A Half-true Attack on McCain – FactCheck.org


The conservative anti-tax group Club for Growth targeted 2008 presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain with a TV ad in New Hampshire. It contains a half-true claim that McCain would “keep the death tax.” In fact, McCain has long advocated reducing the number subject to the tax, so that it falls only on the estates of multi-millionaires.

The ad also misleads viewers by saying, “when you die, the IRS can tax you again. Taking as much as 55 percent of everything you’ve saved for your children.” In fact, only estates exceeding $1.5 million currently pay any tax on that wealth. It fell on fewer than 1 percent of all Americans who died in 2004.

Delusions of Grandeur

Bush Calls Iraq War Moral Equivalent Of Allies’ WWII Fight Against the Axis
By Peter Baker and Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, August 31, 2005; Page A07

CORONADO, Calif., Aug. 30 — Invoking the spirit of Franklin D. Roosevelt, President Bush on Tuesday cast the war in Iraq as the modern-day moral equivalent of the struggle against Nazi fascism and Japanese imperialism in World War II….

Although Bush gave his speech only hundreds of yards from the towering hulk of the USS Ronald Reagan at Naval Air Station North Island, the White House made certain the ship was not in the television shot — an image that could remind viewers of the president’s 2003 speech on the Iraq invasion given on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in front of a premature “Mission Accomplished” banner.

President’s Poll Rating Falls to a New Low

By Richard Morin and Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writers

the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The survey found Bush’s job approval rating at 45 percent, down seven points since January and the lowest ever recorded for the president in Post-ABC surveys. Fifty-three percent disapproved of the job Bush is doing. …

Dissatisfaction is not limited to the president. Fewer than four in 10 Americans — 37 percent — approve of the way the Republican-controlled Congress is doing its job, the lowest rating for lawmakers in nearly eight years.

The survey also provided bad news for Democratic leaders, who are judged as offering Bush only tepid opposition. Slightly more than half of those surveyed expressed dissatisfaction with congressional Democrats for not opposing Bush more aggressively.

Pollute More

New Rules Could Allow Power Plants to Pollute More
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 31, 2005; Page A01

The Bush administration has drafted regulations that would ease pollution controls on older, dirtier power plants and could allow those that modernize to emit more pollution, rather than less.

The language could undercut dozens of pending state and federal lawsuits aimed at forcing coal-fired plants to cut back emissions of harmful pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, said lawyers who worked on the cases.

The draft rules, obtained by The Washington Post from the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group, contradict the position taken by federal lawyers who have prosecuted polluting facilities in the past, and parallel the industry’s line of defense against those suits.

Political Yard Signs Belong in YARDS

MR and I have discussed this issue for many election cycles (the full story is below). We believe yard signs belong in yards, not in public spaces. So, starting with this entry, I intend to highlight candidates who violate this simple guideline: put your yard signs in someone’s yard — nowhere else.

When you see a candidate’s signs in many yards, you know that candidate has real people supporting him or her. When you see yard signs in public spaces, you know that candidate has at least one hard working volunteer and some money to waste — but possibly no support whatsoever. The way to get signs in people’s yards is to meet them; the way to get signs in public spaces is to sneak around at night, like those exuberant Bush supporters who nailed Bush signs high on telephone poles in my neighborhood to make them hard to remove. Turns out it was quite easy with a golf club.

Today’s inaugural violator is Wayne Johnson. On my morning bike ride, I saw many, many of Wayne Johnson’s yard signs in various public spaces and only one in a yard (Wayne’s own yard?).

Mr Johnson: I will not consider voting for you until you remove your signs from public spaces. peace, mjh

The back story:
Continue reading Political Yard Signs Belong in YARDS

Poverty Rate Rises to 12.7 Percent – the fourth straight increase

Poverty Rate Rises to 12.7 Percent By JENNIFER C. KERR, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Even with a robust economy that was adding jobs last year, the number of Americans who fell into poverty rose to 37 million _ up 1.1 million from 2003 _ according to Census Bureau figures released Tuesday.

It marks the fourth straight increase in the government’s annual poverty measure.

The Census Bureau also said household income remained flat, and that the number of people without health insurance edged up by about 800,000 to 45.8 million people. …

Overall, the nation’s poverty rate rose to 12.7 percent of the population last year. Of the 37 million living below the poverty level, close to a third were children.

The last decline in overall poverty was in 2000, during the Clinton administration, when 31.1 million people lived under the threshold. Since then, the number of people in poverty has increased steadily from 32.9 million in 2001, when the economy slipped into recession, to 35.8 million in 2003.

The poverty threshold differs by the size and makeup of a household. For instance, a family of four was considered living in poverty last year if annual income was $19,307 or less. For a family of two, it was $12,334.

The Rio Grande Foundation

Greg Burton’s Albuquerque Blog — Who Are These People?

But who are these people? Well, the Rio Grande Foundation is a “free market” based economics foundation. In other words, they’ve got a bias towards the free market, regardless of whether or not it’s appropriate for the given discussion.

The president is John Dendahl. That should tell you something to start with.

That may say it all. Thanks to Greg Burton for looking deeper into the recent gun-for-hire column shooting down a raise to the minimum wage (and for the link to edgewiseblog); read the rest of his entry. peace, mjh

The Front Range Ranger Express

The Cherry Creek News – High Speed Commuter Rail Plan Unveiled

Imagine a high speed … commuter railroad whisking passengers from Cheyenne along Colorado’s Front Range to Albuquerque and from Denver to Vail. That’s the goal of “Ranger Express.”

Initially, high speed commuter rail service would run along the Front Range, from Fort Collins through Denver’s Union Station to Pueblo. High speed trains between Denver to Vail and connections to Cheyenne and Albuquerque would come later.

“Ranger Express could speed intercity and interstate travel, reduce highway traffic along I-25, I-70 and connecting roadways, and reduce the need to build new highways,” said Bob Briggs, head of the Front Range Commuter Rail, a nonprofit organization set up to get the project off the ground.

Briggs says the first hurdle is to get the federal government to designate the route as a high speed commuter rail corridor. Colorado Senator Ken Salazar is leading that effort.

“I believe we have the opportunity to create a high speed commuter rail system to link our major population centers and set the stage for the next century,” said Senator Salazar when he announced support for the plan.

“It is time to study this project’s feasibility, cost-effectiveness, and most importantly its impact on local communities. No matter the outcome of the study we need to find solutions now to our future transportation problems,” Salazar said. …

Briggs says the first service could begin as early as 2014.

This is a fantastic idea. Don’t let the inevitable hoots from the cheap bastards stop this. The initial funding is insignificant (too little, no doubt). It will be expensive to build, but we are only going up from $70/barrel for oil and $3/gallon for gas. Nuclear-powered cars are a few years off.

I’ve long thought one should be able to take a train from Las Cruces to Taos.

Every mile of highway should have a mile of rail right with it; we should have rail running right down the middle of I-25 and I-40 from border to border. Imagine sitting in traffic and watching the train speed by — that’ll get people out of their cars. mjh

New Mexico’s Rail Runner Commuter Rail

COLORAIL: A Voice For Colorado’s Rail Passengers

Bush to propose cutting Amtrak subsidies – U.S. Business – MSNBC.com

The Bush administration will for the first time propose eliminating operating subsidies for passenger train operator Amtrak as part of a push to cut budget deficits, people close to the budget process said Tuesday. President Bush’s fiscal 2006 budget, which he will send to Congress Monday, will allocate no subsidy for Amtrak to run its trains. [mjh: note that is from February 2005 — I don’t know what happened since.]