Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Congress in Recess: Hurray!
Congress is out and us DC insiders are set for a week of office casual and a calendar of lunch dates with our Hill friends we are otherwise too busy to see...
My To Do List:
1) Google Search: History of Pears
2) 2 or 3 Hour Lunch at Les Halles
3) Google Search: Beach Rentals
4) Walk to Copy Room Carrying Folders and Papers
5) Google Search: How to Look Busy.
Above the Fold Tuesday
Just a little exercise to remind those of us in DC that very few people outside the beltway wait with baited breath for every new iota of information or development on the intrigues here in Capitol City. So, as a new feature perhaps..a look at the leading headlines in papers from real America....
Des Moines Register:Closed-door deals: Here's what public agencies
tried to hide from you
New Orleans: Preparing for the Worst
With the six-month hurricane season opening Wednesday, local emergency planners are fine-tuning evacuation plans, including changes to last year's rage-inducing scheme to use both sides of the interstate and a new effort to bus thousands of people without personal transportation out of New Orleans.
Denver: Survey gives snapshot of street kids
Alex Montgomery once spent his mornings on Denver streets figuring how he would steal money for his next cocaine fix.
Seattle: Canadian cars can take wrong turn.
Washington owners not always told vehicles were made there. Even the fondness Robert Chittock had for his luxury minivan couldn't surmount the problems this vehicle had. Chittock's 2004 Toyota Sienna was taken from his driveway a year ago, repossessed by a B.C. resident who claimed to be the van's rightful own
San Diego: Rejection of EU constitution throws France, bloc's future into disarray
PARIS – President Jacques Chirac moved swiftly forward Monday with a widely expected government shakeup to save face at home as European Union officials worked to control damage after French voters rejected the EU's first constitution, dealing a potentially fatal blow to the charter.
Detroit: Michigan fails to nurture small firms
With a struggling economy, state's small business growth is among nation's worst
Monday, May 30, 2005
Trend Setter? Moi?
Hmmm...In February, I jetted down to Nicaragua for a winter vacation. Despite the odd looks from friends and coworkers, it seemed a great alternative to the way over priced Carribean. Couldn't resist linking to this article in today's WaPo...looks like Nicaragua is seen by others as an up and comming destination....
My Nicaragua: As the world begins to discover her home country, she returns to discover a few things, too.
Friday, May 27, 2005
C'mon Tom? A little TV show gets your that upset? I mean a real man would stand by his comments that activist judges "will get what's coming to them."
Wimpy, Wimpy, Wimpy!
Tom DeLay Irate Over NBC's Judgment
More to come
All appologies for the short postings this week. I'm still catching up from my out of town travels Friday to Weds.... To top it off, I caught a horrendous cold.... More postings later today.
That's the count...
GOP Getting Wimpy?
Geesh. Used to be that you'd criticize us Republicans and we'd simply sit by with smug righteousness knowing we were on the side of angels...so to speak. Now it seems that just about every cultural phenomena is somehow some secret conspiracy out to get us, or more accurately, our infallible leader, George W. Bush.
Take the latest Star Wars Movie as an example. Everyone is up in arms about some comments make by Anakin Skywalker as he morphs into Darth Vader. "You're either with me, or your are my enemy." he supposedly states. Apparently this is hitting too close to home for some partisans who decry it as an unfair attack on our Dear Leader. But is it unfair? Is it really about Bush?
If President Bush's post 9/11 "with us or against us" comments were applied only to the terrorists, then yes, the criticism would be unfounded. But Bush has governed as a with me or against me politician on just about every issue. This blog has talked at length about how the AARP, which supported Bush's Medicare Drug Program, became enemy number 1 when they opposed his social security plan. (Remember the ads that implied the AARP was for gay marriage and against U.S. soldiers?). And lets not forget the battle over judges....the compromise offered by the Majority Leader and the current position of the White House is that ALL nominees should be brought to the floor. In short, this administration has governed to the narrowest of majorities...pushing policies for the 51% (at most) of the electorate that got him in office.
It just seems that all of the sudden, the GOP has become a bunch of defensive wimps....
Darth Bush? Echoes of post-9/11 America in a galaxy far, far away
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Filibuster Fight: Round 1 Victory
Ok, I'm taking a moment to bask in the sweet joy of having 14 Senators from both parties act like adults and save an important senate tradition. Both sides had dirty hands, so to speak, but Senator Frist's insistence on 100% approval of all nominees was beyond the pale..more so because he alligned himself with the Family Research Council in framing the whole debate as filibusters against people of faith.
Senator Frist isn't driving the senate this week...It's being done by the fourteen senators who see our traditions are being more important than the cult of personality surrounding George Bush...Of course the other side is preparing to strike back.
Already, the Family Research Council has announced that they will target Senator Dewine's (R-OH) son, who is running for Congress, for defeat because his father supported a common sense compromise to the senate standoff. That makes sense, strenghten families by holding the alleged sins of the father against the son.
Back in the Saddle...Sort of...
The biggest pain about work travel over a weekend is that when you return to the office, like I am doing today...you have absolutely no concept at to what day it is....I think it's Thursday...or something....
Even more fun, my ears never 'popped' when my plane landed yesterday...so I can't really hear anything...It seems to be cutting down on my work load as I can't hear when people ask me to do things. Heh...
Monday, May 23, 2005
Trent Lott A Liberal?
That's what James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family (e.g. radical right wingnut) seems to think. Why? Because Mr. Lott had the gall to try to find a consensus or compromise to head off the radical rights plan to defuse the filibuster. That's just how weird things are in DC lately, anyone (regardless of their previous support of the Party) is painted as a traitor and liberal if the don't support 100% of the far rights (and to a lesser extent, the President's) agenda. Trent Lott is many things, but he is not a liberal.
Money Quote:"James Dobson: Who does he think he is, questioning my conservative credentials?" Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., said in an interview. Dobson, head of the conservative group Focus on the Family, criticized Lott for his efforts to forge a compromise in the fight over the judges. Lott is still angry. "Some of his language and conduct is quite un-Christian, and I don't appreciate it," the senator said.
I totally agree! Who the hell is Mr. Dobson and who does he think he is telling us who is Christian, pro-family and republican?!
Greetings From Chicago
Greetings for Chicago. My meetings are going great and I just got back from a reception on the 80th floor of the Aon Center (http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=116756). I'm having a blast and as always love Chicago. (How could anyone not like this city...the people, the colorful history..and the architecture.)...Anyway...more on that later.... Just thought I'd check in...
Friday, May 20, 2005
Know Your Place!
Ok, I must admit I'm a fool for web based survey thingys.... The NYT's has one today about "Class", which is ironic becuase the criteria have more to do with economic well being and education levels...but hey...it's the Times. Check it out.
Shockingly...my results are:
Education: 99th percentile
Income: 93rd percentile
Wealth: 85th percentile
Average: 90th percentile
The shocking thing is that I lost my keys this morning and have about $20 bucks in my checking account right now....but the Times thinks I'm classy...Paris Hilton Classy I guess. What's your score?
If It's Friday This Must Be..Chicago
Headed off to Chicago for a weekend of Board Meetings and a speaking gig on Monday, then jetting off to Iowa (yes, Iowa?!) for a encore performance of my address out there last year. The good news is that these two trips are probably the last for me until September, marking the end of a 4 month, 18,000 mile circuit of business trips that included New Orleans, Seattle, Las Vegas, Nashville, Rochester, LA, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago and Des Moines. Hurray!
Blogging may be light on Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday as I am not sure if the resort I'll be at (45 minutes north of Des Moines) will have internet access, but we shall see.
Maybe I should have saved those leftover dreams, 'cause here's that rainy day. Ok maybe not...after a two week run of excellent weather, it's a little rainy here today...thus this weeks theme.
Armageddon for the Senate
THIS week the Senate embarked on an epic struggle over the appointment of George Bush's nominees to the federal bench. The struggle will determine not only Mr Bush's ability to reshape the judiciary along more conservative lines, but also the balance of power in Washington, DC, between the Republicans and Democrats and, just possibly, the future of such controversial issues as abortion and the role of religion in public life.
Inside America's Most Powerful Megachurch (A Must Read!)
[Want to see insights into our possible future if First succeeds with the Nuclear Option, read this. These folks are the ones pushing the nuclear button and advising the President on future court nominees- Elephant]
Feeling the Hate with the National Religious Broadcasters (Another Must Read)
This article is a companion piece to the one above. Again, these are the folks who are guiding the President....be afraid....
College ad to protest Bush visit
Before I paint all evangelicals with a broad brush, let me direct you to this article. Calvin College is up in arms about Bush speaking at graduation. Grand Rapids is not liberal enclave, nor is Calvin, both are very God centered communities with mega churches and such. This should be a place where they lay palm branches for Bush's arrival. But it's not! Let's try to remember that James Dobson/Pat Robertson and the like are about as representative of the diversity within the evangelical movement as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharton are of African Americans.
Red Cross warned U.S. over Quran
Hmm...very interesting. Maybe Newsweek was on to something. At the very least they came closer to the truth than the Administration did on WMD....
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Gasp! A Deal?!
Fox News Holding Out Hope?
Fox seems to be more optimistic than I am regarding the possibility of the compromise on judicial filibusters. They report that the following Senators were seen today going in and out of negotiations. Who knows...wish I was up on the Hill to check things out.... Below are the supposed folks who still are working to save the Senate...and possibly the country.
Republicans Graham, Mike DeWine of Ohio, John Warner of Virginia, John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, Mike DeWine of Ohio, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Democrats Salazar, Nelson of Nebraska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.
Nuclear Option: Update
Nebraska papers are reporting that Senator Hagel, who as recently as yesterday was leaning against voting to end judicial filibusters, has announced that he will vote for Frist's proposal. If that is true, it leaves littel wiggle room for Dems. and moderate Rs to broker a deal. The current whip count, by my estimation is at 49 in favor, 48 against (All D's plus Snowe, Chaffee, Collins) and 3 undecideds (Warner, Specter, Sununu..possibly more). The GOP needs only one more vote to make this work and they are very, very close.
Granted the debate could shift as we move further into this, and even if the nuclear option passes it's no guarantee that the courts will be cowed into submission. But it is another slip, step, slouch toward a more all powerful federal government that will permeate all aspects of our lives. Needless to say, if the Hagel news is true, it's bad....
Last week I joked that we should all stock up on condoms, liquor and porn...today I'm not joking...stock up people the mullahs are coming.
The New Moral Clarity: Update
Remember during the debates when John Kerry indicated that he'd have direct talks with the North Koreans? Remember how Bush pilloried him for it? Here's an update...
U.S. To N. Korea: No Direct Talks
US held direct meeting with N. Korea: White House
Yes, it's all so clear. I need not question our leader, merely accept the every changing reality within in which he operates.
CNN: World News Priorities
Ok, busy day, so I'm trying to throw in some bloggy snippets here and there. I was just checking out CNN's webpage and noticed thier headlines under 'World News". Can you pick out the one that just doesn't seem to belong?
Korea talks end without nuke deal•
Canada's government faces key vote •
Kylie Minogue awaits cancer surgery
You guessed it! It's the Canada one...I'm mean it's not like it's a real country...(wink)..
The American people now are beginning to realize we have a serious problem when it comes to Social Security. And that problem begins with people like me. - President George Bush, May 18, 2005.
Unfortunately, we do need to address social security funding, but this has taken a back burner to the "will to power" and probably won't happen anytime soon.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Just Antoher Reason Elephant's in Exile
There are many reasons I'm an Elephant in Exile. Out of control spending, a vast and growing federal authority, Terri Schiavo, Tom Delay, James Dobson, Gay-Bashing...here's another. While Frist has launched his filibuster ending offensive on behalf of the radical right (to say religious or evengelical right is an insult to fair minded people in these groups...and I seriously doubt that Mr. Dobson or Robertson represent a majority of em anyway.)...he can't even get his story straight.
I'm sitting in my office watching the debate and see this transaction...
Senator Schumer: "Isn’t it correct that on March 8, 2000, my colleague [Sen. Frist] voted to uphold the filibuster of Judge Richard Paez?"
Senator Frist: "The president, the um, in response, uh, the Paez nomination - we’ll come back and discuss this further. … Actually I’d like to, and it really brings to what I believe - a point - and it really brings to, oddly, a point, what is the issue. The issue is we have leadership-led partisan filibusters that have, um, obstructed, not one nominee, but two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, in a routine way. "
To sum it up, my former party has squandered a historic opportunity to make the government smaller and more effective to implement the designs for absolute power by Dobson-Robertson-Perkins.
Even my conservative friends are scared out of their wits by what's transpiring. No one in the Senate knows where this is going...and no one wants to contemplate the implications if they succeed.
If you haven't figured it out yet, this has nothing, NOTHING to do with the Democrats. It's about changing the system (and ignoring the rules) to achieve a stranglehold on the federal apparatus...and I've never seen anything that embodied the dark, will to power more aptly in my career here in Washington. I'm appalled, disappointed and afraid for my country...
Well, here we go...Senator Frist has moved us to Defcon 2 as he pushes us to a consitutional crisis. I may leave work early to stock up on birth control, liquor and porn, just in case....
Will someone please tell Scott McClellan and other jabber-jaws in the GOP to tone it down a little bit on the Newsweek story. In my reading yesterday it appears that Newsweek is not the only paper that has reported this story. In fact there have been wide spread reports that our 'interrogators' have repeatedly relied on playing the Muslim card during 'intense' (Not torture!-wink) interrogations sessions. But the more they focus on the point which is basically "Newsweek lied, people died" the more it reminds me that we were wrong about WMD and that 1,500 plus U.S. Soldiers have died as a result. I wish my colleagues in the GOP showed as much concern to for these men and women (plus the 10,000 injured) as they are showing for the 17 or so Pakistanis and Afganis who died in the Newsweek melee.
But alas, in this world of moral clarity...up is down, down is up and bad is really double plus good.
Nuclear Option Primer...
The WaPo has a great article this morning summarizing the likely game plan in the coming week on the so called 'nuclear option.' It's a great read...
A Likely Script for The 'Nuclear Option'
9:00 AM conference call, followed by a staff meeting...postings around 11AM...
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Message to China: Hold Out Until December!
This is all very intersting. Earlier this year, I decided to book a vacation to China before its continued economic growth forced it to allow its currency (Currently 8.28/$) to appreciate against the U.S. greenback. (That and the fact that I found a really great price on an airline ticket!). Looks like I made a good choice...the Bush administration is pressuring China to allow its currency to appreciate against the dollar. Some economists think that the Yaun (Renminbi) is could rise as much as 40% against the dollar...which would make Chinese imports more costly, and my vacation much more expensive. I'm hoping they hold out until December.
Irony: Alive and Well!
On September 12, 2001 the cultural elites proclaimed that irony was dead. To say that their prodnostication was 'Malthusian' would be a compliment. I haven't brushed up on all the details of this "Newsweek" crisis, but like a lot of bloggers, I was struck by the incredible irony, and psuedo outrage of the White House.
"The report had real consequences," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Monday.
"People have lost their lives. Our image abroad has been damaged. There are some who are opposed to the United States and what we stand for who have sought
to exploit this allegation. It will take work to undo what can be undone."
McClellan said a retraction was only "a good first step" and said Newsweek should try to set the record straight by "clearly explaining what happened and how they got it wrong, particularly to the Muslim world, and pointing out the policies and practices of our military."
Ok, I'm not sure if he's talking about Newsweek or the CIA reports on WMD in Iraq...perhaps both?!
The long game of posturing and talk of seeking a compromise on judicial nominees appears to be in the end stage. Us folks here in DC are preparing for the battle that is expected to follow shortly, one that will pit 214 years of a tradition of unlimited debate against the absolutist tendencies of the radical right that now serves as the puppetmaster of the GOP. The funny thing is that 'compromise' was never really an option. From the start Senator Frist acknowledged that it was an all or nothing affair (like everything else with this silly bunch), with each single nominee allowed a full floor vote. Why? Because the leaders of the so-called 'Christian Right', James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Pat Robertson and their ilk, know that controlling the judiciary, appointing ultra-conservative justices and overturning the right to privacy will finally allow them to achieve their final objective...Imposing federal control over personal matters such as consensual sex, birth control, access to abortion, end of life decisions and the like. How best to sum up their end game? I think senator Santorum summed it up best this week.
"Now we are forced to do something that societies often do when people can't control their desires. We have to pass laws to stop their desires." - Rick Santorum
So what is the fate of our young democracy? I'm still sanguine. After all, senator Frist couldn't even muster up a simple majority on the gay-bashing Federal Marriage Amendment, and there was no political upside to opposing that. The current split in the Senate is 55(R)-44(D)-1(I). A party line vote would clearly give Frist a victory, but looking at preliminary whip counts you get a more hopeful picture. Republican senators John McCain (AZ), Lincoln Chafee (RI), and Olympia Snowe (ME) have already announced they'd vote against it...which gives the opponents of ending the filibuster 48 votes. Susan Collins (ME) is also expected to vote against Frist's motion which gets us up to 49. Five other Republican Senators have also expressed reservations about Frist's plan...Garnering two of those votes, perhaps John Warner (VA) and John Sununu (NH) would kill the plan. Better yet, no one likes to vote for a losing proposition (ala FMA), so as the debate progresses, if it becomes clear that Frist doesn't have a majority, then expect the motion to go down with an even wider margin.
Democrats, GOP End Talks on Filibusters
Senate Showdown Over Nominees Nears
Monday, May 16, 2005
Happy Birthday EIE!
Holy cow, I can't believe that I've been blogging for a year now. It seems like just yesterday when I was sitting in my old apartment with my new ibook laptop and decided to throw my hat into the blogosphere. Here's some interesting stats from this past year:
Elephant in Exile
Recent Posts -165
Avg Posts Per Week- 26
Posts Written - 676
Words Written- 88,267
Outbound Links- 504
Profile Views - 135
One of the more interesting aspects of keeping a blog is trying to articulate a specific position on an issue. It's one thing to have a visceral reaction, pro or con, to any given event, but quite another to put the reasons for that reaction into words. Is my current disenchantment with the GOP a function of my distrust for concentrated power and preference for politician might to be balanced by opposing forces? Is my disdain for our current President a result of some Yankee bias against Texans? Maybe. But having to think critically about current events and politics really helps cut through the pollution of talking points and rhetoric. In fact, so much so that I actually look forward to my morning posts. This little exercise in blogging is as much about finding my voice and getting new insights into my thought process as it is about having readers.
How long will it last? Who knows, but I'm certainly enjoying the ride.
Best of Elephant...
May 14, 2004:
View from the Inside (The first posting!)
Hello World! Like many of you, I've decided to throw my virtual hat into the blog-ring. Why? First off, I'm tried of having insights and conversations about Washington DC happenings only to see them pop up in the press a week later. My insights? On May 24, 2004 I celebrate my first 10 years living and working in the alien world of Washington politics. This town's been good to me. Starting from scratch I've worked my way up to be, among other things, a lobbyist for the largest business trade association in town, Chief of Staff for a Mid-Western Republican Congressman and I now work as an attorney/lobbyist on issues related to freedom of association. I mingle with the decisions makers and hear the back room gossip and rumors (some juicy, some mundane) that can all be shared now with you! Also, I've been inspired by some of my favorite blogs, AndrewSullivan.com and Janegalt.net to name a few. So, sit back and enjoy!The Elephant.
July 11, 2004
High Theater & Foregone Conclusions
FMA Debate in the Senate is Theater, GOP Needs and Wants It to FailIs it just me or is the debate over the FMA turning kind of lame. I mean today I was surprised to see Senator Orin Hatch say he supports legal rights for gay men and women for things such as insurance, inheritance, etc. Nice. But was left scratching my head when he claimed that the definition of marriage has been unchanged for thousands of years, then went on to talk about his Grandfather who had three wives. Doens't that imply that the definition of marriage does change? Anyway, none of this is important, because in order for the FMA to achieve its Rovian electoral strategy, it must fail. Passage would render impotent or at least weaken the need for any state level gay marriage ban initiatives which have been put on the ballot in a handful of swing states. The goal isn't to pass FMA, but to continue to manufacture a psuedo-marriage crisis to rally the troops for the fall election. For that reason, everything your seeing this week is high in drama, but low in susbtance. The GOP needs FMA to fail to scare social conservatives to the ballot box on election day because they have nothing else to offer in terms of accomplishments.Expect the crisis to be taken to the next level when FMA fails to pass the Senate and the social conservative wing of the GOP urges voters to go to the polls to pass initiatives in thier own states. This could have been an interesting debate over a fascinating issue of religious values, conservative principles, states rights and federalism...a chance for true leadership in finding a way to unite our country on a very divisive issue, unfortunately its merely machinations of the Bush re-election machine.
November 11, 2004
What about the values and traditions of our
Friday, May 13, 2005
A Three Day Weekend!
BRAC's, Bolton nominations, nuclear war in the Senate...what's an Elephant to do? Take a three day weekend! Hurray! See you on Monday!
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Dark Clouds on the Horizon
I think I mentioned before, that in the after math of September 11, I commented to a friend that the attacks were just the begining of the challenges we as a country were to face. "It feels like 1939." I commented. Well, Iraq is still simmering, we're fighting islamo-facists abroad and Christain-facists at home and now both Iran and North Korea are approaching the brink.
Are we prepared to fight two more wars? The army is stretched to the breaking point, as is the budget. This is not good.
North Korea nuclear fears deepen
Europeans warn Iran not to resume nuclear work
The New Moral Clarity:
Man sues over letter saying he was married six times -- instead of five
Dr. Hager's Family Values
List of allegations against Spokane Mayor West
A: All of them. They support groups like Family Research Council and Focus on the Family. The issue isn't thier own moral failings, it's yours.
Cracks in the Facade: Honduras Breaks with the Vatican
AIDS-hit Honduras disobeys Vatican
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
The Amazing Race 7: And the Winner is...
'Amazing Race' has its winners
Why Don't They Just Tatoo 666 On My Forehead?!
Remember the time when Rush Limbaugh and other right leaning radio heads were ranting about the forthcoming World Government and it's attendant 'National ID" card that the evil Democrats were going to impose on us? Well, it's happening, but at the behest of the GOP majority. Better schedule two days to get that driver's license renewed.
Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid
All I can say is that I had the misfortune of reading two articles in this week's Harper's Magazine that scared the bejebers out of me. Under the heading of "Soldier's for Christ" the magazine features two articles on the growing clout, and goals of the far radical religious right. There goal, nothing less than establishing a "Christian" version of Saudi Arabia right here in the U.S.A. There are organized, saavy, and already winning important battles. Key to their success, (dare I say..like the Nazi's?) is first targeting groups like homosexuals. After wetting the political appetites with anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives, they'll move on to the rest of us.
Want to know why Senator Frist won't back down on the filibuster issue? It's because it is part of the stratedgy of these folks to take control of the courts. Read these articles, and you'll understand.
(I'm looking for a website where they are freely available...I'll keep you posted.)
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
My Day in Court
Okay, granted, it was small claims court, but I won. That's were I've been today, and as a result blogging got put to the side. Much, much more tomorrow. Promise!
This Makes Me Feel Old...
Monday, May 09, 2005
Hey! It's Not Just Me!
Ok, so it's the New York Post, but at least someone is starting to talk about what's really passing as conservatism these days...
THE Republican promise of smaller, less-intrusive gov ernment is getting harder
and harder to believe. Especially when a more plausible plot line is unfolding
every day: that the GOP has put aside the ideals of Reagan and Goldwater in
order to pursue a political strategy based on big spending.
Three Cheers for the Post...
Deal on Judges Called ‘Close’!
I can't tell you what good news this would be if it proves to be true. The radical right (James Dobson, et. al.) are pushing Frist hard to undermine the Senate by eliminating the filibuster of judicial nominees. But low and behold, a group of Republican's, led by ousted former majority leader Trent Lott, are reportededly brokering a compromise...in writing no less, that would (for now) avert a constitutional crisis. So, there are at least a dozen or so Senators who can see this for what it is...a dangerous power grab by the so called religious right. Good for them.
Is this story true? Seems odd it didn't make headlines here in the 'States, but then, I was working on some home improvement projects and enjoying the nice weather...so I didn't notice...
Google Takes a Break
Detroit ponders fast-food tax for extra cash
Detroit mayor runs up $210,000 credit card bill
Airfares to/from DC Fall!
Little discounter Independence Air is having a big impact on airfares to and from the lucrative Washington, D.C., market, forcing bigger, financially ailing competitors to match its low prices.
Still more talk in the media about when Senator Frist will pull the nuclear trigger in his attempt to end the Senate practice of unlimited debates known as filibusters. Some reports place the showdown sometime this week, but if so I'd find it surprising. First off, there remains a heck of a lot of important bills that need to be moved through before the GOP incerates itself by ripping out the tradition of unlimited debate. Things like the highway funding bill, the emergency war supplemental bill (another $82 billion for Iraq/Afghanistan...Remember how the Iraq war was supposed to pay for itself...?!). Anyway, this whole dilemma is setting up a situation where we can see where the GOP leadership's loyalties really stand. Do they support doing their job and promoting economic growth by passing an energy bill, a highway bill and handling other issues related to economic stewardship? or do they go nuclear to please their powerful patrons on the extreme right?
Sadly, I think the answer is the latter, not this week, but soon.
Clash Over Judicial Filibusters Nears Boiling Point
Friday, May 06, 2005
Hope you enjoyed 05-05-05 as it won't be rolling around again for another 100 years. I went out for pomegranite marguiritas at Rosa Mexicana (Overrated). Anyway, for lack of a better title, here's your weekend reading, enjoy.
Obstacle Course: Filibusters are not sacrosanct, but they’re
Critics of the Senate filibuster complain that it's undemocratic and obstructive. These are its two most appealing features.
Our system of government is undemocratic and obstructive in many ways, including the Constitution's enumeration of congressional powers, the rights it explicitly protects, the types of laws it explicitly prohibits, and the bicameral legislature it created, with one house based on proportional representation and the other giving equal voices to California and Wyoming. The two houses must agree on legislation, which has to be authorized by the Constitution and approved by the president, unless Congress can muster a two-thirds majority to overcome his veto.
Virginia Is for (Homoracial, Heterosexual, Mentally Adequate)
Lovers Old Dominion's old attitudes rise again
By a razor-thin vote (49-48), the Virginia State House passed a bill in late February that would allow private companies to extend health insurance coverage to members of employees' households other than spouses or dependent children. The measure was surprisingly controversial, given that it included no legal requirement for companies to cover anybody and that every other state in the union already allowed private firms to offer such coverage. Why was the Republican-dominated State House so reluctant to allow greater freedom of private contract?
'Whore College' Offers Hands-On Training
The 25 students in jeans and T-shirts could have been in any career that
requires hustle. The classes, covering topics such as effective marketing, stress reduction and legal issues, could have been part of any professional development seminar.
A pretty sticky first 100 days
IT SEEMS to be an iron law of the Bush administration that, whenever the president declares victory, he is soon confronted with disappointment. On May 1st 2003, he landed on the USS Abraham Lincoln to declare “mission accomplished” in Iraq. Ever since then, he has been confronted with tenacious resistance. On November 4th last year, he boasted that he had earned “political capital” that he intended to spend on a broad agenda. Ever since then, he has faced frustration.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Remember when the 'Revolution' Meant Something?
Well, it's disappointing to say the least that well into the tenure of the GOP super majority (House, Senate, Presidency) that it seems the GOP has tossed aside the principles that got em into office to begin with. Remember back to 1994 when the GOP first reclaimed the House. They meant what they said back then. And do you remember that part of the impetus for changing the majority was a series of ethics scandals where old line members were jetting off on junkets and such? I sure do, my boss on the Hill was swept into office on the anger of the voters. Sadly though, many on the Hill now have forgotten that promise and instead of focusing on bringing responsibility to government, they've quickly morphed into the very fat cats they once fought against. It's surprising only in the short time frame in which this transformation has happened.
Here's a little reminder of what the GOP used to stand for...before they decided that every personal decision on everything had to be run by the Family Research Council.
The Preamble to the Contract with America stated:
I guess we should have read the fine print. What we have now is a government that is too intrusive, to easy with our money and full of official evasion and posturing. Oh yes, while Tom Delay does a slow burn we'll hear calls that "Democrats" are doing it too! (An argument that seems best fitted for a kindergartener.)..I say let's vote all these ethically challenged folks out. And as a footnote, there is a difference between Dems using private jets and republican's using private jets...The republican's promised that they'd clean up such ethically murky practices and that promise along with the promise to curtail the power of government got them the majority. They're ignoring that mandate will also cost them that majority.REPUBLICAN CONTRACT WITH AMERICA
As Republican Members of the House of Representatives and as citizens seeking to join that body we propose not just to change its policies, but even more important, to restore the bonds of trust between the people and their elected representatives.
That is why, in this era of official evasion and posturing, we offer instead a detailed agenda for national renewal, a written commitment with no fine print.
This year's election offers the chance, after four decades of one-party control, to bring to the House a new majority that will transform the way Congress works. That historic change would be the end of government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public's money. It can be the beginning of a Congress that respects the values and shares the faith of the American family.
Hill Leaders Often Take Corporate Jets
Companies Offer Discount Flights and Gain Access
REPUBLICAN CONTRACT WITH AMERICA
Meanwhile in the Senate....
As I've said before...I don't think Frist will bring this up if he doesn't have the votes and the fact that he hasn't brought it up seems to be a good indicator that he doesn't...at least for now. Fair minded republicans are under the gun here, but let's hope that clearer heads prevail...remember the folks pushing to end the filibusteer are people like those found in the postings below. They don't care about democracy, or pluralism..they just want everyone to live by their twisted and intolerant tennents...
Family Research Council=1,000,000 Deaths
"Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a licence to engage in premarital sex," Maher claims, though it is arguable how many young women have even heard of the virus.
Attention Ms. Maher...these preventable deaths are on your shoulders....
When will these people stop this nonsense?
Antiques Roadshow Erodes Family Values
Famous centerfold images of Marilyn Monroe and pictures of nude women painted on World War II planes are being screened (digitally blurred) by PBS’s Antiques Roadshow, and editors obscured the image of a 50-year old nude lithography.
Wonkette has a better take:
Hey, maybe PBS is more of a liberal threat than we realized. According to TV Watch, a new network-funded FCC watchdog group, Antiques Roadshow is screening out "pictures of nude women painted on World War II planes" and other titillating heirlooms to avoid potential indecency fines. Which, admittedly, seems sort of okay in this instance, because a lot of kids watch that show.
100 Years Later and We're Still Arguing...
Geesh...living in the plains is probably tough, but living in the plains and being a free thinker must be double difficult. Sadly, nearly 100 years after the Scopes Monkey Trial, we're still arguing about evolution. Worse yet is that some Christians can't understand that evolution doesn't necessarily negate creationism..and in my humble view makes it all much more complex and interesting. Anyway, as they keep saying...evolution is merely a theory...yes, and so is gravity, relativity, electromagnetism and George Bush being a Republican....
Three cheers for the free thinkers in Kansas who are fighting the good fight.
Teachers, Scientists Vow to Fight Challenge to Evolution
State v. John Scopes ("The Monkey Trial")
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Texas bans 'Sexy' cheerleading..adopts new uniforms
Texas School Board Approves New Cheerleader Uniforms...
Top 50: World's best restaurants
Sadly, I haven't been to any of these....but I'm disappointed that the Crystal Burger on Burbon Street didn't make the list...it seemed rather dreamy after a night of drinking in the big easy....
Buyers Shun Big Three
Back in the late 1970s, GM, Ford and Chrylser were building big, inefficient cars. Then the oil shocks hit and people started buying smaller, more efficient Japense cars. It devasted the industry and Michigan's economy. We apparently didn't learn our lesson and now find ourselves back to the future....
Detroit: Not Much Left
It was six AM, and I'd just gotten off the red-eye from Los Angeles. I had a few hours to kill before I could check into my hotel, so I decided to do what is only natural in Motor City, drive around. Despite the fact that it was early May, snow flurries drifted down from the cold gray sky.
I swung out to Ann Arbor and drove past some of the places I had lived when I was attending the University of Michigan. The Apartment near Strickland's market, Brian and Joe's place on Packard, the Kappa Sigma house. Memories flooding back, all pleasant. Jumping back on the highway, I zipped back toward Detroit. Driving by my old house in Livonia, then getting on the expressway to head into the city. It was about 8:00AM.
What's funny is that in DC, or any other city, the roads would be gridlocked at this hour. But here in Detroit (even with two lanes of the highway shut down) traffic moved a pleasingly steady pace. The deeper I went into the city, the lonelier and more apocalyptic the scenery became. Of course this isn't surprising, as the birthplace of the American Automobile industry, Detroit has always been ahead of the curve on urban flight and sprawl. A conditioned aggravated by the 30 year reign of Mayor Coleman young, who alienated the middle class and drove the city into the ground. But what was noticeably absent was the sparks of renewal (loft condos, cafes and clubs) that have been sprouting up in urban centers like DC, Atlanta, and even Cleveland over the last decade or so.
I passed Old Tiger Stadium, spotted a few of the casinos that were supposed to help jump start downtown, then got back on the highway to head out to my suburban hotel. The funny thing is that even heading out to the suburbs and office complexes on Big Beaver Road and towards Southfield, things still seemed a bit empty and shabby. As I pulled into the parking lot of the Embassy Suites off of I-75 in Troy, it was clear that the blight that's plagued downtown for many years is spreading. The shiny office towers were surrounded by empty and cracked parking lots, "For Lease" banners fluttered from the sides of the buildings. It seems that even in one of the nicer suburbs, the decline of America's manufacturing might is noticeably present. But it didn't stop there.
The TV and radio were filled with ads on affordable health insurance for the unemployed, how to train for a new career and a disturbing report from the Governor that indicated less than 3% of Michigan parents feel that computers and engineering are good careers for their children. Holy cow! I can't say that I have high hopes from my hometown....
One can only wonder what will happen to Michigan as more and more manufacturers move their operations to China. Delphi & Delco, the two large parts manufactures for American automobiles will likely move their production overseas in the near future at the cost of a couple 100,000 jobs. Marketing and engineering may remain, but the line guys will be left with stocking shelves at Wal-Mart. So far there doesn't seem to be any plan for transitioning the economy to others areas. Grand Rapids (Michigan's second city) has set its sights on becoming a healthcare Mecca, but Detroit still flounders and what was once America's fourth largest city continues to crumble. Perhaps, if they want to see their future, they should look up the road a piece to Flint.
Monday, May 02, 2005
From LA to Motown
Ahh, a long weekend in LA! Good for what ailes you. Spent a fun weekend with Midgie hanging out in Santa Monica, enjoying the sun and hiking in the mountains. I feel great, or at least as great as one can be after having taken the red-eye from LA to Detroit. Preparing for a speech tomorrow and returning office calls....but fighting the sleepiness that results from trying to sleep in a lousy coach class seat.
More this afternoon, but for now, a shower and a nap!