Thursday, August 30, 2007

I''m Not Missing

Wondering where I've been for the past ten days?

I'll be cruising the Mediterranean Sea through Italy, Croatia, Greece and Turkey and haven't had time to update this blog. I'm pretty disconnected from what's going on in the states right now. I just found out about Larry Craig.

I'll be back in full force Tuesday night, September 4th, so see you then.

From Santorini, Greece, I'm Nick Rafter

Monday, August 20, 2007

Giuliani's Post 9/11 Schedule

Included 29 hours at Ground Zero

and an amazing 58 hours at New York Yankees baseball games (home AND away)

Now is he going to claim he's more of a Yankee than Derek Jeter?

Even more amazing, the number of hours at Ground Zero was from September 17-December 31. The Yankees only played until November 4 that year.

Giuliani Talking Points

When I saw this, all I thought was this should be the tagline of the Rudy Giuliani campaign.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Is Rove Scared Of Clinton?

She says he's obsessed with her. What's the other rational for him attacking her and not the other Democratic nominees?

President Hillary Clinton is a nightmare scenario for Republicans like Rove, and in a stark change from two years ago, that nightmare may very well be a reality.

2008 Senate Races- Democrats First Glance


Arkansas- The only way this becomes a race is if Mike Huckabee drops out of the Presidential race and runs against Pryor. After his second place finish in the Iowa straw poll, the former Governor is licking his chops and probably looking for a VP slot. Pryor has little to worry about other than Huckabee. Democrats hold every statewide office and three of the four House seats. Favors Democrat

Delaware- Even if Joe Biden does get the Democratic nod, whoever runs in his place will win on his coattails, and even if Biden retires, unless Mike Castle runs for the seat, it will likely stay in Democratic hands. Biden will probably run though. Solid Democrat

Illinois- Durbin is probably the safest Senator up next year. Solid Democrat

Iowa- Tom Harkin has always weathered strong opposition and managed to pull out victories. His three opponents in his three reelection campaigns have all been popular Republican Congressmen from various parts of the state. He may face another again; Tom Latham or Steve King. If he can beat Jim Ross Lightfoot and Tom Tauke, he could beat Latham or King in a Democratic year. Favors Democrat

Louisiana- This should be an easy pickup for the Republicans, but the state's GOP House delegation have all passed on the race. Bobby Jindal is running for, and will probably be, governor, while Richard Baker, Jim McCrery, Rodney Alexander and Charles Boustany are all running for reelection to their House seats. Democratic State Treasurer John Kennedy is being recruited to change parties and run, but he denies that he will. Unless Secretary of State Jay Dardenne gets into the race, Landrieu will be able to keep her seat…and if she does, it will be on pure luck. Slight Lean Democrat

Massachusetts- The people of the Bay State may be a little peeved at their junior Senator, but they're not going to replace him with a Republican. Solid Democrat

Michigan- This should be a race, but nobody is running. Rep. Candice Miller is probably waiting to run for Debbie Stabenow's seat in 2012. If Stabenow couldn't be beat, the chair of the Armed Services Committee sure can't. Solid Democrat

Montana- After Conrad Burns' loss last year, Republicans want to defeat Max Baucus. Congressman Dennis Rehberg is not running. The only candidate is former State House Majority Leader Michael Lange. Baucus is going to be helped by the reelection of popular Governor Brian Schweitzer. Favors Democrat

New Jersey- If the GOP couldn't defeat Bob Menendez, and that wasn't even close, they can't beat Frank Lautenberg or whichever Democrat decides to replace him. The Garden State is out of reach for the GOP right now. Favors Democrat

Rhode Island- The second coming of Lincoln Chafee couldn't beat Jack Reed. Go ahead, Governor Carcieri, give it a try, amuse us. Solid Democrat

South Dakota- Tim Johnson's illness may actually be a blessing in disguise (if that's possible.) Governor Mike Rounds would've defeated him, he's not running now. Johnson should win a close race, but if he were to retire, Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin would win a close race. Lean Democrat

West Virginia- Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito or Secretary of State Betty Ireland, other than that, Rockefeller is going to cruise for reelection. Capito would be the strongest candidate, but her House seat is shaky. Interesting note; her father defeated Rockefeller for Governor in 1972 and lost to him for the same office in 1980. Solid Democrat

Saturday, August 18, 2007

2008 Senate Races- GOP First Glance


Alabama- As soon as State Agriculture Ron Sparks passed on the race, Jeff Sessions was set. Solid Republican

Alaska- Under an ethics cloud, Ted Stevens, a Senator for 40 years, once third in line to the Presidency and the man Alaska's largest airport was named after may retire at the end of his term to avoid defeat. Although even then it may take a powerful Democrat to knock this guy out. They named the damn airport after him. Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich would be the strongest nominee, but he may be interested in running for his father's old seat; Alaska's at-large Congressional seat. State Representative Eric Croft and former State House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz are also possibilities. Republicans would have an easier time defending an open seat, but with Begich as the nominee, this may become much like Colorado. Slight Lean Republican

Colorado- Wayne Allard or not, Republicans would've had a hard time either way keeping this seat. Colorado has quickly become a swing state; a strong liberal base around Denver and Boulder evening out the ultra conservatives in Colorado Springs. Democrats won the other Senate seat in 2004 and the Governor's race in a mini-landslide in 2006. More impressive, John Kerry received 47% of the vote in Colorado, the highest margin for a Democrat here since 1964. Congressman Mark Udall is the Democratic nominee, Republican Bob Schaffer, the GOP's third choice, is probably going to be the Republican nominee. Udall is a slight favorite, but this state hasn't trended fully blue yet. Tossup

Georgia- Saxby Chambliss shouldn't be a shoo-in, but he is. Max Cleland should run again, but he won't. Georgia is one of the few states trending Republican right now. Democratic Congressman Sanford Bishop or Jim Marshall, both moderate enough to appeal to Georgia voters, can make this a race. Solid Republican

Idaho- I'd say Larry Craig would be safe, but Jerry Brady's shocking 44% against Idaho's most popular Republican in last year's governor's race intrigues me. I don't think it's too long until Idaho becomes more competitive for the Democrats. It probably won't be next year, but Democrat Larry LaRocco's entry into the race is enough to make some Republicans sweat a little. Favors Republican

Kansas- Governor Kathleen Sebelius is not running…yet, and until she does, whatever Republican running is safe. Pat Roberts is 2008's shoo-in. A Democrat hasn't won a Senate race in Kansas since the 1930's. Solid Republican

Kentucky- Democratic Attorney General Greg Stumbo can make this a race, and he'll likely run against the Republican floor leader. Democratic Congressman Ben Chandler would turn this race into a tossup. Democrats will probably look to avenge Tom Daschle's 2004 defeat and if the Democrats won the governor's race in November, they're going to pour a massive amount of money into this race. Lean Republican

Maine- It's hard for me to accept that Susan Collins is vulnerable, but then I remember Collins is not Olympia Snowe. Tom Allen is the only Democrat who can make it a race and he's in. If Collins wins, she wins with under 55%, and I think she will. Slight Lean Republican

Minnesota- Amy Klobuchar's unexpected landslide win put the brakes on Minnesota's GOP trend. Coleman may be helped by the RNC being held in his state, but Minnesota is not exactly welcoming territory for the GOP right now. It's hard to imagine a Senator Al Franken, but this is the same state that elected Jesse Ventura governor. Slight Lean Republican

Mississippi- The only safe Republicans are those in the deep south. Unless Thad Cochran retires, there is no race here and retirement looks unlikely. The GOP standard-bearer is Congressman Chip Pickering, who is also retiring. Solid Republican

Nebraska- The Cornhusker State is all over the place next year. Chuck Hagel's anti-war stance has brought great annoyance to the pro-war Nebraska Republican Party and he is being challenged in the GOP primary by Attorney General Jon Bruning. No Democrat has entered the race yet, but Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey and former Senator Bob Kerrey are contemplating a race. Either one would make this a tough race for Bruning, who will likely beat Hagel if he runs again. Slight Lean Republican

New Hampshire- John Sununu is the Rick Santorum of 2008. Santorum would've been defeated by any Democrat last year, but Bob Casey was the one who made it a sure thing for the Democrats. Jeanne Shaheen is this year's Bob Casey. Sununu is going to lose either way, Katrina Swett or Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand will win, narrowly, but Shaheen make this Lean Democrat. Tossup

New Mexico- See Alaska. Could there be too Senator Udalls in the 111th Congress? Lean Republican

North Carolina- Democrats needed Governor Mike Easley, they didn't get him. They needed Congressman Brad Miller, they didn't get him. Still, Dole is vulnerable to almost any viable challenger. Democratic State Representative Grier Martin is their next top choice. He's not running yet. Lean Republican

Oklahoma- Inhofe should be safe, but Democratic State Senator Andrew Rice excited progressives when he announced he's run against Mr. "Global warming is a hoax and I'm proud my family has no gays." I don't think Inhofe will lose, unfortunately, but Rice will show that even progressives are competitive in Oklahoma. Favors Republican

Oregon- State House Speaker Jeff Merkley is an excellent candidate for the Democrats. Still, Smith was one of the first Republicans to break with Bush on Iraq, and Oregon isn't as Democratic as you might think. Smith may win, but if he does, it will be narrowly. Lean Republican

South Carolina- Lindsey Graham's only race may be in the GOP primary. Like Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, the Bible Belt will prove to be the last GOP stronghold. Solid Republican

Tennessee- Lamar Alexander should be vulnerable, but like the states that surround it to the south, Tennessee's Senior Republican Senator will easily win reelection. Solid Republican

Texas- John Cornyn is very unpopular, but he's still a Republican in a Republican state. Progressive Democrats favor State Rep. Rick Noriega of Houston, while national Democrats seem to be leaning toward the more conservative Mikal Watts. Either way, Cornyn isn't going to win the landslide Kay Bailey Hutchison did in 2006. Hells, he may not win at all. Likely Republican.

Virginia- If John Warner retires, which is likely, this may move all the way to Tossup. Do not underestimate the statewide appeal of Congressman Tom Davis. He's a moderate from very important Northern Virginia. However, if former Governor Jim Gilmore decides to run a primary against Davis and former Governor Mark Warner jumps in on the Democratic side, Virginia may send two Democrats to the Senate in 2009 for the first time since the early 1960's. Lean Republican

Wyoming (Enzi)- Enzi is probably unbeatable minus a challenge from Governor Freudenthal, and even then it may be easier to go for the Junior Senator Solid Republican

Wyoming (Barasso)- Whoever the Democrats get will likely face Barasso. The Democrats' best hope is that Freudenthal runs for one seat, while Gary Trauner runs for the other. Likely Republican

Friday, August 17, 2007

Open GOP Seats

Already, five Republicans have announced their retirements; Duncan Hunter (R-California), Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois), Ray LaHood (R-Illinois), Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) and Chip Pickering (R-Mississippi)

Of them, Hunter's and Pickering's are both expected to remain in Republican hands, LaHood's and Hastert's lean Republican, but can become competitive and Pryce's is probably a toss-up if the Republicans are lucky.

More Republicans are expected to also retire. Here's a roundup of possibilities;

Don Young (R-Alaska)
Terry Everett (R-Alabama)
Rick Renzi (R-Arizona)
John Doolittle (R-California)
Elton Gallegly (R-California)
Buck McKeon (R-California)
Jerry Lewis (R-California)
Mike Castle (R-Delaware)
Bill Young (R-Florida)
Don Manzullo (R-Illinois)
Tom Latham (R-Iowa)
Steve King (R-Iowa)
Bobby Jindal (R-Louisiana)
Wayne Gilchrest (R-Maryland)
Roscoe Bartlett (R-Maryland)
Vern Elhers (R-Michigan)
Sue Myrick (R-North Carolina)
John McHugh (R-New York)
Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio)
Dave Hobson (R-Ohio)
Ralph Regula (R-Ohio)
Ralph Hall (R-Texas)
Jo Ann Davis (R-Virginia)
Tom Davis (R-Virginia)
Barbara Cubin (R-Wyoming)

Of these seats, only a handful would be competitive for the Democrats, and Latham, Castle, McHugh, Davis and Young of Florida represent districts that lean Democratic.

Let's see who is next.

He Said Defeat! He Must Hate America!

This was in 1996, five years after 1991. I like how he says "that would've turned a great success into a very messy probable defeat"

If truth is unpatriotic, well then call me French

Thursday, August 16, 2007

MS-3: Pickering to Retire

Congressman Chip Pickering (R-Mississippi) is retiring at the end of his sixth term next year.

Pickering was elected in 1996, replacing longtime Democrat Sonny Montgomery (author of the Montgomery G.I. Bill.)

Pickering was considered the GOP heir-apparent to either one of Mississippi's GOP senators should they retire. GOP Senator Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi) has no said whether or not he would run for reelection next year. Pickering's retirement may indicate that Cochran is running for reelection.

Pickering is the third Republican this week to announce they won't seek reelection. Already this week former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) and Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) have both announce they will not seek reelection. Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Illinois) announced a few weeks ago that he will not seek reelection next year.

Pickering's seat is heavily Republican and will likely stay in Republican hands. However, it's interesting to note, the Mississippi 3 is not as Republican as the Mississippi 4, the Biloxi-baed district which is represented by Democrat Gene Taylor.

Rove: Bush Critics "Snobs" and "Hate Common Sense"

Yep, all 175,000,000 or so of us

2004's Almost Senators Go For Obama

A string of loosing Democratic candidates for US Senate in 2004 seem to be leaning toward Obama.

Jimmy Carter built his campaign in 1976 with using a network of Democrats who were defeated for Congressional races in 1974, including Betty Roberts of Oregon, who after loosing to incumbent Republican Bob Packwood became Carter's Oregon chairperson. Carter also gained support from narrowly defeated Democrats like William Roy of Kansas, William Guy of North Dakota and Ed Edmonson of Oklahoma, all very narrowly lost Senate races in 1974. Roy lost to Bob Dole, who later became Carter's opponent's running mate.

This year, Barack Obama seems to be getting the support of those who did not win a Senate victory in 2004 like he did. Inez Tenenbaum of South Carolina, who lost the 2004 Senate race to Republican Jim DeMint endorsed Obama back in April and presided over the opening of Obama's South Carolina campaign headquaters. Also endorsing Obama, Brad Carson of Oklahoma, who lost a heartbreaking race to Republican Tom Coburn despite being close, and occasionally ahead in polls. Carson has become a major fundraiser for Obama.

Obama's biggest endorsement among the 2004 defeated is former Democratic Senate Floor Leader Tom Daschle, who was narrowly defeated for reelection in 2004, the only Senator to be defeated.

Still no word on whether or not Obama can expect the support of the other Almost Democratic Senators from 2004, like Betty Castor of Florida, Chris John of Louisiana, Tony Knowles of Alaska, Don Mongiardo of Kentucky (who is currently campaigning to be Lieutenant Governor in November) and Erskine Bowles of North Carolina, although expect the former Clinton Chief-of-Staff to endorse his ex-boss' wife.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

OH-15: Pryce To Retire

They're dropping like flies.

Pryce narrowly held on by 1,000 votes last year, defeating Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy, who is running again...and Pryce is probably the most moderate Republican in the Ohio delegation.

The seat is about as Republican as the Arizona 8th or New York 24th, both open seats Democrats won last year by wide margins.

The district includes Downtown Columbus and the western half of the city and it's suburbs. The city of Columbus is Democratic, but the suburbs are overwhelmingly Republican. Bush defeated Kerry in the district by a mere 2,740 votes. Governor Ted Strickland won the district last year by a wide margin, and Senator Sherrod Brown carried it by a narrower, but still comfortable margin.

Still, without Pryce's incumbency helping the GOP in Columbus, and the absence of a widely known Republican (their number one choice, State Senator Steve Stivers is not running) Democrats have a HUGE chance of victory. This seat may be a lean Democratic pickup now that Pryce is retiring.

This Is Gonna Piss Off Some Republican

See now, if Bush had been more prompt with this news, there probably wouldn't be a Senator Webb, Senator Tester, Congressman Courtney, Congressman Loebsack, Congressman Hall, Congressman Rodriguez, and maybe not even a Congresswoman Shea-Porter.

I, for one, am not complaining, but if I was a Republican, I'd be livid.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

IL-14: Hastert Retiring

The longest Republican House Speaker in history; Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) became the second Republican congressman from the Land of Lincoln, after Ray LaHood, to announce he will not run for reelection next year.

Hastert is expected to make the announcement on Thursday. He was widely expected to retire after this term after he decided to not to run for Minority Leader after his party's defeat at the polls last November.

Hastert's district, which covers a wide swath of Northern Illinois from the outer Chicago suburbs of Elgin and Aurora all the way to the outskirts of Moline leans Republican, but not out of reach for a strong Democrat. Like LaHood's similarly Republican district, Democrats are expected to make a strong run for his district, especially with the possibility of a Illinoisan Democrat on top of the ticket.

So far only Republican Jim Oberweis, a strong anti-illegal immigrant advocate, has filed to run for the seat. Oberweis twice ran for the US Senate in Illinois in 2002 and 2004, but lost both times in the primary. He also made an unsuccessful run for Governor in 2006.

Other possible candidates may include Republicans State Senator Chris Lauzen and Kane County Recorder Sandy Wegman as well as Democrats State Representative Linda Chapa LaVia, scientist Bill Foster, and lawyer Jothan Stein. 2006 nominee John Laesch, who held Hastert to 60% of the vote, the lowest since his initial election in 1986 (when he won 52%), is also interested in taking another run at the district.

The two open Illinois seats, as well as the seats of freshman Republican Pete Roskam in the sixth district, Mark Kirk in the Democratic-leaning tenth district and Jerry Weller in the nationally competitive eleventh district may mean Illinois could drown in a Democratic wave next wonder Illinois Democrats are enthusiastically endorsing Obama.

Congestion Pricing Gets Federal

The Department of Transportation has agreed to release $354 million to support Mayor Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan, says DOT Secretary Mary Peters. The money will only be allocated to New York City assuming

Bloomberg's plan, which would charge cars $8 and trucks $21 to enter Manhattan south of 86th Street on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m, has strong opposition from State Assemblyman and State Senators from the outer boroughs and near suburbs, where many upper middle class workers commute to Manhattan via car instead of subway, bus or commuter rail.

Opposition is strong in many parts of the city that does not have direct access to Manhattan via public transportation, such as Bergen Beach and Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, Glendale and Whitestone, Queens and Throggs Neck, Bronx where many commuters to Manhattan commute via car.

The Surge Is Working

or not

Monday, August 13, 2007

Flip Flop Rudy

"America's Mayor" is suddenly having second thoughta on his policies as New York's Mayor. Here's what the Boston Globe found out;

• The latest flip flop is on gay marriage and civil unions, with an aide telling the Globe that Rudy opposes the civil union programs currently enacted in four states.

As recently as 2004, Rudy was saying, "So now you have a civil partnership, domestic partnership, civil union, whatever you want to call it, and that takes care of the imbalance, the discrimination, which we shouldn't have." However, Rudy now opposes civil unions, with a campaign aide saying Rudy was really talking about the benefits accorded by the more modest domestic partnership registry he created while mayor of New York City.

• Rudy used to speak out in favor of Roe v. Wade, but now says it "would be okay" if it were overturned, and has indicated he will appoint conservative judges.

• Rudy now supports the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds for providing abortion. During his years in New York politics, however, he was a staunch critic of the Hyde Amendment, saying poor women needed to have access to abortions.

• Rudy previously opposed the ban on partial-birth abortion, publicly applauding Bill Clinton for vetoing. But he now supports the ban, and approved of the recent Supreme Court decision upholding it.

• On the subject of illegal immigrations, Rudy declared in 1994: "If you come here and you work hard and you happen to be in an undocumented status, you're one of the people who we want in this city. You're somebody that we want to protect, and we want you to get out from under what is often a life of being like a fugitive, which is really unfair." But Rudy came out this year against the recent failed immigration bill, saying there should not be any amnesty and supporting stricter methods of border controls, including mandatory identification cards.

• As mayor, Giuliani was a vocal proponent for Congress passing more gun-control laws, saying federal action was vital in helping states control gun crime. The Rudy of the year 2007, on the other hand, calls himself a "strict constructionist" on the issue, and says new gun laws should only be passed at the state level.

Flip Flop Dick

Why wasn't this front and center in 2003 and why didn't anyone ask him what was different in 2003 as opposed to 1994.

Of course he, like all neocons, will say "9/11, 9/11, 9/11"

What makes my blood boil is when she asks "How many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth and our judgement was not many."

Apparently "not many" means about 4,000.

The Devils Leaves The West Wing

Karl Rove will resign at the end of the month.

He calls his term at the White House a "witness to history"

Then he cried.

Whatever will Bush do without his brain

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Romney Wins Iowa Poll

Helps when the top three frontrunners choose not to take part.

Romney won decisively, followed by Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback, Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul.

Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson finished a disappointing sixth, followed by no-shows Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani. Even Duncan Hunter beat John McCain.

Friday, August 10, 2007

No Election In 2007

"We're still going to have Christmas" was what Governor Chet Culver (D-Iowa) said, rejecting calls to hold the state's first in the nation caucus in December as other states, including Florida and South Carolina begin to move their primaries and caucuses up.

South Carolina moved their GOP primary to January 19th. The Iowa Caucuses are scheduled for January 14th. Culver hinted there may be a deal with the first primary state of New Hampshire in the works to keep both in January.

Iowa's caucuses are held eight days before New Hampshire's primary, which, under the current calendar, would happen after South Carolina.

Either way, in six months, we're going to know who the candidates for President are.

LA-Sen: Republican Fail Again

The GOP has failed yet again to put up a strong challenger to the most vulnerable Democrat in the US Senate, Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana)

Louisiana State Treasurer John Kennedy, a Democrat bein recruited by the Republicans to switch parties, will not run next year, but will run again for State a Democrat.

The GOP has failed to convince all of the state's Republican House members to run (Bobby Jindal is already running for Governor.)

Also not running; Republican Secretary of State Jay Dardenne, 2002 candidate Suzanne Haik Terrell and 1996 candidate Woody Jenkins. The GOP's only hope, other than Kennedy changing his mind, may be for Jindal to loose the Governor's race this year and run for Senate instead. Polls show Landrieu would virtually have no change against Jindal.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Giuliani Insults New York

"This is not a mayor or a governor or a president who's sitting in an ivory tower. I was at ground zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers. I was there working with them. I was there guiding things. I was there bringing people there. But I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I'm one of them."

You were there in a mask and a suit showing off the devestating to foriegn least until Bloomberg took office THREE AND A HALF MONTHS LATER and then you sat in your cushing consulting office and plotting how you would use our worst day for your personal gain.

Mayor, you are a slug...stop insulting New Yorkers. We are not your political pawns. We are not here to serve your ego. If it wasn't for 9/11, you would be no more than John Lindsay with a comeover. That Italian guy who served two terms as mayor and whom New Yorkers would be asking "God, why did we reelect that guy?"

You are only in the Presidential race because of September 11th and for that you should be ashamed.

At least Hillary, with all her flaws and carpetbagging, had enough sense to be a Senator and act like a Senator for six and a half years.

Iraq...Is It Getting Better?

Probably not, but the fact July wasn't as deadly as past months is a good thing.

Still, the Sunnis left the government and al-Maliki is headed for Iran to hold hands with what's his face, so, yes, I'm still skeptical that Jeffersonian Democracy will come to that country. In fact, I'm still skeptical about that country being an ally a few years after we leave, but at least we may be able to leave soon and put this nightmare behind us.

All Bush needed to get his act together was to loose an election.

Bush: No Gas Tax Hike

I don't like taxes, especially on gas, which is not a luxury for us anymore.

I'm not so sure we need more taxes...we just need those who oversee inspection of these bridges ad highways to get their act together.

It makes me wonder, thought...if Keith Ellison or Martin Sabo had asked for money to rebuild the 1-35W bridge as an earmark in the months and years before this happened, would it be dismissed as "pork?" Really, does a 40 year-old bridge need to be replaced?

That question was answered last week.

This is why we pay taxes people. They suck, but they keep our bridges standing, our planes landing, and our trains on the track.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Tornado In New York

Those of you who doubt climate change is really happening should have lived through what we here in New York just experienced.

A tornado in Brooklyn just seemed a little too "The Day After Tomorrow" to me.

Romney: My Sons Don't Need To Serve

That's the type of President we who thinks putting your life on the line for your country in a far off land is exactly the same as putting on a suit, going to a $2,000 a plate gala and talking up your dad.

I wonder if he thinks the same about Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama's staff...or is just him for whom campaigning is patriotic.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

SD-Sen: Johnson To Go Home

Senator Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota) is heading home to South Dakota to complete his recovery after a near-fatal brain hemorrahage back in December.

He plans on returning to the Senate in September.

No indication if he will run for reelection next year. If he doesn't, the seat could become a major race, and the most vulnerable of all Democratic seats.

Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-South Dakota) could be the best hope to keep the seat, but she may be eyeing a race against Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) in 2010.

"You're Either With Us, Or With The Terrorists"

And then there's that little spoken-of third category;

You're not with us because you'e harboring terrorists, and we're too scared to force you to take a stand, so we pick on easier targets; Iraq and France for example.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Giuliani's Daughter Doesn't Endorse Dad

Or so her Facebook account says.

She had joined a group endorsing Barack Obama, but later removed herself from the group.

This comes, of course, after criticism from his older son Andrew, who claims to be estranged from his father.

Talk about family values.

Music Memory Jar- August 6, 2005

In Washington D.C., controversial Dominican-Republican Central Ameican Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is signed into law.

In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, King Fahd dies 10 years after suffering a paralyzing stroke

In Canada, Greece and Venezuela, planes crash.

In Hempstead, New York, WRHU's Program Director falls madly in love with the beautiful and harmonious Anna Nalick and her song "In The Rough." He plays it every other Wednesday during his Uncharted Territory radio show at 5:55am sharp.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

NE-Sen, VA-Sen: Mass Retirement?

Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) was one of the first Republicans to hint at running for President in 2008. He brought up the possibility at the Republican National Convention in 2004, before Bush even won reelection.

Now, Hagel may not even be in the Senate at the start of the next President's turn.

Hagel, who was one of the first Republicans to break with Bush on Iraq, may retire altogether instead of running for reelection next year, where he faces a tough primary challenge agains the pro-war Joe Bruning, Nebraska's Attorney General.

Robert Novak says this;

"Hagel must decide what to do in 2008: to run for president, to run for Senate re-election or to get out of politics. The betting in the Senate Republican cloakroom is that he will retire, but Hagel has given no signal of his intentions and tells friends that he has yet to make a decision."

Democrats don't have a candidate yet, but likely will if Hagel decides to retire. Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey, former Senator Bob Kerrey, and 2006 3rd District House candidate Scott Kleeb, who got 45% in a district that went over 70% for Bush, are all possible Democratic nominees. Either way, a Hagel retirement would add Nebraska to the list of potentially vulnerable seats for the GOP.

Also likely to be on that list is Virginia, where 80 year-old John Warner looks to be preparing to retire. In a state where Democrats have taken two straight top statewide races in two years, an open seat would be gold in another Democratic year, especially if they get the other Warner to run, former Governor Mike Warner, who gave the Republican Warner his only difficult run for reelection in 1996.

Again, Robert Novak;
"The state's GOP leaders not long ago were sure that 80-year-old Republican Sen. John Warner would seek a sixth term in 2008, but now they think he probably will not. That would open the door for Democratic former Gov. Mark Warner (no relation) to enter the race. Any Republican would be an underdog against the Democratic Warner."

Republicans are likely to nominate the moderate Congressman Tom Davis of Fairfax County, who represents a district the Democrats would certainly have to win to win the seat. Webb got 53% in Davis' district last year. Davis, however, may be too moderate for the conservative Virginia GOP and conservatives may force an inconvienent primary challenge against Davis. His House seat, however, is likely to go to the Democrats.

Remember that Republicans are already having a hard time holding on to their open seat in Colorado.

Demcoratic Accomplishments

In one week, the Democrats got more accomplished than they did in six months.

Here's a nifty list of what the Democrats have done, and will no doubt campaign on next year, from yahoo news;

* The first minimum wage increase in a decade went into effect in July helping the lowest-paid workers. Republicans repeatedly blocked the pay hike when they controlled Congress.

* Republicans lost their majority in last November's elections largely because of the Iraq war, but also due to voter disgust with ethics violations that left some Republican lawmakers and aides in jail or under investigation. Democrats pushed through ethics and lobbying reforms that public advocacy groups applauded while also saying the provisions could have been stronger. Bush is expected to sign the bill into law.

* Congress passed, and Bush signed into law on Friday, a series of post-September 11 anti-terrorism steps that had been recommended by an independent commission in 2004. These include broader screening of cargo bound for the United States, allocating more federal grants to cities at high-risk of attack and improving emergency workers' communications systems so they can better coordinate during an attack or natural disaster.

* The House and Senate passed different versions of a bill to significantly expand child health insurance coverage for those in low-income families not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. Bush has threatened to veto either version, but Democrats may be able to override him.

* The House and Senate passed bills to help students handle soaring college costs and crack down on misconduct in the student loan industry. They likely will send Bush a bill in September that goes directly to the stressed wallets of middle-class parents.

* A popular measure allowing broader stem cell research that supporters hope will help cure Parkinson's disease and other incurable illnesses was passed a second time and Bush vetoed it a second time.

* Appealing to growing consumer fears of global warming and U.S. reliance on foreign oil, the Senate passed a bill mandating that cars get 40 percent better fuel efficiency and encouraging a dramatic increase in ethanol as a fuel. Democrats hope to send Bush a bill after the August recess.

* A fiscal 2008 budget plan passed with new controls that attempt to impose fiscal responsibility after years of huge budget deficits. Under the plan, any new tax cuts or spending increases would have to be paid for. Republicans complain there is no guarantee Bush's tax cuts will be renewed after 2010.

* After six years of mostly getting a free pass from Republicans, the Bush administration is facing oversight by committees with probes ranging from the Justice Department's firing of federal prosecutors to the Pentagon's handling of the death in Afghanistan of ex-football player Pat Tillman.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

House Goes Green

The House stayed in session one more day today and passed their own energy policy that reallocates $16 billion from oil companies to renewable energy.

The President is threatening the veto.

11 Democrats opposed the bill, notice from where;

John Barrow (D-Georgia)
Dan Boren (D-Oklahoma)
Henry Cuellar (D-Texas)
Chet Edwards (D-Texas)
Charlie Gonzalez (D-Texas)
Gene Green (D-Texas)
Nick Lampson (D-Texas)
Jim Matheson (D-Utah)
Charlie Melacon (D-Louisiana)
Solomon Ortiz (D-Texas)
Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas)

9 Republicans supported it;

Mike Castle (R-Delaware)
Mike Ferguson (R-New Jersey)
Wayne Gilchrest (R-Maryland)
Mark Kirk (R-Illinois)
Frank LoBiondo (R-New Jersey)
Jim Ramstad (R-Minnesota)
Dave Reichert (R-Washington)
Chris Shays (R-Connecticut)
Chris Smith (R-New Jersey)

McCain: Bridge Collapse Congress' Fault

Leave it to John McCain to try to rejuvenate his failing campaign by blaming the Minnesota bridge collapse on Congressional pet projects.

He's half right, but many of these "pet projects," on both the Republican and Democratic side ARE for things like fixing highway overpasses or airport runways and he STILL criticizes them.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Bush Gets His Spying Authority

These 16 Democrats voting for it;
Evan Bayh (Indiana)
Tom Carper (Delaware)
Bob Casey (Pennsylvania)
Kent Conrad (North Dakota)
Dianne Feinstein (California)
Daniel Inouye (Hawai‘i)
Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota)
Mary Landrieu (Louisiana)
Blanche Lincoln (Arkansas)
Claire McCaskill (Missouri)
Barbara Mikulski (Maryland)
Bill Nelson (Florida)
Ben Nelson (Nebraska)
Mark Pryor (Arkansas)
Ken Salazar (Colorado)
Jim Webb (Virginia).

Liberals are, of course, pissed. I'm sure YearlyKos is all fired up over this.

It does, however, need to be reauthorized in February, so it's not the WORST thing the Senate's ever done.

Besides, Bush did an excellent job here backing them into a wall in the last few days of the session.

Newspapers Endorse Withdrawal

The Huffington Post is putting together a nifty list;

Seattle Times (Washington State), July 17, 2007
Philadelphia Inquirer (Pennsylvania), July 15, 2007
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Pennsylvania), July 15, 2007
Detroit Free-Press (Michigan), July 13, 2007
Wichita Eagle (Kansas), July 12, 2007
Boston Globe (Massachusetts), July 10, 2007
Tuscaloosa News (Alabama), July 8, 200
New York Times (New York), July 8, 2007
The Olympian (Washington), July 4, 2007
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvana), June 26, 2007
Pittsburgh Times-Review (Pennsylvania)- July 15, 2007
Los Angeles Times (California), May 6, 2007
Roanoke Times (Virginia), May 6, 2007
Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Texas), May 1, 2007
Portland Press-Herald (Maine), April 29, 2007
San Jose Mercury News (California), April 12, 2007
Cleveland Plain Dealer (Ohio), March 16, 2007***
Baltimore Sun (Maryland)

Italiacs are newspaper who endorsed Bush in 2004
***The Plain Dealer made no endorsement in 2004.

GOP: Democrats Are Mean To Me!

I love listening to the Republican minority whining they are being abused by the majority. I love it, I find it hysterical.

Last night's battle over the motion to recommit the Agriculture Appropriations bill reminded me of a few fun voting irregularities during the GOP majority.

Take, for instance, a bill last year giving tax cuts to oil companies while gas prices were skyrocketing. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) presided over the vote, which was supposed to last five minutes, but ended up lasting 44 minutes so enough Republicans could be persuaded to change their votes and the bill passed 212-210.

And who could forget CAFTA in July, 2005? When they were loosing, Republicans kept the vote open 15 minutes longer so CAFTA would pass by one vote 217-215.

Or the 2003 Medicare vote which stayed open three hours until GOP leaders could twist enough arms to get it to pass?

In my opinion, Republicans are getting a taste of their own medicine, so deal with it. Let mind remind you what you guys reminded us over and over don't like it? Start winning elections.

SCHIP: How They Voted

Here's a look on how the region's representatives voted on Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act of 2007:

Ackerman (D)- Aye
Clarke (D)- Did Not Vote, but supported the bill
Crowley (D)- Aye
Engel (D)- Aye
Fossella (R)- Nay
Maloney (D)- Aye
Nadler (D)- Aye
Rangel (D)- Aye
Serrano (D)- Aye
Velasquez (D)- Aye
Weiner (D)- Aye

Bishop (D)- Aye
Israel (D)- Aye
King (R)- Nay
McCarthy (D)- Aye

Gillibrand (D)- Aye
Hall (D)- Aye
Lowrey (D)- Aye
Hinchey (D)- Aye

Arcuri (D)- Aye
Higgins (D)- Aye
Kuhl (R)- Nay
McHugh (R)- Nay
McNulty (D)- Aye
Reynolds (R)- Nay
Slaughter (D)- Aye
Walsh (R)- Nay

Andrews (D)- Aye
Ferguson (R)- Aye
Frelinghuysen (R)- Nay
Garrett (R)- Nay
Holt (D)- Aye
LoBiondo (R)- Aye
Pallone (D)- Aye
Pascrell (D)- Aye
Payne (D)- Aye
Rothman (D)- Aye
Saxton (R)- Nay
Sires (D)- Aye
Smith (R)- Nay

Courtney (D)- Aye
DeLauro (D)- Aye
Larson (D)- Aye
Chris Murphy (D)- Aye
Shays (R)- Aye

Thursday, August 2, 2007

As True in Minnesota As Everyone Else.

Here's an editorial by Nick Coleman of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that EVERY American should read. It sings true here in New York, or in New Orleans, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle or anywhere else as it does to the people of the Twin Cities today;

The cloud of dust above the Mississippi that rose after the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed Wednesday evening has dissipated. But there are other dark clouds still hanging over Minneapolis and Minnesota.

The fear of falling is a primal one, along with the fear of being trapped or of drowning. Minneapolis suffered a perfect storm of nightmares Wednesday evening, as anyone who couldn't sleep last night can tell you. Including the parents who clench their jaws and tighten their hands on the wheel every time they drive a carload of strapped-in kids across a steep chasm or a rushing river. Don't panic, you tell yourself. The people in charge of this know what they are doing.

They make sure that the bridges stay standing. And if there were a problem, they would tell us. Wouldn't they? What if they didn't? The death bridge was "structurally deficient," we now learn, and had a rating of just 50 percent, the threshold for replacement. But no one appears to have erred on the side of public safety. The errors were all the other way. Would you drive your kids or let your spouse drive over a bridge that had a sign saying, "CAUTION: Fifty-Percent Bridge Ahead"?

No, you wouldn't. But there wasn't any warning on the Half Chance Bridge. There was nothing that told you that you might be sitting in your over-heated car, bumper to bumper, on a hot summer day, thinking of dinner with your wife or of going to see the Twins game or taking your kids for a walk to Dairy Queen later when, in a rumble and a roar, the world you knew would pancake into the river.

There isn't any bigger metaphor for a society in trouble than a bridge falling, its concrete lanes pointing brokenly at the sky, its crumpled cars pointing down at the deep waters where people disappeared.

Only this isn't a metaphor.

The focus at the moment is on the lives lost and injured and the heroic efforts of rescuers and first-responders - good Samaritans and uniformed public servants. Minnesotans can be proud of themselves, and of their emergency workers who answered the call. But when you have a tragedy on this scale, it isn't just concrete and steel that has failed us. So far, we are told that it wasn't terrorists or tornados that brought the bridge down. But those assurances are not reassuring. They are troubling.

If it wasn't an act of God or the hand of hate, and it proves not to be just a lousy accident - a girder mistakenly cut, a train that hit a support - then we are left to conclude that it was worse than any of those things, because it was more mundane and more insidious: This death and destruction was the result of incompetence or indifference. In a word, it was avoidable.

That means it should never have happened. And that means that public anger will follow our sorrow as sure as night descended on the missing. For half a dozen years, the motto of state government and particularly that of Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been No New Taxes. It's been popular with a lot of voters and it has mostly prevailed. So much so that Pawlenty vetoed a 5-cent gas tax increase - the first in 20 years - last spring and millions were lost that might have gone to road repair. And yes, it would have fallen even if the gas tax had gone through, because we are years behind a dangerous curve when it comes to the replacement of infrastructure that everyone but wingnuts in coonskin caps agree is one of the basic duties of government.

I'm not just pointing fingers at Pawlenty. The outrage here is not partisan. It is general. Both political parties have tried to govern on the cheap, and both have
dithered and dallied and spent public wealth on stadiums while scrimping on the

How ironic is it that tonight's scheduled groundbreaking for a new Twins ballpark has been postponed? Even the stadium barkers realize it is in poor taste to celebrate the spending of half a billion on ballparks when your bridges are falling down. Perhaps this is a sign of shame. If so, it is welcome. Shame is overdue.

At the federal level, the parsimony is worse, and so is the negligence. A trillion spent in Iraq, while schools crumble, there aren't enough cops on the street and bridges decay while our leaders cross their fingers and ignore the rising chances of disaster.
And now, one has fallen, to our great sorrow, and people died losing a gamble they didn't even know they had taken. They believed someone was guarding the bridge.

We need a new slogan and we needed it yesterday:

"No More Collapses."

OK-Sen: Andrew Rice To Run

Oklahoma State Senator Andrew Rice, a 34 year old progressive freshman legislator from Oklahoma City whom national Democrats and the netroots have been trying to lure into next year's Senate race against Jim Inhofe has apparently decided to run.

Rice sent this letter to this follows;

Dear Friends,
While I have deliberated during these past few months, I have also encouraged other, more widely-known Democrats to take up the challenge. To date, none has done so. I have also thoroughly discussed the pros and cons of running with my wife Apple and my family.
Today, I want you to know that I have decided to run and that I intend to win!
I want you to be assured that I will not have to vacate my State Senate seat in order to run and I will continue to make myself accessible and accountable to my constituents in Senate District 46.
I believe Oklahomans deserve a choice for U.S. Senate in 2008.
Washington is paralyzed by partisan bickering, and Jim Inhofe may be one of the most partisan Senators of all. He even boasts of being the "most conservative" Senator. In contrast, as a member in the evenly divided Oklahoma Senate, I have proven that I can work with both Republicans and Democrats to get results for our state.
Divisive politics is harming our country. That’s not my style.
I have already met many Oklahomans from across the state. They tell me that Washington no longer listens to them.
This will be a tough and expensive race. In fact, I will need to raise several million dollars just to compete against Inhofe and the National Republicans who will stop at nothing to help him extend his 40-year career in elective politics.
I hope I can depend on your help. The maximum, individual contribution that I can accept permelection is $2300. To those of you who want to give, I am grateful for the most you can do. I assure you, I will need every penny.
You can send checks to:

Andrew Rice for U.S. Senate
P.O. Box 1027
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

Please print out the attached contributor’s statement and send it along with your contribution. I will be able to accept online contributions very soon. Thank you for your consideration and please know that if you agree to take this journey with me, I will not disappoint you.

State Sen. Andrew Rice

Rice is running against a super right-wing Senator. Inhofe has described global warming "as the second biggest hoax ever played on the American people after seperation of church and state" and once proudly displayed a picture of his family and boasted that none of them were gay. He once described the outrage over Abu Gihrab as more shocking than the torture itself. He lists the Bible as the main reason for his political positions.

Rice has an uphill battle against Inhofe, but the young good looking all-American progressive vs. the old crazy Leave It to Beaver conservative has produced results for the Democrats before (see Montana)

Many Democrats describe Rice as 2008's Jon Tester or Jim Webb and pehaps no Senator up for reelection is more capable of a "Macaca moment" than Jim Inhofe.

20 Democrats Cosponser Gonzales Impeachment

The impeachment resolution introduced by Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Washington) is gaining some support from some twenty House Democrats, not all of them liberal lions.

Currently the cosponsors include;

Rep. Mike Arcuri (D-New York)
Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin)
Rep. Xavier Beccera (D-California)
Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nevada)
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon)
Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa)
Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Kentucky)
Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-New York)
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee)
Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-Oregon)
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota)
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts)
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona)
Rep. Darlene Hooley (D-Oregon)
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia)
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota)
Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kansas)
Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-California)
Rep. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico)
Rep. Davis Wu (D-Oregon)

Minneapolis Bridge Collapse Update II

Death toll is back down to four officially, but dozens are still missing, many trapped in cars in the river.

The bridge was NOT as earlier reported given a clean bill of health, a few years ago, it was declared "structurally deficient"

President Bush has offered to help, which if you ask anyone down on the Gulf Coast, they'd probably tell Minneapolis they're better off on their own.

I can't escape the irony that this happened in the city due to host the Republican National Convention next year.

Bridge Collapses Not Uncommon

While not as common as plane crashes or trail derailments, bridge collapses like the one last night in Minnesota have occured at least six times in the past 40 years and have lead to fatalities.

Here's a list of a few;

May 26, 2002- Webbers Falls, Oklahoma- A barge strikes a bridge carrying Interstate 40 over the Arkansas River in rural Oklahoma leading the bridge to collapse, killing 14 people.

September 15, 2001- Port Isabel, Texas- The Queen Isabella Causeway, the only bridge connecting popular South Padre Island with mainland Texas near Brownsville collapses after being rammed into by four loaded barges. Eight people died.

April 5, 1987- Amsterdam, New York- The Schoharie Creek bridge carrying 1-90, the New York State Thruway over the flooded Schoharie Creek collapses, killing 10 and cutting off the main route between Buffalo and Albany.

June 28, 1983- Greenwich, Connecticut- The Mianus River bridge carrying 1-95, the Connecticut Turnpike collapses due to fatigue killing 3 people.

May 9, 1980- Tampa Bay, Florida- A ship crashes into the busy Sunshine Skyway Bridge, spanning the mouth of Tampa Bay and the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico, in a thunderstorm. A Miami-bound Greyhound bus and numerous cars fall over 100 feet into the bay, killing 35 people.

December 15, 1967- Point Pleasant, West Virginia- The Silver Bridge spanning the Ohio River connecting Point Pleasant with Kanauga, Ohio, collapses while choked with rush hour traffic, killing 46 people. The collapse happened only a month after the 1-35W bridge in Minneapolis opened. The disaster inspired the book and movie The Mothman Prophecies

Minneapolis Bridge Collapse Update

As of 3am Eastern;

-7 dead, 62 injured according to CNN.
-At least 50 cars in the Mississippi River
-Reports say bridge may be out for 2 years. Remember this is a MAJOR thoroughfare into and out of Downtown Minneapolis.
-It's still unknown what caused the collapse, but the bridge was under construction and was closed the night before. The weather in Minneapolis has been summery, alot of rain, and just recently, there was a 20 degree temperature change in a few hours, which concrete does not like.
-Minnesota Twins game cancelled tomorrow.
-School bus with 60 people on it narrowly escaped falling into river, all the kids are ok.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Minneapolis Bridge Collapse

A major bridge has collapsed in Minneapolis.

CNN is reporting it is the 1-35W bridge over the Mississippi River. This would make it a MAJOR artery out of Downtown Minneapolis toward the north.

MSNBC say three dead.

More updates as they become available.

A Lesson From The West Wing

Say NO to the Saudi Arms Deal

Cheney: Significant Progress Ahead

And you can count on that.

Remember how right he was about the insurgency being in the "last throes" back in 2004.