By Doug Porter
The House Natural Resources Committee approved legislation Wednesday naming 3.4 million square nautical miles of ocean and thousands of miles of coastline after the late President Ronald Reagan. Introduced by San Diego’s own Rep. Darrell Issa, HR 553 would rename the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) after the GOP icon.
Most people haven’t heard of the EEZ, which became codified via a United Nations convention granting countries special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, including energy production from water and wind in its coastal waters up to 200 miles offshore.
Nations began the ratification process of the international convention generating EEZs during the Reagan administration (1982) and the rules went into force in 1994 following approval by a 60th nation. Although the agreement has been ratified by 162 nations, the United States is notamong the signatories.
Last year’s attempt at ratification in the Senate failed after Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, both of whom were then reportedly under consideration for the Vice Presidential slot on the GOP ticket with Mitt Romney, came out publicly against the Law of the Sea Treaty.
Opposition to the international agreement is widespread among Republicans, who cite conspiracy type theories about the UN undermining US sovereignty as the basis for their opposition.
Here’s what the Wall Street Journal had to say about the Law of the Sea in 2012:
One of the enduring mysteries of the treaty is how it has failed to even come up for a ratification vote given the breadth of support it enjoys from widely disparate groups. Former secretaries of State, both Republicans and Democrats, top civilian and uniformed Pentagon officials, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, environmentalists, and former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have all been vocal supporters.
They argue that the treaty would not erode U.S. sovereignty. On the contrary, they say, it would enhance the country’s ability to defend freedom of navigation, would improve U.S. companies’ access to undersea resources, and would give the U.S. legal tools to parry threats from aggressive countries, such as China.
In yesterday’s committee hearing an amendment offered by California’s Rep. Jared Huffman, tying ratification of the Law of the Sea to the effective date of HR 553, was voted down 24 -14.
So what Rep. Issa is advocating is naming a coastal zone established by a treaty that his fellow Republicans refuse to recognize.
Just thought you’d like to know.
About That Congressional Recess
If you’d like to know what your GOP Congressman will be during the upcoming summer recess after toiling away at critical actions like shutting down the government to block implementation of Obamacare, I’ve got good news for you.
The House Republican Conference has created a blueprint for what your congressman needs to be doing during the month of August. Among the suggestions is the “Emergency Health Care Town Hall”, which will
“…engage constituents of all backgrounds – seniors, young people, health care providers, patients, business owners and more – on the negative effects of ObamaCare and the House Republican plan to dismantle it.”
They also provide a cut and paste op-ed for Republicans to foist off on community newspapers during the break. Be sure to watch for this highly informative piece of nothing in a newspaper near you soon. Here’s a snippet:
Washington is out of control. But every day I serve in Congress, I work to fight Washington. I’m fighting Washington to spur economic growth and create more jobs. I’m fighting Washington to hold government accountable to taxpayers. I’m working to dismantle ObamaCare and make America energy independent. I’m working to cut wasteful spending, expand educational opportunities, and rein in red tape. I’m fighting Washington or you.
As I make plans or my time at home these several weeks, I want to hear from you about how we can work together to fight Washington to stop government abuse and make sure government is making your life easier – not standing in the way.
That’s why I will be traveling throughout the district in August on my “Fighting Washington for You” tour.
Not So Proud
Right wing cheerleader Sandy Rios has been promoting an “Ex-Gay Pride” event on American Family Radio for weeks now, promising that “thousands of ex-gays” would be “descending” on Washington DC for a July 31st press conference at the Supreme Court followed by a day of intensive lobbying on Capitol Hill.
Complaining that “un-American” LGBT rights advocates have “shut us out,” and “because of all this homo-fascism and indoctrination in the media, ex-gays aren’t given a fair shake”, organizers hoped to set the record straight. (Pun intended)
There was only one small problem. Just nine people showed up.
One for the Good Guys
Back in 2006 Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) added a provision to the Patriot Act reauthorization requiring Senate confirmation for the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). Since that NRA-sponsored change to the law, there has been no director for the ATF, not even during the waning years of the Bush administration.
So it was a big deal yesterday when the Senate barely got past its filibuster mania to confirm a director for that agency. From the Washington Post:
The Senate on Wednesday confirmed a director to head the agency that regulates firearms and investigates gun and explosives crimes, ending an extraordinary seven-year run in which the agency has been without a permanent, full-time leader.
By confirming B. Todd Jones, the U.S. attorney for Minnesota and the acting part-time director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives by a vote of 53 to 42, Congress provided the Obama administration with a rare victory in its efforts to advance sweeping gun proposals. None of President Obama’s other legislative initiatives survived the congressional debate that followed the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December.
Apologies to John Cleese..
In response to reader requests, I’m doing my best to keep this Filner falderal all in perspective. Not every development in this saga is a screaming headline kinda deal. So I’ll limit my remarks in keeping with what I see is the actual significance of events in yesterday’s San Diego edition of the Monty Python Media Circus. (h/t My Mom)
Ex-Mayor Sanders went on TV to say Filner’s gotta go. It’s bad for business, said the current head of the Chamber of Commerce, citing staffing cutbacks with the local tourism marketing effort.
Then there’s the hubbub over the sexual harassment training claims made by Filner legal beagle Harvey Berger. I can find no record anywhere of Bob Filner saying he was denied or did not receive training. But that’s how it’s being reported in the media.
Acting as the Mayor’s attorney, Berger’s leaving no stone unturned, including challenging the position of the City Attorney who says the city is not liable for Filner’s actions. Here’s honest reporting, from Politico:
The attorney for San Diego Mayor Bob Filner says the city could well be liable for “failing to prevent harassment” in the sexual harassment lawsuit brought against its mayor.
“If there is any liability at all, the City will almost certainly be liable,” Filner’s attorney, Harvey Berger, wrote in a letter Monday to San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith…
…Berger’s letter acknowledged that a lack of sexual harassment training does not excuse inappropriate behavior, and he even threw in a slightly altered line from Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” song: “You don’t need a weatherperson to tell you which way the wind blows.”
Also it’s now apparent that Mayor Filner, who’s been attending conferences of Iranian exiles in Paris for several years, was misled about the tax-exempt status of the sponsoring group that paid his airfare. He’s promised to repay what the law requires, but that’s not good enough for the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, which is demanding that he also cover the costs of his security detail.
And if you haven’t come out publicly for Filner to resign, even if you’ve denounced his actions, you could be in trouble. That’s the case with Councilwoman Marty Emerald, who’s now getting flack via a “Recall” page posted on Facebook.
You Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up
Finally, for today, I’d like to cite UT-San Diego’s Trent Seibert, who posted this ridiculous story yesterday as part of his ongoing effort to keep the local vigilante types foaming at the mouth:
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, facing sexual harassment allegations which he denies, has decreed that city employees should have the leeway to dress down more often, according to a memo just sent to all city employees by his top administrator. A copy is below.
To All City Employees:
The Mayor has suggested and I concur, that as we move into the hot days of August, September and October, we should extend business casual attire usually saved for Fridays to all workdays through October 31, 2013.
If you are scheduled for meetings or other activities that require business attire, I will continue to expect you to dress in an appropriate manner. This is especially true when attending City Council meetings, committee meetings or other meetings which involve public participation. I also understand that business casual attire may not be appropriate for all working environments. Please be sure to speak with your supervisor should you have any questions about whether it is acceptable to wear casual business attire to specific meetings or other work activities.
As always, each Appointing Authority is responsible for establishing appearance guidelines within their respective areas. Please contact the Human Resources Department should you have any questions about what constitutes business casual attire.
I hope you are all having a great summer.
Walt Ekard, Interim Chief Operating Officer
This what passes for reporting in this town.?!
On This Day: 1619 – The first African slaves arrived at Jamestown, VA. 1956 – The Social Security Act was amended to provide benefits to disabled workers aged 50-64 and disabled adult children. 1960 – Elvis Presley was named Public Enemy #1 by the East German newspaper, “Young World.”
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