Hopefully we're about to get closer to learning how Rep. Don Young's (R-AK) $10 million Coconut Road earmark made its famous post-vote change. A Washington watchdog group filed a complaint today with the House ethics committee asking for an investigation into the drastic edit, calling it "an extraordinary case of the House of Representatives’ integrity being undermined."
You can read the complaint here.
Ryan Alexander, executive director for the nonpartisan Taxpayers for Common Sense, said her group filed the request for an investigation because in reviewing thousands of earmarks, they have never come across one that was altered after a Congressional vote.
"We don't have any information that this has ever happened before," Alexander said. "We thought this was extraordinary enough that it was worth asking someone to get to the bottom of it. The ethics committee is in the position to do that, to get the relevant information from committee staff and members of Congress."
Initially, Congress approved a bill that would have given Florida $10 million for a highway widening project, but as we've explained before, during a 13-day window between the bill passing Congress and the President signing it into law, the earmark changed. It was the only such change among 6,000 earmarks in a pork-filled bill. The new Coconut Road wording redirected the money to a project that would be a boon to a real estate developer and major campaign contributor of Young's.
It's a definite violation of House rules, and may mean the bill isn't law (what the House agreed to isn't what Bush signed).
Heads need to roll.
And speaking of "heads rolling", check this out:
Hays Research. 9/17-18. Adults. MoE 4.9% (6/14-6/15 results)
Please tell me if you feel positive, neutral, or negative about Don Young.
Very Positive 11 (18)
Somewhat Positive 22 (22)
Neutral 18 (15)
Somewhat Negative 20 (18)
Very Negative 26 (23)
That comes out to a 33/46 favorable/unfavorable rating, which is terrible for an incumbent House member, and especially one who was so recently venerated in his state. The scandals are taking their toll on Young and Democrats are hungrily eyeing what would be indeed an unexpected opportunity.
p.s. The same poll has Sen. "Tubes" Stevens at 40/38 (46/36), nothing to write home about, even if that home was helpfully renovated by companies angling for big federal contracts.
p.p.s. Republican Gov. Sarah Palin is ridiculously popular -- 84/6 (81/5) -- and would crush Sen. Tubes in a primary 59-36. However, as a first-year governor, she's said she's staying put.
What was going to be a Sept. 30 resignation for Larry Craig is now apparently, or at least possibly, off the table, with Craig issuing this statement this afternoon:
"Today was a major step in the legal effort to clear my name. The court has not issued a ruling on my motion to withdraw my guilty plea. For now, I will continue my work in the United States Senate for Idaho."
The hearing on Craig's requested withdrawal of his guilty plea was held today, and the judge has said he might not rule by the end of this week. Craig has said that he wants to find a way to stay in office, though if the judge rules against him, it's going to be pretty difficult to find a rationale for that.
More power to him if he can, however. It ties his D.C. leadership in knots, and at the same time stoking some ugly infighting among the GOP leaders in Idaho. Here's the Statesman's Popkey on the most often named successor, Lt. Gov. Jim Risch:
But Risch, who wouldn't talk to me for this column, carries baggage. Otter is still stinging from Risch's aborted campaign to challenge him in the 2006 race for governor. Risch was preparing to remind voters of long-ago indiscretions, including a DUI and a divorce. Risch ultimately backed down, but Otter hasn't forgotten.
Risch also is guilty, at least by association, for press reports that Risch had the appointment locked up even before Craig announced on Sept. 1 his intent to resign. Otter was ticked, repeatedly saying he hadn't decided.
Risch has been angling for this job long before anyone knew it was possibly going to be a job. He's an opportunistic and nasty player who alienated plenty of Idaho Repblican insiders before there was any whisper about bathroom antics by appearing far too eager to get rid of Craig. As anger toward Craig has somewhat cooled, this opportunism by Risch looks more and more unseemly to Idaho Republicans, including the 28 others who are supposedly on Otter's list of potential successors.
In the meantime, all of this uncertainty and infighting in the Idaho GOP can only help Democrat Larry LaRocco, who picked a key endorsement from Wes Clark yesterday. Whoever he ends up facing in the general election next year is going to face some baggage, either from their own behavior or from the nasty primary that is most surely brewing among the Republicans.
graphic from pjvoiceFor those without cable, MSNBC will be streaming the debates live on their site.And as always, the Dodd campaign is putting up the Talk Clock. Let’s see whose messages are really getting out there.
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So … in tonight’s debate will Tim Russert ask the question Matt, Chris and I asked in the Richardson ad: how many residual troops will you leave in Iraq? and will he followup until the candidates answer?I’ve got my popcorn ready and[...]
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Harford County Public Schools
Dear Mr. Volrath,
I'm very excited about the new, first-of-its-kind homeland security magnet school you're opening up in your school district. What a great idea! The manpower needs of the state security apparatus have grown exponentially over the last 6 years and I don't see that changing soon. I guess that's why your school is getting so much support from defense contractors and federal uh "agencies."
I'd like to learn more about the "Homeland Security Science" track you're offering. Will the students get any kind of hands-on training? It'd be great if you could have them wiretap the phones at the High School for the Performing Arts in New York. Bunch of god damned Hollyweird "free love" communist types committing all sorts of thought-terrorism there I bet. Maybe your students could also taser the dancing little bastards, or better yet, waterboard 'em.
But then again, maybe you don't have to go all the way to New York for a real-life teaching experience. You probably have thought-terrorists right there in Joppa, MD. Heck, I bet there might even be a few in the student's families. Think about what the kids could learn by surveiling mom or dad. What an experience that'd be--talk about immersing oneself in one's studies. After a semester of that, your students would be ready to infiltrate even the meanest Quaker cells.
Gen. JC Christian, patriot
A helmet tip to SeattleTammy
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Today, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing about global warming’s impact on the Chesapeake Bay. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), a proud climate skeptic, loudly objected to the fact that Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) was going to testify, but was quickly put down by the chair of the committee, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). The Politico’s Ryan Grim reports:
Inhofe, with staff already present, responds that he’ll agree to allow the Maryland senator to stay if Boxer will concede it as a one-time-only deviation.
“Senator, I’m not going to agree to that,” she says. “I’m the chairman of this committee and I’ve spoken to you about this. You knew this was coming. I asked Sen. Mikulski to join us. If that’s not enough, I went back to the parliamentarian. There is absolutely no rule that forbids this.” […]
Mikulski cuts in. “We need to focus on the issue of global warming and the impact on the bay,” she says, “and not on myself. I yield to the ruling of the chair.”
Inhofe, though, is no longer chair. “Well, the ruling of the chair, if I had a chance to rule,” says Boxer, the chair, “would be that you will be joining us.”
In March, Inhofe threw a similar fit at a global warming hearing, objecting to the testimony of Al Gore. At that time Boxer also shot him down, stating, “Elections have consequences. So I make the rules.”
Here's some of Moveon's work in the 2006 elections (h/t Redstate).1. Chris Murphy (D-CT) -[...]
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On September 22,the Politico reported that Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. MittRomney "has remained mum on the alleged killing of 11 Iraqis by a companywhere one of his top advisers serves as vice chairman, even as the case has ledto an uproar in Baghdad and Washington. ... The top counterterrorism andnational security adviser to Romney's presidential campaign is CoferBlack, vice chairman of Blackwater USA." Following the Politico article, a September[...]
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Well, that wraps it up for the Dems - the presidential frontrunners just accepted co-ownership of the Iraqi occupation.
Among all of the leading Democratic candidates for president, none was willing to commit to a promise in a campaign debate that all of the U.S. combat forces deployed in Iraq will be gone by 2013, the end of the next president's term in office.Following hard on the heels of Dems on the Hill, who rushed to buy shares in Bush's next war today and yesterday, it can officially be said - put a fork in the Democratic Party, it's done.
"It's hard to project four years from now," said Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, at the start of a debate of the Democratic candidates in Hanover, N.H.
"It is very difficult to know what we're going to be inheriting," said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who has vowed that if President Bush has not ended the war in Iraq by the time the next president takes office, "I will."
"I cannot make that commitment," said former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, answering the question posed in a televised debate in the state that will hold the first of the presidential primary elections in January.
"What I heard tonight was, even at the end of their terms the war will not end," said Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, promising to bring the troops home as president.