Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘At last the Democrats in Congress actually do something

‘Citizens United’ Continuing to Unite Citizens

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Yesterday, six Democratic senators — Tom Udall (NM), Michael Bennett (CO), Tom Harkin (IA), Dick Durbin (IL), Chuck Schumer (NY), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), and Jeff Merkeley (OR) — introduced a constitutional amendment that would effectively overturn the Citizens United case and restore the ability of Congress to properly regulate the campaign finance system.

Thursday Night Links

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* If the Hill’s reporting is accurate, this is major news, demonstrating the depths of the Democrats’ desperation to win me back: Reid triggers nuclear option to change rules, prohibit filibusters. I can’t find anything else about this yet. I assume this is some sort of procedural bluff, but if not—or if the bluff is called—that’s huge. UPDATE: TPM says it’s big, but not titanic.

* Lev Grossman’s The Magicians is coming to TV. My guess is the whole series takes place at Brakebills; we’ll never hit the second half of the first novel.

Steve Jobs was a good man who loved and was loved, and earned every accolade he’s garnered. But he doesn’t deserve a hagiography, and I doubt he would have wanted one. Apple wasn’t built by a saint. It was built by an iron-fisted visionary.

* Against Tranströmer: But most healthy of all, a decision like this, which we all understand would never have been taken by say, an American jury, or a Nigerian jury, or perhaps above all a Norwegian jury, reminds us of the essential silliness of the prize and our own foolishness at taking it seriously. Eighteen (or sixteen) Swedish nationals will have a certain credibility when weighing up works of Swedish literature, but what group could ever really get its mind round the infinitely varied work of scores of different traditions. And why should we ask them to do that?

* How Dan Harmon Drives Himself Crazy Making Community.

* And the headline reads, “Body suit may soon enable the paralyzed to walk.”

The Bad News Bears Win a Game!

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Using a wily procedural maneuver to tie Republican hands, House Democrats managed to pass, by a vote of 234-188, legislation that will allow the Bush tax cuts benefiting only the wealthiest Americans to expire. I wonder how many of those 234 would still have their jobs if they’d done this before the election.

I also wonder how Senate Democrats will screw things up.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 2, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Tuesday Afternoon

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* Things I didn’t know were in the health care bill: menu labeling. Great policy.

* I want to be held accountable for getting it done. I will judge my first term as president based on the fact on whether we have delivered the kind of health care that every American deserves and that our system can afford. Barack Obama at a CAP/SEIU health care forum in 2007, up against Hillary Clinton and history’s greatest monster.

The health care forum in 2007 served as a kind of epiphany for Obama. Time’s Karen Tumulty, who moderated the forum, wrote that Obama “was noticeably uncomfortable when pressed for details” about his health care plan. As Ezra Klein wrote at the time, “Compared to John Edwards, who had a detailed plan, and Hillary Clinton, whose fluency with the subject is unmatched among the contenders, he seemed uncertain and adrift.” Obama himself acknowledged that the health care forum revealed, “I am not a great candidate now, but I am going to figure out how to be a great candidate.” Now, by delivering on the basic health care principles he pronounced three years ago, Obama is already earning praise as “one of America’s finest presidents.”

* Winning has its advantages. Mike Allen:

Rather than dragging down Dems, President Obama’s health plan could turn out to be a net positive for the midterms by goosing his base, re-engaging new Obama voters, giving his party something clear to promote, and providing a blunt instrument for whacking [Republicans]. Obama’s triumph has put Republicans back on the defensive, and even some of them are wondering if they peaked eight months too soon.

* Frum: “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox.”

* Related: No one cares what Republicans think about health care anymore.

* Finding common ground: I’m no Sarah Palin fan, but I fully endorse her call for Tea Party supporters to make third-party runs for office.

* Climate next? Let’s hope so.

* Project Kaisei is seeking to turn the Great Pacific Garbage Patch into fuel.

* Related: Werner Herzog narrates the emotional life of a plastic bag blowing across the American countryside in search of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

* The University of Michigan has become the 17th institution of higher learning to be implicated in the checks-for-degrees scandal rocking American campuses, representatives from the Department of Justice reported Tuesday.

* Coming to Comedy Central this fall: That’s My Biden.

* Airplanes do not “fly.” They are held aloft through the divine intervention of heavenly angels.

* Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.

* And the Big Picture has your record setters. Below: the world’s largest “Thriller” dance.

Saturday Night

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* The House vote on the Senate bill should be this week, with the final reconciliation markup beginning on Monday. I consider myself fascinated by the self-executing legislative trick the Democrats may use to “consider the Senate bill passed” without actually having to take a vote on it.

More on SAFRA, the student loan reform package that may get passed alongside health care.

* Here’s Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow on the campaign to convince people, contrary to the facts, that everyone killed the public option.

* More from Chris Hayes, whose “The Breakdown” podcast is now a weekly listen, in Time: In the past decade, nearly every pillar institution in American society — whether it’s General Motors, Congress, Wall Street, Major League Baseball, the Catholic Church or the mainstream media — has revealed itself to be corrupt, incompetent or both. And at the root of these failures are the people who run these institutions, the bright and industrious minds who occupy the commanding heights of our meritocratic order. In exchange for their power, status and remuneration, they are supposed to make sure everything operates smoothly. But after a cascade of scandals and catastrophes, that implicit social contract lies in ruins, replaced by mass skepticism, contempt and disillusionment…

* Howell Raines: One question has tugged at my professional conscience throughout the year-long congressional debate over health-care reform, and it has nothing to do with the public option, portability or medical malpractice. It is this: Why haven’t America’s old-school news organizations blown the whistle on Roger Ailes, chief of Fox News, for using the network to conduct a propaganda campaign against the Obama administration—a campaign without precedent in our modern political history? More on this at Crooks & Liars.

* And “a debacle for public education”: Steve Benen has your full report on history education, Texas-style.

* McCarthyism: History lessons must tell students that Joe McCarthy’s suspicions were later “confirmed.”

All right, that’s it, I give up.


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As anyone on the Twitter knows, health care reform passed the House tonight, albeit with a terrible last-minute abortion amendment supported by 64 Democrats desperately in need of a primary challenge. MetaFilter’s “welcome to the mid-twentieth century” snark aside, it’s a pretty good day to be a Democrat. 218 to pass + 1 for good measure + 1 surprise Republican vote; if Harry Reid does his job half as well as Pelosi we’re in good shape.

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November 8, 2009 at 8:23 am

What’s Bringing a Smile to My Face Today?

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What’s bringing a ‘smile’ to my face today? Impotent whining.

Some good analysis of what’s been going on with this committee here.

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November 5, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Functional Health Care in Our Time?

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A functional health care system in our time? Ezra Klein and Steve Benen talk about the ways in which the coming House vote on health care—now, apparently, back on—could be a “gamechanger.”

It’s easy to forget that this process is quite a bit closer to completion than health-care reform has ever been. Two committees in the House and one in the Senate have already voted out legislation. That’s never happened before. But if a bill actually passes the House, that will be a gamechanger.

After all, that has never happened before. In 1994, Bill Clinton’s plan didn’t survive long enough to see a vote. Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Harry Truman weren’t any luckier. Obama is likely to not only see a vote in the House, but win it. And that gives him more than just bragging rights. It will put tremendous pressure on the Senate to follow suit.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 29, 2009 at 7:46 pm

You Have to Earn It

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You have to earn it: ‘Senate Democrats Deny Specter Committee Seniority.’ Not sure if Specter’s latest flub had any role in this, but it’s safe to say that Arlen’s not impressing.

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May 6, 2009 at 3:00 am

The Great Undoing – 2

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A little-known provision in the Congressional Review Act of 1996 will allow the Democratic Congress to painlessly undo any and all Bush regulations from the last six months of his presidency, including those that have already taken effect—something the White House’s strategy of last-minute malfeasance seems to have failed to take into account. The news just keeps getting better. Via MeFi.


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Quick links for Tuesday morning:

* Can’t stand waiting to see how Super Duper Tuesday will turn out? poblano at Daily Kos has a huge diary that tries to crunch the numbers. I can’t say that there’s much truth to any of it, but for my part I found the numbers encouraging—Obama already has significantly more strength in Super Tuesday states than I thought he did, and his prospects for a big bump after winning both South Carolina and Nevada are quite good. (By the way, the bogus Michigan primary is today. Go Uncommitted!)

* Peter Saunders argues in Policy capitalism is good. Marxists, Leftists, environmentalists, and rabble-rousers of all stripes, be advised.

* I’m definitely tucking this awesome Flickr photo away for future use. For now, it’ll have to serve as this week’s blog icon—I forgot to change it yesterday because of the semester changeover.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 15, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Elsewhere in what I misleadingly call the news

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Elsewhere in what I misleadingly call the news:

* A somewhat surprising comparison of the achievements of the 2007 “New Direction” Democratic congress and the 1995 “Contract with America” Republican congress, at Cogitamus. They fare a lot better than I would have expected, though not nearly as well as they ought to have given the mood of the country.

* Austin Kleon has a great post on attempts to fashion “The Bible According to Jesus,” with a fantastic illustration.

* How poker, the “cheater’s game,” has become younger and more intense as high-stakes games become increasingly mainstream, in The Economist.

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December 23, 2007 at 2:15 pm

The Open Government Act

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This may be the first time in seven years that I’ve been more or less happy with the direction of American democracy two whole days in a row: Congress has passed a major revision of the Freedom of Information Act, including:

Easier recovery of attorney’s fees when requesters are forced to file suit to get records;

The creation of a national FOIA ombudsman to mediate disputes between information requesters and government agencies;

A tracking system for individual information requests, and;

Penalties for agencies that fail to follow FOIA deadlines.

Also via MeFi. Like yesterday’s energy bill, this isn’t nearly perfect, but how refreshing to actually take the occasional step in the right direction…

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December 20, 2007 at 3:00 pm

Energy Bill Bingo

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Rep. Ed Markey at the Huffington Post has your 2007 Energy Bill scorecard. Overall, it’s a decent step forward, but how’s this for a travesty:

Long-term Production Tax Credit for Wind and Solar? No, not yet.
Ending the special tax deduction for Hummers? No, not now. Ouch. When the Senate dropped most tax provisions, this went with it, but it may soon return.

Via Jaimee.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 19, 2007 at 7:32 pm