Thursday, October 27, 2005

Mr. Speaker's New Blog

A rather esteemed gentleman has recently joined the blogosphere. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has started a new blog at his official website. The best part is, it actually sounds as if he was the one who wrote it.

He starts with:

This is Denny Hastert and welcome to my blog. This is new to me. I can’t say I’m much of a techie. I guess you could say my office is teaching the old guy new tricks. But I’m excited. This is the future. And it is a new way for us to get our message out.

Most of you know me as a coach by nature so I hope this gives you some inside access to the Republican playbook.

The internet is changing the way we share information. My office has been talking a lot about some of the conversations going on in blogosphere. So I thought, hey, I should start one and give you unfiltered updates on Capitol Hill.

This is brilliant. So often the MSM takes stuff politicians say out of context. What better way for a leader to combat that then to set up a direct line with the people themselves?

He continues on to speak about issues we've all been wondering about.

There have been reports that paying for Hurricane Katrina may cost upwards of $250 billion. I can assure you that we're not going to spend $250 billion - it's not going to cost that much. Congress has already passed legislation that provided $62.5 billion worth of immediate relief to help the Gulf Coast get back on its feet. Part of that money to made sure that kids have a school to go to, they're fed, they have power and clean water to drink -- basic necessities that we all take for granted. What we don't need to do is to spend more money now and worry about how to pay for it later. In the House, we're working on a plan that will include off-sets to pay for any additional spending, eliminate wasteful and inefficient government programs and cuts mandatory spending. But it will keep tax relief in place so that we can create jobs and continue to grow the economy.

Speaking of the Hurricane season, renewed attention has been brought to the way we refine gasoline in this country. Today, energy companies started reporting their 3rd quarter earnings, and while Americans paying were record prices at the pump, energy companies were making record profits.

This is America. And Republicans don’t believe in punishing success. But what are these oil companies doing to bring down the cost of oil and natural gas? They haven't built a refinery here in America since the 1970's. They've built refineries overseas, but nothing here at home.

We want some answers and you folks out there in the blogosphere do too. When are new refineries going to be built here in America? When is the Alaska pipeline deal going to be signed so we can get natural gas to consumers quicker? Conoco Phillips has reached an agreement with the state of Alaska on the pipeline. Exxon Mobil and BP need to do the same. These companies need to invest in America’s energy infrastructure and resources. Until they do, we're going to be asking some tough questions.

Well, there you have it folks. I’ve outlined some of our priorities: fiscal responsibility and energy. I’m going to keep updating this from time to time. It’s not that bad.

Looks like this old guy can still learn a thing or two. Until next time . .

I, for one, can't wait until next time...

Best of luck, Mr. Speaker!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


So, Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele announced today that he is running for the open Senate seat in 2006.

Now, for those of you who aren't really familiar with Maryland politics, this is absolutely huge for Republicans. For over fifteen years, Sarbanes and Mikulski, both Democrats of the worst sort, have held power in Maryland. Because it is almost impossible to unseat an incumbent Senator, any Republican who has tried to go up against them has failed. Miserably. But now Sarbanes is retiring, leaving a Senate seat open in Maryland for the first time in ages.

What's that? You don't think a Republican could win even an open Senate seat in a state as blue as Maryland? Think again. Steele does not have any serious competition for the primary. Everyone knows the only way for us to win this is to stick together.

The Democrats, on the other hand, are going to have a bloody primary battle. Currently in the running or presumed to run are Democrats including Congressman Ben Cardin, former Member of Congress and former head of the NAACP Kweisi Mfume, as well as Lise Van Susteren (yes, she is related to Greta Van Susteren,) Joshua Rales, A. Robert Kaufman, and Allen Lichtman. While only Cardin and Mfume are thought to be serious contenders, the fact still remains that different factions of the Maryland Democratic party will be investing a lot of time and money to make their fellow Democrats look bad.

So, when it comes time to run for the general election, whoever gets the Democratic nod will be tired from a bitter primary, and financially strained their campaign funds in order to win the first round. Michael Steele, on the other hand, will be fresh as a daisy, have hardly spent any money, and will have plenty of material about who he's running against, provided free of charge by all the other Democrats.

What's not to love?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Campaigning in Virginia

I went down to Virginia this weekend with other College Republicans from Delaware and Maryland to volunteer for the Kilgore for Governor campaign. It wasn't the best campaign experience I've had, mostly because the weather was miserable all day long- ranging from muggy and humid to all out downpours. All while we were busy walking miles of residential streets knocking on doors and handing out literature.

Still, "Operation Old Dominion" was pretty fun. And yes, College Republicans do tend to name everything we do "Operation" something-or-other...just for the hell of it. It was a great opportunity to meet CRs from other states. And its always interesting to go up to random strangers and start talking about politics. You never know what reaction you're going to get.

One woman was excited that we were out. She gave us all sorts of advice about the neighborhood, like, "Don't bother going to that side of the street. They're ALL Democrats." Poor woman.

Then there was another woman that was kind of scary. We said we were college Republicans volunteering for the Kilgore campaign, and she got this really intimidating smile on her face. She said (I swear, almost giddily) "The person who used to be Republican here is dead now. We used to cancel each other out, but now democrats are one more up."

That's the sort of time that you and your precinct partner back away slowly and warily. I was really tempted to write on our list "Warning: I think this woman quite possibly killed her husband...."

I told one of the other CRs this, and she replied, "Well, they are saying it's a really tight race."

We were in such a quaint little trusting neighborhood too. There were all these seven or eight year old kids out playing in the yards when there parents weren't home, which doesn't seem like the brightest idea to me. Finally we got to this house where a little girl was sitting on the porch. As we walked up, she started backing away. We asked if her parents were home, and said she didn't live there, and was waiting for a friend. Then she backed away more. My partner and I left so we wouldn't freak the girl out more. I told my partner, "Finally, a smart kid. You're supposed to be wary of strangers. Not open front doors and then tell them your parents aren't home." I mean, what if it had been crazy ax murderers walking the streets instead of the College Republicans?

All in all, it was pretty fun, though. Hopefully Kilgore wins- apparently, the two candidates are within a point of each other in the most recent poll.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Say Cheese!!

So Tom DeLay had to get booked today in Harris County, Texas. He was fingerprinted, had a mug shot taken, and then posted bail.

He has a damn good mug shot picture, though. He should hang it up when he gets his Majority Leader's office back. I wish my school ID photo was half that good. Really. They made me take it after four hours of placement testing, so I have this random blank look on my face.

But in Tom DeLay's mugshot, he is actually smiling- and if it isn't a real smile it's the most convincing looking fake I've seen- and trust me, I've seen lots of politicians. I wonder what he could be thinking? Could he have been imagining ways of publicly humilitating Ronnie Earle? Plotting bloody revenge against the Democrats who have been insulting him? Or was he thinking, "Wow, I'm gonna make shitloads of money from the book deal I'll get when all of this is over!!"?

Any other ideas about what could have been running through his mind?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

There's Denial...and then There's This

So the trial of Saddam Hussein started today, and it seems as if the former dictator of Iraq has chosen to use the "act like a pain in the ass" defense.

That, or the man is seriously delusional. In one day, Saddam has managed to:

~ Refuse to state his name for the record
~ Insult the Judge in charge of the trial
~ Adamantly claim that he is still the President of Iraq
~ Refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the court
~ Get in a scuffle with the guards
~ Deny killing anyone

I don't know what the man hopes to accomplish. That he's going to be found guilty is a done deal. At the moment, the best he can hope for is that the new government decides to spare him so the insurgents don't have a new martyr to advertise. But the more he keeps annoying the people in charge of deciding his fate, the less likely that is to happen.

Of course, even if Saddam doesn't get the death penalty in this case, prosecutors have already come up with about a dozen other things to charge him with. After all, if at first you don't succeed...

Monday, October 17, 2005

I've Never Heard of this Guy, but Where Can I Learn More?

In an effort to cut government spending, Arizona Senator Jon Kyl has proposed an amendment that would eliminate the cost-of-living increase in Senators' salaries.

Under Kyl's amendment to a spending bill covering federal workers, senators would forgo the estimated 1.9 percent cost-of-living increase that will automatically go into effect unless the Senate votes to reject it.

The pay increase, also applicable to House members, would boost the salary for rank-and-file lawmakers by $3,100 to $165,200.

Now, realistically, the $2 million this amendment would save is only a drop in the ocean of government spending. But it would be a good way for Congress to show that it is serious about cutting back on government spending.

And politically it's a smart move too. After all, that $3,100 could buy a whole lot of job security. Few arguments work better with voters than a Member of Congress saying they care so much about the deficit that they turned down a raise.

Legislation for Immigration Reform Postponed

The Senate was supposed to be discussing immigration reform in the coming weeks, however, it now appears as if any efforts on this front will have to wait until January. Apparently, the Senate is so backed up by things like hurricane relief and Supreme Court nominees that little things like border security and the potential security threat posed by illegal immigrants already in the country have to be put on the back burner for the time being.

I'll be interested to see if this effects the election. The Primaries aren't that far off, and immigration reform is a big issue for conservative voters. But is it a big enough issue to cause Republican incumbents to lose their seats in a primary challenge?

More on the DeLay Debacle

It seems more likely with each passing day that the entire case against Congressman Tom DeLay is based on a foundation made of toothpicks.

You see, it turns out that District Attorney Ronnie Earle actually tried to offer a deal (read: ultimatum) to DeLay: plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge or be indicted for a felony. The problem with that is, of course, that if DeLay is innocent, then it is stupid to plead guilty when you are not.

DeLay's lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, explains in a letter to Earle:

"Before the first indictment you tried to coerce a guilty plea from Tom DeLay for a misdemeanor, stating the alternative was indictment for a felony which would require his stepping down as majority leader of the United States House of Representatives," DeGuerin wrote.

"He turned you down flat so you had him indicted, in spite of advice from others in your office that Tom DeLay had not committed any crime," the lawyer contended.

In addition, DeGuerin filed several motions, requesting:

_A speedy trial, because the indictments "have already had adverse collateral consequences including the temporary loss of Tom DeLay's leadership position in the United States Congress and an unknown effect on the upcoming (March 2006) primary election."

_Dismissal of the indictments because, he contended, they failed to allege any act or omission by DeLay and improperly joined two offenses.

_Separation of DeLay's case from that of two political associates, because DeLay wants a speedy trial while the associates are pursuing appeals that would delay their cases

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I Can't Imagine Why...

First off, I want to apologize for not updating as frequently as I normally do. It's midterms week, so things have been a little crazy.

Anyway, the time as come for Iraqi citizens to vote on the proposed Constitution. Though most of the population will vote on Saturday, non-convicted prisoners were allowed to vote Thursday. One well known detainee, however, did not participate.

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was not among the Iraqi detainees who cast ballots Thursday on the proposed Iraqi constitution, as U.S. and Iraqi forces stepped up security across the country to impede insurgent attacks aimed at derailing Saturday's referendum.

Non-convicted detainees, including Saddam, whose trial is set to begin Oct. 19, were allowed to cast votes Thursday but the former leader was not among those voting, Judge Nadham Farhan of the Iraqi Special Tribunal told FOX News. The reason for his abstaining was not immediately known.

Hehe. I can think of a few reasons... and I can guess what his vote would have been, too. I don't particularly care that Saddam didn't vote, but if it wasn't his decision (and probably even if it was) who wants to bet his lawyers will try and use this as another excuse to return Saddam to power?

Though there are still some criticising the constitution for one reason or another, it is looking as if it will pass with the approval of Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds alike, thanks to a last minute compromise intended to give Sunnis a more inclusive role in the new government.

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Iraqi lawmakers approved a set of last-minute amendments to the constitution without a vote on Wednesday, sealing a compromise designed to win Sunni support and boost chances for the charter's approval in a referendum just three days away.

The deal, brokered with intense U.S. mediation, came as terrorists pressed their campaign to wreck Saturday's referendum. A homicide bomber killed 30 Iraqis at an army recruitment center in a northern town where another bomber had struck just a day earlier.

At least one major Sunni Arab party, the Iraqi Islamic Party (search), said it will now support the draft at the polls. But some other Sunni parties rejected the amendments and said they would still campaign for a "no" vote.

Well, it's a start, at least. Hopefully at least some of them will learn from this that working together diplomatically is a much better alternative than killing each other. Getting rid of Saddam won't do any good if they turn on one another the moment we turn our backs.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

No, Not Really

First Lady Laura Bush said in an interview today that she believed the criticism against Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers might be sexist in nature.

"That's possible, I think that's possible," Mrs. Bush said when asked on NBC's "Today Show" whether criticism that Miers lacked intellectual heft were sexist in nature. She said Miers' accomplishments as a lawyer made her a role model to young women.

Now, I'm normally a huge fan of Laura Bush. But this statement is insane. Nobody is complaining because Miers is a woman. They are compaining because she is not qualified for the highest court in the country, and was only nominated because she was buddies with George Bush. And also, apparently, with Laura as well.

I was actually hoping for a woman. But being female wasn't my only requirement: being a qualified and well-known conservative was important too.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Bush's Approval Ratings Still Dropping

A little over a week ago I wrote about how, after much partisan bickering, President Bush's approval ratings were inching upwards. Public approval of the President was up to 45%, higher than it had been in weeks.

It seems, however, that the President's luck has run out. This week, his approval ratings are down to a record low of 37%. Only 32% believe the President shares their priorities for the country.

Could the sudden drop have anything to do with his recent nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court? It certainly seems so. Only 22% of those polled say they have a lot of confidence in the Bush appointees. Interestingly, only 50% of Republicans express much confidence in the appointees at all.

Now, I've stayed relatively silent about Harriet Miers. There has certainly been enough talk of her elsewhere lately. But regardless of whether Miers is a true conservative or not, her nomination is one of the stupidest things the Bush administration has done. Instead of uniting the base, Republicans are now divided over whether to trust the President and approve of Miers or to pressure for her withdrawal. Meanwhile, Democrats are supporting Miers because they realize she is the best they can hope for. When Harry Reid is saying he approves of the President's choice, thats a pretty good indication that Bush made a bad one.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Where do You Fit?

Check out this political test. It's pretty interesting, and I feel it placed my political ideology fairly accurately.

Then, when you're done, let me know what you think. I'm curious as to whether my result was a fluke, or if it really is as accurate as it seems.

I'm really not sure if it is, though. I mean- look at where they stuck John Kerry.

Does this Sound Like Something a Guilty Man Would Do?

Liberals have been screaming for months that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove would be indicted for leaking CIA employee Valerie Plame's name 'soon...ok, not too long now... it's just around the August!...anytime now...' but without any luck.

Their commentary on died off for a while- after all, they had the response to Hurricane Katrina, Michael Brown, and Tom DeLay to criticize. But with New York Times reporter Judith Miller finally agreeing to testify, the predictions of inevitable indictment have returned.

Now, I must confess, I have always been amused by how liberals characterize Karl Rove. Their portrayal of the man as an evil puppetmaster is made all the more humorous by the fact that they actually believe what they say. Because they believe Rove to be a legitimately evil man, they positively dance with glee at the though of him being indicted.

And yet, for someone so "obviously guilty," Rove seems surprisingly cooperative. The Washingon Post reports:

In a surprise last-minute move, President George W. Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, plans to testify again before a grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA operative's identity, lawyers said on Thursday.

Although officials declined to disclose the date when Rove would appear, the grand jury is expected to meet on Friday and again next week. Rove has appeared before the grand jury at least three previous times.

This seems to be at odds with what liberals are saying. If Rove was guilty, why would he volunteer to testify before a Grand Jury? Pleading the fifth would only add to the appearance of guilt, but lying on the stand would add perjury to any future charges. Testifying four times before a Grand Jury certainly isn't an intelligent thing for a guilty man to do.

But what about the 'inevitable' indictment? Is that lurking around the corner? Maybe not.

Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, said his client has not received a so-called "target letter" indicating that he is likely to be indicted. "The prosecutor has affirmed that he has made no charging decision," Luskin said.

There are so many reasons why I'm hoping Karl Rove doesn't get indicted. Besides the obvious damage it would cause to the Republican Party, I really want to see how the liberals react if and when Karl Rove comes out of this fiasco clean as a whistle.

I Think Hell Might Be Freezing Over...

So things seem rather disorganized in the Republican party lately. Congressman Tom DeLay and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove are being attacked by liberals. Meanwhile, conservatives are too disheartened (by the prospect of massive spending in the Gulf Region adding to the deficit and the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court instead of a big name conservative) to fight back and defend their own. Could things get any worse?

Of course they can. And to demonstrate this fact, here is an interview of Howard Dean on Hardball.

Why should you care about a Howard Dean interview? Because this time, he seems to be making an effort to sound reasonable. It's kinda scary.

Asked if he thought the Miers' confirmation was a case of cronyism, Dean responded:

I wouldn't go that far. We don't know Ms. Miers. I've always believed people ought to begin with the benefit of the doubt. I thought long and hard before I opposed Judge Roberts, and I opposed him because I thought he would not protect the most vulnerable Americans. Now we'll get a change to see. Until I know something about her, I'm not willing to condemn her.

Later he was asked if he had a problem with Miers' pro-life reputation. His answer?

No. I mean, you know, I'm a strong believer that the government ought not to tell women what kind of health care they ought to have. But I don't mind what her religious convictions are, as long she's upholding the law.

It's scary how reasonable he sounds, isn't it? It's almost as if he's trying to get rid of his 'crazy' reputation. Could he be planning another run in '08?

One of the questions Dean was asked was about his opinion of the war in Iraq.

Well, I think, Chris, one thing I am is consistent. I thought this was a bad idea in the first place because I believed we would get just in the kind of mess we have. It looks like, Chris, now the Iraqi government that George Bush is supporting to hard is trying to rig the vote on the constitution. Women appear to be worse off under this constitution than they were under Saddam Hussein. I think this president's made a terrible mistake. Now we're stuck, we're in there. It's not responsible to take our troops out tomorrow, but we need to get our troops out of there and we need to do it in a reasonable way and not lose any more lives.

Now, most of that quote can be ignored. There isn't much new in there- it's what we've been hearing from democrats for a long time. One sentence in particular, though, stands out.

Well, I think, Chris, one thing I am is consistent.

A subtle jab at John Kerry, perhaps?

So in one interview, Dean actually comes across as a rational human being and makes a jab at one of the biggest criticisms of the man who beat him in the primaries.

Lately, most Republicans have been writing Dean off as nothing more than a man to make fun of. But if he keeps this up, we may see him reemerge as a potential candidate in '08. Republicans would do well to watch Dean in the future- he might not be as powerless as we think.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Whatever Happened to Freedom of Speech?

Here's a pretty interesting article by Richard Cohen of the Washington Post. He lets loose quite a few zingers about the Democrats' reputation as the 'party of free-speech.'

There are times when I sorely miss boilerplate -- those entirely predictable statements made by politicians that often begin with the word "frankly," then proceed to the phrase "I don't think the American people want," and conclude with a thundering banality that a drowsy dog could see coming. That was especially the case last week when I started reading what Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, had to say about Tom DeLay, her Republican opposite. I fully expected boilerplate, something about innocent until proved guilty. But Pelosi crossed me up. DeLay, as it turned out, was guilty until proved innocent.

"The criminal indictment of Majority Leader Tom DeLay is the latest example that Republicans in Congress are plagued by a culture of corruption at the expense of the American people," Pelosi said -- apparently forgetting to add the boilerplate about the American system of justice. If she had those thoughts, they're not on her Web site and not mentioned anywhere. Instead, the reference to a Republican "culture of corruption" shows that when it comes to a punctilious regard for the legal process, in this instance the Democrats ain't got no culture at all.

This is an example of why the Democratic Party is in such trouble. Democrats are aping what Newt Gingrich once did to them when he was speaker of the House, a leader of the GOP and a self-proclaimed dazzling revolutionary. His incessant cry of "Corruption! Corruption!" helped end Democratic rule of Congress, but it was accompanied -- Democrats seem to forget -- by an idea or two and by emerging Republican majorities in the country as a whole. Stinging press releases alone do not a revolution make.

Criticism of the Democrats from the Washington Post? It sounds almost too good to be true. But wait, there's more. Cohen goes on to criticize the Democratic reaction to William Bennet's recent comments on abortion. Finally, he ends with:

A little boilerplate would do the Democrats good. It's never bad to remind the American people that an indictment is not equivalent to conviction and speech is not free if it's going to cost you your job. These spitball press releases, these demeaning zingers, only tend to highlight the GOP argument that the Democrats are out of ideas. If so, I have one to offer them: Think

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Birth of UNity

Ok, so yesterday I wrote about the UN’s desire to take control of the internet. One of my questions was how they expected to do so when there was no way in hell the U.S. would give up their control over the internet.

Here is how I think the conversation would go:


UN: Haha! The votes are in! We will now control the internet! Hey, America, give us control of the internet!

US: No, I don’t think we will.

UN: But you have to! We voted on it and everything! It’s an official resolution!

US: Don’t lie to yourselves. It’s only a non-binding resolution.

UN: If you don’t give us control of the internet we’ll…we’ll-

US: You’ll what? Cry?

UN: We’ll kick you off of more committees!

US: Well, you can’t kick us off of the Security Council, and that’s really the only one we care about.

UN: We’ll put sanctions in place! No one trades with America until they give us the internet!

US: How long do you think you can last without Coca-Cola and Big Macs?

UN: Fine! We just won’t sell you any oil!

Saudi Arabia: Wait a second, now, what’s this about not selling oil?

UN: Don’t worry, we’ll subsidize it.

Saudi Arabia: Oh, ok.

US: How are you going to afford to subsidize oil if we stop giving the UN money?

UN: You aren’t the only rich nation who is a member of the UN!

US: We donate lots of money, though. Actually, that’s a good point. No more foreign aid until the UN stops acting stupid.

Israel: Uh, guys, maybe we should rethink this whole taking-over-the-internet idea…

UN: Shut up, Jew. No one likes you. The entire Middle Eastern delegation would like to see you eliminated. So be quiet or risk being eliminated.

Israel: The Americans would protect us! Right? We’re taking your side on this now, you’ll protect us, won’t you?

UN: The Americans can not stand up to our collective power!

US: We have the most nukes, though. Come to think of it… where are those launch codes?

UN: Our headquarters is in New York City! You wouldn’t nuke yourselves!

US: No, but we would start making you pay your traffic tickets.

Russia: You can’t do that! We have diplomatic immunity!

US: Oh, and we’d revoke your diplomatic immunity, too.

UN: You arrogant Americans! You think you’re so special! Just because you are the only superpower left doesn’t mean you can boss us around!

US: It’s so amusing to hear how they whine even louder once they know they’ve lost…

UN: You haven’t heard the last of us! If we can’t have official control of the internet, we’ll do it through other means! We’ll make a- a- a blog! A United Nations blog! We’ll call it UNite! We’ll seize control of the blogosphere, and you will be unable to stop us!

US: :sigh: They’ll fit in quite nicely with the other nuts that post on the internet…

Monday, October 03, 2005

Kim Hume on the DeLay Indictment

Kim Hume of Fox News has written an article which brilliantly sums up the motive behind Congressman Tom DeLay's recent indictments.

Let us not get caught up in the details here — they are meaningless. Just as the details of previous ethics charges leveled at DeLay are meaningless. This is the deal: DeLay wields power. He uses that power to change the system to fit his conservative political principles. He is unapologetic about it. People hate that.

She goes on to say:

There is a code of conduct in Washington. It is common for highly partisan power players to be best friends, drink together and commiserate with each other — then blast each other in public. As they see it, they are just doing their jobs. If there is actual dislike among political combatants, it is even more likely that they will refer to each other as distinguished friends and colleagues. When someone breaks this code — says what he means, uses his power with transparency — there is only one option. Bury him.

This is most often done with manipulation, obfuscation and dissembling — something the mainstream media probably should but won’t label “The Shovel.” Opponents cannot bring themselves to trust the democratic process to work. In DeLay’s case, his constituents have obviously been unreliable in removing him from office. Clearly help is needed in the form of ongoing ethics charges and an indictment.

What? Political players using unfounded criminal indictments as a method of incapacitating their enemy? That couldn't possibly be true...

Over My Dead Server

In another bid to try and outlive their usefullness, the UN has declared its intentions to control the internet.

Leaders of a U.N. Internet panel yesterday said they hope to set up a global system where cyberspace would be under the control of the United Nations.

The committee, which was set up in December 2003, is laying the groundwork for the U.N.-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society where a final decision on the control of the Net will be determined, stated a Reuters report. The summit will take place in Tunis in November.

Are they serious? Do they really expect the United States to roll over and let them do this? The United Nations has already shown themselves to be corrupt, and they want to seize control of what is arguably the most powerful tool known to man? Does anybody seriously think this will lead to anything but censorship of information?

The official reason for this action? Once again, jealousy of American influence:

Some countries have been frustrated that the United States and European countries that got on the Internet first gobbled up most of the available addresses required for computers to connect, leaving developing nations with a limited supply to share.

They also want greater assurance that as they come to rely on the Internet more for governmental and other services, their plans won't get derailed by some future U.S. policy.

Policy decisions could at a stroke make all Web sites ending in a specific suffix essentially unreachable. Other decisions could affect the availability of domain names in non-English characters or ones dedicated to special interests such as pornography.

This knife cuts both ways. American policy could lead to other nations getting cut out of the picture, but UN policy could do the same to us. Considering the opinions of some key UN member nations concerning monitoring the internet, I find it much easier to picture the UN using the policies it claims to fear.

Ultimately, however, this could play out fairly nicely. How better to demonstrate the UN's impotency than to have them demand control of the internet only to be answered with a resounding "Hell, no!" from the United States?

Bush's New Nomination

It's official: President Bush's nominee to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat is Harriet Miers.

So far, the opinion of her seems to be fairly mixed on both sides of the aisle. Many on the right are disappointed Bush didn't nominate an outspoken conservativeto take the position. Miers' has no previous judicial experience, and so some fear she could be another moderate along the lines of O'Connor or Souter.

As John Hawkins of "Right Wing News" states:

People didn't like Roberts' track record? Miers has never been a judge, so she has almost no track record. She's 60 years old, which is getting up there for a Supreme Court selection. Not only will she not excite the base like a Janice Rogers Brown, Miers' selection will lead to a wave of attacks on the President by conservatives. Moreover, not only is there no guarantee that Miers will be another "Scalia or Thomas," it's an open question whether she'll be as conservative as Sandra Day O'Connor.

He has a point. Miers' is an unknown entity, and, with no previous decisions to judge by, we can not be certain of how she would decide cases that are certain to come before the court in the coming years.

On the other hand, previous judicial experience is hardly a prerequisite for service on the Supreme Court. Plenty of justices had never sat on a bench before their appointments to the Supreme Court, including the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Also, as White House Counsel she has ostensibly spent a lot of time with Bush, giving them the opportunity to discuss her judicial philosophy.

One of the biggest conservative concerns with any new SCOTUS nominee is how they will vote if the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade arises. While Miers' has not, as far as I can find, publicly stated her opinion of the case, her past actions can give us a hint of her views.

As president of the Texas State Bar in 1993, Harriet Miers urged the national American Bar Association to put the abortion issue to a referendum of the group's full membership. She questioned at the time whether the ABA should "be trying to speak for the entire legal community" on an issue that she said "has brought on tremendous divisiveness" within the ABA.

Miers was among a group of lawyers from the Texas bar and elsewhere who had argued that the ABA should have a neutral stance on abortion.

The ABA's policy-making body overwhelmingly rejected the Texas lawyers' group's 1993 proposal to put the issue to a referendum by mail of the ABA's then-roster of about 360,000 members.

"Our current position (in favor of abortion rights) has no meaning unless it is endorsed in fact by the membership," Miers said at the time. also has information about Miers:

Leonard Leo, Executive Vice President of the Federalist Society (On Leave): "In Nominating Harriet Miers, The President Has Once Again Kept His Commitment To Select Supreme Court Justices Who Are Very Well Qualified And Share His Philosophy Of Interpreting The Law, Not Legislating From The Bench."

So, I'm of mixed opinions on Miers' nomination. She seems as if she might be the real deal, but we've been fooled before. I just wish that Bush had nominated a tried and true conservative who could have energized the base and helped Republicans in the 2006 elections.

Update #1: You can read more on Miers' views of abortion here. This should reassure at least some concerned conservatives.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The DeLay Debacle

So, if you've been anywhere on the planet in the last few days, you've probably already heard that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was indicted by a Texas Grand Jury for conspiring to funnel corporate money to fund the campaigns for state politicians.

The reason I have not commented on this yet is that I was still in the process of figuring out my opinion on the matter.

You see, I have personally had the opportunity to meet Tom DeLay. A few weeks ago, one Maryland Central Committee gave me a ticket to a fundraising dinner as a thank you for the volunteer work I had done. They told me that Tom DeLay was the guest of honor, but they neglected to mention the fact that my ticket was for a seat at the head table.

So I got to the event, and spent some time mingling until the call was made for everyone to take their seats. I was the first one at my table, and was looking around when I heard someone behind me ask, "Is anyone sitting here?"

I turn around, and holy crap, it's Tom DeLay! So I got to sit next to him through dinner, and was genuinely impressed. I mean, he could have easily ignored me, considering how I was the youngest person at the table by at least thirty years, but he didn't.

Anyway, back to the charges against DeLay. I read the actual indictment, and the whole thing seems incredibly vague. The most 'condemning' statement is

John Dominick Colyandro, James Walter Ellis, and Thomas Dale DeLay, the defendants herein, with the intent that a felony be committed, did enter into an agreement with one or more of each other or with a general purpose political committee known as Texans for a Republican Majority PAC that one or more of them would engage in conduct that would constitute the offense of knowingly making a political contribution in violation of [some law listed by section and number... lots of legalese] and that said contribution included a prohibited political contribution by a corporation.

So basically, the grand jury thinks that one of these guys conspired with either another of these guys or with TRMPAC to sneak corporate contributions to Republicans running for office. They aren't, however, sure who, if any, did participate, or with whom they conspired. They just have a hunch. A vague hunch. In fact, the only reason Tom DeLay is even involved in all this is because once upon a time, years ago, he helped to create TRMPAC.

Well, my senior year of high school, I helped create a Teenage Republicans club. If, five years from now, the TARS decide to beat up the Teenage Democrats and steal their money, that would be wrong (funny, but wrong). It would not, however, be my fault, because I would no longer be associated with that organization. Likewise, just because DeLay helped found TRMPAC doesn't mean he should be automatically blamed for any alleged wrongdoings on their part.

Before Speaker DeLay left the Central Committee dinner, I asked him to sign my program. He did, and one of the things he wrote on it was "Keep the faith." So until I see more than vague allegations, I'm going to follow his advice, and not throw him to the dogs before there is any proof he committed a crime. After all, anyone, even a politician, is innocent until proven guilty.

Voter ID Law Causes Controversy in Georgia

Several political organizations have filed a lawsuit protesting a new Georgia law that would require all citizens in the state to show government issued ID before voting. The groups include the NAACP, AARP, and the League of Women Voters.

Their complaint? The government issued IDs are too expensive, despite the fact that a five year driver's license only costs $20. For those unable to get a driver's license, Georgia also issues state ID Cards at a price of $20 for a five year card or $35 for a ten year card.

"Georgia passed an absolutely obnoxious law," said former President Jimmy Carter, who lives in the Peach State. "It was specifically designed to prevent old people, poor people and African-Americans from voting," he said.

Let's ignore for the moment that no one really cares what Jimmy Carter thinks. Very few people are so badly strapped for money that they can't afford $20- that's $4 a year- for an ID card. And for those who can't, there are other options.

"This is not a poll tax in any way," said [Republican State Sen. Bill] Stephens, who also said IDs can be made available free of charge to people that need them.

Indeed a provision in the new law allows poor voters to receive free government ID cards. But the lawsuit claims the definition of "poor" is too vague.

Here's an idea: how about, instead of spending millions of dollars on a lawsuit arguing over the definition of 'poor,' they use that money to buy ID cards for those who they say can't afford them?