The BayhPartisan

Written by a Hoosier for the consumption of America. This blog will be dedicated to news on the Senator and adding to the great marketplace of ideas that has been lacking in this country over the last half decade.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Bush Reveals New Supreme Court Nominee

Round #2 - Samuel Alito

Born in New Jersey. Graduated Princeton then Yale Law. Currently a judge on the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judging from what Ive heard so far, Sam Alito is just the nominee conservatives wanted. Every talking head on TV has been saying he is the greatest thing since sliced bread. "We thank President Bush for fulfilling his campaign promises."

Bayh Speaks in New Hampshire

I was luckily able to catch the rerun of Senator Bayh's speech from last night on C-SPAN and jotted down some highlights:

The focus of the speech was on "Restoring the Promise of America"

One of Bayh's major strong-points is education, and he articulated that well tonight. Indiana's 21st century scholars program pays the college tuition expenses for children of low-income families provided they maintain passing grades in high school and do not get convicted of a drug crime. This is a very successful and popular program in the state, and is a courtesy of then-governor Evan Bayh. The senator will need to pick a couple of his defining issues and a new education initiative should be one of them...Especially considering his past accomplishments in the subject.

He criticized the Bush administration throughout the speech on their failings in the last 5 years. The "dirtiest" he went however, was to call Bush and his administration inept and irresponsible. The senator will probably need to go much worse than that to satisfy many of the voters in primary season. It is however way to early to go dirty and there is still much time before primary season.

A line I particularly liked out of the speech was that even though we may have all came over on different ships, we are all in the same boat now. He used this line in context to Bush's 2000 campaign platform - "I'm a uniter not a divider." Bayh said that the country is the most divided that it has been since the Vietnam war. It obviously looks like Bayh intends have his BayhPartisan attributes as a central campaign issue. This is probably why he didn't talk about Bush in the completely contemptuous terms that he deserves. It would have been a little too much for some. Sorry for the shameless link.

Insisting on fair trade, labor unions, and regulating corporate greed is something the Senator will need to include in every speech. It was a little lacking tonight. Especially considering how some perceive Bayh to be close to business. These are big issues for much of the democratic base. I can only recall a couple of the lines. There was something about the need for fair trade with China, and Fortune 500 companies losing jobs.

The Senator has great credentials to run on as a governor, and he made sure to get some of them mentioned tonight. An event he mentioned was when, as a governor, Bayh had to veto an Indiana State budget because of the incredible levels of spending which were included within the bill. He noted the fact that there has not been one spending bill that President Bush has vetoed during his five years and counting. Bayh also has many other gubernatorial accomplishments that were not mentioned. I'm sure they will be broken out in full effect throughout his campaign.

The senator made a comment tonight about the need of daycare funding to go along with work requirements for welfare programs. This was the only women's issue I can recall being addressed tonight.

The final topic I will speak on is the reducing of our dependence on foreign oil. "We need a new declaration of independence, we need a declaration of energy independence" was the highlight quote of that section. The senator outlined several tasks that we need to accomplish this, among which were to invest in hybrid research and incentives for purchase, lightweight alloys to reduce weight and increase gas mileage, and biofuels so we can produce our own fuel.

Overall I thought Bayh had a very had a very good presentation. The speech was also written particularly well. Wont seem like long until the midterms are upon us and then its off to the races.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

New Website - is now operational, although still very much under construction. There will continue to be more information there over the coming weeks as my schedule allows, and hopefully a better look once my designer gets back from his vacation. I will post major updates to the site in this blog, so check back often.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Senate Passes Flu Amendment

The Senate has passed an amendment to the HHS budget which would aid in preparedness for a possible bird flu outbreak. The amendment, which was co-authored by Senator Evan Bayh, does the following:
1.) It increases international surveillance of avian flu outbreaks.
2.) Enhances the vaccine production infrastructure in the United States.
3.) Builds stockpiles of vaccines and antiviral medications.
4.) Strengthens the public health infrastructure at the federal, State, and local levels.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Scooter Libby Indicted

Scooter Libby has been indicted today on 5 felony counts facing a possible 30 years in prison. Here are the counts and the arguments Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has used to support them. The actual 22 page indictment can be found in the link above.

Count #1 - Obstuction of Justice (Page 11)

This count alleges that Scooter Libby " did knowingly and corruptly endeavor to influence, obstruct and impedede the due administrations of misleading and decieving the grand jury as to when, and the manner and means by which, Libby aquired and subsequently disclosed to the media information concerning the employment of Valerie Wilson by the CIA.

Count #2 - False Statement (Page 15)

On July 10th or 11th, Libby had a conversation with Tim Russert wherin he claimed that he had no knowledge that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Libby repeated this same statement to the FBI during the investigation. The indictment alleges that Libby was well aware that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA at that time, and that Libby lied to the FBI.

Count #3 - False Statement (Page 17)

On July 12th, Libby stated to the FBI that he had a conversation with Matt Cooper of Time magazine where he stated that reporters were telling the administration that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA, but that he did not know if it was true. The indictment alleges that the entire statement was untrue. It says Libby confirmed for Cooper, without qualification, that he heard Wilsons wife worked for the CIA.

Count #4 - Perjury (Page 18)

This count says that on or around March 5th, 2004, Scooter Libby made many false declarations to the grand jury regaurding his conversation with Tim Russert refered to in count #2. Libby claimed that Russert repeatedly asked him if he knew that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Libby also claimed that he said that he did not know that she worked for the CIA every time the question was asked. The indictment alleges that all of these statements were fraudulent.

Count #5 - Perjury (Page 20)

This count alleges that on March 5th and March 24th, Scooter Libby made a host of fradulent statements to the grand jury regaurding his conversations with Matthew Cooper of Time Magazine. Libby repeated several times that, at that time, he had only heard that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA from reporters.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Internal Walmart Memo

Nothing should surprise you regaurding the worlds largest retailer. A general lack of civic accountability pervades the companies upper management. Read the Yahoo article above for their latest plans to lower wages and reduce benefits even though their average worker's wages do not even exceed the poverty line.

Also checkout for some more information on how Walmart is a detriment to our society.

Reduce Deficit at Expense of Education?

The House Education and Workforce Committee approved a Republican proposal on Wednesday that would cut education spending by $14.5 billion over the next five years. The spending cuts would presumably be used for deficit reduction.

Federal dollars for education are a critical component of education for the majority of students attending college. Many could have no hope of going to college without the aid. Cuts in education spending will have one main long term effect on the American economy. Depression.

Folks in the midwest have seen the manufacturing sector's whirlwind decline. High school seniors can no longer expect to graduate from their respective institutions and enter directly into the workforce as a laborer. The jobs which supported the student's parents as they grew up are being sent to Mexico, Asia, and elsewhere. This mass exodus of unskilled labor is leaving college to being a mandatory activity for anyone wishing to be a success in the new information age. A college degree will continue to have more and more of an effect on the employability of our children, as our economy continues to be based more and more on skilled positions and intellectual property. Decreasing educational assistance at this transformational time in our economy could only lead to less college graduates, less prospective employees, and an undermining of the foundation to which our markets are shifting.

Big Impact of a Small Campaign Issue

Little issues can potentially have a large impact on peoples minds...especially when they are introducing you to a new constituency. Senator John Edwards started his primary campaign as a relatively unknown candidate and emerged as the Democratic nominee forVice President. That campaign ended with little deep discussion of issues, and mudslinging on a daily basis. Yet I still remember the moment he got my support within the wide array of potential Democratic nominees. He did it with the small and seemingly insignificant issue of credit card reform. John Edwards was the only candidate who passionately spoke about the ways in which credit card companies can raise your interest rates, rape you with fees and penalties, and generally exploit low to moderate income families in an unregulated fashion. The credit card debt of the average American family is steadily on the rise, and lenders predatory techniques will, this year, force the bankrupcy rates of families to be higher than the rates of divorce. Edwards gave problems of the middle class a clear voice and a sence of urgency. This is the largest voting block of Americans and it shouldnt be pandered to. It should be championed.

Are We Prepared for Bird Flu?

This question has been getting much attention in the last several weeks and months as a repeat of last year's flu vaccine shortage is looking to be avoided. There are however some early signs of trouble. Chiron, a large vaccine importer based in Britain, announced that they would be cutting back the importation of vaccines by roughly 75% to the US. This could mean that many needy Americans will not get their flu vaccine for the second year in a row. According to Allen County, Indiana health officials, only about 1/3 of businesses and 1/4 of nursing homes have received the vaccine. There are only two major manufacturers of the flu vaccine for US patients, as well as two firms that operate at smaller levels. When asked for a comment on the situation, Senator Bayh's spokesman said that This points out the importance of having more manufacturers." She also added that Senator Bayh has twice sponsored legislation that would encourage American drug manufacturers to get into vaccine production.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Vilasack Offers New Strategy For Iraq

Iowa Govoner Tom Vilsack has recently commented on a new strategy he has for progress in Iraq. His idea entails US military forces setting up small fortified zones within cities and allowing insurgents to bring the agression to them instead of roaming the cities in hummers while periodically being attacked by IED's and sniper fire.
This kind of outside the box thinking is exactly what I do not see enough of within the current public debate and it should have a greater base of encouragement on the national scene. We cannot leave Iraq now because insurgents will inevitably take over the country and Iraq will eventually become a failed state. Nothing good can come out of this solution. On the other hand, we cannot maintain the status quo in Iraq because too many US soldiers are being killed on a daily basis while trying to accomplish a murky never-ending goal - to bring peace to Iraq and create a stable govenment. While Govoner Vilsack's idea may not be the cure to the plague, it may be a temporary band-aid which may prevent some deaths of US servicemen. It can be the first small part of a variety of new ideas and concepts which need to be brough forth by the brightest among us. We can no longer solely rely on the government to formulate sustainable options. Now that we are in this, we must find a suitable and sustainable end.
A workable solution like Govoner Vilsack's is exactly what Senator Bayh Needs to put forth...only more radical and more comprehensive. If he is planning a presidential run he cannot simply rely on the old "my plan is to train Iraqi troops to take control." Thats got us nowhere in the last two years. He must have a unique, workable, and appealing plan to deal with the Iraqi situation, and I believe the plan he puts forth will make or break his presidential ambitions.

Re-election fund is getting fat - Indy Star

Based on the latest campaign finance reports, you'd think Sen. Evan Bayh -- and not Sen. Richard Lugar -- was the one facing voters next year.
Bayh's re-election fund raised $729,188 from July through September, nearly twice what Lugar raised in those months.
But while Bayh won't have to defend his Senate seat again until 2010, he's considering running for president in 2008.
The $7.88 million -- and growing -- in Bayh's re-election fund at the end of September can be rolled over into a presidential campaign.
Bayh also is raising money through a political action committee, which collected $1.17 million from January through June. The next disclosure report on that account isn't due until early next year.
The reports already filed show Bayh is tapping some of the same sources for both funds.
For example, developer Herb Simon and other members of his family have given $15,000 to Bayh's PAC and at least $18,000 to his re-election campaign. Robert Kaplan, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs investment firm, gave $5,000 to Bayh's PAC and $4,200 to Bayh's re-election campaign.
-- Star Washington Bureau reporter Maureen Groppe

Bayh Speaks To Hoosier Students

Senator Bayh met with over 170 Hoosier Students yesterday to promote volunteerism. Students from high schools across Indiana came to Indianapolis to help loading aid packages being sent out to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the hurricane victims of Katrina and Rita.When asked about the event, Senator Bayh said "It shouldnt take a natural disaster to remind us of the importance of service. It is something that we need to incorporate in our daily lives, as a part of our priorities of how we should live our lives."
Well said Senator. Anyone looking to volunteer in a nonprofit organization can checkout for some local volunteer opportunities. I would also encourage volunteer work within the political process of your community. Your local Democratic Party headquarters, or your state Democratic headquarters would have more information on the volunteer opportunities they have availiable.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Is It Really Possible For a Politician To Do This?

Yesterday the Senate passed a bill, 92-6, that froze the raises Senators receive every year for cost-of-living increases. Indiana's Senator, Richard Lugar, was one of the six Senators who voted to keep the raise. This vote comes on the same day the Senate, including Sen. Lugar, defeated a measure that would have raised the minimum wage to reflect cost-of-living increases. When asked about the Senate salary increases, Senator Lugar's spokesman said that "Senator Lugar has consistently supported this system and has not voted to undermine it." The obvious question that arises is why Senator Lugar supports yearly cost-of-living increases for his inflated salary but doesnt support a bill that would give the minimum wage its first increase since 1997...much less yearly cost-of -living increases for the poorest Americans. Can politicians really vote this way on the same day? Are there really going to be no political ramifications of these votes? In Indiana, Id say no way.

Republicans Vote To Maintain the Current Poverty Wage

The Republicans voted Wednesday against adjusting the minimum wage for inflation. The proposal, which was before the Senate, was defeated by a 47-51 vote. The bill would have raised the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $6.25 per hour, almost getting it back to inflation adjusted levels. The minimum wage was originally set at the current level in 1997 and has not been raised since. The state of Indiana had little effect on the outcome, with Sen. Bayh voting for the increase and Sen. Lugar against the increase.
It appears that the only way that workers in this country are going to get a fair wage is by state action. There are currently 15 states who have raised this minimum wage. The federal govenment should have done the same, and should have done it long ago. Where are all the compassionate conservatives that I have heard about since the 2000 election. Apparently they have forgot about the 38 million Americans living in poverty or they lost their talking points memo once they were elected. At least those 51 Republican NO-votes will have "Keeping American Wages Low Since '97" as their slogan for re-election.

Welcome to Bayh in 'O8

Evan Bayh has been the largest figure in Indiana politics for nearly 20 years. He was just elected to his second term as a US Senator from Indiana during the 2004 elections with a whopping 62% of the vote. The Senator actually got more votes than President Bush within the state. This is an astonishing feat considering Indiana's stong conservative beliefs and large conservative population. Outside of Indiana politics, Evan Bayh has been a rare voice of reason within the national political landscape. As an Indiana resident, I have followed the Senator's career over many years, and what I have seen is a man of conviction, integrity, and fortitude. These are the three main qualities I see for any potential presidential candidate. The primary funtion of this blog will be to educate potential voters about the Senator, keep supporters informed of the Senators actions, and to add to the great marketplace of ideas that has been lacking in this country over the last half decade.