Christmas could be coming to Massachusetts - in February.
As Congress heads for a possible showdown today on a massive $790 billion economic stimulus bill, state officials have unveiled a preliminary "state-reviewed, shovel-ready project" list that includes a new $6 million footbridge across Route 1 near Gillette Stadium and a $6.8 million repair of the concrete ceiling over the Mass Pike just under the Hynes Convention Center.
The list, which Gov. Deval Patrick's administration says is not final, includes nearly $4 billion for transportation, energy, health, education and other sectors that might get funding from the federal bill.
Most items are classic bricks-and-mortar projects - such as bridge, roadway and school repairs - and new construction, such as public parking garages and visitor centers at state parks.
Other items include computers and furniture for schools; phone and computer upgrades for the health-care system; heating systems and solar panels at state facilities; and paint jobs for public buildings and even the Tobin Bridge.
Then there are the items sure to capture the public imagination - for good or bad.
Some appear to directly contradict previously expressed wishes of Congress, such as no federal money going for swimming pools, museums and the like.
The Patrick administration's list has funding requests for swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts, and even to restore fairways at the Ponkapoag Golf Course in Canton.
Some listed items fall into the gray area between public and private projects.
The New England Patriots [team stats] might one day want to develop 150 acres, now parking lots, across Route 1 from Gillette Stadium and the new Patriot Place shopping center in Foxboro.
The land has been designated by the state as a potential "growth district" for biotech companies - so a $6 million pedestrian overpass bridge is on the governor's list.
"This is a public safety issue and an economic development issue," said Stacey James, a spokesman for the Patriots and team owner Robert Kraft.
Other items on the list include $10 million to restore granite landings and pathways along the Charles River in Boston and $20 million for a new cruise-ship terminal in Salem.
Cyndi Roy, a spokeswoman for Patrick, said the list merely reflects the suggestions and requests submitted to state task forces by public agencies, secondary schools and universities.
"It's not prioritized," said Roy, noting the state will comply with any restrictions imposed by Congress.
The state expects to get only about $1 billion to $2 billion for infrastructure items, so many projects simply won't get funding, she said.
I was about to go off on this then I thought better check my state out first. So what do I find?
LAKE OF THE PRAIRIE. Construction of a reservoir and Park facility to prevent flooding of 12 homes in an established neighborhood of western Lenexa. Will include wetland plantings for water quality. Park facilities will incorporate green infrastructure Cost: $12,000,000
Virginia's legislature is in session right now - due to end 2/28.
Yesterday the Senate voted to not vote (as they were supposed to) on the severely tweaked second year of the biennial budget. Their reason? They think they're going to find out by next week how much pork Virginia is supposed to score in the non-stimulus bill.
Wonder if they're going to have to stop the legislative clock again?
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut ||
02/13/2009 21:08 Comments ||
Hurry, hurry, hurry. Congress will begin its 2009 travel season in earnest this weekend with two spectacular codels -- trips for House congressional delegations -- that are not to be missed.
On Saturday, Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), chairman of the House delegation to NATO's parliamentary assembly, and his wife will lead a delegation of 13 lawmakers -- plus 10 spouses -- on a fine nine-day jaunt starting at NATO's headquarters in Brussels.
Before you start scoffing about how this hardly compares to Tanner's post-election delegation to Valencia and Rome in November, we would point out that the next stop is, yes, the City of Lights, Paris, where one could have a nice late Valentine's Day moment.
From there we move on to Vienna for a little Sacher torte and then to review NATO's strategy to defend the Bavarian Alps, stopping in the lovely ski center of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, with its breathtaking views.
The huge number of members, spouses and staffers, plus military escorts, will require taking one of the bigger military jets, but we're told these trips are an important use of taxpayer money.
The delegation is scheduled to include Democratic Reps. Ben Chandler (Ky.); Bart Gordon (Tenn.); Baron P. Hill (Ind.) Carolyn McCarthy (N.Y.); Kendrick B. Meek (Fla.); Charlie Melancon (La.); Dennis Moore (Kan.) Mike Ross (Ark.) and David Scott (Ga.). Republican Reps. John Boozman (Ark.); Jo Ann Emerson (Mo.) and Jeff Miller (Fla.) are also scheduled to be going.
If working on NATO matters is not for you, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is leading a delegation to Europe next week for some important meetings in -- where else? -- the Eternal City, Rome. Details are sketchy so far, but we're hearing that there's a meeting with Pope Benedict himself. (Hey, ask him about that Holocaust-denier guy if you get a chance.) Pelosi is apparently going to get an award from an Italian legislative group -- she's huge over there -- and then maybe do just a bit of NATO stuff. There may be some other stops.
Almost as soon as Judd Gregg became one of Barack Obama's prized Republicans, the administration indicated it wanted to have the director of the Census Bureau report to Rahm Emanuel, the president's chief of staff and main political strategist. While Obama may claim he plans to "restore science to its rightful place" in government, his actions appear designed to restore Democratic politics firmly in the government.
Under our Constitution, we must conduct an "actual Enumeration" every ten years "in such Manner as [Congress] shall by Law direct." Congress placed responsibility for conducting the enumeration in the Bureau of the Census in the Commerce Department.
Politicizing the science of the Census, however, would aid Democratic efforts to consolidate political control of the country. A desire to increase political control is the legitimate objective of any party in power, of course, but Democrats seem much more intent on using questionable and illegitimate means to do so.
The Census will determine how many tax dollars states get in a myriad of federal programs, money that can be used to buy influence, popular support and, yes, votes -- particularly in the large urban areas that form the power base of the Democratic Party. That's one of the major purposes of the mammoth spending (sorry, stimulus) bill pushed by Obama and congressional Democrats.
Just as important is the fact that the Census will determine not just how many congressmen each state gets through apportionment, but what the size and makeup of state legislative districts will be. Keep in mind that it is state legislatures that draw up congressional districts and, therefore, control not only the political makeup of state legislatures, but of Congress as well.
According to Bruce Chapman, a former Census director, if politicians control the Census, you may well get an order to adjust the Census count with "samples" and "modeling" that override the scientific consensus of the statisticians at the Bureau. Another career professional at the Census Bureau told the Wall Street Journal's John Fund that the only reason for such high-level White House involvement was politics, not science.
Of course, this could happen even if the Census Bureau continues to report to the secretary of Commerce, who ultimately reports to the president. But giving the White House more direct control over the Census certainly smooths the way for any attempts to manipulate the count to ensure that geographic areas that represent the heart and soul of the Democratic party are given the highest population numbers possible, even if that means using dubious methods that result in nonexistent individuals being counted. This is akin to what the Clinton administration did when it tried to use statistical sampling in the 2000 Census to help the Democratic party or when it sped up naturalization of a million new citizens in time to vote in the 1996 election, waiving legal requirements such as fingerprint checks. This allowed 80,000 individuals with criminal records to become citizens because Clinton wanted their votes in the election.
-- Hans A. von Spakovsky is a former commissioner on the Federal Election Commission and a former Justice Department official.
If the Trunks really wanted to play hardball, they should sell this as an attempt of the ten big states trying to make the other forty merely second standing vassals in the federal government. Do you really think the Donks are going to let California lose delegates to the smaller states?
There is an initiative out here to redraw counties - counties - I thought it BS at first then found this:
Last week, Wyandotte County Sen. Chris Steineger said he'd be in favor of remaking Kansas government by consolidating counties, school districts and the number of legislators in a kansascitykansan.com OP/ED . On Monday, Steineger introduced legislation doing just that, according KSHB TV-41.
OK, whats that do? And who cares about Kansas anyways, right? Well let me give it a shot - they fold conservative counties into liberal counties with more population (see illegals, welfare bums, neo-hippies) and pack the state congress. Kansas turns blue. Extend that tactic to other 'flyover states' who suddenly have no money for schools but can spend tens of millions on university bathroom overhauls. Our governor Sebilius is jockeying for a spot in the fed, health & human services secretary, because her career in Kansas is doomed next election.
Control of the census gives them the ability to most effectively make this move, and others elsewhere. Many around here call that a tipping point and I can't say I disagree.
Posted by: no mo uro ||
02/13/2009 19:17 Comments ||
Just as important is the fact that the Census will determine not just how many congressmen each state gets through apportionment
Redistricting and a raw grab for power. So much for the most ethical administration (or was that the Clinton administration?). I forget amidst all the political blather and lying to the rest of us. Is there no shame?
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) predicted on Thursday that none of his Senate colleagues would "have the chance" to read the entire final version of the $790-billion stimulus bill before the bill comes up for a final vote in Congress.
"No, I don't think anyone will have the chance to [read the entire bill]," Lautenberg told CNSNews.com.
The final bill, crafted by a House-Senate conference committee, was posted on the Website of the House Appropriations Committe late Thurday in two PDF files.
The first PDF was 424 pages long and the second PDF was 575 pages long, making the total bill 999 pages long. The House is expected to vote on this 999-page bill Friday, and the Senate either later Friday or Saturday. [Editor's note: The first PDF, as posted on the House Appropriations Committee website as of 8:20 AM Friday morning, had grown by 72 pages to 496 pages, increasing the length of the total document to 1,071 pages.]
Of the several senators that CNSNews.com interviewed on Thursday, only Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) claimed to have read the entire bill--and he was speaking of the preliminary version that had been approved by the Senate, not the final 999-page version that the House-Senate conference committee was still haggling over on Thursday afternoon.
When CNSNews.com asked members of both parties on Capitol Hill on Thursday whether they had read the full, final bill, not one member could say, "Yes."
Sometimes I ask the IT people to make a large one searchable if I need to use it a lot. I don't know what they do, but it comes back searchable.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut ||
02/13/2009 19:11 Comments ||
this is a letter a fellow constituent of mine sent to our Rep who read it in congress and then voted No on the stimulus package.
Dear Congressman McCotter,
I spoke with you on WJR Friday morning and want to thank you for your kindness
and patience. I couldnt get out everything I wanted to say because of my
frustration. I would love to talk before Congress and the Senate. I would like to
talk to them about the deplorable, reprehensible, and egregious waste they are
considering with our tax dollars. Im sorry this is long, but I want them to see what
The wasteful spending they are considering is unconscionable to me. And I
would like to ask them a few questions.
You see, I just lost my job. The company I worked for is eliminating 700 sales
positions nationwide, about 15 will be affected in Michigan.
I would like to ask the Congress and Senate if they know what its like to sit at the
dinner table and tell your 11 year old daughter that she cant get a school
yearbook because we need the money to buy groceries. And the stimulus
package wants to give $4 Billion to ACORN, a company, I believe, that is under
investigation for voter registration fraud. What jobs are they creating?
Do they know what its like to see the tears in your wifes eyes when you tell her
the conference call you were on just eliminated your position? And the stimulus
package wants to spend $335 million on STD prevention? What jobs does that
Do they know what it feels like to tell your father in law that the daughter I
married and promised to provide for that you just lost your job? And Barack
Obama spends money on overseas abortions. And then says we need to end the
politics of this issue. If he believed that he wouldnt have done it, his decision was
nothing but political. What jobs in the U.S. does that create?
Do they know what it feels like to return the shirts you just bought for work, on
clearance, because you really needed new shirts and now you dont even have a
job? And Congress is taking an extra $93,000 each for petty cash increases. And
WE are told to cut back on our spending? When I told my 7 year old son we had
to make cuts he just wanted to know if we could still have our Sunday morning
treat of a donut before we go to church. Thats all he wanted. I said wed try our
best. Weve made sacrifices but you havent.
And do you know how it feels when you hear that companies given bail out
money from TARP funds gave $18 Billion in bonuses? Im wondering if I have
enough money to pay my bills for 2 months. All they get is a mild rebuke from
Washington saying, You shouldnt do that in these tough economic times. They
are an embarrassment. They should be forced to give back the $18 Billion with
interest and penalties.
Do they know what its like to speak with someone who was in tears over losing
their job because they think theyll lose their house? How about the always
upbeat guy who sounded depressed that he could lose his house because he
just lost his job? And yet the stimulus package is loaded with pork.
Do you know what its like to have another coworker lose their job and are
worried their spouses could be next? And this stimulus package wants $400
Million for HIV prevention. How does that create jobs?
Do they know how fearful it is to turn your heat down at night to 59 degrees and
65 in the day when your child is asthmatic and it can flare up from the cold? We
cant afford to raise our heat and the stimulus package wants to spend $75
Million on anti smoking ads. How does that create jobs?
By the way thats $810 Million for pet projects. I have an idea stop having sex
until your married and quit smoking! Theres your awareness program, that didnt
cost a dime. If they dont know by now they dont care.
The insults you pay to our auto executives when they ask for and interest bearing
LOAN by asking them how they flew here. But when the banking industry
seemingly makes a few phone calls they have $350 Billion given to them and we
dont even know where it went, except for the $18 Billion.
Do they know about the guy I just met whose entire company just took 20% pay
cuts so they wouldnt have to lay off employees? And this stimulus bill wants
Million for sod on the new mall thats already $600 million over budget. How
is that creating jobs?
Recent polls show that less than 50% of Americans approve of this stimulus bill
and yet Congress, with their recent 11% approval rating, the worst in history, tries
to ram this bill down our throats. The send it to the Democratic Senate and tell us
they know whats best for our country. According to that 11%, I guess. Congress
is supposed to govern for the people and not for themselves and yet when less
than 50% approve of a plan they approve it anyway.
Why doesnt the Senate have the guts to reject the pork spending portions of this
bill and start over? Why dont you get off your Ivory tower, pork barrel, ear
marked, pet project behinds and do what we need of you?
Congressman McCotter, thats what Id like to say to the Senate. I would gladly
go before them so they can hear what its like in the real world.
A high-powered team of Los Angeles attorneys representing President Obama in his effort to keep his birth certificate, college records and passport documents concealed from the public has suggested there should be "monetary sanctions" against a lawyer whose clients have brought a complaint alleging Obama doesn't qualify for the Oval Office under the Constitution's demand for a "natural born" citizen in that post.
The suggestion came in an exchange of e-mails and documents in a case brought by former presidential candidate Alan Keyes and others in California. The case originally sought to have the state's electors ordered to withhold their votes for Obama until his eligibility was established. Since Obama's inauguration, it has been amended to seek a future requirement for a vetting process, in addition to the still-sought unveiling of his records.
In the case, handled largely by Gary Kreep of the U.S. Justice Foundation, records were subpoenaed documenting Obama's attendance at Occidental College. The lawyer for the college, Stuart W. Rudnick of Musick, Peeler & Garrett, urgently contacted Fredric D. Woocher of Strumwasser & Woocher. "This firm is counsel to Occidental College. The College is in receipt of the enclosed subpoena that seeks certain information concerning President-Elect Barack Obama," he wrote via fax. "Inasmuch as the subpoena appears to be valid on its face, the College will have no alternative but to comply with the subpoena absent a court order instructing otherwise."
Within hours, Woocher contacted Kreep regarding the issue, telling him, "It will likely not surprise you to hear that President-elect Obama opposes the production of the requested records.
OK, so they find him not qualified. So what, Congress critters and the Senate puppies will pass a bill giving him a pass saying the American people voted for him and want him. It will go to the supreme court and the big O will be at the end of his four years before any ruling is released. This is too late and a waste of time.
Posted by: 49 Pan ||
02/13/2009 12:53 Comments ||
This exercise is extremely useful - it resembles a Lotto ticket in its low cost relative to potential high payoff. It would be interesting if this search for records reaches an adverse (to Obama) conclusion at a time three years hence, when the economy is still deep in recession. The Democrats could be swept out of office in a landslide.
The continued attempts at obfuscation are quite curious. If there were nothing to it, why not reveal it? He is already president, and the public has a right to know the truth even if it something as simple as an embarassing name, or no named father, or bad grades in college.
This doesn't raise nearly as much doubt in my mind about his citizenship as about his mother's desire to disclose his paternity. So what? He's the son of an American citizen. That's good enough for me. And who cares about his grades, if more than half the American people are dumb enough to elect him. They voted for him, let them suffer the consequences.
I am confident the Republic will survive. And if it's now so weak this would end it, then the sooner the better.
Appearing behind a podium that proclaimed, "Financial Stability and Recovery," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Tuesday carefully read from a teleprompter and provided what his flack said was a "comprehensive" plan. It was not comprehensive in any way. It seemed so amateurish and shallow that the market dropped and commentators and senators were almost incredulous at the lack of detail.
But what were they expecting? Geithner doesn't know the details because he hasn't been given them yet. Those who expected the details of the plan were operating under the false assumption that the Treasury Secretary¯and by extension, the U.S. Government¯is in practical control and charge of the U.S. economy.
Geithner's performance followed President Obama having advertised Geithner's appearance in advance by saying, "He's going to be terrific. I'm going to make sure that Tim gets his moment in the sun." The sun? One analyst said Geithner looked like a deer caught in the headlights.
It turns out the speech, which did mention the spending of trillions of dollars, was delivered in the Treasury Department's "Cash Room." No kidding.
Senator Orrin Hatch had voted to confirm Geithner, saying that he "is not merely acceptable for the job¯he is highly qualified." That was largely because of his role as President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank in previous financial bailouts that have yet to succeed. Hatch understood this, but said that Geithner's recognition that mistakes had occurred "makes him more valuable, in my view, in the continuing effort to right our economic ship."
Why is he so valuable? It's not because he learns from his mistakes. As we have argued in previous columns, Geithner is valuable because he is a major player in the global financial community, a prominent figure in the "Group of Thirty" organization of central bankers and the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a former employee of Kissinger Associates and lived in China and speaks Chinese. His father, Peter Geithner, is a former top official of the Ford Foundation who knew Obama's mother when she was working on "microfinance" in Indonesia.
It would be a serious mistake to say that Geithner is incompetent. He knows exactly what he's doing. Essentially, his programmed performance was designed to send the message to the American people and the Congress that we can't be trusted with the details, even when they are available. It was pathetic to watch our elected senators at a subsequent hearing pleading for details. But it was also a "teaching moment." This is out of our hands. This is the "New World Order" and we had better get used to it.
From http://www.mara.org.uk/titanic.htm: The pilot of the Titanic who was steering the great vessels bow towards open sea was none other than George Bowyer, the pilot who had been on duty when the Olympic had ran headlong into the side of the HMS Hawke.
Orrin Hatch merely proves that even Repubs can be MORONS....X 2!
Gee, half, they've only broken the budget process for the next ten years. How many trillions do they have to throw around before the rest of us have the right to ask who's making a profit off of it?
We're receiving E-mails from Capitol Hill staffers expressing frustration that they can't get a copy of the stimulus bill agreed to last night at a price of $789 billion. What's more, staffers are complaining about who does have a copy: K Street lobbyists. E-mails one key Democratic staffer: "K Street has the bill, or chunks of it, already, and the congressional offices don't. So, the Hill is getting calls from the press (because it's leaking out) asking us to confirm or talk about what we know--but we can't do that because we haven't seen the bill. Anyway, peeps up here are sort of a combo of confused and like, 'Is this really happening?'" Reporters pressing for details, meanwhile, are getting different numbers from different offices, especially when seeking the details of specific programs.
Worse, there seem to be several different versions of what was agreed upon, with some officials circulating older versions of the package that seems to still be developing. Leadership aides said that it will work out later today and promised that lawmakers will get time to review the bill before Friday's vote.
It's representative government where the lobbyists who put more money into reelection funds are represented over the stockholders who often whine and pout about how much the officer holder gets directly paid out of public funds. Government to the highest bidder. It's about the quality of the vote, and the lobbyists obviously have a better quality [re:Murtha et al - no matter how sleazy, they keep going back].
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.