US Politics

  Go Dean!July 28, 2006 22:56 Hmm... I might have compared her to Rommel or Goebels. She was just doing the dirty work for the real rulers, after all...

U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris demanded an apology Thursday from Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean, who during a speech this week likened the senatorial candidate to former Soviet ruler Josef Stalin.

Dean, in a speech to Democratic business leaders in West Palm Beach, made the remark in reference to the Harris' handling of the 2000 presidential election recount when she was Florida secretary of state and an honorary chairwoman of George W. Bush's Florida campaign.

Harris certified Bush's 537-vote win in Florida over Democrat Al Gore, putting him in the White House.

Dean said in Wednesday's speech that Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson is "going to beat the pants off Katherine Harris, who didn't understand that it is ethically improper to be the chairman of a campaign and count the votes at the same time. This is not Russia and she is not Stalin."

  Court Blocks Feds On Congressman's FilesJuly 28, 2006 16:12 A federal appeals court on Friday barred the Justice Department from reviewing evidence seized from a Louisiana congressman's office during an unprecedented FBI raid on his Capitol Hill office in May.

A three-judge panel ordered a federal trial judge to ensure that Democratic Rep. William Jefferson be given copies of seized evidence contained on more than a dozen computer hard drives, several floppy disks and two boxes of paper documents.

The panel said Jefferson then must be given the opportunity to invoke legislative privilege claims in private with the trial judge before investigators can review the materials.

  After 26 Years, Time For Change in VA?July 27, 2006 11:16 Ever since U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10) was first elected to Congress in 1980, the 13-term incumbent has breezed back into office every two years. Even in those instances when he's faced a well-funded challenger, as he did in 2004, the 67-year-old Republican has won by comfortable margins.

"Frank Wolf gets these challengers every few years and he just swats them away like annoying little flies," said Mark Rozell, a political science professor at George Mason University.

This fall, Judy Feder, 59, is hoping to succeed where her fellow Democrats have failed. On Nov. 7, she believes, a majority of the 10th Congressional District's 450,000 registered voters will elect her over Wolf.

"The voters of this district want a leader with a fresh perspective," said Feder, a health-care policy expert and dean of the Public Policy Institute at Georgetown University. "They want a fresh perspective. They want an elected official who actually cares about improving their quality of life."

Once considered a Republican stronghold, the 10th Congressional District — which includes McLean, Great Falls, Fair Oaks, Herndon, Centreville, Chantilly and Loudoun County — appears to be turning increasingly blue.

  Poll Suggests Gop Control Of House Is TenuousJuly 27, 2006 09:20 With Election Day just a little more than three months away, the Morning Edition polling team was asked to take the pulse of likely voters in the most competitive districts across the country.

Democrat Stan Greenberg and Republican Glenn Bolger found that, while republicans do a little bit better with these voters than they do in a nationwide sample, the numbers still point to trouble for the party in power.

Midterm congressional elections aren't conducted nationally, district by district, so this poll ignores the districts where the incumbent is safe, and looks only at districts where either party might win.
  Unindicted Co-Conspirators Named in Fletcher CaseJuly 26, 2006 11:38 State prosecutors filed documents yesterday with Franklin District Court that named at least 12 persons who have not been indicted but allegedly conspired with Gov. Ernie Fletcher to violate state personnel laws.

They included Fletcher's chief of staff, Stan Cave; former Commerce Secretary Jim Host; Ralph Hacker, a former assistant to Fletcher; former Personnel Secretary Erwin Roberts; Marc Williams, deputy transportation secretary; and Roy Mundy, a state Transportation Cabinet official who formerly was an official with Kentucky American Water.

Fletcher, Kentucky's first Republican governor since 1971, was indicted May 11 by a special Franklin County grand jury on three misdemeanor charges -- criminal conspiracy, first-degree official misconduct and political discrimination. The grand jury was empaneled in June 2005 at the request of Attorney General Greg Stumbo.

  CIA Says No Clearances Have Been Revoked Due To LeakJuly 26, 2006 10:26 No one in the Bush administration has been stripped of security clearances over the leak of former CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity to reporters three years ago.
In a letter to Sen. Frank Lautenberg, the Central Intelligence Agency said it had no record of anyone in the administration who is no longer privy to themost sensitive U.S. secrets because of the Plame leak.
The CIA also disclosed it has not yet completed a formal assessment of the damage to national security that may have been caused by Plame's outing in 2003.
The assessment won't be completed until a criminal investigation of the leak has been concluded, Christopher J. Walker, the CIA's director of congressional affairs, said in the July 19 letter to Lautenberg.
For more than a year, Lautenberg and other Democrats have been calling on President George W. Bush to fire presidential adviser Karl Rove and any other aides who discussed Plame's CIA status with reporters -- or, at the least, to revoke their security clearances.
  Moderate Democrats Propose Giving Everyone A Shot At The American DreamJuly 24, 2006 09:18 Moderate Democrats think they have the key to winning back power in Washington and across the country -- a package of economic proposals aimed at giving every American a shot at reaching the middle class.

"We thought it was important and necessary to rekindle the American dream," said Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa, a potential 2008 presidential candidate and the chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist think tank.

Sadly, Vilsack said, many of America's children nowadays don't have faith in the idea of an American dream.

"They don't believe in the notion that somehow they're going to have a great life, and many adults are just hoping that their kids have it as good as they have it. Deep down in America's psyche that troubles a lot of us," he said.
  Christian Conservative Leader Laid Low By Georgia Poll - Financial Times - Msnbc.ComJuly 19, 2006 23:08 He was once considered so influential that Time magazine put him on its cover under the banner, "The Right Hand of God".

But on Wednesday morning Ralph Reed's political ambitions lay in ruins following the failure of his attempt to become lieutenant governor of Georgia.

Mr Reed, the charismatic former head of the Christian Coalition, a powerful conservative group, was beaten in the state's Republican primary by Casey Cagle, a little-known state senator.

Running for lieutenant governor in his home state was supposed to be an easy first step on a political ladder that many assumed would eventually lead to high office in Washington.
  The Spy Who Sued MeJuly 18, 2006 12:37 Outed CIA agent Valerie Plame says Dick Cheney ruined her career--and she wants him to pay. Plame and her husband Joseph Wilson filed suit last week against the Veep, Karl Rove, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby and other officials. Here's our brief:

Why sue? Plame and Wilson, an ex-diplomat, allege a "conspiracy" among top White House officials to punish them after Wilson exposed flaws in pre-Iraq-war intelligence. They say exposing Plame as a CIA agent jeopardized their safety and invaded their privacy.

Privacy? They posed for Vanity Fair. Their embrace of the limelight could hurt them. But before columnist Robert Novak ran Plame's name, citing White House sources, she was unknown. Said her lawyer Christopher Wolf: "She was dragged into the public square."

  Democrat Leads In MN Senate PollJuly 18, 2006 08:12 Democrat Amy Klobuchar holds a strong lead over Republican Rep. Mark Kennedy in the latest Senate poll in Minnesota.

The Star Tribune Minnesota Poll showed Klobuchar with 50 percent of likely voters' support compared to 31 percent for Kennedy. The two are vying for the seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Mark Dayton, who is retiring after one term.

The poll was based on a survey of 813 adults statewide July 6-11. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.
  Roast Pig More Important than Foreign Policy?July 13, 2006 12:47 President Bush had more on his mind than Iran's nuclear program, Middle East tensions and Russian press freedoms during a visit to Germany Thursday.

He kept mentioning a wild boar, slaughtered and roasted according to local tradition, that he planned to share at a dinner with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in her home constituency at a Baltic resort.

"I'm looking forward to the feast you're going to have tonight. I understand I may have the honor of slicing the pig," Bush told Merkel at the outset of their joint news conference in Stralsund, north of Berlin.
  Clinton Faces Her Own Potential Anti-War ChallengeJuly 13, 2006 09:08 Like her fellow Democratic senator from neighboring Connecticut, Joseph Lieberman, New York's Hillary Rodham Clinton is facing her own potential anti-Iraq war primary challenge. But with a million differences.

Ned Lamont is a millionaire Connecticut businessman who has spent freely and dramatically narrowed Lieberman's lead in the polls.

In New York, Jonathan Tasini is a former president of the National Writers Union who had $25,565 in his Senate campaign account as of the end of March. Clinton had $20 million. Tasini hasn't even been included in most statewide independent polls.

  Best Democrat Presidential Candidate Is Al GoreJuly 12, 2006 10:03 There is no doubt about it. The best Democrat presidential candidate is Al Gore for the coming election in 2008. He has much more going for him than Hillary Clinton or any of the other Democrat Party front runners.

Some might scoff at his calling the president "a liar" and saying that he "betrayed his country," yet the man has the capital behind him. As reported in the AP on 2/9/2004: Al Gore: Bush "Betrayed" America

Let's look at what Gore is about and where he's been. He is striking poses for the upcoming elections. He does not look too shabby for those who agree with his political propaganda.
  Lieberman's Real ProblemJuly 12, 2006 09:38 As Mr. Meyerson says, Democrats are upset not because Lieberman doesn't vote 100% 'correctly,' but because many of the issues that he champions are anathema to core Democratic causes (not to mention fundamental morality and human rights). Lieberman's decisions to side with the Bush administration during this fabricated 'wartime' debacle called Iraq put him at odds with me and many other Democrats.

See Meyerson's column for an interesting discussion of the issue.
  FBI Search Of Office Ruled ConstitutionalJuly 11, 2006 12:52 A federal judge ruled Monday that the unprecedented FBI raid on Rep. William Jefferson's Capitol Hill office was constitutional, saying the government "demonstrated a compelling need to conduct the search" in the ongoing corruption probe.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan, in an eagerly awaited 28-page opinion, said that politicians are not above the law and rejected arguments from the Louisiana Democrat that the search violated the Constitution's "speech or debate" clause, which protects speech and documents related to legislative activity.

"Congressman Jefferson's interpretation of the Speech or Debate privilege would have the effect of converting every congressional office into a taxpayer-subsidized sanctuary for crime," Hogan wrote, rejecting the request to return the seized materials.
  Still Their Cup O' Joe?July 10, 2006 10:40 Joe Lieberman is struggling for vote liquidity as he attempts to gladhand his way through a once-solid Democratic base in Connecticut. His pro-Iraq war stance has put many moderate Democrats on the fence.
  Judge Rules DeLay Stays On Texas BallotJuly 07, 2006 09:09 The Texas Republican Party must keep Tom DeLay's name on the November ballot, even though the former congressman has dropped his re-election bid, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

DeLay, the former House majority leader who resigned June 9 and is under indictment, won the Republican primary for his district in March but decided against re-election a month later.

He is awaiting trial on money laundering and conspiracy charges connected to the financing of Texas legislative campaigns in 2002 with alleged illegal corporate money.
  Iraq Takes Center Stage In Lieberman DebateJuly 07, 2006 09:09 Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000, took a hammering over his support for the Iraq war on Thursday in a debate with an antiwar rival whose fight for the Senate is seen as a battle for the heart of the Democratic Party.

Lieberman, who announced on Monday he would run for reelection as an independent if he loses his party's August primary, appeared on the defensive for much of the debate against Democratic rival Ned Lamont, a self-financed neophyte.

"Senator Lieberman, if you won't challenge President Bush and his failed agenda, I will," said Lamont, who has been embraced by antiwar Democrats and leftist bloggers for criticizing Lieberman's willingness to support President George W. Bush on the war and other issues.
  Lieberman Launches "Cut & Run" CampaignJuly 03, 2006 13:22 In a sign that his political future may be in hot water, three-term U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman announced on the state Capitol steps Monday that his reelection campaign will take out petitions to get his name on the November ballot as an independent -- just in case challenger Ned Lamont beats him in an Aug. 8 Democratic primary. Lieberman's brief announcement signalled both the spin he'll use to try to limit the political fallout of the move, as well as the main tack he'll use to blunt Lamont's challenge.

Lieberman reiterated that he's running as hard as he can to win the Democratic primary, the first time an incumbent Democratic senator has faced such a challenge in Connecticut in 36 years.

We only hope that having Joe out of the Democratic part of the race doesn't jeopardize our Democratic senate seat in CT.
  GOP About-Face On '527' GroupsJuly 03, 2006 09:12 Two years ago, Republicans were organizing against new, loosely regulated political groups that were raising money to attack President Bush.

Now, illustrating how roles often reverse in politics, some of the party's conservative activists are trying to stop legislation that would choke off those groups.

The dispute centers on a House bill that would curtail funding for organizations nicknamed 527s, for the section of the tax code that governs them. The groups drew attention during the 2004 presidential campaign, particularly when financier George Soros donated millions of dollars to launch the Media Fund and America Coming Together, or ACT. Those groups ran television commercials against President Bush and registered voters opposed to his re-election.

Republicans want to prevent Mr. Soros and other wealthy Democrats from doing that again. But legislation may not be necessary to achieve their goal: The rich liberals who spent heavily to oust Mr. Bush aren't investing in 527s this election cycle, even though the stakes are high, with control of Congress in play. ACT closed last year and the Media Fund is dormant.

In the 2006 campaign so far, it is right-leaning 527s that are most active. The Club for Growth, a conservative economic-issue group, is leading the charge to kill the Republican bill that would shut down 527s. The Club for Growth received $8 million in donations during the 2004 cycle; for this cycle, its donations as of May tally $5.1 million. "I don't know how they would expect organizations to sit on the sideline and cheer when they are talking about taking a wrecking ball to the First Amendment," says David Keating, the club's executive director.
  Marine In 'Fahrenheit 9/11' KilledJuly 01, 2006 22:25 A Marine and one-time recruiter who appeared in Michael Moore's documentary film "Fahrenheit 9/11" has died in a roadside bombing in Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Raymond J. Plouhar, 30, died Monday of wounds suffered while conducting combat operations in Iraq's volatile Anbar province, the Defense Department said Tuesday.

Plouhar, who was stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif., had taken four years off from active duty to serve as a recruiter in Flint after donating one of his kidneys to his uncle. He is seen in the 2004 film approaching prospective recruits in a mall parking lot.

"It's better to get them when they're in ones and twos and work on them that way," he says in the film.

Although Plouhar willingly appeared in the movie, which is critical of the Bush administration's actions after Sept. 11, his father said Plouhar didn't realize it would criticize the war.
  Edwards Blasts Bush on Oil SubsidiesJuly 01, 2006 05:48 Former vice presidential candidate John Edwards delivered what could be seen as a candidate's stump speech at a conference of African American women legislators in Portland Friday.

The former Democratic Senator from North Carolina advocated universal health care and a modern day war on poverty.

Edwards blasted President Bush's last budget for proposing subsidies for oil companies while cutting federal spending.

John Edwards: "Cutting billions of dollars from Medicaid, health care for poor children, cutting money for nutrition programs for poor children, the disabled, and for seniors. Now think about it, billions of dollars for Exxon at the same time we're taking away health care from poor children. It is immoral. It is absolutely immoral."

  Former Bush Appointee and NYPD Chief Kerik Pleads GuiltyJuly 01, 2006 05:44 Former police commissioner Bernard Kerik, whose rise from beat cop to nominee for Homeland Security head was derailed by ethics questions, dodged prison Friday in a plea bargain by admitting he took $165,000 in gifts from a company attempting to do business with the city.

Kerik acknowledged accepting $165,000 in renovations on his Bronx apartment from a company attempting to land city contracts — Interstate Industrial Corp., a business reputedly linked to organized crime. And he admitted failing to report a $28,000 loan from a real estate developer as required by city law.

In entering his plea, Kerik admitted speaking to city officials about Interstate, but never acknowledged a link between the renovations and his support of the company. Outside court, Kerik showed no sign of remorse and offered no apology.
  DeLay TRIMPAC Map Largely StandsJuly 01, 2006 05:33 The Supreme Court yesterday upheld former Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s middecade effort to redraw Texas’s congressional map but ruled that Rep. Henry Bonilla’s (R) new district violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and must be redrawn.

The court ruled 7-2, with Justices Stephen Breyer and John Paul Stephens dissenting, that legislatures can override valid, court-drawn plans in the middle of a decade and that the appellants in the case failed to come up with a reliable standard for identifying unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. The ruling leaves open the possibility that more state legislatures could seek to reverse how congressional seats are apportioned at the beginning of a decade.

The court also ruled that former Rep. Martin Frost’s (D-Texas) newly gerrymandered district did not violate the Voting Rights Act; Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) represents the district now.