There's been a lot of talk in the US media about the "Fiscal Cliff" and the "Grand Bargain
" What are they?
The "fiscal cliff" is a confluence of three legal changes taking effect Jan. 1: the expiration of a payroll-tax cut, the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, and the advent of mandatory spending cuts known as "sequestration." Fiscal Cliff 101: 5 Basic Questions Answered
. What's Happening: Fiscal Cliff Explained [more inside]
It's Election Day in America
, and as is so often the case in this fickle
land, the results of the 2010 midterm elections are up in the air. Although President Obama's party is expected to suffer significant losses, record numbers of districts remain competitive
, and even minute errors in polling could mean the difference between a historic Republican landslide
and an unexpectedly robust Democratic defense
. At stake are control of not just the Senate and House, but myriad state and local offices, many of which will play key roles in the dynamics of the 2012 presidential race -- and, more subtly but no less crucially, the once-in-a-decade congressional redistricting
process. Much uncertainty surrounds the behavior of the electorate -- how many will turn out, and how informed will they be? To help move those statistics in the right direction, look inside for voter guides, national and state fact checkers, and an assortment of other resources to keep tabs on as the results roll in. [more inside]
Cloture to force a vote on the fiscal 2011 defense authorization bill has not been achieved.
DADT will stand. Chances are not better in a possibly more Republican Senate post-November, and the bill is unlikely to pass before then. Republican voters against cloture: Every single senator; Democratic voters against cloture: Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor.
"When I say Alvin, you say Greene." - So begins a promotional rap video*
endorsing United States Senate candidate Alvin Greene (previously
* - Link to Countdown segment on MSNBC that includes the video [more inside]
Sen. Stevens (R, AK) found guilty
of of seven corruption charges
. Stevens was behind in the polls
before this point anyway, so it looks like a solid Dem gain at this point. Palin has obviously thown him under the bus.
Want to live it up at the U.S. party conventions and get access to Senators and Congressmen? USA Today
has posted the campaign committee price lists:
If you've got the dough, you may conveniently request a convention package
online from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
The National Republican Congressional Committee
and the NRSC
on their sites, but it seems like the DSCC and DCCC
sites keep theirs under wraps.
GOP Senators have lost their bid to kill the currently-defunct estate tax.
of the permanent repeal effort is a major triumph for the 98% of Americans who've never been in danger
of having to pay the tax.
Princeton Students and Polticians Stage Filibuster --
Princeton students started a filibuster at the Frist Campus Center at Princeton University
to protest the impending unloading of the "nuclear option
" in the United States Senate.
Bill Frist is a Princeton alum and his family donated the building the filibuster is in front of.
It's been going on for a whopping 78 hours already and looks to at least go through the weekend. Congressman Rush Holt
(D-NJ) spoke earlier today, and NJ Assemblyman Reed Gusciora
was there yesterday. They've even got physicists (one
) and a Nobel Prize winner
Republican Dirty Tricks
"From the spring of 2002 until at least April 2003, members of the GOP committee staff exploited a computer glitch that allowed them to access restricted Democratic communications without a password. Trolling through hundreds of memos, they were able to read talking points and accounts of private meetings discussing which judicial nominees Democrats would fight -- and with what tactics.
The office of Senate Sergeant-at-Arms William Pickle has already launched an investigation into how excerpts from 15 Democratic memos showed up in the pages of the conservative-leaning newspapers and were posted to a website last November." They just can't get Nixon out of their system, huh?
Senators were told Iraqi weapons could hit U.S. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Monday the Bush administration last year told him and other senators that Iraq not only had weapons of mass destruction, but they had the means to deliver them to East Coast cities.
If this is true, is he in trouble for saying it?
Big FCC rollback vote this Tuesday.
I know a lot of mefites are passionate about this issue and it looks like Senators Byron Dorgan (D–ND) and Trent Lott (R-MS) are doing something about it. More info, free faxes, etc at the ACLU. Read S.J. res 17 here.
More election hilarity expected!!!
So, does anyone here still remember the 2000 election? Its not through with us yet. The GOP could regain control of the Senate immediately
following the Nov. 5 elections, thanks to a nutty legal wrinkle associated with Sen. Jean Carnahan's
appointment to the seat Missouri elected her deceased husband to. That is, if she loses, and if the Democrats don't pull the trick William Safire expects
Torricelli Considers Dropping Out Of His Re-Election Bid
...and Republicans' hopes to reclaim the Senate brighten
. Why drop out now, with only 5 weeks left? Is Torricelli guilty of even more ethics violations than previously thought? (more inside...)
Drop the marker and back away from the CD-RW drive.
Add Senator Joe Biden (D - Delware) to the list of politicians eager to put the brakes on technology, kowtow to Hollywood and otherwise stop the Earth from turning:
Biden's new bill would make it a federal felony to try and trick certain types of devices into playing your music or running your computer program. Breaking this law--even if it's to share music by your own garage band--could land you in prison for up to five years. And that's not counting the civil penalties of up to $25,000 per offense.
Biden's bill is on the fast track and not getting the same press attention that Sen. Holling's CBDTPA bill
had earlier this year.
House likely to approve homeland security bill that erodes labor protections
"But the Senate, which likely takes up the matter next week, so far has pursued a much different course. On Thursday, the Democratic-led Senate Governmental Affairs Committee crafted legislation that would protect all current civil service protections and make it more difficult for the president to move workers out of unions. Bush and other Republicans said the measure would give the president less authority than he has now."
The House seems to be so much more conservative and extremist than the Senate. Heck they're still working on trying to ban selected types of abortion procedures
even when there's a strong chance it won't pass constitutional muster and the Senate isn't likely to support them.
Is it your perception that the House is more conservative? If so, why do you think that's true?
Happy November 31st!
Senators and Congressmen Order Botched Calendars With an Extra Day.
Want to redesign the Senate Web site?
The Senate is soliciting proposals for a new CMS and complete overhaul of the current site
, which hasn't changed much (or added many features) lately. It does not include individual senators' or committees' sites.
Silicon Valley backs Senate bill
that would allow companies to report computer network attacks to the government without having to worry about the public finding out. The reasoning: it would encourage
more companies to report the problems and help the
government track down the culprits. A similar bill
is in the House.
48 hours of wiretap without a court order?
Sure, according to the Senate. Carnivore installations on the rise and the recent call to control crypto software are exactly what we don't need. This is probably just the beginning.
At least Helms tries
to pretend he's offended...
Warning: Quicktime file, may put you off your feed.
So Help Me God
: "Ninety-five percent of the people believe in God. An invocation of his name, in conjunction with the seriousness of telling the truth, has an importance beyond mere legal requirement," Sessions said Thursday.
Senate passes amendment withholding money
from schools that deny use of their facilities to the Boy Scouts on the grounds of their exclusion of homosexuals. Says Jesse Helms, sponsor of the amendment to Bush's education bill, this is meant to combat "the organized lesbians and homosexuals in this country of ours." Is this justified in light of the Supreme Court's ruling
that the Scouts have the right to exclude whomever they wish, or just flat out anti-homosexual?
Sen. Storm Thurmond poster boy for term limits?
Is this more hipocracy on part of we need term-limits Republican?
Why doesn't he just resign and spend some time with his family?
A giant loophole in McCain-Feingold will give oil companies a total exemption
from all its propsed spending restrictions. This is levelling the playing field?
Statement of Senator Feinstein
opposing John Ashcroft. I hope he doesn't get in. A friend of mine told me he saw some "Roe v. Wade is dead" demonstrators on TV outside the capitol building and the first thing he thought was Triumph of the Will had descended upon Washington.
It's a split Senate.
Democrat Maria Cantwell has been confirmed as the winner of the close Washington Senate race, thus bringing the Senate count to an even 50-50 split. And for 17 days, the Democrats will have a majority of sorts.
Snowe Days for Democrats?
It may take only one party-switch to give Democrats control of the Senate. Maine may offer just the one.
If Al Gore becomes the president, Mickey Kaus has a wickedly devious
idea on how the Dems can stick it to the senate Repubs. It hinges on Joe Leiberman refusing the vice-presidency.
No-one here seems to be paying attention to the Senate.
The following states replaced Republican Senators with Democratic Senators: Delaware, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri.
Meanwhile, Virginia replaced a Democrat with a Republican.
Washington State is too close to call. If Washington goes D, we get a 50-50 Senate and THAT will be a confusing mess; who gets to head all the committees? There won't be a majority party. [more]
"No Senate Race in New York in 2000."
I was at the my AOL page
and from there, two-clicked my way to their election 2000 link
to find my local races; where I was greeted with the aforementioned quote, in red. At first I thought it was a reference to the New York State Senate. But the top of the page clearly says, "U.S. Senate Race." Am I the only person being duped by the AOL election information services?
US Senate approves hate crimes legislation
as an amendment to a military spending bill. All of the Democrats (minus Byrd) and thirteen Republicans brought the tally to 57-42. As was recently discussed here
, this is a contentious issue, even among those who support some type of increased punitive power based on the perpetrator's state of mind and opinions.
THE ROBINSON REPORT
: "A Complete Report to the Citizens of the Commonwealth on the Personal Background of a Candidate for the United States Senate" -- written by the candidate, in the spirit of full discolsure. [more inside]