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Political Tidbits 3/2/06

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Republican or Democrat, American or Foreign, the politicos are fine subject for speculation, rumination and a bit of derision

Early 2008 Contenders

Came across this CNS article regarding a straw poll for the two contenders in the 2008 presidential election. I am surprised although so far I like George Allen of Virginia. Don’t know much about him, which would have to change come time to vote. I do know about Hillary and that’s enough.

My money’s still on McCain as the GOP nominee.

From Chuck Muth’s archives:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com“The 2008 presidential election will pit Republican Sen. George Allen of Virginia against Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, according to a straw poll conducted among conservatives over the weekend. The straw poll was conducted at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C.”

– CNS News, 2/13/06

Maryland Politics and Willie Don

William Donald Schaefer is a very important politico in Maryland politics. He was mayor of Baltimore and Governor for two terms. Now he is the state Comptroller.

All politics are local I understand but if ever a political sideshow is happening for the rest of the country to marvel at, it is in my home state of Maryland. Save perhaps the rush to get a GOP contender up against Beau Biden-yes, son of Senator Joe Biden- here in my new home state of Delaware. Where husband and I moved to get away from …Maryland politics.

Now I’ve always liked Schaefer and indeed, voted for him whenever he ran. He’s a no-nonsense tough guy who cut his teeth on the Maryland political scene and now it looks likes he’s going to die still fighting and wrestling for his beloved state.

Indeed Schaefer is almost single-handedly responsible for the revitalization of downtown Baltimore, first bringing that city’s vaunted “Harbor Place” to fruition then converting an old train station into Camden Yards, home stadium of my beloved Orioles. At times when the Camden debate was going on I wanted to throttle Schaefer. I worked in downtown Baltimore and Camden Yards was a big mess. “Move the Oriole stadium to the suburbs,” went the mantra, mine included.

Now Camden Yards is a beautiful inner-city stadium, right across from Harbor Place and has been the boost that dying city needed.

We always called Schaefer “old light bulb head” as the man had a skull shaped amazingly like a, well a light bulb.

What surprises me most is the recent flap over Schaefer’s alleged untoward remarks directed at a female assistant of Maryland’s Governor Ehrlich. The riff between Republican Ehrlich and Maryland’s mostly Democratic legislature is the stuff of legends and I must wonder if this constant spat has anything to do with making a mountain out of a molehill.

Because I know something about Schaefer that perhaps a lot of the world, at least the world outside of Maryland, does not know.

I was married once to a Baltimore city police officer. Indeed I was and he told me that the Baltimore police regularly drove Schaefer’s “gentleman friend” around for errands and delivered him to the home he and Willie Don shared.

Williams Donald Schaefer has never been married but I know that doesn’t mean anything. Still, it’s like the worst kept secret in the world about Willie and his friend.

Which, I must emphasize, does not or did not matter a whit to me. Schaefer was all for Baltimore, loved Baltimore, and once upon a time I too adored the city of my birth. Willie Don’s personal relationships were never important and to his credit it was never an issue in Schaefer’s politics.

I mention this because I must wonder, surely, that Schaefer is likely “innocent” of the hysterical charges being bandied about by Ehrlich’s people. Although he did ask the young lady to walk some more so he could watch her butt and that’s hardly a nice way to behave.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Schaefer did “apologize” to the young lady. By me, she doesn’t have a thing to worry about.

Seeking to put an end to an episode that made national news, Comptroller William Donald Schaefer acknowledged yesterday that he had embarrassed a young state employee whom he ogled during a crowded Board of Public Works meeting this week.

Schaefer did not concede, however, that he had done anything improper in a barely legible, handwritten note he scrawled on official stationery and had delivered to Elizabeth Krum, 24, an executive assistant to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

“Embarrass you intentionally – never,” Schaefer wrote in the note, which had to be deciphered for reporters by his communications director. “You have handled the ‘affair’ as a trooper. Sorry you were put thru this ordeal.”

He signed the letter, “Don Schaefer.”

Earlier in the day, Schaefer, 84, told television reporters that he did not have to apologize to Krum, who had just brought him tea, for telling her Wednesday to “walk again” as he appeared to admire her backside.

He also chastised the news media for making a fuss over the incident.

More McCain/Bush Money

I mentioned the mighty movement of the McCain money machine in the last “political tidbits” column and now there’s another indication of money gathering.

For it seems that the McCain people got a hold of the Bush money list. And he’s using it. And he’s telling former Bush contributors to “please update your list”.

This is John McCain’s last chance to run for the presidency. He’s now a little over seventy and if he doesn’t cast the gauntlet in 2008 he might well have to wait eight more years. By then he’ll be close to 80. A bit too old for the American electorate, I would argue, and McCain has been fighting skin cancer.

The fuel of politics is money and it looks as if McCain is stoking the monetary flames.

From Robert Novak:

Major political contributors to George W. Bush who have never given a dime to prospective 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain received letters, dated Feb. 8, asking for donations to the senator’s Straight Talk America political action committee.

Obviously using President Bush’s direct mail list, the letter signed by McCain asks for $1,000 or $1,500 to support candidates agreeing with McCain on “key issues.” It specifically lists “limiting federal spending, immigration reform, military readiness, global climate change, Social Security reform, reining-in lobbyists, reducing the power of the special interests and putting an end to wasteful pork barrel spending by Congress.”

Each recipient received a card to be filled in for McCain’s files. “I’m asking you to update your file card,” requests the letter, though the Bush contributors had no previous card in the senator’s files.

Washington Post Not Amused by Prize Writer Dana Milbank’s TV Costume

I saw Dana Milbank the night he showed up dressed in bright orange hunting gear on MSNBC. It was a smirk and I didn’t feel particularly offended.

However, is this really the way an “impartial and unbiased, ‘just the facts, ma’am'” reporter should be presenting himself. May I remind that Milbank’s get-up was worn shortly after the weekend of the Cheney shooting when questions, logistics and timing were still unclear? In this case, Milbank’s little wardrobe joke was totally inappropriate given his alleged unbiased reporter standing, but it was also displayed some poor timing. That orange shooting getup would have been very funny at least a week beyond the accident, when the victim was stable and known safe. Milbank does his little joke thing right around when Whittington had that small heart attack.

Not to mention his ha-ha lends credence to the meme going all around that the Washington press corps were a bunch of crybaby prima donnas.

Milbank presented himself as the benchmark for crybaby prima donna press corps behavior.
We understand the Washington Post, Milbank’s employer, was not happy.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comDana Milbank can be controversial with readers. The Post reporter has his fans — and I can be one of them — but I think his appearance on MSNBC last week was a mistake in judgment.

Milbank wore hunting gear — an orange stocking cap and striped vest and gloves — on Keith Olbermann’s show Monday night and made several meant-to-be-humorous remarks about Vice President Cheney’s hunting accident.

Iranian Mullahs Raking in the Dough

Follow the Money. It’s as simple as that.

For I’ve believed right along that the tremendous oil wealth of the Mideast is the very reason we’ve had nothing but trouble from that region lo these many years.

Note that in Iraq, under its new constitution, the country’s oil wealth is to be use for the general good of the country. This rather than allowing sweet fellows like Saddam to have control of this big money.

Which is why I’m not surprised that the Mullahs of Iran have managed to amass such wealth as reported by KRSI.net.

The quote below includes the Mullah at eighth and seventh place. Click the link for the rest of the list.

These Mullahs arranged for the “election” of President Ahmadinejad and it is these Mullahs putting him up to his shenanigans on the international stage.

Would these wealthy Mullahs nuke the world to protect their money?

Who knows?

– Iran Focus has obtained exclusive information from a reliable source in Iran throwing light on sleaze at the senior echelons of officialdom in the Islamic Republic.

The source has provided Iran Focus with a list of senior officials of the clerical regime and the personal fortune each one has amassed. Most of these officials have risen from lower middle class backgrounds to fabulous wealth gathered through corruption and embezzlement.

At eighth place is Ali Jannati, son of powerful cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati and a senior official in Iran’s Interior Ministry. The Jannati family’s private wealth is estimated at two trillion Rials, the equivenlt of $220 million. Senior cleric Ahmad Jannati is the head of the powerful Guardians Council and a close advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

At seventh place is Ayatollah Abolghassem Khazali, former member of the Guardians Council. The powerful council whose members are handpicked by the Supreme Leader is comprised of six clerics and six senior judges and has the power to veto any Majlis legislation. Khazali’s estimated wealth is 2.5 trillion Rials, the equivalent of $275 million, coming mostly from sea trading, paper imports, and book sales.

Getting Ready for Impeaching Bush

Because any minute now Bush is going to make a mistake. Not to worry. We can count on 25 members of the House of Representatives being on the ball and ready to go.

They’ve been wanting to impeach Bush since he was elected. Maybe this port deal will give them cause. After all, impeaching and removing a lawfully elected president from office is what they were born to do.

From American Chronicle.com:

APN) ATLANTA-25 US Representatives-including two members of the Georgia delegation-have now signed on as co-sponsors of H. Res 635, demanding a probe which could recommend Bush’s impeachment, including the initial sponsor, US Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Atlanta Progressive News has learned.

The current 25 total co-sponsors are Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA), Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), Rep. Major Owens (D-NY), Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Fortney Pete Stark (D-CA), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).

Ten Most Endangered House Imcumbents

Since we’re speculating on the 2008 presidential race, let’s reel backwards to an election coming up right soon.

I refer to the 2006 midterm elections. From Political Wire.com: we’ve copied a list as compiled by wise political pundits.

Note most of the endangered incumbents are Republicans.

Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN) Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA) Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT) Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) Rep. Mike Sodrel (R-IN) Rep. Clay Shaw (R-FL) Rep. Melissa Bean (D-IL)

Ending On a Happy Note

Well at least I’m happy.

I like Lynn Swann personally. Word is that the Pennsylvania GOP has endorsed Swann to run against PA Governor Ed Rendell.

We hear Swann is a teary eyed at the prospect.
From Yahoo.com:

Image hosted by Photobucket.comHARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania’s Republican Party leaders endorsed former Pittsburgh Steelers star Lynn Swann for governor Saturday, virtually guaranteeing that he will be the candidate to face Democratic incumbent Ed Rendell this fall.

“I haven’t cried this much since I was inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Swann told the applauding crowd as he wiped tears from his eyes.

Swann, 53, was unopposed for the endorsement, which came in a unanimous voice vote during a meeting of the 300-plus-member Republican State Committee at a downtown hotel.

Pat Fish is a published author and her books have drawn attention from her fellow reviewers on Blogcritics. Reviews of Memoirs of Josephine Fish and Mystery and Mirth have been conveniently provided for your reading pleasure.

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About pat fish

  • Re: Willie Don. IMO, he is a cretin who has a huge and not positive role in the horrible traditions of Baltimore and Maryland politics, and I’ve had that view since I was a young Baltimorean. Gay rumors aside, he has a history of the sort of behavior noted above. Yes, he’s an old fool and yes, he is a pesonally harmless windbag. But. If anyone else in a high position either in government or business behaved that way toward an underling – and the young woman and her father were upset and embarrassed – they would be in hot water and deservedly so. Schaefer should get a pass because of his age and stature within Maryland? Is it A-OK for lauded public officials to engage in sexual harrassment – even in jest – simply because they are beloved by a segment of the electorate? I think not, and many Marylanders agree – this could hurt him the next time he runs for reelection. Charges? Firing? Nah. But the public criticism that ensued was justified. He was wrong – and the fact that he pointed his finger at the media (and initially at the woman and her father too) for HIS bad behavior shows what a cretin he is.

  • One other thing: Schaefer, as mayor, made Baltimore – at least the downtown area – prettier. Yes, it was under his watch that Harborplace (it’s one word) was built and became the prototype for galleria-styleurban malls throughout the country. You fail to mention that he ignored other neighborhoods that fell to decay and crime as a result. Even today, the city suffers because of police-department policies that allow cops to ignore and fail to report numerous crimes. True, mayors since bear responsibility for that too – but it started under Schaefer. He may be popular with ancient Baltimoreans and with suburbanites who voted him into statewide office (and even that is changing for many because of the recent incident you mention), and yeah, he was good for tourism and laughs, but he was no prize to many of those who actually live here. Just ask those gunned down or robbed by criminals or the innocent people harassed by cops on Schaefer’s shiny, glasphalt-paved streets.

  • Well goodness, NR, tell us how you really feel.

    I’d like to take a moment and say I agree with everything you said and that I don’t agree with I simply don’t understand.

    Because it was ancient Baltimorons who put Schaeffer into power. Husband and I were two of them. Husband is from Mass and first time he voted for Schaeffer on my recommendation. Then he began complaining that Schaeffer is such a jerk, yada, yada.

    Sometimes you see the world of the past through rose-colored glasses. I remember a dingy and dank Inner harbor and I remember Camden yards being a real eyesore. Schaeffer fought himself bloody to fix it up and I admired a man on a mission.

    But I’ve also seen the rest of Baltimore and it is, indeed, very sad. Hey, I don’t have a solution. I had to leave Merryland to get away from the socialism run amok.

    Did Schaeffer put in the glasphalt paved streets? I think they’re kinda neat.

  • Born and bred Baltimoron here, Ms. Fish, so yes, I’m passionate about it. I too recall the dank, dreary harbor, the eyesore that was Camden Yards, the haven for derelicts that was Fells Point, the slum that was Canton. Went away to my first semester of college and returned to find the harbor area made sparkly and new; it struck me as magical at the time (1979). I do like Harborplace. Fells Point and Canton are busy, hip and gentrified now. And the glasphalt all along Charles Street still glistens under the streetlights at night. Baltimore has its good points to be sure; I certainly prefer it to the hideous, gut-wrenchingly dull and Republican ‘burbs. But if half of what was done in the business and tourist districts was done where people LIVE, I suspect city life would be much less difficult for city dwellers. Consider that many Baltimoreans can’t afford to shop at Harborplace or to enjoy microbrews at a Canton haunt or to attend Orioles and Ravens games at Camden Yards. This revere-the-rich-at-the-expense-of-the-working-class-and-poor sickness started during Schaefer’s day, and I’ll never forget it.

    If constituent service and honest policing were given the focus that zero-tolerance in tourist areas receives… If people were valued over profit and corporate types (I’m admittedly socialist, which is to be read as “people-focused”)…

    Schaefer has some good points, but – and I’ve been dealing with the man for more than 25 years as journalist and activist and community leader and can’t afford rose-colored glasses – he’s petty, vindictive, bigoted, rude, self-serving, arrogant and vain. And did I mention that he’s petty? (He’s known for showing up on the doorstops of complaining constituents to bitch them out. NOT a pleasant human.) And the fact that he thinks HE should receive an apology for the fuss over the beyond-the-pale comment he made to his staffer a statement that from anyone else would have resulted in a justified harassment charge – just underscores my opinion that the old coot has more than overstayed his welcome.