Saturday, December 18, 2010


Finals week has ended at last.  One semester to go!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

In other news: the sky is blue, and water is wet...

...and Richard M. Nixon was a freakin' jerk.

Bisy backson.

I'm studying for my Corporate Law final (p.s. hire me), watching "White Christmas" and the Joel McHale episode of "Pushing Daisies," and working on my three (count 'em, three) papers due on Friday.

Light postings this week, though I'm sure I'll end up procrastinating here at some point.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bernie Sanders filibustering* tax deal

And none of that faux-filibustering* crap that the GOP has pulled over a hundred times this Congress, either.  Sanders is actually holding the floor and speaking to prevent a vote.  He's been going for about five and a half hours at this point, and he seems to be on a roll.

If only people watched C-SPAN 2, America would be getting a great civics lesson.

But while Sanders' filibuster is pretty damn cool, it's not so cool as to make me reconsider my support for reforming/abolishing the filibuster.  Sanders is just providing an inspirational capstone to a Congress marked by an unconscionable level of filibustering by the GOP.  By the Senate's count, 132 cloture motions were filed during this Congress prior to today.  139 were filed in the 110th Congress.

In the 109th Congress--the most recent one when the GOP controlled the Senate, and Democrats were in the minority--there were 68 cloture motions filed.

Common Cause has a petition for filibuster reform in the 112th Congress, which convenes in January.  A bipartisan group of Senators and Senators-Elect are on board with changing the way cloture works.  Not that anyone reads this blog, but if you're a random Netizen who's stumbled across it by accident, go sign!

*- actually, this IS a faux-filibuster, in the sense that he's not actually blocking anything from being voted upon, but is merely holding the floor and speechifying.  But this is how we envision the filibuster working, and it's pretty good theatre.


In other filibuster news, the GOP took the brave and principled stand of blocking a bill to provide health coverage to Ground Zero responders.

Because the last thing we want to do is reward those men and women who saved people trapped in the rubble, recovered the bodies of the heroes who ran into the towers, and took upon themselves the daily burden of confronting the full scope of the tragedy of 9/11.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

DADT repeal fails: someone needs to explain Joe Manchin's job to him

Terrible news: the Senate failed to break a GOP filibuster of the Defense Authorization Bill, including a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Well, perhaps it isn't fair to call it a "GOP filibuster," since only 39 of the 40 votes against cloture came from Republicans.  The 40th came from newly elected Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.  And reading his explanation, may I just say:

"Oy vey."

Manchin said he is "very sympathetic to those who passionately support the repeal," but added that he needs more time "to visit and hear the full range of viewpoints from the citizens of West Virginia."
Now, that quote is obnoxious enough for me to agree completely with Atrios.  If a Senator wants to be a bigot, that's fine, but he shouldn't try to use his constituents to excuse his bigotry.

But the next part makes me think that Joe Manchin doesn't understand which branch of the government he now works in:

Besides, Manchin added -- if supporters of repeal are upset with the Senate vote, they can always go talk to President Obama about ending DADT discharges with a stroke of his pen.

"While I may disagree with a repeal of DADT at this time, some believe that President Obama, as Commander-in-Chief, if he so chooses, has the authority to suspend discharges under DADT, if he deems it a matter of national security," Manchin said. "If this is correct, and the President was to make such an order, while I may disagree with it, I would respect his authority as President to do so."

Way to go, Senator: not only are you a bigot, you're willing to allow a President to ignore  a federal law, in order to provide you cover for your bigotry.  It's an incredibly hateful, senseless, and dangerous law, and it might well be unconstitutional.  But it's a law nonetheless, and the time for the Executive Branch to decide whether or not to follow a law is before the bill is signed into law.  It's why the President has a veto power.  After the law is enacted, his job is to "take care that the law be faithfully executed" until it's repealed by Congress or enjoined by the Courts.

Of course, Obama unilaterally ending DADT would give Manchin a reason to attack Obama ("I respect the authority of the Commander-in-Chief to make this decision, but exercising this power to promote the homosexual agenda is blah blah blah I hate gays...").  And Manchin would do it in a heartbeat.

But while Manchin might find short-term political gain in trying to prevent equal justice (though he has to run again in 2012, I don't get why he thinks there's any big need to look like a dick now, just weeks after taking office), he's trying to boost his own fortunes at the expense of his co-equal branch and basic human dignity.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Blunt Aaron Sorkin is blunt.

Descriptors and titles used in this post on Palin include:

  1. snotty
  2. truly awful
  3. heart-stoppingly disgusting
  4. faux-macho shithead
  5. phony pioneer girl
  6. "Cruella"
  7. witless bully
  8. "Palin's Army of Arrogant Assholes"
  9. deranged
I think it says something that Sorkin never created a character like Palin when he was doing "The West Wing."  That's because, ten years ago, even during the middle of the George W. Bush administration, someone like Sarah Palin was simply unthinkable.

A shining star in the firmament.

Just a reminder: the Delaware GOP nominated this perpetual train wreck for the United States Senate instead of Mike Castle.
Christine O'Donnell on Tuesday compared the "tragedy" of extending unemployment benefits to Pearl Harbor and the death of Elizabeth Edwards. 

"Today marks a lot of tragedy," O'Donnell, the Tea Party-backed GOP Senate candidate from Delaware, said Tuesday night during an appearance in Virginia.

"Tragedy comes in threes," O'Donnell said. "Pearl Harbor, Elizabeth Edwards's passing and Barack Obama's announcement of extending the tax cuts, which is good, but also extending the unemployment benefits."

The Republic is Doomed

The filibuster in a nutshell: the Senate voted 53-36 to bring up for a vote a tax cut for the first $1,000,000 of every American's income, but the GOP is blocking the bill because they think millionaires need an extra tax cut. 
The GOP calls this "fiscal responsibility."
If some bill is not passed by the Senate, then rates will revert to the Clinton-era rates, from back when we gained a net of over 22 million jobs.  If a bill is passed, then the rates will likely remain at Bush-era levels, when we gained a net jobs.
The GOP calls this "job creation."

Christmas came early for Coal Country

Don Blankenship is getting out of the union busting/negligently killing workers/purposefully bribing elected officials game.  He will not be missed.


How does it happen that the only supporters of Don't Ask, Don't Tell left in America are all Republican members of Congress?

Mandatory Doffing

I'm not generally a fan of dress codes (especially ones that could ban yarmulkes or snazzy fedoras), but I think the result of repealing this particular ban would be one fabulous Congresswoman and fifty jackasses in mesh trucker caps thinking they look like "jus' folks."

Remember when expertise counted for something?

There was a time when this collection of elder statesmen would be enough to silence every Republican objection to the New START treaty. I fear that time has passed.
Really, though, if the GOP has reached the point where Henry Freakin' Kissinger isn't considered hawkish enough, then we're in some serious shit.

Mr. Cooper politely lays the smackdown.

Yet another sterling example of the thoughtful leadership found in state legislatures around the country.

The Good Old Days

I grew up in Atlanta, and like Ta-Nehisi Coates I can't understand for the life of me the cult that has grown up around revering a criminal gang of racist traitors. They killed millions of Americans for terrible reasons.  The "lost cause" myth that has been built up since Reconstruction is just a way to distract everyone from the fact that many of the seceding states actually gave declarations of secession, which pretty clearly show the only "states' right" they cared about was the right to buy, sell, rape, imprison, and kill other human beings.

A brief history of the rise, progress, and policy of anti-slavery and the political organization into whose hands the administration of the Federal Government has been committed will fully justify the pronounced verdict of the people of Georgia. The party of Lincoln, called the Republican party, under its present name and organization, is of recent origin. It is admitted to be an anti-slavery party. While it attracts to itself by its creed the scattered advocates of exploded political heresies, of condemned theories in political economy, the advocates of commercial restrictions, of protection, of special privileges, of waste and corruption in the administration of Government, anti-slavery is its mission and its purpose.

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.

South Carolina:
The right of property in slaves was recognized by giving to free persons distinct political rights, by giving them the right to represent, and burthening them with direct taxes for three-fifths of their slaves; by authorizing the importation of slaves for twenty years; and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives from labor.
We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.

Texas abandoned her separate national existence and consented to become one of the Confederated Union to promote her welfare, insure domestic tranquility and secure more substantially the blessings of peace and liberty to her people. She was received into the confederacy with her own constitution, under the guarantee of the federal constitution and the compact of annexation, that she should enjoy these blessings. She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery-- the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits-- a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time. Her institutions and geographical position established the strongest ties between her and other slave-holding States of the confederacy.

No great principle drove the Confederacy's secession beyond that of white supremacy.  That's the starting point for any honest discussion of the Civil War.

Senate DADT repeal vote might be today.

So sayeth Reid's office.

John McCain's crap aside, the total amount of time the military should need to stop DADT following a repeal is the amount it takes to snap a salute and say, "yes, sir."

Yep, I'm a hero.

My idea of civic responsibility: writing the county's Department of Liquor Control to let them know that there's a cordial shelved with the Irish whiskeys.

How does THAT make it any better?

From the land that brought us Bachmann comes the excuse of a lifetime:  'I didn't have that gun at an abortion clinic to assault the staff and patients, Officer.  I had it because I was stalking a woman!'


The 2011 Limbaugh: MotorTrend's Burn of the Year


You’ve made two king’s ransoms by convincing legions of dittoheads to tune into you every day. I wonder, do you ever ride in anything that’s not German or Anglo-Saxon? Do you have any idea how powerful IG Metal is, and of the size of Germany’s social safety net?

My esteemed colleague, Jonny Lieberman, got a copy of [George] Will’s hit piece on the Volt, and responded thusly: “A bit of flag waving is in order – but instead, Will chooses to be a partisan clown and gets everything wrong.” You and Will don’t even worry about being un-American, anymore.

All the shouting from you or from electric car purists on the left can’t distort the fact that the Chevy Volt is, indeed, a technological breakthrough. And it’s more. It’s a technological breakthrough that many American families can use for gas-free daily commutes and well-planned vacation drives. It’s expensive for a Chevy, but many of those families will find the gasoline saved worth it. If you can stop shilling for your favorite political party long enough to go for a drive, you might really enjoy the Chevy Volt. I’m sure GM would be happy to lend you one for the weekend. Just remember: driving and Oxycontin don’t mix.

Anytime an apolitical outlet points out how asinine Rush Limbaugh is, I'm happy.

Ooh, let's do this!

Seems like a much simpler solution for me than diet, exercise, and reprogramming my body self-image to a more positive one.

They really give gun-fetishizing right-wing neoanarchist fanatics a bad name.

God Bless America:

People who knew Bruce Turnidge and his son say they loved their guns, hated President Obama, and fantasized about starting a militia and a tent city in the woods for people who shared their radical beliefs.

Prosecutors say they acted on their anger at the government by planting a bomb that blew up inside a small-town bank in 2008, killing two police officers and maiming a third.


Bruce Turnidge regularly lectured anyone who would listen about the need for citizens to be armed to defend their freedom, and cheered the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, according to testimony. His son, Joshua, shared similar views and spoke of robbing a bank to raise the money to keep their biodiesel business afloat.

Know what's guaranteed to make the government take your guns away? Blowing up a bank and killing cops.



I was born twenty-seven years ago, married four years ago, and entered law school three years ago.  I'm a one-time campaign consultant who will likely return to that field if the legal job market stays where it is (focusing on elections law was, in hindsight, probably not a wise career move).  My wife and I live just outside DC.