Today, the House Democrats cleared a procedural hurdle to advance a bill extending the Bush tax cuts to middle class families only, prompting accusations from House Republicans that the Democrats are continuing to play political games. In a procedural vote, the House voted 213 to 203 to advance the bill. A full vote is expected later today.
While Republicans in the Senate have vowed to block all legislation in the Senate chamber until a decision is made on the federal budget and the Bush tax cuts, Democrats in the House of Representatives indicate that they will continue to move forward on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s DREAM Act legislation.
As predicted, the Obama administration rescinded its promise to allow domestic offshore oil drilling yesterday. The Competitive Enterprise Institute reports that the Interior Department has placed an official moratorium on offshore drilling in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, as well as in the Gulf for the next seven years at minimum. What's the excuse? The BP oil spill, of course.
The revival now appearing to take place throughout the U.S. of “the true Spirit of ‘76” — and not its emotional counterfeit which was seen to come and go during the Bicentennial of 1976 — has simultaneously given rise to an interest in and identification with the flags of the American Revolution (or American War of Independence). The first of these was the Bedford Flag, carried by the Minutemen of that Massachusetts town to the neighboring Battle of Concord on April 19, 1775. Some 60 years later Ralph Waldo Emerson made it famous in his poem Concord Hymn:
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is spending billions of dollars to install naked full-body scanners at airports, and millions of Americans are facing the humiliation of either a virtual strip search or a private-parts pat-down in order to fly. A regrettable but unavoidable development, right? After all, sacrificing one's dignity, privacy, and constitutional rights is a small price to pay for airline security. That's the government's line anyway. In fact, as far as Department Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano is concerned, this is just the start; travelers using mass transit, trains, and boats should also expect soon to experience the same treatment. And after that? Why not the same for bus stations, and portable scanners and pat-downs for random highway stops of motorists?
The Pentagon finally completed its year-long study of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy yesterday. While some assert that the results of the study confirm that there are minimal risks associated with repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” Fox News explains, “a drilldown into the report shows some concerns about a hasty end to the 15-year policy.”
Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange of the Federal District Court in Oklahoma City granted a preliminary injunction on November 30 that blocked an Oklahoma constitutional amendment aimed at stopping the use of Islamic "Sharia" law in the state's courts, the New York Times reported.
After more than one year of consideration, the United States Senate passed the Food Safety Modernization Act today by a vote of 73-25. The bill passed in the House of Representatives in July 2009, followed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee in November 2009, but its progress was halted by Senate deliberations on healthcare and financial reform.
Ethanol subsidies are set to expire at the end of the year, and numerous organizations are asking Congress not to take action and allow the expiration to go forward. The proponents of the subsidies’ expiration contend that converting corn to ethanol fails to make any real environmental progress while the expensive costs of the subsidies continues to burden the taxpayer.
Embattled Harlem Democrat Charles Rangel wants his sentence for various deeds of misconduct reduced from censure to reprimand, holding that censures are only for corrupt politicians, and he’s not one of them. A reprimand is considered only a “slap-on-the-wrist” that wouldn’t require him even to be present for the House vote, whereas censure would force him to stand in the “Well” of the House and listen to the Speaker read off the list of charges against him in front of his colleagues.