Friday, January 26, 2007

Dem could still win seat in Congress

New Ruling: Dem Jennings Moves Forward In Push For Congressional Seat Held By GOP's Buchanan...
for the story............

A Holiday Gift For Everyone
A Free Cook Book
Ron Mills

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

By the Numbers

State of the Union - By the Numbers

In his 2007 State of the Union address, President Bush will hail the state of the union as "strong", pointing to the growing economy, new jobs, and record home ownership. But for Americans worrying about how to make ends meet around their kitchen tables at night, the country is headed in the wrong direction.
Just look at the numbers, and how Bush's rhetoric has failed to match reality throughout his presidency...

The Reality
  • Average cost of a public four-year college in 2000, annual: $9,958
  • Average cost of a public four-year college in 2006, annual: $12,796 1
  • Maximum Pell grant in 2001 school year: $3,750 1a
  • Maximum Pell grant in 2006 school year (inflation adjusted): $3,558 1b
Bush's Rhetoric
  • 2005 State of the Union: We'll make it easier for Americans to afford a college education, by increasing the size of Pell Grants.
  • 2004 State of the Union: I propose larger Pell grants for students who prepare for college with demanding courses in high school.


The Reality
  • Americans without health insurance, 2000: 38.2 million 2
  • Americans without health insurance, 2005: 46.6 million 3
  • Average monthly worker contribution for family coverage, 2000: $135
  • Average monthly worker contribution for family coverage, 2006: $248 4
  • Percentage of annual bankruptcies due to medical bills: 55% 5
Bush's Rhetoric
  • 2006 State of the Union: Keeping America competitive requires affordable health care. Our government has a responsibility to provide health care for the poor and the elderly, and we are meeting that responsibility. For all Americans, we must confront the rising cost of care, strengthen the doctor-patient relationship, and help people afford the insurance coverage they need.
  • 2005 State of the Union: we must make health care more affordable, and give families greater access to good coverage
  • 2004 State of the Union: To make insurance more affordable, Congress must act to address rapidly rising health care costs.
  • 2003 State of the Union: Our second goal is high quality, affordable health care for all Americans.
  • 2001 State of the Union: Many working Americans do not have health care coverage, so we will help them buy their own insurance with refundable tax credits.

The Reality
  • Average price of home heating oil on January 3, 2000: $1.15/gallon
  • Average price of home heating oil on January 1, 2007: $2.42/gallon 6
  • Increase in average price since January 2000, percent: 110%
  • Average price of a gallon of gasoline on January 3, 2000: $1.31
  • Average price of a gallon of gasoline on January 1, 2007: $2.38 7
  • Increase in the average price since January 2000, percentage: 82%
  • ExxonMobil profits in 2000: $7.9 billion 8
  • ExxonMobil profits in 2006: $36.1 billion 9
  • ExxonMobil's profit during the second quarter of 2006, per second: $1,318 10
  • America's Annual Consumption of Gasoline (million of barrels per day) 2000: 8.472 10a
  • America's Annual Consumption of Gasoline (million of barrels per day) 2005: 9.125 10b
Bush's Rhetoric
  • 2006 State of the Union: Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology.
  • 2005 State of the Union: To keep our economy growing, we also need reliable supplies of affordable, environmentally responsible energy
  • 2004 State of the Union: Consumers and businesses need reliable supplies of energy to make our economy run -- so I urge you to pass legislation to modernize our electricity system, promote conservation, and make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy.
  • 2003 State of the Union: Our third goal is to promote energy independence for our country, while dramatically improving the environment
  • 2002 State of the Union: Good jobs also depend on reliable and affordable energy. This Congress must act to encourage conservation, promote technology, build infrastructure, and it must act to increase energy production at home so America is less dependent on foreign oil.
  • 2001 State of the Union: We can promote alternative energy sources and conservation, and we must. America must become more energy-independent, and we will.
Stagnant Incomes
The Reality
  • Median household income in 2000: $47,599
  • Median household income in 2005: $46,326 11
  • Decrease from 2000-2005: $1,273
  • Salary full-time minimum wage employee without vacation, 2006: $10,712
  • Average time for top CEOs to earn that sum, hours: 2.06 12
  • Federal minimum wage in 2000: $5.15/hr
  • Federal minimum wage in 2006: $5.15/hr
  • Loss in purchasing power, full time worker annually: $1,562
Climate Cooking
The Reality
  • Year Bush stated that the emission targets of the Kyoto Protocol were "not based upon science": 2000 13
  • Decrease in NASA budget for Earth science and observation in real dollars since 2000, percentage: 30% 14
  • Year with US highest average temperature ever recorded: 2006 15
Retirement Insecurity
The Reality
  • Workers without defined-benefit retirement plan at work, private sector 2006, percentage: 80% 16
  • Baby boom Americans approaching retirement: 76 million 17
Iraq War Fiasco

The Reality
  • Number of US troops killed in Iraq prior to "Mission Accomplished" speech in 2003: 139
  • Number of US troops killed in Iraq as of January 22, 2007: 3,056 18
  • Number of Iraqi civilians killed in 2006, according to the United Nations: 34,452 19
  • Number of US troops wounded in Iraq prior to "Mission Accomplished" speech in 2003: 542
  • Number of US troops wounded in Iraq as of January 10, 2007: 22,834 20
  • Total US military expenditures (including Iraq/Afghanistan) in 2006: $522 billion
    (Includes China, Russia, the UK, Japan, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Italy, and Australia) 21
  • US Federal Discretionary Budget spent on Military not including Iraq, in 2006, percentage: 48.7%
  • Amount spent on Education, percentage: 6.7% 22
Bush's Rhetoric
  • 2006 State of the Union: Fellow citizens, we are in this fight to win, and we are winning.
  • 2006 State of the Union: As we make progress on the ground, and Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead, we should be able to further decrease our troop levels -- but those decisions will be made by our military commanders, not by politicians in Washington, D.C.
  • 2005 State of the Union: As those [Iraqi] forces become more self-reliant and take on greater security responsibilities, America and its coalition partners will increasingly be in a supporting role.
  • 2004 State of the Union: Month by month, Iraqis are assuming more responsibility for their own security and their own future.
  • 2004 State of the Union: Already, the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations
  • 2003 State of the Union: The British government has learned that Saddam
  • 2003 State of the Union: [Saddam Hussein] clearly has much to hide.
  • 2003 State of the Union: Saddam Hussein has gone to elaborate lengths, spent enormous sums, taken great risks to build and keep weapons of mass destruction.
Debts and Deficits Climbing
The Reality
  • US Trade Deficit, October 2000, monthly: $33.8 billion
  • US Trade Deficit in October 2006, monthly: $58.9 billion 23
  • US Current Account Deficit, FY 2000: $435.4 billion 24
  • US Current Account Deficit, FY 2006: $900 billion 25
  • Loss of value of U.S. dollar relative to the Euro, January 24, 2000-January 23, 2006, percentage: 23%
  • US Budget Deficit in FY 2000: $236 billion surplus 26
  • US Budget Deficit in FY 2006: $423 billion deficit 27
  • US National Debt in FY 2000: $5.7 trillion
  • US National Debt in FY 2006: $8.5 trillion 28
  • National Debt Increase 2000-2006: $2.8 trillion
Household Debt Surpasses Savings
The Reality
  • Personal savings, November 2000: –$56.2 billion 29
  • Personal savings, November 2006: –$95.0 billion 30

1 Costs include tuition, fees, room & board. MSN Money 2000/Associated Press. "The Real Cost of College: Going Down?" January 14, 2005. College Board. Trends in College Pricing 2007.
1a US Department of Education. "FY 2003 Budget Summary." February 4, 2002.
1b Constant Dollars as taken from College Board. "Total Pell Grant Funding Declines for First Time in Six Years." October 24, 2006.
2 US Census Bureau.
3 US Census Bureau.
4 The Kaiser Family Foundation. "Employer Health Benefits 2006 Annual Survey." September 26, 2006.
5 Health Affairs Health Policy Journal. "Marketwatch: Illness and Injury Contributors to Bankruptcy." February 2, 2005.
6 United States Energy Information Administration. "U.S. Weekly No. 2 Heating Oil Residential Prices-cents per gallon." January 4, 2007.
7 United States Energy Information Administration. "U.S. All Grades All Formulations Retail Gasoline Prices-cents per gallon." January 5, 2007.
8 CNN Money.
9 CNN Money.
10 "ExxonMobil makes more than $10 billion." July 27, 2006.
10a US Energy Information Administration. Annual Energy Review 2005. July 27, 2006
10b US Energy Information Administration. Annual Energy Review 2005. July 27, 2006
11 Constant Dollars. US Census Bureau, Table H-8. Median Household Income by State: 1984 to 2005
12 Forbes Magazine. "What the Boss Makes." April 20, 2006
13 The White House. "President Bush Discusses Global Climate Change." June 11, 2001.
14 New York Times, Blinding Ourselves in Space, January 21, 2006.
15 National Climate Data Center. US Department of Commerce. "Climate of 2006 – In Historical Perspective." January 9, 2007.
16 Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in Private Industry in the United States, March 2006.
17 The Seattle Times. Retirement of baby boomers may reverberate in workplace. January 22, 2005.
18 "Iraq Coalition Casualty Count." January 17, 2007.
19 UN Assistance Mission for Iraq. "Human Rights Report." January 16, 2006.
20 "Iraq Coalition Casualty Count." January 17, 2007.
21 sCenter for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. "US Spending vs. the World." February 16, 2006. (*latest available data for China and Russia are for FY 2004)
22 White House Office of Management and Budget. "Table S–3. Growth in Discretionary Budget Authority by Major Agency." February 6, 2006.
23 U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics. "Trade Deficit Decreases in November, 2006." January 10, 2007.
24 Economic Policy Institute. "Economic Snapshots." March 14, 2001.
25 Economic Policy Institute. "Current Account Picture." March 14, 2006.
26 White House Office of Management and Budget. Historical Tables
27 White House Office of Management and Budget. "Table S-1. Budget Totals."
28 Bureau of the Public Debt. "The Debt to the Penny." January 16, 2007.
29 Bureau of Economic Analysis. "Personal Income and Outlays." December 22, 2000.
30 Bureau of Economic Analysis. "Personal Income and Outlays." December 22, 2006.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Insurance Reform Update

message From Rep. Martin Kiar:
As you are aware, this week the Florida House, Florida Senate and Governor are convening together in a Special Session to address the crisis we are currently all suffering from. Attached is an update that I have prepared. Please let me know your thoughts and I would truly appreciate it if you could forward the update to your email lists.
Very truly yours,
Martin David Kiar

A Holiday Gift For Everyone
A Free Cook Book
Ron Mills

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sen. Mel Martinez Bush's Next Defeat

Republicans are divided on Iraq. And domestic policy. And political strategies.

But even more dramatically, they’re really divided over the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee.

The week after the Republicans were handed a series of devastating election defeats, the White House announced that Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) would take over as RNC chair. The RNC has historically rubber-stamped sitting presidents’ choice for party chairman, but Martinez was immediately controversial. The Republican base immediately labeled him the “Harriet Miers of RNC chairs” and went to work.

At this point, it looks like the fight could get ugly.

Rebellion is brewing among conservatives on the Republican National Committee over President’s Bush’s attempt to “impose” Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida as “general chairman” of the party, who favors “amnesty” for illegal aliens. […]

Unhappy committee members say that, in the past, Republican presidents and RNC leaders have successfully run roughshod over the rules, because the RNC officer presiding over votes at committee meetings have simply overruled points of order and other objections from the floor, with no accredited professional parliamentarians to exercise a check.

This time, the organizers of the rebellion say, their strategy will rely in part on having a parliamentarian present. And violations of Robert’s Rules of Order and of the RNC’s written rules — adopted at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York — could result in legal challenges.

It’s likely to get mighty embarrassing for the Bush White House.

The tradition of presidents picking party chairs began in 1983 when Reagan tapped his friend, Nevada Sen. Paul Laxalt, as “general chairman,” effectively creating a job distinct from “national chairman,” which is generally more responsible for day-to-day management of the committee.

But that doesn’t seem particularly relevant to RNC members now. “I have a hard time understanding the logic,” said RNC member Randy Pullen, who is running for Arizona Republican Party chairman in an election at the end of this month. “Just because the RNC did something wrong once before, somehow that justifies doing it again?”

Looking back, I’m hard pressed to imagine what Rove & Co. were thinking on this one. Martinez is unaccomplished, tarnished by the Schiavo debacle, tied to Jack Abramoff, and currently under investigation by the Federal Election Commission. And as far as the right is concerned, he’s also a trial lawyer who supports a guest-worker program most Republicans hate. When Martinez vowed in November not to be “an attack dog” for the party, it just about sent the activist base over the edge.

And now that the Republican National Committee is getting ready to host its internal election, Martinez’s critics are lining up votes against him. There’s no firm count, but opposition forces appear to be quite strong.

In the bigger picture, if the RNC rejects Bush’s choice for party chairman, the president will have fallen to a humiliating position of weakness. It’s one thing to fail to convince a Democratic-run Congress about escalation in Iraq; it’s something else to fail to convince your own party’s committee about the choice for chairman.

It should be fun to watch.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Florida Democratic Party Goes Hi- Tech

Thurman in Cyberspace

The Florida Democratic Party is planning to air regular podcasts with Chairwoman Karen Thurman and other party leaders on its website. The feature begins today with Thurman talking about Dr. Martin Luther King Day. Watch it here.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Bush is out of control

Fasten your seat belts.  President Bush is going to announce his new "strategerie" for Iraq next week.  A surge.  A surge right over the cliff.
Mr. President, it's over.  You've lost control.  Here are the facts that matter:  80% of Iraqis want us to leave; over 40% of Iraqis are now unemployed;  no place is safe or normal due to insurgency and civil war – women can not even give birth safely, due to the total breakdown of a once excellent healthcare system (WPost 1/4/2007).
It is over.  The world knows it, America knows it, your own military knows it (only 35% believe in your policy).  Shifting generals and overruling your advisors is moving the deck chairs on the titanic. Hardly anything is going right, even Saddam's execution was a disaster you couldn't control, Mr. President.
The Iraqis are going to take their country back in whatever form, regardless of what we do, however we do it, whenever we do it.
Don't delay the inevitable Mr. President.  Vietnam taught us that lesson. It took 7 years and over 35,000 more deaths after 1968 when the handwriting was on the wall. Vietnamization. Pacification. Search and Destroy.  Winning the Hearts and Minds. None of it worked.
This is no longer a military battle, a war, it's a political battle.  We are not the surge protectors.  We are not the NYPD.
It is time, Mr. President, to adapt the late Senator George Aiken's strategy for Vietnam:  declare victory and get out.

A Holiday Gift For Everyone
A Free Cook Book
Ron Mills

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Did Crist Aide Steal Rudy's PlayBook


- Suspicion ran high yesterday that Rudy
Giuliani's lost White House campaign playbook was swiped by aides to
Florida's new governor - while the ex-mayor was helping him win
election, sources told The Post.

Giuliani's aides were tightlipped about how it disappeared, but said
it happened during a private plane ride on the campaign trail for
2006 candidates. They included Florida Gov. Charles Crist.

"During one leg of his campaign travel, all luggage was removed
from a private plane and later put back on," said Giuliani's
spokeswoman, Sunny Mindel.

"However, one staffer's bag was not returned. After repeated
requests over the course of a few days, the bag was finally
returned with the document inside.

"Because our staffer had custody of this document at all times
except for this one occasion, it is clear that the document
was removed from the luggage and photocopied," she added,
stopping short of saying it was stolen.

"Voters are sick and tired of dirty tricks. They are
interested in substantive issues and want leaders like Rudy
who are as well," Mindel said.

But operatives outside Giuliani's camp said the book was
taken during a campaign swing for Crist - a Republican,
like Giuliani - whose inauguration to replace Jeb Bush as
Florida's governor took place yesterday.

Crist's aides didn't return calls for comment.

Both Giuliani and Sen. John McCain campaigned for
Crist during the fall.

Giuliani aides repeatedly refused to detail the
specific plans of the internal document, which is
believed to belong to Giuliani's national
fund-raiser, Anne Dickerson, and is described as a
cash-raising plan.

The book, made public in a report yesterday, also
contained notes about Giuliani's potential
personal liabilities, including ex-wife Donna
Hanover and scandal-scarred former Police
Commissioner Bernard Kerik.

Losing control of internal documents was a
public embarrassment as he embarks on a
potential presidential run.

Mindel described it as an outdated book that
wasn't part of central planning, saying, "It's
about as relevant today as a grocery list in
early October . . . in pencil."

But the book was potentially damaging for
Giuliani among political insiders and
uncommitted donors, whom McCain has been
moving to lock up on his side.

McCain strategist John Weaver said his
team knew nothing about how the book went
public and mocked Giuliani over losing
track of it.

Weaver, in a reference to the former
mayor's private-sector business, told
the Politicker blog: "I thought it was a
security company."

The information in the book reportedly
puts Giuliani's fund-raising goals at
$100 million for 2007, a number
political experts called low.