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Friday, May 27, 2005

Santorum's bill paid for by AccuWeather

On the national front, it seems like "Slick Rick" Santorum is caught red-handed.
Two days before Sen. Rick Santorum (news, bio, voting record) introduced a bill that critics say would restrict the National Weather Service, his political action committee received a $2,000 donation from the chief executive of AccuWeather Inc., a leading provider of weather data.
"I think the timing of it is what makes it so suspect," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government, a Democratic-leaning watchdog group. "It's like here's the money and you're going to do what I want."
SInce this senator has been bought off by the religious right so it should be no surprise that AccuWeather paid him to craft a bill that would only benefit them. Hopefully now, the bill will fail to pass. Why should I have to pay to get my weather information?

Urge Gov. Rell to sign the bill HB6635

Last week, the CT House passed a bill (93-52) that would equalize the sentancing for crack and cociane possession. The bill has also passed the Senate 21-15 and is heading to Gov Rell's desk to sign.

Currently, the sentences for selling 1/2 gram of crack and 28 ounces of cocaine are the same: minimum of five and maximum of twenty. Crack cociane is cheaper than cocaine and more prevalent in cities which leads to a disproportionate number of blacks and Hispanics in state prisons.

The governer has indicated that she needs to take a long hard look at the bill before signing it into law.

The ACLU of Connecticut is urging people to contact Gov Rell and tell her to sign the bill.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Say it ain't so, Joe

Bob Ingrahm from The Swing State Porject gives yet another excellent reason why someone should challenge Joe Lieberman in the primary.

The Democratic Party still has a long way to go in the quest to remedy the harm of the DLC. The most important part of the battle to retake our party is giving Senator Joe Lieberman a giant shitburger of a primary challenge. As far as I'm concerned, the junior Senator from Connecticut is a complete piece of crap that is only allowed in the Democratic caucus because Harry Reid is a gentleman. To be perfectly honest, I don't even care if we win. But we need to send a powerful signal that the appeasement days are over. Blanketing Connecticut with the nastiest ads ever created will go a long way towards forging a respect for solidarity in the Democratic Party.

Looking back over the battle for the filibuster, I think Democrats biggest blow came on March 15 when Harry Reid held a capitol steps rally to demonstrate unity -- Lieberman's absence was "conspicuous" (as the press noted). That is the great thing about brinkmanship, it clearly defines who is on which team. Lieberman hurt Democrats through the entire battle and the Democratic Leadership Council was worthless in the fight.

Those of you who think Democrats could have done better are 100% justified in blaming Joe Lieberman. Lieberman's refusal to work with Democrats cost us from the start, it hurt our posture, it compromised our negotiating position, and it personally pissed me off.

You're not the only one disappointed in Lieberman and the DLC but it didn't surprise me that Sean Hannity's favorite democrat didn't support the democratic leadership.
And, don't be surprised if he votes for Owen and Bolton.

Rowland has a new job

I wonder if he teaches ethics class?

Former Gov. John G. Rowland has a new job while serving out his year and a day sentence on federal corruption charges — teaching classes at the Loretto, Pa., Federal Corrections Institution.

Rowland has 26 students and he will be covering interviewing and job skills for prisoners whose terms will end shortly. "He's doing pretty well. I think he is adjusting to his new temporary life. He is being very productive," said the Rev. Will Marotti, pastor of New Life Church and Rowland's close friend and spiritual adviser.

Base closing delay fails

You can thank Tom Delay for this bill failing in the House. Simmons knows that his neck is on the line so he's trying as hard as he can to stop the bases from closing in New London and Groton but Delay made sure that this bill would not not pass.

Texas is one of the red states that is actually picking up 6,150 more jobs because of the base realignments whereas Connecticut will to lose 8586 jobs.

From the Hartford Courant:

Simmons and his colleagues spent about an hour on the House floor pleading with colleagues to give the process more time. Simmons' district includes the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, one of 33 major bases the Pentagon has recommended closing.

"We need additional time to make reasonable judgments," said Simmons, wearing a tie imprinted with little submarines. "The strategic environment in which we are trying to operate is changing," he argued. American troops are at war, and the threats to this country are murky and evolving.

"How do we know what future basing requirements will be?" Simmons asked. "We don't."

But there was too much pressure from power brokers like DeLay, and too many members whose congressional districts stand to gain from the Base Realignment and Closure Commission's process, which began this month.

Rep. K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, for instance, described how a base in his district was left off the endangered list, and said a delay would mean "the euphoria of that day would be lost."

House leaders spread the word that they opposed Simmons' effort, an amendment to the $490.6 billion defense spending bill that the House went on to pass 390-39. All five Connecticut House members voted for the amendment and then for the overall bill.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Mr "Freedom Fry" regrets supporting Bush


Now Mr Jones appears to agree. Asked by a reporter for the North Carolina News and Observer about the name-change campaign - an idea Mr Jones said at the time came to him by a combination of God's hand and a constituent's request - he replied: "I wish it had never happened."

Although he voted for the war, he has since become one of its most vociferous opponents on Capitol Hill, where the hallway outside his office is lined with photographs of the "faces of the fallen".

"If we were given misinformation intentionally by people in this administration, to commit the authority to send boys, and in some instances girls, to go into Iraq, that is wrong," he told the newspaper. "Congress must be told the truth."
I always thought Freedom Fries was just plain stupid and it's refreshing to see that Congressman Jones saw the error in his ways. Now if only other Republicans had the courage to stand up and say that the President lied, I could have more respect for them.

A Confrontation Over Immigration

CT Citizens for Immigration Control held their second meeting last night in West Hartford and I think it's safe to say that they won't be planning a third meeting there anytime soon.

Hoping to avoid confrontations, organizers of the demonstration had encouraged people not to enter the meeting. West Hartford police did not stop people from entering the community center, but asked those who had signs to leave them outside.

An hour after the meeting started at 6:30 p.m., demonstrators almost outnumbered those who were there at the beginning.

Long opened the meeting to questions at about 8 p.m. as eight West Hartford police officers positioned themselves around the perimeter of the auditorium. It didn't take long for the question-and-answer period to descend into a shouting match.

"This has been a very lively discussion," she said. "Thank you all for coming."

Long said the group had considered holding another meeting in Waterbury next month.

But as people filed out of the room Tuesday, she said a "boring, old fashioned" organizing meeting for members only might better serve the group.

"We really need to decide if this kind of meeting serves a purpose," she said.

Let me answer that for you Ms Long. NO! You silly little organization is a joke and shouldn't get as much press coverage as it has been getting in the first place (and is about of ridiculous as the failed Minuteman project which your co-founder Paul Streitz is a member of). Your crusade against immigration is shameless and ussing fear tactics such as linking the illegal immigration issue with 9-11 is simply a disgrace. If you think you had a tough time in West Hartford, try holding a meeting like that in Waterbury.

Gideon over at The Connecticut Law Blog has all the details on the meeting.

Where Volleyball Is a Political Football

New York Times writer William Yardley has a great article detailing the escalating tension in between immigrant supporters and political officials in Danbury.

While leaders in some small cities across the country have won political support by taking steps against soaring populations of illegal immigrants, in Danbury some critics say Mr. Boughton, a Republican, has gone too far. Now the latest immigrants in this eternally working-class city are pressing for political respect. And the mayor, while not necessarily in retreat, is trying to repair his links to immigrant groups by meeting with church leaders and march organizers.

"I don't think you're going to hear me saying I'm sorry," the mayor said in an interview at City Hall recently. "I think you're going to hear me say the laws of the United States of America should be enforced."

I think Yardly rasies an excellent point which I think is the real problem...that there are no Latinos on the Common Council

About 12,000 of the city's 75,000 residents are Hispanic, according to the 2000 Census. Yet both the mayor and immigrant leaders say the number of Ecuadoreans has increased significantly since the census, growth driven by economic struggle in Ecuador and an established pipeline into the New York region. Some say the march will announce the political arrival of the newer immigrants. No Brazilians or Hispanics are among the 17 Republicans and 4 Democrats on the Common Council.
The lack of hispanic representation on the town council is a serious problem given that the Hispanics represents 16 percent of the total population (according to the 2000 census). This might also explain how the council was able to draft a "repetitive outdoor activity" ordinance aimed at curbing volleyball games, a popular Ecuadorean sport.

Town Hall meeting update

I was able to attend last night's town hall meeting in Danbury and I asked the mayor a couple of questions regarding the city's illegal immigration situation.

I'm currently converting the audio to .mp3 format and will post the mayor's answers to my questions later today.

(UPDATE 5-26: I'm still working on the audio from the meeting. I'm trying to clean up the sound quality. I can't wait to post the mayor responses to my quesitons...)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Newsweek error bad, Pentagon error, okay?

From Editor and Publisher:

While military officials' lying to the parents have gained wide publicity in the past two days, hardly anyone has mentioned that they also lied to the public and to the press, which dutifully carried one report after another based on the Pentagon's spin. It had happened many times before, as in the Jessica Lynch incident.

Tillman was killed in a barrage of gunfire from his own men, mistaken for the enemy on a hillside near the Pakistan border. "Immediately," the Post reported, "the Army kept the soldiers on the ground quiet and told Tillman's family and the public that he was killed by enemy fire while storming a hill, barking orders to his fellow Rangers." Tillman posthumously received the Silver Star for his "actions."

The latest military investigation, exposed by the Post earlier this month, "showed that soldiers in Afghanistan knew almost immediately that they had killed Tillman by mistake in what they believed was a firefight with enemies on a tight canyon road. The investigation also revealed that soldiers later burned Tillman's uniform and body armor."

Patrick Tillman Sr., the father -- a lawyer, as it happens -- said he blames high-ranking Army officers for presenting "outright lies" to the family and to the public. "After it happened, all the people in positions of authority went out of their way to script this," he told the Post. "They purposely interfered with the investigation, they covered it up. I think they thought they could control it, and they realized that their recruiting efforts were going to go to hell in a handbasket if the truth about his death got out. They blew up their poster boy."

"Maybe lying's not a big deal anymore," he said. "Pat's dead, and this isn't going to bring him back. But these guys should have been held up to scrutiny, right up the chain of command, and no one has."

The Pentagon and White House lied about Jessica Lynch and they lied to Pat Tillman's family and public about his death.
Mary Tillman, the mother, complained to the Post that the government used her son for weeks after his death. She said she was particularly offended when President Bush offered a taped memorial message to Tillman at a Cardinals football game shortly before the presidential election last fall.

Now the White House is outraged about Newsweek over an article which they would have us believe caused the recent riots in Afghanistan (it's interesting that the Chairman for the U.S. Joints Chiefs of Staff, General Myers doesn't agree with that assessment)?

Where is the outrage over the military spreading misinformation not only to the public, but to the families of the soliders who gave up their lives for their country? If this happened under Cinton's watch, the neocons, freepers, and wingnuts would be demanding for a full scale investigation into the matter.

Oh, the hypocrisy...

Battle rages on in Danbury over illegal immigration

Alexandra Marks for the Christian Science Monitor has an article on the ongoing battle between Danbury residents regarding the illegal immigration situation.

Marks quote Paul Streitz, founder of
Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control and member of the Minuteman project. Although I haven't heard any allegations about Streitz, it has been well reported that the Minuteman project members, such as Joe McCutchen, have alleged ties to White Supremacist groups such as the ultra-racist Council of Conservative Citizens.

"The illegals have a distinct advantage economically over legals: They displace workers who would otherwise have those jobs," says Paul Streitz, cofounder of Connecticut Citizens. "They accept wages that are so low that it eventually gets to the point that contractors and others can't but use illegals. Otherwise, they can't effectively compete for business."

But some of Danbury's residents, old and new, see such concerns as shortsighted and uninformed at best, and bigoted at worst. These residents note that undocumented workers make it possible for many traditional businesses to survive: They do jobs, such as cleaning toilets, that others shun. They also help keep consumer prices low on everything from a dinner out to a new jacket at the mall.


Some are concerned that groups like Connecticut Citizens are scapegoating Danbury's newcomers. "These men are really talking pure nonsense. What they're saying about the immigrants is so poisonous and vile, it's so anti-everything," says Maria Cinta Lowe, executive director of the Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury. "What they're really trying to do is damage the situation in our community. They're instigating evil."

With both groups recruiting more members and media attention, this
issue is not going away anytime soon.

"The bottom line is that we have close to 11 million unauthorized residents in the country today," says Lindsay Lowell, director of policy studies at Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of International Migration in Washington. "We have to decide either to regularize it or combat it. But what you're seeing is a normal reaction to a huge population."
Can't wait for the town hall meeting in Danbury tonight. If any members from Connecticut Citizens are there, then it should be very interesting.

Danbury town meeting tonight

Reminder to people in the Danbury area.

Mayor Mark Boughton of Danbury is holding a town hall meeting tonight at the Broadview Middle School at 7 p.m.

Immigration is a hot button issue and Danbury has gained national attention with the mayor recently requesting the Connecticut state police be deputized as immigration agents.

I'm be at the meeting tonight and will hopefully I'm be able to live blog from the event. If you have any questions you think I should ask the mayor, leave a comment.