. .

Who is Ed Philpot?
Support The Site
Media Appearances
Make POP Your Homepage
Send Comments

The POP Book List

The Threatening Storm by Kenneth Pollack

Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris

John Adams by David McCullough

Truman by David McCullough

First You Have To Row A Little Boat by Richard Bode

Website Picks

NY Times
Talking Points Memo
Democrats for National Security
Media Notes
Washington Monthly
The Note

NH Websites

Democrat Think Dynamic Group
Mark Fernald - NH Progressive Network

2003 Archives

Week of 1.5.03
Week of 1.12.03
Week of 1.19.03
Week of 1.26.03
Week of 2.2.03
Week of 2.9.03
Week of 2.16.03
Week of 2.23.03
Week of 3.2.03
Week of 3.9.03
Week of 3.16.03
Week of 3.23.03
Week of 3.30.03
Week of 4.6.03
Week of 4.13.03
Week of 4.20.03
Week of 4.27.03
Week of 5.4.03
Week of 5.11.03
Week of 5.18.03

Click here for full archives

. . .

June 2, 2003, 11:00 A.M.

pococurante (pô’-kô koo ran’ te) adj. caring little; indifferent; apathetic – n. an indifferent or apathetic person

I certainly don’t want to be a pococurante about self-annointed morality czar Bill Bennett’s fall from grace, I just think an awful lot has already been said on the subject. Bennett should either practice what he preaches or stop preaching. He has now apparently quit gambling because he realizes the error of his ways. Perhaps he will be a little more tolerant of us lesser mortals in the future.

Incidentally, the word pococurante is new for me. I wrote this post so that I could use the word that 13 year old Sai Gunturi spelled correctly to win the 76th Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee yesterday. Congratulations, Sai.

June 1, 2003, 3:00 P.M.

There is another Webmaster in the Philpot family. My 10 year old daughter, Rosalie, has built a website about boatbuilding for a school project. Here's the link. Check it out.

June 1, 2003, 2:35 P.M.

Last week Laconia Daily Sun reporter, Mike Kitch, wrote about the Senate Capital Budget Committee’s state capital budget. High on the list were the Laconia District Court and the New Hampshire Community Technical College at Laconia. Both projects were vying for funding in the upcoming state capital budget allocation.

You may recall that earlier this year the city, which owns the Laconia District Court building and leases it to the state, reached a conceptual agreement to turn the property over to the state on two conditions. First, if the state changes the use of the building from a courthouse, ownership would revert back to the city. Second, the state must “demonstrate a sensitivity to the historical character of the building.” The building is not to be turned over to the state until funds are approved for the restoration, according to the agreement.

The Technical College project has been on the state’s capital improvements list for some time and includes a request of about $12 million for building construction and renovation. The district Court requested $250,000 for architectural design and engineering, the first phase of the project.

There are many good reasons why both of these projects need to be funded. The Technical College project will expand the opportunities available to students across the region. Likewise, the courthouse is utilized extensively by hundreds of citizens of the Lakes Region five days per week. The courthouse is the gateway to the civil and criminal justice system and it needs to be brought into compliance with modern construction, safety and energy efficiency standards, while preserving the historic nature of the building. Apparently, given the initial ranking by both the House and the Senate capital committees, these needs and benefits are recognized in Concord. Other projects, however, compete for limited state capital funds, and legislators from other areas of the state naturally lobby for their regional projects. Not so in Laconia.

On May 27 the Senate Finance Committee picked the Technical College project for funding. The committee struck the architectural and engineering money for the district court from the project list. Here’s how our Senators (Senators representing towns or cities that use the Laconia District Court) voted: Carl Johnson (Meredith) voted against the project, Robert Boyce (Alton) didn’t even bother to show up. Perhaps there were good reasons why the court house revitalization got bumped from the list, but it seems to me that our local delegation should be showing up and supporting projects that directly affect their constituents.

P.S. to the Texas Democrats story. . .It should be noted that attempting to control the Texas legislature by redistricting (gerrymandering) is nothing new. Texas Democrats did it for 140 years before the Republicans took office. What the Democrats gained by avoiding that quorum call was a chance to live to fight another day in local and state elections. If the DeLay redistricting plan had passed it would have solidified the Republican victories in the last elections and would have made Democratic inroads in the next elections less likely. Now the real work begins. Democrats have to win back the offices that they lost in the last election and they need to rebuild their message or they need to make flight arrangements and hotel reservations before the next redistricting plan is voted on.

May 26, 2003, 2:10 P.M.

Since the Supreme Court made George Bush President and the Republicans have gained a majority in Congress, the once-perceived liberal bias in the media has taken on a rabid conservative tone. In his May 13, 2003 column, “The China Syndrome,” Paul Krugman contemplates some possible reasons for this. Check it out.

Not only is there a collective lack of stomach for questioning the government in today’s American media, many of the proposed rule changes in the FCC will large media companies to dominate all aspects of a local market, and to standardize their message. The FCC should be promoting diverse ownership and a broad spectrum of opinion, not consolidation of the ownership and the message.

May 26, 2003, 1:50 P.M.

For most of the past week Josh Marshall has been screaming and beating the drums about the Texas redistricting fight. The rest of the media hasn’t shown much interest.

The story relates to a redistricting plan, authored and supported by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. DeLay favors the plan because it would result in more Republicans being sent to Congress than Democrats. There are currently 17 Democrats and 15 Republicans representing Texas in the House. DeLay favors a plan that would alter that balance by sending four to seven additional Republicans to Congress. In early May he personally went to Texas to lobby for the bill.

Through the efforts of Karl Rove and Co., Texas has seen a definite political shift, resulting in a Republican majority in the Texas legislature. The redistricting committee in the Texas House of Representatives is chaired by Republican Rep. Joe Crabb. At one point during the process, Rep. Richard Raymond, a Democrat, charged that by rushing the redistricting plan through the legislative process, the Republicans had violated bilingual notice requirements of the federal Voting Rights Act. Raymond made a complaint to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division on May 7.

Raymond subsequently withdrew his complaint, alleging that DeLay had told supporters that he had intervened with DOJ and that the complaint was quickly dismissed. Of course, DeLay denies that he would intervene in such a way and DOJ denies any intervention. Raymond has now taken his complaint to federal court in Texas.

With the redistricting plan headed for a vote in the Texas House, state Democrats fled to Oklahoma to avoid a quorum call and thus defeat the measure. The first response in the media was to ridicule the “missing” Democrats. The Republicans printed the faces of the missing Democrats on playing cards and called them “fugitives.” The Speaker of the House issued warrants for the arrest of the Democrats.

The media started to get quiet on this story when state troopers attempting to enforce the warrants had been harassing the families of the Democrats in order to determine their whereabouts. One particularly odious example involved troopers visiting a neonatal intensive care unit where one legislator’s premature infants were being treated. A command center was set up, right next to Speaker Craddick’s office to direct the search.

As Speaker Craddick’s search became more desperate, the Texas state police attempted to involve none other than the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the search. The problem is that they did so by claiming that they were searching for a group of legislators who might have been in a plane crash. In other words, the Texas state police lied. Craddick denied knowledge of the state police contact with DHS and DeLay denied attempts to get the Feds involved in the manhunt.

The problem is that DeLay did contact the FAA and obtain flight information and relayed that information to Craddick. DeLay also advocated for the use of federal resources such as FBI agents and U.S. marshals in the search and for “federalizing” the Texas arrest warrants so that the lawmakers could be brought back across state lines. DeLay offered, and more than just advocating, he asked on Craddick’s behalf if federal enforcement could be used to support the manhunt.

DeLay’s exact involvement will of course be hard to sort out because the state police ordered immediate destruction of the records gathered during the quorum incident. Washington Democrats allege that this destruction could obstruct a federal investigation into how DHS got involved in the hunt. DeLay has admitted to a role in hunting the Democrats, but has also reverted to a time-worn defense: a good offense. DeLay has now accused Rep. Martin Frost (D-Arlington) of using his staff to organize rallies in support of the Democrats who fled.

So with all the elements of this story, why doesn’t it have legs in the mainstream media? The answer lies in the relationship between the American media and the government. While the government in this country does not own or directly control the media, it can use policy decisions to reward or punish media outlets as it wishes. The most recent example is FCC Chair Michael Powell’s proposal to relax media ownership requirements allowing big media companies to have a larger share of the national market. These companies have little incentive to cross the powers that be, especially since favorable regulatory treatment may be their reward for being cooperative.

There is truly something rotten in Texas, but as long as the media fear the likes of Tom DeLay, the stench will fade, but the cause will remain.

Send Tips or Comments to Philpot on Politics

Copyright 2003 Edward Philpot

. . . . .