Friday, March 17, 2006

John Ashcroft: DC's Newest Lobbyist!

That's right, old John decided to forgo his singing career for the much more lucrative one of lobbying. The most distressing point?
After three decades in public office in Missouri and Washington, Mr. Ashcroft, 63, says he has decided to make up for lost time financially. Before joining the Bush administration, Mr. Ashcroft was a United States senator, and the governor and attorney general in Missouri.

His most recent federal financial disclosure statement showed Mr. Ashcroft to be comfortable but not particularly wealthy, with a portfolio valued at $500,000 to $1.5 million and a state of Missouri pension. He is also eligible for a federal pension.

So after having a salary that topped out at $175,700 as attorney general, Mr. Ashcroft is running his firm and hitting the speakers' circuit, speaking nearly once a week for a $75,000 fee. In addition, Mr. Ashcroft has been given equity stakes in private companies that have hired him, betting on a future gain should they go public. The firm did not disclose the companies.
... sorta speechless, especially considering that the article notes Ashcroft used the word 'integrity' "scores of times" during the 1 hour interview. What a wanker.

Death & Taxes: A Visual Guide

Wonder where your taxes go? Well this handy Visual Guide lays it out. Nicely done. Follow the link to a HUGE version.

Wouldn't it be great if we could pick where we want our Taxes to go?

Alec Baldwin had an interesting point on the Huffington Post:
As another member told me later that day, "Defend the seas and deliver the mail. That's all these guys want to pay for. Literally."
Supposedly it's our money... isn't it?

Must See TV

A tip of the hat to AmericaBlog for pointing out one of the great speeches on Government abuse to appear on mainstream TV in a looong time. Too bad it was by a fictional character.

Why do fictional characters always give the best speeches?

Worth your time.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Enough of the D.C. Dems

The frustration is building as Molly Ivin's column reflects our discussion...
Mah fellow progressives, now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of the party. I don’t know about you, but I have had it with the D.C. Democrats, had it with the DLC Democrats, had it with every calculating, equivocating, triangulating, straddling, hair-splitting son of a bitch up there, and that includes Hillary Rodham Clinton.
I do love that woman.

Revolting People

Alright, so I couldn't find any audio, but I found this nifty pic and this description:
Baltimore in 1770 is the setting for the third series of Andy Hamilton and Jay Tarses’s comedy, Revolting People.

Shopkeeper Samuel Oliphant is still trying to cope with his three troublesome children and the two British soldiers billeted under his roof (including Sergeant McGurk, who’s had more bits shot off him than Nelson).

Meanwhile, war is brewing as the Americans prepare to fight for the right to rule themselves.
So to Jay & Rachel: have fun, we'll see you when you get back!

Beasts of Burden

So here it is, my proposal to help shore up American Families at this critical juncture in American history: the Family & Strong Communities Act.

The proposal is a simple one: if a woman becomes pregnant, men will be responsible up to, but not exceeding, 60% of their total wages from the 3rd trimester of the pregnancy to the child's 18th birthday. Once determined to be the father, which can be enforced by law, no man will be allowed to be unemployed for more than 2 weeks. That's it.

This can be its own law or an amendment attached to any bill at any level, state or federal, that seeks to make abortion illegal.

Now pregnancies will no longer be 'unwanted' since everyone will be paying for them in one form or another.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Just Overheard

Here in DC and a friend who works on the Hill and she said there is an old saying:
Politics is show business for ugly people
Thank you Sally, that's hilarious!

"Electricity Deregulation: High Cost, Unmet Promises"

"Competition a 'Myth' as Prices Spiral Upward"

Front page of the Washington Post today folks (here in DC blogging from the heart of Darkness), so on to the good stuff...

Maryland and District consumers angry at the record electric bills they will receive this summer might want to recall the promises made by proponents of deregulation seven years ago. If they do, they'll be even angrier.

At the time, in 1999, evangelists for deregulation described a competitive, efficient and lower-priced system of energy delivery that, for the most part, remains a fantasy in the Mid-Atlantic region and other parts of the country today, according to industry experts.
Beware 'Evangelists' of any flavor boys & girls
The District, Maryland and Virginia, along with much of the nation, are wrestling with the ramifications of deregulation at the same time that the cost of producing electricity is skyrocketing. But as energy prices have soared, electricity rates have gone up more in deregulated states than in regulated ones.
And remember "If a deal sounds to good to be true... " well, you know the rest.
Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. customers in Maryland have had artificially low rates for six years because of caps set in the 1999 deal that allowed deregulation to go through, so the sudden 72 percent increase announced last week is a rude awakening.

"With something of that magnitude, I thought, God, it can't be," said Don Dunn, a 77-year-old retired businessman in Howard County on a fixed income. "My gut reaction was, gee, the whole thing is an error."

Dunn, who spent about $700 on electricity last year, is wondering how he can afford more even as property taxes are rising. While he is worrying that he might have to give up the two-story brick home in Ellicott City where he has lived for more than 40 years, deregulation has turned out well for BGE's parent company.
Sorry, Mr. Dunn: no one rides for free. You have our sympathies.
Residential customers -- especially those in Maryland facing an average $743 yearly increase in their BGE bills -- are left wondering what deregulation was for, if not to reduce prices.
Oh come on! It was for profit! You knew it, but you thought you were gonna get an even better deal and that just never happens. Never ever. You wanted all the good stuff, but didn't listen and now it is time to pay the pipper. Literally.
In Annapolis, the outcry from voters has sent lawmakers into a frenzy to respond to the rate increase.

Sen. Leo E. Green (D-Prince George's), a longtime opponent of electric deregulation, blamed its failure on false promises from energy companies in the 1990s.
And he wants to blame voters and legislators, but folks don't like when elected officials tell them they were wrong. But they were wrong.
Deregulation has not worked as envisioned in any of the 20 states that have undertaken it, said Kenneth Rose, an Ohio energy consultant who advises state utility regulators.

"Those of us who were in favor of the competition that deregulation promised, and I was one of them, haven't had our hopes realized," he said. "Not at all. It was Enron in California where I first thought something is not working here."
Because apparently there is more than one sucker born every minute and 2 are more than enough to take them. And your concern about California? Falls on deaf ears: you did nothing for us so prepare to reap the whirlwind.
For state governments that bought into deregulation, the remorse has been acute.

"I think everyone is just looking at Maryland and getting sick to their stomach," said Elizabeth A. Noel, the D.C. people's counsel. "This is not what was supposed to happen. . . . Nobody intended this."
Oh please. You got taken by some con men... what are you prepared to do now?
Among the promises of deregulation was competition -- homeowners and businesses would be able to pick their own energy providers, creating price competition with local power companies. In Maryland, that has not happened. Part of the blame, experts say, lies in the way Maryland deregulated. The 1999 rate caps, which are coming off this summer, imposed a falsely low rate that no BGE competitor could match, preventing competition.

"We were sold a myth called competition," said Del. Patrick L. McDonough (R-Baltimore County). "We will find Jimmy Hoffa in Maryland before we find competition."
Yeah, and only tourists are dumb enough to play 3 card monty in NYC.

Again: it was a rigged game, the power companies knew what they were doing so what are you prepared to do? And watching the Road to the Final Four doesn't count.

Good luck citizens, you are apparently out there all on your own.