A quick trip around Hannity's America...
We know that most lawmakers did not read the spending bill before they voted on it and it appears that Barack Obama didn't either. Despite the president's continued claims that there are no earmarks in the bill, Politico.com is reporting that $8 billion have been allocated for high-speed rail grants to select states.
This news was welcomed by Nevada Senator Harry Reid, who has lobbied for a Las Vegas to Los Angeles railway for years. A spokesman from Harry Reid's office, however, denied this was an earmark, saying the funds are for competitive grants that would be awarded by the transportation secretary. He went on to say that "the proposed Los Angeles-Las Vegas rail project would be eligible to receive funds."
So in Senator Reid's defense, he's right, it's not an earmark yet. The money has only been earmarked for an earmark.
In other pork related news, the president used his address before the Business Council Friday morning as an opportunity to praise — believe it or not — the elegant process through which he and his counterparts have gone to pass the massive spending bill.
For his abuse of the English language, President Obama gets tonight's Liberal Translation treatment:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Not everybody has shared the same view of how we should move forward, and at times our discussions have been contentious.
LIBERAL TRANSLATION: It all started when I said the Republicans were peddling "false theories" and "phony arguments."
OBAMA: But that's a good thing from my perspective. Diverse viewpoints are the lifeblood of our democracy and debating these viewpoints is how we learn from each other's perspective and refine our approaches.
LIBERAL TRANSLATION: Since my whole "era of bipartisanship" didn't work out so well, I think this has a nice ring to it.
OBAMA: But as we meet, Congress is now poised to act. It's passed the House, it's passed the Senate.
LIBERAL TRANSLATION: Thank goodness none of them had time to read it!
OBAMA: We expect a vote on the final version today, and one of the reasons we've come so far is because so many of you have recognized the urgency and necessity of taking action.
LIBERAL TRANSLATION: That, and I've talked the economy down so much you'd do anything to make me stop!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Congratulations, President Obama, on passing such a great bill, and in such a truly bipartisan fashion.
The New Left
Can changing offices change your values? That's what some are asking New York's newest senator, Kirsten Gillibrand.
As a member of the House, she was known as a conservative Democrat, representing a largely Republican district in upstate New York. Now that she's taken over the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton, the junior senator is indicating she's had a change of heart on some key issues.
The New York Times reports the new Gillibrand now opposes penalizing sanctuary cities that fail to enforce immigration laws — a direct contradiction of her voting record in the House. And Powerlineblog.com notes Gillibrand's about face on gun control: She now says she would be in favor of introducing new gun control legislation in the Senate. A surprising development for somebody with a 100 percent voting record and an A+ lifetime rating with the NRA.
Oh how quickly people can change. There must be something in the drinking water in her new Senate office.
A potential benefit of the economic recession: The Wall Street Journal reports that illegal immigrants who have jumped the U.S. border in unprecedented numbers over the past several years are turning back around. That's right, the scarcity of jobs in the U.S. is causing illegal immigrants who have been especially hard hit by the economic downturn to head back to their homeland.
Not only that, these immigrants are registering their children, many of whom were born in the United States and who are therefore U.S. citizens, for Mexican citizenship. The Mexican Consulate received 12,000 more applications from Mexicans registering their American-born children for citizenship over a six-month period last year than over the same period the year before.
Hey, if we can't get our own government to enforce the law, at least some illegal aliens are taking care of the problem for us.
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Sean Hannity currently serves as host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) Hannity (weekdays 9-10PM/ET). He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York. Click here for more information on Sean Hannity.