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February 1, 2006

PENNSYLVANIA (Courtesy of Adam B)

Santorum (R) 4Q Fundraising: $2.5 million
Casey (D) 4Q Fundraising: $1.7 million
Sandals (D) 4Q Fundraising: $549K
Pennacchio (D) 4Q Fundraising: $24K

Santorum (R) Cash-on-Hand: $7.8 million
Casey (D) Cash-on-Hand: $3.4 million
Sandals (D) Cash-on-Hand: $50K
Pennacchio (D) Cash-on-Hand: $9K

Sorry folks, but Pennacchio is not viable. As for Sandals, just about all that money raised was his own, and he's already burned through it. Adam B also has the gubernatorial numbers which look great for us.


Menendez (D) 4Q Fundraising: $362K
Kean (R) 4Q Fundraising: No Q4 numbers, but $1.1 mil for the year

Menendez (D) Cash-on-Hand: $4.2 million
Kean (R) Cash-on-Hand: $806K

(Incidentally, Lautenberg is raising money, indicating he's thinking about reelection in 2008.)


Stabenow (D) 4Q Fundraising: $1.3 million
Bouchard (R) 4Q Fundraising: $790K
Butler (R) 4Q Fundraising: ???

Stabenow (D) Cash-on-Hand: $5.65 million
Bouchard (R) Cash-on-Hand: $750K
Butler (R) Cash-on-Hand: $765K


Cardin (D) 4Q Fundraising: $779K
Mfume (D) 4Q Fundraising: $100K
Steele (R) 4Q Fundraising: $853K

Cardin (D) Cash-on-Hand: $2.2 million
Mfume (D) Cash-on-Hand: $125K
Steele (R) Cash-on-Hand: $787K

More numbers here.

Categories: Blogs
There hasn't been a single story indicating how Republican senatorial candidate Michael Steele in Maryland would've voted on Alito. Not one. And there's nothing on his campaign website, either.

So why the ominous silence? He doesn't want the people of Maryland to know how he'd vote on that very important issue?

His campaign office phone number is: (443) 603-1288. Maybe someone can get an answer. (I tried calling and got nowhere.)

Categories: Blogs
Katie Courics and Chris Matthews of the world, take note. This is how real reporting is done:

Defending the surveillance program as crucial in a time of war, Bush said that "previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority" that he did. "And," he added, "federal courts have approved the use of that authority." [...]

However, warrantless surveillance within the United States for national security purposes was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1972 -- long after Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt stopped issuing orders. That led to the 1978 passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that Bush essentially bypassed in authorizing the program after the Sept. 11 attacks. [...]

Bush's historical reference on domestic spying marked one of several points in his speech in which he backed up assertions with selective uses of fact, or seemed to place a positive spin on his own interpretation. [...]

The president also seemed to ignore Supreme Court precedent when he called for Congress to give him the "line item veto." But Congress did that once, in 1996, and it was used once, by former President Clinton. But in 1998, a federal judge ruled that it was unconstitutional. That was affirmed by a 6-3 decision of the Supreme Court.

Damn. Now that's refreshing. Every Bush claim rebutted with actual fact. Bush ignored Supreme Court precedent. It's that simple.  Period.

Categories: Blogs

Those pesky "old laws..."

"The FISA law was written in 1978.  We're having this discussion in 2006.  It's a different world. ... I said, look, is it possible to conduct this program under the old law?  And people said, it doesn't work in order to be able to do the job we expect us to do."

---President Bush on January 27, 2006

C&J agrees wholeheartedly.  What this country needs is a good scrubbing behind the ears.  It's time to jettison any law that's not laser-etched on 21st Century titanium.  If it's over 10 years old, toss it.  And we can start with these old laws, since they're just gumming up the works:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

"Abracadabra!  The fourth amendment was written in 1789.  We're having this discussion in 2006.  It's a different world."

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote.  The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

"Shazam!  The seventeenth amendment was written in 1912.  We're having this discussion in 2006.  It's a different world."

No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once.

"Bada-boom Bada-bing!  The twenty second amendment was written in 1951.  We're having this discussion in 2006. It's a different world."

Wheee, that was fun!  Go ahead and try it.  Pick an old law (any old law will do), say the magic words, and watch it---Zzzzzzzing!!!---disappear!  And don't forget---there are probably a bunch of city and state laws that are pretty old, too.  I said the magic words and now I can shake down old ladies on the street for gas money.  Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna see what kind of "laws" govern open liquor containers---they must be gettin' pretty old by now too, right?

Cheers and Jeers starts in There's Moreville... [Swoosh!!]  RIGHTNOW!  [Gong!!]

Categories: Blogs

January 31, 2006

Max Blumenthal:

In his State of the Union address, President Bush highlighted the case of 9/11 hijackers Khalid Al-Midhar and Salem Al-Hazmi to make the case for his so-called "terrorist surveillance program," which is actually a domestic wiretapping program which may have been used against ordinary Americans. Bush claimed Al-Midhar and Al-Hazmi made phone calls within the US that could have been intercepted if his wiretapping program were in place.

Imagine, the 9/11 plot could have been stopped if only those pointy-headed bureaucrats at FISA and their Democratic shills hadn't been in the way!
In fact, Al-Midhar bought his plane ticket for Flight 77 with his real name. At the time, he was wanted by the FBI and CIA for attending a terrorist meeting in Malaysia. He was also on a State Department watch list called TIPOFF. Al-Hazmi also bought a ticket for Flight 77 using his real name. And he shared an address as 9/11 hijacker Nawaq Alhazmi. Al-Midhar, for his part, was living with Mohammed Atta, the ringleader of the plot.

Al Gore brought these facts forward in his 2003 speech, "Freedom and Security," and to date, no one has challenged him.

The point is, if existing programs had been utilized properly, and the FBI had conducted simple searches for common addresses among wanted terrorists living in the US, the 9/11 plot might have been foiled. Besides being illegal, Bush's domestic wiretapping program was -- and is -- unnecessary in protecting America from terrorism.

Categories: Blogs
This email is circulating around Connecticut activist circles:

Maybe you realized Sen. Joe Lieberman had to go when he voted for George Bush's war in Iraq.  Or maybe it was for the poor job he did vetting Bush's FEMA appointee Mike Brown when he chaired FEMA's oversight committee.  Or maybe it was his vote for cloture on a bankruptcy bill that will impoverish families unlucky enough to lose a job, or lose a wage-earner to illness or death, while enriching credit card companies.  Or maybe it was his flirtations with privatization of Social Security and with joining the Bush administration. Or maybe it was his opposition to universal health care in 1994.  Or maybe his flip flops on school vouchers.  Or maybe his support of ruinous free trade agreements in Central America.  Or maybe it was his countless appearances on Fox News, undercutting opposition to the Bush regime.  Or maybe it was his op-ed piece in the Wall St. Journal with wild claims of success in Iraq. Or maybe it was his vote for the Defense of Marriage Act and his unenthusiastic support for civil unions for gays and lesbians.  Or maybe his reluctance to condemn George Bush for misleading us into war, even though he loudly condemned Bill Clinton about misleading us about an extramarital affair. Or maybe it was his vote on giving huge tax cuts to oil companies in last year's energy bill. Or maybe it was kissing the President after his State of the Union speech last year.

Or maybe it was his vote yesterday to clear the path for Judge Samuel Alito to sit on the Supreme Court of the United States.  Twenty five Democrats sought to have an extensive debate on the merits of a judge who would roll back Roe protection, a judge who is a proponent of giving limitless power to President Bush, a judge who thinks it just fine to give broad police powers to strip search 12 year old girls.  Predictably, Joe Lieberman wasn't one of them.

Rather than stew about this loss, there is something you can do to change the way our country is run.  There is a candidate, Ned Lamont, who is considering entering the August Democratic primary for US Senate.  Ned is a successful businessman, comes from a progressive background (his uncle led the fight against McCarthyism in the 1950's), is against the war, against the culture of corruption and for turning our country around.

Ned Lamont is up to 1,900 signups nationally, 530 of them from Connecticut.

If you haven't already, you can sign up to join the fight for a real progressive in Connecticut here. They're not asking for money or your first-born child. Just your email address.

Categories: Blogs
HuffPo has a good roundup of Democratic responses to Bush's speech.  Here's my question. Not one word in the Democratic Response about domestic spying???  By the way, in case you haven't heard, a class-action lawsuit was filed against AT&T today, alleging it was complicit in implementing Bush's illegal program.

This is an open thread, night owls. Enjoy.

Categories: Blogs
ABC News is reporting that Iran is preparing for nuclear enrichment and blocking UN efforts to investigate.

The United Nations (UN) nuclear watchdog has confirmed Iran has begun preparing for nuclear enrichment, which can make fuel for bombs, and continues to hinder a probe of unanswered questions about Iran's atomic aims.

In a confidential report to the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) 35-nation board of governors, the agency says Iran has not yet begun uranium enrichment itself but has started renovation work at its Natanz enrichment site.

"Substantial renovation of the gas handling system is underway at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) at Natanz," the report said, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters....

Tehran refuses to let the IAEA question a key scientist linked to the buying attempts for a site called Lavizan, the report says.... Washington and its allies say that military involvement in Iran's nuclear program is evidence that Tehran is seeking atomic weapons.

There is little doubt that a nuclear Iran is the largest threat that the world now faces--the most pressing foreign policy issue facing us today. Given that, is the Bush administration prepared to face this challenge? Given the scant attention--a single paragraph--and vague, unfocused treatment the issue was given tonight, I think we have grounds to be very afraid.

The same is true of Iran, a nation now held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people.  The regime in that country sponsors terrorists in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon - and that must come to an end.  The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions - and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons.  America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats.  And tonight, let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran:  America respects you, and we respect your country.  We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom.  And our Nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran.

We've squandered the goodwill of the nations of the world with the Iraq debacle. How exactly does President Bush propose to engage the nations of the world in combatting this threat? The occupation of Iraq has galvanized radical Islamists in their hatred of the United States, providing a regrettable and powerful recruiting tool to those who would do us harm. How does the President propose we reach out to the Muslim world to build the bridges we must have to become "the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran"?

Our own armed forces are stretched nearly to the breaking point, understaffed and under-equipped because of the Iraq debacle. How does the President propose we rebuild our armed forces to combat the threat Iran poses?

The largest cost of the Iraq debacle is likely to prove to be our inability to respond to the threat of Iran, diplomatically or militarily.

Categories: Blogs

January 30, 2006

The Senate will be voting shortly on cloture to end debate on the nomination of Samuel Alito.

This is a cloture vote open thread.

Categories: Blogs
They're crying over at the NRCC today.

Former U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas, a Democrat, filed election papers today to try to take back Northern Kentucky's 4th Congressional District seat from freshman Republican Rep. Geoff Davis.

"In 2004 I had planned to retire from elected public service," Lucas said in a statement this morning.

"But, over the last year, I've grown concerned about the widespread public corruption news coming from the Congress and the increased partisanship in the U.S. House of Representatives," he said.

We're getting more credible challenges across more Republican-held districts. This is one more seat they need to worry about.

This also means that Dems filed candidates for every Kentucky district ahead of tomorrow's filing deadline. So in the three states that have ballot-access deadlines, we've only failed to field a candidate in one lonely Texas district. That's amazing. I'm trying to see if Republicans found someone to challenge Ben Chandler since it appears they have not. That alone would be another huge score.

Next up -- We're all clear in New Mexico (Feb 14) and Indiana (Feb 17), with all Republican incumbents facing challengers. We're almost there in Ohio (Feb 16) and North Carolina (Feb 28). In Ohio, John Boehner in OH-08 neds a challenger. Meanwhile, we need challengers for two seats in North Carolina -- NC-05 (Virginia Foxx) and NC-06 (Howard Coble).

My sources for upcoming contests are the Barry Welsh campaign team and the DCCC.

Categories: Blogs
Those aren't his exact words of course, but that will be the effect of Lincoln Chafee's vote for cloture. After voting for John Roberts, Chafee reassured a anxious NARAL by declaring "I'm reliably pro-choice." But Chafee appears to be reliably pro-choice only when it suits his role as a "moderate." When push comes to shove--when women's right may truly hang in the balance, Chafee has proved that the only choice he truly respects is his choice to obey the Republican leadership.

Chafee is voting against Alito. But that vote is meaningless if he votes for cloture.  Chafee's vote for cloture is critical in that it signals to the rest of the moderate Republicans that it's safe to side against the Democrats.  And so, other so-called "pro-choice Republicans" like Collins and Snowe jump aboard and frustrate Democratic opposition to an anti-choice nominee.

When Chafee votes for cloture, he is voting to silence those who want to bring Alito's anti-privacy, anti-choice record to light. When his vote brings an unabashedly anti-choice judge one step closer to confirmation, a red-faced NARAL will have to admit that it fucked up. Royally.  Because instead of backing a candidate that has a reliable(D) beside his name and that would have added one more voice to our caucus, NARAL chose to to endorse Chafee, who today proves he's not even pro-choice enough to abstain from the cloture vote.

When is NARAL going to realize that there are no pro-choice Republicans?  Snowe, Collins, Chafee (who all, by the way, sit on the Republican Majority for Choice board) cloak themselves in neutral views, but when a woman's right to privacy is immediately threatened by a judge who has spent his life exhibiting an open hostility to Roe and its progeny, they cast that cloak off and show themselves for what they truly are-- Republicans, loyal to their party, squirming under the thumbs of their Party leader.

Congrats, NARAL. You got punk'd.

Update [2006-1-30 16:5:16 by georgia10]:: Jane at Firedoglake concurs: Let's just be clear. Lincoln Chaffee is getting ready to vote for the single biggest blow to choice in this country since Roe v. Wade was passed 33 years ago. This ridiculous little kabuki about voting AGAINST Alito and FOR cloture is a sham, and if NARAL is going to look the other way they no longer deserve to be the guardians of a woman's right to choose in this country.

Categories: Blogs
I think it's worth reminding wavering Senators that a vote for cloture is a permanent action. It's far more important than your eventual vote on this nomination, it's telling the American public and fellow Senators that putting a new member on the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States requires no more than a few days of debate.

Even those Democrats who have declared that they will vote for Alito should recognize that their Democratic colleagues, the majority of their party, feel the need to keep discussing this nomination. Is there really any reason for this debate not to continue? Does the vote happening on Wednesday or Thursday make that much difference compared to the enormity of a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land?

And a personal note to my own Senators. I fear Senator Cantwell is playing with fire. You need look no further back in history than the 2004 gubenatorial election in Washington when a third-party candidate running to the left of Gregoire very nearly spoiled the election. The base isn't unified in Washington state. I suspect that Senator Murray is providing cover for Senator Cantwell by not committing at the moment to the filibuster, though we know she is a "no" vote. Senators, do right by your constituents. Washingtonians, keep working on them.

Categories: Blogs
  • The Gang of 14 might as well disband, as Kagro X explains.

  • Eric Massa, our kick ass candidate for NY-29, announces a huge "Fighting Dem Vet" event in DC:

    The election of 2006 will be known as the year vet candidates retook Congress. And we begin on February 8th when over 50 vets running for the U.S. House of Representatives and Congress will receive a salute in Washington, D.C.

    And great words of advice from Massa, who argues that anyone can be a "Fighting Dem", not just vets:

    I ask you stand beside us. If you live in a district that's fortunate enough to field two Fighting Dem candidates, one a vet and one not, vote in the primary as you always would--for the better candidate. That, as always, is your privilege, your right, and, in fact, your duty. But I ask that you do not disparage the movement as a whole. We're in this fight for our country together--together as Democrats. Let's stand together to field and fund the best candidate in every district.

  • GOP SOTU house party features Jesse Jackson piñata. How charming.

  • Brad Pitt the chameleon. He ends up looking like the women he dates.

  • Exxon's fourth quarter profits hit $10 BILLION. For the year, Exxon's profits were over $36 BILLION. Yeah, with a "b". Time for another round of tax breaks for energy companies?

    The results pushed up Exxon's profit for the year to a staggering $36.13 billion -- bigger than the economies of 125 of the 184 countries ranked by the World Bank. Profit rose 42 percent from 2004, largely due to soaring oil and gas prices.

    People should remember who gets the handouts in this administration as they struggle to pay their heating bills this winter. Personally, I call it war profiteering.

  • Ha ha, Pastor Dan has fun with hate mail.

  • The Onion interviews Stephen Colbert:

    It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But that's not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything.

  • Fascinating look at the careful way Brokeback Mountain was marketed.

  • Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling finally go to trial.

Categories: Blogs
The arch-conservative Heritage Foundation take a look at the budget and doesn't like what it sees:

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects a balanced budget by 2012. A number of CBO's assumptions underlying this projection are, to say the least, problematic. For example, CBO's projections assume that all of the President's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, as well as all other temporary tax cuts, are allowed to expire and that the Alternative Minimum Tax is not fixed before it digs further into middle-class incomes. CBO is also required by law to assume that there will be no more appropriations for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and for Gulf Coast reconstruction; that the pending reconciliation budget will have no effects; and that discretionary spending will not grow at all, in inflation-adjusted terms. With all these caveats in place, CBO's budget baseline is extremely unrealistic.

Funny how the Bush Administration trumpets numbers like the CBO's, but then works overtime to destroy the very premises that would make those numbers work -- like the expiring tax cuts and perpetual foreign wars. So while the CBO claims a balanced budget by 2012, Heritage figures the numbers will look like this:

The deficit will reach $394 billion in 2006;
$412 billion in 2007;
$428 billion in 2008;
$436 billion in 2009;
$458 billion in 2010; and
$805 billion in 2015.

While the deficits are a clear result of Bush's tax cuts, Heritage would rather see a different solution -- drastic spending cuts. But given the size of these budget deficits, cuts from the discrectionary budget won't do the trick.

In 2004, we had $895 billion in discretionary spending, including $454 billion in defense spending. That means that we had $441 billion in non-defense discretionary spending.

Our budget deficit in 2004 was $412 billion. So without raising revenues, our nation would literally have to eliminate the entire defense department (which ain't gonna happen) or its entire non-defense discretionary spending to simply balance the budget. That's not including the $4.3 TRILLION in debt we current hold and should really be trying to pay off.

Heritage knows this because its solution is much harsher -- cut social security, medicare, and medicaid entitlements.

We are seeing Grover Norquist's "drown the government" strategy in action.

But remember, we weren't in this mess before Bush irresponsibly cut taxes and engaged us in unecessary foreign entanglements.

Categories: Blogs
A bunch of stuff on Bush's illegal spying program and the looming hearings.

  • Republican Rep. Simmons of CT lies about the program and gets hostile with the interviewer in this Q&A.

  • Chuck Hagel (R-NE):

    HAGEL: I don't believe, from what I've heard, but I'm going to give the administration an opportunity to explain it, that he has the authority now to do what he's doing. Now, maybe he can convince me otherwise, but that's OK.

    STEPHANOPOULOS: But not yet.

    HAGEL: Not yet. But that's OK. If he needs more authority, he just can't unilaterally decide that that 1978 law is out of date and he will be the guardian of America and he will violate that law. He needs to come back, work with us, work with the courts if he has to, and we will do what we need to do to protect the civil liberties of this country and the national security of this country.

    More Chuck Hagel:

    Appeared on ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" Sunday, Hagel took exception to Karl Rover's recent assertion that: "Republicans have a post-9/11 view of the world. And Democrats have a pre-9/11 view of the world."

    "Well, I didn't like what Mr. Rove said, because it frames terrorism and the issue of terrorism and everything that goes with it, whether it's the renewal of the Patriot Act or the NSA wiretapping, in a political context," said Hagel.

  • Glenn Greenwald gives an overview of the first NSA hearings which start a week from today, and then gives us ten questions he would ask. 1-5, and 6-10.

    And after you read those ten questions by Greenwald, tell me where else but in the blogs could we wonk out to those levels? Just because I personally don't wonk out doesn't mean that there isn't some serious wonking taking place.

  • Meanwhile ReddHedd at Firedoglake has a great take on James Comey and his efforts inside the Bush DOJ to fight back against the Cheney gang arguing for dictatorial powers for Bush.

    This Cult of Cheney believed in one main thing -- presidential power was the guiding force, and the Nixon Administration's level of power and secrecy was their polestar.

    What stood in their way? A group of folks at all levels of government who took their oath to serve the Constitution more seriously than their need to kiss Cheney's butt to climb the political power ladder.

    If the Senate Judiciary Committee wants an all-star witness list of patriots who were there at the time that all of these end-run around the Constitution and the law decisions were being made at the DoJ, at the White House and in the VP's offices, look no further than James Comey. And add to that list Jack Goldsmith, now a professor at Harvard Law, but former head of the OLC. And apparently a long list of Republican appointees who were willing to risk the wrath of Cheney to defend the Constitution -- the majority of whom have been cashiered out of the Administration.

Categories: Blogs
Ahh, as Joe Lieberman votes for cloture on the Alito nomination today, and you feel really, really angry, channel some of that energy to NedLamont.com. Sign up, no matter where you live. But you should really sign up if you live in Connecticut, because you'll have the power in ways that most of us will not.

You can actually do something to rid the Senate of its leading Fox News Democrat.

Update: Per the comments, Lieberman's office is claiming he is still undecided, that the CNN story was wrong. Well, consider this additional pressure.

A reporter in Connecticut asked me last week whether Leiberman's votes on Alito would prod me into dropping support for a primary challenger. I said it could help, yes. For 2012. Lieberman's bed has been made for 2006. At this point, it's up to Lieberman to decide how much fuel he wants to add to the Lamont challenge.

Categories: Blogs
Katrina doesn't read blogs. That much is obvious considering she wrote this glorious monument to the straw man:

Why are so many liberal bloggers up in arms about Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine being picked to give the Democrat's reply to Bush's State of the Union? There's been fury in the blogosphere about everything from Kaine's looks, style, obscurity, his open talk about his faith and his inexperience in national security.

Liberal writer Ezra Klein (no Brad Pitt, last time I checked him out) vented that Kaine is "a squat, squinty, pug-nosed fellow." Even the invariably smart and strategic Arianna (Huffington) weighed in: "What the hell are they thinking?" She accused Democrats of picking "someone whose only claim to fame is that he carried a red state" when they need to make the case that "the GOP is not the party that can best keep us safe."

Yeah, why are so many liberal bloggers like Ezra, Arianna, and um ... well ... uh .... isn't two bloggers enough to smear the entire blogosphere? Of course, when you attack the liberal blogosphere based on a bullshit article by Jim Vanderhei in the Washington Post, you won't be able to produce anything better than bullshit.

Now, I'm sure the editor of the largest left-of-center magazine in the country did actual research before sounding off and attempting to call out the entire left-of-center blogosphere, right? If that's the case, she should be able to give us a few more prominent names of these allegedly outraged liberal bloggers.

Of course, this is just another line in the "liberal bloggers are wacked out leftists" narrative that old media and beltways insiders are pushing. We've seen it from party insiders, we've seen it from the traditional media, we've seen it from The New Republic. And, now, surprisingly, we're apparently seing it from The Nation.

Thank god for the American Prospect, huh?

For the record, what criticism there was wasn't based on centrist/liberal issues, it was based on the fact that John Murtha -- that Dennis Kucinich-style liberal (in Katrina's mind), would speak to the burning issue of the day -- Iraq and national security. But really, no one cared that much. It was a non-issue because really, the Democratic response is a non-issue.

How much of a non-issue? Only about 22-23 blogs even blogged it. And one of those -- Daily Kos -- actually said it was a "good choice".

And thus the straw man is felled.

(Crooks and Liars has more.)

Categories: Blogs
Senators Joe Lieberman and Lincoln Chafee are poised to hand their political rivals great gifts today. They will be energizing the opposition to their continued presence in the Senate.

CNN's Ed Henry reports, and it appears to be correct, that the Gang of 14 will announce, AS A GROUP, that there are not extraordinary circumstances justifying filibuster of Sam Alito. Remember who is in the Gang of 14:

Republicans * John S. McCain III, Arizona * Lindsey O. Graham, South Carolina * John Warner, Virginia * Olympia Snowe, Maine * Susan M. Collins, Maine * R. Michael DeWine, Ohio * Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island

Democrats * Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut * Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia * E. Benjamin Nelson, Nebraska * Mary Landrieu, Louisiana * Daniel Inouye, Hawaii * Mark Pryor, Arkansas * Ken Salazar, Colorado

The only Senators of interest here are those who have announced themselves as No votes. Their names are marked in italics. The rest SUPPORT Alito so they are not doing anything that is inconsistent.

But it is clear that Senator Lieberman is doing his likely primary opponent, Ned Lamont, a great favor by voting for cloture. Similarly, Senator Chafee does Sheldon Whitehouse and Matt Brown a great favor by going back on his word and voting for cloture on anti-choice Alito. His statement in opposition to Alito puts the lie to his vote.

As for Senators Inouye, Pryor and Salazar, their votes will be remembered as Alito is seated on the Court for next quarter century. They were unwilling to continue to discuss and try to persuade on a nominee they REJECT! The debate can continue a week without damage to the Republic. Their votes are hard to understand. Democrats will find them hard to understand. History will not understand.

This is a Alito filibuster Open Thread.

Update [2006-1-30 13:42:0 by Armando]: Jeffords NO on CLoture: Sen. Jeffords' Statement on Alito Cloture Vote Statement of Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vt. On Alito Cloture Vote January 30, 2006 I believe Judge Alito's appointment to the United States Supreme Court will shift the balance of the court for years, perhaps decades to come. I also believe that his judicial philosophy leans too far in favor of presidential powers. There is too much at stake for our country to allow this to happen. I will vote to oppose cloture on this nomination.

Categories: Blogs
Roll Call. (Subscription only)

Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill are privately bristling over Howard Dean's management of the Democratic National Committee and have made those sentiments clear after new fundraising numbers showed he has spent nearly all the committee's cash and has little left to support their efforts to gain seats this cycle.

Several well-informed Democratic sources said Congressional leaders were furious last week when they learned the DNC has just $5.5 million in the bank, compared to the Republican National Committee's $34 million.

Sources also indicated that Senate and House Minority Leaders Harry Reid (Nev.) and Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), along with the Senate and House campaign committee chairmen Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), have made their concerns -- directly or indirectly -- known to Dean.

"People are bringing him to Jesus," said a Democratic source familiar with DNC operations. "It's being expressed to him. He knows it."

But this source added that "Dean is very powerful within the base of the party and from the beginning hasn't [cared] about what Pelosi and Reid think. He doesn't need them, he's his own power center."

How many times do we need to call bullshit on this? I've done it here and here. Yet the cowards in this piece refuse to put their names to their criticisms. Nice way to show conviction. In fact, the two people cited by name (including our new friend Elmendorf) actually praise Dean.

Tagaris summarizes the points I've seemingly made over and over again:

1.) The DNC raised more than $51 million in 2005 - a record for a non-election year and a 20% increase over the total raised in 2003.

2.) More than 30,000 Americans have invested in the future of the Democratic Party through the Democracy Bonds program. At an average contribution of $20 a month that's roughly $7 million a year in recurring small-dollar contributions.

3.) To date, the DNC has hired talented, experienced, diverse political professionals in 43 states. Thirty of those states have sent their staffers to Washington, DC for several days of training from top Democratic operatives about how to effectively organize Democrats in their communities.

4.) Governor Dean and the DNC invested more than $7 million to elect new Democratic governors Jon Corzine in New Jersey and Tim Kaine in Virginia. Democrats also reaped important ballot box victories at the local level in places like Mobile, Alabama, St. Paul, Minnesota and King County, Washington.

5.) Governor Dean has traveled to 34 states and territories during his first year as chairman to talk about Democratic values and raise money for the local parties. Those states, red, blue, and purple, include:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

The cowardly shots in the beltway press come from disaffected insider consultants who see their lucrative gigs in danger. Dean is out raising money directly for the state parties and finally investing in the sort of infrastructure that Republicans spent decades building.

If it was up to these DC insiders, Dean would hoarde tens of millions to dump into television later this year, just as the DNC has done in the past. And just like in the past, the DNC would parsel out its advertising contracts to all the various consultancies to spread the money around, they would all take their nice fact commissions, and they'd laugh all the way to the bank as the local parties further atrophied and the Dems lost yet another election.

The RNC also has a well-oiled, well-funded GOTV machine they've spent the last three election cycles building and fine-tuning, all the while Democrats continued to pump all their resources into television. It doesn't take a genius to see which approach has worked better.

Republicans built their local parties, Dems let theirs atrophy. Finally, someone at the helm realizes that we are a national party and need to rebuild from the ground up. Finally, someone at the helm is providing resources and attention to those locals to build a counterbalance to the GOP's national machine.

And such rebuilding costs money. But in the long run, this is how you build a national party.

As for the cowardly insiders -- they don't have the force of conviction to stand publicly by their criticisms. Instead they hide behind Roll Call. But the reasons are obvious -- a real debate on the issue would expose their craven self-interest in the matter.

Categories: Blogs
Boy, that press sure wants to talk about Bush "inching" up in popularity. They can't bring themselves to talk about Bush being "unpopular", as it would violate their very carefully constructed media narrative for the guy.

So we get stories about Bush's rebound, and Chris Matthews waxing poetic about how illegal NSA wiretaps are paying off politically for Bush, etc.

But what's the reality? Here are the most recent polls with their respective trend lines:

Time Magazine

            1/24-26  11/29-12/1
      41        41
Disapprove    55        53


            1/23-26   1/5-8
      42        46
Disapprove    56        52

Fox News

            1/24-25   1/10-11
      41        42
Disapprove    51        49

Cook Political Report

            1/22-25   12/8-11
      47        50
Disapprove    42        55

LA Times/Bloomberg

            1/22-25   1/15-17
      43        54
Disapprove    50        47


            1/20-25   1/5-8
      42        41
Disapprove    51        52

CNN/Gallup/USA Today

            1/20-22   1/9-12
      43        43
Disapprove    54        53

Hotline Poll

            1/12-15   12/12-13
      46        50
Disapprove    53        47

So, six out of the last eight polls have shown Bush heading lower. At best, Bush is treading water. So this nonsense about Bush's approval ratings going up is just that, nonsense.

Categories: Blogs