Month Archives: February 2009

Change Watch Backgrounder: Gary Locke

by David Prentice

February 27, 2009

POSITION: SECRETARY OF COMMERCE

 

NOMINEE: Gary F. Locke

BIRTH DATE: January 21, 1950 in Seattle, WA

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in Political Science 1972, Yale University

J.D. 1975, Boston University School of Law

FAMILY: Wife Mona Lee; three children, Emily, Dylan, and Madeline

EXPERIENCE:

2005-present Of Counsel, Seattle law firm Davis Wright Tremain LLP, in their China and governmental-relations practice groups; Jan 1997-Jan 2005 Governor of Washington; Jan 1994-Jan 1997 County Executive, King County, Washington; Jan 1983-Jan 1994 Member Washington State House of Representatives, 37th District; served as Chair of the Appropriations Committee; 1975-1982 Deputy Prosecutor, King County, Washington

2008 Washington Co-Chairman of Hillary Clinton presidential campaign

ON ABORTION

I support reproductive choice. I really believe it’s a very personal, very sensitive profound decision, but I don’t believe government should interfere with that very basic of decisions, that it should be left to a woman and whoever she feels she needs to consult. But, I don’t believe government should make that decision.”

[Source]

We are a strongly pro-choice state. We have a long history of passing pro-choice legislation and pro-choice initiatives. We also have a strong track record of turning back anti-choice legislation and initiatives. We are proud of this tradition. We know in this state that the right to reproductive choice is critical to women’s rights. It is central to the concepts of equality and self-government. Democratic government begins with the right to responsibly govern our individual lives.”

We must be vigilant in protecting against the political erosion of the right to choose. We must always fight against rules, regulations and legislation that seek to chip away at this right.”

[Source]

ON RELIGION AND GOVERNMENT

I am a religious person, but I feel there must be a very clear line between government and religion … There must be a clear separation between government and religion.”

[Source]

ON GLOBAL WARMING

Climate change is one of the most serious environmental issues facing our planet today. While the Bush Administration has not fully addressed this issue, I believe that it is important for us as a state and region to reduce our contribution to the emission of global warming gases.”

[Source]

Lifetime Grade of “B” as Governor

Every year the CATO Institute rates the nation’s governors on tax and spending issues in their states:

Gary Locke leaves office with the final grade of B, but the credit should go to Washington voters. Indeed, Locke found himself constantly fighting the voters on fiscal issues. Initiative 601, which was passed by voters in 1993 and caps state spending at population growth plus inflation, kept Locke’s spending on a leash despite his attempts to circumvent the cap. When Locke vigorously campaigned for a 9-cent increase in the fuel tax to fund his $8.5 billion transportation wish list in 2002, voters again stopped him in his tracks. By December 2002 Locke realized that he was going to have a tough time passing tax increases and was forced to cut $2 billion in spending to balance the budget. In 2003 the legislature finally gave Locke a 10-year, $4.2 billion transportation bill that raised the fuel tax by 5 cents per gallon. Perhaps emboldened by that, Locke proposed a 1 percent sales tax increase in 2004. The legislature put the referendum on the ballot, and voters rejected it by an even larger margin than the first fuel tax initiative. As a parting shot, Locke proposed a $500 million tax package that would raise taxes on businesses, sodas, beer, and liquor. …when Locke decided in early 2003 not to run for reelection, his approval rating was around 30 percent.”

TIES TO CORRUPTION?

Of course, there was that memory loss (of Mr. Locke’s) and all those “I don’t recall … I don’t remember” statements to Congressional investigators in 1999, probing his gubernatorial campaign fund-raising efforts; the astonishing $3.2 billion tax break he gave to Boeing while never disclosing he paid $715,000 to - and relied on the advice of - Boeing’s own private consultant and outside auditor for advice; and those favors for his brother-in-law (who lived in the governor’s mansion), including a tax break for his relative’s company, personal intervention in a company dispute, and Locke’s signature on a federal loan application for the company.”

[Source]

Now John Huang, the Democratic fund-raiser who supported Locke’s 1996 gubernatorial campaign at no less than eight political events across the country, has agreed to plead guilty to felony conspiracy to make illegal campaign contributions … Though Huang and his wife gave token personal donations to Locke totaling a mere $1,000, Huang is no casual acquaintance of Locke or his out-of-state fund-raising staff. As reported here previously, Huang helped organize May 1996 galas involving Locke at the Mayflower Hotel and Sheraton Carlton in Washington, D.C.; three fund-raisers at restaurants in Los Angeles, and an extravaganza at the Universal City, Calif., Hilton in October 1996 that raised upwards of $30,000.”

[Source]

Already under investigation by the Public Disclosure Commission for mishandling cash contributions, Gov. Gary Locke’s gubernatorial campaign must now contend with new revelations concerning two trips to a Buddhist temple last summer where campaign dollars changed hands. On two separate occasions, Locke visited the Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple in Redmond at the invitation of the temple’s founder, Grand Master Sheng-Yen Lu. Grand Master Lu, his wife, his son and several people self-described as church administrators and priests gave Locke about $13,100 in contributions.”

[Source]

Wai Chee Chan, one of four New Yorkers who gave the Locke campaign $750 in cash, is co-owner of Harmony Palace. He is also national president of the On Leong Chinese Merchants Association, a Chinese “civic group” whose former bosses admitted they gave drug-dealing and contract-killing orders to the violent Ghost Shadows street gang.”

[Source]

Change Watch Backgrounder: Melody Barnes

by David Prentice

February 27, 2009

POSITION: DIRECTOR, DOMESTIC POLICY COUNCIL

 

NOMINEE: Melody Barnes

BIRTH DATE: April 29, 1964 in Richmond, VA

EDUCATION:

Bachelor’s degree with honors in History 1986, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

J.D. 1989, University of Michigan Law School

EXPERIENCE:

June-November 2008 Senior Domestic Policy Advisor for the Obama campaign

2004-2008 Executive Vice President for Policy, Center for American Progress

2003-2005 of Counsel, the Raben Group

1995-2003 Chief Counsel to Senator Edward Kennedy, Senate Judiciary Committee

1993-1995 Director of Legislative Affairs, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

1991-1993 Assistant Counsel, U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights

1989-1991 Attorney, Shearman and Sterling, New York City

Board member, EMILY’S List

Member of New York State Bar Association

Member of District of Columbia Bar Association

ON EMILY’S LIST

EMILY’s List, whose name is an acronym (Early Money is Like Yeast), is a national political action committee that works to elect pro-choice female Democrats. The group has turned the bundling of campaign contributions into an art form”

[Source]

Formally, there are only three requirements for a candidate to earn EL’s support: The candidate must be a woman; she must be a Democrat; and she must support unrestricted access to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand. EMILY’s List has withdrawn its support from women who vote against event the most extreme abortion positions. For instance, Mary Landrieu, the recently re-elected Democratic Senator from Louisiana, lost EL’s backing when she voted in favor of a ban on partial-birth abortion.”

[Source]

ON THE ADMINISTRATION’S GOALS

Barnes says the goals of the new administration is to “get rid of our flawed economic philosophy” and set about the work of “creating new jobs” and “greening our economy.”

[Source]

Quite frankly it’s all about changing the world, changing the country, helping the American public realize what it means to have a progressive America, to hear the other side of the debate that we think that they’ve been missing for a long time.”

[Source]

ON ABORTION

It is unacceptable to speak timidly about the right embodied in Roe v. Wade. Too much is at stake the lives and welfare of women, the well-being of their families, and of great importance  a concept of liberty that includes women as equal.”

…Many of us believe it’s critical to expand the conversation around reproductive rights and press for laws and policies that support the decision to have a family, as well as the decision to have an abortion.”

[Source]

Family planning is the only realistic and proven means of reducing abortion rates and empowering women, and men, to make decisions about their lives and their families.”

President Bush and his allies have upped the ante in the battle over abortion, and turned it into a full-scale war on family planning. But as this war unfolds, women and men of good conscience need to understand that what is at stake here is the future of literally millions of women, their families, communities and societies.”

[Source]

ON SCIENCE

Barnes called George W. Bush’s administration a “war on science.”

We recognize science as being a tool to help solve many of the problems before us.”

[Source]

ON HEALTH CARE

The health care system is no longer sustainable-it’s a huge burden on individuals who aren’t getting the care they need and on businesses.  The squeeze on business is reflected by the scores of business people who are now at the policy table, looking for solutions.”

[Source]

ON CLIMATE CHANGE

After years of denial, delay, distraction and distortion, climate change is changing the political climate.”

[Source]

Interesting column by George Will on food and sex.

by Cathy Ruse

February 27, 2009

I think Mary Eberstadt may be on to something, and I surely hope the theory follows through to mean more prudishness in sex will follow! But I have my doubts. People quite easily can measure the negative effects of gluttony by the numbers on the scale and their cholesterol count, etc. But an STD? Why that’s not MY fault, it was so-and-so who gave it to me. People who are honest and introspective, however, will be able to conclude that a lifestyle of serial monogamy has led to their unhappiness. Isn’t it interesting that the simplest answer that so many refuse to consider - faith in the God of Abraham rather than Lord Vegan — will make you both physically and psychologically healthier and happier?

By the way, my husband and I know Mary well and of course this article made me think of what she served us for dinner at her house not long ago — pulled pork sandwiches from a local deli!

 

Jewish World Review Feb. 26, 2009 2 Adar 5769

Prudes at Dinner, Gluttons in Bed

By George Will

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com  

Put down that cheeseburger and listen up: If food has become what sex was a generation ago - the intimidatingly intelligent Mary Eberstadt says it has - then a cheeseburger is akin to adultery, or worse. As eating has become highly charged with moral judgments, sex has become notably less so, and Eberstadt, a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, thinks these trends involving two primal appetites are related.

In a Policy Review essay, “Is Food the New Sex?” - it has a section titled “Broccoli, pornography, and Kant” - she notes that for the first time ever, most people in advanced nations “are more or less free to have all the sex and food they want.” One might think, she says, either that food and sex would both be pursued with an ardor heedless of consequences, or that both would be subjected to analogous codes constraining consumption. The opposite has happened - mindful eating and mindless sex.

Imagine, says Eberstadt, a 30-year-old Betty in 1958, and her 30-year-old granddaughter Jennifer today. Betty’s kitchen is replete with things - red meat, dairy products, refined sugars, etc. - that nutritionists now instruct us to minimize. She serves meat from her freezer, accompanied by this and that from jars. If she serves anything “fresh,” it would be a potato. If she thinks about food, she thinks only about what she enjoys, not what she, and everyone else, ought to eat.

Jennifer pays close attention to food, about which she has strong opinions. She eats neither red meat nor endangered fish, buys “organic” meat and produce, fresh fruits and vegetables, and has only ice in her freezer. These choices are, for her, matters of right and wrong. Regarding food, writes Eberstadt, Jennifer exemplifies Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative: She acts according to rules she thinks are universally valid and should be universally embraced.

Betty would be baffled by draping moral abstractions over food, a mere matter of personal taste. Regarding sex, however, she had her Categorical Imperative - the 1950s’ encompassing sexual ethic that proscribed almost all sex outside of marriage. Jennifer is a Whole Foods Woman, an apostle of thoroughly thought-out eating. She bristles with judgments - moral as well as nutritional - about eating, but she is essentially laissez-faire about sex.

In 50 years, Eberstadt writes, for many people “the moral poles of sex and food have been reversed.” Today, there is, concerning food, “a level of metaphysical attentiveness” previously invested in sex; there are more “schismatic differences” about food than about (other) religions.

If food is the new sex, Eberstadt asks, “where does that leave sex?” She says it leaves much of sex dumbed-down - junk sex akin to junk food. It also leaves sexual attitudes poised for a reversal. Since Betty’s era, abundant research has demonstrated that diet can have potent effects, beneficial or injurious. Now, says Eberstadt, an empirical record is being assembled about the societal costs of laissez-faire sex.

Eberstadt says two generations of “social science replete with studies, surveys and regression analyses galore” have produced clear findings: “The sexual revolution - meaning the widespread extension of sex outside of marriage and frequently outside commitment of any kind - has had negative effects on many people, chiefly the most vulnerable; and it has also had clear financial costs to society at large.”

In 1965, the Moynihan Report sounded an alarm about 23.6 percent of African American children born out of wedlock. Today the figure for the entire American population is 38.5 percent, and 70.7 percent for African Americans. To that, add AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, and the unquantifiable coarsening of the culture and devaluing of personal intimacy.

Today “the all-you-can-eat buffet” is stigmatized and the “sexual smorgasbord” is not. Eberstadt’s surmise about a society “puritanical about food, and licentious about sex” is this: “The rules being drawn around food receive some force from the fact that people are uncomfortable with how far the sexual revolution has gone - and not knowing what to do about it, they turn for increasing consolation to mining morality out of what they eat.”

Perhaps. Stigmas are compasses, pointing toward society’s sense of its prerequisites for self-protection. Furthermore, as increasing numbers of people are led to a materialist understanding of life - who say not that “I have a body” but that “I am a body” - society becomes more obsessive about the body’s maintenance. Alas, expiration is written into the leases we have on our bodies, so bon appetit.

Live Blog from CPAC 2009: New Challenges in the Culture War

by Krystle Gabele

February 26, 2009

CPAC definitely offers a vast array of speakers in the conservative movement, and this year’s conference is no exception to the rule. Right now, I am live blogging from the New Challenges in the Culture War panel discussion, which features many renowned experts in the pro-life movement. The panelists include: Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse of The Beverly LaHaye Institute and Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel and Liberty University School of Law.

Dr. Crouse is right now discussing how Obama’s agenda will be particularly devastating to the pro-life movement, in addition to promoting a feminist agenda. Crouse is also mentioning the damaging decision to reverse the Mexico City policy. The Obama administration is using a portion of the budget to expand funding of reproductive services through increasing Planned Parenthood funding.

Additionally, Dr. Crouse is also mentioning how the Fairness Doctrine will effectively close down conservative talk radio, further expanding the liberal encroachment in the media.

Hollywood has also been a threat to our culture, whether it is Sean Penn portraying Harvey Milk in the movie, “Milk,” or Kate Winslet’s character in “The Reader.”

Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel is now speaking. He is mentioning how the Obama administration will be threatening traditional marriage through the open promotion of homosexual marriage. Staver said that 30 states have successfully passed marriage amendments, as well as amendments to state constitutions declaring marriage as being between one man and one woman. The marriage amendments have been championed by pro-family African Americans and Hispanics, who believe in traditional marriage. Staver also mentioned that the RNC has one of the most conservative, pro-family policy platforms. This platform was revised during the RNC Convention in 2008.

Rep. Chris Smith from New Jersey is now addressing the audience. Abortion is violence against children and is hurtful to women on the emotional and physical level. It is a violation of the child’s human rights. The Obama agenda is one of the most pro-abortion agendas in history, and Obama will be known as the abortion president. Smith is also discussing the negative effect of the repeal of the Mexico City policy.

Obama also wants to reinstate the U.N. Population fund. Smith said if we want to look at the detrimental effects that this policy is going to have on America, we need to look at China’s treatment of women and children.

Overall, this was a great panel that offered insight into the challenges that the pro-life movement faces in the next four years. We need to remain strong to prevent these policy proposals from being enacted into law.

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

February 26, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

Blogosphere Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

February 25, 2009

Here’s some of the buzz from the blogosphere.

When “Fairness” is Unfair

by Robert Morrison

February 25, 2009

Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) are eager to bring back the so-called Fairness Doctrine (FD). That was a rule laid down by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that was used to squelch broadcast criticism of the (mostly liberal) administrations in Washington. The FD was the 20th century equivalent of the Alien and Sedition Acts. The FD reigned for several decades and had the effect of suppressing debate on the airwaves. Until the boneheaded McCain-Feingold law was passed, FD was the worst infringement on free speech going. It was repealed under Ronald Reagan in 1987. That was the year he called for the Berlin Wall to come down. As a result of Reagan’s liberating efforts, we saw freedom rise at home and abroad.

Conservative radio talkers are calling the threat of a reconstituted FD a “Hush Rush” bill. We need to be aware, however, that liberals may achieve their ends without passing legislation, or even without a new FCC “fairness” rule. They could do it by requiring a fixed amount of local content for radio. The idea there is that our mostly liberal major metropolitan areas would produce the local content and squeeze out the conservatives-like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Bill Bennett—who tend to be nationally syndicated.  

Of course, the FD would not apply to newspapers. Or to the worldwide web. Or to National Public Radio, which continues to broadcast shows like “All Things Considered.” In reality it’s all liberal things considered. Their web site this month, for example, celebrates Darwin’s bicentennial with recipes for stew and steaks including lesser rhea meat. Apparently, this South American version of the ostrich is very tasty, and figured in Darwin’s writings.

About those newspapers, their business is declining. So are their size and their circulation. The price of a single share of stock in The New York Times now costs less than their Sunday edition.

The Washington Post is reorganizing its Sunday edition, eliminating a separate book section. The Post’s ombudsman famously admitted—conveniently after November’s election—that the paper’s news reporting had leaned toward Barack Obama. Those of us who regularly read The Post would have to disagree. The Tower of Pisa leans, but it still stands. The Post fell over totally for Obama and could never get back up.

Years ago, my Russian teacher taught me how to read papers like The New York Times and The Washington Post. Solomon Ioffe was a Soviet Jew who was scooped up and booted out of the USSR in the 70s. Solomon had barely arrived when he got a job teaching military officers like me to speak his difficult tongue. I was astonished to learn that Solomon knew all about the Communist dictator Nikita Khrushchev banging his shoe at the UN.

Russians view such conduct as most nekulturny (uncultured) behavior and so it was never reported in Pravda (Truth) or in Izvestia (News). Solomon told me the Soviet joke about their press: There’s no news in the Truth, and no truth in the News.

How did he know so much, I asked Solomon? Reading a controlled press is not so hard, he replied. Instead of the inverted pyramid we use for journalism in the West, he said, you must first turn the pyramid right side up. The most important items are at the bottom of the columns. You did that in the USSR because the editors were lazy and only worked over the first few paragraphs to make sure they were “politically correct.” They wanted to dash from their desks to their two- and three-vodka lunches. Second, read between the lines, Solomon instructed me, and see what they’re not saying. Finally, touching his temple for emphasis, he said you must remember. What did this same publication say about this same issue yesterday? And how has its stance shifted with the prevailing political winds?

I’ve been reading The Washington Post applying Solomon’s wisdom for 35 years now—and his method works! But we still need talk radio to challenge the institutional bias of what Rush calls “the drive-by media.”

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

February 25, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

Been in D.C. Too Long?

by Chris Gacek

February 24, 2009

How do you know that you know way too much about Washington bureaucracies and how they “work”? Here’s how. When you hear CNBC’s Rick Santelli calling for a Chicago Tea Party tax protest this summer, you immediately start to wonder whether he’ll need to get permits from some government entity like the Environmental Protection Agency. And then you wonder whether Illinois permits will be needed also. Well, I plead guilty to having had such thoughts last Thursday.

Fortunately, I am not alone and not nearly as bad off as Scott Ott of the D.C. Examiner appears to be. Ott has written a brilliant, hilarious piece entitled, EPA Arrests Rick Santelli, ‘Chicago Tea Party’ Cancelled.” (See Feb. 24, 2009 ed., p. 14.) The satirical article contains the following slam from President Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, commenting on Santelli’s arrest for threatening to pollute Lake Michigan: “I don’t know where Mr. Santelli lives, but apparently, like most conservative critics, he has a callous disregard for the lives of the waterfowl, sturgeon and fresh-water mollusks that inhabit the Lake Michigan watershed.”

That’s funny, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Santelli really could be arrested for dumping tea or “derivative securities” (paper) into the Great Lakes. Well done, Mr. Ott.

Andie Coller of The Politico observed today that Gibbs “dismissed [Santelli] as a know-nothing derivatives trader out of touch with Main Street.” Coller then noted that “[a] Rasmussen poll released Monday found that 55 percent of those surveyed thought federal mortgage subsidies to those most at risk of losing their homes would be ‘rewarding bad behavior.’” If I were the White House I would be very careful about trying to roll out a campaign of intimidation and bullying against journalists, in general, and a journalist, in particular, who is very much attuned to public sentiment, is an expert in the numerous cross-cutting markets traded in Chicago, and is the most popular figure on America’s #1 financial news network.

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