".
His Honor also strongly disapproved of the photos of Mary Magdalen [Rachel Bevilacqua] in a bondage dress and papier maché goat's head. The judge repeatedly asked, "Why a goat? What's so significant about a goat's head?" When Rachel replied, "I just thought the word 'goat' was funny," Judge Punch lost his temper completely, and began to shout abuse at Rachel, calling her a "pervert," "mentally ill," "lying," and a participant in "sex orgies." The judge ordered that Rachel is to have absolutely no contact with her son, not even in writing, because he felt the pictures of X-Day performance art were evidence enough to suspect "severe mental illness".
Since the news broke, people have been asking Magdalen to post the actual transcripts of the court proceedings, so that they can read Judge Punch's words for themselves and verify that she was speaking the truth. The transcripts of the case were to become available by March 6th. However, for the entire week since March 3rd, Magdalen has been absent from the Internet, and she has not been able to make the transcripts available.
The reason for Magdalen's absence (and the lack of the transcripts) became clear as of Thursday, March 9. On that day, I learned that the judge had ordered Magdalen to cease all communication on the Internet regarding her son. This was not a written statement – the judge had verbally ordered her to remain offline, and no written order was available. Magdalen stated that even though the order was verbal, the court considered it to be an official order from the judge, and so she has had to remain offline since then. This has kept her from updating her blog.
Q: Is the Church of the SubGenius a real religion?
A: Google it. The question has been debated by performance art critics and theology students for 25 years. Feel free to make up your own mind on the matter, it's a free country.
Q: Is the Church of the SubGenius Rachel Bevilacqua's religion?
A: No. Rachel Bevilacqua views the Church of the SubGenius as an art movement dedicated to cherishing the uniqueness of each individual and promoting free expression by all people everywhere, as long as it harms no one.
Q: Well, what does the government say?
A: The government agrees that The SubGenius Foundation, Inc., the corporation which does business under the performance name of "The Church of the SubGenius", is a "fan club" roughly classified in the same category as the Star Trek fan club that does business as "Star Fleet", and with roughly the same level of geeky obscurity.
In a well-researched story the NYT finds extensive and persistent interrogation abuse by a secret military unit.
Placards posted by soldiers at the detention area advised, "NO BLOOD, NO FOUL." The slogan, as one Defense Department official explained, reflected an adage adopted by Task Force 6-26: "If you don't make them bleed, they can't prosecute for it." According to Pentagon specialists who worked with the unit, prisoners at Camp Nama often disappeared into a detention black hole, barred from access to lawyers or relatives, and confined for weeks without charges. "The reality is, there were no rules there," another Pentagon official said.
The new account reveals the extent to which the unit members mistreated prisoners months before and after the photographs of abuse from Abu Ghraib were made public in April 2004, and it helps belie the original Pentagon assertions that abuse was confined to a small number of rogue reservists at Abu Ghraib.
Mind-boggling incompetence and corruption. The U.S. flew in 363 tons of $100 bills to Iraq. Now no one can say where it went.
"American law was suspended, Iraqi law was suspended, and Iraq basically became a free fraud zone."
Chron.com - Bush, Cheney deny claims of Iraq civil war
Iraq is now in 'a terrible civil war', admits former Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi
Christian Science Monitor: In Iraq, US influence wanes as full-scale civil war looms
Now who are you going to believe? Who has repeatedly been wrong? Which ones have repeatedly lied?
Technorati Tags: Iraq, civil war, Bush, Cheney, lies
With the bankruptcy of major pension plans and the government program to protect pensions about to go bankrupt itself Congress was directed to make fixes. After being passed around to the corporate lobbyists the new GOP plans cut pension protections, reduce the amount of money going to the system, and let the corporations rewrite the rules. Is there anyone out there who is surprised at this?
In the end, lawmakers modified many of the proposed rules, allowing companies more time to cover pension shortfalls, to make more forgiving estimates about how much they will owe workers in the future, and even sometimes to assume that their workers will die younger than the rest of the population.This New York Times review of the changes is hardly balanced as only supporters of the GOP plans provide arguments FOR the changes they are making with no responses from opponents. This pension plan overhaul is another in a series of hundred billion dollar corporate giveaways that have taken place recently under GOP House and Senate leadership.
On top of those changes, companies also persuaded lawmakers to add dozens of specific measures, including a multibillion-dollar escape clause for the nation’s airlines and a special exemption for the makers of Smithfield Farms hams.
As a result, the bill now being completed in a House-Senate conference committee, rather than strengthening the pension system, would actually weaken it, according to a little-noticed analysis by the government’s pension agency.
The agency’s report projects that the House and Senate bills would lower corporate contributions to the already underfinanced pension system by $140 billion to $160 billion in the next three years.
Technorati Tags: corporate cronyism, lobbyists, GOP, Washington, budget
Sunday, March 19, 2006
There are clear and present dangers to the American Constitution and way of life from the new GOP - right Christian alliance.
In writing "The Emerging Republican Majority" (published in 1969), [Kevin Phillips] asked a very big question about American politics: How would the demographic and economic changes of postwar America shape the long-term future of the two major parties? His answer, startling at the time but now largely unquestioned, is that the movement of people and resources from the old Northern industrial states into the South and the West (an area he enduringly labeled the "Sun Belt") would produce a new and more conservative Republican majority that would dominate American politics for decades. Phillips viewed the changes he predicted with optimism. A stronger Republican Party, he believed, would restore stability and order to a society experiencing disorienting and at times violent change. Shortly before publishing his book, he joined the Nixon administration to help advance the changes he had foreseen.Link by lightseeker.
Phillips has remained a prolific and important political commentator in the decades since, but he long ago abandoned his enthusiasm for the Republican coalition he helped to build. His latest book (his 13th) looks broadly and historically at the political world the conservative coalition has painstakingly constructed over the last several decades. No longer does he see Republican government as a source of stability and order. Instead, he presents a nightmarish vision of ideological extremism, catastrophic fiscal irresponsibility, rampant greed and dangerous shortsightedness. (His final chapter is entitled "The Erring Republican Majority.") In an era of best-selling jeremiads on both sides of the political divide, "American Theocracy" may be the most alarming analysis of where we are and where we may be going to have appeared in many years. It is not without polemic, but unlike many of the more glib and strident political commentaries of recent years, it is extensively researched and for the most part frighteningly persuasive.
That would be a shock considering his campaign against the corrupt GOP and how Chris Bell was Republican-lite. Greg points out that Gammage could be richly rewarded and mentions his ties to former Democratic Attorney General Morales who is in jail right now.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Today a majority of Americans know that they were lied to and it was a mistake.
Too bad they are three years late and a trillion dollars short.
ADDED: I have been urged to write longer posts.
But often this is stuff I consider important but I really don't feel I have anything that needs to be added.
If I wrote anything it would be a long series of links within this blog demonstrating "I told you so" and most of the American people were just terribly wrong to trust and believe Bush and Cheney and the White House lying team.
I support Boris Miles for TX State Rep. 146. Kick the anti-sexy cheerleader bum Al Edwards out. Al Edwards biggest fundraiser has been the GOP Austin leadership.
Check my other endorsements on the left side.
Do we need to throw all the old Texas Democratic leaders out? I am serious. Texas Democrats have John Sharp, last election's candidate for Lt. Guv providing cover for Perry on school financing and ruling out discussion of a state income tax. Then we have Tony Sanchez, the candidate for Guv openly supporting Republican-Independent Strayhorn. This means the Democratic candidates for Texas' highest offices were Republican except for the party label they ran under. It has also been pointed out that Sanchez gave $200,000 to Bush's recount efforts in Florida and Sharp is a big Bush supporter.
What about the little fish in the leadership pool? The new Democratic candidates for the state house in the Houston area with only one exception have found all of the present Houston area Democratic Austin officials unwilling to provide support of any kind. Their reason - in every case they didn't want to upset the GOP incumbents .
With Texas leadership like this no wonder progressives are reluctant to support the Democratic party.
Friday, March 17, 2006
Operation Swarmer was propaganda for the American voters, not the biggest air campaign of the war.
According to a colleague of mine from TIME who traveled up there today on a U.S. embassy-sponsored trip, there are no insurgents, no fighting and 17 of the 41 prisoners taken have already been released after just one day. The “number of weapons caches” equals six, which isn’t unusual when you travel around Iraq. They’re literally everywhere... it’s a telling example of how “well” things are going in Iraq that after three years, the U.S. is still leading the fight and conducting sweeps in an area that has been swept/contained/pacfied/cleared five or six times since 2004. How long before the U.S. has to come back again?ADDED - TIME: How Operation Swarmer Fizzled
Molly Ivins: The fog of victory As Rep. John Murtha put it, "The only people who want us in Iraq are Iran and al Qaeda."
deviantART: has tracked down and displays where Congress and the administration are placing your tax dollars. Even considering Homeland Security as non-military spending over half of discretionary spending is swallowed by the War Department. It is now Orwellian to call it our Department of Defense.
To place the numbers in perspective the US population is pretty damn close to 300 million and income tax payers 100 million. So the budget calls for taking $91 from the average taxpayer this year for the Star Wars Missile Defense program and 60 cents for the Consumer Product safety Commission.
Another example is the Department of Homeland Security - $291.85 per taxpayer. The Department of "Defense" adds $15.75 per taxpayer for Homeland Security spending. Why the whole thing isn't in the Department of Defense you will have to ask Bush.
Overall War Department spending is $3,995 per taxpayer and discretionary non-military is $3,835. Social Security and Medicare are considered non-discretionary. They also have, or are supposed to have, separate funding as shown by the boxes on your W-2 form.
Right now the government is spending more of your tax dollars than it takes in. Clinton's huge surpluses have been sucked away in a black hole of Bush spending increases, wars and tax cuts.
There are two other big places your income tax dollars are going not shown. One is interest on that borrowed money. Bush has been cutting taxes although you don't notice it much because the biggest cuts are going to the very wealthy. But he is spending much, much more. That means he has to borrow money. It used to be the government borrowed money from American savers and financial institutions. Today we don't have enough money so a majority of it is coming from foreigners.
The other place not included in the budget is the war on terror - mostly direct spending for Iraq and Afghanistan. This has its own supplemental special budget requests. If Bush asks for $100 billion dollars for our fighting troops (typical) it is an extra $1,000 they are wanting this year from you. Except he is really borrowing it from your kids and grandkids because he doesn't want to raise taxes now.
Do you like this budget? Do you like all the borrowing? Do you like where your tax dollars and you children's and your grandchildren's are going? I don't and I don't think most people do. What can you do?
One, your representatives in Congress are supposed to spend the money they take from you as you want. If you don't like this budget tell them about it - loudly.
Two, Bush is not brave enough to ask you for all the money he is spending so he is borrowing huge amounts that he isn't going to pay back. That just means that when he is out of office our government is going to be forced to raise taxes and cut spending to pay all the foreigners who are lending us the money. If you don't like all this borrowing tell them about it - loudly. Tell them you want Clinton balanced budgets back.
My partisan prediction - Republicans in a few years will blame someone else and you the taxpayer for not watching your money. They will also blame the foreigners. Never mind that they controlled all branches of government as we went from peace to war, from budget surplus to deficit, from democracy to executive rule. However, they might also eventually blame Bush as he becomes less and less popular. They will not blame their policies and priorities.
Molly speaks for Democratic activists in urging no to DC Dems, No to Hillary, no to the DLC, and yes to finding an outsider candidate.
Mah fellow progressives, now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of the party. I don’t know about you, but I have had it with the D.C. Democrats, had it with the DLC Democrats, had it with every calculating, equivocating, triangulating, straddling, hair-splitting son of a bitch up there, and that includes Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Link sent me by my brother.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Monday, March 13, 2006
Repeating from Carl's email list.
Thanks to Melissa Taylor, the relatively new administrator of the Harris County Democratic Party for sending this information along. Melissa is certainly a breath of fresh air coming from the headquarters.
If your precinct did not hold a convention or you did not attend, YOU are still eligible to attend the Senate Convention on March 25. You must have voted in the primary. Find YOUR Senate District and its location below.
We need the participation of as many folks from all areas of the county and all segments of our party are vital to our party's success.
PARTICIPATING IN YOUR DEMOCRATIC PARTY SENATE DISTRICT CONVENTION
This is participatory politics where the results mean something. Grassroots politics at its finest. This participation gives you the opportunity to 1) select delegates to the State Democratic Convention who represent the political will of people in your area; and 2) approve, modify or reject resolutions from the precinct conventions which will move to the State Convention to shape the State Democratic Party's platform and governance.
WHEN? Saturday, March 25. Each Senate District holds a separate convention. As a result, times vary. Details for all Senate District conventions follow.
WHERE? All Senate District locations follow.
WHO? 1) Participants who were elected at their March 7 Precinct Conventions or 2) other interested Democrats. If you were unable to attend your precinct convention, contact your Senate District chair immediately to request to be considered for a delegate slot at the Senate District Convention. The Credentials Committee at each Senate District Convention will make the final determinations about delegates.
BRING? A snack, water, resolutions, or campaign information. A copy of Texas Democratic Party Rules, available for download at http://www.txdemocrats.org/files/Rules2006.pdf.
WHAT? Meet with other Democrats to hear about what is happening in your Senate District. Delegates to the State Convention, to be held in Fort Worth on June 8-10, 2006, will also be chosen. In addition, you may serve on the various committees necessary to operate your Senate District Convention: Credentials (verifying eligibility of delegates); Nominations (select delegates and alternates to the State Convention; one Delegate and Alternate per 300 votes for Governor in the last general election); Platform and Resolutions (review Resolutions that will be forwarded to the State Convention for deliberation); Rules and Procedures (assuring Party rules are followed at the convention and hearing rules violations complaints).
These committee positions fill up fast. Contact your Senate District Chair immediately to request appointment to a committee: (personal emails deleted)
Senate District 4 Wil Williams 281.796.1017,
Senate District 6 Janie Reyes 713.864.4700/713.862.6121,
Senate District 7 Steve Gross 713-465-7907,
Senate District 11 Darryl Hurt 281.479.8116 or 713.549.9353 (pager)
Senate District 13 Terrence Shanks 713.292.3307,
Senate District 15 Francisco Sanchez email@example.com
District Secretary Pam Rea 713-225-9997,
Senate District 17 Bert Anson 713.667.5250,
MAIN BUSINESS OF THE SD CONVENTION
Elect of Convention officers. Establish the roll of delegates attending the Senate District Convention. Meet with Committees and render reports, including the reading of resolutions approved by the Resolutions Committee. Engage in a floor debate about resolutions. Report on allocated Delegates and Alternates to the State Convention and election of Delegates and Alternates. Elect a Delegation Chair and distribute information about the State Convention. Hear speeches from candidates, Democratic Party officials, and other Democratic Party office holders. Hear about Harris County Democratic Party and campaign activities. Meet like-minded Democrats.
SENATE DISTRICT CONVENTIONS IN HARRIS COUNTY
MARCH 25, 2006
All Senate Districts are held on Saturday, March 25th. Each Senate District holds a separate convention. As a result, times vary. You may also contact your Senate District Chair directly for additional information or to request assignment to any committees. Your voter registration card says what Senate District you are in.
Senate District 4
Sign-in: 9:00 a.m., Convention Begins: 9:30 a.m.
Kingwood College Teach Theater
Classroom Building A, Room CLA-114
20000 Kingwood Drive, Kingwood
Contact: Wil Williams, 281.796.1017
Senate District 6
Sign-in: 8:00 a.m., Convention Begins: 9:00 a.m.
CWA Local 6222 Union Hall
1515 Jefferson @ Crawford (493Q), Houston
Contact: Janie Reyes, 713.864.4700/
Senate District 7
Sign-in: 8:30 a.m., Convention Begins: 9:30 a.m.
Houston Community College West Loop Campus
5601 West Loop South @ Pin Oak Park, Houston
Contact: Stephen Gross, 713-465-7907
Senate District 11
Sign-in: 8:30 a.m., Convention Begins: 9:00 a.m.
USW Union Hall
311 Pasadena Blvd., Pasadena
Contact: Darryl Hurt, 281.479.8116 or 713.549.9353 (pager)
Senate District 13
Sign-in: 8:00 a.m. Convention Begins: 9:00 a.m.
Houston Community College, Central Campus
San Jacinto Building, Auditorium
1300 Holman, Houston
Contact: Terrence Shanks, 713.292.3307
Jennifer Sanders, 713.633.6368;
Senate District 15
Sign-in: 11:00 a.m. Convention Begins: 1:00 p.m. sharp
Note: Lunch served 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Some of convention committees will begin meeting as early as 10 am and will meet throughout the lunch hour.
Carver High School
2100 Victory in Acres Homes (off I45 North between Shepherd & TC Jester), Houston
Contact: Pam Rea, 713-722-3482
Sheryl Roppolo, 713-502-8921
Gabrielle Hadnot, 713-864-3798
Lenora Sorola Pohlman, 281-584-1677
Senate District 17
Sign-in: 8:00 a.m., Convention Begins: 9:00 a.m.
Taylor High School
7555 Howell Sugar Land Drive, Houston
Contact: Bert Anson, 713.667.5250;
Ella Tyler, 713.665.2236
Technorati Tags: Democratic Party, conventions, local, Texas, Harris County