Waxman seeks documents on Tillman’s death

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, on Friday sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and a letter to White House Counsel Fred Fielding demanding documents relating to how and when Pentagon and Bush Administration officials learned of the circumstances surrounding the April 2004 friendly fire death in Afghanistan of Army Cpl. Pat Tillman, the former NFL star who hailed from the South Bay.

Waxman’s committee held a hearing on Tillman’s death earlier this week; he wants the documents turned over to him by May 18. This is only one of the high-profile, high-stakes investigations the committee is pursuing at the moment: Others include pre-war intelligence on Iraq; the White House’s use of private e-mail accounts to evade open-government laws; and the White House’s political campaign briefings to federal agencies.


State Senators heading to Capitol Hill

State Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, and Senate Republican Leader Dick Ackerman, R-Irvine, are leading a 16-member bipartisan delegation to Washington, D.C., next Monday through Thursday to meet with California House members on issues including flood control and water supply; greenhouse gases; homeland and port security; the No Child Left Behind education law; the Real ID Act; the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) reauthorization; and State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) reauthorization.

The only Bay Area state Senator other than Perata who’ll be on the trip is Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro. With more than a third of the Senate out of the state, there will be no floor session next week. The Senate Appropriations Committee will meet Monday, but will only take up non-controversial items and move things to the suspense file; the Education Committee will have an informational hearing Wednesday on school and campus safety.


Um… who?

One amazing fact we’ve already learned from the Democratic presidential candidates’ debate, now airing live on MSNBC from South Carolina: Mike Gravel is running for president!!!

OK, for those unwilling to visit his Web site: age 76; former U.S. Senator from Alaska (1969-1981); known for having put into the public record the Pentagon Papers in 1971; trailing in the polls behind “none,” “other,” and “unsure.”


Web site plans major Dem conference coverage

The California Majority Report, self-advertised as the “biggest, boldest, most bombastic blue state’s premier blog for breaking news and insider buzz,” will have nine bloggers at the California Democratic convention this weekend in San Diego.

Site publishers and Democratic campaign operatives Roger Salazar, Jason Kinney and Steve Maviglio promise 24-hour, wall-to-wall coverage of the convention, “from the caucus meetings to the free-hooch hospitality suites to the see-and-be-seen fund-raisers to the after-hours, all-night Young Democrat parties.”

“Oh yeah – and we may have some time left over to cover the seven (yes, SEVEN) presidential candidates who will be speaking.”

“And watch out Rob Lowe aspirants, because this year we’ve got video cameras.”

If you just can’t wait, the site has a pre-convention interview with California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres.

Second, for those presidential candidates and national press corps heading to the Left Coast this weekend, click here for a “manifesto from national Democratic strategist and WH “Master of Disaster” wunderkind Chris Lehane.”


Taxing our way out of global warming

pete-stark.jpgRep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, today introduced a “Save Our Climate Act” that would impose a tax on carbon-based fossil fuels in order to slow climate change.

The bill calls for an initial tax of $10 per ton of carbon content to be assessed on coal, petroleum and natural gas when these fossil fuels are initially removed from the ground or imported into the United States. The tax will increase by $10 each year, freezing when a mandated report by the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Energy determines that carbon dioxide emissions have decreased by 80 percent from 1990 levels.

Said Stark, in a news release:

“The question is not if human activity is responsible for global climate change, but how the United States will respond. Predictable, transparent and universal, a carbon tax is a simple solution to a difficult problem. It would drastically reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by providing an economic disincentive for the use of carbon-based fossil fuels and an incentive for the development and use of cleaner alternative energies. The Save Our Climate Act would establish the United States as a global leader in environmental protection and encourage other nations — most of whom have already acknowledged the climate change threat — to take similar action to reduce emissions. I strongly encourage Congress to pass a carbon tax.”


Here they come again…

Three Democratic presidential hopefuls will swing through the Bay Area in the next week.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, will speak at 8:45 p.m. Saturday, April 28, at the 6th Annual San Francisco New Living Expo in the Concourse Exhibition Center at 8th and Brannan streets. Admission to the Expo for Saturday is $15, or $10 for students and senior citizens; a Friday, Saturday and Sunday pass is $30. Kucinich will have addressed the California Democratic Party convention earlier Saturday in San Diego.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will speak about 4 p.m. Sunday, April 29, at a Save Darfur rally in San Francisco’s Civic Center; he will have addressed the California Democratic Party convention Sunday morning in San Diego, and he’ll be headed to an event in Carson City, Nev., on Sunday night.

U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., will speak to the Commonwealth Club of California at noon Wednesday, May 2, in the Parc 55 Hotel at 55 Cyril Magnin St. in San Francisco; standard seating costs $15 for members and $30 for nonmembers, while premium seating costs $45 for members and $65 for nonmembers. Biden will speak again at 6 p.m. Wednesday to the World Affairs Council in the main ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 480 Sutter St. in San Francisco; standard seating costs $10 for members and $25 for nonmembers, while preferred seating costs $20 for members and $35 for nonmembers. The World Affairs Council even requires pre-payment; order tickets here.

UPDATE @ 3:06 P.M. THURSDAY: Looks there’ll be some Republican action here next week, too.

Folks at the the Hoover Institution at Stanford University confirm that U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., will deliver a policy speech there at noon Tuesday; details haven’t been released yet. McCain’s campaign calendar shows he has fundraisers scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday in Westminster and 6 p.m. Wednesday in Beverly Hills.

And former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will speak to the Western Association of Venture Capitalists about “A Venture Perspective on Politics” at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 1, in the Quadrus Center, 2400 Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park. The event is for WAVC members and their guests only.