Six years ago, PBS's feature documentary program, Frontline, aired Sick Around the World, a documentary examining health care systems around the world -- and specifically how all those featured were generally superior to the American system. (2008 MeFi post) Today, the American Senate subcommittee on primary health and aging brought the debate over single-payer care to Washington. C-SPAN has a fine video of the hearing, which features seven witness representing health care systems and think tanks from around the US and the world. [more inside]
United States Senator Dianne Feinstein Publicly Accuses C.I.A. of Spying on Congress. 'The chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday accused the Central Intelligence Agency of improperly removing documents from computers that committee staff members had been using to complete a report on the agency’s detention program, saying the move was part of an effort to intimidate the committee.' 'Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and the chairwoman of the committee, suggested on the Senate floor that the agency had violated federal law and said the C.I.A. had undermined Congress’s constitutional right to oversee the actions of the executive branch.' [more inside]
You may find this brief history of the US Senate's filibuster fight timely and interesting, as the chamber just voted to end it for "executive branch and judicial nominees, except for the Supreme Court."
By a vote of 64-32. the United States Senate has passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Full passage of ENDA would make it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. It is already illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, nationality, religion, age or disability. [more inside]
In a special election to fill the seat of the late Senator Frank Lautenberg, Newark Mayor Cory Booker (Booker previously on the Metafilter) has defeated Tea Party favorite Steve Lonegan. [more inside]
"You talkin' to me?" has to be the thought in the minds of every one of the members of the Senate.
Happy Political Clusterf*ck Day (U.S.)! In one corner: the first federal government shutdown since 1996, 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). "Continuing resolutions" 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]
Iran has a new president, Hasan Rouhani, does that mean there might be hope for a thawing in diplomatic relations? In his inaugral speech Roughani urges an end to sanctions and promises a new era. While the White House response seems cautiously optimisitic US Senators have been pressing for tougher sanctions.
Utah State Sen. Aaron Osmond (R-South Jordan) has introduced a proposal to abolish compulsory education for children in his home state. [more inside]
Here is L0pht Heavy Industries testifying before the United States Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, Live feed from CSPAN, May 19, 1998. Starring Brian Oblivion, Kingpin, Tan, Space Rogue, Weld Pond, Mudge, and Stefan von Neumann. This is the infamous testimony where Mudge stated we could take down the Internet in 30 minutes. Although that's all the media took from it, much more was discussed. See for yourself. (59:04)
Despite widespread popular support, on April 17th, 2013, the US Senate voted to defeat four legislative amendments that would strengthen background checks for gun purchases and place a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Victims and survivors of victims of recent shootings who were in the Senate audience were heard to yell "Shame on you" at legislators as the final votes were tallied.
Elizabeth Warren, in her new role as a member of the Senate banking committee, asks banking regulators: when did you last take a big Wall St bank to trial? (SLYT)
The U.S. Senate has declined to promote Captain Timothy W. Dorsey to the rank of rear admiral (lower half). Dorsey, currently serving as Navy Reserve inspector general, was involved in one of the more bizarre friendly fire incidents in U.S. Military History, intentionally shooting down a U.S. Air Force jet during military exercises some 25 years ago. [more inside]
Robert Bork, the conservative jurist at the heart of two political firestorms--in 1973 he carried out the "Saturday Night Massacre" by firing Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, and in 1987 had his nomination for the Supreme Court rejected by the Senate after a combative confirmation hearing--died yesterday. A perennially divisive figure, Bork's passing drew encomiums from the right and condemnation from the left.
Senator Daniel Inouye, Democrat and senior senator from Hawaii, has died at the age of 88 from respiratory problems. [more inside]
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]
As the least-productive Congress in a generation draws to a close, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has spoken in support of a new proposal to reform the filibuster. The proposed changes would not eliminate the filibuster, but would restore the talking filibuster, which requires that the opposition explain their objections and keep talking in order to delay a vote on the bill under consideration. [more inside]
Tired of the Presidential race? The battle for 33 Class I seats in the 100-member United States Senate, once commonly known as the "World's Greatest Deliberative Body", now known for stifling torpor with record-breaking numbers of filibusters and a total logjam of pending confirmations, is also taking place on the same day. With many key Senate races happening in states where the Presidential outcome will be lopsided, all eyes are on split-ticket voters. 53 Democrats (2 of them independents) and 47 Republicans make up the current chamber. Who will control the second Senate ivory gavel, the first of which was shattered in 1954? [more inside]
Despite not raising any money or updating his campaign website (cache) since 2009, 35 year-old flooring installer Mark Clayton has won the Democratic Party primary in Tennessee and will be running for US Senate against Republican incumbent Bob Corker. Clayton's policy positions are unusual for a Democratic candidate. [more inside]
"Several executives involved in the transaction have either abruptly decided to retire or been sacked."
Last month, JP Morgan Chase announced it had lost $2 billion dollars in a 'hedging' maneuver. Today, Jamie Dimon, Morgan's chairman and CEO, testified before the Senate banking committee. [more inside]
LBJ v. Coke Stevenson: Lawyering for Control of the Disputed Texas Democratic Party Senatorial Primary Election of 1948
This article explores the history, from the lawyers' perspective [PDF; 41 pages], of a high-profile litigation of sixty years ago, the whirlwind of state and federal litigation that attended the 1948 runoff election battle between Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson and former Texas governor Coke Stevenson for the Texas Democratic Party nomination for the office of United States Senator. Johnson famously won this election by 87 votes [...] [more inside]
From the How To Be A Retronaut archives: U.S SENATE DINING MENU, Thursday August 27th, 1964
What do John McCain, Rick Santorum, and George Voinovich have in common? They have all been seated at the Senate's candy desk throughout their careers. [more inside]
Mother Jones: The 10 'Occupy' candidates vying for seats in the US House Of Representatives and Senate and their prospects.
Today on Rewind a remarkable historical piece that features two American icons who clashed over issues of corruption and misappropriation of funds in the 1950s and 60s. They are Robert Kennedy- former Attorney General of the United States, but at the time Chief Investigator of the Rackets Committee for the United States Senate, and James Hoffa- head of the Teamsters Union. (MP3) [more inside]
With the recent news that unemployment applications are at their lowest levels since 2008, Congressional Republicans are attempting to curtail unemployment benefits. Democrats want to extend benefits for another year. This has led to an impasse. [more inside]
Last night, the Unites States Senate voted successfully to invoke cloture (end debate) on S.1619, the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2011. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) filed a series of motions to suspend the rules in an effort to force a vote on President Obama's American Jobs Act [PDF]. That's when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) nuked the Senate. [more inside]
Elizabeth Warren will announce her entry into the Massachusetts Senate race tomorrow morning. Warren, who created, but was not confirmed to head, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is seeking to replace Scott Brown (R), who won Ted Kennedy's seat in 2010. Brown remains rather popular in Massachusetts, and Democrats weren't at all confident any of the current candidates had much chance to knock him off. The hope is that Warren and her pro-consumer bona fides can ride the expected wave of high Democractic voter turnout in the general. [more inside]
Lt. Gen. Russell Honore has a solution to the increasing splintering and radicalization of Congress: send all the members of Congress to boot camp and keep them there until they recognize their duty to America.
LulzSec (twitter account) have hacked senate.gov. The group has previously hacked Bethesda, Pron.com, FBI affilliates amongst others. Although some argue that LulzSec represent the catalyst to improve IT security, this message to the Senate seems likely to provoke a more direct investigation: [more inside]
"A few years from now, an hour with a good plumber- if you can find one- is going to cost more than an hour with a good psychiatrist. At which point we'll all be in need of both." Mike Rowe addresses the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation about the rapid decline in the trade labor force.
The mayor of Washington DC has been arrested, along with 6 of the 12 members of its city council, during a protest today near a US Senate office building, objecting to the city's use as a bargaining chip while negotiating the 7th Continuing Resolution to avoid a government shutdown last Friday. The bill prohibits the District of Columbia from locally funding abortion services, and imposes a locally-unpopular school voucher program. Had the government shutdown taken place, the DC government would have also had to suspend most of its operations including trash pickup. For those of you keeping track, Vince Gray is the 3rd (of 6) DC mayor to be arrested while in office. [more inside]
Filibustery, making the filibuster — and the proposals in the U.S. Senate to reform it — more understandable. [more inside]
Stephen Harper once referred to the Canadian Senate as a "dumping ground for liberal cronies". He has now appointed his 36th senator, more than double the number of appointments by his predecessor, Paul Martin. Of further interest is that while 5/17 of Martin's appointments were members of the opposition party all 36 of Stephen Harpers appointments were directly affiliated with the conservative party. His most recent appointments? A Priest and a former CFL Comissioner
Lisa Murkowski has become the first successful write-in candidate for the US Senate in more than fifty years. Lisa mounted a write-in campaign after she narrowly lost Republican nomination to Joe Miller, a candidate supported by the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party. Her campaign team ran this adorable spelling bee advertisement (also these) after Joe Miller demanded the exclusion of any ballots in which Ms Murkowski's name was misspelt.
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]
Kentucky officials have identified the assailant in the face-stomping of a private citizen shortly before a debate between candidates for the office of Senator in the state of Kentucky. Contrary to initial reports which quickly dismissed the assault as the isolated acts of assorted private citizens, it has now been revealed that the gentleman curb-stomping the head of a MoveOn.org activist prior to the debate between candidates last night was none other than a county-level representative of the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, Mr. Rand Paul.
Jack Conway, a candidate for United States Senate, is catching flak from Democrats and Tea-Partiers alike, for airing an attack ad against his opponent, Rand Paul that brings up some bizarre dirt published in GQ a few months back. At a debate between the two candidates Sunday, Paul refused to shake Conway's hand at the end. Today, the National Republican Senatorial Committee released a response to the Aqua Buddha ad. [more inside]
The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) has started to be fast-tracked through the legislative process. This bill would create two blacklists (without due process) of domains which ISPs would be forced to block, based on alleged copyright infringement. The RIAA claims that such websites put Americans at risk (but doesn't state exactly what the risk is). Wired Magazine calls it the "Holy Grail of intellectual-property enforcement." The EFF has started an online petition against it and is encouraging internet engineers to speak out against it. [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.
Tea Party candidate and Sarah Palin endorsee Christine O'Donnell - a former chastity lobbyist - has defeated the longest-serving Congressman in Delaware's history by six percentage points to claim the Republican nomination for Vice President Biden's former Senate seat - despite Karl Rove's televised statements to Sean Hannity that she says "nutty things": It does conservatives little good to support candidates who, at the end of the day, while they may be conservative in their public statements, do not evince the characteristics of rectitude and truthfulness and sincerity and character that the voters are looking for. [more inside]
How broken is the Senate? George Packer asks in his New Yorker piece, "The Empty Chamber."
"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]
* - Link to Countdown segment on MSNBC that includes the video [more inside]
Vic Rawl has filed a protest against the man who beat him in the South Carolina Democratic primary for the US Senate. The official reason is election irregularities, however at the core of the protest is the fact that the winner Alvin Greene is a complete unknown with no prior experience. He won the primary despite the fact that he has no campaign headquarters or material and in fact did not seem to campaign at all. Also curious is the pending criminal case in which he is accused of showing a pornographic website to a college student. Mr. Greene does not come across particularly well in interviews and CNN interviewer Don Lemon even went so far as to question his mental health and called it one of the most bizarre interviews he's ever had. So is this Republican tampering as many observers are accusing? (FiveThirtyEight weighs in) Did South Carolina voters give him the (59%-41%) victory because they thought he was Al Green, soul music's most insinuating singer? Or perhaps these are the wrong questions and we should be focusing on Alvin Greene's platform: jobs, better education for children and justice.
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.