The 30-Second Senate Session: In order to prevent President Bush from making recess appointments, the U.S. Senate will technically stay open over the Thanksgiving holiday. The result? A U.S. Senate session that lasts, gavel-to-gavel, exactly 30 seconds.
Taste's great! Less filling! So did "several former judges who served on the panel also voiced skepticism at a Senate hearing about the president's constitutional authority to order wiretapping on Americans without a court order" or did "FISA judges say Bush within law"? Just in case you doubted that different newspapers present news stories (even those with official audio coverage available!) differently...
"Resolved that the United States Senate does hereby censure George W. Bush, president of the United States, and does condemn his unlawful authorization of wiretaps of Americans." Invoking "high crimes and misdemeanors," Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold introduces a motion to censure [PDF link] President Bush for his controversial, legally dubious NSA wiretapping program. Feingold declares: "The President must be held accountable for authorizing a program that clearly violates the law." Republican leader Frist retorts: "It's a crazy political move" that sends a "terrible" signal to Iran. Democratic bloggers say: Call your senator. [More legal fallout from the NSA program recently discussed here.]
'The committee is, to put it bluntly, basically under the control of the White House," said Jay Rockefeller, vice-president of the Senate Intelligence Committee, after the committee quashed a broad inquiry into the legality of the NSA spying on Americans -- despite an increasing number of legal scholars coming forward and declaring that the program is "blatantly illegal," in the words of Yale Law School dean Harold Koh. Meanwhile, the GOP proposes giving spying on Americans the "force of law" while subjecting it to "rigorous oversight."
"Operation Offset" is what the Republicans are calling their budget cut plan to pay for Hurricane Katrina. Will there be tax cuts for the rich? Nope. The great majority of the proposed cuts target the elderly and the poor, heavily targeting Medicare. They eliminate all federal funding for energy conservation, the "Energy Star" program, energy efficient vehicles, hydrogen vehicles, high-speed rail, light rail, PBS, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, AmeriCorps, the "Even Start" program, the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, security/anti-drug funding for innercity schools, and all federal loans to grad students. Also facing cuts are the Global AIDS Initiative, the EPA, the Center for Disease Control, pensions and healthcare plans for retired federal workers, job programs and revitalization funds for poor neighborhoods, the school lunch program, community health centers, and health care for soldiers.
Bush to Senate: Go to Hell. As expected, President Bush bypassed the confirmation process and made a recess appointment to elevate John Bolton to the post of US ambassador to the United Nations, brushing off what he calls "partisan delaying tactics by a handful of senators." Bolton was previously discussed on MeFi here.