House Dems tout ‘Innovation Agenda’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco; Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez; Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, chairwoman of the New Democrat Coalition; Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and others gathered on Capitol Hill this morning to trumpet the Democrats’ “Innovation Agenda,” first unveiled two years ago but moving forward this week.

On the House floor this week are H.R. 362, to increase the number of highly qualified math and science teachers in K-12;, H.R. 363, to support young researchers to foster the most innovative scientific research; and H.R. 1332, to make capital more accessible for small businesses, which are catalysts for technological innovation.

Miller said the package of bills “represents the first step in a continuing effort to promote innovation and competitiveness. … This is about the future. This is about strengthening America’s middle class with good jobs that we will keep here at home.”

“America is still the No. 1 economy in the world, and we can keep that leadership. But we can only do so with a level of determination and commitment that we have not shown in almost half a century,” he said. “Other countries are making aggressive investments in a competitive workforce. We must exceed those efforts.”

UPDATE @ 2:40 P.M. TUESDAY: The House has passed H.R.362 on a 389-22 vote, and has begun debate on H.R.363.


Democrats to gather in San Diego this week

California Democrats will get up close and personal with presidential candidates this weekend in San Diego as the party gathers for its annual convention.

Saturday morning, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., is on the agenda, followed in the afternoon with U.S. Sens. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio.

Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former
U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel of Arkansas, will talk to delegates on Sunday.

California is big fat plum for a Democrat who wins here in February as part of what’s being called a super-duper primary Tuesday. And since political conventions attract diehard Democrats who will vote, it’s just a matter of which candidate wins their affections.

Also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will speak twice on Saturday.


Schwarzenegger video of the week

This week, something brand new: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared Sunday on a special Earth Day edition of MTV’s “Pimp My Ride” to admire the transformation of a rusty 1965 Chevy Impala into a sleek, biodiesel-burning muscle car complete with hemp upholstery.

Wait a minute … hemp? Check it out:

Previous SVOTWs: April 17, April 10, April 3, March 27, March 20, March 13, March 6, February 27, February 20, February 13, February 6, January 30.


Every day is a winding Rove

photo-from-huffington-post.jpgSinger/songwriter Sheryl Crow and Laurie David, producer of the Academy Award-winning “An Inconvenient Truth,” had a run-in with White House political adviser Karl Rove at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday night in Washington, D.C., according to their blog entry at the Huffington Post. Apparently he got pretty defensive when they pressed him on the Bush Administration’s global-warming policy:

In his attempt to dismiss us, Mr. Rove turned to head toward his table, but as soon as he did so, Sheryl reached out to touch his arm. Karl swung around and spat, “Don’t touch me.” How hardened and removed from reality must a person be to refuse to be touched by Sheryl Crow? Unfazed, Sheryl abruptly responded, “You can’t speak to us like that, you work for us.” Karl then quipped, “I don’t work for you, I work for the American people.” To which Sheryl promptly reminded him, “We are the American people.”

UPDATE @ 2:37 PM MONDAY: The Corner, a blog at the National Review Online, has another perspective on what went down.


Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, dead at 68

The Associated Press reports House Administration Committee Chairwoman Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-Carson, died early Sunday of cancer; she was 68.

Millender-McDonald died at her home in Carson, said her chief of staff, Bandele McQueen; no other details of her illness were provided. The congresswoman had asked for a four- to six-week leave of absence from the House last week to deal with her illness. She was in her seventh term representing a heavily Democratic Southern California district that includes Compton, Long Beach and parts of Los Angeles; she’d previously served on the Carson City Council and in the Assembly. When Democrats retook the majority this year, she became chairwoman of the House Administration Commiteee, which oversees operations of the House and federal election procedures. She has recently worked on issues including election reform and opposing the genocide in Darfur.

California Democratic Party chairman Art Torres said:

“California and the nation have lost a great friend and public servant. I have known Juanita for many years, having served with her in the California legislature in the early ‘90s. She was a champion for the consumer and fought injustice wherever she saw it. She always valued public service and served her state and nation with grace and honor.

“Juanita’s Congressional record included several distinguishing firsts, including being the first African-American woman to give the national Democratic response to President Bush’s weekly radio address and initiating the annual Memorial Day Tribute to Women in the Military. Her solid commitment and advocacy will be greatly missed.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family.”

UPDATE @ 9:25 PM SUNDAY: Comments from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and others, after the jump… Continue Reading


War critic Zinni to speak at Cal

zinni.jpgRetired U.S. Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni, a former commander in chief of the U.S. Central Command who is now among the most prominent military critics of the war in Iraq, will deliver the 2007 Sanford S. Elberg Lecture in International Studies at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 23, in the University of California, Berkeley’s Wheeler Auditorium.

Zinni, who’ll speak on “The Challenges for U.S. National Security Policy,” is a decorated Vietnam War veteran and a four-star retired Marine general who from 1997 to 2000 served as head of the Central Command, responsible for U.S. forces in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia — one of the U.S. military’s most demanding positions. During the 1990s he lead U.S. relief operations in Turkey and Iraq, the former Soviet Union, and Somalia.

Speaking of the Iraq War in April 2004, he said, “I have seen this movie; it was called Vietnam.” His newest book is “The Battle for Peace: A Frontline Vision of America’s Power and Purpose.”

Monday’s event is free, but tickets are required and available at the Cal Performances Zellerbach Auditorium box office; there’s a limit of two tickets per person, and all seating is general admission. For more information, call 510-642-2472.