There is a difference between technical improvements in the economy and what it feels like to the average citizen. When you are an incumbent facing reelection it is the latter that you need to focus on, if you want to be reelected that is.[...]
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The Daily Show – PmailTags: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook Althouse on Palin email saga. She’s absolutely correct about one item. That nothing of note was found, still hasn’t been[...]
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The Daily Show – PmailTags: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook After Rep. Michele Bachmann’s star turn in the Republican debate, Sarah Palin’s fans have been very active rebutting the[...]
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What indeed - h/t Daily Kos...
video details and more
...maybe this is a tune about the year they think they're living in.
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Pakistan rounding up informants who provided the US with information leading to the killing of bin Laden. [...]
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Good thing we didn't elect any of these warmongers president
I was hardly out of the country for a day when one of the local congressmen from around here, Brad Sherman (D-CA)-- who, because of redistricting, is going to be in an ugly primary battle with corrupt hawk Howard Berman-- offers an amendment to a military appropriations bill... and, unexpectedly, gets it passed by a vote of 248 to 163.
Sherman's amendment, which states that "none of the funds made available by this act may be used in contravention of the War Powers Act," is exactly the same as the one that failed 2 weeks ago-- rescued by a weaker, toothless, amendment offered by Boehner. Obama has 2 days to respond to that one. This one passed as part of the overall appropriations bill, H.R. 2055, yesterday.
When Berman's amendment was voted on Monday 138 Republicans and 110 Democrats voted for it; only 93 Republicans and 70 Democrats voted against it. Both the Republican Leader, Cantor, and the Democratic Leader, Pelosi, voted against it. Anti-war leaders on both sides of the aisle-- Kucinich (D-OH), Grijalva (D-AZ), Edwards (D-MD), Lewis (D-GA), Jones (R-NC), and Johnson (IL) voted for it. Most of the Blue Dogs voted for Obama's position-- NO-- for a change.
The amendment doesn't seem likely to pass the Senate... but you never know. Meanwhile, Qaddafi sent a thank you letter to Boehner for his help in undermining the U.S. position. During World War II Republicans conspired with Hitler against FDR and, in fact, the German's virtually underwrote most of the GOP election campaign against Roosevelt in 1940. Now we'll have to see if Qaddafi starts sending the Republicans money for their support. It may not even be illegal now that the Supreme Court has opened up campaign financing. Last year China underwrote much of the Republican campaign to retake the House and win several Senate seats, particularly for pro-China extremists Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Pat Toomey (R-PA).
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Joe, Gaius and I are off to the annual Netroots Nation blog conference today, and we'll be there through Sunday. This year it's being hosted in Minneapolis. Joe and I are on a number of panels, and this year we're going to try to grab more short video interviews with interesting conference attendees. If you're in the Minneapolis area, do come by; and if you're at the conference, definitely say hi to us if you see us milling around.
You can find more info on the conference here, and we'll be streaming all the keynote speeches, and a number of the panels, online here. It should, as always, be fun. But that means we may be posting on a weekend schedule over the next five days - meaning, don't be surprised if you don't see 20 posts a day :)
Click here to view this media
As Think Progress pointed out in their live blog:
Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) declares: ?I?m for fair trade.? Only last week, Pawlenty announced part of his economic plan and said that he favors quick ramification of ?free-trade deals with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama.?
From the article linked above:
Pawlenty also would use ?performance-based management practices? to streamline other government agencies.
And he thinks all federal regulations should be sunset, unless they?re approved by a vote of Congress. He thinks the Federal Reserve should focus only on curbing inflation and let Congress and the president worry about employment growth. He also favors quick ratifications of free-trade deals with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama.
So there you have it: Tim Pawlenty?s economic plan. Some may call it a fantasy, particularly the part about 10 consecutive years of 5 percent annual GDP growth, something that?s never happened.
Transcript below the fold.
KING: Governor Pawlenty, does the congressman have it right?
PAWLENTY: There's a number of things we need to do. Restore manufacturing in this country. And I grew up if in a meat packing town. I grew up in a manufacturing town. I was in a union for six or seven years.
I understand what it's like to see the blue-collar communities and the struggles that they've had when manufacturing leaves. So I've seen that firsthand. But number one, we've got to have fair trade, and what's going on right now is not fair.
I'm for a fair and open trade but I'm not for being stupid and I'm not for being a chump. And we have individuals and organizations and countries around this world who are not following the rules when it comes to fair trade. We need a stronger president and somebody who's going to take on those issues.
Number two, we need to make the costs and burdens of manufacturing in this country lower. We're asking them to climb the mountain with a big backsack full of rocks on their back. We have to take the rocks out.
One of them is Obamacare. I mean somebody in Arizona the other day. He's moving his whole company out of the country just because of Obamacare. The taxes are too high. The regulations are too heavy, the permitting is too slow, and the message everywhere around this country, from business leaders large and small, including manufacturing, is get the government off my back. As president I will.
Recapping yesterday's action:
The House wrapped up consideration of the MilCon appropriations bill and passed it, before moving on to the Agriculture appropriations bill, spending the balance of the day on amendments?including a few rather unusual provisions. Although, really, isn't this what you've come to expect at this point? How "unusual" are they, really?
Unusual or not, they worked late enough into the night that the Democratic Whip's office went to bed without posting the schedule for today, leaving us with no source for today's post save... (shudder) the Majority Leader.
For its part, the Senate got its business done on the two pending judicial nominations, and then went on to fail to invoke cloture on the Coburn amendment (repealing ethanol tax breaks) before breaking for the day.
Looking ahead to today:
The House will be looking to complete its consideration of the Agriculture approps bill, though the open rule means they can't be sure whether they'll be able to wrap it up today. Postponed votes on nine amendments debated yesterday are still pending, and any Member with an amendment compliant with House rules can come forward and get a shot. We can't be entirely sure what hijinks are in store, though at bottom, Republicans will be expected to vote more or less in lockstep to dispose of amendments they don't like (i.e., those offered by Democrats). That, plus the hope of being able to get done with the week's work in time to participate in important events taking place elsewhere (like Netroots Nation), applies some natural downward pressure on the willingness to use the opportunity for too much mischief.
The Senate... ah, the Senate! The Senate will "continue to work through amendments to S.782," but the infamous 60-vote barrier stands in the way not only of passing amendments, but of agreeing to end debate on them so that they can ask whether or not there are 60 votes to pass it. (Or worse still, sometimes it gets in the way even of agreeing to end the initial debate on whether or not to ask if there are 60 votes to start debate, and then later, to end it again.) And when you not only have to debate whether or not to start debating, but have nearly half the body dedicated to the proposition that it's a political loss if the majority is seen passing anything at all, you end up in a situation where the most you can say about how your day will go is that it'll involve an attempt to "continue to work through amendments to S.782," and that we'll call you if we manage to agree on whether or not there's going to be a vote.
You just sit tight and leave somebody by the phone. Or hey, we'll text you or something. But don't text us. We'll text you.
Today's floor and committee schedules appear below the fold.
By CAP’s Daniel J. Weiss, Christina C. DiPasquale, Valeri Vasquez
Today the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works convenes a hearing on ?The Clean Air Act and Public Health? to discuss the Environmental Protection Agency?s proposal to reduce mercury, lead, and other toxic air pollution from power plants. One of the witnesses will be Cathy S. Woollums, Senior Vice President of MidAmerican Energy. She will reiterate recent statements by other big polluting utilities ? including American Electric Power ? and threaten rate hikes and job loses if the proposed power plant health safeguards become final.
MidAmerican is owned by Warren Buffet?s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. In 2005, the utility was the sixth largest coal fired electricity generator in the United States. MidAmerican?s power plants produce large amounts of toxic pollution. A CAP analysis of 2009 Toxics Release Inventory data (the latest available) found that MidAmerican?s power plants in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Utah and Wyoming spewed a total of nearly 7,000 pounds of lead and mercury into the air we breathe and put our children?s lives and health at risk [click here for spread sheet]. These and other toxics are known to cause neurological, developmental and respiratory harm.
MidAmerican Energy?s 2009 toxics by the pound:
Woollums? prepared written testimony says that MidAmerican ?began planning emission control projects targeting?mercury emissions prior to 2005.? Yet despite this six year head start, MidAmerican assets that it will still face hardship under EPA?s proposed safeguards. It threatens rate increases and jobs losses if EPA finalizes its proposed airborne toxic chemical reduction standards on time. Wollum?s writes that
MidAmerican, like many utilities, is concerned about the costs and timetables for the implementation of these EPA rules.
If the timetable of the rules remains unchanged, compliance costs will be shouldered by our customers in the form of higher rates?These increases will dramatically increase production costs for industrial plants and could result in job losses.
Actually, many utilities support EPA?s proposed limits on cancer causing and other toxic chemicals from power plants. A half dozen major utilities acknowledge that they have had ample time to install pollution controls. They also believe that the proposed air toxics reductions from coal-fired utilities are affordable. CEOs from Exelon, PG&E, Calpine, NextEra Energy, Public Service Enterprise Group, Constellation Energy Group, and others wrote in The Wall Street Journal that:
For over a decade, companies have recognized that the industry would need to install controls to comply with the act’s air toxicity requirements, and the technology exists to cost effectively control such emissions, including mercury and acid gases.
Contrary to the claims that the EPA’s agenda will have negative economic consequences, our companies’ experience complying with air quality regulations demonstrates that regulations can yield important economic benefits, including job creation, while maintaining reliability.
The Clean Air Act provides sufficient time to comply as well as the authority to accommodate special circumstances where additional time is necessary.
Wollums? prepared written statement complains about the ?multitude of environmental requirements the electric industry faces over the next several years.? It even includes a version of the so-called ?regulatory train wreck? graphic prepared by big utilities and debunked by the World Resource?s Institute.
A just-released report by the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit Washington D.C. think tank, debunks MidAmerican?s? claims about job loss, and instead determined that the EPA air toxics rule is ?a lifesaver, not a job killer.? Dr. Josh Bivens, a senior macroeconomist, analyzed data from Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census of Construction, and the EPA to conclude that
Claims that this regulation destroys jobs are flat wrong: the jobs-impact of the rule will be modest, but it will be positive.?
[It] will likely lead to the creation of 28,000 to 158,000 jobs between now and 2015.
The capital investments made in order to bring power plants into compliance with new rules spur multiplier effects, and may well represent net new spending in an economy where both businesses and households are extremely reluctant to make new purchases.
This is in addition to the ?monetized? value of the rule?s public health benefits, which when estimated in 2010 dollars will ?amount to $55?146 billion per year, dramatically exceeding the $11.3 billion annual cost of [implementing] the program.?
Despite MidAmerican?s testimony, this hearing is on the Clean Air Act and public health, not Clean Air delays and private profit. Companies like MidAmerican that argue for delaying these rules ignore the urgent need to protect families from real health hazards. In these tough economic times, companies shouldn?t force Americans to choose between their kids and their jobs by threatening unemployment if forced to clean up. Hopefully, the members of the Senate Environment Committee will ignore MidAmerican?s familiar pleadings by a big polluter, and instead allow EPA to finalize and implement reductions in air toxic pollution from utilities 21 years after Congress gave EPA the authority to do so.
– By CAP’s Daniel J. Weiss, Christina C. DiPasquale, Valeri Vasquez