November 3, 2004

Massive voter turnout in New Mexico


Courtesy Yahoo.


Courtesy NYTimes.

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October 13, 2004


In light of Prop 66, three strikes and overflowing prisons, what do you think about caning (warning: some images of caned buttocks) as implemented in Singapore?

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Who is Gary B. Wesley?

Gary B. Wesley, Attorney at Law, appears a number of times opposing various propositions on the California Official Voter Information Guide. Who is this guy? He sure opposes a lot of things. Here he is, asking for a recall of Mountain View Councilmember Sally Lieber. Interestingly, he represented at least at one time Republican Stan Kawczynski. He was a former City Council candidate (Mountain View). In November 2003, he represented one Nick Bulaich in a potential flouride-related lawsuit between the city of Watsonville and the California State Department of Health Services. Later Bulaich sued both the state and the county. Here he is, compaining about improper use of school funds for bond campaigning.

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No on 60 and 62

Status quo for me. The primaries are for parties to select their candidates, not a general election.

In the case of 62, the primaries become a pre-election, essentially the election. Why top 2? Why not top 1? Then parties will have to hold a pre-primary so that they aren't offering up multiple candidates. It just doesn't make sense and will cost everyone more time and money. Just say no.

In the case of 60, the primaries become a free for all. Democrats can vote for Republicans and Republicans can vote for Democrats. If, as a Republican, I already know that my candidate will win, I can just go vote for a really lousy Democrat who I know will even turn off regular Dems. That's just lame. Just say no.

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October 12, 2004

Reeve, Stem Cells and Political Hype

It really sickens me each time I hear Reeve's death used to push no-holds-barred embryonic stem cell research. It is manipulative and does not project truth. Notice I said "no-holds-barred embryonic stem cell research" - the media and propaganda would have you believe that the Democrats are for stem cell research and the Republicans are against this life-giving make-the-lame-walk research. Finally, CNN has a pretty clean piece on the subject.

What is the issue? The issue is not stem cell research as a field, adult stem cell research continues to be funded by the NIH. (In fact, this technology would have been closest to bringing a cure to what Reeve had - rather than embryonic stem cell research.) The issue isn't even embryonic cell research as a field, as the NIH is allowed to fund research on embryonic stem cell lines acquired prior to 9/1/2003. The main issue is whether the federal government should fund embryonic stem cell research without "moral" restrictions. Is it OK for embryos to be harvested for stem cells?

We got this super flashy multi-page pamphlet asking us to Vote Yes on 71. This thing is even scarier. It puts a bunch of borrowed money into an "Independent Citizen's Oversight Committee". Hmm, I wonder who will get to be on that Committee. Fortunately, the borrowed money (read bonds) are "self-financing". Ooo, that's a neat trick. I wonder if I can get a "self-financing" mortgage? But wait there's more! If you sign up now, not only will you receive this "self-financing" loan, but you'll even make money, with an ROI of 236% or more! Jobs, revenues, health care savings, cures for cancer, diabetes, severe burns, Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's, HIV/AIDS, Heart disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Autoimmune diseases, Osteoporosis, ALS, Spainal cord injuries. Wow. Call now, operators are standing by!

More seriously, do check out the No on 71 page. There are some very good reasons to not get sucked into the hype.

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August 10, 2004

Elliott's updated affidavit

The Boston Globe reported last week that one of the SwiftVets had recanted his position. That turned out to be a misquote. Elliot filed a new affidavit where he maintains that "John Kerry has not been honest about what has happened in Vietnam."

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August 1, 2004

ADA Liberal Quotient

Kudos to Ryan for this one.

Every year, the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), "America's oldest independent liberal lobbying organization", grades members of Congress on how aligned they are with ADA based on 20 votes. Each vote is worth 5 points for a maximum of 100 points. They state themselves, that "the Annual Voting Records have served as the standard measure of political liberalism" since the ADA's founding in 1947. You can see the drill down on last year's results (2003) to see how this works. So, what's the scoop?

The scoop is that John Kerry is not as moderate as you might think. (Though maybe you never thought that... it sure sounded like it during the convention.) Although his liberal quotient in 2003 was 85, the 15 points were not votes opposed to the ADA's position, but rather abstentions. His lifetime rating is 92, 2 points higher than Ted Kennedy. I have to admit though, in the Senate people bbasically vote along party lines.

The 20
1. Cloture on Estrada Nomination. Motion to limit debate and vote on President Bush's nomination of Miguel A. Estrada to be a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Motion rejected 55-44. A three-fifths majority - 60 votes -- is required to invoke cloture. March 6, 2003. A no vote is a +. Kerry voted no.

2. S 3. Late Term Abortion Ban - Roe v. Wade Support. Harkin (D-IA) amendment that would express the sense of the Senate that the Supreme Court's decision legalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade was correct and should not be overturned. Adopted 52-46. March 12, 2003. A yes vote is a +. Kerry voted yes.

3. S. Con Res 23. Fiscal 2004 Budget Resolution -ANWR Oil Drilling. Boxer (D-CA) amendment to kill language in the resolution that would authorize oil drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska. Motion adopted 52-48. March 19, 2003. A yes vote is a +. Kerry voted yes.

4. S. Con Res 23. Fiscal 2004 Budget Resolution - Child Care. Bingaman (D-NM) amendment to increase mandatory childcare spending by $4.6 billion over five years and $9.1 billion over 10 years. The spending would be paid for by decreasing tax cuts. Rejected 49-50. March 25, 2003. A yes vote is a +. Kerry voted yes.

5. S 1054. Tax Reductions - Unemployment Insurance Extension. Kennedy (D-MA) motion to waive the Budget Act and extend unemployment benefits by 26 weeks, with an additional 13 weeks for workers who have exhausted federal benefits. It also would fund unemployment compensation for part-time and low-wage workers. It would be paid for by slowing up implementation of cuts in the top income tax rate. Motion rejected 50-49. A three-fifths majority - 60 votes -- is required to waive the Budget Act. May 15, 2003. A yes vote is a +. Kerry voted yes.

6. HR 2. Tax Reduction. Passage of the bill that would reduce taxes by $350 billon over 11 years, exempting 50 percent of dividend income from taxes in 2003, and exempting all dividend income from 2004 through 2006. From 2003 through 2007, businesses investing $400,000 or less annually could write off up to $100,000 of those expenses. Individual income tax rate reductions already in place would be accelerated. Taxes on corporate overseas income would be reduced by 85 percent for one year. States and localities would receive $20 billion for fiscal relief. The child tax credit would be increased to $1,000. The measure also would curtail the use of corporate tax shelters and exempt more people from paying the alternative minimum tax. Passed 51-49. (Before passage, the Senate substituted the text of S. 1054, as amended.) May 15, 2003. A no vote is a +. Kerry voted no.

7. S 14. Energy Policy - Nuclear Power Plants. Wyden (D-OR) amendment that would kill loan guarantees covering half the construction costs of about seven new nuclear power plants, allowing the Energy Department to buy electricity from those plants. Rejected 48-50. June 10, 2003. (No new nuclear power plant has been ordered in the U.S. since 1978, a year before the Three Mile Island accident.) A yes vote is a +. Kerry voted yes.

8. S 1 Prescription Drug Benefit. Passage of the bill to authorize $400 billion over 10 years to create a prescription drug benefit provided by private insurers for Medicare recipients beginning in 2006. Medicare recipients would be allowed to remain in the traditional fee-for-service program or switch to a preferred provider program that includes prescription drug coverage. The Center for Medicare Choices in the Department of Health and Human Services would award two-year regional contracts for providing drug coverage to private insurers. If a region had fewer than two qualified bidders, a federal "fallback" drug coverage plan would be in place for one year before new private bidders would be sought. Enrolled beneficiaries would pay an average monthly premium of $35, a $275 deductible, and a 50% co-payment up to annual drug costs of $4,500, after which benefits would stop until the beneficiary's out-of-pocket drug costs reached $3,700, when the insurer would pay 90 percent of drug costs. Beneficiaries with incomes below 160 percent of the poverty level would be eligible for additional assistance. Passed 76-21. June 27, 2003. A no vote is a +. Kerry DID NOT VOTE.

9. S 925. Fiscal 2004 State Department Reauthorization - HIV/AIDS. Bingaman (D-NM) amendment to express the Sense of Congress that the global HIV/AIDS bill enacted this year (PL 108-25) should be fully funded, even if doing so would exceed the funding allowed by the fiscal 2004 budget resolution. Adopted 78-18. July 10, 2003. A yes vote is a +. Kerry voted yes.

10. HR 2660. Fiscal 2004 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations - Overtime Pay Regulations. Harkin (D-IA) amendment that would prohibit using funds for any regulation that would take away any worker's eligibility for overtime pay. Adopted 54-45. September 10, 2003. A yes vote is a +. Kerry voted yes.

11. HR 2660. Fiscal 2004 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations - Financial Aid Eligibility. Corzine (D-NJ) amendment prohibiting use of Department of Education funds to change financial aid eligibility formulas depriving 84,000 students of their eligibility for Pell Grants for the 2004-05 school year and many middle-income families from eligibility for Stafford federal direct and guaranteed student loans. Motion adopted 521-44. September 10, 2003. A yes vote is a +. Kerry voted yes.

12. S J Res 17. Disapproving FCC Media Ownership Rule. Passage of the joint resolution to disapprove Federal Communications Commission broadcast media ownership rule allowing media conglomerates to own more television stations. Passed 55-40. September 16, 2003. A yes vote is a +. Kerry DID NOT VOTE.

13. S 1689. Fiscal 2004 Supplemental Appropriation for Iraq and Afghanistan - Iraq's Reconstruction. Byrd (D-WV) amendment that would eliminate from the bill $15.2 billion of the $20.3 billion allocated for reconstruction of Iraq. $5.1 billion remaining could be spent immediately for public safety, national security and justice, and up to $5 billion more could be spent for Iraq's reconstruction before April 1. After April 1, the remaining $10.2 billion in reconstruction funding could be released as part of a separate appropriations bill - but only if the United Nations agrees to U.S. leadership of a multinational military force and political and economic reconstruction of Iraq, with the President providing a detailed reconstruction plan, including an estimated schedule for transferring sovereignty to the Iraqi people and withdrawing troops. Rejected 38-59. October 1, 2003. A yes vote is a +. Kerry voted yes.

14. S 1689. Conditional Release of Fiscal 2004 Supplemental Funds for Iraq and Afghanistan. Stevens (R-AK) motion to kill the Byrd (D-WV) amendment (above). Motion agreed to 57-42. October 16, 2003. A no vote is a +. Kerry voted no.

15. S 3. Conference Report on Late Term Abortion Ban. Conference report adopted to ban a medical procedure opponents refer to as "partial birth" abortion. The procedure would be allowed only if it is necessary to save a woman's life. Those performing the procedure would be subject to fines and up to two years in prison. Adopted 64-34. October 21, 2003. A no vote is a +. Kerry voted no.

16. HR 2989. Fiscal 2004 Appropriation for Transportation and Treasury - Competitive Sourcing. Mikulski (D-MD) amendment that would prohibit using any funds to implement Office of Management and Budget guidelines to open some government activities to competition between government and private sources. Rejected 47-48. October 23, 2003. A yes vote is a +. Kerry voted yes.

17. HR 2989. Fiscal 2004 Appropriation for Transportation and Treasury -Election Systems Overhaul. Dodd (D-CT) motion to waive the Budget Act to add $1 billion for grants to states for improving election technology and the administration of federal elections. Motion agreed to 63-31. A three-fifths majority -- 60 votes -- is required to waive the Budget Act. (Subsequently, the Dodd amendment was adopted by voice vote.) October 23, 2003. A yes vote is a +. Kerry voted yes.

18. Cloture on Pickering Nomination. Motion to invoke cloture, forcing a vote on President Bush's nomination of Charles W. Pickering, Sr. of Mississippi to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Motion rejected 54-43. (A three-fifths majority -- 60 votes -- is required to invoke closure. October 30, 2003. (President Bush later made a recess appointment of this ultra-conservative judge, despite rejection of Pickering in the previous Congress.) A no vote is a +. Kerry DID NOT VOTE.

19. Cloture on HR 6 Energy Policy. Motion to invoke cloture, ending debate of the conference report on the Administration's energy bill. It would authorize $25.7 billion in tax breaks over 10 years, authorize $18 billion in loan guarantees for a natural gas pipeline from Alaska, require ethanol producers to more than double their output by 2012, and protect makers of the gasoline additive MTBE from legal liability until MTBE production would be required to cease in 2015. The bill also would impose reliability standards for electricity transmission networks and ease restrictions on utility ownership and mergers. Cloture rejected 57-40. A three-fifths majority-60 votes-is required to invoke cloture. November 21, 2003. A no vote is a +. Kerry voted no.

20. HR 1. Cloture on Prescription Drug Benefit Conference Report. Motion to invoke cloture, ending debate on the conference report on the bill that would create a prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients beginning in 2006, and make structural changes to traditional Medicare, favoring private health plans. Motion agreed to 70-29. November 24, 2003. A no vote is a +. Kerry voted no.

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