A Treasure Trove for Political Junkies

SurveyUSA has approoval ratings for all 100 US Senators. It is useful for checking the 2008 presidential prospects as well as 2006 trends. I know I put too much faith into polls and that I'm addicted to them, but this is awesome stuff. I'll try to post on some of the unusual or interesting numbers later.

EDIT: You can also find all the governor's approval ratings by following a link at the bottom of the original link.


Of the Tom DeLay "scandal" and Hypocrisy

The great website Political Money line has published the data from financial reports of the members of Congress. Congressional Democrats and purportedly some Republicans have been pressuring Tom DeLay to step down as Majority Leader of the House of Representatives due to ethics "scandals" that center around him having taken numerous trips paid for by lobbists and interest groups. All of this would be well and fine, except for the fact that EVERY member of Congress does the exact same thing. In fact, some of the Democrats accusing DeLay of ethics violations also had trips paid for by the same lobbyist as DeLay. This section on the site chronicles the free trips taken by various members of the Senate. These were not required to be reported, so it is safe to assume that many more took place.
Senators Report More Free Trips

U.S. Senators today disclosed 41 more free trips they received in 2004. Senators did not previously disclose these trips in reimbursed travel reports under Rule 35. Some of these trips may not have been required to be reported on those forms. Although the cost of a trip is required to be shown on the reimbursed travel reports, these Senators have reported the trips only on their personal financial disclosure reports that do not require the cost to be listed.

Sen. Paul Sarbanes (7 trips); Sen. Joseph Biden (5 trips); Sen. James Durbin (4 trips, including one to Hawaii and another to South Africa); Sen. Robert Byrd (3 trips); Sen. Samuel Brownback (3 trips); Sen. Thomas Carper (3 trips); Sen. James Bunning (2 trips, cost listed); Sen. Judd Gregg (2 trips, including one to the Bahamas); Sen. Mary Landrieu (2 trips, including one to Uganda, and another to Honduras/El Salvador); Sen. Joseph Lieberman (2 trips); Sen. Larry Craig (1 trip); Sen. Michael Crapo (1 trip); Sen. Norman Coleman (1 trip on private jet of Nassar Kazeminy, cost listed); Sen. Saxby Chambliss (1 trip, cost listed); Sen. Pete Domenici (1 trip but three sponsors); Sen. Orrin Hatch (1 trip) Sen. E. Benjamin Nelson (1 trip); and Sen. George Voinovich (1 trip).

Some of the organizations paying for these trips include: Exelon Corp, Edison Electric Institute, American Bankers Assn, National Rifle Assn, Aspen Institute, Behlen Manufacturing, Princeton University, Commonwealth Fund (NY), Congressional Coalition for Adoption, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Dick Durbin: Not my Senator.

This is the type of thing that makes me embarassed to be a citizen of Illinios. No self-respecting bloc of voters should continue electing this guy. It is not just Dean causing the Democrats problems, leading Senators like Dick Durbin here and the inncident where Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called President Bush a loser continue to shift the country, if not towards the right, at least away from the left.
As you will see in the article, Senator Durbin (D-IL)took the floor of the senate to read an e-mail from an FBI agent pertaining to Guantanamo Bay. After the reading, he uttered these words:

"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners."

So what terrible, heinous crimes of war did the agent claim took place? Being chained to the floor, in very cold temperatures, being forced to listen to loud rap music. Now no one wants to be in that situation, but I think most reasonable people realize that this is NOTHING compared to the regimes mentioned. Is America killing Muslims en mass? No. Is America piling the skulls of innocents? No. Do we make furniture out of anyone's body parts, gas people, or use them for gross medical experiments. No, no, and no.
A lot of people would not agree with Durbin that the treatment at Gitmo even qualifies as torture. Among them would be many Holocaust survivors, gulag survivors, Cambodians, Iraqis, and Afghans. All have seen real torture all to often, and don't appreciate the belittling of their experience by comparing some uncomfortable terrorists to genocide. And I also suspect the Iraqis and Afghans in particular would like Mr. Durbin to answer a question: In your long speech that includes not only these accusations but references to Abu Ghraib and the WWII Japanese internment, why didn't you bother to mention the torture that took place under Saddam Hussein? Certainly you could accuse Americans of being like him, too. But Durbin doesn't, because if it were up to him, Saddam Hussein would still be in power.
Also in part of his flawed tyrade, he accuses the United States of breaking the codes of the Geneva convention. Now one could argue whether or not a lot of the statutes in it are still relevant or practical today, but that is not the point. The point is that the Geneva convention does not apply to the detainees, as none were wearing the uniform of a country when captured. They are terrorists; they do not follow the rules of the convention, so we are not obliged too in dealing with them.


Michael Jackson ruling: Not Guilty

No words can describe such an injustice to mankind
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Umm... no comment

Well forgive me, MoveOn, you were right all along. Now the truth comes out. I expect impeachment proceedings to begin tomorrow.


The Howard Dean Quote-a-thon!

Well after the last couple of weeks' outrageous rants, I believe Howard Dean has finally been shut up by his own party. I caught a couple minutes of the meeting with the DNC executive committee linked above, and he seemed much more reserved and quiet than he has been in a while. However, that doesn't mean he has stopped lending new ammo to us Republicans. At the meeting Dean still had some interesting lines:

“We’re going to make it easier for parents to teach their kids right from wrong”
Sounds good. Now the only question is how he will accomplish this. Does he believe our kids are going to learn moral values from parents who support partial birth abortion and the radical gay agenda?

(Democrats will appeal to voters as the party that)“will build national defense based on international cooperation”. Isn't that an oxymoron? National defense based on International cooperation. Isn't national defense about those times when the other countries refuse to cooperate? I guess it's just the imperialist, unilateralist pig in me, but you know what? I don't think anyone wants to base our defense decisions on whether or not other countries agree with us. Remember, Mr. Dean, your party tried that approach in 2004, and it absolutely flopped.


Gov. Rod's Fee Increases

This gets little play in the media, but as I have mentioned before, the governor's fee increases are killing the IL economy. The title links to a PDF file showing the fee increase last year alsone. As one can see, most of the fees are doubled or worse, and several are increased by 900% or over. While I realize that the IL government needs the money, shooting your businesses in the foot and forcing them to leave the state will only hurt in the long run. IL is running behind every state adjacent to it in economic growth, and it's easy to see why.