Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Gay rights in military

For all the people out there who are gay, I have good news just for you: Ben Nelson of Nebraska has said he will vote to repreal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." This, along with Evan Bayh, Susan Collins, and Bill Nelson, makes the needed fifteen votes to attach this to a defense authorization bill. Also included are Joe Lieberman and Carl Levin. Congragulations on your victory! (No sarcasm was used when writing this.)

Obama/GOP meeting

Sorry to say, it's not all quiet on the front. Obama recently met with Republican senators, who described the meeting as testy, and the president as thin skinned. However, a White House spokesman who was there said the meeting wasn't as bad as the GOP would claim. (Are you surprised? Me neither.) Bob Corker of Tennesee accused Obama of using Republicans as props for the election year after calling the meeting only to submit a reform bill supported mostly by the Dems. In the end, the Republicans believe that Obama wants to do too much too fast. And that may very well be true. Think about it, what would be left if Obama got every thing he wanted in his first term? It's time to slow down and see what's going to happen next.

Idaho, 1st District

Just when I think that a paticular group, or person, has way too much power, and whomever they nominate will win, I always find myself proven wrong. Meet the women no one thought could make a wrong pick: Sarah Palin. I found myself slightly surprised that her nomination of Carly Fiorina in California caused a backlash of criticism, and I was very surprised to find that her pick lost in Idaho. Vaughn Ward is a veteren of Iraq, served on John McCain's 2008 campaign, was greatly outraising his opponent, and was picked by Sarah Palin. Oddly enough, he was beaten by Raul Labrador, or perhaps not so oddly.  Ward was damaged after allegations of plagerizing Obama's 2004 address at the DNC surfaced, as well as saying Puerto Rico was a country. Labrador will face Walt Minnick, a first term Democrat, who barely won in 2008, by two points. In a normally Republican state, I think Congressman Minnick should pack and be ready to go.

Do The Hawaii Shuffle!

This is not your normal midterm season. The latest evidence of such an obvious statement has come from the Hawaii 1st district, which went Republican after neither Democrat could pull a plurality, or majority, of votes. Having leaned GOP because no one could solve a fight between the Democrats, it is now moving, according to CQ, a tossup. I believe that this is an incorrect evaluation. This time, there will be only one Democrat for Charles Djou to face off against, and with Obama picking up many of the votes in Hawaii, it could be a tougher fight. The only thing that may help Djou is being a moderate or liberal Republican. Then again, what are the odds?

Second thoughts

We've all seen news articles or reports saying it's a bad time to be an incumbant, and an even worse time to be a Democrat. Let me be honest, even I thought this was the case; please see earlier posts. Having seen the latest primary results, I have to say this: We could be wrong. In Illinois, Pat Quinn was renominated. In Idaho, the winners were the incumbants. Now, it's fair enough to say that we haven't hit the election yet, and that's when things will change. And also, the May 18th primaries saw incumbant removal. Fair enough. All I can say his, there's still time. As Liam Neeson said in The Chronicles of Narnia: Things never happen the same way twice. Espicially when dealing with people.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Senate Finance reform

We are one step closer to a long overdue reform on just how Wall Street and other financial institutions do their jobs. The Senate passed a bill last night, 59 to 39, with Chuck Grassley, Scott Brown, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snow all voting with most of the Democrats. Now, with the House one passed, a new bill must be put together, the differences between the two fixed. The Democrats are hping for something signable by the Fourth of July. If this succeeds, he will be a very compelling reason on why he, and other Democrats, should be reelected. Harry Reid might be helped too, and let's face it, he could use it. Republicans, meantime, are lining up the same arguments: too much government, jobs killer, growth slows, etc. There are things in it to prevent another crash, such as a resolution authority, which would allow a group of regulators to watch for signs of trouble all across the board, and let the government take over and shut down failing institutions, such as the FDIC does now. There is a consumer protection agency and an order to spin derivitives into a seperate area. Maria Cantwell and Russ Feingold say the bill doesn't go far enough, however. And I must agree. An amendment offered by Carl Levin and Jeff Merkley, which would have limited how much of their own money banks can spend on risks, was thwarted after it was attached to Sam Brownback's amendment, for strategy reasons. It still has a shot though; on Monday, the Brownback amendment, which would exclude auto dealers, will be voted on. Fifty minimum to pass it; if it does pass, Levin-Merkley wil pass too. If it does not, I urge you to call your senators and congress people to kill the bill.

First Gaffe Of The Season

You know, the beautiful thing about politics is not just the idea of our next leaders, not just the thrill of the trials of running, but also because a canidate may say something that no sane person who's actually thinking would say. Yes, I am looking at you, Joe Biden. The great thing about a rookie is that they are more likely to say something that looks bad. Yes, I'm looing at you, Rand Paul. Mr. Paul is in troubled waters, after expressing unease with a part of the Civil Rights Act, the part banning discrimination by businesses. And while he did say that the CRA was nessecery, and that he opposes rascism... Maybe it's just me, but I would find that hard to believe after what he said. He seems as libertarian as his father as well, calling for the dissolution of the Department of Education, plus term limits for senators. While this probably won't destroy his campaign (Kentucky is very Republican in national elections), it just goes to show how careful one should be when they talk, not just politicians.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May 19th results

It's the day after, and people seem to have a hangover from the imcumbancy that they elected. It's the only thing that can explain these results. At 7:16 AM, with most of the districts in, here's what I've got: In Arkensas, there will be a runoff between Bill Halter and Blanche Lincoln. I think he'll pick this one up, provided that he gets at least 8.5 percent of the people who voted for D.C. Morrison. On the Republican team, John Boozman rides to victory with 53 percent. In Kentucky, Rand Paul has rode anger and discontent to beat Trey Grayson for the GOP nomination, with 58.8 percent of the vote. Running against him will be Jack Conway. Kentucky, though heavily Democrat, votes Republican nationally. I don't see that changing much with this. And in Pennsylvania, Joe Sestak beat Arlen Specter, by a slightly wider margin than I predicted. Finals are 54 to 46 percent. Mr. Sestak will run against Pat Toomey. This will be a closer race. In Oregon, however, the rule didn't seem to hold: Ron Wyden picked up over 90 percent of the vote. He will run against Jim Huffman.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Blumenthal again?

Yes, again. Word has come out that Richard Blumenthal, who was busted for misrepresenting his war record, will still be endorsed by the DSCC. (Obviously he didn't learn anything from Hillary and her Bosnia trip.) Robert Menendez has not said whether he talked to Blumenthal, and has said it is up to him (Blumenthal) to adress concerns on the record. Meantime, Linda McMahon reportedly leaked said information, and is now taking a few swipes for it. This may put the Conneticut Seat back up for grabs, if Blumenthal wins. But people don't care for liars, and I think we will see his campaign sunk.

Arlen's troubles

Arlen Specter isn't having a whole lot of luck, so it would seem. A very recent poll puts Sestak at 42 percent of the vote, compared to 41 for for Specter. Now just add to that the idea that, although the presdident "loves" Arlen, it isn't enough to warrent an 11th hour trip. In this, among a dozen intraparty fights, it seems that the president just can't seem to bet on the right horse. The only thing that could possibly pull Specter out of the fires is a massive turnout by African-Americans. And let's face it, without Obama, or even with him, minority turnout may be quite low indeed. Now, compared to an earlier statement, saying Sestak would win, I decided, that with 20 percent still out, it might be a good idea to hedge into a possible runoff.

Senate Into Play

A New York Times report has found that the favored Democrat for Chris Dodd's old seat has misled the voters about his record in Vietnam. Current polling shows that he is still beating Republicans, but if this is true, then Richard Blumenthal may see his numbers drop from fifties on down. Because if he's willing to lie about that, what won't he lie about? This will be a major issue in the days to come, just watch.

Happy May 18th!

Today, four major primaries are in the works. In Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter, once thought the presumptivve nominee, is now tied with Joe Sestak. I fully expect Sestak to pick it up, with the same narrowness we have now. In Arkensas, it's between Halter and Lincoln. A guy named Morrison is the wild card, with six percent of the vote, he may end up forcing a runoff. If that happens, Halter may come out on top. But will he be stronger in the general election? Not according to recent polls. In Kentucky, the favored son, Trey Grayson, is being whipped by the libertarian's son, Rand Paul. Paul's victory would call into question how much power McConnel really has. Paul may very well pick it up, polls show him with a double digit lead.

Nancy Pelosi still safe?

We've all heard stories on how powerful Nancy Pelosi is. But can she hold her seat as long as the Dems hold the house? Quite possibly, as it turns out. 24 House members were interviewed, and none said she should be removed or challanged for her seat if the Democratic majority holds. Call it the flush of winning. It's always natural that the strong one should stay unless something major (saying, losing a chamber) happens. And the Republicans who have constantly predicted winning the House may have accidently kept her in. Think of it this way: by keeping majority, she  will seem to be a fighter, a survivor. In other words, someone much stronger then previously thought possible. History also has something to contribute: since the start of the 20th century, no majority has held the House but replaced the speaker. There are, at this point, anywhere from 25 to 60 House Seats up for grabs.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wall Street Reform

We are seeing what might be the rarest of events in the life of a senate bill. It is actually getting stronger, not weaker. Now, here comes a unique problem for the GOP. If the GOP votes against it, and they probably want to, it looks like they are for Wall St. Judd Gregg is saying that it could pass as soon as early this week. However, according to Republicans, there are several weak spots in the bill, such as an amendment about Fanny and Freddie. An amendment to audit the fed has passed, 96 to 0. The bill has forced a division in the Republicans. One side wants to end debate before the bill gets "worse," while the other side wants it to go so the bill can be further shaped. A vote to end debate may come as soon as Wendsday.

Health Reform Nonprofit?

Just when you think you've heard everything, I go and prove you wrong. Several interset groups on both sides of the debate for health reform, pro and con, aye and nay, etc., have raised $450,000 to look into the idea of forming a nonprofit that would implement certain parts of the law. The idea to this would be to track HHS while they write the rules, hoping to make them make them simple. For instance, make an online application to enroll for insurence so people don't have to miss work. Another goal would be trying to make things so that those who get such benefits as food stamps could extend the benefits to health. The goal is to get it up and running by 2011. I can't see this working, there would be too much disagreement. Although, if this does by some miracle work, this could lower government costs in the end.

The McCain team shakeup

John McCain, who seems to be facing a tough primary of his own, has seen his campagin manager and deputy campaign manager leave to join the Republican's efforts to fundraise so GOPers can win all across the ticket. This comes shortly after he ran a campaign saying that the fence should be completed. But J.D. Hayworth has already taken up arms, showing McCain as a flip-flopper. As of right now, he leads by 12 points, 48 to 36. I think that the last time we saw a campaign shakeup like this, McCain lost in the 2008 presidential race. Do I think he will win? Certainly, but it will be, in my mind, much closer than a twelve point difference.

Back...And Kagen Again.

First of all, I apologize for a lack of posts during this past week. I don't really want to get into the House races, that was pretty much the only thing holding me back. That, and an uncertainty on what to talk about. But that doesn't matter now. What does is that there is another story to deal with Elana Kagen. And here it is: Jon Kyl, second in command for Senate Republicans, and from Arizona, has said that it is very unlikely that the GOP will filibuster on Elana Kagen, saying that she is not the extreme circumstances that are needed for a filibuster. (Like everything else was?) Anyway, Patrick Leahy of Vermont is saying that it is very likely that she will be confirmed. To me, this is counting the eggs a litle too soon. Liberals are afraid she might be too conservative, conservatives that she's too liberal. That might translate to a loss of votes over time. Another problem that might come back is the constant reference to Kagen barring recruiters because of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Personally, I do not see a need for such a law, the only thing that might come in handy is a discharge if sexual harassment starts. Barring of recruiters because of this is odd, wouldn't it make more sense to try to get the president to repeal it. All told, I am willing to bet that she recieves less than fifty votes. Let the games begin.

Monday, May 10, 2010

2010 midterms surprise (or not)

As perhaps anyone could have told you, there is a lot of anger towards lawmakers, especially ones that have seen multiple terms. Incumbants are in trouble, and it may be dangerous for you politically. Just ask Bob Bennett. Utah used to love Bob Bennett. He was likable, contantly playing defense for Utah, and obtaining them millions of dollers. This was not a big help to him; on Saturday, he lost his second ballot vote. Those of you who have been there a while, you have a strong headwind. Same to Democrats. If you're both, pack now and get out of town. The mood against Congress is even worse then in 1994, which saw the Senate go back to Republicanism. And if that's how it's going now, what's going to happen to the rest?

May Ninth

The latest news to come out of the U.K. shows that Gordon Brown is stepping down from his post. yesterday he announced that he would resign by September. This comes out as word leaked out that the Libs were in talks with the Conservatives, which stalled due to the inability to find common ground on key issues. Meantime, Nick Clegg has been attempting to open talks with Labour, on the very likely condition that Brown stays down. So which way will it go? Even if it happens that Labour and Libs join together, they will still be 11 seats short, which means a relience on the defection of some tories or third party groups. Again, we may see major concessions in order to pullo ut a working government. At the time of this writing, the tories are offering a deal on voting reform.

Supreme Court Choice

The President has announced his choice for the next opening in SCOTUS, and it is none other than Elena Kagan, solicitor general sine 2009. Miss Kagan has also worked as the White House associate council, and has been Harvard's Law Dean. Now, we have agruments for and against this nomination. The first pro is that she has no real paper trail of opinions, which means that she may be able to avoid those hot button issues that trip up so many. She is also seen as a pragmatist, someone who prefers to see both sides and reach across aisles to work out solutions. However, this lack of experience may also be a thorn, as no one has any real idea of which way she'd go, which has many on the left nervous. Liberals are also nervous because she has been seen, as solititor general, of protecting many Bush-era policies on terror. All right, for those of you who were good enough to subject yourselves to this, I have my opinion. Here it is: I would wait a little while, or at least move here to a court of appeals. I do value a willingness to listen, to reason, and to reach out to make a deal. However, the fact that we have no idea how she'll react makes me nervous, as a slide to either extreme won't be good for the country. Now, I do support the Patriot Act, with one major requirement, and that is that there be conclusive purse that the person being monitored is a terrorist. All I ask.

Making a reply

I recently recieved a comment from devil dog, who read my post about the jobless rate, asking how a spending spree to pull us out of the recission was justifiable? This is a fair point you bring up. It is of my opinion that the spending was to finance more jobs. These jobs are paying, and the hope was that they would start spending, and bingo bango, you've prevented a Hinderburg explosion. Now, many in economics will tell you that we spent too little. That is neither here nor there at this point; what we need to do now is work on paying our national debt. Thank you, devil dog, for reading, and I hope to hear from you again.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The day after...

Happy May 7th to you all. It's the day after, and the returns are in. Labour is out, and no surprises there. The Conservatives, know as Tories, have the most seats, but they don't have enough for David Cameron to lead as Prime Minister. The Liberal Democrats are seen as the wild card; if the throw in with the Tories, Cameron will have won the day. There is still one seat to declare, but due to a canidate's death, it will not be voted on for a few more months. This is the first hung parliment since 1974. I think you are about to see a lot of consessions made to the Lib Dems in order to get their support.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Joe Lieberman's proposal

Joe Lieberman has recently proposed that if a U.S. citizen should commit acts of terrorism against the U.S., that person should have citizenship removed from them. This is not the strange part, the strange part is that Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner both agree it's not a good idea. You know, for someone who couldn't swallow a public option or let younger people buy into medicaid, this is certainly a strange move, because the State Department makes the list on what groups are considered foreign terrorists. Any one in these groups qualifies. Ok, I see one big loophole already: what about the ones who start homemade terrorist groups? Next, how does this fit under the constitution? I don't think it can be done, nor do I believe it should even be attempted. What do you think?

Jobless rates fall

For all the conservatives who were all ticked off because of the 787 billion doller spending billing, calling it  a waste, I have this to say: you were wrong. For the most part. While it's true that some of the spending went towards useless things, a piece of news suggests we should have spent even more. The inital claims for unemployment insurence has fallen, to 444,000. But we are not out of the woods yet. Many economists say that in order to prove sustained growth, we need to drop below 425,000. There are also other signs that we are in the recovery stage. Jobless benefits claims have fallen for the fourth time in five weeks. However, this doesn't include those who are recieved extended benefits. Still, it is a start.

May 6th

All righty, if you care as much as i do about politics, including foreign ones, because foreign elections will also affect us and our associations, then you know the significance of this date. Today, May 6th, is the day British voters will go to the polls and decide the new party in charge, and therefore the new prime minister of England. The way things are looking now, we may see no one real party win, but a coalition. Who's the most likely to win in regards of this? None other than a man no one had heard of until recently, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. The expected winner was David Cameron of the Conservatives, until a scandal in which lawmakeres were reimbursing themselves for just about everything under the sun. Add to that Nick Clegg's admiable performance in the debates, Gordon Brown's gaffe and hammering for it, and we may see the foreign race of a lifetime.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Arizona's brand new law

All right, now, the next thing to cover on the agenda is the new Arizona law. Now, for those of you who happen to live under rocks, or else just don't listen to the news (which I wouldn't blame you for), this law, which was signed by Jan Brewer on April 23rd, makes it a misdemeanor to be an alien without papers. Further, a person can be stopped if they look illegal, whereas before there had to be a resonable suspision that they were involved with a crime. If there is proabable cause, the person may be arrested, and they cannot be released without proof of legality, such as government id, an Arizona driver's liscense, etc. Next, it is a crime to hire or be hired from a "vehicle that impedes movement of normal traffic." It doesn't matter in that case if you are legal or not, if you are from here or not. You may be fined for "encouarging" illigals by giving shelter, hiring, or the like, one thousand a pop. The reason I bring this up is that I have just run across a story that says that the Phoenix Suns will be wearing jerseys that says Los Suns, for tonights game against the Spurs. All right, here goes. I think that the idea of stopping someone based on looks is not the best idea ever concieved. People will probably move the vehicle off the road to hire them. I think that it would probably be better to but an electric fence in. Six hundred ft deep. And a lot of border patrolmen. That just about sums it up.

Tis the season...

I know, I'm a little late to this paticular party, but as you all know, it's election time again, and the mudslinging has begun in earnest. For example, the DSSC, a Democratic Senatorial Commettiee, the recruiters of sorts, has lost no time in painting the GOP nominee in Indiana and Illinois as Wall Street cheerleaders. This is what people like myself detest in terms of politics: no one can keep a promise, and no one is interested in working together. Public discourse is ugly, and it is something we must all work on. I'll drop my picks from time to time, and I welcome any comments. I may even respond, so don't hesitate to mail me. And this blog will cover other stories, don't worry.