Why Debating Districts Misses The Larger Point

There are plenty of other factors that help our two major parties retain power.

No Previously Published Works Will Enter Into US Public Domain Between Now and 2019

No previously published works have entered the US Public Domain since 1978. And none are scheduled to enter until 1923. So what are we missing?

So Far, Issa’s IRS Transcripts Contain A Whole Lot Of Nothing

Just about all of the substantive information in the excerpts was already revealed in the TIGTA audit.

Open IRS/501(c)4 Discussion: Crime and Damages

Today on the Rush Limbaugh Show guest host Doug Urbanski asked the following open-ended question about the “IRS Scandal”: “Why has no one been fired or arrested for this clearly criminal activity?” That comment led me to some linked questions that I’m currently working my way through. I thought that OTB readers (in particularly lawyers – […]

Another Alabama Commercial

Rick Barber was the second place finisher in the AL02 contest to run as the Republican against incumbent Bobby Bright in November.  He is likely to lose to Martha Robey during said run-off in July based on the numbers from the primary: U.S. House District 2 GOP – Primary 418 of 418 precincts – 100 […]

Democrats Avoid Angry Constituents By Avoiding Constituents

Last year Democratic lawmakers faced down voter anger over the health care reform bill at town hall meetings across the country. This year, they’re avoiding that problem by avoiding the town halls altogether: BEL AIR, Md. — The reception that Representative Frank Kratovil Jr., a Democrat, received here one night last week as he faced […]

Ben Nelson Not Too Familar With ATMs

As Congress debates a bill that would regulate the fees banks can charge for using an Automatic Teller Machine, there’s at least one Senator who may not be entirely familiar with what they’re seeking to regulate: WASHINGTON — Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has been fighting unsuccessfully this week for a vote on his proposal to […]

More on Rand Paul, Civil Rights and Balancing Choices over Liberty

Yesterday, I noted that now that Rand Paul has gone from a primary race to the general election that:  “Paul is now facing a very different kind of campaign” because he is now going to be scrutinized in new ways and will have to explain himself to a different kind of electorate if he is […]

Yesterday’s Primaries: The Half-Written Electoral Story

There is no doubt that the results of yesterday’s primaries (Specter’s loss, Paul’s win, and Lincoln’s run-off) are all dramatic outcomes that fit the basic narrative about this year’s elections:  that we are in an anti-Washington, anti-incumbent mode as a country at the moment.  This, of course, is not surprising given the state of the […]

A Little Advice for Aspiring Politicians

Since it seems to be advice day here at OTB, here’s a bit more:  if one is a family-values politician, it is unwise to have an affair with a staffer with whom you made an abstinence-only video. Just sayin’.

Set Irony To Maximum

The Supreme Court handed down two rulings today which, from almost any other institution, one would be forced to conclude were intended as some sort of philosophical meta-joke. First, in Graham v. Florida, Kennedy rules for a 6-3 Court that, unless there’s a murder involved, it violates the Eighth Amendment to sentence a juvenile to […]

RNC Claims 130 House Seats In Play In 2010

Talk about being optimistic: House Republican leader John Boehner recently said the GOP could pick up 100 seats this November. Now, the Republican National Committee’s political director says the party has its eye on 130. “Our scoring as of today has us looking at about 130 House seats as potentially competitive,” Gentry Collins said Tuesday. […]

Organization Kids

In his most recent column, David Brooks laments the rise of Organization Kids, of whom he suggests Elena Kagan is an archetype: Kagan has many friends along the Acela corridor, thanks to her time at Hunter College High School, Princeton, Harvard and in Democratic administrations. So far, I haven’t met anybody who is not an […]

Washington Fiddles While The Budget Deficit Continues To Burn

Continuing a trend that stretches back nearly two years, the monthly federal budget deficit hit another record in April: The Treasury Department said Wednesday that the federal deficit for April soared to $82.7 billion, the largest imbalance for that month on record. That was significantly higher than last year’s April deficit of $20 billion and […]

Bad Year For Powerful Congressmen?

Has clout become the kiss of death? Politico‘s Jonathan Allen and Manu Raju think so. The back-to-back primary defeats of two powerful appropriators have sent an unmistakable message to lawmakers: The trappings of power can be a trap. On Wednesday night, West Virginia Democrats eighty-sixed Rep. Alan Mollohan, making him the first House appropriator to […]

First Bob Bennett, Next Orrin Hatch ?

It’s two years before six-term Utah Senator Orrin Hatch has to worry about re-election, but there are already signs that he could face the same fate has his soon-t0-be-former colleague Bob Bennett: Sen. Orrin Hatch’s expected bid for a seventh term won’t happen until 2012 — a lifetime away in political terms. But while it’s […]

Mini Super-Tuesday a Preview Of Coming Attractions

Primary elections in four states next Tuesday promise to give us a fairly good indication of just how deeply the anti-incumbent, anti-Washington feelings are and what we might see come November: Never mind Rep. Alan Mollohan’s (D-W.V.) primary defeat Tuesday. Avert your gaze from Sen. Bob Bennett’s (R-Utah) loss last Saturday. The biggest and most […]

Alan Mollahan Loses, West Virginia Democrats Send 28-Year Incumbent Packing

The anti-incumbent fever that we’ve seen mostly in the Republican Party of late is also manifesting itself in the Democratic Party, as evidenced by last night’s stunning primary loss by 14 term incumbent Congressman Alan Mollohan: Rep. Alan Mollohan, a 14-term incumbent, has been defeated by state Sen. Mike Oliverio in West Virginia’s Democratic primary, […]

Veterans on the Supreme Court

RedState‘s Erick Erickson notes that, not only would Elena Kagan replace the Supreme Court’s last Protestant but also “the last of the military veterans on the United States Supreme Court.” Indeed, according to his Wikipedia entry, John Paul Stevens “began work on his master’s degree in English at the university in 1941, but soon decided […]

Elena Kagan and Military Recruiting

As Doug Mataconis predicted yesterday, the opening gambit of conservatives seeking a reason to deny Elena Kagan confirmation to the Supreme Court is to charge that she’s hostile to the military, as demonstrated by her decision as dean of Harvard Law School to deny military recruiters the right to officially visit the campus because the […]

Shahzad on Terror Watch List Since 1999?!

On last night’s edition of OTB Radio, “Times Square Terror, Gulf Oil Spill, and British Elections,” Dave Schuler wondered what it is that the Department of Homeland Security is doing with its time.  After all, Faisal Shahzad fits the terrorist profile perfectly and yet they were apparently oblivious to him. Now, CBS reports, “would-be Times […]

2010 Bigger Than 1994?

Patrick Ruffini goes all in with this one: I might be setting myself for a healthy serving of crow on November 3rd, but I get a distinct feeling that the GOP may be headed toward to a seat gain in the House of epic proportions — somewhere over 50 seats and well above the historical […]

Pennsylvania Loses Seats 9th Census Running

Pennsylvania is Reapportionment’s version of the Biggest Loser. If projections hold, Pennsylvania will lose Congressional seats for the ninth straight Census. Smart Politics: Several projections have been conducted by experts during the last few years – with Texas and Arizona universally considered to be the big winners of multiple seats, with the remaining gains coming […]

Why ‘Washington, DC’?

Most of us who live in the area call the nation’s capitol “DC” or “the District” or, less often, “Washington.”   But, officially, of course, it’s “Washington, District of Columbia” or “Washington, DC” for short.  The Constitutional origins of the “District” part are well known and the “Columbia” part isn’t all that interesting; they had to […]

U.S. Government Weaning Us From Salt?

The Feds are telling going to limit the amount of salt that can be in processed foods, literally ranging from soup to nuts. The government intends to work with the food industry and health experts to reduce sodium gradually over a period of years to adjust the American palate to a less salty diet, according […]

Republicans Could Win Back the House in November

Emory political scientist Alan Abramowitz projects the Republicans will project 37 House seats in November, or three short of the number needed to retake the majority they lost in 2006. The model uses four independent variables to predict Republican seat change in congressional elections: the president’s net approval rating in the Gallup Poll, the results […]

Schumer and Graham: The Men With a (Immigration) Plan

Washington Post writer Spencer Hsu reports that senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have had ghostwritten for them written an op-ed in the Washington Post that provides an outline of the immigration reform bill they plan to introduce in the coming weeks; the plan’s “four pillars” are: requiring biometric Social Security cards to […]

Bunning ‘Furlough’ Wasting Millions in Name of Fiscal Responsibility

Remember Jim Bunning blocking unemployment extension and playing chicken with dozens of projects?  Well, they’re now coming home to roost: The Department of Transportation said Monday that Republican Sen. Jim Bunning’s blockage of legislation designed to keep a host of federal programs operating forced the agency to furlough nearly 2,000 employees without pay, temporarily shut […]

Evan Bayh Retiring

Indiana’s Evan Bayh, a much-touted aspirant for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, is announcing that he will not seek another term in the Senate. Mary Beth Schneider for the Indianapolis Star: Sen. Evan Bayh will not run for re-election, a decision that will shock Democrats and Republicans alike in Indiana. In prepared remarks, Bayh, […]

Charlie Wilson Dead at 76

Charlie Wilson, the Congressman who became decidedly more famous in retirement than he ever was during his career, has died. Charlie Wilson, the former U.S. congressman from Texas whose funding of Afghanistan’s resistance to the Soviet Union was chronicled in the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War,” has died. He was 76. Wilson died Wednesday at Memorial […]

Bipartisanship and Other Magic Ponies

WaPo’s Jon Cohen thinks the “bipartisanship” tack that President Obama is taking to fight back against recent Republican gains could work. Nearly six in 10 in the new poll say the Republicans aren’t doing enough to forge compromise with President Obama on important issues; more than four in 10 see Obama as doing too little […]

Polls: Good News for Republicans, Obama

A new WaPo-ABC poll shows that Americans are increasingly dissatisfied and has Republicans tied with President Obama in approval. The survey paints a portrait of a restless and dissatisfied electorate at the beginning of a critical election year. More than seven in 10 Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing, and as many say […]

Obama’s Stealth Revolution

While progressives are kvetching and conservatives are chortling over President Obama’s failures to enact his most visible policy initiatives, he’s quietly ratcheting federal control of society up to unprecedented levels. In a lengthy TNR feature, John Judis details how “Obama has reinvented the state in more ways than you can imagine.” Obama’s three Republican predecessors […]

Who Do Those Senators Think They Are, Union Presidents?

SEIU President Andy Stern calls Senators who don’t do his bidding “terrorists”: “There are a lot of terrorists in the Senate who think we are supposed to negotiate with them when they have their particular needs that they want met.” Stern also said today that union members would lose their enthusiasm to help re-elect Democrats […]

Campaign Contributions as Free Speech

A recent Gallup poll shows that the American public agrees with the Supreme Court that campaign contributions are free speech but that most nonetheless want to limit said speech. Fifty-seven percent of Americans consider campaign donations to be a protected form of free speech, and 55% say corporate and union donations should be treated the […]

Health Care Reform: How Bad is It?

One of the most-linked posts on Memeorandum this morning is Cornell lawprof William Jacobson‘s post  explaining why he hates the health care reform bill that we’re one step closer to enacting into law. Yes, it is that bad. The Democrats are about to put in place the legislative, regulatory and bureaucratic infrastructure for a complete […]

2010 vs 1994

I agree with Josh Marshall that the parallels between 1994, when the Republicans shocked the world by taking over both Houses of Congress two years into the presidency of a charismatic Democrat, and next year are “significantly overstated.”   He’s right, I think, that “The main cause of the Dems 1994 rout was structural.” He argues, […]

Is America Ungovernable?

Progressives are increasingly frustrated that, despite having won the presidency by a comfortable margin and having solid majorities in the House and Senate — where they have a “filibuster-proof” 60 votes — they still can’t enact the policies they want.   Matt Yglesias says “smarter elements in Washington DC are starting to pick up on the […]

Passports for Domestic Travel under REAL ID Law

One of my commenters brought to my attention an issue that’s not receiving much attention:  Residents of several U.S. states could have to show their passports for domestic travel — or to enter a federal government building — starting January 1 because of the REAL ID Act.  Chris Strohm for Congress Daily: More than half […]

White House Blocks Congressional Party Crasher Testimony

In yet another example of a change of administrations not leading to a change in behavior, the Obama White House is refusing to allow Congress to question the social secretary on the matter of the “party crashers.” The White House on Wednesday invoked the separation of powers to keep Desiree Rogers, President Obama’s social secretary, […]

Lobbyists Booted from Advisory Panels

Josh Marshall points me to a story by WaPo’s Dan Eggen that sheds light on a little-known aspect of how Washington works: Hundreds, if not thousands, of lobbyists are likely to be ejected from federal advisory panels as part of a little-noticed initiative by the Obama administration to curb K Street’s influence in Washington, according […]

House Trades Freedom for Health Coverage, Senate’s Move

The House passed a trillion dollar bill that will force Americans to buy health insurance, force even small businesses to provide health coverage, and require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions.  (The last, as I have previously argued, makes it something other than “insurance.”) Lori Montgomery and Shailagh Murray for WaPo: Hours after President Obama […]

Republicans Win Big in Local Races

The loss of a Republican seat in NY-23 under highly unusual circumstances notwithstanding, yesterday was a good day for Republicans. After crushing defeats in successive elections, they won back the Virginia governor’s office in a blowout and knocked off a billionaire incumbent governor in New Jersey despite having their vote split between two candidates. I […]

Health Care: Better, Faster, Cheaper!

In a much discussed post, Ezra Klein produced a series of graphs showing that Americans pay more for office visits, scans and imaging, drugs, and other aspects of health care — often, far more — than is the case in Canada or Western Europe. There is a simple explanation for why American health care costs […]

Scozzafava Endorses Democrat Owens

The special election to fill New York’s 23rd Congressional District seat vacated by the appointment of Republican John McHugh as Secretary of the Army has taken yet another bizarre twist.  Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava dropped out over the weekend, causing great celebration on the part of Republicans like Michelle Malkin, who termed her “radical leftist […]

Obama’s Nobel Unconstitutional?

Ron Rotunda and Peter Pham argue in today’s WaPo that it would violate the Constitution for President Obama to accept the Nobel Peace Prize while in office. Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution, the emolument clause, clearly stipulates: “And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent […]

Obama 56, Republicans 30

A NYT/CBS poll finds that President Obama’s approval remains strong but support for his handling of key policy issues is dipping. The Republicans are not, however, gaining much ground. At 56 percent, his approval rating is down from earlier in the year but still reasonably strong at this point compared with recent presidents. More Americans […]

Health Insurance Mandates

Sam Stein reports that “Democrats are bracing themselves for a new line of conservative attack against a provision in the health care legislation once considered so non-controversial that it was endorsed by several major Republican officials.”  What is it, you might ask, that these dastardly Republicans are opposing out of their racist hatred of Barack […]

Split Health Care Bill

Taking a page out of Soloman’s playbook, Congressional Democrats have a brand new plan for passing health care reform. The White House and Senate Democratic leaders, seeing little chance of bipartisan support for their health-care overhaul, are considering a strategy shift that would break the legislation into two parts and pass the most expensive provisions […]

Barney Frank Townhall Confrontation (Videos)

Apparently, even people in Barney Frank’s ultra-liberal Massachussets district are afraid and/or angry about ObamaCare. Frank, who has survived revelations of a gay escort service run out of his apartment, is

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