Disclosure: I worked for the Lamont campaign doing web design and production and some writing for the official blog (from 9/5/06 to 11/07/06).

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Saturday News Round-Up

Friday, March 24, 2006


Lieberman Wants Troops in Iraq Until 2009

Lieberman on WTIC

Joe had this to say on Fox 61's News at 10 last night (video at C&L):

We're talking about 2006, 7, 8... that's three years. And I believe that a lot of very good things can happen in three years in Iraq that ideally would allow us to remove every American soldier who's there today.

Yes, so many good things have happened in the past three years, why not three more? And that's if things go "ideally."

The senator is completely out-of-touch.

Greenwich DTC Endorses Lamont


Sixteen of 22 delegates elected by the Democratic Town Committee to represent Greenwich at the state party convention threw their support to the challenger Lamont.

The remaining delegates said they were undecided as to who they will endorse for the party's nomination when the convention is held May 20 in Hartford.

Even better:

Lieberman failed to pick up a single endorsement from the 29 Democrats who ran for the 22 delegate spots, a clear indication of the growing dissatisfaction with Lieberman's support of the war in Iraq....

"I think the undecideds are Liebermans who thought they might be booed," said Edward Krumeich Jr., a Lamont supporter who was elected a delegate.


Courant: Blogs Fuel Lamont's Campaign

The Courant reports on the McEnroe-Lieberman dust-up in the blogosphere, the blogs' financial impact on the Lamont campaign, and other online events of the past few days:

Online buzz about Lamont, who has been an official candidate for less than two weeks, already has helped generate $132,255 in credit-card donations to Lamont through a Democratic fundraising site, ActBlue.Com. About $10,000 came in Thursday.

"From time to time, there are events and we'll see little blips," said Tom Swan, manager of the Lamont campaign. "Sometimes it's from a series of postings on the Web, like this."

Interestingly, it seems like campaign manager Sean Smith (he of "[Joe] hasn't really had a dialogue with Connecticut voters about Connecticut issues in a while" and "the Connecticut Republican party is cheering on Ned Lamont" fame) is no longer providing the lame retorts for Lieberman. But his pinch-hitting replacement isn't much better:

Roy Occhiogrosso, a consultant advising the Lieberman campaign, said the blogs mischaracterized Lieberman's performance, saying the senator never once raised his voice.

"I think he was clear and concise and passionate," Occhiogrosso said. "And I think that's all good."

I think I get it: Lieberman flying off the handle at the minor criticism of a radio host is "concise and passionate." But Lamont voicing a positive, inspiring vision in front of a teeming crowd of supporters is "negative and angry."

I'm no doctor, but I think there's a diagnosis for this consistently irrational behavior.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Thursday Late Night Round-Up


More Cowbell

More Cowbell

Atrios puts out the call.


Update: 2,113 2,171 2,224 2,262 donors, $125,581.64 $126,851.66 $128,716.67 $132,255.48 total, as of 11:20am 1pm 2:15pm 4:15pm ET.

Another $10k day for Ned?

Joe Gets Served

you got served

After Joe's breakdown on the air yesterday afternoon, Colin McEnroe responds on his Courant blog:

Joe Lieberman was a guest on our show today, and he was very, very angry at me. In particular, he was offended and insulted that I took the following quote "out of context" in a column about him:

It is time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be Commander-in-Chief for three more critical years, and that in matters of war we undermine Presidential credibility at our nation's peril.

The quote, he said, came from a speech. Read the whole speech, he said angrily, several times on the air. Several times, also, he urged me to notice that he encouraged the Republicans to adopt a similar sense of forgiveness in the very next line.

So I did read the speech. And what did I find?

The speech, overall, is an exercise in self-massage disguised as bipartisanship. It congratulates Lieberman for being Lieberman. It urges everone else to be ...more Lieberman. Lieberman is right. Everyone should read this speech, so they know what he really means when he calls for bipartisanship. He's really calling for an uncritical endorsement of his own behavior.

It gets better, a complete takedown of Joe's self-serving rhetoric and his defense of it as "bipartisanship." Read the whole thing.

McEnroe ends with a challenge to Senator Lieberman:

Lieberman's peculiar notion of bipartisanship begins with the other side agreeing to set aside its qualms about a catastropihic set of mistakes (and, possibly, deceptions) that has left America in a financially, diplomatically and militarily ruinous mess. Inasmuch as he was one of the ones who pushed hardest for these policies, it's a little self-serving. It's a little bit like beginning a baseball game by asking the other team to issue 27 consecutive intentional walks. Forget about our rationale for getting into the war. After all, we have.

Now, of course, Lieberman will have to lash into all the other people who quoted those exact words out of context. He can start with Bob Schieffer. Think he will?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Radio Daze

Another fundraising surge today in online donations to Ned, as ActBlue zoomed close to 2,100 donations for almost $123,000. Largely due, I suspect, to Sam Seder's aggressively positive interview with Ned this afternoon, which you can listen to at the Ned Lamont Resource.

Joe was on the radio today, too, with Colin McEnroe.

The Senator completely flipped out at Colin for his criticism of Lieberman in a column this weekend. Audio here, on the right of the page. I don't have time to transcribe it right now, but it really is something to hear from a sitting senator. I'll get to it in more detail later.

Joe is losing it.

Cornwall DTC Endorses Lamont

And unanimously, at that. From The Corner Report:

The Cornwall Democratic Town Committee voted unanimously Tuesday night to endorse Democrats Ned Lamont and Chris Murphy -- two long shot candidates who are running for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives....

DTC member John Miller spoke enthusiastically about the endorsements following the meeting. Miller, 75, and Cornwall Democrats Paul H. Baren, 81, and Stephen H. Senzer, 76, drove to a Mexican restaurant in Torrington last week to scope out Lamont at one of his frequent visits around the state where his campaign is picking up support....

"The main reason is to help him and also to send a signal to Lieberman that not everyone in this state likes him and likes the way he votes," Miller said.


Wednesday Morning Round-Up

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Delegates for Ned

A reminder: delegate selection caucuses for the state convention are supposed to take place starting today and until next Tuesday the 28th.

For more info on your town committee, including the name and contact info of every committee member, go to the State party site and choose your town from the "Directory" pull-down menu on the top right.

NOW Endorses in PA-SEN Primary

NOW PAC has endorsed one of the Democratic opponents of front-running (and anti-choice) Senate candidate Bob Casey (D-PA) in Pennsylvania:

NOW, which was joined by the Feminist Majority Political Action Committee, said it was backing Alan Sandals in the race, not Casey, who is the leading Democratic candidate to face Sen. Rick Santorum in the November election. Casey, the state treasurer, opposes abortion, but supports exceptions if the mother's life is in danger or in the case of rape or incest.

Sandals, a Philadelphia pension lawyer, opposes laws that would "restrict women's right to choose their own destiny in matters of conception, pregnancy and bodily integrity," according to his Web site.

I applaud this move: NOW is standing up for their beliefs, and doing it constructively, within the party primary system. (There had been previous talk of former NARAL President Kate Michelman enetering the race as an Independent, which would have been very helpful to Santorum's chances of re-election.) NOW should not be in the business of supporting nominees in primaries like Bob Casey and Joe Lieberman who have either taken clear anti-choice stands or, in Joe's case, completely abandoned his pro-choice constituents.

Tell NOW there's no reason they shouldn't do the same thing in CT and endorse Ned Lamont:

Connecticut National Organization for Women
135 Broad Street
Hartford, CT 06105
860.524.1092 fax

Kathleen Sloan, Executive Director
Rosemary Dempsey, President


No End in Sight

Bush: U.S. Troops Will Remain In Iraq Through The End Of My Presidency.

Lieberman: Sounds Good, Boss.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Lieberman's Ethics Problem: Sempra

On September 11th, 2005, the fourth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, most Americans' minds were elsewhere: on the human suffering we had all witnessed on the streets of New Orleans and throughout the region in the preceding days.

Joe Lieberman's mind was at least partially somewhere else entirely that day: on raising money for his campaign warchest. That day, Sempra, a California-based energy company that is Lieberman's ninth largest campaign contributor this cycle with a total of over $40,000 in donations, flew Sen. Lieberman on a corporate jet from a 9/11 memorial event in New Jersey to Minneapolis so he could attend unspecified political fundraisers in Minnesota. Sempra was later reimbursed $1,271 for the expense, but before the end of the month, Sempra Trading (the company's Stamford-based trading arm) and their executives subsequently donated tens of thousands of dollars to Lieberman's campaign, in part by funneling $10,000 through an employee-associated and funded PAC ($5,000 for the general election as well as $5,000 for the primary).

Were they seeking influence with Lieberman?

Can there be any doubt?

In 2005, thanks largely to "a strong surge in fourth-quarter profits from energy trading," Sempra Energy posted record annual earnings.

2005 may have been a great year for Sempra Trading, but it was a very bad year for many other people. Hurricane Katrina killed over a thousand, left countless numbers homeless and displaced, cost tens of billions in damage, and disrupted oil and natural gas supplies causing energy prices to soar. But volatility in prices wasn't bad news for Sempra:

The Connecticut-based unit the company calls Sempra Commodities was responsible for fully half of Sempra's total earnings last year, indicating how far the locally based company has come from its roots in the regulated utility industry.

The trading unit's $460 million in profits represented a 44 percent increase over the previous year, with most of the higher earnings coming from from strong gains in trading electricity and natural gas.

"The trading book was remarkable," said Paul Justice, an analyst at Morningstar Investment Service in Chicago. He rates Sempra's shares three stars out of five; he doesn't own any Sempra stock.

"We've got so much volatility in natural gas prices," Justice said, "and they've been able to step up and develop one of the strongest positions in the industry."...

“We really make money when there are high prices and volatility," [CEO Donald Felsinger] said.

Extremely high energy prices leading to a politically-connected energy trading company posting obscenely high profits.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. I saw that movie, too.

But the similarities between Sempra and Enron are not just limited to aesthetics.

In California, where they own the San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Gas Co. utilities, Sempra was sued twice in November 2005 by State Attorney General Bill Lockyer. One lawsuit was filed against the Stamford-based Sempra Trading in particular for engaging in Enron-style trading schemes:

"This is a close second to Enron," Attorney General Bill Lockyer said, referring to the now-defunct energy company that used colorfully named maneuvers like Death Star and Fat Boy to boost electricity prices. "I suggest this is Enron's twin brother in terms of the extent they ripped off California consumers."

Lockyer filed a lawsuit in Sacramento County Superior Court accusing Sempra Energy Trading Corp. of engaging in more than 5,000 acts of unfair competition and illegal commodities transactions starting in 1999.

"It wasn't just one accidental event," he said at a news conference. "It was a pattern of active manipulation of the energy markets."...

He said the illegal Sempra tactics included:

- Filing false schedules with the California Independent System Operator, manager of most of California's electricity system, to create the illusion of congestion on the state's power grid and then getting paid to relieve the fake congestion.

- Getting paid by Cal-ISO to keep electricity in reserve for an emergency and then not keeping it in reserve.

- Exaggerating the amount of power it intended to generate to boost income.

- Exporting electricity from California and then selling it back to California customers at higher prices.

Lockyer said that last maneuver, known a "ricochet game," was the most egregious tactic used by the company and involved enough electricity to supply the entire state for two days at peak demand.

The other lawsuit was filed against the parent company for deliberately overstating natural gas capacity and contributing to the California energy crisis of 2000-2001, the same crisis that Enron was involved in manipulating.

As if this all wasn't enough, Sempra is also involved in an ongoing fundraising scandal in another Democratic New England senate primary race.

David Messer, President of Sempra Trading, who has already maxed out to Lieberman this cycle, is a key name in the fundraising scandal in the Rhode Island race between Matt Brown and Sheldon Whitehouse. The short version is this: Brown allegedly had a scheme going whereby three state Democratic parties (in Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Maine) would contribute large amounts to the Brown campaign, and then contributors such as Messer would in return donate large sums to the three state parties. Messer had already maxed out to Brown's campaign, so this was ostensibly a way of getting around the $2,100 contribution limit.

In Hawaii, there have been calls for an investigation of the contributions, seemingly intended to skirt campaign finance law.

And in a yet another campaign finance scandal in Idaho involving Sempra's building of a $1 billion coal power plant in the state, there have been calls for gubernatorial candidate Rep. Butch Otter to return the $6,000 in donations he's received from the same Sempra Energy Employees PAC that's given $10,000 to Lieberman.

These are the same contributors who flew Joe Lieberman out to Minnesota that day in September 2005, doubtless seeking influence on some piece of legislation or another, whether it was a thank-you for Lieberman's support of the Energy Bill passed a month earlier (he was the only New England Democrat to vote "aye"), with pending moves in the Broadwater LNG terminal proposal in Connecticut, or with something else entirely.

The only question is, did they get what they paid for?

Air Joementum

In a recently released list of 192 federally elected officials who have accepted flights on corporate private jets, Joe Lieberman ranks 13th. And this one sounds particularly fishy:

Among them was a flight he took on Sept. 11, 2005, from Newark, N.J., to Minneapolis aboard a private plane owned by San Diego-based utility giant Sempra Energy. He reimbursed the company $1,271 for the round-trip, which took him from a 9/11 observance ceremony in New Jersey to political fundraisers in Minnesota.

A spokeswoman for Sempra Energy, whose commodities and energy trading offices are in Lieberman's hometown of Stamford, said the company did not receive many requests for travel.

"It's not a common thing we do," said Sempra's Jennifer Andrews, who noted that the company does not own but leases jets for travel.

Sempra has reportedly given $10,000 to Lieberman's PAC, and $20,250 to Lieberman's campaigns.

Even more, here's the list of Sempra employees and executives who have individually donated over $1,000 each to Friends of Joe Lieberman for the 2006 cycle:

Frank Gallipoli ($2,100)
Richard Holmes ($2,100)
Steven Prince ($2,100)
David Messer ($2,000)
Harrison Destefano ($2,000)
Jacqueline Mitchell ($2,000)
Robert Fellbogen ($2,000)
Neal Schmale ($1,000)
Joseph Kleinman ($1,000)

And an organization called the Sempra Energy Employees PAC - funded by some of the same individuals above - gave Lieberman another $5,000 on September 28th, 2005. Just seventeen days after flying him to Minneapolis on their corporate jet. Almost all of the individual contributions from Sempra employees and executives were dated September 30th, 2005, two days later.

And now Joe Lieberman says he's for lobbying reform? Yeah, right.

Update: Sempra does a lot of LNG business and was probably keen on seeing the Broadwater LNG project get built.

Perhaps this sheds some light on Joe's resistance to opposing Broadwater until very recently.

Update 2 : Almost every other politician in the region - Sens. Clinton, Schumer, Dodd, Reps. Shays, DeLauro, Simmons, and others - had opposed Broadwater in 2005 (according to this press release pdf), but Lieberman, that bastion of environmental integrity, was almost inexplicably holding out. In January 2006, he said this to say in an interview to the Advocate:

"I've worked hard to protect the Sound to me it's one of our great natural resources. I have said that I'm concerned about this proposal but frankly I didn't know enough about it yet to take a position... We have a real energy problem in this state, so I don't want to shut it out without thinking about [whether] it could provide additional energy resources to us that could lower the cost of energy in this state."

This just a few months after raking in tens of thousands in donations and accepting a corporate flight from a company with an active interest in expanding LNG operations across the country.

Secretary Of State Lieberman?

That's Fred Barnes' prescription for Bush Fatigue Syndrome:

The president's most spectacular move would be to anoint a presidential successor. This would require Vice President Cheney to resign. His replacement? Condoleezza Rice, whom Mr. Bush regards highly. Her replacement? Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, whose Bush-like views on Iraq and the war on terror have made him a pariah in the Democratic caucus.

While I don't put any stock in this particular rumor, Lieberman's name has previously been floated as a possibility for UN Ambassador, Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of Homeland Security under Bush.

With rumors of an Administration shakeup still buzzing, and the futures of both Chertoff and Rumsfeld in question, it's not absurd to consider what would happen if Lieberman were offered a cabinet position. It's just the type of move Bush would consider in order to change the storyline without really changing direction. It's very likely that if offered, Lieberman would take the job, and that likelihood only increases as Ned Lamont's candidacy gains steam.

But how would this impact the Senate race? Would Rell appoint a placeholder, or a Republican who might be able to hold the seat (like Shays)? Would Blumenthal jump into the race on the Democratic side? It's worth considering possible answers to these questions as Bush approaches permanent lame-duck status.