Daily Dolt: Ray Haninia: Rod Blagojevich is No Harold Washington

Ray Hanania might want to read the Illinois Constitution:

They pushed Blagojevich into a corner. He was elected by Illinois voters to lead this state, twice, and yet Daley, Madigan and even Quinn think that they, not the voters, should decide what’s good for the state.

Blagojevich has certainly made his mistakes. His relationship with the humiliated sweetheart deal contractor Tony Rezko, remains. But outside of that, Blagojevich has shown that he can make the right decisions that are in the best interests of the state. And sometimes that means cutting pork barrel spending driven by clout rather than need.

For too long, Madigan has run the state, not for the benefit of the state’s residents but for his own benefit. Political. Personal.

Madigan is the Speaker of the House. He is not the governor. Madigan has limits on his power but wants to extend those limits and make the office of governor irrelevant. But the reality is that he is NOT the governor and he should let the governor do his job.

Madigan had a shot at ousting Blagojevich in the last election. He took it and he lost. He may have risen in the ranks fo the Democratic party over the past 25 years, but the reality is Madigan often elevates himself above not just the interests of the state but above the interests of the Democratic Party.

What Madigan is doing is no different than what disgraced and now indicted sleazy former Chicago Alderman Edward R. Vyrdolyak did when Harold Washington was elected mayor of Chicago back in 1983.

Now, many of Blagojevich’s critics are not terribly sympathetic themselves, but they do have the Constitution behind their positions.  The people are sovereign in the United States and that sovereignty is represented by the General Assembly that passes laws and appropriates money. The  Governor’s job is to execute the law and spend the appropriations according to law.  Suggesting that the Governor has more moral authority to be the representative of the people is an incredibly silly argument.  The Governor’s job when it comes to legislation is implementing or vetoing the legislation, but he doesn’t get to pass it.  In fact, he is very limited in his veto power because he can be overridden by the General Assembly.

The Governor cannot remove the General Assembly nor any individual members.  The Governor cannot set rules for the General Assembly.  The General Assembly can legislate control over the Executive Branch.

Madigan is elected by the voters.  As are the other members of the Legislature, few of whom are happy with Blagojevich and not because of some desire to give Mike Madigan more power.  The Governor is not elected to legislate, he’s elected to run the executive branch according to the law of the state–the law the legislature passes.

Reallocating Money Vetos?

Blagojevich keeps saying he’ll do it, but it’s clearly unconstitutional.

Blagojevich said he would use some of the nearly $500 million in initiatives he called pork that he cut from the state budget to pay for the program. Teresa Kurtenbach, spokeswoman for the Department of Heatlhcare and Family Services, said the state would use “available revenues” to pay for the plan.

Now, Kurtenbach might be talking about something else, but if the Governor is accurate, he cannot do it. Period.  Appropriation of money has to come from the General Assembly.

The most likely scenario appears to be expanding eligibility and then letting the spending bankrupt the program, or perhaps just pile up IOUs to take care of next budget cycle. Neither is acceptable.  At best it’s a game of legislative chicken. The most bizarre thing is that if the Governor had asked for this in his budget, he could have gotten it in May.

Additionally, we don’t know if this has to go through JCAR–if it does, it’s dead.

Craig Audio

Oh My

Update: The Failed Jedi Mind Tricks of Senator Craig

Listening to Senator Craig in the audio tape is reminiscent of someone trying Jedi Mind tricks who doesn’t appear to understand the tricks aren’t working.  He just keeps trying over and over again despite the officer pointing out the problems with his story each time.

Call and Let the Holiday Inn What You Think of Petey

 Illinois Family Institute gets into the whine game:

Apparently, the “Welcome” signs at Holiday Inn hotels in Illinois do not apply to pro-family Christians and conservatives. In the space of a week, the hotel has discriminated against both Americans For Truth, a Naperville-based group that fights the “gay” activist agenda, and the Minuteman Project, which works for the enforcement of immigration laws.

On Monday, Holiday Inn Select in Naperville, Illinois cancelled Americans For Truth’s longstanding reservation for its October 6th banquet — with General Manager Dennis Igeodennis@naperselct.com; 630-505-4900) citing “safety” issues for the hotel’s patrons. The pro-family group — run by Peter LaBarbera, former Executive Director of Illinois Family Institute — was well into the planning stages for the fundraising banquet when LaBarbera told the banquet coordinator of the possibility of a “gay” protest. Within days, Igoe was putting conditions on AFT’s banquet, and then he cancelled it altogether.

Thankfully, AFT has secured another venue for its banquet, in Lombard, but it had to change the date to Friday, Oct. 5th. Click HERE for more details on the banquet, featuring former lesbian Charlene Cothran and parents rights activist David Parker. Please support Peter and Americans For Truth — the only national group focusing solely on educating and alerting America to the real threat to freedom and children posed by the homosexual/bisexual/transgender movement. (Call 312-315-6152 or e-mail americansfortruth@comcast.net to book a ticket for the AFT banquet.)

Folks, using “safety” as a pretext to discriminate against pro-family Christians and conservatives is outrageous and probably illegal under Illinois’ Human Rights Act. We all know that Holiday Inn would never renege on the contract of a homosexual activist group just because it learned that there might be pro-family protests. I agree with my friend Pete that political correctness is turning America into a “nation of cowards.”

The sad fact is, committed Christians in Illinois and across the nation are becoming second-class citizens, and our very “freedom to be moral– that is, to live out our faith– is in jeopardy because of the aggressive homosexual agenda.

You can learn more about the discriminatory cancellation of Americans For Truth’s banquet from this online radio interview with LaBarbera on CWA’s website. Here are some other links:

Let me point out that this effort was started Petey, David and their allies and it’s their chickens coming home to roost:

Hotel Giant Warns Against Booking Sadistic Events 8/14/2002
By Robert H. Knight

Hotel Giant Warns Against Booking Sadistic Events

“Each of our brands spends millions of dollars in marketing royalties … to promote a positive image and family-friendly environment. Just one negative event can wipe out years of painstaking and expensive efforts….”
Letter to hotel franchisees from Cendant Corporation
By Robert H. KnightHotel franchisees should think twice before hosting any more sadistic sex events like “Vicious Valentine 5,” according to officials from a parent corporation that runs more than 6,000 hotels, including Howard Johnson’s, Ramada Inns, Days Inn, Fairfield Resorts, Knights Inn, Wingate Inns and several other hotel chains.

In a March 1 letter (full text below) that “every brand president sent out to their franchise system,” according to Liz Ryan Sax, senior manager of media relations for Cendant Corporation’s hotels, franchisees were warned about the consequences of hosting “controversial guests or groups that national interest groups find offensive.”

The letter, which Sax provided to Culture & Family Report, said, “you cannot expect to keep controversial activities secret, especially considering the power of the Internet to disseminate information.” The letter also noted that “one of Cendant Corporation’s hotel brands recently suffered adverse national publicity when a franchisee decided to host a meeting of sadomasochism ‘enthusiasts’ after another area hotel declined the business.”

The controversy began in February, when the Ramada O’Hare (Rosemont, Illinois) welcomed the sadomasochist and slave/master celebration, “Vicious Valentine 5 (VV5),” after the Radisson O’Hare had canceled the same event. “Beat Me in St. Louis” was held at the HOJO conference center at Lambert International Airport from April 26-28. “Beat Me” sported a dungeon equipped with medieval torture devices.

Participants of “VV5” boasted of a 30,000-square-foot dungeon equipped with 40 torture stations. The “Dungeon Rules” suggested use of “a tarp or drop cloth” for messy blood scenes and for other bodily fluids.
Two state chapters of Concerned Women for America — Illinois and Missouri — organized protests against the events. Kathy Valente, CWA Illinois director worked with radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger to publicize the problem. Although the events went on as planned, the corporations received numerous e-mails, faxes, letters and phone calls urging them not to book such events.

Valente issued a press release on February 6 that decried the “sexual torture” at “Vicious Valentine 5.” CWA-Missouri opposed a “Vicious Valentine 5” event in February at a St. Louis Ramada Inn and then led opposition to the St. Louis “Beat Me” event.

The Cendant letter warns franchisees not to schedule “controversial guests or groups that national interest groups find offensive.” The letter also states:

Each of our brands spends millions of dollars in marketing royalties … to promote a positive image and family-friendly environment. Just one negative event can wipe out years of painstaking and expensive efforts to establish goodwill and a positive image of the hotel and the brand in the community. CWA-Missouri and Illinois had exposed the convention’s seamy events, which featured workshops on bloodletting and other sadistic sex practices. In response, Susan Wright, spokesman for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), a pro-sadism organization described by the New York Blade as a “gay-friendly group,” declared, “These are simply alternative forms of sexual expression that are safe, sane and consensual. It’s important that we realize that these religious groups are the real extremists.”“Let me get this straight,” said Joey Davis, CWA of Missouri director. “They beat each other up for pleasure, talk about ‘live-play cutting’ and bloodletting, and we’re the extremists?”

In a February 14, 2002 press release, the NCSF announced a campaign to sue CWA and other “religious political extremists” for “defaming and interfering with legal contracts.”

“Now that discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual groups is becoming increasingly unacceptable in America, these extremists are turning their hate on other sexual minorities and targeting adults who engage in alternative sexual expression, such as SM practitioners and transgendered individuals,” Wright said in the release. Wright also accused Valente, who had taken the case to the O’Reilly Factor and other national media venues, of making “false and defamatory statements.”

“It’s Susan Wright who’s spreading misinformation,” Valente said Tuesday. “There’s nothing false about what we reported on these sadistic events. My facts come straight from their Web sites. I certainly don’t have the imagination to make this stuff up!

”The public is overwhelmingly on our side and Wright knows it. Otherwise, why would these groups have to hire security (often off-duty police)? They know that if Joe Q. Public stumbled upon a dungeon with people screaming at bloody torture stations, he’d be shocked! And if Joe’s kids were exposed to this, there’d definitely be a price to pay.“

The letter from the parent corporation did not surface until July 26, when the New York Blade, a homosexual newspaper, ran a story entitled ”HoJo says no.“ The article contained some factual errors, such as misidentifying Steven Belmonte as CEO of Cendant Corporation, whose CEO is Henry R. Silverman. Belmonte had headed the Ramada Inns division at the time and has since left the company.

”Our corporation does not host the events,“ Cendant’s Sax told Culture & Family Report. ”We do not own any of the hotels. They are individually owned and operated. We do require the hotel operators, when they enter into a license agreement with our corporation, to obey all local, state and federal laws. We feel the local government is the best judge on how the business should conduct itself with that particular community.“

Sax said that no one had contacted her at the time the controversy was at its peak, and she speculated that most of the comments were directed toward the local franchisees. Cendant also owns Coldwell Banker and Century 21 Realtors, Avis rental cars, Amerihost, Days Inn, Wingate Inns, and many other chains.

To contact Cendant Corporation or its Howard Johnson and Ramada Inn subsidiaries, go to http://www.cendant.com/contact

Or write:

Henry Silverman
Chairman, President and CEO
Cendant Corporation
9 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019

Your pals started it Petey. Deal.


LaBarbera Challenges Larry Handlin, aka Archpundit: Why Not Criticize ‘Gay’ Public Sex Enablers rather than me?

By Peter LaBarbera

Here’s a little exchange I had with St. Louis-based homosexual writer Larry Handlin of the liberal blog “Archpundit.” Handlin calls me “Petey” — something he learned in Putdown School — and he restates the tired ”gay” cliche of me and Americans For Truth as “obsessed,” purient perverts because we expose homosexual excesses — like the organized public “cruising” network that is part of Sen. Larry Craig’s current sex scandal. Here’s the exchange on Handlin’s blog:

Raise your hand if you think Petey isn’t obsessed….crickets

More Like This Please

Wednesday, Aug. 29 2007

For immediate release

Pera questions Lipinski’s FISA vote

In response to the domestic wiretapping program recently approved by Congress, Democrat Mark Pera, who is challenging Lipinski in Illinois’ 3 U.S. Congressional District, has the following statement for release:

On Aug. 5, before he left Washington D.C. for vacation, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski gave President Bush and former-Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez permission to run the domestic wiretapping program without judicial oversight.

A Congressman who is aware of the troubles befalling our nation should know by now that this Administration won’t just let the wiretapping program gather dust. We can be sure that sometime during the next six months, President Bush will exercise the power given to him by Congress.

It is shocking to see such blind trust from “Democrats” like Lipinski who willy-nilly throw away  Congress’ own power in deference to a President who has routinely demonstrated to the American people and to Congress that he cannot be trusted.

In my experience as Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney, I requested wiretaps and I respected the  protocol involved in the process, of going to a judge and having a third party sign off on the request. It never impeded my ability to do my job.

It is particularly troubling that Lipinski again capitulated to Bush’s and other Republicans’ blatant use of concerns about terrorism in presenting the proposal. By bucking the Democratic Party and voting with the Republicans, Lipinski has again withered in the face of fear mongering.

This whole issue brings to mind what Benjamin Franklin once said, “The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either.”

What makes Lipinski’s vote that much more egregious is it granted expanded powers to the former Attorney General, someone who has lost credibility with even the staunchest Republicans. The Gonzalez resignation is another reminder that we, the critics of this Administration’s rampant disregard for our Constitutional system, must remain vigilant against a “unitary executive.”

While the Bush Administration and Lipinski claim a high regard for democracy and the rule of law, their actions demonstrate a deep-seated contempt for both. Congressman Lipinski took an oath to up-hold the Constitution but by repeatedly voting in lockstep with the Bush Administration and shirking his responsibility to check presidential power, he has violated that oath and our trust.

A Congressman that understands his responsibility to the American public would do well to remember that two years ago, Americans voted for meaningful, purposeful change. As this FISA vote demonstrates, that demand has fallen upon deaf ears in the 3  District of Illinois.

It’s time to stand up to the President and say ‘No more!’ Dan Lipinski won’t do anything about this Administration; it is time to send someone to Congress who will.

Some background:
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was created in the late-1970s to provide federal oversight of domestic surveillance operations by government agencies. One way of doing so was by requiring that a secret FISA court approve, in advance, any such operations.

After Sept. 11, the Bush Administration — through the Patriot Act — authorized a secret wiretapping program that allowed domestic surveillance by government agencies without prior permission from the FISA courts. In 2005, the New York Times revealed the secret program, which became known as the warrantless wiretapping program, to the public.

When Democrats took over the House in January, the Administration rethought its warrantless wiretapping program and brought it under the oversight of the FISA court.

The FISA court initially ruled that the Administration’s program was appropriate, but when the decision came up for review in the spring, a judge disagreed with the previous ruling. The anonymous judge decided that government agencies needed a warrant to monitor a conversation between parties outside the U.S. when their communications were made via systems within the United States’ communications network

According to U.S. National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell, the government obtained a temporary stay on the ruling. The expiration of the stay on May 31 prompted the Congressional review.

On Aug. 5, by a vote of 227-183, Congress approved a temporary revision of FISA that granted new, wide-ranging powers to Gonzalez and removed a requirement that called for FISA court supervision of certain types of surveillance operations, including those monitoring conversations between parties outsides the U.S. using our nation’s communications network.

Of 231 Democrats in the U.S. House, only 41 voted in favor of the six-month extension. Out of the 202 Republicans in the House, only 2 voted against the proposal.

This issue is not going away. In just five months, legislators will be called upon again to decide whether they want to force the Bush Administration to defend its controversial warrantless wiretapping program or fold in the face of confrontation.

Reward Good Behavior over at Act Blue 

Take on the Predatory Lenders

Obama has a strong editorial today on the mortgage lending crisis:

Fine unscrupulous mortgage lenders

By Barack Obama

Published: August 29 2007 03:00 | Last updated: August 29 2007 03:00

T he implosion of the subprime lending industry is more than a temporary blip in our econ-omic progress. It is a cancer that, given today’s integrated financial markets, threatens to spread with devastating impact to housing and to our economy as a whole, unless we act to contain it.

It is also a parable about howan excess of lobbying and influencecan defeat common sense rules ofthe road, placing both consumers and our nation’s economic well-beingat risk.

This all started as a good idea – helping people buy homes who previously could not afford to. But over time, lenders began pushing low-income buyers into homes they could not possibly afford, abusing the system by lowering their lending standards, making loans that required no money down and offering low, teaser interest rates that explode after the initial grace period. Some borrowers were also lying to get mortgages or engaging in irresponsible speculation.

Nearly everyone – from lenders to investors to borrowers – fooled themselves into thinking that what they were doing was low risk when it in fact involved a lot of risk.

But we also know that Washington played a role. At a time when non-bank lenders were offering new kinds of mortgage, the federal government should have made sure it was all being done on the level. Instead, our government failed to provide the regulatory scrutiny that could have preventedthis crisis.

There is a reason why this has happened. Over the past several years, while predatory lenders were driving low-income families into financial ruin, 10 of the country’s largest mortgage lenders were spending more than $185m (£92m) lobbying Washington to let them get away with it. So if we really want to make sure this never happens again, we need to end the lobbyist-driven politics that made it possible.

Today, as we weigh our options on how best to resolve this crisis, many argue that bailing out the borrowers and investors will just encourage them to engage in more of the same irresponsible practices.

But I think we also have to recognise what will happen if we reward the mortgage industry’s lobbying: they will keep using the same kinds of deceptive practices to make a quick buck, no matter what the consequences to home buyers and their communities. Rather than correct what they are doing wrong, these companies will knowthat if things go badly, they can always lobby Washington to let them offthe hook.

The real victims in this crisis are the millions of borrowers who followed the rules, whose only crime was taking out mortgages that lenders told them they could afford. Normally, these borrowers could avoid foreclosure by refinancing their mortgages or selling their homes. The problem today is that they cannot refinance because no one will lend to them, and they cannot sell because the housing market has fallen. With some arguing that the effects of the worst subprime loans will not be felt until 2008 and 2009, this may be just the beginning.

We need to help struggling borrowers to weather this storm. One way to protect innocent homeowners – at least until this crisis passes – is to establish a fund to help people refinance or sell to avoid foreclosure. We can partially pay for this fund by imposing penalties on lenders that acted irresponsibly or committed fraud.

But we have to do more than just deal with the present crisis. If we do not address the root of these problems, it is just a matter of time before we will be dealing with them again.

The rules currently governing mortgages were written in the 20th century to make borrowing easier to understand for borrowers. We need to update these rules for the 21st century and enact the regulatory and disclosure laws that the mortgage industry has been lobbying against.

That is why I have proposed a Home Score system that would create a simplified, standardised metric for home mortgages – rather like the annual percentage rate (APR), the effective interest rate a borrower ends up paying on a loan – allowing prospective homebuyers easily to compare variousmortgage products so they can find out whether they can afford to make the payments.

I have also introduced a bill in the US Senate called the Stop Fraud Act that would treat those who commit mortgage fraud as the criminalsthey are.

Owning a home represents a big part of the American dream and all Americans – no matter what their income level – should have the power to reach for that dream. But that is not going to happen until we stop the unlicensed, unregulated, fly-by-night mortgage brokers who are hoodwinking low-income borrowers into taking on loans they cannot afford.

If we are serious about stopping this crisis and preventing much larger turmoil in US housing markets, Washington needs to stop acting like an industry advocate and start acting like a public advocate.

One of the things no one has been paying attention to is that many mortgage lenders in communities are calling for just this sort of thing because they, as decent human beings, take time to try and help people who are stuck in loans in which the lender lied to them or seriously oversold the product.  In addition, reducing incentives for larger lenders to buy up these crappy loans would go along ways towards drying up the market for bad loans as it currently exists.

Of course, Forbes blogger calls it a desperate measure from a poopy campaign.

Hoping to prop up his poopy presidential primary campaign, Obama says we should round up “the unlicensed, unregulated, fly-by-night mortgage brokers who are hoodwinking low-income borrowers into taking on loans they cannot afford” and treat them as “the criminals they are.”

It’s really not hard to understand if you look at the industry below the trading market level and see the amount of fraud that has occurred and the number of big lenders willing to buy up those loans. In one case fraud has been committed and in the other case new law is needed to discourage the enabling behavior.

From Patrick Murphy’s Mailing List

Dear Friends,

Today, I want to make you aware of a leader and good friend of mine who is looking to change this country for the better. His name is Bill Foster, and he’s running for Congress in an open seat currently held by former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Before last November’s historic elections, the House of Representatives under former Speaker Hastert was nothing more than a rubber stamp for every policy that George Bush wanted. That meant we got into Iraq without any hard questions or proper planning. That meant pork barrel budgets that ballooned the national debt and tax breaks for big oil instead of middle class families.

Now, by helping to elect Bill Foster, we can send a powerful message to America that we reject the failed politics of Bush and Hastert.

I consider Bill a close friend. You see, last fall, in the heat of OUR campaign for Congress, Bill joined our campaign as a volunteer. He lived in the Ramada Inn across the street, and we quickly learned that Bill was no ordinary volunteer. You see, Bill is a businessman and a scientist, who spent the last 20 years working on some of science’s toughest challenges. He believed we needed a change so much so that he came here and helped us devise a turnout program that allowed us to knock on 240,000 doors. In an election that was won by 1,500 votes you can imagine how vital his contribution was to our victory.

Now Bill is running for Congress at his home in Illinois’s 14th district. Even the ultra-conservative Washington Times said, “Bill Foster, the likely Democratic nominee, has an impressive background as a businessman and a scientist that has resonated with voters in recent surveys.” But he needs our help.

Please give to this agent of change today.

The two most likely Republican nominees, millionaire Jim Oberweis and State Senator Chris Lauzen, are right-wing Republicans who will vote lock step with the Bush Administration and not do anything to change the disastrous policies of Bush and Hastert in Iraq, or here at home.

Nothing would send a stronger message to George Bush and all Republicans who are following his misguided Iraq policy than turning Dennis Hastert’s district blue. Hastert was personally responsible for pushing through every one of George Bush’s policies in the House of Representatives. Now he’s trying to push through his hand-picked successor to maintain the status quo.

Bill Foster is looking to change that. But he can’t do it without our help.

If Bill is elected, he can help lend his voice to myself and others who have called for an end to the war in Iraq. He can help reign in pork barrel spending and extend health care insurance to all. To learn more about Bill’s bid for Congress, you can visit his website at www.foster08.com.

Please help my good friend Bill Foster today.

Thank you for your ongoing support and faith in me. I hope to continue making you proud!

Congressman Patrick Murphy

Not Sure Quite What Happened at the Schakowsky Event

But talking to at least two disinterested people, there were no chants of Beltway! Beltway! to Jay Footlik.  One was standing near Jay and his campaign manager and says nothing out of the ordinary happened and most folks were talking politely with Simon and Jay.
To be clear, I’m supporting Dan, but I don’t think we need to be attacking people for things that don’t appear to have happened or at least weren’t noticeable to others who were there.

And for the record, Jay has come out strongly for ending the war in Iraq.

I’m kind of baffled by this kerfluffle.

2 Years Ago

I remember watching WWL-TV and the following interview with Ray Nagin:

Mayor Nagin appears on WWLTV to provide viewers with a “status report” on the city:

“My heart is heavy. I don’t have any good news to really share. Other than at some point in time the federal government will be coming in here in mass. But, the city is in a state of devastation. Eighty percent of it is under water, as much as 20 feet in some places. There’s an incredible amount of water in the city. Residents are on roofs and trapped in attics, awaiting rescue. Fire, Police, and National Guard personnel are out rescuing those trapped right now. Both airports are under water.

Twin spans in New Orleans East are totally destroyed. Three huge boats have run aground. An oil tanker has run aground and is leaking oil. There is a serious [floodwall-levee] break at 17th Street Canal,” and the water continues to rise.

Houses have been picked up off their foundation and moved. The Yacht Club has burned; it’s totally destroyed. A barge has hit one of the main structures of High Rise (a bridge/span) and we’re not sure that the High Rise is structurally sound.

All of Slidell is under water. Most of Metaraie is under water. “The list just goes on and on.” There are gas leaks throughout the city. It’s not a pretty picture. On the somewhat good news side, many people have survived. Uptown is pretty dry. The French Quarter and Central Business District is dry, but they also have buildings that look like a bazooka was shot through. There is no clear path in or out of the city, whether east or west. I-10 West is still full of water.…

The water system has been contaminated except for the Central Business District and Algiers. We have no electricity and they expect electricity to be out about 4-6 weeks. “And the list goes on and on.” Nagin reports that flooding is worst in New Orleans East and in the Lower 9th Ward, but it’s “coming from everywhere.”

Nagin is basing his information on a briefing he received, apparently from Marty Evans, President of the Red Cross. Nagin states that he is reading from a briefing provided by a FEMA official (later identified as Marty Bahamonde). “The FEMA guy here is saying that 80 percent of New Orleans is under water and a significant portion of Metaraie and Kenner—everything north of I-10 is under water.” Nagin also reports that St. Bernard is in even worse shape: “There is total devastation in St. Bernard alone.”

But Michael Chertoff didn’t know the levee was breached until late the next morning. He’s still running Homeland Security. Why?

More from the New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 — In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Bush administration officials said they had been caught by surprise when they were told on Tuesday, Aug. 30, that a levee had broken, allowing floodwaters to engulf New Orleans.

But Congressional investigators have now learned that an eyewitness account of the flooding from a federal emergency official reached the Homeland Security Department’s headquarters starting at 9:27 p.m. the day before, and the White House itself at midnight.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency official, Marty Bahamonde, first heard of a major levee breach Monday morning. By late Monday afternoon, Mr. Bahamonde had hitched a ride on a Coast Guard helicopter over the breach at the 17th Street Canal to confirm the extensive flooding. He then telephoned his report to FEMA headquarters in Washington, which notified the Homeland Security Department.

“FYI from FEMA,” said an e-mail message from the agency’s public affairs staff describing the helicopter flight, sent Monday night at 9:27 to the chief of staff of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and recently unearthed by investigators. Conditions, the message said, “are far more serious than media reports are currently reflecting. Finding extensive flooding and more stranded people than they had thought — also a number of fires.”

Michael D. Brown, who was the director of FEMA until he resigned under pressure on Sept. 12, said in a telephone interview Thursday that he personally notified the White House of this news that night, though he declined to identify the official he spoke to.

White House officials have confirmed to Congressional investigators that the report of the levee break arrived there at midnight, and Trent Duffy, the White House spokesman, acknowledged as much in an interview this week, though he said it was surrounded with conflicting reports.

But the alert did not seem to register. Even the next morning, President Bush was feeling relieved that New Orleans had “dodged the bullet,” he later recalled. Mr. Chertoff, similarly confident, flew Tuesday to Atlanta for a briefing on avian flu. With power out from the high winds and movement limited, even news reporters in New Orleans remained unaware of the full extent of the levee breaches until Tuesday.

The federal government let out a sigh of relief when in fact it should have been sounding an “all hands on deck” alarm, the investigators have found.

Less Popular than George Bush

From Rasmussen for Fox Chicago 

1* How do you rate the way that George W. Bush is performing his roll as President?  Excellent, good, fair, or poor?

            15% Excellent

            17% Good

            14% Fair

            53% Poor

            1% Not Sure

2* How do you rate the way that Rod Blagojevich is performing his roll as Governor?  Excellent, good, fair, or poor?

            5% Excellent

            17% Good

            25% Fair

            53% Poor

            1% Not Sure

Rod Blagojevich has a lower popularity than the folks who formed the core of Alan Keyes support–the same who like Bush.  Think about that for a moment.

A note to Mark Kirk from the poll:

5* When it comes to the War in Iraq, should the United States withdraw all combat troops immediately, bring the combat troops home within a year, or stay until the mission is completed?

            26% Withdraw Immediately

            38% Bring Troops Home Within a Year

            29% Stay Until Mission Complete

            7% Not Sure

The war is only supported by a small group of Bush dead enders. You are about to be a former Member of Congress.

To the Hillary contingent at the State Fair–give it up:

6* Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both claim to come from Illinois. Which candidate better represents the state of Illinois?

            61% Obama

            14% Clinton

            25% Not Sure

And finally, what I’d really like to see is a poll that measures whether Blagojevich is seen as a Democrat or his own brand. From the following statistic, it appears he has successfully flamed out on his own without dragging the party down despite the bleating of the ICFST.

11* Who is most to blame for the government’s budget stalemate—Governor Rod Blagojevich, the state legislature, special interest groups, or voters?

            53% Blagojevich

            19% State Legislature

            20% Special Interest Groups

            2% Voters

            7% Not Sure

Slaveholding and Being Gay

From the Idaho Values Association that Petey happily links to:

No member of the Republican Party in the 1860s could represent his party and be a slaveholder at the same time. Nor can the Republican Party of today speak with authority and clarity to the moral issues that confront our society and at the same time send ambivalent messages about sexual behavior. It is time for the Republican Party to be the party that defends the American family in word, deed, and by personal example.

Abolition and hating teh gay. The same thing really.

Petey’s on the Case

 He’s got the Idaho Values Association call for Craig’s resignation:

If the senator did indeed engage in the behavior to which he pled guilty, then the appropriate thing for him to do is to resign from office. Character is an essential qualification for public service, and the essence of character is what you do when you do not think anyone is looking.

The problem here, for Petey, is that as a guy who makes a habit of going undercover to investigate homosexual practices, he might want to be careful about supporting such convictions…..