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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 10,298

Journal Archives

California's gas tax increase has fast-tracked road repairs as supporters hope to stave off a repeal

Motorists on the 605 Freeway may have recently noticed their ride getting smoother when they pass through El Monte — at least state officials hope they have.

Three months after the state began collecting an extra 12 cents per gallon in gas taxes, officials have put dozens of road and bridge repair projects on the fast track. With momentum growing for a Republican-led campaign to repeal the gas tax hike, nervous proponents of the higher charges are hoping the flurry of construction activity on California highways will save the $54 billion the levies will generate during the next decade for the state’s badly neglected road system.

The stakes were raised Monday when President Trump announced plans to provide up to $200 billion in federal funds for road and other infrastructure projects, focusing heavily on the ability of states to provide substantial matching funds to receive a share of federal money.

“The proposed repeal of SB 1 would not only rob our state and local governments of vitally needed state funding, but now we learn that it could also hamper our ability to receive federal funding,” said Matt Cate, executive director of the California State Assn. of Counties.


Here are the members of Congress who take the most money from the gun lobby

The list of lawmakers who get most of campaign cash from the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups reads like a who’s-who of the Republican Party.

Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio? Check. The pair of Cuban-American senators were the top recipients in 2016 — no surprise, since they both ran for president.

Cruz raked in $360,727 to lead the way, according to OpenSecrets.org. Just two years earlier, Cruz had collected $18,300 when he was the junior senator from Texas and lacked any significant influence in the Senate.

Gun-rights groups donated nearly all their money in 2016 to candidates running for president, leaders in Congress and candidates in key Senate races. More than 98% of the contributions went to Republicans.


VA head changed records to hide travel boondoggle, report alleges

President Trump’s executive branch chiefs came under renewed criticism this week over travel expenses billed to the government. In the most recent instance, the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs was accused of a cover-up that involved altering emails relating to a trip that cost taxpayers more than $120,000.

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin had his staff alter an email and made false statements to justify a 10-day European vacation with his wife last year, according to a report from VA Inspector General Michael J. Missal. According to the Washington Post, Shulkin also improperly accepted tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament worth thousands of dollars. Shulkin had his staff say that he was accepting an award on the trip to justify bringing his wife, which contributed to the total cost of $122,334.

Shulkin called the portrayal of the trip “entirely inaccurate,” adding that it “reeks of an agenda.” This did not stop Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., from calling for Shulkin’s resignation.

“It’s exactly corruption and abuses like this that doesn’t help our veterans,” wrote Coffman, who served in the Marines. “Secretary Shulkin must RESIGN now. President Trump ran on accountability, it starts here.”


White House Now Just Holding Continuous Going-Away Party For Departing Staffers

WASHINGTON—In an effort to make the frequent festivities for departing staffers more efficient, White House officials announced Tuesday that the administration is now just holding one continuous going-away party.

“Instead of throwing a send-off celebration for Rob Porter and Rick Dearborn only to turn around and do it again a week later, we will now simply hold around-the-clock gatherings with light refreshments and cupcakes to honor whoever left the administration most recently,” said Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, adding that employees may now join their coworkers at any time of day in the permanently decorated White House kitchen where a never-ending stream of staffers will announce that this is their last day, perpetually deliver farewell speeches, and constantly pass around and sign goodbye cards for continuously departing coworkers.

“In order to avoid another situation like when we had three separate get-togethers in one week for Sean Spicer, Michael Short, and Reince Priebus, aides may now enjoy a cup of soda, don a party hat, reminisce over fond memories together, and say their farewells whenever it is convenient for them.”

Huckabee-Sanders added that she looks forward to seeing everyone in the kitchen, where she expects to be honored shortly.


SpaceX's Falcon Heavy center booster lacked enough ignition fluid to light engines, land on platform

The center core booster of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy didn't land on a floating sea platform as intended during last week's first test flight because it ran out of ignition fluid, company Chief Executive Elon Musk said Monday.

Musk took to Twitter on Monday morning to give a few more updates on the Falcon Heavy's first flight. After liftoff, the rocket's two side boosters touched down simultaneously on land, eliciting cheers and applause from the crowd of SpaceX employees gathered in the company's Hawthorne headquarters, as seen on the launch livestream.

Those two boosters, which were used in previous launches of SpaceX's workhorse Falcon 9 rocket, will not be reused again, Musk said in a post-launch news conference last week.

But the center core booster ended up hitting the Atlantic Ocean at 300 mph and about 328 feet from the floating platform where it was supposed to land. Musk said Monday that there wasn't enough ignition fluid to light the outer two engines of the booster "after several three engine relights."


From Fallujah to FBI investigation: The undoing of Duncan Hunter

The criminal investigation into Rep. Duncan Hunter is intensifying as a grand jury in San Diego questions multiple former aides about whether the California Republican improperly diverted political funds for personal use.

Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed Hunter’s parents, as well as a female lobbyist with whom many people close to the congressman believe he had a romantic relationship, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the investigation.

The Justice Department is trying to determine whether hundreds of thousands of dollars from Hunter’s campaign account were spent improperly on his family and friends. Hunter already sold his home to pay back what even he now acknowledges were improper charges, moving his wife and kids in with his parents while he mostly lives in his Capitol Hill office.

It’s a stark reversal of fortune for Hunter, 41, whose friends once considered him a hero. The ex-Marine served three tours as an artillery officer in Afghanistan and Iraq, fighting in some of the bloodiest battles in Fallujah.


Trump Gives Wife Beater Praise He Usually Reserves for Child Molesters and Nazis

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In comments to reporters at the White House on Friday, Donald J. Trump stirred controversy by lavishing an alleged wife beater with praise that he historically has reserved for child molesters and Nazis.

Reporters who heard the President’s comments were taken aback since, in the past, the President had given no indication that he held wife beaters in the same high esteem in which he holds supporters of child abuse and white supremacy.

“We knew that President Trump considered child molesters and Nazis very fine people, but this was the first time he had put wife beaters up there, too,” Tracy Klugian, a member of the White House press corps, said. “We wanted clarification as to whether he considered wife beaters as fine as those other two groups, or finer.”

John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, accused reporters of attempting to drive a wedge between three of the President’s most cherished constituencies. “Donald Trump has made it very clear that he can be the champion of wife beaters, child molesters, and Nazis at the same time,” Kelly said. “He doesn’t play favorites.”


Congress Puts Aside Partisan Differences For Good Of Military Contractors

WASHINGTON—Explaining the rationale behind a two-year government budget deal crafted by members of both parties hours ahead of a potential shutdown, congressional leaders told reporters Thursday that they had put aside their partisan differences for the good of the nation’s military contractors.

“It’s time that we stop bickering with each other over minor political disputes and start standing up for the brave defense contractors who keep us safe,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), echoing the sentiments of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and other congressional leaders as they championed the bipartisan spending increases that would provide billions of much-needed government subsidies to U.S. military companies.

“We may not always see eye to eye, but both Democrats and Republicans recognize how important it is to put politics aside when we’re talking about the men and women in our private military sector.”

Senate leaders also expressed their satisfaction that the two parties could set aside their partisan disagreements to ensure that the bill did absolutely nothing to push for immigration reform.


Is it real, or is it The Onion?

Trump Boys Forge Father's Signature On Letters They Wrote Excusing Them From Any More Testifying

WASHINGTON—Hastily scrawling with crayons and markers, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump were reportedly forging their father’s signature Wednesday on letters they had written excusing them from any further testifying as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into their family’s role in potential Russian election interference.

“To ALL it may conzern, my two beutiful Sons are herebye Excused from anymore testifonials to mean mister Muler,” the two wrote on dozens of pieces of construction paper before Donald Jr. falsified his father’s signature, following a heated hour-long argument over who did a better imitation of the president’s handwriting.

“My son’s Eric Jr and Dom haev a realy bad sick thing in their throats Forever now so they cant talk to mr. Muller ever again and he should leave Them alone okay? Sincerly the Presdient of United states.”

At press time, the Trump boys were enclosing the letters in envelopes addressed to a variety of government agencies, police departments, and fire stations around the country as well as affixing stickers of gold stars or American flags to ensure each envelope looked official.


Everything You Need to Know About the Falcon Heavy Launch

The time has finally come for SpaceX to launch its Falcon Heavy rocket. A launch license has been issued for the giant vehicle to take flight this Tuesday. It’s a mission that many have been waiting for since 2011 when SpaceX CEO Elon Musk first announced plans to develop the vehicle. Now, after seven years and numerous delays, the launch of the rocket is imminent — and it could be a game-changer for SpaceX.

Here are all the details you need to know about this launch and why it’s such a big deal for both SpaceX and the industry.


The essence of the rocket is right there in its name: it’s the heavy-lift version of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. The vehicle consists of three Falcon 9 cores strapped together, giving the rocket an awesome amount of power. And since each Falcon 9 has nine main rocket engines, there are 27 total engines that will all be used to send this vehicle to space. No other working rocket has ever used so many.

All of this hardware can supposedly create more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff. That makes the Falcon Heavy capable of putting around 140,000 pounds of cargo into lower Earth orbit, earning the title of the most powerful rocket in the world.

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