Archive of Articles for March, 2010

Federal Judge Impeached

[ Posted Thursday, March 18th, 2010 – 17:16 UTC ]

I realize it has been a busy news season in Washington of late, as the health reform debate enters its final phase. But I have to admit I was astonished to find out that last week, the House of Representatives impeached a federal judge -- only the fifteenth time this has ever happened in American history. The Senate just announced it will be convening a committee to investigate, and prepare for a trial before the full Senate.

Read Complete Article »

Saint Patrick And The Snakes

[ Posted Wednesday, March 17th, 2010 – 14:39 UTC ]

Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, lived in the fifth century A.D., and he came to Ireland as a proselytizer for Christianity. That is about the sum total of the known, verifiable facts about Patrick. The rest is myth. Since such mythologizing began only a few hundred years after his death (which happened on March 17, by the way), these myths of Patrick are much more widely known than the thin shreds of his real history (which are limited to two surviving letters written by Patrick in Latin). Besides, it's much more fun to sit around telling these tales over a pint of Guinness than to dig up actual facts. Even if the tales are pure blarney.

Read Complete Article »

Texas Schoolbooks

[ Posted Tuesday, March 16th, 2010 – 15:16 UTC ]

So, no matter what Texas decides to teach in their classrooms, I hope Obama's push to get at least 48 states to agree on how to educate their children succeeds. Furthermore, I hope that at some point down the line, Texas and Alaska both see the benefits of joining this effort as well. This may be wildly optimistic, but I think the goal of standardizing what a high school diploma means in America is a good one, and I see this as the most positive step towards this end I think I've ever seen.

Read Complete Article »

Can Democrats Govern?

[ Posted Monday, March 15th, 2010 – 16:23 UTC ]

The next two weeks in Congress may provide an answer to the metaphysical question "Can Democrats govern?" If the answer turns out to be "no," then a large part of the electorate is going to decide that it is pointless to bother electing large majorities of Democrats to Congress, because they simply can't get anything done when they get there. If the answer turns out to be "yes" (or even "kind of"), then Democrats may have a chance to make the case this fall that electing lots of Democrats is the way for the voters to go.

Read Complete Article »

Friday Talking Points [115] -- Git 'Er Done!

[ Posted Friday, March 12th, 2010 – 17:20 UTC ]

However, we must also give a nod to Larry the Cable Guy here, and put it even more forcefully (and less ay-LEET-ist, of course) by phrasing it: "Git 'er done!" Just to give credit where it is due.

Read Complete Article »

Republicans Up Ante On Earmark Ban

[ Posted Thursday, March 11th, 2010 – 17:40 UTC ]

Yesterday, House Democrats put an opening bid on the table in the political game of banning earmarks -- all for-profit corporate earmarks would not be allowed in the budget appropriations bills this year (or possibly longer). Today, House Republicans raised the stakes by proposing a ban on all earmarks (although only specifically for "this year"), and not just the ones directed towards for-profit entities.

Read Complete Article »

Banning Earmarks

[ Posted Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 – 16:22 UTC ]

House Democrats, led by Appropriations Committee Chair David Obey and Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Norm Dicks, have just announced that for the upcoming budget, no earmarks will be allowed which are directed to a specific for-profit company. This will ban the practice of steering Pentagon money to singled-out companies in individual districts -- which are essentially no-bid contracts outside the Pentagon's fiscal control.

Read Complete Article »

One Year Ago On Reconciliation

[ Posted Tuesday, March 9th, 2010 – 12:21 UTC ]

[Today's column is going to be a rerun of a column I wrote exactly one year ago. This is somewhat of a coincidence, since today I will be taking care of some previous commitments in the non-online world and will be too busy to write a new column. So I went looking for an old column on healthcare reform, just to see where we were a year ago. I read a few columns from last March, and picked one out on not just healthcare reform, but the concept of reconciliation in the Senate. After I had read it and decided to use it, I realized it was posted one year ago to the day, so it serendipitously works as a good reprint article, since it looks pre-planned (even though it isn't).

Read Complete Article »

Fred Phelps' Hatemongering And The First Amendment

[ Posted Monday, March 8th, 2010 – 17:33 UTC ]

Phelps is in the news today because a Maryland family brought a lawsuit against Phelps, seeking damages for Phelps' actions at their son's funeral, and the U.S. Supreme Court has announced it will hear the case's appeal. By doing so, they open up the door to refining what is and what is not acceptable speech allowed under the First Amendment to the Constitution. While the Supreme Court may instead rule much more narrowly (on the case itself, without addressing the free speech issue), the question is worth discussing: should what Phelps does be legal?

Read Complete Article »

Friday Talking Points [114] -- When Will Rahm Go? Place Your Bets!

[ Posted Friday, March 5th, 2010 – 17:14 UTC ]

This sort of "mistakes were made, but not by me" legacy-polishing, it should be noted, is usually done as a politician is leaving the stage. Which is enough of a reason for us to optimistically look into the future, here. So we are going to open the betting for when Rahm Emanuel will exit the White House. Or, to be more accurate, when he will announce his exit. Because we're just going to assume (for the fun of it) that if Rahmbo's already covering his tracks by attempting to cast history over-favorably toward himself, then his exit can't be all that far ahead. To be followed, as is usual, by signing a book contract worth at least seven figures. Rahm was said to be interested it running for mayor of Chicago at one point, but whatever excuse he ultimately uses, we're taking bets on the actual date Rahm announces he is leaving.

Read Complete Article »