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New 'stimulus' bills
<a href="http://www.commondreams.org/">Common Dreams</a> published <a href="http://www.commondreams.org/views01/1031-01.htm">The One-Eyed Man</a>, discussing the recent enormous "economic stimulus" bill passed this week. The article is so named because: <span class="quote"><q>to really understand legislation you have to look for the clause giving special consideration to one-eyed bearded men with a limp — that is, you have to look for the provision that turns a bill ostensibly serving a public purpose into a giveaway for some special interest.</q></span> For more information on the bill, see <a href="http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=11839">Operation Enduring Avarice</a> on <a href="http://www.alternet.org/">Alternet</a>. A lot of larger companies will benefit immediately in the form of cash refunds, but some of the companies are not obvious benefactors: <span class="quote"><q>For example, it's not too surprising that calculations by Citizens for Tax Justice show General Motors, with its 380,000 workers, getting a check for $800 million. But it's quite amazing that TXU (formerly Dallas Power and Light), a company with only 16,000 employees, would get a check for $600 million. And there are a number of medium-sized companies that, like TXU, are in line for surprisingly big benefits. These companies include ChevronTexaco, Enron, Phillips Petroleum, IMC Global and CMS Energy. What do they have in common? ... Well, they tend to be in the energy or mining businesses; and they tend to be based in or near Texas. In other words, the one-eyed bearded man with a limp looks a lot like Dick Cheney. </q></span> Another bill being bandied about is a "pro-oil energy bill". <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/">The Boston Globe</a> has an editorial about it (<a href="http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:0PABneWw0Sc:www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/270/editorials/Oil_opportunism%2B.shtml+oil+opportunism&hl=en">cached here at Google</a>): <span class="quote"><q>AT A TIME when most in Congress are setting aside personal or partisan agendas to get important legislation passed, there is at least one glaring exception in the Senate. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, is trying to use the terrorism crisis as a way to advance his pet cause of opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.</q></span> <a href="http://www.wilwheaton.net">Wil Wheaton</a> also <a href="http://www.wilwheaton.net/greymatter/archives/00000132.php">published a letter</a> he got from the Sundance Foundation (Robert Redford) about the same bill: <span class="quote"><q>A handful of determined U.S. senators, encouraged by the White House, are arguing that national security requires the Senate to rush a pro-oil energy bill into law. They have vowed to hold up normal Senate business and attach the bill to every piece of legislation that comes to the Senate floor. So far they have failed in what The Boston Globe is calling "oil opportunism." But with President Bush, himself, now calling for rushed passage of this disastrous bill, intense pressure is building on Senate leaders to succumb to the emotions of the moment.</q></span>