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The Friday Governors Line: Breaux or No?

The last time we penned a gubernatorial Line, former Louisiana Sen. John Breaux's name was nowhere to be found. But, over the last month, Breaux's flirtation with a race for governor this fall has quickly become the biggest story in the state.

Breaux, who spent more than three decades in Congress before retiring in 2004, had been one of the most ardent backers of Gov. Kathleen Blanco's re-election effort until relatively recently -- Washington Mardi Gras to be exact -- when he let it be known he was willing to be courted to run.

Will he do it? Louisiana political observers are divided. Some point out that Breaux has let his name be put in the mix for governor before only to walk away from the race. Others say it is different this time as Breaux could well be the only Democrat who could hold the seat against Rep. Bobby Jindal (R) this fall.

Breaux has until Sept. 6 -- the state's filing deadline -- to decide. Of course, the campaign to keep him out is well under way.

But more on that below. As always the number one ranked race is the most likely to result in a switch in parties. The comments section awaits your kudos and critiques.

1) Louisiana (2007): Until we know which way Breaux goes, this race stays in the top spot. The very thought of a Breaux-Jindal race has got this political junkie fired up, and, if it comes to pass, it would undoubtedly be the marquee contest of the 2007 cycle. From everything we hear Blanco is too damaged from her handling of Hurricane Katrina to win re-election and Breaux is coming under considerable pressure to run. Republicans insist that regardless of his decision, Breaux's residency problems will keep him off the ballot. Jindal is the strongest candidate Republicans could have fielded and even Breaux -- an already legendary figure in the state -- would not be a walkover favorite in a race against him. (Previous ranking:1)

2) Kentucky (2007): Like Louisiana, much in Kentucky depends on the results of an intraparty squabble. This one is between Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R), who has been beset by ethical questions in his first four years in office, and former Rep. Anne Northup (R) who lost her bid for re-election in the 3rd district last fall. Fletcher is expected to begin airing ads next week in the Republican-rich areas of the state -- an apparent attempt to redefine himself in the eyes of primary voters. Northup would seem to be the stronger of the two in a general election contest; she is free of the scandals surrounding Fletcher and has a base in Louisville -- a traditionally Democratic stronghold. The Democratic side is a free-for-all with seven candidates (and their seven running mates) all seeking to carve out a niche. Two recent polls suggest former Lt. Govs. Steve Beshear and Steve Henry are the frontrunners, but that's likely due largely to name identification. It's anyone's guess who wins the Democratic nod at this point. (Previous ranking: 2)

3) Missouri (2008): Gov. Matt Blunt's (R-Mo.) campaign circulated a polling memo over the last few weeks that showed the incumbent with a 47 percent favorable/45 percent unfavorable rating. His job approval numbers -- 46 percent approve/44 percent disapprove -- weren't much better. Did we mention this poll was done FOR Blunt? The fact that the campaign is touting numbers like these show how just how tough his re-election fight will be. Blunt consultant Phil Musser insists that Blunt has " passed a flurry of good public policy that voters have yet to fully appreciate," adding: "As they do, his numbers will continue to improve." Of late, however, Blunt has been battered by a sexual harassment case involving a state employee. Blunt's best break in this race may be that state Attorney General Jay Nixon is the likely Democratic nominee. Nixon finds himself in a controversy of his own involving allegations that his allies sought political contributions from a company Nixon was investigating. This race is going to be nasty, expensive and close. (Previous ranking: 3)

4. North Carolina (2008): An independent poll released earlier this week provides a starting point for the only open seat race to make the Line. For Democrats, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue affirmed her frontrunner status, holding a 34 percent to 24 percent lead over state Treasurer Richard Moore. Wealthy businessman Bill Graham was the surprise leader on the Republican side, taking 20 percent of the vote. Former North Carolina State Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr took 12 percent while state Sens. Robert Pittenger (six percent) and Fred Smith (five percent) split up the remainder of the vote. Whoever wins the Democratic nomination should be a slight favorite in the general election, but Republicans believe Gov. Mike Easley's (D) eight years in office belie the fundamentally conservative nature of the Tarheel State. And, in a presidential year, Republican turnout should skyrocket. (Previous ranking: 4)

5. Indiana (2008): We sub out Washington -- the quietest governor's race in the country -- for Indiana, which has been one of the more active. As we've written before, few Democrats seem particularly enthused by state Sen. Richard Young's candidacy. And, Democratic recruiting efforts took something of a blow when Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson officially ruled out a bid. But, it now looks like Jim Schellinger -- a well-regarded architect -- will be the establishment's candidate in the race. Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels struggled quite publicly over his first few years in office but seems to have found slightly more firm footing of late. If Schellinger can emerge as the candidate many Democrats think he can be, this will be a race to watch. (Previous ranking: N/A)

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 9, 2007; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Line  
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Posted by: [*data/names.txt*] | March 14, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Washington could still end up being the best race in the country. Rothenberg's ratings are online too...

http://rothenbergpoliticalreport.blogspot.com/2007/01/2007-08-gubernatorial-ratings.html

Posted by: P. Polanco | March 12, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

keeping the world safe for halliburton... why we're in iraq--

'MANAMA/HOUSTON, March 11 (Reuters) - U.S. oil services firm Halliburton Co. (HAL.N: Quote, Profile , Research) is moving its headquarters and chief executive to Dubai in a move that immediately sparked criticism from some U.S. politicians.

Texas-based Halliburton, which was led by Vice President Dick Cheney from 1995-2000, did not specify what, if any, tax implications the move might entail. It plans to list on a Middle East bourse once it moves to Dubai -- a booming commercial centre in the Gulf. The company said it was making the moves to position itself better to gain contracts in the oil-rich Middle East.

"This is an insult to the U.S. soldiers and taxpayers who paid the tab for their no-bid contracts and endured their overcharges for all these years," said judiciary committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat.

Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, might hold a hearing on the implications, an aide to Waxman said.

Halliburton has drawn scrutiny from auditors, congressional Democrats and the Justice Department for the quality and pricing of its KBR Inc. unit's work for the U.S. army in Iraq.

Posted by: would you die for halliburton? | March 12, 2007 7:40 AM | Report abuse

BOGOTA, Colombia - President Bush visited Colombia yesterday, but security jitters had him staying only about six hours.

Bush's brief visit here - which took his motorcade not far from rioting protesters - was meant as a show of confidence in President Alvaro Uribe.

"Your country has come through very difficult times, and now there's a brighter day ahead," Bush said in a toast after he and Uribe met and had lunch at the presidential palace. "We have been friends, and we will remain friends."

Bush has indicated he will ask Congress to maintain current aid levels to Colombia at roughly $700 million annually.

Bush's renewal of support came at a key moment. Uribe isenmeshed in a political scandal involving allies who allegedly colluded with right-wing militias in a reign of terror that nearly subverted the Colombian democracy.

Posted by: here's more democracy for you | March 12, 2007 6:50 AM | Report abuse

TRY TO KEEP PRETENDING BUSH IS PROMOTING 'DEMOCRACY' ABROAD. IT'S YOUR LITTLE JOKE.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2007 6:47 AM | Report abuse

'SLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Lawyers boycotted court proceedings, clashed with riot police, and burned an image of Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf Monday in a countrywide protest against the ouster of the country's top judge.

The country's main opposition party also decried the removal of Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, in a high-profile test of judicial independence in military-dominated Pakistan.'

Posted by: the 'ally' we prop up | March 12, 2007 6:46 AM | Report abuse

Amazing how much the Governors races depend on the top of the ticket. For example:

I presume if Edwards is the Dem nominee, NC immediately leaves the Line?

Would Obama be a big help for the Dems Louisiana candidate?

Does Indiana move up the Line if Bayh is the VP pick by the Dem candidate?

The maneouvering has already begun, but so much can change between now and next year...

Posted by: JayPe | March 11, 2007 6:52 PM | Report abuse

colin, that was the point i was going to make. the reason for the decline in the u.s. auto industry is not unions. it's the rise of japan and other asian carmakers, whose executives are more attuned to what smart people are buying, rather than the biggest and loudest (literally and figuratively) SUVs and minivans, which they are unashamed to market to single people. (those who can afford vehicles which get 9/17 mpg.)

detroit's problem is not unions. it's detroit's manufacturing decisions in years past, when, content to mass-produce what was selling, they overbuilt the big fatties. now we've got tons of those on showroom floors, and while detroit is finally starting to come around, there's a huge backlog of mobile living rooms they have to get rid of before they can fill up their showrooms with tomorrow's cars.

Posted by: meuphys | March 11, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, some would argue the US Auto industry has sufferred primarily from falling behind in the race to create reliable, fuel efficient vehicles. Nah, you're right it's just "the unions" fault for accepting contracts that management gave them.

GM and Ford, till very recently, made very poor strategic choices in product design and market targeting. They stopped inovating and let others take away their market share, but thought everything was still OK b/c they kept turning out a proft on SUVs and trucks. When consumers changed their preferences, Ford and GM got killed b/c their brands didn't produce the types of cars people wanted. What does ANY of that have to do with unions? Nothing.

Posted by: Colin | March 11, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

GM has been having problems since the 1980s. While you can blame the Democrats for that, it has nothing to do with the fact that Michigan voted 51.2% for Kerry in 2004. Especially since Republicans were in charge of Michigan from 1969 to 1991.

Posted by: Blarg | March 11, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Blarg,

While I'm not going to go to a state-by-state round-up for you, you can generalize that Democrats control more Governorships and state legislatures in New England, the 3 west coast states, and a few up north. The GOP typically control state governments in the south and mountain west.

GM and Michigan's failures ARE the fault of Democrats. Democrats empowered unions which have DESTROYED the American auto industry.

Your other point about only showing the change, that was the second half of my post. The first half shows the Jan 07 unemployment figures:

- Blue states average 4.56%
- Red states average 4.15%
- 10 of the 11 states with the lowest unemployment are Red
- Half of the blue states have unemployment rates above 4.5%
- Two-thirds of the red states have rates at or below 4.5%

While unemployment isn't the only factor in an economy, it is a key factor to consider. Red states have more people in the workforce while Blue states have more people on public assistance.

http://dont-vote-democrat.blogspot.com

Posted by: VA Patriot | March 11, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Frank, I realize that Townsend ran a terrible campaign, and Ehrlich's victory doesn't say much about the political leanings of Maryland. But, as you said, it doesn't negate my point. The governor was a Republican, so it's stupid to blame the Democrats for what happened in Maryland during that time.

VA Patriot, you say I can't argue with the numbers, but you didn't post any numbers. Give me the numbers on what happened to unemployment based on which party controlled each state's legislature. Those numbers would be a lot more useful than declaring states red and blue based on the last presidential election.

Even if unemployment numbers alone were a useful measure of an economy's health, you're misinterpreting them. For one thing, you're looking at change over a one-year period. If you rank the states by their actual unemployment rates, the rankings are very different. Secondly, you're ignoring the actual conditions in the states. Louisiana lost a lot of population and has a lot of reconstruction work going on; of course their unemployment is low. Michigan's economy is driven by the big automakers, which have been having economic problems for decades. Are GM's failures the fault of the Democrats?

Posted by: Blarg | March 11, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

JD--"Long story short: if you estimate cumulative war spending of $2 trillion by 2017 (and this might be very high), that's almost a rounding error when compared to estimated federal spending of 48 trillion and GDP of 248 trillion over the same timeframe."

Two trillion out of fourty-eight trillion is MORE THAN FOUR PERCENT. That, apart from being an unfathomable amount of money, is most certainly not a 'rounding error' even for the slightly less-than-honest corporate accountants.

Ergo, Samuelson is an idiot.

Whether the war--sorry, I mean 'armed conflict'--is worth that cost is a different discussion.

In any case, I take it that a four-percent tax increase is OK with you?

Posted by: roo | March 11, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Hey Danny,
The Indiana economy is ticking along? I thought I read yesterday that the state lost 12,500 jobs in a single month. Thanks Mitch. It's Bizzaro Daylight Savings time-- make the switch, then bleed jobs. If you don't think Daniels is vulnerable, you're out of your mind.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 11, 2007 8:21 AM | Report abuse

And by the way, unemployment statistics are USELESS. They don't include the people who've given up on ever being able to find work again. Who knows how many people think it likely that they'll be able to find work again and keep trying in a working-man-friendly environment like Massachusetts but would give up in an oppressive Christian-pro-industry state like most of those of the South?

Posted by: Frank | March 11, 2007 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Blarg: "What do 2004 election results have to do with anything? Massachusetts and Maryland both went heavily for Kerry in 2004, but they had Republican governors in 2006. Their governors had a lot more to do with their economies than their presidential votes, but you count them as blue states anyway. And there are several states which went for Bush but had Democratic governors in 2006."

Not that it negates your point, but Maryland's Republican governor was entirely a function of the DISASTROUSLY bad campaign of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. The woman was utterly inept at running for office and all but delivered the governorship to the Republicans. Her running mate was a retired admiral with no political experience who had switched from being a Republican just weeks prior and she made repeated gaffes, such as thanking the wrong college for having her speak at an event... Disclaimer: I'm from Maryland and not an Ehrlich fan.

Posted by: Frank | March 11, 2007 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Blarg,

While you pointed out two examples, one also needs to look at the state legislatures. Most of the blue states vote for officials who create horrible business climates of high taxes and empowering unions.

You can't argue with the numbers.

Posted by: VA Patriot | March 11, 2007 6:17 AM | Report abuse

omg, shoes!

Posted by: bobhope | March 11, 2007 2:58 AM | Report abuse

...

Posted by: evilbob | March 11, 2007 2:56 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: zingofkook | March 11, 2007 1:04 AM | Report abuse

What's the word on Washington. I thought that Christine Gregoire would be vulnerable considering the controversy surrounding her election...

Posted by: Conan The Librarian | March 10, 2007 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Indiana Governor's race is all Mitch Daniels. The Hoosier economy is ticking along fairly well. New automotive plants are being located in Indiana and Daniels finally has the fiscal house in order. Jim Schellinger will be running against a well organizated and funded Republican machine in 2008 ready and willing for battle, while his state party still has a ways to go before the same can be said of the Democrats. Schellinger doesn't have the force of personality and experience to carrying it alone.

In 2008, it is Mitch Daniels hands down.

Danny L. McDaniel
Lafayette, Indiana

Posted by: Anonymous | March 10, 2007 10:01 PM | Report abuse

What do 2004 election results have to do with anything? Massachusetts and Maryland both went heavily for Kerry in 2004, but they had Republican governors in 2006. Their governors had a lot more to do with their economies than their presidential votes, but you count them as blue states anyway. And there are several states which went for Bush but had Democratic governors in 2006.

A real analysis of this would look at the change in unemployment of each state over a several-year period, based on the actual laws which were passed in each state during that time. Or it would at least take into account the parties of the governors and state legislatures. But such analysis is far out of the scope of a "patriot" who doesn't understand the concept of democracy. (Hint: Always voting for one party is not good for a democracy.)

By the way, the income of "blue" states is far higher than the income of "red" states. Per capita income of Massachusetts is almost twice that of Mississippi. If any of you red-staters need a job that actually pays decent money, come on up to a blue state, we'll hook you up.

Posted by: Blarg | March 10, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

The unemployment rate dropped to a low 4.5% in February and average hourly earnings jumped to $17.16 representing a 4.1% increase over the last 12 months. Analysis of the state-by-state unemployment figures shows red states performing well above blue states. Simply voting for a Republican or Democrat for President will not dictate a state's economy, but things like taxes and unions do. While we can debate the root causes of economic growth, let's compare the unemployment rates with how each state voted in the 2004 presidential election.
http://www.bls.gov/web/laumstch.htm

Jan 07 Unemployment Rates:

- Blue states average 4.56%
- Red states average 4.15%
- 10 of the 11 states with the lowest unemployment are Red
- Half of the blue states have unemployment rates above 4.5%
- Two-thirds of the red states have rates at or below 4.5%

Over the past year, unemployment:

- Decreased in 36 states (72% red states)
- Remained constant in 4 states
- Increased in 10 states and DC 973% red states)
- Blue states averaged a 1.6% decline
- Red states averaged an 8.3% decline

The nine states with the largest decline in unemployment were all red states, while eight of the top nine states with the largest increase in unemployment were blue states. Louisiana and Mississippi saw the best improvement showing good signs of recovery from Katrina, while Massachusetts with its oppressive taxes ranked dead last with a 0.5% increase in unemployment.

So what do these numbers tell us? I think they clearly show that Republicans are better at managing the economy than Democrats. Keeping taxes low and minimizing Government regulations spur business and jobs, while raising taxes and empowering cancerous unions do not.

The odd thing is that Democrats are fighting to raise the minimum wage and grant amnesty to illegal aliens, yet that will only increase unemployment. If any of you blue staters need a job, come on down to a red state, we'll hook you up.

This is why we http://dont-vote-democrat.blogspot.com

Posted by: VA Patriot | March 10, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Note to Chris: File this topic away for a day when you can't think of anything else.

Whoever took the thread off topic, opened it up to a good discussion.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | March 10, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

tarhill: [Assume] A young man of 30 suddenly dies in a one car crash with no life insurance . He has worked 12 years earning $15,000 per year. He has 10 children ages 1 thru 10. Each child and the widow receive suvivor benefits until each child reaches the age of 23. How much would the suvivors, wife and children recive? Then figure how much the survivors would receive under the 401k's or other plans suggest here. Thanks in advance, lylepink.

Posted by: lylepink | March 10, 2007 5:51 AM | Report abuse

OK, to play devils advocate, I'll switch sides for now and say we must keep SS untouched. But, I would think all of us would agree that 2% interest on our accounts is very strange considering government-backed treasury bills and bonds pay much more. Could you imagine the increase in quality of life for poor retirees if they were getting monthly checks that reflected 40 years of interest from treasury bills or government bonds! Keep the current system, but why isn't the SS fund invested in government bonds or treasury bills that would pay over double what we are receiving now?

Posted by: tarheel | March 9, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

what's tim roemer doing in indiana? seems like he could be a strong candidate

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 9:01 PM | Report abuse

tarhill and Nor'Easter: Both good points. Employment, I should say, Un, figure is quite misleading in the way they are figured. Once you run out, you are no longer counted as unemployed. The retired folks are forgotten and their replacements are often counted as jobs created, which in fact happens to be both true and false, depending on how they are counted.

Posted by: lylepink | March 9, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Good point, Nor'Easter. I saw an article recently that praised FDR for preventing a revolution in the 1930s. A lot of people were angry during the Depression. If FDR hadn't instituted the New Deal programs, including Social Security, there might have been a revolution. Pretty much the same point you're making now.

Posted by: Blarg | March 9, 2007 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Nor'easter: they don't care. They have guns and they're macho tough guys like bush, all codpiece, no cod.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Anybody notice retirement plans which are slowy and surely disappearing in bankruptcy courts.

Those plans which were were negotitated in collective bargaining with the unions years ago, but which the companies underfunded. The Golden Parachuted executives calculated that they can stick the taxpayers with the company's obligations, and they calculated correctly.

I always like the "my money" opponents who appear to have taken only Bus. Admin. courses. You should have mixed a few social science courses in there.

One of the reasons our money is pooled in Soc. Security is so that those who don't have or are uncapable of managing financial assets don't start a revolution.

Soc. Security is one of those "safety nets" which David Stockman and President Reagan used to like to point to. It had better be there for social stability.

Do you want a revolution? Make Soc. Security voluntary and then wait a decade or so.

Your complaint about not being able to invest your money was addressed by the government with IRA's and portable self-directed 401K's, etc.

Last year in a column George Will essentially said that he thought the attack on Social Security was a false one, because we already had in IRA's and 401K's what the opponents claimed they didn't have.

Social Security is one of the actual dollars costs which minimizes the grounds for revolution in this country. It's like the mechanic in the old Fram commercials used to tell the car owner, "You can pay me now, or you can pay me later!" It would be a hell of a price which we would have to pay later.

The price would be Watts in Los Angeles, Hough in Cleveland, Liberty City in Miami, and downtown Detroit, Newark and Washington, DC; when those cities essentialy had mini-revolutions.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | March 9, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

What did the US Today do with the positive economic news today. Their headline was: 97,000 jobs added in February, weakest in 2 years.

This was 42 straight months of job growth and the nation's unemployment rate dipped to 4.5% in February, wages grew at a fast clip, and there was large job creation in the government sector, the Labor Department reported. Peter Morici, business professor at the University of Maryland, stated, "The economy is adding lots of jobs for college graduates, especially those with technical specialties in finance, health care, education, and engineering.

In another positive piece of economic news Friday, the Commerce Department said the U.S. trade deficit dipped a bit in January to $59.1 billion as exports rose to a record.

So USA Today decided to use the negative headline that the 97,000 jobs were the least created in two years. Interesting.

Posted by: Tarheel | March 9, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

zula: The Keating Five scandel was hushed up pretty good and we will never know. Colin: If what I think you are saying is correct, someone is again "Cooking the books."

Posted by: lylepink | March 9, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Big defaults coming in on sub-prime mortgages [which republican legislation enabled] creating a cycle of tightening credit, fewer buyers, and lower prices...

Lotta big lenders going under. Taxpayers will be forced to bail them out. Remember Neil Bush and Silverado? Same con they pulled back in, what was it, '84?

Posted by: zula | March 9, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

More selective financial data from KOZ.

The same article he pulled his info from also notes -- in the headline -- that job growth hit its lowest rate in 2 years.

http://money.cnn.com/2007/03/09/news/economy/jobs_february/index.htm?postversion=2007030915

Also, the inflated realestate market -- that's helped prop up the economy -- is cooling.

http://money.cnn.com/2007/03/09/news/economy/home_price_slump/index.htm?postversion=2007030910

Posted by: Colin | March 9, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Because they are worse than my regular 401K. When I put money into my regular 401K, some of it is matched by my employer. When I put money into your special 401K, it isn't.

I don't see why SS money is different from any other money. When I pay taxes for education, they aren't put into some special account that my child will access. When I pay taxes for the police department, they aren't put into a personal account that's debited every time I use police services. When I pay taxes for the military, I don't have any control of how that money is spent. Why are SS taxes the one form of taxes that I should get individual control of?

Posted by: Blarg | March 9, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Dan W: Be glad to.

Posted by: lylepink | March 9, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Leaving...Lylepink, Blarg I would love to continue this at a later date.

Posted by: Dan W | March 9, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Why do you call the accounts Special but Worse?

Posted by: Dan W | March 9, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Blarg,

I dont necessarily want individual control of money. I want individual OWNERSHIP of money.

Posted by: Dan W | March 9, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Blarg.

1. YOu would be able to have BOTH your SS 401K account AND your company sponsored account.

I think people should be forced to save for retirement for the simple fact that if they don't they expect me to support them through my taxes. Ill make an agreement with you... I wont require people to save for retirement and you allow me to refuse them any govt aid when they are 70 and have no income.

I ran some VERY simple numbers. If a person making 30K a year puts 6% into an account earning 5% from age 20 to age 70, he can take 30k a year out of that account from age 70 to age 90.

The formula works for any arbitrary amount.

Posted by: Dan W | March 9, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Zouk: You may learn from William. Don't take on the old man when you don't have a chance in hades of winning. Pick out a few things [words, numbers, etc.] about anything, whether you are for, or against, and it a simple thing to rebut. SS is many things for many folks, and in no way should the lower income persons be left with nothing should something happen to them.

Posted by: lylepink | March 9, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

If the government is forcing people to have these special (but worse) 401K accounts, then why allow people to choose how they invest the money? After all, bad investments could mean that you lose most of the money in your 401K, so you don't have any income during retirement.

My point is that this scheme is ideologically inconsistent. If the goal is individual control of money, then just give people the money and let them do what they want: Invest it in stocks, start a business, buy beer, whatever. If the goal is to ensure that people have a certain minimum amount of retirement income, then don't tie retirement income to smart investing and a positive market. Why pick the solution halfway between, which doesn't meet either goal but benefits the financial industry most of all?

Posted by: Blarg | March 9, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

"I strongly suggest you learn something before speaking out on a subject or program that you know nothing about."

Lylepink: Bring it on. I'll be happy to discuss a program designed to assist during the great depression. SS entitlements were based on the fact that people only lived a few years past retirement. Now people live 10-30 years past retirement. This program is VERY much in need of overhaul.

Posted by: Dan W | March 9, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

some elements of our society do not take advantage of 401ks for various reasons. It is also in the governments interest to ensure that all citizens have some sort of livlihood after retirment - the initial desire for SS. Yes, I personally would prefer no requirements, but too many would spend it all on beer and then come looking for a handout at 65.

why would the government match funds? where would this money come from? the arrangment for your 401k is strictly between you and your employer, it is part of your pay. and yes increased demand for securities would generally drive the price up. It would also provide plenty of money for new companies to invest in things like hydrogen cars, spy satellites, ipods and some things you haven't even considered.

but the account would be in your name and able to be left to your heirs. how exciting is that?

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 9, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but it means the savings that I'm forced to make are worse than the savings that I choose to make. And isn't that your complaint with the existing SS system? For that matter, why do you accept that people should be forced to save for their retirement? I thought you wanted individual responsibility.

If Dan's SS-replacement proposal had some government matching of funds, that would make it more worthwhile. Though anything that involves giving every man, woman, and child a 401K is primarily a boon to the financial industry. And by tremendously increasing the demand for stocks, it might make regular stock trading more difficult/expensive, though I'm not sure about that.

Posted by: Blarg | March 9, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I am che.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 9, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Blarg, your 401k is optional. SS is not. the system he proposes covers the idea that the citizen is forced to save for his own retirement.

Lylepink, enlighten us with your wisdom. what is SS about? has knowing nothing ever stopped Libs from speaking out? Is this your attempt to shut down a valid conversation before the Lib weakness is exposed for what it is?

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 9, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey Zouk, Che called. He wants you to stop stealing his gimmick.

Posted by: Blarg | March 9, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

For those that want to put SS in private accounts are missing what SS is about. I strongly suggest you learn something before speaking out on a subject or program that you know nothing about.

Posted by: lylepink | March 9, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Dan, I can't figure out the point for your Social Security replacement. You're saying the money that I pay for Social Security taxes goes into a 401K. And the money that my company pays for Social Security taxes goes into a fund for the disabled and survivors.

But right now, I put money into a 401K, and my company matches part of it. The SS-replacement 401K would just be worse than my regular 401K, since there's no matching. And it's more complicated, since now I have to manage two 401Ks. I'd rather just have the money to put into my 401K, or do whatever else I want with. Your plan sounds great for Fidelity and other big money-management companies, but what good does it do for the average person?

Posted by: Blarg | March 9, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

The leader of the al-Qaida-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq has been captured in a raid west of Baghdad, an Iraqi military spokesman said Friday

Al-Baghdadi was said to have headed the Mujahedeen Shura Council, an alliance of al-Qaida and other jihadist organizations, which was set up last year to downplay the role of foreigners in the Iraqi insurgency.

Blame it on Bush and the surge.

I will be chuckling all weekend over what clucks you Dems have become.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 9, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

The message to Ms. Pelosi is that she'll have to cobble together a victory from within her own party. Toward that end, she and appropriations chief David Obey have already turned to good-old-fashioned bribery. There is talk that the $100 billion "war" supplemental will include an extra $20 billion in goodies. At least $4 billion would be emergency agriculture spending aimed at Blue Dog southerners for their struggling farmers back home. A huge dollop would go to children's heath care, Katrina and homeland security. And to provide further coverage against accusations that Democrats don't support the troops, there's billions more for veterans and troop health care. So much for Ms. Pelosi's promise of fiscal discipline.
The joke is that even if Ms. Pelosi can buy the moderate wing to her side, her proposal still might go . . . poof. And why? Her liberal wing, of course. After all the speaker's concessions, antiwar critics were still griping yesterday that the withdrawal proposal left Mr. Bush too much flexibility over the timing. Reps. Lynn Woolsey and Ms. Lee introduced their own amendment to the legislation that would demand a complete withdrawal by year-end. Ms. Pelosi is loath to give them a vote, since the amendment would surely fail and allow Mr. Bush to note that even Congress is against withdrawal. The question is if her liberals will give her any choice. They certainly haven't up to now.

http://opinionjournal.com/columnists/kstrasselpw/?id=110009767

If you don't have the votes you will have to find a way to lie about it, as usual. Maybe the votes are hiding under Obey's coat? If they are Dem votes, they are probably hiding under the table or in the closet.

I belong to no organized party - I am a democrat. te he.

"Rep. Maxine Waters, California Democrat, of the Out of Iraq Caucus could hardly keep the details straight as she attempted to excoriate the plan proposed by her Democratic leaders.
"What they say is, if in fact there is no progress that we will pull out, if they can't certify by October, by December, but if there is progress, if they are doing well, we will stay," she said. "This would eventually get us out perhaps by March. The latest we would get out I guess with another progress report, or certification, by August of 1980."
Come again?
"Wait -- August '08," Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Illinois Democrat, quickly corrected her colleague.
"Oh, August '08," Mrs. Waters corrected herself. "That's how confusing it is."
The back-and-forth caused reporters to stifle laughs but also illustrated how few members had a part in crafting the bill and highlighted how it was a working document up to the moment Democratic leaders held their press conference explaining it -- 25 minutes later than planned.
" from Wash times - bellantoni

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 9, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

KOZ, Its not Bush's doing. As any liberal will tell you those are gains finally catching up from Bill's administration...

Posted by: Dan W | March 9, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"So many of these liberal groups don't adequately inform their members...When you have misinformation or lack of information put into their head's, it's a disservice to them and to me," Obey said

It's time these idiot liberals understood that."

Indeed, the idiot calling the idiots idiots.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 9, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

The US trade deficit narrowed 3.8 percent in January to 59.1 billion dollars thanks to record-breaking export growth, the Commerce Department said Friday.


The unemployment rate dipped to 4.5 percent and workers got fatter paychecks in February.

Must be Bush's fault.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 9, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Worse, the entire establishment blows up at you anytime you mention it needs fixed. Yet everyone agrees it needs fixed.

Posted by: Dan W | March 9, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Dems are used to giving their money and getting nothing in return. why wouldn't they support a government system that does this, they accept it from the teachers union, from their candidates and assume that profit for a corporation is optional and evil. they should be doing it for nothing says them. so should doctors and pharmas. but low-skilled entry level workers should be paid more than they are worth. Perplexing.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 9, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

You're right KOZ, glad to see that the District of Columbia finally decided to read the Second Amendment.

Posted by: JD | March 9, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

DanW. Excellent. You offered a solution to keeping the acceptable elements of SS -- disability and survivor benefits -- and eliminated the a retirement plan that pays about 2% interest and becomes the property of the government when you die before you've collected a penny. Could you imagine pitching the current SS retirement accounts to a crowd in the old south. Now, folks you pay into this plan where we give you 2% interest and if you die before you retire and your children are grown up we get to keep all the money. None of it, not one dollar, goes to your family. The shysters and rip-off artists trying to sell that retirement program would be leaving town covered with tar and feathers. Can you imagine the legality of any private 401Ks or pension plans that say if you die the company gets to keep your money?! It would be against the law. But the government gets away with it and mandates it whether you like it or not.

Posted by: Tarheel | March 9, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

E.J. Dionne Jr. writes in his Washington Post opinion column that "the evidence of recent days should settle the case: This administration has operated on the basis of a hyperpartisanship not seen in decades. Worse, the destroy-the-opposition, our-team-vs.-their-team approach has infected large parts of the conservative movement and the Republican Party. The tendency to subordinate principles to win short-term victories and cover up for the administration is, alas, rampant on the right.

"Take the rush of conservative organs demanding an immediate pardon of Scooter Libby after his conviction on four counts related to lying and obstruction of justice. . . .

"In other words, when an impartial judicial system does something that conservatives don't like, the will of conservatives, not the rule of law, should triumph."

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

'Reports from Bogota say as many as 21,000 security personnel will be involved in keeping Bush safe while in Colombia ''

truly amazing how much disruption he causes everywhere he goes...

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Robert,

There needs to be a separation between what is Social Security Retirement Benefits (which should be a government sponsored 401K) and Social Security Survivor Benefits.

My solution: Let me put my 6% contribution into a 401K sponsored by the Feds. I own it. Its mine and my family's.

At the same time, take the 6% that my company contributes and use it to pay for survivor benefis, ADC, and Existing SS entitlements. Anyone with an account cannot receive an entitlement, anyone with an entitlement cannot create an account. Accounts are optional for everyone above age of 35. (Or some other age).

BTW: One of the plans within the 401K would be 100% govt bonds to satisfy those afraid of the market.

Eventually the entitlements would go away, and the debt SS has acquired would be paid off by the corporate 6%. At that time, the COrporate 6% would be distributed to the 401k's of individuals with incomes below some threshhold.

While this is a 100 year solution, show me any other solution...

Posted by: Dan W | March 9, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Appeals court overturns D.C. gun ban

It seems the high tide for liberalism is receeding steadily. the more they state their views, the sillier they look. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 9, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Ahhh the bashing that is the WaPo Fix. Bunch of hyenas in here. So who is Jim Schellinger? Being out of IN for some years now. I had to do some online research. Can someone provide some info on him other than he is a architect, businessman, and spoke at the Breakfast for Dem Gov's? I am not out for bashing just info. Being someone that cannot vote in the great state of IN, but having roots there I am interested in the future of IN. I still hold firm to the idea that agriculture is the 'bread and butter' of Indiana finances, politics, and future.

Posted by: Chicagoan | March 9, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Who is Chris Sautter?

Posted by: Bob | March 9, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Never mind, Chris. I answered my own question, after noticing on your website that you do, in fact, list Jill Long Thompson as your client. It's just great when we attack each other. I think we can all expect Jim Schellinger to be the bigger person and not spread undermining messages about Jill.

Posted by: Too Bad... | March 9, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Chris S.,
Are you Long Thompson's media consultant? If so, it's a shame that her campaign is already setting a negative tone on Schellinger.

Posted by: Too Bad... | March 9, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"You overlooked the most formidable Democratic candidate mentioned in the Indiana gubernatorial contest for next year--former IN Congresswoman and Undersecretary of Agriculture Jill Long Thompson. Jill turned down an offer from late Governor O'Bannon to be Lt. Governor because she had just been confirmed by the US Senate for the Ag post. She is tough, smart, and an excellent campaigner. Jill alone among those mentioned has the ability to raise money outside of Indiana. She starts with a loyal base in Northern Indiana and state-wide name recognition. Jim Schellinger is a virtual unknown. Jill would clearly win a primary if one is necessary."

This has to be a joke.

Or maybe it's someone who's signed up to run Jill's campaign trying to save any credibility she might have in a state she only spends half her time in anyway.

Posted by: Anne | March 9, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Jill Long Thompson has statewide name ID?!? You've got to be kidding. If she wanted to run for governor, where has she been the last four years?

Posted by: Hoosier Dem | March 9, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Chris Sautter,
I keep reading that Jill Long Thompson continues to receive overwhelmingly positive feedback from Hoosiers. Who are these people? Several party officials and donors have publicly backed Schellinger in several articles, but I'm having trouble figuring out who, if anyone, has come out being Jill. Hasn't she lost something like four consecutive campaigns?

Posted by: Steve P. | March 9, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Chris S, thanks for the insight on Jill Long Thompson. I think that is the direction that IN needs to be guided in. For many years they have been attempting to build up a technology background, but its a hard sell for many companies (too many college level grads leaving the crossroads of america). I think that a regrouping of the agricultural stronghold that was once Indiana will be a positive in the future of eco-friendly fuels.

Posted by: Chicagoan | March 9, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

"Decieved by a Democrat. Isn't that the normal operating procedure?"

Or deceived by Zouk.

Using one of Zouk's favorite lines - When are you going to answer the question?

The one about the false history you provided the other day. If you create the history that you provide, what other parts of your posts are equally false?

Answer the question. - Zouk

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

You write scientific and technical materials? But your arguments are so emotional!

You seem capable of far more than you've shown us, wrt rational thought.

Posted by: JD | March 9, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Chris, the NC Gov's race is always in the presidential year, and the Democrats have won five of seven gubentatorial elections even as the state has been in the Republican column for president since 1976.

The problem, and this is reflected in US Senate races in midterm-years (Dole and Helms have won, every other Republican has lost in the midterm year) is that the state GOP in North Carolina is a joke of an organization. The old state party boss, Bill Cobey, did just about everything possible to not make gains during the 1990s (and then ran a pathetic campaign for governor). Even when they made some gains in 2002 (thanks to a ridiculous Republican judge's effort to take away the power to redistrict) inter-party fighting destroyed the GOP state house majority and by 2004 the Democrats had drawn a map for both bodies and have increased their majorities in two straight elections.

Posted by: Martin | March 9, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Gingrich married his high-school geometry teacher? That's awesome. Everyone always talks about getting with the hot new teacher, but so few people actually do it. He's got my vote!

Banning anonymous posting would improve this site tremendously. And it would be very easy to do. I guess the Post IT people just aren't trying very hard.

Posted by: Blarg | March 9, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

'WASHINGTON - The FBI abused its power by illegally or improperly obtaining telephone, financial and other secret records in investigations of terrorism or espionage suspects, the Justice Department's inspector general said today.

A report by Inspector General Glenn Fine's office sharply criticized the FBI for how, without a court order, it demanded and received records such as customer information from telephone companies, Internet service providers, financial institutions and consumer credit companies.

"We believe the improper or illegal uses we found involve serious misuses of national security letter authorities," Fine said in releasing the report.

National security letters allow the FBI to compel the release of private information without getting authority from a judge or grand jury.'

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

'March 9, 2007 -- Setting the stage for his entry into the presidential race, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., gave a radio interview to be broadcast today with Focus on the Family's James Dobson, in which Gingrich for the first time publicly acknowledged cheating on his first and second wives.

"There were times when I was praying and when I felt I was doing things that were wrong. But I was still doing them," Gingrich said during the interview.' [LOL]

"I look back on those as periods of weakness and periods that I'm not only not proud of, but I would deeply urge my children and grandchildren not to follow in my footsteps."

"I was married very young and had my first daughter when I was very young, in fact at the end of my freshman year in college," he said of his first marriage to Jackie Battley, his former high school geometry teacher. "And after a period of time, about 18 years, things just didn't work out."

Gingrich married his second wife, Marianne Ginther, months after he divorced Battley in 1981. Gingrich discussed divorce terms with her while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery.'

He married his high school geometry teacher? Even scummier than I thought. Can't keep it in his pants, can he?

Posted by: charming | March 9, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I forgot, attended UCLA.

Posted by: drindl | March 9, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Middle-age mother and writer of scientific and technical materials.. originally from Oklahoma.

All wrong, JD.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Any who uses the word 'moonbats' is one.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

PS do we have a guess as to drindl's identity? I'm guessing sophomore at GW, originally from north Jersey

Posted by: JD | March 9, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Moonbats?

Posted by: JD | March 9, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

One further thought:

In LA, what will determine this race is Blanco's ego and selfishness. Apparently, she is still clinging to the delusion that she can be reelected, even though most Dems don't like her.

Unless she wants to see her job taken by her arch enemy (Jindal) she needs to do what is best for her party and step aside and let a stronger candidate like Breaux or Melancon run.

I think Breaux or Melancon could easily win against Jindal.

Posted by: William | March 9, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

OK drindl, here's the 'so what':

You originally said that the Iraq war is unsustainable budgetwise without a 10-20% tax hike. I proved otherwise and cited a reputable source, at least in the Post's eyes. You have provided no intelligent argument to the contrary; only thrown bombs. (BTW, what's Samuelson's SPECIFIC COI issue? Not just that he's a 'mouthpiece for the transnational corporations' or some other DailyKOS-style pap, please).

So here's your chance. I detailed why the financial cost is NOT that big a burden, when you look at the numbers. That if we should leave Iraq, and may be we should, the reason is NOT financial...if it's the right thing to do to stay there, we can certainly easily afford it. You say numbers 'can be manipulated'. How were the numbers I quoted manipulated? These were CBO numbers, as objective as it gets. If you want to rebut this, fine... but let's see YOUR figures, not an emotional rant this time please.

Or just admit you made a mistake, and all will be forgiven.

Posted by: JD | March 9, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

robert, the benefits your family received would have been much higher under a private insurance policy, one you could have afforded if the government wasn't taking more than 12% of your money in the first place.

Actually demanding social security reform is to the advantage of the poorest section of the economy because it creates a permanant savings account in their own name, something the rich already have. this would drastically effect intergenerational wealth.

JD, I have had much experience with the moonbats on this site. You should use your energy on the thinking visitors like roo or blarg and ignore drindl and no-name coward. they live to offend and insult, which they believe is funny and clever. but after a short time, you will find it is very low on the humor scale. Kind of like Ann coulter and Bill Mahar. you will never get them to post any links because their beliefs are all feeling and propaganda based. they easily crumble under the most modest scrutiny. this is particularly true of anything economic, numerical or scientific.

engaging them only encourages them to continue their nastiness. the desire for attention would make a decent study in the liberal psychopathy. bush derangement syndrome or perhaps pre-existing.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 9, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Re: the line.

I think Breaux regrets his retirement from politics. A lot of people had speculated he would run for president, but all of a sudden he retired to become a lobbyist.

He probably wants back in, and is maybe considering a presidential run in 2012 or 2016.

IF Breaux runs, then the LA race is over. Take it off the Line. Breaux was highly popular in LA as a Senator, and he is a conservative Dem who will appeal to rural white voters.

As we saw last time, Jindal is a weak candidate, not least because he is Indian. Also, as I have said many times before, the LA voters are tired of him. He is like the Doug Forrester of LA. He just keeps running and running for various offices.

He probably wants to be president. LA voters are sick of him, and want FRESH faces. Jindal is an old retread, and most voters know that he is a greedy, over-ambitious career politician who can't be trusted.

If it's Breax vs. Jindal, I think the Dem field would clear, leaving Breaux against Jindal, as well as 1-2 white Republicans who know Jindal can't win. If Breaux runs, I doubt it will go to runoff.

Breaux will probably get at least 53-55 %.

If Breaux doesn't run, Charlie Melancon would be the strongest candidate. He is also a popular conservative Dem.


In NC, Easley has been a pretty decent governor, I have to admit. His performance, if it remains good until 2008, will help the Dems.

In MO, I think Blunt is going to lose. It's early, but that's the way it looks now. MO has been trending blue lately, and is likely to continue to do so for in the forseeable future. Blunt has too many problems that have wounded him. He was once considered a rising star in the GOP but I think his days may be over.

Jay Nixon is an OK candidate but not THAT strong. If Blunt survives, it will probably be because the Dems could not recruit a strong enough candidate.

Posted by: William | March 9, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

That was me, I don't post anonymously unless I forget to sign. zouk simply wallows in his mindless hatred.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Violent crime rose by double-digit percentages in cities across the country over the last two years, reversing the declines of the mid-to-late 1990s, according to a new report by a prominent national law enforcement association.

"There are pockets of crime in this country that are astounding," said Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, which is releasing the report on Friday. "It's gone under the radar screen, but it's not if you're living on the north side of Minneapolis or the south side of Los Angeles or in Dorchester, Mass."

Local police departments blame several factors: the spread of methamphetamine use in some Midwestern and Western cities, gangs, growing poverty and a record number of people being released from prison. But the biggest theme, they say, is easy access to guns and a willingness, even an eagerness, to settle disputes with them, particularly among young people.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Zouk, who was the anonymous poster who won't 'bather' with you anymore?

Don't you hate it when people are too afraid to put up a name or a pair of initiatls?

Posted by: JD | March 9, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with you regarding Samuelson's credility due to his many conflicts of interest... what has that to do with 'numbers'? Numbers can be manipulated, and they often are. So what?

Posted by: drindl | March 9, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

When will House Dems call for a retreat and surrender in that quagmire bosnia - you remember that one, the one that clinton got us into without UN support, without congressional approval - you know, that unconstitutional war. The one that he promised would be over in a year. the one the europeons should have handled on their own? when will we surrender there Nancy and "bribe me again later" Murtha?

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 9, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

You're a bitter, sad joke of human, zouk -- with a nasty disposition and a tragic lack of intelligence. Why I don't bather with you anymore.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

drindl said:

"It's impossible to have a discussion because like zouk, if you hear something you don't like, you put your fingers in your ears and start calling names."

right after she said:

"Samuelson's such a cheerleader for corpora tewelfare I don't pay too much attention to him"

"he simply parrots the transnational's talking points"

********

JD is still awaiting an intelligent reply... one based on numbers....

Posted by: JD | March 9, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

' social security is revealed as racist...
becuase it compensates families who lose a parent, who might not have other resources or savings?'

Yeah, that's fact-based.

I'll tell you something. I lost my father when I was four. My mother worked hard but she never would have made it would Social Security. Nor would I have gone to college.

The truth is, people who oppose Social Security simply don't give a sh*t about the working poor, the disabled, or orphans and widows.

Posted by: Robert | March 9, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

OK...a few thoughts.

Re: North Carolina. In the South, many people still like voting for conservative Dems, at least on local level. These candidates are very conservative Dems. The state legislatures of NC, MS, etc are controlled by conservative Dems. For national candidates like President, Senator, Congressman, etc, most of the South is red.

However, the South is still willing to vote for conservative Dems, like Mike Easley, the governor of NC, and Phil Bredesen, the governor of TN. Bredesen was reelected with 66% of the vote and took every single TN county.

On the national level though, Southerners know that if they elect Dems to the Senate or House they will be likely to side with liberal causes, so they usually choose Republicans for the House and Senate.

But conservative Dems can still be easily elected, such as Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln, Lincoln Davis, Gene Taylor, Mark Pryor, Heath Shuler, etc.

Most Southerners vote for the candidate, not for a party. If there is a good Southern Dem, they have a good chance of winning.

For example, in a presidential race, I am a staunch Republican but I would vote for Phil Bredesen before I voted for Guiliani or Romney or McCain. At least Bredesen opposes amnesty, won't steal my guns, and supports the death penalty.

If Bredesen ran for president, he would take most of the South against a nonsouthern RINO like McCain, Rudy or Romney.

Posted by: William | March 9, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Chris:

You overlooked the most formidable Democratic candidate mentioned in the Indiana gubernatorial contest for next year--former IN Congresswoman and Undersecretary of Agriculture Jill Long Thompson. Jill turned down an offer from late Governor O'Bannon to be Lt. Governor because she had just been confirmed by the US Senate for the Ag post. She is tough, smart, and an excellent campaigner. Jill alone among those mentioned has the ability to raise money outside of Indiana. She starts with a loyal base in Northern Indiana and state-wide name recognition. Jim Schellinger is a virtual unknown. Jill would clearly win a primary if one is necessary.

Posted by: Chris Sautter | March 9, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

When drindl is asked about facts or reason, she simply folds. try to get her to cite one outside source for her wild claims. If she still can't find any wiggle room, she attakcs the individual, as if that will nullify the arguement. typical of Libs - when forcibly confronted, they go ugly early and dissemble. but try as they might, the facts are getting out and their discredit is reaching the tipping point. Just look at the laughable proposal about when we will surrender in Iraq.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 9, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"It doesn't matter if Breaux runs... There aren't enough Blacks in New Orleans to swing the state Democratic. On a lighter note, check out Borat's interview with Newt "I'm a big fat hypocrite" Gringrich: http://www.solidpolitics.com"


STOP posting under my name. You are violating the rules of the Fix.

Posted by: William | March 9, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

tarheel , there is an insurance aspect of social security which is almost never discussed. It would provide some benefit to the children of the deceased. there is also a disability part.

but this is an entirely different issue than retirement savings. It is true that many older black men do not make it to 65 to collect thier benefits. the life expectency of blacks is lower than others. in this way, social security is revealed as racist.

I wonder if any of those black families who lost a father early would be more fairly compensated by a sum of money in his own account, rather than a dissappearing one in the government's name. they could actually buy a house or go to college or blow it at the track. It would be theirs.

but that would offend the Libs who prefer to maintain a constituancy at the ready, to vote for Dems who will provide for them in old age. this as opposed to taking care of it yourself - the american way and coincidentally, the conservative approach.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 9, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

All privatizing social security would do is take things back to the way they were in the gilded age -- a great many people would die younger and in poverty.

Posted by: Robert | March 9, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

In case you needed official proof that republicans are lying, brazenly corrupt snakes in the grass.

Posted by: Robert | March 9, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

'tell me drindl, what do the other Martians think about this?'

discussion ends here. now you're being offensive like your low-ID, factless friend zouk.

in any case, you have your opnion and i have mine, and mine is at least as grounded in fact as yours. It's impossible to have a discussion because like zouk, if you hear something you don't like, you put your fingers in your ears and start calling names.

Posted by: drindl | March 9, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Professor of Logic

Paul Krugman complains today

Donald Shields and John Cragan, two professors of communication, have compiled a database of investigations and/or indictments of candidates and elected officials by U.S. attorneys since the Bush administration came to power. Of the 375 cases they identified, 10 involved independents, 67 involved Republicans and 298 involved Democrats. The main source of this partisan tilt was a huge disparity in investigations of local politicians, in which Democrats were seven times as likely as Republicans to face Justice Department scrutiny.

Krugman condemns this result as an outrage. But there's another possibility that needs to be considered - and that is that Democratic politicians are seven times as likely to be corrupt.

In case you needed official proof that Dems are weasels.


http://frum.nationalreview.com/

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 9, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse


'Would you pay half a percent in fees to bring your return from 2% up to 8%? '

Or for no return all, in fact a loss, depending on the market?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

This is absolutely the best argument I have ever heard against Social Security. You're 18 and start paying SS. You marry and have five children when in you 20s and 30s. Your wife also works and pays SS. By age 58 your children are grown and you and your wife take a well-deserved vacation. On that vacation you are both killed in a car accident. What happens to 40 years of money, your money, paid into Social Security. Does it go to those five children and their children? No, since they are adults the government just keeps it. 40 years of your own money saved and Uncle Sam gets to keep it! Is that the biggest scam ever? What other retirement plan keeps all your money when you die? If I was putting it into a savings account at the local credit union at least it would be there for my children. A personal savings option at least leaves some of your own money for your loved ones. Otherwise we pay in a lifetime just to give it to Uncle Sam when we die?

Posted by: tarheel | March 9, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I know I know,
God save us from crazy idealists like us who actually want our government to their jobs.

Posted by: Andy R | March 9, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

KOZ - We can name as many "Deceived by a REuplican" tales. Just call it Deceived by a politician.

Posted by: Dan W | March 9, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Decieved by a Democrat. Isn't that the normal operating procedure? Look at Nancy and dirty Harry's lies about the Libby verdict. hillary only deals in lies and intimidation. this is no longer a secret to anyone but the most committed holdovers from the CCCP.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 9, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Andy R - The entire congress vote on each Amendment? Are you crazy? Thats the end of all political life as we know it. That would increase congressional accountability and tell constituents EXACTLY where the politicians lie on each issue. You are officially banned from all political thought until your wonderful fantasy land becomes a reality.

Jeeze, next your going to want a balanced budget and sound fiscal policy. How dare you make such a suggestion...

Posted by: Dan W | March 9, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

In North Carolina, the Jim Black scandal didn't affect the fall elections because he didn't admit quilt until February of this year. Black was still considered innocent until proven quilty last fall. In fact, many Democrats has signed pledges of support to Black up until the February bombshell exploded. Of course, the Democrats are now running full speed away from Black, but part of his plea agreement is to testify against some other Democrats. So the scandal is now taking hold and expanding and will affect the next election. Voters now feel deceived by Black and those Democrats who stood by him.

Posted by: RaleighNiceGuy | March 9, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Would you pay half a percent in fees to bring your return from 2% up to 8%? drindl would not. hence the mistrust of anything economic in Dem hands.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 9, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Political junkie,
The thing is you don't need that road more then a kid in Colorado needs healthcare. Earmarks as they are now are in general selfish pork spending with no real use other then to secure re-election for a certain candidate.
Now I don't have a problem with tacking on specific projects for say roads or schools as long as the ENTIRE congress votes on each amendment. They only work four days a week anyway and most of that time is spent patting themselves on the back about how much they love the country, and love our troops, etc...I think they can fit in a few more votes if they wanted to.

Posted by: Andy R | March 9, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

drindl said:

"Like why is a trillion dollars for iraq a footnote to him, when he screams bloody murder all the time about where will the money come from for social security"

tell me drindl, what do the other Martians think about this?

You must be kidding, right?. Do you even know what the SS and Medicare liabilities are going forward, when the boomers retire? A lot more than a trillion, cumulative until 2017. You talk about the impact of wounded vets - did you even read the article? He takes that into account, somewhere between 300 and 600 billion in costs.

You attack Samuelson personally without attacking the argument. Fine, I can accept that you're a mean-spirited hater (college student?). So since you obviously disagree, let's see your numbers? Otherwise, STFU.

Posted by: JD | March 9, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Drindl - I am willing to pay a fee for Social Security in or to gain the knowledge that the money is mine (and my beneficiary's). Plus I am not convinced that a national 401K account system would have significant fees.

Posted by: Dan W | March 9, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

JD-- Samuelson's such a cheerleader for corpora tewelfare I don't pay too much attention to him.He constantly contradicts himself.

Like why is a trillion dollars for iraq a footnote to him, when he screams bloody murder all the time about where will the money come from for social security -- and yet, the costs associated with that are far less?

No, he simply parrots the transnational's talking points. Ahuge number of private contractors in Iraq are making big buck soff taxpayers and they don't want that gravy train to come to an end. Why do you think rumsfeld privatized the military? He owns stock in some of the companies contracting there.

Similarly, he longs for privatization of social security for much the same reasons -- the financial industry would make a killing as all this money that would have gone directly to retirees is diverted into fees.

And there are always money quesstions. Why is the VA underfunded by $3 billion, if we have all this discretionary cash lying around? and the demands on the system will get much worse as more wounded vets pour into the pipeline--over 50,000 have been seriously injured. Because of a lack of armor and proper equipment, here's a huge number of amputees, faces blown off, brain damage. It's about a lot more than money, but you just can't pretend that we are not borrowing billions to finance it.

Posted by: drindl | March 9, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

'REPORT: 72 Percent Of Army Brigades Have Served Multiple Tours of Duty

'A new study has been relased on the state of our military readiness. The report -- "Beyond the Call of Duty: A Comprehensive Review of the Overuse of the Army in the Administration's War of Choice in Iraq" -- undertook a "massive research project to identify, brigade by brigade, the number and duration of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan by the active Army." The report found a large majority of Army brigades have served multiple tours:

- Brigades with one tour in Iraq or Afghanistan: 12

- Brigades with two tours in Iraq or Afghanistan: 20

- Brigades with three tours in Iraq or Afghanistan: 9

- Brigades with four tours in Iraq or Afghanistan: 2

The report also points out that a total of 420,000 troops have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan more than once, and over 84,000 National Guard and Reservists have done multiple tours.

The multiple deployments and extended tours of duty are taking a serious toll on our soldiers. Two-thirds of Army brigades are "not ready for wartime missions," and one Pentagon survey found that troops in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from chronic shortages of armored vehicles, heavy weapons, and communications equipment.

In addition, an Army survey conducted last year found "U.S. soldiers serving repeated Iraq deployments are 50 percent more likely than those with one tour to suffer from acute combat stress, raising their risk of post-traumatic stress disorder":

Combat stress is significantly higher among soldiers with at least one previous tour -- 18.4 percent, compared with 12.5 percent of those on their first deployment, the survey found. [...]

The report also found a doubling of suicides among soldiers serving in the Iraq war from 2004 to 2005, the latest period for which data are available.'

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

JD: Didn't it bother you that Samuelson's position was based on two Congressional Budget office estimates that had tens of thousands of G.I.'s in Iraq as far into the future as 2017.

His numbers may be valid, and his point is probably correct overall that the raw cummulative dollar cost is not huge compared to the entuire Budget; but the underlying premise for his numbers is shaky, if he and the CBO still see U. S. troops in Iraq in 2017 and beyond.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | March 9, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

'REPORT: 72 Percent Of Army Brigades Have Served Multiple Tours of Duty

'A new study has been relased on the state of our military readiness. The report -- "Beyond the Call of Duty: A Comprehensive Review of the Overuse of the Army in the Administration's War of Choice in Iraq" -- undertook a "massive research project to identify, brigade by brigade, the number and duration of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan by the active Army." The report found a large majority of Army brigades have served multiple tours:

- Brigades with one tour in Iraq or Afghanistan: 12

- Brigades with two tours in Iraq or Afghanistan: 20

- Brigades with three tours in Iraq or Afghanistan: 9

- Brigades with four tours in Iraq or Afghanistan: 2

The report also points out that a total of 420,000 troops have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan more than once, and over 84,000 National Guard and Reservists have done multiple tours.

The multiple deployments and extended tours of duty are taking a serious toll on our soldiers. Two-thirds of Army brigades are "not ready for wartime missions," and one Pentagon survey found that troops in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from chronic shortages of armored vehicles, heavy weapons, and communications equipment.

In addition, an Army survey conducted last year found "U.S. soldiers serving repeated Iraq deployments are 50 percent more likely than those with one tour to suffer from acute combat stress, raising their risk of post-traumatic stress disorder":

Combat stress is significantly higher among soldiers with at least one previous tour -- 18.4 percent, compared with 12.5 percent of those on their first deployment, the survey found. [...]

The report also found a doubling of suicides among soldiers serving in the Iraq war from 2004 to 2005, the latest period for which data are available.'

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

you love those bridges to nowhere, that campaign payback...

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Zoom is right on the money regarding earmarks. I still can't believe people get so worked up over them. I would support have my Congressman/Senator secure necessary funding for roads, schools, research efforts, etc that are occurring in my district/state. It is the Constitutional right of Congress to determine how the federal government money is spent. How dare we cede our spending to some joe sitting in a cubicle in the Dept of Whatever. How does that person know what is best for my district or state? Why should that individual (when you think about it, that position is more powerful than an ELECTED member of Congress) determine what is best? It is a power cede to the Executive Branch. Plain and simple. I can't believe people actually buy the anti-earmark drivel that presists in publications.

Posted by: Political Junkie | March 9, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Drindl said : "Does anyone think that Gingrich's admitting this affair now means that he's trying to get it out there so it won't come back to haunt him just before the elction?

Does this mean he's running?"

I do think so

Posted by: Pierre | March 9, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

All politics is local. The Jim Black scandal IN North Carolina will have much more impact on state voters than federal ones.

Jim Black, North Carolina Democratic Speaker of the House, pleaded guilty to taking about $29,000, mostly in cash, from some chiropractors, is looking at a 10-year maximum and a possible $250,000 fine. He also committed crimes related to the state lottery and allowing a lobbyist to use his office and resources. But to lighten his sentence, Black has agreed to name other corrupt Democrats.

Source: Black Pleads Guilty to Corruption Charges-Took $25,000 from chiropractors for influence, by Paul Chesser, Carolina Journal, February 16, 2007.

This is Abramhoff on a state level and will have a significant effect on the vote here. We tend to always look at the national picture for influences but history shows it's the local political environment that has the most substantial impact on the the vote.

Posted by: tarheel | March 9, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The Zoom,

First, 1 tenth of 1 percent of the Federal budget is a HUGE amount of money.

Second, there are thousands of experts in the government who create budgets for spending federal dollars. Earmarks make those budgets largely obsolete. Congress should simply fund the federal agencies at a high level and get on with the process of oversight of theose agencies and creating balanced and fair laws for the process.

And Earmarks represent a danger of appearing to "Buy legislation". How often have we seen that an earmark is created where the recipient contributed heavily to the sponsoring congressman?

Posted by: Dan W | March 9, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the sentiment of Midwest Demo. Mitch Daniels is playing with alot of fire with the Indiana Lotto system and the toll road expansion ideas. Let us recall how he was elected. In GOP strong 2004, Lt. Governor-turned Gov. Joe Kernan couldnt mount a decent campaign in the wake of the passing of Frank O'Bannon (r.i.p.). I think that Evan Bayh's clout will weigh into this situation greatly. Coupled with the handling of the lotto and toll roads I think that will be the demise the state run politics under the GOP.

Posted by: Chicagoan | March 9, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Yep, you're right about the fact that many might not know he served in the Senate. He will, however, be a tough candidate. He wouldn't have to worry about name recognition. I was up on the Hill when he served, and he is extremely smart and fast on his feet. Doesn't get tripped up.

Posted by: Political Junkie | March 9, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Fred Thompson would be an interesting challenge. I wonder how many people actually know that he was a Senator? I bet most people would say "why is the guy from Law and Order running for president".

Posted by: Andy R | March 9, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

As a North Carolinian, I disagree with many assessment's here that our state is definately going to elect another democratic governor. I think Bill Graham would definately be the most credible candidate for the R's. His group "North Carolina Conservatives United" has picked on the issue of our gasoline tax, which is definately the highest state gas tax around the south and southeast, at around 30 cents per gallon. There is much distain in our state over the gas tax, and Graham would definately win the Republican primary on that issue. I believe cutting the gas tax will resonate with NC voters and he could very well be our next governor.

Posted by: reason | March 9, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

drindl said:

I would ask all who support continuing the occupation ad infinitum, where the money will come from? The Chinese gov't is currently the main buyer of US debt, what if we get into a scrape with them [very possible, since they demonstrated their ability to take out an orbiting satellite] and they decide to stop? What if Russia becomes problematic [starting to look very likely with their threats to take out the propsed missile defense sites to be built in Poland].

the problem is, this administration has always been focused on one thing -- iraq and it's oil. Ask Halliburton. so they are ignoring a gathering storm.

Tell me, if your taxes had to be raised by 10% or 20% to fund it, would you still support an indefinite deployment?


****************

Sorry drindl I missed this question yesterday. It's too long to repeat the whole column here, but I recommend you go read Samuelson's column from Feb 28, "A 2 Trillion Dollar Footnote". Using facts and numbers, not opinion or rhetoric, he very logically explains why the costs involved in Iraq, while significant, are not anywhere close to the impact on the budget that you suggest they are.

Long story short: if you estimate cumulative war spending of $2 trillion by 2017 (and this might be very high), that's almost a rounding error when compared to estimated federal spending of 48 trillion and GDP of 248 trillion over the same timeframe.

The point is, don't make decisions on Iraq based on the money.

Posted by: JD | March 9, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Andy R: Yes, and the look on the faces of the others, Russert was the one though, he didn't know what to do, since the show is broadcast live in most areas of the country and there was no way they could go to a break.

Posted by: lylepink | March 9, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

As if the field were not big enough with numbers and large personalities, I understand former Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) is considering the idea of entering the presidential race. Former Senator Baker has been pushing his candidacy with Members on the Hill. Very interesting. He would be a tough candidate.

Posted by: Political Junkie | March 9, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please bookmark:

otherside123.blogspot.com
www.wsws.org
www.takingaimradio.info
www.onlinejournal.com

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070309/ap_on_go_co/congress_prosecutors_48;_ylt=AlW4WG2sM75w9nZ8rUxuQN2GbToC

White House bows on attorney reforms

By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Slapped even by GOP allies, the Bush administration is beating an abrupt retreat on eight federal prosecutors it fired and then publicly pilloried.
ADVERTISEMENT

Just hours after Attorney General Alberto Gonzales dismissed the hubbub as an "overblown personnel matter," a Republican senator Thursday mused into a microphone that Gonzales might soon suffer the same fate as the canned U.S. attorneys.

"One day there will be a new attorney general, maybe sooner rather than later," Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record), R-Pa., said during a Judiciary Committee meeting.

A short time later, Gonzales and his security detail shuttled to the Capitol for a private meeting on Democratic turf, bearing two offerings:

_President Bush would not stand in the way of a Democratic-sponsored bill that would cancel the attorney general's power to appoint federal prosecutors without Senate confirmation. Gonzales' Justice Department had previously dismissed the legislation as unreasonable.

_There would be no need for subpoenas to compel testimony by five of Gonzales' aides involved in the firings, as the Democrats had threatened. Cloistered in the stately hideaway of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt., the attorney general assured those present that he would permit the aides to tell their stories.

The Justice Department is shifting from offense to accommodation.

"In hindsight, we should have provided the U.S. attorneys with specific reasons that led to their dismissal that would have helped to avoid the rampant misinformation and wild speculation that currently exits," Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said Friday. "We will continue to work with Congress to reach an accommodation on providing additional information."

It was a striking reversal for an administration noted for standing its ground even in the face of overwhelming opposition.

Gone were the department's biting assertions that the prosecutors were a bunch of "disgruntled employees grandstanding before Congress."

And the department no longer tried to shrug off the uproar as "an overblown personnel matter," as Gonzales had written in an opinion piece published Thursday in USA Today.

Agency officials also ceased describing majority Democrats as lawmakers who would "would rather play politics" than deal with facts.

The shift was so abrupt that one of Bush's chief advisers who was speaking out of town Thursday apparently missed the memo.

"My view is this is unfortunately a very big attempt by some in the Congress to make a political stink about it," presidential adviser Karl Rove said Thursday during a speech in Arkansas.

Back in Washington, a consensus was emerging among senators of both parties, and Gonzales himself, that the firings had been botched chiefly because the prosecutors had not been told the reasons for their dismissals. The matter snowballed -- some of those fired complained publicly, and a senior justice department official warned one that further complaints in the press would force the agency to defend itself, according to an e-mail made public this week.

On Tuesday during an eight-hour marathon of congressional hearings, the Justice Department followed through. William Moschella, principle associate deputy attorney general, publicly enumerated the reasons each prosecutor was fired.

Flash forward two days, to Sen. Arlen Specter, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, reading Gonzales' USA Today column into the record. He paused.

"These (prosecutors) who were plastered across the newspapers all across the country, they will never recover their reputations," Specter said.

Two staunch White House allies, Sens. Jon Kyl (news, bio, voting record) of Arizona and Jeff Sessions (news, bio, voting record) of Alabama, lamented the damage to the prosecutors' resumes, but blamed poor execution rather than a political purge.

The prosecutors weren't the only ones whose reputations suffered. One, New Mexico's David Iglesias, said the dismissals followed calls from members of Congress -- Sen. Pete Domenici (news, bio, voting record) and Rep. Heather Wilson (news, bio, voting record), New Mexico Republicans -- concerning sensitive political corruption investigations.

Still unclear is whether Gonzales will allow his aides to speak with the Senate panel in private or at a public hearing.

They aides are: Michael Elston, Kyle Sampson, Monica Goodling, Bill Mercer and Mike Battle.

Sampson is Gonzales' chief of staff, Elston is staff chief to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty and Mercer is associate attorney general. Goodling is Gonzales' senior counsel and White House liaison, and Battle is the departing director of the office that oversees the 93 U.S. attorneys.

___

Posted by: che | March 9, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Mitch Daniels is on "firm footing." I don't think so. He is trying to sell our Lottery to a Greek firm and planning to build two private toll roads through Republican areas. Oh, and we have to change our clocks again this weekend. Shouldn't we be on Chicago time? Thanks Mitch!

Posted by: Midwest Demo | March 9, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Richard Gordon is a confidant of Sen. Bayh, and he lives in New Jersey. State Sen. Richard Young, D-Milltown, is running for Indiana Governor.

Posted by: Steve | March 9, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

lylepink,
The show your talking about was when she was on Meet the Press with Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel. I agree that watching Dole was frightening. My wife (who hates politics) commented "Is something wrong with that lady?" I seriously don't think Dole will run again, but if she does I think she will fall fast and hard.

Posted by: Andy R | March 9, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Regarding the NC post, Bill Graham is a trial lawyer - not a businessman.

Posted by: Raleigh Dem | March 9, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Dole is toast. The one thing she will never escape is a Sunday show she appeared on some time back. Her opponent will use that and not much more. I was in denial, watching such an accomplished lady make a complete fool of herself, thinking it can't be, I was having a dream.

Posted by: lylepink | March 9, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone think that Gingrich's admitting this affair now means that he's trying to get it out there so it won't come back to haunt him just before the elction?

Does this mean he's running?

Posted by: drindl | March 9, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

' Unlike most of the others, the Firefighters uniosn is friendly with Republicans and sometimes endorses them.

As such, they have scored a bi-partisan presidential forum, inviting "John Edwards, John McCain, Barack Obama, Chuck Hagel, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Duncan Hunter and seven other candidates" to attend.

One is missing: Rudy Giuliani:

Early on, the IAFF made a decision to invite all serious candidates from both political parties -- except one: former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Posted by: if you knew him like we do.. | March 9, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Adam and Snow are completely right that North Carolina will stay blue. Easley is really well liked even to the point that he could end up as a VP on someone's ticket, like say Richardson or Obama.

Also how is an architect a good candidate? What skills do architects bring to the table. A little more detail of who this guy is and what makes him the dream candidate would be nice. (Disclaimer: I do not mean to degrade architects in anyway just asking)

Posted by: Andy R | March 9, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

$6 million online donations for Obama?


'1. We're fairly certain that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) raised $12 million through the first of March. Banked means banked; pledges don't qualify. About half has come from online donations. If that figure is correct, and we have reason to believe that it is, Obama will probably amass northwards of $18 million this quarter, and we'll bet that he banks a little more than $13 million. Can Obama build a mid-to-small donor base in time to reap its rewards by the end of the 2nd quarter? Unclear.'

http://mydd.com/story/2007/3/8/223820/9432

Posted by: CC, could this be true? | March 9, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Through no fault of anyone's in the military, meanwhile, the administration has managed to become totally confused about our objectives in the region, where we're no longer sure if we're fighting Iran or al-Qaeda, if we're encouraging or discouraging sectarian conflict, if we favor Sunnis or Shiites. Under the circumstances, we can't possibly be brokering a viable political settlement; we don't even know what our goals are.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse


Whatever happens during his trip, Bush's real challenge will come afterward, when he will need to deliver on his promise to support changes in immigration policy and persuade the Democratic-controlled Congress to renew his authority to negotiate free-trade agreements.

That will be a difficult task to accomplish when U.S. legislators and much of the country are focused not on their neighbors to the south, but on the war in Iraq.

Posted by: fallout | March 9, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

'The FBI underreported its use of the USA Patriot Act to force businesses to turn over customer information in suspected terrorism cases, according to a Justice Department audit.

One government official familiar with the report said shoddy bookkeeping and records management led to the problems. The FBI agents appeared to be overwhelmed by the volume of demands for information over a two-year period, the official said.

"They lost track," said the official who like others interviewed late Thursday spoke on condition of anonymity because the report was not being released until Friday.

The FBI in 2005 reported to Congress that its agents had delivered a total of 9,254 national security letters seeking e-mail, telephone or financial information on 3,501 U.S. citizens and legal residents over the previous two years.

Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine's report says that number was underreported by 20 percent, according to the officials.

Fine conducted the audit as required by Congress and over the objections of the Bush administration.'

You like government bureaucrats pawing through your personal, medical and financial info? Elect more republicans.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Let me echo the NC comments - although NC is red in presidential elections, and seems to favor Republicans in Senate elections, it's much more blue than that on the state level. Democrats have a solid majority in the legislature and Easley is still popular.

The Democrats have done a good job over the last 8 or 9 years of re-establishing themselves in the state, and if Easley decides to run against Dole for the Senate, I wouldn't bet against him. And much like Tim Kaine, Perdue stands to benefit from her boss' good job.

Posted by: adam | March 9, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

'That he just takes away the liberty from one bureaucrat to decide how to spend the money and decides himself where the money should go?"

The answer was yes.

So if earmarks do not raise spending and it's not more then one tenth of one percent of the budget, why is there so much noise about it?'

Are you serious? Are you really this stupid?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

'Bystanders gawked at Bush's limousine, but only a few people waved. Anti-American sentiment runs high in Brazil, especially over the war in Iraq. Bush missed the demonstrations earlier in the day protesting his visit.

Riot police fired tear gas and beat some protesters with batons after more than 6,000 people held a largely peaceful march through the financial district of Sao Paulo. About 4,000 agents, including Brazilian troops and FBI and U.S. Secret Service officers, are working to secure Bush's stay in the city that lasts about 24 hours.

Authorities did not disclose the number of injuries in Thursday's demonstrations, but Brazilian news media said at least 18 people were hurt and news photographs showed injured people being carried away.

Undeterred by protests, Bush says he's on a goodwill tour. (Watch anti-Bush protests in Colombia )

He's visiting a community center in a neighborhood where the ultra rich live in close proximity to the desperately poor.'

Takes 4000 people to protect the most hated man in the world for just 24 hours.

You bedwetters should stop quaking in your boots over Iran and realize your party has created a whole continent full of peoople who hate you, right in your own backyard.

Posted by: baba | March 9, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I listened to a speech from a former congressman where he preached how bad the Republicans are in communicating there message to their base and to the public, and how the public does not know anything about what the republicans got done in the 109th congress. And while he was going on about the issues that the Republicans got done, he was also talking about the "earmarks". He explained to the conservative crowd, that "earmarks are les than one tenth of a percent of the federal budget" witch is a stunning fact that makes me wonder why this is the concern of our time in the conservative community.

As he finished his speech, I walked up to him and told him "Mr. Congressman, I might be wrong but I recall reading an article in the Wall St. Journal, about an official in CO criticizing an earmark that Sen. Allard (R-CO) inserted in a spending bill, saying that it takes away the money the State gets from the federal government." So I asked the Hon. Congressman "Is it true that when a congressman or senator inserts an earmark in a spending bill, he does not raise spending? That he just takes away the liberty from one bureaucrat to decide how to spend the money and decides himself where the money should go?"

The answer was yes.

So if earmarks do not raise spending and it's not more then one tenth of one percent of the budget, why is there so much noise about it?

Because we do not communicate, and nobody amongst us is aware of the facts. We have to start communicating, and shouldn't be afraid that someone will slam us, because if you fight back, you have a chance of winning, and if you don't fight you don't even have a chance of winning.
http://politicalzoom.blogspot.com/

Posted by: The Zoom | March 9, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

'Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich admitted he was having an extramarital affair while he pursued the whole Monica Lewinsky-Bill Clinton issue. Gingrich admitted to the affair during an interview with James Dobson, but insisted he's not a hypocrite.'

Noooo, not a hypocrite. He was whining about what will we tell the children while he wa married ands porking a young choir girl. your whole party's sick.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

'A new report by the Justice Department's inspector general found there are frequent errors in the way the FBI uses its powers to secretly obtain telephone, e-mail, and financial records without judicial approval. The audit of 293 "national security letters" found 22 possible "breaches" of internal regulations, and some of these could have involved breaking the law. '

Posted by: the gulag | March 9, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Re: North Carolina

North Carolina gubernatorial races are always in presidential years. The Democrats have won the last four, despite having Clinton, Clinton, Gore and Kerry at the top of the ticket. Gov. Easley was easily reelected despite a huge GOP turnout in 2004.

While it would be hard at this point to project NC voting for the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008, either (ok - nearly impossible if Hillary or Obama gets the nomination), it's important to note that NC, like Virginia, is now more of a purple state than a red one. The Democrats actually increased their majorities in the legislature last November in spite of the Jim Black (former State House Speaker, now headed for prison) scandals. In US House races, Heath Schuler unseated Charles Taylor out west, and Larry Kissel would probably have upset Robin Hayes with any help at all from the Beltway Dems (@!#$% Rahm Emmanuel).

I would have to favor Perdue or Moore over any of the Republicans at this point. Obviously, there's a long way to go, though. In the prsidential race, I think Edwards, Richardson or Gore might have an outside chance at our 15 electoral votes.

Posted by: Snow Camp | March 9, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

You asked for it, JD, you never answered my question from yesterday.

I would ask all who support continuing the occupation ad infinitum, where the money will come from? The Chinese gov't is currently the main buyer of US debt, what if we get into a scrape with them [very possible, since they demonstrated their ability to take out an orbiting satellite] and they decide to stop? What if Russia becomes problematic [starting to look very likely with their threats to take out the propsed missile defense sites to be built in Poland].

the problem is, this administration has always been focused on one thing -- iraq and it's oil. Ask Halliburton. so they are ignoring a gathering storm.

Tell me, if your taxes had to be raised by 10% or 20% to fund it, would you still support an indefinite deployment?

Posted by: drindl | March 9, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

iraq

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

OK here's a CC post about Gov Breaux and other governor races. How long before someone brings up Iraq? lol

Posted by: JD | March 9, 2007 8:11 AM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter if Breaux runs... There aren't enough Blacks in New Orleans to swing the state Democratic. On a lighter note, check out Borat's interview with Newt "I'm a big fat hypocrite" Gringrich: http://www.solidpolitics.com

Posted by: William | March 9, 2007 8:10 AM | Report abuse

As always, Missouri is a bellweather for the nation. The incumbent Republican and the likely Democratic nominee both stink with Matt Blunt and Jay Nixon.

http://intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | March 9, 2007 7:24 AM | Report abuse

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