By Lynn Sweet on April 29, 2011 8:38 AM
WASHINGTON — A factor in President Obama’s decision to address the “birther” question — and release his “long form” birth certificate — came when ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos asked him about it in an April 14 interview where Obama wanted the story to be on his new debt and deficit reduction plan.
That’s what White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley told me in a phone interview where we discussed economic and fiscal matters — and the looming day in May when U.S. borrowing hits the debt ceiling, unless Congress raises the cap.
Daley flew to Chicago on Air Force One with Obama on Wednesday — the first couple taped an Oprah Winfrey show — and remained in Chicago Thursday to address CEOs at the Economic Club and headline a fund-raiser for Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). Daley talked to me from an office at the Chicago Club on Wednesday.
via Bill Daley: Avoid a showdown, back debt-ceiling increase – Lynn Sweet.
Somebody explain to me how Congress raising the debt-ceiling cap reduces debt and deficit!
CHICAGO — In light of the crisis in Japan, Illinois needs to review the size of evacuation zones around its six nuclear power plants and ensure there is a sufficient stockpile of potassium iodide pills, U.S. Sens. Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin said Friday during a forum on nuclear safety in the state.
“Illinois is the most nuclear state in the country. We have the largest fleet of 11 reactors and we need to make sure in light of what happened at Fukushima that they’re run safely. I think there are some lessons learned,” Kirk said.
The forum in a Chicago federal courtroom resembled a congressional hearing with the two Illinois senators on a raised judge’s bench quizzing four nuclear experts from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Argonne National Laboratory and Exelon Corp. Exelon operates the reactors in the state, including the Braidwood plant in Braceville and the Dresden plant in Morris.
via Senators question nuke experts – Naperville Sun.
from the free-speech-isn’t-free dept
This is hardly a surprise but, this morning (as previously announced), the lame duck Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to move forward with censoring the internet via the COICA bill – despite a bunch of law professors explaining to them how this law is a clear violation of the First Amendment. What’s really amazing is that many of the same Senators have been speaking out against internet censorship in other countries, yet they happily vote to approve it here because it’s seen as a way to make many of their largest campaign contributors happy. There’s very little chance that the bill will actually get passed by the end of the term but, in the meantime, we figured it might be useful to highlight the 19 Senators who voted to censor the internet this morning:
- Patrick J. Leahy — Vermont
- Herb Kohl — Wisconsin
- Jeff Sessions — Alabama
- Dianne Feinstein — California
- Orrin G. Hatch — Utah
- Russ Feingold — Wisconsin
- Chuck Grassley — Iowa
- Arlen Specter — Pennsylvania
- Jon Kyl — Arizona
- Chuck Schumer — New York
- Lindsey Graham — South Carolina
- Dick Durbin — Illinois
- John Cornyn — Texas
- Benjamin L. Cardin — Maryland
- Tom Coburn — Oklahoma
- Sheldon Whitehouse — Rhode Island
- Amy Klobuchar — Minnesota
- Al Franken — Minnesota
- Chris Coons — Delaware
This should be a list of shame. You would think that our own elected officials would understand the First Amendment but, apparently, they have no problem turning the US into one of the small list of authoritarian countries that censors internet content it does not like (in this case, content some of its largest campaign contributors do not like). We already have laws in place to deal with infringing content, so don’t buy the excuse that this law is about stopping infringement.
This law takes down entire websites based on the government’s say-so.
First Amendment protections make clear that if you are going to stop any specific speech, it has to be extremely specific speech. This law has no such restrictions. It’s really quite unfortunate that these 19 US Senators are the first American politicians to publicly vote in favor of censoring speech in America.
via The 19 Senators Who Voted To Censor The Internet | Techdirt.
A day after the unveiling of a long-term regional plan for the Chicago area, Sen. Dick Durbin on Thursday announced a $4.25 million federal grant that will go to the agency that prepared the plan.
The plan, known as Go to 2040, was crafted by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) after three years of public hearings and research. The plan calls for the region to create compact, walkable communities instead of auto-dependent sprawl, and recommends a series of measures, including a controversial proposed increase in the state gas tax, to achieve its aims.
via Cityscapes: Durbin announces $4.25 million federal grant for Chicago-area regional plan.
Monday, 01 March 2010
Fifteen thousand unemployed workers in Illinois will lose their unemployment benefits and COBRA subsidies at midnight tonight due to a Republican filibuster of legislation that would extend the benefits for 30 days, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin D-IL said today at a news conference with unemployed workers at the National Able Network.
Last Thursday night and Friday morning, Durbin led Senate efforts to pass a 30-day extension of unemployment benefits and COBRA subsidies that are set to expire, but one Republican Senator stood in the way by repeatedly objecting.
“Playing politics with working families is cruel,” Durbin said. “I will not stop until we have provided the assistance that struggling families in Illinois and all across America desperately need.”
via Durbin Calls For End To Republican Filibuster Of Unemployment Benefits And Cobra Subsidies.