Diary

MI Morning Update 2-15-09

625 Days until Election Day

February 15, 2009

MORNING UPDATE:

STIMULUS SCAM…unfortunately passed both houses of Congress last night as Republicans stood strong, completely rejecting the plan in the House and all but a few Republicans doing the same in the Senate.

After Mark Schauer and Gary Peters won their elections last fall, campaigning largely on cutting back on wasteful government spending and fiscal responsibility, both voted for this massive spending package as one of their first acts as Congressmen. Probably a preview of what we can expect from both as they serve as rubber-stamps for Pelosi’s and Obama’s policies.

GOVERNOR HALEY BARBOUR…to kick off our state convention Friday night.  We will also have WJR’s Frank Beckmann there who will discuss "what media bias".  All Friday night!  For more information see the next paragraph.

TWITTER…anyone can follow my daily activities and impressions throughout the day by joining and following along. Twitter.com is another social networking site most easily described as a type of instant messaging – but with tons of people. You can follow the ‘tweets’ of others – and they follow you and what you write. The catch is that your posts are limited to 140 characters. But for many, that’s enough to say the important things. To follow me click here. To follow the Michigan Republicans, click here.

FACEBOOK...is a great "social networking" tool that many Republicans are using. This is particularly popular with College Republicans, TeenAge Republicans and Young Republicans. If you would like to become a "friend" join me here.

MRP STATE CONVENTION…Just a quick note to let you know that the Michigan Republican’s website has been updated with State Convention information.   For your reference in directing potential delegates to the site, the address is: http://www.migop.org/event.asp.

CPAC 2009 Timeless Principles, New Challenges…Register today for the largest gathering of conservative grassroots activists in the country! The American Conservative Union Foundation is pleased to invite you to participate in the nation’s largest annual gathering of conservatives. The 36th Annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) will be held on February 26-28, 2009.

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FOR THE LATEST NEWS, COMMENTARY & INFORMATION:

Check…out…our…online Articles of Interest………News…you…can…use………

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SUNDAY MORNING TALK SHOW LINEUP:

After pushing the $785 billion stimulus package through Congress, top Obama administration officials head to the Sunday talk shows to map out their next steps.

Senior adviser David Axelrod is on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and “Fox News Sunday” to sell the public the package that President Barack Obama is eager to sign early next week.

Google CEO Erick Schmidt and economist Mark Zandi of Moody’s Economy.com round out Fox host Chris Wallace’s guest list. And NBC’s David Gregory lands for his political roundtable The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein, The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson, The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel and Politico’s Roger Simon.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, meanwhile, appears on CNN’s “State of the Union” to square off against Obama’s former presidential rival, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

CBS’s “Face the Nation” also has Gibbs, along with House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

And Bloomberg TV snags Obama’s top economic adviser, Lawrence Summers, for a weekend chat with host Al Hunt on “Political Capital.”

ABC’s “This Week” is without a Team Obama playmaker, but host George Stephanopoulos rounds up some of the sharpest tongues from the stimulus debate.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) faces off with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), with an undercard bout featuring Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Peter King (R-N.Y.).

Finally, Michigan Rep. Dave Camp, the ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, is on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers,” where he’ll be questioned by The Hill’s Molly Hooper and Congressional Quarterly’s Joseph Schatz.

TODAY’S TOP STORIES

The following stories and more are available at my Articles of Interest online.


UAW rejects Chrysler, GM trust plans

BY JUSTIN HYDE • FREE PRESS WASHINGTON STAFF

The UAW has rejected changes to its retiree health care trust proposed by General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, saying the companies want to shortchange workers to benefit bondholders.
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The union said Saturday that the automakers wanted to reduce their contributions to the trust fund, increase its obligations and stretch out their remaining cash payments over 20 years.

The dispute, four days before the automakers must submit restructuring plans to the Obama administration, suggests the difficulties the companies face to win the concessions called for by the government.


Bill’s tax cuts underwhelm analysts

Donald Lambro

When the Tax Policy Center graded 17 key tax-cut provisions in President Obama’s economic-stimulus bill last week, 10 received a C or D grade and none merited an A.

The tax-policy analysis group, sponsored jointly by the liberal Urban Institute and Brookings Institution, said its scores were an attempt to evaluate whether the bill’s tax credits and other tax incentives will boost the economy and deliver the biggest "bang for the buck."

Many of the tax provisions in President Obama’s two-year, $787 billion stimulus plan were found wanting, either because the stimulative effects were small, came too late to have an impact on the recession, or went to people who did not need them.


Next Issues Will Be Even Harder for Obama

By David Broder

WASHINGTON — Now comes the hard part.

Difficult as it has been to push the almost $800 billion stimulus plan to the point of passage in Congress, making it work in local communities across America will be much more challenging. And here in Washington, the political tests that lie ahead as the agenda shifts to energy, the environment, health care, Iraq, Afghanistan and other trouble spots will also pose higher hurdles.

Predictably, President Obama has had a shaky introduction to his new duties. Talented as he is, he had never previously been asked to assemble an administration, to identify prospective appointees, decide where they might fit, recruit them and qualify them for the confirmation process.

Some of the biggest names on his list — Tom Daschle, Bill Richardson and Judd Gregg — backed out before they ever took office. They withdrew for different reasons, but had Obama, with only four Senate years behind him, known the environment and personalities in public life better, he might have anticipated some of these problems.


Nothing fair about Fairness Doctrine

By Nolan Finley

Americans are about to learn that when it comes to protecting their civil liberties, they can’t relax no matter which party is in power in Washington.

After spending eight years wailing about President George W. Bush’s relentless disregard for the Bill of Rights, Democrats are preparing to launch an assault on the most precious individual freedom of all — free speech.

They are trying to shut down conservative talk radio, the primary source of criticism of their programs and policies.

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow was reportedly leading the effort, though she now says "that’s not my issue." Good thing, since it would have been an obvious conflict of interest. Her husband, Tom Athans, is a co-founder of Air America, the left-wing network that’s never caught fire with radio listeners.


In Gingrich Mold, a New Voice for G.O.P. Resistance

By ADAM NAGOURNEY

WASHINGTON — The last time Congressional Republicans were this out of power, they turned to a college professor from Georgia, Newt Gingrich, to lead the opposition, first against President Bill Clinton in a budget battle in 1993, and then back into the majority the following year.

As Republicans confronted President Obama in another budget battle last week, their leadership included another new face: Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, who as the party’s chief vote wrangler is as responsible as anyone for the tough line the party has taken in this first legislative standoff with Mr. Obama. This battle has vaulted Mr. Cantor to the front lines of his party as it tries to recover from the losses of November.

As Republican whip, Mr. Cantor succeeded again on Friday in denying the White House the support of a single House Republican on the stimulus bill. That was a calculated challenge to the president, who, in his weekly address on Saturday, hailed the bill as “an ambitious plan at a time we badly need it.”


Checking in with the Labor Movement

By Ruben Navarrette

SAN DIEGO — At a time when many Americans choose to be exposed only to opinions with which they agree, I still enjoy talking with those who see issues in a different light. And given my opinion of unions — namely, that for all the good they did in the 20th century, they’re now hurting America by demanding too much, giving up too little, fostering a sense of entitlement, and conditioning members to fear competition — this means occasionally checking in with Beth Shulman.

A lawyer, author, and former vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Shulman is currently a senior analyst with the Russell Sage Foundation and a true believer in the power of unions to improve people’s lives — especially in tough economic times.

Our topic of conversation was the Employee Free Choice Act now before Congress. One of the most hotly contested pieces of legislation in recent memory, the bill would allow workers to register their desire to join a union by simply signing a card — as opposed to an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.

Obama warned over ‘welfare spendathon’

BY Tony Allen-Mills

RONALD REAGAN started it, Bill Clinton finished it and last week Barack Obama was accused of engineering its destruction. One of the few undisputed triumphs of American government of the past 20 years – the sweeping welfare reform programme that sent millions of dole claimants back to work – has been plunged into jeopardy by billions of dollars in state handouts included in the president’s controversial economic stimulus package.

As Obama celebrated Valentine’s Day yesterday with a return to his Chicago home for a private weekend with family and friends, his success in piloting a $785 billion (£546 billion) stimulus package through Congress was being overshadowed by warnings that an unprecedented increase in welfare spending would undermine two decades of bipartisan attempts to reduce dependency on government handouts.

Robert Rector, a prominent welfare researcher who was one of the architects of Clinton’s 1996 reform bill, warned last week that Obama’s stimulus plan was a “welfare spendathon” that would amount to the largest one-year increase in government handouts in American history.


Stimulus is a temporary breather for state’s ills

The Detroit News

The federal economic stimulus package will help Michigan sustain important programs and institutions in tough economic times, but ultimately the state will be on its own to transform its economy.

The full outlines of the package for Michigan aren’t clear, but one report, from the group called Federal Funds Information for States, a service of the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures, pegs the stimulus revenue for Michigan at close to $7 billion.

With revenues down for state governments across the nation, much of the package is devoted to simply shoring up spending gaps so the states can make assistance available to the homeless, cover payments to the unemployed, sustain public education and maintain Medicaid, which provides health insurance for the poor.


Chrysler, GM fix-it plans due in days

BY JUSTIN HYDE • FREE PRESS WASHINGTON STAFF

WASHINGTON — Over the past six months, Detroit’s automakers, workers and creditors have wrestled with how to survive the worst economy in decades while developing the high-tech vehicles of the future.

Now it’s President Barack Obama’s turn.

On Tuesday, General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC will submit cost-cutting plans that call for shedding thousands of jobs, closing plants, paring union benefits and cutting their debts, aiming to spread a bitter sacrifice among the UAW, suppliers, bondholders and dealers.


Burris confirms request for Blagojevich donation

By JOHN O’CONNOR

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Raising fresh questions about his appointment to Congress, Sen. Roland Burris admitted in a document released Saturday that former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s brother asked him for campaign fundraising help before the governor named Burris as Illinois’ junior senator.

The disclosure reflects a major omission from Burris’ testimony in January when an Illinois House impeachment committee specifically asked if he had ever spoken to Robert Blagojevich or other aides to the now-deposed governor about the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.

State Rep. Jim Durkin, the impeachment committee’s ranking Republican, told The Associated Press that he and House Republican Leader Tom Cross will ask Sunday for an outside investigation into whether Burris perjured himself.