US Politics

  Former Alabama Governor Ever The Politician After ConvictionJune 29, 2006 20:17 Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman showed he's ever the politician, even in defeat in court: He praised the jury that convicted him in a government corruption case and kept an upbeat stance even though it stopped his political career and left him financially drained.

Siegelman walked out of federal courthouse after his conviction Thursday afternoon with a smile on his face. He chatted with reporters, thanked supporters and predicted a reversal on appeal.

He even talked about a political comeback.

"He's been in state government so long, he knows how to take the good with the bad," said William Stewart, a political scientist at the University of Alabama.

But Stewart said the 60-yer-old politician's optimism is misplaced, even if his conviction is reversed on appeal.
  Tax Dollar Waste Alert: Flag Amendment Vote ExpectedJune 27, 2006 15:15 A constitutional amendment to ban flag desecration faces a close Senate vote Tuesday, with supporters and opponents agreeing it stood within two votes of the number needed to be sent to the states for ratification. A vote could come as early at 6 p.m. E.T.

With Independence Day a few days away, supporters said the flag amounts to a national monument in cloth that represents freedom and the sacrifice of American troops.

The Senate's vote represents the amendment's best chance to achieve the two-thirds majority required, 67 votes if all 100 members were present and voting. Thirty-eight states would then have to ratify it before the measure could become the nation's 28th constitutional amendment.
  From FoxNews???? Why Liberals Must Lead The War On Terror - Blog | Blogs | Popular Blogs | Video BlogsJune 27, 2006 15:14 Thirty-four years ago when I first became a candidate for public office, I had to ask myself one basic question: what did I stand for? How would I present myself to the voting public?

The answer turned out to be fairly simple – I was a pro-defense liberal. That may sound somewhat strange today, but it was not that unusual at the time.

After all, I grew up admiring a Democratic president, Harry Truman, who had saved western Europe, Greece and Turkey from communism with the Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine following World War II. And I greatly admired President John F. Kennedy, who had faced down the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

  Under Attack, Murtha Takes Shot At Seat Of PowerJune 20, 2006 08:58 A leading critic of the Iraq war says presidential adviser Karl Rove has lost touch with the harsh realities facing U.S. troops while he sits on his "fat backside" in air-conditioned Washington.

U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., made the comment over the weekend when asked about Rove's recent claim in New Hampshire that Democrats want to "cut and run" from Iraq.

"He's making a political speech. He's sitting in his air-conditioned office with his big, fat backside, saying, 'Stay the course.' That's not a plan," Murtha said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Rove, President Bush's top political adviser, took on Democratic critics of the war, singling out Murtha and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry by name, during a June 12 speech at a GOP dinner in Manchester, N.H.
  Bush Election Theft Saga Heats Up In OhioJune 20, 2006 08:51 Ohio's Governor Bob Taft, and his partner in crime in stealing the 2004 election in Ohio, President George W Bush, have a lot in common. Bush holds the record for the lowest approval ratings of any President in US history, and at a whopping 26%, Taft holds the title for the lowest approval rating for any Ohio governor since the University of Cincinnati started the poll 25 years ago in 1981.

And Taft's numbers are not likely to head upward any time soon. In what can only serve as another reminder of his conviction in 2005 on ethics charges, on June 13, 2006 the Ohio Supreme Court ordered Taft to turn over documents in response to a request by state Senator, Marc Dann, a Democratic candidate for attorney general, which Dann contends may help determine what happened to the money missing from state's Bureau of Worker's Compensation Fund.

In February 2006, one of Bush's Ohio Campaign chairman's, Thomas Noe, was charged with 53 felony counts for his role in the disappearance of millions of dollars from the rare-coin fund he managed for the BWC, including 22 counts of forgery, 11 counts of money laundering, 6 counts of aggravated theft, 8 counts of tampering with records, 5 counts of grand theft, and 1 count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
  Ex-Bush Aide Guilty Of CorruptionJune 20, 2006 08:45 A jury Tuesday convicted a former Bush administration official of four counts of lying and obstructing justice in the first trial to be held in connection with the influence-peddling scandal of lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

On the fifth day of deliberations, the jury found David Safavian — a former chief of staff at the General Services Administration — guilty of four of five counts of lying and obstructing justice.

Safavian sat impassively as the judge read the verdict and showed no expression when the judge announced the guilty verdicts on each of four counts. Sentencing was scheduled for Oct. 12.
  Drilling, Cuba Policies Split Bush SupportersJune 16, 2006 15:24 High oil prices are driving a wedge between energy companies and the Cuban-American community, two pillars of support for President Bush and his fellow Republicans.

Companies, including Houston-based Marathon Oil Corp., are lobbying Congress to be allowed to bid for oil and natural gas deposits in Cuban waters. They are backed by Republican lawmakers bucking Bush by supporting legislation to exempt the companies from the 1962 trade embargo and a ban on drilling within 100 miles of U.S. shores.

The U.S. need for energy and the likelihood that foreign companies will rush in to drill justifies the exemption, advocates say. "Are we supposed to sit by and let China drill in our backyard?" asks Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, a co-sponsor with 12 other lawmakers of legislation exempting the U.S. companies.

Cuban-American groups, meanwhile, say the legislation would just prop up the government of communist President Fidel Castro; if anything, they want the embargo toughened.

  Lawmakers' Finances Come Under ScrutinyJune 14, 2006 23:49 Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, under federal investigation for possible insider trading, will have a nice nest egg to fall back on when he retires from Congress in January, recording income last year of more than $5 million from his largest blind trust.

Frist, R-Tenn., is hardly the richest member of the millionaires' club of Congress, but he and numerous other lawmakers whose financial dealings have been questioned were under scrutiny as House and Senate lawmakers disclosed their finances Wednesday.

Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., steered millions in federal money to nonprofit groups in his district that had contributed to his campaigns. Mollohan, who has reported large increases in assets in recent years due to a boost in property values, claimed part ownership in a Washington property firm and several properties in Bald Head Island, N.C., each valued at $1 million to $5 million.

Mollohan stepped down as top Democrat on the House ethics committee because of charges, which he has denied, that he acted improperly.

  Bush Gets A Lift In Iraq And A Bump Back HomeJune 14, 2006 12:49 The pictures out of Baghdad on Tuesday morning spoke volumes. President Bush was beaming, the new Iraqi leader at his side, after pulling off a secret flight to the country that is the make-or-break project of his presidency.

But Bush has more to smile about than recent successes in Iraq, foremost the elimination of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and completion of the new government.

The president's top political adviser, Karl Rove, learned late Monday that he won't be indicted in the CIA leak case. A Republican won the June 6 special election to fill the San Diego congressional seat left vacant by former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham's bribery conviction. Recent appointments of Josh Bolten as White House chief of staff and Henry Paulson as treasury secretary also won widespread praise.

And the latest Gallup poll shows Bush at his highest job approval — 38 percent — since February.

  No Charges for RoveJune 13, 2006 14:31 Karl Rove, President George W. Bush's top political adviser, won't face criminal charges in a three- year investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's name, his lawyer said.

Rove was formally notified by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald yesterday that the prosecutor "does not anticipate" seeking charges against him, the attorney, Robert Luskin, said in a statement. "The special counsel's decision should put an end to the baseless speculation about Mr. Rove's conduct," Luskin said.

Randall Samborn, the special counsel's spokesman, couldn't be reached for comment.

Fitzgerald's decision not to pursue criminal charges against Rove removes a legal cloud from Bush's closest political aide, and comes at a time when Bush is trying to halt a slide in public opinion polls ahead of the November congressional elections.

  Byrd Truly The Elder StatesmanJune 13, 2006 04:49 Robert C. Byrd, a champion of classical oratory in the Senate and pork barrel spending back home, yesterday became the longest-serving senator in U.S. history.

The West Virginia Democrat marked his 17,327th day in the Senate by visiting his wife's grave and then listening to several colleagues praise his career. Uncharacteristically for a man who has rhapsodized about spring, Mother's Day and countless other topics in the Senate chamber, Byrd left the floor without speaking, struggling to maintain his composure.

"My darling wife, I just wish she had lived to see this day," he told reporters as he left. Erma Ora James Byrd, who died March 25, would have turned 89 yesterday.

  How To Reconnect With Voters And Realize Your Dreams Of VictoryJune 12, 2006 00:30 These are dark days for the Republican Party. Voters are angry at the government over the war in Iraq, the price of gas, Capitol Hill corruption, out-of-control spending, the Dubai port deal -- and Republicans control the government. They failed to deliver Social Security reform or ethics reform, and now they're failing to deliver immigration reform. After Katrina and Haditha, NSA wiretapping and CIA bungling, President Bush's approval ratings have sunk to Jimmy Carter levels. As the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal spreads, the GOP congressional leadership's ratings are approaching O.J. Simpson levels. And now the Fed is warning that the economy may tank.

So the political pundits, as always, want to know: What's wrong with the Democrats?

  Kentucky Governor Pleads Not Guilty To Hiring ChargesJune 09, 2006 19:04 An attorney for Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher entered a not-guilty plea for him Friday on three misdemeanor charges of violating state personnel laws.

Fletcher was not at the arraignment in Franklin District Court. The new judge appointed to handle the high-profile case told lawyers this week that the Republican governor could authorize his defense team to enter a plea for him. Fletcher has been vacationing in Florida and is expected to return to work Monday.

Special Judge David Melcher, whom Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Lambert appointed to the case after Franklin District Judge Guy Hart Jr. recused himself, set a tentative trial date for Nov. 8. He said attorneys had told him a trial would take two to three weeks. The date is one day after the general election.

Steve Pitt, an attorney for Fletcher, said the scheduling of the trial had nothing to do with the election.

Melcher also scheduled a pre-trial hearing for July 7.

  Don't Vote Purely On Party LoyaltyJune 09, 2006 17:21 I believe most will agree that American government has fallen to new lows. It has become a government that is not "for the people and by the people," but a government that has become beholden to big business. Of course, the blame falls on us, the American citizenry.

What is truly amazing is how the general public has turned into both Republican and Democratic lemmings. It is a pandemic of American naivete mixed with stupidity that some continue to support the political parties out of sheer misguided loyalty.

And now we have an administration of even greater insidious ministrations than the one that occurred in Nixonian times. The Bush/Cheney cabal is one of multiple foul-ups, yet people continue to support him much in the same way a die-hard Notre Dame fan supports the Fighting Irish regardless of win-loss statistics.

Iraq is a blot like Vietnam that will affect not only the foreign relations but the people of this country for years to come. Once and for all: Iraq had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 catastrophe. And in view of the latter, then we can only conclude that our invasion was an illegal one.

  Narrow Victory By G.O.P. Signals Fall ProblemsJune 08, 2006 16:03 The victory that Republicans squeezed out in a high-profile race to fill a Congressional vacancy here eased party anxieties Wednesday but signaled future difficulties as they confront tougher Democratic challenges in increasingly contested districts this fall.

The Republican candidate here, Brian P. Bilbray, won with 49 percent of the vote, defeating Francine Busby, the Democrat, who drew 45 percent, with the remaining votes going to an independent and a Libertarian, according to nearly complete returns.

Mr. Bilbray's failure to break 50 percent was striking. The Republican Party had poured workers and millions of dollars into avoiding defeat in a district where Republicans have a sizable registration advantage and where President Bush won by 10 percentage points in 2004. The previous holder of the seat, Randy Cunningham, who resigned after pleading guilty in a corruption scandal, defeated Ms. Busby in 2004 by 58 percent to 36 percent.

  Ann Coulter Lambasts Some 9/11 WidowsJune 07, 2006 17:48 The group of outspoken 9/11 widows who pushed for the commission to investigate the attacks are "self-obsessed" and act "as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them," conservative author Ann Coulter charges in her new book.

Coulter appeared on NBC's "Today" show on Tuesday, marking the release of "Godless: The Church of Liberalism" and reiterated her stance, saying the women used their grief "to make a political point."

In her book, Coulter said, "I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much."

The women are Kristen Breitweiser, Lorie Van Auken, Mindy Kleinberg and Patty Casazza of New Jersey. Coulter refers to them as the "Witches of East Brunswick," the New Jersey town where two of them live.

"Having my husband burn alive in a building brought me no joy," Van Auken told the Daily News in Wednesday's editions in response to Coulter.

  Faith-Based InitiativeJune 07, 2006 17:41 Save us... looks like KS senator Brownback is going to be running for president. "He has said he tries to see Jesus in his fellow senators."
  Angelides to Challenge SchwarzeneggerJune 07, 2006 17:25 A Democrat, Paul Angelides, has emerged from a bitter race to win the right to challenge California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger during the biggest primary night of the US election year.

A former Republican congressman from California also narrowly beat his Democratic rival early today for a House seat.

Former Republican congressman Brian Bilbray emerged victorious to fill the House of Representatives seat once held by jailed Randy “Duke” Cunningham, defeating Democrat Francine Busby, a San Diego-area school board member, in one of several contests in eight states closely watched as a possible early barometer of next autumn's vote.

  Retirement Account Of DeLay's Wife TracedJune 07, 2006 05:35 A registered lobbyist opened a retirement account in the late 1990s for the wife of then-House Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and contributed thousands of dollars to it while also paying her a salary to work for him from her home in Texas, according to sources, documents and DeLay's attorney, Richard Cullen.

The account represents a small portion of the income that DeLay's family received from entities at least partly controlled by lobbyist Edwin A. Buckham. But the disclosure of its origin adds to what was previously known about the benefits DeLay's family received from its association with Buckham, and it brings the total over the past seven years to about half a million dollars.

Buckham was DeLay's chief of staff before he became a lobbyist at the end of 1998, shortly before the account was opened and the flow of funds began. He has come under scrutiny from federal investigators because his lobbying firm received hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue from clients of indicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

  Technology Sharpens The Incumbents' EdgeJune 07, 2006 05:34 In Ohio's 1st Congressional District, Republican incumbent Steve Chabot is running up against his toughest reelection challenge in years. But his Democratic opponent is running up against Chabot's computer.

In one of the lesser-known perks of power on Capitol Hill, lawmakers are using taxpayer-funded databases to cultivate constituents more attentively than ever. Chabot -- a six-term legislator from Cincinnati who finds himself imperiled this year after years of easy races -- has a list of e-mail addresses of people who are most interested in tax cuts. His office recently hit the send button on a personal message to alert them to the congressman's support for extending tax breaks on dividends and capital gains.

  Distracter In ChiefJune 06, 2006 17:37 What uncharted realm lies beyond brazen cynicism? A wasteland of utter shamelessness, perhaps? A vast Sahara of desperation, where principle goes to die? Someday George W. Bush and the Republican right will be able to tell us all about this barren terra incognita, assuming they ever find their way home.

The Decider's decision to whip up a phony crisis over same-sex marriage -- Values under attack! Run for your lives! -- is such a transparent ploy that even conservatives are scratching their heads, wondering if this is the best Karl Rove could come up with. Bush might as well open his next presidential address by giving himself a new title: The Distracter.

Let's check in on what's happening in the real world:

Iraq has become a charnel house for the victims of escalating sectarian slaughter. On Saturday, a car bomb killed 28 people in Shiite-dominated Basra, and hours later gunmen killed nine Sunni worshipers in a mosque. On Sunday, on a road near Baghdad, assassins pulled travelers out of their minivans, sorted them by faith, killed nearly two dozen Shiites and let the Sunnis go. Yesterday, men wearing police uniforms grabbed at least 56 people from bus stations and travel agencies in Baghdad and took them away -- no one knows why, no one knows where.

  Feingold Calls For Bush CensureJune 05, 2006 14:52 Citing recurring violations of law by President Bush over the last several years, Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold told delegates attending the Maine Democratic State Convention on Saturday that the chief executive's domestic and foreign policies warrant a congressional investigation and probable censure.

Feingold, a potential Democratic presidential candidate himself in 2008, said he was unsure whether it was "appropriate" for the country to "actually go through the impeachment of a president." He was certain, however, that Bush's actions were exactly what the framers of the U.S. Constitution had in mind when they included high crimes and misdemeanors as impeachable offenses to remove the president, vice president and all civil officers of the United States.

"I know this, I'm not going to stand by and leave the pages of history blank and have it said that Russ Feingold lay down, didn't do a darn thing when the president of the United States directed an attack on the foundation of our laws and our nations," Feingold said. "If we do not stand at this time and do as I requested - censure the president of the United States - he will succeed in pushing us away anytime the president gets caught involving abuses of power."