Saturday, September 10, 2005

Golan Cipel and Michael Brown, Perfect Together

Golan Cipel, an Israeli who was a former Israeli Navy officer and had done Jewish outreach for Governor McGreevey.

Michael Brown, former adjunct law professor at Oklahoma City University, failed candidate for Congress, and Commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association.

Golan Cipel, homeland security adviser to Governor Jim McGreevey.

Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and responsible for overseeing the government's on-the-ground response to Hurricane Katrina.

Jim McGreevey and George Bush - partners in patronage. Who knew?

Friday, September 09, 2005

Has this President ever heard of P.R?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The American Cause

Senator Ben Nelson (D-Ne) plans to introduce a bill that sets up a commission charged with the task of finding the route of rising gas prices. Nelson says that he intends to find out whether the prices are based on the market or on opportunistic price gougers.

Nelson, the most conservative Democrat (at least according to voting record) in the Senate, plans to find out how the government can deal with the dilemma, and prevent it from having a detrimental effect on the economy.

How is price gouging determined? Are the laws preventing it unfair or unconstitutional?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Times Playing Safe With Endorsements

The other day, the New York Times endorsed Fernando Ferrer for the Democratic nomination in the New York City mayoral race. The Politicker looks into it further.

Ferrer, like the other Democrats in the race, is a flawed candidate. The Times denounces his proposal to finance education through a new tax on stock trades, however, the page does not go on to detail why it's against that idea. It summarizes Ferrer's accomplishments in the least flattering language possible, making sure that readers don't give the former Bronx president too much credit for the economic improvements that he presided over. The conclusion is simple: [Ferrer is bad but the others are worse].

Perhaps this is because the Times plans to endorse Bloomberg? They endorsed Democrat Mark Green last election, in 2001, but are the Democrats of this race too tarnished from scandal and generic stances to win the approval of the most prestigious mainstream newspaper in the US? Like Christopher Shays of Connecticut, it seems that Mike Bloomberg is another Republican who can count on the support of the New York Times.

Monday, September 05, 2005

John Roberts...Again

President Bush made a wise decision today by selecting John Roberts to be his nominee for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. While half the country would rather have one of the more liberal judges in the position, everyone can be happy that Bush didn't select Clarence Thomas, who had been rumored to be on the short list.

As far as we can see so far, Roberts would be considerably better than Scalia or Thomas.

My Grandfather's Plan for New Orleans

I just spoke with my grandfather, an 82-year-old child of the Depression who also fought in France during World War Two. We were talking about the Katrina disaster and grumbling over yesterday's New York Times story reporting that Halliburton subsidiaries have already been awarded government contracts to rebuild military bases damaged by the storm. Then, he mentioned an idea he had for rebuilding the city of New Orleans. The following is not my own original idea - it's his, and I'm just laying it out, which he can't do because he and my grandmother refuse to buy a computer.

The problem of what to do with and for the hundreds of thousands of people - maybe millions - who have been left homeless and jobless by Katrina is perhaps the most significant facing the government in the storm's aftermath. Instead of bringing in some immense developer to reconstruct the city, why not create a modern-day Works Progress Administration to oversee a civilian-led rebuilding of New Orleans? Thousands and thousands of refugees from the city could be hired to do the construction of homes and buildings, giving them not only money, but a sense of ownership and pride in the rebuilding effort. Many of the city's residents were jobless or at least desperately poor to begin with. I can't think of a better idea both for rebuilding the city of New Orleans, and also lending a hand to the people of that city who were already down, and have been knocked out by Katrina.

He's going to be writing a letter to the editor of the New York Times today (and faxing it, of course) and calling his elected officials tomorrow. I hope someone bothers to listen.

Frist Takes Matters Into His Own Hands

Add Bill Frist's name to the list of people who are getting a thumbs-up on their performances over the last week. Instead of simply holding press conferences or lobbing criticism at the administration while lying on the beach, like many elected officials are, the Majority Leader flew down to Louisiana before sunrise on Saturday morning, and is serving as a medical volunteer. He has shuttled back and forth between the Louis Armstrong Airport and the N.O. Convention Center, treating patients who are dehydrated or experiencing high blood pressure. He has also been administering injections for diabetics with low blood sugar.

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has been characterized by blame-shifting and squirming by directors, executives, and officials of all kinds. So it's pretty nice to see someone who could be following suit, and railing on the relief effort or praising it from a thousand miles away, going to Ground Zero instead, and getting his hands a little bit dirty. The fact that Frist could gain politically from this is irrelevant. To be quite honest, given the stark contrast between his actions and many of his colleagues', I think he should use pictures of himself helping out the victims freely if this remains as a major campaign issue. He's doing the job of a public servant while most others are not, and he has my respect.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Montclair Pitches In

According to Baristanet, two firefighters from Montclair are going to New Orleans to participate in the relief effort. Apparently Mayor Remsen intends to send two truckloads of supplies with them.

I hope that the supplies and extra labor will be constructive. However, in recent articles, I can't help but feel that New Orleans law enforcement has been using its resources in the wrong way, namely in concentrating it's efforts on looters, rather than the refugees who actually need help.

Looting is a bi-product of mass disaster, and although it's unfortunate, in the case of Katrina, it's the least of the problems. In fact, considering the conditions that many of the refugees are in, looting is necessary for survival. Although Barista went on to say that she was disappointed to hear Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson excuse the opportunistic thieves, one needs to remember that many of these looters are people who haven't eaten or changed clothes in days. The last thing that city needs are policemen shooting at a mother who swims to an abandoned store to get food for her kids.

A Lame Duck No More

As I said at Blanton's, natural disaster and death of "natural causes" are preventing Bush from being the Lame Duck we all thought he'd become.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist died last night, opening yet another seat on the court for Bush to fill. This is all happening just days before the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin hearings on the confirmation of John G. Roberts, the replacement to retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

This could be a pretty good situation for Bush. He was getting limited attacks from the left concerning Roberts, who is bound to be confirmed with a strong majority, and now, even if he nominates an even more conservative judge, the opposition won't be united. Controversial cases such as Robert Bork or Clarence Thomas were so big because the entire political world concentrated on their confirmations. Moreover, the Democrats had substantial majorities in the Senate during those votes, despite many defectors during the roll call. In fact, 10 Democrats voted for Clarence Thomas, who won confirmation by 3 votes.

Whoever Bush nominates can't be much farther to the right than Rehnquist was. Although Alberto Gonzalez has served as President Bush's virtual attorney for five years, from what I've heard about his record as a justice in Texas, he might be more open minded than other candidates.

Impeach Bush

My mom, a registered Democrat of thirty years, recently got a call from the Democratic National Committee, which was, of course, asking for a donation. She respectfully declined the request, citing that she had given before and that she chooses when and how to distribute her contributions. Sounds reasonable right?

However, the young man on the line was not satisfied with the answer. He continued pestering her and finally decided that the only was she was going to give in was if he let her in on the big plan.

We need money because we need a majority in Congress to impeach Bush!


Wow. Sounds like a plan for keeping an increasingly ineffective minority. The Republicans are geniuses for installing covert agents like that guy as volunteers for the DNC. Or is he also getting paid?

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