Number of Days Until the 2014 Mid-Term Elections

Number of Days 113th Congress Still Hasn't Introduced A Jobs Bill

DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee Meeting

Saturday, May 31, 2008

I'm watching the live coverage of the DNC rules and bylaws committee which has just introduced motions to seat both Florida & Michigan at half votes each with both passing. The motion for Florida passed unanomously while the motion for Michigan passed with 8 votes against. The Hillary protesters were particularly loud and rude. What a surprise. Harold Ickes, who acted like a total ass, let it be known that Hillary will take this all the way to the credentials committee making sure her campaign is as divisive as possible.

This just in: the party at GOP Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio's house with Ken Pruitt, GOP State Senate President co-hosting, was in full swing with a drinking game of vodka shots every time the committee was disrupted by protesters. I understand that if Hillary chose to challenge all of this at the credentials committee Rubio and Pruitt had to each down a pitcher of beer to see who would be left standing after five laps around the pool. The winnner got the golden donkey that was struck for the occasion.

This turned out to be more wildly successful at disrupting the DNC political process than they both could have imagined. And the ramifications of what they wrought have not been played out yet. The GOP in this state is beneath contempt.

Update: this is what Hillary's scorched earth campaign is producing:


We interrupt this update - This just in update: Rubio and Pruitt could not make it to the pool. They both passed out. The party members left standing and sober enough voted unanimously to send the golden donkey to McCain's campaign HQ in Arizona.

Update (continued): The Clinton brand at this point is dead to me. Right now I'm thinking of Godfather II. (Cut to me giving the Clinton campaign the Michael Corleone kiss):


The Clinton brand has broken my heart. They broke my heart.

Charlie Crist To Remake State Supreme Court?

I've been meaning to comment on a post by Robert of Interstate4Jamming2 where he sounded the alarm on Tuesday about Gov. Charlie Crist being in a unique position to remake the state's highest court with ramifications that will reverberate throughout Florida for years to come. As he reminds us there is more at stake here than just the fact he can reshape the court:
"Not only will Crist be appointing a majority of the seven justices on the high court, he will have by then a majority of the nine-member Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission in his pocket. He has already appointed three JNC members since entering office, and three others have terms which will end this summer."
Though, as Robert points out, Crist's conservative bona fides aren't as sharply defined as his predecessor there is still enough concern to give state residents a reason to think hard about what might be. The most striking thing about Crist being in this position is how this will affect Floridians and the state court system. We must remember what the conservative view of "tort reform" encompasses: the restriction of access for the general public to legal redress through the state court system thereby sheilding state corporate interests beholden to the GOP from accountability.

This issue needs to be watched closely as the court descisions that would be handed down from these Crist appointee's has the potential to afftect our daily lives for years to come.

Truman's Conscience Joins The Act Blue Community

I'm very happy to announce the addition of Truman's Conscience to the Act Blue community. In the left sidebar you will see that I've added their gateway link for campaign contributions to our First Coast Congressional Candidates for 2008. Right now all indicators suggest we may be on the verge of an historic watershed election. The Democratic Party is poised to make unprecedented gains across the county and it is critical we give all the support we can in order to make this effort a reality. And right now what better way to offer that support than through a contribution to our First Coast candidates via ActBlue.

There has never been a time when the needs of northeast Florida have received so little attention from its its elected representatives. That is why it is imperative we find Democrats willing to serve all the people and not just those with privileged tax breaks and corporate portfolios. We need more Democrats like Corrine Brown, district 3, who continues to work hard serving her constituents as only she can.

There is not enough bandwidth to list all the issues that First Coast voters need to have addressed now. Cliff Sterns, John Mica, and Ander Crenshaw have had other priorities serving the special interests they are beholden to at the expense of the constituencies they serve. Out of all those issues there are three that need immediate attention that can only be addressed by Democrats that have our voter's best interest at heart: (1) a viable energy policy to counter the spiraling and out of control fuel costs that hinder continued growth and expansion of the First Coast communities; (2) a practical and comprehensive healthcare policy that covers all our First Coast residents that is affordable and not subject to pre-conditions; and finally (3) a policy that addresses our veterans' critical needs in post service care and to bring the current GI bill into the 21st century.
There are three First Coast Congressional candidates that need your help and support right now:
Please give them the help and support they need today. Head over to their web sites and find out how they are willing to give the First Coast community the public service we deserve.

Truman's Conscience will be working hard following these great candidates and doing all it can to aid them in their endeavor. Come and join us and help take our country back from the special interests and corporate lobbyists that serve only themselves at First Coast community expense.

Florida delegates continue their status as political hostages

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Once again, here we go. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Hillary's manufactured outrage regarding the seating of Florida's delegate slate at the convention is like watching an episode of "As The World Turns." You can step away for a week and miss the daily media melodrama and then jump right back into the story line and you can pick right up where you left off. IOW, you haven't missed a damn thing. Obama is trapped because if he comes out and says what everyone knows, that the nominee will be accorded the power and status befitting the winner, and allowed to seat the delegates, the Hillary supporters will go bananas. That's why he's walking the tight rope and letting this false meme play out so Hillary can have her moment and claim she got the delegates seated on her terms and having them count in her favor.

Here is some parlimentarian 101. After all the hand wringing resulting with the Florida and Michigan delegations being seated with half their votes or whatever formula they come up with, a by this time bored Obama convention manager will saunter up to the DNC Convention Chair and tell him/her to go to the podium and carry out the nominees instructions. The Convention Chair will then move to the podium, bang the gavel, lean down with a look of solemnity and a monotone voice and breath into the microphone, "The chair moves by resolution to suspend the rules of the credentials committee and seat all the delegates with full voting privileges by acclimation."

The convention floor erupts on que. The gavel wielding chairperson leans down again, "All those in favor say 'Aye.' Again, on que and the 'Ayes!' roar up at the podium. The chairperson immediately leans back down again into the microphone and asks, "All those against say 'Nay.' Then without pausing and waiting for a reaction from the floor he/she bangs the gavel and the chair proclaims, all for network tv of course, "The aye's have it!" The band strikes up, the MSM gets their moment of drama, the camera moves in on Bill in the President's box to catch the Arkansas grin and the Hillary wing is vindicated.

New Hampshire is happy. Iowa is happy. The delegates have been sutiably punished by not counting toward the total needed to get the nomination thereby preserving those two states' first in the nation status. But the full slate of delegates are now seated giving the swing state movers and shakers the recognition they want. Everyone is happy that we've finally moved on and the GE focus can now begin in earnest. Florida and Michigan delegates can now crank up their state machine, now that the delegates are officially seated you see, and kick into gear.

Lesson over. There will be a quiz on the day the convention adjourns.

Jesus, how hard was that?

Happy Birthday Mr. President

On this day in 1917 our 35th President was born. Along with his two brothers, Robert Francis Kennedy & Edward Moore Kennedy, Harry S. Truman, Franklin Delano Rosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr., and finally my father, who was named for Woodrow Wilson, they define who I am politically. We here at Truman's Conscience felt today would be a great day to celebrate what they all stood for.

As this blog is dedicated to the legacy of President Harry S. Truman, it is an ideal time to remember that it is the ideals they all represented and the principles that governed their actions that drive the progressive movement today. On January 20th, 1961 JFK helped us define those progressive ideals with a profoundness that still rings loud and clear to those of us who want to act on behalf of our country:
"So let us begin anew, remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.

Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us. Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations
.
Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.

Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah -- to "undo the heavy burdens...and let the oppressed go free. And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.

All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin."


Indeed, let us continue what he began. The power in those words he uttered some 47 years, 4 months and 9 days ago still reverberate with the same power and clarity today. As John F. Kennedy helped define the youth and vigor of a generation he inspired, the tragic end he met in his prime makes it all the more surprising to note that today would have been his 91st birthday. So, with his sense of ideals and the hope he inspired let us celebrate his day of birth. For not only is it a celebration of his birthday, it is a celebration of who we are.

Florida DNC Suit Denied

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Oh, the drama! And those poor bus riders on the way to D.C. to bum rush the DNC offices:
(CNN) — A Florida court threw out a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the Democratic Party's decision not to seat delegates from Florida — as litigants prepared to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
...and somewhere Marco Rubio and Ken Pruitt are bent over with laughter.

Scott McClellan turns on his boss

Little Scotty McClellan writes a book and throws his boss and nearly his entire staff under the bus? For the life of me I can't imagine why he did that.

Mr. McClellan writes that top White House officials deceived him about the administration’s involvement in the leaking of the identity of a C.I.A. operative, Valerie Wilson. He says he did not know for almost two years that his statements from the press room that Karl Rove and I. Lewis Libby Jr. were not involved in the leak were a lie.

“Neither, I believe, did President Bush,” Mr. McClellan writes. “He too had been deceived, and therefore became unwittingly involved in deceiving me. But the top White House officials who knew the truth — including Rove, Libby, and possibly Vice President Cheney — allowed me, even encouraged me, to repeat a lie.”

Oh yeah. Now I remember...

Three members of the First Coast Congressional Delegation vote "nay" to military pay raise

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

If you are curious as to how Congressional Representatives Ander Crenshaw, Cliff Sterns, and John L. Mica spent their Memorial Day holiday you can go no further. They spent it slapping the troops in the face before they fired up the barbeque by voting against a military pay raise. Following Bush’s lead as he made it clear he would veto such a measure, the three followed in lock step tying themselves even closer (if that's possible) to Mr. 23% popularity. As usual, the reliable Rep. Corrine Brown (D, FL-3) voted for it standing up for our veterans. I like the GOP brand here demonstrating how they feel about the troops on this week of Memorial Day. How fitting. (h/t to Pensacola Blogger)

I'd love to be there the next time Ander Crenshaw is here and steps on the grounds of Mayport Naval Station and Jacksonville Naval Air Station. I'd love to be there and hear that explaination considering the hardships the military enilisted personnel are facing.

First Coast Congressional Delegation By The Numbers

Monday, May 26, 2008

One of the goals of this blog is to try and contribute our very small voice to a much larger effort by the liberal/progressive blogging community to hold our elected representatives accountable. I've been working on a way to do that without that part of my objective sucking all the air out of my overall goal which is the promotion of liberal/progressive principles and ideas. I may have made significant progress in finding that balance which is critical to my vision for this blog. I found a web site that offers a very comprehensive review of current term voting records for both houses of Congress called themiddleclass.org.

It calls itself a tool kit for keeping your elected representative accountable. They weren't kidding either. The sight included a widget builder where you can pick any elected official in office and follow thier voting record complete with a score rating their accountability to the middle class interests. At first I was put off by the narrow scope of tracking via the "middle class" title but upon further examination you quickly discover its scope is much wider covering the middle, working, lower and poor classes with ratings reflecting their voting record and an overall score averaging those rankings in.

For example let's take my congressional representative Corrine Brown (D, FL - 3). I took her to task in my previous post for playing electoral politics on the Presidential level but her record and work for her constituency in congressional district #3 is exemplary. She also was one of the very few elected officials that tried to use the power of her office to question the 2000 election voting debacle. If Corrine never does anything else she will always have this voter's utmost respect and place in his heart for that. Her overall score for representation of her constituent’s interests is 100%. As a matter of fact her record for the entire first coast delegation is unequaled.

In the right sidebar I have included a nifty customized widget the themiddleclass.org offers. It gives the latest score each of our 535 members of Congress along with a clickable link taking you directly to their voting record by bill sorted by the most recent date. I have chosen to include all six members of the First Coast Congressional delegation: congressional districts 3, 4, 6, & 7 and our two state United States senators.

They include: Sen. Bill Nelson (D - FL); Sen. Mel Martinez (D - FL); Corrine Brown (D, FL - 3); Ander Crenshaw (R, FL - 4); Cliff Sterns (R, FL - 6); and John L. Mica (R, FL - 7). So far this year their scores as discussed above reflecting how well they've served their constituency as per their voting record should make it very clear who they think they best serve:
Rep. Corrine Brown: A - 100%
Ander Crenshaw: D (-) - 60%
Sen. Mel Martinez: F - 54%
Rep. John L. Mica: F - 45%
Sen. Bill Nelson: B - 85%
Rep. Cliff Sterns: F - 50%
OVERALL FIRST COAST CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION MEAN (AVERAGE)SCORE:
66% - D
With Rep. John Mica (R, FL - 7) bringing up the rear 45% and Corrine Brown leading the way with her 100%, the average rating of the entire First Coast Congressional delegation spreads over a 55% range giving it a median score of: 57% - F. The next question one would ask being presented with these numbers is how does the Congressional districts breakdown by population, median income, and PVI (Partisan Voting Index: whereas R +4 means 4% more registered Republicans in the district):
CD #3: Population - 586,694; median income - $29,785; PVI Democratic +16%
CD #4: Population - 734,246; median income - $43,947; PVI Republican +16%
CD #6: Population - 755,939: median income - $36,846; PVI Republican +8%
CD #7: Population - 722,139; median income - $40,525; PVI Republican +4%
The first thing one should notice is how vulnerable Rep. John L. Mica's CD is with a PVI of only R +4. Forgeting that for a moment let's look at what should be a more obvious fact that screams out at us: the total population of CD/s 4,6, and 7: 2,212,324. If we use the U.S. Census Bureau of the number of individuals that define a household (2.59) that translates into 854,179 households. Let's take the percentage of households in Florida making $200,000 or more annually and apply it to the total number of households of the three CD''s: @ 2.32% = 19,817 households. Still using the U.S. Census Bureau definition of a household (2.59 individuals) that translates into 51,326 people. If one heads over to the site themiddleclass.com and closely examines the voting records of these three individuals it doesn't just say who gets represented in these combined three districts, the shout out is deafening. There is no doubt these three are the darlings of the affluent at the expense of rest of the 2,160,998 people. Those 51,326 individuals should be throwing a party for these three with a year long fete celebrating the defenders of their tax brackets and corporate portfolios. As for the rest of the 2,160,998 people of the CD's the only accounting for their continued voting practices is their fear of all the atheist gays that "look" like middle eastern muslims (yeah, I know that paradigm is impossible but in some mind's of the GOP voter it isn't) who want to take their guns away from them. Or on a more elemental level, it could be as simple as them not having their voting records presented to them in a way that exposes the vulnerability of their pocketbook issues to their record. Let's hope we can find a way, and soon.

That's one of the reason's Truman's Conscience is troubled. Let's hope credible Democratic Party opponents can be found and rise to the occasion. This is the optimal moment for the opposition to strike and I don't care if the PVI is R +25. People are disenchanted and looking for answers. Answers the GOP brand will never offer. Let's hope the Democrats can get their acts together and come up with some. We'll be following here and proding them along to see if lightning can strike.

Stay tuned.

Jacksonville's Hemming Park The Site Of A Saturday Morning Pro Hillary Demonstration

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The surreal sight of about twenty to twenty-five pro Hillary protesters today at downtown Jacksonville's Hemming Park had an undeniable strange and surreal quality about it for anyone observing along the side lines with a sense of our state and national history. Several times with their picket signs held high adorned with a variety of Hillary bumper-stickers, hand-written slogans and chants of "count our vote!" they made their way around the park whose centerpiece is a an old 110 year old monument to the veterns of the Conferate States of America and their service. That history and the juxtaposition with the events unfolding before us today would give anyone with that sense a reason to pause and attempt context.

The group of predominanty Aftrican -American demonstrators in the shadow of the old Confederate soldier perched atop a 62 foot high Vermont granite column seemed to go mostly unnoticed by the citizenry that happed by. For this observer, who is very well aware of that history, the events unfolding before me presented a bwildering perspective of ironies that actually took me a few minutes to sort out becore I could fully understand what I was witnessing.

First, there is the Confederate soldier overlooking Hemming Park. Any knowing observer immediately recognizes that the old Rebel is facing south with a steady emotionless gaze. There is no doubt this was the intent of the original builders. The direction reflects an homage to the past and the ideals and values that past represented. I am always struck by individuals that tell me they are only honoring the heritage of the south, not the offending practices it once promoted in the ownershop of another human being. That "heritage" includes a Constitution where Articles I and IV make it crystal clear that slavery is a critical component of what the CSA was about as it defined the institutionality of the custom and the legal framework for it. On the other hand the option of a northernly direction would have included the general direction of Illinois where President Lincoln, the architect of the CSA's demise, lies entombed. How prophetic then that the tomb in Springfield, even after 52,269 days, still represents the hopes and aspirations for all those descendents that believed in that cause and that our better days were before us. The candidacy of Senator Obama, whose entire campaign is based on Hope and what the future holds, reflects what that tomb in Springfield represents. The dicotomy is striking. As for the material used to build the 62 foot column perch for the old Confederate to stand on in eternity it was imported from Vermont, one of the northern states with a hand in the demise of the very institution the old Rebel represented.

Then there was the fact I was watching a group, albeit a small one, that was predominantly African-American supporting the frist serious white female candidate for the highest office in the land in an historical ground breaking candidacy over the equally historical and ground breaking candidacy of the first probable nominee of African American descent with a real shot at becoming President of the United States. It was hard not to smile at the scene playing out before me as I recounted in my mind the streneous and extreme efforts the MSM media has gone through, and still coninues at this very moment, to paint the African American voter as a monolithic voting bloc. Let's forget for a moment that this meme presented by the major American media outlets is in of itself enabling the institutional racisim still symptomatic of the corporate mindset as representated by the major media conglomerates. Its the fact that the reality on the ground is so heavily contrasted against the picture painted by the punditocracy and the network talking heads that is so striking. It has become quite amusing to watch the movers and shakers of the network news divisions dance around their Potemkin village of credibility in the face of an imploding demographic base.

More than that though it was annoying to this observer watching the protesters succomb to the alternate reality presented by the news media, and taken advantage of by Hillary's campaign. At the end of the day the only thing the small contingent of picketers seemed to achieve was a demonstration of their ignorance of the political process of the Democratic Party and the rules of the primary system. Even more annoying is the fact that Hillary Clinton knows better. Both the Florida and Michigan state delegations would have been seated under any circumstances as their swing state value would have dicatated. Once Barack Obama had been confirmed with the power accorded the convention nominee he would have made sure of it. State convention delegates are critical for local and statewide organizational efforts on behalf of the presidential campaign in the general electional. What's playing out is Hillary taking advantage of the scheming state GOP dominated legislature here in Florida and their meddling by forcing the state Democratic party into a position where their party by-laws were broken. I've already posted about is issue on this blog here and two other sites here and here. As the MSM continues to promote the false idea the state Democratic party shot itself in the foot with unseated state delegations Hillary has rode that meme to try and have the delegation seated on her terms.

As I tried to sort out the maze of ironies floating around in my head while the old Confederate soldier looked on at a scene that would have been unimaginable for the original attendees, that included former cotton plantation owner, Gov. William Bloxham, at the dedication ceremonies for the monument on June 16, 1898. It was indeed a morning filled with ironies as the protesters marched on. One can only hope the legacies of all those tried to forge a better nation will live on through those that hold that same promise today.*

Update: I see Corrine Brown (D, FL-3) (who happens to be my Congressional Representative), as befitting her status as a Hillary surrogate, has thrown her two cents in as reported on the First Coast News site. So 400 voters are going to head up to the D.C. DNC offices to rally the HQ to seat our delegation even though it will happen anyway. The only thing that concerns me more than the fact that the expense of the trip at nearly $4.00+ a gallon which is for all practical purposes cost prohibative, is that it's going to make those 400 individuals look like they've been taken advantage of. But the real knife in the FDP solar plexus is that somewhere Marco Rubio (R, FL-111), the GOP Speaker of the Florida House and Ken Pruitt (R, FL-28), the GOP President of the Florida Senate will nearly go into apoplexy laughing so hard at the fruit of their efforts at our expense. Thank you Hillary, Corrine and the local / MSM media. Your job is done here.

Update II: God I love being right.

Update III: Markos of Daily Kos makes a great point about Hillary and you can add Corrine Brown into the mix as well - where the hell were you guys in Febrary and March when you had a chance to raise hell about this issue in the first place?

*The orignial text of this post has been edited due to formating errors that omitted original text upon initial submisson.

Corrine Brown Calls Out Howard Dean To Seat Florida's Delegates

Friday, May 23, 2008

First, there was Florida state Senator Steve Geller, D-Cooper City filing a lawsuit to force the DNC to seat the Florida delegation at the Demoratic National Convention in Denver. Now, we have Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL CD#3) popping off and calling out Howard Dean and demanding the same equating the issue with the 2000 election debacle where a Presidential election was highjacked from the actual winner. One of my main objectives as a liberal/progressive blogger is to not only call out the GOP on their malfeasence and especially when they misrepresent themselves and the American people, but to hold our Democratic party officals accountable for their actions. This call by both state Senator Steve Geller and Congresswoman Corrine Brown is not only disengenious, but it supports the GOP frame designed by the GOP dominated Florida legislature to try and cause as much chaos in the Florida Democratic Party as possible. And right now they are doing a pretty good job doing it with enablers like Geller and Brown helping them as hard as they can. At Open Left and FLA Politics I posted on this very issue here and here trying to clarify the other side of this story.

They both need to keep their mouths shut and follow the rules they agrreed to in the first place. Their manufactured outrage and insistence is not only promoting the GOP frame that the State and National Democratic party can't get their acts together, they are promoting ignorance of how the political system works within the Democratic Party and looking pretty damned stupid doing it. Memo to both of these individuals playing into the GOP frame: the eventual Democratic nominee would have seated the deleations from both Florida and Michigan anyway. They would have made sure of it. These two general election swing states are two imporant not to do so. What you see playing out here is two Hillary supporters trying to make news for their candidate at the expense of party unity and public perception by playing to the ignorance of the voters in Florida. On top of that the MSM is helping them.

Get off it guys and just stop. Let's focus our attention on the real targets here: Sen. John McCain along with the state and national Republican Party.

Tracking Florida's Blue Dogs

Day before yesterday Matt Stoller of Open Left had a very important post about Blue America PAC openly breaking with Blue Dog Coalition member Rep. Chris Carney (D, PA - 10). This break should not come as a surprise and I'll be posting more about this later. Open Left's discussion of this issue made me realize how important it is to track the two Blue Dog Congressional members from Floridsa: Allen Boyd (D, FL - 2) and Tim Mahoney (D, FL - 16). I have added a widget in the lower right sidebar that tracks the news of these two DINO's (Democrats In Name Only). There will be a more extensive post on this in a week or two.

McCain and Bush's new poll numbers

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Duncan Black over at Eschaton is throwing ponies around like a bunch of teenagers with pillows at a pajama party. And why, you ask? It seems Bush is still searching for bottom in Presidential approval numbers. Zogby just pegged him at a whopping 23%, the lowest in that polls history. One has to wonder how McCain is taking that bit of news. He can take some solice in the fact that same poll shows Congressional approval dropping five points as well. But then there is that wrong track, right rack polling. McCain, the self admitted 20th century man, is going to have to come up with 21st century answers. Wow, I guess those gas prices are starting to make a real impact. I mean being an oil man and all I can't imagine what the 49% that voted for Bush in the first place thought he was going to do.
    In any event, perhaps one of John McCain's "lobbyist"/advisors can come up with some answers. When they do don't hold your breath expecting any of those "answers" to be any help to us non-corporate folks out here in the hinterland. But I'm sure the oil company executives will get another pat on the back with a "buck up boys, help is on the way" from Mr. "I was against Bush's long term tax cuts before I was for them" McCain.

    The Florida GOP "brand" in full flower

    Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    Jacqueline Dowd over at the 13th juror has an important post about a new bill and how it affects the ability of the lower and underclass to have open access to the court system for redress. Before I get to what this says about the GOP “brand,” the key part of Ms. Dowd’s post that needs to be addressed first is the closing of this avenue to those less fortunate by the legislative branch exercising an authority not granted by the constitution. The GOP, as the dominant party of the legislature in both houses, know this and seem to be counting on the fact that a challenge to this bill in the courts from the sector of the population that would be hardest hit is cost prohibitive. One could only hope the ACLU will take up the cause of this challenge to constitutional guarantees of legal redress or have it rest in the hands of someone willing to take on the challenge pro bono.

    There is no doubt this is an attempt by the GOP dominated legislature to come up with “creative legislation” to devise an alternative revenue stream to make up for the acute lack of funding for critical government services. As Ms. Dowd so astutely points out, the revenue from this new legislation charging a $295.00 fee to file a counter claim or a third party claim, is not going to the court system but to the general revenue fund. This “fee” would have the effect of making a court challenge through a filed claim problematic for the lower class, disadvantaged, and those of the underclass unable through circumstance to secure gainful employment. This is the type of legislation that is not sexy enough for the MSM to give adequate coverage because of the low threshold of those affected numbers wise. The extensive tax cuts given to property owners on top of other well publicized tax revenue downsizing has no doubt started to take its toll on the general revenue fund. It would be interesting to track these types of bills that focus on such a narrow segment of the population creating small, narrow revenue steams that fall under the MSM radar and the public consciousness of the general voting public.

    Even more to the point of Ms. Dowd’s post is the obvious reinforcement of the GOP “brand.” This is so typical of Republican behavior as they cloak their public persona in religious allegory and use it to define the “GOP values” they supposedly represent while at the same time applying cold hard economic and social Darwinian public policy where only the economically fittest are deigned worthy enough to survive. Why the Democratic Party allows the GOP to hypocritically define themselves as compassionate servants of the people with such a loathsome and odious record is beyond me. We should be taking this so called “brand” and wield it like a blunt instrument and beat them over their collective heads with it every election cycle and see just how well it holds up.

    Meanwhile here at Truman’s very troubled conscience we will be holding our collective breaths waiting for the Democratic Party to take our advice and fight them on our terms for once.

    About those Florida Blue Dogs...

    Monday, May 19, 2008

    Digby has a great piece up on her site wondering about the impact of Blue Dog Democrats. We have two here in the state representing the Blue Dog Coalition: Allen Boyd (D - FL/CD#2) and Jim Mahoney (D - FL/CD#16). Currently the breakdown in the U.S. House of Reprsentatives has shifted receently with a pick up in a special election runoff in Mississippi Congressional District #1. Travis Childers (MS - D) took out current Southampton Mayor, Greg Davis (MS - R) with an 8 point win. Digby scores some points by musing over the progressive blogosphere's win at any cost attitude with a conservative either/or a liberal/progressive Democrat:
    "There has been a lot of chatter over the week-end about the apparently startling notion that Democrats winning in conservative districts might produce more conservative Democrats. I posted about it here. Matt Stoller wrote about it here, Jason Rosenbaum, here. It's an interesting dilemma for progressives in the Democratic Party which is, as far as I can tell, encouraging all the candidates to run on a vague "change" agenda rather than explicit progressive policies. So, you get a bigger majority, but it's less clear what it's going to do. I guess we'll see."
    She then wonders if it is worth it at all to have them in place voting with Republicans:
    "From where I sit, there really isn't a huge upside to having a large majority that consists of a substantial number of Grover Norquist's neutered Blue Dogs voting with the Republicans. We need more progressive Democrats to really make a difference."
    With Childers' win this past week the 435 seat ratio in the U.S. House of Representatives stands at 236 Democrats and 199 Republicans. There is some speculation that the Democrats will pick up 30 additional seats in November. While this sounds spectacular one does have to have the same questions about this as Digby. With 48 members in the Blue Dog Coalition they make up 20% of the Democrats in the House. Even with a possible 30 seat pick up in November that 48 seat coalition more than negates that loss for the Republicans in practical terms.

    Sen. Obama draws 75,000 in Portland, OR. Yes, that's 75,000!

    Sunday, May 18, 2008

    Late this afternoon I was watching CNN's "Ballot Bowl" as they covered Sen. Obama's appearance in Portland, OR. Imagine my surpise when I hear them report the crowd size at 50,000. Later this evening I happened to check the New York Times and discover the crowd was really 75,000 people. As long as I've been following poltics never have I heard of a politican drawing this large of a crowd. The other striking thing about this is the fact this is Portland, OR. The African American population in Portland sits at 6.6%. So much for the white working middle class problem the MSM keeps saying Sen. Obama has. I'm sure the photos on the New York Times site does not do the event justice.
    To give perspective to the event the Obama campaign gave a comparison with Philadelphia:

    It is “fair to say this is the most spectacular setting for the most spectacular crowd” of his campaign, he told the crowd.Previously, the campaign’s biggest crowd was when the candidate spoke
    to 35,000 on
    Independence Mall in Philadelphia. (h/t to AmericaBlog)

    While I was already at the New York Times web site I headed over and read today's Frank Rich column where both Bush and McCain got such a thrashing I'm not even sure how they would respond to Rich:

    "Hard as it is for Mr. McCain to run from the Bush policies he supports, it will be far harder to escape from Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney themselves. When Mr. McCain accepted Mr. Bush’s endorsement at the White House in March, he referred three times to the president’s “busy schedule,” as if wishing aloud that the lame-duck incumbent would have no time to appear at, say, get-out-the-vote rallies. Alas, Mr. Bush and company are not going gently into retirement.

    Just look at Mr. Rove. Some Democrats are outraged that he is
    now employed as a pundit by Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal as well as Fox News. Instead of complaining, they should be thrilled that Mr. Rove keeps inviting Republican complacency by constantly locating silver linings in the party’s bad news. His ubiquitous TV presence as a thinly veiled McCain surrogate has the added virtue of wrapping the Republican ticket in a daily and suffocating Bush bearhug, since Mr. Rove is far more synonymous with his former boss than Mr. Obama is with his former pastor."

      The entire article is a must read. Mr. Rich completely guts McCains campaign and it's raison d'etra. It will be curious to watch how McCain does the two step away from Bush. At this point I'm not sure how he does this without looking foolish.

      To Ted Kennedy with hopes for a full recovery

      Saturday, May 17, 2008

      The Boston Herald is reporting that Ted Kennedy suffered a seizure this morning and another on the way to the hospitial in Boston. Though I have very bitter and mixed feelings about Mr. Kennedy that go back to the 1980 campaign against Jimmy Carter I, and I hope the rest of the liberal/progressive community as well as Americans across the spectrum wish him well and a full and complete recovery. He has been an icon for the liberal causes in our country for more than 50 years. I'm not sure I can imagine an America without him.

      Broward County cashes in on the other side of the Florida story

      Friday, May 16, 2008

      The MSM has consistently made it a point to lump Florida in with Michigan whenever a question about thier delegations being seated at the Democratic National Convention comes up. The circumstances surrounding both are as different as night and day. For one, both Florida State houses are dominated by the GOP and Republican Governor Charlie Crist. In the state house the ratio is 77 Republicans to 43 Democrats. The state senate has a ratio of 26 Republicans to 14 Democrats. As for Michigan their state government is headed by Canadian born Governor Jennifer Granholm. Their state house has a 58 Democrats to 54 Republican ratio. Their state Senate has a reverse majority of 21 Republicans to 14 Democrats.
          The circumstances surrounding the Florida Democratic party violating DNC Rule 20.C.1(a) & Rule 11.A as it pertains to primary dates were well documented at the time throughout the state in various local media outlets. When the GOP dominated legislature decided to move the state March primary date to January 29th, bypassing Feb. 5th, in violation of DNC rules the elected Democratic party members were not in a position to stop it. Though attempts were made by their leadership to introduce legislation to not move the date past Feb. 5th they were all overwhelmingly defeated by the majority party. To make a long story short the Democrates wound up supporting an omnibus bill that contained a provision to introduce legislation mandating the state provide a voting process that included a paper trail. The state Democratic party's hand was forced and the bill was passed.
            Now that the paper trail mandate of the provision is in place the Broward County Democrats (Ft. Lauderdale) are moving to take advantage of the bill while at the same time tagging the state GOP brand with the label they deserve: the party of voter suppression and irregularities. This reputation is well deserved as it stands in the light still glowing from the 2000 election debacle. Watch the video the Broward County Democrats, lead by Chair Mitch Ceasar, have put together that crystalizes the issue perfectly introducing voter paper trails in the upcoming election while at the same time covering the GOP with the stench of ther past actions. The video is simply brilliant. They are asking for donations to help them make statewide media buys to define the issue for the 2008 election and put the GOP on the defensive.


            Head on over and give them a hand with a donation. This, along with Obama's smackdown today on the attacks against him, gives this old yellow dog Democrat a feeling that is long overdue. We're finally fighting back. Hard.

            The Straight Talk Express Takes A Detour

            I don't think "Maverick" means what McCain thinks it means. Back in the 2000 election before Bush's campaign destroyed McCain in South Carolina, the Arizona Senator liked to tell the world how all "mavericky" he was and to prove it came up with seveal issues contrary to Bush's. Eight years later we find McCain still clinging to that self definition of "Maverick." The problem with that is the Internet doesn't lie when it comes to trying to hide your "Maverick" bona fides from a video you shot two years ago:
            "They're [Hamas] the government; sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them, one way or another, and I understand why this [Bush} administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas because of their dedication to violence and the things that they not only espouse but practice, so . . . but it's a new reality in the Middle East. I think the lesson is people want security and a decent life and decent future, that they want democracy. Fatah was not giving them that."

            Now, of course, Mr. McCain is telling everyone who will listen the United States does not recognize or negotiate with terrorist organizations. While trying to ignore his own statements from two years ago he is touting the same line as Bush while trying to smear his opponent, Barack Obama, as being an appeaser for Hamas who seems to be saying Obama would be preferable over McCain.

            There is a certain comic appeal to McCain's pretzel logic here but I think this is indicative for the coming campaign. McCain's memory will be short and open to a lot of ridiculous statements condradicting himself from several years ago.

            That's the ticket...

            Thursday, May 15, 2008

            I struggled for a few days after John Edwards dropped out of the race with who to support because I was so crushingly disappointed. In the Democratic Party running for President and Vice President is unforgiving when you lose. With the exception of Al Gore, who actually won the election of 2000 and was pick pocketed his rightful place in public view, I knew John Edwards as a potential POTUS was done. He knows it as well. You don't get three chances in that game. But even that scenario has an exception. Sitting Vice Presidents operate under a different dynamic.

            When Edwards came out and endorsed Sen. Obama I could see the two running together. Previously I was an Obama/Richardson fan. Now though, I'm an Obama/Edwards supporter all the way. I posted his full speech endorsing Obama in the recommended videos section in the right panel. It was one of his best speeches ever. And it was electric. Here is the money moment of the endorsement and you can see how dynamic they look on stage toether (more on this endorsement in a later post):

            Yeah. That IS the ticket. I've been too busy working on my teaching certificate to devote time to the blog but I'm almost there and I'll be back to blogging soon. Meanwhile, I'll try to keep the sidebar stuff up to date until my return.

            Update: You can go here to get my full analysis on the Edwards endorsement over at Open Left.

            Obama/Edwards '08