What are the odds (pun intended) that Bill Bennet would say something this stupid if he didn't believe it...

Bill Bennet (former Reagan Sec of Education & self styled expert on virtue):

I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.


House of Scandal

Here is how tied up in DeLay Petri is, and you can look up other politicians as well:

- Petri voted with Tom DeLay 89% of the time between Jan. 1 2004 and March 31 2005.

- Petri voted to weaken the ethics rules in a move that many say served only to protect Tom DeLay.

- When Republicans realized it was "impossible to win the communications battle" over the gutted ethics rules, Petri flip-flopped and voted to put the old rules back into place.

- When Democrats offered a solution to clean up the House by strengthening ethics rules, Petri voted twice to make sure it never even came to an up or down vote.

- Petri voted to allow DeLay to continue serving as Leader even if he is indicted.


Krugman's State of the Nation:

The Way It Is

Paul Krugman
Published: September 30, 2005

Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader, is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. He sold all his stock in HCA, which his father helped found, just days before the stock plunged. Two years ago, Mr. Frist claimed that he did not even know if he owned HCA stock.

According to a new U.S. government index, the effect of greenhouse gases is up 20 percent since 1990.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a 33-year-old Wall Street insider with little experience in regulation but close ties to drug firms, was made a deputy commissioner at the F.D.A. in July. (This story, picked up by Time magazine, was originally reported by Alicia Mundy of The Seattle Times.)

The Artic ice cap is shrinking at an alarming rate.

Two of the three senior positions at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are vacant. The third is held by Jonathan Snare, a former lobbyist. Texans for Public Justice, a watchdog group, reports that he worked on efforts to keep ephedra, a dietary supplement that was banned by the F.D.A., legal.

According to France's finance minister, Alan Greenspan told him that the United States had "lost control" of its budget deficit.

David Safavian is a former associate of Jack Abramoff, the recently indicted lobbyist. Mr. Safavian oversaw U.S. government procurement policy at the White House Office of Management and Budget until his recent arrest.

When Senator James Inhofe, who has called scientific research on global warming "a gigantic hoax," called a hearing to attack that research, his star witness was Michael Crichton, the novelist.

Mr. Safavian is charged with misrepresenting his connections with lobbyists - specifically, Mr. Abramoff - while working at the General Services Administration. A key event was a lavish golfing trip to Scotland in 2002, mostly paid for by a charity Mr. Abramoff controlled. Among those who went on the trip was Representative Bob Ney of Ohio.

It's not possible to attribute any one weather event to global warming. But climate models show that global warming will lead to increased hurricane intensity, and some research indicates that this is already occurring.

Tyco paid $2 million, most going to firms controlled by Mr. Abramoff, as part of its successful effort to preserve tax advantages it got from shifting its legal home to Bermuda. Timothy Flanigan, a general counsel at Tyco, has been nominated for the second-ranking Justice Department post.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is awash in soldiers and police. Nonetheless, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has hired Blackwater USA, a private security firm with strong political connections, to provide armed guards.

Mr. Abramoff was indicted last month on charges of fraud relating to his purchase of SunCruz, a casino boat operation. Mr. Ney inserted comments in the Congressional Record attacking SunCruz's original owner, Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, placing pressure on him to sell to Mr. Abramoff and his partner, Adam Kidan, and praised Mr. Kidan's character.

James Schmitz, who resigned as the Pentagon's inspector general amid questions about his performance, has been hired as Blackwater's chief operating officer.

Last week three men were arrested in connection with the gangland-style murder of Mr. Boulis. SunCruz, after it was controlled by Mr. Kidan and Mr. Abramoff, paid a company controlled by one of the men arrested, Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello, and his daughter $145,000 for catering and other work. In court documents, questions are raised about whether food and drink were ever provided. SunCruz paid $95,000 to a company in which one of the other men arrested, Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari, is a principal.

Iraq's oil production remains below prewar levels. The Los Angeles Times reports that mistakes by U.S. officials and a Halliburton subsidiary, which was given large no-bid reconstruction contracts, may have permanently damaged Iraq's oilfields.

Tom DeLay, who stepped down as House majority leader after his indictment, once called Mr. Abramoff "one of my closest and dearest friends." Mr. Abramoff funneled funds from clients to conservative institutions and causes. The Washington Post reported that associates of Mr. DeLay claim that he severed the relationship after Mr. Boulis's murder.

Public health experts warn that the U.S. would be dangerously unprepared for an avian flu pandemic.

As Walter Cronkite used to say, That's the way it is.


6th CD DEms Press Release on DeLay/Petri

6th Congressional District Democrats

CONTACT: Gordon N. Hintz

September 29, 2005

Rep. Petri, Does Tom DeLay’s Behavior Still Resemble a Traffic Violation?

OSHKOSH – Yesterday, a Texas grand jury indicted House Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay on charges of conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, after earlier this month indicting DeLay’s Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC) for illegally accepting a $100,000 contribution from special interests. DeLay, who was forced to step down today from his leadership post, also faces serious ethics charges that have been filed in Washington, D.C.

During a debate last October at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh’s Reeve Memorial Union, Representative Tom Petri was asked whether he believed DeLay — a Texas Republican rebuked for raising campaign funds from a company standing to gain from an energy bill and other well-documented ethic violations — should resign as majority leader.

“I don’t think so,” said Petri, a former House ethics committee member. When asked about the ethics reprimands DeLay had received at that time, Petri responded, “It’s a little like a traffic violation. You can get arrested for things, but it’s not like it’s murder.”

“It is exactly the type of attitude that Mr. Petri displayed at last year’s debate - that corruption and ethic violations are no big deal – that allow people like Mr. DeLay to run our political system with illegal corporate money,” said Gordon Hintz, 6th CD Democratic Chair. “The truth is, Republicans like Tom Petri and Mark Green have continued to stand by Tom DeLay despite serious criminal and ethics charges, further eroding the faith the American people have in honest government and a clean political process.

“People in Wisconsin deserve someone representing them who will stand up to the Tom DeLays. Representative Petri continues to be a rubber stamp for the Republican Party and scandal plagued politicians like Tom DeLay.”

To watch Representative Petri discussing Tom DeLay’s ethics violations in 2004, go to:



E=mc2 Explained

If you are interested....



Meanwhile in Fristville:

SEC Upgrades Sen. Frist Stock Inquiry

WASHINGTON - The Securities and Exchange Commission, which is examining a stock sale by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, has upgraded its initial informal inquiry to a formal investigation.

The change means the agency can issue subpoenas for documents rather than just requesting them. Federal prosecutors also are investigating the Tennessee Republican's recent sale of stock in HCA Inc. about two weeks before its price dropped. Frist's family founded the big hospital operating company.

Already, Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA has said it has received a subpoena from the office of the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan asking for documents the company believes are related to Frist's sale of company stock. Frist's office said prosecutors and SEC investigators had contacted the senator's office about the sale.

Frist ordered the stock sold from several blind trusts this summer, about two weeks before HCA issued a disappointing earnings forecast that drove its share price down almost 16 percent by mid-July.

He sold the stock at a time when top executives and directors of HCA — including the chief executive and the treasurer — also were selling off shares worth a total of $112 million.


What DeLay did:


Here is the Center for American Progress' explanation - the link is a NYTimes graphic:

In Texas, it is illegal to contribute corporate money to state races. DeLay set up a Texas political action committee called Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC) which accepted $155,000 of corporate cash, exploiting a loophole that allowed it to do so to pay for "administrative expenses." (That's a whole lot of staplers). TRMPAC then wrote a $190,000 check to Terri Nelson of the Republican National Committee with a list of state candidates who should receive the money and dollar amounts each person should receive. The corporate cash infusion into state races allowed Republicans to gain control of the state legislature, placing DeLay's allies in charge of the redistricting process, which eventually strengthened DeLay's stranglehold on power in the House. DeLay doesn't dispute the basic facts, but claims, somewhat inexplicably, that the scheme was legal.

The Northwestern is right on today:

Editorial: State lawmakers should abstain from diversions

A symptom appeared in the state-imposed tax freeze that froze spending for every local government but not the state. Now the agenda has reared its head in Senate Bill 286 by state Sen. Mary Lazich, which has the state dictate that abstinence be taught in human growth and development classes. The bill passed the Senate earlier this week.

What this bill represents is political red meat. It’s politically popular for Lazich and others to get behind this because, one, it doesn’t cost the state anything and, two, these elected officials look like they’re tough on something.

Politicians figure that if they focus on hot button social issues, it will detract attention from the larger problems facing our state. We have rising poverty, the loss of family-supporting jobs and a growing number of children without health insurance, to name a few.

The Final Thought: State Sen. Mary Lazich may have support for a bill to require school boards to promote abstinence, but the bill does nothing to address the real problems in the state.



DeLay Indicted

WASHINGTON - A Texas grand jury on Wednesday charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, an indictment that could force him to step down as House majority leader.

DeLay attorney Steve Brittain said DeLay was accused of a criminal conspiracy along with two associates, John Colyandro, former executive director of a Texas political action committee formed by DeLay, and Jim Ellis, who heads DeLay's national political committee.

GOP congressional officials said the plan was for DeLay to temporarily relinquish his leadership post and Speaker Dennis Hastert will recommend that Rep. David Dreier of California step into those duties.


I will be waiting for Petri's response, we know how he responded when asked about Delay's problems last year:

"So, it's a little bit like a traffic infraction, you can get arrested for things, but it's not as though it's a murder."

Here's the quote:http://www.jef4wi.com/6thCDDebate-Trafficinfraction.wmv

Watch the entire question here:http://www.jef4wi.com/6thCDDebate-DelayEthics.wmv

From the Post-Crescent:

U.S. Rep. Tom Petri equated fund-raising ethics violations House of Representatives majority leader Tom DeLay has weathered to a “traffic violation” Monday.

Also, what about Mark Green anf Paul Ryan - both have recieved money from DeLay's PAC:

Rep. Mark Green - WI - R - $29,414
Rep. Paul Ryan - WI - R - $25,390


This is the best music video I have seen in a very long time:

Audioslave - Doesn't Remind Me



A House of Cards?

President Bush presides over the largest drop in Consumer Confidence since... PRESIDENT BUSH!

Consumer confidence plummets

Consumer confidence plummeted almost 19 points in September, its biggest drop in 15 years, as Americans worried about the economic fallout of Hurricane Katrina and rising gasoline prices.

The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index, compiled from a survey of U.S. households, dropped 18.9 points to 86.6, from a revised reading of 105.5.

That marked the biggest fall since October 1990 when the index fell 23 points to 62.6 in the wake of the recession.

Analysts had expected the September reading to be 98.


Wis. Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Releases 2003 Wisconsin Domestic Violence Homicide Report

Some items from the report:

In the year 2003, there were 27,102 incidents of domestic violence reported to Wisconsin law enforcement agencies. Forty-five (45) individuals lost their lives - Sixteen of the killers then turned a gun on themselves and committed suicide.

"The numbers tell us that the availability of domestic violence support services and the legal responses that have evolved over the last 25 years have created far more options for battered women," said Diane Wolff, Interim Executive Director of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WCADV).

"Thanks to local domestic violence services organizations and committed individuals working together to prevent and address the problem of domestic violence, we are making progress," Attorney General Lautenschlager said today. "However, as the report released today shows, there is still much work to be done to protect Wisconsin families and provide justice to all members of our communities. I'm proud the Wisconsin Department of Justice is a strong partner in this ongoing effort."

Carrie Schneider, District Attorney for Outagamie County also points out the need for collaboration between the justice system and other systems as a means of preventing homicides, "We have come a long way towards addressing domestic violence yet 45 homicides still happened in 2003. Domestic violence homicide has a devastating effect on communities. I look forward to a day when we can prevent those 45 homicides from happening in the first place. The community as a whole needs to become a part of the solution so that we can stop homicides before they ever happen."


Why do I mention this?

How will the District Attorney make the budget without the sales tax:

District Attorney: Completely eliminate domestic abuse investigator.


Human Rights Watch: Leadership Failure-Firsthand Accounts of Torture of Iraqi Detainees by the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division

"On their day off people would show up all the time. Everyone in camp knew if you wanted to work out your frustration you show up at the PUC tent. In a way it was sport. The cooks were all U.S. soldiers. One day [a sergeant] shows up and tells a PUC to grab a pole. He told him to bend over and broke the guy’s leg with a mini Louisville Slugger, a metal bat. He was the fucking cook. He shouldn’t be in with no PUCs."
— 82nd Airborne sergeant, describing events at FOB Mercury, Iraq

"If I as an officer think we’re not even following the Geneva Conventions, there’s something wrong. If officers witness all these things happening, and don’t take action, there’s something wrong. If another West Pointer tells me he thinks, “Well, hitting somebody might be okay,” there’s something wrong."
— 82nd Airborne officer, describing confusion in Iraq concerning allowable interrogation techniques

Residents of Fallujah called them “the Murderous Maniacs” because of how they treated Iraqis in detention. They were soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, stationed at Forward Operating Base Mercury (FOB Mercury) in Iraq. The soldiers considered this name a badge of honor.

One officer and two non-commissioned officers (NCOs) of the 82nd Airborne who witnessed abuse, speaking on condition of anonymity, described in multiple interviews with Human Rights Watch how their battalion in 2003-2004 routinely used physical and mental torture as a means of intelligence gathering and for stress relief. One soldier raised his concerns within the army chain of command for 17 months before the Army agreed to undertake an investigation, but only after he had contacted members of Congress and considered going public with the story.


Northwestern Admits Mistake, Still Doesn't Tell the Entire Truth

The Northwestern gets half a point today for admitting that the figure used in an op-ed they let run was wrong, but only half a point.

Why? They do not go on to then tell the truth.

The episode began with the Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce’s typically accurate Web site listing Winnebago County government as having grown 263 new jobs from 2003 to 2004. An opinion article from a reader in the Sept. 18 Oshkosh Northwestern repeated the information.

Here’s the catch. The Chamber corrected the mistake. But the misinformation still spread and achieved a level of authority that had people taking opposing sides on the tax issue.


The truth of the matter is that there were only 6 new jobs, and they were mostly part time.

Once again, Mark Harris has submitted (even with the sales tax) the smallest increase in a county budget in at least a decade, if not more.

Please, tell the whole story.

Approving sales tax sends message to Madison

Letter to the Editor from the Northwestern:

Approving sales tax sends message to Madison

An open letter to the Winnebago County Board of Supervisors following its 18-17 vote to table the county sales tax resolution:

The arguments offered for adopting the half percent sales tax are compelling in the short term. Certainly the county should not abandon its less fortunate citizens by cutting services and programs, but there is an even more compelling reason to adopt the sales tax in the long term. By enacting a property tax freeze, the state Legislature has set the dangerous precedent of infringing on the taxing authority of a sovereign local government. In my opinion this is a step towards turning county government into a toothless tiger. A legislative body without taxing authority might just as well shut down and go home. Granted, at this point the county still has taxing authority (although now limited), but a precedent is being set that is dangerous. If the County Board acquiesces to this precedent by the state Legislature, it opens the door to further restrictions in the future.

Adopting the half percent sales tax sends a message back to the state Legislature that local government takes its sovereignty, its taxing authority and its role in governance seriously. The two additional benefits of preserving adequate social services and additional property tax relief only make the half percent sales tax more attractive.

John Lemberger Oshkosh


Electronic Voting FAQ's

This is from an email I recieved - I have not checked all the links, but I have read many of the stories similar to these. All MAerican's should be concerned about the security of their ability to vote.

Did you know....

1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by only two companies: Diebold and ES&S.

2. There is no federal agency with regulatory authority oversight of the U.S. voting machine industry.

3. The vice-president of Diebold and the president of ES&S are brothers.

4. The chairman and CEO of Diebold is a major Bush campaign organizer and donor who wrote in 2003 that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

5. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel used to be chairman of ES&S. He became Senator based on votes counted by ES&S machines.

6. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, long-connected with the Bush family, was recently caught lying about his ownership of ES&S by the Senate Ethics Committee.

7. Senator Chuck Hagel was on a short list of George W. Bush's vice-presidential candidates. http://www.businessweek.com/2000/00_28/b3689130.htm

8. ES&S is the largest voting machine manufacturer in the U.S. and counts almost 60% of all U.S. votes.

9. Diebold's new touch screen voting machines have no paper trail of any votes. In other words, there is no way to verify that the data coming out of the machine is the same as what was legitimately put in by voters.

10. Diebold also makes ATMs, checkout scanners, and ticket machines, all of which log each transaction and can generate a paper trail.

11. Diebold is based in Ohio.

12. Diebold employed 5 convicted felons as consultants and developers to help write the central compiler computer code that counted 50% of the votes in 30 states.

13. Jeff Dean was Senior Vice-President of Global Election Systems when it was bought by Diebold. Even though he had been convicted of 23 counts of felony theft in the first degree, Jeff Dean was retained as a consultant by Diebold and was largely responsible for programming the optical scanning software now used in most of the United States.

14. Diebold consultant Jeff Dean was convicted of planting back doors in his software and using a "high degree of sophistication" to evade detection over a period of 2 years.

15. None of the international election observers were allowed in the polls in Ohio.

16. California banned the use of Diebold machines because the security was so bad. Despite Diebold's claims that the audit logs could not be hacked, a chimpanzee was able to do it! (See the movie here: http://blackboxvoting.org/baxter/baxterVPR.mov .)

17. 30% of all U.S. votes are carried out on unverifiable touch screen voting machines with no paper trail.

18. All -- not some -- but all the voting machine errors detected and reported in Florida went in favor of Bush or Republican candidates.

19. The governor of the state of Florida, Jeb Bush, is the President's brother.

20. Serious voting anomalies in Florida -- again always favoring Bush -- have been mathematically demonstrated and experts are recommending further investigation.
http://www.consortiumnews.com/2004/110904.html http://uscountvotes.org/


Pictures of the DC Protests

Courtsey of my friend Mike Bare:


This sign was my favorite:


Wrong on Voter ID, Right on Electronic Voting

The Northwestern gets is right today:

The Final Thought: There’s a looming threat to the integrity of the election process, a threat in the form of all-electronic ballot machines that lack a paper record.

Bloggers cited reports of voting irregularties to further the premise that President Bush stole the election. While bloggers and conspiracy theorists pushed their contentions to fit their theories, investigators had trouble proving them true.

But Walden O’Dell didn’t help matters with his comment in 2003 that he was “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes for the president.” (O’Dell is chairman and chief executive officer of Diebold, manufacturer of electronic voting machines.) There were reports that voters in 2004 elections, at some electronic booths, said they voted for John Kerry but the final screen asked them to confirm their vote for George Bush.

The issue here is that the lack of a paper record in computerized processes opens the way to potential vote manipulation.This means that we in America may have reached a point where our love affair with new technology has reached a practical limit. Electronic machines have limited usefulness. We are learning that an only-electronic record will never be as reliable as an electronic record proven to be valid by a paper record.