Still a Bad Idea

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

News has hit that Senator Mark Udall is cosponsoring the resurrected constitutional balanced budget amendment. The paper which shall not be named has a gushing editorial about it.

Needless to say, the base is rattled, and I think the Senator would do well to make the progressive case for this policy, or else every time the topic comes up the blogosphere will be a beehive being poked by a stick.

Fortunately, I don’t think it’s going to see the light of day in its current form for many reasons, but here are just a few:

1. The spending limit isn’t substantially different than the reconciliation rules in that it only takes a 3/5 majority to override it. Congress frequently waives the Byrd Rule already. So the spending side doesn’t have a lot of teeth while the revenue side is a straight jacket (see #2).

2. It contains a TABOR-like ratchet where spending is based on the previous year’s revenue. So when we go through a multi-year recession such as the one we just had, the budget would be needlessly constrained when spending is needed so as not to stymie a recovery. In addition, it has a percent-of-GDP cap at 20%. The problem there is sometimes the GDP drops suddenly. When that happens, government needs to spend more, not less, or the GDP will drop again as output gets choked off.

3. 3/4 of the states will never, ever ratify it. States and local governments derive a substantial share of their funding from the federal government, and as such if the federal government’s share of the funding expands and contracts with the economy then states will take a double hit.

4. There are times when we must deficit spend or face annihilation. If we had a balanced budget amendment in 1941 we’d all be speaking German or Japanese today. Fortunately the proposal has an out clause–a congressional declaration of war. Problem is, Congress hasn’t declared war since 1941. So while on one hand the constraint would tend to reduce the size of the military industrial complex and perhaps keep us out of several of our recent misadventures, it would also wipe us off the map as a world power. You can’t speak softly yet carry a big stick if you can’t afford the stick.

5. The base will stay home again. If we got a shellacking in 2010, imagine what will happen to us when hundreds of thousands of people are thrown off Medicaid because Wall Street screwed up again.

I don’t doubt Senator Udall’s sincerity about wanting to pay down the debt. But there’s very little in this proposal that seems workable. What we have to do is get the corrosive effect of money out of politics. We have a massive defense budget because of the power of the defense lobby. Our health care costs are so high because of the power of the various medical and insurance lobbies. We give massive tax cuts to the rich because if we don’t they’ll “shove 30-second ads up his ass,” to coin a phrase.

Even if, by some miracle (or catastrophe), this thing passes, and we don’t do something about the system of influence peddling, the rich and powerful are still gonna get theirs. The people who will suffer the wildly alternating cuts in services and tax hikes as the economy bobs up and down will be those who can’t afford to spend billions of dollars lobbying to protect their bottom lines. Comprende?

What is the DSCC thinking?

Worst Ad Ever

The DSCC is on the air with another new ad targeting Ken Buck that is so lame it doesn’t pass my smell test, even though I know the ad is factually true.

Scary Narrator Voice: Listen to Buck on whether he’d rewrite the Constitution and our right to vote for our own Senators.

Ken Buck: “The short answer is yes.”

The short answer is yes??? Really? That’s what I’m supposed to “listen” to?

Suppose the narrator had said, “Listen to Ken Buck on whether he’d eat his own baby for a mid-morning snack,” followed by Buck saying, “the short answer is yes.” What gives that statement any more or less credibility than the one in the ad with the context given?

When spending that kind of money, can we at least make it look like we’re trying?

Superstitious voters: How many are there?

In the past three days I’ve talked to several people who claim they always vote for the guy they want to lose under the theory that whoever they vote for always seems to lose.

It’s as if they believe there’s some sort of karmic element to elections where if they vote for Candidate A, it will cause two other people to vote for Candidate B.

So here’s my question: How many of these crackpots are there? Have there ever been any studies done on the number of voters who believe the ballot box is actually more like a slot machine and that their karma is going to affect the outcome?

Yesterday I thought it was just a lefty airy-fairy new age thing, but today I overheard two righties in line at the 7-11 discussing the same thing. They both voted for Jane Norton because they want Ken Buck to win.

I tend to believe in things like math. You know, where 51 people vote for Candidate A and 49 people vote for Candidate B, that means that Candidate A wins by 1 point.

But not my neighbor, whose ballot for Romanoff I am about to go deliver because he wants Bennet to win.

If Andrew wins by 1 vote, he and his karma can thank me later.

UPDATE: Tonight’s results will only be proof beyond a reasonable doubt. He voted for Romanoff and it caused Bennet to win. Ain’t superstition grand?

How many people game the karmic system?

View Results

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Tracking the Gubernatorial Money Race

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Being a data geek, I was looking at TRACER and found a neat view, a tabular listing of candidates and their money raised and spent.

It reveals some interesting things– of the $7.6 million raised so far, the largest fundraiser so far is Bill Ritter at $2.3 million. Second is John Hickenlooper at $2.1 million, and third is Scott McInnis at $2 million.

The biggest spenders shift a little, with Hickenlooper in first place, Ritter in second place, and McInnis in third place.

I tried putting the table in here, but it blew up ColoradoPols’s layout, so you’ll have to go look at it yourself.

Hickenlooper buys $850,000 of TV time

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Just-posted press release:

Support for Hickenlooper for Colorado Results in $850,000 for Fall TV Ads

Hickenlooper for Colorado supporters in May enabled the campaign to reserve $850,000 worth of advertising time on television this fall, the campaign announced today.

A significant amount of those resources came, once again, from an overwhelming response to email requests for contributions. Their efforts mean the campaign will be able to deliver to voters John Hickenlooper’s message of job growth and economic development for Colorado.

“We pledged to supporters that every dollar raised from our email effort would go to purchase time on television,” Hickenlooper for Colorado campaign manager Mike Melanson said. “Because of the enthusiastic response from those emails, we were able to reserve $850,000 of ad time when it really matters. We can’t say ‘thank you’ enough.”

Financial reports due Wednesday will show continued support for John led to another $380,841 in contributions during May. The campaign’s aggressive media purchase, along with a $123,000 mailer led to $1.138 million in expenditures during the month with just over $130,000 cash on hand.

“We began this race a year and $1 million behind, so we knew every possible dollar would be needed for delivering John’s message to voters,” Melanson said. “The moves we made in May will stretch every dollar this fall, and ensure we’re talking to voters when it counts.”

Finally, with more than $36,000 in online contributions responding to our emails in the final days of May, Hickelooper for Colorado is able to answer the question on everyone’s mind:

Yes! Mike is smiling.


Bennet and Romanoff Want to Clean Up Washington?

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

They could start by committing to a little campaign finance transparency.

Candidates for the House of Representatives and the Presidency electronically file lists of their donors and expenses. Not so U.S. senators, who have long exempted themselves from mandatory electronic filing of campaign reports, holding fast to an archaic system of filing their reports with the Secretary of the Senate.

This cumbersome and expensive process requires the Senate to print out these reports and deliver them to the FEC, which must then spend about $250,000 and untold hours having the records typed in, line by line, to the FEC’s databases.

Senator Bennet says that Washington is broken. I agree. There’s a step he can take right now to help fix it–file his FEC report electronically.

And Andrew Romanoff, who wants us all to know that his money is pure as the driven snow, should prove it. Rather than keeping his donors and fundraising totals a secret, he should be transparent about who is funding his campaign and file electronically.

This is what we have to deal with to read who these candidates are getting their money from. That’s less than fax resolution. It’s about 72 DPI, and these politicians print the reports in the smallest possible font so as to make them impossible to read when scanned.

That’s how the Senate has always worked–it’s a good old boy’s club that doesn’t want people to know what’s going on. And all of Colorado’s candidates from both parties are willingly perpetuating that secrecy. They could voluntarily choose to file electronically, but they don’t. And it doesn’t say that any of them are particularly interested in cleaning up Washington.

What is Jared Polis Thinking? (Part 732)

(Mr. Hyde (R) strikes again!-ColPols–I just updated with Jared’s response – promoted by Danny the Red (hair))

Update with Jared’s response

I voted against the HIRE Act along with 35 members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Progressive Caucus on grounds that it was simply too little, too late: its tax cuts will not bring about real job creation, and it did not include adequate funding or allocation methods for infrastructure projects or initiatives to help the poor.  

Jared Polis

FRIDAY POLS UPDATE: Details emerge, from the New York Times:

Though the measure attracted bipartisan support when approved by the Senate last week, House Republicans were dismissive, saying it was cobbled together by Democrats for political purposes and would do little to spur new employment. And many Democrats, even though they backed the measure, considered it far too limited in scope…

House Democrats wanted several changes. They adjusted the bill to cover its costs more completely, to satisfy Democratic fiscal hawks. To attract liberal lawmakers who contended the measure was too meager, they added a provision to generate business for minority contractors. The revisions mean the measure will have to be reconsidered by the Senate, where it was unclear whether Republicans would seek to slow its progress.

The centerpiece of the legislation is a plan to exempt businesses that hire people who have been out of work for at least 60 days from paying the 6.2 percent payroll tax on those employees through year-end. It also grants a $1,000 tax credit if the workers are kept on for a full year.

Opinion is divided on whether the approach is effective or simply gives businesses a break on workers they would have hired anyway. But lawmakers said that given the dismal unemployment picture, they were willing to give it a try, and estimated the tax breaks would put 300,000 people to work.

That was not enough for some Democrats. “We should stop calling it a jobs bill, and instead acknowledge this is about business tax cuts,” said Representative Barbara Lee, a California Democrat and chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus. She voted against the bill and said much more needed to be done to reach the chronically unemployed.

Original post follows–was it too much for Jared Polis, as he said about health care? Or not enough, as some members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus apparently decided? We retract our “Mr. Hyde (R)” crack above, but only long enough to get an explanation–which, given Rep. Polis’ erratic record on Democratic legislative goals, should have been immediately forthcoming after last night’s vote. As it is, people coming away with the “wrong impression,” assuming it was wrong, of this vote can’t be blamed for doing so.

There are no new stories that I can find, no floor statement, and no press release.

But Congressman Jared Polis (R?-Boulder) voted with Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman against the $15 billion jobs bill.

Since Rep. Polis has not issued any statements, and I would think that such a vote would justify one, I have to assume it’s because he hates America and doesn’t want anybody to get jobs.

What say you?

At Least it’s Not Your Ugly U.S. Senate Primary

(Let’s take a schadenfreude break – promoted by Colorado Pols)

For a distraction…

At least four staffers with significant political portfolios have left Congressman Joe Sestak’s (D-7) Senate campaign in recent weeks, potentially leaving the Democratic challenger at an organizational deficit just three months before the primary, has learned.

And then…

J.J. Abbott, a communications staffer, has departed to take a job with Auditor General Jack Wagner’s gubernatorial campaign. That makes at least five staffers who have left the campaign in the last several weeks. Including Abbott, two of them have landed with Wagner.

And then, POW!

Specter to Sestak: You don’t pay your staffers jack

Senator Arlen Specter’s campaign on Thursday sharply criticized primary opponent Congressman Joe Sestak (D-7) for paying his campaign staff salaries that often amount to less than the minimum wage, and for wide pay disparities between the three siblings that work his campaign and other employees.

Followed by a tweet (which is how I saw it):

Cong. Sestak, either pay your employees minimum wage & comply with wage laws, or report yourself to the authorities.


Romanoff: “Pat Caddell is one of the most insightful, strategic thinkers in politics.”

(That’s verbatim, folks – promoted by Colorado Pols)

To make such a sweeping statement, one would have to assume that Andrew Romanoff has actually examined some of Pat Caddell’s thinking.

Thinking that would cause Caddell to say, “I agree with Ann [Coulter].”

And that’s really the problem, isn’t it? It was no mystery to us that Caddell has been a regular contributor to the Glenn Beck show, the Sean Hannity show, the Neil Cavuto show, and others. There is a reason why, in 2004, Ann Coulter said there were only two “liberals” she respected: “Pat Caddell and Zell Miller.”

Now we’re to believe that Pat Caddell was never actually hired by the campaign, but he was just another volunteer who was “told to “take a hike.”

Assuming for a moment that’s true, why send out a press release touting Caddell’s “polling, message and strategic advice” and that he was coming out of retirement and “joined his campaign team?”

It took ColoradoPols contributors mere moments to start chattering about Pat Caddell’s horrific public stances. The very next day, ColoradoPols posted a video of Caddell on the Glenn Beck show trashing health care reform and climate change legislation.

Pat Caddell was no mystery. I simply can not believe the statement that Romanoff was suddenly shocked by Caddell’s statements in the video I posted. There is nothing in that video that is any better or worse than the hundreds of statements Caddell has made against Democrats over the past eight years, including those posted right here on ColoradoPols in the two weeks since Romanoff announced he was hiring Pat Caddell.

Pat Caddell: Environmentalists purpose is “to deconstruct capitalism”

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

MONDAY PM POLS UPDATE: In a statement from Andrew Romanoff’s campaign a few moments ago, it was announced that Pat Caddell has been fired.

Today, a video was posted on ColoradoPols, in which Pat expressed views that were completely at odds with Andrew’s campaign, his career and his commitment to the environment and to Colorado’s working families.  Andrew heard those comments for the first time this afternoon and ended Pat’s role in the campaign.

Only…well, take the number of days Caddell has been anywhere near the state of Colorado, and that’s how many days too late. Original post follows.

Appearing with David Horowitz, Andrew Romanoff’s senior advisor Pat Caddell said that environmentalists don’t actually care about the environment, but are out to destroy the free-market system. He vociferously agrees with David Horowitz that they are “communists.” He agrees with David Horowitz that the stimulus and the health care bill are only there to give power to SEIU and ACORN. He called union members “thugs.” This was a little over a month ago. Watch for yourself:

What advice is Andrew Romanoff actually paying for? Why does the UFCW and the Teamsters think that Andrew Romanoff would be a better representative when his senior advisor calls them “thugs?”

More perplexingly, why would anyone cling to the fantasy that Andrew Romanoff is at all progressive on the environment or labor or any other issue when his record says otherwise and the people he is paying to advise him make many Republicans in Congress look progressive by comparison?

Is the “Eggmendment” Doomed?

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

According to 9News, proponents of the constitutional amendment that would confer to zygotes the rights of adult humans (can anyone say “special rights?”) only turned in 4,000 extra signatures over the 76,047 valid signatures they require to qualify for the ballot.

That’s likely not enough padding. If the Doug Bruce initiatives are any guide, about 25% of the signatures turned in were not valid.

That failure rate is consistent with past ballot initiatives, where 20-30% of signatures turned in are not valid. Indeed, in 2008 the invalid rate for the “eggmendment” was 20.5%.

That would indicate that the initiative is at least 15,000 signatures short of the requirement.

Update: According to their press release, they actually only collected 3,770 extra signatures. In 2008, they collected over 50,000 extra signatures. This neither bodes well for the likelihood of their initiative making the ballot, nor does it say good things about their base of support.

Do NOT email me or call me again, EVER

(Anything about Doug Bruce, ANYTHING, gets a promote from me. – promoted by Middle of the Road)

So says Doug Bruce to the Gazette‘s Eileen Welsome.

Welsome put two and two together, conducting a nationwide search to find out who the petition circulators were for the fiscal suicide initiatives tied yesterday to Bruce.

Her findings are interesting:

When organizers of three Colorado initiatives targeting government spending launched a petition drive to get on the November ballot last year, they didn’t rely solely on amateurs, according to an analysis of data from the Colorado Secretary of State and the Washington D.C.-based Ballot Initiative Strategy Center.

The initiative backers used experienced circulators to help gather nearly half a million signatures – almost double the number required – to get Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 on the ballot, the data show.

And those circulators were no strangers to such efforts.

At issue is the fact that these people most certainly got paid, but those expenditures were never reported to the Secretary of State as required under the Colorado Constitution. Nor did they register as paid signature gatherers as required.

Petition circulators can earn $50,000 to $100,000 a year, and often move as a crew from state to state, he said. “Their primary purpose is to make as much money as they can,” Foster said.

“They tend to live together and travel together,” Foster said. “Signature gathering firms will call them when they need them to work on campaigns.”

Opponents fighting Amendments 60 and  61 and Proposition 101 allege in campaign finance complaints that the backers of the three initiatives have not disclosed their contributions or expenditures. The complaints also accuse the initiative backers of failing to comply with a new state law requiring petition-gathering companies to register with the Secretary of State’s Office. Bruce is not named in the complaints.

My advice to investigators if Doug Bruce ends up doing the perp walk: wear kneepads.

Doug Bruce Pretends Not to Know What You’re Talking About

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Gazette Reports:

Anti-tax advocate Douglas Bruce has sought to distance himself from three statewide initiatives that could limit the ability of local and state governments to raise taxes or borrow money. But records filed with the Secretary of State’s Office show that eight people who gathered thousands of signatures to get the measures on the November ballot lived in an apartment house owned by Bruce in Colorado Springs.

The eight people listed their address as Apartment A of 633 E. Boulder St. They have since moved out of the house and could not be located for comment.  

Bruce owns the two-story house on Boulder Street, according to El Paso County Assessor records. The house was built in  1905 and has a market value of about $74,000. [emphasis added]

Doug Bruce is poison, and he’s smart enough to know that. That’s why he’s distanced himself from his own initiatives. But he’s not smart enough to hide his tracks.

Enter Tyler Chafee:

“I think Doug Bruce has a track record that he doesn’t want to have attached to these initiatives,” said Tyler Chafee, a spokesman for Protect Colorado’s Communities, an organization of business interests and community leaders opposed to the proposals.

I suppose it’s possible that it’s a coincidence that Doug Bruce was housing the paid circulators for the local initiative that he proposed and which went down in flames, and that those same cirulators were also collecting signatures for the statewide initiatives that Bruce “[doesn’t] understand what you’re talking about” without his knowledge.

But probable? You decide.

Does Doug Bruce understand what you're talking about?

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Andrew Romanoff is Not a Serious Candidate

This just in my inbox:

Dear Thilly,

Three new polls confirm what those of us on the Western Slope have known for years: Andrew Romanoff is Colorado.

Andrew ranks as the most popular Democrat in recent surveys by Rassmussen Reports and by 760 AM, Colorado’s Progressive Talk radio station. He tops the entire field in a Denver Business Journal poll.

Of course, I don’t need a poll to tell me about Andrew Romanoff. I know him. I know he’ll fight for Colorado, because that’s what he’s done for more than a decade and a half.


Noelle Hagan

Former Mayor of Montrose

The three “polls” to which the Romanoff campaign refers consist of two freeped internet polls and the aforementioned Rasmussen poll which, in fact, shows him losing by a larger margin than Michael Bennet.

My advice to Andrew: Stop taking advice from Ken Gordon, the only potentially viable Democratic candidate in 2006 to lose statewide amidst a Democratic landslide. And apologize for sending out something so patently dishonest. You are way better than this.

Poll follows.

Are internet polls a fair and accurate measurement of support?

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Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot

But of course you knew that.

On today’s symposium, the blowhard-in-chief and Republican Party head took this shot at Mark Udall:

FATASS: There is no majority for the public option in an honest poll.  “I’m not going to let four senators dictate to the rest of us…” Well, it’s going to be a lot more than four because a lot more than four are going to hold out for something like what Landrieu got: $300 million. Here’s Mark Udall on the Senate floor. He’s a Democrat from Utah.  Here’s a portion of what he said.

UDALL:  My advice to women in listening to this debate is that they should be consulting their doctors when it comes to things like this. They should be listening to their doctors.  Their doctors are up on the best research; they’re up on the best science; they’re up on the best medicine and get on top of it.  And so I would just say to the women of America, “Listen to your doctors, not to Rush Limbaugh.”  

FATASS:  He’s on the floor of the US Senate and I do not know what he was talking about.  Maybe it was the mammogram thing.  I have no clue what he was talking about.  All I know is that I could probably put my finger on a number of women’s lives who have been saved as a result of listening to this show. [emphasis mine]


Oh where to start.

First, Mark Udall is from Colorado. And second, that’s not Mark Udall, the Senior Senator from Colorado. It’s Tom Udall. And Tom Udall’s not from Utah either, he’s the Junior Senator from New Mexico.

But neither facts nor credibility have ever gotten in the way of a good rant before.

Will Mike Coffman Apologize to Governor Bill Ritter for Questioning his Patriotism?

When Governor Bill Ritter signed a bipartisan bill last year to put the brakes on the Army’s use of eminent domain to steal ranch land from Coloradans and turn it into a mini-Afghanistan right in the middle of our square state, Mike Coffman fired off an official press release calling the governor a terrorist sympathizer.

Last week, Mike Coffman spanked young Josh Penry for pandering to eastern plains farmers and ranchers, and then took another shot at Governor Ritter:

[It] is obvious by the actions of Penry, who co-sponsored HB 1317, and Gov. Bill Ritter, who signed it into law, that both made their decision on the basis of a political calculation without any regard for the men and women in uniform who serve this nation in defense of our freedom. [TW Emphasis]

In the ensuing time, Dick Wadhams apparently tossed some cold water on Coffman. He’s now groveling to Penry for being a rage-aholic:

Having been responsible for the lives of subordinate Marines in combat, this need strikes an emotional chord with me.

However, I made the classic mistake of a combat veteran, confusing those emotions with the motives of others who may differ on military matters but who care as deeply as I do about the men and women who serve our nation in uniform. For that, I apologize to Josh Penry.

Coffman credits a letter from State Sen. Ken Kester for setting him straight. But Kester didn’t ask Coffman to apologize to Penry:

I certainly don’t expect Coffman to apologize to me or any of my colleagues in the Senate that he so gratuitously insulted in his op-ed, but he most certainly owes an apology to the many men and women of southeast Colorado who have honorably served our country in defense of our rights and freedoms – including the right to private property.

So where’s that apology to the troops, Mike Coffman? And how about the Commander in Chief of the Colorado National Guard, Governor Bill Ritter?

Mining Industry “Dropping Like a Rock?”

I’m not sure I agree with Kent Lambert’s economics.

Newmont Mining Corp. said Thursday that its profit more than doubled in the third quarter as the gold producer capitalized on favorable commodity prices and strong gold and copper sales.

Newmont’s profit climbed to $388 million, or 79 cents per share, compared with $191 million, or 42 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue for the three months ended Sept. 30 jumped 50 percent to $2.05 billion from $1.37 billion, with copper sales more than quadrupling and gold sales rising steadily.

Indeed, Newmont generated a “record $1.1 billion in operating cashflow” according to their press release.

Looking at the stock prices of all the publicly-traded mining companies that operate in Colorado shows a similar trend.

The fact is that the weak dollar has made commodities the place to be, which is more stimulus than the mining companies could ever have hoped for in this economy.

Surprise! There’s an election!

Stunning, I know. Have you turned your ballot in yet? Probably not:

In Denver County, 12,476 ballots had been returned by Friday. Another 883 yesterday, and 5,986 today. 311,123 remain outstanding one week before they are due to be in the hands of the Denver Election Commission.

Nothing to vote for you say? Maybe, but there’s something you need to vote against:

This November, voters in Denver will vote on a vague and dangerous ballot initiative, Initiative 300, that would require the local police department to immediately impound the vehicle of anyone driving without a drivers license or registration in their possession.

This is yet another initiative pushed by Jeffco crackpot Daniel Hayes, darling of Peter “Orly Taitz” Boyles and unabashed racist. The law is a blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment. If it passes, it will cost the city millions of dollars to enforce, and then millions of dollars to defend in court when someone’s Constitutional rights are violated by the Denver Police under this initiated ordinance.

These harebrained ideas from fringe lunatics prove what’s wrong with the initiative system. We need to raise the bar. If people want to change the law they should run for office. But in the short term, those of you in Denver need to return your ballots with a NO vote.

In Grand Junction, Old News is New News if the NRCC Says So

The Grand Junction Sentinel‘s resident right-wing “reporter” Gary Harmon dutifully reports Rep. John Salazar’s denunciation of Howard Dean’s months-old website listing Salazar as a supporter of the public option:

A Web site operated by former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean claims U.S. Rep.John Salazar, D-Colo., as a supporter of the public option for health care.

Republicans pounced on the characterization, and a Salazar spokesman sharply renounced it.

“Republicans Pounced?” Not so much.

The appearance of Salazar’s name on Dean’s list was enough to spark the National Republican Central Committee[sic] to fire off a news release declaring that Salazar “has finally fallen into line behind his radical party leaders with support for their government healthcare takeover.”

Google tells me the Stand with Dr. Dean website has been listing John Salazar since at least July 10 as a public option supporter.

If the National Republican Congressional Committee “fir[ed] off a press release,” did it do so in July (or before) when it was actually news? Or did the NRCC just omit the part about failing to notice the listing for at least three months?

And did the NRCC press release state that Rep Salazar “signed” anything as the response from Salazar spokesman Eric Wortman seems to indicate? I can’t tell, because the NRCC hasn’t posted the release on the press release section of its website. If the NRCC did make that allegation, it shows the extent to which Gary Harmon is willing to check the facts before doing a story about a partisan press release about a three month old non-story.

In addition to your emails, Democracy for America members and our partners have made calls to Congress and reported back the results to Stand With Dr. Dean. We have compiled the reports from those calls and combed through public statements of every member of Congress. Based on a complete review of your reports and our research, the grid below lists every member of Congress and their basic position on the inclusion of a public healthcare option

This statement is at the top of every single congressional listing page. There is no indication that they ever had a single member of Congress sign anything. It’s a crowd-sourcing exercise–zillions of people call, fax, and write, and the responses are aggregated, weighted, and posted.

Which raises a question for Rep. Salazar: Why not just be forthcoming? At this point we’re not months out with no idea of what a public option might look like. Why not be like your Senators, your Governor, and your six House colleagues and state your position absolutely so that we don’t have to take the mathematical averages of your various official and public statements, combined with the sources and amounts of political contributions to divine your position?

And why defend yourself to the National Republican Corruption Caucus? You know that the odds are better than 50/50 that whatever they are saying is fraudulent.

Fmr. Interior Secretary Norton Subject of Federal Grand Jury Probe

Reports the National Journal:

A federal grand jury in Washington that is probing possible criminal conflicts of interest involving former Interior Secretary Gale Norton‘s official and private dealings in 2006 with Royal Dutch Shell has recently issued subpoenas to both Norton and Shell, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.

The flies have been hovering for a while as the Jack Abramoff penumbra has been explored. But the current investigation seems to be related to her current work at Shell as opposed to the Abramoff Indian casino scandal.

Udall, Bennet: Senate Needs to Get Off its Duff Today or Colorado Will Suffer

POLS UPDATE: A local Twitter campaign has popped up targeting Sen. Harry Reid: “Tell @SenatorReid 2 Save $8.7B in #ARRA transport funds before it’s lost @ midnite 9-30! #actly #FAIL”

A joint press release today from Senator Mark Udall and Senator Michael Bennet issued a joint press release sounding the alarm that the state stands to lose a quarter of its stimulus money for transportation if the Senate doesn’t act by midnight tonight:

The provision, embedded in the “The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users” (SAFETEA-LU), would cause $8.7 billion to be rescinded from state departments of transportation across the country. To prevent the rescission, the provision must be repealed by midnight tonight, when the federal government’s fiscal year ends.

For several months, the Senators have been fighting for repeal, but because of delays and disagreements about other transportation issues, there has been no action on the rescission. The Senators have repeatedly made the point that without the repeal, state departments of transportation across the country would have to cut funding to existing and future construction projects. The $114,683,752 Colorado could lose is equal to a quarter of the transportation funding the state has received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Read the letter here…

Does anybody else think the Senate just needs to be abolished besides me? Unicameral legislature anyone?

Udall: Public Option or Bust

Via the e-mail tubes, an electronic telegram just arrived in my inboxulator. The message is pretty darn clear:

Dear Thilly,

I just left a meeting at the White House with President Obama.

The President reiterated the need to pass real health care reform, and I am committed to doing everything I can to ensure that happens in the U.S. Senate.

Coloradans deserve affordable and stable health care, and I believe a public option is one tool that could provide much-needed competition and additional choice for consumers.


Please join me in answering President Obama’s call. Contact your members of Congress to pass meaningful health care reform today!

We’ve watched the debate over health insurance reform get off-track thanks to special interests that benefit from the broken insurance system we have now. Last night, President Obama set the record straight on distortions being spread by opponents of health care reform, who simply want to “kick the can further down the road” and delay reform.

Much of the debate has focused on the public option. Last night, the President said this about the public option:

But an additional step we can take to keep insurance companies honest is by making a not-for-profit public option available in the insurance exchange. Let me be clear — it would only be an option for those who don’t have insurance. No one would be forced to choose it, and it would not impact those of you who already have insurance. In fact, based on Congressional Budget Office estimates, we believe that less than 5% of Americans would sign up.

Despite all this, the insurance companies and their allies don’t like this idea. They argue that these private companies can’t fairly compete with the government. And they’d be right if taxpayers were subsidizing this public insurance option. But they won’t be. I have insisted that like any private insurance company, the public insurance option would have to be self-sufficient and rely on the premiums it collects.

I support the President’s plan to include the public option as a tool help reform our broken health care system.

But above all, any reform must be done in a deficit-neutral way and must provide choice, stability and security for those who have insurance. We must see to it that insurance companies can’t ever break their promises to consumers or drop their coverage unexpectedly — especially not when they’re sick.

Please contact your members of Congress today. Urge them to pass health care reform, including a public option, today!…

President Obama’s speech ushered in a new phase of the debate. Our economy and the health of hardworking Coloradans can’t wait. The time to act is now.

Thank you,

Mark Udall

U.S. Senator

Reading the above text, does Senator Udall support the Public Option?

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At Least It’s Not Your House

For all you Pols kids going to various picnics and outings today, please don’t drink and drive.

NEW YORK – Police say a drunken driver sped through a stop sign and hit an earthen mound before going airborne and smashing his Jeep into the second floor of a New York home.

The spectacular wreck happened just after midnight Saturday in East Moriches on Long Island.

The Jeep ripped a giant hole in the side of the house, then fell into a foyer on the first floor. It came to rest on its rear end with its headlights pointing skyward.

The only person home at the time was asleep on the couch on the first floor. He was not hurt.

As the Dead Guvs seem to be as yet unconscious from shenanigans yesterday, consider this your Labor Day Open Thread.

Friendly Reminder for Potential Federal Candidates (Who Shall Remain Unnamed)

For all you people who are “considering” running for political office but who have allegedly already raised tens of thousands of dollars, and have reportedly already hired campaign staff, here’s a friendly reminder from your Federal Election Commission:

If you are running for the U.S. House, Senate or the Presidency, you must register with the FEC once you (or persons acting on your behalf) receive contributions or make expenditures in excess of $5,000. Within 15 days of reaching that $5,000 threshold, you must file a Statement of Candidacy (FEC Form 2) authorizing a principal campaign committee to raise and spend funds on your behalf. Within 10 days of that filing, your principal campaign committee must submit a Statement of Organization (FEC Form 1).  Your campaign will thereafter report its receipts and disbursements on a regular basis.  Campaigns should download the Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates [PDF] and our Candidate Registration presentation [PowerPoint] for more information on the laws that apply to them. [emphasis and underlines added]

That is all.