Thursday, July 16, 2009

"It's a piece of junk"

This is my favorite commercial right now. I know the kid's line is probably scripted but I like to think it is a spontaneous comment.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Didn't Obama say something about there being room for all opinions?

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration is firing back at Sen. Jon Kyl for calling for an end to economic stimulus spending, and they're aiming for where it hurts the most - at home in Arizona.

The White House on Tuesday released letters from four cabinet secretaries to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, citing Kyl's comments and outlining transportation, housing, Indian education and other projects in his home state they said would be eliminated if the senator has his way.

Kyl, the No. 2 Senate GOP leader, has said the stimulus spending hasn't succeeded in boosting the economy and that it's adding to the deficit. He's suggested on his Senate Web site and in interviews that spending not already allocated be halted.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, one of two Republicans in Obama's cabinet, made no attempt to conceal his needling.

Kyl "publicly questioned whether the stimulus is working and stated that he wants to cancel projects that aren't presently under way," LaHood wrote Brewer. "If you prefer to forfeit the money we are making available to your state, as Senator Kyl suggests, please let me know."

LaHood noted in the letter that at least $520.9 million of the $48 billion for transportation projects under the economic recovery act are intended for Arizona projects, including transit projects in Phoenix.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Arizona would lose $45 million for 500 single-family housing loans if projects not already under way were canceled. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said the state would forfeit $73 million his department oversees, including $22 million for homeless programs.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, a Westerner who formerly served with Kyl in the Senate, didn't mention the Arizonan by name in his letter, but referred to "some key Republican leaders in Congress." He said the state would lose $60 million for Bureau of Indian Education schools, among other money.

Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman said the governor wants Arizona taxpayers to "receive their fair share" of any stimulus dollars.

"We certainly hope that they're somehow not threatening Arizona's portion of federal funding based on their disagreement with Senator Kyl," Senseman said.

Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon, a Democrat, said he called Brewer's office requesting that the governor continue to accept stimulus money. He also sent letters to cabinet officials volunteering Phoenix to act as a fiduciary for all Arizona stimulus funds if Brewer were to turn them down.

"The Senator is 2,000 miles away," Gordon said at a news conference Tuesday. "We're here trying to build roads and put people to work."

Kyl didn't immediately reply to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

The president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry came to Kyl's defense, however, posting a column Tuesday on the chamber's Web site under the headline: "Don't Bully Arizona."

"It is one thing to joust with Senator Kyl over his position, but it is an entirely different matter for Cabinet secretaries to write letters to the chief executive of a state and threaten funding if support isn't provided," wrote Glen Hamer.

On Sunday, Kyl said of stimulus spending that "the reality is it hasn't helped yet." He said it may be years before all the money gets spent and that the economy could recover before then.

"Only about 6.8 percent of the money has actually been spent. What I proposed is, after you complete the contracts that are already committed, the things that are in the pipeline, stop it," Kyl told ABC's "This Week."

Last week, Kyl argued in a column posted on his Senate Web site that the economic stimulus program has been a failure. He said he agreed with those who "want to cancel the rest of the stimulus spending."

How can you NOT call the Democrat Party the party of death?

The Senate HELP Committee continued its markup of the Kennedy healthcare legislation yesterday. Several amendments were offered to protect conscience rights and to prevent funding or mandating of abortion. Sen. Orrin Hatch's (R-Utah) amendment to prevent funding of abortion failed. Sen. Michael Enzi's (R-Wy.) amendment to prevent the healthcare bill from mandating abortion coverage was defeated. Since there is nothing in this legislation to prevent mandating abortion as a covered service, it would be mandated--the Obama Administration health bureaucracy will see to that.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) also offered several amendments to the Kennedy legislation. His amendment to codify the Hyde/Weldon conscience protection law was defeated. His amendment to prevent the healthcare bill from preempting state laws on abortion was defeated. With the exception of Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), the HELP Democrats voted against it. They opposed preventing this legislation from trumping various state laws, such as parental consent laws. One bright note, Sen. Coburn's amendment to protect healthcare workers' conscience rights with regard to euthanasia passed by a voice vote. The amendment ensures that doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers, including healthcare plans, are not forced to violate their conscience on the issue of euthanasia.

Sen. Ted Kennedy's (D-Mass.) amendment supposedly protecting conscience rights on abortion passed by a voice vote. This amendment says that no one should lose a contract with the healthcare Gateways because they refuse to perform abortion except in the case of emergencies. Given that the Democrats voted against the Coburn conscience amendment on abortion, which mirrors current conscience law, this amendment is a deceptive and even dangerous substitute for real conscience protections on abortion.