How in the the world can biking and walking be controversial?
They’re good exercise, fun to do and—as an alternative to driving everywhere—help us save money and the environment. Both biking and walking are increasingly popular for transportation and recreation today, thanks in large part to a recent flowering of federally-funded trails, bikeways and pathways that make getting around on two wheels and two feet safer and more convenient.
But in these antagonistic political times, bikers and walkers are now targets of controversy for some members of Congress. In September, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn proposed stripping all designated federal funding for bike and pedestrian projects from the pending Transportation Bill. After an outpouring of opposition from citizens coast-to-coast, Coburn withdrew his amendment.
Now bicyclists and pedestrians are under attack again, this time in an amendment from Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. He wants to redirect every last penny of money dedicated to bicycling and walking to bridge repair instead.
His proposal is scheduled for a vote next Tuesday. (Here's how to contact your Senators and Representatives to save federal bike and walk programs.)
Liberals on and off Capitol Hill agonized Thursday that supercommittee Democrats had bungled early negotiations over a budget deal and put their party in a position to be bested again by Republicans.
By proposing significant cuts to Medicare and Medicaid as an early offering, liberals said the panel Democrats weakened their party’s negotiating position as Republicans, who have ceded no ground on their central anti-tax message, sat back and watched.
"My fear is that this is déjà vu all over again,” said Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), one of the dozens of liberals who thought the White House cornered itself in the summer debt-ceiling talks by floating similar entitlement cuts to the GOP in negotiations led by Vice President Biden.
“This is essentially what happened in the Biden talks,” Welch said. “The Democrats were putting concrete proposals on the table [including entitlement cuts] and the Republicans never came forward with concrete revenues to match it.
WASHINGTON — Even as protests over its political influence grow louder, Wall Street is one of the leading sources of money so far in the 2012 race for the White House.
Not surprisingly, the biggest beneficiary has been Republican hopeful Mitt Romney, according to a new analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan campaign-finance watchdog group.
A former chief executive of a successful private investment firm, Romney has attracted $7.5 million from the financial community, the center found. That’s nearly twice as much as President Barack Obama has received from it, and almost a quarter of the $32 million that Romney’s campaign has taken in overall.
“Romney brings with him a lot of connections in the business world and Wall Street community and those connections are paying dividends as he runs for president,” said Michael Beckel, a spokesman for the center. “We noticed that, so far, the biggest financial institutions have all preferred Mitt Romney.”
Wall Street and Big Coal corporations have no better friend than Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), the "prince of pork" and powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
Hailed as the most "corrupt member of Congress" by the non-profit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Rogers' 5th District in eastern and south-central Kentucky also ranks at the bottom of the nation in virtually every quality of life indicator.
After thirty years of his abysmal record, Rogers' constituents have had enough. This Friday, at 3pm, Oct. 14, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth will hold a peaceful demonstration at Rogers' Somerset office to ask a simple question: Doesn't Kentucky deserve better?
There might not be a better 99% vs. 1% scenario of political and corporate wanton abandon in the nation.
A military contractor and a pharmaceutical giant are among those writing checks to protect their business interests
Deep-pocketed corporate interest are writing big checks to members of the supercommittee, the group of 12 senators and members of Congress who have been tasked with coming up with a plan to cut over $1 trillion from the budget in the next decade.
Ten members of the committee got $83,000 from some of the biggest corporate donors in the country in the three-week period in August that is covered in the latest federal election filings, according to a new analysis by the Sunlight Foundation.
$10,000 of the total came from the political action committee (PAC) of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. Another $8,000 came from the military contractor Lockheed Martin. Also on the list of donors: Goldman Sachs and Comcast. These are corporations seeking to protect lucrative government contracts.
The supercommittee faces a Nov. 23 deadline to come up with a budget cuts package that will then get an up-or-down vote in the House and the Senate.
The biggest recipient of big donor contributions on the committee was Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), with $28,500. The biggest recipient on the Democratic side was Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), who took in $15,000.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich can finally stop traversing the country in search of a new district. Ohio Republicans gave him a new lease on life this week.
For the new congressional map set to be enacted, they took a scalpel to Kucinich’s Cleveland-area district, a much better outcome than the machete job he had been bracing for. Rather than eliminating his seat entirely, Republicans pushed it west toward Toledo along Lake Erie, leaving him in the same district as fellow Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur.
“Am I happy about it? You bet I am,” Kucinich told POLITICO after the new map was unveiled. “I feel a profound sense of gratitude that my district wasn’t cut in a way that would have made it impossible to run. I understand there’s nothing guaranteed here, but I can say that things look much better today than they did a few days ago.”
Kucinich has abandoned the potential Washington state congressional run he had been mulling over and says he’s definitely seeking reelection in the new district. But Ohio Democrats say he’s still got a long way to go before winning a ninth term.
“It really pits two extraordinarily strong voices for the middle class against each other,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern, who used to represent part of the new district in the state House. “It will come down to the member who stays home the longest, who really stays in the district. You won’t be able to rely on just Cleveland television or Toledo television; it’s a district where retail politics will trump 30-second ads.”
“Whoever wins this race is the person who’s touched the most hands, in this case literally,” Redfern said.
Kaptur starts with a financial advantage, having finished June with almost $600,000 in the bank compared with $150,000 for Kucinich. But party insiders are split over who to peg as the early front-runner. Some give Kucinich that nod, in part, because he represents a greater share of the new district’s Democratic electorate and because his base in the Cleveland media market covers more of the district.
By Joshua Holland | Alternet
California Democrat Maxine Waters has had quite a bit to say on the jobs crisis lately. Despite the overwhelming support President Obama has enjoyed thus from black Americans and the Congressional Black Caucus, Waters has spared neither him nor the tea party from criticism during the summer congressional recess.
The Los Angeles representative was unhappy that the president chose to take his recent bus tour through Midwestern rural areas instead of urban centers where blacks live with double digit unemployment, twice that of the national rate. “We’re supportive of the president, but we getting tired, y’all. Getting tired,” Waters said at a Detroit town hall meeting the CBC held last week. “And so what we want to do is we want to give the president every opportunity to show, to show what he can do and what he’s prepared to lead on,” Waters continued, according to The Hill newspaper.
Then, this weekend, she had similarly sharp words for the right. “And as far as I’m concerned,” she said at an event in LA Saturday night, “the tea party can go straight to hell.”
By Alissa Bohling | Truthout
At a time when the freedoms many Americans once took for granted are under concerted attack, Rep. Jerry Nadler - a vocal proponent of civil liberties over his nearly 20 years in office - has a lot on his plate. Most recently, Nadler spoke out against the political maneuvering leading up to the debt deal. In a statement after his vote against the final "compromise," he criticized the Congressional "blackmailers" and their "unbalanced, callous plan that will strangle the middle class and working poor, to say nothing of the elderly and kids." As the country waits to see how the Congressional "supercommittee" will divvy up the required $1.5 trillion in cuts, Nadler spoke with Truthout about the political upheaval that has accompanied our ongoing economic turmoil.
Alissa Bohling: Under Obama, civil liberties have eroded even further than they did under Bush. He broke his campaign promise to close Guantanamo and approved extending the most controversial PATRIOT Act provisions, among other things ...
Rep. Jerry Nadler: I think the president is subject to a lot of criticisms on civil liberties. I don't think breaking his campaign promise on closing Guantanamo is one of them. They have tried that, and they've been stymied by Congress. Everything else I'd probably agree with you.
by Anna Lekas Miller
On the campaign trail in 2008, Michelle Obama spoke at a rally and told the American people that for the first time in her adult life, "I am proud of my country." The backlash was swift, as news commentators and politicians of all creeds and colors—black, white, male and female—implied that she was Barack Obama's angry, bitter wife. In other words, they could not understand Michelle Obama outside of the angry, Black woman stereotype.
Before winning the Iowa Straw poll this past weekend, however, Michele Bachmann made a similar statement. But instead of being lambasted for not appreciating her country, the media has ignored her almost identical comment.
Is it too soon to speak of the Bush-Obama presidency?
The record shows impressive continuities between the two administrations, and nowhere more than in the policy of “force projection” in the Arab world. With one war half-ended in Iraq, but another doubled in size and stretching across borders in Afghanistan; with an expanded program of drone killings and black-ops assassinations, the latter glorified in special ceremonies of thanksgiving (as they never were under Bush); with the number of prisoners at Guantanamo having decreased, but some now slated for permanent detention; with the repeated invocation of “state secrets” to protect the government from charges of war crimes; with the Patriot Act renewed and its most dubious provisions left intact -- the Bush-Obama presidency has sufficient self-coherence to be considered a historical entity with a life of its own.