Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sent out an email to supporters yesterday, ginning up fear by warning without substance about their guns.
"You and I are literally surrounded," the email starts. "The gun-grabbers in the Senate are about to launch an all-out-assault on the Second Amendment. On your rights. On your freedom." In case readers didn't get the point, he later writes frantically that "they're coming for your guns."
I don't think this is normal McConnell-obstruction. I think Mitch McConnell has begun to look over his shoulder at a challenge in 2014 for his Senate seat when he's up for reelection. A fear of challenge, in part, from his own party where bizarrely he's not seen as inherently conservative enough on everything in life, and in part because, of all things, a rumored challenge on the Democratic side by a real-life Celebrity, actress Ashley Judd, who hasn't squashed rumors. The point is that I think for the next two years, we're going to see Mitch McConnell go even farther to the radical Far Right than he already is.
During the delivery of the inaugural poem, cameras happened to cut to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) grimacing, and this got a bit of news coverage, including a homepage headline on the Huffington Post that "Eric Cantor Hates Poetry." Honestly, I think it would have been news if someone on the reviewing stand actually liked poetry.
It's been reported that Google will be releasing a "White Paper" on January 28 to suggest that future systems no longer rely on hackable passwords, but use a hardware option. This would be along the lines of having a ring or fob on key chain or some such embedded with SmartCard information, and you'd tap your computer to recognize the code.
Mitt Romey didn't attend the Inauguration. Perfectly reasonable. He also released through friends that he didn't plan to even watch. A little surprising to not watch, but perfectly understandable given how personally difficult it must be. What was totally unnecessary was going out of your way to announce that you won't be watching. Because as far as I know, nobody asked.
Today, Tuesday, is the only day available to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to change the filibuster rule, if he decides to do so. And if he does decide, the question will be which of the rule proposals will he allow put forth. Of those I've head, the one I think makes most sense is the rule that requires Senators to actually stand and filibuster, rather than just simply make a motion and that's it. It continues the exact same right to filibuster, but forces those opposed to make your case why you are doing so, and that you are doing so, that you are blocking a bill from moving forward.
The biggest argument against this that I've heard is a warning from Republicans to Democrats to "be careful what you wish for," because at some point they could be in the minority. Well, I think the answer to that is simple -- fair enough. Democrats should be required to stand and filibuster, too, should it come to that, rather than hide behind a private motion. All of our senators, whatever their party, whenever they decide to filibuster, should.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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