Saturday, March 31, 2007

Another Republican Tells Gonzales To Get Lost

Senator John Sununu (R-New Hampshire) became the first Republican in Congress to call for Gonzales to resign a few weeks ago. Now, a Republican in the House of Representatives is calling for Gonzales to resign.

It's not a liberal Republican and/or one in a swing district. It's a Republican from a very Republican state.

Rep. Lee Terry (R-Nebraska), who represents Omaha, admitted he once had faith in Gonzales, but does not have any faith in him anymore. Terry said he thought the whole scandal was a Democratic witch hunt, but that he's lost faith in the Attorney General because of his contradictory statements.

Terry's district isn't very competitive, but it could be. He defeated Democrat Jim Esch, who lagged him in fundraising 55%-45% last year. His district was the last in Nebraska to be represented by a Democrat, Peter Hoagland from 1989-1995.

Not to mention, his district is in Omaha, so the Democrats do have a bench to run against Terry.

Still, Terry's comments do give some credit to the Democrats' arguments that the Administration is hiding something.

If this was a Democratic witch hunt, well then, they actually found a witch.

The Unraveling Continues

Matthew Dowd was the administration's poster boy for Democrats' frustration with their party and support of President Bush. He was the Zell Miller of the campaign. He was a staunch Texas Democrat who nine years ago decided to make it his goal to see George W. Bush becoming President, Dowd was a major player in Bush's 2004 reelection campaign.

Now, Dowd is wrote an op-ed entitled "Kerry was right" and has become a big critic of the President.

We've seen the Democrats cut from Bush, then the moderates, then the swing voters, then the liberal Republicans and the Republicans in vulernable elected offices. We have not seen, however, those most loyal to Bush turn against him yet. Dowd may be the first who has been with the President since before day one to admit he has turned against him.

It's a lonely world for President Bush nowadays.

Giuliani-Kerik

So there goes Rudy Giuliani's easy trek to the White House.

Bernard Kerik, the one time (mediocre, if not much disliked,) Police Commissioner of New York City is about to be indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit wiretapping and tax evasion, among other felonies.

Kerik was considered a golden boy just three years ago; a much beloved by the country sidekick of Giuliani. He was riding high on that post-9/11 everyone loves the people who led New York, wave of support. He fell from disgrace after being tapped as Secretary of Homeland Security in December 2004, recommended to President Bush by Rudy Giuliani himself (so we know he knows how to pick'em.) The Kerik scandal was the first sign of trouble in Bush's second term.

Now with Giuliani in the race for President and leading for God's knows what reason, a Kerik indictment and trial is not going to look good for Rudy. He now claims the recommendation of Kerik was a "mistake," the GOP's favorite new buzzword.

How this will effect Giuliani is still debatable, but it's not going to look good that for about two to three years, both he and Kerik were partners in Giulani-Kerik, the security arm of Giuliani partners, Rudy's little establishment. It will, at least for me, question whether or not the former mayor of my hometown has good character judgment, which I always questioned, even when he was mayor.

I still think, one way or another, people will begin to realize that even though Rudy Giuliani looked nice on television for the three months he was mayor after 9/11, that doesn't automatically qualify you to be President of the United States.

Seriously, if New York had held it's mayoral election just four months earlier, Giuliani wouldn't even be a candidate right now. He would be Rudy who?

Religion in America: An Observation

Apparently 90% of the country believes in God, according to Newsweek. That's probably the same as how many people think the sky is blue or the world is round. God-belief is widely considered an obvious thing, which is automatically put in everyone's head. It is rarely, if ever questioned, because God-belief is something people feel better just accepting as true. It is acceptable for a person to question or even doubt the existence of God. What one may see as signs of God's existence, such as nature or certain miracles, may be just seen as coincidences to others. However, even today, many who may question or even doubt God's existence may not admit to their skepticisms due to the unpopularity of agnosticism, having said that, I am far from being an agnostic. I cannot imagine what life would be like without a God to believe in, but I'm not a person of organized religion either. I think the theory that Americans believe in God ergo are religious is rather erroneous. While that may be true of a large number of those who believe in God, I think there is an underrepresented, underestimate minority who believe in God, have spiritual believes, but do not adhere to certain organized religions. These people are not the stereotypical Evangelical types you see on TV at large gatherings raising their hands and singing.

One point that interests me is that half of all Americans discredit the theory of evolution. It's a nice story to think God created the earth in six days or that Adam and Eve existed and we all descend from them, but those theories are aesthetically impossible. I think there is some mixture of the theory of creationism and evolution. I tend to lean more toward the theory of evolution, but with the help of God.

Another interesting point in this article I found is that Americans are becoming more accepting of agnostics or atheists, 47% according to this poll, with just under half saying they know someone who is atheist or agnostic. This makes me feel better. It makes me believe there is a growing "Live and Let Live" attitude in this country which I've long criticized the Republican Party and Evangelical Christians for rallying against. I ceased attending church about four years ago (I was raised Catholic,) because I was tired of their "Go out and change people who disagree with the Pope" attitude. I am an American first, Christian second (actually, I am a Christian like ninth.) My belief that in America everyone has the right to his or her beliefs and their own opinions trumps what I see as the church's belief of "We must force everyone to adhere to our ideology." I began to feel that under the Republican majority, that attitude was being killed off. Now, this leads me to believe we Americans have become "Live and Let Live" people again.

I am very critical and very open about my criticism of organized religion for its apparent attempts to stage a coup on this democracy. It shouldn't make a difference what presidential candidate Pat Robertson or James Dobson endorses. They are not political figures, they are religious figures. They do not belong in politics. This is not just my belief; this was the belief of our founding fathers, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin. They were all spiritual God-believers, but purposely left a certain religion out of the American government for a good reason. There is a quote, which had been attributed to President Madison; though there's no proof that he said it. Nevertheless, whoever said it, said a mouthful;

"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries"

You Say Ver-Gin-Ya, I Say Ver-Gena

Perhaps if we spend a little less time focusing on athletics in schools and a little more time on vocabulary, this wouldn't happen.

For the NCAA championship, I'm rooting for Flareda.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The President Who Cried Broke

Oh no, if the Democratic Congress doesn't give President Bush a war funding bill he can sign like tomorrow, the troops will be left without any money or any equipment at all. They need the money now.

NOT!

The Pentagon apparently has enough money to run their wars until June, giving Congress two months to twist the President's arm enough to get him to sign their bill. It is pretty clear, for better or worse, the people like the Democrats' bill with the SUGGESTED withdrawal date, so if he decides to veto the bill, the 35% who support the President are the only ones who will blame the Democrats for no funding.

Personally, I still believe that in the end the Democrats will buckle. As long as Karl Rove is out of prison, he knows how to spin something like this to make it blow up in the Democrats' faces, but right now the Dems should milk it for all it's worth. Remind the people that they are trying to end this war, while making the troops happy at the same time. It doesn't play well with the base, but the base isn't going to vote for a Republican. It plays well with the center, who have lost all faith in the President, but haven't exactly warmed 100% to the Democrats.

Congress is on a two week recess for Passover/Easter. Let's see what happens when they come back, when the funding was SUPPOSED to dry up.

UPDATE: Analysts now say the funding is good until July.

Another Administration Fall Guy

If the Bush administration is good at anything, it's their ability to throw their own under a bus to save their own asses. Case in point; Scooter Libby on the Valerie Plame affair, now Monica Goodling and who knows who else in the prosecutor firing scandal, and apparently now former Major General Stanley McChrystal in the case of the Pat Tillman death.

Pat Tillman was a patriotic American who quit every boy's dream to fight for America. He disagreed with the President and was, from all accounts, a pretty liberal person, but did not make a big deal of it when he was alive. He did in Afghanistan three years ago in an embarrassing friendly fire incident that was pretty much well covered up. At the time of his death, it was reported the Army Ranger was killed in an enemy ambush and died a hero, (which he did anyway.)

Tillman's family wasn't told of the truth behind his death for weeks after the incident. McChrystal and others were charged with covering up the truth. Now, apparently, McChrystal warned the PRESIDENT of the possibility that Tillman died in a friendly fire incident weeks before he even told the family and long before Tillman was used as a political tool, which come on, you know he was.

Bush never specified the way Tillman died in any of the speeches he made, but you know what he was alluding to; that Tillman had died in an enemy ambush, that he died fighting Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Once again the administration successfully covers up and scandal and leaves someone else to take the fall for them. Goodling is the only smart one, she pleaded the fifth. She's getting off that sinking ship.

Still, it's a disgrace that a CIA agent was outed, a disgrace that members of the Justice Department used a clause in a piece of legislation meant to protect us to advance their political agenda, and an even bigger disgrace that they misrepresented the death of a good soldier and fine American because of how the truth may play…and let's not forget that Tillman died in 2004, while Bush was struggling to win reelection.

Pelosi’s Foreign Policy

In a slap in the face of President Bush's "I'm too good to talk to you" foreign policy stance, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is heading to Syria next week to visit with President Basher al-Assad. The White House doesn't want her to go, and is "discouraging the visit," but Pelosi will go anyway.

While I'm not a big fan of Syria, specifically because of their support for Hamas, Hezbollah and how they like to screw with the Lebanese government, diplomacy does not hurt. President Bush's "no diplomacy foreign policy" has not gotten us anywhere except on the rest of the world's shit list, so what can it hurt if Pelosi tries this?

It is, by the way, encouraged by the Iraq Study Group that we do talk to some of the powers in the region, including Syria and Iran, to put together a solution in Iraq, and if we've learned anything from Iraq, it's that bombing everyone who disagrees with us back to the stone age doesn't bring about change, despite the fact that it may seem like the easy solution. Blowing things up doesn't necessarily make people respect us; it just makes then want to blow our stuff up too.

I have to admit though, I'm kind of surprised at the way Nancy Pelosi has been acting as Speaker of the House. I rather suspected she would be a rollover type, who would eventually cave in to the President if he applied enough press to her. Actually, she's been one tough woman. It makes me wonder how at the end she will rank among the Speakers.

Oh, and by the way, just to prove the Democrats aren't the party of the terrorists, Pelosi is ALSO heading over to Israel to address the Knesset. Diplomacy is a good thing.

The "New" Immigration Plan

The White House has a new immigration plan...How exactly is it new?

It gives undocumented workers visas, so already Tom Tancredo won't like it. I, on the other hand, think it's the smartest idea Bush has ever had. I think he actually understands the reality of the immigration problem, most likely because he was the Governor of Texas, a major immigrant state.

It would be statistically impossible to round up all the illegal immigrats and kick them out, which is the popular solution (and quite frankly would be mine if it were at all possible.) So, the best plan we can have is the one that allows us to deal with those who are already here and prevent any further illegal immigrants from entering in droves. I'm not sure this plan prevents the latter, but it's a good start. Those who are here undocumented must leave after their visas expire and apply for a green card before they can renter the US and legally live here.

If there was one issue I always thought the President and the Democratic Congress would be able to deal with together, it was immigration reform. President Bush is must closer to the Democrats on this issue than most of the conservative Republicans. An immigration reform bill, in my opinion, has a good chance of passing and, of anything, getting bipartisan support which will have Speaker Pelosi and President Bush smiling together again.

Living in Queens, New York, I am in an immigration mecca, where I see both legal and illegal immigrants everyday. I think there are people in both schools who are here to be Americans and there are people in both who are here to take advantage of our graciousness. However, just because you are here to be Americans doesn't give you the right to come here illegally. Go home and come back the legal way and then you can join the party.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

AL-Sen, MS-Sen: Making Races In The South

Quite possibly...at least in the blogsphere. Alabama Democrats are ready to oust Republican Jeff Sessions and bring a little of that Southern populism back to the Senate.

The Deep South is the last major stronghold of the Republican party at the moment. It's the only place they don't seem to be losing any ground. Alabama is the heart of Republican country. Democrats would normally just seek a pass here to move on to the more competitive states, but the blogsphere doesn't seem to want to let that happen.

I give you, SackSessions.com, a new blog "created to to assist in the electoral defeat of Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III (R-Alabama.)"

Alabama Democrats are looking into the possibility of nominating the state's Alabama Agriculture and Industries Commissioner Ron Sparks, a Democrat who won a landslide reelection victory last year. Sparks are seriously considering a run against Sessions, which could sent the race into top or second tier, right where the Republicans wouldn't want Alabama. This, combined with the recent news that Karl Rove is worried about the possibility of Thad Cochran retiring in Mississippi, leading to a Democratic pickup opportunity is sure to get Senator Jon Ensign (R-Nevada,) the chair of the NRSC, heartburn.

The different between 2006 and 2008 is that the Democrats will have to play with a single person riding on the top of the ticket; their nominee for President. Let's seriously consider, as I always say we should when I talk about Congressional Races in 2008, exactly how Hillary Clinton is going to play in these states and how they may blow a good chance we may not have again in a while.

Romney's VP?

Because I am standing by my prediction that Mitt Romney will accidently be the Republican nominee for President, this story interested me.

So who was on the short list of the former New England Governor?...Southerners;

-South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford
-Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia
-Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush *shudders*
He also said he was "pretty partial" to ultra-conservative South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint.

Why so much praise for South Carolina Republicans? Well, he was in South Carolina

Vice President Jeb Bush *shudders" Please God, no more Bushes.

Senate Backs Withdrawal Timetable

By a 51-47 vote, the Senate backed the timetable to withdraw from Iraq in 18 months.

Two Republicans voted with the Democrats, Gordon Smith or Oregon and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. Lieberman voted with the Republicans. A slew of 2008 incumbents voted "no," including John Sununu of New Hampshire, Susan Collins of Maine, Pete Domenici of New Mexico, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, John Warner of Virginia, Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina and Minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Democrats got the votes of Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, who were considered key swing votes.

The bill now goes to the President to be vetoed, followed by a fierce battle to see who blinks first.

Meanwhile, the Iraq war has found another shocking critic; King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who called the war an "illegitimate occupation."

NH-Sen; Where Is Shaheen When You Need Her?

Former Governor Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) narrowly lost the 2002 Senate race to Republican John Sununu. A new ARG poll she would win a second try next year.

Shaheen's 2002 loss was controversial as the GOP jammed Democratic GOTV phone lines on Election Day, and have since been punished for it. Shaheen has not said whether or not she would run again.

The ARG poll shows her ahead by 10, winning almost all New Hampshire Democrats, a third of the important unaffiliated voters and even 17% of Republicans.

Sununu is considered the most vulnerable GOP incumbent of 2008. So far two Democrats are in the race, Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchant and Katrina Swett, wife of former Congressman Dick Swett and daughter of current Congressman Tom Lantos (D-California).

No polls have been released putting Sununu up against Marchant or Swett.

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is NOW GOP Headquarters

Freshman Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) puts GSA administrator Lurita Doan on the hot seat to speak for Karl Rove's crimes; using taxpayer funded federal agencies as Republican political machines.

What does it take to get impeached in this country these days?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

They’re NOT Political Pawns

An aide to Alberto Gonzales is about to inform Congress that the eight federal prosecutors who were controversially fired were let go because they weren't lock step behind the President's priorities, but rather their own. That is EXACTLY why the Attorney General is in hot water right now. For once they are admitting the truth. The problem is, the truth isn't an issue for them. They think it is perfectly fine to fire prosecutors because they aren't lining up behind the President's politics. This administration honestly believed that federal prosecutors ARE political pawns to be used in the game of political chess by the President. I don't know what is scarier, the people who believe this or the American peoples for electing the man who put these people in positions of power.

They serve at the pleasure of the President…I've heard that phrase over a hundred times this week alone. Sure, the President has a right to fire them because they don't agree with everything he wants. That doesn't make him a criminal…that makes him a jerk. Yes, I said jerk. Federal prosecutors are not political pawns. They are not there to be used to help the President and especially not the President's party. If it is true that they were fired for not putting the President's priorities first, then that lets us know what the President's priorities are; not the American people, not to protect democracy, but the improve his standing and help his party win elections. Even then, they serve at the pleasure of the PRESIDENT, not the Attorney General, nor his chief of staff, nor the White House Counsel, nor the Deputy White House Chief of Staff, and even then, new prosecutors MUST be confirmed by the Senate, thereby eliminating a chance the President would abuse his power like this.

I've read a good number of the e-mails between Kyle Sampson, Gonzales' chief of staff, and Harriet Miers, the former White House Counsel. It is clear by reading them that people in the White House conspired to abuse a clause in the PATRIOT Act to oust federal prosecutors and replace them without any say from any other branch of the government. Take Arkansas where Bud Cummings was replaced by Karl Rove's little friend. Rove's friend would never have been confirmed by the Senate, but thanks to the glorious PATRIOT Act, he doesn't have to be. The Senate, the Legislative Branch, does not check the Executive Branch's power, despite the fact that was the way the government was designed.

You can invoke the fact that Bill Clinton fired all 93 prosecutors when he became President. He, of course, had to get all 93 replacements confirmed by the Senate, albeit a Democratic Senate. If President Bush had fired all 93 prosecutors in early 2005, I guarantee to you there would not be an issue today, but he didn't. He allowed members of his staff to conspire and he allowed his unelected Attorney General, hand pink slips to eight prosecutors who did not help the Republicans keep Congress, which is not at all the job of the prosecutors. Let it be known that if NOT for that overlooked clause of the PATRIOT Act, this NEVER would've happened because the President would have to have gotten his replacement approved by the Senate, and because they were all fired in December and January, he would've gotten them approved in a Democratic Senate.

Also, once again, the Justice Department admits it LIED to the US Senate over the role Karl Rove played in this mess, or rather didn't lie, but "misinformed." The Justice Department told four Democratic Senators that they did not know of any involvement Karl Rove may have had in the appointment of his pal Tim Griffin to be US Attorney in Arkansas. They know admit that they did know about his involvement, they were just "mistaken." Gonzales still stands by his statement that he had no idea what was going on. I find it funny his only defense is that he is grossly incompetent. So he's either incompetent or he's unethical…either way, really, should he still be the Attorney General?

Gonzales is due to go before Congress on April 17th…assuming he survives that long.

Special Election Results

Yesterday's Special Elections yielded no surprises;

In Nassau County;

Democrat Michelle Schmiel won a landslide victory for the 16th State Assembly seat in Northwestern Nassau County, replacing State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, also a Democrat.

Democrat Wayne Wink also won a landslide victory for a seat in the Nassau County Legislature, replacing Democrat Craig Johnson, who was elected to the state senate.

In Staten Island;

Democrat Matthew Titone won the special election for the 61st State Assembly district, replacing the late John Lavelle, also a Democrat

Republican Lou Tobacco won the 62nd State Assembly district special election to replace Vincent Ignizio, another Republican who was elected to the New York City Council. Tobacco, like his predecesor, will be the only GOP member of the state assembly from New York City.

No, that doesn't end the Special Elections in the state Assembly. Rockland County Democrat Kenneth Zebrowski passed away earlier this month, so another Special Election will be called to fill his seat and there's still the question over the seat of Manhattan Assemblyman Alexander Pete Grannis' seat. Grannis was tapped to be Commissioner of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, which would force him to vacate his seat...and then ANOTHER special election will be called.

Tired yet?

Been Busy

Today is quite a busy day. I was out in New Jersey and tonight I'm on my way to Brooklyn for a hockey game

Blogging will resume tonight @ 10pm

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Revenge For Daschle?

An attempt to knock off the Senate Minority Leader two years after winning back the majority? Where have I seen this before?

Oh right, the Republicans did that with Tom Daschle. In 2002 they made him Minority Leader, it 2004, they made him unemployed.

It's happening again.

Mitch McConnell may not be on the top of the list of potential Democratic pickups in 2008, but perhaps it should be, and perhaps it will be. This ad may be the first of many we see in an attempt to achieve revenge for Daschle.

Kentucky is not an overwhelmingly Republican state. State Senator Daniel Mongiardo nearly knocked off Jim Bunning in 2004 despite Bush winning the state by 20%. Bunning won 51%-49%.

If Democrats win this year's gubernatorial race, currently seen as a tossup, look for McConnell to shoot to the top of the list of Republicans the Democrats will look to knock off. If the Democratic primary for Governor proves anything, it proves there isn't a shortage of Democrats who can run against McConnell. Dan Mongiardo may decided to take another run for Senate if he doesn't get elected Lieutenant Governor, as may former Lieutenant Governor Steve Henry, State Attorney General Greg Stumbo, Congressman Ben Chandler, former Congressman Ken Lucas, State Treasurer Jonathan Miller, Secretary of State John Y. Brown, or Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives Jody Richards.

Don't think Chuck Schumer isn't salivating over the possibility of knocking out the Senate Minority Leader, but this race will remain a dark horse until we see who wins the gubernatorial election in November.

Half Don't Like Hillary

In today's edition of my banter; Why Hillary Clinton SHOULD NOT Be the Democratic Nominee for President, I present to you the latest Harris Poll.

50%, that's right 50% say they won't vote for Hillary in 2008. While I'm not sure I believe that the number is true, it does prove that a huge number of Americans don't want to vote her.

The number includes 21%...again 21% of Democrats. She is not liked by married women (voters she needs to win) and elderly voters.

I said it before...and I'll say it again, Hillary Clinton IS NOT the best candidate for President. Just because she's a Clinton does not make her Bill...it makes her Bill's wife.

Fortunately, this poll came out today, and this one. If John Edwards manages to win Iowa, it may put him on the road to sweeping the nation a la Kerry, allowing Democrats to breathe a sigh of relief that we did not nominate someone whom half the country won't vote for at a time when the Democrats are on a roll.

I can dream can I? As the old saying goes...never underestimate the Democrats' ability to completely blow it.

Senate Backs Withdrawal Timetable

The Senate passed the emergency supplemental bill that included a withdrawal timetable to get the troops out of Iraq. President Bush will, of course, veto it, bringing himself and the Democrats to a face to face contest in which someone (the Democrats) will blink.

Democrats got the key support of the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Nelson voted for the bill saying benchmarks are good to judge progress. Two Republicans, Gordon Smith of Oregon and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska voted with the Democrats; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) called them "two brave Republicans." Joe Lieberman of Connecticut of course did not vote for the bill, sticking to his pro-war stance. Senator Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas) also voted against the bill. Pryor is up for reelection next year, as is Smith in Oregon.

Senator Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi) tried to get an amendment passed that would stricken the deadline language from the bill, it failed by the same margin the bill passed by.

The bill, essentially the same bill passed by the House, now goes to the President's desk, where he will veto it. The Democrats, unable to override his veto, will either have to cut all funding or compromise and stricken the withdrawal deadlines from the funding bill. That is going to be an interesting little battle to watch.

Meanwhile, the spinach and shrimp will get no money.

Cancer Rears It's Ugly Head Again

Last week it was Elizabeth Edwards, and this week cancer again rears it's ugly head in another prominent political figure...White House Press Secretary Tony Snow.

Snow, a survivor of colon cancer, announced that his cancer has returned...in his liver.

Like I said, Cancer doesn't care who you are or what political party you belong to, or what religion you belong to, etc. Cancer affects everyone equally.

Tony's situation is serious, but treatable. Good Luck Tony. I for one look forward to seeing him get well and get back to the podium so I can yell at the TV when I have it tuned to his daily press briefing.

Monday, March 26, 2007

OR-Sen: Poll Shows Smith Very Vulnerable *

A internal DSCC poll shows Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) four points ahead of Senator Gordon Smith (R-Oregon) in a hypothetical race for Smith's Senate seat;

DeFazio (Dem)- 42%
Smith (Rep)- 38%

It's a partisan poll, so it's not really trustworthy, but partisan polls can show weakness (as this does with Smith.) DeFazio may not be the best candidate to run against Smith, but if he leads in a partisan poll, then it's probably really a dead heat.

DeFazio's district, the Oregon 4th, is the traditional swing part of the state. Located down in the Southwest part of the state, bordering California and the Pacific Ocean, it includes Eugene, Springfield, Coos Bay and Albany. Cook gives it a PVI of D+1, DeFazio has held the seat since 1987 and it's been in Democratic hands for three decades. It's no surprise that DeFazio does well against Smith. He can easily win a Senate race by winning the state's traditionally Democratic area; Portland and it's northwestern suburbs to Astoria ,and his own district, while still losing the Salem area (specifically, Darlene Hooley's district.)

Still, bad news for the GOP. Smith is not exactly the most supportive Republican of the Bush Administration. If he's not doing well, imagine how more supportive Republicans like John Sununu (R-New Hampshire) are doing.

Schumer needs to get the ball rolling on getting the good candidates like he did last time.

The Fifth

You know, for an administration that has so much animosity for the first ten amendments to the Constitution, they sure have a sudden love affair with the fifth.

It's not a good thing for them that an aid to the Attorney General is pleading the Fifth Amendment. Let's read, verbatim, what the Fifth Amendment says;

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

Yeah, so, pretty much she's guilty of something and admitting the truth would force her to confess to something, and, thanks to the document the Bush Administration loves to forget exists, she has that right.

If anything, perhaps the Democrats can offer Ms. Goodling immunity from prosecution so she won't have to plead the Fifth. (Immunity means she cannot be charged with anything she incriminated herself with, for those of you who didn't already know.)

UPDATE: It appears a legal reader of Andrew Sullivan's already thought of my idea about immunity, but since he's a legal reader, he has more background on this than I do...here's the link

GOP Will Not Block Funding Bill

Stating that they know the President will veto it, Democrats will not be able to override the veto, and will likely have to give in and give the President a bill that doesn't include what they refer to as a "surrender date," the Senate GOP will not filibuster the House emergency supplemental bill.

The bill is facing a tight vote in the Senate, but most Democrats are expected to support the bill. Senator Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) probably the most conservative Democrat in the Senate announced he was supporting the bill. Senator Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas) is on the fence. Both earlier opposed a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq along with Senator Joe Lieberman (Whatever-Connecticut). Senator Gordon Smith (R-Oregon) supported the timetable and, with one or two other moderate endangered Republican Senators, may have to support this bill in order for it to pass. It sounds like the Democrats have the 51 votes needed to pass the bill.

With the president's veto imminent, Democrats will have to prepare for the reality that they may lose this battle over the Iraq war one last time. Failing to change the bill to support the president's desires, as much as I don't want to change the bill to fit his wants and needs, will mean no funding for the troops and will lead to a sudden, unprepared withdrawal from Iraq which will only exacerbate the Republican arguments; that is assuming he even withdraws the troops at all and doesn't decide to leave them there as sitting ducks for the Iraqi insurgency and use them as a political tool against the Democrats.

It's a fine line the Democrats walk here, but the public is on their side. 60% of the country supports the Democrats' bill, while only 33% support the President's approach.

My prediction is the Democrats give in to the president one last time, but reiterate to the President that this WILL BE the last time. Voters snarl at the Democrats for not being tough enough, but it gives them another battling cry and brings Bush down even further. Another six months of being tough on the president to find a way out and when the next funding bill comes up for a vote, closer to the 2008 elections, we may have a different story.

Meanwhile, they investigate the bad ethics and corruption inside the administration and take the eye off their lack of power over the war.

Clinton, Giuliani Lead In New York

Is this REALLY shocking news?

This is the main reason why I vehemently opposed moving the state's primary to February 5th. It's a foregone conclusion who will win the primaries in New York, even if their leads nationally do falter.

An interesting note is that America's Mayor is trailing the Carpetbagger by 12 points statewide in the general election. What's amazing is that in 2000 Giuliani was seen as the only Republican who can easily beat Clinton for Danny Moynihan's Senate seat...now, he can't even beat her in a national election in New York.

Just an indication of how blue the Empire State has become.

Also interesting; Governor Spitzer's popularity appears to be tumbling. That's what happens when you put elderly women in TV commercials blaming the governor for their endless suffering and lost will to live.

Special Election News

There are a slew of special elections tomorrow on Long Island and Staten Island for three open State Assembly seats and a Nassau County Legislature seat.

on Long Island;

North Hempstead Town Clerk Michelle Schmiel, a Democrat from Great Neck, will face Republican Ryan DeCicco for the State Assembly seat of Tom DiNapoli, who resigned to become State Comptroller last month.

North Hempstead Town Board member Wayne Wink of Roslyn will face Louis Chisari of New Hyde Park for the Nassau County Legislature seat of Craig Johnson, who won election to the State Senate last month.

on Staten Island;

In the race to succeed the late John Lavelle in the State Assembly, Democrat Matthew Titone, the Democratic candidate for the 24th State Senate seat against Andrew Lanza last year is running against Republican Rose Margarella and the Independence Party nominee Kelvin Alexander

In the heavily Republican state assembly seat of now NYC Councilman Vincent Ignizio, Democrats have nominated John Mulia, who also received the Conservative and Right To Life party nominations, a rare event. Republicans nominated Lou Tobacco.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

More Of This Is What Is Needed

This is good.

The reason the war in Iraq has been a bungling failure is not because the troops aren't fighting hard enough or the people aren't supportive enough...but because the leadership running the show did not and still does not understand the political situation in the Middle East and are clueless on what the culture there is like.

Until prominent Islamic figures, like sheiks, endorse the idea of democracy, it will never happen there.

Still, while I think it's a good sign to see popular religious figures trying to turn the populace against the insurgency and attempt to end the civil war, even if it succeeds, what is the likelihood these sheiks are going to decide to embrace a secular democracy supportive of Israel and western culture instead of a Saudi Arabia/Iran type state?

My guess is slim, but it would be good to end the civil war so we can bring our troops home!

Disgraceful

How the HELL does this happen?

You know, it just goes to show you how MESSED up this country is. You die in the worst attack on the American mainland since the War of 1812 and where do you end up? In the left lane of the Cross Bronx Expressway.

Unfreakinbelievable!

Does Thou Speak The “I” Word?

The left wing and the people who most despise George W. Bush have been saying it for almost four years or more now. It has been dismissed as a stupid idea with no reason to do it except that they just plain don't like the man, but with scandal after scandal erupting out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and its offshoot offices, could that "I" word politicians dare not speak actually be something that may come to be in the near future?

Impeachment; only the left wing of the Democratic party, politicians like Maxine Waters of California or Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, have spoken about it, but today one very important member of Congress talk about the "I" word…Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska;

"Any president who says, I don't care, or I will not respond to what the people of this country are saying about Iraq or anything else, or I don't care what the Congress does, I am going to proceed — if a president really believes that, then there are — what I was pointing out, there are ways to deal with that,"

Impeachment is only possible when it became clear the President had broken the law, or abused his power (which is also breaking the law.) Currently, there is no concrete evidence the President has broken the law, but, as Hagel said, if he continues on a path where he ignores Congress and everyone else, he will be seen as a man who abuses power and what he is admitting is…impeachment is a possibility, and he can't really count on his own party for support. Many of them have beef with him as well.

Take the recent imprisonment of several border control agents in Texas. After shooting an illegal immigrant drug smuggler, they were sent to prison for 10 years for lying about it, while the smuggler was set free, as he was given immunity. Many border-area Republicans calling for the agents to be pardoned, such as Dana Rohrabacher of California, have openly said if anything was to happen to the border control agents in prison, they would seek to impeach him. Even those in his party are beginning to distance themselves from the President.

While an impeachment is highly unlikely, even with a Democratic Congress (Bill Clinton was impeached, but not removed from office by a Republican Senate), it is still possible and if the President has does something that REALLY warrants impeachment, with his unpopularity, upcoming elections and depending on the seriousness of the situation, I'm not even sure the Republicans would defend the man.

Still, I'd kind of rather see President Bush just serve out his term that deal with even ONE day with a President Dick Cheney.

*shudders*



Gonzales Running Out Friends

The Attorney General is coming closer to being alone in the political world.

Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) and Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) both joined the chorus of those who are quickly losing faith in Gonzales;

Specter;

“We have to have an attorney general who is candid and truthful. And if we find out he’s not been candid and truthful, that’s a very compelling reason for him not to stay on."

Hagel;
"Gonzales does have a credibility problem. ... We govern with one currency, and that’s trust. And that trust is all important. And when you lose or debase that currency, then you can’t govern. And I think he’s going to have some difficulties."
Meanwhile, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) joined other Democrats in calling for Gonzales to resign. Two of the fired prosecutors came from California

Feinstein;
“I believe he should step down, and I don’t like saying this. This is not my natural personality at all. But I think the nation is not well served by this. I think we need to get at the bottom of why these resignations were made, who ordered them, and what the strategy was.”

Gonzales still has the support of one Republican senator, Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

UPDATE: Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) is beginning to lose some faith in the Attorney General, commenting that Gonzales has been "wounded";

Graham;
"He has said some things that just don't add up,"

Those Horrible Bully Democrats

President Bush's weekly radio address sounded more like a spoiled brat who was whining to his mommy and daddy that he is not getting his way.

In a nutshell, he whined about how the Democrats are picking on him, his poor defenseless Attorney General and his so-called mission to victory in Iraq. Those damn bullies in Congress won't stop picking on poor Georgie.

Nobody feels bad for you Bush. You led us into a war under false circumstances, led us to believe you knew what you were doing when you didn't. Your allow your staff to set national policy and make decisions you should be making. You made us believe you were an great leader five and a half years ago, only to abuse the trust we gave you. Nobody feels bad for you. Karma is a bitch, ain't it.

You know what's funny George? You think of yourself as a strong Texas cowboy, but you're being kicked around by a 65 year-old Italian-American Grandma from San Francisco.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Cheney's Weekly Sprewing Of Crap

Yes, Dick Cheney is at it again...once again believing he is the most American, most Patriotic of all people

This time he's not attack people, or a party, or even a certain politician...he's attacking the entire legislative branch...the entire branch of government doesn't support the troops.

According to him;

Cheney called it a myth that "one can support the troops without giving them the tools and reinforcements they need to carry out their mission."

And you can only do that by following HIS orders. What HE believes is the final say on what the troops need. Dick, in case you missed it, the bill does give the troops the tools and reinforcements they need to carry out...whatever it is you want them to carry out. All it does is tell the president he has a year or so to carry it out

And quite frankly, they're being generous...you said in 2003, this would take "weeks, not months." Well now you got months, so get working.

A New Democratic Era: Importance of 2008

I said earlier that we would probably have to wait until after 2008 to see if the Democratic majority sticks and officially puts an end to the 26 year-old conservative era. I mean that more than just if a Democrat gets elected President in 2008, but the entire election in general.

First, it's important to realize the Republicans have the upper hand in 2007 elections. Three gubernatorial races are to be held, all in red states. Only Kentucky looks to be really competitive. Republicans have a huge chance for a pickup in Louisiana and look safe to reelect Haley Barbour in Mississippi. Kentucky really depends on the GOP primary, and even then, it appears to be a tossup.

In 2008, however, everything is up for grabs, the entire House, many of the most competitive Senate races, a slew of competitive gubernatorial races, and of course the crème de la crème, the White House.

Democrats, barring any major mishap, will probably keep their House majority. They will likely lose a few seats and gain a few they didn't gain in 2006. The important thing about the 2008 House Races is what will happen to the Democrats elected in Republican-leaning districts. Many of these Democrats are rather moderate to conservative and play well to Republicans in their district, but 2006 ushered in a whole gang of progressive, liberal Democrats in districts Bush won. Democratic freshmen, like Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire, John Hall of New York, Zack Space of Ohio, Steve Kagen of Wisconsin, Ciro Rodriguez of Texas, Nancy Boyda of Kansas, Harry Mitchell of Arizona and Jerry McNerney of California all have voting records in their first months much farther to the left of their predecessors and sit in districts that have leaned Republican in the past. Their survival, coupled with how the Democratic nominee for President plays in their districts, may help judge the future of the Democratic majority and may confirm if there is in fact a New Democratic Era. Also in question is the survival of GOP House members who barely made it through last November. Republicans like Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania, Christopher Shays of Connecticut, Jim Walsh, Peter King, and Randy Kuhl of New York, Mike Ferguson, Jim Saxton, and Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey, Mike Castle of Delaware, Deborah Pryce and Jean Schmidt of Ohio, Robin Hayes of North Carolina, Vern Buchanan of Florida, Heather Wilson of New Mexico, Peter Roskam of Illinois, Barbara Cubin of Wyoming, and Dave Reichert of Washington all sit in seats that either lean Democratic and/or were nearly taken by the Democrats in 2006. These incumbents are going to be the Democrats' biggest targets in 2006 and many are facing the same competitive Democrats they barely defeated this past year. Some of these Republicans may retire, but if many of the aforementioned Republicans do not survive reelection campaigns in 2008, it could be a bright neon sign that the Republicans are looking at a long minority presence.

The Presidential race steers all else. A strong Democratic candidate may very well pull off a Democratic version of 1980, pulling many of the mentioned GOP House seats, competitive Senate races, such as the ones in Maine, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Virginia and possibly North Carolina, Texas and Oklahoma, while defending their potentially competitive seats in Louisiana, Arkansas, Montana, and South Dakota . Democrats can also use the nominee's coattails to defeat Republican governors in Missouri, Indiana and Vermont who may face close races, and protect their incumbent Governors (or open seats,) in Washington State, Delaware, North Carolina and West Virginia.

Rahm Emanuel was right when he said it is important the Democrats do not blow it in 2008. Their majority is still fragile and young and has the potential to reformat itself into a generation-long majority if they choose the right people with the right ideas that appeal to the population as a whole, (think Ronald Reagan here.)

If not, their majority might be no more than a short-lived Indian summer, but right now, the wind is with the Democrats, they just need to raise the sail right.


A Bush Denied!

This is so funny

Talk about getting punched in the gut...this has to be painful for Jeb Bush, assuming he even cares.

At least we know, whether they turned him down for the right reasons or not, they do THINK about who they're handing honorary degrees to before they actually hand them out.

A New Democratic Era.

It was only a few years ago when it seemed the Democratic Party was on the brink of complete collapse. Former Senator Zell Miller (D-Georgia) said in 2004 he believed the Democrats were going the way of the Whigs.

My, how times have changed.

Pew research now says 50% of the country identifies itself as Democratic or leaning toward the Democratic Party, while only 35% say the same about the Republicans. That differs drastically from 2002 when the two parties were tied in voter identification.

If this is in fact true, the Democratic Party has regain an absolute majority again, putting an end to the Conservative majority that has existed since before I was even born, going back to Ronald Reagan's 1980 election.

Does this mean the beginning of a new Democratic majority that will itself last as long, maybe longer?

We may have to wait until 2008 to find that out, but early signs look promising for Democrats. The population appears to be less socially conservative, fiscally conservative, and hawkish. They appear to be adapting more liberal ideas on the economy and on certain social issues. All this plays for a Democratic majority.

If this continues, Republicans like Rudy Giuliani are the only ones who will be competitive nationwide.

LIAR!

Looks like Attorney General Gonzales has been caught with his pants down.

Earlier, the Attorney General admitted that he did not know any of this was going on. Now, it appears he not only knew what was going on…he himself authorized it!

No wonder the President doesn't want his staff to testify under oath, they lie like its part of the job description.

I agree with Harry Reid; Gonzales' days are numbered



Friday, March 23, 2007

The Lighter Side: Titanic Redux?

Starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio...
no, not Titanic
not even Titanic Part II

Jack and Rose are reuniting for a film version of the classic Robert Yates novel "Revolutionary Road" directed by Sam Mendes. Winslet and DiCaprio will play April and Frank Wheeler for those of you who know the novel

Pork, Yuck

I, for one, am not happy the emergency supplemental bill was loaded with pork by the Democratic majority. I understand why they did and I understand that's the way it's always done, but I don't like pork and the American people don't like pork.

They may have scored a victory in passing this bill, but the fact that they couldn't do it without loading it with more pork than an Easter buffet causes them to lose points in my book.

Victory For The People

The emergency supplemental bill pass the House 218-212. Pelosi got the votes she needed.

Two Republicans voted for the bill, both staunchly anti-war;
Walter Jones (R-North Carolina)
Wayne Gilchrest (R-Maryland)

14 Democrats voted against the bill, most because it doesn't go far enough. Members of the Out Of Iraq caucus, but some were more conservative hawkish Democrats.

Those Democrats who voted NO because they want the war to end now;

Maxine Waters (D-California)
Diane Watson (D-California)
Lynn Woolsey (D-California)
Barbara Lee (D-California)
Michael McNulty (D-New York)
John Lewis (D-Georgia)
Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio)

The others;
Jim Marshall (D-Georgia)
Jim Matheson (D-Utah)
Dan Boren (D-Oklahoma)
John Barrow (D-Georgia)
Gene Taylor (D-Mississippi)
Lincoln Davis (D-Tennessee)
Michael Michaud (D-Maine)

Marshall, Matheson, Boren, Barrow, Taylor and Davis I can understand. They sit in districts where, even if the war is unpopular, so is cutting the funds...Michaud I don't understand, I haven't foud any rational for his vote on his website.

Pete Stark (D-California) voted present

Interestingly, many Democrats in heavily Republican districts supported the bill, definitely risking their hides to do what the people wanted;

Chet Edwards (D-Texas), President Bush's own Congressman
Nick Lampson (D-Texas),
Earl Pomeroy (D-North Dakota)
Ike Skelton (D-Missouri)
Stephanie Herseth (D-South Dakota)
Brad Ellsworth (D-Indiana)
Chris Carney (D-Pennsylvania)
Baron Hill (D-Indiana)
Rick Boucher (D-Virginia)
Nancy Boyda (D-Kansas)
Ben Chandler (D-Kentucky)
Tim Holden (D-Pennsylvania)
Bud Cramer (D-Alabama)
Allan Mollohan (D-West Virginia)
Collin Petterson (D-Minnesota)
John Salazar (D-Colorado)
John Spratt (D-South Carolina)
Melissa Bean (D-Illinois)
Charlie Melancon (D-Louisiana)
Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana)
Bart Gordon (D-Tennessee)
Steve Kagen (D-Wisconsin)
Dennis Moore (D-Kansas)

Also, all 31 freshman Democrats voted for the bill, some listed above, as did a large number of the Blue Dogs.

CT-04 Richter Out, Meet Jim Himes

Former New York Rangers goalie Mike Richter will not run agaist the only Republican in New England, Chris Shays.

Richter was widely seen as a potential candidate in the district where the Rangers are a popular team...only one problem, he didn't live in the district.

Enter this guy;



Already running for the seat is Former Greenwich Town Democratic Committee chairman Jim Himes. Himes, a resident of Cos-Cob, is an activist for low-income housing and fighting poverty. While this is not an issue through most of the Connecticut 4th, it is an issue in Bridgeport, where high voter turnout could easily unseat Shays.
In 2006, Shays survived largely because he won the entire district minus five towns; Stamford, Norwalk, Westport, Bridgeport and Weston, but he only won by a little over 2%...better turnout in Bridgeport and Stamford could very well swamp Shays, and Himes has a pretty good resume to connect with those voters.




Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Road to 218

If the Democrats manage to pull off a victory with the supplemental bill, it would be a HUGE victory, not only for them, but for voters in general who voted for change last November, even though it allocates more money for a war they want to end.

It is no secret that a majority of Americans want the war in Iraq to end one way or another, and it's no secret that is also true of Congress. However, Congress, like the American people are divided on how to do it. Some say cut the funds, some say cut only some and some say find a way to force the President to bring the troops home without cutting their funds.

I, for one, feel that nothing will coerce this President to bring the troops home and there is nothing Congress can do to force the President to end the war, so therefore Congress needs to take a stand and show the people they are, at the very least, trying to stop the war. They can cut the funds, but will that guarantee the President will bring the troops home? Or will it guarantee that he will leave them there unprotected and unprepared? That is a risk I'm not sure I'd like to take. I don't trust this administration enough to feel comfortable with that. I don't trust them enough to think he won't leave our brothers and sisters in the middle of a civil war without any armor or ammunition, and until I'm convinced otherwise, I will continue to feel that way.

It seems the problems for the Democrats are from the left. Sure, there are a few on the right, namely Jim Marshall of Georgia or Gene Taylor of Mississippi who are probably going to oppose any attempt to end the war, but it seems that the main problem comes from the left. Those anti-war Democrats did not vote for funding the war during the Republican-controlled Congress and do not want to set a date for withdrawal that is a year away and that the President can easily ignore. These Democrats are who Speaker Pelosi are trying to bring to her side this week. So far, she's gotten some. The following Democrats, who initially opposed the bill, are jumping on-board…albeit reluctantly;

Barbara Lee (D-California)

Lynn Woolsey (D-California)

Maxine Waters (D-California)

Diane Watson (D-California)

Zoe Lofgren (D-California)

Lois Capps (D-California)

Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts)

John Olver (D-Massachusetts)

Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland)

Albert Wynn (D-Maryland)

Edolphus Towns (D-New York)

Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon)

Jim McDermott (D-Washington)

Rush Holt (D-New Jersey)

Pelosi also scored a victory in convincing some of the new freshman to vote for the bill. Among them are Carol Shea-Porter (D-New Hampshire). Shea-Porter won a shocking victory due mainly to her staunch anti-war stance. She is voting for the bill despite, what she admits, is strong opposition from her constituents.

Nevertheless, the people don't realize exactly how little power Congress had to end this war. They don't realize how dangerous cutting the funding would be for the troops because it wouldn't exactly force Bush to bring them home. They don't 100% realize what the full powers of Congress are. Cutting the funds may be a last resort, but I'm not comfortable with taking my chances on that just yet. The President is going to have to feel the pressure eventually, and if he doesn't…we bite the bullet and cut funding and deal with the consequences should they come about. If anyone can give me a good explanation as to how cutting the funding will bring the troops home, I'll recant my statement and support it 100%.

But first, Pelosi needs to get to 218.


Strength and Bravery

If there was ever any doubt that John Edwards was a strong, brave man, it was eliminated today.

If you turn off the sound at today's news conference, you would never be able to tell that it was about bad news. The way John and Elizabeth Edwards conducted the press conference, it almost seemed as if they were talking to members of their own family or a group of friends. They made us feel confident and optimistic of Mrs. Edwards' condition. It was easy to picture a President Edwards speaking to a nervous nation in the event of natural disaster or national calamity, should there ever be one. I always thought John Edwards' leadership ability was underestimated, and I wasn't the least bit surprised by their actions at today's press conference.

Some may argue that Edwards is being selfish or cares more about political ambition that his own family, but in the eyes of Elizabeth, John's campaign is just as if he was a construction worker going to the job site everyday or a store owner opening and closing his store. This is the life they signed up for. Elizabeth said it wonderfully when she said we need to get this election right and she believes her husband is the right choice and while that is debatable, you have to admire her passion. This is not about her husband's ambition; this is about the country, the nation. Some may say family comes first, but these people are not politicians (at least the good politicians,) the people who dedicate their lives to serve their country. Some serve in the military, others in public office, many in both, this is John's dedication…to his country. I am sure John would have dropped out of this race without a blink of an eye if Elizabeth had asked him too, and I personally believe John thought about it even after Elizabeth told him to go on.

Will he win? I think he still has a chance. If he does well in Iowa, he can easily overtake Clinton and Obama, who by the way both showed class today by putting get-well messages to Elizabeth Edwards on the front page of their websites. If not during the primary, I'm sure his wife's condition would become an issue in the general election. I'd love to see Ann Coulter's face now; I'm sure she'd feel terrible if she had an ounce of empathy in her heartless body.

If Senator Edwards and his wife can stare Stage IV cancer in the eyes, laugh, and fight it with every ounce of their being, imagine what he would do with terrorists. He is far from a defeatist, cut and run liberal pacifist, he is a brave, courageous, strong and selfless leader.


God Bless You Mrs. Edwards

Cancer is a pandemic that all of us know to well. We all have mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, wives, husbands, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and other people close to us who have survived or succumbed to cancer.

Cancer is an equal opportunity infector. It can affect the rich and the poor, the black and the white, Republicans and Democrats.

Elizabeth Edwards is another face, joining the millions upon millions of others who have been affected by this disease.

CO-Sen: McInnis Out, Dems Sittin' Pretty

Former Congressman Scott McInnis is dropping out of the Colorado Senate Race next year. McInnis' exit from the race is a huge blow to the GOP's chances of holding the seat being vacated by Wayne Allard.

Colorado Republicans are looking toward former Congressman Bob Schaeffer, who took Allard's House seat when he was elected to the Senate in 1996, or Attorney General John Suthers, who replaced former Democratic AG Ken Salazar, currently Colorado's other Senator.

McInnis, a moderate who represented the state's largest Congressional District, the 3rd district (currently held by Democrat John Salazar, Ken's brother) was considered the most electable Republican statewide. Democrats have been on an uptick in the state since 2004, when Democrat Ken Salazar won the US Senate seat, and John won McInnis' House seat, the party captured the state legislature and John Kerry received a rather surprising 47% of the vote in the state. Last year, Democrat Bill Ritter handily defeated Republican Bob Beauprez in the Governor's Race, Democrats increased their majority in the state legislature and won Beauprez's House seat in the Denver suburbs.

To add fuel to the fire for the GOP, Democrats have united behind Boulder-area Congressman Mark Udall, one of the most popular Democrats in the state, for the seat. That, topped with the fact Denver is the site of the 2008 Democratic National Convention and the fact Colorado may very well be a swing state, make problems worse for the GOP here. (Expect a close race for the state's 4th Congressional district between Republican incumbent Marilyn Musgrave and new Democrat Eric Eindless, who ran as an Independent in 2006 and effectively saved Musgrave by taking away enough Democratic votes to prevent her defeat.)

Udall could very well slide to victory here next year and help Democrats capture a state where at the beginning of the decade, they were considered a joke of a party. Once again, another reason why the Democrats need very much to nominate a great candidate and not a polarizing party hack.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Long Island Village Elections

Patti Ann McDonald was elected Mayor of the village of Malverne on Long Island yesterday. She is wife of Steven McDonald, the former New York City Police Officer who was shot and paralyzed in 1986 in Central Park and subsequently became a non-violence activist. She defeated incumbent mayor Anthony Panzarella by a wide margin in Tuesday's local elections.

It's the third Tuesday in March in an odd year...so that means it's village election time on Long Island. This year's headline is McDonald's victory. Not much happened elsewhere, but nevertheless, for those who are interested, here are some of the results;

-David Nyce was elected Mayor of Greenport on the east end
-Bellerose mayor Donna Sherrer was reelected
-In Stewart Manor, voters approved funding to renovate the town's community pool, the oldest on Long Island
-Attorney Brian Curran will be the new Mayor of Lynbrook
-Edward Cahill will continue to be Mayor of Valley Stream
-Mineola Mayor Jack Martins was reelected, despite public opposition to his proposal to form a village police department.
-Stay-at-home mom Barbara Donno defeated Thomas O'Malley to become Mayor of Plandome Manor.
-Incumbent Nancy Zolezzi won a tight three-way race for Mayor of East Williston.
-Incumbent John Durkin was reelected Mayor of Roslyn
-In the village of Old Field, the tiny village of less than 1,000 on the north shore of Suffolk County near Port Jefferson, a political earthquake occured when the village's two trustees were ousted by political novices.

The full story and results here

Happy Spring!

It has just occured to me that today was the first full day of Spring. You really couldn't tell as it was 35 degrees and there's snow on the ground here in Queens, New York.

Nevertheless, tomorrow's highs are expected to reach into the low 60's and there's only 10 days left until April, so perhaps it is time to catch Spring Fever. It's only a matter of time before the cherry tree across the street in the neighbor's yard looks like this one.

HAPPY SPRING!

If They Have Nothing To Hide…Call Congress’ Bluff

The White House is obviously up against a wall, and they have two options; fight back mercilessly or slide down the wall and make passionate love with the Democrats. For the sake of their hawkish, fascist base, they're going to do the former. They are defending themselves by saying that despite the fact THEY are being investigated for unethical practices, the investigation should be on their terms. Is that how we do things? When police suspect a person has broken the law, do the cops investigate on their suspects' terms? No. So why shouldn't Congress reject investigating on the President terms?

Congress is an equal branch of government for this very reason, so that the other branches do not abuse their power. What was done here by the Executive Branch, in firing federal prosecutors for political reasons, is a blatant abuse of power.

It is obvious the White House has something to hide here, because if they didn't, they wouldn't be fighting the Democrats so hard to have them do this the President's way. If the White House has nothing to hide, if they are certain that everything is on the up and up, then the President should trust that this will blow up in the Democrats' face. Send your staff to speak under oath and if nothing was done wrong, then the American people will see that the Democrats were blowing this whole thing out of proportion to try to drag the name of an unpopular President through the mud. It is no secret the majority of Americans would like to see Bush pushed around a little by Congress.

Popular opinion is not on the side of the President. Most believe the firing were politically motivated, probably because very few would be surprised to hear the Bush Administration would do something like that, and there's not exactly much trust in the Executive Branch either anymore, which makes what Tony Snow said even more laughable;

"Do they want the truth; of course they're going to get the truth."

Well, yes Tony they want the truth, but your boss and everyone who walks in the west wing of the White House hasn't exactly had the most positive relationship with the truth. Democrats in Congress cannot trust that the President will, in good will, send his staff to the Hill and tell them the honest truth. That's why people are forced to swear an oath; because if they do lie, they will be punished for it. You really expect the people of the United States to believe Karl Rove will not lie if given the chance? You really expect ANYONE who is under investigation to not lie, even when given to the chance to.

Stop playing the American people for fools Mr. President. You want to gain our trust back, prove to us that you should be trusted and not the Democrats, whom we've just elected, in Congress. Show us you are the honest one. Prove to us that the Democrats are just making a mountain out of a mole hill. If not, do not expect the people to be on your side and do not expect to win this battle with Congress.

You've lost the people…and the fact that John Conyers is the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee should be proof enough that you've lost the people.

Democrats Call Bush's Bluff

Democrats in the House of Representatives called the President's Bluff, using their Constitutional Power to show the dictator-wannabe that they are in fact an EQUAL branch of government.

The Judiciary Subcommitte approved the issuing of subpoenas. Now it is up the full Judiciary Committee to issue the subpoenas that will force Karl Rove and Harriet Miers, among others, to appear before the committe and testify UNDER OATH.

Meanwhile, the Senate has repealed the subsection of the PATRIOT Act they seemed the have missed; the part that allowed the Executive Branch to circumvent them and replace US Attorneys without Senate confirmation. It is pretty clear that if that stipulation did not exist, this whole firing scandal never would've happened.

The vote was 94-2 with two Republican dissenting; Senator Kit Bond (R-Missouri) and Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska). I'd like to know what Hagel was thinking.

Et Tu. New York?

The New York State Senate overwhelmingly approved moving the New York Presidential Primary to February 5th.

New York follows California in moving its primary up. Florida and New Jersey are also expected to move their primaries up.

The vote in the Republican-controlled State Senate was nearly unanimous, with only one Senator voting no; Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-Bronx) who explained her reasoning as "the winter months are just more difficult to get voters out."

The rationale for moving the primary up is to provide New Yorkers with an early choice in race, as the nominee may already be pretty much decided by the time New York votes, but I don't think New Yorkers really have a choice at all. The frontrunners on both sides are New Yorkers and pretty much have a lock on their home state, so what difference does it make if New York moves the primary up or not. Essentially what New York is doing is handing Hillary and Rudy the nominations as an early win in their home state will help them greatly.

This move does not help anybody except Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. Early primaries TAKE AWAY choices, as the candidates with name recognition and the money to buy commercials have the advantage. Rudy and Hillary have both. Both parties in New York are in agreement for once because Republicans want Rudy to be the nominee and help revive the dying New York GOP, and Democrats want Hillary to be their nominee because she's the favorite daughter. Obama, Edwards, Romney, McCain, Richardson, Hunter, Thompson, Biden and Dodd will never have a chance in the Empire State.

The Democrats are behind this plan too, as can be seen by the State Senate vote. The bill will easily sail through the State Assembly and Governor Spitzer will sign it effectively handing the White House to either an overrated mediocre mayor or a pandering wishy-washy Senator.


 


 


 


 

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bush To Congress; I Don't Have To Listen To You

You can't blame George Bush...he's not used to having Congress checking his power. He used to be treated like a dictator...whatever he wants, he gets. This is all new to him.

You know he's hit rock bottom when his only defense against the Democrats in Congress calling his staff to testify at the hill is that they are trying to gain political points, that it is a partisan hit job. Essentially he's stating; "The Democrats are using the fact that I am immensely unpopular for their own gain."

Still, Congress has the authority to investigate what they may believe to be illegal or unethical events in the Executive Branch. They use that authority to their discretion with the knowledge that if it is abused, it will cause a change to who controls the Legislative Branch. The Republicans did not use that power at all, which in part is the reason they're the minority party right now. If the Democrats abuse the power, they may go the way of the Republicans.

This is not, however, an abuse of power. Congressional Democrats have reason to believe an offshoot of the Executive Branch (the Justice Department,) made an unethical decision to fire federal prosecutors for political reasons. While this is not an illegal offense, it is an unethical one and Congress had the complete authority and in my opinion, the responsibility, to investigate it and make sure nothing unethical happened or those who did commit a violations of ethics.

It is not reasonable for a person involved in a possible ethics violation and possible abuse of power to come to the Hill and testify not under oath. The oath is what makes sure the truth is told, because to lie under oath is to end up like Scooter Libby. Congress needs to oath to make sure they are getting truthful testimony. The President would never accept less from Congress, so Congress shouldn't expect less from the President.

By acting like he's too good to talk to Congress, the President is playing to what's left of his base; those Americans who would support Bush if he had Democratic leaders arrested, tortured, and paraded around Washington in chains; these people who think Congress doesn't have a lick of power in the country and Bush is the end all, be all of the American government. These Republicans, and I say Republicans cause if they weren't a part of that party before, they sure are now, are dangerous to democracy, and they hold little to no power in national politics or in the voting population.

Bush is not going to win this argument in the courts; He may win the argument among the minority of the populace who think he is being abused by the Democratic Congress, but the country voted in November for a Congress willing to check the out-of-control power of the President and that's exactly what they are doing. The people are getting what they voted for.

From The Good People of Connecticut...

I know it's probably fake, but it's something you wouldn't be surprised to see in the state of Connecticut, especially if you're crossing out of Massachusetts.

Still, it's quite a burden for the people of Connecticut to bear...not to mention being the home state of Laura Ingraham, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and Ann Coulter. (Well Coulter was born in New York, so we'll take the blame for that.)

I mean geez...We should be apologizing to Connecticut. You know what? You're forgiven. Besides, Connecticut is home to the closest Dairy Queen to my house...it's amazing what one Brownie Earthquake will forgive.

Smart

I think the Apple/Clinton Ad is smart, whoever put it out. The point it makes to me is "There is more to the Democratic Party than Hillary Clinton."

There is much more.

Not Everyone In Utah...

President Bush won 71% of the vote in Utah on 2004...one vote he didn't get was that of Rocky Anderson, the Mayor of Salt Lake City.

A Democrat, Anderson is calling for the impeachment of the President.

Despite his utter unpopularity nationwide, Utah is one of the few states (Idaho and Wyoming being the other,) where Bush's approval rating has never been lower than his disapproval. In Salt Lake City, however, Bush is not necessarily all that popular. His popularity exists mainly only in the Salt Lake City suburbs and in rural Utah, (which make up the vast majority of the state's population.)

Still, Dubya can't be too please when a prominent Utah politician calls for his impeachment.

Monday, March 19, 2007

For Long Years: Loose The Battle, But Not The War

I keep hearing that the war in Iraq is only a small sliver of the so called larger War on Terrorism (which, because of the lack of time, I will refer to whatever it is we are doing to eradicate Al-Qaeda), yet a loss in Iraq would mean victory for the terrorists. Well, if Iraq is only a small subsection of the War on Terrorism, then isn't the war in Iraq just a battle in the War on Terrorism?

In wars, there are battles...and, to my knowledge, the United States has never gone undefeated in battle in wars. We've always lost a battle or two in a war we later won. The case is also true elsewhere.

Take Dunkirk...when the British retreated from the European mainland at Dunkirk, did that end the Second World War? Were the Nazis victorious then? No. They had a small moment of victory, but later lost the war. It is theorized that had the British stayed in Dunkirk and fought the full force of the Germans, they would've been decimated, leaving the home island vulnerable to the inevitable German attack and perhaps destroying morale so bad, Churchill's government could have collapsed with one willing to surrender. Yet the British abandoned Dunkirk, fleeing across the Channel to fight another day...and fight they did, in the next battle, they successfully defended their homeland against all odds.

The American Revolution wasn't an easy victory for the Americans...in fact, it was very nearly a defeat. The Americans lost at Bunker Hill, the Battle of Long Island leaving the British to take New York City, the British held Philadelphia while the Americans suffered at Valley Forge. It was only after some quick thinking and sly moves by General Washington and support from Britain's European enemies that we were able to make some real ground. Victories at Cowpens in South Carolina, Saratoga in New York and Princeton in New Jersey were supplemented with losses at Savannah, Georgia, Charleston, South Carolina, Groton, Connecticut and Guilford Court House in North Carolina.

Even during the War of 1812, the British had come so close to defeating the Americans, they had actually successfully captured our capital and burned it to the ground. We couldn't defend our capital, well, then we must be weak, right? WRONG! We drove the British out, it just took time and we had to concede some defeat, including the loss of our capital city, before we can salvage enough of a victory to drive the British back into Canada.

The American Civil War was a disaster for the Union for a good long while. The Union was forced to accept losses at Bull Run in Manassas, Virginia and allowed the Confederate army to reach Southern Pennsylvania before they were able to turn the war around. Bull Run was especially hard to stomach as it was a loss for the Union less then 30 miles outside the borders of their capital city. Can you imagine surrendering Annapolis to Osama Bin Laden?

Back to World War II, our long war against the Japanese didn't go without our losses. MacArthur was forced to surrender the Philippines to the Japanese. (Britain was forced to give up Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore and the Netherlands surrendered Indonesia.) Focusing on the Philippines would have required too much single attention by the American forces. Giving up in the Philippines allowed us to focus on other areas of the Pacific theater. We did, shortly after, defeat the Japanese at Midway and successfully island hopped our way back to the archipelago two years later.

The Americans have suffered losses in wars before, but it has never broke our resolve to win one. It is in obsessing over a battle in a war, that's when we loss the war. Perhaps it is time to look at Iraq has a mere battle in the larger war. Perhaps Iraq is like Dunkirk, or the Philippines, or Bunker Hill, or Bull Run.

I always had a motto: Even the Boston Celtics lost the occasional game in the 1960's.

Four Long Years: The Cost

CNN posted on their website some figures from the Iraq war;

For the United States:
3,220 Killed (2,611 in combat, 609 in non-hostile)
24,042 wounded in action

As of February 7;
by branch of military;
2,113 killed, 15,129 wounded from the US Army
68 killed, 522 wounded from the US Navy
879 killed, 7,205 wounded from the US Marines
31 killed, 264 wounded from the US Air Froce
1 killed from the Coast Guard

Fatalities by race;
2,298 Whites
332 Hispanics
299 African-American
56 Asian

by age;
932 of those killed were under the age of 22 (that's a pluarity)
732 killed between the ages of 22-24
745 killed between the ages of 25-30
316 killed between the ages of 31-35
366 killed were over te age of 35

by gender;
3.024 males
67 females

Four Long Years: The Public's Realization Of A Mistake

It shouldn't be surprising the Iraq war was so popular four years ago when bombs started falling on Baghdad. It shouldn't be surprising that we were easily duped by a White House hell bent on building a castle in the sky. It shouldn't be surprising that we overlooked a rush into war that was disorganized and cockeyed. We were angry.

I had always said the only reason we got into Iraq was because we were still angry. All of us, me included. Anger boils the blood as it closes the mind. It makes us vulnerable to coercion. We were attacked, we were angry. All we wanted to see was somebody be punished and since we couldn't drag Osama Bin Laden through the streets of Manhattan in a perp walk, blowing up Baghdad will have to do. Since bombs go off among the minarets of mosques will do us fine, so President Bush didn't have to work hard to convince us Saddam Hussein was a real threat...and so he didn't.

Now our anger is back...this time pointed toward the man who took advantage of his own people's vulnerability. While I feel the fact the war isn't going as planned is a reason why the President's popularity has plummeted to about as high as diaper rash. I do think that, deep inside, the people know they were taken for fools and the man they trusted with keeping them safe and sound post 9/11 threw them into an unwinnable war that has only made the situation worse.

That, my friends, is where I think the President has gone wrong...and I don't think that will be solved until at least January 21st, 2009.

Four Long Years: A Dose Of Truth


Remember this guy?
That's Tariq Aziz, Iraq's former foreign minister and a right hand man of Saddam Hussein up until the fall of the regime in 2003.
Typical Muslim terrorist! Right?
ACTUALLY, Tariq Aziz isn't a Muslim fundamentalist terrorist, he's not even Muslim. Aziz is a Chaldean Catholic, an Arab offshort of the Roman Catholic Church.
Yes, Aziz, one of the Saddam Hussein most trusted friends and one of America's worst enemies prays in a church, believes Jesus is the son of God, celebrates Christmas and Easter, and probably had a statue of the Virgin Mary in his palace.
More proof that our war against Islamic fundamentalism was misplaced. Had Saddam been an Islamic fundamentalist, Christians like Aziz would not be allowed to even live freely to say nothing about becoming one of the most senior members of the Iraqi government.
Just a dose of the truth.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

If Not Marriage, Then...

The defense that the opposition to gay marriage brings to the table is tradition; that calling same-sex marriage by the name marriage would deter from thousands of years of tradition and cause an earthshaking effect on culture and society.

So what if we, for now, don't call it marriage, what if we ease same-sex partnership rights into the public eye little by little until it become obvious that denying them the term marriage is stupidity.

Society can't change overnight, it takes time, it has to progress. Democracy didn't come over the course of one afternoon. It stems from the Ancient Greeks and was only perfected by the Americans thousands of years later. Capital Punishment was first banned for a short time in China in the 8th century, but it took until the 19th century to see large jurisdictions end executions.

Gay marriage is a relatively new issue, gaining prominence within the last ten years. (At least since the Defense of Marriage Act.) Supporters of gay marriage claim its opponents are bigots and homophobes, but the support gap between gay rights (where a clear majority support,) and gay marriage (a slim minority in support,) indicate that the word 'marriage' may be the issue here.

So progressives have decided to temporarily abandon their "marriage or nothing" fight and take baby steps toward equal marriage rights.

Leading the way on each coast are the blue progressive states of Rhode Island and Washington;

Advocates in Rhode Island have introduced bills to legalize gay marriage every year since 1997, but they've gone nowhere. So this year, in addition to filing marriage legislation, they hope to have some success with six new bills that focus on incremental rights rather than the label of marriage. One would allow same-sex parents to take family leave if their partner or partner's children fall ill. Another bill would give gay men and women the right to plan their partners' funerals. In Washington, similar rights would be granted under a domestic partnership bill. Gay leaders like [State Senator Edward] Murray (D-Seattle) adopted the approach after losing a court case they hoped would lead to gay marriage.

Inch by inch is how progress comes in America. We did not end slavery overnight, and even after slavery ended, it took a century before African-American even got their government to treat them equally, and it's still not where it should be.

Legislation is the best way to achieve equal marriage rights. The right wing always fights the idea that "the uneelected courts are forcing this upon us." If elected bodies pass these laws, then there is no argument except "they support this, they should be voted out." Thus was the case in Connecticut where the state legislator and the Republican governor teamed up to legalize civil unions in the state, without being forced to by the courts (which was the case in Vermont and New Jersey.)

Those who oppose equal rights for gays will no longer be able to use the "tradition of marriage" excuse anymore and bring to their side people who are not bigots, but are not ready to accept a new definition of marriage than the one they've grown used to. Those are still opposed would only be able to defend themselves by saying they are homophobic or admitting to bigotry. Some will do that, but many will not.

Music Memory Jar: March 18, 2000

After a controversial defeat in the South Carolina primary, the bloodied Arizona Senator John McCain drops out of the Race for the GOP nomination for President, effectively handing the nomination to Texas Governor George W. Bush (*sigh*)

The NASDAQ reaches an all-time high of 5,048, before plummenting over the course of the next two years.

A 16 year-old from New York, trying to find his place in the chaotic social world of high school, finally finds it on the dancefloors of NYC nightclubs; bustin' moves to song like "It Feels So Good" by Sonique.

The Snows Of JFK

I live a mere three miles from the runways of Kennedy Airport in New York. From my bedroom window, looking south, I can see planes landing. When fog and rain come in off the ocean, these landing planes are rerouted about 750 feet over my house.

Twice this winter I have live through snow/sleet storms that have only caused minor disruptions in my life, but only 20,000 feet away, have caused mass chaos.

I've never had the opportunity of flying out of New York in the winter, more or less in a snowstorm. I have only traveled by air between April and October. Even so, I am shocked that at an airport we thought had perfected a snow emergency, (I have lived through more snowstorms that I'd like to remember while being so close to JFK) people could be stuck on planes on the runway for 9 hours TWICE in one winter.

It seems the problems have to do with lack of open gates at the terminals. Has anyone thought of figuring out a way to deplane passengers in another part of the airport when this occurs? Perhaps there should be a hangar or some sort of emergency disembarkation point for passengers stuck on planes to get off so they don't sit on planes for 9 or 10 hours?

Or maybe the amount of air traffic is overwhelming JFK already...why is the TWA terminal still closed then?