Friday, January 29, 2010

Lincoln Sees "Dirty Dozen" as Badge of Honor

The League of Conservation Voters this week named Senator Blanche Lincoln (R-Waffler) on their 2010 list of the "Dirty Dozen" most anti-environmental members of Congress seeking reelection after she signed on to co-sponsor the "Dirty Air Act" resolution offered by Alaska Republican Senator Murkowski. “Instead of embracing a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill that creates jobs, reduces carbon pollution and increases energy independence, Senator Lincoln has decided to cast her lot with Big Oil and other corporate polluters who oppose transitioning to a clean energy economy,” said Gene Karpinski, LCV President.

Lincoln responds that she has an outstanding voting record on environmental issues, although she has a career LCV score of only 49%. She has taken more than $1 million in campaign cash from Big Oil and other energy interests, with oil and gas companies being among the top five contributors to her campaign this cycle, and that should more than offset any effective opposition from the poorly funded environmental organization.

In a press release from her campaign office, Lincoln slammed the League of Conservation Voters as "a Washington-based, liberal environmental group," as she boasted, “Threats from extremist groups from outside our state tell me I’m doing something right for Arkansas.” That statement was followed by quotes from Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce President Randy Zook and Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach expressing their appreciation for her opposition to EPA authority to enforce the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases, which they usually deny exist.

Blanche knows that there are more polluters than environmental voters in Arkansas, and she thinks she can get Republican corporate types to vote for her instead of a genuine Republican candidate. She is also very well aware that she has received much more money from Chamber of Commerce and Farm Bureau members than from local environmental groups, so you know who gets the lump of coal. Expect more of the same from the woman who replaced Dale Bumpers (100% LCV in 1997 & 1998) in the United States Senate -- and weep.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chickenopolis Cowbirds

Sometime while we were on vacation in Branson, the FOI Springdale website became FOI Springdale Blog. It is a prime example of why local Cowbirds need to be held accountable. In this case, we get a good picture of what is going on in every Chamber of Commerce that is nurtured with tax dollars by local governments that have the impossible dream of new jobs and the fateful fiction that Cowbirds can make those happen.

In most instances, only the Chamber officers and employees know about the wasteful and self-indulgent spending sprees. The Springdale Cowbirds were so arrogant that they just dumped the taxpayers' hundred thousand dollars plus into the same slush account they used for entertaining themselves and their friends. We wrote about it here a few times, but FOI Springdale does it so much better.

Enjoy the revelations while you can. Perry Webb learned his lesson and will keep the public funds in a separate account, making sure that all of his other questionable expenses and personal travel splurges remain hidden from citizens making Freedom of Information requests. What he will not be able to hide any longer, if anyone bothers to do the math, is what a poor investment the city council and the advertising and promotion commission have made and continue to make. It is a very poor return on their investment of taxpayers hard earned money.

Job Openings in Washington

The death rattle of Senator Blanche Lincoln's pith-poorly orchestrated campaign for reelection has sent a few ripples into the Third Congressional District. Her astronomical unfavorable ratings, combined with bone-headed votes and public statements that almost seem designed to alienate the Democratic party base, make her look like easy pickings for a serious challenger and within the realm of probability for opponents that normally would not be taken seriously.

The sad new for Democrats is that she will be their nominee, despite her disdain for the President and the party platform. Lt. Governor Bill Halter could have taken her out in a primary, but that was not to be. Governor Beebe and the party establishment have been in the tank for Lincoln forever and have shunned Halter at every opportunity. Now, with Congressman Vic Snyder retiring, a discount ticket to Washington is available for purchase, and Halter will likely make a bid. More later on what that would mean for a Lt. Governor contest and why anyone with good sense would possibly want the job.

The impact on local political doings comes from our own Republican Robot, John Boozman, looking at an easy shot for a six-year term in the Senate, a real attraction for a fellow who does not appear to enjoy having to campaign and make conversation with ordinary voters. He will first have to get by a primary with a dozen other mediocre candidates and probably a run-off with State Senator Gilbert Baker. Some think real estate tycoon, apartment slumlord, and farm subsidy welfare king Jim Lindsey will buy his way in, but I am not among them.

Boozman's candidacy would open the floodgates of pent up political ambition among every obnoxious little twit who ever sought public office in Benton County. First among them will be Rogers Mayor Steve Womack, who will be unable to resist spoiling his inner demagogue and reporting the true feelings of his corporate sponsors. It is also possible that State Senator Kim Hendren, failed gubernatorial candidate and father of a failed Congressional candidate, will retreat from the Senate race and take a shot at the AR3 slot, fueled by his personal fortune from an out of state car dealership. Retired General and Teabagger Bernard Skoch is already announced and should stay. Asa Hutchinson, a Loser in races for Benton County JP and U.S. Senate and Governor and Attorney General, would like to move back to Arkansas and be back in the only office he ever won, but he will decide against having to defend his sorry record on the federal dole.

On the Democratic side, Fayetteville attorney David Whitaker appears to have a clear field for a run. A couple of years ago, Don Nelms made some noise about running as an independent, but friends report that he is too happy and very comfortable pursuing his dreams in Newton County to make another campaign. That should give Whitaker some relief, as he can spend the next seven months raising money while his opponents will be spending the next four months spending their own money and wondering why the party faithful are putting out only for Senate candidates.

Green Party candidate Abel Tomlinson will likely be distracted by his own foray into the judicial branch instead of the legislative campaign. I think some guy in Rogers is running as an independent, but I can't remember his name, and that's just as well.

That's all I know, but I warn you against getting your hopes up that the citizens will have much say in the outcome. Just sit back and see who Walmart buys and elects to be their new puppet. That should be clear in late April when the quarterly purchase orders are reported to the Federal Election Commission.