A shameful day for Washington

 Posted by at 17:20  Politics
Apr 172013

Extended background checks for gun purchases is supported by 90% of the American citizenry, including 80% of Republicans. Extended background checks for gun purchases was defeated today in the United States Senate by a vote of 46 to 54; 46 against and 54 in favor. As we all know too well, the minority rules in the democracy that is the United States Senate.

President Obama just completed remarks in the White House Rose Garden. I do not know that I have ever seen him quite so angry. He called today “a shameful day for Washington” and called on Americans to vote the people out of office who will not support their will and to vote people in who will. I will add the video and text of the President’s remarks when they become available. (Update: video added at end of post.)

We all have the right to be very angry and extremely disappointed today, and we should be. Please call your Senators and let them know how disappointed you are in the results of the vote on gun background checks in the Senate today.*

All Republicans except four voted against the background checks. The four Republicans who voted in favor were Senators Toomey of Pennsylvania, McCain of Arizona, Collins of Maine and Kirk of Illinois. All Democrats except four voted in favor of the background checks. The four Democrats who voted against were Senators Baucus of Montana, Begich of Alaska, Heitkamp of North Dakota and Pryor of Arkansas.

*I have already called the offices of both of my senators to express my displeasure at their votes today. You should do the same. When you do, there is no need to be belligerent or rude. Just identify yourself to the staff member who answers the phone and let them know you are calling to express your disappointment (or displeasure) in the senator’s vote on gun purchase background checks today. You will likely be asked for your zip code. Give it, then thank the staff member for their time and politely end the conversation.

Our representatives do not know they are not representing us unless we tell them so.

Transcript follows the break.

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Aug 022010

I would like to direct your attention to a couple of articles this morning. The first just demonstrates once again something of which we are all aware — that John McCain is a very bitter old man. He is still extremely upset that a man named Barack Obama beat him in the election for the presidency of the United States, a post to which he felt he was entitled.

Read “McCain holds up vote on Obama intel chief pick.”

Note that the nominee that Johnny is blocking was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee with a vote of 15-0. Every Democrat and every Republican on that committee approved of this man’s appointment, yet that is not good enough for our Johnny. He still has to throw his tantrum.

Than there is the business of Republican obstructionism in general.

Read “Judicial Confirmation Rates Have Nosedived in the Obama Presidency.”


Our Republicans really are operating under the delusion that if they do everything they can to prevent President Obama from governing effectively, it will prompt the American people to place them in power once again. In reality, all it is doing to proving what obstructionist boobs they are. We are still trying to recover from the last time the Republicans ruled the land. Hopefully, we are not dumb enough to put them back in the saddle again. (Though at this point in time I am not betting one way or the other.)

Supreme hearings day two

 Posted by at 20:01  Politics
Jun 302010

I made time today to watch a portion of the second day of a bunch of half-senile old white men badgering the person who is almost certain to become the next Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

I was, I have to say, a little disappointed. Not in the half-senile old white men. They performed exactly as expected. I was a little disappointed in the nominee herself, Elena Kagan. She seemed to be pandering to the half-senile old white men, striving mightily to say what she thought they wanted to hear. There were a lot of “ums” and “ahs” and “I don’t knows.” She appeared fearful to identify herself as liberal or progressive (if indeed she is either of those… I have seen no proof as yet that she actually is).

I found myself silently screaming at the television (I could not literally scream as there were others in the room) while Senator Grassley was questioning her about the ill conceived and poorly named Defense of Marriage Act. She should have answered him truthfully, stating that it was a bad law and should never had been passed by Congress or signed by President Clinton. She should have patiently and clearly explained to Mr. Grassley that DOMA was (and is) unconstitutional and would have been immediately struck down by a Supreme Court not driven by ideology.

Elena Kagan will be the next Supreme Court Justice. From what I have seen of her thus far, I don’t think she will be the Justice the Democrats are hoping she will be.

As much as I dislike and consistently disagree with Lindsey Graham, I think he got it right today:

“I certainly have an agenda when it comes to abortion. I respect the courts, but I’m trying to push the rights of the unborn in a respectful way. You can be pro-choice and be just as patriotic as I am; you can be just as religious as anybody I know. But that’s the point here: it is okay as an advocate to have an agenda. I think Alito and Roberts had an agenda. They were working for a conservative president who was pushing conservative policies. So it just is a bit disturbing that you, quite frankly, say you don’t have an agenda when you should have had. If I’m going to hire you to be my lawyer, I want you to have my agenda. I want it to be my agenda.”

There is nothing wrong with Ms. Kagan having an agenda. She should have an agenda and she should have the courage to own up to that agenda. Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalia have certainly made no secret of their agenda.

Senator Byrd passes

 Posted by at 09:02  Politics
Jun 282010

Robert C. Byrd, the longest serving member of the United States Senate, passed away this morning at the age of 92. He had served 51 years in the Senate. Prior to that, he served six years in the House of Representatives.

I was never a huge fan of Senator Byrd, remembering him from his younger days rather than his latter days as most people. Still, though, he was a gentleman (to most) and a scholar. May he rest in peace.

Now their fault

 Posted by at 22:33  Politics, Republicans
Jan 192010

With the apparent victory of Tea Partier and nude model Scott Brown in Massachusetts this evening, the Republicans have retaken control of the United States Senate (with 41 of 100 votes… hardly seems right, does it?). Anything that goes wrong from this point forward… such as the country going to Hell… will be due to the obstructionism of the Republicans and not the ineptitude of the Democrats.

This is indeed a good night for the Democrats! The Republicans now have from now until the midterm elections in November to prove just how badly they can once again screw up the nation. (Thank you, Massachusetts.)

UPDATE: The Village Voice nails it: “Scott Brown Wins Mass. Race, Giving GOP 41-59 Majority in the Senate.”

The lesson, as always, is that when Democrats win, they lose, and when they lose, they are obliterated.

I seem to remember that we held an election way back in November of 2008. I cannot help but wonder why that one didn’t matter as much as this one seems to.

Scott Brown

 Posted by at 20:33  Politics, Republicans
Jan 112010

Scott Brown is the Republican candidate in the special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s seat in the United States Senate. In 1982, he was a student in law school and Cosmo Magazine’s “America’s Sexiest Man.”


He has, of course, aged just a bit since then. (Haven’t we all?)


Digby asks the question:

If a woman had ever posed naked for Playboy, do you think Republicans would endorse her for the US Senate?

There was a time when the answer to that question would be obvious. Not so much now.

So how long do you think it will be before Levi Johnston runs for Congress?

Blagojevich impeached

 Posted by at 15:45  Democrats, Politics
Jan 092009

The Illinois House of Representatives voted 114-1 today to impeach Governor Rod Blagojevich. The case now goes to the Illinois Senate for trial. If convicted, Blagojevich would be removed from office. Estimates are that the trial will last two to three weeks.

To further the case that the man is completely out of touch with any reality whatsoever, Blagojevich held a press conference after the impeachment vote came down. He stated that he was being impeached because the Illinois House is “retaliating against him for helping Illinois families.” He predicted that he would be exonerated of all charges in the Senate.

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Meanwhile, Governor Blagojevich’s appointment to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-Elect Barack Obama remains in limbo. Senate rules require that the appointment by signed by both the governor and the secretary of state. Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White refuses to sign off on the appointment of Roland Burris. Mr. Burris went to the Illinois Supreme Court in an attempt to force Mr. White to sign the certification. The Supreme Court today ruled that they would not force Mr. White to sign the appointment, but at the same time ruled that Mr. Burris does not need Mr. White’s signature to validate his appointment. Now we’ll see if the United States Senate will violate its own rules [see Standing Rules of the Senate, Rule II, Paragraph 2] in order to seat the Senator-designate from Illinois.

This just gets more fun by the day, doesn’t it?

Dec 302008

Amazing stuff this. It is going to be fun watching how it plays out.

Blagojevich Names Obama Senate Replacement

Roland Burris
Roland Burris

Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois has named Roland Burris, a former state attorney general, to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the United States Senate.

Mr. Blagojevich, who faces federal corruption charges including allegations that he tried to sell Mr. Obama’s former senate seat for a high-paying job or money, had not been expected to try to fill the seat. As recently as ten days ago, his lawyer, Edward Genson, said he would not attempt to make an appointment, since Senate leaders had indicated they would not accept anyone whom the beleaguered Mr. Blagojevich had appointed.

The Democratic leaders of the Senate repeated that view on Tuesday, issuing a statement saying it was “truly regrettable that despite requests from all 50 Democratic Senators and public officials throughout Illinois, Governor Blagojevich would take the imprudent step of appointing someone to the United States Senate who would serve under a shadow and be plagued by questions of impropriety.”

The statement continued, “We say this without prejudice toward Roland Burris’s ability, and we respect his years of public service. But this is not about Mr. Burris; it is about the integrity of a governor accused of attempting to sell this United States Senate seat. Under these circumstances, anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus.”

The leaders concluded by saying the appointment was “unfair to Mr. Burris, it is unfair to the people of Illinois and it will ultimately not stand.” They called on the governor once again to resign.

I am astounded that Blagojevich had the audacity to go ahead with this appointment and I am equally astounded that Burris accepted this appointment. It is difficult to discern just what either of these gentlemen expects to gain from their actions today. I kind of get the feeling that Blagojevich’s intent is to embarrass as much as possible the Democratic party that has turned against him. I honestly do not know and I believe it will be very interesting to learn in the coming days just what Mr. Burris’ intentions are.

UPDATE: The Illinois Secretary of State has stated that he will try to block the appointment.

UPDATE #2: Video of the press conference…

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(It was kind of funny, yet sad in a way, to see Congressman Bobby Rush stand up and play the race card as he did. Haven’t we had enough of that nonsense already this year?)

UPDATE #3: President-Elect Barack Obama, whose Senate seat is the one in question, issued the following statement:

“Roland Burris is a good man and a fine public servant, but the Senate Democrats made it clear weeks ago that they cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat. I agree with their decision, and it is extremely disappointing that Governor Blagojevich has chosen to ignore it.

“I believe the best resolution would be for the Governor to resign his office and allow a lawful and appropriate process of succession to take place. While Governor Blagojevich is entitled to his day in court, the people of Illinois are entitled to a functioning government and major decisions free of taint and controversy.”