Thursday, August 11, 2005

Arctic Oil 3

I encourage everyone to write your Congressmen - ask them first to separate the ANWR issue from the budget and then vote for the environment and against more irresponsible energy policy.

Write a handwritten note and mail it to:

Spencer Bacchus
442 Cannon Building
Washington DC 20515

Jeff Sessions
335 Russell Senate Building
Washington DC 20510

Richard Shelby
110 Hart Senate Building
Washington DC 20510

The personal note - preferably on your own staionary - counts the most - and you can't oops delete em -

You have to oops - throw them in the trash can.


Arctic Oil 2

This article appears in the Washington Post and it appears some Republicans agree that attaching controversial legislation to Budget Bills is inappropriate:

GOP Members Oppose Arctic Oil in Budget
WASHINGTON -- Two dozen House Republicans, including three committee chairmen, have asked Speaker Dennis Hastert not to use a congressional budget procedure to clear the way for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
They said in a letter to Hastert, R-Ill., that the budget process "is an inappropriate venue to be debating this important environmental issue" and warned that it would further complicate already difficult budget issues.
"We believe the debate on opening this unique land to oil and gas exploration should be done outside the budget process," said the group led by Rep. Jeb Bradley, R-N.H., in an Aug. 4 letter made public Wednesday.
Among those signing the letter were three committee chairmen: Science Chairman Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y.; Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Government Reform Chairman Thomas Davis, R-Va.
The letter also was sent to Budget Committee Chairman James Nussle, R-Iowa, and Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Calif. Pombo strongly supports opening the 1.5 million acre coastal plain of the Alaska refuge to oil development.
A Pombo spokeswoman said he had not yet decided whether to include a provision authorizing oil lease sales in the Alaska refuge in a so-called budget "reconciliation" document. Under congressional rules, drilling could be authorized if the Resource Committee decides to rely on an expected $2.4 billion from potential oil lease sales in the refuge to meet budget targets.
The House has repeatedly approved ANWR drilling in recent years only to have the matter die in the Senate where opponents have used filibusters to block the legislation. The budget reconciliation document, which has the force of law if approved and signed by President Bush, is not subject to filibuster.
ANWR drilling supporters failed to get an ANWR provision into the recently enacted energy bill. They were assured the issue would be taken up again as part of the budget process next month.
Most Democrats oppose developing the estimated 5 billion to 10 billion barrels of oil believed to lie beneath the refuge's coastal plain because they contend drilling would harm the wildlife there. If they gain the support of a significant number of Republicans, it could turn the tide against drilling when the issue comes up as part of the budget process next month.
While raising concerns, the 24 GOP lawmakers who signed the letter did not all say they would vote against the budget if an ANWR provision were included.

Arctic Oil

Republican irresponsible energy policy get's my goat- the SUV tax goodie being my favorite

From my own tax newsletter last fall

The SUV Tax Loophole – Tightened – not closed -You can still get a good deduction here!The 2003 Tax Act created the “SUV loophole” that allowed business taxpayers to expense (up to $100,000) the cost of a business vehicle weighing more than 6,000 pounds. Tax Act 2 closes the loophole by requiring a vehicle weight of more than 14,000 pounds to qualify for the maximum expensing opportunity. The new rules reduce to $25,000 the expensing available to qualifying vehicles weighing over 6,000 pounds (traditional SUVs). The effective date for the change is for purchases made after October 22, 2004 – the day President Bush signed the 2004 Tax Act 2 into law. If you have a profitable business and have been contemplating purchasing a new vehicle be sure to contact this office ASAP to review your choices. The 2003 Tax Act added a special 50% bonus depreciation (but it expires on December 31, 2004) which when combined with the new 2004 $25,000 expensing limits might make the decision to buy this year more attractive than a delayed purchase in 2005. At last count there are over 40 vehicles that qualify. Call us for a list!

That's right - my tax letter - please don't shoot the messenger!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Jim Wallis Opinion

Ed cited this opinion earlier and I thought you might like to see the whole text -
It mirrors John's intention to be centrist. I am trying to adapt to that!


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

My Focus...

Bruce, I thought this an interesting e-mail exchange I had recently that might shed light on some of the things I've been talking about...

Question: "My husband and I would like to join OTMDems, however, we have two small children, so I am not sure how involved we can be at this time. If we can be members who are involved on a limited basis, I'll proceed. Otherwise, we' ll continue as interested parties..."

Response: "one of things we've talked about from the beginning is that 95% of people's time is already committed to family and work, and everything we do has to be respectful of that. We also have to plan events that occasionally include our families because we want to pass our political values on to our kids so our local culture doesn't do it by default. That being said, with two small children, you do have your very own special issues, I know. My wife and I have been there too, and currently, my sister and her husband have a 3 and 4 yr old, so we don't see them as often as we'd love to either. My niece and nephew are awfully cute in their otmdems tee-shirts though!

From the perspective of OTMDems, we'd love to have your membership on whatever terms we can get it. One of the things that made our participation in the "We Love Homewood" Parade so successful back in May was the inclusion of so many charming children. That's about the only event my sister has really been able to come to. We do hope to have more family-friendly events in the future, so keep that in mind too. (Maybe a Halloween party or visit from Santa come December...) The point we hope to make to the OTM communities is that we are every bit as much a part of the fabric of this town as everyone else, and now we're getting organized and visible, not in a loud and annoying way, but in an energetic and enjoyable way. We're just "outing" ourselves if you will. Because being a Republican seems to have become as much a cultural thing by default as it is any thoughtful reflection on the issues. We're hoping! to change that. And we're all tired of Democrats being represented as having bad values. We won't preach otherwise, we intend to just live it and respectfully, calmly show it.

Lastly, we've set a goal for ourselves to have a membership of 1000 within a year. We know that if we want to have a real voice in the reform of the Alabama Democratic Party, with our elected officials, both Dems and Republicans alike, in our communities, and most importantly, with the media, size will matter. But unlike the Boy Scouts, who inflated their membership numbers for whatever reason, we'll represent only the true numbers as we earn them. The stakes are too high not too. But I'm convinced that Artur Davis would not have come to our last-minute mtg last night and spent an hour and a half talking with us and answering our many questions if we had a membership of 50. And meeting other Democrats after feeling isolated and alone for so long has been one of the most fulfilling aspects of this endeavor for me. I can't tell you how many times I've heard the same thing from others. (I think that's why our socials like the other night have been so popular. We had 140 folks show up in the middle of vacation season. Too cool...)

So please consider joining. I promise to do my part to build a group that is thoughtful and active and works to make being a Democrat in these parts socially acceptable again. And don't worry about how much or how little time you have right now. Work, wealth or wisdom is how someone put it early on about what individuals might bring to the table. We aren't so numerous to be very picky about it! Sorry to ramble on. I hope to meet you sometime soon!"

Reply: "AMEN............ to everything you said.
Pretty inspirational, especially about feeling isolated as a Dem in Alabama (with values!) and about wanting to pass on those values to our kids.
Please give me the address to send my check once more and I'll send it soon. My husband and I both return to school (work) tomorrow, so give me a week or so to get over the shock.
Looking forward to meeting you soon as well..."

Monday, August 08, 2005


Appears to be the first issue addressed by the OTM Dems. As the subject of the upcoming symposium and as the first comment to a post

Edward wrote "Jim Wallis has an op-ed in today's NY Times. He has 5 suggestions. Here is his first:First, somebody must lead on the issue of poverty, and right now neither party is doing so. The Democrats assume the poverty issue belongs to them, but with the exception of John Edwards in his 2004 campaign, they haven't mustered the gumption to oppose a government that habitually favors the wealthy over everyone else. Democrats need new policies to offer the 36 million Americans, including 13 million children, who live below the poverty line, as well as the 9.8 million families one recent study identified as "working hard but falling short." In fact, the Democrats should draw a line in the sand when it comes to wartime tax cuts for the wealthy, rising deficits, and the slashing of programs for low-income families and children. They need proposals that combine to create a "living family income" for wage-earners, as well as a platform of "fair trade," as opposed to just free trade, in the global economy. Such proposals would cause a break with many of the Democrats' powerful corporate sponsors, but they would open the way for a truly progressive economic agenda. Many Americans, including religious voters who see poverty as a compelling issue of conscience, desire such a platform.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Artur Davis

Says we need a road map-

Construction in progress here---

Thursday, July 28, 2005


The purpose of this blog is to identify the issues this organization - the OTM Democrats - find at the core of our being.

This is necessary since it appears that just "being Democrats " and obviously wiser than Republicans has not been enough to keep the Republicans from controlling the House , the Senate , The Executive Branch and in all probability - in the near future - unless we can respond - the Judicial Branch as well -

For those of you counting - this would be all three branches of our government.

If we have failed in the past - it is wise that we reexamine ourselves - spell out our differences with the Republicans and win elections based on those premises - otherwise it seems the same message on a different day.

If you have an issue that you would like to see as part of a platform that we could rally behind - please enter it as comment to this post.

Issues will be given a post for further discussion.

The First Proposal

Dear Friends of the OTM Dems

John has humored me with the opportunity to float an idea before the mass of you - the body of the OTM Dems –

I propose that we meet regularly

I propose we have a format that is both entertaining and enlightening

I propose that the program help identify our issues and unite us in our fight

I propose that our programs build warmth and fellowship

I here request musician recruits – if you are a garage, a basement or a bathroom musician (heck we'll take professionals too!) and would like to join the orchestra – our mission will be to provide background and entertainment as a segment of each meeting - - and you will get to help compose John and Barry’s duet for very program.

Please contact me – Bruce Downs at or 205-879-8080 ext 100 to get on board with the Orchestra and rehearsals.

Visit the blog – established for the purpose of identifying and solidifying OTMDems issues – if you have an issue that you want to see in the debate format – or if you have an issue that you feel is an important part of our platform – we want to hear from you.

The Blog is designed to carry on the debate beyond the program - so carry on the debate!

The address for this experiment in Cyberspace is

I implore you to help us identify and articulate the issues that unite us as Democrats. I would love to replace that label with something else – humanist, liberal, compassionate, intellectual – but they are all just labels –

In the end we are not so much what we are called as what we think and do-

So take the handout and help us achieve these objectives – for our community, our country and our world –

Thank you

OTM Dem Treasurer
And self appointed Chaplain and Orchestral and Blog Organizer