SocraticGadfly: 11/6/05 - 11/13/05

November 11, 2005

DeLay hung himself, not under oath

Then tried to back off, according to the Washington Post . The key points are right up front.
Lawyers for Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) tried unsuccessfully in late September to head off felony criminal indictments against the then-majority leader on charges of violating Texas campaign law by signaling that DeLay might plead guilty to a misdemeanor, according to four sources familiar with the events.

The lawyers' principal aim was to try to preserve DeLay's leadership position under House Republican rules that bar lawmakers accused of felonies from holding such posts. DeLay was forced to step down as leader on Sept. 28 after the first of two grand jury indictments.

The last-minute negotiations between the lawyers and Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle were arranged after DeLay made what Earle considered a seriously damaging admission about his fundraising activities during an Aug. 17 meeting with the prosecutor in Austin.

At that session, DeLay acknowledged that in 2002 he was informed about and expressed his support for transfers of $190,000 in mostly corporate funds from his Texas political action committee to an arm of the Republican National Committee in Washington and then back to Texas, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition that they not be named.

I’d have to agree with Smith’s assessment that Earle might not win a money laundering charge. However, if the courts find that DeLay is liable for conspiracy charges, I think that’s provable.

November 10, 2005

Pinch fluffs Judy one last time

Wonder what Wilson and Plame think about those dollar signs

Yes, yes, I know, it’s women who fluff men. But, come on, we know who’s been wearing the strap-on at the Times for some time.

According to Raw Story, Judith Miller is getting a high six-figure severance from Pinch Sulzberger and The New York Times.

Here’s the snarky e-mail I left on her website.
I'm sure they'd like to expand any civil legal action about the leaking of Ms. Plame's name to include as wide of a net as possible.

Don't spend all that severance in one place; do save some for them, please.

Read her letter to the editor at the end of the Raw Story piece to see either how incredible of a liar she is or how self-delusional.

November 09, 2005

ANWR gets another break

I still am not in full belief about this. According to the AP, the House has backed off ANWR drilling! If anything is a sign of a weaking GOP political grip, this would have to be it. Well, the GOP’s hardest-core, at least, is weakening.
The House Rules Committee formalized the change late Wednesday by issuing the terms of the debate when the House takes up the budget package on Thursday.

The decision to drop the ANWR drilling language came after GOP moderates said they would oppose the budget if it was kept in the bill. The offshore drilling provision was also viewed as too contentious and a threat to the bill, especially in the Senate. …

Twenty-five Republicans, led by Rep. Charles Bass (news, bio, voting record) of New Hampshire, signed a letter asking GOP leaders to strike the Alaskan drilling provision from the broader $54 billion budget cut bill.

"Rather then reversing decades of protection for this publicly held land, focusing greater attention on renewable energy sources, alternate fuels, and more efficient systems and appliances would yield more net energy savings than could come from ANWR and would have a higher benefit on the nation's long-term economic leadership and security," they said.

Well, the budget bill will go to the Senate for reconciliation. However, it will just take a couple of moderate GOP Senators who voted for ANWR drilling in the original Senate bill … or a couple of Democrats who had no backbone the first time around (Akaka, Inouye) to change their minds to overturn that 51-48 vote of last month. (Corzine did not vote.)

Dover school board IDers spanked hard

Some other electoral good news — all members up for election of the Dover, Pa., school board, which passed the ridiculous Intelligent Design teaching law just over a year ago, were voted out of office.

Many of the newly elected board members have already indicated they will vote to remove the ID standards. That supposedly won’t affect the court, as the Times story claims, but, no matter how sequestered a jury, will it hear something about this? Or, can the new board ask the judge in the suit to render a directed verdict against the school district, or something similar?

November 08, 2005

"Breasts not Bombs" irony

It’s ironic, as well as sad and disturbing, that the “Breasts not Bombs” protestors at the state capital in Sacramento were threatened with sexual abuse prosecutions.

The sad and disturbing, we all know, of course.

The ironic, and comic?

The biggest boob in Sacramento, as well as the biggest bomb, and above all, the biggest alleged unindicted sexual predator, is the Governator himself.

And, getting back to the roots of the protest, the two biggest boobs and bombs in the country on the invasion of Iraq are, of course, named Dick and Bush.

Can you say impeachment?

Looks like Bush will be flogging 2006 races with the fear of the damned. Brendan Nyhan estimates the GOP could lose as many as 47 House seats, and likely will lose at least 36, based on Bush’s current poll ratings.

So GOP Congressional candidates are going to be running away from Bush's negative coattails at exactly the moment he needs to campaign for them to win so the Dems don't get control of both Houses.

However, a linked Washington Post article offers this caveat:
But Republicans have expanded their majorities in Congress in each of the last two elections, and strategists expect, at a minimum, that Democrats will narrow those margins next year. A Democratic takeover of either the House or Senate is not out of the question.

And, Nyhan doesn’t speculate on whether or not Democrats will regain control of the Senate. Without that, this prediction, if it should come true, while being relatively good news, would still be of modest size.

It’s a sad day for Texas, and certainly not a gay one

We became the 19th state to ban same-sex marriage. And, we did it with a constitutional amendment that, contrary to what the Religious Right claims, does appear to also ban same-sex civil unions. Arguably, it could be used to ban domestic benefits for heterosexual partners.

Plus, the Religious Right in Texas and elsewhere is fighting the tide of demographics. The younger people get, the more likely they are to favor not only homosexual civil unions, but full-blown gay and lesbian marriage.

Well, there are comedic benefits, perhaps. Maybe we won’t have to parse rumors or body language of Little Ricky Helmethair and former state officials, while perhaps inventing snarky new comments about Little Ricky and Long John Corny.

Dallas County did, relatively speaking, live up to its reputation of being one of the more liberal areas of Texas. (Yes, you read that right.) Proposition 2 passed here by only 2-1 rather than 3-1