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Okay, this is one of those once-in-a-decade moments where we can forge a left-right alliance on a policy issue, no matter how unholy such alliance might be. That the hateful Tom Coburn is leading the charge is, well ... strange bedfellows and all.

From RedState.org:

[C]onservatives have a Hill to Die On - the Coburn Amendment to the Transportation, Housing, & Urban Development appropriations bill (HR 3058)
Make NO mistake - the establishment Republicans are terrified of this bill. The chutzpah of the little people demanding an end to one of the most immoral acts of Congress - earmarked pork spending - has got some in quite the tizzy.

Word is that some are trying to stop the Coburn Amendment from even reaching the floor for a vote.

This amendment will transfer funding from the wasteful pork project, the "Bridge to Nowhere" in Alaska, to the repair and reconstruction of the "Twin Spans" bridge in Louisiana. According to published reports, the Alaskan pork project costs $220 million for a 5.9-mile bridge connecting Gravina Island (population 50) to the Alaskan mainland. The cost of the bridge alone would be enough to buy every island resident his own personal Lear jet.

Sounds pretty simple, no? And simply the right thing to do. This is a no-brainer, friends. I'm with the Club For Growth, that's chosen to make this one of their very first "Key Votes" in an effort to reign in that out of control spending.

The Amendment is here [PDF]. Senator Coburn's "Dear Colleague" letter is here [PDF].

RedState and other conservatives make this a case of "reigning in spending", which in reality, it's not. It's moving the spending from one of the most egregious examples of pork spending ever to the vital reconstruction of New Orleans. The money needs to be spent, it would just be a great idea to spend the money on our nation's top priorities rather than Alaskan Republican Don Young's vanity monument to himself.

But really, that's just quibbling, and for this single moment in time, a crazy Republican senator is behind a great idea (as they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day). I only wish that the amendment went further  -- reassigning yet more of that out-of-control Republican pork to the Gulf Coast reconstruction effort. But of course, that would be instant death. Better to do it this way.

Now there's not much we Dems can do about this, being on the losing end of the last few elections. Funny how the GOP is behind the biggest growth in earmarked pork spending in the nation's history. I fully expect no Democrat would vote against this sensible amendment. It's all on the GOP to make sure this amendment sees the light of day and comes up for a vote -- in both the Senate and the House. I genuinely wish them luck.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:21 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tom Coburn is batshit crazy (4.00)
    but at least he's...
    No, he's mainly batshit crazy.

    In prison, Tom Delay will no doubt be called 'the Hummer' by his fellow convicts.

    by soonergrunt on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:23:52 PM PDT

    •  The thing about crazy politicians is that (none)
      they will not totally tow the line, because eventually their own ideas will conflict with the party line.

      The same thing happened with guys like Traficant.

      Coburn differs with the typical Republicans because Coburn actually kept his term limits promise. (I think Coburn, Frist, and Helen Chenoweth will be the only politicians to have ever kept a term limits promise, after Rutherford B. Hayes)

      "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right" - Carl Schurz

      by RBH on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:34:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreeing with Republican legislation (none)
      is not a "once a decade" thing for you, kos.

      Yesterday, it was agreeing with Arnuld's Republican California redistricting scheme.  Today it is Coburn's bill.

      That's not "once a decade."  More like "once a day."

      •  BREAKING NEWS! (none)
        A high-placed source is now confirming that Republicans are not always wrong. Republicans, allegedly, are not only all homo sapiens but also citizens of The United States of America.

        Our source goes on to say that all Republicans do not want to end life on Earth as we know it. He alleges that many politicians on both sides of the aisle are corrupt, and that only a few stalwarts seem to be truly interested in the well-being of the country. According to this high-placed official the few good guys, Red or Blue, just differ in idealogy. It seems that different people think different solutions are needed.

        We'll keep you updated on this shocking turn of events. Stay tuned to Kos for all your reality-based needs.

        When you have insomnia, you're never really asleep... and you're never really awake.

        by rjo on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 11:41:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree with your sentiment, (none)
          but I would change this:

          "Our source goes on to say that all Republicans do not want to end life on Earth as we know it."

          to this:

          "Our source goes on to say that not all Republicans want to end life on Earth as we know it."

          Brings out the full texture of crisp, refreshing reality.

          Jumping on the politicalcompass.org bandwagon: (-3.63, -3.03) - Does that make me part of the right wing here?

          by someone else on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 05:14:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Not unusual for Coburn (none)
    Coburn is the ultimate wingnut on social issues, but has bucked the Repubs on pork spending -- going so far as to lock arms with Bernie Sanders!

    Oddly enough, Coburn, a hard-line pro-war, pro-life conservative who once advocated the death penalty for abortion doctors, is a natural ally for the "socialist" Sanders on an issue like this one.

    Full context here.

    Oh when the frogs. . Come marching in. . Oh when the FROGS COME MARCH-ING IN!

    by pontificator on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:24:50 PM PDT

    •  coburn (none)
      He's bugfuck nuts on social issues, but even during the campaign last year I remember being grudgingly impressed with his renunciation of "big guv'mit conservatism"--particularly the whole cynical DeLay/Rove exercise of deficit spending for political gain.

      Strange though it might sound, a few more guys of that political profile--at least as opposed to the Cornyn/Sessions types who currently clutter up the Senate and typically rubber-stamp whatever madness comes from the executive branch and the leadership--would IMO serve the country well.

      •  I've longed believed (none)
        ..that GOP has really left many conservatives without a home.

        Bush is simply not up to the challenge or effort needed to be a conservative and be principled about it.

        I am not sure about Coburn, but, even if you disagree with most GOP stances, many Americans would agree with some core non-neocon conservative beliefs:

        1.  Privacy is protected by the Constitution, but that abortion is not fundamentally a privacy issue under the purvue of the federal government.  Each state should pass legislation and make policy governing abortion.  Each states laws shall have the full faith and credit as per normal custom.

        2.  The military should be used basically never, except maybe when we are attacked directly by a foreign power.  The military should always be #1, #2, or #3 on spending priorities list.

        3.  Terrorism is a law enforcement issue.

        4.  Each dollar the government spends must be accounted for, and some single person must be accountable for each dollar.

        5.  Private gun ownership is legal and should remain so.

        6.  Whatever happens in the bedroom amoung consenting adults is just fine by me.

        7.  Government should not perform or sanctify marriages.  One group should not be favored over another.

        To some, not acceptable.   To others, acceptable.

        I was politically formed in an environment where these were the normal parameters of conservatism.  They were not discussed as "correct", but that's what you thought you were dealing with conservatives.

        I can respect those who agitate for the welfare state as a goal, who want on demand abortion without apology, who want a heavily one ended tax burden, that's fine.  I may disagree from time to time, and I will take up the debate.

        But things today are now so much more than partisan.  It's far beyond that.  It's like how sports are in Europe - fanatical, manical, almost farcical devotion to a team without regards to merit or substance.

      •  I have to agree... (none)
          The best thing about Coburn is that he's his own man. Sometimes that's also the worst thing about him, too. He's pretty tough to sway with the facts, much less partisan arm-twisting.

          I'll take him over such "blow-job Republicans" as Inhofe and Nichols any day...and hope that Oklahoma emerges from the stone age in my lifetime... while he's a wingnut, he seems to be an honest representative of his state (speaking as a former Oklahoman myself...)

  •  If the Democrats (3.50)
    support this bill, I am finished with this party.  I expect the usual sell outs and compromisors such as Obama, Biden, and Hilary to support this Republican bill.  

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by johnny rotten on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:27:03 PM PDT

    •  lol! (none)

      ...with night falling, and down to his last flair, can Armando keep the coyotes at bay?...

      by PhillyGal on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:28:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Huh? (none)
      What's wrong with it?

      It takes money away from the pork project bridge and helps NOLA reconstruction.

      What's the problem?

      •  If a Republican supports it (3.00)
        I am against it.  Enough said.  Time to show some spine.  

        Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

        by johnny rotten on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:30:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  are you kidding.... (none)
          I would urge every democrat to support the move to remove the money for the alaskan bridge to nowhere if only to watch yet another republican INFIGHT break out....Alaska's senator has held fast to that bridge to nowhere money and he keeps claiming that bridge goes somewhere important...watching him try to make a case for leaving that pork project alone would be worth it...watching republicans spilt into pro bridge and anti bridge factions would be highly entertaining AND it would further expose the republicans as BIG SPENDERS on the publics dime...

          so i am all for democrats supporting the move to remove the funding for alaskas bridge to nowhere and move it to the gulf rebuilding effort...and the republicans who oppose this be damned :)

          "if all the world's a stage, who is sitting in the audience?"

          by KnotIookin on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 11:12:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's actually Rep. Young (4.00)
            ...the chair of the House Transportation Committee, that has been so intransigent.  To the suggestion that we give up funding for the bridge to help Katrina victims, he responded "Kiss my ear".  

            If Alaska sees less Pork, it gives us less reason to keep re-electing those bozos to congress.  That's how Lisa "Who's yer daddy?" Murkowski got elected, when "Uncle" Ted Stevens started airing ads during the last week of the 2004 Senate race urging voters not to break up the dream team.

            "This is not about Democrats and Republicans. This is about democracy and our republic" --Howard Dean

            by David in AK on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 02:09:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  well (4.00)
        the biggest problem is that you missed the joke.
    •  You have produced (none)
      an anomalously large spike in my sarcasometer.
    •  unfortunately (none)
      There are so many comments like that at DailyKos that are serious, its sometimes hard to tell when the poster is joking.

      "You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man's freedom. You can only be free if I am free."-Clarence Darrow

      by cwech on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:38:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dude- (none)
      Johnny Rotten (nee John Lydon) now makes appearances on mainstream television shows making fun of antiwar demonstrators.

      Yes, I have quite frequently had the feeling that I've been cheated. While we're trading punk rock lyrics though, here's one to chew on:

      "Ever noticed that ROCK STARS always seem to LIE so much? John Lydon once said he cared, but he never really gave a fuck. Said he'd use the money he made so that people would have somewhere to go. But now he lives in the USA, and snorts coke after the show." (Rudimentary Peni, "Rotten to the Core")

      Ask not for whom the sell-out tolls; it tolls for thee-

      They try to hide the poverty, but the poverty can't be hidden

      by spelunking defenestrator on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:52:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "reigning in spending" (none)
    Sorry if I'm being pedantic, but that's a pretty darned good typo.  It is, after all, what they do best, the lot of them

    George W. Bush deserves a fair trial.

    by CJB on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:27:39 PM PDT

  •  We root for what's right (none)
    In an ideal world, no one is a pork spending jerk.

    We'll remember Coburn when we're in the majority next year. (well '07)

    What do members of the Repub. leadership say when they bump into Pres. Bush? "Pardon me."

    by mungley on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:28:27 PM PDT

  •  A "Sci-Fi" Alliance... (4.00)
    This is like the inevitable episode on every sci-fi series where the 2 enemies have to team up to stop an even bigger threat...
    • TREK - Federation/Dominion versus Rebel Jem'Hadar, Federation/Borg versus Species 8472.
    • X-Files - Mulder/Cigarette Smoking Man versus the Alien Rebels.
    • Stargate - SG1/Gouald versus Replicators
    One tidbit about all these stories. They usually end with the villian turning on the good guys after the battle is won...
  •  I look forward to seeing the Bridge to Nowhere (none)
    In 30 second segments.
  •  Once again... (none)
    The Gravina bridge is COMPLETE DIFFERENT from the Anchorage bridge which unfortunately is to be named after Don Young.
  •  Responsible (4.00)
    This is the word that defines Coburn's proposal and yes... he is batshit crazy!

    Kos is right!  All Senate Dems should be voting in favor of this sensible amendmen.  Why wouldn't they?

    This is like I stated above, Responsible!

  •  Too bad (none)
    Too bad Republicans aren't right twice a day like those stopped clocks.  At that rate I would gladly replace the Republican majority with a majority in the House and Senate of stopped clocks.

    "You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man's freedom. You can only be free if I am free."-Clarence Darrow

    by cwech on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:35:05 PM PDT

  •  This Is Not Accurate (none)
    Gravina Island not only has 50 residents. It's where the airport for Ketchikan (population 14,500) is located. Currently people traveling to and from Ketchikan must take a ferry from Gravina to Ketchikan. I've done it before. Usually it's raining sideways.
    That being said, I personally am against spending so much federal money on the bridge.
    But the point I'm making is, if we progressives promote inaccurate or half truthful spin to promote or defeat projects we either like or don't, then we're not much better than the lying, spinning Republicans.

    "It's only hubris, if I fail"...Gaius J. Caesar

    by jpgod on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:39:35 PM PDT

  •  left and right blogospheres working together? (4.00)
    Kos,

    I really think we need to take advantage of these rare opportunities to work together and maximize our voices. This is truly a case of the will of the people -- across the political spectrum -- vs. entrenched interests in Washington (personified by jerks like Ted Stevens).

    Do you correspond with your colleagues on the Right? This would be a great time for some concerted action. Hopefully, we can find common ground on other issues too (especially when the right abandons its Bush worship and discovers what unconservative policies they've given the administration a pass on).

    "We can win elections only by standing up for what we believe." --Howard Dean

    by Jim in Chicago on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:40:01 PM PDT

  •  let's up the ante (none)
    no more naming of public buildings, roads, bridges, or airports after politicians.
  •  We Need To Do More (4.00)
    This isn't something we should just "wish them luck" with.  We should be out in front, pushing our representatives to support the Coburn Amendment vocally and substantively.  We are the minority, but forty-five in our Caucus plus Coburn leaves us with only five more Republicans to pass the amendment.

    This is, and must be, our issue.  I, for one, am sick to death of having our issues be led by Republicans.  How is it possible that it is John McCain who brings an amendment to prevent torture and not us?  How is it that Tom "gangs of lesbians in the schools so thick they won't let girls go to the bathroom together" Coburn is the leader in the battle to stop Don Young's idiot bridge?

    It is a terrible shame that we are not driving this bus.  What a worse shame it would be if we did not get on it.

    •  Committee business (none)
      Very early on after the 2000 elections I recall a newspaper article mentioning how Republicans planned not to allow any bill to make its way to the floor unless it was proposed by a republican.

      That way it would be impossible for Democrats to claim they did anything important during the session. See Department of Homeland Security.

      I'm not 100% on the details of this, whether this was from the House or the Senate. But something to this effect was most definitely said. Thus making it in some capacity impossible for democrats to take the lead on anything.

      - Chris www.greedoverpatriotism.com

      by jrieth on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 10:13:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Who cares who offers the amendment? (none)
      Credit is not that important; it's passage of a meritorious amendment that is.

      When Democrats this past year allowed Republican Sen. Gordon Smith (Ore.) to offer the amendment to the budget resolution that deleted the cuts to Medicaid, it signaled to other Republicans that they could vote for the amendment.  The result was that seven Republicans joined a unanimous Democratic caucus (and Sen. Jeffords), and the amendment passed, 52-48.  The result is what matters most.  It would have been awful if Republican caucus had prevailed on the Smith amendment.

      The quest for freedom, dignity, and the rights of man will never end. - Justice Brennan

      by jim bow on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 08:20:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't assume (none)
    We're talking about Alaska spending here, and Ted Stavens (R-AK) chairs Appropriations.

    Nobody on either side of the aisle crosses the Appropriations chair lightly.

    And don't be surprised if the Hawaii Dems side with Alaska. There's a compact between the two non-contiguous states -- unlike as they are -- to pitch in for each other.

    And a number of Dem's will have to reckon "After they come for Ted's marks, how long before they come for mine?"

    None Dare Call It Stupid!

    by RonK Seattle on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:41:59 PM PDT

    •  Pork is pork. (none)
      They should be "coming" for all of it.  

      I would imagine that 90% of that transportation bill is raw meat that could be put to much better use.  I agree with Kos on this, I would not mind shifting other pork project money to where it is needed.    

      When you are going through hell, keep going! - Winston Churchill

      by flo58 on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:55:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Use this issue for education (none)
        At the very least we should use this issue to inform the public on the dangerous state of our budget as well as the incestuous relationship between lobbyists and politicians.
        •  Lobbyists? Pork is not lobbyist's meat. (none)
          It's driven directly by state and local popular appetite for highway improvements (and the family wage jobs that go with them).

          The wrangling is done directly by your elected representatives, with less lobbyist involvement than almost anything.

          None Dare Call It Stupid!

          by RonK Seattle on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 07:32:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Then the LA levees and bridges are pork, neh? (none)
        This is the kind of ignorant talk that makes effective public discourse impossible. And "I would imagine 90% waste" is typical conservative-duped tax revolt imaginative sentiment.

        What's pork? The spending you don't like. What's not pork? The spending you do like. And where you stand is gonna depend on where you sit.

        Transportation projects have an interesting property -- they are constructed in particular places.

        Whatever process we use to decide which projects get funding, and to what level, locals will disagree as to relative priorities and state/local funding capacity.

        And you've done nothing to suggest an alternative standard by which neutral parties could ever agree where the money "is needed".

        None Dare Call It Stupid!

        by RonK Seattle on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 07:21:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  An earmark is an earmark is an earmark (none)
          I would argue that the Coburn amendment, although certainly meritorious, isn't as good as Markos makes it out to be.  It still means that the construction project in Louisiana, which is probably desperately needed, doesn't have to compete in the budget with other extremely meritorious projects such as extending the DC Metro subway to Dulles Airport, having the Long Island Railroad go to Grand Central Station in New York as well as Penn Station, or building a 3rd St. MUNI lightrail in San Francisco.  The three mentioned projects all serve many, many people -- probably far more than the construction project in Louisiana does.  What should be done is have some beauracrats in Washington, DC (my home town) determine who receives the transportation grants just as they do with NIH research projects.  Obviously, the beauracrats are going to have some pet projects they are going to fund, but the process I described will weed out most of the projects having lesser merit.

          That said, I believe the Coburn amendment should be adopted because clearly the earmark for Louisiana is far more meritorious than the earmark in Alaska.

          The quest for freedom, dignity, and the rights of man will never end. - Justice Brennan

          by jim bow on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 08:36:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Horse-sense (4.00)
    It's been sadly missing from these guys, let's hope that Coburn wakes his party up- I know, Coburn, it feels weird just thinking about commending this guy on a good idea. After seeing these people do the exact opposite of the right thing, for so long, one of them finally wakes up from the collective stupor.

    See, Conservative lurkers? We're not so bad after all. More than anything, if you people just ruled sensibly then there would be a lot more of this bipartisan handholding.

    They try to hide the poverty, but the poverty can't be hidden

    by spelunking defenestrator on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:44:39 PM PDT

  •  there's no reason to vote for this bill... (none)
    if it does not direct the $293 million to PEOPLE who have been displaced and made jobless by the hurricane.  if the choice is between $293 million more for halliburton and repug cronies or $293 on a completely useless public works project that results in about $60 million in wages to construction workers and another $30 million in white collar wages, then i pick the useless project.
  •  A modest start, at best... (none)
    I'd feel a lot better if in addition to ending pork-barrel "Bridge to Nowhere" projects, we'd focus instead on ending pork-barrel "Road to Nowhere" projects (which, after P** O* hits, will be damn near all of 'em) in favor of rebuilding America's rail infrastructure, passenger rail and updating city planning to reduce automobile dependency.
  •  The Queen reigns (none)
    but when she wants to slow down her horse she probably uses the reins, in a process called reining in the horse.

    Just FYI.

    In the long run we are all Keynes. (dead)

    by MarkInSanFran on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:54:27 PM PDT

  •  Firstly... (none)
    It isn't his idea... I heard others, boxer and pelosi come to mind, as the more vocal. But the fact that a republican is putting it forward would definetly help its chances. Secondly, he is batshit crazy. Last but not least, there's gotta be a hitch..or a trick... there always is with these guys.
  •  Coburn and Murkowski (none)
    also cosponsored an amendment to increase awareness of child nutrition sponsored by Jeff Bingaman two or three weeks ago.  Although most Republicans, including Dr. Frist, opposed the amendment, I believe it passed.  Coburn is seriously making a career out of fiscal conservatism, but a lot of his policies are simply insane.  For example, to reduce funding to Section 8 housing in order to fund rebuilding efforts for Katrina.  How much more counterintuitive can we get?  With Coburn it is always take it or leave it.
  •  Crapola.... (none)
    I have to like something Coburn put forth?????

    He does run his campaigns on the promise that "he's his own man" and he openly bucks the system whenever possible.  Witness his fight to keep practicing medicine while in the senate.

    Oh Gawd, please don't make me do it......... :-).  Ok, ok crying uncle here

    Coburn's amendment is a ggg....ggg.....good one (I'm throwing up in my mouth now)

    We do not grow by knowing all the answers, but by living with the questions

    by juslikagrzly on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 10:07:34 PM PDT

  •  makes for strange bedfellows as the old adage goes (none)
    this bill, if we hold our noses, is better than Bush's and others proposing to reconstruct the gulf states, post Katrina Rita,(looking to add Wilma), on the backs of the poor and middle class.
    The best proposal is  to rescind those tax cuts for millionaire

    We can chuckle a bit though. The GOP elephant lost his weapon against us Dem donkeys-"dems are tax and spend liberals." Oh how we've heard that.
    GOP, as Kos pointed out, has taken spending to a whole new level. Independents and real conservatives are disgusted.
    Field good candidates in 06, candidates with vision, a simple good message and we're good to take the Capitol.

    Seeing the daylight I'm.

    Let's stop feeding greed. In fact, propose we make it a commandment: The greedy shall not be fed.

    by idredit on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 10:15:37 PM PDT

  •  So we're supposed to be outraged... (4.00)
    ...by a bill, that indeed has some wasteful projects,  but ultimately invests a few hundred billion over 10 years back into our infrastructure?

    Yet we're not supposed to utter a peep about $500 Billion PER YEAR being flushed down the toilet by the Defense department?

    What we need are some leaders with courage to focus us on the REAL elephant in the room, and stop distracting us every day with matters that are really quite inconsequential.

    ps: if you want a spending bill that is 'pork free,' your best bet is to move to another country, because it is impossible given the realities of the US constitution.

  •  Calendar (none)
    Coburn is more like a stopped calendar - right once every decade or two. But this might be his year!
  •  I nominate Coburn as the recipient for October's (none)
    Right Twice A Day Award.

    I honestly consider him one--maybe THE--most embarrassing people to have entered the Senate in quite some time.

    But on this one, he's correct.

    As my father-in-law would have said "Even a blind rabbit finds a carrot sometimes."

    I'm not about to deny that this one is a carrot.

    Let's pat Coburn on the head, agree vociferously... and hope that his base decides in a few years that this is proof that he's a collaborationist with the evil lefties and works to do him in (A Two-Fer!)

    "I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor." King George III

    by ogre on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 11:30:30 PM PDT

  •  Everyone really ought to (none)
    ....be given a choice of being Dr. Lecter's dinner or having to learn to read. There have been four versions of the bill this adm is attached to...and all of them about as assine as some of the excerpts below show.

    If you are with Coburn and Club for Growth you have either lost your fucking mind or want to commit little froggy sucide by carrying a scorpion on your back.

    This is such a fucking trap why I am not astounded that the idiot dems will fall for it?

    There are enough adm give aways in this to more than make up for one lousy bridge.

    Sec. 814) Prohibits the availability of funds appropriated under this Act to pay for an abortion, or the administrative expenses in connection with any health plan under the federal employees health benefits program which provides any benefits or coverage for abortions (except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term or the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest).

    (Sec. 812) Makes the cost accounting standards promulgated under the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act inapplicable to a federal employees health benefits program contract.

    (Sec. 816) Makes the restriction on purchasing nondomestic articles, materials, and supplies set forth in the Buy American Act inapplicable to the acquisition by the federal government of commercial information technology

    Sec. 818) Earmarks certain funds to reimburse fixed-based general aviation operators and the providers of general aviation ground support services at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (including airports located within 15 miles of it) for financial losses incurred while such airports were closed owing to federal government actions following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.

    (Sec. 931) Extends from FY2005 through FY2006 the authorization for the franchise fund pilot programs in six executive agencies.

    ....what the hell is the franchise fund pilot program????

    (Sec. 935) Allows federal departments and agencies to use funds appropriated for official travel to participate in the fractional aircraft ownership pilot program, if consistent with OMB Circular A-126 regarding official travel for government personnel.

    Sec. 943) Requires a pay increase of 3.1% for civilian employees of the Department of Defense (DOD)and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2006.

  •  One disagreement (none)
    What you call "just quibbling" (i.e. that this is NOT an act of reigning in spending, but one of ending pork and corruption) is where the heart of the politics lie.

    The pragmatic approach (that it is all just about results/outcomes in the long run) is where the Dems have long made some of their most egregious tactical AND strategic errors in the past.  If you support the Coburn Amendement, you have say what about it and why, you have to get into the public discourse the philosophical (and value-oriented) underpinning of that support: namely that this isn't about "reigning in spending" at all, that "spending" isn't the problem, but ill-advised pork, cronyism, and the benefit of the few at the cost to the many is.

    These are precisely the moments that require a differentiation, an alternative packaging and a counter to the right wing BS that has become cw. That's where the real politics (the hard work progressive politics) has to take place. Its not enough to just tap into the conventional wisdom to get the desired outcome you seek; you have to also work to move that conventional wisdom back to the left (back from the depths of rightwing lunacy that has become "normal") AS you advocate for your desired outcome.   That IS the politics.  

    In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

    by a gilas girl on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 01:13:03 AM PDT

  •  as far as repugs are concerned (none)
    it's probably true that what comes to dems as second nature is seen as a "great idea" when it comes from a repug.

    it's funny, the coburn amendment will be hailed a visionary plan by and for repugs.

    it's the kind of thing a dem controlled congress would have never needed to do in the first place.   which is why nobody ever knows where we stand on the issues.

    get it??

    i do.  

    and it's a force of habit/ if it moves then you fuck it / if it doesn't move you stab it -- MacManus

    by BiminiCat on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 01:33:12 AM PDT

  •  Wrote Tom Coburn (none)
    I'm here in OK and didn't vote for Tom, but he hears from me.  This is one point I can wholeheartedly agree with him on though.  "Fiscal responsibility" is just another old Conservative term used by Cheney and Rove as fodder for the uninformed electorate to make them feel good, all the while continuing to spend.

    I wrote to Colburn:  THANK YOU for your amendment to the Transportation bill requesting a transfer of funds from the Alaskan bridge to the rebuilding efforts in the wake of Katrina.  I am Democrat, but not in favor of all the wild spending that's "in vogue" at the present.  

    We have Congress telling the citizens to stop our own wasteful spending, cut our debts, and passing legislation to limit personal bankruptcies.  At the same time, Congress is spending like a drunk "power ball" lottery winner!

  •  Hastert (none)
    Whether you think DeLay is the real power in the house or not, Hastert got more pork for his district and state than any other member last year.  

    You can take away his Prarie State Parkway when you pry it out of his cold, dead hands!

    Neoconservatives??? How about Neo-Jingoism?

    by pshaw on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 06:05:27 AM PDT

  •  Only Problem (none)
    My biggest problem with this amendment is that I was hoping the Democrats would on this campaign, packaged with anti-corruption measures.  As is, the Democrats should jump in and co-sponsor it immediately.
  •  So we support "Operation Offset" now? (none)
    Because that is exactly what this is.  Fact is, the "Bridge to Nowhere" is an easy target, but in order to rebuild New Orleans, the Republicans will need more than that.  You can bet that it won't all come from the sweet pork projects they've earmarked for their districts.  They're robbing Peter to pay Paul, and this token pork is nothing more than misdirection.  Coburn's interest in spending cuts is no more sincere than his performance at the Roberts hearings.

    There are cases where deficit spending is necessary, and the rebuilding of New Orleans is absolutely one.  We shouldn't buy into the conservative bullshit, here.  They don't give a shit about deficits.  They aren't cutting this pork out of any dedication to fiscal responsibility.  They're cutting it because they want America to think that they're rebuilding New Orleans by cutting pork, when in reality, they're gutting services for their favorite targets - poor and working class Americans - to pay for construction contracts for their wealthy cronies.

  •  Woah (none)
    It's obvious I'm much too busy for my own good. How otherwise could I have missed this?

    Coburn deserves a pat on the back for this. Good for him!

  •  Not sure its a "no-brainer" (none)
    Doing this effectively transfers big-time power to the executive branch of government.

    One major firehose of pork in the federal budget is the Economic Development Administration in the Department of Commerce.  There are no criterion for approving EDA projects.  In fact, I believe the agency has not been reauthorized for more than a decade (its last authorization expired in the 1980s), but continues to exist because it keeps getting appropriations.  Give something like EDA money with no earmarks, and it becomes the President's pork stash.

    Another example of the risks: even in their minority status, Dems with seniority can protect certain programs with earmarks.  Kill earmarks and they won't be able to protect anything.

    I am out of touch, but, to give an example, the well-regarded project Focus Hope job training program in Detroit used to receive considerable government funding as a result of earmarks in -- get this -- the DoD appropriation, as a result of earmarks by Michigan Dems.

  •  DEAD (none)
    The Coburn Amendment just lost by a huge margin, something like 86 to 14.  If anyone can find out who voted in favor, I'd like to know.

    N.

    •  I don't think so (none)
      Coburn proposes lots of amendments.  According to the Senate website, what was voted down was this:

      SA 2093. Mr. COBURN submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill H.R. 3058, making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, Treasury, and Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, District of Columbia, and independent agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2006, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

          On page 348, between lines 5 and 6, insert the following:

         SEC. 321. JOSLYN ART MUSEUM.

          None of the funds made available for the Department of Housing and Urban Development under the heading ``Community Development Fund'' in this title, shall be available for a parking facility as part of the Joslyn Art Museum Master Plan, in Omaha, Nebraska.

    •  Well (none)
      Only 13 Repubs and one Democrat voted for the amendment.  Then one Democratic Senator threatened anybody that voted for the amendment, saying all pork spending in their state would be blocked.  Geez, I thought we were the good guys.

      Kos:"I fully expect no Democrat would vote against this sensible amendment"

      Boy, Kos, for a guy who makes his living studying politics, you sure do have a tin ear.  Only Dick Morris has a worse prediction record.

      13 times more Repubs voted for it than Dems.  Pretty Pathetic.  Only 14 senators voted for it, even more pathetic.

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