One year later, despite Congress's appalling lack of action, there has been important progress in some areas and states. The White House has quietly delivered on most of the executive actions President Obama promised in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting.
After years in the rumor mill, it's safe to say Mother Nature is bipolar, but it's not her fault. For decades, analysts have pointed to a steady decline in the Earth's natural environment.
As someone who believes all social justice issues are interrelated, here was a chance to take a stand in defense of families being torn apart by an immigration system that flies in the face of our nation's immigrant history, and the bedrock American value of justice for all.
If there is any chance at all that new sanctions right now might disrupt that agreement, or jeopardize a future agreement -- why on earth would we risk it?
Our nation and our science have come a long way since HIV/AIDS began mysteriously claiming lives in the United States. Unfortunately, many of our laws haven't kept up.
We know men are using negative ads to reach voters. Voters expect more from women -- they don't expect to see women candidates act like typical politicians. So how do they engage in contrasting with their opponents without losing their edge?
Welcome back (after we took last week off, to digest) to our Friday roundup! We should have two weeks of news to cover, but nothing much of anything strange or startling happened Thanksgiving week, so we're going to concentrate on just this current week.
There's a common perception that the only two options for political involvement are to vote or to run for office. These avenues are certainly open to us all, but most of us seem to forget a third option: Lobbying. And the perfect how-to guide is now on the shelves.
Harry Reid and Senate Democrats made waves last week when they detonated the "nuclear option." Thanks to this change in Senate rules, ending debate on...
Once the president regains his footing, he can once again lead the government and Boehner will have nowhere to hide. Nov. 21 was twenty years in the making -- but it came, and it is a very big deal.
When viewed from an international perspective, three other features -- the extraordinary scope of its powers, its drastic misapportionment, and the exceptional weakness of its leadership structures -- make the U.S. Senate a true global outlier.
The GOP will continue to scream that their act was a naked demonstration of the danger of the tyranny of the majority. It wasn't. It simply ended the far worse tyranny of the minority against Obama's court picks.
The Senate Democrats' lond-deferred success in reforming the filibuster rule for executive branch and judicial appointments will have reverberations that are only gradually being appreciated. Not only will 76 long-blocked appointments -- a record -- now go forward in short order. Obama, if he chooses, will be able to appoint more robust progressives. One of the best pieces of news in the filibuster story was the report that Obama personally got into the act, working the phones to help enlist the last few Democratic votes for reform. This may bode well for more hands-on leadership by a president whose trademark has been reticence.
That explosion you heard this week was Harry Reid going nuclear, as the Senate voted 52-48 to eliminate the ability to use filibusters to block most Judicial and Executive branch nominees. Republican Senators hysterically decried the move as "a raw power grab," "Obamacare II" and "scary and dictatorial." In fact, it was Republican senators who forced the issue by filibustering nominees at an unprecedented rate, including -- for the first time ever -- a cabinet nominee. Half the nearly 170 filibusters of presidential nominees in U.S. history have happened since Obama -- who was accused of "packing" the DC district court simply for trying to fill vacancies -- took office. It's still unlikely any real solutions will come out of our gridlocked congress, but at least now the Senate can't make our other two branches of government just as unproductive. Ka-boom!
Since President Obama took office, Republicans have used the filibuster an average of 14.4 times per year to block his nominations. That is 50 times higher than the 1952-2008 average, and more than 14 times higher than during the administration of President George W. Bush. It is a shame that the Republicans brought things to this pass. The filibuster is a useful tool to prevent a president whose party controls the Senate from pushing through the nomination of an appointee who is incompetent, who lacks integrity or whose views are truly outside the "mainstream" of respectable opinion. That we have now lost that important safeguard is deeply unfortunate. But the responsibility for this development rests squarely on the shoulders of the Republican members of the Senate, who have brought this not only upon themselves, but upon the nation. It is a sad day for America.
In fact, it was even a big week just for political anniversaries. Fifty years ago this week, an event of no little importance happened. I speak, of course, tomorrow's 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of Doctor Who by the BBC.