Wednesday, January 31, 2007

House Democrats Allow Non Citizens The Right To Vote in The House of Representatives

What you say?!? Per none other than George Will:
They again voted to give the delegates to the House from Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia, and the resident commissioner from Puerto Rico, the right to vote in the House when it is sitting as the "Committee of the Whole," which is how it sits almost all the time. It is in that status that almost all debate about and amending of legislation occur.

If these five votes decide the outcome of a vote in the Committee of the Whole, the matter at issue will be automatically revoted by the full House without those five participating. Still, these five faux members will have powers equal to those of real members on everything but final passage of bills, which often is more perfunctory than the process that leads to that.
Now why would they do such a thing? Wait for it...

Almost always, all five delegates are Democrats. (Puerto Rico's current resident commissioner is the first Republican in 100 years.)

As he also points out, the Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 2.
"The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states ..."
STATES, it says that, STATES.

There is plenty more to be outraged by so read the whole thing but specifically in the NW, you should be outraged by the following:
In 1970, Democrats were contemplating allowing Puerto Rico's resident commissioner to serve with powers equal to those of real members, but only on standing committees. Rep. Tom Foley, a Washington Democrat then in his third term, told his colleagues that would be fine because those committees are created by the House, not the Constitution, and "can be extinguished at will and created at will." Furthermore, service on committees involves only "preliminary advisory votes." But, he added, "it is very clear" that "a constitutional amendment would be required" to give a resident commissioner" a vote in the Committee of the Whole of the full House." By 1992, when Foley, then in his 14th term, was speaker, and full of the sense of entitlement that deranged Democrats in the last years of their 40-year hold on the House, he supported what the next Democratic speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has now done.
Whatever we do, let's not let something trivial like the Constitution get in the way of politics.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bad Reporting 101

Originally from Orbusmax, you know it is bad reporting since it is in the Seattle P.I. P-I reporter Mike Barber ends an article about the court-martial of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada by ending with this gem:
Watada made an appearance over the weekend at several peace events in and around Seattle. A week before, after Watada lost in a military court several free-speech inspired motions to put the legality of the war on trial in his defense, a "citizens panel" at The Evergreen State College's Tacoma campus convened over that issue.
A "citizens panel" at The Evergreen State College's Tacoma campus"?!? Why not just put in a quote from the Queen of England. She has about as much say on the matter as this "citizens panel". No explanation of what the "citizens panel" is, who they are, how many they are, how they fit into any of this, what they had to say. Good job Mike. Just so you know Mike, one of the leaders of the "citizens panel" was Daniel Ellsberg , noted 9/11 conspiracy theory nutcase.

Monday, January 29, 2007

AndrewsDad Reviews The Olympic Sculpture Park, Part I

I recently visited the brand spanking new Olympic Sculpture Park for the first time. Well maybe not the first time, I have kind of visited it every workday morning and every workday evening for the last year or so. To be honest, the negative effect on my commute has been fairly minimal. Unfortunately the positive effect of driving by an 85 million dollar outdoor sculpture park twice a day has also been fairly minimal.

Now I realize that art is in the eye of the beholder and some may say I might not have the keenest eye for art although I actually own some originals from the greatest artist ever, MC Escher. That being said, I have a simple set of rules to answer the question, "Is it Art?" Rule 1) Could I make that? If the answer is yes, it is not art. Rule 2) Would I want to look at that on a regular basis? If the answer is no, it is not art.

So with those rules in mind, I can now properly review the Olympic Sculpture Park and answer the question, "Is It Art?".

The first piece we will look at is "Split" by Roxie Paine.
"the most alluringly disturbing version of artificial nature since Blade Runner".
For those of us without an art degree, it is a 5,000 pound 50 foot tall stainless steel tree. I have no idea why anyone would make a steel tree. The real ones seem fine to me.
Verdict: Not art.

Next is "Persephone Unbound" by Beverly Pepper
"Like so much of her early work, "Persephone Unbound" is devoid of merit, but the earlier piece is kind of fun as an eccentricity. Hers is a career that went nowhere..."
Void of merit, a career that went nowhere, no kidding?
Verdict: Not art.

Next is "Wake" by Richard Serra
"a nuanced yet powerful meditation on the perceptual changes that movement brings to the geometry of matter. Moving between these sculptural slabs, each swelling as if it had an organic root, the audience's consciousness of weight recedes, and the entire piece appears to float. Fluid in its meanings, the sculpture conveys the artist's radical intent: to own its ground with rigor and purity, and to fill the air around it with the sensations it inspires."
Not sure what all that means but if it means a 300 ton $5 million dollar metal chalkboard where kids are going to scrawl graffiti then the artist has succeeded.
Verdict: Not art

That leads us to "Subliminal Pentagram", artist unknownI can not find an official description of this but it appears that the artist, like most represented in the park, may not have had any formal training.
Verdict: Not art

Next is "Touch", artist unknown
A companion piece to Subliminal Pentagram. It is hard to see but at the top in the middle, the artist has show how a simple touch, through the use of the word touch, conveys the message on the accompanying sign. Brilliant in its simplicity.
Verdict: Undecided

Finally, the unfinished "Father and Son" by Louise BourgeoisYou really do not want to know, trust me, and I really do not want to tell.
Verdict: Not even going to bother

In AndrewsDad Reviews The Olympic Sculpture Park, Part II, more examples of really expensive stuff that will one day be defaced by drunks, drug addicts and gang members and a few examples of things that may actually qualify as art, honest.

All official descriptions from the Seattle PI January 18, 2007 Olympic Sculpture Park section.
The "Peace Movement" Comes Out In Force

As many of you apparently missed, the "Peace Movement", sponsored by United For Peace, had a rally on Saturday to show the widespread support to bring the troops home now.

January 27th was an extraordinary outpouring for peace in Washington DC and in communities all around the country. On Saturday, the National Mall was filled with the voices of 500,000 people committed to doing their part to end the war in Iraq and bring all of the troops home. And the energy in this massive turnout was electric.
From the website, there are thousands of pictures of not quite 500,000 people at the rally. I have looked at literally hundreds of these pictures and I have yet to see one taken from anything other than ground level showing anything more than a few thousand people. I would have thought if there were 500,000 people at the rally, there would have been some overhead shots of the entire crowd. You would almost think that maybe there were not 500,000 people at the rally. It appears some think there may have been less.
United for Peace and Justice, a coalition group sponsoring the protest, had hoped 100,000 would come. They claimed even more afterward, but police, who nolonger give official estimates, said privately the crowd was smaller than 100,000.
Still, less than 100,000, that could be a lot. That is almost as many as pay a lot of money to go to a Big 10 football game in the fall. Almost.

But that does not count the massive number of people at the local rallies such as right here in Seattle where we could watch
about 2,000 war protesters march, chant and sing their way through the streets
2,000, that is alot, although not quite as many as some rallies:
The biggest rally they ever saw from their perch on Jackson was the march for immigration rights that drew more than 25,000 people in April
But still, if you quadruple that 2,000 and you almost have the average attendance of a Seattle Storm WNBA game. Almost.

Of course there is that other hotbed of NW liberal activism, Eugene Oregon where:
an estimated 40 people gathered by the Ferry Street Bridge, holding signs that read "purge the surge" and "no more war
40, that is about how many people were at my Grandma's 93rd birthday party earlier this year. Personally I never knew 40 was a number that needed to be "estimated".

I think ScrappleFace may be on to something to help increase turnout:
“The speaker roster reminds me of the old Hollywood Squares game show,” said one unnamed staffer of Vegan Lesbians for Racial and Nuclear Justice, whose dozens of members will cross the continent to join the rally today. “I mean Fonda, Sarandon, Glover and Jackson might as well be Charo, Joan Rivers, George Gobel and Paul Lynde. How am I going get my group excited about geopolitical and military strategy with these has beens leading the way?”

In urelated golf news, the FBR Open will be played this coming weekend. 500,000 people are expected to attend the 4 day event opposite the SuperBowl.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Difference Between Republicans and Democrats

I had coffee with a prominent local blogger last weekend and part of the conversation revolved around a comment I had heard months earlier on the radio from a liberal blogger of note who was talking about the Mike McGavick drunk driving story. When the blogger was asked why he did not take Washington State Supreme Court Justice Bobby Bridge to task for her drunk driving episode, the blogger replied by saying she was one of ours and we did not attack our own, that is the other sides job. The struck me as odd on two points, 1) that the blogger would publicly admit Justice Bridge is a partisan and 2) that liberals do not hold liberals to a higher standard, or any standard for that matter.

So I decided to think of all the examples of wrong doing by known partisans and note the offense, how it was handled by the person and/or the party any punishment, etc. Because it sure seemed to me that Republicans hold their own to a much higher standard than Democrats. No order to the list, just as they came to me. Sadly, the list is much longer than I first expected so this will be a bit on the quick and dirty side. All information from Wikipedia, so you know it has to be accurate.


Tom Delay
Former House Majority leader known for his tough style that earned him the nickname “The Hammer”.

On September 28, 2005, a Travis County grand jury operating under Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle indicted DeLay for conspiring to violate Texas state election law stemming from issues dealing with his involvement in TRMPAC. Texas law prohibits corporate contributions in state legislative races. The indictment charged that TRMPAC accepted corporate contributions, laundered the money through the Republican National Committee, and directed it to favored Republican candidates in Texas.

On April 3, 2006, DeLay announced that he would not run for re-election. He explained that polls showed him beating Democratic opponent Nick Lampson in the general election, but that the possibility of losing the election was too risky.

Case not resolved as of yet.

Newt Gingrinch
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999.

Gingrich was accused of hypocrisy and unethical behavior when he accepted a $4.5 million advance as part of a book deal, in light of his previous role in the investigation of Jim Wright. Including charges related to the book deal, Democrats filed 84 ethics charges against Speaker Gingrich during his term, including claiming tax-exempt status for a college course run for political purposes and using the GOPAC political action committee as a slush fund; see Joseph Gaylord. All charges were eventually dropped following an investigation by the Republican-led House Ethics Committee. However, Gingrich admitted to unintentionally giving inaccurate information to the House Ethics Committee during the course of the investigation.
On January 10, 1997, the New York Times printed a story that revealed Gingrich, in collusion with other House Republicans, planned to abrogate his agreement by misrepresenting the ethics violations he committed.

Following the accusations, (of the book deal) Gingrich returned the advance. All charges were eventually dropped following an investigation by the Republican-led House Ethics Committee. However, Gingrich admitted to unintentionally giving inaccurate information to the House Ethics Committee during the course of the investigation. The committee did not indict him on charges of intentional perjury. The matter was settled when he agreed to reimburse the Committee $300,000 for the cost of prolonging the investigation. The payment was described as a "cost assessment" and not a fine by the Committee.

The Republicans expected big gains from the 1998 Congressional elections. In fact, Gingrich predicted a 30-seat Republican pickup. Instead, the Republicans lost five seats, the poorest results in 64 years for any party not in control of the White House in a midterm election. Having led the GOP to focus on the impeachment project as a principal strategy, Gingrich took most of the blame for the defeat. Facing a rebellion in the Republican caucus, he announced on November 6 that he would not only stand down as Speaker, but would leave the House as well.

Bob Livingston
Chosen as Newt Gingrich's successor as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives late in 1998.

Although the Republicans claimed Clinton deserved impeachment because he lied about his sexual indiscretions, many Democrats felt the indiscretions themselves were the main issue. In response, Hustler Magazine publisher Larry Flynt placed an article in his magazine offering up to $1,000,000 for information on sexual indiscretions by Republican officials. Flynt received evidence that Livingston had strayed multiple times outside of his marriage, and he was preparing to publish this information. Livingston got word that the article was pending. During debate over the impeachment resolution on December 19, 1998, Livingston surprised everyone by stepping down as Speaker-elect and announced he would resign from the House in May 1999.

Mark Foley
Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 until 2006.

On September 28, 2006, ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross reported that in 2005 Foley had sent email messages from his personal AOL account to a former Congressional page, asking the page to send a photo of himself to Foley, among other things. Foley’s office confirmed that Foley had sent the messages but said it has a practice of asking for photos of individuals who may ask for recommendations and that the page had requested a recommendation.

The original news report prompted another page to come forward and on September 29, 2006, ABC News reported that it had seen excerpts of sexually explicit instant messages allegedly sent by Foley. The instant messages made repeated references to sexual organs and acts. After being approached by reporters with this new information, Foley submitted a letter of resignation from Congress on September 29, 2006.

Duke Cunningham
An officer in the United States Navy for 21 years during which time he became a flying ace for actions during the Vietnam War. Following his military career he became a member of the United States House of Representatives from California's 50th Congressional District from 1991 to 2005.

On November 28, 2005, Cunningham pleaded guilty to tax evasion, conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, and wire fraud in federal court in San Diego. Among the many bribes Cunningham admitted receiving were the house sale at an inflated price, the free use of the yacht, a used Rolls-Royce, antique furniture, Persian rugs, jewelry, and a $2,000 contribution for his daughter's college graduation party.

Cunningham announced his resignation at a press conference just after entering his plea. On March 3, 2006, U.S. District Judge Larry A. Burns sentenced Cunningham to 100 months (eight years and four months) in prison.

Richard Nixon
President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974.

Nixon evaded taxes, accepted illicit campaign contributions, ordered secret bombings, and harassed opponents with executive agencies, wiretaps, and break-ins. The only U.S. President to have resigned from office. His resignation came in the face of imminent impeachment related to the Watergate scandal.

Scooter Libby
Former Chief of Staff and assistant for National Security Affairs to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and a former presidential advisor.

On October 28, 2005, Libby resigned his government position, hours after being indicted by a grand jury. He was charged with one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury and two counts of making false statements. His trial has not yet occurred.

Bob Packwood
Packwood was elected to the Senate in 1968, defeating Wayne Morse. He was reelected in 1974, 1980, 1986 and 1992.

In all at least twenty-nine women accused Packwood of sexual assault and abuse.
With pressure mounting against him, Packwood finally announced his resignation from the Senate on September 7, 1995, after the Senate Ethics Committee unanimously recommended that he be expelled from the Senate for ethical misconduct.


Alcee Hastings
A member of the United States House of Representatives representing the 23rd District of Florida.

In 1981 Judge Hastings was charged with accepting a $150,000 bribe in exchange for a lenient sentence and a return of seized assets for 21 counts of racketeering by Frank and Thomas Romano, and of perjury in his testimony about the case. He was acquitted by a jury after his alleged co-conspirator, William Borders, refused to testify in court (resulting in a jail sentence for Borders). In 1988, the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives took up the case, and Hastings was impeached for bribery and perjury by a vote of 413-3. Voters to impeach included Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, John Conyers and Charles Rangel. He was then convicted in 1989 by the United States Senate, becoming only the sixth federal judge in the history of the United States to be removed from office by the Senate

Hastings was elected to the House of Representatives in 1992. He is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and was elected President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in July 2004. Today, as a Senior Democratic Whip, Hastings is an influential member of the Democratic Leadership. Congressman Hastings is also a member of the powerful House Rules Committee and is a senior Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). On the HPSCI, Hastings is the Ranking Democratic Member of the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security.

William Jefferson
A member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 1991.

He is currently the subject of a corruption probe, and in May 2006 his Congressional offices were raided, as well as his home in Northeast Washington, where, the FBI alleged, they "found $90,000 of the cash in the freezer, in $10,000 increments wrapped in aluminum foil and stuffed inside frozen-food containers."

In the midterm election on November 7, 2006, Jefferson received 30% of the vote against several opponents, and then proceeded to win in a runoff election against Louisiana State Representative Karen Carter on December 9, 2006.

Bill Clinton
42nd President of the United States.

In 1998, as a result of allegations that he had lied during grand jury testimony regarding his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, a young female White House intern, Clinton was the second U.S. president to be impeached by the House of Representatives. In a separate case, Clinton was disbarred from his Arkansas law license for five years and ordered to pay $25,000 in fines to that state's bar officials. The agreement came on the condition that Whitewater prosecutors would not pursue criminal charges against him after he lied under oath about his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton, like the only other president to be impeached, Andrew Johnson, served the remainder of his term.

Gerry Studds
An American Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts who served from 1973 until 1997.

In 1983, he admitted to having had an affair with a 17-year-old page in 1973 and was censured by the House of Representatives.

Studds was re-elected to the House six more times after the 1983 censure.

Barney Frank
A member of the United States House of Representatives.

In 1990, the House voted to reprimand Frank when it was revealed that Steve Gobie, a male prostitute that Rep. Frank had befriended after hiring him through a personal advertisement, claimed to have conducted a prostitution ring from Frank's apartment when he was not at home. Frank had dismissed Gobie earlier that year, and reported the incident to the House Ethics Committee, after learning of Gobie's activities. After an investigation, the House Ethics Committee found no evidence that Frank had known of or been involved in the alleged illegal activity. Gobie, however, disputes Frank's account. The New York Times reported on July 20, 1990 that The House Ethics Committee recommended "that Representative Barney Frank receive a formal reprimand from the House for his relationship with a male prostitute" Attempts to expel or censure Frank failed; instead the House voted 408-18 to reprimand him. This condemnation was not reflected in Frank's district, where he won re-election in 1990 with 66 percent of the vote, and has won by larger margins ever since.

Gary Condit
Served in the House of Representatives from 1989 to 2003.

In May 2001, Condit became the subject of national news coverage after the April 30 disappearance of Chandra Levy, a young Jewish woman working as a Washington, D.C. intern originally from Condit's district. Police questioned him twice, and Condit denied having an affair with her; however, after Levy's aunt went public with conversations she had had with her missing niece about the adulterous liaison, police questioned him a third time, and Condit confessed to the relationship. When the affair began, Condit was 53 and Levy was 23.
Suspicion deepened when Condit tried to avoid answering direct questions during a televised interview with news anchor Connie Chung on August 23, 2001. This followed news reports that Condit had an affair with flight attendant, Anne Marie Smith.

Condit faded from the news following 9/11, only to reappear during his announcement to run for an eighth term on December 7, 2001. Condit lost the primary elections in March 2002 to his former aide, then-Assemblyman Dennis Cardoza, and left Congress at the end of his term in January 2003.

Mike Lowry
Served as the twentieth governor of the U.S. state of Washington from 1993 to 1997.

He chose not to run for re-election to a second term due to a sexual harassment scandal in which his deputy press secretary, Susanne Albright, accused him of making inappropriate remarks and fondling her.

Brock Adams
A Democrat from Washington and served as a U.S. Representative, Senator, and United States Secretary of Transportation.

He chose not to be a candidate for reelection in 1992 after eight women made statements to The Seattle Times alleging that Adams had committed various acts of sexual misconduct, ranging from sexual harassment to rape.

Patrick Kennedy
He serves in the United States House of Representatives, representing the first district of Rhode Island.

On May 4, 2006, Kennedy crashed his 1997 Ford Mustang convertible into a barricade on Capitol Hill at 2:45AM. He had been operating his vehicle with the lights off in the early morning darkness. Officers at the scene said that Kennedy appeared intoxicated, smelled of alcohol and was visibly staggering, but Kennedy claimed that he was merely disoriented from prescription medications Ambien and Phenergan A woman who works at the nearby Hawk & Dove bar said that he had been drinking there. A second report cites the capitol police have additional "witnesses" to Kennedy's drinking at the Hawk & Dove before the crash.
Kennedy also stated to officers that he was "late for a vote." However, the last vote of the night had occurred almost six hours earlier. The standard field sobriety test was not administered. Kennedy was driven home by an officer. On May 5, 2006, Kennedy admitted he has an addiction to prescription medication and announced he would be re-admitting himself to a drug rehabilitation facility at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota where he has sought treatment for prior addictions. He has stated that he has no recollection of the car crash. On June 5, 2006 Kennedy was released from drug rehab.

Kennedy has stated that he does not plan to resign.

Note that all of the Republicans resigned, all of the Democrats either served out the term or are currently in office.

That is all for now, feel free to add any and all I have missed in the comments.
Woman Claims Dog Feces Is Political Expression

Originally by way of Ace 'O Spades
the lawyer for an ex-professor accused of leaving dog feces at a congresswoman's office said her client's actions qualify as protected speech under the First Amendment.
Take one guess the political parties of the professor and the politician, wait for it...
Kathleen Ensz faces a misdemeanor charge of "use of a noxious substance." She is accused of taking dog feces from her backyard, wrapping it in a political mailer from Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, and leaving it at the Republican's office, according to court documents.

Ensz, a Democrat, was angered by repeatedly receiving mailings from Musgrave, the documents said.

Now guess what the ex professor taught...
Ensz, 63, a retired French professor from the University of Northern Colorado...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Washington State's New Anti Productivity Tax?

Originally from Sound Politics, Washington State is heading towards a sales tax thanks to my state Senator, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, which comes as no surprise.

First of all, the chances of this passing are slim. Even the average rich Seattle guilty white liberal in the privacy of the voting booth is going to have a hard time filling in that circle. Even King County is going to have a hard time "enhancing" enough ballots to overcome the overwhelming opposition to this idea.

Here is the problem with an income tax, any income tax. While a sales tax discourages excessive spending, an income tax discourages, anyone? anyone? Income! How is income produced... anyone? anyone? by productive work. Why would anyone want to discourage productive work... unless... there was another motive such as, oh I do not know, the state simply wanting more revenue, specifically from the highest income earners in a class warfare manner.

Most people really do not have a good understanding of who shoulders the tax burden. As I stated in a previous post.
A two minute search on the internet points out that for the tax year 2003, the top 1% of income earners take in 16.77% of the total adjusted gross income but they pay 34.27% of income tax. The top 5% take in 31.18% but pay 54.36%, the top 25% take in 64.86% but pay 83.88%. The top 50% take in 86.01% but pay 96.54%. THE BOTTOM 50% PAY 3.46% OF FEDERAL INCOME TAX.
So the top 1% make 1.19 times as much as the bottom 50% but pay 9.90 times as much federal income tax. Feel free to make a case about income inequity, especially if you are a member of the Socialist Workers Party, but make sure you also explain why 1% of the people pay 9.9 times what 50% of the people pay. Put it another way, the average top 1% earner pays as much tax as 495 of the average bottom 50% earners.

The issue of an income tax is a typical liberal feel good, catchy saying policy that will have the reverse effect of what is intended. Just as "gun free zones" encourage, rather than discourage gun violence at schools, an income tax will ultimately discourage what it intends to do, raise more money for the state. But at least it will make liberals feel good about making the rich finally pay their fair share. The problem for the state, the unintended consequence, is the rich will do what the rich can afford to do, change their legal residence to someplace without a state income tax.

Let's just imagine there are two states side by side. One has a fairly low tax rate and lower social services for poor who are capable of working, just do not want to. The other, a fairly high progressive tax rate and hands out cash, no questions asked and no strings attached to whomever does not have a job regardless of your situation. Which type of person is going to be attracted to which state? Which state is going to be more successful and efficient measured by the percentage of citizens living a quality life? Where would you rather live?