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Friday, January 13, 2006

Democratic leader wants FCC to investigate cell phone records scandal

As I posted earlier this week, AMEIRCABlog's John Aravosis was able to obtain the cell phone records of General Wesley Clark for under 100.00 by using an online broker. Well, this episode caught the attention of the MSM and now it seems that finally someone in Congress is demanding answers.

I think we in Connecticut should ask our members of Congress why did it take a blogger to get someone to act on this (and only the minority leader). I have more than enough money (and enough know-how) and do the same thing AMEIRCABlog did to Clark and obtain the cell phone records of Senator Dodd, Lieberman as well as Congessman Larson, Shays, Simmons and Congresswoman Nancy Johnson. Wonder if that get them to act on this alittle faster on this matter?

Here is Senator Reid's letter to the FCC via AMERICABlog (pdf format).



UPDATE: AMERICABlog was able to obtain other people's phone records and added Sprint to the list of cell phone companies whose customer's records are available for under 100.00.

I'm going to contact AMERICABlog and get the full details into this and see if I can obtain my own cell phone records.

Customers who should be concerned include:
T-Mobile, Cingular, and Sprint.

Brokers who providing your cell records:
CellTolls.com
LocateCell.com

Try it out yourself...you'll be shocked!

MLN interviews Ned Lamont

Hopefully, we'll interview Lamont soon but for now, here's some highlights from Brandford Boy's interview (man, he's doing a excellent job covering this).
Turning to issues, Lamont's pick for the major issue prompting his run will come as no surprise to readers of this blog.

"Joe [Lieberman] is not challenging the president on policies that are bad for the country. Number one is the war, which I have thought was a foreign policy blunder from the get-go. I'm also distressed at the way Joe Lieberman has tried to discourage ongoing debate about the war, when Murtha and others have come up with viable alternatives."

"The problems we're having in Iraq are not the result of too much debate."

[...]

"The Senator is so outspoken on the war that we're becoming passive on other important issues like health care -- there's been very little creative thought on this while people are forced into greater expense for less security -- energy conservation, and education.

[...]

Another thing that bugs Lamont is something that bugs a lot of rank-and-file Dems in the state.

"Joe has been distant from the state. He's not here as much as he should be." Lamont promised that as Connecticut's new junior senator, "I'll be back every weekend with an eternal debt of gratitude to the people who sent me to Washington. A senator should be there, be accessible, and always be listening."

Lamont also pledges to support Democratic candidates, another area in which many feel Lieberman has been missing in action. "A, we're Democrats. We should be standing up for one another. But how can Democrats run against Republicans who say 'I'm just like Joe'?"

Lamont was dismissive of the notion that the war is just one issue of many and that it won't really matter in the long run.

"I hear people say, 'Well, Joe's good on everything else,' and my response is 'Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?' It's a big issue."


Oh, that's good! Note to Lieberman, Lamont seems like the real deal and you might be in some serious trouble. You just might have to pull the independent card if Lamont's message resonates with the rank and file Democratic voters...

Go check out My Left Nutmeg for the full interview.

MLN: Tom Swan to join Team Lamont

My Left Nutmeg has the scoop on Tom Swan, Executive Director of the Connecticut Citizens Action Group, playing a major role in Democratic challenger Ned Lamont's senate campaign (hat tip to Branford Boy).
Although he's still being coy about announcing and although he declined to come right out and say it, in a conversation this morning, proto-Lieberman challenger Ned Lamont left little doubt that Tom Swan of CCAG will play a major role in his forthcoming campaign. I'm betting he'll be running the show.

The history of a scumbag politician

Ernest Newton is a jerk, a scumbag, and a fraud.

His shamelessness knew no bounds and he had no problem pulling the race card for his own purposes. THe Hartford Courant sheds new light how low this person (if you can call him that) would go to fill his own pockets.

Disgusting.
In a blistering memo filed in court Thursday, federal prosecutors portray former state Sen. Ernest Newton as a shameless hustler who worked for mobsters, shook down social service agencies, stole from his own campaign treasury and had the audacity to demand a raise after obtaining a no-show job through the city of Bridgeport.

Perhaps as astonishing as the criminal behavior charged against Newton are the paltry sums he allegedly received from the people to whom he is accused of selling the services of his Senate office. He collected $5,000 from one constituent, $1,750 from another and routinely pilfered sums in the hundreds of dollars from his campaign to pay personal expenses, the memo says, and he asked the mob to foot the bill when he needed to bail an arrested son out of jail.

Prosecutors, preparing for Newton's sentencing, condemned his "warped conception of his status as an elected official," which they said apparently moved Newton to collect bribes even from the operators of social service agencies providing training and housing for his poor constituents.

"Astonishingly, the defendant's venality knew few bounds, and he readily sold his office and influence for modest sums," the memorandum states. "The defendant's hypocrisy also knew few limits."

When Newton learned that the FBI was closing in, the memo says, he started scheming how to escape arrest. In one of numerous conversations secretly recorded by the FBI, Newton suggested to Warren Godbolt, the operator of a Bridgeport jobs training agency who had paid $5,000 in bribes, that Godbolt should lie if questioned by the FBI. Newton said he would claim Godbolt was paying him for consulting services.

"Because I can be a consultant, Warren, you know, I'm a member of the national black caucus," Newton said on the tape.

Even after pleading guilty in September to three felonies - taking a bribe, failure to pay income taxes and mail fraud - Newton has continued to suggest that he is innocent and to flatly claim that his legal problems are the result of his race. Days before he pleaded guilty, Newton compared himself to Moses. After pleading guilty, he asserted that charges against him would have been resolved administratively by the State Elections Enforcement Commission were he not black.

"If any other legislator, other than being black, it would have went to the elections and campaign [commission]," Newton said in September, outside the federal courthouse in his hometown of Bridgeport. "It should have went before the elections enforcement like any other white lawmaker would have seen."


An asshole to the end. He makes John Rowland look like a saint. I hope he NEVER holds a political office EVER again.

If you would like to read the history of Ernest Newton, just type his name in my search bar on the lower right side of this blog, and you'll get all the details.

UPDATE: I've received a great amount of email regarding Newton scandal and let me just say that the Newton (or Rowland) situations have nothing to do with their political party (unless other members in a particular party were getting kickbacks), this is about dirty political people who do dirty things that effect everyone.

These people don't care about you or me, they care only about filling their pockets (and in Rowland's case, his friends pockets) with your taxpayer dollars. It's not fair to the hard working voters in Connecticut who pay some of the highest taxes in the nation (sales tax, state income tax, gas tax, property taxes, etc).

Whether it's a Republican, Democrat, or an Independent, all crooked politicians should be exposed, booted right out of office, and placed in jail as they betray their oath of office and steal from all of us.

Now Republicans being crooks on a national level…well that’s another matter.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

BEWARE: You cell phone records are for sale

You think I'm kidding, look at what AMERICABlog was able to do to General Wesley Clark and it all done legally!

I reported the other day that your cell phone records are on sale online for anyone to buy, without your permission. Well, this morning AMERICAblog bought former presidential candidate, and former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO (SACEUR), General Wesley Clark's cell phone records for one hundred calls made over three days in November 2005, no questions asked. (Clark's cell phone provider is Omnipoint Communications, which seems to be related to T-Mobile.)

All we needed was General Clark's cell phone number and our credit card, and 24 hours later we had one hundred calls the general made on his cell phone in November. The calls included a number of calls to Arkansas, to foreign countries, and at least one call to a prominent reporter at the Washington Post. To ensure that we actually had General Clark's correct cell phone number, we called the number this morning and the voice mail recording that answered said:

"Hi, this is Wes Clark, leave a message [unintelligible]."

We have subsequently called that number and spoken to a real person to confirm its authenticity, and to make sure General Clark was aware of this issue and what we were doing.

This is clearly outrageous. But let me first say, as an aside, that I bought my own Cingular Wireless phone records this past weekend and reported on it on AMERICAblog. I wouldn't do this to any other public person without first doing it to myself. But even after reporting on this gross violation of my (and your) personal privacy, Congress, the Administration, and the phone companies have yet to act effectively. (And they have known about it since at least this past July when the Washington Post reported on it.) So we decided to attempt to buy the records of a celebrity, so to speak. And we unfortunately succeeded.


You still don't believe that you records can be bought, go to these sites and try and buy your own cell phone record. You'll be shocked at how easy it is to obtain someones records.

Here's are two places where John at AMEIRCABlog used to get General Clark's phone records.

1. Locate Cell (110.00 per record)
2. CellTolls (89.95 per record)

This is clearly outrageous. I know of many political figures who wouldn't want someone obtaining their phone records. Wanna dig up some dirt on a candidate? What better way to do it than grabbing their phone records?

The worse part is that Congress has known about this for at least the last six months and have done nothing. Talk about Congress looking out for your best interest.

The only question now remaining is why President Bush, our leaders in Congress, and our wireless phone companies (at the very least T-Mobile and Cingular, whose customers' records are available online to anyone) have known about this problem for at least six months but have yet to fix it.

PS CBS News is going to report on the cell records privacy scandal tonight (1/12/06) on their evening news broadcast.

Michelle Jacklin joins Team DeStefano

Didn't take her long to find a new job.
In two weeks I will be getting on board the effort to elect John DeStefano Governor of Connecticut. I’m excited to announce that I will be joining the DeStefano Campaign staff as Director of Policy and Research.

As many of you are probably aware, I’ve spent the past 28 years at The Hartford Courant, most recently as political columnist and a member of the editorial board. During my tenure at the newspaper, I covered six gubernatorial campaigns, seven U.S. Senate contests, countless congressional and legislative races and the administrations of Govs. Bill O’Neill, Lowell P. Weicker Jr., John G. Rowland and M. Jodi Rell.

I firmly believe that Mayor DeStefano will do for Connecticut what he's done for New Haven, which is to restore its economic vitality, improve its quality of life, find creative solutions for its problems and make it an even better place to live, work and do business.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

NSA whistleblower speaks

Okay, now I'm afriad.
President Bush has admitted that he gave orders that allowed the NSA to eavesdrop on a small number of Americans without the usual requisite warrants.

But Tice disagrees. He says the number of Americans subject to eavesdropping by the NSA could be in the millions if the full range of secret NSA programs is used.

"That would mean for most Americans that if they conducted, or you know, placed an overseas communication, more than likely they were sucked into that vacuum," Tice said.

Lieberman vows to run as a independent if he loses Democratic primary

Now this is rich.
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman said Tuesday he is ready to fight to retain his seat in the Senate even if it means running an independent campaign.

This would be a smart move seeing that he's so popular among Republicans in the state.

Between his interview with the left-leaning Fairfield Weekly (which on one point called him a traitor) and his recent statements, it seems that Lieberman knows that he is somewhat unpopular among liberals in the state and that he could be in for a pretty ugly during the primary season. Whether this means he'll lose in the primary remains to be seen but Lieberman has given ever indication that he will have his name on the ballot in November.

He then added, in response to a question, that if he were to lose a primary he would still seek re-election.

"I intend to be on the ballot in November," he declared.


BTW: Untill Ned Lamont or Lowell Weicker or another challenger offically gets into the race, there is no way to judge how the primary or the election will turn out so the new Quinnipiac poll means little to me at this time.

Talk to me in a few months once everyone gets to know Lamont better (if he runs). Right now, it's just too early (although Lieberman only has a 50% favorable rating among Democrats, and only 53% approve of him overall which shows that he's somewhat vulnerable).

So much news, so little time

Oh my!

There's so much news to cover I don't know where to begin.

First, we have new poll numbers from Quinnipiac that put Joe Lieberman in a good position. Does this mean that there is no chance Lamont can defeat him? Of course not but it means that any challenger has his work cut out for him and if you want to defeat Joe, you better do it during the primary because the Republicans love their favorite Democrat.

Second, fundraising numbers for the last quarter were released and Genghis over at CT Local Politics gives the rundown.

Lastly, have the Alito hearings and it seems like Senator Joe Biden is more interested in just rambling than actually asking Altio a question. The New York Times gives the play by play.

The highest ratio of words per panelist to words per nominee was that of Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, who managed to ask five questions in his 30-minute time allotment.

"I understand, Judge, I am the only one standing between you and lunch, so I'll try to make this painless," he began, with some promise.

Mr. Biden then dived into a soliloquy on Judge Alito's failure to recuse himself from cases involving the Vanguard mutual fund company, which managed the judge's investments. After 2 minutes 50 seconds - short for the senator - Mr. Biden did appear to veer toward a question, but abandoned it to cite Judge Alito's membership in a conservative Princeton alumni group. Mr. Biden discoursed on that for a moment, then interrupted himself with an aside about his son who "ended up going to that other university, the University of Pennsylvania."
Now remember, there are ONLY 8 Democrats on the Judiciary Committee.

Joe Biden, only interested in getting press for himself...

Many other things are happening in Connecticut today but I'm short on time today so I'll try to post when I can.

Only in D.C.

Oh Barry!
D.C. Council member Marion Barry tested positive for cocaine use in the fall in a drug test ordered by a court after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor tax charges, according to two sources familiar with Barry's case.

Barry, who served four terms as mayor and was elected to the Ward 8 council seat in 2004, has since begun treatment for drug use, the sources said, but Barry's failure to pass the mandatory drug test puts him in legal jeopardy.

[...]

Barry, interviewed last night in his Howard University Hospital room, where he's being treated for hypertension, said he did not deny accounts of his drug test and treatment but declined to discuss his case. "Write what you want to write," he told a Washington Post reporter. "That's my official quote. No more, no less."

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Judge Alito can't seem to remember association with racist anti-women rights group

Maybe this will help his memory.

Man, he's lying through his teeth about his association with the Concerned Alumni for Princeton. How can he remember some things he's done in the 80s and not others?

This isn't going to wash with the Democrats or the public as more of Alito's past becomes apparent to the public.

MyDD has more info on Alito's lying today and adds this to the mix.
Alito is lying about his involvement with Concerned Alumni for Princeton, and the reason he is lying is because membership with such an organization demonstrates an embarrassing level of opposition to civil rights in this country that should disqualify someone from being a Supreme Court Justice. That he is unwilling to be truthful during his confirmation hearings further demonstrates just how unqualified he is.

Manchester to Lieberman: You're no real Democrat

Oh man, now this is good TV (real video format). It's great to see Lieberman whine about how he's a real Democrat and how the Manchester Town Committee members really give it to him.

Lets hope more Democratic Town Committees have the guts to give the thumbs down to Lieberman.

Time to grill Alito

Okay. Enough with the grandstadning and lets get down to business.

This is serious.

Just in case you forgot...Judge Alito is REPLACING Sandra Day O'Connor (a.k.a. the swing vote) and make no question about it, this person is a hard-core CONSERVATIVE. I don't know about you, but I deeply concerned about this person and his opinions on many topic which the New York Times covered in today's editorial.

If President Bush had chosen a pragmatic, mainstream conservative like Justice O'Connor to fill the seat, these confirmation hearings would be a breeze. But now, the Senate has a duty to delve into the many areas in which Judge Alito's record suggests he is an extremist, including:

ABORTION Judge Alito has not only opposed Roe v. Wade, he has also worked to overturn it. When he applied for a promotion in the Reagan administration in 1985, he wrote that he was "particularly proud" of his legal arguments "that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." In meetings with senators, Judge Alito has talked about his respect for Roe, but he has said nothing to discourage his supporters on the religious right who back him because they believe he will vote to overturn it. The American people have a right to know, unambiguously, where Judge Alito stands on Roe.

PRESIDENTIAL POWER The continuing domestic wiretapping scandal shows that the Bush administration has a dangerous view of its own powers, and the Supreme Court is the most important check on such excesses. But Judge Alito has some disturbing views about handing the president even more power. He has argued that courts interpreting statutes should consider the president's intent when he signed the law to be just as important as Congress's intent in writing and passing the law. It is a radical suggestion that indicates he has an imperial view of presidential power.

CONGRESSIONAL POWER While Judge Alito seems intent on expanding the president's power, he has called for sharply reducing the power of Congress. In United States v. Rybar, he wrote a now-infamous dissent arguing that Congress exceeded its power in passing a law that banned machine guns. As a Reagan administration lawyer, he argued that Congress did not have the power to pass the Truth in Mileage Act to protect consumers from odometer fraud.

ONE PERSON ONE VOTE Judge Alito said in his 1985 application that he had become interested in constitutional law as a student partly because of his opposition to the Warren court's reapportionment rulings, which created the "one person one vote" standard. He seems to still have believed as a 35-year-old lawyer that these cases, which made legislative districts much more fair, came out the wrong way.

There are other areas - including civil rights, sex discrimination, the environment and criminal law - where Judge Alito's record appears extreme. The Senate should question him closely on all of them.

The Senate should also explore Judge Alito's honesty. According to a senator he met with, he tried to dismiss his statement about the Constitution's not protecting abortion as merely part of a job application, which suggests he will bend the truth when it suits his purposes. Judge Alito has said he does not recall being in an ultraconservative group called Concerned Alumni of Princeton, which opposed co-education and affirmative action. That is odd, since he boasted of his membership in that same 1985 job application. The tortuous history of his promise to Congress to recuse himself in cases involving the Vanguard companies, which he ultimately failed to do, should also be explored.

Judge Alito's nomination is often presented as an abortion rights showdown, but it is much more than that. Those who care about the broad range of rights and liberties that Americans now have, and about honesty in government, should tune into the hearings starting tomorrow - and call their senators with their reactions to what they hear.
I don't care about the Gallop polls and the public's view of ALito. Public opinion changes like the wind, a person's ideology doesn't. The senate has a obligation to demand answers from Alito regarding his exterme statements and if doen't give a satifactory answer, they should reject his nomination.

Gov. Rell does the right thing

Hat tip to Governor Rell in coming clean with the release of her donor list from the now infamous Dec 7th fundraiser.

What she does with her CHeif of Staff Lisa Moody is another matter...

From The Hartford Courant
After nearly a month of indecision, Gov. M. Jodi Rell's election campaign said Monday that it is close to making public the names of about 75 mostly senior administration employees who attended a controversial fundraiser now under investigation by two state agencies.

Rell's campaign press secretary, Rich Harris, said Monday afternoon that the governor's campaign personnel were calling people who donated at the Dec. 7 fundraiser at the Marco Polo Restaurant in East Hartford "to let them know of the governor's intention to release the list of names."

Harris said it is possible that the names will not be released today, because the campaign's priority is to meet a deadline of midnight today for filing its official campaign financing report with the secretary of the state.

The Courant last week listed 15 commissioners and agency heads identified by sources as having attended or made contributions in connection with the fundraiser. Sources say the list Rell's campaign will release will include at least nine other department or agency heads in addition to those previously reported.

The contributing commissioners or agency heads not previously reported include Banking Commissioner John Burke, who gave $500; Homeland Security commissioner James Thomas, $100; Revenue Services Commissioner Pamela Law, $2,450; Connecticut Innovations Inc. President Chandler Howard, $2,500; Veterans Affairs Commissioner Linda Schwartz, $2,000; Agriculture Commissioner R. Philip Prelli, $2,500; Children and Families Commissioner Darlene Dunbar, $1,000; Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Thomas Kirk, $1,500; and S. Derek Phelps, executive director of the Connecticut Siting Council, $1,000.

Many of the agency and department heads were accompanied by deputies or other high-ranking members of their staffs.

There is nothing illegal, in itself, about such an aggregation of appointees at a fundraising event.

But questions of illegality have arisen in connection with the Marco Polo event because Rell's chief of staff, M. Lisa Moody, handed multiple invitations to several state commissioners in the governor's Capitol office suite - some with her handwritten notation to "bring check" - and asked them in turn to give invitations to subordinates.

Officials who passed the invitations on to others may have violated a state law banning the solicitation of campaign contributions by "any department head or deputy department head."

Meet Ned Lamont

THe Hartford Courant did an interview Ned Lamont and here's a few things he said about challenging Lieberman.
Ned Lamont, whose family tree includes a Who's Who of Wall Street and a famous student of socialism, said Monday he is leaning toward challenging Lieberman for the Democratic nomination.

"Right now, I am strongly inclined," Lamont said.

Lamont, 52, the president and founder of a cable-television company, Lamont Digital Systems, said he would run only if he concluded that Lieberman could be defeated in a primary.

"If you go in, you don't go in to make a statement," Lamont said. "You go in to win."

[...]

"I've been talking to a lot of people over the last few weeks. I continue to reach out and talk to some people. I have not made up my mind. That will probably take a few weeks," Lamont said.


Lamont is receiveing alot of support ranging from liberal activists to possible independent challenger Lowell Weicker.

"I hope Ned does gangbusters," said Weicker, who has known Lamont for years and met with him as recently as last week. "But this doesn't get me off the hook."

Weicker, who would run as an independent, said he still might oppose Lieberman if Lamont seems unlikely to win the primary, which would be held Aug. 8. Weicker said the picture should grow clearer by spring.

[...]

Tom Swan, the executive director of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, is among the liberal activists who have encouraged Lamont after searching for a candidate with the will and the resources to challenge a three-term U.S. senator.

It is "very difficult, if not impossible, for someone that is not a celebrity, a high-ranking elected official or has an ability to finance part of their own campaign to seriously consider challenging an incumbent senator," Swan said.


All in all, it's a pretty good article for those who want to know more about the person who might challenge Senator Lieberman and I encourage everyone to give it a read.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Analysis of senators opening statements at the Alito hearings

yawn.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The President appoints another unqualified friend while Lieberman changes his tune about supporting a Bush nominee

After the screw up of Michael Brown, President Bush appoints another unqualified friend named Julie Myers to head the Department of Immigration? Will Bush ever learn?

From the New York Times
Senate Democrats this week sharply criticized President Bush's decision to install Julie L. Myers, a White House official, as head of the nation's immigration enforcement agency despite concerns on the part of some about her qualifications for the job.

Ms. Myers, a 36-year-old lawyer, will be sworn in on Monday. She currently serves as the president's special assistant for personnel and previously worked as an assistant secretary at the Department of Commerce. She has never managed a large department or dealt extensively with immigration issues.

When Mr. Bush nominated Ms. Myers last year, Democratic and Republican senators raised concerns about her lack of experience, and her Senate confirmation appeared to be in doubt. Some critics said they feared that her political connections, rather than her qualifications, had driven the decision to select her to lead the bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has 15,000 employees and a budget of about $4 billion.

On Wednesday, Mr. Bush bypassed the Senate confirmation process and used his power of recess appointment to install Ms. Myers as director of the bureau, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. The department's secretary, Michael Chertoff, praised Ms. Myers, saying that she possessed "the experience, judgment and determination" necessary for the job.

But some Senate Democrats said they were still concerned about her ability to manage the bureau. The agency has been beset by controversies, including accusations of mismanagement of its budget and questions about its effectiveness in enforcing immigration laws.

At the Department of Commerce, Ms. Myers supervised a unit of 170 employees.


While President Bush is still up to his old tricks of appointing his buddies, Senator Lieberman does a flip-flop in appointing Bush's pals with his lack of support of Myers.

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut, said on Friday that Ms. Myers "really was not qualified for the position." Mr. Lieberman said Congress had intended the position to be held by someone with at least five years' management experience.

"In my opinion, she lacks the management background," he said. "And one of her key responsibilities is to enforce immigration laws, and she has virtually no immigration experience."


Is this the same Lieberman who had no problem with appointing Bush's other friend, former FEMA head Michael Brown? Let's take a look back in time...

Michael D. Brown, relieved of his hurricane relief duties Friday, didn't get much scrutiny from the Senate at a 2002 confirmation hearing.

The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency appeared before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, then chaired by Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, D-Conn., when he was nominated as the agency's deputy director. The polite 42-minute hearing attracted only four senators, and before it was over, Lieberman offered his support.

[...]

But bloggers on Friday suggested that Lieberman could have learned three years ago that Brown might not be up to such a task. An online debate began late Thursday when Juliette N. Kayyem, a lecturer in public policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, posted an account of Brown's June 19, 2002, confirmation hearing.

Titled "42 Minutes of Shame," she described how "Mike Brown suffered 42 breathtaking minutes of serious nothingness (unless Lieberman's withering questioning regarding whether Brown would sufficiently keep the Senate informed - duh, yes) to become deputy director of FEMA."

[...]

Lieberman talked about FEMA's expanding role, how the disaster relief agency has "got to prepare for and respond to terrorist attacks at home." He quizzed Brown about whether the new mission would find FEMA continuing to maintain its network of strong contacts with state and local officials.

"We've already started down that path," Brown said. "Our partnership has to be with all agencies responding to disasters, all first responders."

Lieberman told him, "That's a good answer."

He spent 8 minutes asking Brown a series of questions, including one on chemical and biological preparedness. "Regardless of the cause of the disaster," Brown assured him, "our response is the same."

Later in the hearing, Lieberman returned for a new round of questions, notably one about preparedness in Connecticut in case of a disaster at a nuclear facility.

Brown said FEMA's role was "a very serious one," and he pledged to look closely at evacuation plans to make sure they were adequate.

Such replies were adequate for Lieberman, who told Brown at the end of the hearing, "I certainly will support your nomination."


Lieberman is just too much. The only reason he is now against Myers is because of the FEMA screwup with Hurricane Katrina and the bi-partisan outrage over the qualifications of Myers.

In other words, if this criticism was split by party lines, Lieberman would have no problem offering his support for Bush's nominee.

Now lets jump back to Myers...

Mr. Bush nominated Ms. Myers for the position in June, but the decision first stirred a furor in September after Hurricane Katrina, as the administration faced criticism about the performance of Michael D. Brown, then the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Mr. Brown, a Republican without prior experience in managing disasters, was brought to Washington by a friend, Joe M. Allbaugh, his predecessor at FEMA.

Ms. Myers, who has held a variety of federal jobs over the last four years, drew attention because of her ties to the White House and some senior officials. She is a niece of Gen. Richard B. Myers, who recently stepped down as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the wife of John Wood, Mr. Chertoff's chief of staff.

Criticism of her nomination was not limited to the comments of Democrats. In September, National Review, an influential conservative publication, urged Mr. Bush to withdraw Ms. Myers's nomination. In an editorial, the magazine compared her to Mr. Brown and called her "another unqualified nominee for a vital position in the Department of Homeland Security."