Thursday, September 29, 2005

It's a little old, but still very true

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

"the hand you hold is the hand that holds you down"

GOP Ignores Lessons of Democrats' Past Mistakes - "GOP Ignores Lessons of Democrats' Past Mistakes

In response to the criminal charges he now faces, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) has offered up the time-honored defense of Washington politicians: My enemies are out to get me.
In a Capitol Hill news conference, DeLay lashed out, calling the Texas prosecutor who brought the felony charge against him an 'unabashed partisan zealot' and a 'fanatic.' DeLay's supporters echoed the theme. House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) -- the man who will fill in for DeLay -- said: 'Unfortunately, Tom DeLay's effectiveness as Majority Leader is the best explanation for what happened in Texas today.'

It didn't take long for DeLay's supporters to get the talking points. In a statement e-mailed to reporters hours after news of the indictment broke, the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, leader of the Traditional Values Coalition, said DeLay was 'a Christian man' and accused prosecutor Ronnie Earle of exacting 'political retribution.'
Yet, The Washington Post's Jeffrey Smith reported last year that 'Earle, an elected Democrat who oversees the state's Public Integrity Unit, previously prosecuted four elected Republicans and 12 Democrats for corruption or election law violations.'
And the Associated Press reported last December that Earle had prosecuted some of the biggest Democratic names in the state, including, 'former Texas House Speaker Gib Lewis, former Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox, former State Treasurer Warren Harding and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Yarbrough.'

Buried under a sea of political scandal in the late 1980s and early 1990s, congressional Democrats often evoked the same defense. And it didn't work.

Ed-emphasis added.

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain"

UPDATE: Delay indicted for conspiracy. He's being accused of campaign finance fraud and money laundering of illegal campaign contributions.

And the house of cards starts to crumble...

Texas grand jury weighs DeLay indictment: report - Yahoo! News

HOUSTON, Texas (Reuters) - A Texas grand jury is deciding whether to indict U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay on conspiracy charges related to fund-raising activities by a political action committee he created, the Austin American-Statesman said on Wednesday.

If indicted, DeLay would be required under Republican Party rules to leave his leadership post, but he could remain in Congress.
The Travis County grand jury had met on Tuesday and was expected to take a secret vote on Wednesday in the state capital, Austin, the newspaper said. The article cited lawyers close to the case.
DeLay, who represents a Houston-area district, has been under investigation by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle for possible illegal fund-raising and use of corporate funds by his Texans for a Republican Majority committee, or

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Madison's Smoking Ban Stays

Now this just needs to be expanded to Middleton, etc.
City leaders debate until early Monday morning to keep the smoking ban in the city of Madison in place.

A request to repeal the ban was voted down 10 to 9.

The council had three proposals to consider.

The option of letting the public decide in a spring vote failed 14 to 5.
The last proposal that would allow a temporary exemption for businesses that have been hurt by the ban, has been put off until a later date.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Wisconsin Consumers Deserve $88 Million Refund

Gov. Doyle, Seven Other Governors: Call For An End to Oil Industry Price Gouging

Wisconsin Consumers Deserve $88 Million Refund

Governor Jim Doyle and seven other governors today sent a letter to President Bush and Congress calling for an investigation into profiteering by oil companies in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The Governors urged Congress to pass legislation requiring oil companies to refund their excess profits to consumers.

Governor Doyle said Wisconsin consumers have been overcharged by an estimated $88 million this month and called for those funds to be refunded to the people of Wisconsin.

'I am pleased that seven Governors have joined me in calling on President Bush and Congress to take action against the big oil companies that have overcharged citizens across the country in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and to pass federal legislation requiring those companies to provide a refund to our citizens,' Governor Doyle said. 'States around the country are responding in various ways to try to partially alleviate the recent spikes in gas prices. But the reality is that this is a national problem that requires action on the federal level.'

Governor Doyle cited a recent analysis by Don Nichols, Ph.D., economist, and director of the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which showed recent price spikes can't be explained by Hurricane Katrina. In fact, his study found that the markup from the price of crude to the price of gas has nearly tripled in the aftermath of Katrina.

The letter is signed by Governor Doyle, Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa, Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Governor Ted Kulongoski of Oregon, and Governor Christine Gregoire of Washington.

'Even though the price of oil has stabilized and prices are going down - they are going down much too slowly and remain at an unacceptably high price," Governor Doyle said. "This issue is not going to go away on its own and we are urging Congress to immediately investigate the excessive profits being made by oil companies."

Governor Doyle said that Senator Dave Hansen and Representative Josh Zepnick are proposing legislation to combat this problem on the state level, and to help ensure that Wisconsin consumers are not being taken advantage of by big oil companies.

"Taking advantage of someone, especially in difficult times, is a despicable act that should not be tolerated in our society," Senator Hansen said. "While the free market generally works, it is the government's role to protect innocent people from those who would prey on them in times of desperation."

Friday, September 09, 2005

Disaster chief's bio overstated record

I feel safer already...

From Time Magazine via Reuters:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Top U.S. disaster official Michael Brown, under fire over the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, cited prior emergency-management experience in an official biography but his duties were 'more like an intern,' Time magazine reported.

Brown's biography on the Federal Emergency Management Agency Web site says he had once served as an 'assistant city manager with emergency services oversight,' and a White House news release in 2001 said Brown had worked for the city of Edmond, Oklahoma in the 1970s 'overseeing the emergency-services division.'

However, a city spokeswoman told the magazine Brown had actually worked as 'an assistant to the city manager.'

'The assistant is more like an intern,' Claudia Deakins told the magazine. 'Department heads did not report to him.' Time posted the article on its Web site late on Thursday.

Brown, a lawyer, was appointed as FEMA's general counsel in 2001 and became head of the agency in 2003. The work in Edmond is the only previous disaster-related experience cited in the biographies. Brown served as commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association before taking the FEMA job.

The Washington Post reported on Friday that five of eight top FEMA officials had come to their jobs with virtually no experience in handling disasters. The agency's top three leaders, including Brown, had ties to Bush's 2000 presidential campaign or the White House advance operation.

Former Edmond city manager Bill Dashner recalled for Time that Brown had worked for him as an administrative assistant while attending Central State University.

"Mike used to handle a lot of details. Every now and again I'd ask him to write me a speech. He was very loyal. He was always on time. He always had on a suit and a starched white shirt," Dashner told Time.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

time meant nothing, never would again

Well, as is obviously apparent from the sidebar countdown, law school has started here in America's Dairyland. Tomorrow marks the completion of the first week. Thursdays (like today) are likely the worst day of my schedule (and all of Group 11), as I have class from 9:55am until 4:25pm with only a 20 minute break. Fortunately our Legal Research & Writing instructor understands and is allowing the eating of lunch during class. This hellish day starts with Contracts, followed by Crim, LR&W, and wraps up with Civ Pro. The only class that doesn't meet today is Torts, which is fortunate, considering Torts is from 7:45 to 9:45am (Mondays and Wednesdays only...except for tomorrow).

Texas groups linked to DeLay indicted in scandal

It's only a matter of time...

From Reuters, via Yahoo! News:

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Texas grand jury has indicted a political action committee formed by U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay as well as a powerful business group on charges they violated the state's campaign finance laws, officials said on Thursday.

The indictments, five in all, accuse Texans for a Republican Majority, or TRMPAC, and the Texas Association of Business (TAB) of illegally funneling corporate donations into a 2002 campaign to win control of the Texas Legislature.
DeLay helped create the committee, but he has not been charged with any wrongdoing, and has said he was not involved in TRMPAC's daily operations.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Critics Say Bush Undercut New Orleans Flood Control

No surprises here!

From the Washington Post:
President Bush repeatedly requested less money for programs to guard against catastrophic storms in New Orleans than many federal and state officials requested, decisions that are triggering a partisan debate over administration priorities at a time when the budget is strained by the Iraq war.

Even with full funding in recent years, none of the flood-control projects would have been completed in time to prevent the swamping of the city, as Democrats yesterday acknowledged. But they said Bush's decision to hold down spending on fortifying levees around New Orleans reflected a broader shuffling of resources -- to pay for tax cuts and the Iraq invasion -- that has left the United States more vulnerable.