Let's show the 8 Members of Congress who have taken the pledge that we support them, that we are there for them, and that we will remember that they took a courageous stand to insist that health care for all Americans should be a basic human right. [...]
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Newt Gingrich tried to take a page out of Sarah Palin's playbook and took to the waters for a photo-op.
However, a fisherman ripped him.
The House speaker went down to a New Hampshire river yesterday with a horde of reporters in tow some say to test the waters for a possible presidential bid to chat up some anglers.
But Gingrich had hardly waved hello when a feisty fisherman named Tim Kipp ruined the Republican's photo opportunity.
"Your politics are some of the meanest politics I have ever heard," Kipp shouted as he stood waist-deep in the Androscoggin River. "You make Calvin Coolidge look like a liberal."
Gingrich appeared stunned, but recovered slightly and told Kipp: "Despite our political differences, good luck today."
But Kipp was just warming up.
"This guy is the most meanspirited, vicious politician we have seen in a long, long time," Kipp told the reporters.
"The water we are fishing in right now will be destroyed by his policies."
Gingrich later tried to shrug off the encounter with Kipp, a high school teacher from Brattleboro, Vt.
Yet the outing wasn't a total bust. Gingrich realized his dream of seeing a few moose.
Wow, Kipp understands the policies that Newt holds near and dear to his heart. I wonder if Newt was walking around with a fishing rod in his hand?
Time to take stock of the best hate mail gems from the last 13 weeks (has it been that long already?).
Well, 12 of those 13 weeks. The "Dear Socialist Fuckstick" email is the undisputed champ and was an instant classic. But putting that one aside, what's your next favorite hate mail?
Why aren't you outside playing?
Inna Komarovskaya has "a six-figure income and an ample down payment." Let's say you're the banker. Would you give her a mortgage?
I know the above-noted principle sounds ridiculously rudimentary. Making loans to people who can pay them back is supposed to be the most important way banks make money. But in the Modern World of Financial Services, this pathetically old-fashioned bit of knowledge seems to have been lost. With mortgages and most other kinds of loans, it's no longer considered even appropriate, let alone obligatory, for a banker to be able to form an up-or-down evaluation of creditworthiness by developing personal knowledge of a prospective borrower and applying his/her professional judgment.
I wonder whether anyone was really surprised to read in today's NYT:
Tight Mortage Rules Exclude Even Good Risks
By DAVID STREITFELD
BOSTON -- Inna Komarovskaya was ready to do her part to revive the economy: She found a "really cute" condo to buy.
Despite a good credit score, a six-figure income and an ample down payment, Dr. Komarovskaya, a recent dental school graduate, could not get a loan. Her mortgage broker told her she ran afoul of new rules requiring two years of sufficient tax returns from some home buyers, instead of only one.
"Everyone says this is a buyer's market, but they wouldn't let me buy," said Dr. Komarovskaya, 30. "It's not fair."
Not fair, perhaps, but far from unique, brokers and agents say. The readiness of banks to sell foreclosed properties has led to rising home sales in some areas. But the traditional housing market, the one that involves willing buyers and sellers, is still dead, with transactions lower than they have been for decades.
The recession is the major reason sales are dragging, of course, but it is not the only one. As Dr. Komarovskaya found, buyers once viewed as perfectly qualified are being denied mortgages.
Brokers and bankers say that in past decades, the credit markets would almost certainly have accommodated many of these people.
"The credit pendulum is stuck at ?stupid,'" said Lou S. Barnes, an owner of Boulder West Financial Services, a Colorado mortgage bank. "I am turning down loans every day that my grandfather in his Ponca City, Okla., savings and loan in 1935 would have been happy to make. And he was tough."
[And so on and so on.]
My friend Marty Tennant has a board in which local people can respond with the news of the day and such named The Citizen's Report. This board has actually proved to be essential in getting issues dealt with in the city, county and - to a degree - the state. It's respectable to some, an eyesore to others. One thing that can be agreed on is the fact it is productive. Recently, however, certain people have been using the board to garner personal enjoyment.
Mr. Tennant is the Republican candidate in the 2009 City of Georgetown mayor's race. He has also turned over moderator duties to an unknown person he trusts during this time. Mr. Tennant has been the gluten of punishment at the Georgetown Times Web site in stories like this, with comments turning more personal than one would accept.
Mr. Tennant actually handles this pretty well:
Dear Sir or Madame, I know not what. We have a concept called freedom of speech in this country. The founding fathers used pen names to promote the Constitution in newspapers of the day. Many people post anonymously because they are afraid to be known publicly, out of fear of discrimination or backlash. I challenge you to point out what you are complaining of on the www.citizensreport.com website. Please be specific and use facts, not hand waving. Many people dislike The Citizens' Report because they have been exposed there. Our posters expose a lot of the corruption in this town and county, and there is plenty. I use my real name here and on www.citizensreport.com. If you can't, then so be it. You might have a good reason -- maybe you don't. As Mayor, I will be evenhanded and fair, even to my critics.
This board is meant for substance that produces results, not bickering that leads nowhere. It is a known fact this board has accomplished a lot to be respected for. For some, however, it seems the history of that means nothing and it's more important to run down people for mere commentary that benefits a small portion of readers - in a regard to amusement.
The childish names, the constant personal jabs and the mean innuendos are hereby discontinued. Further infractions will result in deletions and banning if it persists.
While the details of Karl Rove's eight-hour deposition Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee remain unknown, Rove has provided insight into how he said he intended to answer the panel's questions. The deposition concerned Rove's role in the firings of nine US attorneys and the alleged political prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.
In March, during a little-known interview on Fox News, where Rove is a contributor, Rove told Chris Wallace that he has already responded to questions about Siegelman's prosecution and has posted his answers to written questions on his web site, Rove.com.
"My understanding is I am going to be questioned both about the US attorneys [dismissals] and about the allegations that I was responsible for the prosecution of Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman ... a lot of these answers, particularly with regard to Siegelman, are already on my web site," Rove said in the March 8 interview.
Last December, Rove obtained a copy of an e-mail Siegelman had sent to his supporters who contributed to his legal defense fund. Rove blogged about it under a headline in which he portrayed himself as a victim: "Personal Responsibility: Who Needs It When You Can Blame Karl Rove?" www.rove.com/notes?page=4 (sixth item down from the top).
"Below is a fundraising letter sent out by Friends of Don Siegelman 2008. Despite that it has no basis in fact, I thought you might find it amusing. In case you're interested, visit these links for the facts," Rove wrote.
Rove then posted links to four documents on his web site, one of which was his response to questions posed to him last July by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas. Smith, the ranking minority member of the Judiciary Committee, has been a vocal critic of the panel's chairman John Conyers's attempts to force Rove to comply with numerous congressional subpoenas about the firings of federal prosecutors and the prosecution of Siegelman. Rove subsequently defied the subpoenas on executive privilege grounds.
Smith sent a letter to Rove's longtime attorney, Robert Luskin, on July 15, 2008, excoriating Conyers for not accepting an offer to have Rove respond to questions about the Siegelman prosecution in a private setting and not under oath. Smith did not inform Conyers or other Democrats on the Judiciary Committee that he had sent the letter.
"The Committee's goal should not be the unnecessary persecution of witnesses with compulsory congressional process and needless contempt proceedings," Smith wrote. "Because written answers to written questions about the Siegelman matter would serve the Committee's proper objective, I am accepting by this letter your offer to provide those answers."
About a week later, during a committee hearing on the matter last year, while Conyers and other Democrats were considering whether to hold Rove in contempt, Smith announced that he had obtained Rove's responses to lingering questions about his alleged role in Siegelman's prosecution. Smith then submitted the written question-and-answer exchange with Rove into the Congressional record.
In a July 22, 2008, letter accompanying Rove's response to Smith's questions, Rove's longtime attorney, Robert Luskin, wrote:
"As you know, Mr. Rove has never asserted any personal privileges in response to the Committee's subpoena, but remains obligated to follow the direction of the President. We simply cannot understand the Committee's interest in provoking a confrontation with Mr. Rove while the precise legal issue that is presented by his subpoena is subject to a pending action in District Court.
"We have struggled instead to find a method by which Mr. Rove could answer the Committee's questions while at the same time respecting the prerogatives of the President. We thank you for providing such an opportunity, and we trust that Mr. Rove's answers will assist the Committee in resolving these utterly unfounded allegations."
Claims that Rove never asserted "personal privileges" is a familiar line Luskin has used as recently as February, when Conyers subpoenaed Rove for the third time this year to try to compel him to testify about Siegelman's prosecution and the US attorney firings. In March, Conyers's committee, with the help of White House Counsel Gregory Craig, brokered a deal that resulted in Rove agreeing to testify before the committee privately.
But Rove indicated during his Fox News interview that he doesn't intend to stray from the responses to questions he had already provided to Smith, which were clearly written to elicit denials from Rove about his involvement in Siegelman's prosecution.
In his written responses to Smith's 14 questions, Rove denied speaking to anyone "either directly or indirectly" at the Justice Department or to Alabama state officials about bringing corruption charges against Siegelman.
"I have never communicated, either directly or indirectly, with Justice Department or Alabama officials about the investigation, indictment, potential prosecution, prosecution, conviction, or sentencing of Governor Siegelman, or about any other matter related to his case, nor have I asked any other individual to communicate about these matters on my behalf," Rove wrote. "I have never attempted, either directly or indirectly, to influence these matters."
Rove responded to eight other questions with the exact same response.
Rove said the Judiciary Committee should press Siegelman to justify his allegations about Rove's interference in the case.
"The committee should require Siegelman to substantiate his allegations about my 'involvement' in his prosecution - something he has failed to do in either media interviews or court filings," Rove wrote.
Siegelman was convicted of corruption in 2006, but was released from prison on bond in March 2008 after an appeals court ruled that "substantial questions" about the case could very well result in either a new trial or a dismissal. In March, the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit upheld Siegelman's bribery conviction but threw out two lesser charges. The panel ordered a new sentencing date for the former governor, who has been urging Attorney General Eric Holder to look into specific evidence that would appear to suggest that he was the victim of a partisan witch hunt.
In an interview with The Anniston Star on May 18, 2008, Siegelman said Rove first targeted him in 1998.
"It started when Karl Rove's bag man, I call him, [disgraced lobbyist] Jack Abramoff, started putting Indian casino money into Alabama to defeat me in 1998," Siegelman told the newspaper. "Shortly after I endorsed Al Gore in 1999, Karl Rove's client, the attorney general of Alabama (Bill Pryor) started an investigation.
"In 2001, Karl Rove's business associate and political partner's wife, Leura Canary, became a US Attorney and started a federal investigation.... It started with the attorney general and the state investigation, followed by the federal investigation, followed by indictments in 2004, and then another series of indictments leading up to the 2006 election ... but, yeah, it's all part of the same case."
In March when a US Appeals Court upheld many of the corruption charges against Siegelman, Rove once again directed his supporters to the documents on his web site containing his answers to Smith's questions about the matter.
"Honoring the President's executive privilege and acting with White House approval, Karl Rove responded to Judiciary Committee questions about the prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman," Rove wrote.
Conyers did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
When his panel reached an agreement with Rove on March 5, Conyers said, "I am determined to have it known whether US attorneys in the Department of Justice were fired for improper political reasons, and if so, by whom."
In a statement released to NBC News Tuesday Luskin said, "The agreement setting up the interviews contemplated that they would remain entirely confidential until all the interviews were complete. Out of respect for that term of the agreement, Mr. Rove is not commenting."
Jason Leopold is editor in chief of The Public Record, www.pubrecord.org.
"I am confident that the United States of America will weather this economic storm. But once we clear away the wreckage, the real question is what we will build in its place. Even as we rescue this economy from a full blown crisis, I have insisted that we must rebuild it better than before."
James Risen at the New York Times reports on a concerted campaign by U.S. officials during the Bush Administration to impede the investigation into the mass killings by suffocation and shooting by U.S.-backed warlord forces at Dasht-e-Leili in[...]
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Kansas Republican Todd Tiahrt isn't known for being very bright, or brave. This past spring, Tiahrt was one of many Republicans who feebly attempted to stand up to their party's leader, Rush Limbaugh, only to come crawling back days later apologizing and kissing his ring.
Now, Tiahrt has decided to stand up to the evil Socialists, President Obama and Nancy Pelosi by proposing a plan that would repeal federal stimulus funds for his state -- which would be a total disaster and force the state to make massive cuts to their budget which is already hurting with the stimulus money:
U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, has a bill to repeal funding under the federal stimulus.
Of Kansas? six-member congressional delegation, only U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Lenexa, whose district includes east Lawrence, voted for the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. All five Republicans voted against it.
But Tiahrt, who is running for U.S. Senate, has ratcheted up the rhetoric, producing a campaign ad against the stimulus program that asks viewers to help him stop President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
State officials said without the stimulus funds, Kansas would be hurting worse. Read on...
Apparently, Tiahrt learned nothing from Republican Governor Mark Sanford's abysmal failure in South Carolina when he tried to do the same thing. Sanford got hammered from both Republicans and Democrats in his very red state and chances are, Tiahrt would meet the same fate.