Saturday, February 21, 2009

Assembly Will Consider Term Limits Bill Next Week

Making good on his promise to deal with Mayor Bloomberg, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries is sponsoring a bill to rescind the Mayor and Council's action that extended term limits from eight to twelve years. Next week, the bill will get its shot at moving through the Legislature, even if it is a slim one.

From PolitickerNY:

On February 25, the day Michael Bloomberg meets with Republican County leaders, members of the Democrat-controlled Assembly will consider a bill to block the term-limits extension that allows Bloomberg to run for a third term.

The bill is sponsored by Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn.

Here's info on that bill, courtesy of a helpful reader in Albany:

Election Law (DIAZ)

9:00 AM, Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Room 715 LOB


An act to amend the election law, in relation to requiring voter approval for the abolition or modification of term limits for certain elected offices.

While there are a few names attached to the bill (including my own Assemblyman Mr. Kavanagh), it isn't hardly enough to ensure passage. The CW on this is that the chances of actually blocking Bloomberg's re-election camapaign is somewhere between nil and none. While the bill is likely to fail and my hopes of it succeeding are near the CW, getting press on the action is the most crucial part of this.

When Bloomberg pressed Council Members to vote his way, he said that voters will forget that they did an end-run on the democratic process. With actions such as Mr. Jeffries, we will continue to remind New York City that Mr. Bloomberg and twenty-nine Council members disrespected the will of the voters when they passed term limits not once, but twice. Mike may think he is a shrewd politician and an omnipresent one with the backing of his billions, but with enough force, even King Bloomberg can be dethroned.

Obama: Stimulus Act Was Just The Beginning

President Obama never said that the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act was a panacea. It was just the beginning of a long journey to restore our country to greatness. Next up is to deal with the mortgage crisis and while we can expect a tough fight from the Party of No, if we work hard enough we will prevail and help families get out from under the personal crises they're in. That's what this week's Presidential Address is all about.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Gang Of Three Adopts New Moniker

Thinking perhaps that the "Gang of Three" sounded a little too sinister, Sens. Kruger, Espada and Diaz are lightening things up a bit with something more latin....the Three Amigos! Of course in the movie, they were all white comedians but that's besides the point. The three deviant Senators, still rich from success by threatening the new Democratic majority, want to keep the good times going. In Albany, that means raising cash...and lots of it.

From The Daily Politics:

The three met today at the Montezuma Mexican Restaurant on Knightsbridge Road in the Bronx. There were two main topics of conversation: The budget and a new political action committee called - what else! - the Three Amigos PAC - that is the brainchild of the group's ringleader, Sen. Carl Kruger.

Kruger, who is a prodigious fundraiser, said he plans to seed the PAC himself and then hopes that from this seed a "forest of trees will grow."

The money will be used to support likeminded candidates, he said. When pressed on whether he and his fellow amigos are looking to grow their swing vote club, given the fact that they are painfully aware that as soon as Smith manages to elect some more Democrats, their clout will disappear.

Finding slimy politicians such as themselves should not be too hard. When those three "Democratic" Senators managed to strike a deal with Smith, they proved that the stench of Albany is still alive and well, and anyone that wants a piece of the financial action within can try and sit at the table, as long as they play by the "Amigos'" rules. You can count on Diaz, Espada and Kruger to be searching for them to hold onto that clout.

Neo-Con Fred Kagen Shows Us How To Win The Hearts And Minds Of Iraqis

Now that George Bush has gone to Texas, the neo-cons left in his stead or trying to remain relevant in the political discourse. It's hard when the majority of America rejects them for the eight years of destruction that they brought upon us, but try, try, try they might. Take for example, Mr. Fred Kagen of the American Enterprise Institute, who had something rather brilliant to add to the discussion about Iraq.

From ThinkProgress:

At an AEI panel Wednesday, Kagan drastically overplayed Iraqis’ tolerance for “collateral damage” resulting from U.S. military incursions. Comparing Afghanistan and Iraq, Kagan said that a notable difference between the two wars is that Iraqi civilians “were not bitching” when civilians were killed:

KAGAN: The interesting thing is that when we were fighting those battles and doing that damage, on the whole the Iraqis were not bitching about collateral damage. You had nothing like the degree of upset about how many civilians were being injured and how much damage was being done to the infrastructure in Iraq at a much higher level of destruction than you have in Afghanistan at a much lower level of destruction.

Kagan then attributed the differences between Iraqis’ so-called tolerance for civilian deaths — and Afghan’s intolerance — to “cultural reasons”:

KAGAN: I think there’s a cultural reason for that: Afghans don’t fight in their cities. Iraqis do. For good or ill, Iraqis expect to fight in their cities. That’s where the insurgents dug in, Saddam Hussein planned to dig in to the cities or lure us into an urban fight. It’s sort of understood that the battlefield is going to be there, that doesn’t mean that they don’t complain about it, that doesn’t mean that it’s not a problem, but it does mean that when the insurgents dig in and we root them out, the Iraqis don’t on the whole say “darn it, you shouldn’t have blown up all of our houses.” They sort of accept that. Afghans do not.

It is thinking like this that has gotten nearly 5,000 of our troops killed, gunned down or bombed by thousands of insurgents created by the massacres we inflict on their civilian population. Kagen is an idiot, pure and simple. If the Republicans follow this type of heartless and nonsensical rationalizations, they beatings they took in 06' and 08' are just the beginning of their permanent minority status.

"Al Gore Lives On My Street"

Sung by famous "slacker" Robert Ellis Orrall:

Seven Months Later, NYPD Finally Cans Cyclist-Hating Cop

The New York Police Department and the city's cyclists have never really gotten along very well. The systemic hatred of the NYPD Blue towards the two-wheelers was displayed quite graphically this past July when one rookie cop, Patrick Pogan, decided to get in the way of one cyclist and billy-club the in-motion victim to the ground. The outrage over the incident was enough to get the brass to listen, but still, it took several months to get rid of the officer.

From The Gothamist:

The NYPD officer caught on tape bodyslamming a cyclist to the curb during a group Critical Mass ride through Times Square last July has been fired. Though charges of assault, harassment and filing a bogus police report are still pending against rookie cop Patrick Pogan, a spokesman for the NYPD confirmed that he was dismissed ten days ago and that the termination was directly related to the Critical Mass incident. But Stuart London, a lawyer for Pogan, tells the Times the NYPD didn't fire his client—he quit in order to "concentrate his efforts on fighting the criminal charges that are against him, so that when he is ultimately acquitted he can reapply to the Police Department." Referring to the NYPD's claim that Pogan was canned, London says, "They make errors all the time." Indeed! A spokesperson for advocacy group Times Up had this to say: "The NYPD is taking a heavy hand on dealing with this police officer, but we hope that Mayor Bloomberg will direct the higher-ups at the NYPD to discontinue their pattern of dangerous tactics and selective enforcement against cyclists."
Pogan's lawyer sounds like he's full of it, but then again he is a lawyer, so he's paid to spin the truth into pretzel-shaped loads of garbage. Though London is right about the NYPD making errors, and that would be the enduring written or unwritten policy of picking fights with Critical Mass cyclists and subsequently arresting and/or injuring them. Pogan should definitely be made an example of, but the higher-ups that condoned the behavior, or encouraged it, need to be fired as well.

Jesus Would Not Be On Your Side

Yeah I know, Jesus doesn't have sides, he loves us all, even a fellow Jew like myself. However, you can still love someone when disagreeing with them. Based on the world-famous prophet's teachings, I am bound to assume that Jesus would be in favor of helping those in need. On the flip side, making a disingenuous statement(s) about spending more than a million dollars a year since the Holy Son has been alive on the bill would not be so good in Jesus' book.

From Politico:

After watching liberal allies of President Barack Obama flood the airwaves in support of the stimulus bill, a conservative third-party group is countering with a provocative new commercial using Jesus Christ to emphasize the scale of the $787 billion package.

The American Issues Project, which briefly aired a TV spot in last year's presidential race, will go up on Friday with a TV spot that marks the dollars spent with the passage of time.

“Suppose you spent $1 million every single day starting from the day Jesus was born — and kept spending through today,” says the announcer as an image of the three wise men flashes on the screen. “A million dollars a day for more than 2,000 years. You would still have spent less money than Congress just did.”

According to Chris LaCivita, an AIP consultant, they are spending just under $1 million on the ad, which will be aired on national cable.
The quotes from the CBO are also misleading, since they had not done a full report on the bill and subsequent reports show that the stimulus would add a much needed boost to the economy. As for Schumer's statement deriding critics of the bill, he made the error of reaching out to Americans beyond the GOP's spin to ensure that vital infrastructure programs commence as soon as possible to put people back to work. Yes, that is change I can believe in Mr. LaCivita.

Meet Utah State Senator And Bigot Chris Buttars

It still amazes me that people like this can be elected to hold any type of office, whether it be State Senator or Dog Catcher:

The NY Post's Non-Apology Apology

Last night, after significant pressure for nearly two days, the NY Post issued a statement on their website addressing the racially-stigmatized cartoon. The image, depicting a chimp being shot dead by two white cops while they talk about the stimulus bill has drawn considerable outrage from nearly every group except for white conservatives. Al Sharpton even led a protest of hundreds in front of the paper's offices. So to sweep things under the rug after getting their desired amount of free publicity, they came out with this:

Wednesday's Page Six cartoon - caricaturing Monday's police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut - has created considerable controversy.

It shows two police officers standing over the chimp's body: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill," one officer says.

It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill.


But it has been taken as something else - as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism.

This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize.

However, there are some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past - and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback.

To them, no apology is due.

Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon - even as the opportunists seek to make it something else.

So for those that were offended but didn't say anything, you can thank those that did because their apology is directed at you. The response above is written by someone with the mentality of a five year old, who is resentful at various people for daring to call them out on their approval of a cartoonist's veiled use of racism. This wasn't about payback, it was about being shocked and horrified at a major New York daily paper that would print a cartoon that follows in the path of a long history of comparing blacks and chimps/monkeys/apes, etc.

This was no apology, it was meant as a childish swipe at people of our community that have protested the actions of the Post, and who will continue to do so until they take full responsibility for condoning that type of racially-insensitive material.

Unfortunately though, I seriously doubt the Post will take any additional steps. They are known as a rag in this city for a reason. Yet I am a little uncomfortable even using that description, because I wouldn't want to tarnish the good name of the many rags out there by elevating the Post to their level.

Update: A nearly identically titled post from The Zoo also explains why this isn't an apology, starting with what's written in the dictionary.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hypocritical Money Quote Of The Day, Brought To You By JP Morgan Chase

This is one of those moments where you laugh out loud or start ripping your hair out. When it comes to money management and Wall Street, chances are someone talking about it these days is setting up a joke, not for actually trusting your money to the crooks that dwell below Chambers St. So when JP Morgan Chase's Jamie Dimon opened his mouth to lend his "expertise" concerning Obama's homeowner plan, I wasn't sure whether to chuckle at the joke or kick him in the face for his sincerity.

From The Huffington Post:

"I don't think just because someone's underwater they say I don't have to stay there. But they're supposed to pay the mortgage, and we should teach the American people, you're supposed to meet your obligations, not run from them. Because you have a mortgage doesn't mean you should run away as it goes down."

Click here for the video.

Oh yeah, this is the same guy that took $25 billion in TARP money for his company that had mismanaged their own funds and helped contribute to the economic meltdown we've been experiencing. Dimon is in charge of a failed lending enterprise that made risky bets with no regard to their fiscal solvency and that of their many clients. He is one of the absolute last people to talk about fiscal discipline of any sort.

Explaining The Recovery And Reinvestment Act To A Five Year Old

If your young child asks about what the President is doing with that stimulus, or you know a Republican that just can't understand that Obama is creating jobs and revitalizing the economy, then this is the first video to show them.

Times-Union Raps Tedisco For Not Taking A Stand On The Stimulus

Earlier this week Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco went on for what seemed like hours (really five minutes) about how terrible the process was in how Congress passed the stimulus bill. He said he couldn't take a stand on it because it was a lot to read in a short amount of time, comparing it to another long book that was taking him more than a week to read. Perhaps he resembles George Bush a little, who also doesn't like to read things that are too long either. Well the Bush era is over and Americans are expecting a little bit more from their leaders these days. Being able to read and take a position on a bill (especially the most important piece of legislation our country has seen in a while) is essential when you are a Member of Congress and the Albany Times-Union is calling Jimmy out on his inability to say yea or nay:

That Mr. Tedisco would suggest that his position on what just might be the most contentious issue in Washington is a "hypothetical question" raises serious questions about his qualifications to serve in Congress. Economic policy couldn't be more critical in a congressional race.

Mr. Tedisco needs to understand that he's no longer in Albany, where he's the leader of the Republican minority in the state Assembly. Congress, he needs to learn, is a place where legislative debate tends to actually matter.

Scott Murphy, Mr. Tedisco's Democratic opponent, says he would have voted for the stimulus. So, which way, Mr. Tedisco? Up or down?

Is spending all this money — in a bold, some might say desperate, effort to keep the economy from plunging into a depression — a sensible way to create jobs and prevent more mortgage foreclosures?

If the issue here is Mr. Tedisco's unfamiliarity with what's a lengthy and complicated piece of legislation, he might start by reading it.

I couldn't have said it better myself. If Mr. Tedisco wants the honor and privilege to represent the 20th Congressional District of New York, he had better get a clue as to what is going on in the world outside of the State Capitol building.

Now, chances are he does have an opinion on it, but he is just too cowardly to come out and say it. Simply put, New Yorkers are heavily in favor of the stimulus bill and that probably puts him at odds with the most of the state. He's willfully stuck in the mud and muck created by the Republican Party's attempt to drown and starve the government and wishes to stay there.

Meanwhile, his opponent Scott Murphy is firmly behind President Obama and would have voted for the stimulus had he been in office at the time. Kristin Gillibrand did her very best to stand up for NY-20 and the candidate to fill her shoes is Mr. Murphy.

Differences Between Bush And Obama Seen On The Streets Of Ottawa

One could write a novel's worth of differences between our new President and the previous Executive. No matter the topic, you are bound to find a split in opinion between the two. That also goes for how the world sees the two men. While we as "free" Americans were allowed to protest Dubya in specially designated First Amendment zones, countries around the world would meet President Bush with a flood of protesters holding all sorts of anti-Bush signs and the passion to back it up.

Now that Barack Obama is traveling to his first foreign country (directly north of us), the atmosphere has decidedly changed:

Already, there’s been a noticeable difference in the way the Canadian public has received the two presidents. Bush was wildly unpopular in Canada. Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who supported the Iraq war (and later admitted it was a mistake), was lambasted by Canadians as supporting “Harper-Bush” policies. Not surprisingly, Bush’s visits to Canada spurred massive protests:
– “Thousands of protesters marched on Parliament Tuesday, rallying against President Bush’s visit and the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Twelve people were arrested after scuffling with police on the fringes of the peaceful demonstration.”[...]
Early Crowds Await Obama,” the Toronto Star reads today. “American flags are being hung up around Ottawa in preparation” for Obama’s visit, reports the Ottawa Citizen. Some of the stories today:
– “Small groups of people gathered in the pre-dawn gloom on Parliament Hill in hopes of catching a glimpse of [Obama]. Not even a snowfall could deter diehard fans of the popular U.S. leader.”

– “With stars and stripes flapping in the wind, enamoured Canadians will line the streets of the capital today trying to catch a fleeting glimpse of U.S. President Barack Obama.”

Everyone had a hunch that Obama would be treated better around the world than Bush was, and now we have our first clear indication of that. Of course, it isn't some unexplained phenomenon. Barack Obama actually cares what the world thinks of us and is committed to being a nation among nations, unlike the Deciderer that came before him. "Change" wasn't just some empty rhetorical device that Republicans claim it was (since that is what they rely on to snatch up voters every two years). With an active citizenry pushing Congress and the President (that Obama encourages), we will see that change come to fruition in the next four to eight years, both here at home and abroad.

Eric Massa Stands Up For H.R. 676

Cheers to one of New York's newest Congressmen, who has become one of several dozen to get behind a piece of legislation that can truly revolutionize the way America does health care. With H.R. 676, we can finally focus on the "care" aspect and not the bottom lines of insurance companies.

RNC Chair Steele Proclaims An Image Makeover For GOP

Newly-minted RNC Chairman Michael Steele is gearing up to attract young and minority voters in order to stem the tide of these groups siding more and more with the Democratic Party. Though don't worry if you are an arch-conservative, the party is going to stick to their old, antiquated ideas that have failed the country for decades now. This is merely an image makeover, one that reaches out to whoever will listen, including those in “urban-suburban hip-hop settings” and even "one-armed midgets."

From The Washington Times:

Having been elected to the job that the Bush White House and its political guru, Karl Rove, once denied him, Mr. Steele is running the show his way. To those who claimed he can't make the trains run on time, he has this message: “Stuff it.”

He stiff-armed an attempt to get him to elaborate on his public relations effort, saying he would be an idiot to give his opponents too much information, but indicated the Republican Party needs to break out of being considered a regional party.

”There was underlying concerns we had become too regionalized and the party needed to reach beyond our comfort” zones, he said, citing defeats in such states as Virginia and North Carolina. “We need messengers to really capture that region - young, Hispanic, black, a cross section ... We want to convey that the modern-day GOP looks like the conservative party that stands on principles. But we want to apply them to urban-surburban hip-hop settings.”

But, he elaborated with a laugh, “we need to uptick our image with everyone, including one-armed midgets.”

Always nice to throw an un-p.c. term in the mix to bring in those new groups, eh? Other than that though, he really had nothing to say policy-wise and doesn't want to. Instead, he utters words with nothing behind them. He talks about a new image, a new G.O.P., but really it is more of the same, only this time as a minority party with a much weaker power base. Though that doesn't mean he can't make people laugh, especially with quotes like these:

“It will be avant garde, technically,” he said. “It will come to table with things that will surprise everyone - off the hook.” Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele says the Grand Old Party is in need of an "off the hook" public relations offensive to attract young blacks and Hispanics. Does that mean cutting-edge? “I don't do 'cutting-edge,' “ he said. “That's what Democrats are doing. We're going beyond cutting-edge.”
Steele may think he's being cool by using the phrase "off the hook," but really when you are beyond the cutting-edge, it simply means you've already walked off the appropriate metaphor for where the Republican Party wants to take this country.

WFP Connects Majority Leader Smith Back To His Constituents

Plenty of State Senators want to see a drastic change in the state's budget being considered for the coming fiscal year. Several forms of a millionaire's tax have been introduced in both chambers, but the Governor and Majority Leader Malcolm Smith have not warmed enough to the idea to moderate spending cuts with an additional tax on the wealthiest New Yorkers. So to bring a little fire to Malcolm, the Working Families Party is talking to the people that elect Smith into office every two years. WFPers are going door to door in Smith's area of Queens to deliver a message.

From Newsday:

“Governor Paterson, I’m willing to make sacrifices, but there’s no way I’m putting my little girl’s future at risk,” the flier reads. “There’s a better way. Tell Majority Leader Smith (to) Stop the Governor’s Budget Cuts.”

The flier has the logo of the Working Families Party and a tear-off, postage-paid postcard that can be mailed to the Healthcare Education Project, a venture of the 1199/SIEU union reprinting many health care workers and the Greater New York Hospital Association.

The postcard has a plug for the Fair Share Tax Reform, which the WFP and its allies say “would roll back tax cuts for the wealthiest New Yorkers... those making more than $250,000 would pay their fair share so we can balance the budget without devastating cuts... Over the last 30 years, New York has reduced income tax rates for the wealthiest New Yorkers by 50% and eliminated high income tax brackets, resulting in $8 billion of lost revenue each year.”

And it all comes back to the Governor's message of "shared sacrifice," only it really reflects the sentiment. WFP is absolutely right to mention how income taxes have been continually cut, reducing revenue to make government work for the majority of our state that makes far below $250,000 (or even if the bill starts out with people making $500,000, that still makes a big difference). Conservatives love to cry about run-away spending, but when you cut revenues, it helps them make the argument to say we can't afford those programs because they leave out all the facts.

NYC Needs A Mayor Like This

Via Skype, Mayor Virg Bernero of Lansing, Michigan laid it into Fox News on Tuesday and stood up for the working man with avengence. He talked about fighting the race to the bottom and completely dominated the four minutes he was on the air. He was absolutely nothing like our plutocratic current Mayor and damn, am I itching for a candidate like that. Could it be within Thompson, Weiner or a dark horse we don't know yet?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Burris Gets Pummeled By Media, So He's Done Talking To Them

The more Roland Burris talks, the worse it gets for him. He was already eyed suspiciously for being selected by the tainted Governor Blagojevich when he was on his way to the Senate. His testimony at the impeachment hearing helped secure the spot for him by his denial of a connection with the Governor and any quid pro quo. Then a few days ago, Roland said a few things that were different from his testimony and now everyone is calling for his head. So Roland is done with those people, you know, the ones that report the news to the people of Illinois (and the rest of us too).

From RawStory:

"Embattled Sen. Roland Burris on Wednesday again defended the testimony he gave to the Illinois House during his appointment process," a Chicago NBC affiliate reports. "Burris said that after Wednesday, he would no longer 'engage the media and have facts ripped out in selected soundbytes,' citing the investigation by the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee."
Like a child, he is refraining from the scrutiny as best he can. Now that he has seen that the press can watch him change his story several times over, Burris came out today to tell his side of the story (the side he's presenting today that is) and that was that. No questions, no debate, nothing like that where the people of Illinois can hold him accountable. So the Burris resignation watch begins and where it ends...well, if it is anything like his appointer Blagojevich's travails, it could be a while.

M.T.A. Tells Ratner To Stay Away From Their Stimulus Money

It has already been mentioned that community destroyer developer Bruce Ratner is looking for a chunk of that economic stimulus money to build his offices, apartments and basketball arena. However, the opposition to that has been fierce and people are noticing. First of all it wasn't written anywhere in the bill (probably because H.R. 1 was about stimulus and not earmarks) and now the M.T.A. is telling Ratner to scat as well.

From The Gothamist:

Atlantic Yards opponents have expressed considerable outrage over developer Bruce Ratner's attempt to get a taste of the federal stimulus package for his embattled stadium, office, and residential project in Brooklyn. Last week it came to light that former Senator Alfonse D’Amato’s lobbying firm, Park Strategies, was working behind the scenes to secure a cut of the stimulus for Ratner. But they can forget about getting any of the loot earmarked for the MTA; a transit official tells the Post that the stalled development is "not on any of our lists [of projects]." However, Ratner is still lobbying for some of the stimulus money outside of the MTA's purview; there's some $3.9 billion for "infrastructure and energy assistance" which will soon be at Governor Paterson's disposal. A spokeswoman for the governor says they're "examining whether the project warrants stimulus funds," and notes that "there's a lot of competition."
Damn, not even a lobbying effort could get AY a dime (though I'm sure D'Amato didn't come for free, heh). Now as for Paterson's discretionary $3.9 billion, if he even thinks twice about giving Ratner money, he can kiss Brooklyn's vote in next year's primary race goodbye.

Congratulations President Obama, For Taking The First Step

There is so much to be done in order to repair the damage our country has endured under Republican leadership rule. Yet we now have a President that is willing to take bold steps to put us on the path to recovery. With the stimulus bill having been written and signed into law, we have taken the first step on that path.

New Yorkers Overwhelmingly Support Millionaire's Tax

I wonder if Majority Leader Malcolm Smith is shocked and surprised at this, but New Yorkers want to see an additional tax on our state's millionaires (and to varying degrees people that make in upward of $250K) by a margin of four to one. Many of the other State Senators certainly get it, and are proposing bills to generate that income instead of making more spending cuts. One way the poll is being spun though is that respondents would rather see cuts than have that tax, but as with all polls, the wording of the questions make all the difference.

From The Albany Project:

Also, though New Yorkers overwhelmingly favor an modest increase in the rate paid by the wealthiest of us, they say they also would cut spending before "raising taxes".

Despite support for the Millionaires Tax, voters say 51 - 34 percent that they would rather cut state services than raise taxes.

Of course, this might have something with the way the question is posed.

41. To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, would you prefer - raising taxes or cutting government programs and services?

I'd have loved to see the question posed this way: "To balance the state budget, if you had to chose, would you prefer - cutting government programs and services or raising taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers?"

I suspect those numbers would look rather different.

If Quinnipiac managed to change that wording for the next poll, I am almost certain those numbers would drastically change. In fact, I'd suggest the numbers would be nearly similar to the four to one response seen for the millionaire's tax question. Now if the members of the Senate would only reflect how the people feel, then we could start moving on this most important issue concerning the budget gap.

Keepin' It Classy At The NY Post

I admit that sometimes the Post runs decent stories, but their rep is ruined by the nastiness that of the paper that bubbles up to the surface from time to time. It is widely known that the rag has a conservative bent, but it is a true shame when the editors can't do their jobs. The edit, or shall I say lack thereof concerns an editorial cartoon that fuses the story of the violent chimpanzee in Connecticut with the stimulus bill brought forth by President Obama.

From The Huffington Post:

The drawing, from famed cartoonist Sean Delonas, is rife with violent imagery and racial undertones. In it, two befuddled-looking police officers holding guns look over the dead and bleeding chimpanzee that attacked a woman in Stamford, Connecticut.

"They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill," reads the caption.

An email to Delonas and a call to the New York Post went unreturned. The cartoon appears both on the New York Post website and page 12 of the Wednesday paper.

At its most benign, the cartoon suggests that the stimulus bill was so bad, monkeys may as well have written it. Others believe it compares the president to a rabid chimp. Either way, the incorporation of violence and (on a darker level) race into politics is bound to be controversial. Perhaps that's what Delonas wanted.

You can view the cartoon at the link above, I can assure you it is rather disturbing. Whatever the intention of the editors of the Post, the decision to print it is a real shame. Either they were stupidly ignorant at best, or maliciously embedding racial undertones at worst. Perhaps putting it back in the paper on page 12 suggest they felt a little guilty about inserting it at all.

How The Credit Card Companies Barrel Over Us In More Ways Than One

Cenk Uyugr breaks it down for ya:

Aerosmith Calls Eric Cantor Out For Copyright Infringement

When I posted that video from GOP House Whip Eric Cantor yesterday, I wondered to myself how long it would take Aerosmith to get in his face about playing their song. Members of Aerosmith (except for Joe Perry) are no fans of the Republican Party and hearing their work in a deceptive ad is by one of its leaders has to be rather ear-wrenching. Anyways, the response didn't take long, and since Cantor put it on YouTube, YouTube was able to quickly pull it for a copyright violation.

From TPM:

Poor House Republicans. They were pretty psyched yesterday about that new troops-rallying video from Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) that used Aerosmith's "Back in the Saddle" to declare that "The House GOP is back" thanks to the party's unanimous opposition to the stimulus.

But unfortunately, Aerosmith wasn't feeling the love. Cantor's clip has been pulled from YouTube after a copyright infringement claim made by Stage Three Music, which owns the rights to "Back in the Saddle."

The GOP's use of the tune "was something we, as the publishers, didn't approve and would not have approved without going to the writers," Connie Ashton, director of copyright and licensing at Stage Three, told me. "Aerosmith did not approve of its use and also wanted to have it taken down," she added.

Maybe Congressman Cantor could play this song instead for his party. It perfectly reflects how Cantor posted the song and of course, it is an official motto for his merry band of elephants, no matter who gets hurt.

Another Millionaire's Tax Proposal

There are thousands of millionaires in New York but still no millionaire tax schemes to get them to chip in with the state's fiscal mess. Senator Jeff Klein is the latest legislator to come up with a plan that would have the wealthy pay a higher rate than they do now. Currently those that make $50,000 pay the same percentage as the very wealthy do. Plenty of Democrats want to change that, but the way to go about it is up for debate. Klein's submission is slightly different from what Eric Schneiderman proposed last week.

From PolitickerNY:

Klein said his bill is different in that it will provide a credit for people earning less than $250,000, instead of just raising rates on the higher earners. Schneiderman's bill mirrors a proposal put forth by the Working Families Party, and a companion bill will be introduced in the Assembly.

"It doesn't just tax the rich, it really provides a fairer tax structure," Klein said by phone. "We're still working out the details. But if someone makes $250,000, we would leave them at the same tax rate they were at next year."

Majority Leader Malcolm Smith is not supporting either bill.

Even if Smith does not support it, I certainly hope that he sticks to his word on reforming the Senate in such a way that other Senators can bring legislation to the floor. The Majority Leader can believe what he wants, but putting the burden entirely on the backs of the working class isn't such a bright idea, even if they don't have as many lobbyists on their side to pitch it to him. Shared sacrifice is where we make spending cuts that primarily affect the middle and working classes and add taxes that affect, well, those that pay a significant amount of tax. It should not just be one or the other.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Brad Sherman Talks About Watered-Down Executive Pay Caps

Congressman Sherman corrects Fox Business News anchors in that the pay caps for bailout-taking companies top earners was actually toned down, not "secretly added at the last moment" as conservatives try to paint it as.

Transparency Comes To Government

The Internets are a beautiful thing. Those sequences of 1's and 0's are bringing a tremendous amount of information to the fingertips of millions. Of course, when it comes to government programs, it takes someone willing to put that information up there to see. George Bush's Presidency was one of the most shut-down operations in recent memory but now we are in the age of Obama and things are beginning to change.....and they have been changing, with the interactivity of the campaign site, that morphed into the transition site and now And with the signing of the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we have a new site,

Welcome to is a website that lets you, the taxpayer, figure out where the money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is going. There are going to be a few different ways to search for information. The money is being distributed by Federal agencies, and soon you'll be able to see where it's going -- to which states, to which congressional districts, even to which Federal contractors. As soon as we are able to, we'll display that information visually in maps, charts, and graphics. Kinda like this one:

And there is so much more at the site. Tell your story, what is or isn't working, read the bill, it's all right there. Where there was once secrecy at 1600 Pennsylvania, there is now openness and a desire to communicate with the American people. Being a deciderer is more than going with your gut, it is about governing the people, not dictating to them.

Bloomberg Sucks Up To GOP By Hiring McCain Spokeswoman

The press following the massive Democratic-leaning hirings by Mayor Bloomberg probably irked many Republicans, especially the party chairs in the five boroughs that control who gets on their ticket this November. So what does a party-apprehensive billionaire do? Hire a Republican to be his campaign spokeswoman of course! After being a part of the losing McCain effort, Jill Hazelbaker is coming to Bloomberg 09'. When asked about it by Azi, Bloomberg goes on the defensive.

From PolitickerNY:

Asked by Azi at a press conference today about the fact that he still hasn't guaranteed himself a spot on the Republican line -- or any other, for that matter -- Bloomberg offered a terse non-response: "I don't know who you're addressing the question to. I'm not running the campaign. If you're talking about my election, you'll have to talk to the campaign.”
And of course, the campaign has a nice little bio to present:

Jill Hazelbaker most recently served as the National Communications Director for Senator John McCain's presidential campaign, from McCain's come-from-behind primary victory through the general election. Prior to joining the McCain campaign, Hazelbaker served as Communications Director for Tom Kean Jr.'s bid for U.S. Senate from New Jersey. Before the Kean campaign, Hazelbaker was an Associate with Mercury Public Affairs based in New York City.

"Jill brings to the table a skill set that is valuable to any campaign and Mayor Bloomberg is fortunate to have her onboard. I wish him and the campaign all the best," said U.S. Senator John McCain.

"Mayor Bloomberg is a pragmatic leader who gets results and it's a privilege to join his campaign," said Hazelbaker.

"Jill is one of the most talented communications professionals in the country. We are lucky to have her aboard," said Howard Wolfson.

Or to sum up, your standard line for a political consultant that has been working for at least a few cycles. Now I am sure Ms. Hazelbaker is good at what she does, even if she was with the losing campaign, it was still at the Presidential level. Whether or not her presence will actually help curry favor with the local GOP, that remains to be seen.

Goldman Sachs + Burger King = Mistreated Workers

You think fast food is bad? Try adding Goldman Sachs' business models (see: employee degradation) to the Whopper menu at Burger King and things go from bad to worse for the employees at the burger giant. Oh and because Goldman Sachs made itself into a bank to receive TARP funds, they are doing this at the taxpayers' expense at an increasing rate.

The Palin Family "Abstinence" Hypocrisy Is America's Problem

When Sarah Palin stepped out onto the national stage, she brought her big family with her too, so that America would love her even more, or something like that. Unfortunately, the story about her pregnant teenage daughter surfaced shortly after and hypocrisy meters were screaming off the charts. Palin's views were of a typical wingnut Republican (abstinence education only, nothing about birth control) but the reality in her own home was quite a different story. Well now her daughter Bristol got herself on the teevee, and well, like, oh my god, guess what she said.

From ThinkProgress:

In 2006, as a gubernatorial candidate, Sarah Palin filled out a questionnaire emphasizing her support for abstinence education. She wrote that “the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.” Alaska does not require sex ed to be taught in schools; Anchorage schools teach “Abstinence Plus,” which emphasizes abstaining from sex.

Palin’s views came under fire when it was revealed that her then-17-year-old daughter Bristol was pregnant. In her first public interview, Bristol told Fox News’ chief Palin cheerleader Greta Van Susteren last night that abstinence is “not realistic at all”:

VAN SUSTEREN: I don’t want to pry to personally, but I mean, actually, contraception is an issue here. Is that something that you were just lazy about or not interested, or do you have a philosophical or religious opposition to it or…

BRISTOL: No. I don’t want to get into detail about that. But I think abstinence is, like — like, the — I don’t know how to put it — like, the main — everyone should be abstinent or whatever, but it’s not realistic at all.

When Van Susteren asked Gov. Palin about abstinence, she seemed similarly dismissive of her former views, admitting, “It sounds naive.” Bristol added, “I just — I hope that people learn from my story and just, like, I don’t know, prevent teen pregnancy, I guess.”
I guess? To paraphrase a quote from a great President, is our children learning anything at all?

Thank god that the adults are back in control of the government and are directing spending towards sex ed and not merely abstinence. The ways of the GOP puritanical purity patrol have shown themselves to be a complete failure, and not just in the Palin house. Schools across the country that have only taught abstinence are doing our nation's children a serious disservice, and that willful ignorance of a real problem will be put to an end by President Obama.

Comptroller Cracks Down On Rent Cheating Yankees

Comptroller and mayoral candidate Bill Thompson is out to get the Yankees for $3.7 million dollars in rent that his office says the team cheated the city on. The Bronx bombers have plenty of money, especially with consistently ranking #1 as the team with the highest salary in the Majors. Yet over the last eight years, they've been skimming a little too much off the top.

From NY1:

The Yankees owe the city more than $65,000 in rent payments for the first quarter of last year, according to an audit released Monday by the city comptroller's office. Comptroller Bill Thompson says the team has consistently overstated their rent deductions by more than $3.7 million since 2000.

He says the Yankees have a pattern of not paying the city what is owed until it has been audited.

The Yankees are not disputing the audit and plan to pay. Yankees President Randy Levine says that the audit was a routine part of the team's compliance with a complicated lease.
While I applaud the recovery of $3.7 million, it is still only pennies on the dollar from what the team should not be taking from the city in the form of tax free bonds and other means to have New Yorkers pay for the construction of the new Yankee Stadium. It was nice to see city officials give back the stadium suite, but those hundreds of millions of dollars should be given back to the city, heavens knows Steinbrenner could have financed that stadium if he had to.

Eric Cantor: Rockstar Republican

Using Aerosmith's "Back in the Saddle Again" to describe their "Party of No" label couldn't be further from the truth for the Republican caucus. The American people have stood up and rejected them by wide margins in the last two cycles. They've shredded the economy with their wasteful, de-regulated ways and they are mad that they don't have much power left. This cute little commercial tries to swing (the youth?) audiences to believe that they're fighting for you, or some empty rhetoric like that.

The truth is, that stimulus bill is the best thing we have going for us, with an investment in the American economy and millions of jobs that we desperately need. Eric Cantor can whip his party into song and dance all he wants, but the chorus behind him is shrinking by the moment.

Update: Oh and when Mr. Cantor says he's looking out for you, perhaps he just meant his wife and her lust for TARP funds.

George Wills Enviro Facts To Meet His Own Reality

George Will is one of the more respected conservative pundits and writers out there. He doesn't come across as shrill very often and would probably get just as nauseous around Ann Coulter as I would. Yet that demeanor does not mean that he isn't immune to that GOP disease of making facts up about global warming that are completely and utterly false.

From TPM Muckraker:

Over the weekend, the Washington Post's George Will, got in on the act. And it took us about ten minutes -- longer, it appears, than the Post's editors spent -- to figure out that Will, like Barnes, was essentially making stuff up.

Both of Will's major "data points" fall apart after a moment's scrutiny.

Here's the first:

According to the University of Illinois' Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979.

But within hours of Will's column appearing, the ACRC had posted the following statement on its website:

We do not know where George Will is getting his information, but our data shows that on February 15, 1979, global sea ice area was 16.79 million sq. km and on February 15, 2009, global sea ice area was 15.45 million sq. km. Therefore, global sea ice levels are 1.34 million sq. km less in February 2009 than in February 1979. This decrease in sea ice area is roughly equal to the area of Texas, California, and Oklahoma combined.

It is disturbing that the Washington Post would publish such information without first checking the facts.

Yeah, I'm with ACRC on that one. George Will doesn't have the best record when it comes to portraying the facts on the issue and the Washington Post should assign an editor and a fact checker to their conservative pundit. Will also tried to smudge the facts on another point in regard to global temperatures, but he cherry-picked the data without taking a look (or avoiding it intentionally) at the mean numbers.

It is sad to see people like this so avidly deny what is staring us all in the face. Global warming is not a partisan issue, it will affect the planet no matter if you are a Democrat, Republican, Socialist, Reform, Green or whatever.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Not-So Fiscal Conservative Side Of Jim Tedisco

Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco can talk a good game about caring for his constituents and good old fashioned Republican values. He doesn't want to take a position on a bill in Congress that gives a strong stimulus to the economy because it was too long to read. He called things in there (so he read a little?) earmarks and pork-barrel politics. It sounds great, really. Fighting for the common man, hurrah. Too bad it just doesn't match up with the Jim Tedisco he doesn't want people to see.

From The Albany Project:

First, a little background, the Assembly now has 109 Democratic members and 41 Republican members. The Republican number has declined to a record-low level under the three-plus years (two election cycles) of Tedisco's "leadership."

But, even though there are many more Democrats than Republicans in the Assembly, Tedisco has seen fit to give out three times more free cars to his members and staff than are provided to Democratic members and staff.

According to the Times-Union blog post (it really should be a story, and may be tomorrow), the Democrats in the Assembly super-majority give out four free cars -- to the Speaker, the Majority Leader, the Ways and Means Committee chairman, and the Assembly chief of staff.

"Fiscal conservative" Tedisco gives out 12 cars -- to himself and nine other members and two top staffers.

A "free car" is worth $300-$500 a month. Do the math, and it's clear that Tedisco is spending about $40,000 a year more on free cars than the Assembly majority.

And that doesn't even include the gas for those cars. Fiscal discipline is all well and good to prevent job creation, but when it comes to getting him and members of the Assembly GOP a set of wheels...bring on the perks of office!

Or you could support Democrat Scott Murphy instead, because New York's 20th District deserves better.

February 16th In One Hundred Seconds

I wasn't around for most of the afternoon and evening, so I got a quick roundup of today's events and punditry extravaganzas from Talking Points Memo:

How Bad Are These Economic Times For New York?

A few less Starbucks stores in the neighborhood, a few more "For Sale" signs and landlords offering a free first month upon signing are all indicators in Manhattan at least that times have gotten tough. Seriously though, unemployment has skyrocketed in the city and across the country and life in NYC has gotten harder. The boom times of Wall Street's excess had the poor barely getting by and the affluent loving every moment, but hardly anyone expected it could get this bad, this quickly. Well, economists that have been paying attention knew about it, and now that the recession is upon us their portend for the future does not look so bright.

From The NY Times:

John Tepper Marlin

Former Chief Economist

City Comptroller’s Office

Some people have compared this recession to the Great Depression. Mr. Marlin’s view? It could turn out to be worse.

He is troubled that this time, the crisis is more global in nature, given the interconnectedness of the world economy. That means it affects more people, and it also means there are more people to blame: the aggressive peddlers of subprime mortgages in California; the proponents of deregulation, led by two powerful former members of Congress from Texas, Dick Armey and Phil Gramm; and the people he sardonically calls the “geniuses” on Wall Street.

“We’ve had the verdict — Wall Street is guilty — but what’s playing out here is the sentencing, and it’s not just Wall Street that’s being sentenced; it’s the rest of the world,” Mr. Marlin said.

And that is just one person the Times talked to. Others did not have much better news. Nicole Gelinas at the conservative-leaning Manhattan Institute predicts that even though property taxes are helping the city stem the bleeding, reassessments will lead to even further reduced revenues. Ronnie Lowenstein of the Independent Budget Office in NYC says for us to forget about those boom years if Obama follows through with re-regulating Wall Street (a good thing from a macro perspective, that's for sure). Still others suggest things aren't as bad or will not get as bad as the Great Depression or even the recession of 1982. Precautions have been put in place so that the city won't go bankrupt like it has.

Of course as the article says in the title, we should expect change. That means we need to not rely on Wall Street like we have and in my view, diversify our economy. Long before Bloomberg's ramped up gentrification plan, the city had a booming cultural economy that has been stymied by the Mayor and others like him in the past. We need to stop begging and pleading the large banks to solve all our fiscal woes because more often than not, they dig our holes bigger than we started out with.

GOP Tries To Take Credit For Stimulus That They Weakened And Opposed

Not that I am too surprised, but it really is amazing to watch Republicans in Congress pivot from hating Obama's bill to energize the American economy to loving each stimulus dollar that goes into their districts. Not one single Republican in the House voted for the bill and only three in their Senate caucus went along with legislation that will soon be signed into law by the President. Now they are falling all over themselves to take credit.

From McClatchy:

WASHINGTON — Rep. John Mica was gushing after the House of Representatives voted Friday to pass the big stimulus plan.

"I applaud President Obama's recognition that high-speed rail should be part of America's future," the Florida Republican beamed in a press release.

Yet Mica had just joined every other GOP House member in voting against the $787.2 billion economic recovery plan.

Of course this should be expected, because Mica is just looking out for himself and his standing among the voters of his district. While Democrats were fairly united about bringing reinvestment to all of America, Republicans fought that idea of standing together in these tough times. John Boehner's spokesman made that position abundantly clear.

Mike Steel, a spokesman for House GOP Leader John Boehner of Ohio, at first ducked when asked about Mica and Young issuing press releases praising the bill they'd opposed.

"I don't work for Mica or Young," Steel said initially.

But then he explained that what Mica and Young did in touting aspects of the bill was in fact consistent with the Republican message.

"Being supportive of one portion of a trillion dollar bill, but voting against the entire trillion dollar bill, is perfectly reasonable," Steel said.

It is a consistent message of the GOP that as a member, you should do or say anything that looks good politically for oneself and at times, for the party. Never shall you do or say anything that might actually be good for the American people as a whole. As it usually does, politics trumps patriotism and love of country any day of the week.

Roland Burris Desperately Trying To Conceal His Connections To Blagojevich

Senator Burris held a press conference in an attempt to combat the new inquiries into exactly what he said and didn't say (and who he didn't say it to) in regard to how Blagojevich picked him as Barack Obama's replacement in the Senate. It turns out that what Roland has been saying lately doesn't quite match up with what he told the Illinois House when they impeached Rod last month. Despite trying to proclaim his innocence, the facts of the story indicated otherwise.

The Commonalities Of Michael Bloomberg And Hugo Chavez

It might be hard to imagine the Mayor of New York and the President of Venezuela sharing much in common but if you strip everything away and just consider the trappings of power, the two are one in the same. Yesterday a small majority of Venezuelans (or so the polls say) voted to abolish term limits so that Hugo can run indefinitely. It must have made George Bush cringe and boiled the blood of neo-cons everywhere. Though I doubt they weren't too concerned when Michael Bloomberg decided he wanted to run for a third term despite New Yorkers having had approved of term limits by referenda twice in the 1990s.

A few months ago, the blood was boiling on the left side of New York's political side and in the veins of all people that decry political power plays such as what the Mayor and Council undertook. Yet for as much outrage as his opponents could muster, the Council, with Speaker Quinn's prodding, made sure that everyone was able to run for a third term, get extra benefits and allow the Mayor to drop $80 or $100 million on a campaign that some would call buying victory.

Of course, it isn't exactly the same set of circumstances. Our Mayor has never been the target of a U.S. backed coup, nor bashed President Bush day in, day out, and he doesn't even try to appear in touch or connected with the people he rules over attempts to govern. Bloomberg also has no shame, as he now tries to cajole the Working Families Party into letting him run on their line. Despite their differences, both are clearly obsessed with power, and will do whatever it takes to hold on to that. The means may differ because of where they each are, but the ends are all the same.

Paterson Tries To Appease Staff With Raises, Screws The Rest Of Us Though

Governor Paterson is experiencing some rough times these days. That massive budget deficit we have is causing him significant difficulty in deciding what to do about it, but unfortunately it seems if there's a bad choice to make, he'll go with it. Take for instance this latest mistake of giving raises to his top staffers, presumably to keep them from leaving their jobs. Now that's great for those few who work in the Governor's office, but what about the 130,000 state employees he told would have their wages frozen?

From The NY Post:

ALBANY - Gov. Paterson has secretly granted raises of as much as 46 percent to more than a dozen staffers at a time when he has asked 130,000 state workers to give up 3 percent pay hikes because of the state's fiscal crisis, The Post has learned.

The startling pay hikes, costing about $250,000 annually, were granted after the governor's "emergency" declaration in August of a looming fiscal crisis that required the state to cut spending and impose a "hard" hiring freeze.

One raise was approved as recently as last month - when Paterson claimed the budget deficit had reached an unprecedented $15.5 billion.

That would be another blow to the Governor's claims to wanting shared sacrifice in these tenuous times. Seeing stories like that do not make me feel so bad to hear about Paterson being chanted at and having buttons for a fair tax all around him. He had a few supporters in the room where the conference for the Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators was being held, but many of them wanted to see Paterson stand behind their issues by reducing the spending cuts (especially with a few billion more than expected from the stimulus bill) and instituting additional taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers so that "shared sacrifice" could actually be called a legitimate slogan when all is said and done.

Stimulating Sunday Talk....Or Not

Pundits, politicians and spinmeisters went to battle on the airwaves yesterday to either trumpet or decry the stimulus bill. One side talked realistically about creating jobs while the other cried for a special blend of bipartisanship that would have continued the same old failed tax cuts that we saw during the Bush Administration.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sen. Graham Wouldn't Know Bipartisanship If It Was Staring At Him In The Face

With two days to go until President Barack Obama goes to Denver to sign the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law, we have one last Sunday talk cycle to get the frustrations of Republicans out so that we can all hear it for the umpteenth time. Democrats have already described McCain as an angry, old defeated candidate, but we need to add Senator Lindsay Graham in there too.

From RawStory:

At this point, Graham chimed in to say, "If this is going to be bipartisanship, the country's screwed. ... I know bipartisanship when I see it. ... There's nothing about this process that's been bipartisan. This is not change we can believe in."

"You rammed it through the House," Graham told the Democrats on the panel. "The markup, Chuck, in the Senate took an hour and forty minutes."

"We had every Republican vote for a $440 billion stimulus package," Graham continued, "that cut taxes, had infrastructure spending, and helped people who were out of work

Graham was apparently referring to Sen. John Thune's proposal, which was voted down 37-60. That proposal would have cut tax rates in a way that gave the most relief to affluent Americans and none to the working poor, made unemployment benefits tax-free, used tax credits to encourage renewed home-buying, and forbidden future tax increases to pay for current deficit spending. It would also have included a mere $65 billion in state grants to build and repair bridges and roads.
See, Senator Graham has it all wrong. The bipartisanship shown during Republican rule was where some Democrats would complain that the GOP gave everything to the rich and stole from the poor, then the GOP would ignore said Democrats and pass whatever the hell they wanted. Now that the Republicans have been beaten into a small regional party with limited influence, they're complaining about not getting things the way that they're used to. Proposing a counter-bill that had half the money and nearly all of that going to the very rich was laughable to say the least.

The American people demanded change this past November. Until Republicans like Graham actually want to sit down and come up with ideas other than their failed tax cuts, they have no claim to use the word "bipartisanship." At the very least, Senator Graham should consult a dictionary (and his constituents who are flailing in this wretched economy) before going on his next Sunday talk show.