Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Summer break is over...

and Republicans are back to acting like, well, "Republicans."

Not that they ever stopped. :)

...Sen. Larry Craig (R- Needs a clue) is now "reconsidering" his decision to resign from the U.S. Senate over his arrest in a sex sting. From AP via Yahoo! News -

BOISE, Idaho - Sen. Larry Craig is reconsidering his decision to resign after his arrest in a Minnesota airport sex sting and may still fight for his Senate seat, his spokesman said Tuesday evening.

The highlight of the article was this passage, though (emphasis mine) -

Billy Martin, one of Craig's lawyers, said the senator's arrest in an undercover police operation in the Minneapolis airport "raises very serious constitutional questions."

Martin, who represents Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick in his dogfighting case, said Craig "has the right to pursue any and all legal remedies available as he begins the process of trying to clear his good name."

I'm sure Mr. Martin is well-compensated for his efforts, but isn't there a nice clean armed robbery or corporate fraud case to defend? Maybe a slumlord or mineowner? Any of those defendants would be a step up for him professionally.

Anyway, the good Senator shouldn't resign because

A. the crime he pled to (and is considering 'un-pleading' to) is a misdemeanor that didn't involve violence, a minor, or misuse of his office. It's more than a little creepy, but that's all; and

B. if he resigns, the Democratic nominee for his seat next year won't get to beat on him or the eventual Republican nominee during the campaign with the "hypocrite" plank (metaphorically speaking.)

...The White House is gearing up for more of the same in Iraq.

First came this, courtesy GovExec.com -

Independent study finds Iraq has failed to meet most goals

A Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday concludes that Iraq's government has failed to meet most legislative, economic and security benchmarks established by Congress.

The much-anticipated report kicks off what is expected to be a month dominated by debate over Iraq policy, as Democrats in both chambers continue efforts to end the increasingly unpopular war. The report says the Iraqi government has met three of 18 benchmarks, partially met four and failed to achieve 11.

The Bush administration response, courtesy AP via Yahoo! News -

WASHINGTON - President Bush's senior advisers on Iraq have recommended he stand by his current war strategy, and he is unlikely to order more than a symbolic cut in troops before the end of the year, administration officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday.


Bush himself suggested that modest troop cuts may be possible if military successes continue, but he gave no timeline or specific numbers. Options beyond a symbolic cut this year include cutting the tour of duty for troops in Iraq from 15 months back to the traditional 12 months, one official said. If adopted, that change would not come before the spring.

What a swell guy!! Back to 12-month tours of duty!! Maybe!! Whooo hooo!

...The Republicans behind the 2004 'Swift Boat' smear campaign against Sen. John Kerry are hard at work, trying to rig the 2008 elections.

From AP, via Yahoo! News -

LOS ANGELES - Lawyers behind a California ballot proposal that could benefit the 2008 Republican presidential nominee have ties to a Texas homebuilder who financed attacks on Democrat John Kerry's Vietnam War record in the 2004 presidential campaign.

Charles H. Bell and Thomas Hiltachk's law firm banked nearly $65,000 in fees from a California-based political committee funded almost solely by Bob J. Perry that targeted Democrats in 2006. Perry, a major Republican donor, contributed nearly $4.5 million to the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that made unsubstantiated but damaging attacks on Kerry three years ago.

Perry is funding a campaign to change the way California's 55 electoral votes are allocated, from the 'winner-take-all' statewide format currently used to a system that awards them Congressional district by Congressional district.

In 2004, the state went overwhelmingly Democratic statewide, but 22 of the Congressional districts individually went Republican.

The group is called Californians for Equal Representation, which *sounds* non-partisan, right? However, the primary source of funding for the group, Bob J. Perry of Houston, Texas, has given tens of millions of dollars to Republican candidates and causes over the years.

Including $4,350,000 to fund the Swift Boat Liars PAC. (Courtesy FEC)

Stay tuned on this one.

...And when all is bleak - Bush's war is still going badly, prominent Republicans are found not using bathroom stalls for the purposes for which they were created, Republican after Republican is facing ethics questions, and a tanking housing market seems to be taking the overall economy with it - you can count on a House Republican to immediately try to bring Congress' focus to that which truly ails America - illegal immigration.

Rep. Martha Blackburn (R-TN7), in perhaps the 2nd or 3rd floor speech given after the House gavelled back into session on Tuesday, started right in on how illegal immigration is one of the greatest threats facing our nation right now.

Edit to add:

The transcript of her speech can be found in the Congressional Record here.

End edit.

Nice to have clear priorities; too bad their priorities have nothing to do with solving real problems and everything to do with appeasing the most extreme part of their base.

There was some good news, though.

...Laura Richardson (D-CA) was sworn in to fill the open seat left by the late Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA).

Congrats to Congresswoman Richardson on her election!

...Niki Tsongas, widow of the late Sen. Paul Tsongas, won the Democratic primary to fill the vacant seat in Massachusetts' 5th district. The seat opened up when Rep. Martin Meehan resigned to accept the Chancellor's post and UMass-Lowell.

Congrats to Mrs. Tsongas, too!

I'd mention the winner of the Republican primary, but the only way for a Republican to win in that district is to have Katherine Harris count the ballots. :)


1 comment:

joreko said...

The ballot measure to divide California’s 55 electoral votes by congressional district would magnify the worst features of our antiquated system of electing the President.

If the district approach were used nationally, it would less accurately reflect the will of the people than the current system. Although Bush lost the national popular vote in 2000, he won 55% of the country’s congressional districts. In 2004, Bush won 50.7% of the popular vote, but 59% of the districts. Obviously, if the district approach were installed in only one large state (such as California), it would greatly increase the chance that the winner of the presidential election would not have received the most votes nationwide.

The district approach would not, as claimed, make California relevant in presidential elections. Candidates have no reason to campaign in districts (or states) where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind. Currently, candidates concentrate over two-thirds of their money and visits on just six closely divided “battleground” states, and 99% of their expenditures in just 16 states. Thus, two thirds of the states are ignored in presidential elections (including California). In California, the presidential race is a foregone conclusion in 50 of the state’s 53 congressional districts. Candidates would have no incentive than they do now to pay attention to California remaining 50 districts. Even if the district approach were used nationally, there are only 55 “battleground” districts that are competitive in presidential elections, so seven-eighths of the county would be left out of presidential elections. This is even worse than the current system, where two-thirds of the states are spectators.

A national popular vote is the way to guarantee that the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states becomes President. It is the way to make every person’s vote relevant, regardless of where that person lives.

The National Popular Vote bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President. When the legislation is in effect in that sized group of states, all of the electoral votes in the participating states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Thus, the National Popular Vote bill would guarantee that the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in all 50 states will win the Presidency.

The bill has 320 legislative sponsors in 47 states. It has been signed into law in Maryland. The bill has passed by 11 legislative houses since its introduction in February 2006 (one house in Colorado, Arkansas, and North Carolina, and two houses in Maryland, Illinois, Hawaii, and California).

See www.NationalPopularVote.com