Somebody Call the State House— Political maven that I am, I have to keep tabs on important dates in the lives of local muckety-mucks — but still, this notice from The Note nearly made me do a spit-take.
Perfect Gentlemen The Republican Party — according to, well, itself — "is making a renewed effort to win the hearts, minds, and votes of women." And I've seen evidence of the campaign all over the place. Take, for instance, this:
Michael Savage, host of the nationally syndicated "Savage Nation" talk show, is on a tear. A scandal at the Air Force Academy was in the news; several female cadets had complained of sexual harassment, including an alleged rape.
Savage, leaning into the microphone, decides to blame the victim, who said she had been drinking with her male classmates and playing strip poker when the incident occurred.
"If a girl gets drunk and plays strip poker with high-testosterone guys, what does she expect is going to happen," Savage rages, breaking into a mocking falsetto. "My gawd, I was raped."
Attorney General John D. Ashcroft has decided to reconsider the granting of asylum to a battered Guatemalan woman whose husband has threatened to kill her if she returns to her homeland, a senior Justice Department official has confirmed.
Ashcroft is also considering new gender-persecution regulations for asylum-seekers instead of a proposed set that was left hanging in the final days of the Clinton administration.
The regulations, proposed by Attorney General Janet Reno in December 2000, grew out of the case of the Guatemalan woman, Rodi Alvarado, who said she fled to the United States in 1995 after her husband repeatedly raped her, whipped her with electrical cords, broke windows and mirrors with her head, and vowed to kill her if she tried to leave him.
An immigration judge granted her asylum in 1996, finding that the 10 years of abuse Alvarado suffered and the persistent failure of Guatemalan authorities to protect her entitled her to relief. The Immigration and Naturalization Service appealed and the Justice Department's Board of Immigration Appeals reversed that decision in 1999. The board did not question Alvarado's credibility, but said in a 10-to-5 ruling that neither the beatings nor her opinions about them qualified her for asylum.
. . . Before leaving office, Reno vacated the board's decision and proposed regulations that would allow battered women to be granted asylum as members of a social group if they can show government complicity in their suffering. President Bush suspended this and all other pending regulations upon taking office. . .
Alvarado, now 35 and working as a housekeeper for nuns in the San Francisco area, could be forced to return to Guatemala. Her attorney, Karen Musalo, said Friday that three Justice Department sources have told her that Ashcroft intends to reinstate the immigration appeals board decision.
It's a bit like what former Texas gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams (R) once said about bad weather having something in common with rape: "as long as it's inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it."
Show Me the Money, Mr. President So, it's come to this, has it?
WASHINGTON, DC—Amid growing anti-war protests and polls indicating eroding public support for an invasion of Iraq, President Bush is offering U.S. taxpayers a rebate in the amount of $300 if we go to war.
"My proposed tax rebate will serve to stimulate the economy," said Bush, waving a sample check made out to John Q. Public at a White House press conference Monday. "Americans will get a generous infusion of cash that can be used however they choose — all in return for simply supporting a first strike against Iraq. Now, who wouldn't want an extra $300 in their pocket next month?" . . .
"The plan is almost identical to the tax rebate offered in 2001," Bush said. "With the minor exception, of course, of the provision that Americans react favorably to the deployment of 210,000 troops to the Persian Gulf."
"Which reminds me, have you seen these new iPods?" added Bush, pulling an Apple-brand MP3 player from his pocket and holding it up to the crowd. "It costs $299 for one of these little buggers, but it holds a thousand songs. They're amazing."
Hiding Behind the Flag In a glimpse at the sort of lobbying I don't like, the Post reports on a California congressman who told corporate flacks to — how to put this? — ask not what they can do for their country:
Days before the House Ways and Means Committee took up an innocuous military bill last month, Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) made an offer to other Republican committee members at their weekly luncheon: prepare a wish list of tax breaks under $100 million each, and they could add them to the measure. . . .
For a small cadre of local companies and one trade association, this was the equivalent of the lobbying mother lode. After years of trying, they would finally have their priorities added to a bill likely to become law — even if there were no guarantees that their amendments would remain intact throughout the legislative process.
The first test will come Thursday when the full House will take up the bill, which was designed to extend several tax benefits to members of the military. If the House accepts the committee's version, and it survives an eventual conference committee with senators, then racetrack owners and horse breeders would have an easier time enticing foreigners to bet on their races; an alternative type of diesel fuel would get a tax break, and U.S.-made bows and arrows would sell for less.
You Like Me. You Really Like Me— Time to celebrate here at the Green[e]house — sometime late Sunday evening, this humble blog played host to its 20,000th visitor. Entertaining that many folks gets tough, I have to say — but y'all manage to keep it fun. Thanks for joining me for the ride.
While I'm here: I jostled around the blogroll last week, making room for some new names and reciprocating some recent permalinks. Thanks to everyone who's paid me the honor of sending traffic my way recently, including:
Joke of the Day So the president goes on vacation [imagine that] at Kennebunkport, and in an idle moment asks Vice President Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld to join him on the yacht for some fishing. After a few hours on the water, though, a storm blows up out of nowhere — and before Bush can turn the boat back to land, the seas get so choppy that the boat capsizes five miles offshore, tossing all hands into the water without their life jackets.
Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut . . . . . . and sometimes you don't. Toss today into the latter category.
I tend to throw myself into my work to fend off boredom or ennui, but one can only keep that up for so long before maxing out. Last week had a few great moments, though — including the annual legislative reception thrown by my technology lobbying clients, where I spent a few minutes joshing around with the lieutenant governor. Last year I spent the duration of the event holding up the wall, waiting for the evening to get overwith — so I'd call this year a marked improvement.
I plan to post some updates about state politics here later in the week. Hope you can all deal with the suspense.