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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Bush freefall

My basement is flooded (UGH) but I promise comment on the Rell speech later.

Here's a cute blog I think you'll like.

Till later, consider this a open thread. Anything I should know about that's happening in CT (besides all the homecoming games)?

Friday, October 14, 2005

How did Gov Rell get all those lawn signs made so fast?

I'll get into this and more things I found interesting tomorrow. Too much information to take in, I need time to digest everything but I guess its safe to assume that game is on when it comes to the governor's race.

Problems for DeStefano?

From the Hartford Courant
The state elections commission has voted to investigate donations to New Haven Mayor John DeStefano's gubernatorial campaign.

DeStefano, a Democrat, did not disclose in filings to the secretary of the state's office the employment information of 53 donors who contributed at least $1,000 a piece. Those donors have contributed a total of $142,700 to DeStefano since last year.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission voted Wednesday to investigate DeStefano's campaign, the Journal Inquirer of Manchester first reported. The campaign committee could face civil penalties as much as $2,000 for each violation, said Jeffrey B. Garfield, the commission's executive director.

Shonu Ghandi, the campaign spokeswoman, acknowledged that the campaign made an error. She credited the newspaper with bringing the matter to the campaign's attention.

"Today we're filing an amendment to our previous report," Ghandi said. "This was an administrative error brought to our attention. We will work with the State Elections Enforcement Commission to do whatever we need to do to fix it."
I'm sure DeStefano hopes that this matter can be resolved quickly. The last thing his campaign needs at this point in time is a possible scandal grabbing headlines next to the popular Gov. Rell who kicks off her re-election campaign today.

Report shows Farrell raised more money than Shays last quarter

From the Hartford Courant
Westport First Selectwoman Diane Farrell, a Democrat who is making her second bid for Congress against Republican Rep. Christopher Shays, said Thursday she has raised $303,000 since starting her fundraising in August.

Shays expects to report raising about $207,000 in the quarter, bringing his total warchest for the 2006 race to $807,000, said Paul Pimentel, his campaign spokesman. The reports were expected to be filed Friday or Saturday with the Federal Election Commission.

Pimentel said he was not surprised that Farrell raised more than Shays in the quarter, saying Farrell had been spending alot of time fundraising. Shays suspended his direct mail fundraising after the hurricanes and only resumed it about a week ago, Pimentel said.

Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in July that Farrell is among the strongest candidates for Congress in the nation. He said the Connecticut race will be a top priority for the DCCC.
The DCCC are going to go after Shays and Simmons as they see those seats as ripe for the taking. Expect things to heat up between Shays and Farrell soon.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

She's in!

Like anyone should be surprised...

From the Hartford Courant
Gov. M. Jodi Rell filed papers at 12:22 p.m. today forming a candidate committee, a formality that makes her an official candidate and allows her to begin raising money to run for governor in 2006.

She is to formally announce her candidacy for the Republican nomination Friday at 5 p.m. on the north steps of the Capitol, the same spot where she took the oath of office as governor July 1, 2004 upon the resignation of Gov. John G. Rowland.

African-Americans show no love for Bush

In what may turn out to be one of the biggest free-falls in the history of presidential polling, President Bush's job-approval rating among African Americans has dropped to 2 percent, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

The drop among blacks drove Bush's overall job approval ratings to an all-time low of 39 percent in this poll. By comparison, 45 percent of whites and 36 percent of Hispanics approve of the job Bush is doing.

A few months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found Bush's approval rating among blacks at 51 percent. As recently as six months ago, it was at 19 percent.

But Bush's bungled response to Hurricane Katrina -- seen by many blacks as evidence that he didn't care about them (see my September 13 column ) -- may have brought support for the president in the African American community down to nearly negligible levels.

Tim Russert called attention to this startling statistic on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams yesterday: "Brian, listen to this," he said. "Only 2 percent -- 2 percent! -- of African-Americans approve of George Bush's handling of the presidency -- the lowest we have ever seen in that particular measure."

So this morning, I called Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff, to get a better sense of the significance of the results.

"African Americans were not supporters, but I don't think that they outright detested him -- until now," Hart said. "The actions in and around Katrina persuaded African Americans that this was a president who was totally insensitive to their concerns and their needs."

Hart said he has never seen such a dramatic drop in presidential approval ratings, within any subgroup.

Can someone say lameduck. I think any Republican in office should be very worried right about now.

Oh how the mighty are falling

Another GOP member is about to bite the dust.

From The Washington Post
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has been subpoenaed to turn over personal records and documents as federal authorities step up a probe of his July sales of HCA Inc. stock, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

The Securities and Exchange Commission issued the subpoena within the past two weeks, after initial reports that Frist, the Senate's top Republican official, was under scrutiny by the agency and the Justice Department for possible violations of insider trading laws.

Frist aides previously said he had been contacted by regulators but did not mention that the lawmaker had received a formal request for documents. The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the investigation, said Frist is expected to testify under oath about what he knew about the company's health in the weeks before he sold stock. Frist has told reporters that he did nothing wrong and that he directed the sale to eliminate potential conflicts as he considered a 2008 presidential bid.

The formal request for documents usually presages an acceleration of a federal probe. In Frist's case, regulators had to proceed with caution due to his status in Congress and their mutual desire to avoid triggering constitutional objections to the release of documents. The disclosure of the subpoena comes as Democrats blasted Frist anew for his financial and personal ties to Hospital Corporation of America, a Nashville chain founded in 1968 by his father and his brother, Thomas Frist Jr. Critics yesterday seized on a report that Frist held a substantial amount of his family's hospital stock outside of blind trusts between 1998 and 2002 -- a time when he asserted he did not know how much of the stock he owned.

The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that Frist earned tens of thousands of dollars from HCA stock in a partnership controlled by his brother, outside of the blind trusts he created to avoid a conflict of interest.

This level of corruption makes the Ernest Newton case look like childsplay.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

You almost feel bad for him

My goodness, these poll numbers are bad.

For the first time in the poll, Bush’s approval rating has sunk below 40 percent, while the percentage believing the country is heading in the right direction has dipped below 30 percent. In addition, a sizable plurality prefers a Democratic-controlled Congress, and just 29 percent think Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers is qualified to serve on the nation’s highest court.

"Any way you slice this data, I think these are just terrible sets of numbers," said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff.


The poll shows that Bush’s approval rating stands at 39 percent, a new low for the president. In the last NBC/Wall Street Journal survey, which was released in mid-September, 40 percent approved of Bush’s job performance while 55 percent disapproved. In addition, just 28 percent believe the country is headed in the right direction, another all-time low in Bush’s presidency.


In addition, with 13 months until the 2006 congressional elections, 48 percent say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared with 39 percent who want the Republicans to control Capitol Hill. In fact, that nine-point difference is the largest margin between the parties in the 11 years the NBC/Journal poll has been tracking this question.

But Hart argues that Democrats aren’t necessarily responsible for this margin. "It is not that Democrats have done so well," he said. "It is that people are disgusted." McInturff puts it this way: "People are very turned off and unhappy with the state of play in American politics."

People also seem to be turned off and unhappy with high gas prices. According to the survey, 69 percent believe the worst is still to come with energy and fuel prices. Just 25 percent think the worst is behind us.

Because of this generally sour attitude, the NBC/Journal pollsters doubt that Bush will be able to climb out of his standing anytime soon. "His trampoline [is] made of cement," Hart said.

People are just disgusted with the President and the Republicans. If the Democrats have any chance in taking advantage of this situation, they better come up with a plan now and stop sitting on the sidelines.

Get a great government job! No experience necessary.

Apply here.

The CIA leak case is about to explode

Oh my, this is really bad for President Bush as this CIA leak case can spell doom for his presidency.

There is no much happening right now that I'll let Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo give you the update.

From Talking Points Memo

In any case, an article (sub.req.) in tomorrow's Wall Street Journal contains this pleasant sounding sentence: "Mr. Fitzgerald's pursuit now suggests he might be investigating not a narrow case on the leaking of the agent's name, but perhaps a broader conspiracy."

And then further down there's this: "Lawyers familiar with the investigation believe that at least part of the outcome likely hangs on the inner workings of what has been dubbed the White House Iraq Group. Formed in August 2002, the group, which included Messrs. Rove and Libby, worked on setting strategy for selling the war in Iraq to the public in the months leading up to the March 2003 invasion. The group likely would have played a significant role in responding to Mr. Wilson's claims."

First of all, it did play a big role. That's where the push back came from.

If this description is accurate, it must have many folks at the White House in cold sweats.

If Karl Rove goes down in this investigation it'll be a disaster for the president, both in terms of the damage occasioned by such a high-level White House indictment and, frankly, because he needs the guy like most of us need legs.

But this WHIG thing is a whole 'nother level of hurt.

This group was the organizational team, the core group behind all the shameless crap that went down in the lead up to the Iraq war -- the lies about the cooked up Niger story, everything. If Fitzgerald has lassoed this operation into a criminal conspiracy, the veil of protective secrecy in which the whole operation is still shrouded will be pulled back. Depositions and sworn statements in on-going investigations have a way of doing that. Ask Bill Clinton. Every key person in the White House will be touched by it. And all sorts of ugly tales could spill out.

Fitzgerald is Bush's nightmare. If he is able to rope WHIG into this matter, all bets are off as the entire case for the war in Iraq will be on trial.

Hate group visits Stamford

The group behind the "MexDonalds" report attracted a total of five people last night and they get a story in the Connecticut Post? Why does the media even give this hate group attention. They lost two of their founding members over their stupid McDonalds survey and if it wasn't for the rpess covering their meaningless meetings, they probably wouldn't even exist.

Again, let me stress that the Connectcut Citizens for Immigration Control (CTCIC) is nothing but a hate group and the charges of racism is well-founded and has recently been proven with the discovery of the "MexDonalds" terminology in one of their reports.

The only reason I post anything about this group is to expose the hate that was Mayor Mark Boughton's creation when he blew the illegal immigration situation out of proportion.

From the Stamford Advocate
A controversial group looking to restrict immigration attracted five people last night to the Government Center and was met with an equal number of protesters outside.

Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control of Danbury, launched in April, argues that illegal immigrants are taking away jobs from American citizens and would eventually cause overpopulation in the country.

Paul Streitz of Darien, a founder of the group, organized its first meeting in Stamford last night to gauge support for future meetings in the city.
With only five people attending (one of those attending was a lawyer who was against the group), I hope he got the point but somehow I don't think he did.

The group has been called racist by some and has had internal tumult recently. Two of its three founders left the group recently, saying Streitz had led it in a divisive direction, especially after he released a study based solely on observations. It said undocumented Hispanic workers are taking all the jobs at McDonald's restaurants statewide.

"Racism isn't the issue," Streitz said. "It's the sheer number of people coming into the country and how they're coming into the country."

No Streitz, racism IS the issue and your at the center of the problem and have been since the creation of this group which is why you lost the support of some of your members. Strange how you don't explain why you used the term MexDonalds or explain why some of your members can't stand you right now.

"Our emphasis has always been on employment and going after the employers who are using illegal immigrants," Streitz said. He said he knew illegal immigrants aren't a huge problem in Stamford but wanted to have a meeting to get residents' reaction. There is another group in Waterbury and Steitz only needs one interested resident to expand to Stamford, he said.

Notice how he doesn't explain what this has to do with McDonalds or the using of the racial slur. The Advocate should of called some of the members who are at a disagreement with Streitz to get their reaction to his comments.

Opponents of the group said last night that there has to be a more sophisticated strategy to deal with illegal immigration.

"We're happy to leave our helpless infants and elderly in the hands of immigrants, but we won't legalize them," said Stamford immigrant attorney Philip Berns, who attended the meeting. "If we did do serious workplace enforcement, employers would say, 'Good God, legalize them.' "

Wasting column inches on these people is a waste of time and serves no purpose. The CTCIC is only interested in getting free press. They have no proposals or ideas that can be seen as productive and contribute nothing to the issue of immigration in Connecticut.

Questions raised over Nancy Johnson trip to Ecuador

Washington watchdogs are questioning why The Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit conservation organization which receives federal funding, paid for Rep. Nancy Johnson, her husband, and three other house members' observation trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

From the Hartford Courant
The nonprofit group spent $4,400 on lodging, $1,200 for meals and $12,300 in transportation expenses for the couple's trip, which began May 28 and ended June 5.

Johnson said the excursion was highly productive and typical of others she has taken throughout her 22-year House career. "I pick knowledge-based trips. I ask myself whether this is a subject I need to know about," she said, "and whether I'll be a better congressman if I know more."

She said this visit was "the first I've ever had the chance to go on that involved gaining a better understanding of international environmental issues and how they impact America."

Johnson also discussed immigration issues with an Ecuadorian foreign affairs ministry official. Danbury, which is in her district, has been rocked with controversy recently over influxes of people from Latin America.


But immigrant leaders in Danbury were surprised when they learned Johnson had gone to Ecuador because she had never accepted their offer to meet with them back home.

"If Mrs. Johnson is really looking for a solution to this problem, she needs to put all the pieces together," said Wilson Hernandez, a member of the Danbury Area Coalition for the Rights of Immigrants and a former president of the Ecuadorian Civic Center.

"She went there as a tourist, I guess, not as our representative," he said.

Johnson said Tuesday she was unaware that immigrant groups in Danbury had invited her to meet with them, but had discussed with her staff initiating such a meeting.

"We're anxious to meet with them," she said.


Johnson's trip also sparked criticism from Washington watchdogs. William Allison, editor-at-large at Washington's Center for Public Integrity, which studies congressional travel, had questions about the Nature Conservancy's sponsorship.

He asked why an agency that relies on money from the U.S. Agency for International Development, or AID, would take Johnson and three other House members on such a trip.

"I know money is fungible, but the Nature Conservancy gets federal money, so the question is whether taxpayer money is funneled through them for lobbying," Allison said.


The Nature Conservancy, which gets about $42 million in federal government grants per year, spent a total of $64,227 on the trips of the members - Johnson and Reps. John M. Spratt, D-S.C., Sam Johnson, R-Texas, and Ed Pastor, D-Ariz., - and their spouses.

Asked why Johnson's husband, Ted, came along at Nature Conservancy expense, Petterson said that the trip came during a 10-day Memorial Day congressional recess.

"In order to get folks to see such far-flung places that matter so much in terms of conservation, you need to give them time to spend time with their families," he said.

Johnson agreed, saying "a member's life involves being separated from their family most of each week, and when I'm `home,' I'm really not home very much."

Furthermore, she said, her husband, a retired physician, was a science major at Harvard who has "long, extensive experience with plant and animal biology."

What does Johnson's husband have to do with the business of Congress? How did her trip benefit the people of Danbury? If she was went on the trip to address the immigration problem in Danbury, why didn't the Republican mayor of that city know anything about it?

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, whose call for increased immigration enforcement was ultimately rejected by the state, said he had not been aware before the trip that Johnson was going to Ecuador.

He said he was not personally briefed after the trip, but Johnson's district office sent him information that mentioned comments she had made in the House of Representatives.

On July 19, Johnson briefly referred to the trip during a debate on the Foreign Relations Authorization Act.

She said "illegal immigrants are hard workers and hope only for a better life," but find it difficult to fulfill their dreams and "can cause tremendous problems in cities like Danbury" by straining city services.
Johnson takes a trip to Ecuador and this is all she has said on the subject? Danbury Mayor Boughton wasn't informed on the trip although Danbury is in her district? How did this trip benefit the people in the fifth district?

UPDATE: WVIT, WTNH, and WFSB picked up on the story this morning. We'll see if their are any updates later today. If anyone has info on this (and it can be verified), shoot me an email.

UPDATE 2: I gave the impression that the Danbury Area Coalition for the Rights of Immigrants invited Johnson to Ecuador when they did not. They invited her to talk with them. Sorry for the confusion.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Why did Joe Lieberman attend a National Review bash with Limbaugh and Buckley

Can someone please explain to me why Joe Lieberman attended the National Review 50th anniversary party and chose to sit next to Rush Limbaugh and William Buckley?

Seems like Lieberman has been getting hammered by the big blogs over this. I myself can't understand why he would sit next to two of the biggest racists in the conservative party let alone attend a Nation Review gala as it seems to be a slap in the face to democrats. Limbaugh's racial slurs on his radio show are well documented and Buckley who's the king of race baiting and I find it insulting that Lieberman would sit at the head table next to these two characters.

DailyKos and Atrois have the details.

Blumenthal not running

This should come as no big surprise...

From the Hartford Courant

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced Tuesday that he will not seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2006.

The decision leaves New Haven Mayor John Destefano and Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy as the only announced Democrats in the race.

Blumenthal, who had been considered a leading contender for the nomination, issued a statement saying he plans to run instead for re-election to an unprecedented fifth term as attorney general.

"I love this job," Blumenthal said. "It affords endless challenges and opportunities to help people.

"This job is also right for my family," he added. "My children are still at ages where they are counting on me to be there. I have always put family first, and I have decided to do it again now."
I guess it officially a two man race between Mayor John DeStefano and Dan Malloy for the Democratic nod now.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Nothing changes with the New Orleans Police Department

Seems like a flood can't change the mentality of the awful and disgraceful New Orleans police department.

This type of treatment is nothing new to anyone who has followed the history of this awful police department. It's just getting coverage because all the media is down there right now.

From the AP

At least one police officer repeatedly punched a 64-year-old man accused of public intoxication, and another officer assaulted an Associated Press Television News producer as a cameraman taped the confrontations.

There will be a criminal investigation, and three New Orleans Police Department officers will be suspended Sunday, arrested and charged with simple battery, Capt. Marlon Defillo said.

"We have great concern with what we saw this morning," Defillo said after he and about a dozen other high-ranking police department officials watched the APTN footage Sunday. "It's a troubling tape, no doubt about it. ... This department will take immediate action."

The assaults come as the department, long plagued by allegations of brutality and corruption, struggles with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the resignation last month of Police Superintendent Eddie Compass.

The APTN tape shows an officer hitting the man at least four times in the head Saturday night as he stood outside a bar. The suspect, Robert Davis, appeared to resist, twisting and flailing as he was dragged to the ground by four officers. Another officer then kneed Davis and punched him twice. Davis was face-down on the sidewalk with blood streaming down his arm and into the gutter.

Meanwhile, an officer ordered APTN producer Rich Matthews and the cameraman to stop recording. When Matthews held up his credentials and explained he was working, the officer grabbed the producer, leaned him backward over a car, jabbed him in the stomach and unleashed a profanity-laced tirade.

This type of nonsense happened all the time in New Orleans and it's nothing new. The only difference is that there is alot of media coverage down in that area right now so it was a matter of time until something like this would be caught by the somwone on tape.

Edwin Gomes wins Democratic primary in Bridgeport

In a deistrct in Bridgeport that heavily Democratic, i think it's safe to say that things are looking very good for Edwin A. Gomes to win Ernest Newton's vacated seat in the Senate.

From the Connecticut Post
Riding the backing of his party's top local leaders in the wake of the city's latest corruption scandal, City Council member Edwin A. Gomes overwhelmingly won the Democratic nomination Thursday for next month's special election for the 23rd District state Senate seat.

Gomes will compete to succeed former Sen. Ernest E. Newton II in representing a large swath of eastern Bridgeport and small slice of Stratford in the election Nov. 14, six days after the municipal races. A convention of the 23rd District nominated the 69-year-old North End councilman over state Rep. Donald Clemons, D-124.

"You have honored me with your trust and I will not let you down," Gomes said moments after beating Clemons by a vote of 26-6.

There was one abstention and two absentees among the 36 delegates named to participate at a district convention at Cuban Lyceum Club on Fairfield Avenue in Black Rock.

Gomes prevailed after another formidable candidate, City Council President Andres Ayala, pulled out hours before he was to declare his candidacy last weekend.


Without a primary in the abbreviated special election schedule, Gomes will face Republican Joseph Borges and an undetermined number of petition candidates, who must file by 4 p.m. today.

Rising heating oil costs becomes a political issue

The cost of heating a home has gone up as high as 120 percent this season and cost will bring yet another hardship to many families in Connectcut. Knowing that they will be the first to be blamed by the public, lawmakers are offering proposals that will take some of the cost of burden off the poor familes.

From The Hartford Courant
Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell was the first to step forward this week by suggesting a tax credit for low-income families. Democratic legislators then proposed spending $30 million on fuel assistance and conservation measures. Even Attorney General Richard Blumenthal weighed in with a three-point plan to keep citizens warm and save energy.

What all sides are still figuring out is precisely how to get the assistance into the right hands in time to offset an anticipated rise in the prices of both home heating oil and natural gas. All three plans would require approval by the legislature in a special session because officials do not want to wait until the next regular session convenes in February.

Sen. John Fonfara, a Hartford Democrat, says the state must work immediately to avoid a potential tragedy.

"We should not wait until there is a front-page story of a senior citizen freezing to death this winter," Fonfara said. "The time to act on this comprehensive energy package is now."

House Speaker James Amann and Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams both say they intend to call a special legislative session on heating assistance and other issues, which will be separate from Tuesday's special session that Rell has called on campaign finance reform.

"Making sure people have heat this winter is more important than determining whether a lobbyist can give $5, $50 or $100" to a campaign, said Patrick Scully, a spokesman for the Senate Democrats.

The Democratic and Rell plans have not been turned into a bill, meaning that the precise income limits to qualify for heating assistance have not been established.

It would be in the state's best interest to bring a energy assistance bill to the floor as soon as possible. This winter season will be very hard on poor families and in an election year, the last thing a lawmaker needs is a reason for the public to be upset at him or her.

The US better start taking this VERY seriously

20,000 birds found to have the bird flu virus in Turkey.

It's getting closer.

From Reuters

Bird flu has been discovered in Turkey for the first time since the recent outbreak of the disease in Asia, Turkish Farm Minister Mehdi Eker was quoted as saying on Saturday.

CNN Turk television said that 2,000 turkeys had died of the disease on a farm in Balikesir province near the Aegean Sea in western Turkey. All animals on the farm had been slaughtered to prevent the disease spreading, it added.

"Yesterday, unfortunately, we experienced a case of bird flu. But everything is under control, every precautionary measure has been taken to prevent it spreading," CNN Turk quoted Eker as saying.


Romania on Saturday reported new cases of avian flu in the Danube delta on the Black Sea and began culling hundreds of birds to prevent the disease from spreading, authorities said.