Matt's Blog
...religion, politics, and other things you should never discuss at bars (but probably do anyways).
Saturday, April 12, 2003

White House keeps eye on re-election amid war

Economy remains top domestic issue
President Bush's fund-raising team is quietly lining up donors.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- When war ends in Iraq, President Bush will quickly shift focus to his 2004 re-election campaign and the issue that kept his father from winning a second term: a weak economy. The money, message and much of Bush's political machine are already in place.

After weeks of careful planning, the White House hopes to convert postwar political momentum into a string of successes for Bush's domestic agenda -- and ammunition for re-election.


Wednesday, April 09, 2003

More from the "Exterminator"


In a fund-raising letter for the National Right to Work Foundation (NRWF), House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) called the American union movement “a clear and present danger to the security of the United States at home and the safety of our armed forces overseas.” He accused unions—especially the Fire Fighters—of exploiting Sept. 11, 2001, in a “shameful post-9/11 power grab…at the expense of our homeland security and troops overseas.”

When the six-page attack on unions was uncovered last week, it drew immediate and angry responses.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney told DeLay in a letter, “Never in my long career have I seen anything as despicable as this slanderous letter…Union members raced into collapsing and burning buildings to save lives, they came to their jobs at the hospitals to care for the wounded…cleaned up the site, recovered the bodies and brought order to the great city of New York.”

Gov. Howard Dean, M.D. Receives Endorsement from California Congresswoman
This marks Gov. Dean's first endorsement from a member of congress.


Governor Howard Dean today announced the endorsement of California U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren. Rep. Lofgren became the first member of Congress to officially endorse Governor Dean's presidential candidacy.

"I am ready to work for him, and to help build the resources to make his campaign a success," Rep. Lofgren said. "I believe Governor Dean represents the hope we need in America to rebuild our economy, restore our credibility overseas, improve our environment and renew our faith in government.

"As a physician, Dr. Dean knows the definition of compassion. Dr. Dean has been at the bedside of real Americans, treated their illnesses and eased their pains," she added. "Now, our economy is ill, and it is time to call in the doctor."

Rep. Lofgren said the economy was also a critical issue in this race.

"In my home county of Santa Clara, California, we have lost thousands of jobs since George W. Bush promised that tax cuts were the way to economic health," she said. "In Silicon Valley, we have an unemployment rate over 8%. Tax-free dividends will not put Silicon Valley back to work. We need to put a governor in charge of changing how our economy is stimulated.

"To lead a state takes vision. America needs vision to restore our economy and rebuild faith in our country and our security. Governor Dean offers that vision. As a governor of a state, he knows all too well the pressures of improving education and services, something our incumbent President appears to ignore.">

It's so nice to see that the Speaker's staff would find the idea of peace laughable.

The Candidate Shouting To Be Heard About Peace

Today may or may not be the day. Kucinich's call for a Cabinet-level Department of Peace takes place in a room crammed with staff, news media and peace activists. "The idea of a Department of Peace changes the debate in this country," Kucinich says. He looks determined with a messy mop of brown hair. He envisions a world, not so far away, when "war is not seen as inevitable . . . but as a failure of diplomacy."

The Department of Peace would be run by a Secretary of Peace, who would be appointed by the president and subject to approval by the Senate. It would include a Peace Academy modeled after the military academies and offer a four-year concentration in peace education.

Kucinich has proposed this department before. The bill expired in committee last year. But he says the war in Iraq makes the need for such an entity as urgent as ever. He is asked by a reporter if he expects the legislation to fare differently this year. Or if this is, perhaps, a symbolic gesture. Kucinich reads off the names of 47 Democrats who co-sponsored his legislation. If it were just him, and him alone, he says, then maybe it would be symbolic.

"I'm sure we'll take a serious look at his ideas," John Feehery, press secretary for House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), says later. Feehery is chuckling.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Coleman should apologize for Wellstone remark, congresswoman says

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., asked Sen. Norm Coleman to apologize on Monday after the Republican senator told a Capitol Hill newspaper that he's "a 99 percent improvement" over his predecessor, the late Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone.

"To be very blunt and God watch over Paul's soul, I am a 99 percent improvement over Paul Wellstone," Coleman said in a front-page story published in Roll Call. "Just about on every issue."

Coleman made the remark as he sought to stress his ties to President Bush. He told Roll Call that Wellstone "was never with the president."

McCollum called the remarks inappropriate and disrespectful and said they were "an unnecessary attack on a leader our state continues to mourn."


Home Front Still Key to Bush's Reelection

The economy has now lost about 2 million jobs since Bush took office. It has lost jobs in 18 of Bush's 27 months in office.

With state and local governments facing a budget crunch that could force them to reduce employment -- and the private-sector economy remaining slow -- Bush faces the risk of becoming the first president since World War II to suffer a net loss of jobs during his term. Even the sluggish economy under his father produced a net of 2.5 million new jobs; under Clinton, the nation gained 22.9 million jobs.

Monday, April 07, 2003

How To Take Back America

How To Take Back America
by Thom Hartmann

Marching in the streets is important work, but wouldn't we have greater success if we also took control of the United States government?

It's vital to point out right-wing-slanted reporting in the corporate media, but isn't it also important to seize enough political power in Washington to enforce anti-trust laws to break up media monopolies?

And how are progressives - most standing on the outside of government, looking in - to deal with oil wars, endemic corporate cronyism, slashed environmental regulations, corporate-controlled voting machines, the devastation of America's natural areas, the fouling of our air and waters, and an administration that daily gives the pharma, HMO, banking, and insurance industries whatever they want regardless of how many people are harmed?

This lack of political power is a crisis others have faced before. We should learn from their experience.


God writes a lot of comedy...
the trouble is,
he's stuck with so
many bad actors
who don't know how
to play funny.

-Garrison Keillor


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