Tales from the Trail

Helloooooo out there…. Senator asks if anyone paying attention to speech

Senators go to the Senate floor and make speeches about issues near and dear to their constituents all day long — but whether anyone is actually listening is another matter. USA-CONGRESS/

Making speeches on the Senate floor gets the words into the official record, but often they are made to a near-empty chamber so it is never quite clear whether the words are heard.

That can be frustrating for politicians used to getting plenty of attention.

Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski got fed up when she was speaking about the budget fight and how a government shutdown would hurt port and airport operations. As she talked, she saw the senator who was presiding over the chamber, another Democrat, apparently checking her BlackBerry.

“I’m telling you, Madam President, this is not going to be good. But you know what’s not really good? Not only the consequences but the way we’re functioning here. Madam President, Hello? Madam President? I don’t know if my speech is not that attention-getting but could I have your attention?” Mikulski said.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand responded dutifully: “The senator has consumed ten minutes.”

The First Draft: Will Giuliani try for the U.S. Senate?

He probably won’t run for New York governor but might for the U.S. Senate … or will he?
     
That’s the speculation swirling around Rudy Giuliani, the Republican former New York City mayor who walked tall after the Sept. 11 attacks and ran for U.S. president in 2008.
    
A spokeswoman says the 65-year-old former federal prosecutor has made no decisions.
    
But the New York Daily News, the New York Times  and the New York Post  all report that Giuliani has decided not to run for New York governor in 2010. USA-POLITICS
    
Analysts think he could defeat Democratic incumbent Governor David Paterson without much fuss. But overcoming a possible challenge from New York’s Democratic attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, could be have been difficult. Cuomo has not announced his candidacy.
    
The Daily News reports that Giuliani is strongly considering a Senate run against Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to fill out the remaining two years of Hillary Clinton’s term. Clinton, who lost in last year’s Democratic presidential nomination to Barack Obama, is now U.S. secretary of state.

The Daily News cites poll numbers showing Giuliani losing to Cuomo 53 percent to 43 percent in a race for governor,  but beating Gillibrand 54 percent to 40 percent for the Senate.

But the Senate speculation may not last long.

The New York Post quotes people close to Giuliani as saying a run for the Senate is unlikely.

from Environment Forum:

Endangered yellow taxi? US climate bill could turn them green

The sweeping legislation unveiled in the U.S. Senate today aims to curb climate change, arguably one of the biggest tasks ever undertaken on this planet. But it's a bill that runs to more than 800 pages, and hidden in its folds is a provision that could turn a noted symbol of New York City -- the yellow taxicab -- green.

And it wouldn't just be in New York. Boston, San Francisco, Seattle and other major U.S. cities would be able to create taxi fleets made up entirely of hybrid vehicles under the proposed Green Taxis Act of 2009.

Offered by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who now fills Hillary Clinton's former seat in the Senate, the measure aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 296,000 tons in New York City alone, which its sponsors say would be like taking some 35,000 cars off the road and save drivers $4,500 annually in gas costs.

New York, California want rejected stimulus dough

Watch out Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina, New York and California would love those dollars you turn down from the $787 billion economic stimulus plan.
 
A few governors, namely Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, South Carolina’s Mark Sanford and Mississippi’s Haley Barbour, have all said that they may turn down some of the stimulus money for their states, particularly aid aimed at bolstering unemployment benefit programs.
 
“We can’t pay for the benefits already in the program, but to get the stimulus money, we’ve got to increase the program’s size and scale,” Sanford said on “Fox News Sunday”.
 
That has some other states hard hit by the deepening recession calling for the money to be sent their way, especially New York where Wall Street has been laying off workers by the thousands.MARKETS-STOCKS/
 
“If any governor — Democrat or Republican — leaves stimulus money on the table, then we respectfully request that funds be distributed to New York,” the state’s two Democratic senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, said in a letter to President Barack Obama on Monday.
 
Another New York lawmaker, Representative Anthony Weiner, plans to offer legislation that would redirect rejected stimulus funds to other states. 
 
“If some governors decide to reject the money, 45 other states should be able to use it to create thousands of jobs. We have plenty of projects across the country that will put people to work and help achieve long term economic growth and stability,” Weiner said in a statement.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

- Photo credit: Reuters/Mike Segar (Wall Street in New York City.)