Boxer hopes to save the whales

boxer.jpgU.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., led seven other Senators in sending a letter today to Ryozo Kato, Japan’s ambassador to the U.S., urging Japan to reconsider a hunt in which Japanese whalers are expected to hunt about 1,000 whales, including some vulnerable and endangered species.

“(W)e join the growing chorus of world leaders and environmental experts in asking Japan to reconsider its decision to conduct this hunt, or, at a minimum, significantly scale back its scope. We also ask that Japan immediately cease the killing of both humpback and fin whales, and only employ non-lethal techniques for studying these populations. By pursuing these actions, Japan can continue to make significant scientific contributions, while conserving and protecting these important species.”

Read the whole letter, after the jump… Continue Reading


GOP uses Gavin Newsom to tar Hillary

In my inbox first thing this morning from the Republican National Committee, a hit piece targeting Hillary Clinton entitled “HILLARY’S SAN FRANCISCO TREAT — Hillary’s National Co-Chair Signs Legislation Giving Benefits To Illegal Immigrants.”

As Hillary Travels To California, Gavin Newsom, San Francisco Mayor And Sen. Clinton’s National Co-Chair, Signs Plan To Issue IDs To Illegal Immigrants:

“San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom Signed Legislation Wednesday Requiring The City To Issue Identification Cards To Illegal Immigrants And Other Residents Who Can’t Or Won’t Apply For Driver’s Licenses.” (“San Fran OKs ID Card for Immigrants,” The Associated Press, 11/29/07)

Mayor Newsom’s Spokesman, Nathan Ballard: “The Mayor Strongly Believes That This Identification Card Should Be Extended To All San Franciscans, Regardless Of Their Immigration Status …” (Wyatt Buchanan, “Supervisor Ammiano Drafting Legislation For ID Card For Illegals,” San Francisco Chronicle, 9/7/07)

Newsom: “I Don’t Think It’s That Big Of A Deal …” (“San Fran OKs ID Card for Immigrants,” The Associated Press, 11/29/07)

Newsom Is Hillary’s National Co-Chair. “The Clinton Campaign announced the endorsement of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom … Mayor Newsom … join[s] the campaign as a National Co-Chair.” (Hillary Clinton For President, “San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom Endorses Hillary Clinton: Newsom Named A National Co-Chair Of Clinton Campaign,” Press Release, 8/10/07)

Hillary Will Be In California Today. (“Hillary Rodham Clinton,” The Washington Post’s “Campaign Tracker,” www.washingtonpost.com, Accessed 11/29/07)

Read the RNC release in its entirety here.

Keep in mind that some people have tried to claim that Democrat Newsom’s decision to issue marriage certificates to same sex couples in February 2004 cost Democrat John Kerry the November 2004 presidential election, scaring off “heartland voters” with his “San Francisco values.” Seems the GOP is going for a repeat…


Stark moves to limit nurses’ forced overtime

pete-stark.jpgWays and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pete Stark, D-Fremont, and Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, today introduced the Safe Nursing and Patient Care Act which would strictly limit the use of forced overtime for nurses. It’s endorsed by groups including the American Nurses Association, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, AFT, SEIU and UAN.

“Mandatory overtime exhausts nurses mentally and physically, placing patients’ lives at risk and driving nurses out of the profession,” Stark said in a news release. “We limit the time that truck drivers and pilots can work to protect public safety. Safe nursing is in the public interest as well.”

The bill would strictly limit the use of mandatory overtime for nurses to situations in which an official state of emergency is declared by federal, state or a local government. These limits would be included in Medicare’s provider agreements but wouldn’t apply to nursing homes since there are alternative staffing and quality measures moving forward for those facilities. The Department of Health and Human Services would get new tools to enforce these standards, and nurses would get new protection from discrimination by employers who continue forcing them into working hours beyond what they believe is safe for quality care.

Though Stark and LaTourette have yet to start seek cosponsors, 102 members had cosponsored a similar measure Stark introduced in the 109th Congress; it languished in committee without a hearing. The same fate met the Senate version, pushed by Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and John Kerry, D-Mass.; rumor has it they’ll carry it again in the 110th Congress.

“No patient wants to be cared for by a nurse at the end of a 16-hour shift. That’s when errors are most likely to occur,” Cathy Glasson, a registered nurse with 20 years of experience and the President of the Nurse Alliance of SEIU, said in Stark’s release. “Short staffing and forced overtime are also huge factors in the growing number of nurses leaving the profession. To keep patients and nurses safe, Congress should end this dangerous practice.”


Swift-boater gets recess appointment

fox.jpgOne week after withdrawing Swift Boat Veterans for Truth donor Sam Fox’s nomination as U.S. ambassador to Belgium, President Bush today named him to the post as a recess appointment, sidestepping the Senate Foreign Relations Committee‘s resistance.

Fox, 77 — a Missouri businessman, national chairman of the Jewish Republican Coalition and a “ranger” who helped raise at least $200,000 for President Bush’s 2004 campaign — gave $50,000 to the group that was impugning Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry‘s military service in Vietnam. That didn’t sit well with committee members including Kerry and current presidential contenders Barack Obama, D-Ill.; Chris Dodd, D-Conn.; and committee chairman Joe Biden, D-Del.

So Bush pulled Fox’s name off the table last week less than an hour before the committee was to vote on his confirmation. But today, with the Senate off on its spring recess, the president used his recess-appointment power to put Fox in the job without Senate confirmation until the end of this Congress’ session — which means through rest of Bush’s term.

Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., is a member of the committee, too. We’re waiting to hear whether she’s ticked off about this.


Al Gore’s lecture? Sold out. John Kerry’s? Nope.

gore.jpgThe headline says it all: No tickets remain for former vice president and 2000 Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore‘s lecture at 8 p.m. tomorrow in San Francisco’s Nob Hill Masonic Center, presented by City Arts and Lectures and the California Academy of Sciences.

kerry.jpgBut you can still score a seat to see 2004 Democratic presidential nominee U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Teresa Heinz Kerry at 8 p.m. Thursday in San Francisco’s Herbst Theater, another City Arts and Lectures program; tickets cost $19 and are available here. They’ll be talking about their book, “This Moment on Earth: Today’s New Environmentalists and Their Vision for the Future,” which is based on their meetings with America’s environmental-protection leaders. Sure, it’s not an Oscar-winning PowerPoint presentation, but…


One little word can make all the difference

kerry.jpgU.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., made waves last year when — at a campaign rally for flagging California guberantorial candidate Phil Angelides — he said that students who don’t study hard and get good grades “get stuck in Iraq.” What he clearly meant to say was “get US stuck in Iraq — a dig at President Bush’s average academic performance Yale, even though Kerry earned similar grades there — but Republicans quickly jumped on the comment as an insult to the troops, and damage was done.

Well, a single word’s omission came back to bite Kerry in the butt again this week, as U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., issued a statement praising Kerry, who’d just announced he’ll not run for president again in 2008. “From his earliest days in Vietnam to the Presidential Election in 2004, John Kerry has fought his country and his ideals,” Obama’s statement read.

“Fought FOR his country and his ideals?” Sure. But it’s kinda better this way, isn’t it?