“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, April 30, 2010

Is The Gulf Oil Spill Wonderboy's Katrina Moment?

It took nine days for Wonderboy's administration to respond to the recent oil spill resulting from the fire and sinking of the drilling rig leased to BP off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, technically, as Sean Hannity pointed out this week, that's not quite true. AG Eric Holder dispatched a team of lawyers prior to that to look into whom to sue for the accident.

But in terms of real help to the residents of the Gulf Coast, as the rig spewed 5,000 gallons of oil/day, it took until late this week for the First Rookie's team to act in any sort of helpful manner.

Remember how the Democrats excoriated President George W. Bush for his administration's response to hurricane Katrina?

Well, now the shoe is on the other foot.

As one pundit so eloquently put it the other day, the Exxon Valdez spill was of a known quantity from a stationary tanker.

In this case, we have a pipe drilled into the earth leaking oil.

How much intelligence does it take to realize you should be mobilizing federal assistance instantly to try to minimize leakage from the well, and damage to the local environment?

This little faux pas should, hopefully, bring down Janet Napolitano, the current head of FEMA, and a few other Wonderboy cronies who were asleep on the job for the past nearly-two weeks.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wonderboy Turns To Racism To Win In November

This video was posted on YouTube in November of 2008. In it, according to the description, Wonderboy, newly-elected as president, castigates 'Karl Rove' style politics and appeals to minority voting blocs, claiming that is now ended.

Well, not yet, anyway....

Welcome to yesterday's speech- isn't there at least one a day now?- by our First Rookie. I saw the transcript of it on Fox News yesterday afternoon while working out.

In it, our self-proclaimed post-partisan, unity president appealed to 'latinos, african-americans and women' to get out to vote next November, because his agenda and their benefits are at risk.

Sound unifying to you? No, me neither.

Where were the references to calling on whites, males and others to vote?

It sure does seem that Wonderboy has already turned to focusing on race, appealing to specific minorities and....well...doing the very thing he once accused Karl Rove of doing, suggesting, of course, that these are bad things.

Isn't what's good for the goose..........?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

FINREG Put On Hold

Thank God for small miracles.

Yesterday's attempt by Senate Democrats to rush corrupt retiring Senator Chris Dodd's badly-written FINREG bill to debate and subsequent passage failed, 57-41.

Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell succeeded in keeping his party together, and even added Democrat Ben Nelson, in opposition to this mistaken attempt to pass flawed legislation before Congress' own appointed outside panel delivers its verdict on what happened in the financial sector to cause the market crisis of two years ago.

Sometimes, it seems, the right thing does happen in politics. Even in the Senate.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Fascinating State Tea Party Story

This weekend's edition of the Wall Street Journal carried a sobering editorial regarding Pennsylvania's state-level Tea Party movement. It's a story about which I was completely unaware until now.

According to the Journal piece, written by Jerry Bowyer, a Pennsylvanian who covers the state's lawmakers for a living,

"The Keystone State's tea party movement actually began several years ago- on July 7, 2005, at 2a.m. That's when our state legislature rammed through a pay hike for its members and the state's judiciary. Because the state's constitution prohibits legislators from collecting pay increases in the same year they were passed, legislative leaders called the pay hike a reimbursement for expenses that required no documentation or simply "unvouchered expenses.

The reaction was both explosive and immediate. Editorial pages and radio show hosts denounced the pay hike while voters took to the streets of their capital city with placards and bullhorns and giant inflatable pigs. The movement became broadly known as Operation Clean Sweep.

But rather than wait for an electoral thumping, legislators fought back in ways that made voters more upset. In what came to be called BonusGate, some legislators under taxpayer fire allegedly gave their staffers bonuses with state money and time off to work for their political campaigns. When all the tallying was over, about $3.6 million had been given to incumbent legislative staffers, 80% of whom had "volunteered" for their bosses' campaigns.

After the 2006 election, 17 legislators were swept out of office. The powerful president of the state Senate, Robert Jubilirer, was replaced by a mild-mannered rural county commissioner. The second most powerful man in the Senate, Chip Brightbill, was ousted by a tire salesman.

State Attorney General Republican Tom Corbett followed up with a slew of indictments related to BonusGate, which have been slowly working their way through the courts. In 2008, Democratic state House member Frank LaGrotta pleaded guilty to two conflict-of-interest charges for hiring members of his family for no-show state jobs. Others fought the charges. Last month, Mike Veon, the second most powerful Democrat in the state House (who lost his seat in 2006) was convicted of using state funds to illegally give staffers bonuses to work on his re-election campaign.

Over the past year, Operation Clean Sweep rebranded itself into a tea party movement. But it's still the same people—mostly veterans, stay-at-home moms, and others who were never active in politics before—with the same aim of electing officials who are better acquainted with voter concerns than the trappings of power. "

This account certainly paints a very different picture of 'Tea Party' activists than one reads in liberal or Democratic accounts, and in the video media, doesn't it?

Rather than being a far-right fringe of bigots without any specific issues, these Pennsylvanians were justly angry at the manipulation and rough handling of the state's constitution by its majority legislative party. Funny that I haven't heard Ed Rendell talk about any of this.

If anything, I think it illustrates how, in our current era, branding anti-cronyism, self-interested dealing by legislators and administrations makes a lot of sense. Using the Tea Party brand clearly identifies grass roots movements as anti-corruption and anti-spending without good reasons.

As Bowyer concludes in his editorial,

"Far from being a fringe movement, the evidence clearly indicates that the tea party movement has grown to become a mature political actor capable of influencing the course of Pennsylvania politics.

Mr. Specter faces not only Mr. Toomey but also Rep. Joe Sestak, who is challenging the senator in next month's Democratic primary. Over the past several months, there have been several barbs traded among these men. But there is one thing they all agree on: The tea party movement is a serious political force. Mr. Specter points to his willingness to personally face tea party questioners as proof that he has the toughness to win a general election fight. Mr. Sestak, in a recent debate with Mr. Toomey, went out of his way to say the tea party movement deserves respect. And Mr. Toomey has called the movement a "check on the otherwise unchecked and unlimited power of one party."

All three men, it seems, have come to understand that the tea parties are a mainstream political phenomenon capable of providing the margin of victory in close elections."

How appropriate of Toomey to give the activists their due as exercising their rights to assemble and speak about their government's actions. That they are, in fact, a credible and effective source of checks on either party's exercise and abuse of power.