Monday, October 30, 2006
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
There is every indication is that this election will be a shockingly close race.
Getting out the vote will be key.
So if you don't get in touch with Joe Vosicky or Rob Bisceglie or Maj. Duckworth's people, I will just have to presume that you simply don't give a damn.
And the new formatting has made Neil Steinberg's column an unreadable mess.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
On Friday, the county's computer experts were trying to learn how the hacker got into the site; [DuPage County Election Commission Director Robert Saar] said registered voters and those who participate in the Nov. 7 election don't need to worry.And I'm certain that Mr. Sarr would also have claimed that the commission's web site was secure before it was hacked on Thursday... and again on Friday.
The intrusion didn't affect voter registration files, which are protected by additional firewalls, or the commission's vote-counting system, which is not connected to the Internet or to any other computer, he said.
Update Oct 29: I'm not the only one with doubts about voting in DuPage County.
From your Daily Herald:
That each and every American eligible to vote can make choices on whom they believe would best represent them in government is what makes living in a democracy so right.Yeah, I'm paranoid -- but am I paranoid enough?
But in planning an election, those running the election must anticipate everything that can go wrong. And troubleshoot accordingly.
And election administrators cannot put themselves in a position of being accused of conflicts of interest in awarding contracts. Not when they are overseers of one of the most sacred outcomes of our nation taking up arms for liberty.
Yet the DuPage Election Commission has come up short in both of these areas.
click the cartoon for an image that is actually legible
Friday, October 27, 2006
Which does nothing to explain why I am posting the trailer for The Dixie Chicks' "Shut Up and Sing."*
Oh yeah, I remember why I'm posting this -- It's 'cause Natalie Maines bitch-slapped George Bush when so few Americans had guts enough to question his invasion of Iraq.
But I still can't stomach their version of country music.
*Natalie's dad, Lloyd Maines, did work with the likes of Joe Ely, Terry Allen, Butch Hancock, Guy Clark, Radney Foster, Ted Roddy, Bruce Robison, Uncle Tupelo and Wilco. He even produced 1980's self-titled album by Chicago's country legends The Sundowners.
Anyone who wants to really help the Tammy Duckworth's 6th District campaign should get in touch with Democratic Illinois House candidates Joe Vosicky (Dist. 46) or Rob Bisceglie (Dist. 45).
They are both running professional, grassroots-driven state rep campaigns. They are both great guys and their grassroots bone fides are legit -- they're both friends of Christine Cegelis.
In addition, they are each working hard to take an open Illinois house seat. Open seats mean that these districts simply will never be more winnable for the Democrats than this year.
But most importantly, they know their districts better than anyone in the Duckworth camp ever could. I'm sure the Duckworth staff are nice folks, but Joe and Rob are grassroots, shoe-leather, door-knocking candidates. That means they know where their voters are -- and their voters are Tammy's voters.
There is literally nothing you could do that would be more helpful to Major Duckworth than to team up with the grassroots campaigns of Rob and/or Joe in the run up to the election.
www.votebisceglie.com or www.joevosicky.com
Tell 'em an imaginary friend sent you.
Photo credit: Mr. Wurf
UPDATE: Links are fixed -- now, use 'em!
Thursday, October 26, 2006
From the Associated Press:
Billy Joe Shaver has tied the knot - again.
Shaver, who wrote "Georgia on a Fast Train" and "I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I'm Gonna Be a Diamond Someday)," married Wanda Lynn Canady in Las Vegas on Friday, according to a statement from Compadre Records, his Houston-based independent label.
Billy Gibbons, the bearded frontman for ZZ Top, presided over the ceremony. It was Shaver's second marriage to Canady, said Compadre spokesman Logan Rogers. The first marriage was annulled.
The 67-year-old country singer was married three times to his wife Brenda, who died in 1999. Their first two marriages ended in divorce.
Shortly after the latest wedding, Shaver cracked a vertebra while wrestling with a friend, Rogers told The Associated Press on Tuesday. He was expected to recover.
"He has had to cancel a few shows," Rogers said.And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your ass.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Hastert could well be the weakest House speaker in history. Tapped by Tom DeLay to serve as the mild-mannered frontman for the GOP leadership, the former wrestling coach ceded most of his power to the now-disgraced majority leader, allowing Republicans to treat the Capitol as their private piggy bank.Can you imagine getting such a terrible review from the same magazine that gave a steaming pile like "Steel Wheels" four stars?
Last year, Hastert got in on the action himself, secretly inserting $207 million into the budget for the "Prairie Parkway" -- a highway that will speed development of 210 acres he owns in Illinois. Before the year was out, Hastert sold part of his land -- soon to be the site of a sprawling subdivision -- for a profit of $2 million.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Dear Friends,via TPM Cafe
My name is Nicole Curtis-Torres. I’m a lifelong resident of Wheaton. Some of you may know my brother Master Sergeant Brian Curtis. Brian, like me, grew up in Wheaton and lived here until devoting himself full-time to the United States Army.
I am so proud of my brother – he is my hero. He’s been serving in the military for 20 years – 13 of which have been full-time in the Army. He is about to go back to Baghdad for his second tour. During this tour, he will be leading a team in weapons cache and IED disposal. IEDs have killed and injured so many of our soldiers and my brother works to make Iraq safe for our soldiers.
My brother selflessly puts his life on the line for all of us. He, like all of our soldiers, has made many great personal sacrifices for our country.
We need someone who has served in Iraq, we need someone who has seen the daily fighting in Iraq. Tammy has been there and she understands the sacrifices our Soldiers have made.
While at a coffee in Bloomingdale, I stood up to tell Tammy and the audience about Brian. While talking in front of the group, I became overwhelmed with emotion and began to cry. Tammy got off her chair, walked over and gave me a hug. For the first time, someone understood what I was going through.
Talking with her that night was the first time I was able to talk to someone who understood what it was like to have a loved one serving overseas. It was the first time I felt a connection with someone. Tammy understands how much I miss my brother, how proud I am and how angry I am.
When I talk to Tammy, I’m not talking to a politician – I’m talking to someone who understands how much I miss my brother. Tammy isn’t a politician, she’s a real person who understands what it is like to have a loved one in Iraq.
Talking to her was the first time I could say, “I’m scared as hell.” She understands what I go through everyday. He’s my brother – he’s my hero. This has been my own daily struggle and Tammy understands what it feels like.
Despite political differences, one thing all Americans can agree on is that we are all proud of those who serve in our armed forces. This fall, I will be supporting Tammy Duckworth because she is the type of person we need in Congress – she understands what is going on in Iraq.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
The lesson of this cartoon?
You don't have to know how to draw to be a professional cartoonist.
UPDATE: The Alias Kid, aka Kid Alias points out an additional lesson: You don't have be funny to get a spot on the funny pages.
Monday, October 16, 2006
And like it or not, Democrats face the same choice whether they decide to go to the polls or not.
I have pulled the lever over and over since my first vote in 1968 for Republicans. If I was a closet Democrat, I must have hidden it well, especially from myself, since I always beat up on Democrats in my columns. I have called them leftists, socialists, and every other name in the book, because I thought they were flat-out wrong.
And, for the most part, I still do. I am opposed to big government. I have little use for unions. I never liked the welfare plans. I am opposed to weak-kneed defense policies. I have always been for fiscal prudence. I think back to the policies of most Democrats, and I cringe.
So, what in the world has happened?
The Republican Party has changed, and it has changed monumentally.
You almost cannot be a victorious traditional Republican candidate with mainstream values in Johnson County or in Kansas anymore, because these candidates never get on the ballot in the general election. They lose in low turnout primaries, where the far right shows up to vote in disproportionate numbers.
To win a Republican primary, the candidate must move to the right.
What does to-the-right mean?
It means anti-public education, though claiming to support it.
It means weak support of our universities, while praising them.
It means anti-stem cell research.
It means ridiculing global warming.
It means gay bashing. Not so much gay marriage, but just bashing gays.
It means immigrant bashing. I'm talking about the viciousness.
It means putting religion in public schools. Not just prayer.
It means mocking evolution and claiming it is not science.
It means denigrating even abstinence-based sex education.
Note, I did not say it means "anti-abortion," because I do not find that position repugnant, at all. I respect that position.
But everything else adds up to priorities that have nothing to do with the Republican Party I once knew.That's why, in the absence of so-called traditional Republican candidates, the choice comes down to right-wing Republicans or conservative Democrats.
A couple of my Republican friends cite [Congressman John] Murtha's opposition to the war as the moment they knew it was lost, at least in terms of support from the U.S. citizenry.I think that Evanier is right.
Personally, I think the attempts to smear Murtha as a treasonous, pro-terrorist coward did a lot to make that happen.
By publicly and loudly attacking the character of a patriotic, moderate American just for doubting the failed Bush Iraq policy, the Republicans, by extension, attacked the nation's swing voters -- i.e. patriotic, moderate Americans who were beginning to doubt the failed Bush Iraq policy.
And it's gonna be pretty tough for the Republicans to put that toxic genie back in the bottle by November.
On a conference call today, James Carville suggested that the Democratic Party should expand beyond just the top targeted races. He believes the party should help fund previously ignored Democratic challengers in second- and third-tier districts -- the next 30 to 50 Republican-held seats -- to fully capitalize on this environment and help those candidates maximize their chances of winning. Carville went as far as to suggest Democrats go to the bank and borrow $5 million. If I were them, I'd make it $10 million and put $500,000 each of these 20 districts.The ability to take advantage of a situation just like this was the rationale for DNC Chairman Howard Dean's "50-State Strategy," which US News etc. described as "a multimillion-dollar program to rebuild the Democratic Party from the ground up."
Over the past year, the DNC has hired and trained four staffers for virtually every state party in the nation--nearly 200 workers in all--to be field organizers, press secretaries, and technology specialists, even in places where the party hasn't been competitive for decades. "It's a huge shift," Dean tells U.S. News. "Since 1968, campaigns have been about TV and candidates, which works for 10 months out of the four-year cycle. With party structure on the ground, you campaign for four years."Unfortunately, Dr. Dean's visionary strategy has received little or no support from Illinois' Democratic leaders.
DCCC Chair Rep. Rahm Emanuel risked starving the Dean plan in its infancy by demanding more Democratic cash for his pet districts at the expense of party-building in Red States. In addition, Illinois state party leaders have given Dean's team the cold shoulder. As a result, Dean's only in-road into downstate Red-Illinois is a lone outpost in Madison County.
If you back Dr. Dean's long term thinking, you can support the "50-State Strategy" here.
UPDATE OCT 17: Larry the Archpundit apparently thinks I have created a false dichotomy.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
On issues, the two have staked out clear platforms. Roskam is a conservative Republican on social issues and backs many of the policies of the Bush administration, most notably on the war in Iraq. He does differ from Bush on immigration and the No Child Left Behind education program. Duckworth is a moderate Democrat on social issues and has clear disagreement with the administration on the war. She believes our troops can start to come home if the administration puts money and its efforts in training Iraqi troops to handle their own security. She seeks accountability on the war from the administration to Congress on a regular basis.The Herald endorsement makes it clear: Peter Roskam's brand of authoritarian, fundamentalist hyper-conservatism is out of touch with the families of the 6th District.
We are closer to agreement with Duckworth than with Roskam on the war and several other key issues. She is in favor of the Senate immigration bill that charts a clear pathway to citizenship rather than the House bill Roskam supports that unilaterally and we believe unrealistically would try to send all undocumented immigrants back home.
Roskam is opposed to reinstating the federal assault weapons ban — a stance that puts him at odds even with the conservative Hyde — while Duckworth backs the ban, which expired in 2004. Roskam supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Duckworth sees the folly in amending the constitution for that issue. Duckworth supports embryonic stem cell research; Roskam is opposed.
Friday, October 13, 2006
A key player in the unfolding scandal involving teenage pages and a Florida lawmaker testified for more than four hours before a House ethics committee panel yesterday, repeating his assertions that Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's top aide had early warnings about the congressman's questionable behavior toward youths, according to the witness's attorney.In addition to Palmer, the ethics committe is investigating two other senior members of Hastert's staff, deputy chief of staff Mike Stokke and counsel Ted Van Der Meid.
Kirk Fordham, who was a chief of staff to then-Rep. Mark Foley (R), was consistent with his previous statements when he gave sworn testimony to a panel investigating the House's handling of Foley's actions, lawyer Timothy J. Heaphy told reporters after the two men emerged from an afternoon of questioning.
Fordham has said that he turned to Hastert's chief of staff, Scott Palmer, in 2003 in hopes of persuading Foley to stop showing so much interest in teenage pages, who work for a semester or two on Capitol Hill. Fordham has said Palmer later assured him that he had met privately with Foley and had informed Hastert (R-Ill.) of the situation.
Who are these gentlemen who may or may not have passed information about Foley's advances on teenagers -- and who may or may not have brought Denny's reign as Speaker of the House to an end? The Washington Post, again, gives us the scoop:
Sure current and former Republican leaders -- and their staffers -- are now questioning Denny's team, Denny's judgment and the wisdom of Denny's remaining as Speaker, but this Illinois liberal is firmly behind Denny.
The three -- chief of staff Scott Palmer, deputy chief of staff Mike Stokke and counsel Ted Van Der Meid -- have formed a palace guard around Hastert (R-Ill.) for years, attaining great degrees of power and unusual autonomy to deal with matters of politics, policy and House operations. They are also remarkably close. Palmer and Stokke have been with Hastert for decades. They live together in a Capitol Hill townhouse and commute back to Illinois on weekends.
It is that relationship that has made investigators so interested in their knowledge of Foley's contacts with teenage male congressional pages, especially allegations that his chief of staff personally appealed to Palmer in 2003 to confront the Florida Republican. Foley resigned Sept. 29 when news reports indicated he had sent electronic messages to a former page.
"It would be very hard to believe if Palmer knew that kind of detail, he wouldn't have acted upon it, and it's hard to imagine Scott Palmer would have spared the speaker that knowledge," said one former Republican leadership aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of jeopardizing his lobbying contacts. ***
The speaker's own timeline points to Van Der Meid and Stokke as central players in the Foley matter. After Alexander's staff alerted a low-level Hastert aide in the fall of 2005, Stokke directed the information to Van Der Meid. Later that day, Stokke met with Alexander's chief of staff, then summoned Trandahl to the speaker's office. Later, Trandahl informed Van Der Meid that action had been taken to stop Foley's communications with the Louisiana youth.
A senior GOP aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said it made little sense to have a political hand such as Stokke handle the Foley matter, a delicate issue involving personnel questions and possible legal violations.
"Did they make an affirmative decision to have the political guy work on this?" the GOP staffer asked. "It clearly was a bad damn idea."
Nowhere in the speaker's timeline is Palmer mentioned. But former leadership aides question how a powerful chief of staff could have been left out of such complicated deliberations and how they would have been kept from Hastert.
Who would have guessed that the answer to Democratic prayers would be J. Dennis Hastert?
Monday, October 09, 2006
Hastert now figures he can brazen this one out because there are so many stories floating around that people won't line them up in order and realize what they show.I just hope that the House Republicans don't cut and run before George "34%" Bush and Denny "-52%" Hastert have their October 12 fundraiser for Creepy Pete Roskam.
Read it over and it's hard to come to any conclusion but that that Hastert and especially his Chief of Staff Scott Palmer have been caught in a lie.
Whatcha gonna do with all that money
Whatcha gonna do when that money's all gone
-- James McMurtry, "God Bless America"
Americana superhero, James McMurtry is making downloads of the "God Bless America" rough mix available for free:
I had meant to wait until I was finished overdubbing before putting this song out, but our brave legislators have once again outdone themselves in their acquiescence to the executive by passing the detainee bill. We refer to foreign governments that employ all-powerful executive branches as dictatorships, but we're still supposed to think of our own government as democratic.The song can be downloaded here.
I'm appalled at the spinelessness of Republican legislators. I guess they still think they'll be invited to the feast. They will be, but only if they continue to watch their mouths.
Here's video of Clint Curtis, a former programmer for Yang Enterprises (YEI) in Florida, testifying under oath that Representative Tom Feeney asked him to write a voting machine program to rig elections. Feeney is Republican Congressman who was the Speaker of the House of Florida at the time, as well as a lobbyist for Yang Enterprises, and Yang Enterprises' corporate attorney. *** In the video, Curtis testifies that Feeney asked him to write a program for touchscreen voting machines that could undetectably "flip the vote 51-49 to whoever you wanted it to go to and whichever race you wanted to win."I don't know much about computers, but I do know that if a machine can be hacked, it will be hacked -- and every machine can be hacked.
Paper, by contrast, is notoriously difficult to hack.
UPDATE, OCT 10: An anonymous commenter informs us that Tom Feeney's chief of staff, Jason C. Roe, is currently on a leave of absence to work as the campaign manager for Creepy Pete Roskam.
Rollcall -- via FlashReport -- confirms.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
In his fictional defense of Denny Hastert, Ray LaHood once again appears unstressed and unburdened by such an intellect.
From Think Progress:
LaHood falsely claimed, “When Tom [DeLay] was having ethical problems, the speaker wen to him and asked him to leave.” ***TP has the video.
In reality, Hastert repeatedly defended DeLay’s ethical misconduct and attempted to shield him from any responsibility. Hastert replaced the Republican Chairman of the House ethics committee, Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO), after the committee admonished DeLay. The House, under Hastert’s leadership, then passed a rule change that would have shielded DeLay from having to step down from his leadership post if he were indicted. The rule was later rescinded. DeLay resigned only after “a Texas grand jury indicted him and two associates on charges of conspiracy in fundraising.”
UPDATE: Crooks and Liars noted that CBS' Bob Schieffer struggled mightily to stifle his laughter when Lahood, who was on Face the Nation to defend Denny's
Lahood: Look at, I give Speaker Hastert high marks for strong leadership. He took care of Tom DeLay, his best friend. When Tom was having ethical problems, the speaker went to him and asked him to leave. When he appointed Duke Cunningham to the intelligence committee, he went to Duke and made sure he wasn't on the intelligence committee after it was disclosed he took 2.3 million dollars. And when Bob Ney was appointed chairman of the House administration committee, he was appointed by Speaker Hastert. Speaker Hastert went to him and told him to step down from that committee after the Abramoff disclosures. Hastert has the ability to take on these big ethical challenges that our party has faced…Shorter LaHood: When the crooks Denny appoints to leadership positions get caught, Denny often asks them to step down.
Bob: But, but…[chuckle]..what you're saying when you list all that, Congressman, is that he did appoint some of these people who turned out to be crooks. So doesn't he have something to answer for there?
From the New Republic Online:
Hastert's real estate transactions have been reported extensively in the Chicago press and picked apart in a June report issued by the Sunlight Foundation. But they have been largely ignored in the national media. A careful examination of the facts in the case, however, leads to the conclusion that there are compelling reasons beyond the Foley case to call for the speaker's resignation from the post.Democrats should take a moment to contact Denny and encourage him to stand strong -- at least until after the election.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill., said the Foley scandal could impact Republicans' chances in several Illinois congressional races.Sure it's a problem, but Pete wouldn't turn his back on his post-DeLay champion, Coach Hastert?
"We were going to have a tough time as it is, even though things had really turned around the last three weeks," LaHood said. "But let's face it, all of us are facing questions from our constituents... I do think people like Peter Roskam and David McSweeney and Andrea Zinga - this presents a real problem for them."
Roskam declined to answer directly when asked whether he would take campaign help from Hastert at this point.Okay, so Pete isn't sure that Denny could be an campaign asset -- even in the congressional district directly adjacent to his own. But that's just politics, surely Roskam isn't beginning to imply that Denny hasn't been playing it straight with the public.
"It's a story that is changing literally now every two or three hours, every time you go online there's a new incarnation of a version of the story and I'm going to wait for all the facts to lay themselves out in terms of who knew what, when," said Roskam.Whoa.
He added, "I think the facts are going to bear out and then once we know the chronology, once we know who knew what when, at that time I'll comment."
Did I say Roskam is slowly backing away from Hastert?
It looks like Pete's about ready to break into a trot.
The Honorable Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert
235 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Your decision today to accept full responsibility for the inaction of the House to protect the Pages for the United States House of Representatives is long overdue. Mark Foley’s actions are inexcusable and everyone involved should be accountable for his or her actions. We have, however, been deeply troubled in recent days to hear voices in the Republican Party publicly scapegoat gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans for this inappropriate and immoral conduct.
This is not a gay or straight issue; it is an issue of inappropriate behavior that regardless of one’s sexual orientation, political affiliation or any other characteristic is dead wrong.
We whole-heartedly support a full investigation into this matter. However, as this investigation moves forward we call on you to ensure the focus remain on those things important to this matter and not allow extremists within your own party to try and divert attention by furthering their anti-gay agendas.
Gay Americans have watched this scandal unfold like everyone else, but unlike other Americans, we have found ourselves targeted once again by extremists in the Republican Party trying to shift responsibility. Members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community are part of the fabric of our country and to demonize them in the name of politics is disgraceful.
Mr. Speaker, when extremists in your party go on national television and assert claims that a person’s sexual orientation is responsible for immoral and inappropriate conduct, it sends a clear signal to the American people that they are more interested in pushing their anti-gay agenda than they are in holding our elected officials accountable.
Ultimately, this matter is about responsibility and accountability at the highest levels of our government. The American people expect those two words to continue to resonate in Washington. Attempts to shift blame are a disservice to our democracy.
We watched your announcement today with hope that moving forward we will see focus placed on the real issues at hand. If we are ever going to restore the American people’s faith in government and in our elected officials, it falls to you to ensure that this process not be hijacked by anti-gay partisans more interested in their own selfish agendas than doing what is right for our country.
Human Rights Campaign
The congressional page scandal surfaced as an issue in the 6th Congressional District race Tuesday, with Democrat Tammy Duckworth suggesting foe Peter Roskam needs to demand accountability from Republican leadership.Okay, we would expect the Democratic candidate to be pushing this grotesque example of Republican Corruption and CronyismTM. But that will just give Roskam another opportunity to declare his loyalty to his party bosses -- as he has since Hastert's role in the scandal broke -- right?
“Roskam had an opportunity to say we need to take responsibility, and he didn’t do that,” said Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran from Hoffman Estates. “If I were there, I’d be firmly calling for accountability whether it was my party or not.”
“I’m not saying I don’t believe Hastert. I’m saying this story is evolving literally by the hour,” Roskam said.Well, that was not a very ringing endorsement of the Speaker of the House was it? Especially from a candidate who's message is "Roskam: He'll Do What Republican Party Bosses Tell Him."
Observers as far away as the Amherst Times are noting Roskam's flagging support for Hastert:
Even a Republican from Hastert's home state of Illinois expressed reservations about asking the speaker for campaign help."We still take the position that we want all the facts," said Ryan McLaughlin, a spokesman for state Sen. Peter Roskam, who is running for an open seat now in Republican hands.
It seems that the retreat from Denny has begun and the latest memo from the NRCC to Pete's campaign has instructed him to slowly... back... away... from Hastert.
Roskam, a personal-injury lawyer, faces another challenge in the form of a lawsuit filed Tuesday in DuPage County court.Hmmm.. that can't be good news for DuPage county's number one dog-bite lawyer.
Attorney Ralph Hruby, who is representing Lindeen, said she suffered severe injuries in the 2000 accident that required numerous operations. Although the lawsuit comes in the midst of a heated election, Hruby said the timing is not political but is a result of the lawsuit being dismissed.It's heartening to see that, although he no longer doesn't not fail to disbelieve Hastert, Roskam has wholeheartedly embraced Hastert's "My Problems Are All Due To A Vast Democratic Plot" conspiracy theories.
Roskam’s campaign questioned the timing.
“Peter Roskam was admitted to the American Bar Association in 1989 and it’s odd that 30 days before an election, his first malpractice suit is filed,” campaign manager Ryan McLaughlin said.
The Foley/Hastert blame-game goes into extra innings in the Washington Post:
A longtime chief of staff to disgraced former representative Mark Foley (R-Fla.) approached House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's office three years ago, repeatedly imploring senior Republicans to help stop Foley's advances toward teenage male pages, the staff member said yesterday.So, now that Republicans are now pointing the finger of responsiblity directly at Hastert, who does Denny think is to blame for all of this?
The account by Kirk Fordham, who resigned yesterday from his job with another senior lawmaker, pushed back to 2003 or earlier the time when Hastert's staff reportedly became aware of Foley's questionable behavior concerning teenagers working on Capitol Hill.
It raised new questions about Hastert's assertions that senior GOP leaders were aware only of "over-friendly" e-mails from 2005 that they say did not raise alarm bells when they came to light this year.
"The fact is, even prior to the existence of the Foley e-mail exchanges, I had more than one conversation with senior staff at the highest levels of the House of Representatives, asking them to intervene when I was informed of Mr. Foley's inappropriate behavior," said Fordham, who was Foley's chief of staff for 10 years. ***
Hastert's chief of staff, Scott Palmer, said in a statement, "What Kirk Fordham said did not happen."
Bill Clinton and George Soros.
No, I'm serious. Denny is blaming the Right-wing's favorite boogiemen. It's in your Chicago Tribune:
When asked about a groundswell of discontent among the GOP's conservative base over his handling of the issue, Hastert said in the phone interview: "I think the base has to realize after a while, who knew about it? Who knew what, when? When the base finds out who's feeding this monster, they're not going to be happy. The people who want to see this thing blow up are ABC News and a lot of Democratic operatives, people funded by [liberal activist] George Soros.""I ran out of gas. I, I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts. It wasn't my fault, I swear to God."
He went on to suggest that operatives aligned with former President Bill Clinton knew about the allegations and were perhaps behind the disclosures in the closing weeks before the Nov. 7 midterm elections, but he offered no hard proof.
"All I know is what I hear and what I see," the speaker said. "I saw Bill Clinton's adviser, Richard Morris, was saying these guys knew about this all along. If somebody had this info, when they had it, we could have dealt with it then."
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) was scheduled to be interviewed tonight by Chicago radio host John Williams. His previous radio appearances had been exclusively with conservative sympathizers like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Williams is a moderate who planned to ask tough questions.Denny seems bound and determined to ignore the First Rule of Holes.
But Hastert never showed.
This evening, National Review’s Kathryn Jean-Lopez published this face-saving post at The Corner:A top source in the speaker’s office tells me: “We never booked WGN. Am not aware of a call.”But according to the show’s producer Matt Bubala, who spoke to ThinkProgress tonight, the interview was very much scheduled, and Hastert staffers apparently were not telling the truth about why Hastert bailed on the show. ***
Bubula said the statement by the anonymous Hastert staff was a "flat out lie."
I'll miss him.
I’ve talked to Democrats in 10 cities in the last four months and found Obama fever throughout the Democratic Party. Besides an online Al Gore boomlet, no one else raises a reaction anything like it. More impressively, there's now a distinct possibility that Obama may seize the moment and run in '08. A close associate introduces a note of caution: “I’d put the chances right now at no better than 50 percent,” he told me Tuesday, as Obama taped Oprah’s show in Chicago.I'll say... someone please bring me my nitro pills.
For Obama-hungry Democrats, those are much better odds than they’ve assumed. Whatever happens in the midterms, ’08 could get very exciting, very fast.
Obama's aides see no political reasons not to make the race. His advisers believe his mere four years in the Senate will not be a liability. *** The Senate is a political tomb," says one. The longer one stays, the more controversial votes one casts. Gravitas and knowledge about the issues are not problems for Obama, who is plenty fluent on the issues, even if he hasn't established much of a record yet.Apparently the folks in the Obama camp have been reading Zorn's columns.
On the Iraq war, the critical issue for Democratic primary voters, Obama is perfectly positioned. He opposed the war from the beginning, with an articulate denunciation of the Bush policy as a distraction from the war on terror. In other words, he was four years ahead of the curve. By contrast, John Edwards is in the uncomfortable position of having said he was wrong to support the war.That sounds right to me -- I know folks who have never donated a nickel to a politician who would eat cold dog food every day so they could donate to an Obama presidential run.
Hillary Clinton is even worse off. She has yet to acknowledge the obvious: that if she knew then what she knows now, she would have voted against the war instead of for it. If both Obama and Clinton run, he would quickly best her on this issue, which all of her "early money" would do little to counteract. *** Hillary enjoys a formidable advantage in fund-raising. But if he gets going in early 2007, he could close the gap quickly.
From the AP:
U.S. Senator Barack Obama says House Speaker Dennis Hastert should be stripped of his leadership position if an investigation shows didn't act promptly after learning of explicit messages a former congressman sent to teenagers.
The Illinois Democrat says that also applies to any other House leader who might have shrugged off Republican Mark Foley's messages, including Illinois Republican John Shimkus, who chairs the House page board.
Obama says anyone who failed to act shouldn't hold a leadership position, and the voters will ultimately decide if they belong in Congress.
What's interesting about The List -- which includes nine chiefs of staffs, two press secretaries, and two directors of communications -- is that (if it's acucurate) it shows that some of the religious right's favorite representatives and senators have gay staffers helping them advance their political careers and agendas. These include Representative Katherine Harris and Henry Hyde and Senators Bill Frist, George Allen, Mitch McConnell and Rick Santorum. ***If this GOP Smear the Queer plan does come to pass, it will prove that the one thing Tom Roeser and I agree on is true:
Let's be clear about one thing: the Mark Foley scandal is not about homosexuality. Some family value conservatives are suggesting it is. But anytime a gay Republican is outed by events, a dicey issue is raised: what about those GOPers who are gay and who serve a party that is anti-gay? Are they hypocrites, opportunists, or just confused individuals? Is it possible to support a party because you adhere to most of its tenets--even if that party refuses to recognize you as a full citizen? The men on The List might want to think hard about these questions -- as they probably already have -- for if I have a copy of The List, there's a good chance it will be appearing soon on a website near everyone.
Gays and lesbians have no business belonging to the Republican party.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Psst... There's a shameful Foley/NRCC related video here.
Psst psst... and there's a damning Hastert/Foley related video here.
EvenRepublicans who are accustomed to big campaign donations called it an "unusually large" gift when ex-Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) Rep. Thomas Reynoldsgave $100,000 in July to the National Republican Congressional Committee, the party's campaign arm.The NRCC then funneled Foley's cash to out to Republican congressional candidates including Pete Roskam.
That was not long after reports of Foley's "overly friendly" emails to a minor reached the committee's chairman, Thomas Reynolds (R-NY), who says it was brought to his attention "sometime in the spring."
The close timing begs the conclusion that there was a deal, considering that House GOP leaders decided not to pursue the Foley matter as they were cashing his unusually large check.
Or perhaps Foley, one of the party's top fundraisers, was just being overly friendly again.
Will Pete surrender that dirty money or is he going to live down to our expectations and keep Foley's hush money?
It's part of a pattern on Capitol Hill where member raise money not just for their own campaigns, but to give money to others, to their colleagues. So that's kind of a common practice in both parties. What was unusual here was how large this contribution was and when it was made. [Mark] Foley gave $100,000 to the campaign arm of the House Republicans, the National Republican Congressional Committee, at about the time when they were deciding to ignore these emails, this first round of emails they say. A couple of months after they knew about this, suddenly he gives this big donation. It raises the question, 'Did he buy their silence?'Video of Crawford on MSNBC is here.
-- Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report
Crain’s looks at the 6th District impact of the Republican cover up of Mark Foley chasing 16-year olds:
In what is believed to be this area’s closest race, in the west suburban 6th District, Democrat Tammy Duckworth and Republican Peter Roskam traded barbs on the meaning of the scandal.And Pete was also given the opportunity to defend his Republican bosses' non-response to Foley's misconduct:
Ms. Duckworth charged that House GOP leadership “has been involved in keeping Foley’s secret” and called on Mr. Roskam to return the $40,000 in campaign donations he’s received from Messrs. Hastert, Shimkus and other leaders.
Ms. Duckworth also noted that Mr. Roskam’s campaign has received heavy donations from the House Republican Campaign Committee, to which Mr. Foley gave $500,000 over the past decade.
“This is the type of leadership Roskam would look to,” Ms. Duckworth said in a statement. “The last thing we need in Washington is another rubberstamp.”
Mr. Roskam’s spokesman said the speaker acted correctly in asking an outside agency, the Department of Justice, to probe whether any laws have been broken. That probe will reveal whether Mr. Hastert is at all culpable, the spokesman added.Does Roskam's response look familiar? Could be because it is substantially the same as his earlier defense of his original political mentor, the disgraced Republican Tom DeLay.
Voters will decide how to apportion blame, the spokesman said. “The Democrats have had lots of scandals of their own.”
So future GOP candidates take note: Be sure to have a boilerplate defense of Republican corruption on hand before you take to the campaign trail -- you'll need it.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert must do the only right thing, and resign his speakership at once. Either he was grossly negligent for not taking the red flags fully into account and ordering a swift investigation, for not even remembering the order of events leading up to last week's revelations -- or he deliberately looked the other way in hopes that a brewing scandal would simply blow away. He gave phony answers Friday to the old and ever-relevant questions of what did he know and when did he know it? Mr. Hastert has forfeited the confidence of the public and his party, and he cannot preside over the necessary coming investigation, an investigation that must examine his own inept performance.Your Chicago Tribune's Swamp has reprinted the whole thing so you don't have to go to the Times' site.
UPDATE - If you're wondering what makes even those on the Right understand that Hastert is not the man for the job, the New York Times has your answer:
“Would have, could have, should have,” Mr. Hastert said, responding to questions about whether Republicans should have done more.Now that's leadership Republicans can be proud of!
Monday, October 02, 2006
The Internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material soliciting underage children for sex.Perhaps there is an innocent explanation for the House Republicans' apparent cover-up of solicitation of a child:
-- Sen. Ted Stevens Redux
- Mark Foley was a Republican member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
- Foley also served as chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children.
- Denny Hastert and his Republican lieutenants may have failed to investigate Foley's egregious behavior because they thought he was a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means of Exploiting Children.
From the New York Times:
Mr. Foley, who served on the House Ways and Means Committee, was a prolific fund-raiser. His campaign account had a balance of $2.7 million at the end of August, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.We know the NRCC is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in the 6th District to attack Maj. Duckworth and support Pete Roskam.
Carl Forti, the communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Sunday that the committee would gladly accept Mr. Foley’s money or part of it to devote to House races. Mr. Foley already gave $100,000 to the committee in July, campaign records show, as part of the party’s Battleground Program, to which members are asked to contribute.
"The money is in the control of Mr. Foley," Mr. Forti said. "Whatever he decides to do with it is up to him."
And we all remember how a righteous Roskam demanded that Maj. Duckworth return a $2100 campaign contribution from Rosie O’Donnell after O'Donnell compared fundamentalist Christians to fundamentalist Muslims.
The question voters in the 6th District now need answered is: "Will Peter Roskam join his party leaders and 'gladly accept Mr. Foley's money or part of it' to assist his campaign for Congress?"
We know that Roskam strongly opposes contributions from liberal women who say something stupid, but does he also oppose contributions from Republican men who solicit sex from children?
Thanks Talking Points Memo
UPDATE: Via TPMmuckraker:
[M]embers from both parties are suggesting Hastert and House Majority Leader John Boehner quit. ***Will some enterprising local scribe ask congressional candidate Peter Roskam if he agrees that Denny Hastert should resign if he was aware of Mark Foley’s behavior and failed to take sufficient action to protect the children involved?
Rep. Christopher Shays (R., Conn.) said any leader who had been aware of Mr. Foley’s behavior and failed to take action should step down. 'If they knew or should have known the extent of this problem, they should not serve in leadership,' he said over the weekend.
In the talk shows today others chimed in on this theme too. Sen. Mike DeWine and Rep. Sherrod Brown, in a Meet the Press interview on their Ohio Senate race, couched their language carefully, but they said if anyone in the House leadership knew of the emails and failed to act they should resign. Seeming to refer to Mr. Hastert, Mr. Brown said anyone who knew about the emails but failed to act jeopardized the safety of House pages and forfeited the public trust.
(WSJ's Washington Wire)
Sunday, October 01, 2006
A Republican staff member warned congressional pages five years ago to watch out for Congressman Mark Foley, according to a former page.This GOP abuse of power and children has been going on so long that today, some of the original victims are actually old enough to legally consent to such treatment.
Matthew Loraditch, a page in the 2001-2002 class, told ABC News he and other pages were warned about Foley by a supervisor in the House Clerk's office.
Loraditch, the president of the Page Alumni Association, said the pages were told "don't get too wrapped up in him being too nice to you and all that kind of stuff." ***
Loraditch says that some of the pages who "interacted" with Foley were hesitant to report his behavior because "members of Congress, they've got the power." Many of the pages were hoping for careers in politics and feared Foley might seek retribution.
If you’ve been following the Congressman Mark Foley resignation scandal, you’ve notice that there is a definite Illinois angle. The Florida Republican abruptly resigned after e-mails and other Internet communications emerged that more than just sugggested he was a child sex predator.Many others have said it before, but if you're not reading Rich Miller's Capital Fax, you don't know what's going on in Illinois politics.
If you’ve confined yourself to Illinois media outlets, you probably believe that all is well and that everybody mostly did their jobs (if you’ve seen coverage at all). You’d be wrong.
The Tribune and the State Journal-Register both reported Sunday that US House Speaker Denny Hastert and his office were unaware that one of his Republican members was an accused pedophile until last week. ***
That reporting appears to be inaccurate.
Bishop Hastert, how long have you been hiding this criminal in your midst?
2003 — Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) has sexually explicit IM exchanges with an underage boy who worked as a Congressional page. [ABC News, 9/29/06]
2005 — Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) sends inappropriate emails to another former Congressional page. [CREW]
FALL 2005 — “Tim Kennedy, a staff assistant in the [Speaker J. Denis Hastert’s] Office, received a telephone call from Congressman Rodney Alexander’s Chief of Staff who indicated that he had an email exchange between Congressman Foley and a former House page…[Mike] Stokke [Deputy Chief of Staff for Speaker Hastert] called the Clerk and asked him to come to the Speaker’s Office so that he could put him together with Congressman Alexander’s Chief of Staff.” [Hastert Statement, 9/30/06]
LATE 2005 — Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), Chairman of the House Page Board, “was notified by the then Clerk of the House, who manages the Page Program, that he had been told by Congressman Rodney Alexander (R-LA) about an email exchange between Congressman Foley and a former House Page.” Shimkus interviewed Foley and told him “to cease all contact with this former house page.” He did not inform Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI), the only Democrat on the House page Board. [Roll Call, 9/29/06]
FEBRUARY/MARCH 2006 — Alexander tells NRCC chairman Tom Reynolds about “the existence of e-mails between Mark Foley and a former page of Mr. Alexander’s.” Reynolds tells Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) about the emails and his conversation with Alexander. [Reynolds Statement, 9/30/06; Roll Call, 9/30/06; Hastert Statement, 9/30/06]
SPRING 2006 — House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) learns of “inappropriate ‘contact’ between Foley and a 16-year-old page.” After leaning about Foley’s conduct, Boehner told Speaker of the House J. Denis Hastert who assured Boehner he would “take care of it.” Later, Boehner changed his story and told the Washington Post he didn’t remember whether he talked to Hastert. [Washington Post, 9/30/06; New York Times, 10/1/06]
JULY 27, 2006 — Foley, still co-chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus, attends a signing ceremony at the White House for the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. [White House, 9/27/06; Talkingpointsmemo, 9/30/06; Washington Post, 10/1/06]
SEPTEMBER 28, 2006 — ABC publishes emails between Foley and former page. [ABC, 9/28/06]
SEPTEMBER 29, 2006 — Foley resigns. [ABC, 9/29/06]
SEPTEMBER 29, 2006 — ABC publishes sexually explict Instant Messages between Foley and several former pages. [ABC, 9/29/06]
SEPTEMBER 29, 2006 — “Aides to the speaker [Hastert] say he was not aware until last week of inappropriate behavior by Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., who resigned on Friday after portions of racy e-mail exchanges between him and current and former underage congressional pages became public.” [Chicago Tribune, 9/30/06]
SEPTEMBER 30, 2006 — Hastert admits he was told about the emails by Reynolds in the spring. [Hastert Statement, 9/30/06]
Update - From your Chicago Tribune:
Republican House leaders, including Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois, scrambled Saturday to distance themselves from a scandal involving a Florida lawmaker's conduct with congressional pages, disavowing responsibility for investigating the matter when it came to light months ago. ***Can I see the hands of
In the chaotic hours after news of the scandal broke, GOP leaders offered confusing versions of events about how much they knew and when. One top House Republican said he relayed to Hastert his sketchy understanding of the situation months ago, and another said he "cannot say with certainty" whether he passed along the information or not.
Meanwhile, an aide to Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.)--chairman of the board that oversees the page program--said Shimkus confronted Foley last year after learning of one e-mail message he sent to a former page. Shimkus said the message was not sexually explicit, however, and declined to investigate when Foley assured him there was nothing to it. Shimkus declined to comment Saturday, relying instead on his spokesman.***
"A 16-year-old kid was entrusted by his parents to the U.S. House of Representatives, and Congress has a responsibility," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "The most important questions are, 'What did the Republican leadership know, when did they know it and, if they knew something, why didn't they do anything to protect the child?'"
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