1:42 PM | Posted in , ,
I am not normally a letter writer (although perhaps I will start!) but I simply can no longer sit by while my representation in Congress ignores even a bipartisan measure and has the audacity to call it "playing politics".

So, here is the email I sent Michele today:

Dear Representative Bachmann,

Recently, you chose to vote against the reauthorization and expansion of SCHIP (H.R. 976). You have been quoted as saying, “This bill will not be signed into law because, sadly, it plays politics with children’s health care”. My question is, and I am truly trying to understand this, how are people “playing politics” when a bill has been given relatively large bipartisan support? Could you provide some details as to how both Democrats and yourself can compromise to make this important legislation, or any legislation for that matter, a reality?
I am pleased that you are, at the very least, supportive of the SCHIP program and encourage you to continue that support. However, the bill you are supporting (H.R. 3584) actually lowers the number of children currently being supported by SCHIP. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that in order to cover the children currently using SCHIP you would need to raise the budget by $13 billion. H.R. 3584 only provides $5 billion. If you are truly supportive of SCHIP, I urge you, at the very least, to sponsor legislation or an amendment that increases funding by the $13 billion needed so it does not actually cut children from the number of insured. Would you be willing to sign on to legislation that funds SCHIP at the level the CBO estimates is needed to keep the current numbers of children insured?



We will see what, if anything, happens!
9:40 AM | Posted in
I don't suffer fool's lightly, and Andy Barnett is among those that are foolish and unfortunately have a sizable audience amongst whom they can spread their foolishness! While I appreciate the response to my post about his lack of research and credibility he has only served to prove how little he knows and how little he understands.

His Response:

Andy Barnett said...

The point we were making, is quite simple. We were suggesting (and I will still suggest) that the existence of an organization that singles out anyone by the color of their skin is racist. You suggested we didn't do our homework but I will counter by saying that we did. There is no "National White Chamber of Commerce" while there is a "National Black Chamber of Commerce". You suggest that because there exists German-American and Italian-American Chambers that we are discredited. I beg to differ! These are chambers based on race and national origin, not on skin color. You missed the point of our discussion, I'm sad to say.

Yes, Andy, there are no Chambers of Commerce titled "White" and the ones I provided as examples were based upon National Origin (I will not even get into the fact that race IS largely based on skin color which illustrates further Barnett foolishness). However, you continue to miss a key distinction that hopefully shows only your ignorance and not some racist undertones. The "white" community in this country can relatively easily discover their national origin and therefore a blanket "white" chamber of commerce is not necessary (however, one could certainly make the argument that THE Chamber of Commerce, while not EXPLICITLY a white chamber, has historically been IMPLICITLY white). Do you know why the "African American" community cannot easily discover their national origin to create those types of chambers of commerce? Do I really have to spell it out to you?
The African American community has ONLY their race/skin color to identify them. They (for the most part) CANNOT look back to find their national origin. Newer arrivals from Africa are able to establish chambers based upon national origin, but the African American community cannot. Why Andy? Could it be that all vestiges of "national origin" have been wiped away from the African American community? Are you so ignorant as to not recognize that their skin color is the ONLY thing that binds them together? Is their so little room in that short sighted brain of yours to not recognize that while "White" Americans can divide up into Germans, Italians, and so on that the African American or Black community does not have the ability to do that? Should we tell them, even though it was we who destroyed your ability to identify your national origin or tribe we also will not allow you to create a chamber of commerce based upon the ONLY binding factor you have left?

You are most likely NOT a racist, but you certainly are ill informed and ignorant! Perhaps, though, you could provide the African American community with some ideas or help so that they too can create chambers that will be based along national origin like the German Americans, Italian Americans, Ethiopian Americans and so on. I suspect you will not though!
7:26 PM | Posted in ,
Not that she needed any help:

Latest news: Coleman, Klobuchar to back boost in kid’s health insurance funds
By PAMELA BROGAN pbrogran@gannett.com

Published: September 27. 2007 12:30AM - Last updated: September 27. 2007 5:37PM

WASHINGTON — Defying a presidential veto threat, Minnesota’s Sens. Norm Coleman and Amy Klobuchar are expected to vote in favor of a bill tonight that would provide health care coverage for an additional 3.8 million low-income children across the nation, including 35,000 in Minnesota.

The expected Senate vote follows a House vote Tuesday to renew the State Children’s Health Insurance Program until 2012 and add $35 billion for the program over five years by raising the federal tobacco tax.

The program is set to expire Sept. 30.

“This is about doing the right thing for families and ensuring access to health insurance for children who need it most, “ Coleman, a Republican, said in a statement. “This bill represents a sensible, bipartisan compromise, and I strongly encourage the President to sign it into law.”

In a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday evening, Klobuchar, a Democrat, said the program is important to Minnesota because it has “bolstered coverage for low-income children and their parents.”

Minnesota has one of the lowest percentages of uninsured children in the nation at 8.3 percent compared with nearly 12 percent nationally, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The state uses federal SCHIP dollars to also cover low-income adults under a waiver from the federal government.

Minnesota obtained a waiver because it was covering a large percentage of uninsured children when the federal-state program was created in 1997. It is designed to aid children from working families who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private insurance.

The state program, known as MinnesotaCare, covers about 19,000 low-income parents.

“When parents have coverage, children are more likely to have and keep coverage,” Klobuchar said.

Under the bill, adults would be transitioned out of the program over five years.

Minnesota Medicaid Director Christine Bronson said the bill has pluses and minuses.

“The compromise bill has some benefits to Minnesota, like allowing us to use SCHIP funds for children we’re already covering in Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare, but it restricts our current coverage of parents which is a loss,” Bronson said.

She said Minnesota would receive an additional $50 million annually if the bill was signed into law, but would lose revenue as a result of the 61-cent increase in the federal tax on a pack of cigarettes.

On Tuesday, the House approved the bill 265 to159 but supporters say they still don’t have the votes to override the president’s threatened veto.

Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann voted against the House-passed bill.

“I strongly support SCHIP and legislation that is truly focused on helping needy children,” Bachmann said in a statement. “This bill will not be signed into law because, sadly, it plays politics with children’s health care,” she said.

Politics? You mean how it is supported by a large bipartisan group of legislators? I believe they call that WORKING TOGETHER!

Instead, Bachmann is co-sponsor of a bill to extend the program for 18 months at its current funding level of $25 billion.

The compromise bill worked out by the House and the Senate is $30 billion more than the $4.8 billion increase the Bush administration requested.

And how effective is the bill Bachmann supports?

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that an additional $13 billion is needed to pay for current children in the program because of medical inflation.

Under Bush’s plan, about 350,000 children would lose their insurance unless states provided additional funding, or cut benefits or eligibility, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The center provides research and analysis on issues that affect low-income families.

Michele Bachmann, She supports a plan to give 350,000 fewer poor children health care!

A new slogan perhaps?

4:44 PM | Posted in , ,

Incidentally, Gary, Joe Biden has more foreign policy experience in his thinning hair than Rudy has in his entire body! If the American public is prepared to cede the moral high ground by adopting a policy of torture, then we have truly lost our way. The evidence that torture yields inaccurate results is readily available for anyone that would like to examine it (here, here, here, here, and so on). If you can prove otherwise I encourage you to do so.

Having Joe Biden say that Rudy doesn’t know what he’s talking about highlights Sen. Biden’s stupidity. Most people don’t take him seriously as a presidential candidate. In fact, some think he’s really running for Vice President. If Hillary or Obama get the nomination, the biggest mistake they could make is naming an ill-infomred loose cannon like Sen. Biden to be their running mate.

First, let me say that I am somewhat shocked that you would call Biden and his comment stupid without even the slightest of evidence to refute his claim (I thought you could do better than that!). Also, it appears that the "loose cannon" has quite a bit of support among Republicans for his plan (75 votes in the Senate) to clean up Bushes debacle!

I leave you with this:

8:57 PM | Posted in ,
From MSNBC (First Read):


Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2007 2:25 PM by Domenico Montanaro
Categories: 2008, Security

From NBC’s Ken Strickland
In a strong rebuff to the Bush Administration on Iraq, the Senate overwhelming approved a plan by Biden that essentially calls for breaking Iraq into three sections: Kurd, Sunni, and Shia. While the amendment is nonbinding, it's the first measure to pass, (vote was 75-23,) that goes against the administration's war strategy.

Biden's chief co-sponsor was Brownback. Fellow candidates Clinton and Dodd also supported the plan. Obama and McCain did not vote.

In a news conference after the vote, Biden said his plan is consistent with the Iraqi constitution which calls Iraq to be made up of "a decentralized capital, regions, and governorates, and local administrations." Biden says this plan illustrates how to "end this war in a way that we are able to ultimately to bring our troops home and leave a stable Iraq behind... [that] is consistent with the Iraqi constitution." He described it as "pushing on an open door."

The bipartisan measure also calls on the five permanent members of the United Nations and members of the international community to convene a conference to help the Iraqis set up the federal regions. "We all agree... it's time to make Iraq the world's problem, not just ours."

Republican Senator John Warner, instrumental and influential in almost all things related to Iraq, called the vote an "extraordinary moment because it marks the high-water mark of all the many debates and resolutions we've had in terms of bipartisanship."
4:19 PM | Posted in ,
In what could be the most shocking news of the day, our very own "Fool for Christ" Bachmann voted NO on reauthorization and expansion of the highly successful and bipartisan SCHIP (Children's Health Insurance). Seriously, if anyone out there was actually shocked by this vote you are living under a rock with your eyes closed and fingers in your ears.

Title: An act to amend title XXI of the Social Security Act to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15] (introduced 2/9/2007) Cosponsors
Related Bills: H.RES.161, H.RES.675, H.R.3162
Latest Major Action: 9/25/2007 Resolving differences -- House actions. Status: On motion that the House agree with amendments to the Senate Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 265 - 159, 1 Present (Roll no. 906).
House Reports: 110-14
2/9/2007 Introduced in House
2/15/2007 Reported (Amended) by the Committee on Ways and Means. H. Rept. 110-14.
2/16/2007 Passed/agreed to in House: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by recorded vote (2/3 required): 360 - 45 (Roll no. 102).
8/2/2007 Passed/agreed to in Senate: Passed Senate with an amendment and an amendment to the Title by Yea-Nay Vote. 68 - 31. Record Vote Number: 307.
9/25/2007 Resolving differences -- House actions: On motion that the House agree with amendments to the Senate Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 265 - 159, 1 Present (Roll no. 906).
Obviously, Michele has stated on her campaign website that she does NOT support keeping children alive by making sure they have the proper medical care! You know, something like a Culture of Life! Right?

On The Issues - Family, Marriage, and Life

My record of supporting traditional marriage, family life and children, including those yet born, is unambiguous. This will not change if elected to Congress.

I was the chief author of a constitutional amendment in the Minnesota Senate defining marriage as between one man and one woman. I will continue to support traditional marriage as a union between a man and woman.

In addition, I firmly believe in moving toward and promoting a culture that values and respects the sanctity of life - especially those rights of the unborn and the elderly. We must protect infants at their most vulnerable stages and never overlook the weakest and most frail among us.

As a foster mother to 23 at-risk children, I applaud the work of those who reach out to assist those most in need of care.

Michele, does a culture of life include denying children who cannot afford insurance the access to that insurance? This is one of the most egregious hypocrisies of the culture of life crowd! They insist on denying options such as abortion, they discourage comprehensive sex education that has been proven time and time again to reduce pregnancy thus reducing abortions, and then turn around to tell those that had their children that no help will be provided to them even in the form of health insurance!

Factcheck.org does a wonderful job cutting through the lies of Bachmann and her new "kissing" friend George W. Bush:

Bush's False Claims About Children's Health Insurance

Some highlights:

He said it "would result" in covering children in families with incomes up to $83,000 per year, which isn't true. The Urban Institute estimated that 70 percent of children who would gain coverage are in families earning half that amount, and the bill contains no requirement for setting income eligibility caps any higher than what's in the current law.

He also said the program was "meant to help poor children," when in fact Congress stated that it was meant to expand insurance coverage beyond the poor and to cover millions of "low-income" children who were well above the poverty line. Under current law most states cover children at twice or even three times the official poverty level.

The president also says Congress' expansion is a step toward government-run health care for all. It's true that some children and families with private insurance are expected to shift to the government program. But the Congressional Budget Office estimates that such a shift is relatively low considering the number of uninsured these bills would reach.

While it may not be shocking news, Michele continues to provide APPALLING news!
8:22 AM | Posted in
Driving in to work today I tuned in to "Hot Talk with Andy Barnett" (don't ask me why!). The discussion turned to the existence of an African American Chamber of Commerce. In typical fashion, Andy and co-host Don Lyons were incensed that such an organization would exist given the "Fact" (they claimed) that there were not any "Caucasian" chambers of commerce. Now, before giving such a broad statement, you would think that these two geniuses would do even the most basic of research. Good Job Guys!

"Caucasian Chambers of Commerce"

German American Chamber of Commerce
  • "As a member, you will be connected to our wide network of members and business partners in the German-American business community through all of the services and benefits we provide."
Italian American Chamber of Commerce
  • "To promote the interests of Italian American businessmen, and in particular, our own members."
Finnish American Chamber of Commerce
  • "A total of 25 men representing Finnish paper, pulp, plywood, prefab houses, furniture and a number of other export industries and banking, travel promotion, army surplus purchasing and consular services, gathered at newly opened Finland House Restaurant on June 7, 1948, and founded the Finnish Businessmen’s Luncheon Club in New York."
These are but a few of the different "ethnic" chambers of commerce in existence in the United States. So, what does it say about Mr. Barnett that he would pick the African American Chamber of Commerce as the organization to be opposed to? Is he opposed to ALL ethnic chambers or just this one? Shouldn't he think or research before he speaks? You be the judge...

Do you two have any credibility with which to speak on issues or do you just get to spout off without facts and hope your listeners are too stupid to know the difference?

8:47 PM | Posted in ,
As I have begun to delve deeper into the congressional record of our "Fool for Christ" I am continually baffled by the contradictions in her voting record. She votes against farm subsidies, yet happily collects them back at home. She votes against funding grants for firefighters, yet travels to Clearwater to present a check from that fund. Now, in yet another turn of hypocrisy, Bachmann has voted to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the "Little Rock Nine" while continuing to vote against education funding for African Americans and other minorities.

Take a Look:

(Pay close attention to the last line of the resolution!)

H. Res. 668

In the House of Representatives, U. S.,

September 24, 2007.

Whereas on May 17, 1954, the United States Supreme Court announced in Brown v. Board of Education (347 U.S. 483) that, `in the field of education, the doctrine of `separate but equal' has no place';

Whereas the Brown decision recognized as a matter of law that the segregation of public schools deprived students of the equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States;

Whereas in 1957, three years after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, the promise of access and equality within the realm of education remained unfilled in Little Rock, Arkansas, and throughout the Nation;

Whereas on September 4, 1957, nine African American students who would later be deemed the Little Rock Nine, Minnijean Brown, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Pattillo, Gloria Ray, Terrence Roberts, Jefferson Thomas, and Carlotta Walls, were denied admittance to Little Rock Central High by the Arkansas National Guard at the order of the Arkansas Governor;

Whereas on September 23, 1957, the Little Rock Nine, armed with a Federal court order, again tried to attend Little Rock Central High and implement the law of the land, but protests and violence forced the group of students to leave the school;

Whereas on September 25, 1957, this Nation would realize a historic day when the Little Rock Nine, escorted by Federal troops at the order of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, successfully integrated Little Rock Central High;

Whereas throughout their tenure at Little Rock Central High, the Little Rock Nine, with conviction and dignity, championed school integration despite death threats, verbal and physical assaults, school closings, and other adversities;

Whereas the Little Rock Nine are symbolic of the victorious dismantling of school segregation, as well as the full and equal participation in American society that all citizens are entitled to, and continue to advance such principles through the Little Rock Nine Foundation;

Whereas the significance of the Little Rock Nine and their actions have been acknowledged with numerous awards and recognitions, including the 2007 Little Rock Central High School Desegregation 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin, the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999, the inclusion of Little Rock Central High School in the National Park System in 1998, and the designation of Little Rock Central High School as a National Historic Landmark in 1982;

Whereas on the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School by the Little Rock Nine, the Nation will celebrate this great civil rights achievement through forums and town halls, commemorations, and significantly, the dedication of a permanent Little Rock Central High School Museum and Visitor Center; and

Whereas in 2007, as the Little Rock Nine and the entire Nation celebrates 50 years of integration, we must acknowledge recent setbacks to the guarantee of opportunity and inclusion within our educational system, in both K-12 and higher education: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
      (1) acknowledges and commemorates the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School by the Little Rock Nine;
      (2) encourages all Americans, upon this 50th anniversary, to recognize the historic contributions of the Little Rock Nine, who not only secured integration for Little Rock Central High School, but hundreds of thousands of schools across the country; and
      (3) commits itself, in the wake of recent challenges, to continuing the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education and the Little Rock Nine by protecting and advancing equal educational opportunity for all.
    So, what has Michele been doing to "protect and advance equal educational opportunity for all"?

    Title: To provide for reconciliation pursuant to section 601 of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2008.
    Sponsor: Rep Miller, George [CA-7] (introduced 6/12/2007) Cosponsors (31)
    Related Bills: H.RES.531, H.RES.637
    Latest Major Action: 9/19/2007 Presented to President.
    House Reports: 110-210;
    Latest Conference Report: 110-317 (in Congressional Record H10168-10181)

    *She voted NO (twice!) on the College Cost Reduction Act.

    Title: Making appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes.
    Sponsor: Rep Obey, David R. [WI-7] (introduced 7/13/2007) Cosponsors (None)
    Related Bills: H.RES.547, S.1710
    Latest Major Action: 7/23/2007 Received in the Senate. Read twice. Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 280.
    House Reports: 110-231

    *She voted NO on appropriations for the Department of Education.

    Title: To invest in innovation through research and development, and to improve the competitiveness of the United States.
    Sponsor: Rep Gordon, Bart [TN-6] (introduced 5/10/2007) Cosponsors (21)
    Related Bills: H.RES.602, H.R.362, H.R.363, H.R.1068, H.R.1867, H.R.1868, S.761
    Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 110-69 [GPO: Text, PDF]
    Latest Conference Report: 110-289 (in Congressional Record H9414-9465)

    *She was one of only 57 Representatives (in the entire Congress!) to vote NO on the 21st Century Competitiveness Act. One of its goals being,

    to broadly disseminate information about when and how to apply for such grants, including by conducting outreach to historically black colleges and universities and minority institutions.

    Obviously, Michele, you don't mind giving out grants in your district. So, shouldn't you vote in favor of them when they come up in Congress? Could you please explain how voting against these bills is "protecting and advancing equal educational opportunity for all"? At this point I am just curious, because it doesn't look as though you support much of anything when it comes to minorities or their education!
    9:21 AM | Posted in
    Last week I wrote about something in politics today that I referred to as "The Politics of Outrage" in which members of a political party are incensed by actions or comments from the other side while strangely silent when similar comments are made from their side. The recent vote in the United States Senate to condemn the MoveOn.org ad portraying General Patraeus as General "Betray Us" has prompted me to create an update (and perhaps a weekly Politics of Outrage post).

    What do all of the following have in common?
    1. At a concert, Ted Nugent threatened the lives of Senator Clinton, Senator Obama, and Senator Boxer as he told them to "suck on this" while holding a machine gun.
    2. Peter King, in an interview recently, declared that there are "too many mosques in this country".
    3. John Boehner, in an interview, proclaimed that troop deaths in Iraq were "A small price to pay".
    4. Michael Graham, in response to the Clinton Sopranos spoof, said "didn't you at one point want to see, like, Paulie Walnuts or someone come in and just whack them both right there? Wouldn't that have been great?"
    5. Columnist Anne Coulter, in an interview remarked "I do think anyone named B. Hussein Obama should avoid using 'hijack' and 'religion' in the same sentence" in an attempt to portray Barack Obama as a terrorist.
    6. On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity was asked to disavow the statements made by Ted Nugent. His response, "No, I like Ted Nugent. He's a friend of mine."
    7. In January, Rush Limbaugh had this to say about Vietnam Veteran Chuck Hagel, "By the way, we had a caller call, couldn't stay on the air, got a new name for Senator Hagel in Nebraska. We got General Petraeus, and we got Senator Betrayus. New name for Senator Hagel."
    8. Michael Savage, in July, remarked "You know, of all of the dictators in the past, you know the one Al Gore strikes me as [being] closest [to] is Mussolini".
    Answer: Theses are but a handful, most within the last few months, of remarks and recorded statements made by Republican politicians and personalities. Did they get smacked down by the right for their "outrageous" behavior? Absolutely NOT! Did they have Senate Resolutions brought against them for their comments? NOPE! What did they get? silence. THAT is the Politics of Outrage, the constant attacking of another while being "offended" that they might possibly strike back using the same techniques!

    Sorry guys, I don't buy the faux outrage when the tactics you use are every bit as virulent and every bit as outrageous as those you purport to be outraged at!
    6:59 PM | Posted in ,
    Step One: Use a highly popular and highly successful government program to illustrate your point that government is too big and threaten to VETO it.

    George W. Bush (and you can be sure Michele Bachmann will be following him like a lovesick puppy) has done just that. So, it begs the question, is George TRYING to destroy the Republican Party?
    The President calls it playing politics, yet the measure has support from both Republicans and Democrats. So, Mr. President, if a bill is bipartisan and you still threaten to veto it, who is playing politics with the health care of children?

    Once again, Mr. President, you are on the wrong side of public opinion!
    5:23 PM | Posted in ,

    Michele Bachmann, on her House website, posts the story of the Clearwater Fire Department that received over $52 thousand dollars in grant money from the federal government through the Firefighters Assistance Grant. On the surface, it is a feel good story about a group that deserves many kudos and as much financial assistance as we can muster. Unfortunately, Michele really ought not be the person to present this check to any group of firefighters given her lack of support on bills related to this program and to firefighters in general. It smacks of hypocrisy to say, "This grant will help protect the volunteers of the Fire Department", then go back to Washington and vote against measures that fund this program as well as measures that could help these public servants afford the education it takes to become firefighters.

    Michele Bachmann
    Heidi Frederickson 651-731-5400

    Bachmann Presents Clearwater Fire Department with $52,326 Firefighters Grant

    Clearwater, Minnesota, Sep 12 -

    Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was in Clearwater Wednesday to present the Clearwater Fire Department with a grant for $52,326. Recipients of the Grant included Fire Chief Doug Nieters, Assistant Fire Chief Doug Zupan, Fire Marshal Brian Kunkel and Clearwater Mayor Lee Monk.

    “It is an honor to be in Clearwater to present this Assistance to Firefighters Grant to the entire Clearwater Fire Department,” said Bachmann during the presentation. “The first responders of the Clearwater Fire Department put their lives on the line each and everyday. This grant will help protect the volunteers of the Fire Department and the residents of the Clearwater area when they need it most."

    The purpose of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant is to give financial support directly to local fire departments to improve our first responder’s ability to protect the health and safety of the public, as well as that of first-responder personnel. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is designed as an opportunity for Congress to work with the Homeland Security Department to enhance basic fire service delivery across the United States.

    Yet, her congressional record shows little support for this program or the firefighters who "put their lives on the line everyday"!

    Title: Making appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes.
    Sponsor: Rep Price, David E. [NC-4] (introduced 6/8/2007) Cosponsors (None)
    Related Bills: H.RES.473, S.1644
    Latest Major Action: 7/26/2007 Resolving differences -- Senate actions. Status: Senate insists on its amendment, asks for a conference, appoints conferees Byrd; Inouye; Leahy; Mikulski; Kohl; Murray; Landrieu; Lautenberg; Nelson NE; Cochran; Gregg; Stevens; Specter; Domenici; Shelby; Craig; Alexander.
    House Reports: 110-181
    6/8/2007 Introduced in House
    6/8/2007 The House Committee on Appropriations reported an original measure, H. Rept. 110-181, by Mr. Price (NC).
    6/15/2007 Passed/agreed to in House: On passage Passed by the Yeas and Nays: 268 - 150 (Roll no. 491).
    7/26/2007 Passed/agreed to in Senate: Passed Senate with an amendment by Yea-Nay. 89 - 4. Record Vote Number: 282.
    7/26/2007 Resolving differences -- Senate actions: Senate insists on its amendment, asks for a conference, appoints conferees Byrd; Inouye; Leahy; Mikulski; Kohl; Murray; Landrieu; Lautenberg; Nelson NE; Cochran; Gregg; Stevens; Specter; Domenici; Shelby; Craig; Alexander.

    Bachmann voted NO! This is the bill that makes appropriations for the program that assists fire departments across the country. Michele, the hypocrisy of voting against the measure that funds this program then traveling to Cleawater to congratulate a group for getting some of those funds is truly astonishing. Do you have an explanation? Are you opposed to government handouts or in favor of them, YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS!

    Title: To provide for reconciliation pursuant to section 601 of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2008.
    Sponsor: Rep Miller, George [CA-7] (introduced 6/12/2007) Cosponsors (31)
    Related Bills: H.RES.531, H.RES.637
    Latest Major Action: 9/19/2007 Presented to President.
    House Reports: 110-210; Latest Conference Report: 110-317 (in Congressional Record H10168-10181)
    6/12/2007 Introduced in House
    6/25/2007 Reported (Amended) by the Committee on Education and Labor. H. Rept. 110-210.
    7/11/2007 Passed/agreed to in House: On passage Passed by recorded vote: 273 - 149 (Roll no. 613).
    7/20/2007 Passed/agreed to in Senate: Passed Senate with an amendment by Yea-Nay Vote. 78 - 18. Record Vote Number: 272.
    9/6/2007 Conference report H. Rept. 110-317 filed.
    9/7/2007 Conference report agreed to in Senate: Senate agreed to conference report by Yea-Nay Vote. 79 - 12. Record Vote Number: 326.
    9/7/2007 Conference report agreed to in House: On agreeing to the conference report Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 292 - 97 (Roll no. 864).
    9/19/2007 Presented to President.

    Bachmann voted NO not once, but TWICE, to the College Cost Reduction Act that would have given firefighters some relief from the costs of college for their service!
    9:45 PM | Posted in
    This past weekend I was randomly flipping through the channels and I came across a movie called 'Saved'. I am a little ashamed to say I watched it given that it featured the likes of teen popstar Mandy Moore and 'Home Alone' flunky Macauley Culkin. That is hardly my point though! As I watched this satirical portrayal of Evangelical Christianity, I noticed a scene that made me stop in my tracks and proclaim, MOVIES REALLY DO INFLUENCE PEOPLE!

    Mark, were you copying what you saw in the movies?

    7:28 PM | Posted in , ,
    "Support the Troops, but not their welfare!"

    I don't typically post specifically on the Iraq War and this will not be the beginning of a trend. However, I had to comment on recent votes in the Senate. If Republicans cannot even support a measure giving troops the same amount of rest time as combat time, they really cannot seriously claim to "support the troops." If it is acceptable for Republicans to consistently question the support of democrats, then turnabout is fair play in the case of this bill. It is increasingly clear that Republicans have little interest in protecting the mental and physical welfare of our men and women in uniform!

    Senate rejects attempt to regulate combat tours
    Blockage of bill a defeat for Democrats struggling to challenge Bush on Iraq

    Updated: 5:53 p.m. CT Sept 19, 2007

    WASHINGTON - The Senate blocked legislation Wednesday that would have regulated the amount of time troops spent in combat, a blow for Democrats struggling to challenge President Bush’s Iraq policies.

    The 56-44 vote was four votes short of reaching the 60 needed to cut off debate. It was the second time in as many months that the bill, sponsored by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., was sidetracked. In July, a similar measure fell four votes short of advancing.

    Failure of the bill was a sound defeat for Democrats, who have been unable to pass significant anti-war legislation by a veto-proof majority since taking control of Congress in January. Webb’s measure was seen as having the best chance at attracting the 60 votes needed to pass because of its pro-military premise.

    The bill would have required that troops spend as much time at home training with their units as they spend deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Members of the National Guard or Reserve would be guaranteed three years at home before being sent back.

    Most Army soldiers now spend about 15 months in combat with 12 months home.

    “I think it’s very important that we just put a safety net under our troops,” said Webb, a Vietnam veteran and former Navy secretary.

    There is some additional analysis on dailykos:

    The Filibuster: now painless and more convenient than ever!
    9:01 PM | Posted in
    What are they drinking down there in Nebraska? This state senator, a Democrat nonetheless, has decided to bring a lawsuit against GOD. Yes, you read that correctly, GOD! I may be a liberal and I may even be an agnostic, but there are some things we ought to be able to agree upon despite party labels and ideological beliefs. One of those things being TRYING TO SUE AN OMNISCIENT BEING THAT MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE CREATED ALL OF EXISTENCE IS STUPID!

    My one question: Sir, if your are an agnostic and therefore, doubt the very existence of God, doesn't suing him validate his existence thereby invalidating your very beliefs? That sentence gave me a headache!

    Nebraska State Senator Sues God
    Democrat Says He's Making A Point -- Seeks Permanent Injunction Against Almighty

    LINCOLN, Neb., Sept. 18, 2007

    (AP) Saying that God has caused "fearsome floods ... horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornadoes," Nebraska's longest-serving state senator says he is suing the Almighty to make a legal point.

    State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, a Democrat, filed a lawsuit against God in Douglas County District Court last week, saying that God has made terroristic threats against the senator and his constituents, inspired fear and caused "widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants."

    He's seeking a permanent injunction against God.

    Chambers, a self-proclaimed agnostic who skips morning prayers during the legislative session and often criticizes Christians, said he filed the lawsuit to show that anybody can file a legal action against anybody for any reason.

    *There is actually more to the article, so take a look and perhaps have a giggle!
    8:25 PM | Posted in ,
    This post is going to be at its core petty, yet it also speaks to how much authority someone has to speak on any given subject. I recently did a piece on Josh Behling, a candidate for the 15B House seat currently held by VFW Legislator of the Year, Larry Haws. As I was driving in to work this morning I heard Behling on KNSI 1450 with Andy Barnett (Incidentally, Josh, your chances of "riding in to work" with Gottwalt OR Clark are slim to none!). They talked platitudes about the ever oppressive tax system (please note the sarcasm) and I got to thinking about whether Josh got around to fixing some of the glaring errors on his new shiny website.

    Well? It seems he figured out that abortion is not spelled aboortion (That is probably key to winning the ever popular single issue aboortion voters), so hooray for Josh! However, he didn't take my advice and fix the glaring misuse of the word 'effect' nor did he fix the Bushesque line about how "core academics IS essential to educating our children."

    Petty or not, how can someone possibly be taken seriously on the issue of education when the basics of grammar escape them? Seriously, Gary, if you are out there, tell Josh he needs to fix his website!
    Once again, Michele Bachmann has found herself in the super minority of Congress. Alongside 72 other Representatives, she voted NO on a bill that allows low income individuals to obtain a loan (this is an important distinction given that it is NOT a handout!) through the Federal Housing Administration.

    Check it out:

    Title: To modernize and update the National Housing Act and enable the Federal Housing Administration to use risk-based pricing to more effectively reach underserved borrowers, and for other purposes.
    Sponsor: Rep Waters, Maxine [CA-35] (introduced 3/29/2007) Cosponsors (13)
    Related Bills: H.RES.650
    Latest Major Action:
    9/18/2007 Passed/agreed to in House. Status: Passed by recorded vote: 348 - 72 (Roll no. 876).

    House Reports: 110-217, 110-217 Part 2

    Press Release from the FHA:

    News Release

    HUD No. 07-139
    Steve O'Halloran
    (202) 708-0980
    For Release
    September 18, 2007


    "Today's vote in the House brings us one step closer to getting a comprehensive FHA Modernization bill to the President's desk. While more work needs to be done, I'm grateful for the strong support that the President's proposals received in the House, and I urge the Senate to take up its version as soon as possible so we can help even more Americans keep their homes. I also appreciate the leadership and support of Barney Frank, Spencer Bachus, Maxine Waters, and Judy Biggert to reform FHA's mortgage insurance program.

    The bipartisan reforms overwhelmingly passed by the House serve as a starting point to bring good news to families who need a safe, fair and affordable FHA alternative to the exotic subprime market. Now more than ever, Americans want financially sound mortgage options that won't turn the dream of homeownership into a nightmare. With the bill approved by the House today, we estimate FHA will be able to help hundreds of thousands of borrowers obtain an FHA-insured mortgage in 2008."

    *I am consistently astonished at the voting record of Michele Bachmann (though I probably shouldn't be). This is another one of many votes that anyone opposing Bachmann should bring up time and time again. My hope (albeit a lofty hope) is that this blog, along with Dump Bachmann and many others, can be used as a tool to cut through some of the clutter of legislative research to find the particularly egregious voting record of Bachmann. I have enjoyed the debates between several blogs in the area over the potential candidate to oppose Bachmann. My sense is that having three candidates of varying strengths (even though they don't have varying names!) is only a good thing. My hope is that the best candidate (I am not sure who that is yet) will rise to the top and battle Michele in a way that Wetterling never seemed to have the heart for.

    8:04 PM | Posted in
    On this day in 1787, 55 men gathered at Independence Hall in Philadelphia to wrap up their discussion of government that would fundamentally change the nature of the United States. The previous years since the Revolution had been somewhat of a speed bump in the American experience as the Articles of Confederation proved to be too weak to hold the fledgling nation together. In creating the Constitution, the delegates created something unparalleled in the history of mankind. Perhaps it is because it seemed so easy to our founders that we today cannot understand why others around the world take so long and struggle so hard to achieve the same freedom. Perhaps it was a unique time in history in which a collection of ordinary men with extraordinary talent came together and formed something so masterful it cannot be repeated. Perhaps some divine hand actually was shining down upon us that year. In any case, the Constitution remains the guiding light of our entire way of life.

    Politically speaking, Republicans and Democrats argue about Health Care, National Security, and a whole host of other issues of the day. We both have fundamental beliefs about how to improve this already great nation. However, when you strip away the issues and the politics of it all it is the Constitution and its interpretation that truly sets us apart. For the Republican, the Constitution is a blueprint manual to be followed to the letter. Fundamentally, a Republican wants to make sure we are doing things as the framers intended. For the Democrat, the Constitution is alive and allows us to use its message in a world vastly different from that of the framers. Fundamentally, a Democrat wants to find modern meaning in a document that continues to be the best guide to running a government. This debate is what amazes and fascinates me about politics because despite 220 years between us and its creation there is still passion raging about this dichotomy of strict construction vs. living document. It permeates every discussion of every issue we debate in this country and I hope it is never solved as I fear that (more than any terrorist or natural event) if that passionate debate over the fundamentals of the Constitution ends it will bring down this great country.
    9:16 AM | Posted in
    The world of politics and political belief is filled with variation, strategy, and above all the sense of outrage. What is the sense of outrage? It is the constant shocked feelings that people of ALL political stripes display when their side is raked over the coals in a manner they find offensive or over the top. As a liberal I look out and proclaim my outrage that people such as John Gibson would take the grief of Jon Stewart after 9/11 and mock it not once, but twice with increasing glee each time he did. Where are the conservatives demanding an apology? They are silent! Conservatives look out and proclaim their outrage that MoveOn.org would have the audacity to question the patriotism of General Patraeus. Where are the liberals demanding an apology? They are silent!

    Let us take Psymeistr, Leo Pusateri, as an example (partially because he revealed himself as a reader, thanks Leo!).

    • In a recent post, Psycmeistr is "outraged" that a group of self proclaimed communists disrupted a 9/11 observance. Granted, the video clearly states that College Democrats as well as College Republicans support the 9/11 victims. That does not matter for the 'Politics of Outrage'. It is simply because they are on the ideological "left" that Psycmeistr needs to label the whole lot of Democrats as OUTRAGEOUS.
    • Yet, no more than THREE posts later, Psycmeistr displays his latest photoshop sensations. One of them being a large picture of Osama bin Laden with the words "Support My Troops, Vote Democrat". There is no longer outrage, but pride in the writing of Psymeistr at the creation of a poster blanket labeling Democrats as supporters of a mass murderer. The 'Politics of Outrage' dictate that Psycmeistr, and all conservative supporters, will defend these actions as legitimate while heaping on more OUTRAGE that Democrats would do similar things.

    Other Examples:

    The 'Politics of Outrage' go right to the top where there is a masterful game constantly being played between demanding an apology for THEIR outrageous behavior and defending YOUR outrageous behavior! Ron Carey, Chairman of the Minnesota GOP, recently sent out a press release of outrage over the actions of MoveOn.org due to a recent picture of General Patraeus.

    "With their refusal to repudiate MoveOn.org's venomous attack ad against General David Petraeus, Al Franken and Tim Walz again put the interests of the far-left wing fringe above common decency. By not speaking out against this mean-spirited and vicious smear, it's clear that Franken and Walz lack the kind of leadership Minnesotans demand." - Ron Carey, Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman

    Yet, when House Minority Leader John Boehner stated that the soldiers we were losing in Iraq were a "small price to pay", the Minnesota GOP remained equally as silent as the Democrats they were so outraged at for the MoveOn poster.

    So, what is the point? My point is NOT that Republicans do outrageous things any more than Democrats. My point is NOT that the 'Politics of Outrage' is more used and abused by any one party. I, for one, have been known to add some outrageous (possibly beyond the pail) items and comments here so I cannot say that the actions of these people is any worse than mine.
    • THAT is my point: If you are going to find enjoyment and glee from making posters that depict the other side in some bad form, don't feign outrage when the other side decides to get in on the action. If you are going to be outraged by things like portraying an honorable General as dishonorable you should not be turning around and portraying a vast number of honorable people in a given party as dishonorable. STOP being outraged at the actions of others if you are not prepared to STOP your own outrageous behavior.
      • Don't be outraged at a group of communists for dishonoring the memory of 9/11 when you yourself proudly claim that anyone in America who is a Democrat is part of the army of Osama.
      • Don't be outraged that two Democrats will not speak out forcefully against MoveOn.org when you yourself remain silent about the comments made by your very own leadership.
      • Don't be outraged at a perceived lack of support for our troops from Democrats when you remain remarkably silent about this administrations shoddy treatment of our returning Vets.
      • It cuts both ways as Democrats must stop being outraged that someone like Leo would make them out to be bin Laden supporters when they will not come out and vehemently defend the patriotism of General Patraeus.
    The list goes on and on with examples of one side being outraged while the other side is silent. I can't say that I always remain above the 'Politics of Outrage', but perhaps if we can quit calling each other traitors, loonies, fascists, and any number of other names we could come to some real discussions and share some real outrage against whomever brings these unnecessary attacks into the political arena no matter which side they are on.
    6:38 PM | Posted in ,
    While the Democratic field is filled with a woman, a Latino, and an African American, the Republican field has up until now been a collection of old white guys. No more, as Alan Keyes has decided to give the Presidency another run.

    You may remember Alan from his failed Senate bid (ok, it was a slaughter, but I was trying to be nice).

    Classic Keyes:

    • *In his 2004 run for the Illinois Senate seat, Alan called all homosexuals selfish hedonists. When asked if that included the daughter of the Vice President, Keyes replied, "Of course she is."
    • *Alan famously remarked that Jesus would not vote for Barack Obama.
    Keyes reminds me of the inner voice Republicans have but really don't want to let others hear too loudly since most of what the inner voice says is filled with hatred and intolerance. Also, Keyes is able to talk about race in a way that Republicans like without sounding like a complete racist.

    Alan Keyes announces for President!
    Will appear in Values Voter Debate Sept. 17

    September 14, 2007
    RenewAmerica staff

    On Friday, Sept. 14, Alan Keyes filed a Statement of Candidacy (Form 2) with the Federal Election Commission--thus officially announcing as a Republican candidate for President of the United States.

    Keyes told Janet Parshall, host of a nationally syndicated radio show, that he's "unmoved" by the lack of moral courage shown by the other candidates, among whom he sees no standout who articulates the "key kernel of truth that must, with courage, be presented to our people."

    He added, "The one thing I've always been called to do is to raise the standard . . . of our allegiance to God and His authority that has been the foundation stone of our nation's life"--and he decried the lack of "forthright, clear, and clarion declaration" from the other candidates concerning this issue.

    As a result, Keyes said, "We're putting together an effort that's not going to be like anything before, because it's going to be entirely based on citizen action. We're going to be challenging people to take a pledge for America's revival," and elevate them from spectators in the political arena to participants.

    The former Reagan diplomat ran previously for president in 1996 and 2000. During the 1996 race, he was widely credited with forcing abortion to the center of public policy debate. In 2000, he was acknowledged by commentators at Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN as the winner of the Republican presidential primary debates. In that election, he continued his prior focus on America's moral crisis, and also made abolishing the income tax a serious question for policy-makers.

    This election cycle, Keyes has already significantly influenced the debate, according to some observers, who note that at least a few of the GOP candidates appear intent on imitating some of Keyes' well-known positions, in an effort to woo moral conservatives--without which no Republican is likely to win in the general election.

    As a prelude to running, prior to making up his mind to announce, Keyes has been writing a series of essays on the 2008 election titled "The Crisis of the Republic"--published at RenewAmerica and disseminated by several other outlets. A common theme of the articles is the need to restore personal sovereignty that is based in religious premises and self-discipline, if American society is to survive in liberty.

    Keyes said he plans to join the Values Voter Presidential Debate Sept. 17 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

    To hear the entire Keyes announcement, click here:

    To visit Keyes' campaign website, AlanKeyes.com, click here:

    Question: Why did ALL of the top tier Republicans decline to attend?
    With the recent vote AGAINST college students and FOR loan industry subsidies as well as the LTE written by Bob Hill exposing the vote, Michele Bachmann is going to have some serious explaining to do in regards to this issue. An article in the L.A. Times might be just the suggested reading Michele needs to realize how foolish she looks with this vote.

    Check it out:

    The GOP's fuzzy math on student loans

    What are Republicans protecting when the government can lend money at half the cost?

    By Michael Kinsley
    September 15, 2007

    If you know anything at all about the federal student loan program, you will not have been surprised by the scandal of recent months. The only amazing thing is that it has taken so long to arrive. Here's how the program works: Banks and other private companies lend money to students. The federal government pays part or all of the interest -- currently 7% or 8%. The government also guarantees the loans.

    What is wrong with this picture? Well, the government itself borrows the odd nickel to finance the national debt. This borrowing, obviously, is also guaranteed by the government. For that reason, it carries an interest rate of only 3% or 4% If the government can borrow money at 3% or 4%, why should it be paying 7% or 8% for the privilege of guaranteeing loans to someone else? Wouldn't it make more sense for the government to loan out the money itself?

    That is the $4-billion question (the approximate annual cost of the interest subsidy). And the answer is: Of course that would make more sense. It is what any levelheaded businessperson would do. And what is stopping the government from behaving like a levelheaded businessperson? Not those head-in-the-clouds Democrats. It's the Republicans, who adopted the student loan "industry" in its infancy, like a stray cat, and have nurtured it ever since.

    There actually is a parallel student loan program that does use government funds. It was started in the early days of the Clinton administration. It costs less to operate, and it has not been tainted by scandal. But when the Republicans regained control of Congress in 1994, they pushed through a law forbidding the Education Department from encouraging use of this program. As a result, direct federal loans account for only 25% of all student loans.

    There is plenty of other encouragement going on. New York Atty. Gen. Andrew Cuomo has extracted fines of more than $1 million each from such prestigious institutions as Columbia and Johns Hopkins -- and, for that matter, nearly as prestigious institutions such as Citibank, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America. It seems that kickbacks were being paid to university financial aid officers who delivered customers. Some of them even got stock in some of the more specialized, and dubious, student loan companies. When the government is giving away free money -- which is what the program amounts to (and I mean giving it away to the banks, not to the students) -- it's worthwhile to get cut in on such a good deal.

    When the student loan abuse story broke, fingers were pointed at the Education Department, which is supposed to supervise the program. The Government Accountability Office minced no words. It called on the department to "develop a protocol to determine the appropriate level of response for cases of noncompliance and assess the effectiveness of these actions to inform and improve this protocol." Wow. While the Education Department quaked in its boots over that one, Congress more usefully passed a bill substantially reforming the student loan program and cutting the subsidy to banks and other loan providers by 80%. President Bush, to his credit, will sign these reforms into law. In fact, he actually proposed some of them in his budget last February. But this puts him at odds with his party.

    The student loan "industry," as it is comically referred to in the newspapers, is an interesting case study in politics and business. To start, it is hardly an industry. There are no factories. The only things it "makes" are loans. Furthermore, it exists only because of a government program. Yet in the four decades since the federal government started it, the student loan business has evolved into a pretty good imitation of an industry, with trade associations, lobbyists and support from politicians, mostly Republicans.

    This "industry" is so dependent on the goodwill of politicians, in fact, that the reform bill alone may be enough to queer the deal in which its biggest player, Sallie Mae, is supposed to be bought by a private equity firm for $25 billion. Even before taking over, the private equity firm booted Sallie Mae's chief executive on the explicit grounds that he did not have good relations with Democrats. To run this so-called company, in other words, you don't need to know how to make widgets, or even how to make loans. You just need to know how to make nice. But don't feel too bad for this executive who suddenly found his Rolodex obsolete: He made $40 million last year and will get millions more if the deal does go through.

    But why do Republicans love student loans? Oh, in part the usual reasons: lobbyists and campaign contributions. There is almost sure to be at least one of these firms in your district -- the local bank, if no one else. But there is more. Student loans are the clearest example of the common Republican confusion between free-market capitalism and business. Capitalism is an economic system that is held, with some justification, to be the best guarantor of prosperity. Business can be capitalism in action, or it can be something entirely different. There is very little about the student loan program that has anything to do with free-market capitalism. Yet whenever the student loan system comes under criticism, lobbyists, "industry" leaders and supportive politicians haul out the same old cliches as if they were defending Adam Smith's famous pin factory itself.

    During the recent reform bill debate in the House, for example, a Republican from Texas, Jeb Hensarling, declared that the very notion of reducing the subsidy to private companies was "all part of a Democratic tax-and-spend program."

    A so-called analysis by an industry expert, which (according to the Washington Post) circulated on Capital Hill during the debate, worried that the big boys would survive but the subsidy reductions "may leave smaller lenders unprofitable." Concern for "small lenders" was a common theme, as if a loan from a ma-and-pa bank, if such an institution exists, would be warmer and more cuddly than a loan from Citibank. Another common theme was that the subsidy cut was part of a covert Democratic effort to drive people into the direct federal loan program -- or, as one lender chief executive described it, the "one-size-fits-all direct-loan program."

    This would be no bad thing, but it doesn't seem to have been the case. I'm not sure what "one size fits all" means here, but if it refers to the interest rate that students and their families have to pay, it's true that there is only one rate in the government program, compared with many in the private one -- all of them higher. But maybe there are people for whom the variety is worth it.

    Michael Kinsley, a contributing editor to The Times' opinion pages, is the paper's former editorial page editor. He is also the former editor of the New Republic, Slate and Harpers.