I voted today

I voted today, for the first time in my new district.

It was in the vestibule of my local grocery store, so while pondering all the judges running for election, I got see all the morning shoppers getting their coffee and groceries. I am use to going behind a curtain so it was a bit of getting use to.

Ohio has an ID requirement. My driver’s licence has my previous address and some news reports were saying that others had issues casting a regular ballot with a DL with an old address. Despite the fact that the law says it doesn’t matter if the address is old as long as you are in fact registered at the current address.

Did I mention there were a lot of judges on the ballot?

Those were votes I wished I made more effort to research before today.

Late info on Republican candidates

A friend of mine passed on this list of info about some of the various Republican candidates this election season. Some pretty interesting reading.

–AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl
AZ-01: Rick Renzi
AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth
CA-04: John Doolittle
CA-11: Richard Pombo
CA-50: Brian Bilbray
CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave
CO-05: Doug Lamborn
CO-07: Rick O’Donnell
CT-04: Christopher Shays
FL-13: Vernon Buchanan
FL-16: Joe Negron
FL-22: Clay Shaw
ID-01: Bill Sali
IL-06: Peter Roskam
IL-10: Mark Kirk
IL-14: Dennis Hastert
IN-02: Chris Chocola
IN-08: John Hostettler
IA-01: Mike Whalen
KS-02: Jim Ryun
KY-03: Anne Northup
KY-04: Geoff Davis
–MD-Sen: Michael Steele
MN-01: Gil Gutknecht
MN-06: Michele Bachmann
–MO-Sen: Jim Talent
–MT-Sen: Conrad Burns
NV-03: Jon Porter
NH-02: Charlie Bass
NJ-07: Mike Ferguson
NM-01: Heather Wilson
NY-03: Peter King
NY-20: John Sweeney
NY-26: Tom Reynolds
NY-29: Randy Kuhl
NC-08: Robin Hayes
NC-11: Charles Taylor
OH-01: Steve Chabot
OH-02: Jean Schmidt
OH-15: Deborah Pryce
OH-18: Joy Padgett
PA-04: Melissa Hart
PA-07: Curt Weldon
PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick
PA-10: Don Sherwood
–RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee
–TN-Sen: Bob Corker
–VA-Sen: George Allen
VA-10: Frank Wolf
–WA-Sen: Mike McGavick
WA-08: Dave Reichert

When moralists throw stones….

Less than a week after former President Clinton handed the right wing their ass on Bin Laden and President Bush had more proof of his lies thrown in his face when the National Intelligence Estimate came out, a sex scandal has erupted in the US House of Representatives.

Rep. Mark Foley (R-Florida) resigned suddenly after learning a report on his inappropriate Internet contact with a 16 year old House page was about to be reported on ABC News.

What made me bust out laughing was when I heard that Foley was a leader on the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus. He worked to help gain passage of the “Adam Walsh Child Protection Act of 2006” which, among other things, increases penalties for adults who use the Internet to discuss or solicit sexual acts with “minors” (defined as an “individual who has not attained the age of 18 years”). GOP leaders hailed this law as a vital tool in protecting our nation’s children against Internet predators.

Now one would think that the GOP would bounce Foley and stick to their scripts about “protecting children”, but it seems the speaker and majority leader knew back in 2005! about Foley and his obsession with male pages.

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) was notified early this year of inappropriate e-mails from former representative Mark Foley (R-Fla.) to a 16-year-old page, a top GOP House member said yesterday — contradicting the speaker’s assertions that he learned of concerns about Foley only last week.

Hastert did not dispute the claims of Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds (R-N.Y.), and his office confirmed that some of Hastert’s top aides knew last year that Foley had been ordered to cease contact with the boy and to treat all pages respectfully.

House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told The Washington Post on Friday that he had learned in late spring of inappropriate e-mails Foley sent to the page, a boy from Louisiana, and that he promptly told Hastert, who appeared to know already of the concerns. Hours later, Boehner contacted The Post to say he could not be sure he had spoken with Hastert.

GOP Knew of Foley’s Messages

Any time an adult has some kind of contact with a minor of a sexual nature, people get quite upset, and the adult usually is vilified. Unless you are a Republican and your PR comes from Fox News:

Discussing the recent resignation of former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) with host Chris Wallace on the October 1 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday, Fox News political analyst and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) claimed that House Republicans would have “been accused of gay bashing” if they had “overly aggressively reacted” to Foley’s allegedly inappropriate email communications with a 16-year-old male congressional page when House Republicans reportedly first learned of Foley’s actions in late 2005.

Gingrich: House GOP would have “been accused of gay bashing” if it “overly aggressively reacted” to Foley’s emails in 2005

On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume asserted that there is a “difference” between the Democratic and Republican parties because former Republican Rep. Mark Foley is “out of office and in total disgrace in his party” after allegedly engaging in sexually explicit communications with underage congressional pages, while President Bill Clinton and Rep. Barney Frank were not similarly reprimanded for their “inappropriate behavior.” However, neither the Clinton nor the Frank allegations involved minors.

Hume compared Foley scandal to those involving Clinton, Frank, ignoring key difference

On Fox News’ The Big Story Primetime, Ann Coulter claimed that reports that the House Republican leadership was previously aware of communications former Rep. Mark Foley allegedly had with underage congressional pages are “somewhat incredible,” asking: “Why wait until right before the election to let it break?” and dismissing such reports as gossip, saying: “It’s something you hear.”

Coulter spinning on Foley scandal


Brian Ross, who broke the story on Friday on ABC (US), is not one to report hearsay. More than one page has come forward and there are reports that pages were warned about Foley when they started their assignments.

Fox News is trying to spin the scandal like when they claimed that the abuse at Abu Ghraib was nothing more than Fraternity hazing.

So I guess we can add Republicans to the list of those who get a free pass on child abuse – along with Catholic priests.

See also:

GOP House leaders speak out against Internet predators

Are we done with President Bush, yet?

How many illegal things must President Bush do before he is removed from office. I don’t know if this country can wait until January 20, 2009 when a new administration is sworn in.

The GOP came within a Senate vote of removing President Clinton because he lied about a blow job and President Bush gets free ride after free ride for violating the Constitution.

The latest is the disclosure in USA Today that all the major phone companies but one gave the NSA phone records the NSA requested.

Bush defenders said that the collection of phone records was necessary.

“This is nuts,” Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said of the furor over the latest disclosure. “We are in a war, and we’ve got to collect intelligence on the enemy, and you can’t tell the enemy in advance how you are going to do it. And discussing all of this stuff in public leads to that.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said his colleagues’ reaction was hard to understand. “Let’s talk about this in a rational way. We are in a war with terrorism. There are people out there who want to kill us, and I don’t think this action is nearly as troublesome as is being made out here.”

“Because they are not tapping our phones and getting our conversations. They are merely maintaining these numbers from which they have some system, apparently, to utilize those to match up with international phone calls connected to al Qaeda,” Sessions said.

But Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa slammed the database program.

“Why are the telephone companies not protecting their customers?” Grassley said. “I think they have a social responsibility to people who do business with them to protect our privacy as long there isn’t some suspicion that we’re a terrorist or a criminal or something.”

U.S. phone-call database ignites privacy uproar

And this:

While Capitol Hill debated the issue Friday, many lawyers voiced surprise that three major phone companies had agreed to make available to the National Security Agency the phone records of tens of millions of Americans.

That’s because Congress made it illegal 20 years ago for telephone companies and computer service providers to turn over to the government records showing who their customers had dialed or e-mailed.

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 was passed when cell phones and the Internet were emerging as new forms of communication. Section 2702 of the law says these providers of “electronic communications . . . shall not knowingly divulge a record or other information pertaining to a subscriber or customer . . . to any government entity.”

Companies that violate the law are subjected to being sued and paying damages of at least $1,000 per violation per customer.

“It is simply illegal for a telephone company to turn over caller records without some form of legal process, such as a court order or a subpoena,” said James X. Dempsey, a lawyer for the Center for Democracy and Technology in San Francisco.

Transfer of phone logs may have been illegal

First of all we are not “at war”. The Bush nazis may think it is a war and they say it is to justify their illegal violations of the 4th amendment. Since it is not a declared war the Bill of Rights still apply and the government has to have a warrant or subpoena to get records of US citizens and to get a warrant the government must provide specific probable cause and the gathering has to be specific – they can’t troll for information.

I don’t know what is worse, a President subverting our rights or citizens who allow it. An ABC/Washington Post poll the day after the USA Today story broke showed that more than 60% of respondents said the gathering of the records by the NSA was ok with them.

According to the poll, 65 percent of those interviewed said it was more important to investigate potential terrorist threats “even if it intrudes on privacy.” Three in 10–31 percent–said it was more important for the federal government not to intrude on personal privacy, even if that limits its ability to investigate possible terrorist threats.

Poll: Most Americans Support NSA’s Efforts

This lack of concern reminds me of a famous quote:

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. – Ben Franklin

The Democratic Party died today

I am announcing my official break with the national Democratic party.

I was never a party member. I have never declared my party at election time and I refused to vote for party candidates during the primaries, but in recent years I have voted Democratic and given them money – especially during the 2004 elections. But even that level of support has ended for me as of today.

The party died for me on Wednesday when the Senate Judiciary Committee’s senior Democrat, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, announced his endorsement of Judge John Roberts, shortly after leaving the White House where the 2nd vacancy in the Supreme Court was discussed with President Bush.

Leahy said:

[Judge John] Roberts “is a man of integrity,” said Leahy, who told Roberts over the telephone about his decision. “I can only take him at his word that he does not have an ideological agenda.”

John Roberts Picks Up Democratic Support

The problem is that Roberts refused to answer truthfully many of the questions during his confirmation hearing. For example:

“At least two other matters enjoy sacramental status. Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., asked Roberts — who had promised the committee to tell the truth, “so help me God” — whether he accepted the “absolute” separation of church and state and whether he would support giving special treatment to racial minorities.

Again, Roberts promised to follow the Constitution, which is why Feinstein undoubtedly will vote against his confirmation.”

The problem with Roberts

Basically Roberts is Scalia light. Someone who plans on ruling based on the 200 year old text of the Constitution rather than on the interpretation of those words as the court has done since judicial review – which by the way also isn’t in the Constitution – was invented.

Abortion isn’t in the text so women have no right to it. Separation of church and state isn’t in the text so it doesn’t exist either and so on.

Scalia’s Dissenting Rhetoric

The truthful answer he should have told Senator Feinstein was – No, but instead he side stepped the question with a vague answer.

So much for Roberts being a man of integrity with no agenda .

The only thing that could save my support for the Democrats would be that maybe Leahy worked out a deal – he gives up on Roberts and Bush nominates a less conservative woman for O’Connor’s spot.

Some how I doubt it.

Some would argue that the Democrats realized that the Roberts nomination was a done deal what with the GOP majority. It would seem that Leahy wanted to preserve what political capital the Dems have and hold off a fight until it really matters.


How important is the appointment of the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court? Political and religious conservatives are frothing at the mouth to get Roberts on the court since they seem to think he will start putting the court back to where they think it should be – like “separate but equal” is ok and women *ARE* property of their husbands.

Face it, the Democrats got outplayed again by Rove and company and were handed their balls.

If principles don’t mean enough to them, to fight to the bitter end, then why should I vote for them or give them money?

I still don’t plan to declare a party but I do plan on supporting my local and state Democrats where it makes sense but my days of supporting the National party are over.