House votes to extend jobless benefits until Nov. 30/President extends mining&logging moratorium

WASHINGTON — The House agreed Friday to extend expiring jobless benefits for hundreds of thousands of workers nationwide until Nov. 30, but 1.2 million out-of-work Americans still face losing their benefits next month because the Senate left for a 10-day Memorial Day recess without acting.

The Senate isn’t scheduled to return to Washington until June 7, five days after federal funding for the benefits is to expire.

Even when the Senate returns, quick action could be difficult. Friday’s 215-204 House vote on a package that includes tax changes for businesses sent an ominous signal about why approving the added jobless benefits has become so difficult.

Though Democratic leaders pushed the measure hard, 34 House Democrats — including Washington’s Jay Inslee and Adam Smith — joined 170 Republicans in voting no. One Republican, Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao of Louisiana, and 214 Democrats voted yes.

The bill passed with no provision for continuing federal health-care subsidies for unemployed workers, a provision that was cut from the legislation after Democratic moderates expressed concerns about what its cost would add to the federal budget deficit.

The House, by a 245-171 vote, also extended present Medicare reimbursements paid to doctors for 19 months, with small increases each year.

The measures would add a total of about $54.2 billion to the federal deficit, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which estimates the deficit will reach about $1.5 trillion this fiscal year.

To keep moderates in line, Democrats also scuttled plans to provide more funding to states for Medicaid, the joint state-federal health-care program for lower-income people, some seniors and those with disabilities.

Even those changes failed to move many centrists, however.

“There are different attitudes in the country about how much we should be spending on unemployment insurance,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “Members who are from low unemployment areas are very concerned about the deficit. Members who are from high unemployment areas are very concerned about the jobs.”

The legislation the House passed Friday extends a series of business tax breaks, such as a research tax credit, that were due to expire. Part of the package is paid for, notably by changing how multinational companies are taxed on foreign income, as well as “carried interest” earned by venture capitalists, hedge fund managers and others.

Friday was the third time this year that Congress has failed to meet the deadline for extending jobless benefits.

On the first two occasions, Republican senators blocked quick consideration, saying they wanted the programs paid for. This time, Republicans still objected, but it was centrist Democrats who were raising alarms. The original House plan would have spent nearly $200 billion and increased the deficit by $133.8 billion over the next 10 years.

The day in D.C.

Roadless forests: The Obama administration Friday extended for another year the moratorium on most logging and mining in millions of acres of remote and rugged backcountry sections of national forests. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he wants to continue to give decisions on projects in roadless areas a higher level of scrutiny while waiting for federal courts to resolve the legal issues.

Kentucky Senate race: Senate candidate Rand Paul, R-Ky., told a Russian TV station in a clip circulating on political websites Friday that he opposes citizenship for children born in the U.S. to parents who are illegal immigrants. Paul, who a week ago won the GOP primary, said he wants to block citizenship to those children. “We’re the only country I know that allows people to come in illegally, have a baby and then that baby becomes a citizen,” Paul told RT, an English-language station.

Hutchison’s future: Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, hasn’t decided whether to retire at the end of 2012, and the possibility she’ll run again leaves a major question mark over the already competitive field of candidates lined up to replace her. After earlier declining to discuss her plans, she said this week she has set no deadline on whether to seek another six-year term.

Seattle Times news services


Weekend News&reviews …

While most of us will have a long weekend the BP spill is on all our minds and it does seem strange to watch a video of stuff coming out from the bottom of the Gulf but people are watching looking for something anything to change. A memorial for the 11 oil rig workers was held on Thursday; my condolences to every family who experienced a loss from this tragedy

The information BP has given out about the gusher has been slim, questionable and maybe as some have said outright lies; so, the President’s Press Conference helped some of us understand what has happened but isn’t reaching the viewer what with all the Media noise and meltdowns.  The media has actively reported their distaste  or made a decision to question the Presidents motives, behavior or response to the BP disaster without getting all the information first.

Republicans continue to use this awful event and mis-information  for their own political fervor  and the noise though loud; it’s clear that the initial information from BP was manipulated,  false then  turned into 39 days of adjusted comments and probably red herrings as one representative after the other gave out strange information or mis-spoke about how bad this is … or not … it’s a catastrophe  and 39 days later they finally admit that … unreal

Though it was frustrating to hear the Media toss verbal stones at the President, some reporters stated this was his Katrina…  and while most of us know and use our 1st amendment rights it just seemed like the rush to blame, point fingers and or act foolish by so-called journalists were far more than usual causing a lemming effect on all those around them.  It was nice to know i wasn’t the only one offended by comments from cable hosts like Chris Matthews who use their cable  platforms to speak out for as he put it “the American people”  first, they aren’t speaking for me.  In fact most stated how nice it was to have a President who was calm had some common sense not to mention poise and intellect.

Is it possible the melt-down  or comments from James Carville came from a bitter Hillary supporter as suggested on cable who received a lot of PR  making other talking heads jump on the bash the President wagon.  Some reporters said…We need to see his passion, to see he cares, some went so far as to compare him to a Politician from  Louisiana  obviously sad about what is going on; that was stupid on so many levels.

I want the News and true Entertainment from TV and or Cable; Opinion News is amusing at best, offensive when the comments from talking heads  are able to rally  folks against any one person in Politics or Entertainment and it’s time to say wait a minute is this your job ?   To think people from Cable actually think they merit, or  have enough credit to  make statements to purposefully change the outcome of a Poll, view or attitude about an Entertainer,  the President or  future elections just because he or she isn’t doing what these fools expect them to do seems un-American; definitely offensive… uh again, they don’t speak for me and if they are able to change peoples opinions by using their platforms then the public has either lost their minds and or the ability to think for themselves. I think we should all watch less Cable News and the people who own, work and manage Cable Stations need to  reevaluate what their presence on a local or national level is because it just doesn’t seem right to hear TV Hosts say they know what the people want or that they feel they represent the people watching … they shouldn’t be and it’s not the truth …it’s opinion News and it appears like it’s getting out of control.

We all have to ask ourselves what is the job of Cable hosts like Chris Matthews, Ed Shultz, Andrea Mitchell David Gregory, Joe Scarborough, John King. The notion that their job is to shape, sway or use Newspapers and or Polls to prove that what some reporter feels is better than our own ability to decide for ourselves is tiring and while i get it; controversy is good bring on the Pat Buchanan’s, Mary Maitland’s and others because they need to bring in more people, raise the numbers, the quotas; but it’s tired old and maybe time to change the format.

Other News ..

**The President has extended for another year a moratorium on most logging and mining


Panel Probes Johnson & Johnson Children’s Medicine Recall

At a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing Thursday, pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson came under fire for the recent recall of children’s over-the-counter medicines manufactured by its McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit. The company has issued multiple recalls over the last two years, the most recent involving children’s liquid medications.
Witnesses at this event included Colleen Goggins (above), a top executive for Johnson & Johnson, and officials from the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has indicated that the agency is considering seeking criminal penalties against McNeil.

watch Hearing on Johnson & Johnson

Oil Spill Investigation Hearings Enter Final Day in Louisiana

In a final day of hearings, a joint investigation panel of the U.S. Coast Guard and Minerals Management Service will hear testimony from additional survivors that were aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig during the April 20th explosion.In their testimony, workers have been describing the vessel’s condition, crew qualifications and the state of emergency preparedness, as well as the moment-by-moment sequence of events leading up to the explosion. The blast killed 11 workers and injured 17 others before triggering the massive oil spill that has blanketed parts of the Gulf of Mexico in what estimates indicate is the largest spill in U.S. history. Previous witnesses described an argument between drilling managers prior to the accident. Jimmy Harrell, the lead manager for Transocean, the rig’s owner, testified he was concerned by a BP manager’s decision to forgo certain tests before sealing the well. That BP manager declined to testify Thursday, invoking his Fifth Amendment protection against

A message from OFA

This is big news: Yesterday, the full House of Representatives and the Armed Services Committee in the Senate voted to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

In his State of the Union address, President Obama pledged to end the law that denies gays and lesbians the right to serve their country. Now, we are closer than ever to making good on that promise.

The full Senate will soon start its debate on repeal. But some Republicans are digging in their heels. Senator John McCain said, “I’ll do everything in my power” to block a vote. And Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker called the repeal bill “a major mistake” — announcing that the GOP plans to filibuster.

We can defeat those who’d stand in the way of history. But we must show our senators that Americans — in every state — overwhelmingly support repeal.

Stand with the President and join the pledge to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Stand with the President: Repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' Add your  name.

From the Recovery Act to health reform to Wall Street reform, one by one President Obama is delivering on his campaign promises. And, now — if we can overcome Republican obstruction — we have a chance to deliver on another: bringing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to an end.

As the President has said, this is about more than just living up to his word. We must end this law because “it’s the right thing to do.”

Any policy that punishes brave men and women who step forward to serve their country simply for being who they are isn’t just misguided — it’s discrimination.

That’s why President Obama didn’t just campaign on ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”; he made it a priority. And it’s why it’s now a matter of how and when — not if — we will repeal this law.

But as the Republicans prepare to block a vote on this historic legislation, we must do all we can to help deliver on the President’s promise.

Add your name to the pledge today — and then please pass it on:



Mitch Stewart
Organizing for America

Senator Patty Murray

Thank you for contacting me regarding energy exploration off our nation’s coastlines.

Since the passage of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act in 1952, the federal government has leased the underwater terrain extending for 200 miles beyond states’ jurisdiction. Due to environmental concerns, Congress limited energy exploitation of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to clearly-defined areas in the Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska’s coast, and affirmed a moratorium on the expansion of drilling outside those areas. In 2008, President George W. Bush removed the moratoria on offshore leasing for most areas of the OCS. In March 2010, President Obama approved new offshore oil and gas drilling in the waters of the mid and south Atlantic, the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico and certain waters surrounding Alaska. The waters that remain restricted to offshore oil and gas development are located off the West Coast and Bristol Bay in Alaska.

As you may know, after the explosion and heartbreaking deaths of 11 crewmembers of the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has temporarily halted all new offshore drilling permits. Additionally, a moratorium on new permits is in effect until a thorough federal investigation of this catastrophic incident can be completed. I believe the companies responsible for atrocities of this nature should be held financially accountable. I recently cosponsored the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Liability Act of 2010 (S. 3305) and the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Trust Fund Act of 2010 (S. 3306) to ensure taxpayers will not pay to clean up spills and oil companies are held accountable for all of the costs resulting from their accidents. Both of these bills are currently pending in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Throughout my Senate tenure, I have opposed efforts to expand offshore drilling. Additionally, I have long championed banning all offshore development along the West Coast. I recently became an original cosponsor of the West Coast Ocean Protection Act of 2010 (S. 3358). This bill would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from authorizing leases for exploration, development, or production of oil or natural gas in any area of the outer Continental Shelf off the coast of Washington, Oregon, and California. This bill is currently being considered in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Like you, I am deeply concerned about record-high energy prices and our continuing dependence on foreign oil. I firmly believe that we must move forward with policies that promote alternative energy, energy conservation and efficiency. As Congress continues to deal with energy and natural resource extraction issues, I will be working to ensure that we institute a sensible, comprehensive energy policy that focuses on renewable energy and decreases our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels.

I appreciate hearing your comments and concerns with offshore oil and gas development. If you would like to know more about my work in the Senate, please feel free to sign up for my weekly updates at Thank you for contacting me about this important issue, and please keep in touch.

Patty Murray
United States Senator


RADICAL RIGHT — OHIO RADIO STATION RUNS CONTEST TO ‘SPEND A WEEKEND CHASING ALIENS’ IN PHOENIX: Last week, Columbus, OH, Mayor Michael Coleman announced that he was banning city employees from traveling to Arizona on government business because of the state’s harsh new anti-immigration law. “He agrees with those who want to send a message to the state of Arizona that this is not the American way,” Coleman’s spokesman said. In response, a local radio station launched a contest to send a listener to Phoenix to “spend a weekend chasing aliens.” 610 WTVN, which broadcasts right-wing radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin, told listeners it wanted to “send you where Americans are proud and illegals are scared, sunny Phoenix, Arizona!” “You’ll spend a weekend chasing aliens and spending cash in the desert, just make sure you have your green card!” the promotion continued, noting that winners would get “a few pesos in spending cash.” Specially responding to Coleman, the station added, “City employees [are] encouraged to enter.” A coalition of Central Ohio Latino groups have called on the station to apologize for the promotion, saying the contest is an example of “the chilling effect of what is happening in Arizona with SB 1070.” “The promotion is insensitive and offensive to all Central Ohio communities. Instead of supporting more diversity in the city and better inter-ethnic relations, they are singling out one ethnic group in a degrading fashion,” a statement from the group read. This isn’t the first right-wing vigilante campaign to promote Arizona’s harsh new immigration law. A neo-Nazi group there recently distributed fliers encouraging people to “Report An Illegal” on Cinco de Mayo