Friday, March 10, 2006
I'm really need a larger server.
I'm having trouble finding space to upload all of the video from Lamont's appearence in Torrington. I'm working things out now and I promise to give a full report ASAP.
I guess it's time to spend more cash for more space (UGH).
Thursday, March 09, 2006
If you saw Ned Lamont yesterday in Torrington...
please, please, email me at email@example.com. I'd like to talk to you.
Bush blames Congress for Katrina problems
Six months after Hurricane Katrina, President Bush got a close-up look Wednesday at the mountains of debris, the abandoned homes and the boarded-up businesses that are shocking reminders of the "pain and agony" New Orleans endures still.Good grief! He can't be serious. This is the person who too busy playing a guitar on vacation while a level five hurricane (which he was warned about) wiped the gulf states off the map.
In the devastated Lower Ninth Ward, few residents were around to tell Bush how they felt. But two young women held up a sign for his motorcade that said, "Where's my government?" Farther up the road, a man waved a flattened cardboard box on which he had written, "Pres. cut the red tape and help us."
"We want people coming home," Bush said.
To help make that a reality, the president said Congress must come forward with money to compensate Louisianans whose homes were damaged or destroyed and to rebuild New Orleans' broken levees. Without it, Bush said, residents and businesses won't have enough confidence in their city's future to return and bring it alive again.
He criticized Congress' earlier diversion of $1.5 billion in levee-rebuilding money to non-New Orleans-related projects, saying lawmakers "shortchanged the process" of rebuilding the city. He said Congress must reverse the decision — even as lawmakers were poised to do so. A $19 billion hurricane-relief measure, set for approval by a key House panel, provides $1.5 billion in various Army Corps of Engineers water projects, chiefly for rebuilding New Orleans' levee systems.
The House bill also includes $4.2 billion in hurricane housing projects, but lawmakers directed that money to all states affected by Katrina. Bush said Congress must dedicate all that money just to Louisiana.
Now after six months, the President wants us to believe that Congress is at fault for the slow recovery response? Does anyone believe a word that comes out of his mouth anymore?
Democrats said Bush has not done enough to help the city recover. Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and John Kerry of Massachusetts issued a report they said detailed the Bush administration's failures to respond adequately to the needs of homeowners and small businesses.The President said the levees will be better...gotcha. Just like there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and no one from the White House outed a CIA covert agent, and no one anticipated that the levees would be breached, etc, etc, blah, blah.
The report said 120,000 Gulf Coast residents are waiting to find out if they will get a disaster loan while more than 140,000 others have been turned down.
Some independent experts have suggested that the Army Corps of Engineers is taking shortcuts and using shoddy materials to meet the president's June 1 deadline to rebuild the levees. The agency denies those allegations and Bush said the levees will be "equal or better than what they were before Katrina."
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Lamont does Torrington
I was hoping to post a report on Lamont's appearence in Torrington tonight but I'm still converting the video I shot.
I'll talk about the "interesting" meet and greet tomorrow. Let's just say that it was a unique experience that I'll remember for some time.
BTW: what ever happen to the beef nachos Ned ordered?
Lamont site gets a makeover
Rell officials pay fines
The flap over Rell campaign fundraiser seems to be comming to a conclusion but many questions remain. If the aides won't admit to violating the law, why are they paying a fine and why is Lisa Moody allowed to walk away from this matter with only a slap on the wrist from the governor?
Most, if not all, of the top Rell administration officials who improperly distributed gubernatorial fundraiser invitations have agreed to pay $500 civil fines under settlements up for approval today by state election enforcers - moving an election-year embarrassment for Gov. M. Jodi Rell close to an official, if not political, conclusion.
Several sources said Tuesday that roughly 20 state commissioners and their deputies - under investigation for handing their subordinates invitations for a Dec. 7 Rell campaign fundraiser - have signed agreements to pay the fine without admitting they violated a law banning them from soliciting political contributions.
The State Elections Enforcement Commission will consider the case this morning in Hartford, and "I am hoping that it will be concluded," Jeffrey B. Garfield, the commission's executive director, said Tuesday. He would not talk beyond that generality or confirm sources' reports of the settlements, which require commission approval.
Many of the affected officials have griped privately about having to pay a fine when the official who told them to hand out the invitations - Rell's chief of staff, M. Lisa Moody - escaped legal sanctions because she fell outside the law banning solicitations by "any department head or deputy department head."
A legislative committee will hold a hearing today on a bill that would close that loophole, and include Moody and the rest of the governor's staff under the solicitation ban.
The elections enforcement panel could have imposed a $2,000 civil fine on any official found in violation of the law. The panel's non-criminal probe continued after Chief State's Attorney Christopher L. Morano last month dropped his own investigation into possible criminal charges, saying a prosecution would have required proof of knowing and willful conduct.
However, Morano has been called to testify today before the legislature's elections committee to give his views on a bill intended to close the Moody loophole - and comments Tuesday by the committee's co-chairman indicate Morano may face some pointed questions.
Co-chairman Christopher Caruso, D-Bridgeport, said Morano has "set election law on its ear" by failing to proceed based on a perception of a lack of requisite intent. "Is he saying it's OK to do this?"
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
NOTE TO JOE: Don't piss off Howie Klein
Howie Klien rips into Lieberman again and exposes the author of the anonymous writer who demanded that the Huffington Post remove Klein's original post regarding Joe Lieberman's support for censorship.
I should have known Dan Gerstein was the the anonymous writer...the little snake.
Last week after I wrote about my battles with Joe Lieberman during my time in the music business, the Huffington Post got a letter of complaint from someone who described himself as a "former associate of Joe Lieberman." They offered this person the opportunity to write a post of his own adressing my comments, but the individual was only interested in the Lieberman default position -- censorship.Joe, I think you should call off your dogs because Howie is killing you.
He demanded my post be cut or retracted. The Huffington Post instead printed my response, entitled No, Senator Lieberman, I Won't Retract My Statement.
Since that time the original letter of complaint has been forwarded to me, and the identity of the person doing Lieberman's dirty work was revealed. The man's name is Dan Gerstein, and I am happy to address his specific complaints, even if he is only interested in censoring and mischaracterizing mine.
In Gerstein's email to the Huffington Post, he said he was concerned"about Howie Klein's vicious rant against my old boss, Joe Lieberman, that's up on your site now. I am less concerned with Klein's absurb mischaracterizations of Lieberman's position on free speech issues -- which I would be happy to debate him on -- than with his slanderous statements about Lieberman being a racist and a homophobe.I want to point out that we're not talking about someone who volunteered to hand out flyers at a Lieberman rally in Stamford once. Dan Gerstein was a senior Democratic strategist who worked with Lieberman for 10 years and collaborated with him on the infamous stab in the back he administered to Bill Clinton at a time when only partisan Republicans were calling for Clinton's impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky brouhaha.
"Those accusations are not open to debate -- they are demonstrably untrue. Lieberman went to Mississippi to register voters in 1963 and then marched with MLK, hardly the work of a racist. In addition, he has long been a leading cosponsor of ENDA, and he introduced a domestic partnership benefits bill for federal employees -- hardly the work of a homophobe. (If necessary I can send you a much longer exposition on Lieberman's record on civil rights.)
"As such, I would ask you to remove those references from Klein's post or take it down. These kind of wild, unsubstantiated, sleazy attacks have no place on a blog that is trying to promote a serious, substantive political debate. Indeed, I have great respect for your site precisely because unlike much of the liberal blogosphere, your commentators have refrained from this kind of ugly vituperation an written on a far higher plane. Please don't let people like Howie Klein drag you down into that gutter."
Remember this:"The President apparently had extramarital relations with an employee half his age, and did so in the workplace, in vicinity of the Oval Office. Such behavior is not just inappropriate. It is immoral. And it is harmful, for it sends a message of what is acceptable behavior to the larger American family, particularly to our children, which is as influential as the negative messages communicated by the entertainment culture."Gerstein is proud of his co-authorship of this particular speech and boasts of it quite prominently in his online bio.
His own website goes on to proclaim that:He was the chief architect of Lieberman's high-profile values agenda, helping to craft the Vchip law and initiating an FTC investigation into the marketing of adult-rated entertainment products to children. He was a leading strategist behind the passage of the groundbreaking No Child Left Behind education reform bill.The one other bit of context, also in Dan's own words, that I'd like to ask you to consider is the recent editorial attack he made in the WALL STREET JOURNAL against Democratic netroots activists claiming that listening to the reviews of the Democrats' performance in the Alito hearings make it easy to come away thinking much of our party "is living in a parallel universe."
Now I never called Dan's old boss a racist, of course (Dan, who prides himself at being a communications expert, made that up to make a point). What I said was that Lieberman "made racism quasi-acceptable by framing it as being against unfair affirmative action." Dan points out that in 1963 Lieberman "marched with Martin Luther King, hardly the work of a racist" (Dan's strawman again). Well today Joe Lieberman marches with George W. Bush. And between his heady student days in the 60's and his taking up residence deep in Bush's posterior, he had been marching with William F. Buckley, Rick Santorum, Lynn Cheney and Bill Bennett.
I'm not an African-American. But I'll invoke Dr. Manning Marable, Professor of History and Political Science and the Director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University, as he assessed what Lieberman's addition to the Gore ticket meant for African-Americans in 2000:I looked at the staged New York Times photograph of Senator Lieberman standing before the meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus at the recent Democratic National Convention. Standing o either side of Lieberman are Labor Secretary Alexis M. Herman and Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Only hours before, Herman and Waters had engaged in a spirited public disagreement over the selection of Lieberman. In the photo, Herman looks relieved, and Waters appears sad. Perhaps Maxine reflects the grim realization of other black Democrats, who are now forced to campaign for candidates and a party platform they privately oppose. All they are left with is to frighten black voters to the polls with the spectre of a Republican victory.Prophetic though he was, I'm sure Dr. Marable would be consigned to Dan's parallel universe as well. But my original point remains -- Lieberman made his bones as a conservative in the Democratic party whose opposition to affirmative action gave racists in the GOP cover for their anti-civil rights agendas by providing them a "quasi-acceptable" frame. That's what I said in my original piece and I stand by it.
They don't realize the obvious: the Republicans have already won. By accepting Lieberman onto the ticket, as NATION writer David Corn states, Gore "has accepted -- or surrendered to -- the Bush terms of battle." Bush, Cheney, Gore and Lieberman, in the end, only reflect variations of the same bankrupt political philosophy.
Now, I am more qualified to speak about Lieberman as a homophobe because I am a gay American. Lieberman's condescending statement to the New Haven Advocate that "some of my best friends are gays and lesbians" just goes to show how out-of-touch and patently dishonest he is. My gay friends and I remember -- viscerally remember -- the emotions that Lieberman stirred up by labeling us as some kind of a dysfunction that society had to be protected from.
If not for George H.W. Bush's veto, Lieberman's viciously homophobic (and youthophobic and free-speech-o-phobic) Media Marketing Accountability Act, which I'm gathering from his website might actually have been Dan's idea, would be another law singling out gay people for special treatment -- i.e., that they can't be mentioned in songs, at least not in songs that songwriters want sold in the vast majority of retail accounts. And special treatment is something Lieberman feels is needed for gay Americans, something I could understand -- though still abhor -- from a senator from Utah or Alabama, but not from an enlightened, progressive state like Connecticut.
In 1996 Joe "Some of My Best Friends Are" Lieberman voted for the reprehensible Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). We know Lieberman is not a real friend of gay men and women. When a guy like Paul Hackett from a deep red Ohio backwater says "gay marriage -- who the hell cares? If you're gay you're gay -- more power to you. What you want is to be treated fairly by the law and any American who doesn't think that should be the case is, frankly, un-American," we know we have a real friend we can trust. Lieberman is, at best, equivocal.
New York's Gay City News pointed out how even Dick Cheney sounded like a staunch defender of gay rights as he stood next to Lieberman in their Vice-Presidential debate:...when questioned about government sanction of same-sex couples in the 2000 Vice Presidential debate, [Lieberman] gave a weaker answer than Dick Cheney, father of out lesbian Mary Cheney. The Republican said, 'I think we ought to do everything we can to tolerate and accommodate whatever kind of relationships people want to enter into,' incurring the wrath of the religious right. (His administration, of course, has done nothing to advance same-sex partner rights.) Lieberman in that same debate said his mind 'is open to taking some action that will address these elements of unfairness while respecting the traditional religious and civil institution of marriage.'He still opposes the right of gay men and women to marry. I wonder what all his best friends must think.
In a Boston Globe survey last week, Lieberman stopped short of endorsing even civil unions.
Lieberman thinks of himself as part of some kind of morality-squad empowered by the electorate to set the values for the country. He may have qualified as a progressive when he was in his 20s. He has amassed quite a record since then for reactionary thought and action, including the founding with Lynne Cheney of a group which published a list of college professors whom right-wingers deem un-Americanan. It's a record that will help catapult Ned Lamont into the U.S. Senate and give Lieberman an opportunity to clean-up on the rubber chicken circuit with like-minded, atavistic reactionaries like Zell Miller and Bill Bennett.
Same talking points, different country
John is right. These wingnuts are dangerous, very dangerous.
Bush on Iraq, March 13, 2002:Don't watch the GOPers, watch Lieberman!And so one of the -- what the Vice President is doing is he's reminding people about this danger, and that we need to work in concert to confront this danger. Again, all options are on the table, and -- but one thing I will not allow is a nation such as Iraq to threaten our very future by developing weapons of mass destruction.Cheney on Iran, March 7, 2006:"For our part, the United States is keeping all options on the table in addressing the irresponsible conduct of the regime," Cheney said in a speech to the pro-Israel lobby group, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee.Just watch the Hill GOPers start to line up behind the drumbeat. It's an election year, after all.
"And we join other nations in sending that regime a clear message: We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon."
Lamont opens shop in Norwalk
Why does Ned Lamont look so happy? Maybe because he just opened his first campaign office and is one step closer to defeating Joe Lieberman.
The Stamford Advocate gives the rundown on Ned Lamont's campaign office opening in Norwalk yesterday.
Ned Lamont, a 52-year-old cable entrepreneur from Greenwich, has done everything -- created buttons, printed bumper stickers, opened campaign offices -- short of announcing his candidacy against U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman for the Democratic Party's nomination.Be nervous Joe, very nervous.
That, he told the two dozen volunteers at last night's opening of his campaign office at 91 N. Main St., will be Monday at the old State House in Hartford.
"We're going to start with Joe's retirement party," he said to cheers.
Lamont, who stopped in Norwalk between union visits and a speaking engagement at Fairfield University, said he won't turn back now.
"I'd be lynched and hung by my ankles," he said in an interview. "We're full out."
Lamont's campaign manager, Tom Swan, said the Norwalk office will serve as the candidate's grassroots outpost in the 4th Congressional District. Lamont's headquarters is in Meriden, and other offices will be opened in the coming weeks in the Danbury, New Haven, Hartford and New London areas.
Lamont was greeted by applause as he entered the second floor office. Linda Arden of Stamford, Lieberman's hometown, said "thanks for running."
"Oh, we're going all the way, don't you worry," Lamont responded.
UPDATE: In case you haven't seen it yet, here's video of Ned Lamont speaking to his supporters in New Haven this past Saturday (this embedded video thing is still in the beta stage so if things get choppy, hit pause and let the video load).
Do you feel safe
Somewhere, John Kerry is saying "I told you so."
Democrats in Congress almost daily blame their GOP counterparts for security holes in the U.S. maritime industry.So tell me again why the Republicans are better at protecting us when it comes to national security?
They trot out votes that show the Republican-controlled House and Senate turned back more than a dozen Democratic efforts to secure millions of dollars more for port security since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
''When it comes to protecting the ports, Republicans really do have a pre-9/11 mind-set,'' said Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind.
Among the votes:
--In 2003, House Republicans, on a procedural vote, agreed to kill a Democratic amendment that would have added $250 million for port security grants to a war spending package.
--Two years later, nearly all House Republicans voted against an alternative Homeland Security authorization bill offered by Democrats that called for an additional $400 million for port security.
--Senate Republicans stood together in 2003 to set aside a Democratic amendment that would have provided $120 million more for port cargo screening equipment.
--One year later, all but six Senate Republicans voted to reject a Democratic attempt to add $150 million for port security in a Homeland Security appropriations bill.
That ''record of failure'' presents ''an important opportunity for Democrats to argue that they are the ones who have the right approach to protecting the country,'' maintains Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster.
House Republicans were put on record again last week on port security when Democrats tried to force a debate and vote on legislation that would require congressional approval of DP World's takeover. The effort failed. Only two Republicans voted with Democrats.
Monday, March 06, 2006
Bush at 37 percent
Indiana voted twice to elect George W. Bush to the White House, but an Indianapolis Star poll indicates more than half of Hoosiers now disapprove of the job he's doing as president.
Only 37 percent of those surveyed last week think Bush is doing a good job as president, while 56 percent disapprove.
How bad are the results for Bush? For a Republican in a red state like Indiana, very bad. The president's approval rating has dropped 18 points in Indiana since March 2005.
The president's approval rating equals the 37 percent approval rating Hoosiers gave President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, back in August 1994. And the rating mirrors the national view of the president. A recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll showed the president's approval rating nationwide at 38 percent.
Now remember, this is Indidana, one of the reddest states in the country and even in that state, Bush's poll numbers are in the toilet. Even his poll numbers on Iraq are a joke.
45% of Hoosiers 35 to 54 approve of the way Bush is handling the situation in Iraq, but only 29 percent of those 65 and older do so.
Sound the alarm bells!
Robert Schmuhl, a professor of American studies at the University of Notre Dame, called the poll numbers a "very revealing" portrait of a presidency gone awry.
"Since his inauguration to the second term, we have seen something akin to a reverse Midas touch," in which everything Bush handles turns not to gold, but lead, Schmuhl said.
Schmuhl cited the president's failed attempt to remake Social Security, the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina, the ongoing war in Iraq, the failed Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers and, most recently, the ports controversy.
"These numbers should be troubling to Republicans," Schmuhl said.
Proud to be out of touch
"And finally, I would say that, you know, we are a little bit out of touch in Hollywood every once in a while. I think it's probably a good thing. We're the ones who talk about AIDS when it was just being whispered, and we talked about civil rights when it wasn't really popular. And we, you know, we bring up subjects. This Academy, this group of people gave Hattie McDaniel an Oscar in 1939 when blacks were still sitting in the backs of theaters. I'm proud to be a part of this Academy. Proud to be part of this community, and proud to be out of touch."
George Clooney acceptance speech at the Oscars
Sunday, March 05, 2006
Civil war in Iraq
Joe, is it okay to speak out against this war now?
As Pentagon generals offered optimistic assessments that the sectarian violence in Iraq had dissipated this weekend, other military experts told ABC News that Sunni and Shiite groups in Iraq already are engaged in a civil war, and that the Iraqi government and U.S. military had better accept that fact and adapt accordingly.Well Bush supporters, this is what you voted for. We have an incompetent administration that refuses to see the reality of the situation in Iraq which has cost the lives of hundreds of innocent Iraqis in the last two weeks alone.
"We're in a civil war now; it's just that not everybody's joined in," said retired Army Maj. Gen. William L. Nash, a former military commander in Bosnia-Herzegovina. "The failure to understand that the civil war is already taking place, just not necessarily at the maximum level, means that our counter measures are inadequate and therefore dangerous to our long-term interest.
"It's our failure to understand reality that has caused us to be late throughout this experience of the last three years in Iraq," added Nash, who is an ABC News consultant.
There is no end in sight, when will the public wake up and hold this administration accountable for their mistakes. At least we can throw out some of the administration's cheerleaders this year.
It was great seeing seeing so many bloggers at the Lamont campaign meeting yesterday. It is a great time to be covering politics in Connecticut and it's wonderful to see people like myself sharing the same experience.
On that note, I'm skipping Ned Lamont's appearence in Ridgefield today as things are heating up (politically speaking) in Danbury right now. It seems like the Democrats are fighting among themselves again and unlike other times, things are getting really ugly with the upcoming Danbury Democratic primary happening this Tuesday. In any event, I'll be spending more time covering event in the area on my other blog.
Over the next week, I'll be updating this blog and adding new features including a video gallery (which I'll talk about in more detail later). If things get alittle wacky on this blog, it's just me screwing around with the source code so have no fear.