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The check is in the mail.

Or, rather, it will be soon. From the Washington Post:

House leaders and the administration reached agreement today on a roughly $145 billion economic stimulus package that would quickly send payments to poor and middle-class workers while offering businesses one-time incentives to invest in new equipment and write off tax losses.
{snip}
Under the plan, as many as 117 million people would get rebate checks. Individual income tax filers would receive up to $600, working couples would get up to $1,200, and those with children would get an additional $300 per child.
{snip}
(Treasury Secretary Henry M.) Paulson said later that “if all works well,” he expects the rebates to begin flowing in May. He said the aim is to start sending the checks within 60 days of enactment of the stimulus package, with most recipients receiving their checks in less than 10 weeks.

The idea is that taxpayers receiving this manna from Washington will quickly turn around and spend it, goosing the moribund economy. But I’ve heard a lot of analysts say the rebates are unlikely to have much impact, as most people will either stow the money away in their savings accounts or use it to pay down existing debts.

As for me, I’m proud to be an American and all, but my rebate probably will go toward my Visa bill — I’ve already been doing PLENTY to support the economy, perhaps too much.

What about you: spend or save?

Posted on Thursday, January 24th, 2008
Under: President Bush, U.S. House | No Comments »

Out of the frying pan?

Matt David — the campaign strategist who ran Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rapid-response “war room” in 2006, went to work for John McCain’s presidential campaign at the end of that year and then quit during the great exodus of last July — has returned to the governor’s office as deputy chief of staff and communications director.

David, 28, of Tulsa, Okla., spent the last four months of last year as communications director for the newly launched conservative nonprofit advocacy firm Freedom’s Watch, decried by some as a “neo-conservative ‘slush fund’ supporting the views of Vice President Dick Cheney.”

Before helping Schwarzenegger get re-elected, he had been the White House’s rapid-response director for the U.S. Supreme Court confirmations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. in 2005; he also served as special assistant to the director for policy for the Bureau of Justice Assistance in the U.S. Department of Justice during that year. Before that, he was deputy director of rapid response for Bush/Cheney 2004. He holds a law degree from the University of Tulsa College of Law and a bachelor’s from University of the Ozarks. The new gig pays $147,900.

And he arrives just as the governor has unveiled what’s likely to be the most contentious state budget of his tenure. Perhaps David will be wishing he was back with the resurgent McCain… Seriously, though, his return underscores that the governor knows he has a difficult P.R. battle ahead of him, and he’s bringing in a proven performer.

Posted on Friday, January 11th, 2008
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, John McCain, President Bush | No Comments »

The Iraq surge’s first anniversary

Tomorrow marks one year since President Bush announced his “new way forward in Iraq” — a surge of troops to attempt to stablize the war-torn nation. Here’s what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, had to say about it today:

pelosi12-14-06.jpgOne year ago, the President announced his plan to send thousands of additional U.S. troops to Iraq. Despite the bravery of our men and women in uniform, the primary purpose of the President’s surge policy has not been achieved: the Iraqi government is nowhere near political reconciliation that would contribute to regional stability.

Despite repeated calls from the vast majority of the American people, the President continues on a course for a 10-year, $2 trillion war in Iraq. After more than five years, far too many lives lost, billions of dollars spent, and our military readiness dangerously reduced, it is past time for the President to bring an end to this tragic war.

The New Direction Congress remains ready to work with President Bush to find a responsible end to this war before the end of his presidency.

The president yesterday said this:

bush-1-8-08.jpgI had a series of good meetings today to discuss the situation in Iraq, including a video teleconference this morning with General Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker, and members of the national security team. I also spoke by video with Prime Minister Maliki to discuss the return of the Iraqi parliament … [I]t was clear from my discussions that there’s great hope in Iraq, that the Iraqis are beginning to see political progress that is matching the dramatic security gains for the past year. There’s still work to be done, but it was a very hopeful conversation.

Posted on Wednesday, January 9th, 2008
Under: Iraq, Nancy Pelosi, President Bush, U.S. House | No Comments »

VC partners endorse Giuliani, Clinton

kvamme.jpgSilicon Valley mogul E. Floyd Kvamme told reporters on a conference call just now that Rudy Giuliani — who’ll be in the Bay Area early next week — would be the business-friendly president the valley desires.

“The valley is a very globally thinking kind of economy,” he said. “The mayor talks a lot about that… competitiveness in improving our picture.”

Kvamme — a partner emeritus at high-tech venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers — said Giuliani wants to roll back government regulation that forces business overseas, but also is “very committed to the whole issue of workforce generation and education… Most of us here in the valley believe that more choice in the (school) system would be good for the system.”

On immigration, “the mayor is the one person who can sort out this issue, because its a big one and he lived in it for a number of years” but also because he understands total, comprehenisve reform may not be the appropriate, immediate goal if Silicon Valley wants to continue attracting the best and brightest from around the world. And on energy, Kvamme said, Giuliani “has recognized that on the electricity front, the cleanest electricity going is nuclear power” and opposes raising taxes on U.S. oil production.

Giuliani is “taking California very seriously — he has been here a ton of times,” Kvamme said. “People are excited about his candidacy and I think he’s going to do extremely well in California.”

doerr.jpgIncidentally, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner John Doerr and his wife, environmental advocate Ann Doerr, today announced their support of Hillary Clinton, citing her “forward-looking agenda in energy, innovation, healthcare and the economy” and her “experience, judgment and leadership to strengthen America’s standing in the world.”

Just as Kvamme is a longtime GOP figure — high-tech advisory positions in the administrations of President George W. Bush and former Gov. Pete Wilson; a stint as chairman of a Bill Bennett-founded conservative think tank; giving, with his wife, at least $122,000 to Republican causes in the 2004 cycle, $252,000 in 2000 — the Doerrs were big-time Al Gore supporters in ’00 and gave $428,000 to Democratic causes in ’04. John Doerr had endorsed Joe Lieberman in 2003 but quickly fell in line behind John Kerry post-nomination in 2004.

Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2007
Under: Al Gore, Democratic Party, Elections, General, Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry, President Bush, Republican Party, Rudy Giuliani | No Comments »

Pelosi, Bush ramp up post-Thanksgiving rhetoric

Congress returned from Thanksgiving break today, and President Bush greeted it with a slap.

“One of Congress’s most basic duties is to fund the day-to-day operations of the federal government. Yet only one of the 12 spending bills has made it into law. Congressional leaders are now talking about piling the remaining bills into one monster piece of legislation, which they will load up with billions of dollars in earmarks and wasteful spending. Now is not the time to burden our economy with wasteful Washington spending that will lead to higher taxes. Congressional leaders need to do their job, and pass the remaining spending bills in a fiscally responsible way. If they send me an irresponsible spending bill, I will veto it.”

Responds House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francsico:

“Democrats want to work with the President, yet he continues to engage in the same tired rhetoric that does not serve the best interests of the American people.

“Democrats are hard at work on a sweeping new energy policy, tax relief for middle-class Americans, and bringing our troops home from Iraq. As always, we will accomplish our goals in a bipartisan and fiscally responsible way. The House already passed AMT legislation this year, to provide tax relief to 23 million middle-class Americans. Despite veto threats from the President and obstruction from Senate Republicans on this critical measure, we are confident that we will send legislation to the White House soon.

“Democrats are committed to giving our troops everything they need to do their jobs. House Democrats have passed a bill that provides our troops with both $50 billion in funding and a strategy to bring them home safely and soon. But it is being blocked from going to the President by his Republican allies in the Senate.

“House Democrats passed a FISA bill that, unlike the President’s proposal, protects Americans while protecting their constitutional rights. Congress will work its will and send legislation to the President soon.

“Democrats’ adherence to pay-as-you-go, no new deficit spending stands in stark contrast to the President’s record: turning a $5.6 trillion surplus into a $2.4 trillion deficit – the largest turnaround in our nation’s history.

“Instead of working with Democrats, the President is trying to prevent progress. Democrats will continue to take our country in a New Direction.”

Posted on Monday, December 3rd, 2007
Under: Nancy Pelosi, President Bush, U.S. House | No Comments »

Go tell it to Pete Stark

Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, is hobnobbing with constituents once again at three town-hall meetings this Saturday, Dec. 1 in Fremont, San Leandro and Alameda.

Ask the 18-term lawmaker whatever you like, but likely topics include the Congressional response to the Cosco Busan oil spill in the San Francisco Bay; funding for the war in Iraq; President Bush’s new push for peace in the Middle East; and the legislative calendar for the rest of the year. The meetings are:

  • 9 – 10 a.m. in the Fremont Senior Center, 40086 Paseo Padre Parkway
  • 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. in the Estudillo Room at the San Leandro Library, 300 Estudillo Ave.
  • Noon – 1 p.m. in Council Chambers at Alameda City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Ave.
  • Posted on Thursday, November 29th, 2007
    Under: Iraq, Pete Stark, President Bush, U.S. House | No Comments »

    BREAKING NEWS: BUSH ISSUES PARDON

    Heh, heh. Made you look.

    ap-photo.jpg

    CNN reports that in a Rose Garden ceremony today, President Bush pardoned two turkeys named “May” and “Scooter Libby” — uh, I mean, “May” and “Flower.”

    Betcha the turkey has a job-approval rating higher than 33 percent. Moments like this make you wonder… will some future president hold a Rose Garden ceremony someday to pardon this president?

    Posted on Tuesday, November 20th, 2007
    Under: President Bush | 1 Comment »

    MoveOn supports DiFi censure effort

    feinstein.jpgPressure to get the California Democratic Party‘s executive board to censure U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., at its meeting this weekend got a lot heavier today as online organizing giant MoveOn.org joined the effort.

    Netroots and grassroots activists organized by the Courage Campaign are urging passage of a resolution censuring Feinstein for her pivotal votes for Michael Mukasey as U.S. Attorney General and Leslie Southwick as a federal judge. A version of the censure resolution, included below the jump, will be submitted for the consideration of the California Democratic Party Executive Board at its meeting November 16-18 in Anaheim.

    In an email to over 500,000 members in California, MoveOn.org Wes Boyd of Berkeley said:

    “Only 29% of Californians — and just 9% of California Democrats — approve of the president, but Senator Feinstein has sided with him on key issues.”

    “When Senator Feinstein sides with President Bush and the Republicans on key issues like these, she not only goes against what a majority of her constituents want–she gives cover to other Democrats too, making it harder for Congress to make progress on the critical issues that so many voters care about.”

    “Senator Feinstein isn’t up for election again until 2012, but we can’t afford another 5 years of this. She needs to hear from Californians that she needs to start siding with them–not George Bush.”

    “A censure from the California Democratic Party is the strongest way to send that message.”

    More after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted on Thursday, November 15th, 2007
    Under: Democratic Party, Dianne Feinstein, President Bush, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

    Boehner moves to censure Stark

    House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, says he’ll offer a privileged resolution today to censure Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, for what he said last week about President Bush and his supporters in Congress as the House failed to override Bush’s veto of a bipartisan State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) expansion: “You don’t have money to fund the war or children. But you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President’s amusement.” (See the full video of Stark’s floor statement here.)

    Boehner and other GOP leaders had demanded that Stark retract the statement and apologize; Stark had reacted by demanding that Boehner and 153 of his fellow Republicans apologize for failing to override legislation that would have provided health care to 10 million children.

    Boehner’s office said the text of his resolution will read as follows:

    HOUSE RESOLUTION _____
    Raising a Question of the privileges of the House.
    Mr. Boehner submitted the following resolution which was referred to the Committee on _____________.

    Whereas, United States soldiers and personnel in Iraq are fighting to protect innocent Americans from being attacked by al-Qaeda and radical jihadists who are determined to kill the American people.

    Whereas on October 18, 2007, in debate on H.R. 976, Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, the Member from California, Mr. Stark, stated: “You don’t have money to fund the war or children. But you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President’s amusement.”

    Whereas, on October 18, 2007, in a press release, Rep. Pete Stark is quoted as saying: “I respect neither the Commander-in-Chief who keeps them in harms way nor the chickenhawks in Congress.”

    Whereas the Member from California, Mr. Stark, engaged in personally abusive language toward the President and Members of the House, including the use of language that impugns their motives.

    Whereas, the Member from California, Mr. Stark dishonors not only the Commander-in-Chief, but the thousands of courageous men and women of America’s armed forces who believe in their mission and are putting their lives on the line for our freedom and security.

    Whereas the Member from California, Mr. Stark, has failed to retract his statement and apologize to the Members of the House, our Commander-in-Chief, and the families of our soldiers and commanders fighting terror overseas.

    Resolved, that the Member from California, Mr. Stark, by his despicable conduct, has dishonored himself and brought discredit to the House and merits the censure of the House for the same.

    Resolved, that the Member from California, Mr. Stark, is hereby so censured.

    UPDATE @ 9:30 A.M. TUESDAY: Stark apologized on the House floor this morning!

    “On a very serious note, I want to apologize to my colleagues, many of whom I have offended, to the President, his family, (and) to the troops,” said Stark. “I apologize for this reason: I think we have serious issues before us, the issue of providing medical care to children, the issue about what we’re going to do about a war that we’re divided about how to end. I hope that with this apology I will become as insignificant as I should be and that we can return to the issues that do divide us but that we can resolve in a better fashion.”

    Posted on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007
    Under: Iraq, Pete Stark, President Bush, U.S. House | No Comments »

    Pete Stark opens a can of whupa-s

    Republicans aligned with the president don’t want to fund the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), but “they sure dont care about finding 200 billion to fight the illegal war in Iraq,” rages Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. “Where are you going to get that money? Are you going to tell us lies like you’re telling us today? Is that how you’re going to fund the war? You don’t have money to fund the war or children. But you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement.”

    “The truth is that Bush just likes to blow things up in Iraq, in the United States and in Congress.”

    Yes, Drudge already has it. And that’s Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, chairing the debate as temporary speaker and reminding Stark at the end that members are not to refer to the President in a personal way.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18th, 2007
    Under: Ellen Tauscher, Iraq, Pete Stark, President Bush, U.S. House | No Comments »