Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Permanent Embassy in Iraq...

U.S. Building Massive Embassy in Baghdad
By CHARLES J. HANLEY, AP Special Correspondent
Fri Apr 14, 4:58 PM ET

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The fortress-like compound rising beside the Tigris River here will be the largest of its kind in the world, the size of Vatican City, with the population of a small town, its own defense force, self-contained power and water, and a precarious perch at the heart of Iraq's turbulent future…

The embassy complex — 21 buildings on 104 acres, according to a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee report — is taking shape on riverside parkland in the fortified "Green Zone," just east of al-Samoud, a former palace of Saddam Hussein's, and across the road from the building where the ex-dictator is now on trial…

"Embassy Baghdad" will dwarf new U.S. embassies elsewhere, projects that typically cover 10 acres. The embassy's 104 acres is six times larger than the United Nations compound in New York, and two-thirds the acreage of Washington's National Mall.

Original cost estimates ranged over $1 billion, but Congress appropriated only $592 million in the emergency Iraq budget adopted last year. Most has gone to a Kuwait builder, First Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting, with the rest awarded to six contractors working on the project's "classified" portion — the actual embassy offices…

It will have its own water wells, electricity plant and wastewaster-treatment facility, "systems to allow 100 percent independence from city utilities," says the report, the most authoritative open source on the embassy plans...

Loving Our Troops To Death

[I've been offline for a month and have been trying to catch up on everyone's blogs etc. One of the topics that is being discussed is how we define "supporting the troops". I've posted my feelings about this and commented elsewhere... but I wanted to share the following, where John does such a great job of expressing how I feel...--drp]

by John in DC - 11/18/2005 10:40:00 PM

"Republicans think that the only way to support the troops is to let them die. That's what this debate is about tonight. If you love the troops, you should sit back, shut up, and watch George Bush and the Republican Congress send them to their deaths in a war that's already been lost.

I admit, I'm simply stupified that the Republicans can be so calloused about our service members. It's becoming increasingly clear that the Republicans don't care about our troops. To them, our soldiers are props in one big propaganda war. That's all. So it doesn't matter if our troops are dying. It doesn't matter if the war was a mistake. It doesn't matter if we're losing. They simply don't care. The war was THEIR mistake and politically they can't admit a mistake. And that's what tonight is about…

[T]he Republicans say our troops don't need arms and legs, and life, they simply need our support. And the Republicans think the best way to support our troops is to send them to their deaths and shut up, even though we all know the cause is lost. And oh yeah, when you send them to war, make sure you don't send enough troops, don't give them the body armor they need, and don't give them any plan for victory.

And when you realize that's what's taken place. And when you realize that's why our troops are dying. And when you realize that the entire war is one big f***ed up mess and that it's not going to get any better, ever. Make sure you shut the f*** up. Because we love the troops."

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Mike Simpson: Protector of Idaho

Just surfing around and I discovered this comment on another blog in reference to Mike Simpson and his Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act of 2004:
The bill looks to me to be no more than a land give-a-way to County seats that may then turn around and sell each block conveyance to interested private parties for development.

When will people start to realize that this land, the land in question in this bill, is their land? Visit it or not, its ours! Mike Simpson can't decide to sell it, it is not his. The whole damn Congress shouldn't have that power. When we elect folks who make it plain that they intend to take what is ours and give it away at the first opportunity we jeopardize our future and our legacy.

This is not a party problem, and it is not a problem with the political system if you ask me. Plain and simple it is a personal problem. Americans are lazy bastards it's true, but imagine how angry any one of us would get should Mike Simpson come along and give away a chunkk of anyone's back yard? Not my back yard!

Is their no indignation over such foolhardiness because the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act of 2004 doesn't contain a provision for back yards in Boise?

So, while Idahoans expect our public servants to understand and respect our way of life and to protect our interests, Simpson focuses on raping and pillaging our natural resources?

Hey, Mike, who's turf are you standing up for?

Posted at

The Washington Post this morning has a piece about the power of the Congressional Appropriators, led on the House side by Jerry Lewis:

Twice last month, Lewis and his committee nearly derailed high-profile legislation, first forcing GOP leaders to pull their 2007 budget blueprint from House debate and then bringing consideration of a major lobbying and ethics bill to a halt Thursday. Only after House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) pleaded, saying that his reputation was at stake, did committee members allow the lobbying bill to proceed to a vote, now scheduled for tomorrow.

Those actions are underscoring a political truism often uttered by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.): Congress has three political parties -- Republicans, Democrats and appropriators. Traditionally, the appropriations committees in both chambers of Congress have operated with bipartisan comity and an independent streak. GOP leaders tried to rein them in after the Republican takeover in 1994, but Lewis in recent weeks has emerged as a force, reasserting his panel's independence.

"We are getting more authoritative," said Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), an Appropriations Committee member who behind closed doors spoke vociferously against the lobbying bill, which he thought unfairly singled out the panel. "We are standing up for our turf."
That last quote is from the same Mike Simpson who insisted that pork projects are a Constitutional right.

Mike Simpson says pork is a constitutional right

Posted at

...Republican Congressman Mike Simpson sent out a "Dear Colleague" letter entitled "The Other Side of Earmarking." In his letter, Simpson vigorously defended the practice of congressional earmarking, asserting that to not allow earmarking would be to defy the Constitution. Simpson went on to say that earmarking was fiscally conservative and that in fact, it cuts the growth of government spending.

Yesterday, Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake sent out his own "Dear Colleague" which took issue with Simpson's position.

In reference to Simpson's claim that earmarking is Constitutional, Flake points out that James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, vetoed the first ever attempt to include earmarks in a spending bill in 1817 saying that earmarking was not an enumerated power of Congress.

Flake goes on to point out that rather than curtailing the growth of federal spending, as Simpson claims, earmarking has been responsible for ballooning costs associated with spending bills, most notoriously in last years pork-laden Transportation bill.

Flake's entire letter is worth a read. So is Simpson's, if only to understand the still predominant warped mindset of too many in Congress.

After what I've been learning about who contributes to Simpson, I shouldn't be surprised that he is strongly fighting for the right to approve pork projects. He must EARN those dollars, you know.

I think it's time for a change... let's send Jim Hansen to DC so we can have a representative who has Idaho citizens and our needs in mind... rather than sending someone owned by PACS and corporations.

Jim represents Idaho citizens, not PACS

Sali vs. Grant in the 1st Congressional District isn't the only race in Idaho to pay attention to this year. We also need to be aware of the 2nd Congressional District race between Representative Mike Simpson and Jim Hansen.

Check out Jim's website and educate yourself about what he represents for our citizens. If we want change for Idaho, we can't expect it to happen without some hard work and sacrifice from EACH one of us! Jim has come to Gooding twice already to meet with citizens and has several more visits planned in our area. Let him know if you want to set up a house party or help his campaign in any way. He's running his campaign through the PEOPLE and not the PACS, so we need to be there for him and prove that we will no longer support politicians who can be bought...

More about this race is posted at Representative of Idaho or of GOP?

Being proud to be an Idahoan...

... is sometimes difficult.

Those of us who live within our borders know that Idaho is more than killing baby bunnies, more than Aryan nations, and more than Helen "salmon population is healthy because she can still buy it at the store" Chenoweth.

Unfortunately, those who live elsewhere don't have our experiences and base their judgments on a few visible Idahoans who represent our lovely state. That perception results in attitudes such as seen on The Colbert Report where Steve announces that if Idaho removes potatoes from our license plates, then all American children will be able to associate with Idaho will be "white supremacists". As much as we'd like to pretend differently, Idaho's image has some unacceptable stains on it.

In a previous blog entry (Know Thine Enemies), I encouraged Idahoans to become familiar with Bill Sali. I suggested that Idaho may garner national attention because of his attitudes and reputation. If Idaho Republicans elect Sali to represent us in DC, we need to be aware of the impact this will have on our state's reputation.

Well, it's started already... hop over to Swing State Project: ID-01: Wingnut of the Year and get a glimpse of what to expect if Sali is actually elected...

All Idahoans, regardless of party affiliation, have a responsibility to educate themselves about who represents them. We need to make responsible decisions at the polls and not just make knee-jerk choices due to our biases and personal preferences. We are first and foremost Idahoans, before we are Democrats or Republicans... we can't afford to forget that distinction.

We have an opportunity to elect someone who can represent Idaho in a manner in which we can be proud: Larry Grant. Take the time to learn about HIM as well. As you become familiar with the differences between the two candidates, you will realize which man will represent Idaho and respond to the real needs of our citizens, and which man will feed upon fears and hatred in order to achieve a personal agenda.

{Hats off to Bubblehead for being aware of the big picture. I'm not surprised because I have found him to be rational, intelligent, and open-minded... even if he is a Republican ! Seriously, it's Idahoans like him that will help our state the most as they consider the greater need of the state and the qualities of the individual over party affiliations and negative stereotypes...}

Friday, May 26, 2006

Oxymoron: The Visual

Step over to Roxanne's blog and "write your own caption". At the very least, enjoy what others have written! It's PRICELESS!

WARNING: I suggest that you do not drink fluids or eat crackers while reading the entries. The cleanliness of your monitor may depend on it!

P.S. There are other "write your own caption" posts on her site as well... see if you can find the picture that belongs to "Two dimbulbs and a chandelier"!
Thank you again, Caro, for sharing this with us!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Republican Family Values

Republican Family Values

The family values epitomized by far right polititians and pundits including:
(a) phone sex with subordinates,
(b) prescription drug abuse,
(c) republiporn such as Scooter Libby's novel about prepubescent girls being raped by bears or Lynne Cheney's novel about lesbian sex in the old west,
(d) public uses of expletives and
(e) underage drinking and drug use by sons and daughters.
Now that Tom was in the top 1% tax bracket, he could openly display his Republican family values by sharing his cocaine with his kid's babysitter.
In reference to Dirk Kempthorne:
"I guess having an illegitimate child is honoring 'family values', and having a mistress enhances the 'sanctity of marriage'."
For more displays of Republican Family Values, check out:

A "thank you" letter from Senator Bert Marley

May 25, 2006

Friends and Supporters,

It has been said that “defeat is an orphan,” but I don’t agree. I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support I have received from so many of you over the last few days. Your kind words have meant the world to me, my family and my staff.

Throughout this campaign I have been humbled by the generosity of Idahoans. So many of you have opened your homes and donated your valuable time and money to support my candidacy. For that, I will be forever grateful. With your help, we spread a positive message about the needs and future of public education.

We may not have won this election, but the real test of victory comes in what we can continue to do to champion the needs of our schools and our kids. The work is just beginning! Public education is too important to stop now. We must unite and work harder than ever to ensure that every Idaho voter understands that it is the Democrats who have a real plan for education and a clear vision for the future.

I encourage each of you to support and get involved in Dr. Jana Jones’ campaign. Jana is passionate about education and I admire her long career of service. You can find out more about her race and how to get involved at Together, with Dr. Jones, we will make public education Idaho’s first priority!

Thank you again for your sincere support and friendship.

Senator Bert Marley

P.S. As the dust settles, there are a few loose ends that must be tied up. Thank you to the many who took signs and distributed them around the state. I know it can be difficult and time consuming to find locations, and I genuinely appreciate your help. If you need assistance gathering and taking signs down, please contact my campaign staff at (208) 407-0287 or All signs need to be down by Tuesday, June 30th. In some counties, campaigns are fined if signs are not down within 7 days of the election. Any help you could offer us in removing the signs would be greatly appreciated! If you cannot help taking signs down in your county, please call us so we can make further arrangements. We are not planning on saving the signs, so they can be thrown away. Thank you!

Know thine enemies...

I was chatting with a fellow Dem tonight and mentioned the hotly contested race among Republicans for the first Congressional seat. When I mentioned Bill Sali's name, my friend told me that she wasn't very familiar with him.

Well, she's not alone! Most liberals/Democrats here in Magic Valley aren't familiar with Sali. He's a State Representative from Kuna and you may remember an incident during this last legislative session that involved Wendy Jaquet (District #25 Representative). Sali won the Republican primary yesterday and will now be running against Larry Grant for Butch Otter's Congressional seat. That district covers about half of Boise and goes north from there. So those of you who live in Magic Valley, eastern Idaho, etc., will not have an opportunity to vote against him. HOWEVER, if you have contacts in the upper portion of the state--Republican OR Democrat... you may wish to share the following with them!

{In addition, if Idaho starts getting national attention regarding this guy -- which it's already starting -- when your out-of-state friends ask you about this guy, you will know who they are talking about!}

Stop by Red State Rebels and follow the link to DailyKos to find out more...

Here is what Larry LaRocco has to say:

Sali was supported by the ultra-right "Club for Growth." The Club for Growth is headed by former Congressman Pat Toomey who lost to Senator Specter in a GOP primary in '04. This group is committed to purging the GOP in Congress of moderate republican members of Congress. Most recently they tried unsuccessfully to unseat moderates Sherwood Boehlert of NY and Wayne Gilchrist of MD. Both had solid enviornmental records and were targeted for defeat. This purge is similar to what Helen Chenoweth and Vern Ravenscroft tried in Idaho in 1985 when they formed a PAC to dislodge moderates in the Idaho legislature.

The Club for Growth's tactics are very transparent. It "bundles" money from right wingers across the country and then assists in the the day-to-day, minute-to-minute campaign tactics on the ground in the district or state it has targeted. Sali is a puppet for the Club for Growth. He never had control of his campaign from the instant he filed. The Club for Growth operatives had total control of his campaign and were prepared to use any and all tactics to ensure a win. Those tactics include a broad array of negative campaign strategies: suppression voting, push polls, focus groups, tracking polls, opposition research. Some of these strategies are normal in a campaign but the Club for Growth is a ruthless group and is only committed to winning at all costs no matter what splits they create in the state where it operates. Such is the case in Idaho. This broken egg will not be put back together anytime soon.

Money was no object in the 1st CD race. I estimate the Club for Growth spent close to $700,000 to corral 19,000 votes and claim victory. It's like a Ponzi Scheme. Now they will go out to the vast stable of funders, claim victory and ask for more money.

Speaker Newcomb had it right when he called (on the record) Sali ".....a fricking idiot."

UPDATE: I strongly encourage you to read this sobering article... Thank you again, Julie, for directing me to it...

Otter for sale?

I'm clipping this from Idablue because it's too interesting not too share. Thanks, Alan, for pointing this out...

Otter's Campaign Donations

Idaho Code Section 67-6610A limits contributions to political candidates. An individual or “Recognized legal Entity” can donate $5,000 for the primary election and another $5,000 for the general election. IC Sec 67-6614 says that you can’t make contributions anonymously, with a fictitious name or through an agent in a manner to conceal the identity of the contributor. There are various fines for violating these provisions, and the Secretary of State will investigate if anyone files a complaint.

Butch Otter’s campaign reported a donation of $2,500 on 11 October 2005 from the Rural Telephone Company and another on the same day for $2,500 from Pend Orielle Telephone Company. (See page 126) Both were earmarked for the primary. The RTC operates in rural areas in Idaho bringing telephone service, and POTC operates in Washington. Per the Idaho Sec of State, RTC is a corporation in good standing. Per the Washington Sec of State, same goes for POTC.

Otter’s campaign reported another donation of $2,500 from each entity on 15 December 2005, earmarked for the primary, and another donation on the 15 from each earmarked for the general. (See page 167) So far, so good.

However, the fishy part is that the address for both entities is the same; 892 West Madison, Glenns Ferry, Idaho. The donations appear one right after another on the reporting form, clearly showing the same address. James Martell is the registered agent for RTC, giving the same address. RTC’s Web site talks about how a James Martell founded the company.

POTC’s website lists its “Corporate Office” as 704 W. Madison, Glenns Ferry, Idaho. The FCC spanked POTC for various defalcations, and in the order one Mark A. Martell of 892 Madison, Glenns Ferry was listed as the Assistant Manager. Per the Idaho Secretary of State, Mark A. Martell is listed as a Director of RTC. I'm guessing James Martell is dad, and Mark is one of his sons. Although per the documents filed with the Sec of State Martell was not a founder, he did come on the scene in 1984. In 1987, the directors were James, Carmela and Michael, no doubt dad, mom and number one son. Mark A. Martell didn't appear as a director until later.

It looks like both phone companies are closely held, i.e., no public stock. Such companies are typically a corporate alter ego for the person founding and running the company. The Idaho statutes and regulations are pretty vague on this issue, but certainly the spirit of the law is that a person can’t exceed the donation limits by using a front.

The companies appear to be legit, and the donations may well be, technically. Nevertheless, what we’ve got here is one guy, Martell, causing his companies to donate $10,000 to Otter’s primary campaign, twice the allowable for a person or single entity. They've also given another $5,000 to the general, and I’d bet that we see another pair of $2,500 donations for the general. I wonder why Martell is such an ardent Otter fan? I wonder if it has anything to do with the $20,000 fine POTC had to pay to the FCC?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Why didn't you vote?

I'm just curious... voter turnout supposedly was around 20% yesterday. What's up with that?

I know my husband didn't vote because he left for work at 6:30am and didn't get home until 1am this morning. And we didn't plan ahead well enough to get an absentee voter form for him.

If anybody reading this did NOT vote yesterday, please take a moment and explain "why". Perhaps if you explain what prevented you from voting, the rest of us can work on ways to increase voter turnout in the next election.

Upcoming schedule for Gooding DL

Mark Your Calendars!

Friday, May 26
Bob Wallace, Democratic Candidate for State Attorney General, will be joining us this Friday as our "Special Visitor". I'm quite looking forward to visiting with him. I hope lots of you show up so I don't monopolize his time and attention!! {Just FYI... this is the FIRST special visitor who contacted US offering to visit with the group! The word is getting out!!}

Friday, June 2 {Coordination still in progress!}

Friday June 9
Special Visitor: Donna Pence, District #25 Representative. This is a great opportunity for us to hear a legislative report from this last session, learn about what is in the works, and share our own opinions and concerns.

Friday, June 16
Special Visitor: Wendy Jaquet, District #25 Representative. Another great opportunity to interact with our local representative!

Friday, June 24
This is the weekend of the Democratic Convention so liberals who are still in town will get together just for visiting and support.
FYI: Idaho Falls Drinking Liberally and Gooding Drinking Liberally have been discussing a joint meet-up over the weekend as well. Boise? Moscow? Let's talk!

Friday, June 30 {Coordination still in progress!}

If the weather is nice, we are out on the back patio!
Just head to the back of Rowdy's and turn left at the pool table.
For more information, go to Gooding Drinking Liberally,

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Don't give up! Speak up!

Don't just sit by quietly while Kempthorne's nomination is approved...
Don't let Bush continue to rape and pillage America!
The land, water, and air at risk belongs to OUR future...
Don't let them sell, mine, destroy, waste, or pollute our resources!
Demand responsiblity and conservation!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Who is "Dan Adamson"?

His signs are all around town in Gooding...

You should take the time to find out who he is!!

To start out with, he's a topic of discussion over at 43rd State Blues...

Si Sue Puede!

In Spanish, "Si Sue Puede!" means "Yes We Can!" This is often the rallying cry for many Hispanic issues, but I don't think they'd mind if Idaho Democrats borrowed it!

Because, even though our state is one of the few remaining states which still approve of Bush (53% approval, #3 in the nation as of April 2006) and our legislature is lopsided with Republicans, we CAN make change happen this November.

I checked out Larry Grant's blog , which led me to Daily Kos, which also provided the link for The Hill... I strongly encourage all Idaho Dems to check them out! Read warm fuzzies like:
  • "The Republicans have six candidates running to succeed Otter, and they are busy taking potshots at each other with every opportunity. "
  • "The six-way race to win the Republican nomination in Idaho’s 1st Congressional District has turned into a full-fledged family feud, fraught with intraparty tensions and resentments."
  • "In short, Bill Sali would make an excellent Representative for the Republic...the People's Republic of China, that is. I think I'm right in saying that while being an insensitive ass isn't a 1st Amendment violation, it still makes you an insensitive ass."
  • "Robert Vasquez, a County Commissioner whose slogan, if you go to his website, is: "Secure our borders - Secure our future". He is on record as stating that the greatest problem in America is not Iraq, not the Economy, not even "The War on Terror". It's keeping immigrants out of the country. Think of him as an Idaho version of Pat Buchanan."
  • "Sali and Vasquez have raised more than 70 percent of their money from outside of Idaho."
  • "Larry Grant, a former executive with Idaho’s largest employer, Micron Technology, is the best-funded Democratic candidate."

So, fellow Dems, "Si Sue Puede"!!

I realize that Larry Grant is running for 1st Congressional District and Gooding is in the SECOND Congressional District, but we are all Idahoans. It is critical that we are aware of Larry's campaign and express our support throughout the state to our voting friends in Larry's district!