Friday, December 8, 2006


I'm still pouring through the 92 pages of the Ethics Committee report, but, thanks to Wonkette, I jumped ahead to the Exhibit list. My old blog, Stop Sex Predators is listed as Exhibit 10.

Alex Pareene, over at Wonkette loves the fact that ABC News is Exhibit 12, AFTER Wonkette being Exhibit 11. Somewhere in that post he mentions that they were first.

Ummmmm, at least one of your readers knew who was REALLY first. ;)


Here is my segment on Anderson Cooper 360 on December 8. It's my first Live television appearance.


The House Ethics Committee has indeed come to the conclusion that no rules were broken throughout the multi-year mismanagement of Mark Foley's immoral, unethical, and inappropriate behavior. They have instead opted to find the GOP Leadership "negligent" in protecting teens.

For years, the reputation of the House Ethics Committee has declined to the point that some people have begun calling the Committee irrelevant. Their findings in this investigation is just as negligent as the actions of the Republican Leaders.

The rules of the House clearly state that the House of Representatives, its Members, Officers, and staff, act "in loco parentis" for House Pages. At the moment that Congressman Rodney Alexander allowed the Louisiana page's parents to quash any action against Foley, he broke House Rules. When House officers and Leadership allowed this to stand, they all joined in failing to provide a safe environment for House Pages.

Could someone explain to me how you can find the Leadership "negligent" and then say they broke no rules? I realize that this report will have little impact on the political landscape. But, the Republicans missed an opportunity to show that they are willing to accept responsibility for a total breakdown in the system. Further, they have sent a very loud message to parents that they do not put a high priority on the safety of their children.

The only good thing about this report is that it finally ends this long, shameful saga.


The AP is reporting that the Ethics Committee has found the GOP Leadership negligent in their handling of the House Page scandal, but say that they didn't break any House Rules. I'm waiting until the press conference to comment.

NM '08 Senate Analysis

Sen. Pete Domenici was re-elected in 2002 with 65% of the vote and spent $4,144,286 to do it. He was first elected in 1972. By 2008, he will have served 36 years. Should he run for re-election, he would be highly favored to win another term.

However, rumors are circulating that he will retire. These rumors are likely true. Domenici is losing the Chairmanship of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as well as the Chairmanship of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. Given his diminished leadership capacity in the new Senate, he may want to enjoy retirement with his wife, eight children, and probably dozens of grandchildren.

If predictions of his retirement are correct, this is another prime pick-up for Democrats. New Mexico has become increasingly Democratic under Gov. Bill Richardson. Statewide, Democrats hold the offices of Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Attorney General, and one U.S. Senate Seat.

This year, Gov. Richardson and U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman were re-elected with 69% and 71%, respectively. Democrats also have a healthy majority in both chambers of the Legislature.

Democrats hold only one of the State's three Congressional seats. Republican Heather Wilson, of NM's First District won re-election by less then 900 votes. She will likely face another stiff challenge in 2008.

Should Gov. Richardson fore go a Presidential run and instead opt for a Senate campaign, this seat is his for the taking. He is highly popular in New Mexico and would be a shoo-in. He would be an immediately effective member of the Senate, having served in the U.S. House, as Secretary of Energy, and as U.N. Ambassador. Service in the Senate would further his Presidential ambitions.

If Richardson chooses not to run, the most likely candidate would be Congressman Tom Udall. He has faced token opposition for his seat in Congress over the past few cycles and has $737,280 in his campaign account, which could all be transferred to a Senate campaign, giving him a big head start.

Either way, Domenici's retirement means the Dems will likely pick this Senate seat.


Below, I'm going to post notable numbers from newly filed finance reports, which cover money spent through 11/27/06. Not everything is available, so I'll fill in the blanks as I get more information. First look shows the Democrats in good shape as we begin to look towards maintaining and expanding our majorities in Congress.

DNC: $4,736,131 Cash on Hand


DCCC: $2,267,150 Cash on Hand
NRCC: $1,357,949 Cash on Hand

Check out Political Money Line for some interesting numbers on PACs by Presidential Hopefuls. I would offer just one caveat, though. Those PAC's existed to pay for travel, provide support to State Parties, and to make contributions to candidates, ALL with the idea of earning support for a potential Presidential run. Money from these PAC's cannot be transferred to a Presidential campaign committee, so unspent money is money that could have been used to influence some close races that we lost.


Blog puts Dole run in doubt

Now the rumors are swirling.

Seems U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole is allegedly so demoralized by the Republicans' losses in the U.S. Senate that a "confidential source on Capitol Hill" told a blogger this week she won't seek re-election in 2008.

The blogger, Lane Hudson, broke the scandal about U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, the Florida Republican who became close to high school pages. Now, the former congressional aide and Democratic activist is writing a liberal blog called "News for the Left."

He wrote Tuesday that Dole was too upset to run again.

Dole, of Salisbury, took some lumps in November. As chairwoman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, she was held responsible for keeping the Senate in GOP control. Last week, she sent out a fundraising letter asking for help because the committee went into debt.

But Dole said the week of Election Day that she already has begun thinking about a re-election bid. And her office reiterated this week: Dole will go after a second term.

Thursday, December 7, 2006


A friend forwarded me this. I'm not entirely sure what the source is, but I think it's The Hotline.

"The truth is a lot of reports in Washington aren't read by anybody. To show you how important this report is, I read it." -- Pres. Bush, on the ISG report, at this a.m.’s presser, mult, 12/7.

Priceless, huh?


Today, the Center for American Progress hosted a panel titled "Mind Wars: Brain Research and National Defense." CAP Senior Fellow Jonathan Moreno, Ph.D. gave a run down on his book and fellow panelist Jennifer Bard, a law professor at Texas Tech University, gave a legal analysis of advances in neuroscience research as applied to real life situations.

The most shocking comment came from panelist Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D. when he said that it "is realistic that in ten to fifteen years, it could be possible to directly connect the human brain to the internet." He cited current research where neuroscientists are able to bypass lesions in the brain by connecting two sections of the brain by man made circuitry.

Despite such an earth shaking advancement being possibly a decade away, there exists no body of ethical oversight OR laws governing such research. The biggest sponsor of this type of research is the Federal Government, often funding scientific studies through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA.

Techniques currently in development include functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or fMRI. It takes pictures of brain activity in real time and is being used to learn reactions of the brain to figure out if someone is lying, their sexual orientation, if they have racist tendencies, if they are extroverted, and countless other things. It is the closest that we have come to "mind reading."

DARPA is funding an "Enhanced Human Performance" project. Augmenting cognition, or increasing brain function, is one of the goals of this project. This can be accomplished by inserting a chip in a soldier's brain and increasing the bandwidth of brain activity.

The drug Modanafil has also been developed and can keep people awake for days at a time without the need for sleep or calories. This has already been made available in the private sector under the name Provigil.

This barely scratches the surface of an emerging issue about which the Center for American Progress hopes to begin a public discussion. The potential implications of this issue on civil liberties is enormous. It warrants much scrutiny until acceptable legal and ethical standards are created. There should also be a balance between using these new advances for national defense and using it in the private sector where it can be used to improve the lives of everyday Americans.


The Congressional Christmas Tree Lighting was last night. For Hastert, he lamented that in nine years as Speaker, that this was one of the duties he most looked forward to because it began a season of hope. It seemed like a somewhat sad event for him since it was his last time to light the Tree.

As if things weren't bad enough for the Republicans, when Hastert pushed the button to light the tree, all assembled looked up to see a BLUE Christmas Tree!

Apparently, GE donated the lights to the tree. The donated lights were red, white, and blue. But, the blue lights completely overpowered everything else. I'll be on Capitol Hill tonight and will definately be checking this out! I'll get a picture if I can, so check back this evening to see if I was able to.

MN '08 Senate Analysis

Sen. Norm Coleman has $1,782,367 cash on hand, ranking him 6th out of the 21 Republicans up in '08. That's a good start, but both he and the Democratic candidate will have a lot of work to do in the fundraising department. In the 2002 Campaign, Coleman spent $10,035,279. Sen. Paul Wellstone and Former V.P. Walter Mondale spent a combined $14,479,445.

Coleman was victorious over replacement candidate Mondale 50%-47%, a margin of 61,271 votes.

In the 2006 election, there was plenty of good news for the Democrats. Amy Klobuchar, a Hennepin County prosecutor thumped Congressman Mark Kennedy 58%-38%, winning by 440,342 votes. In that election, Kennedy spent, as of Oct. 18, $8,971,258. As of the same date, Klobuchar spent $7.383,982.

The Democrats also picked up one Congressional seat, with Tim Walz defeating Congressman Gili Gutknecht. This gave the Dems a 5-3 majority in the State's Congressional Delegation. Statewide, Democratic Congressional candidates garnered 228,124 more votes than their Republican counterparts.

In the State Legislative races, Democrats also did very well. Six seats were picked up in the State Senate to strengthen the Dem majority to a 44-23 margin. Dems went from one seat down in the House to flip 19 seats and end up with a strong 85-49 majority.

Looking forward to '08, the overall trend is Democratic. Look at the highlighted margins of victory in 2006 compared to Coleman's margin in 2002. Comedian Al Franken has expressed an interest in being the Democratic candidate. While it would be a somewhat unorthodox candidacy, Franken could be a good fit for Minnesota politics. MN voters have been known to be somewhat "quirky" in the past. Franken also has the potential to be a prolific fundraiser, tapping into MN money, celebrity money, Washington money, and perhaps supporting his campaign personally as well.

Minnesota's '08 Senate campaign promises to be very interesting, especially if Franken is the Democratic candidate. This will surely be one that Republicans will concentrate significant effort to hold, but it will be a major challenge for them to do so. Democrats will be looking to consolidate their majority in the U.S. Senate, and Minnesota is one of the top targets for them to gain a seat.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006


Sen. John Sununu has $561,361 in the bank. In his 2002 race against Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, he spent $3,638,823 to her $5,837,914 and won by just under 20,000 votes. That's the extent of the good news for him.

In 2006, there was a major shift to BLUE in New Hampshire. Gov. John Lynch was re-elected with 74% of the vote. Incumbent Republicans lost both of the State's two Congressional seats. In the 1st District, after 4 years in Congress and 12 years in the State House, Jeb Bradley lost to political activist Carol Shea-Porter 52%-48%. In the 2nd District, 12 year incumbent Charles Bass lost to Paul Hodes, who was a former Shaheen political appointee 53%-45%. The combined margin of victory of the two Dem. Congressional candidates was 20,650 votes.

To further show the Democratic gains in the Granite State, the Democrats gained 6 seats in the State senate to earn a 14-10 majority. They gained 89 seats in the State House to earn a 239-150 majority.

That's one heck of a year for the Dems in New Hampshire. Should Jeanne Shaheen decide to run for Senate in 2008, the shift in voter sentiment since 2002 points to major trouble for incumbent Sen. John Sununu. This race is one to watch. Even if Shaheen decides not to run, it would not be an immediate sigh of relief for Sen. Sununu. The next few months should give us a better indication of what to expect in New Hampshire, but regardless, the Republicans must already be worried because this is a likely pickup for Dems in the US Senate.


Today we learned that Mary Cheney and her long-time partner, Heather Poe are expecting their first child. The Washington post quoted a Cheney spokesperson as saying "the vice president and Mrs. Cheney are looking forward with eager anticipation to the arrival of their sixth grandchild."

There was no comment on whether this development would soften Vice President Cheney's position on equal rights for same sex couples. Since Mary Cheney is carrying the child, she will have full parental rights for the child. Her partner will have no legal rights under the laws of Virginia. Further, the constitutional amendment recently passed by the voters of the Commonwealth will further complicates any efforts by Cheney and Poe to establish by legal contract, rights such as custody, medical decisions, and inheritance.

NFTL in NJ's Hotline

Below is an article in today's Hotline, which is published by National Journal. The very first post on NFTL has seemed to cause quite a stir in Sen. Dole's office. I stand by my original source that she will not be running for re-election. Please see my post from yesterday which outlines a host of reasons why her statement is suspect at best.

NORTH CAROLINA: I'd Appreciate It If You'd Stop Nudging Me

Blogger Lane Hudson, who was first to publish ex-Rep. Mark Foley's (R-FL) page e-mail exchanges, cites a "confidential source on Capitol Hill" that outgoing NRSC chair Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) has become so "completely demoralized" that she is no longer interested in standing for re-election. Dole's office responded via e-mail that "Senator Dole is running for re-election in 2008" (, 12/5).


In a preliminary analysis of '08 Senate candidates' campaign finances, Democrats enjoy an early financial advantage. It is widely expected that all twelve Democratic incumbents will seek re-election to their seats, leaving no open seats to defend. That alone is a great financial advantage compared to the Republicans who will have to defend 21 seats overall, with as many as four possible open seats to defend due to retirements.

Of the eleven Democratic incumbents, at of the end of September, their total cash on hand is $12,773,450 or an average of $1,064.454. Not taken into account of these totals are two things. First, Sen. Frank Lautenberg has a debt of $1,090,000 that is not a part of the overall numbers. Also, Sen. John Kerry has $13,807,188 left in his Presidential Campaign account. It is unclear if he can/would transfer this entire amount to his Senate campaign. In recent days, it has been speculated that he is moving further away from a campaign for President.

On the Republican side, the total cash on hand for their 21 Senators is $20,153, 373 or an average of $953,112. Not taken into account in this calculation is a debt of $1,536,802 carried by Sen. Gordon Smith of OR's campaign.

The more interesting numbers are the Republican incumbents who potentially face serious challenges from Democrats in '08 or the potential retiring incumbents. For those purposes, I have included these Republicans in those categories:

Potential Retirements: Wayne Allard, CO; Elizabeth Dole, NC; Pete Domenici, NM; John Warner, VA

Potentially Weak Incumbents: Lamar Alexander, TN; Thad Cochran, MS; Norm Coleman, MN; Larry Craig, ID; John Sununu, NH

The total that these nine Senators have in the bank is $5,573,278 or an average of $508,142.

If you include two more factors in this preliminary analysis, the picture gets more grim for the Republicans. The Republicans likely face a more difficult challenge to retire the debt at the National Republican Senatorial Committee than do the Democrats at the DSCC. It will also face the daunting task of assisting in nearly twice as many campaign as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Also, a large majority of the Democrats running for re-election either serve in the Leadership, enjoy a Committee Chairmanship, or have influential Subcommittee Chairmanships. This will further aid them in individual fundraising efforts.

Check back at News For the Left for further analysis of individual races over the next several days.

Initial WH Reaction to Iraq Report

The White House held a press conference to respond to the report issued by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. They spoke at length on their recommendations in the Hart Senate Office Building Hearing room.

Bush spokesman, Tony Snow responded to a question by NBC’s David Gregory that “The President’s position is not ‘stay the course.’” Think Progress has an excellent timeline of how often the President has used ‘stay the course.’

As public support for Bush and the Iraq War declined, the White House replaced ‘stay the course’ with a new term, attempting to put the Democrats on the defense. In a September 28 campaign appearance in Alabama, Bush said “The party of FDR has now become the party of cut and run.” Media Matters and Raw Story have interesting background on ‘cut and run.’

The initial reaction from the White House is one of denial. Big surprise.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006


This is from today's edition of National Journal's Hotline:

Pelosi's Third Ethical Quandry

Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV), who is being investigated by the FBI, is in line to take over the House panel that sets the bureau's budget. Mollohan is the ranking Dem on the appropriations subcommittee overseeing the DoJ, which includes the FBI. This "pending appointment poses an ethical dilemma" for Pelosi, who helped fellow Dems win by "vowing to clean up" Capitol Hill's "culture of corruption."

CREW exec dir Melanie Sloan: "If the Democrats want to be taken seriously as the party of ethics reform, then every time one of their members gets into trouble, they're going to have to take it seriously." A Pelosi spokesperson didn't respond to requests for comment, while Mollohan's office and the DoJ "declined to comment" (Faler/Forsythe, Bloomberg News, 12/5).

Nancy Pelosi doesn't really need another barrage of speculation as to whether she will be appointing ethically challenged Democrats to Chair anything. After all of the negative press following her endorsement of Rep. Jack Murtha, then the annoyingly drawn out Intelligence Committee saga, this will be disposed of in quick measure.

By passing over Mollohan, Pelosi can name Rep. Jose Serrano, further reaching out to the Hispanic Caucus. Given the ever-increasing Hispanic population in the U.S. and their increased support of the Democratic Party in the midterm election, this appointment would make a great deal of sense. It would also not be likely to anger the Congressional Black Caucus, as the only member of the Caucus on the Subcommittee is last in line for the post.

This seems to be a win-win-win for Pelosi.


News site raw story linked to my post about Dole not seeking re-election. They have received a one line statement from Sen. Elizabeth Dole's office stating only that she apparently will stand for re-election in 2008. They must not be very excited about it because their pathetic response lacked any evidence of her enthusiasm for seeking re-election, much less a defense of the god-awful job she did running the National Republican Senatorial Committee. It didn't even refute my source's comments that she is "completely demoralized" by the stunning defeat her party saw at the poll's in November.

Here's the backstory:

A quick glance at her most recent FEC Campaign Finance Report summary shows that Dole only has $223,775 cash on hand as of 9/30/06.

Her support of fellow Republicans is pathetic too. She has contributed a measly $8k to Republican Senate candidates. That includes $3K to Suzanne Terrell back in her unsuccessful run-off against Dem Sen. Mary Landrieu in 2002. Since then, she's given $4K to Sen. Jon Kyl of AZ and $1K to unsuccessful Senate candidate Michael Steel of MD.

A more indepth look of how enthusiastically her colleagues are to support her is even more telling. In her first race for Senate in 2002, only 9 GOP colleagues supported her campaign committe, totalling $10,700. There was an additional $1k from disgraced, sexually harassing former Sen. Bob Packwood of OR. Since her '02 election, only two of her colleagues have shown her financial support, Sen. Wayne Allard of CO, and Sen. Richard Shelby of AL, whose total contributions add up to a whopping $3k.

Given her disastrous stewardship of the NRSC and lame support of her fellow Senators and Republican candidates, I doubt she can expect any kind of enthusiastic support from ANY Republican in the Senate. Keep in mind that, thanks to Liddy, their ability to fundraise will be significantly affected by their new minority status.

Now, Sen. Dole. Are you really going to run for re-election given all of the crap you're gonna have to deal with? If you actually are going to, how about giving us the courtesy of a real statement. I don't think you can begin to make the case for why you should even attempt to mount a campaign for re-election.

Monday, December 4, 2006



Senator Elizabeth Dole will NOT be a candidate for re-election in 2008, according to a confidential source on Capitol Hill. Apparently, she is completely demoralized following the stunning victory resulting in Democrats capturing the Senate. Six months ago, it was not much more than a pipe dream that Senator Chuck Schumer would lead his party to a majority in the upper chamber of Congress. However, the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee is charged to have been badly run under Dole's leadership. It was reported last week that Dole penned a letter in an effort to retire the RSCC's debt from the 2006 election. Her underlings refused to actually say how much in the hole they went while squandering their majority in the Senate.

Now it's time for the scrambling of suitors. North Carolina is a Southern State that has resisted the massive Red conversion of other States below the Mason-Dixon Line. Is this another possible pick up for the Senate Dems?

Republicans already face a disaster in waiting in the next election for the Senate. The Republicans have 21 seats to defend and the Dems have only 11 incumbents to protect. And YES, I believe that ALL Democratic Senators will be seeking re-election. In alphabetical order, here are the hurdles that Republicans face in 2008.

Sen. Lamar Alexander: He lost his race for Minority Whip to racist, foot in mouth guy, Trent Lott. Harold Ford could capitalize on his much better than expected race this year and make a very credible run for this seat. Alexander isn't exactly a spring chicken either.

Sen. Wayne Allard: Word on the street is that he's retiring., thank God. Likely Dem nominee is Congressman Mark Udall, who should walk away with it.

Sen. Thad Cochran: Recent media reports say that the Dems are looking for a resurgent year in '08 in Mississippi. Two former Governors will team up to take the top two spots in State government from Gov. Haley Barbour and his number 2. Former Attorney General Mike Moore apparently will mount a strong challenge for the U.S. Senate seat. Sure sounds like a dream team to lead the ticket in a Southern State!

Sen. Norm Coleman: He won in '02 in a strange election which saw the death of liberal icon Sen. Paul Wellstone in a plane crash two weeks before the election. The political style speech by replacement candidate, former V.P. Walter Mondale at Wellstone's funeral apparently ticked off the voters of MN. However, the amazing performance of Amy Klobuchar in easily capturing the Senate seat in this year's election is pushing radio host/author Al Franken to a candidacy for Coleman's seat. Minnesota is a quirky state and likes maverick candidates, so this one could be a toss up too!

Sen. Larry Craig: He was recently reported by's Mike Rogers as being one of those closeted gay Republicans, providing specific details such as having sex in the bathrooms of Union Station. No one knows if this will have an effect on Craig or not. If he retires, the Dems could capitalize on recent victories in the region to pick up this seat.

Sen. Pete Domenici: Sounds like he is retiring too. Governor Bill Richardson would be a shoo-in for this seat. He served on the House side before. Don't they all aim for the more collegial Senate?

Sen. Lindsey Graham: He gets a mention because I'm from S.C. While Lindsey has been pretty well received across the board in S.C., there are two issues that could cause problems for what should be an easy sailing re-election. First, are the persistent rumors that he is gay. This has never been confirmed or denied. But, it's been tossed around bunches. Enough people know about it to tell us that, as long as you don't admit to being gay, then S.C. voters probably don't care about it. Second are rumors that he will face a strong, conservative primary challenge. Lindsey's actions, while applauded by folks across the country have angered the right wing in S.C. These people have mad influence in the Primary. This could be interesting to watch because a couple Dems have the ability to wage a campaign that could ultimately be successful against a right wing nut. Included in those Dems are my old boss, former Governor Jim Hodges, and two great people and friends, outgoing Ed. Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum and Dem. Lt. Gov. nominee Robert Barber.

Sen. John Sununu: New Hampshire had an awesome year for the Dems, picking up two Congressional seats and the State Legislature. Former Governor, Jean Shaheen narrowly lost this seat to Sununu in '02. If she chooses to make another un at it, I think she's the one to beat.

Given these circumstances, I think the Dems pick up a minimum of three seats. If we can show in the next year and a half that we know how to run government, then we can pick up as many as five seats. It's an early prediction, but take it to the bank!

Hell yeah!