Just as it seemed that recalcitrant receiver Senator Joe Lieberman caught President Barack Obama’s last minute healthcare Hail Mary pass, Howard Dean may have rushed in at the last moment and broken up the play. Replay officials will now have to decide whether Lieberman bobbled the ball or whether Howard Dean’s hit was too little too late and the healthcare legislation will score after all.
The IRS has announced that it will be forming a new unit to focus on the very wealthy, particularly the wealthy who have complex business organizations and international operations. This new unit will focus on trusts, real estate, privately held businesses and other business entities controlled by the rich.
Computer experts have reportedly found 22 million White House e-mails from the years President George W. Bush was in office, while the Obama administration is still searching for more of the Bush administration’s “lost” e-mail.
The Obama administration announced plans on December 15 to acquire the Thomson Correctional Center in Thomson, Illinois, to house terrorism suspects currently being held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which now houses about 200 inmates. Officials explained that President Obama ordered the federal government to acquire the correctional center — located about 150 miles northwest of Chicago — as part of efforts to close Guantanamo.
Despite dedicating five minutes of his recent 20-minute presentation at the Media Access Project forum to decrying the “right-wing smear campaign” he claims to be the target of, FCC Chief Diversity Office and Associate Counsel at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Mark Lloyd assured attendees that he was not carrying out “a secret plot funded by George Soros” to eliminate conservative talk-show voices such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.
Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, one of the architects of the Republican victory in 1994, has urged his fellow Republicans to pay closer attention to the Constitution. In an interview with CBS News, Armey said that Republicans did not need to worry as much as ideology as they did to be dutiful. Congressman Armey noted that every member of Congress takes an oath to uphold the Constitution. Duty, Armey reiterated, is different from ideology or philosophy of government. He did not leave out free spending by Republican controlled congresses from his scolding.
According to the Associated Press, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg “railed against gun violence” on December 11, one day after a street peddler died in a shootout with police in Times Square. Unfortunately, this type of crime is increasingly typical in high-crime areas of major U.S. cities, especially where gun control laws make it extremely difficult for law-abiding citizens to possess a gun. Yet Bloomberg, the founder the anti-gun group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, viewed the shootout as evidence that there are "too many guns on the streets."
The House of Representatives passed a bill on December 10 that would allow the government of the District of Columbia to use public funds to pay for abortions and also allow the city government to legalize the medical use of marijuana. If enacted into law, this legislation would move the District closer to exercising the same sorts of sovereign powers as state governments, with profound long-term structural implications for our federal system.
When congressional negotiators agreed to a final version of a transportation bill, it included an amendment to allow Amtrak passengers to take their guns with them — unloaded, locked, and only in their checked baggage.
CBS News reported on December 9 that Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) have determined that at least 15 percent of the $217 Billion dollars spent through November in the economic stimulus package has been pure waste. The list of dubious projects funded by federal stimulus funds includes some odd uses of tax dollars. These included $219,000 to study the "hookup" behavior of college coeds and $389,357 for people to keep journals of their malt liquor and marijuana use. Funding was also provided to renovate martini bars in Missouri and to conduct fossil research in Argentina.