Friday, May 21, 2010

Rand Paul Said What??

Ron Paul may have faded from the political limelight since his Presidential quest went down in flames but his son's star is on the up and up. Rand Paul is now the Republican nominee for the Senate seat in Kentucky, besting the local party's pick to replace Senator Jim Bunning. Paul's victory is a testament to the nascent power the teabaggers are beginning to hold in various conservative strongholds around the country. However, his views and recent statements are showing the mainstream just how far out there Paul and others like him are.

From Crooks and Liars:

Presidential bashing of corporate crime, corruption and greed is as American as apple pie. While Republican Teddy Roosevelt decried "malefactors of great wealth," his distant Democratic cousin FDR announced, "I welcome their hatred." But now just days after insisting the federal government had no right to bar racial discrimination in public accommodations, Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul again reversed victim and villain in calling President Obama's criticism of BP, "un-American."

In the face of the environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, Paul rushed to the defense of BP on Good Morning America. When George Stephanopolous asked, "But you don't want to get rid of the EPA?" Dr. Paul's diagnosis was that the Obama administration was persecuting the oil giant and the American free enterprise system. Accidents, he insisted, "happen".

Paul's assertions may reside upon libertarian values, but they certainly are not American values. Accidents do not always just "happen," oil spills like that of which we are dealing with now must have consequences when the companies at fault did not take adequate precautions to prevent millions of barrels of oil from polluting the Gulf of Mexico. The same goes for enforcing anti-discrimination laws so that commercial establishments do not keep black people from sitting at the lunch counter as Woolworth's did not fifty years ago.

Mr. Paul, we have government for a reason, and that is to make people behave civilly and to respect each other's liberties. BP does not have the liberty to destroy an ecosystem that millions of people depend upon, let alone the myriad species that live in the waters and surrounding shorelines. The fact that someone with such horrifying views has made it a general election is both shocking and depressing. This year, it is the responsibility of the Kentucky Democratic party to take this seat back not only for politics, but for the common good.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Only In New York City....

Via The Daily Politics

I have to say, this idea has crossed my mind once or twice whenever I have to walk through Midtown, Times Square, SoHo or any street within a quarter mile of WTC. To the tourists' credit, they are here to spend money in the city. They're also generally from areas of the country and the world where walking as a mode of transit is discouraged by a widespread sprawl mentality. Nevertheless, 8.3 million of us live and do business here, and practically speaking, drawing lanes might not be such a bad move. Of course, the tourists are too busy looking up to see how big the buildings are, so it probably wouldn't even matter.

Vito Strikes Back!

In New York we certainly have our fair share of politicians who have fallen from grace due to their loins, though very few ever come back. Even those that do don't really come back all the way. Former Congressman Vito Fossella however, is looking to break through that mold (created from the scummy, hiding-a-second-family-on-the-side plaster). His friends over on Staten Island went to bat for him in a big way last night and Vito is looking for a grand re-entrance.

From Staten Island Live:

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. --- In a bombshell announcement, the Staten Island Republican Party executive committee last night endorsed former GOP Rep. Vito Fossella to run against Rep. Michael McMahon (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn) this fall.[...]

Party chairman John Friscia said Fossella was the best candidate to beat McMahon. However, he acknowledged that he has no information Fossella would run.

"It is my firm belief that he [Fossella] is the strongest candidate we can field," Friscia said after the executive committee interviewed candidates for Congress and other races at the Road House in Sunnyside.
If Friscia has the opinion that a two-timing, DUI-collecting ex-Congressman is the best candidate to take back the Staten Island seat, their chances of success are rather grim to say the least. While this news isn't exactly out of left field, it has to be troubling for the folks at the NRCC who are looking to win seats this fall. As for my opinion, I have to defer to NY Dems Executive Director Charlie King, who facetiously called on Vito to go all the way and run for governor.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Specters Beware!

So I'm back here writing, this time post-election and looking at the changing Senate. Arlen Specter has now been retired by the Democratic voters within the state of Pennsylvania and not at the time that best suits him. Down in Arkansas Senator Lincoln was dealt a devastating blow by Bill Halter, but she still has a run-off to try and prevent a liberal from taking her place after years of serving at the behest of corporation instead of her constituency. North from there, Rand Paul, son of Ron, beat the Republican party's favorite to succeed Senator Bunning for the Republican nomination.

What does this all mean? Do we have a revolt against long-term politicians? Is everyone that's in bed with Wall Street and the rolodex of the Fortune 500 on their way out? Well one thing that is for sure, the faces, they are a changin'.

From RawStory:

Insurgent US Republican voters in Kentucky routed their party's establishment candidate and selected iconoclastic political outsider Rand Paul on Tuesday night, a clear show of anger at Washington ahead of November elections to decide control of the US Congress.

Similarly, Democrats in Pennsylvania appeared to have ended the political career of Sen. Arlen Specter, one of the state's best known politicians who became a Democrat after Obama's election in an effort to prolong his time in Congress.

Democrats also managed to hold onto the Pennsylvania congressional seat formerly held by deceased Rep. John Murtha with the victory of Mark Critz. The race was heavily watched and hyped as a predictor of voter mood in the lead-up to November's elections.

What it says, and to concur with what I mentioned yesterday morning, is that a small but dedicated bloc of voters can precipitate major changes. Reports of low voter turnout were a plenty and definitely not surprising. So in a nutshell, Americans have become extremely apathetic (even with the already low voter turnout rates from years past) and those that aren't have tremendous influence with their votes. And that is why the teabaggers get to celebrate a nominee they helped choose in Rand Paul. That is why liberals are enthused (myself among them) that Halter and Sestak did so well last night.

It just goes to show, if people wake up and participate in their government, their ability to effect change and use power is mind boggling.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

NASA Joins The Global Warming Conspiracy

Not only does the Federal space agency agree with the fact that global warming exists, they have these things called facts to back the assertion up.

From Crooks and Liars:

Anti-Incumbency Fever Set To Hit PA, AR, KY

It's a cool, rainy and most likely uneventful political day in New York. All eyes will likely be fixed on the primary elections in nearby Pennsylvania, and Arkansas and Kentucky as well. Two incumbents are looking at serious challengers and after Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) was booted by a more right-wing Republican, the situation has become quite serious. Two of today's races are contests on the left, while the other in Kentucky pits a teabag backed candidate versus the Republican party's choice to take over for resident loon Jim Bunning (who has spurned the establishment and backed the teabag-friendly Rand Paul).

From The Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is not on the ballot in this week's primaries, nor is Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican Senate leader.

But both have a stake in intensely competitive Senate races in three states, contests testing the strength of the tea party among Kentucky Republicans and the durability of incumbent Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas and Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania.

In a fourth race of national significance, Republican Tim Burns and Democrat Mark Critz battled to fill out the term of the late Democratic Rep. John Murtha in a congressional district in southwestern Pennsylvania. Both political parties reported spending roughly $1 million to sway the race, turning it into a laboratory for the fall campaign, when all 435 House seats will be on the ballot.

Laboratories aside, the biggest issue here that isn't mentioned in the article is that turnout will likely be extremely low. Any kind of defining moment, or partisan revolution, will come from a small minority of voters who are either fearful of new blood or sick of the same old politician and wish to make a change. Of course, there'll be a big headline on every paper tomorrow morning proclaiming a mandate has been stated by the American people (living in PA, AR and KY) regardless. The truth of the matter though, is that most people simply do not care about these contests and do not see a point in bothering to make it to the ballot box.