Wednesday, June 29, 2005


A postcard from Sue...

How pleasant to fish into our mailbox earlier today and come up with a postcard from Sue inviting us to contact her "if I can be of assistance" and telling us to "continue sharing your views and ideas with me".

Really? We at Take19 have been collecting some of Sue's responses to our letters and emails and we have to say that we've been pretty unimpressed with Sue's (or at least her staff's) responses. Here's an excerpt -- a history lesson really -- from the letter Sue sent to one of our members about Darfur:

"After years of fighting that cost more than 2 million lives, the largely Arab Khartoum government in the North nearly settled its major conflicts with the rebels of the largely Christian and animist south. Thanks to diplomatic assistance from the international community and direct pressure from the Bush Administration, a sense of optimism emerged for the first time in more than two decades."

Here's what she told another member about Social Security: "It is vitally important that we keep the promises made to our retirees and near retirees who have spent a lifetime investing in our Social Security system."

Both responses demonstrated -- loud and clear -- that it's possible to say absolutely nothing and still string words together. Perhaps you have a favorite response from Sue that you'd like to share with us. We'd love to see it. Send us an email.

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Better than first class...

Though Sue wasn't one of the biggest travelers in the House of Representatives (ranking 177 out of 435) according to this review by Political Money Line, she certainly knows how to spend big.

For example, during a trip in 2003 to London (one of the top destinations according to the report), Sue managed to spend over $16,000 on transportation according to this review. Still, while the travel includes both the transatlantic flight and local transportation, it's hard to figure out exactly how she managed to spend that much money. A quick scan of first class airfares with flexible travel dates on British Airways' site shows the fare topping out at $6300.

So how did Sue, and more specifically, her sponsor, the Ripon Educational Fund, which is headed up by former Rep. Sue Molinari, manage to spend an additional $10,000 on travel? And what exactly is Ripon getting for that $16,300 ticket?

Friday, June 24, 2005


Sue flip flops on Big Bird!

Late Friday, Sue voted on the appropriations bill that basically puts $100 million back into the hands of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting after stripping money from PBS and NPR in this vote a day earlier.

What made Sue have a sudden change of heart just 24 hours later? Perhaps the numerous email campaigns including this one by MoveOn and negative newspaper headlines like this which pitted people like Sue against the likes of Big Bird and Elmo.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


What's Sue reading?

A survey released yesterday by the American Library Association found that the Justice Department has asked librarians for patron records nearly 300 times over the past few years. Which makes the vote that Sue took several days ago to allow government agencies to continue trolling through library and bookstore records particularly problematic.

So here's a challenge to Sue: we'll show you our reading list if you show us yours. Let's see how eager Sue is to share what she's checking out of the library and buying at the bookstore and (even more importantly) exactly why she thinks it's important for the government to know what voters in New York's 19th are reading.

Friday, June 17, 2005


Sticking it to the U.N (and the White House too)!

Earlier today, Sue voted once again with the conservative wing of her party to stick it to the United Nations and call for a wide-ranging set of questionable reforms, despite the fact that the White House was unhappy with the bill, which passed the House by a vote of 221 to 184.

As the Washington Post noted in this article, the White House said that the bill would "impermissibly infringe on the president's authority under the Constitution to conduct the nation's foreign affairs." So the passage put Sue in the curious position of bucking both the White House and the Democrats in Congress, which seemingly gives her moderate credentials.

That is until you skip down to the end of the article, where the Post notes that the staff of Henry Hyde, the Republican House leader who sponsored the bill (and had a youthful indiscretion well into his 40s for those who remember the Clinton impeachment) credited Sue's buddy, Tom DeLay with the passage. In what the Post described as a fiery floor speech, DeLay said the U.N. "has become one of the world's great apologists for tyranny and terror." So much for Sue's moderate stance.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Sue says: It's a complicated issue...

If I had $10 for every time Sue said "it's a complicated issue" last night at the NASD Investor Forum in Central Valley, I'd be able to pay my server fees for a year -- maybe even two. Picking the right investments is complicated. Stock options are complicated. Sarbanes-Oxley, the corporate clean-up act which Sue repeatedly claimed to have been a leader on despite the fact that she mistated a key provision of the bill? Complicated. Social Security? Very, very complicated.

Of course, just repeating how complicated a particular issue is doesn't really shed any light on exactly where Sue stands on the issue, which of course, just might be her goal. It's much easier to deflect than to defend an unpopular position. Her attempt to explain her position on stock options, for example, which she voted on last summer, was downright laughable. At first she tried to say it was too complicated to get into and when I assured her that I was capable of following along, her best argument consisted of one lame talking point after another.

But some people clearly lapped up Sue's lame answers. At the end of the two hour presentation, one woman walked up to her and said, "I'm so proud that you're my Congresswoman." It couldn't have been better if Sue had scripted it herself. Assuming that doing so wasn't too complicated, of course.

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