Archive for September, 2008

John McCain’s voting record

September 29, 2008

U.S. Senator, Arizona

Voting Record

Missed Votes

John McCain missed 738 of 4104 roll call votes (18%) since Feb 4, 1993. The graph below shows the percent of roll call votes John McCain was absent for during the member’s time in Congress.

The absentee rate is in red. The two black dotted lines provide a context for understanding the significance of the absentee rate. The lower dotted line shows the median value for all Members of Congress in that time period. The upper dotted line shows the 90th percentile. A Member who approaches the upper dotted line is in the worst 10 percent of Congress.

Can Sarah Palin survive in the age of YouTube?

September 29, 2008

By Jimmy Orr | 09.28.08

Back in 1994, a prominent Democratic attorney was running for Congress in the heart of gun country.  Running as a Democrat in that landslide Republican year was perilous enough, but in Wyoming, it was nearly impossible.

The last Democrat to occupy the state’s sole seat in the House of Representative was 1978 when Teno Roncalio announced he was stepping aside — allowing a young swashbuckling 37-year old Republican to enter the race and eventually be elected to represent the Cowboy state.  That Republican?  Dick Cheney.

Needless to say, this was – and is – Republican country. (more…)

House Rejects Bailout Package, 228-205; Stocks Plunge

September 29, 2008
September 30, 2008

WASHINGTON — In a moment of historic drama in the Capitol and on Wall Street, the House of Representatives voted on Monday to reject a $700 billion rescue of the financial industry. The vote came in stunning defiance of President Bush and Congressional leaders of both parties, who said the bailout was needed to prevent a widespread financial collapse.

The vote against the measure was 228 to 205, with 133 Republicans joining 95 Democrats in opposition. The bill was backed by 140 Democrats and 65 Republicans. (more…)

HOW PROJECTED SURPLUSES BECAME DEFICITS:

September 28, 2008

September 12, 2008

HOW PROJECTED SURPLUSES BECAME DEFICITS:
Main Causes Were Tax Cuts and Higher Security Spending
By Richard Kogan and Gillian Brunet

The federal budget is projected to run a $546 billion deficit in 2009, compared with the $710 billion surplus that budget experts projected for 2009 back when President Bush took office nearly eight years ago.  This $1.3 trillion deterioration in the nation’s fiscal finances for 2009 can be seen by comparing estimates that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released this week with those that CBO released in January 2001.

The story is much the same for the entire ten-year period covered by CBO’s 2001 projection.  In January 2001, CBO projected a cumulative $5.6 trillion surplus for 2002-2011.  Now, CBO’s new report suggests the nation will amass a cumulative deficit of $3.8 trillion over that same period, marking a $9.4 trillion deterioration.

For both 2009 and the ten-year period, this massive deterioration is partly due to weaker-than-expected performance of the economy, along with other “technical” factors that are beyond policymakers’ control.  But these economic and technical factors account for less than one-fourth of the fiscal deterioration for each period, and they are not responsible for the return of deficits.  Even given the disappointing performance of the economy since 2001 relative to CBO’s earlier projections, there would have been large surpluses in every year — totaling $3.4 trillion over the 2002-2011 period — if policymakers had enacted no tax cuts or program increases since 2001.

The dominant factor in the unprecedented fiscal deterioration thus was not the performance of the economy.  Nor was it increases in domestic programs.  The key factors have been large tax cuts and increases in security-related programs.  For fiscal 2009, some $1 trillion of the $1.3 trillion deterioration in the nation’s fiscal finances stems from policy actions, and tax cuts account for 42 percent of this $1 trillion deterioration.  Increases in military and other security programs account for another 40 percent of the deterioration.

The story is much the same for the ten-year period as a whole.  For the 2002-2011 period, tax cuts and increases in security programs account for more than four-fifths of the fiscal deterioration caused by policy actions.  Increases in domestic programs played a much more modest role. (more…)

Playing hooky pays off for Palin

September 25, 2008

By: Scott Lilly
September 22, 2008 07:10 PM EST

Despite all of the discussion of Sarah Palin’s performance as governor of Alaska, there has been little analysis of the simplest measure of performance: attendance. As Woody Allen said many years ago, “80 percent of success is just showing up.”

The Washington Post recently reported that, in her first 19 months as governor, Palin billed the state of Alaska per diem charges for 312 days she spent at her home in Wasilla. Palin’s staff has explained that it was appropriate to bill the state for expenses related to Palin staying in her own house because her “official duty station” was at the state capital of Juneau, where the governor’s official office and mansion are located. But that argument raises a different question: How much time did that leave for her to spend at her “official duty station”? (more…)

Bush Administration will keep secret ‘grim’ Afghanistan report quiet until after election

September 24, 2008

John Byrne
Published: Tuesday September 23, 2008

A secret US intelligence report which says the political and military situation in Afghanistan is “grim” will be withheld from the public until after the election, a new report says. (more…)

Nice Bailout. Now Pay For It!

September 24, 2008

How are we going to pay for Wall Street’s $700 billion rescue?

Daniel Gross
NEWSWEEK

To spend is to tax, as capitalist deity Milton Friedman is said to have put it. If so, over the last several months, we’ve seen an orgy of tax increases, and potential increases. Time was, that prospect would have set off a revolution. (more…)

Warn a brother

September 22, 2008

Warn a brother tshirt

No illegals, no burritos!

September 22, 2008

No illegals no burritos

Bush Urges Democrats to Act Quickly on Bailout

September 22, 2008
September 23, 2008

This article was reported by David M. Herszenhorn, Stephen Labaton and Mark Landler, and written by Mr. Herszenhorn.

WASHINGTON — As President Bush urged lawmakers to act quickly on the bailout legislation, Senate Democrats on Monday put forward their version of the rescue plan, including a bold addition aimed at helping homeowners at risk of foreclosure.

President Bush urged the legislators to resist the temptation to add provisions that, he said, “would undermine the effectiveness of the plan.” But it is becoming clear that Democrats have their own ideas about what should be in the plan, who should be helped, and who should not. (more…)