Michael Tomasky: The GOP Plan to Steal Elections. Republicans are proposing a radical rule change in swing states – one that would have handed Romney the election. Michael Tomasky on this jaw-dropping outrage.
….. We could toss all this information onto the ever-growing “Oh, those crazy Republicans” slag heap, have a laugh, and let it go. But this is concerted and serious. Rules, laws, customs, and norms that we have all abided by for centuries (the Electoral College and the primacy of federal law) or decades (recess appointments) have simply been producing too many outcomes conservatives don’t like. Most people, and movements, would try to change themselves so that they could maybe win under the long-agreed-upon rules. But conservatives have a cleverer way. Just make new rules. You better believe things can get worse.
NYT: For most of President Obama’s first term, Republicans used legislative trickery to try to prevent the functioning of two federal agencies they hate, the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. First they would filibuster the president’s nominees ….. Then they would create fake legislative sessions for the Senate during its recess, intended solely to prevent Mr. Obama from making recess appointments as an end run.
Astonishingly, a federal appeals court upheld this strategy on Friday …. The court even broke with the presidential practice of 150 years by ruling that only vacancies arising during a narrow recess period qualify for recess appointments.
…. The situation demonstrates how dysfunctional Washington has become because of these Republican abuses….With no sign that Republicans are willing to let up on their machinations, Mr. Obama was entirely justified in using his executive power to keep federal agencies operating.
ThinkProgress: Conservatives are outraged over Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s decision to lift the ban on women in combat … CNN’s Soledad O’Brien caught one such critic [Professor Kingsley Browne] off guard …..
O’BRIEN: I’m going to read a little bit from this colonel who said this: ‘The army is not a sociological laboratory; to be effective it must be organized and trained according to the principles which will ensure success…Experiments are a danger to efficiency, discipline and morale and would result in ultimate defeat.’
BROWNE: I think that that’s true….
O’BRIEN: That was from a guy in 1941. And that argument was about not allowing black people in the military….
President Obama will on Friday, February 1, bestow the National Medal of Science upon 12 researchers and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation upon eleven inventors, in a ceremony at the White House. The awards are the nation’s highest in science and technology. See the list of award winners here
A clean-up crew wave to President Obama at the end of the parade (Stephen Crowley, New York Times)
You’ll note Crowley – a professional – failed, unlike some Inauguration photographers I could mention, to capture any actual horse manure in his image. Just saying:
(No, this isn’t VC …. at least, I don’t think it is)
I never thought I’d see the day when I’m forced to admit that some experiences defy words. I’ll try to share, though I make no promises I can convey my inner feelings.
On Sunday, at the ‘T’ meet-up I ‘won gold’! Two tickets to a section of the action for which you had to be ‘vetted’! Who would have thunk that *I* would look forward to being patted and ‘wanded’ and having my purse pawed through?
But look forward I did. Can you imagine how it feels to get a surprise gift that puts you closer to SEEing President Obama and family, VP Joe and family, Nancy Smash et al, than you had ever dreamed of being? Of being in the midst of the action even though you hate crowds? My ‘win’ brought me the experience of having a dream I never dared dream in earnest, fulfilled! I was going to the Inauguration!
(Nancy spots an old friend in Georgetown)
I went out to supper with Theo and her mom at a posh restaurant (at least for me it was) in the heart of Georgetown after meeting with the ‘T’ crowd. As alluded to earlier, I saw Nancy Smash up-close and personal. Sadly, just like some of you, she didn’t recognize me. [It must have been the little bit of makeup I tried* to add to my features. (* = don’t ask).]
(DC, Inauguration morning)
Inauguration morning was fresh, cool, invigorating and pregnant with expectation and promise. I say fresh because the morning was ‘new’, the air sharp, and also because I left my hotel at 6:10am to meet my ‘guest’, Political Junkessa, who was going to be my partner to scout out the action. Not knowing my way around and knowing the subway stations would be busy, I arranged to meet PJ on the platform of a station common to both our routes, each of us coming to it from a different direction.
Yes, I arranged to meet someone in a subway system with which neither of us was greatly familiar, but what other option did I have? The station was a central change point but if we met on the lower level it should be simpler (so thought *I*), as the upper levels had several train lines to confuse us. I got there 15 minutes early – trains were running very fast with hardly any wait time in between – and realized the folly of my decision!
(No, VC and PJ aren’t actually in this pic, but it was the best I could find to illustrate the scene described)