Monday, October 31, 2005

pandering progressive?

Scaife rag op-ed reporter calls M. hart a pandering progressive:
U.S. Rep. Melissa Hart, R-Pa., generally isn't considered to be a liberal. But she sure does a convincing impression of a pandering progressive when the topic turns to economics, particularly the economics of natural gas prices.

Tuesday last, Ms. Hart urged the House Agriculture Committee "to investigate what actions the Congress may take to ensure that Americans are not subjected to unwarranted volatility and price gouging in the natural gas market."

Particular attention must be paid to "excessive speculation" and the role futures trading plays to "artificially raise prices" and cause "unwarranted changes," she said, adding that "unpredictable (price) swings hit hardest on those that can least afford it, such as farmers, seniors and American businesses."
Sorry Mr. McNickle, but a I don't think this is part of a "pandering progressive's" agenda:
House Republicans voted to cut student loan subsidies, child support enforcement and aid to firms hurt by unfair trade practices as various committees scrambled to piece together $50 billion in budget cuts.

More politically difficult votes -- to cut Medicaid, food stamps and farm subsidies -- were on tap Thursday as more panels weigh in on the bill.

[snip]

Pressed to produce more savings than the Senate, House committees took more political chances in drafting the $50 billion House plan, which has become a rallying point for the GOP's conservative wing and its anxiety about hurricane relief worsening the deficit.

The House Education and the Workforce panel, for example, was told to generate $18 billion in savings over five years.

[snip]

The Ways and Means Committee approved on a party-line vote a plan by its chairman, Rep. Bill Thomas, R-California, with so many difficult-to-swallow provisions that lawmakers and aides whispered about whether the intent was to make it hard for GOP leaders to win its passage in the full House.

It includes $3.8 billion in cuts to child support enforcement. Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-North Dakota, charged that Republicans were appealing to the "constituency of deadbeat dads."

The bill also would tighten eligibility standards for foster care assistance in nine states and delay some lump-sum payments to very poor and elderly beneficiaries of Social Security's Supplemental Security Income program.

[snip]

The House Resources Committee approved a controversial plan to raise $2.4 billion in lease revenues by permitting oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Minority Democrats opposed virtually everything that was done, saying Wednesday's actions are part of a broader GOP budget blueprint that also calls for $106 billion in new tax cuts over the next five years.

"They are targeting programs for poor people to pay for tax cuts for rich people," said Rep. David Obey, D-Wisconsin. Once those tax cuts are passed, Obey added, deficits will be increasing again.

No...... you don't have to worry about your Congresswoman's conservative credentials.

When it rains it pours

Berlusconi: 'I tried to get Bush to not invade Iraq'
Italian PM says he even tried to get Libyan leader Qaddafi to help him.
By Tom Regan | csmonitor.com
In an interview to be broadcast today in Italy, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, one of George Bush's closest allies, said he tried repeatedly to persuade the president not to go to war. The Guardian reports that, in a "behind the scenes effort" he even asked Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi to help him.
He wouldn't listen to us either.

Bush back on Dobson's leash

From Think Progress:

ALITO WOULD OVERTURN ROE V. WADE
ALITO WOULD ALLOW RACE-BASED DISCRIMINATION
ALITO WOULD ALLOW DISABILITY-BASED DISCRIMINATION
ALITO WOULD STRIKE DOWN THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT
ALITO SUPPORTS UNAUTHORIZED STRIP SEARCHES
ALITO HOSTILE TOWARD IMMIGRANTS

Some reactions:

“Judge Alito is exactly the far-right nominee that the Republican Party’s reactionary wing demanded after it ’Borked’ Harriet Miers. Judge Alito is to the right of the existing Supreme Court on abortion, and he’s to the right of all nine justices, even Scalia and Thomas, in advocating an extremely high burden of proof for employment discrimination cases.” – Scott Moss, Marquette University Law School professor.

“Rather than selecting a nominee for the good of the nation and the court, President Bush has picked a nominee whom he hopes will stop the massive hemorrhaging of support on his right wing. This is a nomination based on weakness, not strength.” – Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.

“President Bush put the demands of his far-right political base above Americans’ constitutional rights and legal protections by nominating federal appeals court Judge Samuel Alito to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.” – Ralph Neas, president of the liberal People For the American Way.

“It is sad that the president felt he had to pick a nominee likely to divide America instead of choosing a nominee in the mold of Sandra Day O’Connor, who would unify us. This controversial nominee, who would make the court less diverse and far more conservative, will get very careful scrutiny from the Senate and from the American people.” – Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

“Now the gauntlet has been, I think, thrown down. It was humiliating, it was degrading and it’s a profound and distributing view of Judge Alito that he would uphold spousal notification as he did in the Pennsylvania case, and it raises concerns about his views of women.” – Kate Michelman, former president of NARAL-Pro Choice America.

If the Dems are ever going to start fighting for the American people, now's the time.

Kurtz = putz

Some of the stuff in Howie's latest are mindboggling...
First of all the title of his column is "Scandal Overkill?" Then you have stuff like this:
So when Rove was not indicted in the CIA leak case Friday, it almost seemed like a victory for the White House.
I don't think having the first White House officer indicted since the Grant administration is "almost a victory", and we still don't know what's going to happen to Rove.
What happened to the normal journalistic skepticism toward a single-minded special prosecutor, as was on display when Ken Starr was pursuing Bill Clinton?
What??? did Howie live in another reality during the 90's? What "journalistic skepticism," journalists gleefully reported every scrap Starr threw out to them.
If the media pound Bush over the Fitzgerald probe for months, they risk a public backlash.
I think the public would like to know the truth. Then he finishes his column with this little ditty.
Strip everything else away, though, and Libby, like Clinton, is accused of lying.
See, no difference, lying about outing CIA agents or consensual sex, no difference. This is the first week after the indictments and already we're hearing crap like this. Unbelievable.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

60 minutes tonight

“We give our most sensitive cases to those officers serving under non-official cover,” explains Melissa Mahle, who spent 14 years in the Middle East as a covert CIA operative maintaining a series of fictitious “legends,” or cover stories, created by her superiors.

“I conducted espionage. I went overseas, I recruited agents,” says Mahle.

She left the agency three years ago, and recently struck up a friendship with a woman whose career ran parallel to her own: Valerie Plame Wilson.

“People have said, ‘Oh, well, Valerie wasn't serving in a sensitive position. So it's not really that serious.’ Well, I would say that's a very fallacious way of looking at this because a cover is for a clandestine officer can be different things at different times. We change cover. We modify cover based on how we need it,” says Mahle. “If you start to unravel one part of that, you can unravel the whole thing.”

Mahle says Valerie was working on important national security issues, like keeping tabs on nuclear material and the world’s top nuclear scientists. “She is an expert on weapons of mass destruction. These are the kind of people that don't grow on trees.”

What do agents in that division do? “They're trying to figure out, really, the hard questions of who has the capability obtaining and deploying a biological weapon. Or a chemical weapon. Who's doing it? What are those networks? What are the financial trails?” says Mahle.

[snip]

Former agent Jim Marcinkowski says one of the worst things about the leak is that it gives America’s enemies clues about how the CIA operates. “She is the wife of an ambassador, for example. Now, since this happened, every wife of an ambassador is going to be suspected. Or they'll know there's a possibility that the wife of a U.S. ambassador is a CIA agent.”

“I get the impression you get really angry about what happened,” Bradley asked Melissa Mahle.

“Of course I do, because we're talking about lives and we're talking about capabilities. We do our work. We risk our own lives. We risk lives of our agents in order to protect our country. And when something like this happens, it cuts to the very core of what we do. We're not being undermined by the North Koreans. We're not being undermined by the Russians. We're being undermined by officials in our own government. That I find galling,” Mahle said.

[snip]

“So her career is then definitely been damaged by this?” Bradley asked.

“Her career has been ended,” he said. - read it all
How much damage has this administration done to this country?

shattering illusions

More than half of North Carolina military members surveyed in the latest Elon University poll disapprove of President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq and his overall job performance.

Nearly 53 percent of military members said they strongly disapproved or disapproved of Bush's handling of his job. And just more than 56 percent of that same group strongly disapproved or disapproved of how he has dealt with the Iraq war.

Overall, 53 percent of those surveyed for the poll released Friday did not approve of Bush's job performance, while 57 percent did not approve of his handling of the Iraq war.

"We see that those most involved in the Iraq situation, the military, are not so different from the general public after all and share the same concerns about Iraq," said Hunter Bacot, the poll's director. "Conventional wisdom might suggest that the military would be more supportive of Bush in Iraq, but that simply isn't the case if you look at the numbers." - Read it all
So much for the pro-Bush military we've all been lead to believe. (thanks NFU.)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Onward with the Corporate Agenda

Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Melissa Hart voted today to protect small businesses by curbing frivolous lawsuits filed against them that threaten the country's economic growth and job creation. The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act, which passed the House of Representatives today, discourages nuisance suits, helps small businesses recoup litigation fees from frivolous filings and reduces the opportunity for forum shopping.

What's a "frivolous filing"? something that happens to someone else and not you? does Melissa Hart ever favor any legislation that favors average working people like you and I, over big business or corporate interests? I don't think so.

each individual is presumed innocent

I sure hope Padilla's lawyers were paying attention today. In response to one of his inner circle being indicted today, Bush said, "In our system, each individual is presumed innocent and entitled to due process and a fair trial."

Bush gives new meaning to the word hypocrisy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Press is piling on

Maureen Dowd
After W. was elected, he sometimes gave visitors a tour of the love alcove off the Oval Office where Bill trysted with Monica -- the notorious spot where his predecessor had dishonored the White House.

At least it was only a little pantry -- and a little panting.

If W. wants to show people now where the White House has been dishonored in far more astounding and deadly ways, he'll have to haul them around every nook and cranny of his vice president's office, then go across the river for a walk of shame through the Rummy empire at the Pentagon.

The shocking thing about the trellis of revelations showing Dick Cheney, the self-styled Mr. Strong America, as the central figure in dark conspiracies to juice up a case for war and demonize those who tried to tell the public the truth is how unshocking it all is.

It's exactly what we thought was going on, but we never thought we'd actually hear the lurid details: Cheney and Rummy, the two old compadres from the Nixon and Ford days, in a cabal running the country and the world into the ground, driven by their poisonous obsession with Iraq, while Junior is out of the loop, playing in the gym or on his mountain bike. - read it all

That is one woman I'd never want to piss off.
(thanks fbihop)

Hart tries to explain the unexplainable

Hart hosts Medicare insurance forum

By Tamara Simpson
VALLEY NEWS DISPATCH
Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Jack Maurer has attended two information sessions about the government's new Medicare prescription coverage -- including one Monday in Harrison, but he's still not sure if he'll opt in.

"I don't know if this is worthwhile or not, but it's insurance," the Harrison resident said. "Insurance is there in case something happens."

Maurer already has prescription coverage as a retiree from Allegheny Ludlum, but he's still considering the Medicare plans because they might be cheaper.

But with all the new plans, there's a lot more to consider than price.

"There will be several different plans that are offered through Medicare, and you are certainly free to not choose any," said U.S. Rep. Melissa Hart, R-Bradford Woods, who offered the information session Monday morning at Citizens Hose in Harrison. "These are all voluntary, and that's a really good thing because if the plan you have now is a great plan, and it doesn't cost you too much money, I'd encourage you to keep it.

"But if the plan you have now is a little more expensive than you like, or if the plan you have now is not covering some of the prescriptions you want to take, then maybe you can find a better plan through Medicare."

Anne Logoyda, a social worker from Landmark Home Health Care, was at the session to present the basics of Medicare's new program to a roomful of senior citizens.

As of Nov. 15, eligible residents will be able to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan. The plans are offered by insurance companies and other private companies, but they are all Medicare-approved.

Some things to consider when trying to decide on a plan are premiums, deductibles, prescription co-payments, the plan's formulary -- what drugs it covers -- and what pharmacies you can go to.

Hart said anyone who doesn't have any prescription coverage should be sure to take advantage of Medicare's new plan.

But what about someone like Maurer, who already has coverage?

The first thing Maurer intends to do is find out if his current plan compares favorably to Medicare's plan.

If it is, that means he can choose to continue with that plan. If that plan is discontinued at any time in the future, which he thinks it will be, then Maurer can switch to a Medicare plan with no penalty.

A penalty does apply, however, to any eligible residents who enroll after the May 15, 2006, deadline. The penalty is 1 percent of the plan's premium for each month after the deadline.

For example, if someone decides to enroll in a Medicare plan with a $30 premium five months after the May 15 deadline, then that person will have to pay an additional $15 per month. Their monthly premium would be $45 instead of $30.

Logoyda said that's why it's important for people to sit down with their families and officials to make a decision before the deadline.

Another thing to consider is eligibility for a subsidy or decrease in cost, Logoyda said.

Subsidies are available for people with an annual income less than $14,355 and assets that total no more than $11,500.

For married couples living together, the income limit is $19,245 and less than $23,000 in assets.

A person's house and car are not included as assets.

Logoyda said anyone meeting these requirements must apply for the subsidy and will not necessarily get a full subsidy.

"There's so much to this program, and it's so confusing," said Madeline Napoli from Gilpin, who attended the session with her husband, Bob. "I don't want to make the wrong decision. Who knows what's going to happen down the road as far as illnesses?"Just what seniors need, a plan that no one seems to be able to explain or understand. It's way past time for single payer healthcare in this country.
From Physicians for a National Health Care Program:
Physicians for a National Health Program is a not-for-profit organization of physicians, medical students, and other health care professionals that support a national health insurance (NHI) program. Specifically, we believe that a single-payer system (where the government finances health care, but keeps the delivery of health care to mostly private control) is the only solution to solving the United States' many health care problems: 43 million citizens with no health insurance, many more with only limited coverage, skyrocketing health insurance premiums, malpractice costs, long-term care issues, and relatively poor health indicators, when compared to similar industrialized nations.

Baseball anyone?

Want to discuss things with your Congresswoman?
pony up your 1000 bucks...

Members of Congress have taken advantage of the arrival of the Washington Nationals by charging lobbyists and other contributors as much as $1,250 to attend baseball games with them at RFK Stadium, extending a long-standing practice in which politicians have used Redskins, Wizards and Capitals games as fundraising venues.

[snip]

On April 19, for example, lobbyists and friends of Rep. David Joseph Weldon (R-Fla.) went to a game against the Florida Marlins. A ticket to the game cost a political action committee, or PAC, $1,000, and an individual $750, according to the National Republican Congressional Committee Web site. Rep. Melissa Hart (R-Pa.) charged a little more -- $1,250 for a PAC, $1,000 for an individual -- when the Pittsburgh Pirates took on the Nationals on June 29.

Signs of weakness from the White House

Workers Win Fair Wages as Bush Backs off Davis-Bacon Suspension

Oct. 26—In response to working families and their unions, as well as community and religious groups and some members of Congress, President George W. Bush on Oct. 26 rescinded his executive order that allowed contractors to pay substandard wages to construction workers rebuilding Gulf Coast areas devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The order, which suspended the federal Davis-Bacon Act, now will expire Nov. 8.

Grassroots activists sent more than 350,000 e-mails and letters to their representatives demanding fair wages be reinstated for the Gulf Coast, where skilled, full-time workers average less than $20,000 a year in pay.

One of Bush’s first acts after Hurricane Katrina hit was suspending Davis-Bacon. Enacted in 1931, Davis-Bacon ensures high-quality work standards and community prevailing wage requirements for federally funded rebuilding projects. A few days after suspending Davis-Bacon, Bush also suspended affirmative action rules for Katrina contractors.

Good news, but it's just amazing that Bush caved without a fight.....what's happened to that steely resolve?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Get your Fitzsmas card!

Monday, October 24, 2005

hyping of the ethics issue

I wonder if our Congresswoman still stands by her statements from May of this year......... from a Max Blumenthal post:

CENTER TWP. - U.S. Rep. Melissa Hart derided the national media for its unrelenting coverage of congressional ethics Friday, during a Beaver County Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

Hart, R-4, Bradford Woods, used most of her time to explain the need for Social Security reform.

But in her opening remarks, Hart referred to the "media, sort of, hyping of the ethics issue" that has dogged House Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas...

"The national media have not done justice to the American people," Hart said.

Hart has also had her ethics questioned by Democratic groups that have said she should not oversee any investigation because she accepted $15,000 from DeLay's political action committee and had a fund-raiser at a Washington, D.C., restaurant owned by Abramoff.

Hart has said the donation from a House leader is not unusual.

On Friday, she said Abramoff's restaurant, which was paid $1,600, was chosen simply because it was a good location. The event, Hart said, was handled ethically and legally.

"It is a (media) feeding frenzy," she said of the intense scrutiny. "We just get used to it."
It's not the national media that have not done justice to the American people - it's the Republican Party. Republican arrogance is stunning.

Save the Horses

IS there anything the Republicans won't sell out to special interests?

DEATH ROW HORSES ABOUT TO LOSE SENATE REPRIEVE

For the second time this year, the party led by a guy with a cowboy hat is about to send horses to the slaughterhouse - in spite of huge public opposition that cuts across all lines. The first time, Republican Senator Conrad Burns from Montana reversed 34 years of federal protection for the wild horse with a stealth rider attached to the 05 federal appropriations bill, legalizing sale of mustangs in government pipelines to the lowest bidder.
Last chance to save them-GO HERE AND HELP WWW.ISPMB.ORG

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Can we clone Bernie Sanders?

From his issues page:
CORPORATE CONTROL OF THE MEDIA
Perhaps earlier than any other member of Congress, Bernie Sanders has been leading the charge against the growing consolidation of media in America and the dangers imposed on our democracy when a handful of corporations control what we see, hear and read. During the last year Bernie held the first Congressional Town Meeting on Corporate Control of the Media and has invited such media activists as Bob McChesney and John Nichols to Vermont. He has also introduced legislation that would rescind the terrible FCC decision of June 2, 2003 that would allow for more media consolidation and has presented the Speaker of the House with a letter signed by over 200 members demanding a vote on a Resolution of Disapproval with regard to that FCC decision.

TRADE
Bernie believes that our current trade policies, NAFTA, PNTR with China and the WTO have been a disaster for American workers. At a time when we have lost 2.7 million manufacturing jobs over the last 3 years, 16% of our entire manufacturing sector, Bernie believes that the time is long overdue to make fundamental changes in our trade policies. He believes those policies should protect the needs of ordinary Americans, and not just the large multi-nationals that are shutting plants down in this country and are moving to China and hiring people there for pennies an hour. Recently, Bernie introduced legislation that would repeal PNTR with China and has already acquired over 50 bi-partisan
co-sponsors for that bill. He has also just returned from Mexico on a trip sponsored by the Teamsters where he, and other members of Congress, saw the devastating impact of NAFTA on the working people of that country.

IRAQ
Bernie has been one of the leaders in Congress in opposition to the war in Iraq. He fears very much that the American occupation of Iraq will not only be ineffective in the fight against terrorism, but that it will lead to its growth and contribute to the dangers facing the international community. At a time when needs in our own country are being under-funded, and when veterans in this country are seeing cut-backs in their benefits, Bernie voted against the $87 billion that the President requested for Iraq. Given where we are right now, Bernie believes that the United Nations and the international community should take the lead in stabilizing and rebuilding Iraq, and that American troops should be withdrawn as soon as feasible.

Good Frame

Heard this from a radio talk show caller:

If Liberals or Democrats use the term "Progressives", wouldn't it make sense to label Conservatives or Republicans "Regressives?"


Makes sense to me.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

How much more evidence do we need?

From John Conyers Blog

Nonpartisan GAO Confirms Security Flaws in Voting Machines

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report today I requested with other Members Of Congress. In sum, the GAO found that "some of [the] concerns about electronic voting machines have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes." GAO found that these concerns "merit the focused attention of federal state and local authorities responsible for election administration."

What does this mean? Much has been made about this issue during the 2004 Ohio election debacle here and elsewhere, however, this is the first time Congress' investigatory arm has weighed in on the problems with our voting machines. The GAO studied the work of others and ultimately put their stamp of approval on it. That lends important credibility to the cause of election reform generally, and more specifically to requiring that every machine have a voter verified paper ballot that is used in election days audits and, if discrepancies are found in those audits, becomes the official record for the election.

There have been discussions and debates about whether this or that election was "hacked." I would like to suggest putting that discussion aside for the moment (or longer -- I understand some such discussions can result in a ban from this blog community). In this context, we should focus on what we all agree on, and what the GAO found: these machines have substantial problems. To me, in addition to being an issue that goes to the heart of our democracy, this is a consumer protection issue. There are certainly voting machine manufacturers who produce a good product. But by and large, when it comes to a voting machine, the average voter is getting a lemon -- the Ford Pinto of voting technology. We must demand better.

More specifics about what GAO found: Serious problems were identified regarding the security control system, access controls, hardware controls, and the voter-verified paper audit trail system. Among the security shortcomings identified by GAO:


1. Some electronic voting systems did not encrypt cast ballots or system audit logs, thus making it possible to alter them without detection.

2. It is easy to alter a file defining how a ballot appears, making it possible for someone to vote for one candidate and actually be recorded as voting for an entirely different candidate.

3. Falsifying election results without leaving any evidence of such an action by using altered memory cards.

4. Access to the voting network was easily compromised because not all digital recording electronic voting systems (DREs) had supervisory functions password-protected, so access to one machine provided access to the whole network.

5. Supervisory across to the voting network was also compromised by repeated use of the same user IDs combined with easily guessed passwords.

6. The locks protecting access to the system were easily picked and keys were simple to copy.

7. One DRE model was shown to have been networked in such a rudimentary fashion that a power failure on one machine would cause the entire network to fail.

8. GAO identified further problems with the security protocols and background screening practices for vendor personnel.



The suggestions made by GAO to ensure the security of machines barely scratch the surface of the problems what is needed to improve the national voting systems standards. Their report divulges that, despite the many official assurances that the problems of the past elections were isolated and few, the election system is indeed riddled with problems and flaws.

The bottom line is until we make a serious commitment to address the significant security and controls concerns we have regarding our voting machines, American citizens have no reason to have complete confidence in our democracy.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A must read at Huffington Post

James Moore:
We may stand witness to a definitive American moment of democracy. The son of a New York doorman probably has in his hands, in many ways, the fate of the republic. Because far too many of us know and are aware of the crimes committed by our government in our name, we are unlikely to settle for a handful of minor indictments of bureaucrats. The last thing most of us believe in is the rule of law. We do not trust our government or the people we have elected but our constitution is still very much alive and we choose to believe that destiny has placed Patrick Fitzgerald at this time and this place in our history to save us from the people we elected. If the law cannot get to the truth of what has happened to the American people under the Bush administration, then we all may begin to hear the early death rattles of history’s greatest democracy.

Fortunately, there are good signs. Fitzgerald has reportedly asked for a copy of the Italian government’s investigation into the break-in of the Niger embassy in Rome and the source of the forged documents. The blatantly fake papers, which purported to show that Saddam Hussein had cut a deal to get yellowcake uranium from Niger, turned up after a December 2001 meeting in Rome involving neo-con Michael Ledeen, Larry Franklin, Harold Rhodes, and Niccolo Pollari, the head of Italy’s intelligence agency SISMI, and Antonio Martino, the Italian defense minister.- read it all

Latest Republican assaults on the middle class and poor.....

....just another day in Bush's America.

1. Senate proposals to raise the minimum wage were rejected Wednesday, making it unlikely that the lowest allowable wage, $5.15 an hour since 1997, will rise in the foreseeable future.

A labor-backed measure by Sen. Edward Kennedy would have raised the minimum to $6.25 over an 18-month period.

A Republican counterproposal would have combined the same $1.10 increase with various breaks and exemptions for small businesses.

Kennedy (D-Mass.) said Hurricane Katrina demonstrated the depth of poverty in the country and he pointed out that a single parent with two children working a minimum wage earns $10,700 a year, $4,500 below the poverty line.

But Republican opponents, echoing the arguments of business groups, said higher minimum wages can work against the poor if they force small businesses to cut payrolls.

''Mandated hikes in the minimum wage do not cure poverty and they clearly do not create jobs,'' said Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.).
Man you've got to watch where you look up info these days, found this place while looking for minimum wage info, the "Employment Policies Institute".....sounds legit, huh? BUT according to Source Watch:
The Employment Policies Institute is one of several front groups created by Berman & Co., a Washington, DC public affairs firm owned by Rick Berman, who lobbies for the restaurant, hotel, alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries. EPI, registered as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, has has been widely quoted in news stories regarding minimum wage issues, and although a few of those stories have correctly described it as a "think tank financed by business," most stories fail to provide any identification that would enable readers to identify the vested interests behind its pronouncements. Instead, it is usually described exactly the way it describes itself, as a "non-profit research organization dedicated to studying public policy issues surrounding employment growth" that "focuses on issues that affect entry-level employment." In reality, EPI's mission is to keep the minimum wage low so Berman's clients can continue to pay their workers as little as possible.

EPI also owns the internet domain names to MinimumWage.com (http://www.minimumwage.com) and LivingWage.com (http://www.livingwage.com), a website that attempts to portray the idea of a living wage for workers as some kind of insidious conspiracy. "Living wage activists want nothing less than a national living wage," it warns (as though there is something wrong with paying employees enough that they can afford to eat and pay rent).
Anyway back to the main topic, according to the Dept of labor:
Of those paid by the hour, 520,000 were reported as earning exactly $5.15, the prevailing Federal minimum wage, and another 1.5 million were reported earning wages below the minimum.
Add that to the fact that the minimum wage hasn't been raised in six years.

It sure would be fun to see if Sen. Mike Enzi from Wyoming and his cheapskate colleagues could get by on $5.15 (or less) an hour.

2. Republicans on a key Senate panel on Thursday unveiled a plan to save $10 billion from Medicaid and Medicare...

[snip]

The Senate Finance Committee plans to take up the bill next week as part of a larger Senate effort to save $35 billion over five years in a bid to lower the federal deficit.

Great idea, let's cut the federal deficit on the backs of the poor, forget about the billions we're spending on Bush's middle east fantasy, or the pork barrel projects in the last highway bill, or how about taking back some of those tax cuts for the super rich. Noooooooo - Republicans would rather shaft the people who need the most help.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

more shit hitting the fan

Scathing article in the ft:

Vice-President Dick Cheney and a handful of others had hijacked the government's foreign policy apparatus, deciding in secret to carry out policies that had left the US weaker and more isolated in the world, the top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed on Wednesday.

In a scathing attack on the record of President George W. Bush, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Mr Powell until last January, said: “What I saw was a cabal between the vice-president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.

“Now it is paying the consequences of making those decisions in secret, but far more telling to me is America is paying the consequences.”

Mr Wilkerson said such secret decision-making was responsible for mistakes such as the long refusal to engage with North Korea or to back European efforts on Iran.

It also resulted in bitter battles in the administration among those excluded from the decisions.

“If you're not prepared to stop the feuding elements in the bureaucracy as they carry out your decisions, you are courting disaster. And I would say that we have courted disaster in Iraq, in North Korea, in Iran.”

The comments, made at the New America Foundation, a Washington think-tank, were the harshest attack on the administration by a former senior official since criticisms by Richard Clarke, former White House terrorism czar, and Paul O'Neill, former Treasury secretary, early last year.

Mr Wilkerson said his decision to go public had led to a personal falling out with Mr Powell, whom he served for 16 years at the Pentagon and the State Department.

“He's not happy with my speaking out because, and I admire this in him, he is the world's most loyal soldier."

Among his other charges:

■ The detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere was “a concrete example” of the decision-making problem, with the president and other top officials in effect giving the green light to soldiers to abuse detainees. “You don't have this kind of pervasive attitude out there unless you've condoned it.”

■ Condoleezza Rice, the former national security adviser and now secretary of state, was “part of the problem”. Instead of ensuring that Mr Bush received the best possible advice, “she would side with the president to build her intimacy with the president”.

■ The military, particularly the army and marine corps, is overstretched and demoralised. Officers, Mr Wilkerson claimed, “start voting with their feet, as they did in Vietnam. . . and all of a sudden your military begins to unravel”.

Mr Wilkerson said former president George H.W. Bush “one of the finest presidents we have ever had” understood how to make foreign policy work. In contrast, he said, his son was “not versed in international relations and not too much interested in them either”.

“There's a vast difference between the way George H.W. Bush dealt with major challenges, some of the greatest challenges at the end of the 20th century, and effected positive results in my view, and the way we conduct diplomacy today.”


Here's a list of folks who have either testified or have been interviewed by Patrick Fitzgerald (or by FBI agents) in connection with the Plame probe.

Time to start raising some money

From opensecrets.org

Melissa Hart

2005-2006 Total Receipts: $564,291
2005-2006 Total Spent: $235,153
Cash on Hand: $448,567

PAC Contribution Breakdown

Business $209,205 (94.0%)

Labor $9,000 (4.0%)

Ideological/Single Issue $4,417 (2.0%)

Did my president lie to me?

From the NY Daily news, today:

An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News.

"He made his displeasure known to Karl," a presidential counselor told The News. "He made his life miserable about this."

[snip]

Other sources confirmed, however, that Bush was initially furious with Rove in 2003 when his deputy chief of staff conceded he had talked to the press about the Plame leak.
Wha...??
"If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action." [President Bush, Chicago, Ill, 9/30/2003]
The latest news is that the White House is disputing the NY Daily news.....who to believe?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

New stem cell discoverys

Two teams of U.S. scientists have found ways to harvest stem cells from embryos without sacrificing a viable life in the process.

If these proof-of-principle experiments, which were conducted in mice, can translate to humans, they might ease the fierce ethical and political storm that surrounds embryonic stem-cell research.

Stem cells from human embryos are considered the key to regenerative medicine. They have the power to multiply indefinitely and grow into all the various tissues that make up a human body. As it stands now, the only way to access these cells is to snatch them from the inner mass of a budding embryo that is destroyed in the process. For those who believe life begins at conception, the method is tantamount to murder.
I'm willing to bet this won't satisfy the hard right.

Is this 2005? or 1005?

Give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile:

A leading U.S. critic of evolution accused two scientific organizations on Tuesday of politics and misleading the public in their rejection of "intelligent design."

He also compared intelligent design -- which holds that nature is so complex it must have been the work of a creator -- to the "Big Bang" theory, saying it just may take time for scientists to accept it.

"The National Academy of Sciences treats intelligent design in a way what I consider utterly misleading. Talk about scholarly malfeasance!" said Michael Behe, a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.

Behe also criticized the American Association for the Advancement of Science in testimony in a federal lawsuit brought by 11 parents who are challenging their school district for introducing intelligent design to science classes.

The trial over teaching theories of human origins in U.S. schools pits Christian conservatives, who say nature is so complex it must have been the work of a God-like creator, against teachers and scientists who back Darwin's theory of evolution.

The case, seen as a major test of the issue, has echoes of the famed Scopes Monkey trial of 1925 when lawyers squared off in a Tennessee courthouse over the teaching of Darwin's work.

The parents say intelligent design is based on religion and therefore violates the constitutional separation of church and state.
If they allow this "intelligent design" teaching to go on, I'm pushing for the teachings of, the "Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster."

Somebody has Indictmentitis

From Larry Johnson:
Had lunch today with a person who has a direct tie to one of the folks facing indictment in the Plame affair. There are 22 files that Fitzgerald is looking at for potential indictment . These include Stephen Hadley, Karl Rove, Lewis Libby, Dick Cheney, and Mary Matalin (there are others of course). Hadley has told friends he expects to be indicted. No wonder folks are nervous at the White House.

Could this be it? Do we dare get our hopes up? After all the shit this administration and it's media enablers have put us through. Sweet irony, is a republican prosecuter taking down this den of theives.

(via Atrios)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Several questions for Congresswoman Hart

In 2000, the last year of Clinton's presidency the Federal Government had a surplus of 236 billion dollars, in fact it was the 3rd year in a row of record surpluses. Since then, the Republican controlled Congress and President Bush have added more than 1.15 trillion ($1,152,300,000,000.00) to the National Debt. Since the Republican Party has claimed to be the party of "family values", could you please explain how burdening our children with this massive amount of debt is a "family value?"
(ref. Congressional budget office and)

Since you and Tom DeLay are two peas in a pod (you vote exactly like him 94% of the time) do you agree with this statement he made after the Schiavo case fiasco, about judges, "We will look at an arrogant, out of control, unaccountable judiciary that thumbed their nose at the Congress and president when given jurisdiction to hear this case anew and look at all the facts ... The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today."?
(ref. DCCC)
(ref. Common Dreams)


Several republicans that still have a conscience have returned Tom DeLay's PAC money......... I'm curious, since you have received $15,000.00 from the twice indicted and three times admonished by the House for ethics violations DeLay, you still refuse to return this corruption tainted money, how do you justify to your constituents, your apparent lack of ethics?
(ref. USA Today)
(ref. Buzzflash)


You voted "yea" for the "For the relief of the parents of Theresa Marie Schiavo" bill? A private family case that had already been adjudicated numerous times in state court.
When the time comes that me or my family has to deal with a right to die situation, do I have to worry about you and a republican controlled Congress interfering in our most private, intimate family decisions?
(ref. PA04blue)


Do you agree with the founding fathers and the first amendment of the Constitution or do you agree with Bush's views on the teaching of religious views in our public schools? When asked about it by a reporter on Aug. 2, 2005 Bush said he believes schools should discuss "intelligent design" alongside evolution when teaching students about the creation of life. If you do think this is appropriate, what other religious beliefs and from which religions, do you think should be forced into American schoolchildren's curriculum?
(ref. sfgate)

Do you think the outing of an Non Official Cover, CIA agent, especially one working on "Weapons of Mass Destruction" while our country is at war, is a serious crime?

Do you think there is a conflict of interest when a sitting president appoints his personal lawyer to The Supreme Court?

Are you at all embarrassed by the massive amount of corruption surrounding the political party that you belong to?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Say it loud, say it often

from the AP:
Rove faces a fourth grand jury appearance in the investigation of the leaking of CIA officer Valeria Plame's name after her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, criticized the Bush administration's policies in Iraq.
''Even if he's not indicted, if it appears that a top adviser to the president of the United States was trying to harm someone personally for having a different public policy point of view, that's unacceptable behavior in the White House,'' Sen. Evan Bayh said.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Payback?

I wonder if this would be happening if Frist was still against stem cell research?

Republican Senate leader Frist subpoenaed
Friday, October 14, 2005 at 07:53 JST
WASHINGTON — Senate Republican majority leader Bill Frist has been subpoenaed by the Security and Exchange Commission to turn over personal records and documents in a probe over possible insider trading, The Washington Post said Thursday.

Issued within the past two weeks, the subpoena involves documents of Frist's sale in July of his shares in the Hospital Corporation of America — a chain founded in 1968 by his father and brother, weeks before its stock plunged.- read it all


It's Bush's SEC.....

one smart Republican

seen at Dailykos (JohnnyCougar)
A Congressional candidate who wants to impeach President Bush insists he can win the Republican primary.

Dennis Morrisseau, 62, of West Pawlet, plans to seek the Republican nomination to run for U.S. House of Representatives. The seat is being vacated by Rep. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., who plans a run for the U.S. Senate.

A central part of his platform, Morrisseau said, will be bringing articles of impeachment against Bush.

He will most likely face Maj. Gen. Martha Rainville, adjutant general of the Vermont National Guard, in the September 2006 primary, along with any other candidates who might get themselves placed on the ballot between now and then.

Morrisseau said he considers himself more of a Republican than the president, and he thinks a lot of Vermont Republicans agree with him.

"This leadership isn't very Republican and I don't think it's very popular with Vermont Republicans," he said. "Republicans in this state tend to be mind-your-own-business people, keep taxes low and government small."

Are you listening Dems, or are you about to be outsmarted again?

The Daily Delay is on top of all the latest Delay corruption news

more illegal spending

phone records subpeonaed

spear campaign against Ronnie Earle

Man, I hope he ends up behind bars, but remember according to Melissa Hart, "that's just normal."

Georgia Berner speaks up

From the PG:
Georgia Berner, a Lawrence County businesswoman, kicked off her campaign for Congress yesterday with an assault on Rep. Melissa Hart's record on Social Security and trade.

Ms. Berner is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge the Bradford Woods Republican in the 4th Congressional District. Jason Altmire, a former executive with UPMC also is seeking the Democratic nomination.

"Melissa Hart has led efforts to privatize Social Security and eliminate the guaranteed benefit for seniors," Ms. Berner said at a news conference outside the Ross Municipal Building. "I'm a career businesswoman who has created good jobs in Western Pennsylvania; Melissa Hart is a career politician who has voted for unfair trade deals that send jobs overseas."

She referred to Ms. Hart's support for international trade pacts including a recent vote in favor of the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

A spokesman for the three-term incumbent rebutted Ms. Berner's criticisms, portraying Ms. Hart as a defender of the retirement system's solvency. Angelo Terrana, Ms. Hart's press secretary, said that she had supported the concept of optional personal accounts as part of a long-term plan to shore up the Social Security system. Critics of the Social Security proposals advanced by the Bush administration maintain that personal or private accounts would drain money from the system, worsening its longer term financial condition.

Ms. Berner, 63, is the president of Berner International Corp., a New Castle firm that manufactures products including air doors, designed to form a barrier to retain heat or air conditioning through open doors.


I was beginning to wonder if she was still in the race or not. She's saying the right things about Melissa Hart.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Melissa's in town

Looks like she's hosting two meetings this week:

Town Hall Meeting
10:45 AM Thursday, October 13, 2005
Mars Senior Center, Penn-Mar Plaza
Mars, PA, 16046

Town Hall Meeting
10:00 AM Monday, October 17, 2005
Hopewell Municipal Bldg.
Aliquippa, PA, 15001

If it was closer to the election, I'd take off work so I could ask her a question or two.

9%??

Seems our Congresswoman doesn't score well on the environment.

League of Conservation Voters
National Environmental Scorecard

The nonprofit League of Conservation Voters (LCV) has published a National Environmental Scorecard every Congress since 1970, the year it was founded by leaders of the environmental movement following the first Earth Day. LCV is the political voice for more than nine million members of environmental and conservation organizations and the only organization working full-time to educate citizens about the environmental voting records of Members of Congress.

This edition of the National Environmental Scorecard provides objective, factual information about the environmental voting records of all Members of the final 108th Congress. This Scorecard represents the consensus of experts from 19 respected environmental and conservation organizations who selected the key votes on which Members of Congress should be graded. LCV scores votes on the most important issues of the year, including environmental health and safety protections, resource conservation, and spending for environmental programs.

The votes included in this Scorecard, selected by the Political Committee on September 21, 2004, presented Members of Congress with a real choice on protecting the environment and help distinguish which legislators are working for environmental protection. Except in rare circumstances, the Scorecard excludes consensus action on the environment and issues on which no recorded votes occurred.

Vote Scorecard: 108th, 2nd session
Scores for Pennsylvania Sorted by District

Senate
Senator State 108th, 2nd session Score
Rick Santorum (REP) PA 0%
Arlen Specter (REP) PA 17%

House
Representative District 108th, 2nd session Score
Melissa Hart (REP) PA-4 9%
Mike Doyle (DEM) PA-14 82%
Timothy Murphy (REP) PA-18 9%

I guess we shouldn't complain, at least she beat Rick Santorum!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

this is a national disgrace

It's not "too obvious" what's going on here, is it? When is Congress going to get back into the oversite business? You know the job that WE PAY IT TO DO!
“Halliburton has already raked in more than $10 billion from the Bush-Cheney Administration for work in Iraq, and they were awarded some of the first Katrina contracts," Lautenberg said in a statement. "It is unseemly for the Vice President to continue to benefit from this company at the same time his Administration funnels billions of dollars to it. The Vice President should sever his financial ties to Halliburton once and for all.”

Cheney continues to hold 433,333 Halliburton stock options. The company has been criticized by auditors for its handling of a no-bid contact in Iraq. Auditors found the firm marked up meal prices for troops and inflated gas prices in a deal with a Kuwaiti supplier. The company built the American prison at Guantanamo Bay.

The Vice President has sought to stem criticism by signing an agreement to donate the after-tax profits from these stock options to charities of his choice, and his lawyer has said he will not take any tax deduction for the donations.

[snip]

Cheney told "Meet the Press" in 2003 that he didn't have any financial ties to the firm.

“Since I left Halliburton to become George Bush's vice president, I've severed all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interest," the Vice President said. "I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven't had, now, for over three years.”

Cheney continues to received a deferred salary from the company. According to financial disclosure forms, he was paid $205,298 in 2001; $162,392 in 2002; $178,437 in 2003; and $194,852 in 2004.- read it all

Theocracy anyone?

From the Denver Post:
Senators from both major political parties have indicated they will call Dobson before the Senate Judiciary Committee to find out what White House political adviser Karl Rove shared about Miers that helped nudge Dobson toward endorsing the White House counsel for the nation's highest court.

Dobson said last week that he based his decision in part on information he could not divulge, though he has not identified Rove as the source.

The evangelical Christian ministry's daily CitizenLink update declared Monday that Dobson will clear up the controversy on Wednesday and Thursday on his daily broadcast, which reaches millions of listeners nationwide.

"Dr. Dobson is being deluged by requests from national media to talk about Harriet Miers and talk about what Karl Rove told him," said Tom Minnery, a senior vice president with Focus on the Family Action, the ministry's political arm. "He'll be explaining that to everybody."

Judiciary Committee members Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa., have said they may call Dobson to testify.

Allen Abney, a White House spokesman, said Monday that Rove discussed his experience working with Miers, her qualifications and judicial philosophy.


So a wacko, religious nut knows more about the new Supreme Court nominee than our Senators ..... the founding fathers must be rolling in their graves.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Rove has everyone guessing

The Plot thickens:
The Case of the Missing Notebook does prompt much pondering. As Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher listed a set of questions raised by the missing notebook in his own column:

-- Did Libby lie to the grand jury about not talking to Miller about Wilson earlier than July 8? Did Miller lie about that? If so, why?

-- How did Fitzgerald find out about these notes? Did he know about the June conversation for quite some time but just recently found out about the notes? Or did Miller come forward herself? If she did, was it after someone tipped off Fitzgerald about the June interview?

-- Does the existence of a Miller chat with Libby two weeks before the Wilson Op-Ed, and well before Robert Novak outed Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA agent, indicate that Libby, indeed, was the original source of the Plame leak? And/or does it suggest that Miller herself was a "carrier" of that leak to others in the media and the administration, well before Novak's bombshell?


What is frustrating is that the Times could have quickly cleared up a number of these matters. But it chose not to. So the final question on this front is, why?

GOP bails on Bush

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Back when President Bush was riding high - before the public turned sour on Iraq, before conservatives got mad about his lavish federal spending and his Harriet Miers nomination - it was widely assumed that the 2008 Republican presidential candidates would vie amongst themselves for the right to proudly carry their leader's torch.

But that's not happening.

The Republican hopefuls - as many as a dozen men who already are jockeying for advantage - don't want to be perceived as insiders and heirs to the Bush political establishment. On the contrary, most of them are trying to advertise their independence, to distance themselves from Bush on key issues, to appear as rebels fed up with the wicked ways of Washington.

A small sampling:

Sen. John McCain of Arizona is tweaking Bush for his budget-busting spending binge.

Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, a hero to grassroots conservatives, is threatening to oppose the Miers nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska assails Bush on Iraq, contending that the White House is "disconnected from reality."

Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee scoffs at Bush's suggestion that perhaps the Pentagon should be the lead agency handling natural disasters.

Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, contends that the current GOP establishment, mired in scandals, has betrayed the small-government reform agenda that congressional conservatives brought to Washington 10 years ago.

Rep. Thomas G. Tancredo of Colorado charges that Bush is soft on illegal immigration and hasn't done enough to secure our borders against terrorists.

read it all

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Need a Job?

PRESIDENTIAL PALS & BACKERS:
"Apply" now to secure a lucrative career both decrying and luxuriating in the spoils of Big Government! No experience necessary! Don't miss your chance to suckle greedily at America's soon-to-be-bankrupt bureaucracy teat! -Link

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Religious groups getting fed up with Bush

From the Times On Line:

"Andrew Blackstock, director of the Christian Socialist Movement, said: "If Bush really wants to obey God during his time as President he should start with what is blindingly obvious from the Bible rather than perceived supernatural messages.

"That would lead him to the rather less glamorous business of prioritising the needs of the poor, the downtrodden and the marginalised."

[Snip]

Last month, senior figures in the Church of England questioned America’s sense of "moral righteousness" in its foreign policy.

The bishops of Bath and Wells, Oxford, Coventry, and Worcester, said in their report on countering terrorism: "There is no uniquely righteous nation. No country should see itself as the redeemer nation, singled out by God as part of his providential plan."

Is this administration ever ready for anything?

A plan developed by the Bush administration to deal with any possible outbreak of pandemic flu shows that the United States is woefully unprepared for what could become the worst disaster in the nation's history.

A draft of the final plan, which has been years in the making and is expected to be released later this month, says a large outbreak that began in Asia would be likely, because of modern travel patterns, to reach the United States within "a few months or even weeks."

If such an outbreak occurred, hospitals would become overwhelmed, riots would engulf vaccination clinics, and even power and food would be in short supply, according to the plan, which was obtained by The New York Times.

-read it all

Pelosi is pissed (as anyone who cares about Democracy should be)

From her Website:

Pelosi: ‘What You Saw on the House Floor This Afternoon Was a Shameless Display of the Republican Culture of Corruption’

Washington, D.C.– House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer at a news conference this afternoon to condemn the Republican abuse of power that occurred on the floor of the House today. The Republican leadership held a five-minute vote on the energy bill open for 45 minutes to twist arms to get their Members to switch votes. Below are Pelosi’s remarks:

“What you saw on the House floor this afternoon was a shameless display of the Republican culture of corruption, as it exists in the House of Representatives. It demonstrated once again that the Republican majority will go to any length to satisfy the greed of the energy companies over meeting the needs of the American people.

“A vote that was supposed to take five minutes took more than nine times that long because the indicted Republican leader of the House of Representatives needed extra time to twist the arms necessary to pass a bill that is against the interests of the American people, against consumers, against taxpayers, and against the environment.

“The fact that the Republicans are handmaidens of the special interests is nothing new. The fact that they would shamelessly display their servitude should come as no surprise. But today’s extortion is an especially shameful display – a sad day for democracy. The people spoke and the vote was clearly against this bill.

“How long will the Republican caucus condone this behavior? Until the rank-and-file Members break with the culture of corruption, they are all complicit and they all enable. The American people must object.

“Our country’s democracy is based upon every American having his or her voice heard on the floor of Congress. Republicans have shut down debate here. Now they are shutting down the reasonable outcome of a vote.

“Democrats have proposed guidelines for how we think the House of Representatives should operate, a Minority Bill of Rights. Included in this document is the declaration that ‘No vote shall be held open in order to manipulate the outcome.’ When we take back the People’s House, we will heed that declaration.”


And just out of curiosity (like we really need to look) lets see how our Representative voted:

FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 519
(Republicans in roman; Democrats in italic; Independents underlined)

H R 3893 RECORDED VOTE 7-Oct-2005 2:42 PM
QUESTION: On Passage
BILL TITLE: Gasoline for America’s Security Act

Hart - AYE


As Gomer would say, "Surprise, surprise, surprise!"

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Another, more better, bigger Christmas present?

The D.C. Rumor mill is thrumming with whispers that 22 indictments are about to be handed down on the outed-CIA agent Valerie Plame case. The last time the wires buzzed this loud — that Tom DeLay would be indicted and would step down from his leadership post in the House — the scuttlebutters got it right.

Can it be a coincidence that the White House appears to be distancing President Bush from embattled aide Karl Rove? “He’s been missing in action at more than one major presidential event,” a member of the White House press corps tells us.

If the word on the street is right a second time, we have a bit of advice for Rove: Go with vertical stripes, they’re way more slimming. -link Americablog

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Seems pretty straightforward to me

From their own ethics book:

CODE OF ETHICS FOR GOVERNMENT SERVICE
Any person in Government service should:

1. Put loyalty to the highest moral principals and to country above loyalty to Government persons, party, or department.

2. Uphold the Constitution, laws, and legal regulations of the United States and of all governments therein and never be a party to their evasion.

3. Give a full day's labor for a full day's pay; giving to the performance of his duties his earnest effort and best thought.

4. Seek to find and employ more efficient and economical ways of getting tasks accomplished.

5. Never discriminate unfairly by the dispensing of special favors or privileges to anyone, whether for remuneration or not; and never accept for himself or his family, favors or benefits under circumstances which might be construed by reasonable persons as influencing the performance of his governmental duties.

6. Make no private promises of any kind binding upon the duties of office, since a Government employee has no private word which can be binding on public duty.

7. Engage in no business with the Government, either directly or indirectly which is inconsistent with the conscientious performance of his governmental duties.

8. Never use any information coming to him confidentially in the performance of governmental duties as a means for making private profit.

9. Expose corruption wherever discovered.

10. Uphold these principles, ever conscious that public office is a public trust.

(Passed July 11, 1958.)

Monday, October 03, 2005

Melissa, can we politicize this one?

Again?
A Texas grand jury today indicted U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay on a charge of money laundering, less than a week after another grand jury leveled a conspiracy charge that forced DeLay to temporarily step down as House majority leader.

DeLay and two political associates are accused of conspiring to get around a state ban on corporate campaign contributions by funneling the money through the DeLay-founded Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee to the Republican National Committee in Washington. The RNC then sent back like amounts to distribute to Texas candidates in 2002, the indictment alleges.

DeLay the gift that keeps on giving.

Hart's ethics the same as DeLay's (non-existent)

From April of this year:
All five Republicans on the House ethics committee have financial links to Tom DeLay that could raise conflict-of-interest issues should the panel investigate the GOP majority leader.

Public records show DeLay's leadership political action committee (PAC) gave $15,000 to the campaign of Rep. Melissa Hart, R-Pa. — $10,000 in 2000 and $5,000 in 2002. Hart would chair a panel to investigate DeLay if the committee moves forward with a probe.

The same political committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, also has donated to the campaigns of ethics Chairman Doc Hastings of Washington, Judy Biggert of Illinois and Tom Cole of Oklahoma. They are among scores of Republicans DeLay has contributed to. Cole and the remaining committee Republican, Lamar Smith of Texas, contributed to DeLay's legal defense fund.

Hart said there is no appearance problem. “That's just normal” for leaders to contribute to campaigns, she said.

There is precedent for ethics panel members recusing themselves when such conflict issues arise. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., stepped aside in 2002 in the case of then-senator Robert Torricelli, D-N.J., accused of financial misconduct. Reid had given $500 to Torricelli's legal defense fund. “Recusal is pretty much an individual choice, if there is any possibility of a conflict of interest,” said Donald Ritchie, a Senate historian.

Kenneth Gross, an attorney who has represented Democrats and Republicans on ethics issues, said the financial ties on the committee could be a problem. “I would advise the committee not to use a member who had received contributions from DeLay's leadership PAC to head the investigation,” he said.

The ethics committee has admonished DeLay five times since 1997, more than any current member of Congress. He has come under renewed scrutiny for taking foreign trips that may have been paid for by lobbyists or foreign agents, which is prohibited.

So according to Melissa Hart, "that's just normal", I shouldn't be surprised, she's just stating the obvious.............. for Republicans, I guess "lack of ethics" is normal.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Scandalous

Just how tangled up in Tom DeLay's House of Scandal is Melissa Hart?

Melissa Hart has taken $15,000 from Tom DeLay's ARMPAC. No surprise that Hart voted with Tom DeLay 94% of the time between Jan. 1 2004 and March 31 2005.

Is this the kind of government-for-hire that working families deserve?


Not only that, she's been spotted hanging out with Dick Cheny.....

Image hosted by   Photobucket.com

...and that's a black spot on anyone's political record.

Required reading

David Sirota's latest post at Huffington Post.

Republicans Tell America What They Think Is "Necessary" and "Unnecessary"


The Democrats should hire this man as a consultant.

Questions for Congresswoman Hart (update)

I'm going to start a list of questions that I, and I'm sure others in PA04 would like to ask Congresswoman Hart. This list will be constantly updated as I peruse her voting backround, also feel free to add your own in the comments, and I will add them to the list.

1. Why did you vote "yea" for the "For the relief of the parents of Theresa Marie Schiavo" bill? The case had already been adjudicated. Did you put politics above a family's most private matters? In the future, will you continue to use your office to try to overrule state court decisions if it means political gain for the Republican Party?

update 9/27/02
2. Where do you stand on Social Security? Correct me if I'm wrong but it is not even mentioned on your website. Do you agree with your president when he says,"There is no "trust fund," just IOUs?
I've always believed that US Treasuries, are backed by the "full faith and credit" of the US Government, do you agree?


update 10/02/05
3. Where do you stand on the separation of church and state? Do you agree with the founding fathers of this great nation, who so eloquently wrote "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," and felt it was so important, that it they made it the first line of the first amendment of the constitution. The principal that has caused religion to flourish in, and make America the most religiously diverse country in the history of the world. Are you in agreement with the founding fathers?

Or do you support the Bush administration's continual erosion of the first amendment? Do you support Bush's anti-constitutional, faith based initiatives, a program where the President decides which religions to support by giving them US citizen's tax revenues.

Do you agree with Bush's views on the teaching of religious views in our public schools? When asked about it by a reporter on Aug. 2, 2005 Bush said he believes schools should discuss "intelligent design" alongside evolution when teaching students about the creation of life. If you do think this is appropriate, what other religious beliefs and from which religions, do you think should be forced into American schoolchildren's curriculum?