Archive for January 5th, 2007

Links…

 Mark T reflects on Matt’s letter to Jon Tester.

On one hand, Baucus did say he would have voted against Iraq if he knew then what he knows now; on the other, he threw working Americans under the bus on his first day in Congress.

George Ochenski extracts himself from the ranks of lobbyists…and spends his new-found freedom defending lobbyists.

Oregon wrestles with the after-effects of its regulatory takings initiative. Is this what we want in Montana??

Chief Justice Roberts called for an increase of judicial pay. Shane compared judges’ pay to soldiers’ and teachers’ and discovered general injustice; and V finds Roberts’ proposal worthy of consideration, with some changes.

Trickle-down economics, in action.

Is the death penalty doomed in New Jersey?

How the radical Christian right is infiltrating and undermining our military and law enforcement agencies…

Madrid’s airport was bombed by terrorists…last weekend. Why the silence? Answer: because Muslims didn’t do it.

GOP’s barely missed a total rout in the 2006 elections. It’s also good news for Democrats in 2008: all those seats should be considered vulnerable.

Keith Ellison seeks out Virgil Goode on the floor of the House and shakes his hand.

As McCain reshapes himself for his 2008 presidential bid, he tarnishes his reputation for integrity. The GOP candidates are dropping like flies, folks!

Kossak KagroX sees a pattern in W’s signing statements – and it’s nuts.

Bush firing his generals. Too bad we can’t get rid of the one really responsible for the Iraqi mess – the President.

Reid and Pelosi reject the “surge.”

Joe Biden claims the Bush administration has given up on Iraq and is looking to simply pass on the mess instead of working to fix it.

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by Jay Stevens 

Sarpy Sam has pointed out two bills going before the Montana, SB 91 and SB 86.

Senate Bill 86 is:

AN ACT ELIMINATING THE TIME RESTRICTION FOR BECOMING A LOBBYIST FOR STATE LEGISLATORS, ELECTED STATE OFFICIALS, DEPARTMENT DIRECTORS, APPOINTED STATE OFFICIALS, AND MEMBERS OF CERTAIN PERSONAL STAFFS; REPEALING SECTION 5-7-310, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE.

Got it? It’s intended to reverse the initiative that was pretty much overwhelmingly approved of by Montana voters in the recent election.

Senate Bill 91 is:

AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF CONSTITUENT SERVICES ACCOUNTS; PROVIDING FOR THE FUNDING AND USE OF MONEY IN A CONSTITUENT SERVICES ACCOUNT; PROVIDING REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR CONSTITUENT SERVICES ACCOUNTS; AND AMENDING SECTION 13-37-240, MCA.

Constituent services accounts are basically “slush funds” that candidates can use for just about everything. They’re shadowy, they’re easily abused, and they allow for politicians to get around campaign finance laws. In other words, they need exactly what this bill is requiring: transparency.

Often I’m criticized for favoring the Democratic over the Republican party. I’m partisan, untrustworthy, unreliable, biased, whatever, goes the crit. You know what? I think that’s bullsh*t. It assumes that both parties are equal in competency, ability, and ethics.

They’re not.

The first bill – an attempt to overturn an ethics reform bill approved of by a majority of Montanans – is sponsored by Republican Dan McGee. (You might remember him: he’s the lawmaker that proposed the “sour grapes” bill after Kitzenberg’s party switch. And he supported a bill that would allow the state to discriminate against gays.)

The second – an attempt to bring more transparency to government – is sponsored by Democrat Carol Williams, the state’s first female senate majority leader. (You might also remember that Williams is sponsoring the much-needed and popular initiative-reform bill.)

My point is, it’s pretty damn clear which lawmaker is working for Montana, and which is working in his own and his party’s interests.




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