Saturday, January 13, 2007

Saturday Links

  • After calling for more oversight on the failure of the Bush administration with Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, Senator Joe Lieberman (Might as well be a Republican - Connecticut) has now backed away from his demands that the White House turn over potentially embarrassing documents. Surprise, surprise, surprise. The article also notes Lieberman's strong defense of Bush's escalation of the war in Iraq, although the authors erroneously identify him as a Democrat.

  • Recognizing the importance of blogs, the U.S. District Court in Washington is allowing bloggers to cover the criminal trial of former White House staffer Scooter Libby alongside reporters from traditional media outlets.

  • Sometimes Republican hypocrisy is so ridiculous, it's easy to miss how harmful the GOP's ignorance is. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), the same guy who complained that actually having to work a five-day week would be harmful to families, argued against an increase in the minimum wage on Thursday by saying that if people just got married and worked longer hours they'd be out of poverty. My favorite part of his quote though: "It’s not something I have the knowledge of or the information of, but it’s an economic fact." Classic.

  • Interestingly, of the 744,000 homeless people in the United States in 2005, 41% of them were in families. Guess Rep. Kingston might want to check his economic "facts."

  • The nation's minorities, poor and uninsured are missing out on the preventive screening and counseling they need.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Democrats vs. Bush the Obstructionist

Continuing its fast start, the Democratic-led Congress hasn't slowed down. Yesterday the House passed the first increase in the federal minimum wage, and today it passed a bill bolstering embryonic stem cell research.

Unfortunately, the progress that Democrats are trying to make is about to run into a brick wall. After bemoaning the "obstructionist" tactics used by the Democrats to block his atrocious agenda when they were in the minority, Bush is ready to stand in the way of the will of the American people. He has already promised to veto the aformentioned stem cell legislation, and today vowed to veto Democratic-drafted legislation requiring the government to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices under Medicare.

Setting aside the hypocrisy of his actions, why does Bush not want lower drug prices for Americans? Could it be that the pharmaceutical industry is one of his leading patrons? And why does he not want to fund further stem cell research? Could it be that he has to continue to throw red meat at the only people who still think he's doing a slightly better-than-crappy job?

Bush is becoming a lame-duck president very quickly. If he thinks that vetoing popular legislation is the way to go about keeping his relevancyt, he may be dumber than even I thought he was.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

News You Can Use

  • ABC has shut down a blogger's website after he began spotlighting inflammatory rhetoric common to several talk radio hosts on KSFO, an ABC Radio-owned station in San Francisco. Contact both KSFO and ABC Radio to complain.

  • Given the inaction by the Republican-led Congress since 1994, states are planning large expansions in their own health care coverage attempt to reduce the ranks of the 42.4 million Americans who are uninsured.

  • Despite attempts to gentrify on of New Orleans's most distinctive neighborhoods, urban planners at three universities are challenging the notion that the city's Ninth Ward must be rebuilt from scratch.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Gang Violence

GWB, global warming and this happen to be some of the worst problems the US faces today. Sure, states (governors and mayors) in particular need to do more, but gang warfare, their drug trade and the culture of thuggery they create need to be addressed in a much stronger way on the federal level. Too bad our efforts are in Iraq rather than home and that our local politicos and law enforcement have their hands tied up in the law while young people stupidly practice "Sex, Money, Murder."

It is a joke that this guy heads up the Conference of Mayors while the streets of his city are headed by gangs.

January 11, 2007 - International Day of Action to Shut Down Guantánamo

On January 11, the fifth anniversary of the first detainees being brought into the legal-moral black hole that is Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture is sponsoring a day of action in Washington, D.C. There will also be a vigil on January 11th, from 12 Noon to 1:30 p.m. at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan.

For more information, please call 646-213-0083 or write to

MoveOn Mobilizing to Fight Escalation of Iraq War

On Wednesday night, President Bush is going to use a primetime speech to the nation to announce an escalation of the war in Iraq, in which the U.S. will send up to an additional 20,000 soldiers to try and stop the civil war that we created.

Instead of listening to the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, which advocated a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops, Bush wants to send more American men and women to die in Iraq. is organizing a massive petition that will be sent to members of Congress urging them to stand up to Bush and his war machine and demand and end to, rather than an escalation of this war. Some Democrats in both houses of Congress have already come out against Bush's escalation plan, and hopefully more will do the same. The Angry Progressives fully support this stance by Moveon, and urge you to sign the petition and send it to friends and family.

No More Predictions, Just Action

Something that a caller to Washington Journal said a few weeks ago keyed me into what is going on and what is needed in the US right now. The caller talked about not making any more political predictions (who should run for office, how was it best to play politics in order to pass laws, etc.). So what was the caller referring to as the opposite of predictions? It was, debate on public policy issues (the content of bills) and the fast action involved in getting the laws on the books as quickly as possible so that as many people benefit from them as soon as possible.

Whether it is the debate on Iraq, anti-terror funding, Sudan, drug prices, Somalia, universal healthcare, nuclear proliferation, creating jobs, etc., etc., etc. ---- we do not do enough to create solutions (finding a middle ground) as fast as we can. In response to six years under Bush and even more under Republicans of both domestic and international policy inaction (faux bipartisanship), there is a new wave of decision-making sweeping the country - bold statements and moves by politicians across the country (now made famous by the entire Democratic Congress and their 100 hours) - they are looking for solutions and do not want to make the wrong move, be stubborn, go hunting or let down the American people. We all need to encourage this new rapid pace of politics or face a continued political "global warming" where the US political process and its ability to better the country and world become extinct.

Alternative Energy News - January 9, 2006

  • Forecast: 2007 likely to be the warmest year on record.

  • The diesel industry says it has met the technological and regulatory challenges of manufacturing trucks that produce up to 90% fewer emissions than the previous generation of diesels.

  • Analysis: U.S. wind power boom to continue.

  • Exxon accused of trying to mislead public.

  • A green revolution is sweeping the U.S. construction industry and Minnesota is leading the way.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Spitzer: Government can no longer "stand still"

It is great to hear someone point out that politicians need to start moving and get things done. Can you tell I just watched Gov. Eliot Spitzer's inaugural address on CSPAN? He is one of the few that will likely follow through on (or at least try to) the highlights of his speech - which can be summed up as reforming the entire state legislature, campaign finance laws and the political gridlock in Albany.
My guess is that if the Dems in Congress want real change then they should probably take lessons from Spitzer, but they are doing well so far.

Sunday Links

  • Say what you want about the Governator, but for a Republican he's got some really good initiatives, especially when it comes to the environment. Now, he is proposing that all Californian children, including those in the state illegally, be guaranteed medical insurance as part of his stated goal to ensure medical coverage for all of the 6.5 million Californians who now have none.

  • Insurers are about to begin canceling policies in New Orleans.

  • The AFL-CIO and the United Food and Commercial Workers are suing the Labor Department for inaction on a worker safety rule that requires employers to pay for personal protective equipment.

  • The death penalty is about to be abolished in NJ, after a report found it "costly and pointless."

  • And last but not least, it has been revealed that the White House and the Secret Service signed an agreement last year, in the heat of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, that declared that records identifying visitors to the White House are not open to the public. Do not think for one moment that the new Democratically-held Congress is going to forget to look into this.

Dems Off to Quick Start in 2007

Democrats are wasting absolutely zero time getting down to business in 2007.

Thursday, in their first week back in power, House Democrats passed new ethics rules, which the Democrat-led Senate will take up this week. The Senate will start with a bill, put on the shelf last year by the then-Republican-led House, that Harry Reid said would have provided "the most significant reform since Watergate in lobbying and ethics." Democrats will also try to strengthen the bill with amendments to extend the ban on gifts to entities that hire lobbyists, increase criminal penalties for violations of lobbying disclosure laws and make it easier to eliminate provisions slipped into House-Senate conference reports at the last minute.

On Friday, House Democrats voted to block future tax cuts or benefit increases from being financed with dollars that swell the national deficit, as well as to require legislation that contains pet projects and narrowly targeted tax breaks to include the names of the lawmakers who requested them.

At the same time, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont has introduced a bill targeting fraud by government contractors supporting the occupation of Iraq and the response to Hurricane Katrina, and has joined with Democratic Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas to strengthen public corruption investigations.

Kudos to the Democratic Party for not sitting around and waiting for Bush to set the agenda. The country sent a clear message in November that it wants change, and wants the kind of progressive, proactive government for the people that is anathema to the GOP, and that only the Democratic Party can provide.

And oh by the way, Bush now says he can open your mail. So we've got that going for us.

Not Too Early to Start Targeting Weak Republicans for 2008

In this article, Congressional Quarterly notes that 14 Republicans maintained GOP control of their Congressional seat in November 2006 by a margin of victory of less than 3%.

If you live in the following districts and would like to start targeting these weak Republican incumbents for 2008, please let us know and we'll point you to the right blogs, candidates, independent organizations, and state Democratic organizations to get you started:

Florida’s 13th District - Vern Buchanan

North Carolina’s 8th Disctrict - Robin Hayes

New Mexico’s 1st District - Heather Wilson

Ohio’s 15th - Deborah Pryce

Wyoming at-large - Barbara Cubin

Ohio’s 2nd District - Mean Jean Schmidt

Pennsylvania’s 6th District - Jim Gerlach

New Jersey’s 7th District - Mike Ferguson

New York’s 25th District - James T. Walsh

Nevada’s 3rd District - Jon Porter

Colorado’s 4th District - Marilyn Musgrave

Illinois’ 6th District - Peter Roskam

Virginia’s 2nd District - Thelma Drake

Washington’s 8th District - Dave Reichert