Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Literacy Tests Needed for Florida Legislators

From Florida's News-Press, via Drudge:

A state legislator whose district is home to thousands of Caribbean immigrants wants to ban the term "illegal alien" from the state's official documents.

"I personally find the word 'alien' offensive when applied to individuals, especially to children," said Sen. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami. "An alien to me is someone from out of space."

The first definition of "alien" in my handy Webster's dictionary: "a foreigner".

Perhaps Sen. Wilson thinks she has many space alien supporters and doesn't want to be confused?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Pelosi Hides from Campaign Promises

From the Politico:

[Nancy] Pelosi vowed that five-day workweeks would be a hallmark of a harder-working Democratic majority. So far, the House has logged only one. Lawmakers plan to clock three days this week.

The speaker has denied Republicans a vote on their proposals during congressional debates -- a tactic she previously declared oppressive and promised to end...

And then there's the Pride of New Orleans:

She is drawing fire for putting Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), who had $90,000 in alleged bribe money in his freezer, on the Homeland Security Committee. And The Washington Post reported during the weekend that she is helping chairmen raise money from donors with business before their committees.


Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a congressional watchdog organization, said Jefferson's reelection put the new speaker in a bind.

"Pelosi had to put him somewhere," said Sloan, who has also worked as minority counsel for the House Judiciary Committee for then-ranking member John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.). "But I am troubled by the fact ... that (Jefferson) is the kind of guy who could not pass a security clearance test and yet now he has access to top-secret government info."

I didn't see anything in the Constitution that guarantees anyone a committee membership. Jefferson should be spurned rather than embraced by House Democrats.
Some Democratic lawmakers privately warn that Pelosi could blow a rare opportunity to change voters' perception of the party and Congress...
That opportunity was blown long ago.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Congressional Research Service: DC Vote Plan Unconstitutional

The Macaca Post reports:

The research arm of Congress says that legislation to give the District a vote in the House of Representatives is probably unconstitutional, a finding that could jeopardize its chances of passage, officials and analysts said yesterday.

The report by the Congressional Research Service is not binding, and its conclusions reflect what some prominent legal scholars have been warning for years. But it could carry extra weight because the service generally gets high marks for its nonpartisan advice to the House and Senate.


The D.C. vote bill seeks to gain bipartisan support by increasing the size of the House from 435 to 437 seats. One new seat would go to the District, which is overwhelmingly Democratic; the other would go to Utah, the state next in line to increase its delegation according to Census returns and a Republican stronghold.


The latest report focuses on the two parts of the Constitution that are at the center of the D.C. vote debate. One is a clause that limits House membership to individuals chosen "by the People of the several States." Courts have determined that the phrase excludes the District, the report says.

The second relevant part of the Constitution, the "District Clause," grants Congress broad authority over the city. The bill's proponents note that the Supreme Court ruled in 1949 that Congress could use its powers to give D.C. residents the same rights as other citizens.

That case, National Mutual Insurance Co. v. Tidewater, concerned the right to have a federal court hear lawsuits involving people of two states.

But the research service says that ruling was narrow. Six justices wrote that the congressional powers over the District weren't big enough to justify making "structural changes to the federal government," the report says. Giving a vote to the District would be such a change, it says.

The use of the so-called "District Clause" not only doesn't pass the laugh test, it doesn't have any effect on the constitutional structure of Congress. It merely gives Congress state-like authority over the district.

AEI's John Fortier adds:

There are only three constitutional ways for D.C. to gain representation in Congress. First, D.C. could be admitted as a state. Second, the Constitution could be amended to give House and/or Senate representation to the District. Third, D.C. could be ceded back to Maryland, just as Arlington and Alexandria were ceded back to Virginia in the 19th century.

All legitimate constitutional options, all difficult to accomplish, but the only possibilities for District citizens to have representation in Congress.

The third option is clearly the most appropriate. D.C. as a state would be worse than a bad idea.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Democrat Congress Has Fewest Veterans in History

From US News & World Report:
Congress isn't just for lawyers and business types anymore. It's fast becoming home to former sheriffs, pages, Peace Corps volunteers, and blue-collar folks like meat cutters. Longtime Congressional Research Service Hill profiler Mildred Amer finds several firsts in the Democratic-controlled House and Senate. Such as: A record 90 women are serving in Congress; it's possibly the oldest ever, with an average age of 57; and it's home to the fewest-ever military men and women, with under 25 percent having served.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Get Out of the Road

The Washington Times has a story on recent pedestrian deaths:
A fourth pedestrian within eight days was killed on a D.C. street over the weekend, resulting in a call for more police patrols in busy nighttime areas.
The article briefly describes the deaths of all four plus the earlier "first pedestrian victim of the year". While some were tragic, there is an unspoken common element to each death - not one of the pedestrians appears to have been legally crossing the street in a crosswalk.

Unless the police magically become willing to confront illegal pedestrians, additional patrols will be useless. Just barely inside the beltway, the police don't care if you illegally cross in front of them by the herd.

Does Your Budget Love You?

The Washington Times has an odd piece by Donna Brazile that deserves little attention beyond its title: "Where's love in the budget?" (The real question is, why did the Times print it?)

It's the usual compendium of false claims of cuts (the increase wasn't big enough!) and complaints that the federal budget doesn't overreach enough to bring joy and happiness to every born person in America.

But something should be done about the love issue. If you're worried that the budget doesn't love you (because that is what federal budgets are for), a new campaign is needed: puppies for everyone. The federal government will supply everyone with a puppy and pay for all of its care. Then, and only then, will the budget finally love us.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Carpetbaggers Run For President

From the Politico:

The 2008 presidential campaign has already produced the next generation of American politicians. They don't have local accents. That's because they don't have local roots. Nor do they boast legions of home-state friends, teachers and mentors who have spent years waiting for the proud day when their talented native son or daughter would run for president.


Among the first-rung candidates, only Democrat John Edwards of North Carolina and Republican Rudy Giuliani of New York are defined in the public mind vividly by where they are from. In both cases, these politicians have personal stories inextricably linked to their home states -- a fact amplified by thick and unmistakable regional accents.

Click here for the details.

Which America Does John Edwards Live In?

The Macaca Post reports:

Former Sen. John Edwards, the "working man's" presidential candidate, is getting some heat for his new, palatial estate outside Chapel Hill in Orange County, North Carolina. Even a few folks who are close to the Edwardses have expressed alarm to political reporters about the 29,000-square-foot house and connecting recreation-and-media arena.


The main house on the compound is more than 10,000 square feet and is joined by a long enclosed walkway (actually, a huge photo gallery) to a gigantic red barn. "The Barn," as it's called on the Edwards' building plans, houses a basketball court, a squash court, a four-story tower, two stages and a swimming pool.

Click here for the aerial photo.

If Edwards truly cares about the poor, why didn't he build a smaller house and donate the rest to charity? Or make any effort at all to improve the lives of others. Instead he uses his wealth (obtained at the expense of the suffering) to build a modern plantation... but maybe he lets poor people come by the delivery entrance from time to time. That's outreach.

Now I don't usually care that the rich have large houses, but this just shows Edwards' distance from reality. He talks about "two Americas" and tries to cast himself as the anti-poverty candidate, but his life tells an entirely different story. John Edwards doesn't represent the poor any more than the poor represent John Edwards.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


The Washington Post reports on a recent Democrat Party event:

"Each candidate has been given seven minutes to speak," announced Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean before the first of six Democratic candidates took the stage at the Hilton Washington. He further announced that an "official timekeeper" will hold up warning and "time's up" signs. "After 10 minutes, wild gesticulations will take place," he threatened.

This quaint exercise in Democratic Party discipline lasted about, well, seven minutes. The first candidate, Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.), took the floor for 20 minutes and 15 seconds, ignoring Dean's hovering, the removal of Dodd's image from the projection screens, and the fact that he drew applause for saying "Let me conclude." Former senator John Edwards (17:40) wasn't far behind, trailed by Sens. Hillary Clinton (16:12) and Barack Obama (15:30).

The closest to the limit was Rep. Dennis Kucinich (12:38), but this was probably because the audience treated his appearance as a chance to start conversations or to visit the restrooms. "Can you hear me in the back?" Kucinich called above the din. "Because I can hear you."

I just hope Kucinich stays in the race to the finish.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

An Early, Expensive, and National Presidential Primary?

An "alternative" news site in California has a good overview of the effect of front-loading primaries. Several states, including California, are seeking to move their primaries so early that there will in effect be one giant ultra-expensive national primary nine months before the general election.

The problem isn’t that Iowa and New Hampshire go first – it’s that so many states follow them right afterwards. If an insurgent wins one of the early states, they simply get overwhelmed later due to lack of resources. If an establishment type wins an early state, the insurgents have no chance later on because it gives the front-runner an insurmountable lead. Either way, the establishment candidate always wins.


A front-loaded primary season effectively ends the nomination process in early February...

It didn’t use to be that way. In 1992, the primary schedule was more drawn out and allowed more states to have a say in the Democratic nomination. After Tom Harkin won the Iowa caucus on February 10th, Paul Tsongas won the New Hampshire primary on February 18th. Bob Kerrey won South Dakota on February 25th and Jerry Brown won Colorado on March 3rd. Bill Clinton started racking up victories in the coming weeks, but on March 24th Brown stalled his momentum by winning Connecticut. Finally, Clinton sewed up the nomination on April 7th with the New York primary.

So instead of fixing the runaway primary system that produced John Kerry, they're going to make it worse... and then we'll have to wait seven months for the candidates that won New Hampshire to be formally nominated.

Friday, February 02, 2007

New Nepotism: Pelosi Seeks Military Flights for Relatives

The Washington Times reports:

The office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pressing the Bush administration for routine access to military aircraft for domestic flights, such as trips back to her San Francisco district, according to sources familiar with the discussions.

The sources, who include those in Congress and in the administration, said the Democrat is seeking regular military flights not only for herself and her staff, but also for relatives and for other members of the California delegation. A knowledgeable source called the request "carte blanche for an aircraft any time."


Mrs. Pelosi's [basic] request is not new for a speaker, who is second-in-line in presidential succession. A defense source said the speaker's regular access to a military plane began after the September 11, 2001, attacks. Rep. J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican, who was speaker at the time, started using U.S. Air Force planes for domestic travel to and from his district for security reasons. A former Hastert aide said the congressman did not use military planes for political trips or regularly transport his family.

I would like to use military planes too, please.