Friday, April 29, 2005

Bush's 2nd=FDR's 2nd

I have been watching in my spare time a History Channel documentary on FDR (this is how I was raised, it is engrained) and right now the story is set at FDR's second term 1936-40. It is his darkest hour; dispite winning big majorities in the House and Senate, all of his key legislation is being overturned by the activist and reactionary Supreme Court.

Like Bush, he storms the country trying to convince the people that his bad idea is a good one. For FDR it was his court packing plan (having a new justice for every justice over 70), for Bush it is ironically trying to overturn FDR's greatest domestic legacy: Social Security. Both we in denial even while poll after poll showed that the public and the Congress thought it was a bad idea. FDR even tried to campaign in primaries against those in his party who voted against him: he went 1-20 and nearly lost his reelection, going from 60% in 1936 (or there abouts) to 52% in 1940. The only way Franklin won was by basically lying and appealing to the isolationists of America and looking the other way on Southern Racism while his wife campaigned against lynching.

Laura Bush hasn't done anything as noble, but people approve of her by about 80% while her husband is only around 48%. The only thing keeping him afloat is the war on terrorism, which in reality is going very poorly. The one legal success was because they wore down a man who had nothing to do with 9/11 so he confessed to committing something he wished he had done. The rest of the legal cases have been unmitagated disasters. Terrorist attacks have trippled since last year, which was a previous record high. Iraq is still a big giant mess.

FDR inherited a depression and tried stuff but his plans didn't work. Bush enhirited a bubble and proceeded to ride it all the way into the ground, like that guy on Dr. Strangelove. Thank goodness for Bush he cannot to run for a 3rd term like FDR could; watching Bush try for a 3rd term would be like watching a train wreck.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

2006 Senate Outlook


Well the you know what just hit the fan for Mfume. The ex-head of the NCAAP (whom I praised for his performance on Hardball) has got some enemies in the old organization. Memos were leaked that said Mfume "gave raises and promotions to women with whom he had close personal relationships." How close are we talking? Chicago Attorney Marcia Goodman wrote that Mfume's actions gave "the impression [that was] created that a woman must provide sexual favors to Mr. Mfume or his associates in order to receive favorable treatment in the workplace." The memo went on to assess the chance and success of a lawsuit against the NAACP, which would have been "highly damaging"...I hope they didn't pay her too much for that last part of her memo.

Mfume responded: "[T]here is not nor has there been any situation where female employees have been 'pitted against one another' to obtain raises or promotions." Of course, he did date a women at NAACP for 3 months and adopted the then 4-year son of one of them (who is now 15). I say, let the women in question raise these complaints, not some shaddowy person who is miffed at Mfumi's leadership. Still, I have gone neutral now in this race pending further review.

Oh and Mfume hired Joe Trippi, hoping for that HoHo magic.


Yesterday, sponsored a rally in Phoenix, where ex-state Sen. Slade Mead (R) joined AZ Dem chair Jim Pederson in a "protest" of GOP threats to win confirmation for federal judges by changing U.S. Senate rules.

In turn, Pederson gave props to Sen. John McCain (R) for opposing the rules change. Pederson: "It is not a partisan issue, it's about our rights, about keeping extreme judges out of the judicial system. It's about a president not running roughshod over this country."

Many "demonstrators" displayed signs attacking Sen. Jon Kyl (R), who heads the GOP policy committee that is pushing for the rule change and just so happens to be up for re-election. (Wouldn't you know)... On wonders who the Democrats are going to put up against him, somehow I doubt it is Peterson, but who knows.


The same guy that barely lost to Benator last time is challenging him again. ex NE AG Stenberg lost to Nelson in '00 by 15K votes, but then again that was the closest margin since NE began directly electing senators by popular vote (1906 people)and that the GOP voter registration advantage over Dems has grown by 34K since '00.

Still he is a sitting senator. But at least Nelson isn't running against that old Nebraska coach. His endorsement is like an automatic win. Just ask Goveror Bob Henry.


Pennacchio, a MyDD-wing internet daring said he heard from what he characterized as 5 or 6 "party-established figures" who asked him to reconsider running. Pennacchio: "They told me I had no right to run. They told me the campaign was going to drive me into debt or break up my family. They told me I'm going to lose badly; that I'd be humiliated and I'd have no political future. ... I think that indicates the threat we pose in their minds." What kind of a threat, I don't know but it could make for an ugly primary.

But don't call Pennacchio "liberal," he prefers "progressive" to describe himself. Labels all of them. "He focuses on two issues, abortion and gun control, to draw contrasts between himself and Casey."


The signs point to Vermont GOP governor Jim Douglas not to run against Bernie "Socialist" Sanders (I). VT GOP chair Jim Barnett changes the subject whenever he is asked about Douglas' thoughts on running for Senate.


Wow, I thought for sure that ex-St. Sen. Dino Rossi would use his painfully close loss for the Governorship as a launching pad to the Senate. "I have four small children and I'm not sure how I'd make it work with the family without upheaval and difficulty for the kids. So, that really is not my focus. My focus is running for governor and being governor of the state of Washington and turning the state around. So I'm not running for the U.S. Senate. I'm running for governor." OK well at least he was honest and not one of those undisclosed "personal reasons."

The national GOP are hoping he would reconsider since Maria Cantwell barely beat ex-Sen. Slade Gordon in 2000 and now all her Real Networks money is gone. Rossi: "I can't see a scenario where it would pan out for me against Cantwell. The polling says I'd beat her, but I don't need a political career" To me, that is slamming the door on the NRSCC.


With giving a quick cash infusion to the old and disgruntled Senate Historian and Senior Citizen, this looks like a cake walk. I really wish Rep. Shelley Moore Capito would get into the race even if Byrd can't handle an actual race.

That way, Democrats could finally reclaim that House seat. But alas, Bryd is staying there until he dies.


Sheldon Whitehouse is trying to raise money and be important. Chaffee's would be primary competition was admonished by the state ethics board to stop his AM radio show since it was basically a free political ad. To me, it still looks like Chaffee pulls this one out by his teeth. Unless he really screws up with Bolton and Bush drops further. Word of advice: Lincoln, make sure you are the last GOPer to vote.


Hillary's coasting and the state Republican party is in a mess. They can't find anyone to challenge Hillary and not anyone who can be on the conservative party ticket as well as the GOP ticket for governor (Weld is too liberal for them). Guilani is too worried about running for President and Pataki has outworn his welcome.

If I were the NYGOP, I would get Bloomberg to run for Governor or against Hillary.


Things are generally looking up for Democrats, but they still need to get their act together in RI and PA to make sure they can add two more seats to the collumn. And after that, they still need 3-4 more.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

playing chicken and winning

Loyal Readers know my previous distaste with Congressional Democrats, but lately they seem to have gotten their act together.

First it seemed to be all my adopted Senator Harry Reid (hey Nevada's close enough)'s doing, foiling Bush's second term agenda on fillibusters and Social Security. So far, even Dirty Harry's gamble on a "compromise" to the fillibuster seems to have paid off.

Now, House Democrats are coming through. Having said no dice to a "compromise" by GOP on having an Ethics Committee investigation on Tom DeLay, Hastert and Company have retreated into following the premise of Democrats' complaints: that the rule changes would have made an investigation toothless and pre-ordained quasi-acquittal of DeLay. Now they are offering to change back to the old rules. Fortunately for them, they kicked off all the GOPers that decided to admonish DeLay last time with ones who took his PAC money.

My caption: "Say goodbye political career" DeLay and Bush "Goodbye political career!"

What's yours?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

who needs whom?

I read the other day that Bush was going to show his support for ethically-challenged House Majority Leader Tom DeLay by giving him a free ride on Air Force One to Texas. That way, the Bugman won't have to hitch a ride from some lobbyist or corporation that he won't report or payback. Of course, the rest of use these things called commercial airlines, but never mind.

But the real question here is, why is Bush doing this, and why is DeLay accepting it? With a 48% approval ratting (with negatives in every major category except terrorism at 56%) Bush isn't quite the guy you want to associate yourself with if you are in a more moderate district where you only won in Texas by 5 points to some unknown guy supported by Howard Dean and liberal bloggers. On Bush's side, you are freely associating yourself with a guy that is a more blunt version of the criticisms against you-- a corporate/religious right shill who panders to both for money and power-- only he has gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

Does Bush really need Tom DeLay's support and power among House Republicans that badly to pass his Social Security Privatization Plan? If so, he is in way worse shape than I thought since most House Republicans are basically GOP robots. Plus, the rules are stacked in the President's favor in the House and against him in the Senate. Bush extended his fake town hall meeting tour despite its resounding failure. Have the wheels finally come off the wagon over there at 1600 Penn. Ave?

As for DeLay, I guess Bush is still more popular down in his "home" state of Texas than elsewhere and even in this swingable district. Plus, maybe he is just plain old desperate since donations to DeLay's legal defense fund have fallen sharply in the last three months.

Records filed 4/25 showed DeLay raised $48K in the first quarter of 2005 compared to $254K in the first quarter of last year. One constant: donations from his fellow House GOPers. House GOPers gave $30K in Q1. The "largest donor" was Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) and his PAC, "each donating the maximum" of $5K according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Meanwhile the DCCC strong-armed last year's 45% "nobody" challenger to DeLay (Richard Morrison) out of the race and place in 100-mi carpetbagger ex-Rep. Nick Lampoon (no Chevy Chase jokes please). True to form, Roll Call says Lampson "will hold his first fundraiser" in DC on Thursday. On the other end of the political spectrum, Republican Michael Fjetland has challenged DeLay in two of the three primaries but unlike before, Fox News reports that "some Republicans are now urging him to run."

Meanwhile, the GOP in New York are so desperate they are asking ex-Massachusetts Governor (who lost a Senate Bid to Kerry in 1996) William Weld to run for Governor of their state. And it sounds like Weld is warming to the idea "Eliot [Spitzer, NY AG and Democratic Candidate for Governor]'s making his name the same way I made mine, and he would be tough to beat. But I think I could beat him, yes, it's possible."

In other Texas news, Country Musician/Author/Comedian/TX Governor candidate Kinky Friedman (I) "plans to team with" ex-MN Gov. Jesse Ventura (I) manager/ex-MN Sen. Dean Barkley (I). We might have two firsts, a governor of two states, and an ex-senator running a governor’s race. Any political trivia experts know if either has been done before?

Monday, April 25, 2005

undue influence

USATODAY did an actual investigative news story, I can't believe it!
Hundreds of police officers nationwide also are on payrolls of companies that supply weapons, riot gear and other equipment to the officers' departments, creating possible conflicts of interest.
The arrangements have involved officers who advise their departments on what equipment to buy, according to a survey of at least a half-dozen companies by USA TODAY.

OK, so all they did was ask companies like Taser, Armor Holdings (they make bullet-resistant clothing), ASP (a police baton manufacturer); and PepperBall Technologies (guess what they make? pepper-spray repellent duh), the companies admitted they pay officers to train other police to use the companies' products.
Such arrangements between equipment providers and police have generated no formal allegations of wrongdoing. Taser International President Tom Smith says police are paid about $600 plus travel expenses to oversee a two-day training session on their days off.
"We bring in officers for their expertise," he says. "You don't have nurses train pilots."

Right, but you could use RETIRED pilots to train pilots, and boeing does not pay the same pilots who buy the company's planes (I don't think any pilots do anyway) to train other pilots. Just because everyone's doing it, does not justify it.

Taser in particular has come under attack from Amnesty International and the Arizona Republic, who discovered that more than 80 people have died after being shocked by Tasers. Smith and Weson doesn't employ active duty police who buy the guns, why can't these companies do the same?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Details, details

Today is "Justice Sunday," where the American Taliban do a group victimization rally at a mega-church in Kentucky to whine about getting only 95% of Bush's appointees confirmed to lifetime spots on the federal judiciary. Is it just me, or are members of the Republican Leadership just spoiled brats? It seems like they are always throwing hissy fits when they don't what they want, blaming things on the SCLM, Senate Democrats, RINOs, any one but themselves.

Meanwhile, in the reddest state in the union, Daren Jensen was running for GOP vice chair of SL county ran into a minor snafu that destroyed his candidacy: he's not a registered Republican (just plain conservative I guess). He thought he checked the box last time he voted, but alas it was never recorded. Meanwhile, registered GOPers at the top knew of the error and didn't let him know of his mistake until was too late so they could just disqualify him.

He has pushed for legislation to overhaul the Division of Child and Family Services and the Guardian Ad Litem's Office, two state agencies involved in the high-profile push to force his then-12-year-old son, Parker, into chemotherapy in 2003."I don't need an office or a vice chairmanship to continue to represent people of like values," he said.

Daren Jensen refused to treat his son's leukemia with chemo and thus attracted the ire of the GAL office and a debate about the role of government. Actually, it does sound like Jensen is more Libertarian than GOP. The GOP nowadays would love to legislate how you raise your children, how you get your jollies, what you see on TV/Movies/Internet, how you end your life, etc. The GOP is trying to legislate their American Taliban brand of morality (another thing that makes these extremists akin to their Islamic counterparts in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan).

Personally, and I think most people would agree with me, I think Mr. Jensen doesn't have the right to decide the fate of his son like that. Chemo is a crude method of treating cancer, but until we develop more advanced treatments, it is sometimes the only treatment option. If Parker was 18+ and said he didn't want treatment, I would respect his wishes, but since he was 12, he can't really give consent and when parents make choices on behalf of their children that harm their life expectancy, the state should properly intrude.

Parker is now 13, and apparently cancer free, thank God. His father's legislation would force state agencies like GAL to take children like Parker's wishes into account when making these decisions. If Parker, just prior to going on to life support, had told his parents and state social workers that he didn't want to prolong his life, then I would be down with that per Crusan. Not all kids are really capable of making the right choice as Parker was when it comes to something less drastic than the life-support scenario; that is, how do you define who is a "mature-minor?"

Jensen's bills: Senate Bill 83 provides that a parent's medical decision does not constitute neglect unless the state can prove by "clear and convincing" evidence that the decision was not "reasonable or informed." House Bill 202 narrows the definition of child abuse, excluding threatened physical harm and upping mental harm to mental cruelty and neglect to chronic neglect. To get it past committee, sponsor Wayne Harper, R-West Jordan, discarded even more controversial provisions. House Bill 338 seeks to limit the role of the Guardian ad Litem, a division of attorneys appointed to represent the best interests of children in juvenile court.

SB 83 passed both houses of the legislature and Governor Huntsman is expected to sign the bill into law. The others failed in the Senate I believe. At the very least, Daren Jensen ended the career of at least one state official: GAL head Alicia Davis stepped down in February after it was revealed that the office doesn't usually meet with the children to discuss their wishes and that all but $75,000 of her office's $239,000 budget went to cover the salaries of Davis and her assistant.

Details, details