Mostly rational politics, with occasional rants about how a few crazy Republicans are ruining the country.
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Friday, April 28, 2006
See, politicians are committed to conservation!
House Speaker Dennis Hastert gave a press conference at a gas station, and then got in a hybrid minivan supposedly for the ride back to the Capitol.
Unfortunately for him, cameras caught him a block later getting out of the hybrid and into a gas-guzzling SUV:
Incidentally, Democrats are just as bad... all talk. The Seattle Times takes all politicians to task describing the cars they get picked up in. The only one who passes the test is IL Republican Richard Luger, who uses a Prius.
The full piece is up on New Republic (free registration required). Here's a choice excerpt:
From his back pocket, he removes a tin of Copenhagen--"the brand of choice for adult consumers who identify with its rugged, individual and uncompromising image," according to the company--and taps a fat wad of the tobacco between his lip and gum using an impressive one-handed maneuver. As the scrum breaks up, Allen turns away and spits a long brown streak of saliva into the dirt, just missing one of his constituents, a carefully put-together, blonde, ponytailed woman approaching the senator for an autograph. She stops in her tracks and stares with disgust at the bubbly tobacco juice that almost landed on her feet. Without missing a beat, Allen's communications director, John Reid, reassures her: "That's just authenticity!"
And the racist leanings keep coming:
Displayed a Confederate flag in his living room while running for Gov in 1993.
Had a ficus tree in his law office with a noose hanging from it
Accepted an invitation from a discrimintating club that 3 previous Govs had refused
Declared April "Confederate History and Heritage Month"
Voted against Martin Luther King day
Is this enough to derail a Presidential bid with 2 years to go?
This is not the news story that a Republican presidential candidate wants, especially when his party is trying to woo African American voters.
The New Republic's forthcoming cover-story, by Ryan Lizza, will reveal something new about Republican senator and potential GOP presidential candidate George Allen. His interest in the Confederate flag goes back much further than he has ever admitted. In fact, he is wearing a Confederate flag pin in his Palos Verdes, California high school yearbook. The piece will come online today, but no link yet.
many of Allen's high school classmates surprised that he's considering running for president because of the racist tendencies he displayed as a teenager. They say he "plastered the school with confederate flags" and drove a red Mustang with a confederate flag on the front.
Allen's response: "When I was in high school in California, I generally bucked authority and the rebel flag was just a way to express that attitude"
How dare the president of the united states make a speech today in april many, many, many months after the american people have had to undergo the cost of home heating oil? A woman told me she almost fainted when she received her home heating bill over this winter. And when so many people making the minimum wage, which hasn't been raised in eight years, which has a very low purchasing power, have to go out and buy gasoline at these prices?
Where have you been, mr. president? The middle class squeeze is on, competition in our country is effected by the price of energy and of oil and all of a sudden you take a trip outside of washington, see the fact that the public is outraged about this, come home and make a speech. Let's see that matched in your budget, let's see that matched in your policy.
The countdown is on in the UK after a bad day of crisis after crisis for Tony Blair. It's quite likely that he'll resign by the end of the year and turn the PMship over to Gordon Brown, and if I were a betting man (and I am), I'd say a summer exit is most likely. Probably around July.
Some choice quotes from George W. Bush's new spokesman:
George Bush has become something of an embarrassment.
when it comes to federal spending, George W. Bush is the boy who can’t say no.
No president has looked this impotent this long when it comes to defending presidential powers and prerogatives. Nearly 57 months into his administration, President Bush has yet to veto a single bill of any type. The only other presidents never to issue a veto - William Henry Harrison and James Garfield - died within months of taking office.
The English Language has become a minefield for the man, whose malaprops make him the political heir not of Ronald Reagan, but Norm Crosby.
An article in the Philly Daily News about Al Gore, and whether he might run again in 2008. It cites some of a couple of his friends as saying they don't think he's likely to run, because 1) he enjoys his current life, 2) he hasn't gotten his team together, and 3) he has no desire to fight Hillary.
All sensible reasons. Which is why I think, as I've said before, that if he gets in it will be somewhat late in the game and when he can make the argument that he was 'drafted' into the campaign. It might even be true.
I remember hearing a bit about this in late 2004, but now it's about to get bigger as it turns out Tom DeLay's PAC, Jack Abramoff, and potentially Ken Mehlman (then White House political director, now Chairman of the GOP) were involved. Indeed, it's not good that the guys that orchestrated the crime (they have plead guilty) were found on the phone records of the White House at the time they were perpetrating it.
As the article discusses, the mainstream media has largely ignored this story (until now?). Will it get more press in the buildup to November's election? Let's hope so. Republicans in the last half century seem to think that corruption and crime go hand in hand with governing (remember Watergate?). Sounds like a campaign issue to highlight.
The Democrats have their first official, filed, candidate for President in 2008, and he's not even on my odds list. Mike Gravel, former Senator from Alaska (26 years ago) has filed. I guess I'll have to add him to the list. Maybe at odds of, oh I don't know, 1 gazillion to one?
My buddy Josh has the following idea on his blog. Make a President elected to a second term re-nominate his cabinet, regardless of whether they were in the 1st term cabinet.
On the surface, I like the idea. It's the kind of symbolic thing that Washington tends to take seriously, and therefore could in fact lead to more accountability for someone like Rumsfeld.
The problem with the idea in practice is: would you then have the Senate have to re-approve all of the nominees? This would get REALLY political, especially in a Rumsfeld type situation, and might bog down the government for awhile.
(Would have posted this in your comments, Josh, but didn't feel like registering).
This article makes the important and aptly-timed point that tax revenues will be up this Spring, and that while George Bush and Republicans will claim proof of their supply-side theory that lower tax rates lead to economic growth and therefore higher tax revenue, in fact the opposite is true. Tax revenues are higher because the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) is ensnaring more and more tax payers (including me this year). The AMT imposes a second test on taxpayers, and basically negates the effect of property, state and other tax deductions on one's federal return. It's basically a tax on people who live in blue states, but that's a topic for another post. So it is in fact higher tax rates causing the higher revenues.
Personally, I'm hoping Congress gets around to fixing the AMT this summer. Otherwise my $3000 tax credit for buying a Prius will evaporate.
This is an interesting map. I didn't realize that the plains states had the highest percentage of religous adherents. I would have thought that Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee would be deeper red. Also, West Virginia really confounds me - I would have thought that to be deep red as well and it's very light yellow. Same with the adjoining parts of Ohio. I think that might be from a dearth of population or reporting congregations in those areas.
Lethal injection was supposed to be a more humane and modern way to execute people. People who watched electric chair or gas chamber executions were horrified by the physical pain endured by the prisoner. Lethal injection solved that... the prisoner appears to just go to sleep. No movements, screams, etc.
But many experts have been warning for years that we are doing lethal injection in a dangerous way, in which the prisoner might be experiencing horrible pain that they cannot convey physically. This is because lethal injection today is a series of 3 drugs, the first of which basically causes near-total paralysis of all the body's muscles. So if the second drug that stops your heart was causing searing, agonizing pain, there's no way anyone would know.
It's probably only a matter of time before states are compelled to find a new way to kill, or at least new drugs to administer in a different order. But how about we take a state back, and realize that perhaps this is telling us something.... that it's not right for the state to kill.
- Chris Dodd says he's interested. He's the kind of guy who could surprise in popularity with voters, but he'll have a major problem getting the fundraising from big party supporters. He'd have to come up with some kind of creative grassroots campaign. I'll up his odds slightly, from 30:1 to 25:1. - Bill Richardson got the best review from Frank Luntz's focus groups. Needs money though. For now I'll swap him with Evan Bayh, so Richardson goes to 10:1 and Bayh to 11:1.
GOP: - McCain is cozying up to Jerry Falwell, who McCain once called "an agent of intolerance". By election time, McCain better have been called out for abandoning everything people once liked about him, and selling out to the right wing of the GOP. - Bill Frist is getting a TON of bad press lately. TIME magazine quoted a Republican, when asked how Frist did as majority leader, as saying "I heard he was a good physician". Ouch. He's lost so much credibility. I'm knocking him back from 12:1 to 18:1.
After a two week layoff, I'm back in action on the blog today, which should have more activity now that I'm married, and no longer have a wedding to think about.
Some interesting things that happened while I was getting married, and then laying on the beach:
- Tom DeLay resigned. Well done Dems for keeping the pressure on, and hopefully this brings more light to the corruption of the Republican style of governing. - Andy Card did resign, as I thought, but Don Evans was not his replacement. Josh Bolten was. It might be a tough job if November goes the Dems' way.