Thursday, May 31, 2007

Greetings from Sunny Portugal!


The Bloomington Herald-Times got into the whole "9th District Rematch" discussion on Sunday, with an article noting the new NRCC attack on Baron Hill.

But I found the most interesting portion of their article to be at the end:

While the Republican attack was timed to Congress' Memorial Day break, Hill isn't spending the weekend in his district. He left Friday to be part of a congressional delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Portugal, Tunisia and Morocco.

That's right.

Baron Hill spent Memorial Day on a travel junket to the Mediterranean.

I hear that Portugal is really nice this time of year; the photos seem to indicate as much.


I think that this must also explain the recent press release on Baron's website last week warning 9th District constituents to keep their passports updated:

Last year Congress passed legislation that altered the traditional passport requirements for U.S. citizens. A recent flood of constituents experiencing serious delays in obtaining their passports has spurred Congressman Baron Hill to make sure his constituents are aware of the changes in passport regulations.

I wonder if Baron Hill had a delay in obtaining his passport for his fancy taxpayer-financed junket to sunny Portugal.

Did he take the family with him?

I hope that he will send us back a postcard.


One last delightful tidbit from the Herald-Times piece:

Katie Moreau, a spokeswoman for Hill's campaign, said the Republican effort is "just the same attack rhetoric they've always used against Baron. It's a sad example of how they're more concerned with being in power than with legislating."

"We're not surprised by it, and it doesn't affect Baron's job as a member of Congress," she said.

I hate to break it to Ms. Moreau, but it's pretty clear that the only thing that hasn't changed is Baron Hill.

He's still the same say-one-thing-at-home-vote-another-way-in-Washington Congressman that he has always been.

And it's not an attack if it's the truth.

Don't Tell the Democrats

Shhh.

More new jobs.

It's best that they not know.

It might upset them.

Nestlé will hold meetings next month to announce how it plans to fill 300 jobs at a new plant in Anderson.

The 900,000-square-foot plant, near the I-69 exit for Martin Luther King Blvd., will provide more than 300 jobs paying $20 per hour and excellent benefits, according to Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith.

The plant will make Coffee-mate liquid flavoring and ready-to-drink Nesquik milk flavoring. Jobs will range from quality control to operations and distribution. A few people with skilled trades, such as mechanics and utility operators, will also be hired.

Dick Cheney / Nancy Pelosi Blink Count

Got Gas?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fred Thompson is Running

From Politico:

Fred Dalton Thompson is planning to enter the presidential race over the Fourth of July holiday, announcing this week that he has already raised several million dollars and is being backed by insiders from the past three Republican administrations, Thompson advisers told The Politico.

Thompson, the "Law & Order" star and former U.S. senator from Tennessee, has been publicly coy, even as people close to him have been furiously preparing for a late entry into the wide-open contest. But the advisers said Thompson dropped all pretenses on Tuesday afternoon during a conference call with more than 100 potential donors, each of whom was urged to raise about $50,000.

Thompson's formal announcement is planned for Nashville. Organizers say the red pickup truck that was a hallmark of Thompson's first Senate race will begin showing up in Iowa and New Hampshire as an emblem of what they consider his folksy, populist appeal.

Thompson is leaving Law & Order, so I think this is it.

The Republican Big Three is about to become the Big Four.

Ben Affleck: It's Mitt

According to the Boston Herald, Ben Affleck--a political analyst of some considerable renown--has predicted that Mitt Romney will be the GOP presidential nominee.

What leads him to this brilliant deduction?

Romney, he says, is "all clean-cut and he looks like a Ken doll."

Um, yeah.

Priceless political wisdom being imparted, that is.

And here I thought Affleck looked like a Ken doll (though I'm not sure about the clean-cut part, since he has looked pretty scruffy on and off screen at times).

Maybe that makes him an expert after all.

A Weekend of Rematch Talk

Four-peat?Starting with this Seymour Tribune piece (which was reprinted in the News & Tribune), there has been a lot of talk in recent days about the possibility of a rematch in the 9th Congressional District between Republican Mike Sodrel and Democrat Baron Hill.

It looks as though a fourth Baron Hill-Mike Sodrel matchup could be coming to Indiana’s 9th District next year.

Sodrel, the former Republican congressman from New Albany, won’t yet say whether he’s running, but Hill, the incumbent Democrat from Seymour, said he fully expects another Sodrel challenge.

“I’m not prepared to dismiss that possibility, either,” Sodrel said Friday afternoon when questioned whether he would be running in the 2008 election.

A decision, he said, may be announced late this summer or early this fall.

That, Hill said Monday, may be too late. Hill said he’s already hearing of two Republicans who may be anticipating a run for the GOP nomination next year, one from Floyd County and another from Orange County.

“I think he’ll run,” Hill said of Sodrel. “My guess, based on conversations with reporters and other people, is he’s probably going to run again.”

I'm thinking that Sodrel won't exactly be listening to Baron Hill as to whether to run or not, and Hill probably won't be at the top of his list of people to inform when he makes that decision.

I also doubt that Sodrel faces any real challenge from anyone else in the district thinking about seeking the GOP nomination, so the presence of other interested individuals alone is unlikely to motivate him to make up his mind any more quickly.

As I have said before (back in February and March), nothing happens on the Republican side until Sodrel decides; the race is in effective stasis until he does (for better or worse).

The fact that multiple other individuals are interested in running is a sign of how vulnerable Baron Hill is viewed to be by Republicans in the district and nationally.

Nobody would be lining up behind Mike Sodrel to run against Baron Hill if they thought Hill could not be beaten.

Hill said a fourth campaign between the two men may be a record.

“I don’t know anybody in congress who’s had an opponent four different times,” he said.

North Carolina 11 had this happen in the 1980s.

Seeing as how Baron Hill graduated with a history degree from Furman University, I am surprised that he is not aware of this.

Furman, which is in Greenville, South Carolina, is just across the state line from North Carolina 11.

There's a historical lesson in what happened in North Carolina 11, for those interested (scroll down if this bores you).

*begin history lesson*

Republican Bill Hendon won the district in the Reagan landslide of 1980 from Democrat Lamar Gudger, but lost it to Democrat James Clark in 1982.

Hendon ran against Clark again in 1984, and whipped him with the help of Reagan's coattails.

Clark returned in 1986 and bested Hendon again, and held on to the seat until 1991, when he was ousted by Republican Charles Taylor (who held it until this last election cycle).

*end history lesson*

Each man won twice, and each man basically exhausted the other.

Under that historical analogy, with a presidential wind at his back, it would be Sodrel's turn again to prevail with help from the usual Republican presidential coattails seen in Indiana.

Even former Libertarian spoiler candidate Eric Schansberg got into the rematch talk.

On his old campaign blog, he has implied that he will run again:

Hill/Sodrel IV (= Hill/Schansberg/Sodrel II?)

The apocryphal Chinese proverb says "may you live in interesting times."

But I suspect that 9th District voters (and TV watchers) will just as soon wish that their district wasn't all that interesting by November of next year.

We're in the Money...

Or at least money from interest.

From the Indy Star:

The bulk of the proceeds from the $3.8 billion deal to privatize the Indiana Toll Road are on pace to generate over 7 percent in interest this year, the state treasurer said today.

Should those projections pan out, the pace would eclipse the 5.25 percent that state officials have been counting on to help fund Gov. Mitch Daniels's 10-year timetable of construction projects dubbed "Major Moves." Both the state and private firms are managing the money.

Not all of the investments are making such a high return. For instance, the state is keeping some money, about $750 million, in short-term accounts so that the Indiana Department of Transportation can use it immediately. Those accounts are projected to earn a still-respectable 5.3 percent this year.

The Toll Road deal, which the Indiana General Assembly approved last year following a rancorous debate, requires the treasurer to direct the Toll Road money to only the most conservative investments.

What the state might do with any extra interest generated remains unclear. Several lawmakers during this year's General Assembly unsuccessfully proposed bills that tried to tap that money for various reasons. INDOT officials have said in the past they will probably use any extra proceeds to help offset the rising cost of construction over the course of the Major Moves plan.

Google Ignores Some Holidays

There's been some dislike of Google in the right-of-center blogosphere for a long time, primarily because its founders are quite avowedly left-of-center.

The latest example of Google's evil liberalism?

Not honoring Memorial Day with a special header image thingy on their search page.

Little Green Footballs has a post (and a lengthy comment listing) about it.

I don't buy the premise, though.

If Google's owners were slighting the memory of those that died in the defense of the country because of their politics, are they also slighting America's workers by not honoring Labor Day?

How about May Day, the international workers' holiday?

They don't seem to have banners for those either.

You can see a big listing of all of their holiday logos at Google's website.

If their politics were really driving them to stick it in the eye of fallen American servicemen (and women), I think their politics would also be driving them to feature those certain other holidays that they might find more appealing to their political views.

The whole thing is much ado about nothing, I think.

Google can arbitrarily pick what holidays it wants to honor, and it does.

The politics of those that run it don't seem to feature much into that decision, randomly selective as it might be.

Memorial Day


Bit late, but whatever.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Now That's a Presidential Ticket


Hector Barbossa being the villain in the first Pirates movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

Alas, there is (currently) no parody campaign website at that url.

That Just Doesn't Follow...

Brian Howey loves a good headline.

The one currently up over at his website?

"GOP Mayoral Nominees in Meltdown Mode"

Hear the ominous music playing. DUN-Dun-dun.

But when you read the text below the headline, it doesn't follow:

Republican mayoral nominees in the state's three largest cities appear to be in meltdown mode.

In Fort Wayne, nominee Matt Kelty (pictured) faces an Allen County Election Board hearing on $158,000 in loans he received from Fred Rost of the Allen County Right to Life and Steve and Glenna Jehl...

At Evansville, Republican nominee David J. Nixon reportedly owes $13,000 in child support to his ex-wife in Michigan, the Evansville Courier & Press reported...

At Indianapolis, Republican nominee Greg Ballard blamed the loss of a Super Bowl bid on crime in the city...

Okay. Now, I get two of those.

Kelty lied on a campaign finance report, a serious issue.

Nixon owes back child support, also a serious issue.

I will readily concede that those are campaign-damaging (if not campaign-destroying) meltdown situations.

But how exactly is Greg Ballard's mayoral bid in meltdown mode because he pointed out the blatantly obvious?

You know, that the NFL might not want to take the Super Bowl to a city with a spiralling crime problem?

That just doesn't follow.

Is Greg Ballard in danger of going to jail? Nope; he's squeaky clean.

Well then, does he owe an ex-wife child support? Nope; I don't even know that he has an ex-wife.

But Brian Howey is willing to proclaim that his campaign is in meltdown mode for saying something that a lot of people in Indianapolis and elsewhere have been thinking since the NFL rejected the city's bid to host the 2011 Super Bowl.

Does Indianapolis not have a crime problem?

Did it win the Super Bowl bid after all?

What flaw, short of its crime problem, did the city have in its Super Bowl bid?

It seems to have done everything the NFL asked and more, as Advance Indiana has rightly noted.

If daring to say the obvious about what is going on in Indianapolis puts your campaign into a meltdown in the eyes of Brian Howey, then either something is wrong in Indianapolis politics or Brian Howey is wrong and should stop apologizing and snowing for Bart Peterson.

Taking Aim

From the Indianapolis Star:

Ads take early aim at Hoosier Dems

Some Hoosiers might be wondering whether it's already time for congressional elections.

Although House members don't face voters until next year, the national GOP has started running ads in a dozen selected districts across the country, including two in Indiana.

Rep. Brad Ellsworth, D-Evansville, and Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Granger, are being hit by a week of radio ads paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The ads criticize the Democrats for voting for a bill that would make it easier for unions to organize a workplace and for voting for an emergency war spending bill that also included money for peanut storage and other items.

National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Jessica Boulanger said Ellsworth and Donnelly will have to answer to voters why they are "marching in lock step with (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and out of step with the views and values" of their districts.

Donnelly and Ellsworth did vote with Democrats on the union and spending bills. But the two -- along with Rep. Baron Hill, D-Seymour, and three Democrats from other states -- voted with their party the least often among Democratic freshmen for the first three months of the year, although still at least 91 percent of the time, according to a Congressional Quarterly analysis.

Ryan Rudominer, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Indiana's freshmen share their districts' values "and have provided an independent voice for the people they represent."

Nathan Gonzales, political editor of the Rothenberg Political Report, said Democrats representing GOP-leaning districts shouldn't be surprised that ads have already started.

"We're already in the era of constant campaigns," Gonzales said. "It's going to take more than a radio ad to defeat Ellsworth or Donnelly. Republicans need to find good candidates to run against these guys."

Hill, another top GOP target, did not get attack ads from the National Republican Congressional Committee. But the GOP recently launched an e-mail campaign and a Web "splash page" against Hill.

I don't know about the 2nd District, but there's all sorts of buzz about the 8th and the 9th.

I'll post more on the latter later but as to the former, Ellsworth Watch has been noting the buzz and favorable press around Greg Goode.

The early emergence of a strong Republican candidate in the 8th District should worry Brad Ellsworth, though to my mind he is probably the most "defensible" (or, rather, least vulnerable) of the three new Hoosier Democrat Congressmen that won in 2006 (with Donnelly being the least defensible / most vulnerable).

Those Were Not the Good Old Days

The ArchitectI somehow don't think that Jim Schellinger will be flattered to be compared to John Hillenbrand by Indy Star columnist Russ Pulliam.

John who, you say? Exactly.

John Hillenbrand was a forgettable private sector businessman with basically no political experience that ran against Robert Orr in 1980, and lost.

Those aren't comparisons Schellinger, facing dissention and challenges within his own party, wants to invite as he attempts to make Mitch Daniels the only governor of Indiana in almost four decades to fail to be reelected (at least since Hoosier governors could be reelected again).

As any architect will tell you, a building must always start with a good and unified foundation.

It helps for the foundation to not be on historically shaky ground, either.

Increased Statehouse Security

Why is this such a big deal?

I've always been surprised and pleased with the openness of the Statehouse, and I wish that we could live in a world (and have an Indianapolis) where security could be minimal, but I can't help but thinking that a little increased vigilance isn't going to hurt anything.

And it could certainly prevent some sort of shooting by some deranged individual bent upon wreaking havoc, or stop some desperate (or daring) criminal.

Muddin' in Iraq

Dan Burton on the Democratic Budget



Now for John McGoff to put up something on YouTube.

So far, Burton's campaign has been the first to actively blog, and is now the first to have stuff on YouTube.

McGoff followed quickly with his own blog, so I suspect he will soon have some video on the Internets, too.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Side-by-Side Comparison

Baron HillThe Seymour Tribune is finally running former Congressman Mike Sodrel's op-ed about Iraq.

And they are running it side-by-side with hometown not-so-favorite Baron Hill's angry response.

It makes for an interesting side-by-side comparison.

Such comparisons will always show the career politician from Seymour to be lacking, and this is no exception.

Hill: Former congressman Mike Sodrel offered several criticisms of my position on the war in Iraq, but offered absolutely nothing in the way of alternative strategies.
Sodrel: Anyone who does not support the mission should insist that our troops be brought home now — not six months from now, or a year from now, but right now.

Um, yeah. No alternative strategies mentioned at all.

Hill: Instead, Mr. Sodrel continues to endorse President Bush’s “stay-the-course” tactic in Iraq. And, that strategy is not working and has never worked.
Sodrel: I also believe President Bush is putting too much emphasis on democracy being the cure for Islamic fascism. Democracy will not necessarily bring peace, stability or tolerance to the region.

I must have missed where Sodrel agreed with Bush on anything in that letter; the only place where Bush was mentioned, Sodrel was disagreeing with him.

Hill: I cannot endorse that flawed and stale strategy and neither do the American people. Last November they sent us a clear message: Find a way to bring our troops home in a timely and honorable way. I listened, and fully intend to do just that.
Sodrel: If this is so, Congressman, you should insist on a bill that brings the troops home immediately. If it is time, then it is time. Your party is in the majority. Have the courage of your convictions. Either support the mission, or vote to have the troops to pack up and come home. Don’t put them in a tactical purgatory, waiting for some arbitrary date to arrive. Don’t put our soldiers in harm’s way until an appointed day and hour.

Retreat with honor? There is no such thing, any more than Neville Chamberlain brought Europe "peace with honor" after he appeased Hitler at Munich.

Hill: It is surprising, however, that Mr. Sodrel attempts to knock President Bush over his apparent confusion between liberty and democracy. I assume Mr. Sodrel attacks the president on such a convoluted argument because his political consultants told him it is time to start distancing himself from a president who has an abysmal approval rating.

This is where Mr. Hill shifts from his own misleading attack rhetoric into outright absurdity, something that Mr. Sodrel never did himself in his letter and is never given a chance to answer.

As the FEC filings clearly show, Baron Hill spent more money on political consultants in the past three months ($20,230) than Mike Sodrel's defunct campaign has left in the bank ($16,097)!

Honestly. That level of outright deception of the citizens of the 9th District has to be called out by someone.

Hill: Mr. Sodrel seemed to have no problem with the president during the last campaign as he used him and other administration officials to help raise considerable sums of money.

Again, there is no Sodrel counterpoint to this, because the former Congressman made no mention of anything political and did not talk at all about the campaign.

Mike Sodrel, it seems, has moved on. Baron Hill, with his attacks, remains stuck in the past.

And let's not forget the money that Baron Hill got from Nancy Pelosi in exchange for voting with her over 95% of the time.

And the PAC that Pelosi used to give him the money? It's under investigation by the Federal Election Commission for violations of campaign finance law.

And let's also not forget the money that Baron Hill's campaign got from corrupt earmark king John Murtha, which is surely totally unrelated to Baron's vote against reprimanding Murtha for publicly threatening another member of Congress.

Hill: But now, Mr. Sodrel appears to want to re-enter the realm of public service. To do so, Mr. Sodrel, you need to bring new ideas to the table. Your editorial piece offered none but only conveyed the same, old attack rhetoric that the people of southern Indiana are tired of hearing.

What same old attack rhetoric? Where? There's not a word of attack in Sodrel's op-ed.

I suspect that, when they are compared side-by-side, that a lot of people in Seymour are going to notice the blatant distortion of Hill's writing, hometown boy or not.

And since when does public service mean serving in Congress?

One can want to serve the public without wanting to be elected to Congress to get dinner bought for you by lobbyists (nothing wrong with that, remember).

Lee Hamilton, another former Congressman from Southern Indiana, writes these sorts of editorial pieces all of the time.

He even criticizes Baron Hill in some of them, yet Hill does not unload on Hamilton like on Sodrel here.

Hill: I will continue my work representing the citizens of Southern Indiana and continue to offer new ideas and new legislation to better the lives of my constituents and bring about real change on critical issues like energy independence and enacting environmentally sound policies. I will continue to be an independent voice for the people of my district, reflecting their values and real desire for change.

Voting with the Congresswoman from San Francisco 95% of the time plus is probably not the sort of independent voice the citizens of the 9th District voted for, nor exactly the sort of change that they wanted.

But Baron Hill has gone so far into reelection campaign, negative attack fantasyland that it hardly matters at this point.

Hill: I suggest you, Mr. Sodrel, come up with an original, educated thought.

This whole thing transitioned fast from Sodrel trying to add to the discussion about Iraq to Baron Hill going into full-fledged campaign mode, negative smears and all.

Notice how the side-by-side comparison changed when Baron went negative in his letter and started attacking Mr. Sodrel.

There is no analogue to any of that in Sodrel's letter. It's just not there, because he didn't make any attacks, he didn't make any smears, and he didn't go negative like Baron did in his response.

Baron Hill's letter is disgraceful.

Any United States Congressman that writes something so bizarre and malicious as that should be ashamed of themselves.

I suspect that the people of Seymour won't be surprised by Baron's attacks, and they won't be swayed either.

As I said, the side-by-side comparison does no good for Mr. Hill. It will always show him lacking.

EDIT: An HP reader has informed me that this week's Howey Political Report contains a side-by side printing of the Sodrel op-ed and the Hill attack response, along with a photo of Baron Hill speaking to an empty House chamber and Mike Sodrel standing with some troops in Iraq (what a striking comparison of images that is).

Prior posts in this series:
May 8, in which Baron is decried for being a rubber-stamp for retreat and in which it is observed that the new Democratic majority has accomplished nothing.
April 13, in which Baron is denounced for regurgitating Democratic talking points on his emergency supplemental vote.
April 7, in which Seymour natives living as far away as Okinawa decry Hill's vote on the defeat supplemental.
March 29, in which the Seymour Tribune calls on Congress to cut the pork and withdrawal dates from the bill.

Charlie Rangel about Buying Votes



Note the mention of Baron Hill in the listing at the end.

Safer than with Michael Jackson?


Eh, probably not.

Terrorists aren't going to give Iraqi children alcohol and have "slumber parties," and Michael Jackson isn't going to blow himself up to take them with him.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Daniels, Democrats, and Gas Prices

The Democrats, from House Speaker Pat "The Hair" Bauer to wannabe gubernatorial candidate Jill Long-Thompson to Congressman Baron Hill, have urged the Governor to suspend the state sales tax on gasoline.

As for why a federal government congressman is urging a state governor to waive state sales taxes on gasoline?

I'm sure it has nothing to do with those rumors a while back of Baron Hill mulling over running for governor.

Anyhow, you might recall that the Democrats wanted to abolish the sales tax on gasoline during the General Assembly.

In fact, it was one of their campaign promises.

The Democrats broke their campaign promise back in February, when they abandoned their idea to cut the sales tax on gasoline.

They never could find a way to pay for it.

They couldn't spare the $37 to $45 million that it was estimated to cut from revenues.

They were too busy allocating tens of millions of dollars to pork projects and the construction of new university buildings (for example), which were obviously more important to them than saving Hoosiers some pain at the pump.

This is stunt politics and political theater at its most pathetic.

Under their proposal, the Democratic plan would save Hoosiers less than a dollar per fill-up at the gas station.

If Governor Daniels were to waive the sales tax on gasoline entirely, it would save Hoosiers perhaps two or three dollars on a fill-up.

That's nothing to sneeze at for families with low incomes and tight budgets, but it's not exactly the windfall Democrats claim.

Don't spend it all in one place, and all that.

Bear in mind, when Frank O'Bannon waived the gasoline tax, he was facing a chancy reelection bid.

His waiving of the gasoline tax was not exactly considered to be all that legal at the time, and the law hasn't changed.

But, of course, if Mitch Daniels were to waive the sales tax on gasoline, say, next summer (with the election looming and perhaps with legal opinions more clear) I am sure that Indiana Democrats would still be urging him to do so and would applaud him when he did it, right?

ADDENDUM: For the record, the Indy Star article on the legality of waiving sales taxes on gasoline:

Gov. Mitch Daniels says record prices at the pump have not changed his mind about suspending the state’s 6-cent sales tax on gasoline, but his administration is trying to determine whether he could do that even if he wanted to.

Mark Massa, Daniels’ general counsel, said today that his legal interpretation of a 1981 law that former Gov. Frank O’Bannon used to temporarily suspend the tax in 2000 would not allow Daniels to do the same.

But the administration is researching whether a threshold for declaring an “energy emergency” under that 1981 law is being met now, and it has asked the attorney general’s office for a legal opinion on whether a governor can suspend the gas sales tax under that law.

“We want to find out what the options are first,” said Daniels’ spokeswoman Jane Jankowski.

Daniels said Monday that he would “never say never” to the possibility of suspending the tax, which would save motorists about 16 cents per gallon if the price was $3.

But he said right now it would not be an effective or responsible thing to do, in part because he was still trying to restore the fiscal strength of state government and suspending the tax would be a step backward. He also said the tax relief would fall on the rich and poor alike, and he knows no way to target the relief to those who need it most.

O’Bannon suspended the tax in July 2000 when gasoline prices hit about $1.80 per gallon, which was considered expensive then. Republicans claimed it was an election-year ploy, but O’Bannon said it was needed to help working families and keep Indiana businesses competitive.

O’Bannon extended the initial 60-day suspension into September, then lifted it.

He relied on the 1981 state law that allows a governor to declare an energy emergency. That’s defined as an “existing or projected shortfall of at least 8 percent of motor fuel or other energy sources that threatens to seriously disrupt energy supplies or diminish energy supplies to the extent that life, health or property may be jeopardized.”

The law says if that threshold is met and an emergency declared, the governor can implement programs, controls, quotas or curtailments to affect the conservation or consumption of energy. O’Bannon relied on language that said a governor also could “suspend the provisions of any state statute regulating transportation ....”

When O’Bannon suspended the tax, his deputy press secretary — Cheryl Reed — acknowledged that the emergency order had never been used and therefore had not been interpreted by the courts. But she said the governor’s legal staff had thoroughly reviewed the law and believed the action was proper.

She said according to the Federal Energy Information Administration, which monitors gasoline inventories, those in the Midwest were 13 percent below the five-year average for that time of year — and the administration was satisfied that the 8 percent shortfall threshold had been met.

At the time, then Senate Finance Chairman Larry Borst, R-Greenwood, suggested that O’Bannon was skirting the law. He said the Legislature enacted it in 1981 because the state was running out of fuel at the time and it was felt that a governor should have some emergency powers to order conservation.

“There was never anything in there about prices,” Borst said then.

Massa said in his legal judgment, the law’s provision allowing a governor to suspend any state statute regulating transportation “doesn’t give you authority to waive a tax statute.” But he said the administration still wants further legal guidance from the attorney general’s office.

You Don't Know Jack

Murtha, Jack Murtha.



Apparently, Baron Hill must know Jack Murtha pretty darned well.

He voted against reprimanding him for threatening another member of Congress on the floor of the House.

Of course, that might have something to do with Murtha's PAC (political action committee) having given $2,000 to Baron's election campaign.

What is it with Baron Hill voting in line with the ethically challenged and taking their money?

First, he's voting with Nancy Pelosi 95% or so of the time and taking the big bucks from her, and her PAC is being investigated by the Federal Election Commission for violations of campaign finance law.

Now, he's voting to defend Jack Murtha after taking money from Murtha's PAC.

I thought that Baron Hill was going to clean up the mess in Washington, not wade deep into it.

Club Gitmo

Peyton Manning, POTUS

That's President Of The United States for the University of Kentucky fans.


Shamelessly borrowed from Masson's Blog.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Republicans Strike Back

Or rather, the National Republican Congressional Committee is striking back.

This blog has catalogued a great many of Baron Hill's antics in Washington and his broken campaign promises, but now the NRCC is calling Mr. Hill on it too.

In fact, they've just unveiled a whole raft of ads on YouTube citing the broken promises of many of the newly-elected Democrats in the House.

Indiana congressmen Baron Hill and Joe Donnelly are just two of those they have decided to shine the light onto.

Baron "The Janitor" Hill



Joe "Rubber Stamp" Donnelly



According to Politico, the NRCC intends to start doing radio ads and more, too.

EDIT: An HP reader notes that any ad containing Baron Hill in that ghastly radioactive pink / red sweatshirt is likely to be effective and reflect poorly upon Hill; I am inclined to agree.

Spider-Man, Spider-Mad

Iran Planning Summer Offensive in Iraq

From British lefty daily The Guardian:

The official said US commanders were bracing for a nationwide, Iranian-orchestrated summer offensive, linking al-Qaida and Sunni insurgents to Tehran's Shia militia allies, that Iran hoped would trigger a political mutiny in Washington and a US retreat. "We expect that al-Qaida and Iran will both attempt to increase the propaganda and increase the violence prior to Petraeus's report in September [when the US commander General David Petraeus will report to Congress on President George Bush's controversial, six-month security "surge" of 30,000 troop reinforcements]," the official said.

Don't be surprised when it happens.

Prediction: When it does, the Democrats will call for retreat like never before.

As for Baron Hill?

Remember, he says that there is only "circumstantial evidence" of Iranian involvement in Iraq.

Bayh & Baron Cronies for Schellinger

From Matt Tully:

Democratic candidate for Governor Jim Schellinger will be in Washington, D.C., next month to raise cash for his campaign. The June 11 event is at a private home in the nation's capital.

Those attending will pay between $100 and $1,000.

Brad A. Queisser, who worked for former Indiana governor's Evan Bayh and Frank O'Bannon and is now a vice president of mCapitol Management in D.C., is one of the event's organizers. The other organizer is mCapitol's president, Gary J. LaPaille, a former Illinois Democratic Party chairman and state senator.

mCapitol is the government consulting firm U.S. Rep. Baron Hill worked at during his hiatus from Congress.

"We're very pleased with the reaction in support of Indiana Democrats and others and people's willingness to get behind this campaign early," said top Schellinger campaign aide Mike Edmondson.

How interesting to see that Jim Schellinger has to go out of state to find support and money for his campaign.

Birds of a feather flock together, and all that.

Close Call for Marines

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Baron Hill: Defender of Bullies

Baron HillAs I mentioned earlier (here and here), Republicans decided to call John Murtha on his bullying and his threats to kill any funding to the district of a Congressman that dared to challenge him.

They asked for a vote by the full House to reprimand John Murtha for his behavior.

The full text of the resolution reprimanding Murtha is available here.

A critical excerpt:

Whereas, as a result of Mr. Rogers motion and vote on the Murtha earmark, the Gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Murtha subsequently threatened to withdraw support for earmarks providing funding for projects located in the Gentleman from Michigan’s district.

Whereas, on May 17, 2007, in the House Chamber, the Gentleman from Pennsylvania stated, in a loud voice words to the effect, to the Gentleman from Michigan as a result of offering and voting for the motion to recommit, “I hope you don’t have any earmarks in the defense appropriation bill because they are gone and you will not get any earmarks now and forever.”

Whereas, the Gentleman from Michigan responded, in words to the effect, “this is not the way we do things here and is that supposed to make me afraid of you?”

Whereas the Gentleman from Pennsylvania raised his voice, pointed his finger and stated, in words to the effect, “that’s the way I do it.”

In a party-line vote on Tuesday evening, the Democrats voted to kill the resolution reprimanding Murtha by "tabling" it.

As for Baron Hill, who campaigned on ethics reform, who promised transparency and openness in the earmark process after being elected, and who vowed during the campaign to go clean up the mess in Washington?

Congressman Baron Hill voted with his party to table the resolution in Roll Call Vote #402.

He voted to defend John Murtha, the earmark thug.

He voted against reprimanding Murtha for threatening another member of Congress (something Murtha has never denied).

He voted to sweep ethically-questionable behavior under the rug.

He voted to defend someone who has been a notorious abuser of earmarks and a long-time enemy of earmark reform.

He voted to maintain the status quo and to stay the course with the current mess in Washington.

At least we know where Baron Hill stands.

The Clerk of the House recorded his vote right here, so that we can all see where he sold out everything he promised and was elected to do.

EDIT: Congressman John Campbell has it right on the money:

It's important to note that this entire incident has been substantiated by witnesses and not denied by Murtha.

This is a clear violation of House Ethics Rules and general decorum.

There is no legitimate justification for not supporting a formal reprimand.

Ernie Fletcher, The Comeback Kid

Kentucky Wins with Ernie

Democrats Retreating on Iraq?

White FlagNo, not quite the sort of retreat you might be expecting.

According to the New York Times, they're retreating from their demand that the Iraq war spending supplemental contain a timetable for retreat.

Maybe their hasty reversal has something to do with former-Democrat-turned-independent Joe Lieberman making noises about switching parties.

But then, you can always count on the Democratic Party to know how to retreat.

They know how to do it in war, and they apparently know how to do it in politics too.

The Democratic Plan for Iraq
Scratch out for Iraq, and replace it with "Everything."

Remember, Iraq is it.

If the Democrats are stopped on Iraq, and they are already losing momentum, their majority will be stalled out and lose all of the political capital their party gained in the 2006 election.

Back from Europe

From the Courier Journal.

Daniels spent time with DaimlerChrysler's chairman, Dieter Zetsche, in Cologne, Germany, shortly before Daimler announced that it was selling about 80 percent of its Chrysler group to Cerberus Capital Management.

He also met with top officials from Getrag Corporate Group, which has been working on plans with DaimerChrysler to build a $560 million transmission factory that will employ 1,200 people. Getrag has bought 145 acres in Tipton County.

While in London, Daniels signed a memorandum of understanding with Keronite International Ltd. for locating the company's first U.S. operation in the Indianapolis suburb of Greenwood. Keronite, which transforms the surfaces of light alloys into corrosion-resistant ceramics, will have 25 employees.

Daniels also had a breakfast meeting in the home of Lakshmi Mittal, president and chief executive of Arcelor Mittal. Mittal Steel is the largest steel producer in the United States and employs 9,500 people at plants in northwestern Indiana.

Daniels said Mittal was concerned about high utility costs at its Indiana plants, and over time the state might be able to do something about that. But he said that overall the company believes Indiana is a positive environment and thinks there could be potential for it to expand in the state.

It seems like the Governor had a productive trip.

David Zucker's Taxman Ad



Unfortunately, when you look at the budget that the Democratic majority recently passed, containing the largest tax increase in American history, it may not be so funny any more.

Jimmy Carter, Still Screwing Up

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Disney Chief Iger on Terrorist Anti-Mickey

Interesting article concerning Walt Disney Company chief Robert Iger, with regard to the recent use of a lookalike of Mickey Mouse (an anti-Mickey?) to advocate terrorism and violence against Israel and the West:

The Walt Disney Co. didn't speak out when Hamas militants used a Mickey Mouse look-alike to preach Islamic domination because the company felt it would be ineffective, Disney's chief executive said Monday.

Disney CEO Robert Iger said he and other executives considered ways to react to the recent Hamas show for children that featured someone dressed in what appeared to be a Mickey Mouse costume, railing against Israel and the United States in a high-pitched cartoonish voice.

"We didn't mobilize our forces and seek to either have the clip taken down or to make any broad public statement about it," Iger told a gathering of the Society of Business Editors and Writers at the Disneyland Hotel.

"We were appalled by the use of our character to disseminate that kind of message," he said "I think anytime any group seeks to exploit children in that manner, it's despicable."

Still, Iger said it didn't seem to make any sense for Disney to make any loud public statement at the time.

"I just didn't think it would have any effect," he said. 'I think it should have been obvious how the company felt about the subject."

Iger's comments were the first from Disney since the images aired earlier this month on Al-Aqsa TV, a station run by Hamas. At the time, Disney did not return phone calls seeking comment, a strategy Iger said the company adopted after some discussion.

"We simply made the decision that we would not either create or prolong a public discourse on the subject by making a loud public statement," he said Monday.

Iger said Disney had nothing to do with the decision to pull the program, although the company did speak to several government officials. Iger did not elaborate on those discussions.

Promises of Reform Fizzling

More from Politico about the Democrats' empty campaign promises about reforming Washington:

It's a familiar backpedaling pattern emerging early in the new Democratic-controlled Congress. From lobbying reforms to anti-corruption proposals to curbing earmarks, Democratic lawmakers who railed against Republican corruption a year ago have flinched from imposing the harshest standards on themselves. Consequently, this Democratic Congress may end up no better prepared to police itself than the Republicans were when the Jack Abramoff bribery scandal broke and the spate of criminal convictions it spawned surfaced as a primary reason for voters' angst last fall.

Fred Thompson Slams Michael Moore

A while back, Michael Moore got in trouble with the law over illegally visiting Cuba as a part of his new movie Sicko.

To respond to this, Moore decided to attack Fred Thompson, conservative and possible Republican presidential candidate, because Thompson was recently reported in an interview to have a box of Cuban cigars in his office.

Moore (in trouble for visiting Cuba) called on Thompson (who gets Cuban cigars as a gift) to debate him about US policy toward the island country.

Yeah, I know, it didn't make any sense to me either.

Anyway, Thompson responded with a video:



Now if slamming Michael Moore isn't just the sort of thing to fire up conservative Republicans and GOP base voters for a likely presidential campaign, I don't know what is.

Hat tip: Kenn Gividen.

Corydon to Have O'Bannon Memorial

From Courier-Journal.

Artist Raymond Graf of Louisville designed the memorial, which will feature a life-size statue of Frank O’Bannon sitting on a limestone bench and three pillars depicting the three generations of the family in a separate bronze relief.

At least they're not renaming the town after him, or making the statue fifty feet tall or anything.

John Murtha, Congressional Bully

Field Marshal Pelosi and Colonel MurthaIt's a heady thing to be in the majority in Congress.

This is particularly true for Congressman John Murtha, who used to be a back-bench Democrat until his outspoken views on the war in Iraq made him a hero of the lefty nutroots and soon catapulted him into a position of leadership of the House Democrats.

Until that point, he was notable mostly for holding a powerful position on an appropriations subcommittee.

Now in the majority, it seems that all this stuff about being in the majority, being beloved in some corners of the internet, and always being in demand on the news shows has gone to John Murtha's head.

When Mike Rogers (R, Michigan) dared to question an earmark Murtha had inserted into a bill, Murtha threatened to deny all further spending requested by that member.

That's after he got into a shouting match with Todd Tiahrt (R, Kansas) on the House floor when Tiahrt dared to vote for a motion that Murtha opposed (brief, blurry video of that here).

From Politico:

Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) threatened to deny any further spending projects to a Republican who challenged him over an earmark last week, the GOP is charging — a potential violation of House rules that could cause a spike in partisan tensions.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who questioned money that Murtha inserted into an intelligence bill last week, turned the tables Thursday night by saying he would call for Murtha to be reprimanded for violating House rules.

Rogers plans to insert a transcript of their exchange in the Congressional Record to document the potential violation. His resolution will also require a House vote to reprimand Murtha for his comments, according to a draft received by The Politico. Rogers is expected to file it on Monday.

'The way I do it'

According to the draft resolution, Murtha shouted at and chastised Rogers on the House floor Thursday for offering a motion last week to challenge $23 million Murtha requested in an intelligence bill.

Murtha had requested the money to prevent the administration from shuttering the National Drug Intelligence Center in Johnstown, Pa., which is part of Murtha’s district.

“I hope you don’t have any earmarks in the defense appropriations bills because they are gone, and you will not get any earmarks now and forever,” Murtha told Rogers, according to the draft transcript given to The Politico.

“This is not the way we do things here — and is that supposed to make me afraid of you?” Rogers replied.

“That’s the way I do it,” Murtha said.

The showdown occurred on the Republican side of the aisle, in the so-called Ohio Corner, in front of numerous GOP lawmakers who witnessed the episode, one member present said.

Murtha could not immediately be reached for comment.

If it took place as alleged, Murtha’s tirade could violate House rules, which forbid members to block earmarks based on how a colleague votes.

The Rogers resolution charges that “Mr. Murtha has been guilty of a violation of the Code of Official Conduct and merits the reprimand of the House for the same.”

This shouting match follows a similar outburst Murtha directed at Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) last week.

Murtha yelled at Tiahrt on the House floor for voting in favor of Rogers’s motion, members and aides familiar with the incident said.

The overall controversy stems from a disagreement between Murtha and the Bush administration about closing the National Drug Intelligence Center, an intelligence gathering facility supervised by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

President Bush’s budget cut $23 million from the budget to force the agency to close the office, which has received repeated low marks from several federal review boards.

“In order to restore the faith of the American people in Congress, we must do better," [Rogers] said. "We can’t allow members to be threatened and intimidated when they stand up for hard-working taxpayers’ money.”

In a statement calling the confrontation a “flagrant [incident] of intimidation,” House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said, “This egregious action is not only beneath the dignity of this institution, it constitutes a violation of House rules, which preclude members from conditioning earmarks on another member’s vote, and the House should reprimand Murtha for his conduct.”

Remember, this was to be the most honest, open, and ethical Congress in history.

EDIT: Congressman John Campbell has a post about it over at Green Eye Shade Blog:

This pork-barrel project takes precious intelligence resources from spies on the ground catching terrorists and sends it to bureaucrats in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. You might think Speaker Pelosi would step in and hold Murtha accountable for this egregious pork project or at the very least reprimand him for his threatening behavior. Nope. To the contrary, she is defending him for his “bipartisanship” and calling this entire discussion “unjustified.”

EDIT2: An observant HP reader has pointed out that Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonpartisan government watchdog group, named Murtha among the "twenty-most corrupt members of Congress (and five to watch)" back in November of last year:

“Future House Speaker Pelosi’s endorsement of Rep. Murtha, one of the most unethical members of Congress, shows that she may have prioritized ethics reform merely to win votes with no real commitment to changing the culture of corruption,” Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW said today. “How can Americans believe that the Democrats will return integrity to the House when future Speaker Pelosi has endorsed an ethically-challenged member for a leadership position? Rep. Murtha is the wrong choice for this job.”

Not only is Rep. Murtha beset by ethics issues, The New York Times reported on October 2, 2006 that he has consistently opposed ethics and earmark reform. Sloan continued, “Rep. Murtha’s opposition to ethics reform does not bode well for future Speaker Pelosi’s promise to enact ethics legislation in the first 100 hours of the new Congress.”

"The Best Bill We Could Hope For"

Monday, May 21, 2007

*yawn*

The sun rises, the sky is blue, there are political shenanigans going on in Lake County.

New Indiana GOP Executive Director

From Jim Shella:

May 21, 2007 9:44 am

Kevin Ober will replace Jennifer Hallowell (who is going to New Hampshire to work for Rudy Giuliani) as the executive director of the Indiana Republican Party. Ober comes from the governor's staff.

Cam Savage Sighting

After failing to get Mike Sodrel reelected in 2006 and after being sacked as the manager of Anne Northup's gubernatorial campaign after all of two weeks, Cam Savage has surfaced again and has finally managed to get himself a new job.

Fortunately, no, it is not as Executive Director of the Indiana Republican Party as some had hoped.

Instead, Jim Shella reports (also at Frugal Hoosiers) that he will be playing "a role" in the Daniels reelection campaign; hopefully as the person that licks envelopes and applies stamps to mailings or something for which he surely has some sort of actual skill or talent.

With his impressive record of being something like 0 for 4 in political campaigns (0 for 5 if you count that Anne Northup is likely to lose to the scandal-plagued Ernie Fletcher on Tuesday and probably won't even force the 40% threshold run-off), you have to wonder who is giving him such good references.

It certainly can't be his former bosses / candidates.

The comments about this at Frugal Hoosiers are particularly scathing:

Well Cam Savage has once again re-appeared. With his track record for victory the Democrats have to be celebrating his involvement. Didn't take Ann Northrup long in Kentucky to learn, in just two weeks they parted on some undisclosed terms. Most read between the lines and figured out his departure. Lets hope Cam dont do the same bang up job for Mitch he has for his last bosses.

I bet there are some gaping jaws in Southern Indiana when they saw that Their Man Mitch had taken on Cam Savage. Kind of like shooting a hole in your own boat and wondering why you are taking on water. They (Southern Indiana Republicans) have taken a voyage with Cam, and it will be hard to find takers down there for a second trip.

Google the words "Cam Savage" (use the parentheses) and read the first link.

Ringing endorsements, all.

Does Mitch Daniels even realize that his reelection campaign is hiring this guy?

Does he even know who Cam Savage is?

I'd like to think he doesn't.

Tilting at Silos

Don Quixote and Sancho PanzaDon Quixote, in Cervantes' classic novel, tilted at windmills.

Today, Indiana Senator Dick Lugar tilts at silos, which could be nearly as futile but not nearly as entertaining.

He is proposing a dramatic rewriting of Federal farm policy so that it will help small farmers more and subsidize big corporate farms less:

Instead of guaranteed payments and price subsidies for certain crops, the government should help farmers ride out lean years by creating savings accounts that could be dipped into when farm income is low, Sen. Richard Lugar said.

Lugar, R-Ind., said most of the billions of dollars in farm aid distributed each year has gone to large corporate farm operations, not small family farms.

“It’s been sold for years as the savior of the family farm. It’s a bogus claim,” said.

The farm savings account idea is part of farm legislation being pushed by Lugar in the Senate and Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., in the House.

The accounts would be “a more effective safety net and a more sound agriculture policy for farmers, rural communities and low-income Americans,” Kind said.

Under the five-year plan, landowners who received automatic payments in the past would get less of the money — 90 percent the first year decreasing to 10 percent in the fifth. Over five years, the program would cost $20 billion less than taxpayers are now paying to boost farm income but would include more money for research on biofuels, conservation and nutrition and food stamp programs, Lugar and Kind said.

More power to him, but I suspect that the agricultural (read: corporate farm) lobby will stop him cold.

David Zucker's Madeleine Albright Ad



Ouch.

Yankee Go Home


Anti-Americanism, the interplanetary phenomenon.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

An Open Letter to Mike Sodrel

I was sent the following by Chad Phillips, from over at My Thought World.

He's been having some trouble with his blog, so he asked me to post this. It was received by him as a comment to one of his posts about Baron Hill's negative smear response to Mike Sodrel's recent op-ed about Iraq.

Dear Mr. Sodrel,

Please run against Mr. Hill again.

Last fall I thought his childish cartoon ads about "Millionaire Mike" were offensive.

I am by no means a millionaire, but I feel that a person that earns a million by hard work and owning one's own company as I understand you have should not be mischaracterized in a manner like this.

Baron Hill seems to be about the status quo.

I feel that you were only defeated because of a public backlash against all Republicans.

Mr. Hill also came to my congregation's church supper and became very confrontational when one of our female members asked him why he supports abortion.

This behavior is unbecoming of someone who represents our area.

A person has a right to disagree in a gentlemanly fashion, but Mr. Hill demonstrated that day he was by no means a gentleman.

Please run again.

Thanks.
-CA

If you have an open letter to Mike Sodrel that you want posted (or, for that matter, to Baron Hill or any other Hoosier politician), shoot me an email and I'll post it (so long as it isn't obscene or anything).

Disenfranchisement Hypocrisy

Remember, over three thousand people that wanted to vote in Marion County were disenfranchised on primary day.

That, however, is apparently no cause for a lawsuit.

Instead, the ACLU and the Indiana Democratic Party prefer to go to the Supreme Court over Indiana's voter ID law.

As a federal judge pointed out rather bluntly in his earlier opinion of the case, the ACLU and the Indiana Democratic Party couldn't find a single person that had actually been disenfranchised by the law.

I bet that it wouldn't be hard to find lots of people disenfranchised on primary day, though.

But, as Abdul notes (here and here), they're not interested in that and they're not looking for those disenfranchised voters, are they?

Hat tip: Advance Indiana.

Voodoo Budgeting

While most attention has gone to the proposed immigration bill (about which I will blog later, once tempers have cooled and more information is available on the specifics) coming out of the Senate, the House Democrats have passed a budget bill containining the largest tax increase in American history.

Congressman John Campbell, of Green Eye Shade Blog, has posted about it:

Yesterday, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate agreed to a $2.9 trillion budget that will likely be taken up for a full vote soon. Now, if you buy into their talking points, this budget is the greatest thing since sliced bread -- it balances the budget in five years while both increasing discretionary spending and not raising taxes. Well...I can confidently tell you, as one of only a couple CPA's in Congress, that the Democrats must be conjurers of magic because that's what it will take to make a voodoo budget like this work.

Their proposal either doesn't raise taxes, or it doesn't balance the budget. But it absolutely mathematically cannot do both. It will not and cannot mathematically do both.

For argument's sake, let's assume that the Democrats want a budget that doesn't raise taxes. But there is just one small problem with that -- their budget makes no effort - none - to moderate growth in spending. In fact, it calls for $205 billion more in spending over 5 years than proposed by president, and does absolutely nothing to address the $69 trillion long-term entitlement crisis we are facing. You can't balance a budget while increasing spending at the levels they desire without raising taxes. It is just not possible.

I recognize Republicans spent too much when we were in the majority and I acknowledge that we lost sight of our fiscal roots. We suffered last November in no small part because of that. The Democrats, though, actually think we spent too little and they are now happily moving forward with spending increase after spending increase. And despite rhetoric, they want to pay for all this excess spending with the largest tax increase in American history.

So, I would say to my Democratic colleagues, have you really become magicians or are you merely practicing slight of hand? I'd go with the latter.

When Democrats speak of fiscal responsibility and fiscal conservatism (the few that do without snickering to themselves, at least), those are code words for trying to balance the budget by raising taxes.

When Republicans speak of fiscal responsibility and fiscal conservatism (those that have had to bite their tongue for the past several years when certain GOP leaders threw those principles out the window), they want to balance the budget by spending less and by not growing the government more.

With this budget, the Democrats have demonstrated yet again their outstanding commitment to the cause of growing government, raising taxes, and not fixing the long-term problems with government programs like Medicare and Social Security.

Stealing the Show

T-Wall Paintings in Baghdad



T-Walls are portable concrete barriers, not all that unlike the dividers you see between lanes on a freeway only much bigger and taller.

In Iraq, where they are sometimes called Bremer Walls, they are used to cordon off certain areas and to act as barriers against truck bombs, particularly around markets and military bases.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Peterson: Privatization Worked

From the Howey News Wire:

THURSDAY'S WEEKLY HPR HEADLINES: MAYOR PETERSON CALLS GOLDSMITH PRIVATIZATION REFORMS 'EFFECTIVE'

Somebody must have been ignoring his party's talking points for the past couple of years.

You know, the ones that basically read "privatization = great Satanic evil."

The truth can be inconvenient, I guess, but it can also be hard to ignore, even for someone as oblivious and out of touch as Bart Peterson.

Your Cheating Heart Will Tell on You...

From Politico:

Democrats are wielding a heavy hand on the House Rules Committee, committing many of the procedural sins for which they condemned Republicans during their 12 years in power.

So far this year, Democrats have frequently prevented Republicans from offering amendments, limited debate in the committee and, just last week, maneuvered around chamber rules to protect a $23 million project for Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.).

On Wednesday, Democrats suggested changing the House rules to limit the minority's right to offer motions to recommit bills back to committee -- violating a protection that has been in place since 1822.

Just last December, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) declared that Democrats "intend to have a Rules Committee ... that gives opposition voices and alternative proposals the ability to be heard and considered on the floor of the House."

"The Democrats have not made good on a single promise they made during 2006, especially when it comes to fostering a more open and deliberative House of Representatives," Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said. "Instead of making the House more open and deliberative, they've gone in the opposite direction, doing things we never even contemplated during our time in the majority."

The Rules Committee itself is an often overlooked partisan backwater, where members engage in fierce debates about what amendments, if any, members can offer to bills on the floor...

The committee, arguably the majority's most powerful tool, serves as a bulwark for the party in power, allowing it to limit debate on controversial bills and prevent the minority from offering amendments to dramatically alter legislation introduced by the majority.

As such, the committee is extremely partisan, and that partisanship often gets personal. The current chairwoman, Rep. Louise McIntosh Slaughter (D-N.Y.), for example, has an extremely strained relationship with California Rep. David Dreier, the committee's ranking Republican, who preceded her as chairman.

Related posting here.

Remember, this was to be the most honest, open, and ethical Congress in history.

And let's not fail to take notice of the Democrats gutting their own promises of lobbying reform, also via Politico:

The House Judiciary committee Thursday morning scrapped a beefed-up provision of the Lobbying Reform Bill that would have prohibited former lawmakers and senior staff from lobbying their former colleagues during their first two years out of office...

"I find it very disappointing," said Craig Holman, a lobbyist for Public Citizen. "They just struck even the weak version of the revolving door, which is amazing."

Look at it this way, they're just tightening the unemployment safety net in the event that a bunch of them get sent packing for not delivering the change to Washington that they got elected by promising.

The Democrats will fight and vote to defend the earmarks of John Murtha and to gut their own promised lobbying reform legislation, but they still haven't gotten around to finding the time to approve the emergency supplemental to fund the troops fighting in Iraq.

Their priorities seem quite clear.

The Real Reason Schellinger is Running

As an architect of expensive designer schools, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jim Schellinger is probably upset about things like this happening in Indiana:

State Budget Director Chuck Schalliol said yesterday that school construction costs in Indiana declined from more than $1 billion in 2005 to $755 million last year...

Schalliol presented a report on 2006 construction for public schools that showed $337 million in savings from the prior year.

The costs dropped even though the Department of Local Government Finance approved about the same number of projects -- 108 in 2005 and 105 in 2006.

When Gov. Mitch Daniels took office, he implemented new and stricter rules on school construction projects in an effort to make them more cost-efficient and centered on education.

Since then, the Department for Local Government Finance has drawn up new construction guidelines and has been examining school district bond issues more closely.

A focus on cost-efficient and education-centered school construction probably has a negative impact on the architecture fees (and profits) Schellinger can make in drawing up those fancy designer centers of learning.

And, of course, Chuck Schalliol is now leaving as budget director to return to the private sector.

Not Your Dad's Democratic Party

From the Seymour Tribune:

To the Editor:
Remember when you looked at an American flag and said “these colors don’t run”? Remember when the Democratic party was made up of men and women who were committed to keeping America first? Remember “give ’em hell” Harry Truman who reluctantly dropped the bomb because he put America first? Remember J.F.K. and the Cuban missile crisis, staring down the Russians and not blinking?

Remember Adlai Stevenson in the U.N. confronting the Russians and saying “till hell freezes over”? Remember the line in that World War I song, “And we won’t go back till it’s over, over there”? Remember Jane Fonda sitting at a North Vietnam anti-aircraft gun used to kill American fliers, giving aid and comfort to our enemies and smiling?

Well she’s back. Her name now is Nancy Pelosi. Remember when you played ball and you didn’t let the other team in your huddle? Why do it now?

Speaker, stop acting like Ted Kennedy’s flunky and act like an American who wants to win. Bring back the old Democratic Party that says America first, party second.

Marvin Kaplan
Seymour, Ind.

The Pelosi-Murtha-Kennedy-Baron Democrats have settled upon retreat.

The Democrats of old are a thing of the past.

Light a Fire Under Them

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Larry Flynt on Jerry Falwell

Whatever else might be said about Jerry Falwell by his enemies on his passing, one of them has had something surprising to say:

My mother always told me that no matter how much you dislike a person, when you meet them face to face you will find characteristics about them that you like. Jerry Falwell was a perfect example of that. I hated everything he stood for, but after meeting him in person, years after the trial, Jerry Falwell and I became good friends. He would visit me in California and we would debate together on college campuses. I always appreciated his sincerity even though I knew what he was selling and he knew what I was selling.

Pelosi Grabs for Power, Falls on Face

Don't worry; it's the best face that campaign contributions could buy.

It seems that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats tried to change the House rules today, in order to make it easier to raise taxes.

By changing the procedural rules of the House, which have in this regard have remained the same since 1822, they would fix the system so that their members wouldn't have to own up to votes raising taxes under the PAYGO system.

When the Republicans presented a unified front in response to this power grab, and began making repeated procedural motions to cause the House to grind to a halt, Pelosi caved in, her power grab thwarted.

See also the Republican Study Committee (here and here).

Hat tip: Power Line.

Always There When Needed

From the Indianapolis Star:

Define "new information"

At first, it appeared clear that Rep. Baron Hill didn't like the homeland security bill voted on by the House on Wednesday.

The Seymour Democrat voted with Republicans against the bill, which was written by fellow Democrats and set spending parameters for the Department of Homeland Security.

He voted against it again when Republicans called for a revote. Yet before Democrats closed the vote, Hill was one of three Democrats who switched their "nay" votes to "ayes." The bill passed 212-209.

A spokeswoman said Hill changed his vote because he had received new information about the bill. Hill, however, did not say what the new information was.

The spokesman for the campaign arm of House Republicans said the new information was that Democratic leaders needed Hill's vote.

"When his leadership needs him to switch his vote, he is always there," said Ken Spain, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

When the leadership of the Democratic Party needs him, Baron Hill is always there.

He wouldn't want that "vote with Nancy Pelosi" score to go down.

She's given him a lot of money, after all.