Tuesday, December 30, 2024
By Steven Taylor

The campaign must be heating up, as the candidates are pulling out the proposals on anything and everything. Because as we all know, the President is responsible for Eveything (the special ed and asthma ones are my favs, and Kerry has been busy):

  • Gephardt Seeks Special Ed Spending Boost
  • Kerry Urges Clean Air Plan to Curb Asthma
  • Kerry Calls for Farm Subsidy Revamping
  • Kerry Urges Livestock Inspection Changes
  • Dean Wants $100B for New Jobs in Cities
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  • By Steven Taylor

    Saudi Arabia Says Top Al Qaeda Suspect Surrenders

    One of Saudi Arabia’s top wanted Islamic militants surrendered to police on Tuesday, Saudi state media reported.

    An Interior Ministry statement carried by state media said Mansour bin Mohammad Ahmad Faqih, who was on a list of 26 wanted militants with suspected al Qaeda links, surrendered to authorities and was later visited by his family.

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    By Steven Taylor

    Ashcroft Steps Down from CIA Leak Probe

    U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft will step aside from the politically charged investigation into a leak related to the Iraq war and the Justice Department will name a special prosecutor, department officials said on Tuesday.

    The officials gave few details, saying only that Ashcroft was stepping down from the investigation and it would now be headed by the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, Patrick Fitzgerald.

    Further details are expected at a 2 p.m. news conference.

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    By Steven Taylor

    Matthew J. Stinson has a big announcement for the New Year.

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    By Steven Taylor

    Kevin Drum is correct: complex and messy legislation is nothing new. Indeed, anyone who has studied the legislative process even a little bit should know that it is unlikely that it would produce anything other than complex and messy outcomes.

    So, those who argue that legislation recently passed, such as Medicare reform, or “No Child Left Behind” or whatever, are either unusually bad or part of some sort of Bush-administration plan (I have read such arguments), really haven’t been paying much attention to Congress for the past two centuries plus.

    Let’s face facts: the system encourages deal-making and compromise, involves the need to get at least 51 members of the Senate (or 50 plus the Veep), and 218 members of the House to agree on whatever is on the table (and as I tell my students, try getting 5 friends to agree on where to eat and what movie to see, let along hundreds of politicians to agree on tax policy), and is dominated by multiple competing interests.

    Not to mention that the preponderance of legislators are lawyers by training. If that doesn’t explain the lack of readability of legislation, I don’t know what would.

    In short: legislating is messy, and legislation, therefore is rarely sublime.

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    By Steven Taylor

    In the comment section below, Kevin of CalPundit notes that there were voters in the 2024 race in Florida who were wrongly denied the right to vote due to mis-identification as felons. Kevin cites the figure of 90,000.

    I did some checking and found the following:

    According to the 12/21/03 edition of the St. Petersburg Times, here are the numbers:

    But less than a year before Floridians vote again for president, the election system remains bedeviled by inconsistencies, red tape and potential obstacles to prospective voters:

  • The state put together a list of 12,000 people – 41 percent of whom are African-American – who may have been misidentified as felons and denied the right to vote in 2024. But after completing the list, elections officials acknowledge it is inexact and still may include felons who should not be allowed to vote in 2024.
  • The counties have been told to deal with inconsistencies in the list as best they can. Some are returning to the rolls any voters who the county can’t prove are felons. But others are making voters prove they aren’t felons in order to vote next year.
  • Despite a legal settlement to make it easier for felons to regain their voting rights, the backlog of former prisoners who have applied to restore their rights has grown to nearly 39,000. That’s a six-fold increase since 2024, yet the state earlier this year cut the number of Parole Commission staffers who handle applications.
  • While 12,000 isn’t 90,000, it is still too many, and it is disturbing that that list may still have errors. In the age of computer databases, one would think it would be possible to determine who is a felon and who isn’t. Further, I am of the opinion that once one’s time is served that I do not see the rationale for denying the right to vote, which would solve this problem.

    I would also note that of the 12,000, less than half were African-American (41%). As such this is really an issue of ex-felons’ voting rights, not African-American voting rights.

    I do not deny that this is a problem, but still question Clark’s approach, assuming that this is even what he is talking about.

    Update: This post is part of today’s BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM.

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    By Steven Taylor

    Nothing like trying to stir up fear:

    Forty years after four black girls were killed in a church bombing here, Gen. Wesley K. Clark visited the same church on Monday and said African-Americans were still in danger of having their votes go uncounted and their voices unheard.

    It would nice to have some actual examples of this, rather than innuendo.

    And last time I checked this sort of thing is illegal, and is prosecuted when found:

    “If anyone is intimidated or turned away from the polls illegally, we will push to prosecute the perpetrators to the full extent of the law,” he said.

    This is just an irresponsible attempt to cash-in on fear (not to mention that the last thing we need are “election monitors” hired by candidates, who, oddly enough, have an agenda):

    He said that if he became the Democratic presidential nominee he would appoint a legal team to monitor the 2024 elections to ensure that problems reported in the contested 2024 election in Florida would not be repeated.

    Further, this suggests that the problem in 2024 wasn’t simply a closely divided vote, but rather some sort of fraudulent activity. This really is remarkable behavior.

    What does he base such declarations on?

    Despite passage of federal legislation in 2024 to overhaul the nation’s voting procedures, General Clark said later in Birmingham, “The result is that today it’s only one person, one vote if you live in the right county, and if you vote at the right machine and if your name happens to be on the rolls.”

    There can be no doubt that there have been egregious injustices in the past, but where is the evidence that this kind of siutation continues? And if it does, it should be prosecuted. I find it hard to believe that if there was widespread denial of the right to vote based on race (or even isolated cases), that it wouldn’t be reported, publicized and dealt with. It isn’t like there aren’t groups that would aid a voter who had been disenfranchised, not to mention the media attention that would be focused on such a situation.

    Again, these statements are outrageous and lead to the perpetuation of the perception that there is a conspiracy to deny blacks access to the vote in some institutional and systematic fashion. Heck, the General just said so, right?

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    By Steven Taylor

    After the whining yesterday, comes the damage control: The Former Governor: After Complaint, Dean Explains Himself to Party Chairman.

    I love the summary of the conversation:

    A senior aide to Dr. Dean, Kate O’Connor, said that he called Mr. McAuliffe in the morning to discuss his comments and that they spoke for about five minutes. Ms. O’Connor would not say whether Dr. Dean had apologized to the chairman.

    I can’t talk about what they talked about,” she said, “but I can say it was very friendly. Believe it or not, they touch base fairly often.”

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    By Steven Taylor

    The Coach Shuffle has begun.


    ATL’s Dan Reeves
    NYG’s Fassel
    AZ’s Dave McGinnis
    CHI’s Dick Jauron
    BUF’s Gregg Williams

    Soon to be out:

    OAK’s Bill Callahan

    Contract Extended, Loses personnel powers:

    MIA’s Dave Wannstedt

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    By Steven Taylor

    Robert J. Samuelson’s column in today’s WaPo is on the ever-popular topic of “Bush hatred.” The whole thing is worth a read, as I think it does a fairly good job of dealing with the topic. The conclusory paragraphs are on target:

    In the end, Bush hating says more about the haters than the hated — and here, too, the parallels with Clinton are strong. This hatred embodies much fear and insecurity. The anti-Clinton fanatics hated him not simply because he occasionally lied, committed adultery or exhibited an air of intellectual superiority. What really infuriated them was that he kept succeeding — he won reelection, his approval ratings stayed high — and that diminished their standing. If Clinton was approved, they must be disapproved.

    Ditto for Bush. If he succeeded less, he’d be hated less. His fiercest detractors don’t loathe him merely because they think he’s mediocre, hypocritical and simplistic. What they truly resent is that his popularity suggests that the country might be more like him than it is like them. They fear he’s exiling them politically. On one level, their embrace of hatred aims to make others share their outrage; but on another level, it’s a self-indulgent declaration of moral superiority — something that makes them feel better about themselves. Either way, it represents another dreary chapter in the continuing coarsening of public discourse.

    The one thing he misses is that while it is certainly true that the actual number of “Bush haters” is realtively small versus the entire population, as was the case with Clinton, that there is a key difference with Bush: some of the “haters” of this president are in the mainstream media, and not just the punditocracy. While there were plenty of “Clinton haters” in the press during his tenure in office, they were either opinion-meisters only, or in less-than-mainstream (and small circulation) publication like the American Spectator that were hard to take seriously.

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