There have been sighs of despair and much hand-wringing coming from observers of the latest attempt by the FCC to intervene in the operations of the Internet. The noisiest came from one of the two commissioners who voted against the ruling, Robert McDowell.
Plutarch records that upon hearing one of his early public orations, Julius Caesar remarked about his erstwhile protégé and eventual assassin Brutus: “I know not what this young man intends, but whatever he intends he intends vehemently.”
Steve Kroft called it "The Day of Reckoning" on his "60 Minutes" segment on Sunday, but many weren't buying it. Despite persuasive statistics showing that states have overpromised and overspent, Kroft's conclusion about time having run out on the states was met with denial, even anger.
Under the guise of a “driveway fee,” the city council of Mission, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City, has imposed a tax on churches based on the numbers that attend worship services. The fee, which is also being charged to non-profit organizations and charities in the community, is similar to a driveway tax that has been struck down as illegal in two other states, according to the Alliance Defense Fund, which filed a lawsuit on behalf of two congregations in the community.
The census data, along with the Republican gains in state legislatures and governorships, means that Democrats face a grim decade in House elections. Regions and states which historically have supported Democrats lost seats or, in the case of California, for the first time did not gain seats in the House of Representatives. States that have become conservative Republican core areas — Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, Utah, Florida, North Carolina, and Idaho — gained seats. Elected officials closely associated to the Tea Party, such as Senator DeMint, Senator-elect Rubio, Governor Brewer, and Governor Perry, are strengthened by these gains.
Moments ago, the United States Senate voted to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, named after a police detective who worked at Ground Zero and died from lung problems as a result. Up until this morning, the future of the bill was questionable as Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma threatened to prevent the measure from reaching the floor. Once Coburn struck a deal with Senate Democrats that lowered the cost of the bill, however, the legislation was taken up by unanimous consent, without debate or a roll call vote.
Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn announced that he will block the 9/11 Responders bill from coming to the Senate floor before Christmas. Coburn and his Republican colleagues have articulated numerous concerns with the bill, including the $6.2 billion cost.
The new START Treaty appears to be on its way to ratification as pressure to move forward on the treaty has increased. According to the AFP, President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have targeted wary lawmakers to encourage support of the treaty. Meanwhile, a vote to end debate on the treaty is expected to take place today or tomorrow.
The Obama Administration is working behind the scenes to overturn a rule, implemented by President Bush in 2008, that re-enforces the rights of doctors, nurses, and other health care workers to refuse on moral or ethical grounds their professional involvement in abortions.
Last weekend, the United States Senate voted 65-31 in favor of repealing the 17-year military policy, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The Senate vote followed a Thursday night vote in the House of Representatives, where the repeal was passed by a vote of 250-175. However, though the policy was repealed through the legislative process, lawmakers have elected to allow the military to write the rules on the process of repealing the ban on homosexual service members.
In 2009, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski proposed yet another government regulation to implement a new "net neutrality" plan that would block Internet providers from controlling web traffic. After a great deal of contentious debate, the Wall Street Journal reports that the FCC is preparing to approve the proposed regulation.