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Archive for January, 2010

State of the Union Tonight

January 27, 2010 Leave a comment

President Obama will deliver his State of the Union tonight.  The Republicans better respect the President and not pull any tricks like Joe Wilson did last year in Obama’s health care address.

Obama’s major accomplishment in his first year remains the stimulus, which is a huge accomplishment for social spending by any measure.  But because of the long laundry list Obama wanted to do, it seems small by comparison.  He does have smaller accomplishments like the SCHIP expansion, credit card reform, and the Fair Pay Act to tout as well.

Will update when he delivers the address.

UPDATE: Good Speech I thought.  For the agenda and policy matters, he called for:

  1. Jobs Bill
  2. Health Care
  3. Financial Reform
  4. Energy
  5. Education
  6. Bill to Limit an Activist Supreme Court Decision on Campaign Financing
  7. Limited Spending Freeze
  8. Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
  9. Immigration

UPDATE 2: Like to add that the speech was eloquent and rhythmic and had the Obama coolness and charm to it.  Favorite part of the speech was the ending send off.  Makes you want to make some changes.

We have finished a difficult year. We have come through a difficult decade. But a new year has come. A new decade stretches before us. We don’t quit. I don’t quit. Let’s seize this moment – to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more.

UPDATE 3: Hahaha, not only did the Supreme Court overturn a century of campaign finance law, Justice Alito overturned the age old tradition of Supreme Court neutrality on Presidential addresses.  He must not like precedent!

Rep. Pence Not Running Against Sen. Bayh

January 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Rep. Pence announced today that he will not challenge Sen. Bayh for the Indiana Senate seat.  He would have been a tough challenge, but it seems like Pence didn’t want to sacrifice a safe House seat and a shot at the House minority leadership to face an incumbent Senator.  This does save the Dems another headache in what is looking like a tough election year for Team Blue.

Former Rep. Hostetler is still the only opponent for Sen. Bayh.

Beau Biden Not Running for DE-Sen.

January 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Another headache for the Dems.  Beau Biden announced in an email to his supporters that he will not run for the Delaware Senate seat vacated by his father.  Rep. Mike Castle (R- DE At Large) already announced he would run for the seat and is a formidable opponent for the Dems.  The Dems do have a deep bench in Delaware and someone else will step up to challenge Castle.  We’ll see if there’s going to be a fight for this seat or if Castle will stroll right on through to the Senate.

This Week in the Senate

January 25, 2010 Leave a comment

The Senate is still discussing the debt limit although they may get that done early this week.  We will also have the State of the Union this Wednesday, and the main theme of the President’s address will be job creation.

On health care, the House and Senate are still working out  a plan that can clear both chambers without having to go through the filibuster.  What they may do is for the House to pass the Senate bill while the Senate will pass a reconciliation bill with the negotiated fixes in tandem.  The situation is in flux and may collapse but I think they’ll come up with a plan similar to what’s been proposed.  They could also pass the bill in chunks but it’ll take forever for the individual parts to clear the Senate where members already want to focus on jobs.  Unless they want the bill to collapse, the first scenario is the best way forward for health care and finish this agenda item for the time being.

Oh and budget reconciliation bills only allows for 20 hours of debate by statute so if they do the House + Senate reconciliation strategy, the Senate won’t take too much time on it.  Go for it Congresscritters!

Corporations (Soylent Green) is People!

January 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Teabaggers should take note – this is what is considered radical:

In one swoop, the court did away with nearly everything in federal campaign finance law, allowing corporations free reign to inject as much money as they jolly well please into federal campaigns. The decision completes what Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick calls “The Pinocchio Project,” in which the Court transforms “a corporation into a real live boy,” complete with personhood, free-speech rights and the unfettered opportunity to drown the body politic in a tidal wave of perverse incentives.

Shouldn’t people be people?

Heck if corporations are people, can they run for President?  Oh and what’s stopping foreign corporations from endorsing or attacking candidates?

President Obama issued a statement vowing to curtail the Supreme Court decision:

“With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics,” said President Obama in a statement. “It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans… That’s why I am instructing my Administration to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue. We are going to talk with bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision.”

I want this fixed as soon as possible.

VP Biden and Rep. Barney Frank Sound Off on Filibuster

January 21, 2010 Leave a comment

(courtesy: Daily Kos)

Judging by the media coverage, it seems like Republicans have achieved their 41-59 “majority” but with the nature of the current Senate rules and the unprecedented use of the filibuster by the Republicans, they’ve gained tremendous leverage.  There are ways to terminate the filibuster through a majority vote (not supermajority), but I don’t think it’ll be done as of this moment since it’ll be seen as sour grapes.

Still, filibuster reform should be given a hard look by the Democrats in the future, and recently, two major Democratic figures sounded off on the undemocratic nature of the filibuster.  A few days ago, Vice President Biden lamented the unprecedented use of the filibuster when he said:

“As long as I have served, … I’ve never seen, as my uncle once said, the constitution stood on its head as they’ve done. This is the first time every single solitary decision has required 60 senators,” Biden said. “No democracy has survived needing a supermajority.”

And yesterday, Rep. Barney Frank called for the elimination of the filibuster and it’s abuse by the Republicans:

“It is time to shut it down,” Frank said. “God didn’t create the filibuster, it’s part of the Senate rules.”

“We have a serious constitutional problem. There has been a de facto amendment of the U.S. Constitution in an anti-small-D democratic direction.”

Senate filibuster rules aren’t fixed in stone and have been changed in the past.  In fact, the 60 vote requirement only existed since 1975.  Even then it’s use has never been abused as it is now as evidenced by this graph that the filibuster has a  90% delay rate.  The Senate should look into curtailing filibuster abuse and find a way to fix it.

Special Election in MA Today

January 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Polls open today with Martha Coakley and Scott Brown battling to succeed the late Sen. Kennedy. We’ll see who wins by tonight (crosses fingers for Coakley).  Final Prediction from me … Coakley by 2 (50 D – 48 R – 2 I).

UPDATE: Brown wins :(.  Congratulations to Sen. Elect Brown.  Obviously, Obama and the Dems will have to regroup.  President Obama is the quarterback though.  It’s all up to him on how he wants to deal with this setback, but the status quo has to change.