Obama won Ohio by two points, and Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown won by five, but Democrats emerged with just four of Ohio’s 16 House seats. In Wisconsin, Obama prevailed by seven points, and Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin by five, but their party finished with just three of the state’s eight House seats. In Virginia, Obama and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine were clear victors, but Democrats won just three of the commonwealth’s 11 House seats. In Florida, Obama eked out a victory and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson won by 13 points, but Democrats will hold only 10 of the Sunshine State’s 27 House seats. The Revenge of 2010
: How gerrymandering saved the congressional Republican majority
, undermined Obama's mandate
, set the terms of the sequestration fight
, and locked Democrats out of the House for the next decade
. It's not a new problem
. But if the Supreme Court guts the Voting Rights Act
, it could get a whole lot worse
. And the electoral college may
. (What's gerrymandering, you ask? Let the animals explain. Meet the Gerry-mander. Peruse the abused. Catch the movie. Or just play the game. Previously.)
Tomato: fruit or vegetable? In 1893, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Nix v. Hedden that the tomato is legally a vegetable and not a fruit
, botanical definitions be damned. In 2001, the European Union disagreed
, saying that "tomatoes, the edible parts of rhubarb stalks, carrots, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, melons and water-melons are considered to be fruit". [more inside]
In a 32 page report to Congress [pdf]
President Obama concludes:
...the current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent
with the War Powers Resolution and do not under that law require
further congressional authorization, because U.S. military
operations are distinct from the kind of “hostilities”
contemplated by the Resolution’s 60 day termination provision.
Now, the New York Times reports
that this legal opinion was reached by rejecting the views of top lawyers at the Pentagon and the Justice Department. It is instructive to compare President Obama's actions
with those of his predecessor, George W. Bush. [more inside]
ENDA House hearings start tomorrow
--a record 94% of Fortune 500 companies
now provide Sexual Orientation Discrimination Protection, and 89% of Americans
polled believe Homosexuals should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities
. Repeatedly introduced and then killed since 1994,
the 2007 version--H.R. 2015--Employment Non-Discrimination Act
(text of bill)--includes transgender protection for the very first time. The TVC is just one of many organizations fighting it. (there is a religious exemption, but groups like the TVC would be covered by it)
Veith v. Jubelirer affirmed by the US Supreme Court
In a 5-4 opinion, the US Supreme Court
upheld that gerrymandered Congressional districts are legal and overruled Davis v. Bandemer
. Full opinions available
. For a background on why this is a structural constitutional problem and why we should be worried about it, read Gerrymandering - "The Great Contradiction"
is trying to get Congress to pass a six-point Consumer Technology Bill of Rights to protect the legitimate rights of honest consumers who buy copyrighted content legally. You can read about the issue and the group in Walt Mossberg's WSJ column
Is this a real chance at campaign finance reform
or are we just in for more partisan back and forth that in the end won't change much of anything? (NY Times link) And how long will the "Enron effect" last?
Congress is legislating free speech on the internet
again. Passed shortly after the Communications Decency Act was thrown out
by the Supreme Court, the Child Online Protection Act
isn't as broad as the CDA but does it still go too far in an effort to protect children? Shouldn't parents be responsible for their own children?
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.
chimes in on new anti-terrorist bills that attack due process, the fourth amendment, and encryption. Sample letters and information on how to contact your reps are available at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Act quickly, because congress sure will.
It's that time of year again!
Yes kids, it's time once again for the annual
introduction of the Flag-Protection Amendment, currently being debated in the House of Reps. Last year the bill passed the House 305-124 and was defeated in the Senate by only six votes. It's again expected to pass the House and again expected to get shot down in the Senate, but considering the zany sitcom that 21st century American politics has become, who knows what that wacky Legislative branch will do?
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?
House Republican introduces resolution to protect ISPs
from criminal liability for third party content. Californian David Dreier's proposal
isn't an actual bill but would put the House on record as supporting such protections.
Another day, another piece of unconstitutional net-censorship legislation
in Congress. And this time it's authored by your pal and mine, John "Watch Out for Charlies!" McCain. Perhaps we should start a deadpool for all these bills, giving out some cash to whoever guesses the dates on which the courts throw them out?
-- A bill banning Internet sites which publish or even link to drug-making information looks set to sail through Congress