Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Israeli Elections, Spending Bill Passes in Senate

Shimon Peres
Eugene Robinson
Dana Millbank

Hello. If you do nothing else here, click on the link above to Shimon Peres's Opinion Editorial in the Washington Post.

Israeli elections are being held today, by our dinnertime we should know who the new Prime Minister will be. The choices are Worse and Worser, with 60% of Israelis having voted already. The analogy here would be having to choose between Ron Paul and Tom Tancredo. Ron Paul is a John Birch supporter, having given a speech at their last big convention, and Tom Tancredo has been supported by the American Nazis, substitute Mexican immigrants for Palestinians here...

The Jerusalem Post reports that Hamas leaders are on their way to Cairo for a meeting tomorrow on the Gaza cease fire agreement: "We are awaiting the results of the Israeli election. If Netanyahu wins, I don't think the [Israeli] government will be able to form a cease-fire agreement," Hamas official Osama Hamdan said on Tuesday.

President Obama's Spending Bill passed in the Senate, 61-37. If any of his plans work, kiss the Republican Party good-bye. We may as well hang George Bush and Dick Cheney by their thumbs from the nearest tree...

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid was quoted as saying: “The millions of Americans who are out of work, struggling to keep their homes and make one pay cheque last until the next one comes, deserve to hear five words from Congress: Help is on the way.”

The Washington Monthly reports: "Nevertheless, the next phase -- a conference committee between House and Senate negotiators -- should be nearly as contentious as this one. Already, the same "centrists" who helped the bill overcome Republican obstructionism are threatening to withdraw their support if anyone tries to change their version of the legislation.

Already, both Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), the architect of the compromise, and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), one of three Republicans whose support was crucial on Monday, have come out to say they won't accept a bill that's much different from the one they voted for.

"It can't be materially different as to the topline [of about $830 billion] or as to the pieces in the package," Nelson told Politico. And Specter released a statement that reads, "My support for the Conference Report on the stimulus package will require that the Senate compromise bill come back virtually intact including, but not limited to, overall spending, the current ratio of tax cuts to spending, and the $110 billion in cuts."

I watched Obama's press conference last night. It is such a refreshing change to have someone with an intellect in the White House, one who actually tries to answer the questions asked him from reporters. And, after being spurned and dissed by Republicans that he has repeatedly tried to reach out to, he has the patience like a parent of a willful child, to keep making overtures...
For example, the Financial Times reports that when Obama went to a town hall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana: "Mr Obama’s attempts to marshal a bipartisan consensus were dealt a blow in the morning when Dick Lugar, the moderate Republican senator for Indiana, declined an invitation to travel on Air Force One to the event in his home state.

Mr Lugar cited a clashing schedule, which included attending a conference on reforestation."

Along with Mr Lugar, todays jokes are:

"President Obama, getting very tough now, has imposed a $500,000 salary cap for executives getting federal bailout money. And, listen to this: Now on weekends, they can only play miniature golf. No more 18 holes." --Jay Leno

"See, the whole theory behind this salary cap is if you're not performing well, and you're taking taxpayer money, then that should be reflected in lower wages. Of course, under that criteria, everybody in Congress should get like, what, 2 bucks an hour?" --Jay Leno

"It looks like more than 13,000 people were caught up in that Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme. You know what a Ponzi scheme is? That's where you throw good money after bad, or as the government calls it, a stimulus package. But very similar." --Jay Leno

"People are sick and tired of the cold weather. Here's how cold it was today in Washington, D.C. Vice President Joe Biden put his foot in his mouth just to keep it warm." --David Letterman

"Monday is the Westminster Kennel Club's 133rd Annual Dog Show. As you know, these just aren't regular dogs. These dogs are scrutinized and gone over, literally, with a fine-tooth comb. And they're judged, here's how they're judged: appearance, of course, appearance. Silky coat, silky coat. Firm hindquarters, firm hindquarters. It's also how John McCain chose his running mate." --David Letterman

"So every dog is groomed, blow-dried and flea-dipped. You know, it's the same thing they did to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for the impeachment trial." --David Letterman

"President Brack Obama has relaxed the White House dress code. He's the first president to do that since Bill Clinton, who, of course, established 'Pants-Free Friday.'" --David Letterman

"On Friday, the Senate agreed to an economic stimulus package of at least $780 billion, which I know sounds like a lot of money, but, remember, that's in American dollars." --Seth Meyers

"At a Groundhog Day ceremony at the Staten Island Zoo on Monday, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg was bitten on the finger by a groundhog, which means six more weeks of winter for us, and six pounds of fresh groundhog meat for the zoo's lions." --Seth Meyers

"Hi everyone, I'm Jimmy. I'm your late-night stimulus package. ... Word out of the Senate tonight is that a deal has been reached on a $780 billion stimulus package. It's said to include a mixture of tax cuts, infrastructure spending, health-care stipends, and ponies for everyone in America." --Jimmy Kimmel

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