Monday, December 17, 2007

Here and there...

A quick roundup of stuff...

Yesterday, the House spent a significant chunk of its day debating one or another aspect of H.R. 2764, the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2008 (aka the omnibus appropriations bill), a 3500-page, $516 billion behemoth that funds pretty much all domestic spending for the fiscal year that started October 1.

During most of the debate, the Republicans spent their debate time wagging their fingers and spouting phrases like "pork-laden". "fiscally irresponsible", "where's the Iraq war funding?", "under cover of darkness" (the completed bill was posted on a House website on late Sunday evening/early Monday morning), etc.

What they (the Republicans) seemed to be doing was criticizing Democrats for things that the Republicans had done for years when they controlled Congress and ignoring the fact that it has taken a Democratic majority to actually pass a budget, since the Republicans didn't pass one at all last year.

That was pretty fiscally irresponsible then, and rather hypocritical of them to now criticize the Democrats for performing their duty.

It has been said that "operating without a budget is like steering without a wheel."

So what does newly-converted fiscal conservative George W. Bush have to say on the topic?

From The Hill -
“If the Congress can’t get the job done … then I’ve got a suggestion for them, and just pass a one-year continuing resolution,” he said. “That’s all they’ve got to do. If they can’t get the job done, like I’m hopeful they will, then all they’ve got to do is just take what’s called a continuing resolution, get the people’s business done that way and go on home."

The thing about a lack of a budget is that it brings with it a lack of fiscal control. This may sound cynical of me, but in the sphere of government, that is the kind of environment that allows fraud and misuse of public monies to go undetected or unpunished.

Why am I not surprised that Bush and the Republicans favor continuation of that environment?

I won't be shocked if Bush finds a way to rationalize a veto of the bill.

...In the resolution of her DUI case from earlier this year, State Rep. Trish Groe (R-LD3) pled guilty to a misdemeanor DUI count and was sentenced to 10 days in jail (to be served in Maricopa County) and a nearly $3000 fine.

While I am (happily) ignorant of the sentencing nuances of AZ's DUI laws, that sentence doesn't actually seem to be unreasonable - she didn't hurt anybody, and that *does* make a difference to me.

What I have a problem with, however, is the fact that the special prosecutor in the case, Dennis Wilenchik, is the same one who, while doing contract work for Andrew Thomas' office (Maricopa County Attorney), ordered the arrest of two New Times' publishers/journalists for writing uncomplimentary stories about Thomas and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Why is this clown still allowed to dip into the public trough? More than $220,000 just since the New Times case was dropped? Even if he was just following the orders of Thomas and/or Arpaio, what he did was inexcusable.

At the very least, he and any firm that he is associated with should be permanently barred from ever working for a public entity.


...Hmmm. Somebody from the U.S. Department of Justice has been reading my posts (here, here, and here) on the EPA announcement of "incomplete remediation" of contaminated groundwater that was later added to the drinking water supply in Scottsdale. The user's Google search was for the terms "epa superfund nibw arizona press releases".

It's interesting, but what's the motivation for the DOJ's interest? This one has me stumped. Anyone have an idea?

...On Friday, Randy Pullen, chair of the Arizona Republican Party, demanded that Harry Mitchell (D-AZ5) apologize for a comment by the Speaker of the U.S. House, Nancy Pelosi.

Apparently, at her morning news conference, she was quoted as saying that the Republicans "like" the war in Iraq.

This begs two questions -

1. Why is Pullen upset with a true statement?

2. I thought the Republicans billed themselves as the party of 'personal responsibility.' Why should Harry Mitchell apologize for Speaker Pelosi's comments? Hell, not only did he not make the comments himself, he wasn't even present when they were said.

Note: Later that same day, during an interview on PBS' Newshour, Pelosi clarified her earlier comment. From the transcript -
GWEN IFILL: You said this morning at your news conference that Republicans like this war, that this is the Republicans' war.

REP. NANCY PELOSI: Well, when I said "like," I used a poor choice of words. The fact is: They support this war. They support the president's execution of it, even though any objective observer of it would say that a war that we've been in much longer -- more than a year longer -- than we were in World War II, going in on a false pretense without a strategy for success, without a reason to stay, against the wishes of the American people does not deserve the support of the Congress of the United States.

She was fine until she softened it; the war in Iraq really is the Republicans' war.

If anything, her original comment was soft to begin with (courtesy The Moderate Voice) -
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lashed out at Republicans on Thursday, saying they want the Iraq war to drag on and are ignoring the public’s priorities.

“They like this war. They want this war to continue,” Pelosi, D- Calif., told reporters.

"Like" is a gentler way of putting it than I would have chosen.

"Revel in" is a far more accurate way to phrase it.

Anyway, back to the point, Le Templar of the East Valley Trib puts Pullen in his place in Templar's own blog entry when he suggested (writing as Harry Mitchell could have) that if Pullen believes that Mitchell should apologize for Pelosi, then "Pullen can live up to his own standards and apologize for George Bush" for Bush's various crimes and misdeeds.


No comments: