Monday, February 28, 2005
Ezra Klein talked today about the lack of Republican co-sponsors for the bill:
Why the bill hasn't attracted any Republican cosponsors is, however, an interesting question. Nothing so self-evidently popular can be ignored by politicians lest they find themselves similarly shunned by voters. So Republicans have created a counter-bill which, under the guise of tamping down on fraud, makes it harder for people to vote. Brilliant. Now the press can satisfy itself by reprinting quotes promoting the legislation of each side and belittling the proposals of the other side, Americans can assume that it's just more partisan food-fighting, and meaningful electoral reform can be totally ignored. So the answer, Julie, is through a manipulation of representative democracy, a mastery of congressional maneuvering, and a compliant press corps. Makes you proud to be an American, no?Exactly right... This thing won't even get out of committee if we can't maintain the control of the debate. This is where the Republicans have been so much better than we have. Maybe they took a bit of a hit when this bill was first introduced, but if we go about our business as we normally do, they can very easily take it away from us.
Call the editors of your local papers. Write your Congressmen. Call into talk radio. We have to make this a real fight that the Republicans can't take away.
(Cross-posted at SRWU)
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Those Classy Right-wingers Are At It Again
What struck me (though certainly didn't surprise me) is the childishness of their attack, which begins by poking fun at my appearance (Oooh, I guess I won't be dating the curator. My husband will be soooo relieved.)
Here's our retarded lib site of the day. It's called DUBYA'S DAYLY DIARY. Just one look at the pic of the person who's writing this thing and you know exactly what to expect. Another liberal fool trying to make a fool out of President Bush. Many Democrats in Congress have tried to make him look like a fool, yet he is still President and he still has majorities in both the House and Senate. How funny is that liberals?? LOL We know where the real dummies are...How witty and clever and perceptive, don't you think? And the comments to that post are just as inane. For instance:
Is that a hat or a condom she has on?One comment even helpfully psychoanalyzes me, and for free, yet:
Combine the photo with the writing and you get the idea that this woman is very careful in her selection of "friends." They are individuals with serious flaws, the kind that make her stand out as the most intelligent, urbane, and "normal" of her group. She envies anyone with anything more than she has. She won't allow challenges to her authority--of which, she has absolutely none.If my Dubya's Dayly Diary upsets them, I don't even want to think about how they'd react to my song parody about their Goddess Condi or to There Once Was A Year Named '04 or to Oh, What A Mis'rable Failure.
Interestingly enough, their site's logo features photos of Al Franken, Michael Moore, former VP Al Gore, and Senators Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and Barbara Boxer. Presumably, those are the people who most rile and/or scare them.
I sure hope the curator wasn't trying to upset me with his risible post. Thanks for the laughs, guys! I needed that after a day of shoveling snow, dealing with a dead refrigerator ... and shoveling snow into my dead refrigerator.
(Crossposted at Mad Kane's Notables.)
Saturday, February 26, 2005
The Senator proves she's more than talk
The two ballsiest females in the Senate have proved that there was more than obstruction afoot in January. Senator Boxer, along with Senator Hilary Clinton, introduced the Count Every Vote Act of 2005. "Every citizen of this country should be guaranteed that their vote matters, that their vote is counted, and that in the voting booth, their vote has a much weight as that of any CEO, any member of Congress, or any President. Our democracy is the centerpiece of who we are as a nation, and we must take action to ensure that the American people have full confidence in our electoral system", said Senator Boxer in a press conference.
The act has several elements which include requiring a paper receipt as proof of electronic voting, declaring Election Day a national holiday, requiring early voting to be available in every state, and requiring voter registration to be uniform.
Even more important, however, is the Act's declaring deceptive campaigning, (addressing many of the alleged incidents of flyers being sent out to neighborhoods with the incorrect date to vote) a federal crime.
It will be important that, in supporting this Bill, we and the Democrats in the Senate be the ones who frame the discussion around this issue. We have to show just why every one of the provisions of this Act is important and necessary, and to make it impossible for Republicans to vote against it without being painted as those who embrace deceptive and discriminatory voting practices.
As we expected, the Senator is taking the lead. We are surrounded by so many party leaders who say one thing and don't follow through. The Senator has followed through... Let's get her back.
Boxer Against President's Scare Tactics
To most effectively combat privatization, a concept Boxer says a long line of right-wingers have considered for six decades, citizens need to pool their efforts.A "Save Our Social Security" march on Washington would certainly be covered by the media. It would be a family oriented protest with young and old marching together. Do you think the AARP could be convinced to organize it?
"I would love to see a march on Washington that says 'Save our Social Security,'" Boxer said, noting she would like involvement from all generations.
"We need people working on a one-on-one level, talking to their neighbors," said Peter Killian, a Rosemont resident and computer support specialist who attended Boxer's speech. "Ultimately that's where the battle is going to be won or lost."
Retired citizens will not be the only group affected by a change in the Social Security system, but also those on disability and life insurance benefits, according to Boxer.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
The two sides of Joe Biden's mouth
Here is the Senator, last week on Bill Maher's HBO show, Real Time:
Why isn't every major network in the country investigating a security breach, forget anything else. How could the FBI, for 17 years I was chairman of the Judiciary Committee, the ranking member. I've read more FBI reports than I ever wanted to know. How could that happen and no one had any idea who this guy was?... The Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate should be investigating it. The House Judiciary should be investigating it. And if it were the other party in charge, it would be investigated.Today comes word that Biden won't sign on to the letter, first written by Richard Durbin, requesting an inquiry into the PropaGannon affair. His reasons, say a staffer, are that he doesn't want the White House investigating itself.
Unfortunately, Senator, we must take the road that is available to us, and right now the Republicans are in power in Congress. You said it on Saturday... A Democrat can't just call for an investigation, the Oversight committee chair has to. All you can do is state as loudly as you can where you stand, and let public opinion do the rest. As "X" said in JFK, you can only hope that you reach a point of critical mass, and the whole thing comes together.
I believe the Senator wants an investigation, but it is going to have to happen under terms that are not ideal. This is a Dem Weenie nomination, but it is done in the hopes that it will encourage him to do the right thing.
UPDATE: Shortly after writing this post, I read this over at Kos:
Outspoken Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware confirmed Wednesday that he is seriously testing the waters for a 2008 presidential run -- even as he acknowledged that Sen. Hillary Clinton would be "the overwhelming, prohibitive favorite'' to become the nominee of his party.Thus begins the countdown until the first overtly public run to the middle.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
When Right is Wrong, Left is Still Wrong
So, if you'll remember a few days I back, I wrote here about the blog of the year, Powerline, attempting to smear the entire left side of the blogosphere as writing only a certain type of email to them, namely inarticulate and mean-spirited. In my post, I reprinted the open letter I had previously written to Powerline, which was civil and articulate.
Later in the post, I updated to a story in which Powerline's Hindrocket had written a pretty incendiary email of his own to a lefty who had also written a civil email. Hindrocket, yesterday, wrote this:
He was the one who's civility lapsed.... but it was the lefties fault, because they started it. Again I say, this is obviously written by someone who has isolated himself in the right side of the blogosphere, and obviously pays not attention to the vile filth that so often comes the way of lefty blogs from the right.
We have received relatively little hate mail in the two-and-a half
years that we have been writing for this site. One reason is that we
rarely choose to engage left-wing sites like Daily Kos and Atrios in
their brand of argument. Around a week ago, however, both of those
sites sicced their readers on us, with the result that hate mail
started pouring in. When I wrote about the Guckert/Gannon controversy,
the hate mail intensified; we were inundated with email messages from
their readers, many of them inexpressibly vulgar and vile.
These are not nice people. In addition to emailing us at our
feedback address with every manner of invective, they called my office.
My secretary stopped answering my telephone because callers swore at
her. The telephone campaign reached a new low this morning, when
someone purporting to be a reporter at a gay newspaper in Los Angeles
called my office and asked me to comment on a "rumor" to the effect
that there are photos floating around of me in a "tryst" with Jeff Gannon. Suffice it to say that these people are beneath contempt.
So that's the context in which I was reading emails a couple of days
ago. I read about ten in a row that were vulgar and abusive in varying
degrees; most were unprintable. At that point I snapped and lost my
temper. I sent irate and intemperate replies to the last couple of
emails I read--unfortunately, not the most abusive ones, but the ones I
read after losing my temper.
The next day, one of these emailers responded that he thought my
reply was disproportionate to the offensiveness of his email; I agreed
and apologized for having reacted inappropriately. I would have done
the same with the "Minnesota Politics" guy if he had contacted me
rather than posting my email--which obviously wasn't intended for
publication--on his site.
Incivility is not exclusive to either side. It is pervasive on the internet in general, as anonymity lends itself to feelings of security, and there for invincibility. The immediacy of it allows for people to fire off any little snarky comment they want, with no cause for alarm about the consequences, because there are none.
It is why I'm glad I decided to write this blog with my identity revealed, and not pseudonymously. It holds me accountable for the things I say. While blogging allows for a certain casualness in writing which can contribute to a little less thoughtfulness in what one writes, the fact that everything I write is attached to my name serves as a sort self-editing tool.
The blogs are such an interesting mechanism for real conversation and intelligent dialog between peoples who disagree with each other. Powerline is just the latest blog, from both sides, to diminish themselves and to lower the dialog.
Boxer News and Views
And speaking of The Boxer Rebellion, that fine blog reprints Sen. Boxer's letter urging voters to join her "in the fight to keep Social Security an insurance program that provides real security for Americans."
Sen. Boxer has also been active on the safe water front,
urging the EPA to adopt a "safe drinking water standard for perchlorate" that's close to "1 part per billion."
Finally, I hate to be a satire snob, but this abysmal Sen. Boxer news parody is apparently what passes for rightwing humor these days.
Monday, February 21, 2005
Timing Is Everything
A majority of Americans say the country is ready to elect a woman as president in 2008 -- and even more said they would vote for one.The poll also invited respondents to nominate other potential female candidates. Ex-NJ Governor Christine Todd Whitman led the write-ins with 13 mentions, followed by Oprah Winfrey with 9.
The candidate's portrait as painted by 1,125 registered voters in a nationwide Hearst Newspapers/Siena College poll shows that she's likely a Democrat and is viewed as being at least as capable as a man on foreign policy. She's stronger on health care and education, but somewhat weaker as commander in chief of the military.
The poll listed four prominent women -- Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice -- and asked whether any of them should run for president.
Clinton was the clear front-runner with 53 percent of those polled, including half of the men and 26 percent of the Republicans, saying she should run. The telephone poll was done Feb. 10-16, surveyed 1,125 registered voters and covered all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Of the total, 39 percent were registered Democrats, 30 percent were registered Republicans and 3 percent were from other parties. The rest, 28 percent, were not affiliated with any party . . . .
Boxer had 13 percent of voters saying she should run, but nearly 40 percent said they didn't know who she is.
"I am not running for president, but I do believe that the country is more than open to seeing a woman as chief executive," Boxer said Friday in an e-mail.
Friday, February 18, 2005
An Opposition Party Would Be Nice
Fully 60%, including one-fourth of Republicans, say Democrats in Congress should make sure Bush and his party "don't go too far." Just 34% want Democrats to "work in a bipartisan way" to help pass the president's priorities.To this I feel compelled to say, only 60%?
Which brings me to another topic: President Boxer isn't awarding a Boxer Badge of Courage award this week, because nobody deserves one.
Sure there were the occasional flashes of Democrats doing their jobs:
* New York State Senator Chuck Schumer's Social Security radio address in response to Bush's on the same topic was rather good.
* House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer released an excellent Statement on "Jeff Gannon's" Connection to the Valerie Plame Leak.
* And I was certainly happy to see Howard Dean demanding an apology from New York's state Republican chairman Minarik for smearing Democrats by linking them to a civil rights lawyer convicted of aiding terrorists. (Many question whether the civil rights lawyer (Lynne Stewart) was wrongfully convicted, but that's a different discussion.)
Nonetheless, these and other commendable actions by Democrats aren't, in my opinion anyway, Boxer Badge of Courage material. After all, doing what's right and commendable isn't necessarily courageous. Or, if it is, then this country is in even more trouble than I think.
In any event, I couldn't possibly give Senator Schumer a Boxer Badge Of Courage award this week, because he (along with 17 other Senate Democrats) is a not so proud Dem Weenie award winner. The following 18 Democrats betrayed their duty to Americans by voting for legislation that severely limits the ability to file and wage class action lawsuits.
Shame on every one of them!
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Some spine from a Reagan
UBBQR:But Ron, you have to admit that the new face of the Democratic Party seems to be made up of Barbara Boxer, Howard Dean, and Ted Kennedy, three people who seem content to ride this thing right off the rails they are so way off to the left.There may be a long way to go, but it seems like from Reid, Boxer, Dean, etc., the Democratic Party is truly willing to do some fighting. It is a ramping up, and so far it looks good.
RR: Only someone who is way off to the right would call Howard Dean way off to the left, just ask his Vermontonian constituents.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
When Dems Disappoint
* The Senate confirms federal judge Michael Chertoff to succeed Tom Ridge as Homeland Security Secretary by a 98-0 vote, despite concerns regarding his role in the treatment of terror suspects at the US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
* Dems earn Brownie points by holding a hearing into Iraq contracts, then blow it by not showing up.
* Eighteen Senate Dems join the unanimous Senate Republicans in voting to restrict the right to file class action lawsuits.
A reminder: Nominations are still open for this week's Dem Weenie and Boxer Badge of Courage awards. Our first weekly winners were announced here.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Happy Valentine's Day, Senator Boxer.
Barbara is a Class Act
On this Valentine's Day Sen. Boxer Showered With Flowers:
Nearly 2,400 roses were delivered to the senator's office as part of the Barbara Boxer rose campaign.
It all started with an e-mail campaign to several Internet blogs.
Then, a national online florist set up a special phone line.
Boxer said she will send the flowers to Bethesda Naval Hospital and Walter Reed Army Medical Center which treat soldiers wounded in Iraq.
I think that is a beautiful gesture.
Monday, February 14, 2005
Capitol Hill Dems Demand Investigation Into Wal-Mart / DOL Sweetheart Deal
Rep. Miller's press announcement says in part:
Under the arrangement, disclosed by The New York Times on Saturday, Wal-Mart will be allowed 15 days to investigate and rectify employee complaints before DOL conducts any investigation. Upon receiving a complaint about a potential violation of wage and hour laws, DOL’s field offices around the country are now instructed to notify the DOL office in Little Rock, Arkansas, which will then notify Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas of the complaint. The Department will not launch its own investigation during that time and it remains unclear under what circumstance it would launch an investigation after the 15 day period ends.Nathan Newman is all over this story, and he urges people to "call their legislators and demand that they support Miller's investigation into this DOL deal with Wal-Mart."
Miller said that such an arrangement could allow the giant employer to cover up evidence of a violation and would discourage aggrieved employees who might fear retribution from the company. Miller also sent a letter to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao today asking for more information about the arrangement.
We Caught Him with a Bow and Arrow in the Hart Building. Says His Name's Cupid
Since 9/11, Valentine's Day around the Capitol complex has become a logistical nightmare for florists trying to deliver bouquets of roses and boxes of chocolate to admired senators, representatives and staffers.
"It used to be that you would see florists coming in with beautiful bouquets and heart-shaped balloons," laments Richard Baker, the Senate historian. "But now, with all the security measures, the receiving staff members have to go out on the street and meet the delivery person" . . . .
The official policy requires that florists deliver all flowers and candy to the Senate or House loading dock. But even before vehicles can pull up to a dock, they will go through screening on Delaware Avenue -- dog sniffs and all. Once the vehicles arrive at a loading dock, the delivery person will call up to the recipient, who may have to descend deep into the bowels of the Hart building, where one of the docks is located, to pick up the gift. The gray cement walls of the loading dock stand in stark contrast to the purple irises, red roses and pink hearts that wind their way through the maze of dingy halls and clunky freight elevators to the desks of the lucky . . . .
"We stress if you don't have to have something delivered here, don't," says Contricia Sellers-Ford of the Capitol Police.
Try telling that to those involved with the Barbara Boxer Rose Campaign.
The rose campaign has rallied nationwide support to send Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., 3,000 long-stemmed red roses on Valentine's Day to honor what they say is her "unwavering courage and determination to stand up for the principles of freedom and truth in the United States Senate." That's right -- more than 200 dozen roses are already ordered and will be delivered en masse to her office in the Hart building on Monday afternoon. This puts a thorn in the side of an already-pressed Valentine's Day security team.
"I didn't really know about this until some New Yorker came up to me and said, 'I just sent you flowers for Valentine's Day,' " Boxer said. "I'm just so touched by it." Boxer says she plans to donate the roses to wounded soldiers in Washington's Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Sunday, February 13, 2005
Say the Left Thing...
From today's Jack Asterisk:
"Senator Boxer is once again leading the fight for Democrats. Here she pushes back on Bush's push for destroying Social Security, in much the way I think is exactly right. The debate is not about what to do about Social Security, or even whether there is a crisis. The real debate, and I think the real opportunity for genuine emotion from Democratic Congressional leaders, lies in the manner in which Bush and his people are selling their proposal. They are using words meant to fan the flames of doubt, to create panic and urgency in people's thoughts when there is no need for it. They are essentially crying 'Fire!' in a crowded theater. Whether their exact utterances can be pegged as lies or not is irrelevant. They are speaking in a way that is totally irresponsible and reckless. This is the real issue..."
There is more...
Putting The Dis Into Discourse
Dean simply must win. He’s a temper tantrum and a psychotic breakdown all rolled into one unstable little package. This, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly what Democrats need to further isolate them from thinking Americans. A Dean victory guarantees the party will slide further left and, hopefully, into oblivion. Make us proud, Howie.
The Special-Interest Group Hug
Howard Dean Meets Democratic Caucuses
A few weeks ago, when former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean declared his intention to run for chairman of the Democratic National Committee, news reports had the general tone of "Get this, that crazy scream guy is back and he wants to run the party." Now, a week before the vote, his victory is a fait accompli. How did this happen? Are Democrats suicidally crazy?Bill O'Reilly
"Howard Dean has alienated many people.” O’Reilly gestures towards himself and after a pause, continues: “Me, alright! Because he’s an obnoxious SOB. With all due respect, he is. He’s obnoxious. Now if he gets the DNC Chair, Dean doesn’t like me. Now, I’m willin’ to listen to him. He’s welcome on the program but I don’t like him. Alright! And I’m skeptical of him and that’s not good, Mary Anne, because I’m a guy with an open mind. I’m not anti-Democrat, as you know..."(Emphasis added; projection in the original.)
L. Brent Bozell III
"...the Democrats are set to name wild-eyed ultraliberal Howard Dean as the new chairman..."
Jonathan Chait (Again!)
Unlike the icy Hillary Rodham Clinton or the hotheaded Howard Dean, Harry Reid does not easily lend himself to hostile caricature.
The National Ledger
Conservative republicans see Dean as a huge liability and easy to paint as the angry red face of the Democratic Party. He says outrageous things that make him appear unhinged, and out-of-touch with not only mainstream America, but with moderate dems as well. But he's poised to become the very public face of the democrats.
(Note: tNL looks very Talon Newsish.)
The National Ledger (again!)
But Howard Dean has little to offer with the exception of bitter hatred and at times uncontrollable anger directed squarely at President George W. Bush.
The Hamas wing....er the democratic wing headed up by "Dr. Scream" Howard Dean is currently in the lead of those who will select the next chairman.
If they select Dean, they remain oblivious to their problems and vow to wage jihad to the bitter end.
UPDATE: Title modified to eliminate the word Republicans, because in some cases party affiliation is not known.
Letters about Barbara Boxer
Way to go
I am so tired of the right wing thinking that anyone who doesn't agree with them should be recalled.
I, for one, am sending Barbara Boxer roses this Valentine's Day for representing my views and having the good old fashioned American gumption to stand up to the powers that be and speak her mind.
All Sen. Boxer did was to quote Condoleezza Rice's own words and to ask her why she contradicted herself and, in some cases, what the president on record had said.
I find the lack of concern by the Republican majority over Miss Rice's inconsistencies far more troubling than Sen. Boxer's shedding light on the subject.
God bless you, Barbara Boxer, and God bless America; the rights and liberties for which I pray it will stand again.
Wendy Pritzker (my emphasis)
Sending flowers for Valentine's Day could only be positive re-enforcement and a show of thanks for standing up.
Saturday, February 12, 2005
The Latest Kayo
Even the most conservative estimates say the system will be able to pay full benefits for 38 years, she said, noting that that is hardly a crisis, because it leaves ample time for a reasoned approach to future solvency . . . .Would it be premature to nominate the Senator for the second weekly "Boxer Badge of Courage" award?
Boxer said the result [of the President's scheme] would be a 45 percent cut in benefits, throwing millions of people into poverty and leaving survivors and disabled workers high and dry, while the government would have to borrow trillions of dollars to shore up the system.
Boxer, a former stockbroker, said she believes in investing, but as a supplement to a guaranteed retirement benefit, not as the primary source of retirement income.
When she asked how many people in the audience had lost money on Wall Street, a forest of hands went up. "You can count on Social Security; you can't count on the stock market," she said.
Boxer said she doesn't believe Bush's promise to people older than 55 that his plan won't affect their benefits.
Boxer said there is a simple way to ensure long-term solvency: Lift the cap on earnings subject to payroll tax above the current $90,000 limit.
Although not among the options mentioned by Bush in his State of the Union address, the idea of raising the cap to $120,000 has been spearheaded in Washington by Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C. . . . .
Although polls have shown that young people expressed interest in investing some of their Social Security taxes, [doctoral student Brooke] Hollister said they withdrew their support when they were informed that privatization could undermine the existing system . . . .
Also in the audience was Michael Roosevelt, the grandson of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the architect of Social Security.
"What the senator said today is right on the nose," said Roosevelt, 58, a lawyer in San Francisco, in an interview after the talk. Bush's plan "is an effort to get the camel's nose under the tent to eliminate Social Security entirely," he said.
UPDATE: As advocates of the Fairness Doctrine, we think it's the least we can do to offer the President a forum in which to explain the benefits of his proposal. The issue, of course, is an extremely complicated one, and so we apologize if the following widely-quoted remarks from Mr. Bush's Tampa, FL, town meeting on Feb. 4 are too technical for a lay audience:
THE PRESIDENT: Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised.
Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.
Okay, better? I'll keep working on it.
Friday, February 11, 2005
And The Winners Are... The First Dem Weenie And Boxer Badge Of Courage Awards Go To:
We're hoping that by (1) pointing out examples of Democratic cowardice and (2) praising those who measure up well to the Boxer Courage Meter, we can encourage Democrats to demonstrate more tenacity and backbone.Our first Boxer Badge of Courage award winner is Congressman John Conyers, Jr. of Michigan, who has been a consistently strong voice on election reform and who recently took three especially praise-worthy actions:
1. He introduced the "Voting Opportunity and Technology Enhancement Rights Act,” (also known as the “VOTER Act of 2005") to "ensure that all of our citizens' rights to vote are protected" and "restore trust in our election system."
2. He wrote Attorney General Alberto Gonzales demanding that
three of his top aides recuse themselves in the Valerie Plame case.
3. He (and Rep. Louise M. Slaughter) have written to Patrick Fitzgerald, the Plame case independent prosecutor, seeking an investigation into how the reporter, James D. Guckert, who used the name Jeff Gannon, had access to classified documents that revealed the identity of Ms. Plame.
On the Dem Weenie award front we have a six-way tie. For their
torture-supporting votes in favor of Alberto Gonzales as our new Attorney General, President Boxer declares these six Senators to be Dem Weenies:
(1) Senator Ken Salazar (Colorado)
(2) Senator Joseph Lieberman (Conn.)
(3) Senator Ben Nelson (Neb.)
(4) Senator Mary Landrieu (La.)
(5) Senator Pryor (Ark)
(6) Senator Bill Nelson (Fla.)
(In case you missed it, I memorialized the Gonzales vote in verse right here.)
Next Friday we'll be naming a new set of winners. Please post your nominations here in the comments section or email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org -- subject line: Award Nominations.
Gearing up for the Gannon fight
We'll start with New Jersey Representative, Frank Lautenberg, in a letter he sent to White House Press Secretary, Scott McClellan. An excerpt:
As you may know, Mr. Guckert/Gannon was denied a Congressional press pass because he could not show that he wrote for a valid news organization. Given the fact that he was denied Congressional credentials, I seek your explanation of how Mr. Guckert/Gannon passed muster for White House press credentials.This is worded fairly strongly, but is respectful. There is an important point in this letter, however, in which Lautenberg immediately ties this to the Armstrong Williams situation. Lautenberg is helping to craft the story here: This isn't just a case of a pseudonymous reporter getting into the briefing room, but its connections to the larger issue of how the Republicans give, or don't give, us the information they want, or don't want, us to have.
I have led the effort in the Senate to investigate a number of instances of troubling propaganda efforts by the Administration. The Government Accountability Office has agreed to my requests to investigate various attempts at media manipulation: fake television news stories touting both the new Medicare law and the "No Child Left Behind" education program; a study rating individual journalists on their "favorability" to Republican education policies; and the payment to journalist Armstrong Williams.
Since the Armstrong Williams controversy became public, Administration payments to two other journalists, Maggie Gallagher and Michael McManus, have come to light. Given the backdrop of these scandals, coupled with Mr. Guckert/Gannon's role in recent White House press briefings and press conferences, it is understandable that the circumstances of Mr. Guckert/Gannon's credentialing have raised suspicion.
But Lautenberg wasn't the first. Louise Slaughter of New York had this to say yesterday, marking her as the first Democrat to publicly comment on Gannon, in a letter to the President himself:
In light of the mounting evidence that your Administration has, on several occasions, paid members of the media to advocate in favor of Administration policies, I feel compelled to ask you to address a matter brought to my attention by the Niagara Falls Reporter (article attached), a local newspaper in my district, regarding James "JD" Guckert (AKA Jeff Gannon) of Talon News.Slaughter does the job of making sure the White House can't distance from this. According to Slaughter, this is on their doorstep, and she also uses her letter to tie it to Armstrong Williams.
According to several credible reports, "Mr. Gannon" has been repeatedly credentialed as a member of the White House press corps by your office and has been regularly called upon in White House press briefings by your Press Secretary Scott McClellan, despite the fact evidence shows that "Mr. Gannon" is a Republican political operative, uses a false name, has phony or questionable journalistic credentials, is known for plagiarizing much of the "news" he reports, and according to several web reports, may have ties to the promotion of the prostitution of military personnel.
That is why I am asking you to please explain to the Congress and to the American people how and why the individual known as "Mr. Gannon" was repeatedly cleared by your staff to join the legitimate White House press corps?
Mr. President, your Administration has driven the so-called "values" debate in this country. But the most important value for those of us in public service should always be honesty and integrity, particularly when considering the manner in which we conduct our affairs of state.
Gannon is a huge story, and as we tie it to a troubling pattern in the West Wing, it will only get bigger. To do this, we'll need people like Slaughter and Lautenberg who are willing to step up and do the heavy lifting. If they lift hard enough, it will reach the party leadership, and once it gets there... well, at that point cable news will be interviewing G. Gordon Liddy and Vernon Jordon asking for insight about what Gannon must be feeling as a central figure in a Presidential scandal.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
"Jeff Gannon" Gets His Own Limerick
Here's my limerick in honor of whatshisname:
Dub's White House gave Jeff press credentials,
Though he lacks all the media essentials.
He's not Gannon, nor Jeff.
He's a pol-hack. Not press.
This sure looks like a scam Presidential.
UPDATE: "Jeff Gannon's" resignation has created a serious White House press void. So I figure it's my civic duty to fill that void by applying for White House press credentials.
Boxer on Fresh Air with Terry Gross
It was an interesting interview, concluding with an interesting discussion about women in the Senate, with Boxer commenting on the possibility that, in retrospect, the Condi Rice hearings were a sort of watershed moment for women, in that you had Diane Feinstein introducing a woman nominee for Secretary of State, who was then questioned very adamantly by a strong woman Senator, and very few people commented on the fact that women were involved.
It is worth a listen when the audio is available.
UPDATE: Here is the audio link.
Boxer KO's Bush Over Budget
This budget does not include the cost of the war in Iraq. It doesn’t include the cost of the war in Afghanistan. It doesn’t include the true costs of making the tax cuts permanent and it doesn’t include the costs of the President’s plan to destroy Social Security.
Bush said in 2001:
One of the temptations is to use Social Security money for something other than Social Security. Now the good news is is that both political parties and both parties of Congress have declared that we're not going to do that. But I'm going to watch carefully, to make sure that the old temptations of the past don't come back to haunt us when it comes to budgeting your money in the year 2001.
(Emphasis added, lie in the original.)
If Bush and Boxer were having a debate, I would say "Point - Boxer."
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Democrats Are Racists!?!
It's funny that whenever a conservative is attacked who just happens to be a minority there can only be one reason for that attack...it's because they're conservative idiots.
(Via Oliver Willis)
Mad's Boxer Verse
Lauded by Birch Bayh,
Speaking out on budget cons,
And S.S. too. Oh, my!
Criticized by Rush and Sean,
Demonized by Bill.
That's it for this week's Boxer Verse.
Watch out for right-wing shills!
I want the boys at the White House, the girls at the White House, the men and women at the White House, everyone to understand, I haven't lost one wink of sleep over the attack yesterday.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Reid strikes back...
I've never understood this strategy. If you have an issue with a political opponent, why do you attempt to discrediting it by listing EVERY single thing you can think of in one massive list? This, it would seem, risks losing the point you are trying to make in a sea rhetoric that cannot be parsed.
I haven't had access to TV much today, so I don't know how, or even if, this is playing nationally, but on the blogs the story has been about the gay-baiting part of the list. I'm not going to further exacerbate this issue by talking about the hypocrisy of the Right as they attack on these grounds. I understand the Left bloggers who are using this to fight back on this issue, and don't hold it against them, but as for me, I wish we wouldn't say we are against marginalization based on sexual preference out of one side of our mouth, and then use it to make a point on the other side when it is politically opportunistic. I just don't see the merits of outing Ken Mehlman.
But what I do want to do is point out Reid's response, which is indicative of his whole tone thus far in his tenure as Minority Leader:
The President's State of the Union speech last week once again reminded us about how much work we have to do in Washington. And in my response to his speech, I pledged that Senate Democrats will not "let partisan interests get in the way of what's good for the country."It may just be me, but I'm not sure I ever remember this kind of fire from Tom Daschle.
I had hoped that was a commitment the President and his Republicans colleagues would live up to as well.
Unfortunately, it became crystal clear today that some in the President's Party are going to keep playing their petty, divisive game of politics as usual. And I call on the President today to put an end to it. The Republican National Committee said today they plan to launch a concerted and prolonged campaign against me. And in an even more disgusting step, they have announced their intention to unfairly attack my family as well.
Actions speak louder than words Mr. President, and it's time for you to act. I call on you today to repudiate the plans of the RNC and tell them to cease and desist from spreading this document they have prepared.
With all the important issues facing the American people right now, there is no room in Washington for this revolting kind of politics.
The President needs to stand up today and put an end to it.
Monday, February 07, 2005
Dem Demonizaton Watch
Now President Boxer's George has already noted depictions of Sen. Kerry as a waffling sore loser and Sen. Boxer as loud, impulsive, cranky, and ill-coiffed.
But even more focused demonization efforts appear to be afoot regarding Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Howard Dean.
Quoting a Roll Call report, Political Wire says Republicans are targeting Reid:
"Drawing on a blueprint used successfully against" former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (S-SD), the RNC "will send a 13-page research document today to roughly 1 million people -- a group that includes journalists, donors and grass-roots activists -- detailing Reid's alleged obstructionism among other topics."And via Political Wire we have Karl Rove's messenger boy Robert Novak saying:
Democrats, who now acknowledge the inevitability of Howard Dean's election as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, are concerned about the massive negative research about him stockpiled by President Bush's political operatives.And as we know, Republicans so hate politicians who say bizarre things.
The Dean file was compiled by Bush's re-election campaign when it appeared that the former Vermont governor was going to be nominated for president. It is a carefully researched compendium of Dean's often bizarre utterances.
If the GOP's demonizing you, you're probably doing something right.
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Republicans - Putting the Dis Into Discourse
...sore loser John Kerry and big-mouthed Barbara Boxer, showed their true colors as champion “wafflers”...
Michael P. Neufeld
Rep. Lewis, along with Senator Dianne Feinstein, sent a letter yesterday to President Bush urging his approval of a request by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to declare eight California counties federal disaster areas. Conspicuously absent from list of co-signers on the letter was Senator Barbara Boxer.(From an article on Feb 1 Sen. Barbara Boxer and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sent individual requests to the president last week Apparently news of this hadn't reach Michael by Feb. 4th even though Sen Boxer. according to the NC Times had sent her letter a week before. I wonder why this fact is conspicously absent from Neufeld's writing?)
Where Feinstein was deliberative and well-spoken, Boxer was impulsive and loud. Boxer was rarely photographed with her mouth closed.
Victor Davis Hanson
Boxer, the Bay Area's premier progressive and crankiest of the questioners...
Barbara Boxer, her hair finally back on this planet...
Saturday, February 05, 2005
Recognizing a couple of Republicans with backbone
Mr. Hulshof had the guts to call a purge a purge. "I believe the decision was a direct result of our work in the last session," Mr. Hulshof told the Post-Dispatch. Mr. Hulshof noted that he had specifically asked the speaker to be allowed to stay on -- and that the Republicans who remained on the panel had actually served longer. Mr. LaTourette was similarly unconvinced. "I think clearly he changed the makeup of the committee because people were for whatever reason not happy with the committee," Mr. LaTourette told the Hill newspaper.It takes backbone to be a Republican and stand up to the ethically challenged Bugman, Tom Delay.
Friday, February 04, 2005
The Gonzales Vote In Verse
The Gonzales Vote In Verse
By Madeleine Begun Kane
Gonzales was a test of sorts:
Can Democrats unite?
Most Senate Dems came through for us,
And fought for what was right.
But Lieberman sure let us down.
The Nelsons failed us too.
Ms. Landrieu's vote was way off base.
Mark Pryor missed his cue.
Ken Salazar should be ashamed.
Those six ought hang their heads.
They told the world that torture's fine.
With Bush they've made their beds.
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Going to the Mattresses?
And then I heard Peter Jennings say something to the effect of, "The President there, greeting Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman with a kiss."
"Wha-What?" I thought, as my head jerked up.
You see, I recently had a conversation with a moderately conservative friend of mine who said he has been more than impressed over the past few weeks by many of the public comments he's made. Not to worry, dear readers, I set him straight (or so I like to think). But this conversation has kept some Lieberman related issues top of mind for me.
First of all, the rumors abound of possibilities for Lieberman's future in a Bush administration, such as Supreme Court Justice or Secretary of Defense. These rumors have been out there for a few months, especially the Sec. Def. rumor, all as examples of possible olive branches the President could offer the Democratic Party (as if the President has ever shown any inclination to be bi-partisan). They are, in the end, rumors.
But these things were going through my head when Peter Jennings spoke of the affectionate gesture between the President and Senator Joe.
Imagine my lack of surprise, then, when I read this today:
Senators Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Ken Salazar (D-CO) expressed their support for Presdient Bush's Attorney General on the Senate floor mid-afternoon today."Progressive" and "Remarkably Just." When speaking about a nominee who's entire career has now been clouded by the fact that he justified torture, that is pretty high praise .
Sen. Salazar's support for Gonzales is not unexpected; he introduced and recommended the nominee to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Sen. Lieberman, however, went above and beyond Gonzales to offer support for the U.S. policy of deny rights to Guantanamo Bay detainees. He called the decision "progressive" and "remarkably just," citing the fact the Bush Administration opted to provide the inmates with food, water, shelter, blankets and the ability to practice their religion.
Lieberman is one of the most conservative members of the Democratic caucus, and was Al Gore's choice for vice president during his failed presidential bid.
The senator said that Gonzales' defense of torture memos had to be understood in the context of September 11, 2001. "You've got to appreciate the context," Lieberman said, "post-Sept. 11."
One has to wonder if, as he was being kissed by the President last night, he thought back to a moment when he was told that, someday, he may be called upon to perform a service. He certainly performed one today.
Hopefully, Senator Joe doesn't plan on going fishing anytime soon.
"Dem Weenie" and "Boxer Badge of Courage" Awards Launched
Please nominate your favorite examples of Democratic cowardice and courage in the comments to this post. And tell us why your candidate is worthy of a "Dem Weenie" or a "Boxer Badge of Courage" award. Thanks!
(Update: Lightly edited for clarity)
Newsday Columnist Sheryl McCarthy Critiques Democrat Cowardice
They are trying hard to appear conciliatory and may want to save their energy for more important battles, such as the Supreme Court. But they've become so timid that I wonder what they'd do if Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to be chief justice. Thomas is far less qualified for that job than Rice is for hers, and a fight would be in order. But would they be cowed by the race issue? Would they say he's already an arch conservative and already on the court, so it wouldn't change the numbers anyway? Would they shy away from asking the hard questions and from stating the obvious, because they don't want to make waves?
Let's hope they'd take their cue from Boxer.
Sen. Boxer, Help! Bush Appoints Another Turkey
Who went to bat to make sure torture remained secret from the American public? Homeland Security Secretary Appointee Michael Chertoff.
....I cannot in good conscience vote to reward a man who ignored the rule of law and the demands of human decency and created the permissive environment that made Abu Ghraib possible.(via TalkLeft)
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
"They can threaten the nuclear option," he said. "If they feel that's great for the institution and the country, let them do it." Noting that the only complaint he has heard from fellow Democrats is that not enough of Bush's judicial nominees were blocked in the past four years, Reid said he is prepared "to go behind the pool hall and see who wins this one."(via Radical Georgia Moderate)
Ultimately, Democrats concluded they had neither the votes nor the political stomach to block confirmation of Gonzales, who would be the first Hispanic to hold the nation's highest law enforcement office. After a bruising debate last week followed by the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice as the first black woman to be secretary of state, some Democrats were concerned that they would be perceived as opposing qualified minority candidates.(emphasis mine)...
Exit the hoped for, new Democratic Party, Enter the Same Ole Dems, Stage Left, whimpering.
So battered is my party that they can't trust their 60 year record on race relations to stand up through a couple of nomination oppositions.
Strike that, we can't stand up through a couple of nomination oppositions, one of which lied to us about going to war, and the other of which helped establish a governmental culture that condones torture.
Those of us that oppose Gonzales don't oppose him because he is Hispanic. We oppose him because he believes that torture is an acceptable American action. Simple.
As Atrios said today:
It is not partisan for anti-torture Democrats to oppose Gonzales. It is partisan for anti-torture Republicans to support him.The only way to defeat the Gonzales nomination is to make those who vote for him look like they condone torture, but instead of standing up and fighting, we give up because we don't have the stomach for a fight. Do you think the Republicans spend very much time worrying about if they will be viewed as obstructionists?
Even if we can't defeat him, it is important that all Democrats oppose Gonzales. It isn't about partisan politics, it is about right and wrong. You want your "values" issue? Here it is: We oppose the systematic torture of any human being.
It is up to Senate Democrats to stand up, look Republicans in the eye and force them to say they disagree.
Dump The Opposition Party Response To The State Of The Union Speech?
If it achieves anything it is a lightness of being, an instant irrelevance. Or worse: the State of the Union response has a long record of diminishing anyone who delivers it. It's time either to reform the rebuttal - or retire it.
His suggestions include changing the rebuttal speech venue, sharpening the focus and avoiding the laundry list approach of responding to every item in the President's speech. He says:
It ought to make one clear, provocative argument and leave the audience with no doubt about the speaker's purpose. A less ambitious speech may well be a more effective one. For example, the Democrats could use their less-than-equal time to define an exit strategy for Iraq and leave it at that. Or they could present a plan to save Social Security from privatization. With an unambiguous message in hand, the Democrats could then build on their speech as the president does - by heading out to the heartland, repeating a single, memorable refrain, and making the case for a clear course of action.
Tonight's rebuttal will be given by the minority leaders of the House and Senate, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Heeding Mr. Shesol's advice, I've written them a speech:
The state of the union sucks, and you can thank George Bush.
Sen. Boxer's Statement In Opposition To The Confirmation Of White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales To Be Attorney General
Sen. Boxer continues:
Mr. Gonzales was the legal architect of this Administration’s policies on torture and the treatment of detainees– policies that resulted in the despicable torture of prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo. The vast majority of these prisoners were never charged with any crime, and even our own State Department had grave misgivings about redefining our torture policy.
The torture policies that Mr. Gonzales pursued on behalf of the Administration have done immeasurable damage to America’s standing in the world, have undermined our military rules and traditions, and exposed our own soldiers and citizens to greater risks.
In addition, Mr. Gonzales called the Geneva Conventions “obsolete” and “quaint.” The Geneva Conventions have protected our soldiers since 1949. This attack on the Geneva Conventions should not be condoned with a yes vote on this nomination.
Compare And Contrast
Meanwhile, in Florida
Nelson again wrote to Collins last month after the newspaper reported that FEMA gave more than $70 million to residents of other areas barely touched by disaster.
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Up To 40 Dems May Vote Against Gonzales
The Boxer Courage Meter quivers in anticipation.
(Link via TalkLeft.)
New Blog From The American Progress Action Fund Promises Rapid Response To State Of The Union Speech
Pray It Isn't So
Republican-lite, here we come.
Mickey Kaus Psychoanalyzes Dems
Unfortunately, that's not the "bizarre behavior" Kaus is talking about.
According to Kaus -- brace yourself -- Democrats (such as Kennedy, Kerry, and Boxer) have turned into ruthless Bush bashers so they can get their hands on Internet loot.
Dems are ruthless Bush bashers?
(Link via Political Wire.)