Friday, February 27, 2004

More fuel for the gay-baiting fire

Just when conservatives thought that an outbreak of gay marriage in Massachusetts, San Francisco, and DuVall Co., New Mexico were on their way to be contained and even squelched, New Paltz, New York joined the list of places in America where gay marriage licenses were being issued. [Just where is New Paltz? Why its "located not far from the Hudson River and the Shawangunk Mountains, a ridge of rugged and rocky cliffs popular with rock climbers."-- Thanks Times!]

NY Governor George "I want to be president in 2008" Pataki is thinking about how to stop this unruly mayor. "This law states that a marriage is between a man and a woman," Pataki told the Times, according to a transcript provided by his office. "Our attorneys are talking with the Health Department and with the attorney general's office to see what steps they may determine are appropriate."

In addition to New Paltz, the mayor of Schenectady, NY was also considering allowing same-sex marriage ceremonies, according the Times piece. Man alive, soon those Gay people will have full rights under the 14th Amendment, run for the hills! They might make responsible parents!
WaterBoy, staring Denny Hastert

In a classic Bush move, Dubya says he wants to give the 9/11 Commission (something he has tried to trip up for a long time, particularly by naming secret monger Henry "War Crimes" Kissinger to be its head at first) 60 more days to reach its conclusions, but he is doing absolutely nothing to urge Hastert to extend the deadline. Many folks with a brain would call this "good cop, bad cop" with Hastert taking the heat for the president via his letter to Bush saying "no dice". Fine, then postpone the panel until after the election, like Bush's WMD intelligence failure "investigation;" 9/11 widows are furious at the stonewalling, and you should be too.

In other House scandals, Roll Call reports that the FBI is investigating Rep. Nick Smith's allegations of bribery during the Medicare Reform Bill vote. Although
Nick has since changed his tune somewhat, the story of a $100,000 campaign donation to his son Bradley's (Nick is retiring and Bradley is running for his seat) campaign in exchange for a yes vote on the "$400 billion" prescription drug bill (turned out to be $565, thanks to the White House finally coming clean). Otherwise, he was told, be prepared for a stiff GOP primary challenge against your son. Nick voted no anyway.

Meanwhile in Massachusetts...

Resigned Senator Cheryl Jacques (who now heads the Human Rights Campaign) Chief of Staff Angus McQuilken is the Democrat running against a ho-hum Republican for her seat (my boss said, "he's one of those guys that is just there."). If Angus wins, that is one more vote against any amendment to the constitution, if he loses, the tally stays the same.

According to the Beacon Hill Insider, Angus, should he win, will have trouble getting seated in time to vote in the Constitutional Convention. That's because Mitt "the Sh*t" Romney gets to decide when to swear him in, plus there is that minor detail of certifying the election. If it is close, the winner may not be decided in time. Meanwhile, The Onion makes fun of the whole thing.

Ever Mr. Serious Furrowed (with or without Botox), MA Sen. John Kerry loudly said he supports a civil unionamendmentnt to the MA Constitution, telling the Globe "I think that you need to have civil union. That's my position." Wow something clear from the Senator. Now some readers have beedisappointeded by this latest Kerry-finger-in-the-wind leadership. This is his way of batting down the "Massachusetts Liberal" label anytime they try to bring it up. Of course, the GOP now has settled on Flip-Flopper, which Kerry dismisses by pointing out all of Bush's flops and broken promises. While this is not a bad tactic, it failed to directly address the question (denying the truth won't do any good either). A better bet would be to say, "Over the course of my long career in public service [from county prosecutor to US Senator], I have come to believe different things at different times. I have changed my views as I have grown older, and wiser."

Oh yeah, the debate!

CNN/LA Times sat Kerry and Edwards next to each other. The way they placed the camera made Democrats, or at least me, want more and more for this to be the ticket. I expect there will be pressure of Kerry to name Edwards.

There was good-natured ribbing and slight differences shown. As Kerry said about Edwards:"I know he's looking for some differences because you need them" I thought Edwards proved he is a good man who knows his issues and is more charismatic anempatheticic sounding. Kerry proved that he is tough, CNN's Larry "Womanizer" King asked Kerry "A person who kills a 5-year-old should live?" Kerry: "My instinct is to want to strangle that person with my own hands"

Kerry just worries me. He seems too liberal, too wishy-washy, and too old-Washington Democrat to win. I wanted Clark, but I prefer Edwards over Kerry. Kerry-Edwards is a great ticket. Too bad he will never do it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Nader wanted to be Dean's VP

On Jerry Springer's blog, Mike Ford writes: "....For the last 6 months or so I was a senior advisor to Howard Dean.

"'Bout three months ago Ralph Nader and his entourage walked into our Vermont headquarters off the street to 'dialogue'.

"He was quite impressive intellectually and the firmness of his vision was also impressive. At the time of the visit, Howard was still the front runner and the Nader entourage made a blatant pitch for a Nader Vice Presidential nomination. [own emphasis added]

"The point of all this is to say that the only thing that impressed me more than Nader's brain was his outsized ego. [own emphasis added] Got to say, that's what seems to be the driver here and it's more about his personal agenda and, I think, about that huge ego rather than beating Bush. Who died and made you King Ralph? To each her own, EH? What do you think? "

Kos backs up this source
saying "Mike Ford is the guy that ran all of Jerry Springer's early campaigns (for mayor and councilmember of Cincinnati). Lest the "Springer" connection make you skeptical, he's also Joe Trippi's best friend and comrade in arms. They have worked together on a slew of presidential campaigns in the past. So the source is solid. And his take on Nader is as well. "

So much for the corporate lines of Nader; he just wants power, or attention. And we're not going to give him either.
Three states hold a primary, and no one cares. Plus: Bush is too right-wing for even Tom DeLay

According to Yahoo! News Kerry easily won all 3 states (UT, ID, and HI) while Kucinich's visit to Hawaii paid off with a second place win and 6 delagates. Congratulations Dennis J!

Speaking of nice trips and nice hotels, Rev. Al Sharpton is in trouble for "excessive campaign donations, the way in which he reported his debt, and why he didn't itemize large payments made to him personally." The NY Post says that, "Two payments - one for $21,200.87 and the other for $799.13 - are simply made out to Sharpton and are not itemized as is required." The FEC previously fined him for accounting shenanigans when he was still in his "exploratory" phase. Al has been in the news about his pricey hotels ($1,000 a night) when his campaign debt is as much as Dean's ($500,000).

Meanwhile Edwards is annoyed that Bush didn't pick on him in his first speech. "It isn't quite the two-man race that Sen. John Edwards envisioned," said the Charolette Observer. "So Edwards updated his line Tuesday in acknowledging Bush's jabs at Democratic rival John Kerry. 'I have got a message today for somebody in Washington,' Edwards told supporters in Atlanta. 'And that message is this -- Not so fast, George Bush. George Bush doesn't get to pick our nominee, and he doesn't get to decide what this election is about.'" But Edwards really didn't want to talk about (and neither did Kerry, who is holding a big lead in NY and CA) was Gay marriage. Both support civil unions but don't want to alientate conservative swing state voters. Speaking of swing states, Florida Senator Bob Graham is endorsing John Kerry (say VP three times fast).

Both Kerry and Edwards argeed that Bush's constitutional amendment was a terrible idea. It is really a sad statement that the man who claimed he was "a uniter, not a divider" is taking up the most divisive issue of our time and playing politics with it to get elected. BOPNews' Matt Stoller gives a good summary of the blogsphere's opinion.

Even his own staff private admit that there is no chance of it actually passing. They just think they need to energize their base who is mad at them about things like immgration reform, fiscal irresponsibility, and other issues near and dear to true conservative hearts. The more I think about Bush's move, the more angry and sad I get. Even Right-wing reactionary US House Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay told the Times "This is so important we are not going to take a knee-jerk reaction to this," Mr. DeLay said that, although he loves Bush's "Moral Leadership," "We are going to look at our options and be deliberate about what solutions we may suggest."

How could people be so stupid as to vote for him last time? I understand why conservatives would, but what were you thinking?

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Notes from the field: Edwards Meetup

Tonight I went to an Edwards meetup in the heart of liberal Cambridge: Central Square. You could literally throw a rock and hit the Dean Headquarters, which solicited me for my vote in the Boston Common at 5. "Vote for Dean: he's still on the ballot." (Great slogan, kid).

So the Meetup was moved from a restaurant to an Elks lodge because there was about 50 people there, many of whom where former Dean people, a couple former Clark supporters and 5 people from New Hampshire. Can you imagine? New Hampshirites usually don't even bother to put up a sign, let alone drive into Cambridge for a meetup months after their primary. He really is a snake charmer. Anyway, the vibe in the room was that of a rally with a much smaller crowd. The biggest campaign person they could get was a guy that went dinner with the Senator in 2002 (and he is on the National Finance Committee and fellow Trial Lawyer).

Before I got there, I got accosted by those crazy Kucinich people who failed to tell me that he would actually be at the church on Church Street tonight. Of course, no sightings of Kerry folks, except at work where Representatives are compelled to wear buttons and I get calls from US Rep. Markey's staff to do fundraising calls.

Anyway, back to Edwards. 20-30% of those there were ex-Deanies, including the guy that showed the DVD they handed out in NH (of a town hall meeting, rough camera work guys). Another third were BC/BU folks who had marched some troops over there. They were trying to get us all excited about trying to get delegates in every congressional district (AKA 15%) with excessive group clapping. Feels a bit big brothery the way we had to clap for everything people said.

Somethings did impress me: they told us to never say anything negative, especially about Kerry. "John Kerry is a great, but John Edwards is better. Kerry is a great Senator ... and I want him to stay our Senator." This was said over and over again. We are to keep expectations low so as to exceed them and get press (the Bart Simpson strategy). We will get on the news if we are holding a sign doing "Viz" as they call it. Damn they are hip. Oh yeah, no swearing in the sketchy Elks Lodge where the meetup was held.
Bush protects his right flank

Under pressure from the Christian Conservative Wing of the party and that crazy right wing part of his mind (not the "I must win at all costs" part), Bush has decided to push for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. I guess Karl Rove thought this one would win them votes, even if all the other bull didn't. Bush is also worried about AL ex-Supreme Court Justice Roy (Mr. 10 Commandments) Moore running for president in a third party. As Slate's Timothy Noah points out, Moore is far more dangerous to Bush than Nader is to Kerry or Edwards.

Meanwhile, the Times seems to be under the false impression that Rep. Musgrave's amendment is a moderate position. Sorry, nope, it would enshire discrimination in all venues, like housing, just ask Yale Law professor Jack Balkin. Conservative Andrew Sullivan is livid. Liberal Altrios is also very upset.

I am looking forward to all those emails from Red States asking my boss to sign on to the Federal Amendment even though my boss isn't a member of congress (geniuses) and voted in favor of gay rights. "I support President Bush, and you should too..." these letters write themselves. Joy.
Bush to Edwards: It's over

In his first real campaign speech of 2004 (besides the ones at all the fundraisers) to GOP governors at the Governor's Conference in DC, Bush decided to take on John Kerry, not John Edwards. "The other party's nomination battle is still playing out. The candidates are an interesting group, with diverse opinions. For tax cuts, and against them. For NAFTA, and against NAFTA. For the Patriot Act, and against the Patriot Act. In favor of liberating Iraq, and opposed to it. And that's just one senator from Massachusetts." The "this guy flip-flops" attack line is much better than the Mass. Liberal one because it is undeniably true. Kerry can say he has taken firm positions, but I don't think that passes the laugh test. Every vote he has taken he wonders off from when it is politically expedient. The best example of course, is Iraq. He said he voted for it when Saddam was captured and when Baghdad fell, but all the other times, he says he was duped and really wanted voted for Bush to go to the UN. At least that is what I can decipher.

Meanwhile, it looks like Bush is attacking the one who will win. John Kerry leads John Edwards 56-24% in a new Los Angeles Times CA poll. At the same time, Kerry has a slightly bigger lead over Edwards in NY (58% to 22%). Together, that is bad news for Johnny Millworker. I haven't seen any Ohio or Georgia polling, but he loses CA and NY like this, he will absolutely need wins in the other two states to even pretend he can win.

Edwards "stumbled" yesterday, according to the LA Times "when asked about looming European trade sanctions." Edwards: "I'm not sure I even know what you're talking about" (I'll give you a hint-- Bush's ill conceived steel tariffs). Also a bad move, The Center for Disability Rights noticed that "Edwards didn't have sign language interpreters and instead patted the heads of people in wheelchairs" in his Rochester, NY speech.

Quote of the Day

"As one who grew up on the receiving end of insensitive remarks, I should have chosen my words better" -- U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige, apologizing for calling the NEA a "terrorist organization."

This from a guy who was in Charge of the "Huston Miracle," where test scores and drop out rates miraculously revered, thanks to Enron-style accounting (students who didn't make the cut where not allowed to take the test. Students who dropped out were classified as "transferred" or "moved"). The man can't even show his face in GOP stronghold Utah because of the No Child Left Behind Act.

The Bushies: every last one of them is a corrupt, lying SOB who is slowly trying to ruin our country in their respective fields

Monday, February 23, 2004

Edwards-Dean 2004?

Edwards "stepped up his courtship" of Howard Dean supporters and maybe the Doctor himself, calling Dean "a powerful voice for change" and "somebody I believe has changed the face of politics forever in America." True on both counts Mr. E. Even ex-Dean supporter Kos is in Edwards' corner now. The ex-Deaniacs started their own website to this effect.

Could the Lawyer team up with the Doctor to get his supporters? Could be a hellava team. I don't know if Dean is readdy to play second fiddle but he is a talented politican who made some big time mistakes he might never live down. Like he is in $500,000 of debt now. He raised over $50 million (my guess was like 44) yet he is half a million in the hole? So much for ballanced budgets. Where did all of that spending get him? 0-17. Then again Bush has spent $46 Million against nobdy. What the hell are the doing; convincing his daughter to vote Republican?

Meanwhile, it looks like money can buy you love in the land of Lincoln. A Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV poll on the Illinois Senate Race, Investment banker Blair Hull (who has already spent tens of millions of his own money) won 24%, next was state Sen. Barack Obama with 15%; Compt. Dan Hynes with 11%; Cook Co. Treas. Maria Pappas with 9% and ex-Chicago school board chief Gery Chico with 5%. Among GOPers, teacher/ex-investment banker Jack Ryan had 30%, followed by dairy owner Jim Oberweis with 12%. Good news for Dems: this Jack Ryan wasn't in any Tom Clancy novels and has the same name as the last corrupt Governor of IL.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

The most selfish man in America

No it is not Ken Lay, or any of Bush's other friends, who are pretty open about their greed. The man of the year for this dubious honor is Ralph Nader, who despite costing Gore the election in 2000 and having absolutely no support for his run this time, is running again in 2004 as an independent. He told Tim Russert this is because even the nutty Green Party, who he ran into the ground last time, doesn't want him on their ticket.

In 2000, he got 2.7%, way less than Perot got either time, but yet it was enough to swing New Hampshire and Florida to Bush. Just think of all the things that would have different had Ralph decided to be a cabinet member of Gore's White House (EPA director or something) instead. No war in Iraq, the war on terror would going much better, our economy would be better, and we would have allies.

Instead, Nader lives in the fantasy world where he things there is this huge mandate for a candidate like him and that he will either win or his issues will be so pervasive that they will have to be address, ala Perrot and the deficit in 1992. Guess what, Ralph, you are about as clueless as your namesake on the Simpsons.

No money will go to you. Since you are running as an independent, and not with a fringe party, you will have to raise much more money to even appear on the ballot in many states, money that nobody will give you. Sure Kucinich has raised some decent amounts of money, but he is still in the race, precisely to drain your potential resources (sorry Dennis). Democrats and Liberals are united in wanting to beat Bush, they won't be fooled again to vote for you or volunteer or even give you money.

Over and over again, I read stories from former Nader voters or supporters who say "Ralph Don't Run" and although "I don't regret voting for him in 2000, I won't do it again." This time, it is painfully obvious that there is a difference between the two parties.

One clearly cares more about clean elections, clean environment, reigning in corporate power, providing health care for citizens, and all the other issues you care about than the other. Independents, liberals, and dissolutioned Democrats know from experience what a Bush White House is like, they know that we can't let him get another 4 year in power.

For God's sakes, your old public advocacy groups like Public Citizen, lost 20% of its funding after 2000, specifically due to your run. No one wants you to run except Karl Rove (and you)! Can't you see that it would hurt all the causes you care about? People won't return your calls any more, your influence has waned. Your "exploratory committee" can't release its' address because the staff fears for thier lives. Isn't that a sign, like Mel Gibson's actor for the Passion of the Christ getting struck by lighting?

Asked if he would withdraw if he concluded his candidacy would merely ensure President Bush's re-election, Nader told Meet the Press, "When and if that eventuality occurs, you can invite me back on the program and I'll give you the answer." OK, now come back and answer the question.

Potential VP candidate and current Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson explained Nader's motiviation better than I could:

"It's his personal vanity because he has no movement. Nobody's backing him," Richardson said Sunday in advance of Nader's announcement.

"The Greens aren't backing him. His friends urge him not to do it. It's all about himself," Richardson told "Fox News Sunday".

"Now, Ralph's made some great contributions to consumer issues over the years, but clearly it's not going to help us," he said. "I don't think he'll have a sizable impact, but it's terrible if he goes ahead because it's about him. It's about his ego. It's about his vanity and not about a movement that supposedly he headed for many years very effectively."