A new blog started yesterday called Blue 11th will keep a close eye on Rep. Frelinghuysen in the same way that Dump Mike has been watching Rep. Ferguson like a hawk. Blue 11th brings us one step closer to having a “blog in every district.” As kid oakland pointed out:
One dirty little secret of Senators and Representatives is that they control the news we read about them. In general, we hear about our legislators only when they choose to do a press release or “make news.”
It’s up to local blogs like Blue 11th and Dump Mike to keep us informed of what our elected officials are doing. They’re both worth adding to your bookmarks, and if you have a blog to keep track of a particular politician or region, let us know.
This past weekend, President Bush admitted – asserted proudly, in fact – that he has authorized the federal government to spy on American citizens without court approval. He renewed the authorization for this practice at least 30 times over four years. According to The Washington Post, a three-year old agency within the Department of Defense is collecting “threat reports” about U.S. citizens engaging in constitutionally protected political activity, such as peaceful protests and demonstrations.
This is unacceptable, period. [More after the jump]
It was very unusual to amend the DOD appropriations bill with an amendment to open up ANWR to drilling. According to the NYTimes, it was so odd that Frist had to declare it wouldn’t set a precedent:
Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, disputed the notion that Republicans were subverting the rules, though he said a specific provision in the military bill would declare that any new precedent created by including the drilling plan would not alter the rules for future legislation.
It split the NJ delegation in an unusual way:
Yeas: Ferguson, Frelinghuysen, Garrett (NJ), Pascrell
Nays: Andrews, Holt, LoBiondo, Menendez, Pallone, Payne, Rothman, Smith (NJ)
Now it’s up to the Senate, where Stevens from AK is pushing with all his power and dyspepsia. If we want to protect Alaska’s environment, we gotta that guy out in ’09.
If anyone has any contacts in AK, I’m very curious about the ‘grassroots’ group that is providing the GOP with the facts and figures on how many jobs will be created in their states with a very non-grassroots-y, in fact, sophisticated website, ANWR.org. Check it out. I can’t believe the people putting this website together aren’t going to profit from the drilling.
The Auditor breaks the news:
Democrat Susan Bass Levin is beginning to look at career options outside of state government after being passed over for the top jobs in Corzine’s administration.
The former Department of Community Affairs commissioner quit her Cabinet post on July 1 to run the business side of Corzine’s gubernatorial campaign. The expectation was that she would be rewarded with a plum post. Corzine instead turned to confidant Tom Shea as his chief of staff and assistant U.S. Attorney Stuart Rabner as his chief counsel.
Corzine has been trying to smooth things over with Bass Levin, who remains a valued adviser, but may not have a job to offer that appeals to her. The Auditor hears Bass Levin, a lawyer by training, is unlikely to accept a deputy’s position in the administration. Nor does she want a Cabinet post besides attorney general or treasurer, two improbable appointments.
Bass Levin did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Corzine has gotten off to a crappy start with the media dogging him and opposition folk joinging the mÃªlÃ©e. It is important to recognize that he really IS taking ethics seriously. Why, we all remember when the opposition thought Levin’s sheer presence in the campaign would be enough to sink Corzine.
Unfortunately, this story probably won’t get much attention. Even though it is a step in the right direction, and a fulfillment of an ethical campaign promise.
[Cross posted at Dump Mike Ferguson]
Congressman Mike Ferguson has long used his alleged opposition to drilling for oil in the Arctic National WIldlife Refuge (ANWR) as “evidence” that he is a moderate, an environmentalist and independent from President Bush. It is the signature position he and his office references in consituent letters, on his campaign website and to the newspapers when he is trying to hide his radical positions from view.
But Mike Ferguson’s public position on drilling in ANWR — his campaign site call is a national priority — is a lie. He has proven time and time again that he will vote against his own position to support his party, and this morning at about 5 a.m. he did it again.
Working through the night, the House early today voted to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling as part of a military measure and narrowly approved a $40 billion budget-cutting plan as bleary-eyed lawmakers concluded a marathon weekend session.
Ferguson voted for this bill, and also voted for bills that included that provision in April 2005, and in 2003 and in 2001. He has voted for amendments to strip ANWR from previous bills, but when the amendment failed he stepped up and voted with his party.
This time Ferguson offered no amendment, and so his record on ANWR is now four votes for bills that approve drilling and three votes for amendments against.
The people of the 7th Congressional district deserve to know about Ferguson’s hypocricy on ANWR and the environment in general. Please write to the Courier News at email@example.com, the Home News Tribune at firstname.lastname@example.org, the Star Ledger at email@example.com, or the New York Times at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them about this consistent record of voting one way in Washington and talking another way in New Jersey.
Smith is angling to chair the International Relations committee in the House in the next session starting in January. So let’s hope his constituents keep the pressure on.
I think the paper is the Windsor-Hights Herald, but it’s hard to tell online.
Area activists stage protest outside Rep. Chris Smith’s Hamiltion office
HAMILTON – In person, there were only seven area activists who braved the cold Wednesday afternoon to deliver an “Out in ’06” petition to the office of U.S. Rep. Chris Smith. On paper, there were many more.
As part of a national campaign coordinated by MoveOn.Org targeting 287 congressional offices across the country, Twin Rivers resident Sandra Davis presented a petition containing 623 signatures of 4th District residents calling on Congress to support an Iraq exit strategy with a timeline that brings the U.S. troops home by the end of 2006.
“It’s irresponsible for Rep. Smith to continue to support the president and his failed stay-the-course strategy,” said Ms. Davis. “We hope that Rep. Smith will take his constituents’ views into consideration and take a leadership position to get our troops home by 2006.”
Ed Davis, Ms. Davis’ husband and a veteran of the Korean War, added, “I fought for democracy. We support our troops … they’re extremely courageous, but we want them home.”
Rep. Smith, the former chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee and the current vice chairman of the International Relations Committee, has rejected any timeline for troop withdrawal not based on military judgment. Though Rep. Smith, who was in Washington, didn’t respond directly to MoveOn.Org’s petition, his spokesman, Brad Dayspring, later conveyed the congressman’s earlier statement on troop withdrawal.
“I hope we can draw down troops significantly but that must be predicated on information from battlefield commanders and how well trained the Iraqis are to assume those positions.”
In another statement released Wednesday, the eve of Iraq’s parliamentary elections, Rep. Smith went on to say, “As difficult as the past thousand days have been, the Iraqi people and American soldiers have also provided glimpses of great hope through their historic achievements. All Americans should pray and hope that the elections in Iraq will be successful tomorrow, as that country takes another step on the path toward democracy. The sooner that the Iraqi people are governing and adequately protecting themselves, the sooner that we will be able to bring our own men and women of the military home with the honor that they have earned.”
As the group of peace activists assembled for a photo Wednesday, a local deliveryman drove by and shouted, “Why don’t you take a picture in front of where the World Trade Center used to be.”
To one protester, Julian Kearnes of Trenton, this underscored what he felt to be a major misunderstanding about the relationship between Iraq and the attacks of Sept. 11.
“A lot of people equate Sept.11 with Iraq. But 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi Arabian, and none were Iraqis,” Mr. Kearnes said.
Ms. Davis added that she felt the Bush administration should have concentrated on the war in Afghanistan and combating Islamic fundamentalism, rather than diverting resources from those campaigns to invade Iraq, which proved neither to have an “collaborative relationship” to Al Qaeda, according to the federal Sept. 11 Commission, nor any weapons of mass destruction.
According to MoveOn.Org’s Web site, more than 400,000 signed petitions were delivered to representatives in their home districts.
Greetings from the blue man ( and woman) group in the heart of Morris. We had our Democracy for America/Progressive Democrats of America Holiday party in Morristown last week and had 25 people attend. In addition to the usual good cheer, fine wine and Bush bashing, it was agreed that we would be working on 3 issues in 2006: 1) the war in Iraq 2) campaign and election reform and 3) labor issues and a minimum wage increase nationwide. Additionally, we are going to hold Frelinghuysen accountable for recent votes to 1) cut student loans and food stamps 2) say torture is ok and 3) to reauthorize the patriot act and make it permanent. Finally, we took a poll and the overwhelming consensus was to encourage a Senate primary and then ultimately back the winner against Kean Jr. The top person at our holiday party was Rush Holt among the 25 people in attendance, although Pallone had some support, and Menendez as well