DeLay Staffer - The Right is a Bunch of Religious Wacko's

"The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees," Scanlon wrote in the memo, which was read into the public record at a hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. "Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them."


Shows how they truly care...

Sun Times Religion Correspondent: Bush is Not a Moral Leader

Chicago Sun Times:

While surely it is not solely Bush's doing, the moral morass facing (and, arguably, created by) his administration is as profound as any in our history.

Mired in political corruption of one variety or another, hamstrung (economically and spiritually) by an unjust war, and publicly shamed by the most despicable display of institutionalized racism since the slave era, as demonstrated in the unforgivably inept early response to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration has lost whatever moral voice it might have had.
And this week, as Republican leaders try to force a monstrous $50 billion budget cut designed allegedly to offset the mounting costs (currently in excess of $62 billion) of hurricane-related aid through Congress, it is clear that its moral compass also has been lost.

The proposed budget cuts, part of the so-called "budget reconciliation," would have devastating effects on the poorest, most vulnerable Americans, while allowing tax relief for the rich.

The massive budget reductions would include billions of dollars from pension protection and student loan programs, Medicaid and child support enforcement, as well as millions from the food stamp program, Supplemental Security Income (read: senior citizens and the disabled) and foster care. Also attached to the "reconciliation" proposal is a plan that would allow oil drilling in Alaska's pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.


Maybe Republican leaders should consider proposing an open season on the homeless or the resurrection of debtors' prisons while they're at it?

Is this the kind of leadership the majority of voters who, according to pollsters at the time, cast their ballots in 2004 based on "moral values," had in mind?

Is this what faith-based "compassionate conservatism" looks like? Is our nation more moral, more secure or spiritually healthier than it was a year ago?

And, to address my fellow Christian voters specifically, has the Good News been advanced in any way?

No. Absolutely not.

"Instead of wearing bracelets that ask, 'What would Jesus do?' perhaps some Republicans should ponder, 'What would Jesus cut?' " Wallis said.

The immorality (by any religious tradition's measure) of the proposed $50 billion budget reconciliation package is brazen.

If enacted, it would prove only to increase the suffering of the already-struggling poor, including tens of thousands who lost everything along the Gulf Coast.

Maybe immoral isn't the appropriate word.

Downright evil is a better description.



Meanwhile, WI is Dead Last in Actual Homeland Security Spending:

Superman Is On Our Side...

Word of the Day...


Inflected forms: pl. kak·is·toc·ra·ciesGovernment by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.
Greek kakistos, worst, superlative of kakos, bad; see caco– + –cracy.


Obama Is Perfect Here:

In response to attacks on Democratic senators supporting John Roberts's Supreme Court nomination, Senator Barack Obama--who opposed it--nevertheless engaged the readers of the popular weblog Daily Kos with an eloquent admonition that the "tone of much of our rhetoric is an impediment to creating a workable progressive majority in this country." If liberals are to approach this goal and take advantage of Americans' rejection of the far right's reactionary agenda, they must first find a way to establish a basis for common understanding through respectful discourse. On that score Obama bravely explained to the sometimes overheated liberal blogosphere, "When we lash out at those who share our fundamental values because they have not met the criteria of every single item on our progressive 'checklist,' then we are essentially preventing them from thinking in new ways about problems. We are tying them up in a straitjacket and forcing them into a conversation only with the converted. Beyond that, by applying such tests, we are hamstringing our ability to build a majority."


Some Points From the OshNW Editorial:

They are right here:
You might say that Winnebago County Supervisors got it half-right on the half-cent sales tax.Rejecting a county sales tax was absolutely the right thing to do. County Executive Mark Harris never laid out a compelling case to raise taxes beyond the fact that the county dug itself into a hole with excessive spending before a state spending cap was imposed. Harris didn’t create those problems, but it is now his job to fix them.And that’s where the board stumbled, too. Supervisors scraped up the money to avoid imposing the sales tax but it was through a series of one-time maneuvers that do little to curb the county’s voracious appetite for spending. The same budget headache will return next year. So will the temptation to tax.

Threatening is not 'partnering':
Salaries and benefits are the county’s biggest expense and most difficult issue to tackle. You cannot fault unions for negotiating agreements in the best interests of their workers. However, the reality is that the county cannot afford business as usual. Unions can partner with county leaders on needed changes or face layoffs.

Click in headline for link...

Bain is Right:

The city council held its first 2006 budget workshop Thursday evening and the preservation of property-tax-funded garbage collection service immediately took center stage.

Councilor Bryan Bain opposes the change and would like to find a way to ensure service to apartments and condominiums as well.

He argues that a fee based system would be “a direct hit” to Oshkosh’s poorest residents.

Click in headline for link...

Budget Passes - No Sales Tax, but...

The board also shifted more-than $400,000 in county road projects initially slated to be paid for with direct taxes to borrowing. While the amendment takes money off the 2006 tax rolls, taxpayers will cover the debt costs with interest in budgets to come.

Click in headline for link...


DeLay Emails Show Meetings Arranged After Donations...

WASHINGTON - Investigators have unearthed e-mails showing Rep. Tom DeLay’s office tried to help lobbyist Jack Abramoff get a high-level Bush administration meeting for Indian clients, an effort that succeeded after the tribes began making $250,000 in donations.

Tribal money went both to a group founded by Interior Secretary Gale Norton, the Cabinet secretary Abramoff was trying to meet, as well as to DeLay’s personal charity.

“Do you think you could call that friend and set up a meeting?” then-DeLay staffer Tony Rudy asked fellow House aide Thomas Pyle in a Dec. 29, 2000, e-mail titled “Gale Norton-Interior Secretary.” President Bush had nominated Norton to the post the day before.

Within months, Abramoff clients donated heavily to the Norton-founded group and to DeLay’s personal charity. The Coushatta Indian tribe, for instance, wrote checks in March 2001 for $50,000 to the Norton group and $10,000 to the DeLay Foundation, tribal records show.


The Free-fall Continues...

I'd hate to say I told you so, but....

For the first time in his presidency a majority of Americans question the integrity of President Bush, and growing doubts about his leadership have left him with record negative ratings on the economy, Iraq and even the war on terrorism, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows.

On almost every key measure of presidential character and performance, the survey found that Bush has never been less popular with the American people. Currently 39 percent approve of the job he is doing as president, while 60 percent disapprove of his performance in office -- the highest level of disapproval ever recorded for Bush in Post-ABC polls.

Bush has always retained majority support on his handling of the U.S. campaign against terrorism -- until now, when 51 percent have registered disapproval.

The survey found that 40 percent now view him as honest and trustworthy -- a 13 percentage point drop in the past 18 months. Nearly 6 in 10 -- 58 percent -- said they have doubts about Bush's honesty, the first time in his presidency that more than half the country has questioned his personal integrity.

Americans give the administration low ratings on ethics, according to the survey, with 67 percent rating the administration negatively on handling ethical matters, while just 32 percent give the administration positive marks.

Nearly 7 in 10 -- 68 percent -- believe the country is seriously off course, while only 30 percent are optimistic, the lowest level in more than nine years.

Among independents, Bush's approval has plummeted since the beginning of the year. In the latest poll, 33 percent of independents approved of his performance, while 66 disapproved. In January, independents were evenly divided, with 49 percent approving and an equal percentage disapproving.

Nearly two-thirds disapprove of the way Bush is handling the situation there, while barely a third approve, a new low. Six in 10 now believe the United States was wrong to invade Iraq, a seven-point increase in just over two months, with almost half the country saying they strongly believe it was wrong.

About 3 in 4 -- 73 percent -- say there have been an unacceptable level of casualties in Iraq. More than half -- 52 percent -- say the war with Iraq has not contributed to the long-term security of the United States.

A clear majority -- 55 percent -- now says the administration deliberately misled the country in making its case for war with Iraq -- a conflict that an even larger majority say is not worth the cost.

Bush also set new lows in the latest Post-ABC News poll for his management of the economy, where disapproval topped 60 percent for the first time in his presidency. And 6 in 10 are critical of the way Bush is dealing with health care -- a double-digit increase since March. On gasoline prices, Bush's numbers have increased slightly over the past two months but still remain highly negative, with just 26 percent rating him positively.

The survey suggests a rapidly widening gulf between Bush and the American people. Two in 3 say Bush does not understand the problems of people like them, a 10 percentage point increase since January.

Nearly 6 in 10 -- 58 percent -- doubt Bush shares their values, while 40 percent say he does, another new low for this president.


'Brownie' Emails Show Administration's Level of Concern

Casual responses at a critical time
On Aug. 31, FEMA official Marty Bahamonde sent Brown a desperate e-mail from New Orleans, calling the situation “past critical.” Describing patients in temporary emergency shelters, Bahamonde wrote, “Estimates are many will die within hours.”

He also wrote, “We are out of food and running out of water at the dome, plans in works to address the critical need.”

Brown’s reply to the e-mail was: “Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?”

A few days after Katrina’s devastation, FEMA aide Sharon Worthy sent an e-mail to Brown suggesting he roll up his sleeves when making television appearances.

“Even the President rolled up his sleeves to just below the elbow,” the e-mail reads. “In these crises and on TV you just need to look more hard-working.”


Today in History - 2008 Preview Edition

Lets have a similar story written in 2008 for the Democrats. There are a bunch of lessons here as well:

Roosevelt Sweeps The Nation; His Electoral Vote Exceeds 500

Accepting the President as the issue, nearly eight million more voters than ever before had gone to the polls in the United States--about 45,000,000 persons--yesterday gave to Franklin Delano Roosevelt the most overwhelming testimonial of approval ever received by a national candidate in the history of the nation.

--the President was the choice of a vast preponderance of the voters in all parts of the country, and with him were re-elected as Vice President John N. Garner of Texas and an almost untouched Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. The Democratic national ticket will have a minimum of 519 electoral votes and a possible popular majority of ten millions.

The Republican candidates for President and Vice President, Governor Alfred M. Landon of Kansas and Colonel Frank Knox of Illinois, are the worst-beaten aspirants for these offices in the political annals of the United States

And to assure his reputation as the greatest vote-getter in the annals of the United States he--a Democrat--had overwhelmingly swept Pennsylvania, unfailingly Republican for generations in national elections.

Mr. Landon and the Republican national chairman, John D. M. Hamilton, announced their intentions of letting the night pass before agreeing to the fact of the stupendous party defeat.

All the important newspapers supporting the Republican ticket (about 90 per cent of the metropolitan and country press) had given up many hours before.

We can win by stressing the good we can do through government:

two Republican Senators who voted against the Social Security Act, on which the party managers made a last-minute attack--Hastings of Delaware and Metcalf of Rhode Island--were also rejected by the voters in their States.

Dissension in the Republican party over Chairman Hamilton's conduct of the campaign was fore-shadowed early last night when Representative Hamilton Fish of New York criticized the attack on the Social Security Act, for which a large Republican majority in Congress, including the Senate and House leaders, had voted.

Plus, it looks like the Republicans valued lies and half truth's just as much then:

Every sign, as the returns piled up, was that Republican campaign strategy had come to a disastrous finish. A year ago the prevailing idea among Republican leaders was to make a frontal assault on the New Deal

(Republicans put out) an attack in the industrial centers on the Social Security Act in an effort to win back unorganized labor. The payroll contribution of employees was stressed without mention of the employers' levy

Read it all at:


Other interesting events:

Bad day for William Jennings Bryan
Republican William McKinley defeated Democrat William Jennings Bryan for the presidency.
Republican William Howard Taft was elected president, outpolling William Jennings Bryan.

Foreshadowing 2005?
A Lebanese magazine broke the story of U.S. arms sales to Iran, a revelation that escalated into the Iran-Contra affair.

Democrat Bill Clinton was elected the 42nd president of the United States, defeating President George H.W. Bush.

Run for office, you never know what might happen...
Former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura was elected governor of Minnesota.



Another great point on Altercation (read it everyday, if you don't):

Name: Clif McFarland
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
I just opened to MSNBC to access your column (which I do every day) to see a headline that reads: "Senate Schism: GOP leaders blast Democrats for closed session on Iraq intel." We are still living in a through-the-looking-glass world. How can it be that the story is the GOP leadership's reaction to what happened? Why isn't the story what happened? And why the little video sub-feature: "Frist outraged." The story isn't Frist's reaction. I don't believe there were headlines like: "Soviets unimpressed by U.S. moon landing" or "U.S. leadership outraged by attack on Pearl Harbor" Help!


Why Casey & Alito Matter...

Altercation continues to get better responses than I do:

Name: James
Hometown: pgh pa
In response to Brad's e-mail from yesterday. This type of question is a well set trap, and in my opinion demonstrates a difference between some conservatives and liberals. At first blush, you think, of course a husband should be informed if his wife wants to have an abortion. The answer is not so simple if you start to consider other factors. These factors include: Is the husband abusive? Is the husband the father? Would revealing this pregnancy endanger the mother? This is very similar to the question of parental notification of girls under the age of eighteen receiving abortions. The first reaction of many is of course the parents should be notified. But what if this pregnancy was the result of incest? What if revealing the pregnancy would open the girl to horrible retribution? These questions have no simple answer. What they need is to be discussed rationally and thoughtfully. Unfortunately, in today's political landscape, where a man who never changes his mind is respected, and a man who reconsiders decisions based on changing circumstances is ridiculed, the chances of such a discussion are minimal.


CIA holds terror suspects in secret prisons

Debate grows within agency about legality, morality of approach

The CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, according to U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement.

The secret facility is part of a covert prison system set up by the CIA nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe, as well as a small center at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, according to current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from three continents.


To quote David Bowie - "This Is Not America"


Alito Nomination in Cartoon


Satire Can Be the Greatest Truth:

Bush Challenges Geena Davis to Debate:

"Her writers can write her a script, and mine will write me a script," the president said. "May the best script win."

Bush said today he was willing to debate the fictitious president on a complete range of fictitious issues, such as Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.


No, Green's Voter Hearing inMilwaukee Wasn't Political...

No room for Walker

Congressional hearings are usually pretty boring affairs. A few lawmakers posturing for cameras, witnesses reading from prepared texts and reporters trying to stay awake - who would whine about not being invited to that?

County Exec Scott Walker, that's who.

The county's top elected official asked to speak at the House Administration Committee's traveling road show when it stopped in Milwaukee the other dayto hear testimony about irregularities in the 2004 election.

Walker was offended that, as the top Republican in the courthouse, he wasn't invited to speak and his request to provide testimony was ignored.

Could it be maybe, just maybe, the fact that U.S. Rep. Mark Green is on the House committee and that he happens to be running against Walker for the GOP gubernatorial nomination played a role in keeping Walker away from the TV cameras covering the event?

"You'd like to hope not, but there sure isn't any information for me to think not," Walker's chief of staff, Jim Villa, responded, using his "I'm deeply hurt" voice.

Green's people, on the other hand, were shocked - shocked - that Walker thought politics had crept into a congressional hearing.

Rather, Chris Tuttle, Green's flack, said that by that by the time Walker asked to speak, the witness list had been set and there just wasn't any more room.

Especially for a political opponent.


Washinton Post Poll - Bush Less Ethical Than Clinton

Like we didnt' know that.....

How would you rate Bush's handling of ethics in government - excellent, good, only fair or poor?

Bush: Fair/Poor - 64%
Clinton: Fair/Poor - 62%

While this isn't a good thing about American Gov't overall, it does make one wonder about Bush's promise to 'restore honor and dignity to the White House'?

More from the poll:

In your opinion, do you think the charge against Libby represents (a serious) crime, or (a minor or technical) one?
Serious Crime: 69%
Minor or Technical Crime: 26%

Do you think this case (is an isolated incident) or do you think it (indicates broader problems with ethical wrongdoing in the Bush administration)?
Isolated Incident: 41%
Broader Problem: 55%


Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said he repeatedly tried to persuade US President George W Bush against invading Iraq

Berlusconi is one of Washington's strongest allies but he did not send troops to join the invasion, preferring to despatch troops only after the fall of Baghdad.

"I tried many times to convince the American president not to go to war," Berlusconi was quoted as saying by La7 television network, which recorded the interview.

"I tried to find other avenues and other solutions, even through an activity with the African leader (Libya's Colonel Muammar) Gaddafi. But we didn't succeed and there was the military operation."


Why would Bush good buddy Berlusconi be backing off of Bush after his past support?

He is trailing in opinion polls ahead of April elections to centre-left rival, Romano Prodi, who promises to withdraw all Italian forces from Iraq if he is voted into office.

Worldwide, people are bailing off of the Bush Administration yacht like so many drowned rats.

Time to put some Democrats in office and clean up the mess.

Well Said...

This has been the Bush pattern. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill presciently says a second tax cut is unaffordable if we want to fight in Iraq—he's fired. Bush's economic adviser Larry Lindsey presciently says the war will cost between $100 billion and $200 billion (an underestimate)—he's fired. Army Gen. Eric Shinseki presciently says that winning in Iraq will require several hundred thousand troops—he's sent into early retirement. By contrast, CIA Director George Tenet, who presided over two of the greatest intelligence lapses in American history (9/11 and WMD in Iraq) and apparently helped spread "oppo ammo" to discredit the husband of a woman who had devoted her life to his agency, receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


Today in History - the Beginning of the End Edition:

On Nov. 1, 1952, the United States exploded the first hydrogen bomb, in a test at Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands.


Michelangelo's paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel were first exhibited to the public.
William Shakespeare's tragedy ''Othello'' was first performed, at Whitehall Palace in London.

Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II, was ordained as a priest.

Three that seem very topical:
The west African nation of Algeria began a rebellion against French rule.
Following the ''Saturday Night Massacre,'' acting Attorney General Robert H. Bork appointed Leon Jaworski to be the new Watergate special prosecutor, succeeding Archibald Cox.
Clarence Thomas took his place as a justice on the Supreme Court.

In remembrance:
Football hall-of-famer Walter Payton died of cancer at age 45.

Wow, I'm old (or at least the music I like is):
Anthony Kiedis turns 43 years old today.

Kristof: What Did Cheney Know, and When Did He Know It?

When Richard Nixon was a candidate for vice president and embroiled in scandal, he addressed the charges in his Checkers speech: "The best and only answer to a smear or to an honest misunderstanding of the facts is to tell the truth." (Mr. Vice President, any time a columnist quotes Nixon to you in an exhortation to be honest, you're in trouble.)

Even when Spiro Agnew was embroiled in a criminal investigation, he tried to explain himself, repeatedly. Do you really want to be less forthcoming than Dick Nixon and Spiro Agnew?

So, Mr. Cheney, tell us what happened. If you're afraid to say what you knew, and when you knew it, then you should resign.


A Thoroughly Practical View:

I would rather add a nickel to every $10 purchase and know the roads will be cleared in winter than shovel out of snow banks. This tax is not excessive.

Bob Beese, Oshkosh

Click in headline for link...

Great Letter...

Counties are continuing nursing home services

Several times over the past few weeks The Northwestern said that Park View Health Center should be privatized. The claim was made that most other counties were going out of the nursing home business and Winnebago County should too. Since 1986 only five counties have gone out of the nursing home business. Since 1993, 10 counties have built new facilities and one has extensively remodeled its existing home. As of September 1, 2005, there were 401 county homes. Given these facts it would appear that rather than going out of business most counties intend to continue in the nursing home business for a long, long time.


There was a great forum at the library recently on County-Owned Nursing Homes - it was too bad the Northwestern didn't make it there.

Borrowing is a bad idea:

County board could use loophole
May borrow to buy other items

Local government doesn’t typically borrow cash to buy cars or computers. But that practice might represent the loophole helping Winnebago County avert drastic job and services cuts brought on by a strict state property tax freeze.

Money’s tight. And Winnebago County’s Board of Supervisors this week finds itself in a fix not unlike a cash-strapped homeowner. The tax levy freeze won’t allow new property taxes beyond what’s proposed in County Executive Mark Harris’ $153.9 million 2006 budget, relying on no more than $56.6 million in property taxes.

If supervisors want to restore anything on a list of proposed staff and service cuts, they’ll have to find some other funding sources, including borrowing and incurring debt and interest for traditionally direct-tax funded items.


This is bad policy that will actuall raise your property taxes more than no property tax freeze whatsoever.

It is allowable to increase your taxes to cover debt. Therefore, the county can borrow what itis not allowed to raise, then raise that amount in subsequent years - paying the cost of the item plus interest on the bond.

Just raising property taxes, or passing the sales tax to pay for the needed items up front will actually save the taxpayers money overall.

I agree with Mr. Harris once again:

He said he’d prefer exploiting the borrowing loophole to “eliminating people, but I don’t prefer it to sales tax.”


Quote Cheryl Hentz: The "twin Towers" need to be toppled

An anonymous reader on Oshkosh news posted what was later pointed out to be a rather tasteless quote in response to the Leach ticket surcharge rant written by Eye On Oshkosh host/owner Cheryl Hentz:

The twin towers of Oshkosh must fall and Castle can go with them.

Now, this is an anonymous posting, so we do not know it was Ms. Hentz replying to her own post (I doubt that it was, as she seems to always sign her posts - as I do).

However, it does eerily mirror her own post on the Eye on Oshkosh website (registration required):

The "twin Towers" need to be toppled come spring '06.


Now, I understand she was probably trying to be witty. But let's just agree that she failed.

An apology might be in order.

Mr. Hayford Responds:

I just happened upon your blog regarding the county sales tax issue in Winnebago. You are most adept at taking comments out of context.Do you really believe that there is not a mere 2 1/2% of "fluff" in the budget that could not be removed without a reduction in the quality of life?
posted by David Hayford : 10/31/2005 10:38 AM


My repsponse:

The question here is the quality of who's life.

It will not effect your's or mine.

But, it will effect tremendously those poor who rely on the services.

It will effect rural residents who dial 911.

It will effect the quality of care for nursing home residents.

It will effect those looking for safety and justice in the court system.

Just because it doesn't effect you, does not mean that there is no effect

More From The Great Krugman:

The record of policy failure is truly remarkable. It sometimes seems as if President Bush and Mr. Cheney are Midases in reverse: everything they touch - from Iraq reconstruction to hurricane relief, from prescription drug coverage to the pursuit of Osama - turns to crud. Even the few apparent successes turn out to contain failures at their core: for example, real G.D.P. may be up, but real wages are down.

The point is that this administration's political triumphs have never been based on its real-world achievements, which are few and far between. The administration has, instead, built its power on myths: the myth of presidential leadership, the ugly myth that the administration is patriotic while its critics are not. Take away those myths, and the administration has nothing left.

Apologists can shout all they like that no laws were broken, that hardball politics is nothing new, or whatever. The fact remains that officials close to both Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush leaked the identity of an undercover operative for political reasons. Whether or not that act was illegal, it was clearly unpatriotic.

And the Plame affair has also solidified the public's growing doubts about the administration's morals. By a three-to-one margin, according to a Washington Post poll, the public now believes that the level of ethics and honesty in the government has declined rather than risen under Mr. Bush.


With Republicans on the Ropes - Scott Walker Relies on Karl Rove:

"If he was indicted, that would have been a huge problem for the president. He would have been gone," said Scott Walker, the chairman of the Bush-Cheney campaign last year in Wisconsin. "Obviously, there are other people there, but no one is like Karl Rove."

Walker, who is a candidate in the state's Republican gubernatorial primary, was optimistic that Rove would help the president and Republicans navigate their distracting challenges. Walker was heartened that Rove quickly responded Friday to a BlackBerry message about state politics, which he said showed that Rove was getting back into the game.

"Republicans are in charge of the House, Senate and the White House," Walker said, "so why hasn't more been done to control spending?"


More from the article:

One year after President Bush comfortably sealed his re-election and set out to build a Republican majority designed to last well after his second term, the White House is teetering in a precarious balance that party leaders fear could have damaging implications far beyond Washington.

The Republican governor of Minnesota declared last week that his party was "on the ropes" and fretted that he would be "lucky to get re-elected." A Republican running for governor in Virginia, meanwhile, has shied away from appearing alongside Bush, a notion that probably would have been unthinkable less than a year ago.

As the president weathers the lowest approval ratings of his tenure and congressional leaders grapple with their own legal troubles, some Republicans across the country are wondering whether the travails of the national party will be a drag on their races in the 2006 midterm elections.

"It's been a tough couple of months, without question," said Rick Graber, chairman of the Republican Party in Wisconsin. "I hope the president will be back on the offensive very, very shortly."

Virginia and New Jersey choose new governors on Nov. 8, the first major statewide elections of the year that will be carefully watched and interpreted by both political parties. Bush has not been involved with either race, but when he delivered a speech on the war on terrorism Friday in Norfolk, Va., Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore declined to join him at the event.

To be sure, many candidates would be delighted at the opportunity to have the president campaign on their behalf. But for the first time in his presidency, some Republicans are beginning to keep their distance, uncertain if Bush would be helpful to their re-elections.

When asked whether she would like the president to campaign for her, Rep. Anne Northrup, R-Ky., told a radio interviewer: "Umm, you know I haven't really made that decision. ... I mean that's one of those things where I think you have to wait and see whether that would be a good idea."

Another Consequence of Cutting City Budgets:

It's an alarming situation for Green Bayfirefighters.There's a plan to cut the department's overtime budget by nearlytwo-thirds in 2006. And firefighters say that may cause response delays once funding runs out.

The department, which expects to exceed its overtime budget of 343-thousand dollars this year, is facing a 126-thousand dollar allotment next year as part of Mayor Jim Schmitt's anticipated budget plan.
Assistant Fire Chief John Rodgers says that that amount can get the department through at least May.

In Rodgers' words -- "We're still going to do our job. It's just that we may be delayed a little bit on some things."

Green Bay's seven active fire engines each operate with four firefighters.

The City Council will receive Schmitt's budget tomorrow.


Do we really want a budget that delays firefighters?


Stew Has a Good Point:

To hear or not to hear: Rep. Gregg Underheim, chairman of the assembly health committee, has infuriated some his constituents for not scheduling a hearing on a bill endorsed by Planned Parenthood called the “Compassionate Care for Rape Victims.” The bill would mandate that hospitals inform rape victims about emergency contraceptives to prevent pregnancy. The bill was introduced in 2002, 2003 and 2005 but Underheim has never scheduled a hearing. On the other side of the political spectrum, a bill endorsed by Wisconsin Right to Life called “Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act” got preferential treatment from Underheim. The bill would ensure women seeking an abortion be advised that a 20-week old fetus can feel pain. The bill was introduced on April 15, got a hearing on Oct. 11 and was sent the full Assembly on Oct. 27.


Kristof: Cheney Should Come Clean or Resign...

Mr. Cheney said in a written statement: "Because this is a pending legal proceeding, in fairness to all those involved, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the charges or on any facts relating to the proceeding."

Balderdash. If Mr. Cheney can't address the questions about his conduct, if he can't be forthcoming about the activities in his office that gave rise to the investigation, then he should resign. And if he won't resign, Mr. Bush should demand his resignation.

At the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia in August 2000, Mr. Cheney won adoring applause when he suggested that Bill Clinton's deceit had besmirched the White House. Mr. Cheney then pledged that Mr. Bush would be different: "On the first hour of the first day, he will restore decency and integrity to the Oval Office."

Mr. Cheney added of the Democrats: "They will offer more lectures, and legalisms, and carefully worded denials. We offer another way, a better way, and a stiff dose of truth."

You were right, Mr. Cheney, in your insistence that the White House be beyond reproach. Now it's time for you to give the nation "a stiff dose of truth." Otherwise, you sully this country with your own legalisms.