Here are a few items that you may have missed during the past week as you basked in all the stock market “gains”…
Looks like there’s another star from Alaska who is making some waves in D.C. Lisa Murkowski, who’s father lost to Sarah Palin in the primary election as he tried for re-election as governor in 2006, is being called a “powerhouse” in the Senate. (One of the charges leveled at Frank Murkowski was that he appointed his daughter to the Senate after he was elected governor.) From the AP:
Only in her first full term, Murkowski is Alaska’s senior senator and the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, a crucial role for her oil-producing state. She serves on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee and is the only woman among eight men on the Senate GOP’s leadership team.
“I can’t think of anybody in recent years in the Senate who has gone further faster than Lisa Murkowski,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “Alaska has a new powerhouse already.”
…Even with her climb to power, Murkowski is dogged by an unspoken rivalry with Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP’s vice presidential nominee in 2008 who defeated Murkowski’s father in a hard-fought primary in 2006.
Murkowski is up for re-election in 2010, and pundits from Washington to Alaska have focused on a possible primary challenge by Palin, a possible presidential contender in 2012. Palin, whose term as governor ends next year, has not announced her plans.
While she supports increased oil and gas drilling, Murkowski is more moderate than many other GOP senators, Begich said. Murkowski supported a fair-pay act for women and an expansion of children’s health insurance, both Democratic priorities.
While both women deny the talk of rivalry, even going so far as to write a joint opinion piece with the title “We’re not rivals; we’re in partnership for Alaska,” rumors persist. Palin’s term as governor ends next year and Murkowski is up for re-election in 2010 and there is speculation that Palin might mount a primary challenge to Murkowski. Should be interesting…
And doesn’t it seem that the GOP powers in D.C. may be closing ranks around Murkowski over Palin?
If you’re wondering what’s going on with the Franken-Coleman Senate seat battle, here’s the latest update:
Politco.com reported on Friday that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is urging a fight all the way to the Supreme Court:
Franken holds a 225-vote lead after a hand recount of ballots cast in November. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested Friday that Coleman’s fight to hold on to his Minnesota Senate seat may still be in its nascent stages.
“This could end up in federal court based on the allegations of the Coleman campaign that there has not been a consistent manner of counting votes county by county,” McConnell said. “I don’t know where this ends.”
Guess what case they are citing? Remember the one that was supposed to be a “one-time only” decision?
McConnell said that Coleman’s team seems to have been laying the groundwork for a federal appeals challenge by citing the 2000 Supreme Court case in Bush v. Gore, which ended the Florida recount. McConnell argued that the equal protection clause of the Constitution ensures that each county should use similar standards in counting its ballots, which the Coleman campaign asserts was not done in Minnesota.
“We all remember Bush v. Gore,” McConnell said.
Guess who else has a second stimulus package ready to roll? From Xinhua News Agency/China Views:
Premier: China ready to roll out new stimulus package if needed
BEIJING, March 13 (Xinhua) — China has prepared plans to cope with even bigger difficulties amid the financial crisis and is ready to put forward new stimulus package at any time, said Premier Wen Jiabao here Friday.
“We are ready to put forward new stimulus policies at any time,” Wen said.
China rolled out a 4-trillion-yuan (585.5 billion U.S. dollars) two-year stimulus package last year, for which the central government has pledged 1.18 trillion yuan.
Wen said Friday the 1.18 trillion yuan from the central government was totally new investment.
The package included huge government investment, tax reform, industrial restructuring, scientific innovation, social welfare and promoting employment.
Apart from the 4-trillion-yuan package, China will cut tax by 600 billion yuan, raise the old-age pension for retired workers, hike the salaries of 12 million teachers, increase farmers’ income and provide more subsidies for them.
The country also plans to spend 850 billion yuan on reforming the health care sector within three years.
“These investment is not included in the 4-trillion-yuan stimulus package,” Wen said.
All investment plans in the massive stimulus package have been fully debated, and would be open for public supervision, he said.
He said the stimulus package included many new projects, such as the housing projects for low-income urban residents.
Dollars, yuans…it’s beginning to sound all the same…
VIA Chicago Correspondent Leslie:
Here’s the quote of the week from Sen. Gregg, the Republican who bailed as Commerce Secretary:
From the end of the article a MSNBC’s First Read:
“Gregg questioned why any foreign country would continue to buy up U.S. debt: “Because if I’m in the international marketplace, and I’m looking at this budget, I’m saying to myself, ‘Where’s the discipline? Where’s the containment?’ There isn’t any.”
In his withdrawal statement last month, Gregg said, “I expect there will be many issues and initiatives where I can and will work to assure the success of the president’s proposals.”The budget doesn’t appear to be one of them.”
THE PAST WEEK
*By American Lassie
Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (March 14, 2009) (Lost Dog; Budding; Pruned Grapes; A Robin Visits; Clouds Around Town; Biker Chic) Pics!
Obama on the Border: The Language Shift & Plan to Use Executive Orders–Tying It All Together (Security, Trade, Immigration )
Mexico Plans World’s Third Largest Seaport, Will Impact U.S. Ports on West Coast; Citigroup to Help Finance? (Updated 1X More on TARP $$ Going Overseas)
The Past Week: March 1-7, 2009 (More on Sinclair Lewis; Canada-EU Free Trade?; China Eyeing the Big Three Automakers’ “Juicy Bits”?; Palin’s “Troopergate” Foe Winds Up In Obama Administration)
Filed under: Current Politics | Tagged: Al Franken, Alaska, AP, Bush vs. Gore, China second stimulus plan, equal protection clause of the Constitution, fair-pay act for women, Frank Murkowski, gas drilling, Minnesota Senate election, Mitch McConnell, Norm Coleman, oil drilling, Sarah Palin, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Senate Appropriations Committee, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Supreme Court, Ted Stevens | 10 Comments »