Blogressive January 11, 2005
The Bribe of Frankenstein
DeLay's potential replacements have problems of their own.
"Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, the majority whip temporarily serving as majority leader, is a DeLay protege who received $8,500 in campaign contributions linked to Abramoff. Last week, he announced he would give that amount to charity.
In June 2003, The Washington Post reported that Blunt had tried to insert into legislation a provision benefiting Philip Morris USA Co. at a time when he had a close personal relationship with its lobbyist and when his son worked for the cigarette maker.
Another possible candidate for majority leader, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, also had financial links to Abramoff.
According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, he received $32,500 in campaign contributions from Abramoff and the lobbyist's clients — more than DeLay did.
And in the mid-1990s, Boehner was criticized by public interest groups for passing out campaign contributions from tobacco companies to lawmakers on the House floor."
Handing out checks from lobbyist on the House floor? Now that's leadership.
"One day last summer Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, chairman of the House Republican Conference, decided to play Santa Claus.
Perhaps he was bored. Debates were being conducted on such issues as funding for foreign operations and a proposal to amend the Constitution to outlaw desecration of the flag. In any event, Mr. Boehner took it upon himself to begin handing out money from tobacco lobbyists to certain of his colleagues on the House floor.
He was not deterred by the fact that the House was in session, and that he was supposed to be attending to the nation's business. He was not constrained by any sense that passing money around the floor of the House of Representatives was a sacrilege. He had the checks and he dispensed them.
Even for a place as benumbed by cynicism as Capitol Hill, Mr. Boehner had gone too far. Several of his Republican colleagues, including Representative Steve Largent of Oklahoma, were outraged. But attempts were made to keep the matter hushed up. I first heard about it this week and called Mr. Boehner's office.
'They were contributions from tobacco PAC's,' said Mr. Boehner's chief of staff, Barry Jackson. 'There were half a dozen checks, maybe.' "
source: Bob Herbert, nytimes.com
Blogettes Fragments from headlines and blogs you may have missed
The hottest topic in the progressive blogosphere.
"I don’t know what kind of vote you’re going to get, but you’ll make it through. It’s possible you could talk me out of voting for you, but I doubt it. So I won’t even try to challenge you along those lines."
Judiciary Committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham to nominee Samuel Alito.
"I'm not traveling with them anymore, and I'm not going to play tennis or swim or do various things with them."
Sen.Ted Stevens after his attempt to sneak an Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling into a defense bill was killed by his fellow Senators (and former friends.)
From the people who brought you the Katrina response: Body armor for the troops. A Pentagon study says many mMarine fatalities are the result of inadequate body armor. "The United States has 'maintained that it is impossible to shield forces from the increasingly powerful improvised explosive devices used by insurgents in Iraq. Yet the Pentagon's own study reveals the equally lethal threat of bullets,' the report stressed. 'Additional forensic studies by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner's unit that were obtained by The Times indicate that about 340 American troops have died solely from torso wounds,' the report added."
Katrina aftermath brings disaster tourists. "An international bus line launched tours of devastated sections of New Orleans on Wednesday, amid controversy over whether so-called disaster tourism would help, hurt or humiliate the hurricane-ravaged city...Plans for the 'Hurricane Katrina - America's Worst Catastrophe' tour, at $35 per person, prompted debate over whether it is appropriate or exploitative to turn devastation into a tourist attraction."
Al Franken goes to Abu Ghraib. Franken shared this USO war story in a recent interview. "We were told we were going to do a show at Abu Ghraib. This was well after the prison abuse scandal. … The sergeant major of the Army, its highest-ranking noncommissioned officer, was with us. So the commander of the base said, 'Let's give a warm Abu Ghraib welcome to the sergeant major of the Army.' He said it with no irony, which just struck me as hilarious.”
The phrase "Harris Poll" has new meaning in Florida. A Rasmussen poll reveals former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris is in trouble: "Senator Bill Nelson (D) of Florida holds a 23-percentage point lead over Congresswoman Katherine Harris in his bid for re-election. Nelson, like other Democrats from 'Red' states, was initially thought to be at risk in Election 2006... However, it appears that Nelson could not have asked for a better challenger. Harris, at this point in time, only earns 59% of the vote from Republicans in Florida. Among unaffiliated voters, she trails 64% to 18%."
A First: Dick Cheney inconveniences rich people. The V.P. is a nuisance to neighbors of his vacation home in Maryland."Dick and Lynne Cheney, who settled into St. Michaels last fall, are being blamed by the locals for stopping traffic, keeping neighbors barricaded in their homes while the motorcade passes by, and disrupting sleepers' REM cycles with low-flying Chinook helicopters. 'I hear that Mrs. Cheney is delightful,' a disgruntled neighbor, who lives within sight of Ballintober, the Cheneys' $2.7 million estate, told me yesterday. 'But I've had great big helicopters fly over my house at 3 o'clock in the morning and at 1 in the morning. I can tell you I'm not happy. They're very noisy. The dogs start barking, and we can't get back to sleep.' "
How to get rich? Win the lottery. "More than one in five Americans believe the best way to get rich is to win the lottery, while 11 percent say inheriting money is the way to go, a survey showed on Monday. Asked the most practical way to accumulate 'several hundred thousand dollars,' 21 percent chose winning the lottery, compared to 55 percent who thought saving something each month for many years was best, according to a survey by the Consumer Federation of America and the Financial Planning Association."
Two King Georges? Prince Charles may rule as King George VII. "I think Prince Charles would be much more likely to go for George rather than his other two forenames. He would be the first King Arthur and be the first King Philip. I think George VII sounds better. It is a popular name within the Royal Family and would be a tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, whose husband also chose the same regnal title."
Mark Cuban: Better off with bloggers or New York Times? Dot com millionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner asks: "Who has higher editorial and reporting standards. Your typical fulltime blogger, or the NY Times? Who puts more effort into researching their articles? Who conveys more depth? Can a reader get a better understanding of the topics of the day, week, month in a given area by trusting the NY Times to present the news, or is it better or do a search of news sources and the blogosphere for keywords, topics and tags on Icerocket.com and become your own aggregator on an ajax homepage like netvibes.com, goowy.com, my.yahoo, google.com or any other personal aggregation environment?"