Happy Political Clusterf*ck Day (U.S.)
In one corner: the first federal government shutdown
, born of the House GOP/Tea Party faction's
crusade to delay, defund, and destroy Obamacare (and the Democratic Senate and President's resolve to not do that
have ping-ponged between the two houses, fighting over language to cancel healthcare reform (plus a few other items, such as the implementation of Mitt Romney's entire economic agenda
). National parks are closed
, contractors are hamstrung
, and 800,000 federal workers furloughed
until Speaker Boehner drops the "Hastert Rule"
and passes a bill the other branches can agree to.
In the other corner, heedless of the chaos
(though not without glitches
of its own): the official rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its state insurance exchanges
. The portal at Healthcare.gov
is your one-stop shop for browsing, comparing, and purchasing standardized, regulated insurance coverage
with premium rebates
, guaranteed coverage
, and expanded Medicaid for the poor (in some states)
. A crazy day, overall -- but peanuts compared to what might happen if the debt ceiling is breached in 16 days
. [more inside]
, making the filibuster — and the proposals in the U.S. Senate to reform it — more understandable. [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]
The FBI has released their extensive files on US Senator Edward M. Kennedy to the public,
covering their relationship with him between 1961 and 1985. The seven files, totaling more than 2,200 pages of documents reveal
(among other things,) the perhaps unsurprising news that the late Senator received "scores"
of death threats
from radical groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, “Minutemen” organizations, and the National Socialist White People’s Party. The release was initiated by a Freedom of Information Act Request from Judicial Watch
on May 3, 2010, (Complaint pdf
) but the FBI gave the Senator's family the "rare opportunity" to raise objections before releasing the file
How America Can Rise Again
by James FallowsIs America going to hell? After a year of economic calamity that many fear has sent us into irreversible decline, the author finds reassurance in the peculiarly American cycle of crisis and renewal, and in the continuing strength of the forces that have made the country great: our university system, our receptiveness to immigration, our culture of innovation. In most significant ways, the U.S. remains the envy of the world. But here's the alarming problem: our governing system is old and broken and dysfunctional. Fixing it—without resorting to a constitutional convention or a coup—is the key to securing the nation's future.
The House of Representatives just passed
the health reform bill
in a vote of 220-215.
is a website for keeping track of the U.S. Congress. (previously)
But, now it also a social network
. So, sign-up
and see what your favourite Senator
has been doing, track bills
and, follow important issues
. Then, share that information with your friends
or write about it on your blog
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.
is a site that aggregates data about the United States Senate and House. Keep track of your senators or representatives through rss feeds, read bills on topics that are important to you, and find out what industries are behind the scenes providing money to your politicians in Washington among many other uses of this new resource.
The United States Senate may once again be up for grabs. Senator Tim Johnson
, D-SD, 60, has reportedly
just suffered a stroke
and is currently undergoing tests at The George Washington University Medical Center
Meet Priscilla Owen,
2-time nominee for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Senate nuclear option trigger, and "activist judge" who White House Counsel Gonzales himself criticized ...for "an unconscionable act of judicial activism" in seeking to restrict a minor's right to an abortion. ...
This PDF from People for the American Way
goes case-by-case to paint a damning picture: It focuses not only on the evidence from Justice Owen’s dissenting opinions that she is a right wing judicial activist, but also on the fact that this conclusion is established by the criticism often leveled at her by her conservative colleagues on the Court, particularly including Alberto Gonzales. Indeed, during the relatively brief time that they served together on the Court, Gonzales wrote or joined numerous opinions sharply criticizing opinions written or joined by Owen. This report also addresses Justice Owen’s failure at her confirmation hearing to dispel the serious concerns that had been raised about her record. For the reasons we discuss below, the Judiciary Committee made the correct decision in refusing to confirm Priscilla Owen to the Fifth Circuit. It should make the same decision again.
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
Dirty Dirty men.....
America, Mark Twain once said, "is a nation without a distinct criminal class with the possible exception of Congress."
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.
Senator Orrin Hatch [R-Utah]
, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
, favors legislation allowing copyright holders to remotely destroy the computers of illegal file traders
. Hatch, an accompished songwriter
in his own right, is quoted as saying that damaging someone's computer "...may be the only way you can teach somebody about copyrights."
Apparently the good Senator is forgetting that our legal system is based on the presumption of innocence
McCarthy Hearings Published.
"The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has published
all of the transcripts of executive sessions held while Senator Joseph R. McCarthy
chaired the subcommittee from 1953 to 1954. Publication of the transcripts, which marks the 50th anniversary of the hearings, constitutes the opening of the largest collection of documents related to McCarthy’s anti-Communist investigations."
The United States Senate's Website has been redesigned.
Checking on today's Senate activities, I was pleasantly surprised to find the redesign. Poking around it is very easy to use, in comparison to other Government websites.
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?
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.