Federal Reserve Study: U.S. Going Broke

dollar chain breakingWell, now that oil is going for $78 a barrel, this report isn’t really surprising (via Robot Wisdom):

A ballooning budget deficit and a pensions and welfare timebomb could send the economic superpower into insolvency, according to research by Professor Laurence Kotlikoff for the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, a leading constituent of the US Federal Reserve.

Prof Kotlikoff said that, by some measures, the US is already bankrupt. “To paraphrase the Oxford English Dictionary, is the United States at the end of its resources, exhausted, stripped bare, destitute, bereft, wanting in property, or wrecked in consequence of failure to pay its creditors,” he asked.

According to his central analysis, “the US government is, indeed, bankrupt, insofar as it will be unable to pay its creditors, who, in this context, are current and future generations to whom it has explicitly or implicitly promised future net payments of various kinds”.

It seems not all is lost, if people start voting for someone other than the current crop of fiscally irresponsible bobble-heads:

Paul Ashworth, of Capital Economics, was more sanguine […] “This can be contained if the political will is there. Similarly, the expected increase in social security spending can be controlled by reducing the growth rate of benefits. Expecting a fix now is probably asking too much of short-sighted politicians who have no incentives to do so. But a fix, or at least a succession of patches, will come when the problem becomes more pressing.”

Or, we’ll just come crashing down really hard with a side-helping of police state crackdowns on everyone who suddenly stops getting a benefits check each month, which seems more likely if you consider the knee-jerk reaction our republicrats tend to have.

Update: In related news, Raw Story caught president George Bush talking out of his ass when he ceremoniously claimed victory over the budget:

The reduction of the budget deficit to $296 billion, touted by President George W. Bush in a White House ceremony yesterday, will be completely reversed by 2007, RAW STORY has learned.

A report in today’s Wall Street Journal shows that by 2007, the budget deficit will rise to $339 billion. The projection was offered by the White House’s own Office of Management and Budget, the source of yesterday’s numbers on deficit reduction.


Live Free! You Might Die Anyway

CherrixSince I quit my 9-5, I am able to go to the gym during news hours. I go to one of those upscale “country club” for poor people places which have large flat screens everywhere, and it was one of those flat screens that nearly stopped my climb to the upstairs Hell of cardio and weight machines.

The Today Show (video link) ran a story on Abraham Cherrix, a sixteen year old cancer patient who has opted out of another round of chemo in favor of an alternative treatment. The young man has decided that he wishes to pursue a quality life rather than a life measured by year markers. As I watched the interview unfold, my admiration for this boy’s courage turned into horror. It seems that a social worker in this young man’s state decided that his parents were neglectful. His parents supported his alternative treatment, treatment that has not been proven efficacious, and were dragged into court to defend themselves as parents. The state was awarded a sort of joint custody. A custody which mandates the young man to submit to tests not of his choosing. To the government monster, it doesn’t matter if the kid feels better on his organic diet. It doesn’t matter that his parents support his decision. The talons have dug in, and this kid will submit to any testing which may give him unpleasant news — if only to be sure that he can continue on his alternative path.

I do not have to tell the readers here what shit this is. This young man has chosen to not merely exist — he has chosen to live. That his path is different than the Cancer Society’s “yellow brick road” should not be an issue. Not an issue for the courts, for damn sure. Sadly, government agencies continue to put themselves over free will and responsibility.

Positive news alert! I know that the tide is turning. I was not the only woman in the locker room glued to the TV. Several others, from obviously different political camps, were in lockstep. This is a private family decision. Government not needed.

Libertarians constantly look for ways to convince others that freedom works. Perhaps the Republicrats are already convincing them.


Tasteless Speech is Free, Police Barriers Aren’t

Fred Phelps, the angry self-avowed anti-gay, anti-troops, and anti-America pastor who recently commented here in favor of a fundamentalist Jewish church’s plan to pay $5,000 for killing gay people, may want to save his money. Because it seems his virulently hateful group — Westboro Baptist Church — is set to receive a $5,000 bill from Flint, Michigan for police protection, when they never showed up:

The controversial group – who say military deaths are God’s retribution for the country’s failure to condemn homosexuality – planned to demonstrate at the July 1 memorial service for fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Brandon Webb of Swartz Creek. But they didn’t show up, and now they’ll be charged more than $5,000 for the cost of providing security.

Mundy Township’s message: You don’t show up, you pay up.

Police were ready for the notorious protesters – who demonstrate at military funerals across the country, hurling insults at mourners and spitting on American flags – at Webb’s memorial service at Swartz Funeral Home. But the church members, who had told authorities they were coming in a letter dated June 28, never appeared.

Police Chief David Guigear said Westboro’s failure to show broke a verbal contract with the township for security services.

“They didn’t even give me a courtesy call to say they weren’t coming,” he said.

Of course, don’t ask Phelps to be a stand-up guy about it, as he’s laughing at the bill: “If they do anything as foolish as (sending a bill), I’ll laugh all the way to the trash can.”

To be clear, I’m not totally certain that he should have to pay, unless of course his group implicity requested police protection (it sounds as though they did). But if in fact they did and Phelps is reneging on his, I hope future cities take note and defer their police protection for the group’s hateful gathering.


WSJ Endorses Libertarian Immigration Policy

Mexico illegal crossingThey never use the word libertarian per se, but if you take this Wall Street Journal article (via Coyote Blog):

Our own view is that a philosophy of “free markets and free people” includes flexible labor markets. At a fundamental level, this is a matter of freedom and human dignity. These migrants are freely contracting for their labor, which is a basic human right. Far from selling their labor “cheap,” they are traveling to the U.S. to sell it more dearly and improve their lives. Like millions of Americans before them, they and certainly their children climb the economic ladder as their skills and education increase.

We realize that critics are not inventing the manifold problems that can arise from illegal immigration: Trespassing, violent crime, overcrowded hospital emergency rooms, document counterfeiting, human smuggling, corpses in the Arizona desert, and a sense that the government has lost control of the border. But all of these result, ultimately, from too many immigrants chasing too few U.S. visas.

Those migrating here to make a better life for themselves and their families would much prefer to come legally. Give them more legal ways to enter the country, and we are likely to reduce illegal immigration far more effectively than any physical barrier along the Rio Grande ever could. This is not about rewarding bad behavior. It’s about bringing immigration policy in line with economic and human reality. And the reality is that the U.S. has a growing demand for workers, while Mexico has both a large supply of such workers and too few jobs at home.

And compare it to the Libertarian Party’s 2006 platform on immigration:

see more…


Why Third Parties Don’t Win Elections

political reformWe hear it again and again in the news: voters are unhappy with Democrats and Republicans, approval of both major parties is in the dumps and there’s a general dislike for the status quo. So this year, more than any other, I want to give voters the low-down on why the status quo is going to stay the same. Sadly, whether you like it or not. It’s a problem that we’ve only recently become aware of with some regularity thanks to the decentralization of the Internet: the system is rigged this way.

You see, the truth is that even as more and more independent candidates are being fielded for office each year, the number of them actually being elected has remained relatively flat (that’s not to say it never happens, but that it’s just so rare that it’s relatively unnoticeable). I’ve decided it’s in everyone’s political best interests to identify and break down these walls that have been erected by both incumbents and an apathetic media for third parties in this country. Here’s my rough take on what these are (in order of apparent priority):

  • Restrictive ballot access laws
    If a major party candidate can keep rivals off the ballot, they can then ignore those voter’s concerns without fear of losing (especially if their major party rival does the same). Ignoring contrarian viewpoints has traditionally been a cornerstone of repressive government. Fair and equal ballot access reform should be a priority for all third parties and anyone interested in true political reform. Third parties largely need to move on from this issue if their only contention is that they aren’t recognized as a party, but their candidates have the same signature requirements as major parties.

  • Lackluster media coverage
    Traditionally, third party candidates have to sell their ideas much harder than their major party rivals because media organizations typically don’t find anything newsworthy about them (unless they are beating the voter disaffection drum and pretending to care). Sadly, this directly translates into lost votes since an uninformed voter will not vote for a candidate they have heard little or nothing about. Whether this is intentional slighting on the part of some media outlets or just laziness in covering politics is debatable. The most-covered independent campaigns are typically ones that field either a star/celebrity candidate (Kinky Friedman anyone?) or use novel approaches (read: publicity stunts) to force their way into the public eye.

  • Fundraising and volunteers
    This deserves to go after the media coverage, because while a campaign is usually small when it’s starting, the coverage of the campaign is what drives informed voters to begin financially supporting and volunteering for a campaign. Once the media coverage is triggered, a campaign can typically sustain it’s momentum through increased news generation, campaign events and fundraisers.

  • Inclusive polling
    Many pollsters will often lump all third parties into “other” categories or not include them at all. Unfortunately, without the aforementioned media coverage, when they are included they often fall into the 2% margins which can harm campaigns even more than not being included. One way that third parties can attack this issue is by openly criticizing the pollsters who are not inclusive and paying for their own polls to publicize themselves further. Another method is to sue state-funded university pollsters and take the case to a federal level.

  • Debating major candidates
    The bar has been set excruciatingly high for third parties, with organizations like the League of Women’s voters demanding 10-15% polling. This will never happen until the conditions above are met. Presidential candidates Michael Badnarik (L) and David Cobb (G) were arrested while trying to serve papers to cease the debates in 2004, but in reality it was little more than a variation of the publicity stunt angle, which paid off poorly for them to actually be in the debate, though it did help their publicity substantially (at least on the Internet).

  • Election day (voting methods)
    This is the last hurdle for third parties, and is often the most difficult. While many argue for a reform to Condorcet or IRV (Instant Runoff Voting), the reality is that those are both methods that are meant to short-circuit all the problems above. While logically we should be able to vote for candidates in order of ranked preference, it shouldn’t matter unless the race is a three-way extremely tight one. Personally, I would like to see this stay the last priority for third parties, since it’s not bound to change the outcome if their candidates remain unknown because of the walls stated before.

I won’t bore you with a lot of speculation on how these can all be miraculously fixed overnight, because the truth is we’re probably looking at a tough decade of electoral reform in fifty different wars for us to even have just a slim super-minority of candidates in federal office. I don’t look at our battles from an ideological presentation standpoint, because I truly don’t think that what’s been holding third parties back (Libertarian especially) is bad reception of the platform, or the pledge, or whatever.

I’m sure some people are always going to look at third parties and sniff their noses at one or two issues, leaving reformers and purists to duke it out amongst each other because they think that’s why they keep losing races. But in reality, it’s not.

Update: Richard Winger of Ballot Access News sez:

The article is unfair to the League of Women Voters. In about half the states, the League has sponsored televised debates for Governor and US Senator and invited everyone on the November ballot. The 15% rule is from the Commission on Presidential Debates, not the League of Women Voters.

I have to disagree on factual grounds here. I’m not sure which states Winger has info on where the LWV invites every valid candidate, but back in 2004 in California they told U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray to talk to the hand even after sponsoring his own poll through Rasmussen that got him 8% (the 3% MOE put him over their 10% entry barrier). Recently here in Ohio, gubernatorial candidate Bill Peirce recently got dissed because he needs to poll… drumroll please… 15%.

Update: Richard Winger writes back:

I only know about statewide offices. In 1994, Leagues invited at least some of the third party candidates for Governor and US Senator into their debates, in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota (those were gubernatorial debates); Delaware, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, Wyoming (those were US Senate debates), and US House-at-large, Montana and Vermont. When a state had two offices, I didn’t list the state twice.

It seems LWV requirements vary state by state. Plainly speaking, they should just invite everyone who’s on the ballot, otherwise it’s another unnecessary hurdle. They’ve actually raised their requirements in the past when pressured by Ds & Rs, so don’t act surprised if a third party sues them over their non-profit status requiring them to be non-partisan one day soon… and wins.

Update: Richard Shepard sent a link to his recent article on third parties at Tacoma, Washington’s paper — The News Tribune. There’s an interesting statistic he cites from Pew Research:

We have ample evidence the two-party system is not meeting Americans’ needs. Polls reveal a steady decline in voter participation, a lack of trust in government, and a desire for alternatives.

A Pew Research Center report, “In Search of Ideologues in America,” identifies four political philosophies of government. Roughly 33 percent of the public falls into the well-known “liberal” or “conservative” philosophical camps. Another 25 percent agrees with the lesser-known “libertarian” or “populist” philosophies even though they do not self-identify that way.

It seems out of the three biggest parties/ideologies, we’re all in the polling minority. Sobering, but it gives ammo to the argument that we need more choice on the ballot and that the media should be covering more than the two majors.


Major NC Paper Blasts Ballot Process

Republicans and Democrats: tag team politicsOne of the key areas that is getting a lot of good press this election cycle is the ridiculous ballot hurdles that third parties have to face. Major newspapers like North Carolina’s News & Observer are starting to pick up the groundswell of discontent among voters disillusioned by the two parties and the chokehold they’ve placed on the competition:

If you’re a political party, you’ll first have to gather 69,734 petition signatures and get them validated. Roughly one-third of all petition signatures are tossed out by the board of elections, so you’ll be shooting for about 105,000, or one for every 73 people in the state.

To get there, you’ll have to hire professional petitioners (no third party has ever done it without them), and you’ll probably have to get big funding from out of state. If you’re as efficient as the Libertarian Party of North Carolina, maybe you can do it in nine months at a cost of $100,000.

Good luck in the election! But remember, if your party doesn’t pull down 10 percent of the vote for governor or president, you’ll be starting all over in the next election cycle. Don’t you wish you had that $100,000 for advertising now?

[…] The legislature should let go its stranglehold on elections. The N.C. Open Elections Coalition, a group of third parties and electoral reform groups, is asking the Senate to pass House Bill 88 in the form it passed two House committees last year.

Our elected officials should make it easier, not harder, for the citizens to get involved in their government. Third parties believe their viewpoints are vital to the healthy functioning of our state and our democratic system. You don’t have to agree with them on that point to believe that fairness demands better ballot access laws.

It’s great to see we’re making inroads to ballot reform in the third worst state for third parties (LPNC is suing, sign their petition online if you agree). That says a lot about Libertarian and other third parties’ efforts to make electing someone other than the same-old blue or red guy more of a reality. Because it’s $100k thrown out the ballot access window instead of being spent on advertising. Third parties need all the dollars they have access to in order to run ads and mount a newsworthy campaign, and this kind of press critical of that barrier is very effective in dismantling those hurdles.


LP Releases New Platform Details

Stephen Gordon gave me the heads up that the LP has updated the platform page and issued a press release to reflect their job of promoting the Libertarian Party after the recent upheaval at the 2006 Convention:

The Libertarian Party Statement of Principles is the guiding philosophy behind the platform. While the platform has been trimmed, the guiding principles behind it remain unmodified. What hasn’t changed is that the Libertarian Party still favors smaller government, fewer taxes and more freedom.

“To understand this move by the delegates, you have to have a clear understanding of what the platform is and what impact it has on our candidates, elected officials and the party as a whole,” said Shane Cory, the Libertarian Party’s executive director. “What has changed is the level of detail we provide in our policy statements as described within the body of the platform.”

I think everyone should look at the platform from this fresh new approach: pretend you’ve never heard of the LP before today. This is because most people have in fact never heard of us and this is a great starting ground to get those people to move from their own party where they have been let down to the LP which is still principled but focusing on fewer issues.

I commend them on turning this whole thing into a positive item instead of stirring up the debates. Not that it will stop both sides from fighting over it ad nauseum.


$5000 Reward For Killing Gays In Israel

A disturbing development is afoot in Israel, and it involves people blowing other people up. But for once, it doesn’t involve Palestine or Islam.

No, it looks like some wing-nut conservative group is planning on paying people to blow up gay pride marchers.

From Arutz Sheva (Israel National News):

(IsraelNN.com) A leaflet distributed in several neighborhoods in Jerusalem offered NIS 20,000 to anyone who kills participants in the International Gay Pride Parade scheduled to take place in Jerusalem next month.

The flier also suggested that fire bombs be used to kill the participants and gave instructions on how to construct them.

The parade has generated much opposition from many religious groups in the city who are opposed to the holding of such a parade in Jerusalem. Public opinion polls show that the vast majority of Jerusalem residents are against the parade.

Later this week, a police report is expected to be issued as to whether the parade is considered a security risk. If the report determines that it is, the parade may be cancelled.

Now I’m all for free speech rights denouncing or supporting whateverthefuck you want. But this isn’t free speech, this is threatening violence. They need to find whoever published these leaflets and arrest them for intimidation.

Furthermore, I think it’s funny because the Orthodox Jews really don’t have any theological leg to stand on here. I’ll expound on homosexuality in the rabbinical Law after the jump, for those that want to learn more. see more…


Wiccans Don’t Count In Our National Cemeteries

Sad to say, too.

From WaPo:

At the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in the small town of Fernley, Nev., there is a wall of brass plaques for local heroes. But one space is blank. There is no memorial for Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart.

That’s because Stewart was a Wiccan, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has refused to allow a symbol of the Wicca religion — a five-pointed star within a circle, called a pentacle — to be inscribed on U.S. military memorials or grave markers.

The department has approved the symbols of 38 other faiths; about half of are versions of the Christian cross. It also allows the Jewish Star of David, the Muslim crescent, the Buddhist wheel, the Mormon angel, the nine-pointed star of Bahai and something that looks like an atomic symbol for atheists.

Stewart, 34, is believed to be the first Wiccan killed in combat. He was serving in the Nevada National Guard when the helicopter in which he was riding was shot down in Afghanistan last September. He previously had served in the Army in Korea and Operation Desert Storm. He was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.

His widow, Roberta Stewart, scattered his ashes in the hills above Reno and would like him to have a permanent memorial.

She said the veterans cemetery in Fernley offered to install a plaque with his name and no religious symbol. She refused.

Anyone who dies in the line of duty is entitled to a military burial with full honors. The least we can do for our fallen soldiers is honor their right to their religion. They died for the Constitution, why doesn’t the Constitution protect them? Why can’t their faith be acknowledged?

It’s not a public establishment of religion, or an “attack on Christianity.” The military pays for the markers, yes, and they are government property. But they are an expression of a single man or woman’s faith or non-faith, not an expression of the country as a whole.

This is a double desecration-not only do we dishonor the religious rights of Sgt. Stewart, but we dishonor the very Constitution that he swore to protect, and that he died for. Can’t somebody in Washington rise above the partisan bullshit and simply do this man-and his widow-some justice?


Turn On, Tune In, Self Medicate?

What is it that makes us normal? Is it the ability to accept things at face value? Or is it the ability to change our perception? I will tell you that I had the opportunity to do both last weekend. I had the opportunity to eat some shrooms in Amsterdam last weekend, and I took it. My anti-drug (read husband) freaked. He wanted to know if it was because I was reading Tim Leary’s bio that I needed to do it. Truthfully, the bio made me nostalgic. I had not eaten a mushroom in so long, that it was necessary for me to call on a friend to help me with dosage. He suggested a couple of shrooms at a time. I was never worried because I was in a tolerant place, but coming home, I see that perhaps the tables are turning. The WSJ reports that Johns Hopkins is picking up where Leary left off. I will let you draw your own conclusions from the article, but I will say something about what I learned from the book.

1) Tim Leary was made a criminal (25 years) over a couple of joints.
2) Tim Leary said in the early eighties that Americans were enslaved by a media driven race for our minds.
3) Our government has admitted to using our application of personal freedom against us.
4) The media, in reporting Linkletter’s daughter’s death, originally blamed it on LSD. The autopsy indicated no drugs. There was a purposeful failure to correct the earlier broadcast, thus creating undo controversy.

So, Johns Hopkins now sees positive reactions to Leary’s original exercises. That’s funny. He said it would be that way. He laughed and said that the persecution over his studies would be compared to the civil rights era. Too bad he is not alive to see it. As for me, I am glad that I was able to eat some Florida produced shrooms while I was in Amsterdam. (Go chew on the idea that we grow and export that which is illegal for us to consume.) I am glad that I saw colors. I am glad that I saw truth. And I am glad that I read, just in time for the revival, Tim Leary’s work.


Geneva Convention Comes to Guantanamo

(It’s been a while, and I actually have some good news to share this morning.)

The Defense Department announced Tuesday that it would begin honoring the human rights protections of the Geneva Convention with respect to detainees it is holding in Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere around the world.

In a memo released by the Pentagon this morning, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, citing the Supreme Court’s decision, ordered all Pentagon personnel to “adhere to these standards” and to “promptly review” all policies and practices “to ensure that they comply with the standards” of the Geneva Convention’s Common Article 3.

Since 2001, the administration has argued that the Geneva Conventions would be respected as a matter of policy but that they did not apply by law. The Supreme Court, in a 5-3 decision, rejected that view.

White House spokesman Tony Snow confirmed the new approach, according to wire service reports, saying that while detainees have been treated humanely, “we want to get it right. . . . It’s not really a reversal of policy.” Snow called the Supreme Court decision “complex.”

But in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, Steven Bradbury, acting assistant attorney general, stated that the court has indeed “imposed another baseline standard . . . that we must now interpret and implement.”

I suppose this means no more chaining people to ceilings or setting military dogs on them…

Nothing in the generally accepted libertarian view prevents responding to force initiated against you. So going after Osama bin Laden is one thing, and not too many would disagree that it was the right thing to do. It’s everything else that’s come along with that in the last five years that’s been a problem.

I’ll grant Tony Snow one concession: Prosecuting a war on terror is a complex task, especially for a country founded on libertarian principles — even if many of those principles lie abandoned just outside the Beltway.


Defense Department: FOIA = Terrorism Tool

Some days it’s just absolutely boggling where our taxpayer money goes to thanks to Pentagon bureaucrats who are more concerned about covering their asses from political reprisal than actually figuring ways to logically strengthen our security. I’ll break it down. Here’s what they’re doing:

The Defense Department is sending St. Mary’s University School of Law $1 million to help fight terrorism by studying ways to limit the scope of the Freedom of Information Act, a landmark open government law that celebrated its 40th anniversary Tuesday.

And here’s the paper-thin reasoning:

He said he believes it’s only a matter of time before terrorists figure out how to hack into computers that run the nation’s infrastructure.

So far, Addicott said, he doesn’t know of any terrorists who have used freedom of information laws to get such information, but he believes it is inevitable that they will.

“They don’t need bombs anymore,” he said. “They can hack in and tell the Hoover Dam to release the water.”

And here’s the truth:

“It seems like we’re just losing all our freedoms in the name of homeland security, and I just wonder where the real threat is,” he said. “We’re not going to keep terrorists from finding out about power plants and water supplies by tightening the Freedom of Information Act.”

McMasters made a similar point, saying the best security often comes from public pressure to fix weaknesses once they are exposed.

Exactly. It’s like our government has taken on the old Microsoft security mentality, whereby if you supposedly keep the vulnerability a secret, no one will know about it (raise your hand if you feel safe running Windows 98 without patches visiting Russian sites on IE4). Having the government bury their head in the sand and pretending everything is safe from attack by refusing to acknowledge those vulnerabilities is uh… criminally stupid. What we need is more information and more people pointing out flaws in security similar to how open source projects secure their exploitable code. It’s open source government, and it’s built that way for a damned good reason.


More from the Liberty Video Channel

Speaking of political videos, check out this one from one of the members of the press who showed at the Libertarian National Convention.


Congress: “Taxpayer-Subsidized Sanctuary For Crime”

here fishie fishie!Big ups to Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan, who laid the smack down today on Representatives who think they’re above the law:

WASHINGTON – An FBI raid on a Louisiana congressman’s Capitol Hill office was legal, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan said members of Congress are not above the law. He rejected requests from lawmakers and Democratic Rep. William Jefferson (news, bio, voting record) to return material seized by the FBI in a May 20-21 search of Jefferson’s office.

In a 28-page opinion, Hogan dismissed arguments that the first-ever raid on a congressman’s office violated the Constitution’s protections against intimidation of elected officials.

Jefferson’s theory of legislative privilege “would have the effect of converting every congressional office into a taxpayer-subsidized sanctuary for crime,” the judge said.

It’s a start, but this decision is like flicking sprinkles off the corruption-cream filled donut that we call the House Appropriations Committee:

It gets things done almost exclusively for those lobbyists and corporate interests that buy influence through campaign contributions. The committee has become, in short, the breeding ground of congressional corruption.

Over the last year, the public has learned exactly how lawmakers on the Appropriations Committee have abused the incredible power granted to them as overseers of how the federal government spends tens of billions of dollars.

Man, I bet there’s a certain judge who’s sooooo not getting his office supplies order filled in like… forever.


Will DeLay Run? Predictions Abound on TX-22

Texas District 22I’ve been watching it closely since Democrats got DeLay kicked back on the ballot, and even theorised that Libertarian candidate Bob Smither could see some action out of the deal. But it seems stark cold reality has to set in at some point, as there’s traction that Tom DeLay is now very likely to run for reelection for his seat and is awaiting the appeal verdict.

Some are predicting that he will bite the bullet and run… but then resign — forcing a special election.

Others think that the GOP could mount a write-in campaign (monkeys would probably fly out of their butt before they tried that though).

I’m still holding out for a non-existent olive branch from the GOP to Libertarian candidate Bob Smither. I’m sure a deal could be struck where he hangs out in the Republican locker room on Capitol Hill if elected and be the junior Congressman that helps them to fight off any Democrat hopes for their universal health care utopia should they gain a majority.

One thing is for sure, it’s been keeping the spotlight on DeLay, something the Texas GOP would probably prefers otherwise given his scandal-ridden tenure.