Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Moderate Voters Decide Elections

Post election analysis often reveals itself as partisan spin. However, a WSJ/NBC poll shows the shift in voting from 2008 to 2010 came from moderate Democrats and Independents...

From the WSJ Democrats Try to Crack Mystery of the Missing Voters

A popular theory of this year's midterm election holds that Democrats took a shellacking in part because big chunks of the party's core liberal base, discouraged at the path of the Obama administration, stayed home rather than show up to vote as they did in 2008.

It's an interesting narrative. It also doesn't appear to be entirely accurate.

While it's correct that some key parts of the Democratic coalition—young voters and African-Americans among them—didn't perform as they did in 2008, evidence emerging as the dust settles from this month's election suggests the bigger hole in the side of the Democratic ship came from moderates in the political center who didn't show up. (Those absences were in addition to the wave of independent swing voters also from the center who, exit polls showed, turned out but switched their votes to the Republicans.)

The case of the missing voters is important because how it is resolved will go a long way toward determining how Democrats respond to their midterm woes. If they conclude, as some argue, that the problem was an undermotivated liberal base, then the logical reaction would be a turn to the left and a staunch resistance to compromises with the Republicans who now control the House and hold expanded power in the Senate.





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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Government Site - Noble Aim but Misfires

Excerpt from The Government’s Weatherization Site – Should We Laugh or Cry?

I’ve frequently griped about the way government spends money, and about some of the wasteful policies and programs it has established. However, there is one program (at least) that I believe in. Government funded home weatherization for people/families with low incomes. It makes sense on several levels. The home improvements are costly for someone living paycheck to paycheck, yet the energy savings from winterizing a home can be substantial. No one with a heart wants to see people in cold climates without heat. Also, the reduction in energy for that home is good for the individual, for the community, and even for the earth. Simply put it’s a practical useful government expenditure.

So what’s the complaint? The Weatherization & Intergovernmental Program website. First off, the name itself alludes to the problem with the site. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a person use the word ‘intergovernmental’ in a sentence before, and it is the unintelligible nature of the website that is the problem. This is the opening paragraph of the website…
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program provides grants, technical assistance, and information tools to states, local governments, community action agencies, utilities, Indian tribes, and overseas U.S. territories for their energy programs. These programs coordinate with national goals to reduce petroleum consumption and increase the energy efficiency of the U.S. economy. They aim at market transformation to reduce market barriers to the cost effective adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

Well, I’m glad to hear that, “They aim at market transformation to reduce market barriers to the cost effective adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.” Seriously, they can’t say something like – we’d like more people of modest means to be able to weatherize their home?


Finish reading - The Government’s Weatherization Site – Should We Laugh or Cry?




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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Debt Reduction Task Force

Pete V. Domenici and Alice M. Rivlin the head of the 'Bipartisan Policy Center's Debt Reduction Task Force' take a serious look a debt defiit reduction. As they note, they are likely to receice criticism for parts of their plan from bith sides, just as President Obama's fiscal commission recently did. However, it is good to see ideas come forward, and the natioanal finances taken seriously. Below is an excerpt of their summary published in the Washington Post. The entire article is certainly worth a read - Payroll tax holiday and other measures to reduce the debt

To ensure a more robust recovery, we propose a one-year "payroll tax holiday" for 2011, suspending Social Security payroll taxes for employers and employees. We also would phase in the steps to reduce deficits and debt gradually beginning in 2012, so the economy will be strong enough to absorb them.

We would stabilize the debt held by the public at less than 60 percent of gross domestic product, an internationally recognized standard; reduce annual deficits to manageable levels; and balance the "primary" budget (everything other than interest payments) by 2014.

We would dramatically simplify the tax system, establishing individual tax rates of 15 and 27 percent (from the current high of 35), cutting the corporate tax rate to 27 percent (from 35 today), ending most deductions and credits while simplifying the rest, and ensuring that nearly 90 million households no longer have to file returns. To reduce the debt, we would supplement our spending cuts with a 6.5 percent "debt-reduction sales tax."

We would strengthen Social Security so it can pay benefits for the next 75 years by gradually raising the amount of wages subject to payroll taxes; slightly reducing the growth in benefits for the top 25 percent of beneficiaries; raising the minimum benefit for long-term, low-wage workers; indexing benefits to life expectancy; and changing the calculation of cost-of-living adjustments to better reflect inflation. We would not raise the age at which senior citizens can begin receiving benefits.

We would control health-care costs - the biggest driver of long-term deficits - by reforming Medicare and Medicaid while, starting in 2018, capping and then phasing out the tax exclusion for employer-provided health care. We would reform medical malpractice laws and help address the health costs tied to rising obesity by imposing a tax on high-calorie sodas.

We would freeze domestic discretionary spending for four years and defense spending for five, both at 2011 levels, and then limit their future growth to the rate of growth in the economy.

Finally, we would cap domestic and defense discretionary spending (with tight exceptions for true emergencies) and trigger across-the-board cuts if the caps are breached; enact a strict pay-as-you-go statutory rule for tax cuts or expansions of entitlements; and enact long-term budgets for major entitlements while creating a Fiscal Accountability Commission that would recommend policy changes every five years if entitlements are exceeding their budgets.



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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oild Prices Slide

Oil prices dropped today as concerns about the economy, and the strength of the recovery grow.

From Yahoo/AP Oil prices slide

Oil prices fell again as investors took profits amid renewed concerns about the global economy. A three-day decline has erased most of the gains for the month of November.

Benchmark oil for December delivery fell $2.52, or 3 percent, to $82.34 a barrel Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange as traders considered Ireland's ongoing debt problems and worries about higher inflation in Asia.

Meanwhile, pump prices inched higher overnight to a national average of $2.893 a gallon for unleaded regular gasoline, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. The price is about 6 cents higher than it was a month ago and 26 cents more than a year ago.

Oil prices have fallen 6.1 percent since Thursday, when speculation arose that China would take steps to control its economic growth. On Tuesday, South Korea's central bank raised interest rates to curb growing inflation. Add in some concern about Ireland's impact on Europe's economic recovery and investors found good reason to secure some recent profits.





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Wall Street Slides Tuesday Morning

Stocks open lower today...

From Yahoo/AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks retreated Tuesday following new worries about rising inflation in Asia and the possibility Ireland might need a bailout.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 73 points in morning trading. The losses piled up even as shares of two components of the index, Home Depot Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., rose more than 2 percent following improved earnings.

Asian markets fell overnight after South Korea's central bank raised interest rates to curb growing inflation. There has been speculation in recent days that China will have to take similar steps soon.

A report in the U.S. showed inflation at the wholesale level was smaller than predicted. The producer price index rose 0.4 percent last month, half of what economists' expected. The rise was due to a sharp increase in food and energy costs. Stripping out those volatile costs, prices fell 0.6 percent. The report backs up the Federal Reserve's view that inflation remains low because of sluggish growth.





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Thursday, November 11, 2010

US Energy Needs

Excerpt from Purple People Vote for Moderate and Independent Voters

The elections are over, the House is controlled by Republicans and the Democrats no longer have a super-majority in the Senate. So the question now is, ‘Can they work together?’ Only time will tell.

However, there is one issue (at least) that lends itself to bipartisan compromise – Energy. There are all sorts of good reasons to want a substantive energy policy. In fact there are so many reasons for addressing energy policy that Republicans and Democrats don’t have to be motivated by the same rationale…

The socio-political rationale: We purchase much of our oil from dangerous and volatile regions of the world that often don’t like the U.S. very much.

Environmental rationale: Energy derived from fossil fuels is not good for the environment.

Supply rationale: Some day we will run out of oil and coal.

Economic rationale: High energy costs and fluctuating energy costs negatively impact the economy in numerous ways...


Continue reading Will Congress Have the Backbone to Address Energy?


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Monday, November 1, 2010

Skin Care Treatments

A couple quality sites that have dramatically different product offerings are Dr. Dog Pet Health Care and BioScriptives Skin Care. Dr. Dog provides pet care information and pet products with a focus on pet skin care. BioScriptives Skin Care focuses on the most advanced technology to deliver top of the line skin care products that include treatments for acne, rosacea, and more. Completely different sites, both are worth viewing. Here are a few of their top pages and products...

Pimply

Spot Treat Pimples

Fight Zits

Therapeutic Skin Care

Rosacea Light Treatments

Advanced Healing Cream

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

CBS Health Care Poll - Bipartisan Opposition

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While CBS's Poll: Most Want GOP to Keep Fighting on Health Bill speaks for itself, seems pertinent to point out that there is a significant number of Democrats that want the Republicans to keep fighting this bill. It seems the only thing bipartisan about this bill is the opposition to it.


CBS Poll: Dem’s Health Care Reforms Unwanted by American People

McCain Calls for Repeal of Unpopular Expensive Health Care Bill

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Vote That is Far From Courageous

There are so many major problems with health care bill that it's a challenge to list them all. There's the budgetary gimmick of paying for health care for four years prior to bill taking effect. There is the myriad of state specific deals added in order to gain votes. However, the craziest and most brazen example of political double talk was when President Obama at a town hall meeting proclaimed that Representatives should have courage and vote ones conscience in a straight forward up or down vote. This was almost immediately followed by the Democratic leadership calling for 'deem and pass.' A vote that would allow Congressmen to officially not go on record with a health care vote, while still passing the bill. This basically allows someone to vote 'present' on health care reform. While the method is controversial and angers many, what's crazy about it is that it is the exact opposite of what President Obama had just passionately requested just hours prior - courage and transparency. This left Secretary Gibbs in the unenviable position of trying to answer questions about this blatant hypocrisy...




A Courageous Up or Down Vote: Nah Just Kidding

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

McCain Campaign's Bad Moment

So Senator McCain was doing well in my early qualifying round. He opposed wasteful spending and earmarks, supported stem cell research, opposed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, opposed torture, and most importantly, he was convincing me that he was right on Iraq, and was the most qualified candidate to handle foreign policy issues. Yet I didn’t see much cause for me to pick a candidate prior to the election. Ironically, the moment I knew I was a McCain supporter was the moment his campaign almost tanked.

Don’t let the media fool you; Senator McCain’s support for the surge and the Iraq War was not what hurt his campaign, though the press’ obvious disdain for anyone willing to support the surge was not helpful. Immigration, mixed with financial problems, is what almost did in the campaign. While I have no insight into the financial problems, I did see what people were saying about his support of immigration reform, and they were livid (to put it mildly). If you read conservative websites, or even Senator McCain’s own website/blog at that point, there was no way that anyone would have thought he had a shot at winning the nomination. He received death threats; he was called a traitor (a particularly callus remark considering his personal history), and person after person said how they would never support him. In a town hall, one man was so angry that he stated that he used to support him, but now he felt betrayed by Senator McCain because of his support for immigration reform.




Supporting McCain Through Immigration Turmoil

An Independent Call by Katherine J. Morrison available at Amazon.

Independent Criteria for 2008 #7

Sunday, March 14, 2010

McCain, Ayotte, Spending and Health Care

Senator McCain came to New Hampshire this weekend to co-host a town hall meeting with Kelly Ayotte the former New Hampshire AG. Senator McCain is supporting Ayotte's bid to fill the empty Senate seat being vacated by Senate Republican Judd Gregg. The first question was to Kelly Ayotte about her recent trip to the VA. Ayotte, whose husband is an Iraq war veteran, voiced her support for a VA hospital in New Hampshire. The second question was to Senator McCain asking if the current health care bill was passed could it be repealed. While Senator McCain said that the passage of the bill would trigger a nationwide movement to repeal the bill, he also stated that defeating the current bill was far better option. He urged people speak up and speak out against the bill as strong opposition by the American people (our representatives constituents) is now what is most likely to influence the House and Senate. The questions that followed were in large part about the either health care, the huge amount of government spending, the skyrocketting national deficit, or some combination of these issues.

Some of the points made by Ayotte and McCain included:

  • The health care bill will collect money from tax payers for four years before offering any benefits in a rather blatant budgetary gimmick.

  • The huge amount of government spending is an act of generational theft, leaving future generations with a massive debt to pay off.

  • Cuts in payroll and corporate tax rates would be far more effective in stimulating economic growth than government spending.

  • The process involved in formulating the health care bill has revealed the broken promises of the Obama adminstration in terms of transparency, bipartisanship, and backroom political dealings i.e. Cornhusker Kickback, Louisiana Purchase, Gator Aid, etc.


Senator McCain was back in his element hosting a town hall in New Hampshire, and Kelly Ayotte had a solid performance too stating that she would regularly conduct town hall meetings as a NH Senator. Representative Hodes, her likely Democratic competitor, has been highly reluctant to hold town hall meetings. For another take on the McCain Ayotte town hall NECN filed the report, McCain: Ayotte the 'next generation' of leadership
McCain Stumps for Ayotte - Health Care and Spending are Hot Topics

Monday, March 8, 2010

An Independent's Criteria (An Independent Call)

In picking a candidate, my early qualifiers for Republicans were, do they believe in climate change and will they do something about it? Do they support stem cell research? Do they oppose the constitutional amendment making gay marriage illegal? Do they oppose torture? For candidates in both parties, my main question was, what will they do about Iraq and foreign policy? This was a top-level question for me because I believe the way we handle ourselves in Iraq, as well as other areas, could affect us as a country for decades to come. I lean to the right on fiscal matters, so my main question for Democrats was, how would you pay for all the services you are promising, and is it really the role of government to provide them?

I basically consider myself more of a history person than a politics person. I hesitate to say that because I’m towards the bottom of the barrel in terms of knowledge among real ‘history people.’ However, that is the basis of much of my interest, and that influenced my perspective on Iraq. I’m certainly no foreign policy expert, but I have read enough to know that wars and conflicts can impact a region and a country’s relationship with that region well after the situation is resolved. While I was not happy about how the U.S. went into Iraq, and particularly disappointed that the claims that the government knew where nuclear weapons were located turned out to be false, I was more concerned about what the U.S. would do next versus what they had already done. Also, my questions about foreign policy were not as ideological as they were practical. ‘How do we fix this?’ and ‘How do we keep from making these mistakes again?’ were the type of questions to which I was most interested in hearing a response.

The issue that DQ’d most of the Republican candidates for me was torture. This issue made me crazy throughout the primaries. During the South Carolina Republican debate, the candidates were all asked to state their position on torture, and the only one to oppose it decisively was Senator McCain.

While I generally agreed with the Republican position on Iraq (not how we got there, but what to do now that we’re there) more than the Democrats’ position on Iraq, it would have been very difficult for any other Republican to win my vote during the general election due to their inability to see torture as wrong. Some debate about what torture is, and what methods of interrogation are appropriate, is not completely without merit, but for the whole line of Republicans on stage not to simply state that torture is wrong, I found disturbing.

Independent Criteria for 2008 #7

An Indpendent Call by Katherine J. Morrison available at Amazon.

Romney and the Early Primary States – Exerpt #6

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Ever Likable Joe Biden

I also saw Senator Clinton, Senator Biden, and Governor Romney in person. While I wasn’t able to see Senator Clinton in a town hall format, she and President Clinton had a rally in Manchester that I attended. It is not as informative a format as a town hall, yet throughout the primary process what came through with Senator Clinton is that she is a professional. She doesn’t have a real weak area topically, and she performs consistently, regardless of format or circumstance. In time she became my second choice for president, as I was convinced that she would be competent, and she was more of a centrist than the other Democrats.

Senator Biden I had the privilege to meet at a house party hosted by state representative Jim Webber. If I have any regret in voting Republican, it is that Mr. Webber was so kind in welcoming me into his home; he introduced me to people who generally knew each other, but not me, so I almost felt obligated to vote Democrat – almost.

It was a thrill to meet Senator Biden. I’ve known of Senator Biden for as long as I’ve known that Senators exist, so while I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit it, he sort of took my breath away when he walked through the door. Something about Senator Biden just makes me smile; don’t know what it is other than that he is very likable and very, very outgoing.

Senator Biden was the only other candidate besides Senator McCain that addressed Iraq in specific detail. While his plan didn’t seem to add up the same way Senator McCain’s plan did, he gets big points from me on being direct and forthcoming. He stated how dangerous the region was, and that if we didn’t leave the region properly, the Iraqi people who had helped us would be killed.

I was right up front during Senator Biden’s talk at the house party. Senator Biden is a ‘close talker;’ he looks people right in the eye and stands just inches away from them. I however, am not, and had to keep reminding myself not back up and fall backwards out the Webbers’ screen door. When he was done he turned to the lady standing next to me and said, ‘How are you? Tell me about yourself.’ At which I thought, I need to get out of here; I can’t think of one thing about myself. However, after I left the room, I realized I’d kick myself later if I didn’t shake his hand. So I went back to the porch where he’d have to pass in order to leave, and shook his hand. He was delightful. I was happy that I remembered my name, and fortunately I’m equally happy to say I did not embarrass myself. Senator Biden made a comment about my standing up front being similar to being stuck in the first pew of a church. I was amused to hear him use that line a week or two later when one of his events was televised on C-SPAN.


Meeting Senator/Vice President Biden

An Indpendent Call by Katherine J. Morrison available at Amazon.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Romney Strongly Backs McCain


Governor Romney endorsed Senator McCain's bid for re-election today. While it may have ticked off some disgruntled radio personalities, it also opens the door to what could potentially be a powerful dynamic duo...

From Time The Romney McCain Lovefest: Everybody Wins!

Times have changed. After gracefully exiting the primary, Romney became a cheerful warrior for McCain, He logged countless hours fundraising for his one-time opponent and appeared on the Senator’s behalf almost anywhere the campaign asked, including at the Democratic National Convention. His competence and dedication won him begrudging fans in McCain’s senior staff, who later freely admitted they’d misjudged him. McCain himself was deeply appreciative of Romney’s work, and was won over personally after spending time with Romney and his gracious wife Ann at the Senator’s Sedona ranch. Romney ended up in serious contention for McCain’s VP slot, and as the financial crisis took over the agenda, he became one of McCain's valued go-to sources of advice and perspective on economic issues.

So perhaps the news of Romney’s endorsement isn’t all that surprising. It's good for McCain to have someone with Romney's financial expertise and centrist appeal come out in his favor. It also helps McCain to appear connected with someone considered part the GOP's future. The question for Romney, who’s emerging as the GOP’s most serious contender for 2012, is what’s in it for him? For starters, a friendship with McCain has lots of benefits. McCain is still an excellent drawcard for fundraisers, and although Romney has vast personal wealth, having a name like McCain on board makes a big difference. McCain could also lend a Romney candidacy some foreign policy and national security credibility, particularly with Republican voters. Romney lacks it, McCain has it in spades. And McCain has always been popular in New Hampshire, a critical early state.


Romney Endorses McCain Making for A Potentially Powerful Duo

Scott Brown Casts Telling Vote

Republican Scott Brown of Massachusetts is an interesting phenomenon. First, he's a Republican in a very 'blue' state. His election drew support from some unlikely allies such as Governor Romney, Senator McCain, and the tea party supporters. Yet what Brown ran on was relatively simple; kill the current health bill, reduce government spending, no NYC trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and a pledge to not behave in a highly partisan manner. Brown is already making good on two of these promises. The health care bill was denied (at least for a time) due to his election breaking the filibuster proof majority of the Democrats. Now Brown has shown that he is willing to work across the aisle as he has voted along with a handful of other moderate Republicans to support the new scaled-back jobs bill.

From Yahoo Brown revives GOP moderates' pivot role

"I came to Washington to be an independent voice, to put politics aside and to do everything in my power to help create jobs for Massachusetts families," said Brown, whose election last month gave Republicans the 41st vote that could sustain filibusters. "This Senate jobs bill is not perfect ... but I voted for it because it contains measures that will help put people back to work."

Monday's vote cleared the decks for a far larger favorable vote when the jobs legislation faces an up-or-down final tally Wednesday.

The bill features four provisions, including a $13 billion measure exempting businesses hiring the unemployed from the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax through December and giving them another $1,000 credit if new workers stay on the job a full year.

It's undeniably modest, especially in comparison with the $862 billion economic stimulus bill enacted a year ago. It's also significantly smaller than a rival bipartisan bill unveiled earlier this month by two senior senators.

The measure is centered on tax breaks for businesses that hire new workers this year and a renewal of highway programs through Dec. 31. Both ideas have wide support in both parties. Mark Zandi, an economist with Moody's Economy.com, estimates the tax credit could spur about 250,000 new jobs.



Brown and other Moderate Republicans Vote For Jobs Bill

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

AZ

Dick Army head of Freedom works and former House leader is clearly unimpressed by McCain challenger Hayworth, as he cites Hayworth's political record as undistibguished.

Armey: Hayworth had 'undistinguished' House career

As former Rep. J.D. Hayworth prepares to officially enter the Republican primary race against incumbent Sen. John McCain, he probably had better not count on any support from FreedomWorks, the national conservative group closely associated with the Tea Party movement.

In a telephone interview with The Arizona Republic, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, FreedomWorks' chairman, delivered a surprisingly harsh assessment of Hayworth, with whom he served on Capitol Hill:

"We're a small organization with a limited budget. There's an awful lot of places where our presence would be needed and can really make a difference. We don't see this Arizona race as one where we need to be actively involved. It's hard for us to believe that J.D. Hayworth could mount a credible challenge to John McCain
. Obviously, we'll watch the race. But J.D. had a fairly short, undistinguished congressional career with virtually no initiative on his part. I just don't see any reason why we should be concerned about that race."


Hayworth has other problems too as Little Green Footballs points out in their article McCain Primary Opponent Hayworth: a Birther with a Twist

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

JD Hayworth's Controversial Statements

Hayworth a (R) challenger for Senator McCain's Senate seat was called out by Chris Matthews as a 'birther' and Hayworth was unable to give an articulate reply...

"When Chris Matthews asked J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) whether he's "as far right as the birthers," the former Republican Congressman called on President Obama to produce his birth certificate for public inspection.

"Well, gosh, we all had to bring our birth certificates to show we were who we said we were, and we were the age we said we were, to play football in youth sports," said Hayworth, who is currently challenging John McCain (R-AZ) in Arizona's Senate primary. "Shouldn't we know exactly that anyone who wants to run for public office is a natural born citizen of the United States, and is who they say they are?"


J.D. Hayworth A Birther? McCain Challenger Calls For Obama's Birth Certificate

McCain Challenger Called On 'Nutty Right' Statements

Evan Bayh Decides to Retire

It's unfortunate to see a Senator retire that has not only shown that he can work across the aisle, but clearly has a grasp of what is frustrating many Americans - bitter partisanship. In Senator Bayh's address announcing his retirement he notes a political environment that has become nearly impossible to work within. Senator Bayh sees what many Americans see, a system that is putting party before country, or more simply, a system that is putting party before effectiveness. Kudos to Senator Bayh for calling out both parties on this problem, and here's hoping he can help rectify the problem from outside Washington.
“After all these years, my passion for service to my fellow citizens is undiminished, but my desire to do so in Congress has waned,” he said.

“My decision was not motivated by political concern,” he added. “Even in the current challenging environment, I am confident in my prospects for re-election.”

Bayh had never lost an election, from his first win in 1986 as secretary of state, his wins for governor in 1988 and 1992 and his election to the U.S. Senate in 1998 and 2004.

“But running for the sake of winning an election, just to remain in public office, is not good enough,” Bayh said. “And it has never been what motivates me. At this time I simply believe I can best contribute to society in another way: creating jobs by helping grow a business, helping guide an institution of higher learning or helping run a worthy charitable endeavor.”

From IndyStar.com Evan Bayh will not seek re-election


Senator Bayh Takes A Shot At Bitter Partisanship As He Retires

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Iranian Protests

Protests in Iran Today

For those following the use of social media, particularly Twitter in regards to the protests in Iran, today is a good to be folowing the #iranelection tag on Twitter as large protests are scheduled. The government has renewed attempts to crackdown on its citizens internet use. Only time will tell how successful they have been in oppressing their own people.

From the Denver post Huge rally and protests mark Iran revolution
TEHRAN, Iran—Hundreds of thousands of Iranians massed Thursday in central Tehran to mark the anniversary of the revolution that created the country's Islamic republic, while a heavy security force fanned out across the city and moved quickly to snuff out opposition counter protests.
Police clashed with protesters in several sites around Tehran, firing tear gas to disperse them and paintballs to mark them for arrest. Dozens of hard-liners with batons and pepper spray attacked the convoy of a senior opposition leader, Mahdi Karroubi, smashing his car windows and forcing him to turn back as he tried to join the protests, his son Hossein Karroubi told The Associated Press.

The celebrations marking the revolution's 31st anniversary

An image made from video provided by Iranian State TV, pro-government demonstrators gather in the central square of Tehran to mark the 31st anniversary of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution Thursday Feb. 11, 2010 were an opportunity for Iran's clerical regime to tout its power in the face of the opposition movement, which has managed to keep up periodic street protests since the disputed June presidential elections despite a fierce crackdown.
The opposition turnout was dwarfed by the huge crowd at the state-run celebrations. Many were bused in to central Azadi, or Freedom, Square to hear an address by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who proclaimed a new success in Iran's uranium enrichment program and dismissed new U.S. sanctions.

And the massive security clampdown appeared to succeed in preventing protesters from converging into a cohesive demonstrations. Large numbers of riot police, members of the Revolutionary Guard and Basij militiamen, some on motorcycles, deployed in back streets near key squares and major avenues in the capital to move against protesters.

Opposition Web sites spoke of groups of protesters in the hundreds, compared to much larger crowds in past demonstrations

One protester told The Associated Press she had tried to join the demonstrations but soon left in disappointment. "There were 300 of us, maximum 500. Against 10,000 people," she told an AP reporter outside Iran. She said there were few

Female demonstrators wave Iranian flags, as a picture of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is held at center, during a rally commemorating the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi (freedom) Square in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010. Many thousands of pro-government demonstrators gathered in the central square of Tehran to mark the 31st anniversary of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the US-backed late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Read full article Huge rally and protests mark Iran revolution for more info...

Protests in Iran Today

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Obama and Dems See Poll Numbers Drop

An ABC Washington Post Poll 2010 Elections: Republicans are in the Hunt shows how Republicans have recently gained a slight advantage over Democrats on both national topics, and in the upcoming Congressional races. One of the most stark examples of the Democrats decline of support on all major issues comes from a chart showing how just a year ago Obama and the Democrats, who had enjoyed a huge advantage evrything from health care to the economy, now have seen that lead has all but disappeared within a year's time...





ABC/WaPo Chart of Dem Advantage Starkly Shows Decline in Trust

Crist Rubio Debate of Stimulus

Governor Crist and Senate challenger Marco Rubio are in an interesting race. One of the topics that Crist has taken heat for amongst many conservatives is taking federal stimulus dollars for Florida and meeting President Obama at a rally that basically supported the stimulus package. Yet the following clip shows that Mr. Rubio would have also accepted the stimulus money like all other state governors ended up doing. The action that is called into question isn't accepting stimulus money, but whether meeting with President Obama publicly was a politically correct decision.






Rubio and Crist and the Stimulus Money for Florida

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

McCain Letter

My Friend,

The 2010 election offers all Americans - and especially Republicans - a critical choice. We can fight for the principles we believe in, or watch as Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress take our nation down a costly, destructive path.

I'm ready for that battle. And as one of my strongest supporters, I sincerely hope I can count on you to continue to stand with me as I work hard to win reelection in November.

President Obama and the Democrats in control of Congress have gone too far in their quest to "change" America. Their radical, far left policies are undermining America's founding principles and greatly threaten our nation's future economic health and national security.

It is truly disheartening that in their desire to advance their far left agenda, the Democrats are totally ignoring proven ways to create jobs and get our economy moving again. Our opponents' determined efforts to completely overhaul America's health care system, drive our federal deficit to historic levels, and do serious harm to Medicare - serves as a powerful lesson as to the lengths they will go to advance their radical liberal agenda.

The issues we face today call for real, positive, effective solutions. That is why I am determined to remain in the U.S. Senate.

Today, I ask that you reaffirm your support for our shared values by making an immediate contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250 or more. If you are able to make a donation of $100 or more today, I will send you a personally autographed copy of my book, Faith of My Fathers in appreciation of your steadfast support.

In recent months, a reporter dubbed me the "most formidable opponent of the Obama agenda." For me, the bottom line is this: I will always put my country first and fight for what I believe is in the best interest of the American people.

However, if I am going to win in November and continue to fight for our country, I will need your help and support. Your generous donation will be used to help me continue fighting, and I appreciate any amount you can give today.

Inconceivably the Obama White House and Democratic Congressional leaders continue to tell the national media that they are carrying out the "will of the people" and those who are speaking up against their policies represent only a "small minority" of voters.

You and I know that is not true. Vast numbers of Americans oppose their policies and are saying "No" to more lost jobs, more wasteful spending, more government control, more taxes and more debt.

What the Democrats are advocating is not the kind of change that is good for America and our children's future. I'm proud to lead the fight against these policies and am honored to have you by my side.

Thank you for your ongoing and steadfast support.

Sincerely,

John McCain

P.S. I have always fought on the side of people who want better, more efficient government. Today, I need your help to make sure I can remain in the U.S. Senate to continue that fight, by following this link to make a generous contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250 or more. Remember, if you are able to give $100 or more today, I will personally sign a copy of my book, Faith of My Fathers as a token of my appreciation for your generous support. Thank you.

McCain Campaign Letter Cites His Role as 'Most Formidable' Opponent of Obama

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Senate Seats Up for Grabs

President Obama and Vice President Biden both come from very blue Democrat states, yet the seats they vacated upon entering the executive branch are leaning towards the Republican candidates in the latest polls. While Republicans are expected to pick up seats at the midterm elections some are now questioning whether they take control outright in what would a political shocker. CBS reports GOP Eyes 2010 Senate Takeover

Beyond Illinois and Indiana, Democratically-held Senate seats in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Arkansas and Nevada -- where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid faces a tough race -- could be very competitive, according to Salvanto's analysis.

Republicans cheered when North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan announced his surprise retirement, giving Republicans a good chance for another pick up. It was also good news for the GOP when Vice President Joe Biden's son Beau announced he would not run for his father's old Senate seat, leaving Republican Rep. Mike Castle the best-positioned candidate to win in Delaware. Democrats are now backingNew Castle County Executive Chris Coons to run against Castle.

"I predict to you that Chris Coons is going to surprise the devil out of them," Joe Biden told MSNBC. Castle, however, soundly beat Coons in the most recent polls, the Hill reports.


President's and Vice President's Senate Seats Could Both Be Picked Off By Republicans

White House on Edge

Excerpt from the NYT Illinois Senate Race Worries Democrats Anew

CHICAGO — Alexi Giannoulias, the treasurer of Illinois and a basketball-playing friend of President Obama’s, won the Democratic primary here on Tuesday for the Senate seat once held by Mr. Obama. But his victory was hardly the free throw some had expected, setting off a new round of worrying among Democrats that the reliably Democratic seat might be picked off by Republicans in November.
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In an Illinois Primary Race, Victory Is Self-Declared (February 4, 2010)

With four others on the ballot, Mr. Giannoulias won 39 percent of the Democratic vote, or, as Republicans preferred to describe it on Wednesday, lost 61 percent of it. A little-known former federal prosecutor who had never run for office, David Hoffman, came within six percentage points of Mr. Giannoulias.

With much on the line here, including the symbolism of the president’s home state possibly slipping away, some Democrats were concerned that the party had played into the game plan of the Republicans, who chose Representative Mark Steven Kirk, a centrist-leaning suburbanite who hopes to appeal to the state’s independent voters and even some moderate Democrats.

Already Wednesday morning, the National Republican Senatorial Committee had issued a Web video mocking Mr. Giannoulias, 33, for what it described as questionable loans made by his family’s bank, his ties to Rod R. Blagojevich, the indicted former governor of Illinois, and more.

“Is this change we can believe in?” the video asks.

Mr. Obama called Mr. Giannoulias to congratulate him on his victory, aides said, but despite the friendship, the White House indicated in the past that it had reservations about his candidacy. At one point, White House officials tried without success to recruit another Democrat, Lisa Madigan, the state attorney general, even after Mr. Giannoulias had made his aspirations clear.

Mr. Obama, who endorsed no one in the primary, has pledged to party officials to do what he can to help keep the seat in Democratic hands. But aides said the president would invest his time and efforts in races across the country and not necessarily devote more attention to the contest for his former seat.

White House Worried About Senate Race in Illinois