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Here’s a quick update that I felt was simply too interesting (it would be funny if so many lives weren’t at stake) to pass up.

Coming in after the debacle that was yesterday’s AP-Ipsos poll demonstrating America’s disapproval of President Bush is only exceeded by their displeasure in the obviously impotent job performance of the newly elected Democratic congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, frustrated with the Republican minority, is now going back to the drawing board. Way back in fact–all the way back to 1822.

Is this the progress Democrats and liberals have been promising? Do you think? Progress? Ahem.


PELOSI LOWERS THE BOOM
Wed May 16 2007 14:43:59 ET

After losing a string of embarrassing votes on the House floor because of procedural maneuvering, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has decided to change the current House Rules to completely shut down the floor to the minority.

The Democratic Leadership is threatening to change the current House Rules regarding the Republican right to the Motion to Recommit or the test of germaneness on the motion to recommit. This would be the first change to the germaneness rule since 1822.

In protest, the House Republicans are going to call procedural motions every half hour.

Developing...

Iraq Withdrawal Move Thwarted in Senate

 

May 16, 11:34 AM (ET)

By ANNE FLAHERTY

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate on Wednesday rejected legislation that would cut off money for combat operations in Iraq after March 31, 2008.

The vote was a loss for Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., and other Democrats who want to end the war. But the effort picked up support from members, including presidential hopefuls previously reluctant to limit war funding – an indication of the conflict’s unpopularity among voters.

The proposal lost 29-67 on a procedural vote, falling 31 votes short of the necessary votes to advance. Of the 67 senators who opposed Feingold’s proposal, there were 19 Democrats, 47 Republicans and Connecticut Independent Joseph Lieberman. Of the 29 supporting, 28 were Democrats and Vermont Independent Bernard Sanders.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a Democratic presidential front-runner, previously opposed setting a deadline on the war. But she said she agreed to back the measure “because we, as a united party, must work together with clarity of purpose and mission to begin bringing our troops home and end this war.”

Sen. Barack Obama, another leading 2008 prospect, said he would prefer a plan that offers more flexibility but wanted “to send a strong statement to the Iraqi government, the president and my Republican colleagues that it’s long past time to change course.”

The proposal had been expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed to advance under Senate rules, but was intended to gauge the tolerance of members on anti-war legislation. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid staged a series of war votes Wednesday to inform negotiations with the House on a war spending bill.

“We stand united…. in our belief that troops are enmeshed in an intractable civil war,” said Reid, D-Nev.

Feingold’s measure, co-sponsored by Reid and Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., proved divisive for Democrats.

Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said he opposes any measure that cuts off money for the war.

“We don’t want to send the message to the troops” that Congress does not support them, said Levin, D-Mich. “We’re going to support those troops.”

But other Democrats said the move was necessary.

“I’m not crazy about the language in the Feingold amendment, but I am crazy about the idea that we have to keep the pressure on,” said Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., who also wants the Democratic presidential nomination.

The Senate vote on Feingold’s legislation was one of several expected Wednesday, as the Democratic-controlled Congress struggles to clear legislation for Bush’s signature by the end of next week to continue U.S. military operations through Sept. 30.

The House last week passed legislation funding the war on two separate, 60-day installments.

The Senate must take the next step by passing its own measure. Given the political forces at work, that legislation will be a placeholder, its only purpose to trigger three-way negotiations involving the House, Senate and Bush administration on a final compromise.

As a result, officials said Tuesday that Reid and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell had discussed jointly advancing a bill so barebones that it would contain no funds and do little more than express congressional support for the troops.

Negotiations on the final compromise are expected to take days.

Wednesday’s votes on Feingold and other proposals “will provide strong guidance to our conferees and help shape the conference negotiations we have ahead of us,” said Reid.

In addition to Feingold’s measure, members were expected to vote on legislation by Sen. John Warner, R-Va., that would threaten billions of dollars in U.S. aid for Iraq if Baghdad does not make progress on certain military and political reforms.

Reid said he would oppose Warner’s measure because it doesn’t go far enough; the proposal would allow the president to waive the restriction on foreign aid.

“It is nothing,” said Reid.

Levin pulled from the floor his proposal to set an Oct. 1 date to begin troop withdrawals, but allow the president to waive that requirement. He had pitched the idea with the expectation that the president would accept it because of the waiver; but, Levin said Wednesday he had been advised by the White House that the president would veto the measure regardless.

Poll: Congress, Bush share low approval

By ALAN FRAM, Associated Press Writer Fri May 11, 3:49 PM ET

WASHINGTON – People think the Democratic-led Congress is doing just as dreary a job as

President Bush

, following four months of bitter political standoffs and little progress on

Iraq

and a host of domestic issues.

An AP-Ipsos poll also found that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) is a more popular figure than the president and her colleagues on Capitol Hill, though she faces a gender gap in which significantly more women than men support her.

The survey found only 35 percent approve of how Congress is handling its job, down 5 percentage points in a month. That gives lawmakers the same bleak approval rating as Bush, who has been mired at about that level since last fall, including his dip to a record low for the AP-Ipsos poll of 32 percent last January.

“It’s mostly Iraq” plus a lack of progress in other areas, said Rep. Tom Cole (news, bio, voting record), R-Okla., who heads the House GOP’s campaign committee. “These are not good numbers for an incumbent, and it doesn’t matter if you have an ‘R’ or a ‘D’ next to your name.”

Democrats agree that the problem is largely Iraq, which has dominated this year’s session of Congress while producing little more than this month’s Bush veto of a bill requiring the withdrawal of U.S. troops. It has also overshadowed House-passed bills on stem cell research, student loans and other subjects that the White House opposes, they say.

“People are unhappy, there hasn’t been a lot of change in direction, for example in Iraq,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (news, bio, voting record), D-Md., chairman of House Democrats’ campaign effort.

Rising gasoline prices could also be a factor, lawmakers said.

In another measure of popular discontent, the survey found that 71 percent say the country is on the wrong track — about even with the 73 percent who said so last May, the worst level since the AP-Ipsos poll began in December 2003.

The survey was taken Monday through Wednesday, before Bush offered to seek compromise with congressional Democrats over a war spending bill setting benchmarks for progress in Iraq.

Bush told reporters Thursday that if pollsters had asked his opinion about Iraq last fall, “I’d have said I disapprove of what was going on in Iraq. They could have put me down as part of the disapproval process.”

That was before his decision to send nearly 30,000 additional troops to Iraq, which “would more likely cause me to approve of what’s going on in Iraq,” he added.

Overall approval of Bush was steady from last month, but fell to 69 percent among Republicans, about 7 percentage points below where it had been in April. Earlier this week, a group of GOP moderate House members warned Bush that the status quo in Iraq could mean Republican election losses next year.

“If the war doesn’t begin to turn around, Republicans will have problems,” said Rep. Peter King (news, bio, voting record), R-N.Y., who said he supports Bush’s Iraq policy.

White House spokesman Tony Snow declined to comment on the poll.

Congress’ approval rating this week was 10 points higher than a year ago, when Republicans were in control.

But after bumping up in April, this month’s drop left lawmakers’ job approval where it was when the year began. April saw Congress defy Bush and send him a bill financing the war and requiring a troop withdrawal, which he vetoed May 1.

“People wanted change in Washington” on many issues, not just Iraq, said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (news, bio, voting record), D-Ill., a member of the House Democratic leadership. “I’m not surprised about where people are. They’re hearing only about Iraq.”

Congress’ reduced appeal was evident in several categories of people. Only 48 percent of Democrats said they approved of Congress, down from 55 percent last month. That included a 12 percentage point drop among Democratic women, though support from Democratic men remained steady.

Approval by minorities also fell a dozen points to 39 percent, with a similar reduction among people whose family incomes exceed $75,000.

By region, the steepest drop was in the Midwest, where approval fell by 10 percentage points to 28 percent. Congress’ highest approval was in the Northeast, where four in ten gave it a positive rating.

As for Pelosi, D-Calif., her overall approval of 45 percent stood 10 points higher than Bush’s and Congress’.

She was seen favorably by 52 percent of women, but only 39 percent of men. While whites are closely split about her, minorities approve of her job by a 15-point margin.

Pelosi’s numbers are about where she was last month but slightly lower than in January. In the last month, she has lost significant support from younger voters, college-educated women and Westerners.

“Voters are frustrated by the fact that the president refuses to change direction on Iraq,” said Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly.

Bush’s approval ratings are lowest for his handling of Iraq and domestic issues including health care, with about one-third seeing him favorably. About four in 10 like the job he is doing on the economy and foreign policy.

Men give the president higher grades than women do, whites higher than minorities, and married people higher than singles.

The AP-Ipsos survey involved telephone interviews with 1,000 adults. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying we are all hypocrites in our own special ways. He’s a hypocrite. She’s a hypocrite. You’re a hypocrite, and I’m a hypocrite. We’re all grand dissemblers to one degree or another, and it becomes a constant struggle not just to simply abstain from hypocrisy altogether, but rather to conceive new machinations that we might better obfuscate and conceal our various hypocrisies from all the other hypocrites out there in order to dodge the inevitable cries of “hypocrite” directed against our persons.

For someone like me, the process of avoiding the aforementioned stigma of “hypocrite” is relatively simple, and for good reason–no one knows or cares about me or what I think, nor should they. I’m just a blogger marooned out here in the desolate wasteland of politically centered blogs of which there are legion covering the same subjects I discuss here and with greater reasoning ability, writing skills, and all around knowledge of whatever subject I happen to be raising my ire against on any particular day.

If you’re in the public eye however, religious figures (Ted Haggard, you naughty, naughty boy) and politicians (Mark Foley, you naughty, naughty boy) in particular, it is incumbent upon you to remain as hypocritically free as possible, particularly if you’re proselytizing on a particular hot-button topic such as affirmative action, gay marriage, defense contracting, or global warming for example. While there exists an inordinate amount of hypocrisy on both sides of the political aisle in Washington, exactly the place that should be bereft of any form of dissimulation particularly when it comes to serving political constituents, I am continually amazed at the magnitude of certain hypocrisies and those who flaunt them.

Nancy Pelosi, Al Franken, Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore–these are only a few of the major self-aggrandizing, modern evangelists who do nothing but shout at the general populace, “live your lives the way we tell you” which would be all fine and good if they would at least practice what they preached (and if I agreed with their sermon.) Unfortunately, many of the concepts these ideologues are attempting to push off on the public are not practiced by those who exhort them most strongly–Pelosi has forsaken environmental regulations in favor of an elitist golf course; Franken champions affirmative action but fails to hire any significant amount of minorities on his staff; Chomsky demonizes the American military yet makes large amounts of cash from Pentagon defense contracts; Michael Moore says he’s never once played the stock market, despite the fact he owned stock in Halliburton. And of course we all know about the aforementioned hypocritical blunders of Foley and Haggard.

Now I’ve always liked Al Gore, and his people have attempted to explain away this latest debacle in his own personal hypocrisy, but the fact the ex-Vice President (and the should-have-been President) just won an Academy Award for the runaway success that is his documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth, makes this particular hypocrisy that much more entertaining.

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Gore home’s energy use: 20 times average
Tennessee think tank presents former veep’s own ‘inconvenient truth’

Al Gore deserves an Oscar for hypocrisy to go along with the two Academy Awards his movie won last night, contends a think tank from his home state Tennessee. The former vice president’s mansion in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, says the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, citing data from the Nashville Electric Service.

Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth, a 95-minute film warning of a coming cataclysm due to man-made “global warming,” won the award for best documentary feature and best song.

“My fellow Americans, people all over the world, we need to solve the climate crisis,” Gore said after taking the stage. “It’s not a political issue, it’s a moral issue. We have everything we need to get started, with the possible exception of the will to act. That’s a renewable resource. Let’s renew it.”

Standing with Gore on the stage last night, actor Leonardo DiCaprio said, to applause, “The American film industry has always taken its obligations to society very seriously and it’s now stepping up once again. Tonight, we’re proud to announce that for the first time in the history of the Oscars, this show has officially gone green.

Gore then followed with, “Which means that environmentally intelligent practices have been integrated fully into every aspect of the planning and production of these Academy Awards. And you know what: It is not as hard as you might think. We have a long way to go. But all of us can do something in our own lives to make a difference.”

But according to the Tennessee think tank, while the average American household consumed 10,656 kilowatt-hours last year, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 – more than 20 times the national average.

Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson said that “as the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk to walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use.”

Last August alone, according to Johnson’ group, Gore burned through 22,619 kilowatt-hours of electricity, more than twice the amount in one month that an average American family uses in an entire year.

Gore’s average monthly electric bill, the think tank says, is $1,359.

Since the release of Gore’s film, the former vice president and presidential candidate’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kilowatt-hours per month in 2005, to 18,400 per month in 2006.

The Tennessee group also points out natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.

Gore paid a total of nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006.

Responding to critics, Gore has described the lifestyle he and his wife Tipper live as “carbon neutral,” meaning he tries to offset any energy usage, including plane flights and car trips, by “purchasing verifiable reductions in CO2 elsewhere.”

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POWER: GORE MANSION USES 20X AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD; CONSUMPTION INCREASE AFTER 'TRUTH'
Mon Feb 26 2007 17:16:14 ET

Nashville Electric Service/Gore House

2006

High 22619 kWh Aug – Sept
Low 12541 kWh Jan - Feb
Average: 18,414 kWh per month

2005

High 20532 Sept - October
Low 12955 Feb - March
Average: 16,200 kWh per month

Bill amounts

2006 – $895.60 (low) $1738.52 (high) $1359 (average)
2005 – $853.91 (low) $1461 (high)

Nashville Gas Company

Main House
2006 – $990(high) $170 (low) $536 (average)
2005 – $1080 (high) $200 (low) $640 (average)

Guest House/Pool House

2006 – $820 (high) $70 (low) $544 (average)
2005 – $1025 (high) $25 (low) $525 (average)

The Tennessee Center for Policy Research, an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan research organization, issued a press release late Monday:

Last night, Al Gore’s global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, collected an Oscar for best documentary feature, but the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has found that Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy.

Gore’s mansion, [20-room, eight-bathroom] located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home.

The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.

Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006.

Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.

“As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk to walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use,” said Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson.

In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006.

For Further Information, Contact:
Nicole Williams, (615) 383-6431
editor@tennesseepolicy.org

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Gore Responds To Drudge’s Latest Hysterics

The right-wing is angry that Al Gore has won so much public attention and goodwill for his work on global warming. Determined to smear his efforts, Drudge writes in a screaming headline:

headline

Responding to Drudge’s attack, Vice President Gore’s office told ThinkProgress:

1) Gore’s family has taken numerous steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their private residence, including signing up for 100 percent green power through Green Power Switch, installing solar panels, and using compact fluorescent bulbs and other energy saving technology.

2) Gore has had a consistent position of purchasing carbon offsets to offset the family’s carbon footprint — a concept the right-wing fails to understand. Gore’s office explains:

What Mr. Gore has asked is that every family calculate their carbon footprint and try to reduce it as much as possible. Once they have done so, he then advocates that they purchase offsets, as the Gore’s do, to bring their footprint down to zero.

It’s the latest in a series of desperate attacks by Drudge to paint Gore as a hypocrite. Some other examples:

gore4.JPG

headline

These are the lengths that climate skeptics must go to suppress action on global warming. There is no meaningful debate within the scientific community, so the right-wing busies itself with talk about how much electricity Al Gore’s house uses — and even then they distort the truth.

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