Tag Archives: Ted Stevens

Reflecting on the Biggest of 2008

2008 has come to an end and as usual it is time to reflect. The year has provided us with big stories, scandals, laughs and a few tears.

The big news stories of 2008

Barack Obama wins presidential election becoming 44th president. This is the biggest story of the year. Hope and Change better be comin’ because Hopeless and the Same old Shit really suck.

California rescinds the right to marry from gays and lesbians. This is scandalous but belongs with the news stories. On a day when our country elected a black man as president, 3 states voted to discriminate against an entire community. And these intolerant bastards have the balls to defend their actions. It reminds me of the old ‘some of my best friends are [fill in with minority of choice]’ bigotry. Our mission for 2009 must be to work to right this horrific wrong.

Bankruptcy, Bailouts and a Recession. We are watching businesses fail at an alarming rate. Circuit City, Linens and Things, KB Toys, Bennigan’s and many, many other companies have failed this year. The mortgage industry has collapsed thanks to sub-prime loans and the tax payer is taking it on the chin with this no-strings-attached bailout. The Big 3 auto manufacturers are struggling and had come to DC with their paws out. The newspaper industry looks to be on very shaky ground as the New York Times took out a loan and other papers are now terminating home delivery. Americans are losing jobs and their homes and less than 2 months before leaving office still-President Bush tells us that we’re in a recession. Really? I hadn’t noticed.

The New York Giants beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. This story was big for me in a couple of ways. I was born in New York and have rooted for the Giants forever – so the Super Bowl win is enjoyable to me. But as I grew up in Miami and went to Miami Dolphins games for many years, I was thrilled that the Patriots lost thus preserving the 1972 Dolphins as the only perfect season.

We are all Georgians. Did John McCain realize that he was talking about a country and not a state when he proclaimed that ‘we are all Georgians? Yes, since his foreign policy advisor is on the payroll to lobby on behalf of Georgia. Unlike Bush, maybe McCain didn’t see Putin’s soul? I suspect that this story will become much larger in 2009. And let’s not overlook the Israel – Hamas increased hostility in Gaza. PE Obama really will have his hands full – as will Sec. of State Hillary Clinton.

Is China Purposely Poisoning Us? My defunct website in 2007 used this as its page heading. I felt the media was missing key stories involving imports from China. Reports of tainted pet food, chicken and fish feed, toothpaste, imported fish, honey and tires were hidden by the MSM but linked by my old site. It wasn’t until our children’s toys proved to be tainted did this make headlines. That and the execution of the Chinese head of food safety in July, 2007. This story grew in 2008 but in my opinion it still isn’t getting the attention it deserves.

I have missed others like the Mumbai Hostage Crisis, the Burma cyclone and China earthquake. And did I mention that gas prices are now below $1.60. Is it a coincidence that the speculators bolted from the market beginning in July? Shouldn’t people be going to jail over this?

The big scandals of 2008

John Edwards lies about affair – thus destroying his political career. He spoke up for the poor. He could have been a great VP or head of the DOJ. It wasn’t the $400 haircuts that destroyed him; it was the affair that he lied about even after the National Enquirer discovered it. Meanwhile, David Vitter’s career goes on. Newt Gingrich is doing well. John McCain was just his party’s nominee for the presidency. They all cheated but didn’t suffer the same fate as Edwards and Eliot Spitzer.

Rod Blagojevich tries to sell Barack Obama’s old Illinois Senate seat. Chicago politics at its finest. John Edwards has an affair and is gone from politics but Blago pulls a political stunt and is still around.

Eliot Spitzer and the high priced hooker. True, he was probably set up for this fall since he made significant enemies as Attorney General of New York. But that doesn’t excuse what he did. True, he did the right thing and resigned – and resigned quickly. Has anyone seen David Vitter’s resignation? David Paterson succeeded Spitzer and promptly announced to the world that both he and his wife had been unfaithful. You can’t make this stuff up.

The $150,000 wardrobe. Sarah Palin became the Republican VP nominee and went on a shopping spree. She bought clothes, clothes and more clothes. She spent more than Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. But she’s giving it back – after it’s worn? Uh, I mean, they’re giving the clothes to the poor. Just what a homeless person wants – a $5,000 dress. Screw a good meal, a warm shower and a job. They don’t even lie well.

The Ted Stevens Conviction. And he almost won re-election. Alaska seems to be the only place where the government officials are more corrupt than Chicago. Stevens will be going to jail unless Bush decides to pardon him. Don Young could be following in Stevens’ path in 2009. And I didn’t mention Trooper-gate.

The Ponzi Scheme – Remember the old pyramid schemes? Well this one takes the cake – or the $50 billion. The ponzi scheme was run be the former chairman of NASDAQ Bernard Madoff. It looks like he bilked investors out of $50 billion. This has the makings of one of the largest scandals of all time. One person has already committed suicide.

People / Things I hope stay in 2008 and never surface again.

Joe the Plumber. Screw his book. His story isn’t that riveting. And he can keep all the JTP knock-offs like Tito the Builder, Mario the septic tank cleaner, Sam the butcher, and Sarah the Governor.

Sarah Palin. I know she is due to surface in 2012 but I’m going to wish long and hard that she won’t.

Billy Mays. He first annoyed me with DiDi7 and now seems to market every gimmicky product. The kids mock him and I really wish his 15 minutes were up. Mighty Putty, OxiClean and that product that removes Dings from my car are just a few of the As Seen on TV products that he pitches. He is almost as bad as Kevin Trudeau. He is the clown who I first remember seeing sell that Mega Memory garbage. Thanks to a court order, he can not sell products only his BS books. So he is hitting us up with a barrage of books – Natural Cures, More Natural Cures, The Weight Loss Cure, Debt Cures – all coincidentally that ‘THEY don’t want you to know about.’ Trudeau is a con-man who has already pleaded guilty to larceny.

I’d love to see many, many other people fade away like Britney, OJ and Ken Blackwell (he’s running for head of the RNC). I am sick of reality programs and wish that they’d put programs on that are intelligent and make me think.

Companies / Products I hope don’t join us in 2009

Companies that want to buy my scraps of gold. This looks like a ploy to take advantage of seniors yet they also advertise on children’s channels (which I don’t get). How gullible must one be to send their scraps of metal and take their word on the value?

The Barack Obama coin / collectable plate and those mall kiosks that sell Obama’s t-shirt. Are there really that many people who purchase Obama merchandise? I guess now that the shirtless Obama pictures are circulating around the web, we’ll see a new set of products hit the market. And I’m sick of the World Trade Center / 9/11 products. Who thought of that 9/11 $20 crap? Ooh, ‘It’s the first time that the 9 and 11 were added up to total the 20 dollar value?’ Give me a break.

Time share calls. This one is a personal one. I don’t own a timeshare and I never have but somehow I have gotten on a ‘this guy owns a timeshare’ mailing list. I get multiple calls on a daily basis asking me if I wish to sell my timeshare points. I am on the Florida and National Do Not Call lists but it doesn’t seem to work nor does my repeated requests to get off of their mailing lists.

In case this is the last post you read from me in 2008 – May you have a happy and healthy 2009. May the change we voted for be what we need to get us back on the right track.

Hope to see you in 2009.

Gene – My 2 Buck$

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Begich declared winner over Stevens in Alaska

Ted Stevens turned 85 and has been convicted of 7 felony counts.  He’s spent 100 years in the U.S. Senate.  (not quite, but it does feel that way)

Somehow Alaska is almost finished counting ballots and the race is nearly out of hand.    (it only took 2 weeks)

The margin looks like it is too great so if a recount is requested by Stevens, he would have to pay for it himself.  (or maybe VECO will pay.)

 

Will Stevens concede the election?

Will he congratulate Mark Begich?

Will he relinquish his Senate office?

Will he go quietly off to jail (if Bush doesn’t pardon him)?

 

Congratulations Mark Begich.  Welcome to Washington.

Political thoughts for the Day

Why would anyone think that John McCain would have any interest in working with Obama?  Speculation in the media is that he is once again becoming the maverick that lost his way during the general election cycle.  Really?  The man is endorsing Saxby Chambliss.  McCain said the ad run by Chambliss attacking Senator Max Cleland in 2002 – it’s worse than disgraceful – it’s reprehensible.”

The U.S. Senate Democrats have had no ‘stones’ whatsoever for 8 years.  They can verbally chastise Joe Lieberman all they want but the vote that will take place today is a closed ballot vote.  In other words, they can be tough in public and weak at the time of vote just like the last 8 years.  I suspect that Lieberman will receive nothing more than the verbal attacks he has already faced.  He will be permitted to keep his Democratic leadership with one caveat:  stay loyal to the party.  The problem here is that Joe only knows ‘whatever’s best for Joe.’ 

How is it possible that Alaska still has 24,000 uncounted ballots from the election 2 weeks ago?  Seriously, is one person counting the ballots?  I wonder if it is the same guy that examined the hanging chads in Florida in 2000.  I know all eyes are on the Begich – Stevens race, which Begich is building up a nice lead, but I am trying to figure out how Don Young is leading Ethan Berkowitz when Young trailed big on the final day of polls and Young is currently under FBI investigation. 

I thought I recently heard that Sarah Palin could not capitalize financially while holding elected office in Alaska.  I recall hearing that when it was rumored that she could land a talk show after the election.  I have yet to find anything in Alaskan law that stipulated that.  But if it is true, how is it she can sign this huge book deal?  I guess it is with a ‘wink’ and a nod.  Hmmmm. 

Alaska at the polls – The numbers don’t add up

It’s strange writing about the political scene in Alaska without the subject being about Sarah Palin.

At first I thought the foul smell coming from the 49th state was a rotting moose carcass shot from a helicopter or maybe the First Dude spent too much time in the tanning bed.

Alaskan politics and corruption are obviously synonymous. But something is seriously wrong with their election.

Incentive to Vote

Alaskan voters had more reason to vote in this election than in recent memory.

Republican Congressman Don Young recently celebrated 35 years in office. This election cycle was to be more difficult for Young as he is under federal investigation for corruption involving VECO Corporation. His challenger was former state House minority leader Ethan Berkowitz who led in every poll before Election Day.

Republican Senator Ted Stevens or should I say Convicted felon Ted Stevens also trailed in the polls to Democratic Mayor of Anchorage Mark Begich. Stevens has been in office 40 years. For those of you living under a slain caribou the last 10 days, Ted Stevens was convicted on all 7 felony charges of giving false statements regarding the investigation involving – you guessed it – VECO Corporation. {An aside: I am sure Stevens will be pardoned by Bush before he leaves office on January 20th.}

If that wasn’t enough to motivate you to vote, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was atop the ticket as the running mate for GOP Presidential candidate John McCain. Polling had McCain – Palin leading by a wide margin over Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

 

By the Numbers

Registration was up in Alaska as it was throughout the entire United States. There were 30 thousand new registered voters since 2006 with this number somewhat split between Republicans and Democrats. There are 50 thousand more registered Republicans than Democrats which would – with all things being normal – have meant a cakewalk for the Republicans at the voting booth.

Alaskans Registered by Party:

RECOGNIZED POLITICAL PARTIES


STATEWIDE
TOTALS

TOTAL

Alaskan

Independence

Party

Democratic

Party

Libertarian

Party

Republican

Party

Nov 4, 2008

496,828

13,828

77,036

6,926

127,446

Nov 6, 2006

466,887

13,412

66,636

8,787

115,397

Nov 5, 2004

473,927

15,581

71,506

7,258

118,008

 

POLITICAL GROUPS


STATEWIDE
TOTALS

TOTAL

No

Party

Affiliation

Undeclared

Green

Party

Republican

Moderate

Veterans

Party

Nov 4, 2008

496,828

77,582

185,320

2,926

3,842

1,922

Nov 6, 2006

466,887

73,081

177,686

3,620

4,752

2,026

Nov 5, 2004

473,927

70,615

179,374

4,470

4,459

But all things aren’t normal this year. All 3 statewide Republican candidates were mired in scandal (Palin is still linked to Troopergate) and the polls support the uphill battles faced by both Young and Stevens. You would figure that at least one of the 2 would have been defeated.

Based on the current results, 305,281 Alaskans voted (early voting, absentee ballots or on Election Day). This is over 8,000 lower than the number in 2004. Add to this, there are 23,000 additional registered voters.

McCain – Palin actually received about 50,000 FEWER votes than the 2004 Bush – Cheney ticket.

This is the second LOWEST turnout for a general election in Alaska behind the 1996 Bill Clinton / Bob Dole race. The other 49 states achieved higher turnouts. How is this possible?

So with 4,000 more early voters this year (a 30% increase) and longer lines at the polls on Election Day, one must wonder how turnout actually DROPPED.

What Could Have Happened?

Did some Democrats stay home on Election Day as the results started filing in hours before the polls closed in Alaska? Not likely since early voting was up this year. In fact, 30% higher than in 2004.

Could voters have decided that with the corruption hanging over their 3 main political figures it was better to stay home to demonstrate their outrage? Actually, apathy would keep the voters home. Anger drives them to the polls to vote for the opponent.

Could the Republican voters have actually remained in support of Stevens and Young and were angry at the witch hunt (Palin pun kind of intended) against the 2 long serving Congressmen?

“Given that interest in this election could not, under any circumstances, have ever been greater this year than it was in other years, it’s almost inconceivable to imagine that the number of votes cast would drop” from 2004.  “It smells to me like you had a really, really, really weird turnout where all the Palin mothers and all the Ted Stevens supporters came flooding en masse out of the woodwork to make a point, and the Dems somehow sat on their hands and enjoyed the presidential news as it filtered up from the Lower 48 through the day,” David Dittman, Alaska pollster said.

Dittman predicted as the polls closed that Begich would beat Stevens by 8 points while Berkowitz would beat Young by 7. Instead, both Begich and Berkowitz trail the incumbents nearly a week later. And Young’s lead over Berkowitz is quite large.

How could he have been so wrong? Dittman has been forecasting Alaskan elections for 38 years!

Afterward, you look at it and say, ‘Holy cow! How could I have seen this coming?” said Dittman.

“I thought it was a mistake on the screen. I was totally surprised. I thought the state had made a mistake and had the candidates reversed,” he said.

We’ve seen strange results in elections for a number of years starting with Florida in 2000. Saxby Chambliss beat incumbent Max Cleland 6 years ago with questionable results. And the John Kerry loss in 2004 is a strange one as well.

And if you weren’t totally convinced that something was afoul, Alaska ballots are counted by Diebold.

Palin has gone back to her governor’s office with whatever Neiman Marcus clothes she could hide – as long as it wasn’t the Michael Jackson Thriller jacket – but the nation will be watching what comes out of the Stevens and Young races.

For more information on the races in Alaska visit:

Shannyn Moore – an Alaskan blogger

Brad Friedman at BradBlog

Ted Stevens and Sarah Palin – 2 peas in a pod

Both Sarah Palin and Ted Stevens were found guilty of something and then publicly stated that they weren’t. 

First Palin stated that she was exonerated of any wrongdoing (abuse of power) in the Troopergate Tasergate scandal.

Now Ted Stevens said that he wasn’t convicted.  I don’t know what trial he attended.

Talk about Republicans living in their own little world.  Yes, I’m talking to you Larry Craig.

Sarah Palin’s Second ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ and the game of politics

We’ve all heard by now that Sarah Palin was for the infamous Ted Stevens ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ before she was against it. Would it surprise you to know that there was more than one ‘bridge to nowhere?’

In an article in CQ Politics, Mike Christensen alerts us to a ‘second bridge, more than twice as expensive and just as controversial.’ [Read Palin Less Upset by Alaska’s Other ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ here]

That project, the Knik Arm bridge, is in Anchorage near her hometown of Wasilla, and its construction would both improve commuting and aid the development of the Matanuska-Susitna, or Mat-Su, Valley where Palin lives.”

 


 

“Growing up out there in the valley, I’ve always shared that vision with others that we would have that physical linkage with the municipality of Anchorage,” Palin told the Anchorage Daily News in June. “And I am such a proponent of muscled-up infrastructure in Alaska in general and, you know, beefing up our infrastructure.”

The Knik Arm bridge, Palin said in her June interview, “was a project that so many had counted on receiving fully federal funding of it, with Don Young ’s position formerly as chair of Transportation. You know it was assumed that the feds would be paying for the project. Well, things have changed there on the federal front, haven’t they?”

 

Now what became of the $400 million from the Stevens bridge?

When the earmarks became a political embarrassment, Congress in 2006 formally withdrew them but left the $454.4 million in Alaska’s hands to spend however it saw fit.

To support this story, here is a blurb from the Anchorage Daily News – Palin touts stance on ‘Bridge to Nowhere,’ doesn’t note flip-flop.

Once Palin spiked the bridge project, the money wasn’t available to Minnesota or other states, however. Congress, chastened by criticism of the Alaska funding, had removed the earmark but allowed the state to keep the money and direct it to other transportation projects.

 

John McCain, Sarah Palin and the revision of earmark history

Since the selection of Palin, McCain has been boasting about how his running mate is just like him when it comes with challenging ‘wasteful spending.’ McCain often references the ‘bridge to nowhere’ as one of the things that endeared him to Palin. Does he even realize that she and Alaska kept the earmarks?   Congress had tried unsuccessfully to redirect the money to New Orleans in order to repair infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Katrina.  John McCain did not show up for the vote.

“I’ve championed reform to end the abuses of earmarked spending by Congress. And I did tell Congress, “Thanks, but no thanks” for that bridge to nowhere. If our state wanted to build a bridge, we were going to build it ourselves,” Governor Palin said.

Yes, she did. She said thanks for the money but no thanks to giving it back. We don’t want a bridge, just the money.

Fact: During her 2006 run for governor, Palin backed federal funding for the ‘bridge to nowhere’.

Fact: McCain used this as a symbol of fighting government pork.

From Factcheck.org

 

The transportation bill did include a total of $223 million (not $233 million, as the ad says) earmarked for the Gravina bridge – $100 million for construction, plus $18.75 million a year for four years, and an additional $48 million to build an access road. McCain tried, unsuccessfully, to add a “sense of the Senate” amendment to the bill, stating a general objection to earmarks; in the end he voted against the legislation. Several months later, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) tried to divert the Gravina funds to a bridge in need of repair over Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans. McCain was not present to vote on Coburn’s amendment proposing this change, which did not pass. Instead, Congress removed Gravina’s earmarks, tossing that money into Alaska’s general transportation pot to be used however the state chose. McCain wasn’t there for that vote, either.

In light of the furor over the “bridge to nowhere,” Alaska’s governor opted to use the money for other pursuits. The bridge was never built, but McCain has been using it as his prime pork example since 2005, even blaming it for the Minneapolis bridge collapse in August 2007. (He cited it as an example of a pet project that diverted money from necessary highway maintenance.)

 

John McCain appeared on Fox News Sunday where he credited Palin for her maverick style of fighting pork. Notice how McCain doesn’t mention that she kept ALL THE MONEY!

“Yes, the pork barrel project, a $233 million bridge in Alaska to an island with 50 people on it. She, as governor, stood up and said, we don’t need it, and if we need it, we’ll pay for it ourselves. Now, that’s guts. I saw that, and I said, this, this is what we need in Washington.”

Obama speaks out on the earmarks

Barack Obama was at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds in Terre Haute, Indiana on Saturday and had this to say about Sarah Palin and her opposition to earmarks.

“Don’t be fooled. John McCain’s party, with the help of John McCain, has been in charge” for nearly eight years.

“I know the governor of Alaska has been saying she’s change, and that’s great. She’s a skillful politician. But, you know, when you’ve been taking all these earmarks when it’s convenient, and then suddenly you’re the champion anti-earmark person, that’s not change. Come on! I mean, words mean something, you can’t just make stuff up.”

And suddenly [McCain’s] the change agent? Ha [McCain] says, ‘I’m going to tell those lobbyists that their days of running Washington are over.’ Who is he going to tell? Is he going to tell his campaign chairman, who’s one of the biggest corporate lobbyists in Washington? Is he going to tell his campaign manager, who was one of the biggest corporate lobbyists in Washington?”

“I mean, come on, they must think you’re stupid.”

Apparently they do.

The quotes are from Talking points memo

 

Ted Stevens endorsed Sarah Palin for Gov. in ad [Video]

The endorsement you wouldn’t want to have. Corrupt and indicted Alaska Senator Ted Stevens endorses the John McCain’s choice for VP in this 2006 ad when Palin was running for Governor.

The announcer concludes here that the ad was ‘frugally paid for …’. The cost of this ad was $350,000. Is that frugal?

Script of “Senator Stevens” (TV)

TED STEVENS: We have a state that needs new management.

(Text on screen: Senator Stevens Speaks About New Leadership)

These two people represent a new generation. And they represent a new vision, new energy. They represent the kind of people who ought to come along and take our places.

And that needs a new agenda for all of us to get behind. Think of this: When you go to vote, don’t go to vote alone.

And you’ll help Sarah become the next governor of Alaska, which we all want to see.

ANNOUNCER: Frugally paid for by Palin Parnell, new energy for Alaska. 245 W. 5th, 99501.

(Text on screen: Co-Chairs Wayne A. Ross, Walter J. Hickel)