Read a little. Learn a lot. • Tightly-written news, views and stuff • Follow us on TwitterBe a Facebook FanTumble us!

29 Feb 2012 01:54


Politics: Is partisanship the problem? Or is our political system the problem?

  • Snowe’s retirement will have many lamenting the endangered moderate and wondering how we can turn back the clock. But we can’t. About that, Snowe is right. Polarization is with us now and will be with us for the foreseeable future. The question is whether we will permit it to paralyze our political system and undermine our country or whether we will accept it and make the necessary accommodations.
  • Ezra Klein • Arguing that the problem with congress isn’t partisanship, or ideological polarization, but rather that the institutions and procedures codified in our political system aren’t well-equipped to handle a polarized congress. Klein’s prime example is the filibuster, which as we’ve seen the past couple of years, is absolutely crippling when the two parties in the Senate don’t agree on anything. “Our system, as any historian will tell you, was built by men who hated parties and anticipated their absence from American politics,” Klein says. “But as the two parties have polarized, we’ve learned that a system built for consensus is not able to properly function amid constant partisan competition.” source

26 May 2011 15:51


U.S.: Obama Judicial nominee Goodwin Liu asks to withdraw his name

  • Goodwin Liu says goodbye: One of the many contentious battles between the Republican Party and the Obama administration may come to a close, as judicial nominee Goodwin Liu has asked the President to withdraw his name from consideration. Obama nominated Liu on February 24th, 2010, and he’s languished in the Senate approvals process ever since. His nomination was a hit with the President’s liberal base, as Liu is rather liberal himself (and a UC Berkeley professor, to boot), but that made the political strategy for the GOP all too obvious. With the strength of the Senate filibuster still in hand, they decided to wait it out, hoping that Senate gridlock would scuttle his nomination. It seems that they were right. source

09 May 2011 21:46


U.S.: Obama’s pick for the Justice Department’s No. 2 runs into filibuster

What’s the problem, Senate GOP? This guy (James Cole) looks like a really friendly version of John Stossel. And Stossel’s a libertarian. Come on guys, squint your eyes! source

04 Apr 2011 16:12


Politics: Democrats pledge to filibuster anti-Planned Parenthood amendment

  • 41 Senators want to retain public funds for Planned Parenthood source
  • » Why this number matters: Forty-one is the magic number of senators needed to mount a filibuster and, in doing so, block a bill’s passage. Harry Reid has already stated that the anti-Planned Parenthood amendment passed by the House of Representatives won’t be included in the final legislation; however, with this group this size backing him up, Reid’s words now carry much more weight. Interestingly, while the Gang of 41, as someone will undoubtedly refer to them sooner or later, is composed entirely of Democratic-aligned senators, three Republicans have also voiced opposition to stripping Planned Parenthood of federal funds. This will undoubtedly complicated budget negotiations going forward, but we’re nonetheless heartened to see this many senators stepping up to defend such a vital national service. Here’s to hoping they remain intact.

27 Jan 2011 15:11


U.S.: McConnell, Reid hash out “gentleman’s agreement” over filibuster

  • problem The exploding use of the filibuster rule has stagnated the Senate, with a 60-vote supermajority often needed to pass legislation, one senator being able to secretly block any vote they so please, and the president’s appointments being held up in the confirmation process seemingly endlessly.
  • solution? Today’s “gentleman’s agreement” between Sen. Reid and Sen. McConnell, in which for more capacity to add amendments, the GOP will filibuster less, will support ending the secret vote block, and will cut by one-third the number of Obama appointments that need Senate confirmation. source

03 Jan 2011 21:00


Politics: Harry Reid breaks filibuster-blocking record

  • 69% the failure rate of filibusters in the last Congress source

26 Dec 2010 11:55


Politics: Democrats could kill (or fix) the filibuster with simple majority

  • obvious Democrats, having had a solid two years of hell as a result of the filibuster giving the minority party insane leverage over every major decision, have had enough, and want rules to change so that things can actually get done.
  • ironic On the first day of a Senate session, a simple majority is needed to change rules – such as the filibuster. Which means they could kill (or significantly change) the filibuster without fear of it getting filibustered. source
  • » Two proposals: Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) are the guys fighting for the changes hardest. Udall and Merkley, both first-termers, have different ideas about how to handle the change. Udall wants rotating changes based on weaknesses that show up in the system after each session. Merkley wants to bring the rules in line with what the country expects of a filibuster – only allowing them on complete bills and out in the open. (Thanks Samuel Rubenfeld)

10 Dec 2010 19:40


Politics: Bernie Sanders’ filibuster: The Senate gets interesting for a day

  • 516 number of minutes Bernie Sanders and others filibustered in the Senate today (from 10:24 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.)
  • no Sanders’ filibuster, fun as it was to watch, didn’t affect any votes from happening today source

09 Dec 2010 21:43


Politics, U.S.: The best one-sentence description of how DADT repeal failed

  • A procedural failsafe that’s theoretically meant to protect the rights of minorities was just used to restrict the rights of minorities.
  • Ezra Klein • Regarding Democrats’ failure to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell today in the Senate. Klein is, of course, referring to the filibuster, which allows 41/100 Senators to block any legislation from passing. Note: According to Klein, this quote (or the spirit of it) originated from his ace intern, Dylan Matthews.  source

21 Sep 2010 18:10


Politics: Republicans: We’d rather defund the military than let gays serve in it

  • 3 votes short of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the Senate
  • SENATE DEMOCRATS FAILED to overcome a Republican filibuster of the annual Pentagon authorization bill, which contained a repeal of DODT. Since the bill’s passage is required in order fund the US military, it will likely be brought up again at a later date. Two Democrats, Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln, voted against the bill, as did the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (for parliamentary reasons). source