687 Days until Election Day
December 16, 2008
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"When people like Blagojevich win, we all lose."
- Saul Anuzis, on the governor's refusal to resign
BLAGOJEVICH SHOULD RESIGN... Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's refusal to resign in the face of mounting evidence he sought to sell to the highest bidder appointment to President-Elect Barack Obama's open U.S. Senate seat further taints people's perception of politics and elected officeholders, and he said it is time that politicians -- both Democrats and Republicans -- held themselves to higher ethical standards and personal codes of conduct that were once the hallmark of public service.
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION...the Illinois scandal may or may not touch anyone in the Obama Administration, but I'm not willing to play "connect the dots" or pronounce "guilt by association". In this time of crisis, America demands real solutions to real problems facing our country. Where possible, Republicans should find ways to work with the President-elect. Where we disagree, we should work towards compromise and solutions to the many challenges we face. And where necessary, we should stand for what is right and forcefully be the loyal opposition. But partisan politics in times like these for the sake of politics is not healthy.
HOEKSTRA NOT TO RUN FOR RE-ELECTION...Congressman Pete Hoekstra announced Monday morning that he will not seek a 10th term in the United States Congress and will retire in 2010. Congressman Hoekstra is one of Michigan's shinning stars in Congress and has been a tireless representative for the entire state. As the ranking Republican and one-time chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Congressman Hoekstra has been at the forefront of keeping America safe and bringing common sense to the War On Terror. Congressman Hoekstra is often mentioned as a future gubernatorial candidate and with good reason. He's smart, capable, and has a keen understanding of the problems Michigan working families face.
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTES...yesterday, the electoral college voted in each of the 50 state capitals and the District of Columbia, which begins the two-step process to certify the former Illinois senator's election as the 44th president of the United States. These electoral votes will then be counted in a joint session of Congress on Jan. 8, two days after the 111th Congress convenes and 12 days before Obama will take the oath of office.
2008 VOTER TURNOUT INFO...Final figures from nearly every state and the District of Columbia showed that more than 131 million people voted. A little more than 122 million voted in the 2004 presidential election. This year's total amounts to 61.6 percent of eligible voters, the highest turnout rate since 1968, In all, the turnout rate increased in 33 states and the District of Columbia. Turnout dropped in some states that did not have competitive presidential contests, such as Utah and Oregon.
Many of my fellow RNC members offered me their wisdom, suggestions and comments on how to bring our party back. I have incorporated many of those thoughts into this plan and I welcome theirs and your further input. I am calling this a "Blueprint" as I believe it to be a work in progress. This is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Our efforts will be customized and adjusted to each state's needs, goals and objectives. Join me as we build something great: a Republican Comeback.
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MY COMMENTS ON GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH...I have watched in disbelief at the arrogance of power demonstrated by Governor Rod Blagojevich in recent days. He has been under an ethical cloud for many months now and continues to behave like a kid in a candy store when it comes to seeking personal gain in his government position.
Republicans and Democrats must together say ‘enough is enough.' Politicians who abuse their position, like Blagojevich, have slowly eroded the American people's faith in their democracy. And the Service Employees International Union, which has been a party to the Chicago ‘Pay to Play' game, should conduct a thorough investigation as well. The actions of these corrupt individuals bring shame, not only on their party and their union, but on their country.
I hope that all those involved, from Blagojevich, to the "pay-to-play" Union bosses, to the potential Senate candidates that participated, and even those connected to the Obama administration, will be fully investigated and their role in this corruption determined. It is not enough to say ‘we told him no.' Selling an appointment to the U.S. Senate is a criminal act and his actions should have been reported to law enforcement by SEIU officials.
"When people like Blagojevich win, we all lose."
TODAY'S TOP STORIES
The following stories and more are available at my Articles of Interest online.
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Treasury Department said Monday it has made no decisions on how to engineer a rescue effort for U.S. auto makers, while President Bush gave assurances that help is on the way.
"An abrupt bankruptcy for autos could be devastating for the economy," Mr. Bush told reporters aboard Air Force One during his trip to Iraq and Afghanistan. "We're now in the process of working with the stakeholders on a way forward. We're not quite ready to announce that yet."
Meanwhile, Treasury spokesman Brookly McLaughlin told reporters that department officials, who are working closely with the White House on the issue, are still studying pertinent data.
'Minifarm' crops grow amid decay as Detroit' tries to remake itself
Michael McKee and Alex Ortolani BLOOMBERG NEWS
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC are fighting for their lives. Large stretches of Detroit already are dead.
With enough abandoned lots to fill the city of San Francisco, Motown is 138 square miles divided between expanses of decay and emptiness and tracts of still-functioning communities and commercial areas. Close to six barren acres of an estimated 17,000 already have turned into 500 "minifarms," demonstrating the lengths to which planners will go to make land productive.
The 11th-largest U.S. city is running out of options and money as its three biggest corporate citizens seek a federal bailout and the economy contracts. Like the automakers, the infrastructure of Detroit has to shrink to match a new reality, said June Thomas, a professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Monday, December 15, 2008
By Josiah Ryan
The United Auto Workers (UAW) union is "solely" to blame for the collapse of negotiations on a $14-billion auto bailout deal that stalled in the Senate Thursday, Sen. Tom Colburn (R-Okla.) told CNSNews.com on Friday.
But UAW President Ron Gettelfinger in a press conference Friday morning blamed Republican senators, who he said resented his organization.
The auto bailout bill, which passed the House in a 237-170 vote on Wednesday, was defeated in a 52-35 procedural vote in the Senate late Thursday night after negotiations between automakers, the UAW, and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) fell apart.
Holland Republican says he will decide in early 2009 whether to run for governor.
Gordon Trowbridge / Detroit News Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON -- Rep. Pete Hoekstra will not run for re-election in 2010, clearing the way for a possible gubernatorial bid, the Holland Republican will announce today.
Hoekstra will decide sometime in the first quarter of 2009 whether to run for governor, he told The Detroit News. His decision will likely set off a scramble, especially among Republicans, for a seat that has been one of the nation's safest for the GOP.
Hoekstra has for months been seen as a potential candidate for governor. Other Republicans who may run include Attorney General Mike Cox and Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land.
Compromise would help casinos
BY CHRIS CHRISTOFF
LANSING -- A decade-long campaign to ban smoking in restaurants, bars and other public places could come to a head this week if six lawmakers can fashion a compromise that might allow smoking in Detroit's casinos.
Another plan would let bars and restaurants allow smoking if they pay an annual fee to the state.
Still, the smoke-free effort could explode like a trick cigar in the lame-duck Legislature, leaving antismoking advocates to regroup and try again next year.
by David Schaper
The Illinois House has voted to create a bipartisan committee to study the allegations against Gov. Rod Blagojevich and recommend whether he should be impeached. Blagojevich is accused of attempting to sell an appointment to the Senate seat formerly held by Barack Obama.
The Illinois Legislature began preparations for impeaching Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Monday, nearly a week after the state's chief executive was arrested on federal public corruption charges.
December 16, 2008
BY STEVE HUNTLEY
No wrongdoing can be laid at the feet of President-elect Barack Obama in what the New York media call Blagogate and Blagobroglio. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald made clear that Gov. Blagojevich found no bidder in Obama for Illinois' open U.S. Senate seat. Still, it will be interesting, to say the least, to learn the details of the communications between Obama's staff and Blagojevich.
A statement released Monday by Obama's transition office fell far short of providing those details. It said a review of contacts with Blagojevich had "affirmed" that Obama's staff "was not involved in inappropriate discussions" about the Senate vacancy. But the transition office is withholding the details until Dec. 22 at the request of Fitzgerald's office "in order not to impede their investigation."
By E. J. Dionne
WASHINGTON -- Normally, we might be talking about President-elect Barack Obama's Monday news conference on energy and the environment.
But, no. Thanks to the Democratic governor with a wire-brush mop of hair, a crude mouth and what's alleged to be an inclination to put his state government up for sale, the political world's interest has drifted elsewhere.
Rod Blagojevich has been a godsend for Republicans who have been looking on helplessly as Obama's approval ratings climb into the stratosphere. Then came Blago's lively and profane performances, made public by Patrick Fitzgerald, the star federal prosecutor.
An epidemic of kidnapping adds to the downward spiral of violence the president-elect's team will soon confront in Afghanistan.
By Masha Hamilton
Dec. 16, 2008 | KABUL, Afghanistan -- Businessman Farzad Kadri holds his body tight like a wrestler, and his suspicious squint makes him seem older than his 28 years. Ever since his brother was kidnapped, shot in both legs and then released after the family paid a hefty ransom, Kadri is on edge, constantly varying his schedule, curtailing his nightlife. "These days, people are being grabbed left and right in Kabul," he said. "I have to watch out."
Abtullah Danishwar, raised in Los Angeles, returned this summer to the city where he was born 29 years ago. Full of dreams and idealism, he intended to stay a couple of years, find a wife, and help in Kabul's reconstruction efforts. But he's already escaped one kidnapping attempt and is unconvinced his luck will hold. "I'm so scared," he said. "I don't think I can stay."
Welcome to the new Afghanistan. Seven years into the American-led war against the Taliban, security in the country is at an all-time low, with violence and kidnappings by fundamentalist fighters and criminals moving into the streets of the once relatively safe capital city. President Hamid Karzai, who has been called "the Mayor of Kabul," in reference to the ungovernable nature of this sprawling, tribal country, is now hardly even that.
Janna Anderson Lee Rainie
A survey of internet leaders, activists and analysts shows they expect major tech advances as the phone becomes a primary device for online access, voice-recognition improves, artificial and virtual reality become more embedded in everyday life, and the architecture of the internet itself improves.
They disagree about whether this will lead to more social tolerance, more forgiving human relations, or better home lives.
Here are the key findings on the survey of experts by the Pew Internet & American Life Project that asked respondents to assess predictions about technology and its roles in the year 2020: