Nancy Pelosi: Investigate Congressman Jefferson (D-LA)

You can watch the video of Leader Pelosi getting stuck with difficult questions about Democrat William Jefferson.  The transcript for the first question is here:

Q: Congresswoman Pelosi, you are standing in front of a sign that says "Honest Leadership, Open Government."  Your party has also take up the mantra of the culture of corruption, pointing the finger at the GOP.  And yet yesterday, [a businessman] plead guilty to bribing [Congressman Jefferson] for $400,000.  A couple weeks ago, Congressman Mollohan stepped aside from the Ethic Committee while his name is under investigation.  Do you think that perhaps you have to change the sign?

Ms. Pelosi.  No.  The sign is truer than ever.  A culture of corruption is a system in this Congress of the United States that the Republicans have instituted.  The Washington Post has called it a "criminal enterprise operating out of" the Republican Leader's office.  It is about all the Republican Caucus enabling their Caucus to have a strong link to the lobbying community at the expense of America's consumers.

In the case of Mr. Jefferson, I think the Ethics Committee should investigate him.  It is his private matter, and he should be investigated because of the stories that have been in the press and the guilty plea that you mentioned yesterday.  That is his business; that's not ours.

Holding our own accountable is what progressives do.  We don't assume our own personal virtue, we hold ourselves to it.  I'm not a fan of how ethics has been handled by House Democrats, and I wish Pelosi had done this earlier.  But there's no rallying around Jefferson here, merely contempt for one member's abuse of power.  

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Stop the Bill that Threatens Every American's Health Care

Having had a Grandfather with diabetes, my ears perked up about a month ago when I heard that diabetes advocacy groups were lobbying against a recent bill sponsered by Sen. Enzi entitled the "Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act."

The bill seeks to make it more affordable for small businesses to offer insurance plans, but does so, in part, by essenitally gutting state requirements for what sort of treatments insurance companies are required to cover.  Everything from treatment for diabetes to cancer screenings to coverage for contraceptives is at risk.  

These state requirements were passed for important reasons.  The legislatures and the people of these states have determined over many years that if insurance is going to be offered in their state, there are certain basic protections that states want to ensure all consumers have.  To allow insurance companies to ignore these requirements in the name of health insurance "modernization" is ridiculous.

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A Progressive Candidate for Congress Takes the Blog Plunge at My Left Wing

I have posted before about my friend, Chris Owens, who is running for Congress in the NY-11 district. This race is reaching a critical point. Chris has been doing wonderfully at the grassroots level, but lags in fundraising and the local "pundits" are looking only at fundraising in their estimation of who has a chance in this race. Chris is really one of the smartest and most progressive candidates I have met. Well, finally, after much urging, Chris is taking the plunge into the blogsphere.

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About Gerrymandering: Good Politics Is Good Policy

Gerrymandering has shaped American politics since February 11, 1812, when the Massachusetts legislature enacted a law to redistrict the state. A bill was proposed, and passed, by the majority Democratic Party over the vehement protests of the minority Federalists. In the following election, the Federalists garnered over 1,000 more votes than the Democrats, an outcome that resulted in sending 29 Democrats and 11 Federalists to the state senate.

Hence, the Democrats seized more than two thirds of the state senate but received fewer votes than the Federalists. In response to these events, The Boston Gazette, invented the term "gerrymander" after Elbridge Gerry, the Democratic governor, and the salamander, which the most convoluted district supposedly resembled. The politics of gerrymandering only grew in absurdity.

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Congressional Black Caucus defends the lobbyists!

The horrible 'deficit reduction' bill passed the House 216-214, I read. I go to THOMAS to check on the guilty Dems concerned - and find an unexpected little horror.

Part of the (pretence at) post-Abramoff house-cleaning in the US let's not mention the ethics truce House is H Res 648, which removes the floor privileges from former members who are working as lobbyists. It passed 379-50, and Tom DeLay voted against (surprise, surprise!).

But 19 Dems voted against too.

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