As communications technology has raced ahead of government attempts to tame it, in the name of law enforcement, the Obama administration, the FBI, the Department of Justice, the National Security Agency and other government agencies have been meeting for months to come up with regulations that would allow broadening government powers to intercept, read, and analyze Internet messages, and then prosecute perceived violations of law.
"These days one of America's two great political parties routinely makes nonsensical promises," writes Paul Krugman in his Sept. 23 New York Times column. To which party is Krugman referring: the one promising that a gigantic federal bureaucracy and a massive number of new mandates on health insurance companies will improve the quality and reduce the cost of healthcare, or the one promising to rein in government spending even though the last President and Congress from its party made Lyndon Johnson look like Ebenezer Scrooge?
On Sunday more than 100 preachers will be speaking out on political issues and candidates in direct contravention of the IRS. And then each preacher will send a recording of their sermon to the IRS, challenging them to enforce the law. For the third year in a row, the last Sunday in September has witnessed a growing number of churches and their preachers directly confronting the IRS and daring the agency to come after them.
Southern New Jersey’s Courier-Post newspaper reported on September 21 that the state Senate had failed by a four-vote margin the previous day to override Governor Chris Christie’s veto of a $7.5 million appropriation for so-called family planning clinics. The report noted that seven Republicans who had backed the bill in June changed their positions and voted against it.
President Barack Obama has asserted that tax cuts are a priority, However, once it became clear that Senate Democrats could not come to a consensus on on preserving former President Bush's tax cuts, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided to delay the vote until after the midterm elections in November.
Congressman Mike Castle, a longtime fixture in Delaware politics, who lost his race in the Republican nomination for the Senate seat vacated by Joe Biden, is pondering an independent write-in campaign for that Senate seat. The rationale is a little fuzzy. Castle has been a lifelong Republican, a former governor, a congressman with many terms under his belt, and he ran in the primary of his party and lost. Castle has declined to endorse the Republican who bested him, Christine O’Donnell.
Delaware’s Senate race between GOP nominee Christine O’Donnell and Democrat nominee Chris Coons heated up quickly. From highlights of the controversial pasts of both candidates to the possibility of a third-candidate by way of a write-in, Delaware proves to be one of the more exciting states to observe throughout this campaign season.
In July, the DISCLOSE Act (Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act) failed to pass a cloture vote in the Senate, 57-41, as a result of a successful Republican filibuster. However, the setback did not stop Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from filing a “motion to recommit” to bring back the DISCLOSE Act, a bill that violates free speech by regulating campaign contributions. Today, the vote failed yet again, 59 to 39, without a single Republican breaking ranks.
Republicans have announced a new "Pledge to America," a deliberate reference to the 1994 "Contract with America" which helped propel Republicans into control of the House of Representatives. The 1994 Contract did not bind the Republican Party, but only House Republicans who signed it. The Contract did not promise to pass legislation -- the incoming Speaker of the House starting in January 1995, Newt Gingrich himself -- pointed out before the election that Republicans in control of the House could not promise to pass legislation, even through the House. The Contract, instead, promised to bring measures up for a vote in the House, a relatively simple and straightforward pledge that was completely honored down to the letter of the Contract.
The Contract also was short. It fit on one page. The new "Pledge to America" is very different.
Grambling State University (GSU) in Louisiana has banned its students from using the university’s email server to email “campaign solicitations,” claiming it is a violation of Louisiana law which bans the institutional endorsement of a campaign. This comes as a disappointment to politically active students who reside in a state where ballots are to be cast for lieutenant governor, seven congressional seats, and a Senate seat currently held by Republican David Vitter.
You might wonder if Dr. Rand Paul, Republican candidate for U.S. Senator from Kentucky, will ever be plagued by what President Bush 41 (that's "Poppy" Bush for those of you who are not into the numbers game) called "the vision thing," the absence of which seemed to plague a President who, having reached the White House as a senior citizen, seemed still to be trying to figure out just who and what he was. ("Maybe I'll turn out to be another Teddy Roosevelt," he said at one point.