Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Congress has decided to file a bill that will back even more recommendations from the 9/11 commission. I think this is likely good news.
Democrats say that the House proposals would implement nearly all the remaining reforms recommended in 2004 by the bipartisan commission on the 2001 attacks, including ways to beef up funding and training for first responders as well as calls to rewrite many U.S. policies for controlling weapons of mass destruction and nuclear proliferation.

Former congressman Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.), who served as vice chairman of the panel, estimated that the previous Congress had enacted half the commission's recommendations, including creating a director to oversee the federal government's intelligence agencies. He said the "American people will be safer" if the remaining proposals become law.

"It carries out the recommendations that we have made," Hamilton said at a news conference yesterday with House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and other Democrats. "And if this bill is enacted, then almost all of the recommendations of the commission will have been put into law."
Some highlights are below:
• Substantially increase the share of homeland security grants that are provided to states based on risk and threat.

• Establish an emergency communications grant program at the Department of Homeland Security.

• Increase federal assistance to state, local and tribal governments to foster a unified command system during emergencies.

• Require screening of air cargo, provide more support for airport security, and improve redress process for people wrongly put on the “no-fly” list.

• Require all containers leaving the largest overseas ports to be scanned before being loaded onto a ships destined for the United States.

• Authorize $10 million to help combat human smuggling, human trafficking and terrorism travel.

• Require the homeland security secretary to conduct annual vulnerability assessments of the national infrastructure.

• Require the homeland security secretary to create within 90 days a program to improve private-sector preparedness for terrorism and other disasters.

• Codify sanctions against individuals involved in the illegal trade of nuclear technology and prohibit the United States from providing aid to countries that do business with these individuals.
Will the United Nations finally stop acting lazy and actually do something about this?!? The UN isn't even doing their job of actually implementing the resolutions that have been enacted.
Hezbollah is rearming and United Nations forces are doing nothing to prevent it or disarm them, Israel’s military intelligence chief said.

Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday that the Lebanese terrorist group is rebuilding its rocket-launching capabilities.

He also said the Syrian army had lowered its alert level to what it was before last summer’s war with Lebanon.
In Israeli news, Ehud Barack is getting involved again and is hoping to be in the leadership of the Labor Party. He's done a complete 180.

Bill O'Reilly will appear on The Colbert Report. This should get interesting.
Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly will appear on "The Colbert Report" at 11:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, as a guest on the show. Colbert, who plays his O'Reilly-like commentator to the hilt, will return the favor by appearing on "The O'Reilly Factor" earlier in the evening at 8 p.m. EST.

Colbert, a longtime contributor to Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," got his own show in October 2005. O'Reilly has had the top cable news show for more than five years and has been with the Fox News Channel since its start in 1996.

"I'm really looking forward to speaking to a man who owes his entire career to me," O'Reilly said in a prepared statement.
John Yarmuth will be ready when he runs for re-election in 2008.

Here's a look at the behind-the-scenes of getting money from the Bayh donor network. Bayh's network is similar to that of the president's pioneer network.
Democratic White House hopefuls such as Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.), Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) are rushing to capitalize on an impressive national fundraising network Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) built in the mold of President Bush’s pioneers program. The strength of Bayh’s connections could boost his profile when the Democratic nominee selects a running mate next year.

In December, a few days after Bayh announced his decision not to run for president in 2008, about 160 of his biggest donors were scheduled to fly to Washington to craft a fundraising campaign. Several of Bayh’s advisers said that “well over” 150 donors in his network had pledged to raise $150,000 each for the campaign, and a smaller group of fundraisers had promised to raise $500,000 apiece.

A unique quality of the network, say the advisers, is that it includes many donors — a group cultivated by the lawmaker, who has strong ties to the business community and espouses centrist policies — that are not in other national candidates’ databases. Combined, the donors helped stockpile more than $10 million in cash on hand to Bayh’s reelection fund, which can be transferred immediately to a presidential campaign and would enhance the senator’s viability as a vice presidential nominee.

“He was always a top-tier candidate and he should be for reasons of message and his moderate stance, but in addition to that he not only will have in excess of $11 million or $12 million on hand, he has a tremendous network of people willing to raise millions of dollars for him,” said Joe Andrew, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and member of Bayh’s network who himself pledged to raise half a million dollars for the senator.

Bayh’s chief fundraising aide, Nancy Jacobson, who helped to build the network, already has signed on to Clinton’s presidential campaign. But Edwards and Obama are also trying to snag a piece of Bayh’s pie.

“I have a feeling she will guard our list pretty strong, but I heard that Sen. Edwards has made inroads with some of our people,” said Richard Gordon, a member of Bayh’s kitchen cabinet who first met Bayh during his father’s presidential campaign.

Bayh’s network is especially valuable because many of its members are not “regular David donors,” in the words of one Democrat.

Outside observers agree with Bayh’s advisers that his fundraising prowess would be valuable next year after a candidate wins the Democratic nomination. That is because the nominee is widely expected to forego public financing for the primary and general elections, which would free him or her from spending limits that have constrained candidates in past years.

“Bayh could be exactly the kind of vice presidential candidate who could be most valuable in 2008 because of his established fundraising abilities,” said Michael Toner, who served as Federal Election Commission (FEC) chairman last year. “In the past, the candidates at the top of the ticket didn’t look to vice-presidential candidates to be major fundraising magnets.

“That’s mainly because past presidential candidates have taken public money for the general election,” he added. “If we’re headed in 2008 to candidates turning down money for the general election, the ability of a vice-presidential candidate to be instrumental on the fundraising side has never been more important.”

In total, Bayh’s fundraising network consists of about 500 major donors, ranging from supporters who promised to raise $25,000 to those who pledged to collect $500,000.
Senator Bayh is co-sponsoring a bill to raise the minimum wage. With a DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY, it's essential that we get the minimum wage increased. I've not yet taken a look at the economic advantages and disadvantages but from a personal standpoint, a lot of working young adults don't make that much with regards to income and the current standards of living. Here is the press release from Bayh:
.S. Senator Evan Bayh today announced that he cosponsored legislation to support working Americans by raising the federal minimum wage for the first time in 10 years. The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, sponsored by Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Harry Reid (D-NV), would raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour over the next two years.

“Every day, countless Americans work full time but still struggle to make ends meet,” Senator Bayh said. “This is the longest Congress has gone without raising the minimum wage since it was introduced, and too many families are struggling as a result. By enacting a long-overdue increase in the minimum wage, we can help ensure that every American who works hard and plays by the rules is able to support a family.”

Because of inflation, the current federal minimum wage only buys about 80 percent as much as it did when the last increase was enacted in 1997. In addition to the impact the decreased buying power has on working families, some economists suggest that businesses suffer when wages fail to keep up with inflation, leaving consumers with less money to spend.

A report released last year by the nonpartisan Fiscal Policy Institute showed that small businesses in states that have raised the minimum wage above the federal level of $5.15/hour since 1997, have actually outperformed small businesses in states that have lower minimum wage rates in a number of ways, including the hiring more workers.

Senator Bayh has consistently championed the need to support workers by increasing the federal minimum wage, including cosponsoring legislation identical to the current bill in 2005 and voting for it three times as an amendment. Bayh also was one of 11 cosponsors of the Standing with Minimum Wage Workers Act, which would tie future increases in the minimum wage to increases in Congressional pay.
The House will be voting on their version of the bill to increase the minimum wage.

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