Friday, June 29, 2007
Summary of the Session: The Democrats Spent Everything, Endangering our Future
Baton Rouge) – “Despite a loud public outcry and countless calls for fiscal responsibility, Blanco and her legislative team stubbornly insisted on spending every last dollar in the state’s coffers. Led by a lame duck Governor, the Democrat controlled legislature spent every available dime in the state treasury passing the largest budget in the history of Louisiana, nearly 32 billion dollars (four years ago the budget was 18 billion dollars). This is an amazing feat considering we lost hundreds of thousands of people in the last couple of years. Will the Democrats ever learn that more spending is not the answer?” stated Republican Party of Louisiana Chairman, Roger Villere Jr.
“The out-numbered Republican Delegation was unable to stop the Blanco spending train. The Republicans in the legislature did try to slow it down and prevent the Governor and her legislative allies from jamming a budget without any tax cuts through the process without debate and discussion, but ultimately lacked the votes. The budget bills were written by Democrats, pushed through committees by Democrats, and guided on the House and Senate floor by Democrats, knowing that Blanco was eagerly waiting a few floors above to sign anything that involves an increase in government spending that crosses her desk.”
“It was terrible that the government spent billions of the surplus money, but what may be worse is that they earmarked hundreds of millions of dollars in recurring expenses that will further inhibit budget flexibility. Many economic analysts have said that the surplus is a direct result of the temporary spending from the hurricanes and that we are living in a false economy not knowing if the surpluses will continue. Of course Democrats believe that the federal government will continue to pump billions through our state every year for recovery efforts, but realistic people know that the money will eventually stop coming.”
“We asked for a modest $300 million in tax breaks to give relief to Louisiana families and businesses. That is less than one percent of the entire budget. Unfortunately, Gov. Blanco and her hand-picked floor leaders not only refused to back prudent tax cuts but decided to add 1,000 new government jobs that no one seems to have a clue what they do. For Democrats, government spending and growing the government bureaucracy is always the top priority and the citizens and businesses of the state are often forgotten.”
“A handful of good bills beat the odds and got through the hostile legislature. A few tax cuts, teacher pay raise, a ban on partial birth abortion, protection of the TOPS program, illegalization of cockfighting, and the abolishment of the Louisiana Insurance Commission are examples of those. Unfortunately, good legislation was the exception to the rule in the Louisiana legislature this session.”
“Fortunately, last night’s adjournment not only marked the end of session and a stop to fiscal insanity, but hopefully ended an era at the Louisiana Legislature. Democrats have controlled our legislature since Reconstruction (yes, the 1870’s) and we are nearly last in everything good. A Republican legislature, led by Congressman Jindal as Governor, will get our state moving in a positive, new direction. Citizens of Louisiana, the Republican Party of Louisiana is working hard everyday for change, and to get competent and qualified people elected this fall. I assure you, help is on the way,” said Villere.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Immigration Bill Fails Crucial Test Vote in Senate
Thursday , June 28, 2007
A defiant group of senators refused to continue down the path of a widely unpopular immigration reform bill Thursday, putting up a roadblock on a procedural debate and squeezing out any time left to work on one of President Bush's top domestic priorities.
On the cloture vote — the test to end debate and move to passage — the Senate voted 46-53 not to carry the motion. Sixty votes were needed for forward progress.
The tally is a turnaround of 18 votes from two days earlier. For varying reasons, six Democrats and 12 Republicans changed their votes to 'no' from a Tuesday vote that allowed the Senate to take up amendments on the bill. No one changed their votes to 'yes.'
Democrats who changed their votes were: Sens. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Jim Webb of Virginia.
Republicans who changed their votes were: Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and Sens. Kit Bond of Missouri, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Susan Collins of Maine, Pete Domenici of New Mexico, John Ensign of Nevada, Lisa Murkowski and Ted Stevens of Alaska, George Voinovich of Ohio and John Warner of Virginia.
The vote most likely puts an end to efforts to fix the U.S.'s porous borders and legalize the 12 million unlawful immigrants now living inside the U.S. The issue is so volatile, lawmakers won't want to touch it before the next presidential election.
Still, Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., who co-authored the legislation along with Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl, said the bill would live to see another day.
"You cannot stop the march for progress in the United States, and on this issue I have every hope and every expectation that we will ultimately be successful.
As day broke Thursday ahead of a vote to cut off debate, it appeared only the White House believed the bill could be saved. An increasing number of senior Senate aides and outside lobbyists who support the bill reconciled themselves to defeat.
Bush, making a last-ditch bid to salvage the bill, called senators early Thursday morning to urge their support. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez approached senators as they entered and left the chamber shortly before the vote.
"We have been in contact with members of Congress over the past couple of days and the president has made it clear that this is important to him," White House spokesman Tony Snow said before the vote.
Dispirited after spending months trying to save the legislation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., tried to find a silver lining.
"Even though the vote is really disheartening to me in many ways, I think as a result of this legislative work that we've done in the last several months, there have been friendships developed that weren't there before," Reid said after the vote ended.
Senate leaders began to see the writing on the wall as tallies for the necessary 60 votes showed critical support had been lost. Part of the change of heart was no doubt spurred by public opposition to the vote, spurred by talk radio hosts.
Opponents of the bill — Republican Sens. Pete Sessions of Alabama, who had been a frequent guest on the radio circuit, and Jim DeMint of South Carolina — remarked on the Senate floor that the sergeant-at-arms' office told them that the volume of calls leading up to the immigration vote was so high it had crashed the phone system, and no one was able to get through during morning debate.
The phone calls that came in "did make a difference," DeMint said after the vote.
Domenici, who once supported the bill and is up for re-election in 2008, told FOX News that Republicans are "getting hammered here at home and for what? Something that doesn't even have the chance of becoming law? No. This bill is going down. ... Why are we having all these big amendments? They (supporters) don't even know what's in this bill. We learned it's not even enforceable. I just don't think I can support this bill."
Many lawmakers who changed their mind and voted against the bill added that they didn't see the point of wasting their time when the bill was going to die in the House of Representatives. On Tuesday, only 23 of the 201 Republican congressman said they supported the bill. Internal Democratic counts were not made public.
Before the vote, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus cancled a morning meeting to lobby their colleagues in the upper chamber, and bill supporters in the Senate made one last, passionate pitch to keep the bill alive.
"This is a vote of enormous importance," Kennedy said. "This is really the vital vote about the future of the country or the past. Every person that votes 'no' has to know this situation is going to get worse and worse and worse."
Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., called the bill "the very best that can be done."
"Let us finish this bill," implored Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. "To cut this bill off now is a huge mistake. We are so close."
Prior to the vote, opponents appeared to sense that victory was within grasp. DeMint said the whole debate demonstrated why Americans are feeling a "crisis of confidence" in their government.
"This immigration bill has become a war between the American people and their government. ... This vote today is really not about immigration, it's about whether we're going to listen to the American people," he said.
"I don't pretend to know that I am on the right side or the wrong side of the American people," responded Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a supporter of the bill who added that once the provisions are explained to Americans, polls show they overwhelmingly support it.
But Sen. Elizabeth H. Dole, R-N.C., said many Americans "don't have confidence" that U.S. borders, especially those with Mexico, will be significantly tightened, especially since legislation passed last year to set up hundreds of miles of border fencing had not yet been enforced.
"It's not just promises but proof that the American people want," Dole said.
Afterward, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., suggested that the Senate would be willing to consider "a supplemental appropriations bill to do the significant increased enforcement that we can clearly do."
Vitter added that their vote does not mean they are anti-immigrant, and to suggest that the 80 percent of Americans who opposed the bill are racist "I think itself is the height of ugliness and arrogance."
Local lawyer Paul Hurd considering attorney general’s race
By Elizabeth Fitch
Local lawyer Paul Hurd is considering a run for Louisiana attorney general as part of what he sees as a statewide political overhaul.
Hurd said this week he has been approached by elected officials who have offered their political and financial support if he throws his hat in the ring.
He did not name the individuals.
“They were very interested in someone who had longtime reform credentials,” Hurd said.
Those credentials include Hurd’s redistricting knowledge, an issue the Attorney General’s Office will face with the 2010 census, particularly because of the population shift following Hurricane Katrina.
Hurd said he will continue to discuss the prospect with politicians and local supporters and should come to a decision in the next few weeks after the July 4 holiday and the close of the legislative session.
He has previously run for office, including an unsuccessful bid in 2004 for a 4th district judgeship.
Fifth District Attorney Buddy Caldwell and Shreveport lawyer Royal Alexander have already announced their candidacy. Incumbent Charles Foti also has said he will seek another term.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Dear Fellow Louisianan:
As you know, I have grave concerns about the direction some in Washington have taken the immigration debate. Our current immigration debate should really be about securing our border and enforcing current law. Illegal immigrants have compromised the security of our nation and Congress should deal with stopping the flow of these criminals before doing anything else.
Second, I am STRONGLY OPPOSED to any form of amnesty for illegal immigrants. Congress must respect the rule of law when we consider a solution to the problem of illegal immigration. Therefore, border security and enforcement must come first in order to protect the citizens of Louisiana, and to preserve our nation's sovereignty.
I will continue to fight for an immigration policy that has no provisions for amnesty of any kind. The Kennedy Amnesty bill if it passes would allow illegal aliens to get a free pass and get amnesty. This is outrageous!
As you may recall, during debate on the Senate Immigration bill, I authored an amendment to strip the amnesty provision out of the bill. Unfortunately, my amendment failed 29-66. Although I thought amnesty for 12 million illegal immigrants – including more than 635,000 gang members, terrorists, and felons was a wrongheaded policy, I was not able to gain enough of my colleagues' votes to vote with me to say NO AMNESTY PERIOD.
However, I want you to know that I am continuing to fight the battle against Amnesty. I am working around the clock trying to convince other Senators that this bill is Amnesty "pure and simple". I urge you to join me in the fight against amnesty and assist me in the battle against the Kennedy Amnesty immigration bill.
David Vitter, U.S Senator
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
By a 64-35 margin, the Senate voted to bring S. 1639, the “corrected and updated” version of S. 1348, to the floor. On this matter, a senator’s “YES” vote on cloture was equivalent to a vote for amnesty.
In light of the last sentence, maybe not. We'll have to watch and listen to learn if that sentiment is actually true. That said, we still have a bit of time to keep up the pressure.
If need be, the US House can stop this amnesty travesty. Will it?
Update: Cloture vote on the actual bill will be Thursday, June 28, so push. Hard. That the senators have thirty hours to discuss amendments could play some weird mind tricks on them.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Kershaw Can Beat Mitch Landrieu By A Double Wide
I am the first on record saying that Sammy Kershaw will be elected lt. governor by defeating Mitch Landrieu.
First, Sammy Kershaw has many fans. He has fans who have heard him for years and have liked him for years. He also was on the scene long before Mitch and in a much bigger spectrum.
Kershaw is known nationwide and liked by an entire country music industry.
Now I know country music lovers are not the only group to vote on election day. If they were it would be over in a second.
But I will tell you that country music lovers will make up a significant percentage of those voting on election day. In addition, Sammy Kershaw has something many newcomer candidates do not-a solid base.
I am here to tell you that Sammy Kershaw already has support and a major base in the rural areas to say the least.
Should he run a strong campaign, and really run it right he can win.
The one area he could get tripped up in is not knowing how to run a campaign against the tactics of hate politics known as Landrieu attack ads. Kershaw also needs to be heavy on the fundraising side.
I personally believe every campaign needs to raise money from as many donors as possible to get people to invest and put more into it. These self-financed candidates are around but not winning that many times with their own money.
In Louisiana, every self financed candidate that I can think of is trailing big right now.
One other thing. Mitch Landrieu is not known for doing anything. He has no major accomplishment under his belt that one can name. He cuts ribbons with the best of them but what has the guy done?
Sammy Kershaw can raise money nation wide and build off his good base. He also has a major advantage when it comes to the "like ability" factor.
I think Kershaw will surprise all and beat Mitch Landrieu by a double wide.
You heard it hear first. It does not hurt to have Bobby Jindal at the top of the ticket either. There is no dem out there that can pull Landrieu over the line except Landrieu, oh, and do not forget his sister.
I will take one Kershaw over a pair of Landrieus any day.
Because nothing improved, however, a call was made to the cable company. Uh-oh. The upshot is, for three and a half days, I had no cable connection at all. According to the technician, who was very diligent, by the way, the corporate office of the cable company made technical adjustments to the system without informing the technicians about those changes. Well, that’s helpful.
Anyhoo, after much hair pulling and gnashing of teeth, it was determined that the culprit was the amplifier on *our* telephone pole. I can only conclude that the secret adjustments to the system destroyed the amplifier. If that’s not the case, the broken amplifier had to have been the result of a meddlesome squirrel employing a weird hacking method that went annoyingly awry.
That growled, the amplifier was replaced – finally – today, so, for now, I’m baaak!
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
June 19, 2007
Flashback: Immigration fraud and the Presidency
Do you remember the name Doris Meissner? Ms. Meissner was Bill and Hillary Clinton's Administrator of the INS (Immigration & Naturalization Service). Before Clinton ran for his second term in 1996, Meissner ensured that hundreds of thousands of illegals were fraudulently legalized, just in time to vote for the Clintons.
Among those intimately involved with this massive Democrat immigration fraud were Rahm Emanuel, the architect of the 2006 Democrat Congressional takeover, and Al Gore, currently playing Planetary Prophet of Doom to loud acclaim around the world. Hillary must have known all about the immigration scam, since the Clintons were running for re-election. Oh, and by the way, Mohammed Atta was found and released twice by the INS for immigration violations. Before he knocked down the Twin Towers and killed 3,000 Americans.
According to David Schippers, one of the few honest Democrats left in the country, writing in the Wall Street Journal,
"In the end, the (Clinton-Gore) White House got their one million voters and re-election. The U.S. got 75,000 new citizens who had arrest records when they applied; an additional 115,000 citizens whose fingerprints were unclassifiable and were never resubmitted; and a final 61,000 who were given citizenship without even having their fingerprints submitted so that no check was possible...
In June 1998, we undertook to again pick up the investigation of the program. Our interest intensified when we heard that a similar plan may be in the works for the 2000 presidential election. Among other things, we wanted to find out if the criminals who were given citizenship in 1996 were continuing their criminal activity in the two years since. My staff pulled out about 100 of the most violent or serious crimes that were committed by aliens prior to naturalization and documented by arrest records...
Of those 100 records, some 20% showed arrests for serious crimes after the subject was given citizenship. The charges included murder, rape and child sexual abuse. Based on those results, we resolved to ask for updates on every arrest record. Had we been given enough time to put together evidence and witnesses, Citizenship USA might even have figured in Mr. Clinton's impeachment trial."
The 1995-6 Clinton INS fraud is critically relevant today, with the Senate immigration bill playing Godzilla Returns, not to mention Hillary running for eight more years.
Here's a guess: The USG immigration bureaucracy is rife with corruption. Why? Because with immigration from Mexico come huge amounts of drugs, with drugs come billions of dollars, and with massive amount of money comes pervasive corruption. The Doris Meissner saga says as much. That doesn't mean everybody in the Border Patrol and INS is tainted. You don't have to corrupt everybody. It does suggest that the US Government is getting Mexicanized, long before Mexican immigrants can become Americanized.
That means that we need to do more than defeat the present pathetic immigration bill before the Senate. We must elect a new president in 2008 who can change the bureaucracy.
I'm impressed by Mitt Romney and Rudi Giuliani, because they have been administrators in Democrat-populated governments, Rudi in New York City and Mitt in Massachussetts. Both were strikingly successful in making their turgid bureaucracies finally work on behalf of ordinary citizens. Fred Tompson also looks like a man of integrity - but he may not have the mojo to win over the bunkered bureaucracy, just as George W. Bush has not been able to move the set-in-concrete establishment in Washington.
(Needless to say, Hillary is hopeless from an immigration point of view; my guess is that Obama is, too.)
Only a new president with guts, integrity, managerial skills and the determination to solve the problem can handle this one.
It can be done, because it has been done before.
In an important piece in the Christian Science Monitor John Dillin described "How Eisenhower solved illegal border crossings from Mexico."
Fifty-three years ago, when newly elected Dwight Eisenhower moved into the White House, America's southern frontier was as porous as a spaghetti sieve. As many as 3 million illegal migrants had walked and waded northward over a period of several years for jobs in California, Arizona, Texas, and points beyond.
President Eisenhower cut off this illegal traffic. He did it quickly and decisively with only 1,075 United States Border Patrol agents - less than one-tenth of today's force. The operation is still highly praised among veterans of the Border Patrol.
... In 1954, Ike appointed retired Gen. Joseph "Jumpin' Joe" Swing, a former West Point classmate and veteran of the 101st Airborne, as the new INS commissioner.
Influential politicians, including Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson (D) of Texas and Sen. Pat McCarran (D) of Nevada, favored open borders, and were dead set against strong border enforcement, Brownell said. But General Swing's close connections to the president shielded him - and the Border Patrol - from meddling by powerful political and corporate interests.
Sounds familiar? Yes.
By mid-June of 1954,
Some 750 agents swept northward through agricultural areas (in California and Arizona) with a goal of 1,000 apprehensions a day. By the end of July, over 50,000 aliens were caught in the two states. Another 488,000, fearing arrest, had fled the country. ... By mid-July, the crackdown extended northward into Utah, Nevada, and Idaho, and eastward to Texas. ... By September, 80,000 had been taken into custody in Texas, and an estimated 500,000 to 700,000 illegals had left the Lone Star State voluntarily.
This was the World War II generation in action. We might do it differently today, as suggested by New Gingrich and Mitt Romney. There are many ways to make the system work again.
The point is that immigration enforcement has worked before. It can work again.
Today, entrenched establishment interests want to subvert the border again. We are back in 1954. Corruption is part of the picture.
The one advantage we have today is an aroused citizenry with the blogosphere as a megaphone with a million voices.
Electing an effective president next year is at least as important as defeating the pathetic immigration bill today.
And we need to keep up the pressure.
It can be done.
June 15, 2007
I'd like to respond,point by point, to today's Democrat Party press release, where chairman Chris Whittington challenges the Stupid Party on the question of Sammy Kershaw's residence. Kershaw has formally announced that he's a candidate for the job of Louisiana's Lt. Governor:
Will the Louisiana Republican Party hold Sammy Kershaw, a citizen of Nashville, TN and the latest GOP candidate for Lt. Governor to the same residency rigors as former Sen. John Breaux?, asks Louisiana Democratic Party Chairman Chris Whittington.
The Louisiana Democratic Party calls upon the state GOP to be consistent both in its’ interpretation of state law and its scrutiny regarding qualifications of candidates for state office.
Well, if they don't, what exactly are you going to do about it Chris? What if the Stupid Party simply tells you "no, we're not going to hold Kershaw to the same standard?" Do you have a contingency plan, other than screaming "hypocrite" and beating your chest?
At any rate, one of the things that the Stupid Party will argue is that Kershaw indeed a registered voter in Louisiana, and has voted here for many years. I'm not a lawyer, and I don't know if that makes Kershaw a citizen or not, but it's one thing he's got going for him that Breaux didn't.
At any rate, the press release continues:
Although it is true Kershaw is a native of Kaplan, according to recent court documents, he has retained residency in Tennessee for years. His qualifications to effectively assume responsibilities of this office are non-existent (emphasis mine).
Here's where Whit conflates two unrelated items, the first being a legitimate issue of his residency, the second being a personal opinion of his qualifications. The two have nothing to do with each other.
In closing, the release ends by talking about Mitch Landrieu:
"In comparison, the vast achievements of Mitch Landrieu, who has helped revive the state’s economy following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita by his efforts to bring tourists back to Louisiana are invaluable and unrivaled,” said Whittington.
My response to that is an outburst of uncontrolled laughter.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Friday, June 8, 2007
What is surprising, however, is that Senator Mary Landrieu voted against cloture, as well. Not sure why, except that she is up for reelection in ’08. Nevertheless, I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Ergo, Mary deserves a thank you note, so e-mail one here.
David deserves our constant thanks and praise for his hard work on this issue because it isn’t going away quietly. We need to be the wind at his back, so thank him here and promise your continued support.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
By Sean Lengell
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
June 6, 2007
Wealthy philanthropic foundations are helping bankroll the pro-immigration movement, while groups advocating for tighter control of U.S. borders say they take a more grass-roots approach to raising money.
The Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation and Democratic activist George Soros are among the liberal funders that have donated millions of dollars to pro-immigration groups, as the Senate continues its debate on a contentious bill that would overhaul the nation's immigration policy.
Three of the nation's biggest and most influential pro-immigration groups -- the National Immigration Forum, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) -- collectively received more than $3.25 million from Ford Foundation since 2005.
The three advocacy groups generally support the proposed Senate bill which would give many of the estimated 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens in the U.S. a path to citizenship. The bill also would allow aliens here to bring close family members into the country.
Pro-immigration nonprofit groups say they're hardly awash in cash compared to organizations lobbying on other contentious issues, such as abortion, the environment and tort reform.
"To me, it's remarkable how little money goes into immigration reform on both sides of the issue," said Frank Sharry, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. "It's Lilliputian."
Mr. Sharry said groups on both sides of the immigration issue can rightfully be considered "grass-roots" outfits.
"We have a staff of only 10 people," Mr. Sharry said of his group, which supports allowing aliens a path to legal residency or citizenship. "These groups on all sides of the debate are small, intense and highly informed."
But groups supporting stronger immigration policy and tighter border control say they rely more on small donations from individuals than large foundations.
NumbersUSA, which says it has 366,000 members, saw its membership grow 50 percent since Jan. 1 and 18 percent in May, spokeswoman Caroline Espinosa said. Two-thirds of the group's financial support comes from private people, with the average donation being $40.
"Contrary to what might be popular belief is that the grass-roots aspect is more on our side than the [pro-immigration] side," Mrs. Espinosa said. "They have more of these organized, established types of groups funding them and driving their activism."
John Tanton, a retired small-town Michigan ophthalmologist who helped organize Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), NumbersUSA and the Center for Immigration Studies, says money alone won't win the immigration debate.
"Money can be a help, but it also can be a hindrance," he said. "If you don't have to go out and meet the public and get shouted at and get direct-mail surveys rejected, then you won't know about the pulse of the public.
"We've had our share of major supporters, but we've had to rely on nickel-and-dime support," Mr. Tanton said.
A complete list of funders isn't available, as these lobby groups are not legally required to report their funding sources. But many major philanthropic institutions make at least part of their donor lists public, showing a strong pro-immigration bias in their donating.
The Open Society Institute, run by Mr. Soros, has given $825,000 from 2002 to 2004 to the National Immigration Forum.
Mr. Soros, who donated large sums of money in a failed effort to defeat President Bush's bid for re-election in 2004, also has donated $525,000 to NCLR and $325,000 to MALDEF during the same period.
The Ford Foundation, with assets of more than $9 billion, is known to favor liberal causes. The foundation was significantly criticized in 2003 after it gave millions of dollars worth of grants to Palestinian nonprofit groups that later were accused of conducting terrorist activities.
The Carnegie Corporation has contributed almost $7 million collectively to the National Immigration Forum, MALDEF and NCLR since 1994.
NCLR also collected almost $2.2 million from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation from 2003 to 2005 and $425,000 from the Rockefeller Foundation since 2004.
The Rockefeller Foundation since 2004 also have given more than $1 million to MALDEF and $300,000 to the National Immigration Law Center.
About one-third of NCLR's budget comes from foundations, NCLR spokeswoman Lisa Navarrete said, noting, however, that her group cannot use money from tax-exempt foundations for political purposes, but rather uses it to support its other functions.
"Foundation money is used strictly for policy purposes and research work," she said. "We keep a strict line on that."
Less than 2 percent of NCLR's budget is used to promote its immigration agenda, she added.
"We're a Latino advocacy group. What we do is much broader than just immigration," Ms. Navarrete said.
Advocacy groups on the other side of the immigration debate are not without some financial support from philanthropic entities.
The conservative Scaife Foundations of Pittsburgh gave FAIR -- one of the biggest immigration-control nonprofit groups -- $775,000 from 2003 to 2005. The foundations during the same time period also gave $420,000 to the Center for Immigration Studies and $100,000 to the NumbersUSA Education and Research Foundation -- groups also that advocate tighter border control and restricting the flow of immigrants.
The Scaife Foundations, which include the Sarah Scaife and Carthage foundations, are connected with conservative billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, the principal heir to the Mellon banking, oil and aluminum fortune.
The F.M. Kirby Foundation, which has supported many conservative nonprofit groups in recent years, gave $475,000 to NumbersUSA since 1998 and donated more than $375,000 to FAIR since 2000.
But overall, opponents of the bill say they rely more on strength in membership numbers that translates beyond donations, noting the more than 750,000 faxes opposing the Senate bill sent to members of Congress last month.
"This just shows how angry people are about this bill and over the idea of amnesty and allowing 12 million illegal aliens to remain here in this country and basically get rewarded for breaking the law," Mrs. Espinosa said.
My Fellow Americans:
Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.
And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:
Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest -- until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.
For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.
Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them -- help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.
Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.
Give us strength, too -- strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.
And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.
And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keeness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment -- let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.
With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace -- a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.
Thy will be done, Almighty God. Amen.
Franklin D. Roosevelt - June 6, 1944
In an effort to stop reckless government spending and enact much deserved tax cuts for the tax paying citizens of Louisiana, we need you to call your legislators (House Republicans and Democrats) and ask them to vote “NO” on HB3. We need your immediate action as this bill may come up for vote again TODAY. Please call your House legislators at 225.342.6945.
HB3 is a blatant attempt by the Blanco Administration to pit government spending versus tax breaks. Thus, HB3 is the only barrier preventing the legislature from spending billions in surplus funds, much of it on recurring revenues which could place the state’s future financial picture in a deep hole. We will not tolerate fiscal recklessness!!!
Please call 225.342.6945 and ask the following (8) Republicans who voted “YES” for HB3 to exercise fiscal discipline by voting “NO” on HB3.
Billy Wayne Montgomery
Hat tip: James Quinn, Executive Director, LAGOP
Region 5 Meeting
Morning and/orAfternoon Sessions
Reservations Not Required
Reservation Deadline -- 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 11
[open to Republican Men & Women]
Holidome’s Dome A
LFRW Region 5 Vice President Greta Jones: Gjones2306@aol.com
Tele: 318-323-2270 2306 Hawthorne St. ~ Monroe LA 71201
Checks for Registration and Lunch Payable to: OPWRC - LFRW Meet
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
What’ll it be, Ray, a chocolate state or a chocolate congressional district? Oh, the choices…
Monday, June 4, 2007
by Russell McCulley
NEW ORLEANS, United States (AFP) - After being hemmed in by a complex system of levees for generations, the Mississippi River could soon be unleashed in an epic project to save Louisiana's rapidly eroding coastline.
The ambitious plan would create a series of gates that would control the release of silt-laden river water, which would sustain existing wetlands and rebuild some of those that have been buried by the encroaching Gulf of Mexico.
It will mimic the river's natural ebb and flow in some areas while keeping critical shipping channels open.
In a unanimous vote, state lawmakers signed off on the project Wednesday, which could take decades to implement and cost upwards of 50 billion dollars.
"This is the largest scale project of anything of this nature we have ever seen in this country," said King Milling, chairman of America's Wetland Foundation.
"It is costly, but the price of not doing it would be much greater."
The waters of 31 states flow into the Mississippi River, which has the third-largest drainage basin in the world behind only the Amazon and the Congo.
Once noted for the bandits that stalked its waters and hid on its islands, the Mississippi is now carefully controlled.
But the levees that protect the low-lying farms and cities of South Louisiana from flooding are also largely to blame for the erosion of the state's fragile coastline, which in turn has made the region more vulnerable to hurricane winds and storm surge.
The devastation wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita nearly two years ago helped increase urgency about the dangers of coastal erosion and environmentalists were finally able to overcome objections from business interests.
"People are realizing now that if we don't do something, we're all going to lose," said Jon Porthouse, a member of the restoration authority's planning team.
"If we don't have a sustainable coastal landscape, which really goes back to the river, then nothing else really matters down here."
More than 15,000 acres per year are being swallowed by salt water, threatening entire communities and industries.
Levees are not the only factors in the state's wetland erosion.
Extensive oil and gas exploration and a widespread system of navigational canals have allowed salt water incursion to chew away at Louisiana's coastline for decades.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 dramatically accelerated the rate of loss. The storms claimed more than 200 square miles of land and damaged or destroyed approximately 200,000 homes.
The sudden devastation helped muffle objections from groups that had traditionally opposed drastic coastal restoration measures, including oil and gas exploration interests and fishers, who feared the incursion of fresh water into marshes would upset the balance of salt and fresh water where shrimp and oysters thrive.
The lower reaches of the Mississippi River, which empties into the Gulf of Mexico south of New Orleans, are home to huge numbers of fish, water fowl and other wildlife, and an important stopover for migratory birds, including some threatened species.
But appeals for help restoring the vanishing coastline are increasingly being framed in economic terms.
Without the buffer against storm winds and surge that the wetlands provide, those lobbying for restoration say, Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production will be disrupted with increasing frequency.
And the 7,000 ships that pass through the Port of New Orleans each year carrying grain from the United States for export and bringing in steel, coffee and other goods, could be jeopardized.
"The whole country depends on the Mississippi River," said Port of New Orleans president Gary LaGrange.
Funding, however, could be the plan's biggest hurdle.
The state is hoping to use existing restoration funds and part of a budget surplus to start implementing the program immediately.
But federal aid will likely have to wait until at least next fall when the US Army Corps of Engineers is expected to present its recommendations to Congress.
Hat tip: The Dead Pelican
Fox News is reporting the indictment, as well:
WASHINGTON — Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., was indicted Monday on 16 counts related to a long-running bribery investigation on counts including racketeering, obstruction of justice and conspiracy.
The indictment was handed up in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. A press conference is scheduled for for later Monday in Washington to discuss the case.
The 94-page indictment is more than an inch thick, and Jefferson could face a maximum prison term of more than 230 years.
Almost two years ago, in August 2005, investigators raided Jefferson's home in Louisiana and found $90,000 in cash stuffed into a box in his freezer.
Jefferson, 63, whose Louisiana district includes New Orleans, has said little about the case publicly but has maintained his innocence. He was re-elected last year despite the looming investigation.
Jefferson, in Louisiana on Monday, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Two of Jefferson's associates have already struck plea bargains with prosecutors and have been sentenced.
Brett Pfeffer, a former congressional aide, admitted soliciting bribes on Jefferson's behalf and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Another Jefferson associate, Louisville, Ky., telecommunications executive Vernon Jackson, pleaded guilty to paying between $400,000 and $1 million in bribes to Jefferson in exchange for his assistance securing business deals in Nigeria and other African nations. Jackson was sentenced to more than seven years in prison.
Both Pfeffer and Jackson agreed to cooperate in the case against Jefferson in exchanges for their pleas.
The impact of the case has stretched across continents and even roiled presidential politics in Nigeria. According to court records, Jefferson told associates that he needed cash to pay bribes to the country's vice president, Atiku Abubakar.
Abubakar denied the allegations, which figured prominently in that country's presidential elections in April. Abubakar ran for the presidency and finished third.
Court records indicate that Jefferson was videotape taking a $100,000 cash bribe from an FBI informant. Most of that money later turned up in a freezer in Jefferson's home.
In May 2006, the FBI raided Jefferson's congressional office, the first such raid on a sitting congressman's Capitol office. That move sparked a constitutional debate over whether the executive branch stepped over its boundary.
The legality of the raid is still being argued on appeal. House leaders objected to the search saying it was an unconstitutional intrusion on the lawmaking process. The FBI said the raid was necessary because Jefferson and his legal team had failed to respond to requests for documents.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Sources tell CBS NEWS that Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA) will be indicted this afternoon on more than a dozen counts involving public corruption. Jefferson has been the subject of an ongoing probe in which FBI agents allegedly found more than 90-thousand dollars in cash in his freezer. The Justice Department is expected to unveil the charges later today... Developing...
JOHN J. MILLER - National Review
"When my dad sat you down and said that you had ‘a lot of potential’ — that was not a good speech,” says Rep. Bobby Jindal, a Louisiana Republican. “It meant that you weren’t working hard enough.”
It’s difficult to imagine anybody accusing Jindal of not working hard enough. His life story so far — he’s 35 — is a tale of potential realized. The son of immigrant parents from India, Jindal went to Brown and earned a Rhodes scholarship. At the age of 24, he became the head of Louisiana’s Health and Hospitals Depart¬ment. At 26, he ran a national commission on Medicare. At 28, he became president of the University of Louisiana system. Jindal also served as an assistant secretary of health and human services in the Bush administration and, in 2004, was elected to Congress. He was reelected last year.
Is that good enough, Father Jindal?
The only blemish on this GOP whiz kid’s résumé came in 2003, when he ran for governor of his home state and lost by four points to Democrat Kathleen Blanco. Then came Hurricane Katrina, which laid waste not only to New Orleans but also to Blanco’s reputation as a leader. On March 20, she announced that she would not seek reelection.
Today, Jindal is the most popular politician in Louisiana — and he’s a strong favorite to win the votes for Blanco’s vacated seat from an electorate that’s experiencing a profound case of buyer’s remorse. An April poll gave him a favor¬ability rating of 67 percent, with only 13 percent viewing him unfavorably. Other surveys have showed Jindal clobbering all potential opponents, including former senator John Breaux, a Democrat who re¬cently flirted with running but ultimately de¬clined. Many believe that Jindal will win an outright majority on October 20, when Louisiana voters go to the polls for their famous open primary, and avoid a two-candidate runoff currently scheduled for November 17.
The Jindal juggernaut is welcome news for a Republican party that’s haunted by last year’s congressional disaster and worried about another debacle in next year’s presidential contest. If future historians write accounts of the GOP’s collapse in 2006 and 2008, they will probably place the botched response to Katrina near the center of their narrative. That may have been the moment when the tide of public opinion turned decisively against the Bush administration and Republican governance. Yet Louisiana voters are on the verge of complicating this simple storyline. Instead of conforming to a national trend, they’re preparing to buck it — and advance the career of one of the most impressive young conservatives in the country.
Jindal has bucked trends from the start. In high school, he abandoned his parents’ Hindu faith and became a Christian. In college, he converted to Catholicism — not exactly a the hippest thing to do on an Ivy League campus. At Brown, the student body was so left-of-center that there wasn’t even a chapter of College Republicans. “I was told that the conservatives were the College Democrats,” says Jindal. So he started a Republican group that survives to this day. The experience in Providence toughened Jindal: “I was just about the only person who was pro-life, the only person who thought Ronald Reagan was a good president. Believe me, anybody who leaves Brown as a conservative has had his beliefs tested.”
One summer, Jindal worked on Capitol Hill as an intern. About a week into his job with Rep. Jim McCrery, Jindal asked for more substantive work. “I thought, ‘Oh boy, an eager-beaver college student,’” says McCrery, a Louisiana Republican. “I told him to write a paper on how to improve Medicare. I figured that would keep him busy and I wouldn’t see him again.” Just before the internship ended, however, Jindal dropped a thick manuscript on McCrery’s desk. “It was an excellent piece of work,” says McCrery. “It identified problems, discussed budgetary implications, and suggested reforms.”
That contact helped Jindal land his first big job in government. In 1995, Jindal was working as a management consultant in Washington, and voters in Louisiana were getting ready to elect a governor. The young man phoned his old boss. Would McCrery help him become Louisiana’s next health secretary? The congressman asked his 24-year-old caller whether he would consider something a little more junior, such as assistant secretary. No thanks, said Jindal. McCrery promised to make an inquiry or two. To the amazement of everybody except perhaps Jindal, Gov. Mike Foster hired the wunderkind. Jindal was put in charge of an agency that consumed about 40 percent of the state’s budget. In two years, he wiped out a $400 million deficit.
When people talk about Jindal, the word they most commonly use to describe him is “brilliant.” He’s no intellectual show-off, but in conversations about policy he quickly displays a mastery of detail. Ask him a slightly wonky question and he often begins his reply by saying, “Let me make three points . . .” The downside is that these rapid-fire monologues can seem robotic. “Some people say, ‘Bobby talks faster than I can think,’” says former GOP congressman Bob Livingston, a supporter of Jindal’s. It’s easy to see how this habit might turn off voters, though by most accounts Jindal has learned to slow down and is a much-improved retail politician as compared with four years ago, when he was the Baton Rouge brainiac whose name had never before appeared on a ballot.
Democrats have done their best to portray Jindal (rhymes with “kindle”) as an alien in Cajun country. Shortly before the election in 2003, a New Orleans Times-Picayune reporter overheard Blanco complain to a fellow Democratic candidate about Jindal, “A Hindu out-Catholic’d both of us.” Nowadays, the state party puts out press releases that refer to Jindal as “Piyush ‘Bobby’ Jindal.” That’s because his legal name is Piyush. Since he was four years old, however, he has gone by Bobby. According to family lore, he picked up the nickname after watching an episode of The Brady Bunch. When I called the Louisiana Democratic party to ask why it insists on calling him Piyush when virtu¬ally nobody else does, communications director Julie Vezinot explained the reasoning: “He wants to portray himself as one thing, as a wonder boy, but he’s not done wonders. We portray him as he truly is, and he’s truly Piyush Jindal.”
Democratic portrayals of Jindal have raised eyebrows before. Four years ago, a last-minute television commercial for Blanco flashed a controversial picture of Jindal and warned, “Wake up Louisiana! Before it’s too late!” The ad outraged Republicans. “They showed Bobby to be darker than he really is, with his hair messed up even though his hair is never messed up — they made him look like Don King,” says McCrery. “It was a racist ad.” When the votes were counted, Jindal lost in part because he underperformed among white voters in the northern part of the state, where Republicans traditionally have done well.
If Jindal wins this fall, he’ll become the first non-white governor of Louisiana since P. B. S. Pinchback, the son of a freed slave who held the office for 35 days in the 1870s. Although many will see this as a sign of progress in multiracial America, some pundits will attribute a Jindal victory to Louisiana’s post-Katrina demography — and specifically to the reduced number of heavily Dem¬ocratic black voters. “Things have shifted less than some people think,” counters Greg Rigamer, a consultant who worked for Blanco four years ago but this time is with Jindal. Many people who left New Orleans, for instance, didn’t leave the state and they’ll still vote. Some who did leave the state probably wouldn’t have voted anyway. The bottom line, according to Rigamer, is that there will be perhaps 40,000 fewer black voters this year, in a race that probably will see 1.6 million ballots cast. That’s about 2.5 percent. Will it matter? “If Jindal wins by less than 50,000 votes, then it will be possible to say that Katrina gave him a more favorable electorate,” concludes Rigamer.
Right now, it looks like Jindal will win by more than that. Republicans are talking about 2007 as a year of realignment in Louisiana — capturing not only the gov¬ernorship, but also the state house for the first time since the Civil War. (The state senate is expected to remain in Democratic hands.) “I’m hopeful about seeing a whole new wave of fresh faces in the legislature,” says Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican. As a state rep¬resentative a dozen years ago, Vitter authored a term-limits bill that begins to take effect only now, meaning that there are an unusually large number of open seats this year. Republicans are also optimistic about beating Democratic senator Mary Landrieu in 2008. From a national perspective, she is probably the GOP’s top takeover target.
Those are ambitious plans. The first step is to guarantee Jindal’s successful election — and there are few sure things in politics. “The race will be no fun for Jindal,” says one GOP pollster. “Louisiana Repub¬licans don’t win statewide by the margins he currently appears to have. He’s going to spend the next few months watching his lead drop, but I would be stunned if somebody else actually won.” Jindal is currently taking a play-it-safe approach, waiting until this summer before offering a comprehensive platform. And nobody needs to remind him that, in 2003, the polls showed him running ahead of Blanco right up to Election Day.
Maybe now would be a good time for Jindal’s father to remind his son that he’s still got an awful lot of potential.
Government Out Of Control
With Congress out of session this past week I had a series of great meetings all over Louisiana. My travels took me to Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, Monroe, Pineville, Breaux Bridge, Loranger, and multiple other places here at home in the first district.
It was also nice to be in my house for a few days, especially to spend some quality time with the kids.
On Friday morning I got up early - there's really no other option with three kids under six years old - and read the paper.
I wish I hadn't read the paper.
The headline across the top of the page proclaimed that the Road Home program may have a $5 billion deficit. I underline the word "may" because the simple truth is that the numbers coming from the Road Home program seem to change everyday. The debacle would almost be comical if so many lives were not being impacted. Some legislators have called for a complete audit of the program's billions of dollars of expenditures, and I could not agree more.
Then I read an article describing the budget that had just been passed by the Louisiana House. The article is just plain stunning.
The budget passed by the House totals $29.6 billion dollars. This is not a typo, though it should be.
Turn the clock back to 2001 and you will find that year's budget was about $14.1 billion dollars.
This massive increase in government spending cannot be entirely blamed on hurricane recovery efforts.
The simple truth is that government spending is out of control.
From serving in Congress over the past three years I can tell you firsthand that government spending in Washington is out of control. And it appears to be contagious, as Louisiana is also on a spending binge of historic proportions.
There is no individual, no family, and no business that could survive with these unbridled, undisciplined, and irresponsible spending sprees.
And this out of control spending is bipartisan, with plenty of culprits in both parties.
You have all heard of the infamous D.C. earmarks wasting hundreds of millions of our taxpayer dollars.
Louisiana now has its own version of such irresponsible spending proposals. Included in the budget passed last week by the Louisiana House is this little nugget - 1,000 new government jobs.
I could not believe that when I read it, so I made a few calls. Turns out it is true. The House passed the Governor's request to create 1,000 new state government jobs in Louisiana!
These 1,000 new state government jobs are not part of any coherent plan. They are just ... 1,000 new salaries for the taxpayers to fund....every year.
Why not 2,000? Or 3,000? Or 5,000?
Of course, there are many important pieces of the budget, such as the pay increases for our state's teachers, and crucial funding for increased law enforcement to name a few.
But 1,000 new state government jobs? You must be kidding. Giving existing employees raises is one thing, but adding 1,000 brand new government salaries is quite another.
At a time when the state has no approved plan to cover a $5 billion dollar shortfall in the Road Home program, they are planning to create 1,000 new state jobs? Sounds like a hoax, but it is not.
While there is room for 1,000 new government jobs in the budget, there apparently was not room for a significant recurring investment in our roads, for example, by requiring all current gasoline taxes and vehicle registration fees be dedicated to roads, or significant tax cuts, for example, attacking the business taxes on debt, utilities, and new equipment, or the individual income taxes raised by the Stelly plan.
An amendment was offered to save almost $9 million of our tax dollars by eliminating pay raises for vacant positions, but even this modest proposal was defeated.
I'm sorry, but this represents both incompetence and irresponsibility.
This has got to stop.
We cannot allow OUR government, both in Washington and Baton Rouge, to spend OUR money in such a cavalier manner.
We now have one chance in our lifetimes to move our state to the top of all those good lists. We have to decide whether we are willing to tolerate business as usual. These spending decisions do not reflect the fundamental new start we must demand if we want our children to pursue their dreams here in Louisiana. We must not spend what may turn out to be onetime dollars on recurring expenditures - creating problems for ourselves in a few years or even sooner - to simply grow the bureaucracy rather than transforming our state.
I have made it clear that I'm not going to get into the legislative disputes in this session of the Louisiana state Legislature. So don't look for me to weigh in on every bill in the Legislature.
But I simply could not hold my tongue on this any longer. Someone has to speak out; someone has to speak up for the taxpayers, for responsible government, and for fiscal sanity.
As the old song says, "The winds of change, they are a blowing," and barely in time I might add.
Louisiana is desperate for real and fundamental change. Louisiana is in dire need of decisive leadership. Louisiana is hungry for competence.
With your help, we will put our great state on a new path, a path to real growth and real reform.
Oh, and one more thing, we will also treat taxpayers' money with respect.