March 27, 2007

Penalties for Underage Drinking

On a cold February night in Oswego, Illinois four teenagers died in a car accident and a fifth teenager dies a week later due to his injuries suffered during car accident. There were a total of nine people in the car that night. The driver was not underage, but the rest were. I won’t go into the details about this horrid event of that night, but those events might lead to new legislation aimed at curbing teenage drinking.

Illinois Republican Tom Cross of Oswego and Kendall County State's Attorney Eric Weis proposed House Bill 3131, which would suspend the driver's license of a convicted underage drinker for three months, and HB 3327, which would mandate drunken-driving education in driver's education classes.
In the first piece of legislation tied to the Feb. 11 crash that killed five Oswego teens, Weis and state Rep. Tom Cross proposed Monday that anyone under 21 caught drinking any amount of alcohol would face a three-month license suspension.

"Their license is a precious thing," Cross, an Oswego Republican, said. "To lose that is not something they want to do, but, when we're talking about precious, life is precious."

People under the age of 21 convicted of drinking -- but not driving -- are often given three months supervision, meaning they can avoid jail time if they are not arrested again during that time. House Bill 3131 would propose that part of the terms of the supervision would include suspending the underage drinker's license for three months, even if the teen were not in a car.
Usually, legislations propose after terrible events are an overreaction. This time it is not, I fully support two House bills proposed. It would be hypocritical if I did not point out my underage drinking, but this is legislation was law back then I would have lost my privilege to drive for months. I would have made different choices. This legislation won’t solve the problem of underage drinking but, if it stops a few underage drinkers from driving then it has done its job.

What do you think is this legislation to relax, strict or not needed?

IL GOP for Rudy?

Illinois House GOP leader Tom Cross of Oswego will hop on Rudy Giuliani Presidential bandwagon.
This week, Giuliani's campaign is expected to announce that Illinois House GOP leader Tom Cross of Oswego will become its state chairman. More than a dozen state lawmakers and county chairmen also are expected to endorse Giuliani, who has been receiving fundraising help from former Republican governor candidate Ron Gidwitz.
The Chicago Tribune article also mentions that State Rep. Jim Durkin of Western Springs is John McCain Illinois State chairman for this Presidential campaign. While former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and of Robert Kjellander, the state's GOP national committeeman, are backing Mitt Romney.

Going into the next election cycle, the Illinois GOP continues to be in disarray. With the fall of Dennis Hastert from GOP House leadership, Illinois Republican lacks a clear leader to help rebuild their party. Senator Dick Durbin is up for re-election in 2008 and the Republicans do not have a creditable candidate to run in the race. Several Republican House incumbents will face touch re-elections fights. The possibility of having Senator Obama on the top of Democratic ticket in Illinois as its Presidential candidate will only turn state of Illinois more bluer across the board.

March 26, 2007

Cartoon of the Day

Coming to a Theater Near You

Defeated Republican Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania wants to bring this Conservative rants to the big screen.
Less than three months removed from his congressional career, the former Pennsylvania senator said in an interview last week that he is planning two film projects in part to counter what he characterized as the stream of left-wing documentaries coming from Hollywood and independent filmmakers.

The first project, Santorum said, would explore the relationship between radical Islam and the radical leftists in various countries around the world, including Latin America. It would be about an hour in length.

The second would be a longer, broader documentary that he said would aim to ''change the culture of America.'' He declined to go into specifics about the proposal.
I doubt Rick Santorum’s movies would have the same impact as Al Gore or Michael Moore’s documentaries. If he is lucky, Fox news will run this documentary and Wal-mart will have this DVD in the special sales bin for $4.99.

March 24, 2007


Lets not mix words, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales lied to the American people and Congress.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales approved plans to fire several U.S. attorneys in a November meeting, according to documents released Friday that contradict earlier claims that he was not closely involved in the dismissals.

The Nov. 27 meeting, in which the attorney general and at least five top Justice Department officials participated, focused on a five-step plan for carrying out the firings of the prosecutors, Justice Department officials said late Friday.

There, Gonzales signed off on the plan, which was crafted by his chief of staff, Kyle Sampson. Sampson resigned last week amid a political firestorm surrounding the firings.

The documents indicated that the hour-long morning discussion, held in the attorney general's conference room, was the only time Gonzales met with top aides who decided which prosecutors to fire and how to do it.
I know its not shocking news that a Bush official will lie at will.

Bush to Veto Troop Funding

Yesterday, President Bush in front of troops in the White House vowed to veto a bill pass by the House that provides vital funding for the troops. The bill also provides a leadership that is lacking from President Bush White House. Its clear President Bush Iraq policy is a failure; the Republican Party does not have moral conviction to lead the Military and the American people in the efforts in Iraq and war against terrorism. The Democratic Party in the House has offer a clear choice.

Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania

Democratic Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania

The Republican Party lead by President Bush are for a prolonged war in Iraq without any end in sight.
The $124 billion House legislation would pay for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year but would require that combat troops come home from Iraq before September 2008 — or earlier if the Iraqi government did not meet certain requirements. Democrats said it was time to heed the mandate of their election sweep last November, which gave them control of Congress.

"The American people have lost faith in the president's conduct of this war," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "The American people see the reality of the war, the president does not."

March 22, 2007

Quote of the Day

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales takes the low road during a Project Safe Childhood event.
I’m not going to resign. I’m going to stay focused on protecting our kids.
It has gotten so bad for Alberto Gonzales that he has to use the lame defense of ’protecting our kids’ to excuse this behavior in this latest White House scandal.

These people have no shame.

John Edwards: ‘We feel incredibly optimistic.’

Former Democratic Senator John Edwards will continue to pursue 2008 Presidential bid.
John Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, announced today that the cancer which beset his wife, Elizabeth, at the close of his last campaign in 2004 has returned. But the couple, appearing together, said resolutely that they plan to carry on the campaign.

“The campaign goes on. The campaign goes on strongly,’’ said the candidate. “When this happens, you have a choice. You can go cower in the corner and be afraid… or you can go stand up for what you believe in… We have no intention of cowering in the corner.’’
My prayers goes out to Elizabeth Edwards and her family, I wish them well.

Apparently, Tony Snow …

… thinks America is a kingdom, not in a democracy.
The executive branch is under no compulsion to testify to Congress, because Congress in fact doesn't have oversight ability.
It’s not shocking, but he is wrong.

This is the last example of the Bush White House telling the Democrats in Congress to go 'Cheney' themselves.

March 21, 2007

Public Financing

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois and Republican Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania introduced legislation that would let congressional candidates apply for public money to run their campaigns.
"Today the amount of money spent in top 10 competitive Senate races averages $34 million per campaign, double what it was just four years ago," Durbin said. "It takes a mountain of money just to lose a Senate campaign. This is not sustainable."
Indeed. It’s a broken system. The main reason more than ninety percent of incumbents win re-election is the big fundraising advantage they have over their challengers. Only a select few can raise the amount of money to mount a serious campaign. This leads to the same candidates running for office over and over (example: Jim Oberweis) or candidates banked rolled by big business and special interest groups.

The pool of candidates leaves something to be desired. It becomes a choice between the lesser than two evils. Public financing of campaigns would increase the pools of candidates who can run for office. No longer would a challenger or incumbent have to beholden to this biggest campaign contributors in order to run a campaign. More grassroots candidates would come out of the woodwork to challenge incumbents.

Once in office, the politicians can actually being to govern rather than start fundraising for the next campaign. Money will still play a big role in election. But, public financing would somewhat even out the playing field so everyone can play.

We Report, You Decide

Other than Republicans, Fox Propaganda News Network viewers are the most loyal to President Bush.
Yet, in our 2004 polling with Media Vote, using Nielsen diaries, we found that Fox News viewers supported George Bush over John Kerry by 88 percent to 7 percent.

No demographic segment, other than Republicans, was as united in supporting Bush. Conservatives, white evangelical Christians, gun owners, and supporters of the Iraq war all gave Bush fewer votes than did regular Fox News viewers.
I wonder why?
A study by a University of Maryland center concluded, “Those who receive most of their news from Fox News are more likely than average to have misperceptions” about Iraq. For example, in 2003, 67 percent of those who relied primarily on Fox wrongly believed the U.S. “found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam Hussein was working closely with the al Qaeda terrorist organization.” Only 40 percent of those who relied on print media harbored this illusion, debunked thoroughly by the 9/11 Commission.

Instead of providing “fair and balanced” reporting, Fox has created an audience ignorant of the facts, but fully supportive of management’s ideology.

March 20, 2007

Photo of the Day

(Photo via New York Times)

Kevin Drum of the Washington Monthly:
Shorter George Bush: Allow me to spend a few minutes scoring political points by accusing Democrats of scoring political points.

How did he know?

Atrios of Eschaton wrote this before President Bush press conference today.
My bet is that this will be one of his "stamp my feet and declare I'm the decider" speeches, one of the mini-tantrums he confuses with leadership.
I just watch President Bush press conference and he nail it. Basically, President Bush told the Democrats in Congress to go 'Cheney' themselves.

President Bush wants the Karl Rove and the rest of the gang to give the Democratic controlled Congress unsworn testimony about the firings of U.S. attorneys. Again, Atrios nail it.
The only reason to refuse to be under oath or even have a transcript is because you plan to lie and you want to do it with impunity.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
“After telling a bunch of different stories about why they fired the U.S. Attorneys, the Bush Administration is not entitled to the benefit of the doubt. Congress and the American people deserve a straight answer. If Karl Rove plans to tell the truth, he has nothing to fear from being under oath like any other witness.”
Indeed. This Republican Administration is not entitled to the benefit of the doubt. If you don’t put them under oath, they will continue to lie. Heck, they might still lie under oath. Scooter Libby did.

March 19, 2007

It’s easy..

.. to make Republican Tom Delay look like a fool.

But, retired Navy Admiral Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) rips apart Tom Delay who fancy himself a military stagiest.
At one point, DeLay claimed that places like Bahrain and Qatar wouldn’t accept U.S. troops who had redeployed out of Iraq. Sestak put his hand on DeLay’s arm and informed him that the U.S. military already has bases in those countries.

Click on the following link to view the clips of Tom Delay and neocon Richard Perle on Meet the Press.

Why is Rudy running?

Rudy Giuliani whole presidential campaign is base on this national security credentials. His supporters dismiss his liberal social views will hurt him in a Republican primary because he has this national security credentials. Basically, Rudy Giuliani is running for President of 9/11.

Which lead to Markos of Daily Kos to ask the following questions.
What "national security" experience does Giuliani actually have? Other than being mayor of a city that got hit with a terrorist attack?

Republican Rudy Giuliani is going to play on people fears to disguise his lack of national security experience to the American public.
Up on the dais, it’s Rudy’s turn to raise the subject of the terror attacks. September 11 is proving to be a versatile tool. In Delaware, he used it to invoke heroism. Here, it’s all about scaring the bejesus out of country folk. Someone asks him what his management style would be as president if there was another Katrina or terrorist attack.

The secret is to be prepared for anything, Rudy says. Terrorism can happen in New York or Boston or in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, “one of the smallest towns in the United States.”

The punchy good cheer of this small town is replaced with grave attention. Rudy notes that he once spoke to the Shanksville high-school graduating class. “But for the grace of God and the bravery of the people who brought that plane down,” he says, “those kids wouldn’t be with us.”

Tonight’s attendees, of course, have a far greater chance of being killed on an icy road on the way home tonight than via a plane falling out of the sky. But those are facts; Giuliani is playing on emotion and fear.
Playing the fear card worked for President Bush in 2004, Giuliani is just following this lead.

Things are not going well for John ’08 McCain

It must be rough on the old guy. This best chance to become President was in 2000, but put Karl Rove end to this dreams in South Carolina with nasty attacks. Now, Karl Rove now denies being involved in the smear, but it’s a little bit too late to help John ’08 McCain.

McCain learned from these mistakes and vow to follow in President Bush footsteps. He had hired sleazy strategist in the mold of Karl Rove. He ditch the straight talk express and started to pander to the Christian right. He his so much of a pander, he could not even answer a simple question about condoms and ADIS without checking in with Dr. James Dobson first. Not to be out done by President Bush, McCain advocated escalation of the Iraq war to show how tough he is. Which lead to President adopt the ‘McCain doctrine’.

Still Conservatives don’t trust the man, even after this countless number of flip-flops. John ’08 McCain is afraid to show up at meeting of Club for Growth because he will get booed.

How much longer can he keep this up?

Holy Joe Lieberman

The independent Democratic Senator is not very independent when it comes to who is funding this political campaign.
In the general election, in which Lieberman ran as an "independent Democrat," his take from Republicans soared 80 percent. He collected more money from Republicans than from Democrats. And of major donors - giving $200 and more - Republicans exceeded Democrats.

Officially, the White House stayed out of Lieberman's 2006 race, and Lieberman, who today caucuses with Senate Democrats, did not actively seek its support. But the signs from the White House were unmistakable.

"A lot of people would call and ask, `What's our position?"' Charles R. Black Jr. said last week. The former Bush adviser, who remains close to the president, said, "And I'd say, `There's no official position, but if I were you, I'd help Joe Lieberman.'"

There were other signals. On primary day, White House political guru Karl Rove called the senator. "He's a personal friend," Rove said later. "I called him. It was a personal call."
Karl Rove let it be known that Senator Lieberman was the de-facto Republican candidate for Senate by placing this phone call on primary day. After the phone call the Republican money poured in for Senator Lieberman for the general election versus the Democratic candidate Ned Lamont.

Their money was well spent in this case, Senator Lieberman continues to give the Republican Party bipartisan cover for their failed Iraq polices in the newly Democratic controlled Senate.


Democratic Senator Barack Obama of Illinois responds to the criticism of this lack of experience.
I've got some experience in but--what I understand, I guess what you're saying is, that I don't enough Washington experience. And what I tell people when they tell me that is, it's true I haven't been to Washington that long. But I've been in Washington long enough to know that Washington needs to change. And that's the reason I'm running for President.
Senator Obama does lack Washington experience. This is a good thing. Democratic Senators experienced in the ways of Washington like Dodd, Biden, Clinton, and Kerry all voted for Iraq war authorization in 2002. While Illinois State Senator Obama stated his opposition to Iraq war. Washington clouded their judgment. I do think experience is needed, but having the conviction to oppose misadventure of Iraq from the beginning is the kind of leadership needed in America. Washington has become corrupted.

It’s a time for change.

Obama for President.

March 15, 2007

Photo of the Day

(Photo via AP)

So You Want to be a Political Junkie?

Political Insider:
The routine of one obsessed political junkie:

DAILY TASKS: Wake up. Check Drudge. Read the NYT and WaPo. Check Political Wire, the hotline blog,, the AP wire, the Reuters political wire, and Read ABC's The Note when it arrives in my inbox, around 10am. Throughout the day, check Drudge at least once an hour, check Political Wire a few times, check the hotline blog every hour or two. Once or twice a day, read Wonkette, Political Insider,,, HuffingtonPost, and TVNewser. Watch Hardball at 5pm or 7pm. During commercials, check in on Sit Room.

MUST READS: Everything by Howard Fineman (Newsweek). Almost everything by George Will. Everything by David Yepsen and Tom Beaumont (DM Register). Everything written by Mike Allen and Roger Simon (Politico).

TRICKS OF THE TRADE: Keep '08 staff list. Google alert names of spokespeople from campaigns to follow messaging. Check presidential websites weekly.

MONDAYS: Read Dana Milbank's Washington Sketch (WaPo).

TUESDAYS: Read E.J. Dionne's column in the WaPo.

WEDNESDAYS: Read Maureen Dowd and Tom Friedman's NYT columns.

THURSDAYS: Read Novak's column. Read John DiStaso's weekly Union Leader column. Read David Brooks' Thursday NYT column.

FRIDAYS: Read the Time articles that matter. Tivo HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher.

WEEKEND: Savvy political junkies know that Novak's must read "Inside Report" column is printed on on Saturday, a full day before it's available in his syndicated column. Read Maureen Dowd's Sat column in the NYT. Read David Brooks' Sun NYT column. Tivo all three network Sunday talk shows and FNC's Fox News Sunday. Tivo the Chris Matthews Show. Tivo McLaughlin Group and McLaughlin One-on-One. (Sunday recording requires taping shows at the same time). Watch at my leisure on Sunday. Watch C-SPAN's Road to the White House on Sunday night. Fall asleep watching Prime Minister's questions on C-SPAN.

I do about 70% of what it listed above. Man, I really need to get a life.

March 9, 2007

The Cost of War

This is disgusting.
The Department of Veterans Affairs scrapped an early effort to track returning war casualties because it was too expensive to implement, a senior official confirmed today before a congressional panel
Republican Party lead by President Bush wants to stay the course in Iraq without actually funding the war effort. Part of the war effort is making sure our injured military men and women are getting the best available healthcare. A top Republican in the House knew about the terrible conditions at Walter Reed and complained to Army, but this complaint fell on deaf ears.

Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-FL), former chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, stayed quite about Walter Reed. The reason is he did not want to embarrass the Republican White House during an election year.

It’s shameful. Under the leadership of President Bush, the Republican Party put GOP first over America and its troops.

March 7, 2007

It's the Reagan '80s

Harold Meyerson in the Washington Post has a must read op-ed about 'family values' Republicans.
As conservatives tell the tale, the decline of the American family, the rise in divorce rates, the number of children born out of wedlock all can be traced to the pernicious influence of one decade in American history: the '60s.

The conservatives are right that one decade, at least in its metaphoric significance, can encapsulate the causes for the family's decline. But they've misidentified the decade. It's not the permissive '60s. It's the Reagan '80s.
Conservatives economic policies lead by President Reagan and continued by President Bush has lead to the declined nuclear family. Without economic security of a steady job, healthcare and retirement benefits households will continue to fall apart.
And with each passing year, as their level of economic security declines, so does their entry into marriage.

Yet the very conservatives who marvel at the efficiency of our new, more mobile economy and extol the "flexibility" of our workforce decry the flexibility of the personal lives of American workers. The right-wing ideologues who have championed outsourcing, offshoring and union-busting, who have celebrated the same changes that have condemned American workers to lives of financial instability, piously lament the decline of family stability that has followed these economic changes as the night the day.

American conservatism is a house divided against itself. It applauds the radicalism of the economic changes of the past four decades -- the dismantling, say, of the American steel industry (and the job and income security that it once provided) in the cause of greater efficiency. It decries the decline of social and familial stability over that time -- the traditional, married working-class families, say, that once filled all those churches in the hills and hollows in what is now the smaller, post-working-class Pittsburgh.

Problem is, disperse a vibrant working-class community in America and you disperse the vibrant working-class family.

Which is how American conservatism became the primary author of the very social disorder that it routinely rails against, and that Republicans have the gall to run against.
Republicans are not the party of ‘family values’.

Conservative Spin

Media Matters has a helpful list of myths and falsehood to watch out for about the Libby’s guilty verdict.
No underlying crime was committed. Since a federal grand jury indicted Libby in October 2005, numerous media figures have stated that the nature of the charges against him prove that special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald’s investigation of the CIA leak case found that no underlying crime had been committed. But this assertion ignores Fitzgerald’s explanation that Libby’s obstructions prevented him — and the grand jury — from determining whether the alleged leak violated federal law.

There was no concerted White House effort to smear Wilson. In his October 2005 press conference announcing Libby’s indictment, Fitzgerald alleged that, in 2003, “multiple people in the White House” engaged in a “concerted action” to “discredit, punish, or seek revenge against” former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. In August 2006, it came to light that then-deputy secretary of State Richard Armitage was the original source for syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak’s July 14, 2003, column exposing CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity. Numerous conservative media figures subsequently claimed that this revelation disproved the notion of a “concerted” White House effort to smear Wilson. But to the contrary, David Corn — Washington editor of The Nation and co-author of Hubris (Crown, 2006) the book that revealed Armitage’s role in the leak — noted on his Nation weblog that Armitage “abetted a White House campaign under way to undermine Wilson” and that whether he deliberately leaked Plame’s identity, “the public role is without question: senior White House aides wanted to use Valerie Wilson’s CIA employment against her husband.”

Libby was not responsible for the leak of Plame’s identity. Some in the media have suggested that because Libby did not discuss former CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity with Novak — the first journalist to report she worked at the CIA — he is not technically responsible for the leak. But such claims ignore the fact that Libby discussed Plame’s CIA employment with then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller on several occasions prior to the publication of Novak’s column naming Plame as a CIA operative.

Libby’s leak was an effort to set the record straight. Critics of the CIA leak case have repeatedly claimed that the indictment stems from an effort by Libby and Vice President Dick Cheney to rebut a purportedly inaccurate attack on the administration by Wilson. According to these critics, Wilson falsely accused Cheney of having sent him to Niger to investigate reports that Iraq had attempted to purchase yellowcake uranium from the African country. In fact, Wilson, in his July 6, 2003, New York Times op-ed, did not say he was sent by Cheney. Rather, Wilson wrote that it was “agency officials” from the CIA who “asked if I would travel to Niger” and “check out” a “particular intelligence report” that “Cheney’s office had questions about,” so that CIA officials “could provide a response to the vice president’s office.”

There is no evidence that the Plame leak compromised national security. Some media figures critical of the CIA leak case have attempted to downplay its significance by claiming that no evidence exists that the public disclosure of Plame’s identity compromised national security. In fact, news reports have indicated that the CIA believed the damage caused by the leak “was serious enough to warrant an investigation” and that the subsequent disclosure of Plame’s CIA front company likely put other agents’ work at risk. Further, Fitzgerald stated that Plame’s identity had been protected by the CIA “not just for the officer, but for the nation’s security.” And in their recently published book, Hubris, Corn and Newsweek investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff reported that, at the time of the leak, Plame was the chief of operations for the CIA’s Joint Task Force on Iraq, which “mount[ed] espionage operations to gather information on the WMD programs Iraq might have.”

Once a tobacco lobbyist, Always a tobacco lobbyist.

Republican tobacco-lobbyist-turned-Mississippi-governor Haley Barbour continues to work for tobacco industry.
The shoppers at the no-frills Brookshire’s supermarket — plate lunches $4.49, food stamps gladly accepted — have no doubt: swapping the nation’s highest state grocery tax for one of its lowest cigarette taxes is an excellent idea, and fie on the governor who opposes it. [..]

Up at the stately domed Mississippi Capitol, Gov. Haley Barbour, a former tobacco lobbyist, has other ideas. Studies, polls, protests at the Capitol, legislative sentiment and America’s highest cardiovascular disease rate notwithstanding, the governor of the poorest state is not budging, for the second year in a row: no cut in the 7 percent grocery tax and no increase in the 18-cents-a-pack third-lowest-in-the-nation, cigarette tax. [..]

And so it is that a bill to increase the cigarette tax to $1 a pack and cut the grocery tax in half overwhelmingly passed in the Mississippi House last month, remains bottled up in the State Senate Finance Committee, which is friendly to Mr. Barbour. Other poor states — Arkansas, South Carolina and Utah — have moved to cut their sales taxes on groceries. Not Mississippi.
Haley Barbour is another ‘family value’ Republican looking out for this client rather than for working families. This is a pattern. Conservatives will only choose their economic ideology over working people.

Jeff Gannon Redux

Another gay prostitute joins the ranks of the Conservative movement.

The link I posted is work office safe.