Third Party & Independents Archives

Secret Holds

Senators Barack Obama (D-Ill) and Tom Coburn, (R-Okla), as unlikely a pair to team on legislation as you might find, recently put forward a bill that would create a database of information describing federal spending on government contracts, loans, grants and other spending. Sounds good doesn’t it?

Finally, some transparency in the system and a mechanism that would allow those paying for the government (you and me) to see where our money is going. The measure passed both committees it was presented to and was on track to have a floor vote prior to the August recess.

So, what happened?

The legislation never got to the floor for a vote. It is dead as a doornail.

An unidentified senator placed a hold on the bill, effectively killing any chance of it getting to the floor for a vote. Not only did the senator place the hold, it is a "secret hold", established in violation of senate policy established by Trent Lott and Tom Daschle way back in 1998 essentially requiring anyone wanting to put a hold on legislation must inform the committee considering the matter. Holds have been used for decades, and originally, it was considered as a courtesy for a senator who may be otherwise unable to come to the Senate to review and consider the bill. It was supposed to be temporary. However, the history of this arcane procedure has allowed senators from both sides of the aisle to kill legislation they didn't like.

Rather than let the legislative process work as designed, the internal rules set up by the Senate on matters like legislative holds, filibusters, cloture votes, etc. have created a little world where the Senate can, with little transparency do whatever it pleases with respect to the development and passage of legislation. It's worked well, because the general public doesn't have the time nor inclination to bone up on senate procedure and then take their elective representatives to task for actions such as legislative holds.

If however, the general public knew about this (If the bloody news media would publish reports on this rather an the always exciting JonBenet case) they would be outraged. I think public opinion is typically on the side of full-disclosure. Certainly, exposure of these types of actions would have a chilling effect on them. As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said:

Sunlight is the best disinfectant

It's high time we as a public demanded better behavior from our representatives. This November, let's send a clear message to the club in Washington that we are tired of the little tricks like secret holds. What's required is a promise from any candidate for Senate running in November that they will join Chuck Grassley and Don Wyden (two senators who have been out front on attempting to eliminate the notion of secret holds altogether) in getting rid of this spurious procedure. Senators who support this procedure should be voted out of office.

If you are concerned or even interested on where the government spends our money, then this should motivate you to write your Senator and express your dissapointment in the fact the legislation was killed. It is our government, not theirs and I'd like more visibility into how they are spending my money. I'd also like more accountability in the Senate. Senators, if you want to put a hold on legislation, then fine. But you had better have the fortitude to stand up and explain why and not hide behind some ridiculous procedure to save your anonymity.

Posted by Dennis at August 29, 2006 9:00 AM
Comments
Comment #178057

Sent both my Senators an email…

Anyone else completely burnt out on the present batch of representatives (corrupt power whores)?

Posted by: tony at August 29, 2006 10:08 AM
Comment #178060

Tony, great idea. I just sent an email to both of mine as well. If we can get people to flood the email boxes of these folks perhaps we can get their attention.

Posted by: Dennis at August 29, 2006 10:29 AM
Comment #178061

Transparency is a key component of any healthy organization, government, or society.
Without it, corruption grows.
It is not at all surprising that the BILL was ignored (likewise, what happened to the BILL for an “Office of Public Integrity in Congress”, which Tom Coburn (interestingly) voted against).

Irresponsible incumbent politicians will not pass any common-sense, no-brainer reforms that might possibly reduce their power, or reduce their vast opportunities for self-gain, or reduce the security of their cu$hy, coveted incumbent seats of power.

The following also voted to oppose the “Office of Public Integrity in Congress”:
Senator Akaka (D-HI)
Senator Bennett (R-UT)
Senator Chafee (R-RI)
Senator Coburn (R-OK)
Senator Coleman (R-MN)
Senator Dayton (D-MN)
Senator Domenici (R-NM)
Senator Pryor (D-AR)
Senator Stevens (R-AK)
Senator Voinovich (R-OH)
Senator Warner (R-VA)

Our congress persons vote to ignore the deep concerns of the American people about the corruption and lobbying scandals in Congress.

Incumbent politicians will not reform themselves, and it won’t change as long as slumbering voters keep re-electing irresponsible inumbent politicians.

Unfortunately, the voters have not yet reached their threshold of pain and misery required to motivate voters to stop re-electing irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for, incumbent politicians. But we (almost certainly) will, eventually, because pain and misery is a good teacher.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 29, 2006 10:37 AM
Comment #178064

You’re right. The media is slanted too, and failing at one of their most important functions. Why? Because of the viewers. The same viewers that are also voters. Because it is easier to report on the same crap (over and over) rather than do some real research, And crap gets more viewers and better ratings. Voters are more interested in crap than being reminded they are crappin’ in their own nest.

Voters have have not yet reached their threshold of pain and misery, but they are on the right path to guarantee that their lesson is on the way. The sooner, the better. The longer it takes, the worse it will be.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 29, 2006 10:44 AM
Comment #178065

d.a.n.,

Everytime I see another news report on Natalie Holloway (Missing girl in Aruba), JonBenet Ramsey, Laci Peterson, etc, etc, ad nauseum, I think of Don Henley’s song “Dirty Laundry”.

“She can tell you ‘bout the plane crash with a gleam in her eye”

Posted by: Dennis at August 29, 2006 10:47 AM
Comment #178066

The media could probably figure this out if they wanted to (i.e. who put the secret hold on the BILL). Such things should not be a secret.

The fact that a BILL can be secretly placed On-Hold is, in itself, a glaring problem in itself.

If the media was worth a [explicative], they would dig into this and find out who it is. Afterall, all sorts of stuff is leaking out of congress anyway. It should be that hard, eh?

  • Responsibility = Power + Conscience + Education + Transparency + Accountability
  • Corruption = Power - Conscience - Education - Transparency - Accountability
  • Stop Repeat Offenders.
  • Don’t Re-Elect Them !
Posted by: d.a.n at August 29, 2006 10:49 AM
Comment #178068

I am one of those nasty little Progressives that signs up for e-mails from right-wing web sites, and when they ask me to contact my members of Congress about a certain issue, I do so…. but my message is the opposite of what is asked of me. Evil, I know. So imagine my surprise when the Christian Coalition sends me an e-mail with a stance I agree with, namely this very issue. I have contacted my Senators (one being Obama himself) about this nasty little trick already, but it is good to see it being brought up other places as well. When hard-core Christianists and long-hair hippie Progressives can see eye to eye on something, you know it has to be an issue of importance. I hope whoever put the hold on this gets politically strung up from the nearest tree.

Posted by: leatherankh at August 29, 2006 10:53 AM
Comment #178069

Dennis,
Yeah, great song. It fits perfectly. It’s in my vast collection of music. (click on play button to the right) |>

Posted by: d.a.n at August 29, 2006 10:57 AM
Comment #178070

Found this on Porkbusters.org

From Porkbusters reader Juliette:

“Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s office said the senator who is putting the hold on the bill wished to remain anonymous and they would not confirm or deny whether or not Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison was the one placing the hold. They were very rude and they hung up on me.”

Can we say Primary Suspect?

Posted by: leatherankh at August 29, 2006 11:00 AM
Comment #178071

“Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s office said the senator who is putting the hold on the bill wished to remain anonymous and they would not confirm or deny whether or not Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison was the one placing the hold. They were very rude and they hung up on me.”
————————————
Leatherankh,

KBH is my Senator and I’ve had the same response from her office on like matters before.

I would not be surprised if she is part of this.


Posted by: Dennis at August 29, 2006 11:03 AM
Comment #178073

“Can we say Primary Suspect?”

I say all Senators are until they prove to us otherwise. If they can’t prove (PROVE) their worthiness, they do not need to be in office.

No more excuses from either side. It’s either excellence or pink slips!

Posted by: tony at August 29, 2006 11:06 AM
Comment #178087

Kay Bailey Hutchison already ain’t gettin’ my vote because of her flip-flop on illegal immigration (aside from being an incumbent … : ) she wasn’t likely to get it anyway).

Senator (Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison) is trying to get a guest worker program (with Mike Pence) passed (which is really just another amnesty like the one in 1986, which quadrupled the problem). Unfortunately, neither party will enforce the existing laws. One wants votes and the other wants cheap labor (an under-paid under-class to exploit).


So, it would not surprise me at all if it was her.

I get form-letter responses from her office all the time. She’s not gettin’ my vote.

e.g. “Kay Bailey Hutchison” is one of my Senators (who won’t get my vote when the time comes).
Here’s the pork-barrel she voted for:
____________________________
$107,433,000 for projects added in the state of Senate TTHUD Appropriations Subcommittee member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), and the districts of House TTHUD Appropriations Subcommittee member John Culberson (R-Texas), and House appropriators Henry Bonilla (R-Texas), John Carter (R-Texas), Kay Granger (R-Texas), and Chet Edwards (D-Texas), including: $1,000,000 for compressed natural gas buses; $1,000,000 for the University of Texas Flywheel Bus and Truck Program; $500,000 for the Midland County Board of Commissioners Connection; $250,000 for Odessa for the renovation of the Historical Globe Theater; and $200,000 for Nacogdoches for renovations to the Fredonia Hotel and Convention Center.
______more__________________
KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, the first woman Texas has ever elected to the U.S. Senate, has gone from stardom to scandal in four months. Last week, she was indicted for misconduct in her former job as Texas state treasurer—an indictment she calls a “political witch hunt” by Democrats against a Republican. The issue is not whether her staffers performed political chores while she ran for the Senate—she admits they did—but whether the abuses were flagrant and whether she tried hard to hide them. She now faces the prospect of a trial during a bid for re-election next fall.
____________________________
In 1994 the Dallas Observer’s Miriam Rozen gained access to grand jury documents in the case against Kay Bailey Hutchison. I can’t find the article online, but I managed to find a contemporaneous Texas Monthly article that quotes largely from the piece. The testimony starts with employees, former coworkers and others noting her abusive behavior around the office. She literally threw a book at a subordinate and kept her office in a state of fear while she was Treasurer. These employees testify that when she told them to start destroying documents that showed her using state-paid staff, offices and other taxpayer-funded resources for her own political activities, they made copies behind her back.
____________________________
Kay Bailey Hutchison is also fond of pork-barrel (one of porker-award winners in 2005) … along with these other porker-award winners:
Then, look at the porker-award winners for only 2005:
____________________________
Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Robert Bennett (R-Utah) , Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-Mo.), Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.), Henry Bonilla (R-TX), Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss., Senate) , Larry Craig (R-Idaho), Robert Cramer (R-Ala.), John Culberson (R-TX), Randy Cunningham (R-CA.), Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-VA.), Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), John Doolittle (R-CA.), Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), Chet Edwards (D-TX) , Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), Rep. Mark Green (R-Wis.), Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), Bill Frist’s (R-Tenn.), David Hobson (R-Ohio) , Mark Kirk (Rill.), Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) , Tom Latham (R-Iowa), Rep. Ileana Ros- Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), John McCain (R-AZ) ($1 million for the brown tree snake), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), George Nethercutt, Jr. (R-Wash.) , Anne Northup (R-Ky.), John Peterson (R-Pa.) , Ralph Regula (R-Ohio), Dennis Rehberg (R-Mont) (parking garage that voters petitioned to have the pork-barrel money returned), Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala., Don Sherwood (R-Pa.) , Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Ted Stevens (R-Alaska, Senate) (he is the worst), John Sweeney (R-N.Y.), David Vitter (R-La.), James Walsh (R-N.Y.) , Zack Wamp (R-Tenn.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Chairman Bill Young (R-FL)

____________________________

Do you like your federal tax dollars going for pork-barrel in Texas.
Actually, Texas is 45th from the bottom.

If it is Kay Bailey Hutchison, it will provide yet one more thing to add the list.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 29, 2006 11:53 AM
Comment #178092

Sent an E-Mail to KBH, but doubt it will generate anything but another worthless form letter.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 29, 2006 12:05 PM
Comment #178096

d.a.n.

One of the greatest impediments to voting out irresponsible representatives is the prevailing mentality of the American people. Most people firmly believe that their representatives are models of morality until proven otherwise. They see corruption and realize it is present, but their standard response is “Not my Senator/Rep/whatever.”

This only brings us back to the constant issue of people being generally uninformed about their government and the tendency of the media to ignore important issues like the Office of Public Integrity measure.

The question is, what do we do?

Posted by: LXIX at August 29, 2006 12:10 PM
Comment #178098

LXIX,
You’re right.

The question is, what do we do?
Education is very badly needed. We all need to help spread the message. My website is one of many attempting to do that very thing. It gives reasons and benefits for merely asking people to do the one simple, common-sense, honest, non-partisan, responsible thing they were supposed to be doing all along, always.
  • Stop repeat offenders.
  • Don’t re-elect irresponsible incumbent politicians.

Regardless, that Education will come in one of two forms:
(1) before it is too late.
(2) or the hard way.

Pain and misery is a good teacher.
It’s coming whether we like it or not, but the sooner, the better.
The longer we wait, the worse it will be. Not just for us, but for many future generations.

Start here.
Then see this.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 29, 2006 12:21 PM
Comment #178106

Slumbering Americans need to know what is mostly likely in their future if they cotinue to ignore their responsibility.

It’s not much to ask.

Americans are not paying attention now, but they will.

Yes, they will when their threshold of pain and misery is finally reached.

When is that? No one knows, but unfortunately, it is probably a ways off. Still, if there is anything activists can do to get people more educated, then it may reduce the time before that threshold is reached, and reduce the amount of pain and misery that it will bring. And, there is no doubt about it. If we stay on this path much longer, we are going to learn the hard way (if it is not too late already).

Two areas people should take a look at is our fiscal condition and monetary systems.

Inflation is growing at a time of simultaneous massive debt, borrowing, and spending. The picture is looking more bleak every year. Any one that is not concerned about the fiscal picture is crazy.

Historically, voters are slow to anger. Too slow. Hence, the road to reform is tougher.

So, must we wait too long (again)?

Posted by: d.a.n at August 29, 2006 12:38 PM
Comment #178111

d.a.n

Education is of paramount importance; unfortunately websites like yours and this one are drops in the ocean. Additionally, the fragmentation among non-partisan groups only adds to the overall confusion and proliferation of mixed messages. The current parties have monopolized a key factor in this battle: organization.

That brings me to VOID. I know you and David Remer have promoted this to no end on this site and the practicality and feasibility have been debated ad infinitum. Without intending to open that particular debate again, I wanted to express what I think are the most important shortcomings of the idea.

1. The rhetorical issue. VOID is very much a reactive movement instead of a pro-active movement. I realize this is blasphemous corporate-speak, but the fact is that people — especially fat, comfortable Americans — are more likely to respond to a movement that stands for something and promotes something rather than one that indicts and tears things down.

2. The quality issue. The arbitrary act of voting out incumbents can easily end up electing a host of complete idiots or extremists to our government. Electing someone different can make a point, but you’re still stuck with that person for the duration of their term.

3. The misconception issue. Even if a significant number of politicians were voted out of office in the next election cycle, this could just be largely viewed as a shift in political tastes as opposed to a wake-up call.

I don’t wish to re-open the debate on these points, I simply want to express my opinion on the issue.

I would propose a party that isn’t a party: a vehicle that gets statesmen (not politicians) elected but doesn’t impose a heirarchy on them. The only platform that this party would need would be one of education, reform, accountability, and transparency. As for the other issues, let those be determined by the constituents.

Education: Every representative should have firm groundings in economics, domestic and international policy, and mediation. People who have attended schools of government or public policy would be prime candidates.

Reform: An overall commitment to simplification in government including the removal of superfluous legislation. Also updating and changing many of the arcane rules that still apply in many legislative bodies.

Accountability: Work for the establishment of independent bodies of oversight for legislative bodies, work toward a lower salary for officials but add in a carefully monitored and limited expense account (thus adding to transparency) that would provide for qualified reimbursement. Also have all “party” members sign (and be held to) accountability agreements with the party that stipulate party support.

Transparency: Support of legislation such as that mentioned above. Also, unspun updates to constituents on what each representative is doing and WHY they are doing it.

The best way to make an impact would be to take away the majority that most parties hold in legislative bodies. Too many issues are decided by parties, not representatives or constituents. Nobody should be able to pass a bill just because they have 50% of the vote plus 1.

This would take time and work, but it’s an achievable goal. Voting reforms like the ones suggested at www.fairvote.org would make ballots more accessible to non-partisan candidates. After that, who knows?

By having a party that isn’t a party, we can strike back at established parties using one of their most important tools: organization. We could also win the rhetorical war by being FOR something (although excellent political strategy will involve being against party candidates because of their party affiliation—I hate the game).

Whatever the case, we can all see that changes need to be made or our country won’t sustain itself.

That’s a scary prospect.

Posted by: LXIX at August 29, 2006 1:15 PM
Comment #178115

LXIX,
Thank you for the questions. I will address each …

LXIX wrote: 1… . Americans — are more likely to respond to a movement that stands for something and promotes something rather than one that indicts and tears things down.
That is a good point. However, asking people to NOT re-elect irresponsible incumbents is not too much too ask. In fact, it is a duty we should all take more seriously. But, there’s a little confusion about this. The message is not merely vote out all incumbents. The message is really: Don’t Re-elect Irresponsible Incumbent Politicians
LXIX wrote: 2. The quality issue. The arbitrary act of voting out incumbents can easily end up electing a host of complete idiots or extremists to our government. Electing someone different can make a point, but you’re still stuck with that person for the duration of their term.
Not likely. And if that did happen, don’t re-elect them. But, the problem is not one of intelligence. It is one of accountability, and that can’t happen without more transparency, and that requires education, and enough people that care enough to spread the eduction, or wait until pain and misery provides the education for us. Take your pick.
LXIX wrote: 3. The misconception issue. Even if a significant number of politicians were voted out of office in the next election cycle, this could just be largely viewed as a shift in political tastes as opposed to a wake-up call.
Not really. Have you looked closely at how they vote? There really is not much difference. That’s why they call them Republocrats, Demopubs, DINOs, RINOs, etc. In the things that matter most, they are the same, which is mostly corrupt, and unwilling to pass any common-sense reforms might possibly reduce their power, or reduce their vast opportunities for self-gain, or reduce the security of their cu$hy, coveted incumbent seats of power. What good is any incumbent that is crooked and won’t ever pass reforms. Look at this thread about the way they secretly hold BILLs.

It is not merely a shift of power, but a balance of power between government and the people. Nor, should we strip government of all power to accomplish anything.

Also, have you been watching the financial markets lately? Perhaps those inverted yield curves do mean something, afterall ?

Do we have reason to be worried? Yes.
When Americans figure it out? Time is important.
The longer it takes, the worse it will be.
But, eventually, after we have tried:

  • this party

  • and that party

  • conservatives, moderates, liberals, neocons, Republocrats, Demopubs, DINOs, RINOs, etc, etc, etc.

  • wallowing in the divisive, distracting, petty partisan warfare

  • power and corruption (and forgotten transparency and accountability)

  • living at the expense of everyone else (while complaining about the danger of the growing deficits and National Debt)

  • reducing waste and pork-barrel (but keep voting for those that bring the pork home, and bribe voters with the voters’ own money)

  • asking government to provide for us from cradle to grave (but complain how bloated government is and meddles too much in our lives)

… then maybe, after we have tried everything else, we will finally, try the one simple, logical, common-sense, no-brainer, safe, peaceful, non-partisan, fair, patriotic, inexpensive, honest, ethical, and responsible thing voters were supposed to do all along?

  • Stop Repeat Offenders.

  • Don’t Re-Elect Irresponsible, Bought-and-Paid-For, Incumbent Politicians !

No vast conspiracies here.
Nothing fancy.
Just plain, honest, common-sense.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 29, 2006 1:42 PM
Comment #178116

LXIX,
Those are good suggestions about reforms, voting, reducing obstructions to ballots, transparency, accountability, www.fairvote.org, etc. If it is OK, I saved what you wrote above to consider more thoroughly.
Thanks!

Posted by: d.a.n at August 29, 2006 1:48 PM
Comment #178117

Now why doesn’t it surprise me that secret holds, or any other holds exist in the Senate? Wouldn’t be surprised if they existed in the House too.
It’s dirty little trick like this why ALL INCUMBENTS regardless of party need to be fired this November. And we need to keep firing them until OUR employees get the message.
How many good bills have gone down this way? How much couldve been accomplished without this dirty little trick? AND WHY IN THE WORLD DOES SOMETHING LIKE THIS EXIST?
Dennis said that the rule was put in place as a curtsey to Senators that couldn’t get to Congress to review a bill. The only reasons I know of for a Senator not to be able to get there is either family emergency or the Senator is to sick to go. Even then, as sick as I’ve seen some of my employees come to work, the Senator had better be in the hospital.
I’m e-mailing my Senators as soon as I get off here. But if this rule is gonna get the ax it’ll have to come from a whole new bunch of Senators. Ones that know full well that they had best listen to the folks that put them in office.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 29, 2006 2:00 PM
Comment #178128
AND WHY IN THE WORLD DOES SOMETHING LIKE THIS EXIST?

Good question. I sent an E-Mail to Kay Bailey Hutchison asking that very question. Want to lay odds on whether I ever get an answer?

Posted by: d.a.n at August 29, 2006 3:05 PM
Comment #178155

Excellent post Dennis! And yes, I too just sent off some e-mails. All bums promoting secrecy and corruption need to go.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 29, 2006 4:51 PM
Comment #178163

The solution is to revamp news. This is supposed to be a public service, not entertainment. require cable companies and broadcast news organizations to be fully funded if they want to pump ads into your home. Require them to fund newspapers. Want to use satellites or air or cables to sell me a show? Fund the News. Want to run a corporation in America? Fund the News. Why does the congress attack PBS, or public access? Why does congress allow consolidation of Media outlets? Why does congress oppose net neutrality? They are stealing our democracy. Why do they out source prisons? They are stealing your freedom. Wake up, America.

Posted by: gergle at August 29, 2006 5:30 PM
Comment #178165

For all of those who are also sending emails:

the bill is:

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (S. 2590)

Posted by: Kevin23 at August 29, 2006 5:52 PM
Comment #178178

Thanks Kevin23!

Posted by: d.a.n at August 29, 2006 6:49 PM
Comment #178212

Dennis good article, interesting but it left me wondering. I saw the comment by d.a.n that shows Senators who oppose this particular bill, but what I am thinking about is what Senators support the idea of secret holds and which ones dont. I looked around and couldn’t find such a list. If anyone has an idea on how to compile such a list or has already compiled such a list I would love to see it.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at August 29, 2006 10:34 PM
Comment #178221

Richard Rhodes,
That list (above) was a list of congress persons that rejected the “Office of Public Integrity in Congress”.

I’d also love to see a list of congress persons that supported the secret hold on the other BILL of which the thread is about (Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (S. 2590)).

Posted by: d.a.n at August 30, 2006 12:07 AM
Comment #178272

A database implies a level of granularity, detailed enough to be useful, a mere overview would not satisfy the spirit of this legislation. Two questions immediately come to mind, that could be part of the set of questions needed to be adressed prior to the hold being lifted.

1. Would a detailed list of government contracts (specifically defense contracts) be useful to rogue nations and/or larger terrorist groups in establishing potential target lists? This may have national security impact that would need executive approval.

2. Having not read the bill, I would assume the text deals primarily with the reporting aspect of the issue. If there is insufficient desription of the support mechanism necessary to answer public inquiry, accountablilty will not occur. It would be surprising to me if any one agency could answer comprehensively on every single spending point.

I hate playing devils advocate on this one, because I agree that the government has become far too sneaky, but in all good conscience there are potential impacts related to the publishing of this information, that may need discussion.

Posted by: DOC at August 30, 2006 10:26 AM
Comment #178301

d.a.n
No, think I’ll pass on that bet. In fact I’ll bet that neither you or me will get a response from our Senators. What kind of odds you want to give me on that?

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 30, 2006 1:27 PM
Comment #178318

Well, my favorite guy, Senator Ted Stevens from Alaska is the culprit. He of the $250M bridge to nowhere boondoggle and the guys who thinks the Internet is a series of big tubes.

Teddy, you are a piece of work…

Posted by: Dennis at August 30, 2006 3:22 PM
Comment #178326

Ron, I get replies from Hutchison and Cornyn all the time. Their staff is very proficient at responding by saying how important is that they hear from constituents who disagree with how they are voting.

You have to think about that for a minute. Because for all the letter writing, they never change their actions, policies or votes. I guess you have to be born under the Janus sign to be a staffer who replies to constituent mail. Still, writing them, is better than overthrowing them. But overthrowing them at the ballot box is so much more satisfying.

At least, when Hutchison is booted, I will be able to say, “I told you so, for years!” Little compensation for a failed nation, but, what is a peace loving Buddhist to do?

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 30, 2006 4:01 PM
Comment #178338

Dennis, thanks very much for this information.

Posted by: Zebster at August 30, 2006 4:59 PM
Comment #178422
Ron, I get replies from Hutchison and Cornyn all the time. Their staff is very proficient at responding by saying how important is that they hear from constituents who disagree with how they are voting.

HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!

R O T F L M A O !

Posted by: d.a.n at August 30, 2006 10:01 PM
Comment #178425

David,

That’s true actually. I get letters from Kay Bailey Hutchison all the time (i.e. mostly pestering her about her Guest Worker program (a.k.a. Amnesty)).

Any way, that was so funny! (“how important it is they here from constituents who disagree with how they are voting”).

That bad part is, guess who pays for the mailing costs? (tax payers; Duh!)

Ron Brown,
I’ll pass on that bet. If any letters are received, they won’t admit to “who” put the secret hold on that BILL (The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (S. 2590)).

I’d love to have that database. Voting records alone are great ammunition, but a pork-database would be great. However, based on the amount of pork-barrel, the servers are going to need thousands of terabytes (perhaps petabytes) to store that much pork-barrel.

Good article Dennis!
Sincerely, Thank you for bring this to our attention.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 30, 2006 10:25 PM
Comment #178507

One way to reduce pork-barrel would be ONE-PURPOSE-PER-BILL.
But, no such common-sense, no-brainer reforms will ever be possible as long as voters keep re-electing irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians, who always out-number newcomers to congress that would like to pass some badly-needed reforms, but can’t because of the incumbents that like things just they way they have perverted them for self-gain and security of their cu$hy, coveted seats of abused power.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 31, 2006 12:07 PM
Comment #178532

David
I’m glad someone gets replies from their Senators. The only time I hear from Saxby Chambliss, or Johnny Isakson, my Senators, is when the do something they think they need to blow their own horn about. And these are form letters sent to everyone registered to vote.
I did get a letter (form) from Chambliss the other day. What it amounted to was a shameless begging for campaign funds. The thing it neither him or Isakson are up for reelection this year. And both them know I didn’t vote for them and don’t intend to vote for them.

d.a.n
I don’t blame ya, I would take that bet either.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 31, 2006 1:03 PM
Comment #178735

Thanks Dennis,

So Ted Stevens did that secret hold on BILL S. 2590 (Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006).

Does he have no conscience at all?

Check out Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) pork-barrel tally:
Pork per Capita
Year__ Rank__ $Total Pork___ $Per Capita
2006__ 1_____ $325,106,000__ $489.87
2005__ 1_____ $645,502,000__ $984.85
2004__ 1_____ $524,329,000__ $808.13
2003__ 1_____ $393,346,750__ $610.99
2002__ 1_____ $451,334,278__ $710.88
2001__ 1_____ $480,297,000__ $766.11
2000__ 1_____ $394,514,000__ $636.83

(Pork per capita calculations began in 2000)
Oinker Awards received by Stevens:

  • 2006: The Cold Shoulder Award for his $325 million in pork for Alaska

  • 2005: The Hogzilla Award for his $646 million in pork for Alaska.

  • 2004: The Whole Hog Award for his $524 million in pork for Alaska.

  • 2003: The Gold Rush Award for his $393 million in pork in Alaska.

  • 2002: The Snow Job Award for his blizzard of $451 million in pork for 2002.

  • 2001: The American Expense Award for his $480 million in pork for 2001. Don’t leave Nome without it!

  • 2000: The Who Wants to Be a Billionaire Award for using the other 49 states as his “porkline” while securing more than $1 billion in earmarks since 1991.

  • 1999: The Kick in the Ash Award for a $2 million monitor to warn airplanes of volcanic ash.

  • 1998: The Half-Baked Alaska Award for cooking up $477 million worth of pork since 1991.

Aug. 30, 2006 press release: CAGW: Sen. Stevens as ‘Secret Holder’ No Surprise: The end of a political whodunit with the revelation that it was Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) who placed a hold on the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (S. 2590).

It should be noted that this type of pork-barrel, corporate welfare, waste, graft, and irresponsible spending has and is going on when our troops don’t have body armor, medical attention (for weeks and months for some), and armor for their humvees.

Posted by: d.a.n at September 1, 2006 10:41 AM
Comment #178736

Thanks Dennis,

So Ted Stevens did that secret hold on BILL S. 2590 (Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006).

Does he have no conscience at all?

Check out Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) pork-barrel tally …
Pork per Capita
Year__ Rank__ $Total Pork___ $Per Capita
2006__ 1_____ $325,106,000__ $489.87
2005__ 1_____ $645,502,000__ $984.85
2004__ 1_____ $524,329,000__ $808.13
2003__ 1_____ $393,346,750__ $610.99
2002__ 1_____ $451,334,278__ $710.88
2001__ 1_____ $480,297,000__ $766.11
2000__ 1_____ $394,514,000__ $636.83

(Pork per capita calculations began in 2000)
Oinker Awards received by Stevens:

  • 2006: The Cold Shoulder Award for his $325 million in pork for Alaska

  • 2005: The Hogzilla Award for his $646 million in pork for Alaska.

  • 2004: The Whole Hog Award for his $524 million in pork for Alaska.

  • 2003: The Gold Rush Award for his $393 million in pork in Alaska.

  • 2002: The Snow Job Award for his blizzard of $451 million in pork for 2002.

  • 2001: The American Expense Award for his $480 million in pork for 2001. Don’t leave Nome without it!

  • 2000: The Who Wants to Be a Billionaire Award for using the other 49 states as his “porkline” while securing more than $1 billion in earmarks since 1991.

  • 1999: The Kick in the Ash Award for a $2 million monitor to warn airplanes of volcanic ash.

  • 1998: The Half-Baked Alaska Award for cooking up $477 million worth of pork since 1991.

Aug. 30, 2006 press release: CAGW: Sen. Stevens as ‘Secret Holder’ No Surprise: The end of a political whodunit with the revelation that it was Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) who placed a hold on the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (S. 2590).

It should be noted that this type of pork-barrel, corporate welfare, waste, graft, and irresponsible spending has and is going on when our troops don’t have body armor, medical attention (for weeks and months for some), and armor for their humvees.

Posted by: d.a.n at September 1, 2006 10:43 AM
Comment #179477

Just heard on the news that Ted Stevens released and the re-instated his hold on the BILL (Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (S. 2590)).

Posted by: d.a.n at September 6, 2006 8:43 PM
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