Tuesday, September 06, 2005

You gotta try pork on a stick!

Reps. Conyers, Watt, Nadler, Jackson Lee To Introduce Bill to Relieve Debt Burden On Katrina Survivors

Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Rep. Mel Watt, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee announced today that when Congress returns next Tuesday, they will introduce legislation to protect the thousands of families and small businesses financially devastated by Hurricane Katrina from being penalized by anti-debtor provisions contained in the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, scheduled to take effect on October 17, 2005.

Reps. Conyers,Watt, Nadler, and Jackson Lee released the following joint statement:

"We are concerned that, just as survivors of Hurricane Katrina are beginning to rebuild their lives, the new bankruptcy law will prevent them from obtaining needed debt relief. The new law effective in October will include inflexible provisions that could prevent families financially devastated by this natural disaster from obtaining debt relief by basing repayment plans on income streams that likely no longer exist or by diverting disaster assistance funds to credit card companies.

When the Judiciary Committee considered the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act earlier this year, Ms. Jackson Lee offered an amendment to protect the victims of natural disaster like those now devastated by Hurricane Katrina. While the amendment was defeated on a party line vote, we hope that in light of recent events our colleagues will recognize the importance of protecting our most financially vulnerable Americans.

The legislation we plan to introduce will ensure that new bankruptcy provisions will not have adverse and unintended consequences for the hundreds of thousands now facing financial catastrophe by providing needed flexibility for victims of natural disasters in bankruptcy proceedings.

Our common sense bill will insure that we do not compound a natural disaster with a man made financial disaster. We hope to obtain bipartisan support for expedited consideration of this critical legislation."


“You gotta try pork on a stick!”
Presidential candidate Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) endorses new version of a Washington staple while campaigning at
the Iowa State Fair, on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos”

Dems out to avenge DeLay’s comment on Kennedy’s girth

Democrats are still fuming about a remark last month by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), suggesting that Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) is flabby on national defense. “That made a lot of people very mad,” said one Democratic insider. And with Congress back in town, it’s get-even time.

Speaking to a College Republicans meeting after his return from Israel, DeLay said, “To gauge how out of touch the Democrat leadership is on the war on terror, just close your eyes and try to imagine Ted Kennedy landing that Navy jet on the deck of that aircraft carrier.”

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) has found himself the object of jabs from House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas).

Then DeLay chuckled, “I certainly don’t want to see Teddy Kennedy in a flight suit.”

Within days, several Democrats fired back, among them former Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.), a Vietnam veteran, who defended Kennedy’s Army record and called DeLay, who never served in the military, “a chicken hawk.”

Now party operatives are circulating an article that ran four years ago in the Houston Press, describing an impromptu news conference DeLay held at the 1988 GOP convention. According to the story, DeLay, a two-term congressman at the time, explained that he and vice presidential nominee and then-Sen. Dan Quayle (R-Ind.), who during the Vietnam War joined the National Guard, were the unfortunate victims of supply and demand.

“So many minority youths had volunteered … there was literally no room” for the two of them to fight in the war, DeLay said.

Jonathan Grella, spokesman for the majority leader’s office, said the Democrats’ tactics does not surprise him. “It just goes to show you how much DeLay makes them sweat.”

How Emanuel dealt with his mid-life crisis

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) said he spent the summer “ramping up to my mid-life crisis.” In the process, he turned in some enviable times competing in this year’s Chicago Triathlon, one of the largest in the world.

Emanuel entered the sprint version — a half-mile swim; 13-mile bike ride; and 3.5 mile run – and at age 43 he finished 16th out of the 96 participants in his bracket.

For the record, he completed the half-mile swim in 17 minutes, 27 seconds; the 13-mile bike ride in 40 minutes on a Trek (the cheap model); and the 3.5-mile run in 25 minutes, 16 seconds.

“There’s a spirituality to it,” he said of the grueling experience, which left him with a pinched nerve in his neck.

Emanuel swims at the 17th Street YMCA most mornings when Congress is in session, though his fall training schedule may be interrupted by visits to his physical therapist.

Airline makes room for Lee

Members of Congress often use weekend plane trips back to their districts as a way to unwind after a hectic bout of lawmaking. Which could explain why Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) demanded a whole row of seats to herself on a recent Continental flight from Washington to Houston.

Jackson Lee usually gets first-class upgrades from the airline. But on this particular flight first class was full. After cabin attendants delivered the bad news and showed her to the coach section, Jackson Lee exploded, said one witness.

“When she saw that she had to sit with other people, she started shouting that she was in Congress and worked hard. She was really loud. Everybody in the plane could hear.”

Frequent flyers say that such outbursts are common whenever Jackson Lee is on board. The Continental crew seemed to take the whole situation in stride. Attendants scurried around to find her other accommodations, and once Jackson Lee got her own row of seats she quieted down.

Later in the flight she even paid a friendly visit to the people she had refused to sit with. According to a nearby passenger, Jackson Lee “handed out her business cards and invited them to stop by her office.”

Frank delivers straight talk to the Queer Eye

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), whose campaign slogan back in 1976 was “Neatness Isn’t Everything,” lashed out at “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” the Bravo channel’s hit gay makeover series.

“It doesn’t have to do with effeminacy, it has to do with superficiality,” Frank told The New York Observer. “The notion that gay men have a superior fashion sense is not true, and it’s damaging. ... It’s perfectly possible to enjoy that show and say, ‘Look at those clever homosexuals — what they do with hair!’ And not support gays at all.”

“Barney has a right to his own opinion,” said Frank’s friend Sergio Pombo, who admitted the chronically disheveled lawmaker sometimes needs style tips. “He’s not a slob. Fashion just isn’t his main interest. But when I think he needs some advice, I give it to him,” insisted Pombo in a phone interview.

Times column, Kerry’s contest

• It turns out that David Brooks, whose new column begins appearing every other Saturday in The New York Times starting this month, will not be giving up his Friday night job on PBS's "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" after all. But he will be taking a short break until October, by which time it's assumed he will have adjusted to the Times' deadlines, not to mention its post-Jayson Blair editorial culture. For the next few weeks, Brooks' new colleague and fellow conservative, William Safire, will fill in by taking his slot, trading informed opinion with liberal pundit Mark Shields.

• In just 48 hours some lucky contributor will win an entire day on the campaign trail with presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). To qualify for the all-expenses paid reality trip, donors have to contribute a minimum of $25 via Kerry’s website. “That’s one way to get more people invested in his campaign,” said political consultant Andrew Kennedy of Kennedy Communications. The contest may be an attempt to duplicate the grassroots gusher created by his rival, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D). “But the prize suggests Kerry could be overestimating public interest in walking around with him,” said Kennedy. Not so, said a spokesperson for Kerry headquarters. “We’ve raised a considerable amount of low-dollar contributions.”
Rep. Rogers fosters road rage in Kentucky

Attaching the names of politicians to buildings and highways is standard practice, so Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) probably thought it would be business as usual when a road in his native state was named after him.

“It’s a tremendous honor to have this parkway named after me,” said Rogers, who helped to obtain the $13 million in federal funds that allowed the state of Kentucky to eliminate tolls on the road.

The problem is that the 60-mile highway used to be named after the legendary explorer Daniel Boone and Boone enthusiasts are not happy about the change.

“Yes, we’re hurt and upset that it happened,” said Rochelle Cochran, president of the Boone Society and a direct descendent of Boone’s brother Edward. “We understand politics, but we want to see history preserved ... Rogers should do the gentlemanly thing and tell the state to restore the old name.”

That appears unlikely. The last time Cochran phoned Rogers’ office to talk about it she got “a bunch of excuses” and a call back from the Kentucky highway department.

“I can see why Daniel Boone moved to Missouri,” she said.


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