Play Ball!

Some sure signs of spring continue today. In South Dakota we shovel another round of heavy heart attack snow from the latest March snowstorm and my team, the Cleveland Indians begin their 60th season since their last World Series triumph with high hopes. As witnessed by my previous prognostications in regards to Cleveland sports, what i think usually ends up being totally wrong but this year looks to be a good one for the Tribe.

Last year no one expected much and they came within one win of the World Series and this year many pundits have them going to and winning the fall classic. So barring any major injuries, this season looks to be a great one for Indians fans. Could this be the year that the long suffering Cleveland sports fans will celebrate the first championship in any major sport since 1964?

Being one of those long suffering Cleveland sports fans born 9 months after their last championship of any kind, I am not holding my breath.

Posting will be light for the rest of the week as I head to New Jersey for training but as usual, give our other South Dakota blogs some love while I am gone.

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Is It Really Partisan Anymore?

Power Line thinks the loud chorus of boos that greeted President Bush last night at the Washington National’s opener is just more proof that liberals have no class.

It’s a constant effort to remind oneself that not all liberals are jerks.

My question to Mr. Hinderaker and anyone else that feels that way is with Bush’s approval ratings in the low 30’s, can the feelings expressed last night in D.C. really be considered a partisan issue anymore? It seems almost no one likes him no matter which party they belong to…

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Green Zone?

Somebody didn’t get the memo.

A former Corvallis city councilman has died from injuries sustained when rockets pounded Baghdad’s U.S.-protected Green Zone on Easter, according to a story in the Corvallis Gazette Times.

Dick and Leona Converse of Corvallis said they learned Sunday that their son, Paul Converse, had been injured and likely wouldn’t survive. On Monday, two officers from the Oregon Army National Guard arrived at their door.

Read the whole story

What memo am I talking about? You know the one that said things are so much better in Iraq. I am sure the 56 year old financial analyst from the above story who was killed in the supposed “green/safe zone” wished it had made it to the insurgents because apparently no one told them things are supposed to be safer as a result of the “surge”.

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FISA And What You Are Not Hearing

I may not be as edumacated as my esteemed blogging professor colleagues from the north whom seem to think that passing FISA reform without Telcom immunity is a compromise that will weaken the legislation. Nor am I as smart as those that consistently blame the Democrats for holding up this legislation and are in turn weakening our national security.

So since I ain’t that smart, maybe someone could explain to me what from the following points make the Democrats, re: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, the bad guy on this issue.

– What the Telcom companies did by allowing the government access to their US customers without warrants was illegal and they knew it was illegal. They already had immunity for turning over records to the Government as long as they followed existing laws while doing so.
– Not giving Telcoms retroactive immunity will not prevent them from helping the Government in the future. Why? Because they would be legally bound to do so (If the government had legal standing to get the records in the first place that is) and would open themselves up to legal action or worse if they didn’t.

What President Bush and Republican’s stonewalling of the legislation because of the lack of immunity does do:

– Prevents the implementation of oversights that would ensure that the Administration hasn’t gone too far while stomping on our 4th Amendment rights.
– Opens up the possibility that current FISA regulations could expire as President Bush has already rejected a House and Senate offer to extend current rules until a new policy could be worked out and refuses to sign any reform that doesn’t include immunity. In other words, his stubbornness is putting us in danger.
– Continues to reward Telcom companies for breaking the law and leaves open the possibility that they can continue to break the law without consequences.

What this fight is really about:

– Protecting the Telcoms whom are facing over 40 lawsuits because of their complicity with the Bush Administration’s illegal wiretapping program. After all they have spent millions on campaign contributions to members of Congress and now want some return on that investment.

MAPLight.org’s research department reveals that the telecom industry gave, on average, $10,660 to members of the House of Representatives who voted “no” as opposed to $7,085 to those who voted “yes” on the House amendment (to the Senate amendment to H.R. 3773), to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA).

– Giving the Adminstration an open door to unchecked misuse (see my comment on oversights above). All the government has to do is say the word “terrorism” and suddenly it can spy on anyone, anywhere, whenever it wants, with no due process whatsoever and no warrants to get in the way.

So could someone explain to me why Herseth-Sandlin is the bad guy here and Tim Johnson (and John Thune for that matter) aren’t? And speak slooowly…

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Selective Memory?

Badlands Blue has a post calling out Mt Blogmore for a negative post in regards to Stephanie Herseth Sandlin’s vote on FISA that specifically didn’t include Telcom immunity.

In other words, according to the Rapid City Journal’s blog, Mt. Blogmore, Rep. Herseth Sandlin is an extremist, Bush-hating, terrorist-loving librul because she voted against granting immunity to big telecommunications companies for past warrantless wiretapping? Because she voted in support of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution? Amazing.

And while I definitely agree with Lowell’s criticism of the Herseth-Sandlin hit piece and with his point that we should not be granting immunity for past warrantless wiretaps, I have to wonder where his anger was just a few weeks ago when Tim Johnson broke ranks with Democrats and voted for similar FISA changes that included the same retroactive Telcom immunity that he is now defending Herseth-Sandlin for not allowing.

Selective memory?

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Johnson's Pledge

I missed this a few days ago due to my raw sewage issues but our esteemed Senator Tim Johnson was quoted, actually as is normally the case lately, one of his his mouthpieces, Steve Jarding, was quoted as saying that Johnson supports Barack Obama but will vote for Hillary Clinton at the convention if she wins our June 3rd primary.

Johnson, one of the state’s Democratic super-delegates, supports Obama. But Johnson will vote for Clinton at the national convention if Clinton wins the June 3 primary in South Dakota, Jarding said.

Well thanks Tim, or Steve, or whomever is making decisions for our senior Senator. Thanks for pledging to do what you are supposed to do in the first place, you know that whole representing the wishes of your party members thing…

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Because It's All About Tolerance

How’s this for an Easter message?

Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg’s response when asked about the Uniting American Families Act which would give same sex couples the same access to green cards and visas as is currently afforded to traditional partners.

(emphasis below mine)

We oppose this bill because it is, although it may be at the margins, part of an assault on the definition of family … I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society.

Just ship them out? Mighty “love thy neighborly” of them isn’t it. Whose next to get the boot from our country if these folks have their way?

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When It Rains It Pours

I had hoped to use the weekend to catch up on the happenings in South Dakota politics these past few weeks but again other commitments have gotten in the way. Unlike with the past few weeks where work has taken me away, this past weekend and the days following have seen my basement filling up with raw sewage because of a broken and battered underground sewage pipe.

The pipe is finally fixed though my lawn looks like a muddy quagmire and hopefully soon the cleanup of the basement will have been completed but until that happens, the old homestead is unlivable and the blogging will continue to be sporadic at best. On a related note, if anyone is looking for someone to work on their sewage problem, I don’t have a recommendation on who to call but I can surely tell you who not to call…

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Busiest Lawyers In The Nation

The busiest lawyers in the nation would have to be those tasked with legalizing after the fact justifying George Bush’s forays into areas outside of his authority.

As a consequence, administration lawyers hustled to craft new legal justifications for the weakened standard.

Bush is at it again, this time he has stepped in and weakened the EPA standards that regulate smog forming ozone. A move that directly contradicts the EPA and more than likely goes against the regulations set forth by the Clean Air Act which dictate that air-quality rules be decided by the EPA alone.

“It is unprecedented and an unlawful act of political interference for the president personally to override a decision that the Clean Air Act leaves exclusively to EPA’s expert scientific judgment,” said John Walke, clean-air director for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Knock me over with a feather, who would have thought that an oil man would loosen pollution standards?

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