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Friday, October 07, 2005

Lawmakers disagree over changes to Eminent Domain law

Seems like changes to the eminent domain law is going to be somewhat harder than expected.

From The New London Day
The General Assembly is going to alter the government's right to seize private property. The lawmakers leading the effort to review eminent domain statutes were sure of at least that much.

But on Thursday, after a six-hour public hearing on five conflicting reform proposals set before the Judiciary Committee, disagreement seemed as deep as ever between those who consider the taking of a home as the deepest abrogation of American ideals and those who find in the power to do so an impoverished city's final hope to save itself.

“I think there's a general willingness to do an eminent domain bill as soon as there's agreement on what needs to be done,” said Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, the committee's co-chairman, in a brief interview in his office.

But notwithstanding the furor of eminent domain opponents after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld New London's seizure of homes on the Fort Trumbull peninsula for an economic development project, or the political payback those same opponents have promised at the polls, Lawlor said convening a special session might be pointless now.

After all, he noted, no one has agreed on what to do.

After Gov. M. Jodi Rell ordered the New London Development Corp. to reverse its decision to begin the process of eviction last month, Lawlor said, the state's “voluntary moratorium” on eminent domain use appears to be working, giving the legislators time to deliberate on changing the law.

“I don't see how doing it now versus doing it in March makes a big difference,” he said.

House Minority Leader Robert Ward, R-North Branford, disagrees. On Thursday he repeated his call to convene a special session, formalize the moratorium, and eventually strip the use of eminent domain for private economic development entirely out of state statutes.

That was just one in a diverse group of bills reviewed Thursday, which varied from Ward's to a careful rewriting of that section of the law that would require municipalities to more explicitly declare the public benefits and necessities of such takings, but would preserve them as a proper use of eminent domain.

Things aren't looking good for DeLay

Just in case anyone still thinks Tom DeLay is innocent...

From the Washington Post

Former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) met for at least 30 minutes with the top fundraiser of his Texas political action committee on Oct. 2, 2002, the same day that the Republican National Committee in Washington set in motion a series of financial transactions at the heart of the money-laundering and conspiracy case against DeLay.

During the meeting at his Capitol office, DeLay conferred with James W. Ellis, the head of his principal fundraising committee in Washington and his chief fundraiser in Texas. Ellis had earlier given the Republican National Committee a check for $190,000 drawn mostly from corporate contributions. The same day as the meeting, the RNC ordered $190,000 worth of checks sent to seven Republican legislative candidates in Texas.

In the past two weeks, two separate Texas grand juries have returned indictments against DeLay, Ellis and a political associate alleging that these transactions amounted to money laundering intended to circumvent a Texas campaign law barring the use of corporate funds for state election purposes. The aim of the alleged scheme was to ensure that Republicans gain control of the Texas House, and thus reorder the state's congressional districts in a manner favoring the election of more Republicans to Congress.

The prosecutor who brought the indictment, Ronnie Earle, has not described the evidence he presented to the grand jury linking DeLay to the $190,000 transactions. But the fact that DeLay and his alleged co-conspirator, fundraiser Ellis, conferred on the same day the checks were ordered has attracted the attention of lawyers involved in the case because of speculation that the two men shared important information that day.

So lets review. Tom DeLay's PAC gives 190,they recieved from corporate fundraising to the RNC who in turn gives the exact same amount to Republican candidates who are running for office in Texas. Those Republicans candidates win office and they redistrict the state giving DeLay and the Republican party more seats in the House.

The only defense I've heard so ar is that Ronnie Earle is a partisan who has it in for DeLay. I say he's a good prosecutor doing a good job and we'll see how it all plays out in court.

37 percent

Doesn't get any uglier than this.
President Bush's job approval rating has fallen to his lowest rating ever. 37 percent now approve of the job he is doing as president, while 58 percent disapprove. Those in his own party are still overwhelmingly positive about his performance (nearly 80 percent approve), but the president receives little support from either Democrats or Independents. And while views of President Bush have lately not changed much among Republicans or Democrats, his approval rating among Independents has dropped 11 points since just last month, from 40 percent to 29 percent now.
You think his approval rating is bad now, wait till the winter and you notice the high heating bill (and I have natural gas...ouch).

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Is the Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control falling apart

Boo hoo.

I guess the Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control founder Paul Steiz has finally shown his racist colors and some of his members aren't drinking his brand of kool-aid any longer.

Hopefully this is the beginning of the end for this stupid organization. We can only pray and hope.

From the Hartford Courant
Internal disputes in the state's most vocal organization seeking tougher immigration laws have pushed it to the brink of disintegration.

Two of the group's founders have quit, saying its third founder, Paul Streitz, has led it in a racially charged, divisive direction.

Mary Long and Peter Gadiel, who started Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control with Streitz earlier this year, denounced a study that he released last week over their objections. Streitz said the study, based on observing but not interviewing workers at McDonald's restaurants in the state, showed Hispanics and undocumented workers were probably displacing whites and African Americans in McDonald's restaurants.

"This McDonald's thing he did is just nonsense," said Gadiel, whose focus has been border security since his 23-year-old son died in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks.

Streitz said he felt he needed to "show the loss of jobs to American citizens and particularly African Americans" despite warnings from Gadiel, Long and others in the group that mere observation could not reliably reveal a person's ethnicity or legal status.

In an e-mail to members in August, Streitz solicited volunteers to "check some MexDonalds and observe how many workers are their [sic] and their ethnic origin."

Elise Marciano, president of the group's Danbury chapter, said, "We categorically turned it down and he went ahead and did it."

Hmmm, that's strange. I think I missed that memo Elise where you said you resigned. Funny how your website still has you and Long in your same position. Also, I don't recall you publically reject the McDonald's study and since you had all the time in the world to denounce Streitz pubically, why didn't you simply write a letter to the editor denouncing the survey amd Steitz?
Long and Gadiel said they quietly resigned from their leadership roles months ago, but continued to attend some events and remained on an e-mail list that sufficed as the group's informal membership roster.

Both said they asked to be removed from the membership list within the last two weeks after learning Streitz intended to release the results of his McDonald's work. He held a press conference under the auspices of CTCIC Thursday at the West Hartford Public Library. No other members of the group attended the event, which was interrupted when a young man threw a cream pie at Streitz.

Despite the fact that Long and Gadiel resigned their leadership posts early in the summer, both were identified as co-directors in the group's August online newsletter. When Long and Gadiel became aware of the newsletter, they asked that their names be removed.

Streitz said a member who has since moved out of state compiled the newsletter.

But in a Sept. 17 e-mail by Streitz outlining the background of the organization, he identified Long and Gadiel as co-founders, not mentioning they had both left their leadership roles.

[...]

Gadiel said the Sept. 17 e-mail was technically correct in identifying him as a co-founder, but left an impression that was "thoroughly dishonest."

When it comes to Streitz, Gadiel is not interested in inclusiveness.

"I have nothing to do with the man," said Gadiel, who also is a director of 9/11 Families for a Secure America. "I will have nothing to do with the man. I live on the same planet with the man, and that's enough."

Long said Streitz "sort of took over the group" and controlled the e-mails issued in its name. She said she no longer has any association with him and described the McDonald's study as "misguided, flawed, distracting and damaging."

"I guess I view Paul Streitz as sort of over the top, radical, not credible," said Long.

Streitz has continued to identify himself as a co-director in some announcements of events, including a meeting Wednesday night in West Haven and one Tuesday in Stamford. He said Tuesday he would now probably identify himself as director.

At an American Legion hall in West Haven Wednesday night, the CTCIC meeting followed a well-established pattern. More than 150 immigration activists protested outside as Streitz spoke to about 25 people in the hall, including journalists, plainclothes police officers and students from a West Haven High School government class, who had been assigned to attend. At the end of the meeting, four people signed up for the e-mail list.

As I've been saying for months, the CTCIC are nothing more than a hate group, it's plain and simple. They have no agenda and only purpose is to attract attention to themselves. Paul Streitz is nothing more than a jerk (believe me, I'm really holding back when I say that) and shouldn't recieve any type of media attention (shame on you Lou Dobbs).

CIA case goes higher than Rove. Much, much higher

Oh my! This is explosive!

Lawerence O'Donnell is the reporter who broke the story about Karl Rove being the person who leaked Valerie Plame's name to Novak. Well, read VERY carefully at what he says now.

Again, READ VERY CAREFULLY
If Karl Rove's lawyer, Bob Luskin, is still as easy to read as he has been since I broke the story that his client was Matt Cooper's source, then we now know that Rove has received a target letter from Patrick Fitzgerald. How do we know it? Luskin refuses to deny it.

Fitzgerald does not have to send Rove or anyone else a target letter before indicting him. The only reason to send target letters now is that Fitzgerald believes one or more of his targets will flip and become a prosecution witness at the pre-indictment stage. A veteran prosecutor told me, "If Fitzgerald is sending target letters at the end of his investigation, those are just invitations to come in and work out a deal."

Prosecutors prefer pre-indictment plea bargaining to post-indictment because they have more to offer you, like not being indicted at all or downgrading your status to unindicted co-conspirator. And pre-indictment plea bargaining can greatly enrich the indictments that the prosecutor then obtains. If, for example, Fitzgerald has a weak case against, say, Scooter Libby, imagine how much Rove's cooperation might strengthen that case.

If no one RSVPs to Fitzgerald's invitations, look for indictments as early as next week. If anyone does sit down with Fitzgerald, he will probably have to move to extend the grand jury, which now has only thirteen working days left in its term.

Prediction: at least three high level Bush Administration personnel indicted and possibly one or more very high level unindicted co-conspirators.
Now, I know why O'Donnell is not naming names but belive me, he's one of the best reporters in Washington and knows what he's talking about.

This just in from the AP:

Federal prosecutors have accepted an offer from presidential adviser Karl Rove to give 11th-hour testimony in the case of a CIA officer's leaked identity but have warned they cannot guarantee he won't be indicted, according to people directly familiar with the investigation.

What this means is Rove's lawyer, Bob Luskin, believes his client is defintely going to be indicted.
So, Luskin is sending Rove back into the grand jury to try to get around the prosecutor and sell his innocence directly to the grand jurors. Legal defense work doesn't get more desperate than this. The prosecutor is happy to let Rove go under oath again--without his lawyer in the room--and try to wiggle out of the case. The prosecutor has every right to expect that Rove's final under-oath grilling will either add a count or two to the indictment or force Rove to flip and testify against someone else.

Also from the AP story, this Luskin quote:


"I can say categorically that Karl has not received a target letter from the special counsel. The special counsel has confirmed that he has not made any charging decisions in respect to Karl."
I love Luskin. I really do. He is the best legal curve ball pitcher in Washington. How is the AP reporter supposed to know that prosecutors do not have to send target letters to targets? Mafia lawyers are not sitting around waiting for target letters.

Fitzgerald could have told Luskin verbally that Rove is a target. And because Fitzgerald is not subpoening Rove to testify, he has no obligation to send him a target letter.

If Fitzgerald told Luskin that the grand jury was very likely to indict Rove, Luskin can very honestly say, "The special counsel has confirmed that he has not made any charging decisions in respect to Karl."

Things are about to get really crazy in Washington. You just watch and see...

Indictments looming for Bush administration officials

Seems like the indictment of Karl Rove is about to happen at any moment. This report from Reuters seems to indicate that prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is going to make an announcement very soon.

From Reuters

As a first step, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was expected to notify officials by letter if they have become targets, said the lawyers, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

[...]

The inquiry has ensnared President George W. Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, and Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby. The White House had long maintained that Rove and Libby had nothing to do with the leak but reporters have since named them as sources.

Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, declined to say whether his client had been contacted by Fitzgerald. In the past, Luskin has said that Rove was assured that he was not a target.

Libby's lawyer was not immediately available to comment.

Simmons keeps Delay's money

The New London Day reports that Rep Rob Simmons plans to keep the 39,500 dollars he received from former House Majority leader Tom Delay's fundraising organizations. Delay was indicted last week for illegally funneling money through his campaign committee to local Texas Republican lawmakers.

From The Day

Simmons has received $39,500 from Americans for a Republican Majority, a political action committee run by DeLay, and other DeLay campaign committees from 1999-2005, according Federal Election Commission records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan campaign finance research group. None of the committees from which Simmons has received money are involved in the legal cases.

“Indictments of any kind are serious,” Simmons said in a press release last week. “That being said, let's not forget that an indictment is not a conviction.”

That is why, in contrast to New Hampshire Republican Jeb Bradley's decision last week to return money he received, Simmons has not returned funds raised from DeLay organizations, Eric Janney, Simmons' campaign chairman, said.

But Leslie O'Brien, executive director of the Connecticut Democratic Party, noted that when then-Gov. John G. Rowland, a Republican, got into hot water in 2004 over a $220 million deal with Enron, Simmons called for his resignation before any indictments, let alone convictions, had been handed down.

O'Brien argued that Simmons should hold DeLay to the same standard.

“The reality is there –– there's already a policy that has been established by Rob Simmons himself by calling for Rowland to resign long before any indictments came down the pike,” O'Brien said.

Yale University political science professor Adam Simon said that considering Simmons' past elections have been “uphill battles” in which the winning margins were never more than 8 percent, his decision not to return the money could affect next year's election.

“The decision not to return the money creates the potential for a Democrat to come in and use that as an issue, but it all depends on how capable the Democratic candidate is,” Simon said.

Simmons keeping Delay's money can prove to be a very risky move. We'l have to see what Democratic candidate Joe Courtney will say about this.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Well that was annoying...

Finally, I'm back online! My web hoster Blogger was down for hours so no one was able to view any blog hosted by them (blogspot.com). Hopefully as this site grows, I'll be able to move this blog to a personal server but that cost alot of money.

Seems like Karl Rove has been told by letter that he is now the target of the CIA leak case
which is why no one has seen him in days. Things are going to get very interesting at the White House in the coming days so stay tuned.

Tom delay indicted, Bill Frist under investigation, Karl Rove in DEEP trouble, Republicans at each others throats over the Harriet Mires nomination, and a spy found in the White House? Oh man, watching George Bush and the Republican party is like viewing a HUGE car wreck on the highway and everybody is slowing down to take a look at the damage.

Rumors building over Rove indictment

It doesn't look good for Bush and Co.

The D.C. Rumor mill is thrumming with whispers that 22 indictments are about to be handed down on the outed-CIA agent Valerie Plame case. The last time the wires buzzed this loud — that Tom DeLay would be indicted and would step down from his leadership post in the House — the scuttlebutters got it right.

Can it be a coincidence that the White House appears to be distancing President Bush from embattled aide Karl Rove? “He’s been missing in action at more than one major presidential event,” a member of the White House press corps tells us.

If the word on the street is right a second time, we have a bit of advice for Rove: Go with vertical stripes, they’re way more slimming.

Coming soon



AMERICABlog has the details
I just talked to a source who told me that Karl Rove has been missing from a number of recent White House presidential events - events that he has ALWAYS attended in the past. For example, Rove was absent from yesterday's presidential press conference to promote Harriet Miers. These are the kind of events Rove ALWAYS attends, I'm told, yet of late he's been MIA each and every time.

My source tells me that the scuttlebutt around town is that the White House knows something bad is coming, in terms of Karl getting indicted, and they're already trying to distance him from the president.


All the President's top guys are falling down.

Over one hundred homes in New Orleans still not searched for dead bodies

Since the feds called off the search, bodies in the 9th ward will be left to rot.

In case you were wondering, the 9th ward is a populated mostly by African-Americans and was hit hardest by the hurricane and flood.

From CNN coutesy of Scot Prime
Five weeks after Katrina, New Orleans is calling off the house- to-house search for bodies. Teams have pulled 964 corpses from storm- ravaged areas across southeastern Louisiana. Authorities admit more bodies are probably out there. They'll be handled on a case-by-case basis. The count is far short of the 10,000 dead once predicted by New Orleans mayor. As of today, the death toll from Hurricane Katrina stands at just under 1,200.

Searchers and residents insist there are still plenty of dead to find in New Orleans. Once again, they say the Ninth Ward is being ignored because it is poor and black. Here's CNN's Jeanne Meserve.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: (voice- over): In pulverized portions of New Orleans's Ninth Ward, where water flows, instead of traffic, most homes bear the signs that search teams have been in to look for the living and the dead, but not in one area that spans several blocks. Here, house after house after house is unmarked.

EDWARD MENDEL, SEARCH VOLUNTEER: From here back, I estimate 100 to 150 homes that are still unsearched. And I do expect we will probably find some bodies.

MESERVE (on camera): Why do you think that?

MENDEL: You can smell them as we drive by.
SNIP
ROZ KAY, FORMER NINTH WARD RESIDENT: We have so many people who were superseniors that lived in these neighborhoods. And they didn't have children or anyone to rescue them all the way out.

MESERVE: If these homes have not been searched and these people found, Roz Kay perceives it as another slap at the Ninth Ward and the people who lived here.

KAY: This is a predominantly black neighborhood, OK? And it's always been neglected. And it's been a hard fight and an uphill fight always. So, I'm not surprised.

MESERVE: Not surprised, but horrified that, more than a month after Katrina rampaged and ravaged through, there may be grim discoveries still waiting to be made.


Would this happen if the neighborhod was white?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Alleged abuse at training school caught on video

Thank goodness this place is being closed.

From WVIT-30 (including video)
A video captured inside the Conn. Juvenile Training School shows a guard knocking a teen to the ground and then punching him.

Michael Probulis, 15, was in the training facility for violating juvenile parole. He was just days away from release when he says he ended up with scrapes and bruises on his neck, back, elbow and elsewhere.

"What he did wasn't right," Probulis said. He suffers from a heart condition and asthma and says he couldn't breathe during part of the ordeal.

The teen's mother, Anne Wescott, hopes releasing this video will help keep other teens safe in a troubled facility already targeted for closure because of a long history of problems.

"It's real tough to watch it," she said.

The teen’s family said the Department of Children and Families turned over the video.

In a statement DCF Commissioner Darlene Dunbar said, “If the allegations prove true, this clearly is unacceptable for any staff. We are fully investigating this matter, and if warranted, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken, up to and including termination."

Who's that girl and what is she handing the President?


Well, it's Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers handing Pressident Bush documents on August 6 2001. One of the documents she handed him was a “PDB” document labeled "Bin Laden determined to Strike in U. S."

From Editor and Publisher
On its front page Tuesday, The New York Times published a photo of new U.S. Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers going over a briefing paper with President George W. Bush at his Crawford ranch “in August 2001,” the caption reads.

USA Today and the Boston Globe carried the photo labeled simply “2001,” but many other newspapers ran the picture in print or on the Web with a more precise date: Aug. 6, 2001.

Does that date sound familiar? Indeed, that was the date, a little over a month before 9/11, that President Bush was briefed on the now-famous “PDB” that declared that Osama Bin Laden was “determined” to attack the U.S. homeland, perhaps with hijacked planes. But does that mean that Miers had anything to do with that briefing?


As it turns out, yes, according to Tuesday's Los Angeles Times. An article by Richard A. Serrano and Scott Gold observes that early in the Bush presidency “Miers assumed such an insider role that in 2001 it was she who handed Bush the crucial 'presidential daily briefing' hinting at terrorist plots against America just a month before the Sept. 11 attacks.”


So the Aug. 6 photo may show this historic moment, though quite possibly not. In any case, some newspapers failed to include the exact date with the widely used Miers photo today. A New York Times spokesman told E&P: "The wording of the caption occurred in the course of routine editing and has no broader significance."

Blumenthal to announce political future before Nov 19

I guess the wait is almost over as Attorney General Richard Blumenthal says he'll announce his political intentions before November 19th.

From the Connecticut Post
Few people in Connecticut politics are more enigmatic than Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who in the last decade has twice disappointed Democrats when he balked at running for governor.

But Blumenthal took a step toward resolving this year's big political question on Monday, when he set a timetable, of sorts, for announcing his plans for public office.

Will he finally make a bid to unseat Republicans from the governor's office, where they've been ensconced since John G. Rowland won the 1994 election? Or will Blumenthal seek a fifth four-year term as attorney general?

There's still no definitive answer, but on Monday the 59-year-old attorney general told reporters he'll announce his intentions by the date of the annual Harvard-Yale football game, Nov. 19 in New Haven.

Blumenthal let the deadline slip out during an unrelated news conference Monday, when reporters' questions inevitably turned to the 2006 gubernatorial-election season.

Asked when he would release his political goals, Blumenthal first said "soon." As reporters split more hairs, Blumenthal said the announcement would come "probably within weeks."

"Before the Harvard-Yale game?" a reporter followed up, referring indirectly to Blumenthal's undergraduate (Harvard) and law school (Yale) affiliations.

"When is the Harvard-Yale game?" Blumenthal rejoined, smiling when told of the date. "I would say before the Harvard-Yale game. And it's at Yale this year, right?" Blumenthal said he expects Gov. M. Jodi Rell to seek her own term for the job she inherited from Rowland, who resigned under pressure last year under the weight of a federal investigation that landed him a 366-day prison term.

New Haven mayor offers a common sense proposal to a complex problem

Finally, somsone proposes a plan which addresses illigeal immigration that makes common sense. This is the type of leadership that is lacking in areas like Danbury and hopefully that mayor is paying attention to how John DeStefano is dealing with the issue in New Haven.

From the New Haven Register
Mayor John DeStefano Jr. wants to give illegal immigrants a legitimate form of ID so they can open bank accounts, prove their identity to police and access social services.

"Let’s be real about why this is happening first of all," said the mayor, who is also a gubernatorial candidate, during a bilingual press conference in City Hall. "The failure of the federal government to recognize and embrace thousands and thousands of hard-working residents, is subjecting those people and their families to abuse and exploitation," he said.

New Haven is home to some 25,000 Latinos, almost half of which are undocumented immigrants from Central and South America.

"All of these people are hard-working, decent members of our society on which we depend everyday," DeStefano said. "We can do better by them and we have to make up some of it as we go along."

Of course the Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control aren't too happy about DeStefano's proposal.

"Does anybody in New Haven understand that they are breaking the immigration law?" said Elise Marciano, Danbury chapter president of the Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control (CTCIC).

"You are not supposed to aid and abet illegal aliens," Marciano added. "They have no documents. They could give you any name. They could go and get 15 different ID cards with different names. How would you know?"

[...]

DeStefano has dismissed calls by anti-immigrant groups to crack down on illegals living in New Haven, and on Monday, Ortiz reiterated the administration’s position.

"We are going to lead the discussion and policy-making on how police will enforce immigration, I promise you that," Ortiz said.

Ignoring the talking points of hate groups like the CTCIC and using common sense to address the issue is a big step in the right direction in addressing the real issues with illegal immigration. This is the type of leadership that is lacking seriously lacking in Danbury where you have a mayor who would rather waste tax dollars by using the State Police to go after undocumented immigrants.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Delay gets second indictment

I guess when it rains, it pours

From the New York Times
A grand jury in Texas issued a second indictment on Monday against Representative Tom DeLay, accusing the Texas Republican and two aides of money laundering in a $190,000 transaction that prosecutors have described as a violation of the state's ban on the use of corporate money in local election campaigns.

The indictment was announced without warning on Monday in Austin, the state capital, after lawyers for Mr. DeLay went to court earlier in the day to ask that the original conspiracy indictment be dismissed on technical grounds. Mr. DeLay was forced to step down temporarily as House majority leader as a result of that indictment last week.

In their court papers Monday, defense lawyers argued that the conspiracy laws did not apply to the 2002 election violations cited in the original indictment and that the charges should be dismissed before they did any more political damage to Mr. DeLay.

Within hours, Mr. DeLay and his aides had been indicted on the new money-laundering charges, which can carry a prison sentence of up to life in prison. Mr. DeLay and his lawyers described the new indictment as a last-minute effort by prosecutors to avoid the humiliation of seeing their case against the former majority leader collapse only days after it was brought.

Tom Delay to be fingerprinted, photographed by police in Texas

I'll post the photograph as soon as it's available

From the AP
The next step in the criminal proceedings against Republican leader Tom Delay is a trip to Austin to be fingerprinted and photographed.

DeLay was indicted Wednesday on one count of criminal conspiracy for his alleged role in a campaign finance scheme that helped give Republicans power in the Texas House and in Congress.

DeLay's attorneys were working out the details of when the 11-term congressman would return to Texas in hopes of saving him from further embarrassment, they said.

"What we're trying to avoid is Ronnie Earle having him taken down in handcuffs, and fingerprinted and photographed. That's uncalled for and I don't think that's going to happen," said Dick DeGuerin, DeLay's attorney.

Earle, the Travis County district attorney, said it is up to the court to decide how DeLay would be arraigned.

It was not immediately clear whether DeLay would have to go through booking after responding to the summons for arraignment, said his attorney Bill White.

A bond amount would be set beforehand so Delay could immediately pay it and avoid a stay in jail. He also could waive going before a magistrate to have his rights and charges read to him, said Roger Wade, Travis County Sheriff's Office spokesman.

Should Congress recieve a pay raise?

In a time of war, should Congress make a sacrifice not take a pay raise? Many people in Connecticut think they should so why are they still planning to take a pay raise?

From the Hartford Courant
Congress, many members say, needs a way to show constituents that in this time of war, hurricanes, energy price spikes and other ills it is listening and it cares.

So in the midst of trying to figure out how to pay for wars, hurricanes and energy, lawmakers are also tussling over symbolism: whether to forgo a 1.9 percent cost-of-living increase that members are due to receive next year.

"Let us send a signal to the American people that Congress gets it. A little belt-tightening wouldn't hurt anyone around here," said Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, one of those leading this charge.

No, said Rep. John B. Larson, D-1st District, let us do the tough work and make the hard choices needed to provide enough money to Hurricane Katrina victims without making the federal deficit balloon.

"You want to talk about moral gestures - it's an immoral gesture not to have the nation's wealthiest 1 percent not to have to sacrifice," Larson said.

Cutting the $3,100 pay raise, which would leave most members' annual salaries at $162,100, would save only about $5 million over the next five years, a number that barely puts a nick in the hundreds of billions that wars and Katrina are costing.

But perception is the fuel that drives politics, and as John Hibbing, a congressional expert at the University of Nebraska put it, the pay raise dispute is "a beautiful issue" that constituents readily understand.

And so an unlikely coalition is working to get rid of the raise. Matheson's allies include not only Democrats, but members of the conservative Republican Study Committee, which included the salary freeze in its list of ways to pay for the hurricane relief effort.

The Connecticut delegation is divided over whether to delay the raise. Reps. Rob Simmons, R-2nd District, and Nancy L. Johnson, R-5th District, like the idea. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-4th District, does not.

Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-3rd District, said the issue was moot with her. Since she came to Congress in 1991, she has devoted all pay increases to two scholarship funds, one named for her father, Ted, and another named for former staff member Maria Baez Perez. The funds give $1,000 stipends to college students from DeLauro's district.

DeLauro, Larson, and Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., would consider freezing their pay if it was part of a wide variety of spending cuts and tax increases. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, D-Conn., who said he also wanted a package of cuts, would not specifically discuss the raise.

"I believe in shared sacrifice," DeLauro said, "and shared sacrifice means repealing some of the tax cuts for the wealthy."

Opponents of a pay raise say Congress should take the first step by making the first sacrifice.

Simmons, said chief of staff Todd Mitchell, thought that "as long as working families are tightening their belts, members of Congress should do the same."

But Shays thought the flap was much ado about very little and stressed that the raise was the same kind of inflationary increase most American workers get.

"I don't know if it's an important symbol or not," he said, "but I believe in a cost-of-living increase."
Just something to remember when you go to vote next year...