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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas slowdown

Well, the political scene in Connecticut has come to a hault as we approach the holiday season so positngs will slow down on this blog. Wishing everyone a great holiday.

I might put up a few post here and there but for the most part, this time is going to be used to make more improvments to the site. I finally have the video thing worked out so more video clips will be posted in the future. We're looking into the best way to record radio broadcasts and post them online also so stay tuned.

All, in all, this site has come along way from it's beginning and it's only going to get better. Thanks for all the support!

Happy holidays!

CONECTICUTBlog

DeStefano campaign slapped with fine

Looks like the DeStefano camp gave the Republicans and Gov. Rell's campaign a early Christmas gift. Talk about bad timing; with all the media attention in the press was focused on the actions of Rell's chief of staff Lisa Moody, this is the last thing DeStefano needed.

From the Hartford Courant
Under a settlement approved Wednesday by state elections officials, the campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate John DeStefano Jr. has paid a $4,000 fine for accepting $65,000 from 32 donors last fall without disclosing their occupations.

State law prohibits gubernatorial campaigns from accepting donations in excess of $1,000 without disclosing the donors' occupations and employers, a requirement intended to let voters judge the influence of money on candidates.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission declined to order DeStefano to return the money, since it deemed the violation an unintentional act that already has been remedied by disclosing the required information.

Even if a refund was ordered, nothing in state law prevents the donors from sending the money right back to DeStefano, making forfeiture "an exercise of futility," according to the consent order released Wednesday.

[...]

The elections enforcement commission opened the DeStefano investigation after the Journal Inquirer of Manchester reported in October that his campaign improperly had accepted $142,700 from 99 donors who gave at least $1,000. The law, however, applies to donations exceeding $1,000, affecting 32 contributions.

Jeffrey B. Garfield, the commission's executive director, said he viewed the oversight by DeStefano's treasurer, Gaylord Bourne, to be a case of "serious neglect."

The DeStefano campaign agreed to the consent order Dec. 8 and paid the fine the next day, not waiting for the commission's formal vote Wednesday.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Grinch

Cheney and the Republicans steal from the poor (again).
From the AP:
The Republican-controlled Senate passed legislation to cut federal deficits by $39.7 billion on Wednesday by the narrowest of margins, 51-50, with Vice President Dick Cheney casting the deciding vote.

The measure, the product of a year's labors by the White House and congressional Republicans, imposes the first restraints in nearly a decade of federal benefit programs such as Medicaid, Medicare and student loans.

[...]

Home health care payments under Medicare would be frozen at current levels for a year under the bill, Medicaid regulations would be changed to make it harder for the elderly to qualify for federal nursing home benefits by turning assets over to their children.

Lender subsidies are reduced as part of an attempt to squeeze $12.6 billion from student loan programs. Another provision raises $3.6 billion for the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the federal agency that protects certain pension plans. The money would come from an increase in the premium employers pay for each covered worker or retiree, and from a fee on companies that end their pension plans.

Billions more would come from programs unrelated to benefit programs. The legislation assumes $10 billion in federal receipts from the sale of part of the analog spectrum, for example.
These shameless Republicans cut benefit programs while giving the rich a tax cut? Hopefully the voters will express their anger by giving these jerks the boot and giving control of Congress back to the Democrats in 2006.

FISA judge resigns in protest

This story is gaining legs in the mainstream media and well it should. President Bush secret surveillance of Americans without a warrant is basically big brother run amok and should be an impeachable offense. Judge Robertson's resignation from the FISA court is just the tip of the iceberg in regard to this slowly brewing scandal.

From the AP:

A federal judge has resigned from a special court set up to oversee government surveillance, apparently in protest of
President Bush's secret authorization of a domestic spying program on people with suspected terrorist ties.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson would not comment Wednesday on his resignation, but The Washington Post reported that it stemmed from deep concern that the surveillance program Bush authorized was legally questionable and may have tainted the work of the court.

An aide to Robertson said the resignation letter submitted to Chief Justice John Roberts was not being released. Robertson did not step down from his district judgeship in Washington.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan would not discuss Robertson's resignation or the reasons cited for his departure. "Judge Robertson did not comment on the matter and I don't see any reason why we need to," McClellan said.

Robertson was one of 11 members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees government applications for secret surveillance or searches of foreigners and U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism or espionage. Robertson's term was to end in May.

"This was definitely a statement of protest,"
said Scott Silliman, a former Air Force attorney and Duke University law professor. "It is unusual because it signifies that at least one member of the court believes that the president has exceeded his legal authority."

Republicans should start worrying now

Looks like someone is finally about to fess up.

From the New York Times
Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist under criminal investigation, has been discussing with prosecutors a deal that would grant him a reduced sentence in exchange for testimony against former political and business associates, people with detailed knowledge of the case say.

Mr. Abramoff is believed to have extensive knowledge of what prosecutors suspect is a wider pattern of corruption among lawmakers and Congressional staff members. One participant in the case who insisted on anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations described him as a "unique resource."
Wonder if anyone from Connecticut will get wrapped up in this mess.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Gov. Rell leads SurveyUSA governor's approval poll

SurveyUSA came out with their latest governors poll for the 50 states and Gov. Rell leads the pack with a 77 percent approval-16 percent disapproval rating.

Here are the top five:

# State Name Party '04 ECV Approve Disapprove Net Approval
1 Connecticut Rell, Jodi R Kerry 77% 16% 61%





2 North Dakota Hoeven, John R Bush 76% 19% 57%




3 South Dakota Rounds, Mike R Bush 73% 19% 54%




4 Utah Huntsman, Jon R Bush 70% 21% 49%





5 New Hampshire Lynch, John D Kerry 69% 21% 48%



And here's the complete Connecticut breakdown:

Click on image to enlarge

Roundtable discussion on Gov. Rell and Joe Lieberman from Face the State

On last Sunday's Face the State, Dennis House led a roundtable discussion about the recent troubles in Gov. Rell's camp with her cheif of staff Lisa Moody's possible violation of state ethics laws and the recent criticism towards Joe Lieberman. House had in his roundtable former Democratic Senate Majority Leader George Jepsen and Republican State Rep of West Hartford Bob Farr.

It was an interesting discussion so click here and give it a watch. (NOTE: It's better to right click and save the video to your harddrive than watching the video in your browser but it's up to you).

PA judge rules against Intelligent design

Yet another loss for the ultra-religious wackos who want you to beleive that God created the Earth in six days...

From the AP:
"Intelligent design" cannot be mentioned in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district, a federal judge said Tuesday, ruling in one of the biggest courtroom clashes on evolution since the 1925 Scopes trial.

Dover Area School Board members violated the Constitution when they ordered that its biology curriculum must include the notion that life on Earth was produced by an unidentified intelligent cause, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III said. Several members repeatedly lied to cover their motives even while professing religious beliefs, he said.

The school board policy, adopted in October 2004, was believed to have been the first of its kind in the nation.

"The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy," Jones wrote.

[...]

The Dover policy required students to hear a statement about intelligent design before ninth-grade biology lessons on evolution. The statement said Charles Darwin's theory is "not a fact" and has inexplicable "gaps." It refers students to an intelligent-design textbook, "Of Pandas and People," for more information.

Jones wrote that he wasn't saying the intelligent design concept shouldn't be studied and discussed, saying its advocates "have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors."

But, he wrote, "our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom."

The controversy divided the community and galvanized voters to oust eight incumbent school board members who supported the policy in the Nov. 8 school board election.

Said the judge: "It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy."

The board members were replaced by a slate of eight opponents who pledged to remove intelligent design from the science curriculum.

Eric Rothschild, the lead attorney for the families who challenged the policy, called the ruling "a real vindication for the parents who had the courage to stand up and say there was something wrong in their school district."


The judge did the right thing in his ruling and the voters did the right thing in voting out allthe religious wackos who occupied the Board of Education earlier this year.

It's this simplle; if the religious wackos want to teach their kids that God created man in six days (and blah, blah, blah) over proven science, then that's their right. What's not right is to mask the real purpose of ID (which is a sneeky way to get religion back in to the classroom), and waste my taxpayers dollars by imposing your religious beliefs on my kids whien he or she should be learning science and chemistry.

Monday, December 19, 2005

It's beginning to look alot like FITMAZ...

Looks like Karl Rove is getting handcuffs for X-mas

From CounterPunch
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald met with the grand jury investigating the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson for several hours Friday. Short of a last minute intervention by Rove's attorney, Fitzgerald is expected to ask a grand jury-possibly as soon as next week--the to indict Rove for making false statements to the FBI and Justice Department investigators in October 2003, lawyers close to the case say.

Moreover, Fitzgerald is said to believe that there is a possibility Rove either hid or destroyed evidence related to his role in the leak, lawyers close to the case said.

A few weeks after he took over the investigation into the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson in early 2004, Fitzgerald had already become suspicious that Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney's then-chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby were hindering his investigation.

In late January 2004, Fitzgerald sent a letter to his boss, then acting Attorney General James Comey, seeking confirmation that he had the authority to investigate and prosecute individuals for additional crimes, including obstruction of justice, perjury, and destroying evidence. The leak investigation had been centered up to that point on an obscure law making it a felony for any government official to knowingly disclose the identity of an undercover CIA officer.

Comey responded to Fitzgerald in writing Feb. 6, 2004, confirming that Fitzgerald had the authority to prosecute those crimes, including "perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses."

Fitzgerald was concerned that Rove had hidden or destroyed a very important document tying him to the leak. His suspicions may have been right: an email he sent to then Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley in early July 2003 later proved Rove had spoken to Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper about Plame-a fact that Rove omitted when he was first interviewed by the FBI.

The same day Fitzgerald received the response letter from Comey the White House faced a deadline of turning over administration contacts with 25 journalists to the grand jury investigating the leak. One of the journalists cited in the subpoena sent to the White House Jan. 22, 2004 was Cooper. Three months earlier, in late 2003, then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales enjoined all White House staff to turn over any communication about Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband. Gonzales' request came 12 hours after senior White House officials had been told of the pending investigation. The email Rove sent to Hadley which specifically cited "Matt Cooper from Time" never turned up in that request either, people close to the investigation said.

[...]

Over the past few weeks, the time frame when Fitzgerald became increasingly suspicious-specifically February 2004-has become crucial for Rove. He testified before Fitzgerald's grand jury that month without revealing he had been a source for Cooper and Novak, saying only that he had shared information about Plame Wilson with other journalists-including Chris Matthews, the host of MSNBC's Hardball-after her name had appeared in Novak's column.

In a bid to keep Rove out of Fitzgerald's crosshairs, Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney, recently told Fitzgerald that he had a conversation with Time Magazine reporter Viveca Novak in February 2004 where she inadvertently revealed that Rove had been a source for her colleague Matt Cooper. Luskin said this prompted an exhaustive search for the Hadley email which was promptly turned over to Fitzgerald and led Rove to change his testimony.

Luskin testified Dec. 2 that the Novak meeting took place in late January or early February 2004, the very month in which Fitzgerald had sought the authority to prosecute officials if they were found to have hindered his investigation into the leak.

Novak, however, testified that she met Luskin in either March or May 2004, those close to the case said. This discrepancy is at the crux of what Fitzgerald is investigating. Rove didn't reveal to the grand jury that he had spoken with Cooper until Oct. 15, 2004.
It's a wrap for Rove as he's been caught red-handed by Fitzgerald. Now the CIA leak inches closer to the President's feet because Novak says that the Bush knows who leaked the name and we still don't know who the person who leaked the name is. It's foolish to belive that someone with the inside knowledge like Novak would say something like this if he wasn't sure about it (he's in enough hot water over the whole case as it is).

Oh, 2006 is looking so good.

New Weicker-Lieberman poll gives Joe reason to worry

Rasmussen just came out with a very interestinng poll regarding the possibility of a race between Joe Lieberman and Lowell Weicker. Although it has Weicker losing to Lieberman, if you read the poll questions carefully and with a year to go till the election, Weicker has a realistic chance to improve and make this a extermely close race.

From Rasmussen Reports:
A Rasmussen Reports survey shows that a Weicker candidacy might create serious problems for the incumbent Democrat. In a head-to-head match-up with no Republican candidate, Lieberman leads Weicker 54% to 32%.

However, running as an Independent, Weicker attracts 37% of votes from Democrats in the state. He is essentially tied with Lieberman among Connecticut liberals, among those who say getting troops home should be our top priority in Iraq, and among those who say the President is doing a poor job handling the situation in Iraq.

It is also interesting to note that, with no Republican candidate in the survey, Lieberman attracts support from a majority of GOP voters. Without those Republican votes, Lieberman's level of support would be under 40% statewide.

[...]

This election poll did not include a Republican candidate because it was designed to measure the potential of a Weicker challenge. In 2006, other possible match-ups will be explored. At this time, however, it appears that a Weicker independent challenge could put the Connecticut Senate seat in play next November.

Forty-eight percent (48%) of Connecticut voters say that getting troops home as soon as possible is the top priority in Iraq. Forty-three percent (43%) say finishing the mission is more important.


A full report is available for paid members but I don't think you need to pay to see that Lieberman is in some trouble if Weicker jumps into the mix.

Having 32 percent of the votes with a year to go isn't really that bad for someone who hasn't announced that he's running yet and liberals (who are very upset with Lieberman right now) can be swayed to vote for Weicker if he makes his case. I think it's safe to say that the 48 percent of Connecticut voters saying that they want the troops home ASAP can be swayed to cross over to Wiecker's camp if he explains how he would work to bring the troops back home if elected senator while showing why Lieberman is out of touch with Democrats in Connecticut. Add that with just about every liberal group running ads linking Lieberman to President Bush and you'll have Weicker in a position to possibly pull an upset.

Another thing to consider is what would happen if you add a Republican to the race. Since it's obvious that Lieberman would lose more Republican votes than Weicker, the race would get even tighter between the two because a Republican should be able to pull anywhere between 28-35 percent of the vote (click here for the 2000 senate results, scroll down to Connecticut, and you'll see what I mean). The Republican challenger could get Gov. Rell's support and ride on Rell's popularity. This would translate into less Republican votes for Lieberman while helping Weicker, a person who isn't that popular with Republicans in Connecticut.

This means you can have an election in which all the candidates are about even (if you add a Republican into the race) so it might all comes down to the undecided voters so Weicker HAS to can sway more liberal Democrats vote to his camp. I didn't even get into the fact that there might be Democrats who won't vote for Lieberman (closeness to Bush) or Weicker (state income tax) and decide not to vote at all...

Everything is up in the air rigght now but given this poll, it seems like the Weicker challenge has all the elements of the perfect political storm and I'll bet the house that Lieberman's camp is concerned.

Oh, it's great to be a Connecticut political junkie right now!

Connecticut Congressmen weigh in on Bush eavesdropping


In today's Hartford Courant, Chris Shays and Rob Simmons add their two cenrts concenring the Bush Administration eavesdropping on American citizens without the approval of the courts (FISA).
Chris Shays comes out in support of the President
Bush said the spying was lawful and an important tool against terrorism - and he had his defenders. "He did not act improperly," said Rep. Christopher Shays, R-4th District, who noted that he and other members of Congress from both parties had known about the operation for some time.

However, Rob Simmons takes a more careful approach to the subject.
"The question is, was the eavesdropping narrowly designed to go after possible terrorist threats in the United States or was it much, much more?" asked Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd District, chairman of a House homeland security intelligence subcommittee. "That is the issue that Congress must get to the bottom of."
The eavesdropping situation has become a problem for the Bush administration which wanted to capitalize on the success of the Iraqi elections but were blindsided with this problem (of their own making).

Face the State highlights

We're going to post a segment from Sunday's Face the State where they discussed the Rell-Moody situation and the latest on the fight between liberal in COnnecticut and Joe Lieberman.

We're assuming that it wil be a slow week but with politics, you never know. Remember, if you have any tips, please email us at ctblogger@yahoo.com.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

X-mas shopping and comments

Why, oh why, did I wait so long to start X-mas shopping?

Rule to self: Never try to go shopping at a place called "Christmas Tree Shops" as it could be a bad experience (especially if you go on the Saturday before the holiday).

Sorry for the lack of posts but I've been out and about buying presents but it's Sunday so I'm back on the political beat.

What and the hell was President Bush thinking when he decided it was okay to ignore the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and secretly monitor Americans without a warrant? Talk about big brother running amok.

And Joe Lieberman kissing up to the Bush and Co claiming that we turned the corner in Iraq. I mean really; at this point, who is listening or believing this line of garbage. Didnt' we hear the same thing during the last two Iraq elections?

And while we on Iraq, the Hartford Courant came out with an editorial today which defends the comments of Lieberman claiming that the senator is correct in stating that it would be wrong to pull our troops out of Iraq. Now, I'm not sure but were any of the members of the editorial board over at the Courant EVER in Iraq? has any of them thought about doing a story on the soliders who will be spending thir Christmas over at Walter Reed? What about those young soilders who are back and will be spending their holidays dealing with tramatic stress syndrome. These kids suffer from images of their buddies being blown up to pieces because they were probably in a vehilce which was not properly armoured due to the incompetence of the Secretary of Defense (who was the same idiot who allowed people to be tortured which tarnished our image around the world).
After having made a huge sacrifice to topple the regime of the tyrant Saddam Hussein, it would be folly for the United States to pull out too early and risk Iraq's collapse into chaos. That could lead to a wider war or Iraq's becoming a terrorist sanctuary.

Millions of Americans might wish that we hadn't invaded Iraq. But we did, and must make the best of it. Mr. Lieberman's vision of victory may not sit well with many in his party, but it is more responsible than the position taken by those who would simply abandon Iraq before a representative government can take hold.

Yeah, I really love people who have no skin in the game tell the anti-war crowd (made up of people and family members who HAVE skin in this game) that they're wrong to suggest that our troops should be brought back. How do they know Iraq will fall to pieces if the troops leave, the way I see it, it's already fallen in to chaos and it's largely because of our presence. To hear people like Lieberman talk about the situation, you think it would be okay to take a vacation over there or something (let me call RCI and see if I can book a timeshare).

And lets be honest, Lieberman has had a long history of attacking Democrats while shamelessly sucking up to the Republicans and he would of made an awful vice-president. For Lieberman, this isn't about bipartisanship, it's about getting press coverage for himself and getting political points with Bush and Co. His hubris is really out of control and he might pay a price if another Democrat challenges him in the primary.

In other Connecticut-related stuff, what in the hell is going on at Governor Rell's camp. Moosy is put on punishment for ONLY two weeks? The story is so murky that I don't have time to even get into it right now (it deserves a full post)...

Enough rambling, I'm off to buy more crap. Drop me an email, what's happening in Connecticut that I've missed.