Tag Archives: senate

Why are Americans So Angry?

A few days ago there was a monster storm in the Mid-Atlantic region. In Washington DC some young people were having a snowball fight and one of the snowballs hit a red Hummer. The driver got out holding a pistol. We learned later that he was an off duty policemen, but why would he react so violently to such an innocent act. Over reaction to the slightest ill or insult has gotten to be the norm. We are witnessing a new level of rudeness in media, politics and on the streets. President Obama’s healthcare bill has been passed by the Democratic controlled Senate. Michael Steele, GOP Chairman said this bill is akin to the Democrats “flipping the bird to the American people.” This is the kind of verbiage that has become acceptable in our political discourse. This kind of visceral commentary is espoused by both parties, and the media has taken it to new and lower levels. Friday MSNBC Dylan Ratigan while interviewing Congressman Debra Wasserman became extremely combative and rude as they discussed the healthcare bill. He was talking over her so much that she said he could really interview himself. He finally became so frustrated that he ended the interview. His behavior was so high on the egregious meter that on Monday’s show he had to apologize for his rudeness. Cops, politicians, television pundits, your next door neighbor everyone seems to be on the edge and ready to blow. Why? Times are tough, but we will survive, but will we recognize who we have become.

Senator Charles Schumer Too Big to Be Quiet

Senator Charles Schumer on a recent flight was asked to turn his phone off prior to takeoff. He being the super important person that he is was upset that the flight attendant would have the gall to do her job. He argued briefly with her and he then complied. He called her a bitch under his breath, and the incident was witnessed by a GOP passenger who leaked the story. Schumer has since apologized to the flight attendant, but what does this say about the people that supposedly represent us?  They actually believe they are special and they deserve preferential treatment. We send these politicians to Washington with the promise that they are there for us, but in very little time they start enjoying the perks and expecting to be treated like royalty and when they run into anyone who treats them like a mere mortal they have a how dare you meltdown.

Slow Down, Senator Reid Stop Comparing Healthcare to Slavery

President Obama and his fellow Democrats want to pass a healthcare bill before the year ends. All summer all of their energy has been devoted to this effort almost to the exclusion of other important issues like unemployment. The stakes are high and now the speeches and the comparisons are getting ridiculous. Yesterday Sen. Reid stood on the Senate Floor and compared the healthcare bill to slavery. He said “Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all Republicans have come up with is this slow down, stop everything, let’s start over. He went on to say “You think you’ve heard these same excuses before, you’re right. When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said, ‘Slow down, it’s too early. Let’s wait. Things aren’t bad enough.’ When women spoke up for the right to speak up, they wanted to vote, some insisted, ‘Slow down, there will be a better day to do that. The day isn’t quite right. When this body was on the verge of guaranteeing equal civil rights to everyone, regardless of the color of their skin, some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today. History is repeating itself before our eyes. There are now those who don’t think it is the right time to reform health care. If not now, when, madam president? But the reality for many that feel that way, it will never, never be a good time to reform health care.” Opponents of the healthcare bill are not segregationists they have issues with the bill and since our country has a two party system they have the right to voice their dissent. This healthcare bill could be landmark but don’t compare it to slavery. This is dangerous territory when the rhetoric becomes this reckless and excessive. This bill can not be equated to civil rights, slavery or women’s suffrage. While it is important it is not on the level of America’s great tragedies. So Mr. Reid needs to chill and start talking specifics and stop engaging in excessive hyperbole.

Why Aren’t There Term Limits for Members of Congress?

The president can only serve 2 terms. So even if you hate the president he or she can only serve 8 years. So why aren’t there term limits for other members of Congress? Members of the House of Representatives serve 2 year terms and Senators serve 6 year terms, but there is no limit on the time they can stay in Washington. So if you serve 2 years you probably spend the better part of the second year running to get another term. A few weeks ago I heard a story that said both political parties preferred candidates that were wealthy enough to finance their own campaigns. So now you need to be rich to run and you will spend the better part of your term running so when do you really have time to deal with the problems of your constituents? Would term limits make politicians more focused? There is something about a representative who has been in the House for 30 years that’s 15 elections. How does he stay in touch with the people of his home state? It is hard for them to know what we want or need when they all reside in Washington perhaps if they knew they could only serve for a certain amount of time more time could be focused on what really matters, and less on how do I get reelected.

Senate Apologizes for Slavery on the Eve of Juneteenth, but Why?

Today the Senate passed a non-binding resolution apologizing for slavery. This is a symbolic message because this apology comes with nothing. When slavery was abolished slaves were promised 40 acres and a mule. That never really materialized and what blacks received was legalized discrimination. So today on the eve of Juneteenth the Senate extended an apology. This resolution was sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin D-Iowa.  Harkin’s resolution, co-sponsored by 21 senators, “acknowledges the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery, and Jim Crow laws,” and “apologizes to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow laws.” Jim Crow laws were state and local laws enacted mostly in the Southern and border states of the United States between the 1870s and 1965 that acted to deny the right to vote and other civil liberties to African-Americans, and to legally segregate them from whites. Harkin said he hopes “all those people and individuals who have had these sorts of personal experiences … will be able to see in this some acknowledgment of what happened to them, an acknowledgment that it was wrong, and an apology for it. It doesn’t fix it, but hopefully it does address it and starts to dig out the wound.” He is right it does not fix it because we can not change the past, but sometimes it is good to simply acknowledge a wrong. Some will say others have been mistreated in this country they too deserve an apology, but black people were the only ones who were enslaved and viewed as property and that is worthy of an official apology, and today we got it. So all I can say is better late then never.

Senate Finally Puts Some Limits on the Credit Card Companies

More and more Americans are losing their jobs and their homes. If this is not bad enough the credit card are putting the squeeze on the consumer. They have been unchecked for years. They can raise interest rates any time they feel like it on good customers and bad ones. The irony is some of the card companies are directly linked to the bailout money. So they are double-dipping. Taking our tax money in one hand and picking our pockets with the other. Well today the Senate finally put their foot down to the collective relief of the consumer. By a vote of 90 to 5 the Senate voted to limit their ability to arbitrarily raise interest rates and fees. “This is landmark legislation that is going to make the credit card marketplace more transparent and more fair for millions of consumers,” said Travis B. Plunkett, legislative director for the Consumer Federation of American. “In particular, it’s going to prevent credit card companies from suddenly and unjustly increasing interest rates which is pushing many consumers with credit card debt into bankruptcy.”*  It is about time that someone spoke up for the consumer and it is about time that the people we elected start doing what they were sent to Washington to do…represent the interests of the people.

*Washington Post

Why are the Democrats Stripping Specter of Power, but not Joe Lieberman?

Flip flopper Arlen Specter the newest Democratic senator did not read the fine print when he made the switch. He believed that he would retain his senior status upon making the switch. Now majority leader Sen. Harry Reid says we will have to see if this is the case. “Specter said last week he and Reid had agreed he would be treated for seniority purposes as though he had been elected as a Democrat when he first came to the Senate in 1980. The issue has important ramifications because chairmanships, which come with money to hire large staffs, can be at stake.” Specter has been touting his senior status as a reason that Democratic Party should send him back to the Senate. This is an interesting scenario. The conventional wisdom suggests Specter made the switch because he knew that he could not win as a Republican. This was a pure political move. The sole purpose for the switch was survival but the Democrats readily accepted him because it increases the majority. It just seems they are taking some sick pleasure in watching him twist in the wind. Whereas, they reacted differently when Joe Lieberman the ultimate turncoat made his switch. Lieberman lost his Democratic primary and he decided to run as an Independent but the Democrats still let him caucus with them. Then last summer Lieberman put on his Benedict Arnold suit and campaigned for John McCain. He even gave a speech in support of McCain at the Republican convention. What was his punishment for this defiance? Absolutely nothing. He was stripped of his chairmanship of some little sub committee, but he maintained his chairmanship of Homeland Security. Reid wanted to strip him of this position, but President Obama told him not to do it. So why is Specter being punished for his defection? They both are turncoats, but as I have said before in this blog Lieberman is just the luckiest man in Washington and Specter is not.