Democracy Has Prevailed.

April 29, 2005

Bush Flops On Social Security (One Mo Time)

I know that this is an unscientific poll (self-selected and demographically challenged), but I've been viewing these America Online polls for years now and they do seem to broadly mirror the American public's feelings. And, what this poll is saying is that Bush's press conference last night did nothing to help his image or to raise support for his policies.

AOL Poll:

How satisfied are you with what Bush said during his press conference?
Not at all 64%
Very 29%
Somewhat 8%

How would you rate Bush's overall job performance?
Poor 59%
Excellent 22%
Good 11%
Fair 8%

Total Votes: 108,354
Note on Poll Results

Do you understand Bush's Social Security plan?
Yes 67%
No 33%
Do you support it?
No 74%

Yes 26%
Total Votes: 65,440

Do you understand Bush's energy plan?
Yes 63%
No 37%
Do you support it?
No 72%
Yes 28%
Total Votes: 64,753

Do you approve of Bush's handling of Iraq?
No 71%

Yes 29%

Do you approve of Bush's handling of the economy?
No 74%

Yes 26%
Total Votes: 67,538
Today's headlines won't help:

Bush Cites Plan That Would Cut Social Security Benefits
New York Times

Bush Social Security Plan Would Cut Future Benefits
Washington Post

Bush: Rein in Social Security
USA Today

Bush backs sliding scale
Social Security benefits to well-off would be cut back
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
While the Bush is trying to push the idea that his latest Social Security plan would hit "wealthier income" this paragraph from the NYT is more truthful:

Under the proposal, first developed by Robert C. Pozen, an investment executive, benefit cuts would be imposed gradually on future retirees. The cuts would fall most heavily on people at upper income levels. The cuts would be less, but still substantial, for middle-income workers. Low-income people would suffer no benefit cut at all. Politically, the plan has the advantage, in the White House's view, of being attractive to moderate Democrats by making the system more progressive. (emphasis added)
Or as Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) put it on CNN last night, if you retire with an income of $60,000, you would get a 40% cut in benefits.



That's hardly what most people would consider "wealthy" which is the way that the Repugs are going to try to spin this.

But as the above poll shows, it looks like the American public simply isn't going to buy it.

Give it up, Bush -- you aren't fooling anyone but yourself and those who have drunk most deeply from the bottomless pitcher of Kool-Aid.

April 28, 2005

Coulter Porn

Here's the link:

I %#@&%# Ann Coulter in the @$$, Hard

Yes, it is real porn (no pictures) and yes, it is fucking funny.

Santorum '08 ???

The Hill reported yesterday:

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) has “no intention” to run for president in 2008, but a media communications firm that represents him has registered a slew of relevant domain names in case the senator changes his mind.

New Media Communications, an Ohio-based Internet strategy company that runs Santorum’s 2006 reelection website, has bought domain names such as, and
Mike Connell, the president and CEO of New Media Communications, provided Internet strategy to the Bush-Cheney campaign, as well as designing the website in 2000 and the 2004 campaign website.

Again, according to The Hill:

Asked in a 2004 Campaigns & Elections interview where he’d like to be in 10 years, Connell said, “I’d like to be working in a senior position in the campaign to elect Rick Santorum president of the United States.”


Asked earlier this year on NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether he would run for president in 2008, Santorum said, “I have no intention of doing that … One of the things I learned … you never say never in politics.”

When pressed if he would serve a full six-year term, Santorum responded, “I never do those kind of things. My sense is that the people of Pennsylvania are — I’m running for reelection, and that’s all I’m going to say.”
Oh, but Lil Ricky, we really want you to say more! We want you to tell us if you're worried about your slipping poll numbers. We want you to tell us if you're afraid that you'll be out of work in 2006 and so are preparing for 2008 or if this is a long-term plan to skip out on your Virginia...err...Pennsylvania constituents. We want to know if we'll be seeing something like this in 2007:

April 27, 2005

USA Agrees with the 2 Political Junkies!!

This is in regards to what we said about Congresswoman Melissa Hart.

Here is what we said:
Melissa Hart has actually received $15,000 from ARMPAC.

What is ARMPAC, you ask?I'm glad you asked. ARMPAC is the "Americans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee" and ARMPAC is very very closely
to Tom Delay himself.
And this is what USAToday said:
All five Republicans on the House ethics committee have financial links to Tom DeLay that could raise conflict-of-interest issues should the panel investigate the GOP majority leader.

Public records show DeLay's leadership political action committee (PAC) gave $15,000 to the campaign of Rep. Melissa Hart, R-Pa. — $10,000 in 2000 and $5,000 in 2002. Hart would chair a panel to investigate DeLay if the committee
moves forward with a probe.
And this is what our own Missy Hart said about the donations:
Hart said there is no appearance problem. "That's just normal" for leaders to contribute to campaigns, she said.
No appearance problem? What does that mean? Is she deciding for everyone else what the "appearance" should be? Notice it doesn't say that she said there's no ethical problem - just that there wasn't the appearance of one.

In any case, why would a leader want to contribute to the campaigns of the people he/she would be leading? Gee I don't know. Perhaps it's a political favor that would have to be returned someday?

Well, Missy perhaps The Hammer was looking for you to return the favor. What do you think?

Q&A with Bill Peduto

PITTSBLOG has been conducting a Q&A with Pittsburgh mayoral candidate Bill Peduto. You can read the posts here:

Q & A With Bill Peduto
Bill Peduto Replies
Bill Peduto Replies Again
Critiquing Bill Peduto
Peduto is All Over This Blog! More From Bill

April 26, 2005

Santorum Update

Here, read this.

Maeve Reston of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes about Senator Santorum's recent attempts to privatize weather data.

Sen. Rick Santorum has introduced legislation that would limit the information that the National Weather Service can provide to the public, in what the Pennsylvania Republican's aides describe as an effort to make sure that private weather companies -- particularly those in his home state -- can compete in the marketplace and retain jobs.

Santorum's legislation directs the U.S. secretary of commerce to limit the National Weather Service's offerings to just those services that private-sector weather companies cannot or are unwilling to offer -- unless the information is related to "severe weather forecasts and warnings designed for the protection of life and property" or information that the government must provide under international aviation accords.

Some have criticized the legislation as a giveaway primarily intended to help Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather, whose employees have contributed to Santorum's campaign fund. But a spokeswoman for the senator dismissed that assertion as being without merit.

Riiight - it's without merit. It's all a coincidence, of course. I am shocked SHOCKED that a politician of Senator Santorum's stature would be selling out the public good for a few grand in campaign contributions.

Accu-Weather was founded by a man named Joel Myers and AccuWeather's based in Senator Santorum's Pennsylvania.

Here's the data from Open Secrets. As you can see, over the last few years Joel Myers has donated about 4 grand to the slimy Santorum's campaigns.

Here is how the Senator explains himself.
U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, today introduced the National Weather Services Duties Act of 2005 to clarify the duties and responsibilities of the National Weather Service (NWS) within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“With the support of my colleagues, we can pass this legislation to modernize the description of the National Weather Service’s roles within the national weather enterprise, so that it reflects today’s reality in which the National Weather Service and the commercial weather industry both play important parts in providing weather products and services to the nation,” said Senator Santorum.

Fourteen years ago the NWS took the extra step of carefully delineating the respective roles of the NWS and the commercial weather industry, in addition to pledging its intention not to provide products or services that were or could be provided by the commercial weather industry.

However, the parent agency of the NWS, NOAA, repealed the 1991 non-competition and non-duplication policy in December 2004. Its new policy only promises to “give due consideration” to the abilities of private sector entities. The new policy has enabled NWS and NOAA to expand into areas that are already well served by the commercial weather industry.

“This decision by NOAA to repeal the non-competition and non-duplication policy detracts from NWS’s core missions of maintaining a modern and effective meteorological infrastructure, collecting comprehensive observational data, and issuing warnings and forecasts of severe weather that imperil life and property,” said Senator Santorum.

Senator Santorum’s bill restores the NWS non-competition policy. However, the legislation leaves NWS with complete and unfettered freedom to carry out its critical role of preparing and issuing severe weather warnings and forecasts designed for the protection of life and property of the general public.

Notice the rhetorical devices. He's not cutting off or stopping anything. No, the bill is intended to "clarify" and "modernize" the descriptions of the National Weather Service. He's only trying to fix something, can't you see that? Look at the 4th paragraph. It's the weather service that repealed the non-competition policy. His law is merely a remedy for the mean and nasty guv'mint that's lookin' to stop fair competition.

I guess Senator Santorum is trying to avoid the fact that the NWS taxpayer-funded. It's free because we already paid for it.

Basically what's going on is this. Senator Santorum wants to restrict our access to a government service that we've already paid for so that we'd be forced to buy that access from a company that's been very very good to him.

As I said - boggles the mind.

April 25, 2005

It's official: we're "jocular!"

Well, that's what says anyway about 2pj about halfway down this page.

Mayoral Debate Spat

Bill Peduto kept to the high road last during last night's late night mayoral debate broadcast at 11:35 PM on WTAE.

As has come to be expected by those watching these candidates debate, Lamb and O'Connor traded barbs once more. Michael Lamb criticized Bob O'Connor for spending too much when O'Connor was a member of city council, thus being responsible for Pittsburgh's current economic woes.

O'Connor came back by citing an audit report by Dan Onorato which mentioned "irregularities" in Lamb's prothonotary office -- most notably funds that were deposited from an unknown source. He used that to attack Lamb's remarks about cutting his staff at the prothonotary office as the report claimed that the sloppy accounting was partially due to "high turnover" at that office.

The moderator (WTAE news anchor Michelle Wright) than let the two spar back and forth. To their discredit, this was the only time that the three panelists (Sheldon Ingram and Bob Mayo, both also from WTAE, and Andrew Conte, a reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) seemed to get really interested in the proceedings. One of them even remarked that they were sorry that they had to go on to another question.

To Peduto's credit, when he finally had his turn at the mic again, his take on Lamb's and O'Connor's bickering was that, "Instead of debating about comptroller reports we should be debating about the budget."

I guess that subject just isn't exciting enough for our local media.

And, speaking of local media, the Post-Gazette is taking a focused look at each candidate. This week was Bill Peduto's turn. The article can be read here. An article on Bob O'Connor appeared last week and can be read here. Lamb will be featured next week.

As Comments from Left Field notes, the article on Peduto does "...a little too good a job of repeating the negative talking points bandied about by Peduto's opponents," but it's still worth a look.

April 24, 2005

RATzinger Threatened Excommunication for Clergy Who Warned Anyone About Pedophile Priests

That's right folks, when RATzinger was still a cardinal and prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition) he wrote a confidential letter that was distributed to every Catholic bishop in May 2001. The Observer states the letter contained the following:

"It spells out to bishops the church's position on a number of matters ranging from celebrating the eucharist with a non-Catholic to sexual abuse by a cleric 'with a minor below the age of 18 years'. Ratzinger's letter states that the church can claim jurisdiction in cases where abuse has been 'perpetrated with a minor by a cleric'.

The letter states that the church's jurisdiction 'begins to run from the day when the minor has completed the 18th year of age' and lasts for 10 years.

It orders that 'preliminary investigations' into any claims of abuse should be sent to Ratzinger's office, which has the option of referring them back to private tribunals in which the 'functions of judge, promoter of justice, notary and legal representative can validly be performed for these cases only by priests'.

'Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret,' Ratzinger's letter concludes. Breaching the pontifical secret at any time while the 10-year jurisdiction order is operating carries penalties, including the threat of excommunication.
The letter came to light in a lawsuit filed earlier this years on behalf of two alleged abuse victims against a Texas church. The plaintiffs' lawyer is quoted in the Observer article as saying:

"It speaks for itself. You have to ask: why do you not start the clock ticking until the kid turns 18? It's an obstruction of justice."

My thoughts exactly!

By what authority did RATzinger think that the Catholic Church had the right to conceal abuse from the proper US legal authorities?

Who died and made him Pope?


TV Listings (4/24/05)

April 24


Watch the candidates debate in the Mayoral Forum on WTAE

Sunday Funnies

And, my favorite and one which is particularly pertinent to Just Us Sunday:

April 22, 2005

Don't forget that this Sunday is JUSTICE SUNDAY!
How will YOU celebrate?

The Family Research Council telecast, "Justice Sunday" is this Sunday (Broadcast in Pittsburgh on Cornerstone TeleVision Network WPCB-TV, Channel 5 on Comcast Cable, 4/25 MONDAY @ 1pm ET). The show is mean to be simulcast to churches, websites and Christian broadcast networks.

A flier for the broadcast reads, "The filibuster against people of faith--The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias, and it is now being used against people of faith."

Senate Majority Leader Bill "Nuclear Option" Frist will join the telecast through a four-minute videotape.

"Its organizers hope to enlist the grass-roots support of conservative Christians for an imminent Senate battle over Republican proposals to change Senate rules that have enabled the Democratic minority to filibuster, blocking Senate votes on 10 of Mr. Bush's appeals court nominees." (According to the NY Times)

Other Christian Right luminaries appearing on the program are Focus on the Family Founder Dr. James C. "Christian Jihad" Dobson and Born Again Chuck "Watergate Felon" Colson.

Dobson was recently caught on tape saying the following:

"Very few people know this, that the Congress can simply disenfranchise a court. They don't have to fire anybody or impeach them or go through that battle. All they have to do is say the 9th Circuit doesn't exist anymore, and it's gone."
Nice, huh?

You might want to either stock up on sackcloth and ashes now OR contact the Canadian Immigration Board.

I hear he thinks rock music is evil too

April 21, 2005

Melissa Hart's in the news!

Maeve Reston, in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a few things to say about our favorite representative from Bradford Woods, Melissa Hart. I have to say that some of it misses the mark.

She begins:

Four House ethics committee Republicans yesterday tried but failed to break a deadlock over controversial new ethics rules by offering to modify them slightly and to initiate an inquiry into House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's controversial foreign trips and relations with lobbyists.

If Democrats had agreed to the GOP compromise, Rep. Melissa Hart, R-Bradford Woods, a new committee member, would have led an ethics subcommittee charged with investigating DeLay, R-Texas.
Close - at least she pointed out that the bone of contention among the Democrats on the ethics committee is the "controversial ethics rules." It's a little better than Mike Allen's piece in the Washington Post:

House Republicans yesterday offered to open an investigation into overseas travel and other activities by Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), as part of an effort to resolve a three-month impasse with the Democrats that has kept the ethics committee from functioning.
Reading Allen's piece, you'd have no idea what the impasse is about. Seating arrangements? Choice of restaurants? The forced acceptence of new Republican concocted ethics rules designed to protect the House's most corrupt member? Which do you think?

But let's get back to our hometown paper.

Hart was appointed to the panel -- formally called the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct -- earlier this year, when House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., replaced its chairman, Rep. Joel Hefley, R-Colo., and two other GOP members. Democrats cast Hastert's action as retribution against party members on the panel. Last year, the panel admonished DeLay three times for his conduct, even though it did not find that he had broken House rules.

But it wasn't only Democrats who cast Hastert's actions as retribution. The New York Times reported on 4/14/2005 that a group of former GOP representatives sent a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert saying that:

We felt grave concern when the Republican leadership changed the ethics rules several weeks ago to require a bipartisan majority vote to even investigate a charge of ethical misconduct. We saw it as an obvious action to protect Majority Leader Tom DeLay who had been admonished three times by the Ethics Committee for well-publicized misuse of money and/or power.

We felt even greater concern when the leadership then fired Chairman Joel Hefley and two other members of the Committee, replacing them with Members who had either given to or received funds from Mr. DeLay.

We respectfully suggest it would be good for the party and the country if the Republican majority were to join Chris Shays of Connecticut in voting to reinstate the old rules.

House members all. Republicans all.

Two new GOP members have contributed to DeLay's legal defense fund: Texas Rep. Lamar Smith -- who did not appear with other members at yesterday's news conference announcing the prospective inquiry -- gave the majority leader's defense committee $10,000, and Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole donated $5,000.

Rep. Tom DeLayBut Hart has not donated any money to DeLay's fund.

All this is true, but it fails to note how much money Representative Hart has received from Tom Delay's PAC. We've already blogged on it here. Nor that she voted for the so-called "Delay Rule change" so she can scarely be trusted to be completely independent, can she? For those who don't (or won't) remember, the change would have allowed a committee head to retain his/her position even if indicted by a State Grand Jury.

Reston touches on, but never delves deeply enough into why the Democrats don't like the Ethics Committee's rule changes. She says:

One rule allows any complaint against a member to be dismissed within 45 days if there is no committee action or if there is a tie vote on whether to proceed. (The ethics committee is the only congressional panel divided evenly; it has five members from each party.)
But take a look at that. If there's a tie vote in the evenly divided committee, then no action can be taken. That means that if, for example (and I am just - yknow - pulling this out of no where), one party's members of the Ethics Committee are all extremely loyal, or at least bought and paid for, and an ethics charge bubbles up about a powerful member of that party, this new fangled "Ethics" rule can effectively shut down any investigation before it begins. Now why do you think the Republicans would impose such a rule?

More importantly, why would they appoint Melissa Hart to be on such a committee?

April 20, 2005

Looking for Ann Of Coulter?

If you're coming from The Moderate Voice and looking for the Ann of Coulter Holy Card, the original post that contained this card and many others (Bush, Cheney, Delay, etc.) can be found HERE.

Due to the overwhelming response to these images when they were crossposted on Daily KOS and picked-up elsewhere (The Moderate Voice, MyDD, etc.), I've created a store where you can buy cards, stickers, T-shirts, etc. Only Cheney the Defender product available at the moment but more will be added soon.

Click below and book mark it:

April 19, 2005

TIME asks the question: brave warrior or a shallow hack?

...And comes down on the side of fun-loving kook!

Yes, the woman who indiscriminately denounces Liberals as "terrorists" or a "cult" who "hate democracy;" the woman who's only regret about Timothy McVeigh is that "he did not go to the New York Times Building;" and the woman who said, "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity" has been given a cover story in Time Magazine.

In the article, we learn that:

But in person, Coulter is more likely to offer jokes than fury. For instance, you might ask her to name her historical antecedents in the conservative movement, and she'll burst forth, "I'm Attila the Hun," and then break into gales of laughter so forceful you smell the Nicorette. "Genghis Khan!"

I began to wonder, in a moistly liberal formulation, whether Ann Coulter might be ... misunderstood? All her right-wing capering aside ("We've got to attack France!"), Coulter was an Ivy League-educated legal writer before she was a TV pundit. She's an omnivorous reader (everything from her friend Matt Drudge's website to the works of French philosopher Jacques Ellul), and she isn't afraid to begin a column on Bush, as she did in January, "Maybe he is an idiot."

As a congressional staff member 10 years ago, Coulter used to help write the nation's laws. Now she is far more powerful: she helps set the nation's tone.

So which is it? Is she a brave warrior or a shallow hack? Or is Ann Coulter that most unlikely of conservative subspecies: a hard-right ironist?

And of course the biggest case Coulter ever helped handle as an attorney (she got her law degree from the University of Michigan in 1988) was a sexual-harassment claim of an unsophisticated woman against her powerful former boss. Coulter was one of a handful of informal legal advisers quietly helping Paula Jones, who had alleged in a 1994 lawsuit that she suffered distress and retaliation at her state job after refusing Arkansas Governor Clinton's request for oral sex in 1991. Coulter interviewed Jones and helped write her legal briefs.

Although beloved in Bush country, Coulter lives in a New York City apartment, loves expensive Manhattan restaurants, chews Nicorette in church and hardly ever misses the drag queens' Halloween parade in Greenwich Village.

Coulter has a reputation for carelessness with facts, and if you Google the words "Ann Coulter lies," you will drown in results. But I didn't find many outright Coulter errors.

Coulter is terrified her address will become public, and she sometimes hides behind a surgical mask when she flies.

Although it drives Coulter crazy, even friends sometimes say her public and private personas differ. Kent Brownridge, 63, general manager of Wenner Media and a longtime Democrat who used to work for George McGovern, says, "You couldn't find a nicer friend" than Coulter. But, he adds, "I think she has a professional point of view or a shtick or whatever ... Ann has perfected a thing she does on TV because she is outrageous and funny. That's her business, public commentator."


And we have a winner!

The new Pope is:

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger of Germany (who was an "unethusiastic" Hitler's Youth --Whoo Hoo!)

His pope name is Benedict the 16th.

He favors the color red; is 78 years old; and was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition.

Ratzinger is known to take conservative views on topics such as birth control and inter-religious dialogue so don't get any uppity ideas, you Americanos.

View his fan clubs HERE and HERE

UPDATE: ABC News just reported that he put out a memo that seemed to agree with those who said politicians who do not oppose abortion -- and the people who vote for them -- should be denied Communion. Sounds like he and W will get along just peachy! But don't we all just love a man in a uniform (or a dress)?

UPDATE II: Even my Catholic mother and grandmother are disappointed in the choice. Guess they should be as, while they are far from pro choice, they voted for Kerry. No communion for you, Bubba!

We also agreed that he should have taken the name Pius XIII instead of Benedict XVI.

Mayoral Debates

WPXI carried a live broadcast of a mayoral debate this past Sunday (available on Comcast on Demand). As I'm firmly for Bill Peduto (and volunteer for his campaign), I thought it might be interesting to publish a take on the debate from someone who hadn't made up their mind going into the show and who is more of an average voter than your typical politically obsessed blogger.

My sister, Gina, fit that bill. She is a manager at a business-to-business sales company and is in the 25 - 35 age range. She votes regularly, but is not the CSPAN addict that I am. She knows that I am for Peduto, but we've disagreed on candidates before (most notably, she can't stand Gov. Rendell and voted against him in the primary).

Being highly opinionated must run in our family. Here's some of her unvarnished commentary:

On Republican Joe Weinroth: "He looks like a sleazy politician!" "He reminds me of Rendell." "He says 'umm' to much."

On Michael Lamb: "Meek and mild." "A pussy who would crumble under pressure. That's why he attacks everyone."

On Bob O'Connor: "He's talking in circles." "He keeps talking about himself instead of the city and the issues."

On Bill Peduto: "I like the way he compares himself to the others. He doesn't do it negatively. He'll mention when he agrees with another candidate." "He comes off as smart." "The Clinton hand thing doesn't look natural -- he needs to loosen up more."

As we're sisters and not professional political commentators, there was a good five minute discussion where she tried to think of the name of an actor in the movie "Lost Boys" that Peduto reminded her of. Google to the rescue and the answer is:

Edward Herrmann
Hmm...not sure how the campaign would feel about that, but he did play FDR and Lou Gehrig. ;-)

If you want to help out the candidate that Gina liked best:

Peduto for Pittsburgh
1100 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

412-338-1460 - phone

And, if you found this post to be less than helpful or interesting:
Remember, it's Gina's fault, not mine. :-D

I was on the Randi Rhodes Show yesterday

I called into Air America Radio during The Randi Rhodes Show yesterday and got on air. Randi was going on about Lil Ricky "Man on Dog Action" Santorum and the very creepy profile on him in yesterday's Washington Post, particularly this paragraph about one of his sons who was born prematurely, at 20 weeks and lived two hours outside the womb:

"Upon their son's death, Rick and Karen Santorum opted not to bring his body to a funeral home. Instead, they bundled him in a blanket and drove him to Karen's parents' home in Pittsburgh. There, they spent several hours kissing and cuddling Gabriel with his three siblings, ages 6, 4 and 1 1/2. They took photos, sang lullabies in his ear and held a private Mass."
Randi also mentioned Santorum's cyber school problems but I noticed that she didn't mention the Act 50 Homestead Exemption issue so I called in about that.

First, I have to say that this show really vets the callers. Some people have called Rhodes a "female Rush" but what I like about Randi is her amazing command of the facts on any number of topics (as opposed to Rush's willingness to say anything truth be damned). While I was on hold, her staff kept getting back on the line with me to question me at length about the issue and to ask for newspaper sources on the topic.

Finally, I was on with Randi herself. It was quite an experience -- she has a rapid fire delivery -- and I had to really work it to keep up with her jokes and get my point across that Sen. Man on Dog is a tax cheat who doesn't deserve to take the exemption because, while he certainly owns the home in question in Penn Hills, it is in no way his primary residence. I did manage to get in that Democracy for Pittsburgh was involved in a petition drive to demand that Santorum pay back his taxes with interest and penalties.

Along the way, we agreed that Randi was a "better woman" than Lil Ricky since she took the hit in paying her taxes in NYC despite also having a residence in FLA.

April 16, 2005


Tom Delay's House of Scandal website has a nifty little feature on their left sidebar where you can enter your state and find out "HOW TANGLED UP WITH DELAY IS YOUR MEMBER?"

Here's what they have to say about Little Missy Heart:

Just how tangled up in Tom DeLay's House of Scandal is Melissa Hart?

  • Melissa Hart has taken $15,000 from Tom DeLay's ARMPAC. No surprise that Hart voted with Tom DeLay 94% of the time between Jan. 1 2004 and March 31 2005.

    Is this the kind of government-for-hire that working families deserve?

  • Melissa Hart voted to weaken the ethics rules in a move that many say served only to protect Tom DeLay.

    Does the integrity of the House mean so little that Melissa Hart would sacrifice it to defend Tom DeLay?

  • When Democrats offered a solution to clean up the House by strengthening ethics rules, Melissa Hart voted to make sure it never even came to an up or down vote.

    So instead of a bipartisan effort to get government working for Americans, Melissa Hart stood for cronyism and partisan politics.

  • Melissa Hart voted to allow DeLay to continue serving as Leader even if he is indicted.

  • Is Tom DeLay's behavior the kind of leadership that should be REWARDED, not punished?

    1Contributions from ARMPAC:
    2Voting percentage with DeLay:
    caluclated through:
    3Vote to weaken ethics rules:
    H Res. 5, Roll Call #6, 1/4/05
    4Vote to table Democratic solution:
    H. Res. 153, Roll Call #70, 3/15/05
    5Closed door indictment rule vote:

    And here's what that have to say about Tim Murphy:

    Just how tangled up in Tom DeLay's House of Scandal is Tim Murphy?

  • Tim Murphy has taken $10,000 from Tom DeLay's ARMPAC. No surprise that Murphy voted with Tom DeLay 94% of the time between Jan. 1 2004 and March 31 2005.

    Is this the kind of government-for-hire that working families deserve?

  • Tim Murphy voted to weaken the ethics rules in a move that many say served only to protect Tom DeLay.

    Does the integrity of the House mean so little that Tim Murphy would sacrifice it to defend Tom DeLay?

  • When Democrats offered a solution to clean up the House by strengthening ethics rules, Tim Murphy voted to make sure it never even came to an up or down vote.

    So instead of a bipartisan effort to get government working for Americans, Tim Murphy stood for cronyism and partisan politics.

    1Contributions from ARMPAC:
    2Voting percentage with DeLay:
    caluclated through:
    3Vote to weaken ethics rules:
    H Res. 5, Roll Call #6, 1/4/05
    4Vote to table Democratic solution:
    H. Res. 153, Roll Call #70, 3/15/05

  • April 15, 2005

    Umm, sorry!

    Sorry for the dearth of posts but between tax time, being the only member of the virtual office where I work not away at a non-virtual trade show, and participating in this EVENT (I'm the one behind the camera), this week has been a busy one. I'll try to post later this evening.

    April 13, 2005



    As it must be clear to anyone who reads this blog, I'm for Bill, but why not go to one of these candidate forums and make up your own mind?

    16-April, from 6 to 8 p.m.
    Sponsor: Pittsburgh Black Media Federation
    Tom Forrester Building - CCAC Northside Campus.
    Info: Don Patterson, 412- 327-4681

    20-April, at 5:30 p.m.
    Sponsor: Pittsburgh Civic Design Coalition
    Convention Center
    Info.: 412- 391-4144

    22-April, at noon
    Sponsor: Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
    Schenley Park Visitors Center
    Info: Amy Ripple, 412- 682-7275

    28-April, from 6 to 7 p.m.
    Sponsor: NAACP & BPEP
    Homewood Library
    Info.: 412-471-1024

    April 12, 2005

    Rick Santorum's "Culture of Life"

    I don't think this story's hit the Pittsburgh media yet.

    It seems that Senator Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania's own crusader in the culture of life, had some other motivations when he took that trip down to Schiavo-land. This is from
    Santorum: the right to life, and to make money

    Despite the fact that the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case didn't prove to be the political gold mine some members of the GOP thought it would be, Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., is laughing all the way to the bank. After scoring some free publicity outside Schiavo's Pinellas Park, Fla., hospice last month, Santorum distanced himself from the issue, saying on March 31 that he didn't know "how anyone can believe that this is a political winner, if you look at any of the polls," and that he was actually in Florida for "other meetings."

    It turns out that those "other meetings" were fundraising events for the senator's '06 reelection bid, hosted by such notables as Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., and executives from Revlon and Outback Steakhouse. According to Monday's Philadelphia Inquirer, Santorum made the trip to Florida expressly for fundraising; his finance director Rob Bickhart said the trip netted the campaign about $250,000.

    Schiavo's death did put a small dent in Santorum's schedule at the time -- the Inquirer noted that he was slated to speak at a town hall meeting in Tampa to promote President Bush's proposed Social Security plan, but that it was cancelled "out of respect" for Schiavo's family. But with the death watch in full swing, when it came to Santorum's raking in the campaign contributions, apparently it was business as usual.

    And this is the column from John Baer's column in yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer:
    MY HAT'S OFF to Rick Santorum.

    I mean it. Say what you want, this is one pol who works it.

    Whether it's flying off to Rome to the pope's funeral, or putting out news he personally met with the pope five - count 'em, five times - he knows how to touch his bases.

    More Catholic, one could say, than, well, you know.

    And take his trip to Florida and his national TV appearance after visiting the hospice where Terry Schiavo was dying.

    A masterpiece of timing, an exceptional use of his time and a good example of how politics is played by the big boys.

    Make some news, do a little pandering, raise some money and, oh, yeah, comfort a suffering family.

    Wait, raise some money? Yep, that's what the trip was about.

    Maybe you thought it was about Santorum's deep commitment to the culture of life.

    After all, the passionately conservative Republican was pretty visible in the controversial case, getting lots of ink and airtime. He argued that Schiavo was denie due process and her right to life. He called state and federal court refusals to intervene "unconscionable."

    And at the critical moment, right near the end, the day before she died, there he was (uninvited) with her family.

    Reportedly the only member of Congress to go, he said was in Florida on "a lot of other business."


    Well, there was a town meeting in Tampa, near the hospice, with two other Republican senators selling President Bush's Social Security reform. See, Santorum's a leader in the U.S. Senate, chairman of the Republican Conference.

    But that meeting was canceled at least two days earlier.

    On Wednesday March 30 Santorum said on national TV, "We canceled it on Monday."

    Why? According to the Tampa Tribune, "out of respect" for Schiavo's family.

    A spokesperson for the event said, "We just didn't think it was appropriate to go into the region and do a big policy event at this time."

    Apparently, though, it was appropriate for a politician seeking re-election to go into the region and do political events at this time. Even if he didn't talk about them.

    Santorum told MSNBC-TV, according to the March 30 "Hardball" transcript, he was in Florida because, "I had other plans to - and other meetings." (Schiavo died March 31.) What he didn't say was the plans and "meetings" were fund-raisers for his '06 re-election effort.

    There was a luncheon in Orlando and a dinner in Miami on March 29 with Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, a luncheon in Tampa March 30 hosted by Outback Steakhouse, which is headquartered there, and a dinner that night in Palm Beach hosted by execs from Revlon.

    The trip was made on a Wal-Mart jet paid for by Santorum's campaign fund.

    Total take, according to Santorum finance director Rob Bickhart, was about $250,000 (en route to an April 15 FEC filing expected to show the senator with close to $3 million already).

    So my hat's off.

    Down and back on a corporate jet, grab a quarter-mill, get some national attention. This, my friends, is poetry in motion.

    What's that you say? Seems a tad crass to cash in on a heartbroken family and get your mug on TV because you happen to be in the neighborhood lining your pockets?

    If you cancel one event "out of respect," why not others?

    Doesn't the culture of life outweigh the culture of cash?

    Well, your problem is you just don't understand politics (and, hey, Jesse Jackson went down there!) or the way it's played by the big boys.

    Thanks, Rick. Thanks for putting things in perspective for us. You cancelled the Social Security meeting is cancelled out of "respect" for the Schiavo family but not the campaign fundraisers. I'll repeat that for some added emphasis:

    You cancelled the Social Security meeting out of "respect" for the Schiavo family but not your campaign fundraisers.

    And now we have a fuller understanding of your committment to the "culture of life" and the depth of your "respect" for the Schiavo family. Maybe the quarter million is worth it. In the meantime, you might want to take a look at Mark 8:36. In case you've forgotten, Senator, here's the text:
    36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
    Was the quarter Million worth it?

    April 9, 2005

    Free Food This Weekend!

    (Courtesy of People for Peduto)

    "So we had some rain for last Saturday, and we still broke records with over 900 phone calls. This weekend we want to do it again. On SATURDAY, April 9 - the Hot Dog truck will be outside of Peduto headquarters serving free hot dogs and veggie dogs to Peduto supporters. Come for the Hot Dog, check out the headquarters and stay to volunteer. "

    Peduto for Pittsburgh
    1100 Smallman Street
    Pittsburgh, PA 15222

    412-338-1460 - phone


    Location: Schenley Park Skating Rink
    501 Overlook Dr, Pittsburgh,PA
    When: Sunday, April 10, 3:00pm to 5:00pm
    Phone: (412) 422-6523

    "Please join us for a spaghetti dinner to raise money for the Peduto campaign. Peduto supporters, spaghetti, great food, great people. Please stop by anytime between 3 and 5 pm."
    Cost: FREE

    Bring your Friends and Family - all are welcome to attend

    R.S.V.P @

    (And, yes, I will mention again that I'm volunteering for Bill Peduto.)

    April 8, 2005

    blogger better get it's act together now...

    ...or they can forget anyone using it.

    I can't make it work at all in IE lately so I'm forced to use Netscape and when I try to use the 'compose' feature, I'm kicked off Netscape -- hence, the HUGE white space in my previous post.

    UPDATE: Blogger is working at the moment so the previous endorsement post has been fixed.

    Democracy for Pittsburgh Endorsement Results

    At the Wednesday night monthly meetup, Democracy for Pittsburgh held an endorsement meeting for the May 17 primary election.

    In order to win endorsement, a candidate needed to receive at least 75% of non-abstention votes. Members had the option to choose to decline to endorse (essentially, a vote against all candidates).


    Mayor (36 Votes):

    William Peduto (29) *ENDORSED*

    Michael Lamb (4)
    Les Ludwig (2 )
    Decline to Endorse (1)

    Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas
    (41 Votes):

    Jon Pushinsky (39) *ENDORSED*
    Kathryn Hens-Greco (37) *ENDORSED*

    Wrenna Watson (25)
    Chuck Evans (23)
    James Mahood (22)
    Kelly Bigley (11)

    Pittsburgh City Council District 2 (24 votes):

    Erin Molchany (23) *ENDORSED*

    Melissa Rossiter (1)
    Pittsburgh City Council District 6 (36 votes):

    Tonya Payne (34) *ENDORSED*

    Sala Udin (2)
    Pittsburgh City Council District 8(36 votes):

    William Peduto (32) *ENDORSED*

    Harlan Stone (1)
    Decline to Endorse (3)
    Allegheny County Council District 8 (30 votes):

    Chuck Martoni (28) *ENDORSED*

    Decline to Endorse (2)
    Magistrate (South Side)(30 votes):

    Eileen M. Conroy (29) *ENDORSED*

    Decline to Endorse (1)
    PA Senate Special Election(42nd District) (33 votes):

    Waynoe Fontana (21)
    Mark Rauterkus (3)
    Decline to Endorse (9)

    Forest Hills Borough Council (31 votes):

    Marty B. O'Malley (31) *ENDORSED*

    April 5, 2005

    WPTT and Michael Reagan

    I heard the most amazing thing on WPTT last afternoon. I was walking home and I happened to hear a few minutes of the Michael Reagan program on the radio (it's a Radio Shack portable that eats batteries as quickly as I scarf down my mothers gnocchi). I was aghast.

    For those who don't yet know it, Michael Reagan is the adopted son of Ronald Reagan when secular saint of the family values crowd was married to his first wife, Jane Wyman.

    He was (I believe) discussing this story. Well, perhaps not that specific news story, but the story of the "mini-marathon" in Pakistan where a row was caused by the fact that men and women would be running side-by-side.

    This, to Michael Reagan, was yet more evidence of the Islamic world's backwardness and intolerance. Let me first say that I have to agree that the idea of protesting an all-gender marathon on account of its gender-inclusiveness is, indeed, goofy.

    But Mr Reagan didn't end his discussion there. He used it to begin a rant where all Islamic men are hypocrites.

    On what, do you ask, did he base that assumption?

    He said that they're hypocrites because while they hate the idea of a mixed gender marathon they (now watch this very closely) "all have whores in London."

    I stopped dead in my tracks as I wasn't sure exactly what I heard. I recognized all the words ("whores" and "in" and "London"), but I'd never heard them all strung together in that way. Indeed the word "whore" is abit of an anachronism in this corner of Dayvoe's universe. Why not "prostitute" or "hooker"? Any linguists in the audience?

    In any event, he repeated the "whores in London" triad enough times for me to get it. And he went on to explain why he know they all had whores in London. It was a story when he and his wife were actually in London with Secret Service protection. The story revolved around the Secret Service and London police clearing out a space for the Reagans. The remaining Moslems were all upset that their whores were sent away.

    Something like that.

    But take a look at the details. Does the US Secret Service routinely protect conservative radio talk-show hosts on their visits to the UK? Here's info straight from the official source:

    Today, the Secret Service is authorized by law to protect:
    1. the President, the Vice President, (or other individuals next in order of succession to the Office of the President), the President-elect and Vice President-elect;
    2. the immediate families of the above individuals;
    3. former Presidents, their spouses for their lifetimes, except when the spouse re-marries. In 1997, Congressional legislation became effective limiting Secret Service protection to former Presidents for a period of not more than 10 years from the date the former President leaves office.
    4. children of former presidents until age 16;
    5. visiting heads of foreign states or governments and their spouses traveling with them, other distinguished foreign visitors to the United States, and official epresentatives of the United States performing special missions abroad;
    6. major Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates, and their spouses within 120 days of a general Presidential election.

    We can pretty much reject the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 6th points. That leaves the 2nd:

    the immediate families of the above individuals;

    and the 4th:

    children of former presidents until age 16;

    Since Michael Reagan was last 16 in 1961 we can reject the 4th point. And since the 3rd point uses the phrase "former Presidents", while the 2nd point ("immediate families...") only references the "above individuals" (i.e. current families of the President and Vice-President etc)
    we can safely assume Michael Reagan last had Secret Service protection while his father was President - in 1988. So Michael Reagan's story is at least 17 years old.

    He also pointed out that the Moslems he saw with their whores in London "looked bad and smelled bad."

    Why am I making such a fuss with this?

    Because WPTT is the radio station of Lynn Cullen and Jerry Bowyer and because Michael Reagan broadcasts over WPTT and John McIntire doesn't.

    Go figure.

    Law and Order and Senator Cornyn

    In light of Maria's recent death threats, I'd like to take a moment to reflect on the Right's "culture of life" and what Republican Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said on the Senate Floor. It is being reported at the Washington Post that he said:
    I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that's been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in - engage in violence.
    By the way, the Senator said this after the death of Pope John Paul II:

    In a world that frequently rejects the idea of moral absolutes, John Paul politely but firmly offered truth, love and justice.

    He fought against the culture of death as an eloquent spokesman for the value and dignity of every human life.
    But of the violence against judges, he said that he wonders whether there's some connection between the perception that judges are making political decisions unaccountable to the public and the violence against them.

    First off, it's completely wrong. In an article printed in the New York Times, US District Court Judge John Kane had this to say about violence against judges:

    Since 1970, 10 state and federal judges have been murdered, seven of them in job-related incidents. Those who threaten judges are almost always disturbed individuals seeking revenge. (The murderer of the mother and husband of the judge in Chicago was sadly typical: he was an embittered former plaintiff.) Of the three federal judges killed in the last quarter-century, all were killed by men disgruntled with their treatment from the federal judicial system.

    Take a look at the numbers again. 10 state and federal judges have been murdered in the last 35 years.

    And take a look at that last sentence again. How does all this mesh with Senator Cornyn's "they brought it on themselves" notion? And even if it were true, how does that mesh with the Brother John's devotion to the "Culture of Life?"

    Using Senator John Cornyn's logic, if only the Pope wasn't such a stubborn anti-communist, he wouldn't have brought on that whole assassination thing on himself. I mean, I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where the Pope was making political/social/moral decisions and yet was unaccountable to the people of the world (he certainly wasn't elected by the people of the world), that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some countries engaged in violence to stop him.

    Yea, I know. It sickens me too.

    Pennacchio: Progressive Populist

    File this under: Better Late Than Never (my excuse is a bad earache, long wait at emergency room & volunteering for Bill Peduto this weekend). Anyway, here's my thoughts on last Friday's reception.

    First, I was quite eager to see and hear Pennacchio in person. I already know that I like his positions on the issues and I especially like the fact that he is openly pro choice and pro-gay (as opposed to Santorum-Lite Casey, Jr.). I have to admit that I and a friend confessed to each other that we wanted to check him out to see how he presented himself:
    Would he inspire confidence?

    Would he come off as too Kucinichy?

    Too elitist?

    Too web-only?
    After all, we ARE talking about a COLLEGE PROFESSOR from the EAST with a hard-to-spell ETHNIC name.

    We wanted to see if this was a guy who could play in the Burgh and The T.

    I have to say: I like what I saw.

    Pennacchio came off "regular guy" enough -- OK, smart regular guy.

    I was pleased to hear that he's doing much outreach beyond the stuff all you BlogLovers know about. He's speaking to Labor (Casey's supposed strong point) and rural groups and women's groups and everybody else. He's building a real organization from the ground up.

    He also has more of a wide-ranging background than one might suppose (damn if I even know what a 'grange' is).

    In other words, folks, he's got a good shot at running as a POPULIST. Something that I don't believe the privileged son of a governor can really run as.

    I did try to take some notes, but my pen went MIA and I rushed out of the house without any notepad and I was reduced to scribbling in eyeliner in my address book. I do remember the quote that Comments from Left Field mentioned:

    "If you elect me to the U.S. Senate I will be on the losing end of more 99 to 1 votes than any Senator in history."
    So the guy is a progressive populist.

    I took down four points in my notes, which given the smearing qualities of the eyeliner pencil and the smallness of my address book, came out a bit garbled.

    I can make out the following:

  • Pennacchio will run a Campaign of Inclusion
  • He's truly pro Democrat
  • He's the candidate of reform
  • He's pro choice.
  • So if you've taken a look at his website ( and you don't like having the Machine tell you who the candidate will be and you want to know what you can do to help, the answer is:

    At this point the campaign needs $$$ to be taken seriously and move to the next level. (Check out a suggestion found in the comments section of this post at Froth Slosh B'Gosh for more on that.)

    Also, if you haven't already seen it, Shea has a fantastic post Honey, There's a Senate Candidate in our Shower... at her blog, Urban Democracy, which also was a recommended diary at Daily KOS.

    It's a MUST READ!

    P.S. I forgot to mention that it was great to finally meet so many Pgh bloggers in person!

    The real culprit behind the postponement of the Chuck & Camilla wedding and possible proof of an afterlife and/or the Pope's first miracle

    I credit the snafu to Princess Di who obviously caught the Pope's ear while he had one foot in Heaven and made him hang on just long enough to mess up the wedding date of her ex to her arch nemesis.

    Revenge is a dish best served cold, indeed.

    My Very First Death Threat

    I had really no idea how big of an impact I would make when I posted my "Theocon Trading Cards" (as Ol' Froth called them) here and crossposted at Daily KOS. The Daily KOS diary got about 200 recommends and 273 comments.

    The 2 political junkies post got picked up by MyDD, as well as mentions all over the net including the discussion boards at and Motley Fool.

    2 political junkies got close to a thousand unique visitors on the day it was posted and over 700 the next day. Between the hits on 2pj and KOS, we quickly exceeded the bandwidth limits at the site hosting the graphics and had to scramble around to find another server to host the graphics.

    All the requests for actual product has led me to create a store for these designs (shameless plug: Holy GOP! -- look for products in the next 2 weeks).

    It also led to my very first death threat at an Ann Coulter fan club message board (registration required). OK, I may be being a bit melodramatic here, but here's a couple of quotes from the site:

    "Classy. They deserve a bullet in the head, not our pity."

    "Yet while here on earth, I have the 'presumptuous' desire to exact revenge on people who cross certain lines... The Lord says, 'Vengeance Is Mine'... This may be a bit of a stretch... but, since we all have a little bit of God within us, am I not allowed to dispense a little bit of vengeance... Be it with OR without some penalty, I find that it is always rewarding to right a wrong or get even with evil..."
    Truthfully, these statements do not frighten me. What I do find to be scary is another comment from that board:

    "It's one thing to make fun of George Bush, quite another to "poke fun" at our Lord Jesus Christ. :shake"
    Here's a clue for these folks:

    I was making fun of YOU, not Jesus.

    April 4, 2005


    I've been under the weather with a bad ear infection (four hours waiting @ the emergency room).

    I will blog later today about Pennacchio's visit to the Burgh, perhaps about the Pope (uh-oh more death threats for me?), oh, and about the death threats I got.

    April 1, 2005

    PENNACCHIO Live! Tonight! In the Burgh!

    Progress Pittsburgh is hosting a reception for Democratic US Senate candidate Dr. Chuck Pennacchio TONIGHT in Pittsburgh. From the Progress Pittsburgh announcement:

    Dr. Pennacchio is vying for the Democratic nomination to take on Rick Santorum in 2006. Take this opportunity to meet and hear Dr. Pennacchio speak about his record and views on the issues.

    There is already a lot of energy behind efforts to defeat Santorum; the state Democratic Party has decided their man is State Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. - Dr. Pennacchio is running a grassroots campaign for an opportunity to win in the primary and beat Santorum in 2006.

    The reception will start at 5:30pm, with Dr. Pennacchio speaking at 6pm. Friday, April 1st at 5:30PM - Roland's in the Strip District

    For more info about Chuck Pennacchio, go to his website

    To find out more about Progress Pittsburgh, go

    Please come out to meet Dr. Pennacchio at this great EVENT and please spread the word.


    What if the Right is Right?

    With all the media coverage of the Schiavo case the phrase "Culture of Life" has come up plenty of times. Many Republican politicians say that they are for the Culture of Life (and imply that the Democrats are for a "Culture of Death"). Well, I want to be open-minded about this. What if the Republicans are right? What if they are fighting the Good Fight? If that's true, in 100 years or so, we may be seeing something like this:
    UPDATE: Woo Hoo! Cross-posted this a DAILY KOS and got Recommended Diary Status. UPDATE #2: thanks to it's back up @ KOS and I put them back up @ another AOL address here. UPDATE #3: Due to the overwhelming response to these images when they were crossposted on Daily KOS and picked-up elsewhere, I've created a store where you can buy cards, stickers, T-shirts, etc. Only Cheney the Defender product available at the moment but more will be added soon. Click below and book mark it: