Monthly Archives: February 2004

Hastert Relents

Speaker of the House will allow the 9/11 probe a two month extention on its deadline to finish its investigation.

Scalia Bags Another Conflict of Interest

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, already under suspicion for hunting with Vice President Dick Cheney while the Court considers the case of the VPs Energy Task Force secret meetings, went with Kansas state officials on a hunting trip arranged by the dean of a Kansas law school who had a case before the court two weeks earlier. Scalia voted in favor of the dean’s client.

Bounty on Bush

The creator of the Doonesbury comic strip is offering a $10,000 donation to the USO in the name of anyone who can prove President Bush actually did his “Alabama time” in the National Guard.

Here’s what a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee said: “I think what is no laughing matter, quite frankly, is impugning the service of members of the National Guard.”

Now who said Doonesbury was impugning the Guard? The GOP will say anything to malign somebody’s intention and avoid an issue. I seem to recall the GOP saying Clinton’s impeachment wasn’t about sex but lying. This isn’t about the National Guard; it’s about lying.


Virginia House and Senate Pass Their Budget Bills
Next week, they try to find common ground. Don’t hold your breath. Concerns are mounting that the differences are too great.
Click here to see how delegates voted on the House budget bill (HB30)
Click here to see how senators voted on the Senate bill (SB30)

Home Schooling Bill Passes
A senate committee voted 8-7 to pass a House bill 675 that allows home schooled children to be taught by someone with only a high school education. It already passed the House.

State education officials say the bill is uneccessary. They say parents with a high school diploma can already home-school if the local superintendent approves either a correspondence course for the child or the home-school curriculum.

Students Want Right to Vote…and Run
The ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit claiming its client, a College of William & Mary student, should have the right to register to vote in Williamsburg and then run for the city council. The city’s registrar has ruled that the student, who along with two others tried to file for the May 4 council elections, is not a city resident.

The students object to certain city ordinances, including one that limits to three the number of students who can rent a house together.

Viacom Censors Democrats’ Ad

Viacom, which a few weeks ago refused to run MoveOn’s ad about the consequences of Bush’s tax cuts because they deemed it controversial, has again censored an ad. Viacom said the billboard Missouri Democrats wanted to post was “negative” and an “ambush ad.” The GOP, of course, has a long history of attack ads and character slurs dating back to the days of Lee Atwater. Bush’s father ran the infamous Willie Horton ad. Viacom owns CBS, which refused to run the MoveOn ad but runs the Bush administration ad touting the Medicare bill it forced through Congress recently.

See How They Lie

Now that the smear campaign, for which the GOP is so well known, has begun against Sen. John Kerry, it’s instructive to read Fred Kaplan’s report on the Slate web site. An excerpt:

…Kerry was one of 16 senators (including five Republicans) to vote against a defense appropriations bill 14 years ago. He was also one of an unspecified number of senators to vote against a conference report on a defense bill nine years ago. The RNC takes these facts and extrapolates from them that he voted against a dozen weapons systems that were in those bills. The Republicans could have claimed, with equal logic, that Kerry voted to abolish the entire U.S. armed forces, but that might have raised suspicions. Claiming that he opposed a list of specific weapons systems has an air of plausibility. On close examination, though, it reeks of rank dishonesty.


What Lost Jobs?
Richmond Times-Dispatch article today about the House-Senate debate on the budgets reflects the acrimony between the two bodies and the two wings of the GOP.

The article, along with others like it, mentions the “lost jobs” criticism leveled at the House plan by Senate members and the business community. They say it would make Virginia unfriendly to business and result in companies moving to other states. But where’s the proof of that? Why isn’t an enterprising reporter looking at the impact of such exemptions in other states?

Hampton Roads Daily Press Editorial on the Teacher Retirement Fund

Loudoun County, Virginia, will be illustrative of what fast growing, affluent counties are facing in an era of general revenue declines brought only GOP tax-cutting agendas. Check out items about:
Loudoun School Board’s tussle with the GOP–controlled Board of Supervisors
Loudoun BOS facing off with school advocates
Loudoun’s Debt
Local Loudoun GOP Apes National Party Hate Tactics


There are three budget plans going through the Virginia General Assembly: the Governor’s, the House’s and the Senate’s. Two key issues are whether the House plan actually increases education funding as much as it claims and whether a change in funding teacher retirements may impose harsh financial burdens on localities.

Ready for upload are several documents the may be of interest:

*A brief summary of the bills and retirement funding issue
*A more detailed

Hastert Doing the Dirty Work

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) said he opposes extending time to the bi-partisan commission looking into the 9/11 attacks. Republicans Tom Kean, who is heading the investigation, and another Republican member both want more time, due in part to the stonewalling by the Bush White House that has hampered the commission. Republican John Lehman, a former Navy secretary, called opposition unacceptable, according to The Washington Post.

Shouldn’t The Washington Post Investigate Social Security?

No doubt they have. In fact, a Lexis-Nexis search shows that “Social Security” was in the headline of more than 200 stories over the last five years. Many them I’m sure touched on the problems and proposed solutions for funding it as baby-boomers retire.

But with Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan yesterday proposing cuts, now would be a good time for a series of crisp articles on the history and evolution of SS and a detailed analysis of ways to protect its solvency.

Post Executive Editor Len Downie was interviewed for the book “The 2% Solution.” While he thought that at least for political campaigns, he said his reporters should cover what the candidates are saying, rather than what they’re not saying. But both Sen. John Kerry and President Bush responded to Greenspan’s comments yesterday, giving The Post an opening to conduct a survey and focus groups to support a detailed investigation.

If you agree, you can email Downie.