January 6th, 2011

Aaronburr-bakersdozen

'Mr. Smith' filibuster change introduced in the Senate

'Mr. Smith' filibuster change introduced in the Senate

Washington (CNN) -- Senate Democrats on Wednesday introduced legislation that would tighten rules on the use of the filibuster in the legislative chamber.

In a nod to the classic movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, reintroduced his "Mr. Smith Bill," which would require those who want to filibuster a nomination or a bill to appear on the floor and actually speak.

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Source: http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/01/05/senate.filibuster.changes/index.html?hpt=T1
Keith

NY Jets Quarterback Mark Sanchez befriends a young sick fan during his final days

Mark Sanchez recalls Aiden Binkley

By Rich Cimini
ESPNNewYork.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Mark Sanchez went to work Tuesday, preparing for a big football game. Some 40 miles away, a little boy from Queens, N.Y., was buried -- a friend of the New York Jets quarterback.

Sanchez and Aiden Binkley, 11, met each other only a few weeks ago, but they became fast friends. Binkley was suffering from a rare form of cancer, and he had only two wishes -- he wanted his two brothers to stay healthy and he wanted to meet Sanchez.

And so he did.

Aiden visited the Jets' training facility Dec. 15, and he received the VIP treatment, as if he were a big-name player making a free-agent visit. He watched practice and was escorted to owner Woody Johnson's second-floor office, where he met Antonio Cromartie, Dustin Keller, Mike Devito and others.

And, finally, Sanchez. The people who were there say Aiden's face lit up like Broadway at night.

"He sat there, beaming and smiling," said Aiden's mother, Lisa Binkley, who initially wasn't sure if it was a good idea to make the trip because Aiden was in such pain.

"Nothing meant more to him than coming here and meeting Mark and meeting the Jets," Keller said quietly Wednesday in the Jets' locker room. "Great kid ... a tough situation."

The 24-year-old quarterback was immediately taken by Aiden and his upbeat personality and his love of the Jets. A few days later, Sanchez & Co. beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh -- the biggest win of the season -- and Sanchez sent his new friend a game ball.

Sanchez was deeply touched by Aiden, who battled rhabdomyosarcoma, according to a 2008 New York Daily News article. There was a lemon-sized tumor that spread from his pelvis to his lungs, and he required 60 weeks of chemotherapy.

They became texting buddies and, one day, Sanchez surprised Aiden's parents by asking, "Can I come over?" When Sanchez arrived, the boy was sleeping. Sanchez sat at Aiden's feet, waiting until he woke up.

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There's a short podcast toward the middle of the article with Sanchez's thoughts on Aiden, he gets real choked up thinking about him.

There aren't many positive sports stories these days. This one was made special by Sanchez going way beyond the kid's visit to the practice facility and making a personal connection with him.

RIP little Aiden, no more pain ;_;

ETA:

Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

N Korea calls for unconditional talks with South

N Korea calls for unconditional talks with South

North Korea called Wednesday for "unconditional and early" talks with rival South Korea to put an end to months of tensions. Seoul quickly dismissed the offer as insincere and said it's waiting for an apology for two deadly attacks blamed on Pyongyang.

It's rare for North Korea to issue such a statement addressed to South Korea and it came as the U.S. envoy on the North was in the region to discuss the standoff. Earlier in the day, Stephen Bosworth sought to calm fears of conflict on the peninsula.

Tensions between the two Koreas have been at their highest level in years since North Korea showered artillery on a South Korean-held island near their disputed maritime border in November, killing four South Koreans. The attack was the first on a civilian area since the 1950-53 Korean War, and occurred in waters not far from the spot where a torpedo sank a South Korean warship eight months early, killing 46 sailors.

That attack was also blamed on the North — and allegation the country vehemently denies.

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--

And the pendulum once again swings back the other way, like clockwork.
movies | Impish Fräulein2

ONTD_Political's PotD: January 05, 2011.


The First Solar Eclipse of 2011 (N. Africa/The Mid East/Europe) | Yesterday a partial solar eclipse took place, observable through most of Europe and northwestern Asia. A solar eclipse happens when the moon lines up between the sun and the Earth, casting a lunar shadow on the Earth's surface and obscuring the solar disk. During a partial solar eclipse, only part of the sun is blotted out. Over parts of Europe, as much as two-thirds of the sun slipped from view behind the moon. The eclipse was first seen Tuesday over Jerusalem, where the sun appeared to have taken a large bit out of its upper right section. The region that saw the greatest eclipse was in northern Sweden. This was the first of four partial solar eclipses which will occur in 2011, the others taking place on June 1st, July 1st and November 25th. Collected here are photographs of yesterday's celestial event and observers here on Earth as they tried to catch a glimpse.
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Full Galleries:
Citadel

Anti-gay measure backfires on El Paso city workers, retirees

An effort to block same-sex partners of city employees from obtaining health care benefits has back fired, and may strip benefits from thousands of others, including elected officials and partners of retired policemen and firefighters.

The measure, initiated by a group of conservative Christians aimed at promoting “traditional family values” asked voters last November to limit benefits to “city employees and their legal spouse and dependent children.”

So when 55% of the voters approved the measure on Election Day, they eliminated coverage for some 200 people who don’t fit that description — among them elected officials, who aren’t technically city employees, and many former city workers, the city says.

Now, officials are weighing what to do. Last month, the city council decided not to use its authority to repeal what is now a city law.


Tom Brown, pastor of the Word of Life Church, organized the ballot measure, but did so without use of an attorney to advise on the verbiage.

Union leaders are furious because thousands of their retirees could lose benefits for their heterosexual domestic partners, and elected officials could lose health benefits also, because city politicians are not considered city employees.

The measure, aimed at gay workers and their partners, went into effect Jan. 1, and could grow to affect at least 10,00 others over the next several years if not amended or repealed.

Source.
CoExist
  • carmy_w

Hate Thy Neighbor??

”Ayn Rand and the Sociopathic Society” or “How I Learned to Stop Loving My Neighbor and Despise Them Instead.

A fat, smug bastard friend of mine (that’s his chosen nickname, The FSB) pointed out to me some time ago that pretty much ALL conservative politics are selfish at their core.  Take any conservative position on a social or economic issue and boil away all the rhetoric and what you are left with is “I got mine, screw you.” (emphasis added)

I thought about that for a while.  I suppose its simplicity struck me as being a little too easy, a little too sound bitey.  So I sat down and made a list:

  • No gay marriage – Homosexuality makes me uncomfortable (due to misguided religious influence or poor upbringing or both) so gay people should be punished because of my beliefs.  Stoopid homos…
  • No welfare, food stamps or Medicaid – I’m not poor enough to qualify for these programs so my tax dollars shouldn’t pay for it.  Stoopid poor people and by poor I really mean black…
  • No health care reform – Why should I help pay for other people who are sick when I’m not?  Stoopid sick people…
  • No environmental protection – Environmental laws makes things more expensive for me and that’s bad.  I also don’t understand the concept of long term impact; I want cheap gas and gadgets now!  Stoopid…ah, you get the idea…
  • Don’t raise my taxes – EVER.  The government can find its own money to pay for stuff.
  • Medicare – Young conservatives: Why should I help pay for old people and the disabled?   Older conservatives: Keep your government hands off my Medicare!
  • Social Security – Young conservatives: Sacrifices need to be made, people should take care of themselves, not depend on handouts from people like me.  Older conservatives: Sacrifices need to be made BUT DON’T YOU TOUCH MY SOCIAL SECURITY!
  • No abortion – The government should tell women what to do with their bodies because I don’t like abortion.
  • No prayer in school? – GOVERNMENT OVERREACH!!  I like The Jesus™ so everyone should have to listen to my prayers.  No Muslim prayers, though.  That’s indoctrination.

This list goes on for some time.  The more I thought about it, the more obvious it became.  A conservative society is a borderline sociopathic society.

Dictionary.com defines a sociopath as: a person, as a psychopathic personality, whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

Conservapedia says a sociopath is “someone with a personality disorder characterized by an antisocial behavior and an absence of moral responsibility or social conscience.” (I would have cited Wikipedia but we all know they’re a liberal front for George Soros, I think I heard that on Glenn Beck)

The key words here are “moral responsibility” and “social conscience”.  Conservative politics lack these essential characteristics.  In their place we find greed, hate, lies, an inability to empathize and an overblown sense of entitlement and self importance.  In other words: all the indicators of a seriously disturbed person.  Except it’s a political philosophy and it has millions of disciples.

But Justin, you filthy liberal scum, how can you say that?

Well, that’s kind of easy.  Who is the guiding light of conservatives (and Libertarians) all the way from corrupt CEOs down to easily manipulated Tea Party fanatics?  Ayn Rand.


More at the source:   addictinginfo.org/new/
Citadel

Gov. Christie signs 'Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights'

Gov. Chris Christie has signed a bill advocates say gives New Jersey the toughest anti-bullying law in the nation.

Christie signed the “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights,” according to a press release from Garden State Equality, the state’s largest gay rights organization, which advocated for the bill.

The new law is intended to eliminate loopholes in the state’s first anti-bullying law, passed in 2002, that encouraged school districts to set up anti-bullying programs but did not mandate it.

It will require training for most public school teachers, administrators and other employees on how to spot bullying and mandate that all districts form a "school safety team" to review complaints. School districts would be graded by the state on their efforts to combat the problem.

Administrators who do not investigate reported incidents of bullying would be disciplined, while students who bully could be suspended or expelled. School employees would also be required to report all incidents they learn of, whether they took place in or outside of school.


The bill sailed through the Assembly and Senate in November. It passed 71-1, with 5 abstentions, in the Assembly. It passed the Senate 30-0.

Christie signed the bill Wednesday, spokesman Michael Drewniak said.

"He signed it, and we're overjoyed," said state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), one of the bill's prime sponsors.

State Sen. Diane Allen (R-Burlington), also a prime sponsor, said while the law won't end bullying, school employees will know how to better deal with it.

"While we cannot change human nature, we can change how government and school officials respond to unacceptable behavior," she said.

The bill, in the works for almost a year, gained publicity and momentum after the suicide of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi, whose roommate streamed a romantic encounter between him and another man over the internet.

Source.

First US transgender trial judge is sworn in

Victoria Kolakowski made history this week when she became the first trans person to be sworn in as a trial judge in the US.

The trans campaigner, who has over 20 years of legal and judicial experience, took the oath of office at a special session of the Superior Court of California on Tuesday.

Her wife and parents were present at the ceremony.

Speaking before the ceremony, Ms Kolakowski told Dot429.com: “It’s been very hard as a transgender person.

“We’re a community that’s chronically under- and unemployed and I’ve encountered that sort of discrimination in the past, but we’re making so much more progress now. In terms of my career, I think part of it is hard work and perseverance, and part of it is good luck.”


California state Senator Ellen Corbett introduced her as “a friend, a colleague, a trailblazer,” saying, “as we celebrate this new decade we mark our own start and our own first….We all know the tremendous hurdles that [she] and the transgender community have overcome.”

In the race, she beat deputy district attorney John Creighton with 51 to 48 per cent of the vote.

Source: Pink News
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Study linking vaccine to autism was fraud

Study linking vaccine to autism was fraud

The first study to link a childhood vaccine to autism was based on doctored information about the children involved, according to a new report on the widely discredited research.

The conclusions of the 1998 paper by Andrew Wakefield and colleagues was renounced by 10 of its 13 authors and later retracted by the medical journal Lancet, where it was published. Still, the suggestion the MMR shot was connected to autism spooked parents worldwide and immunization rates for measles, mumps and rubella have never fully recovered.

A new examination found, by comparing the reported diagnoses in the paper to hospital records, that Wakefield and colleagues altered facts about patients in their study.

The analysis, by British journalist Brian Deer, found that despite the claim in Wakefield's paper that the 12 children studied were normal until they had the MMR shot, five had previously documented developmental problems. Deer also found that all the cases were somehow misrepresented when he compared data from medical records and the children's parents.

Wakefield could not be reached for comment despite repeated calls and requests to the publisher of his recent book, which claims there is a connection between vaccines and autism that has been ignored by the medical establishment. Wakefield now lives in the U.S. where he enjoys a vocal following including celebrity supporters like Jenny McCarthy.

Deer's article was paid for by the Sunday Times of London and Britain's Channel 4 television network. It was published online Thursday in the medical journal, BMJ.

In an accompanying editorial, BMJ editor Fiona Godlee and colleagues called Wakefield's study "an elaborate fraud." They said Wakefield's work in other journals should be examined to see if it should be retracted.

Last May, Wakefield was stripped of his right to practice medicine in Britain. Many other published studies have shown no connection between the MMR vaccination and autism.

But measles has surged since Wakefield's paper was published and there are sporadic outbreaks in Europe and the U.S. In 2008, measles was deemed endemic in England and Wales.
Citadel

NYC Mayor Bloomberg makes ‘It Gets Better’ video two days after slashing funding for homeless LGBT y

“Over the last few months there’s been a string of bullying incidents and suicides involving gay and lesbian youth. Right now there may be some of you out there who feel that there’s no hope, or that you’re not wanted. Well I have a message for you. New York City wants you. New York has always been the place where anyone can go, and be who they’re supposed to be, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual identity. We need you.

We need your enthusiasm, your ideas, your passion and your talents. And so do lots of other places around the country and the world. The struggle for equality has always been ongoing, but we’ve come so far in the last twenty years. And the next twenty? They will be so much better. You’ll see for yourself, as long as you don’t give up. I know life can be hard and painful, but life can also be wonderful. Be there for the good parts. It’s really worth it, and so are you. It does get better.”

Sure, come to NYC all of you queer youth out there! It’s the city of dreams, where no one gets bullied or discriminated against (bullshit, by the way). But you better be independently wealthy, because here is what Mayor Bloomberg didn’t say in his video: NYC only wants you as long as you’re not homeless. This might be a big surprise to all the kids who, after seeing this recent video, are hopping on greyhound buses all over the country to make it to NYC. With the incredible housing shortage in this city, along with the incredibly high rents, its likely many of them won’t have a place to live.

It’s appalling that Mayor Bloomberg, the 23rd richest man in the world, can say that ‘It Gets Better’ to LGBT teens out there after pulling the rug out from under his city’s organizations that support them.

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source.

(No homelessness tag?)

Report on Haiti [Contains Triggering Material]

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Source
Link to PDF of Amnesty International Report

ETA: Here is the story at MSNBC

Also: Doctors Without Borders is treating survivors as well as providing treatment to infants born in these terrible conditions.

ETA2: The organization MADRE is also working with KOFAVIV in bringing aid. I linked this in the comments but am also adding it here. Here is a post about some of the actions they've been taking, including providing women in the encampments with whistles so they can deter their attackers and summon help.

normal

War on Terra Update: Millions of Dead Fish!! Human Victory is Ours!

2012 Started Earlier This Year!

Dead Birds Fall From Sky In Sweden, Millions Of Dead Fish Found In Maryland, Brazil, New Zealand

UPDATE: Wildlife officials say that even more previously unreported dead birds were found in Kentucky last week.

Millions of dead fish surfaced in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay in the U.S., Tuesday, while similar unexplained mass fish deaths occurred across the world in Brazil and New Zealand. On Wednesday, 50 birds were found dead on a street in Sweden. The news come after recents reports of mysterious massive bird and fish deaths days prior in Arkansas and Louisiana.

The Baltimore Sun reports that an estimated 2 million fish were found dead in the Chesapeake Bay, mostly adult spot with some juvenile croakers in the mix, as well.
Maryland Department of the Environment spokesperson Dawn Stoltzfus says "cold-water stress" is believed to be the culprit. She told The Sun that similar large winter fish deaths were documented in 1976 and 1980.

ParanaOnline reports that 100 tons of sardines, croaker and catfish have washed up in Brazilian fishing towns since last Thursday.
The cause of the deaths is unknown, with an imbalance in the environment, chemical pollution, or accidental release from a fishing boat all suggested by local officials.
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Martha

John Edwards & Rielle Hunter Tying The Knot?!

Time to put the ONTD back in this community! This is from tabloids but it's too good not to post!:

Photobucket

Will Rielle Hunter become the next Mrs. John Edwards? Does National Enquirer have absolutely no shame? It's definitely possible and absolutely, yes.

Elizabeth Edwards passed away less than a month ago, and already, the notorious tabloid is playing up Hunter's possible marriage to John Edwards.

It was the Enquirer, of course, that blew the lid off Edwards' affair and love child with Rielle Hunter back in 2008.

While the Enquirer gained some credibility for its coverage of the Edwards affair, it is worth noting that they posted nearly the exact same story regarding an Edwards-Hunter nuptial and a "luxury $3.5 million beachfront home" last year, a report that was later denied.

John Edwards's wife, Elizabeth Edwards, passed away last month after a battle with cancer. ETA: In her will, she left her possessions to her three children, while leaving out her estranged husband entirely.

SOURCE 1
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SOURCE 3

My reaction?:
Politics

A hypocritical frenzy over the Camilla 'attack'

The real violence against protesters such as Alfie Meadows is apparently nothing next to Camilla's light poke in the ribs.

While children are having their heads broken outside the seat of government, moral knicker-wetting over the Duchess of Cornwall getting a light poke in the ribs is pure hypocrisy. After CCTV footage of protesters attacking a defenceless Rolls Royce at the tuition fees demonstration was released this week, conservative commentators have exercised themselves to the point of frenzy over the "violence" of the scene, forgetting that the royals in the Roller weren't hurt, merely inconvenienced.

Unlike Charles and Camilla, many young people really were brutalised at that protest, in Parliament Square by baton-wielding police. Among them, 20-year-old student Alfie Meadows was left with bleeding on his brain after receiving a baton blow on the head from an officer of the law, but his injury, unlike Camilla's gentle nudging, has not caused a national outcry.

Meadows nearly died on 9 December, but David Cameron has not condemned this assault as "shocking and regrettable", nor called for the police officers involved to face the consequences of their actions. Collapse )

Source
Cardassian guuurl

Women raped in mass attack in Congo, humanitarian group says

Photobucket
Women denounce sexual violence in an October march in the Democratic Republic of the Congo city of Bukavu.

(CNN) -- Dozens of women were raped in a coordinated attack in the Democratic Republic of Congo on New Year's Day, Doctors Without Borders said Thursday.

The humanitarian agency said 33 women were raped in Fizi, South Kivu, in the eastern part of the war-torn country.

"Women had been restrained with ropes or beaten unconscious with the butt of a gun before being attacked, some in front of their children," said Annemarie Loof, an official with the agency, commonly known by its French name, Medecins Sans Frontieres.

"Up to four armed men were involved at a time and homes and shops were looted," she said in a statement.

Rape is a frequent weapon of war in Congo, the United Nations says.

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Source

PAKISTAN: Moderate Governor Killed Over Views On Religious Blasphemy



Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Pakistan's wealthiest and most populous province was assassinated today by his own bodyguard, who pumped 26 bullets into his boss for opposing a law that imposes the death penalty for "insulting Islam."

Taseer vented his opposition publicly - even using Twitter - to hard-line blasphemy laws that effectively order death for anyone convicted of insulting Islam. The laws have come under greater scrutiny in recent weeks after a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, was sentenced to death for allegedly insulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Taseer said Bibi should be pardoned, earning him opprobrium from Islamist groups across the country and death threats, said Shahbaz Bhatti, the minister for minorities. "I was under huge pressure sure 2 cow down b4 rightest pressure on blasphemy. Refused. Even if I'm the last man standing," Taseer wrote on Twitter on Dec. 31.

Taseer was a passionate defender of women and minorities. His was the only Twitter feed out of Pakistan that I regularly read. Yesterday he tweeted: "So Facebook the social networking site started by a 26 year old has been valued at $50bn Same as our foreign debt! Something 2 think about?"

[source]

Fucking sad.
Catsby down under.

Tribune analysis: Drug-sniffing dogs in traffic stops often wrong



High number of fruitless searches of Hispanics' vehicles cited as evidence of bias

Drug-sniffing dogs can give police probable cause to root through cars by the roadside, but state data show the dogs have been wrong more often than they have been right about whether vehicles contain drugs or paraphernalia.

The dogs are trained to dig or sit when they smell drugs, which triggers automobile searches. But a Tribune analysis of three years of data for suburban departments found that only 44 percent of those alerts by the dogs led to the discovery of drugs or paraphernalia.

For Hispanic drivers, the success rate was just 27 percent.

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Chicago Tribune.
Mav pwnz all

Phoenix Jones: Real Life Superhero



Phoenix Jones is a superhero.

He has a day job but wears a costume underneath his street clothes in case he encounters crime. He carries a “net gun” and has a sidekick named Buster Doe.

But this isn’t the plot from a Hollywood movie. There are no special effects. This is real-life and Phoenix patrols Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood every week- stopping fights, feeding the homeless and helping folks who have run out of gas.

Unlike most movie superheroes, Phoenix doesn’t have any super powers and he doesn’t need them. He is made of flesh and blood and has gotten hurt. He deals with real criminals and puts his life in danger nightly.

“Phoenix, some people might ask if you’re crazy. Are you crazy?” I asked during a recent phone interview.

“Have you ever seen something that you thought was wrong or not fair? That you wanted to change? And then you just thought about it for days or weeks?” He said.

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KOMO News, with pictures
lar

Priorities, we haz them.

Two House Republicans Missed Swearing In While At A Fundraiser In The Capitol, Violating Constitution On Day It Was Read



WASHINGTON -- Two House Republicans have cast votes as members of the 112th Congress, but were not sworn in on Wednesday, a violation of the Constitution on the same day that the GOP had the document read from the podium.

The Republicans, incumbent Pete Sessions of Texas and freshman Mike Fitzpatrick, missed the swearing in because they were at a fundraiser in the Capitol Visitors Center. The pair watched the swearing-in on television from the Capitol Visitors Center with their hands raised.

"That wasn't planned. It just worked out that way," said Fitzpatrick at the time, according to local press on hand, which noted that he "happened to be introducing Texas Congressman Pete Sessions while glad-handing his supporters in the Capitol Visitor Center that he secured for them when the House swearing in began."

House ethics rules forbid fundraising in the Capitol.

The Bucks County Courier Times said that roughly 500 Fitzpatrick supporters were on hand at the gathering. Fitzpatrick's campaign had solicited contributions for a bus trip to the Capitol and "Mike Fitzpatrick's Swearing In Celebration."

Sessions is head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, responsible for fundraising for GOP candidates.


There is no provision in the Constitution for a remote swearing-in by television. On Thursday, Fitzpatrick was one of the members who read the Constitution from the dais. He would have been on hand to here the section he violated read aloud: "Article VI, Paragraph 3: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

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Shocked. Shocked, I tell you.
Yellow boxes made of ticky-tacky.

House GOP ends floor voting rights for delegates

One of the first acts of the new Republican-controlled House is to take away the floor voting rights of six delegates representing areas such as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and American Samoa.

Five of those delegates are Democrats, while one, from the Northern Marianas Islands, is an independent.

The GOP decision to rescind the ability of delegates to vote on amendments on the House floor was the predictable outcome of a longtime party divide. Democrats extended the voting rights in 1993 when they controlled the House, Republicans disenfranchised the delegates when they became the majority in 1995 and Democrats restored delegate rights when they regained control of the House in 2007.

"This is a very undemocratic way to start the 112th Congress," said Virgin Islands Del. Donna Christensen. With the new GOP rule, she said, "there are over 4.5 million Americans who don't get input into shaping the final bill."

The partisan battle has always been as much about political symbolism as the actual ability of delegates to influence national policy. Under the Democrats, delegates could vote on the floor on amendments — in what is known as the Committee of the Whole — but not on final passage. And their votes came with the stipulation that they could not change the outcome of a vote.

Delegates do have full voting rights at the committee level and can rise through the committee ranks.

Republicans have long argued that the Constitution, which says the House should be made up of representatives chosen by the "several states," rules out voting by non-state delegates. The office of new House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday said Boehner "continues to believe . that delegates should not vote in the Committee of the Whole because they constitutionally cannot vote on the House floor."

"It's very apparent to me that we need to focus on the Constitution and (under the Constitution) states are to be represented in the House of Representatives," said House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier, R-Calif.

Republicans also point out that delegate votes violate the concept of equal representation. The average constituency for the 435 House representatives is about 700,000. While Puerto Rico has a population of almost 4 million and the District of Columbia 600,000, the other four, all territories, are considerably smaller. American Samoa has 95,000 residents, and The Northern Marianas 48,000.

But Democrats counter that, when Republicans sued to reverse the 1993 extension of voting rights, two federal courts ruled that Congress had acted within constitutional bounds. They also point out that the delegates represent U.S. citizens who serve in the military and are fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"To me it is unseemly in the 21st century that anyone would be stripped of a vote," said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who has represented Washington D.C. since 1991.

Norton said the loss of limited voting rights was a "very bitter pill" for the people of the District, who a year ago where within sight of gaining a full vote in the House. The Senate voted to give the District a fully vested representative, but attached an amendment to weaken the District's tough gun control laws that was unacceptable to some House Democrats.

New Washington Mayor Vincent Gray said at a protest rally Tuesday that the GOP move to remove Norton's remaining voting rights was "the most outrageous insult imaginable."

Norton sought to prevent adoption of the new rule by offering a motion to set up a special committee to study the delegate voting issue, but it was defeated on a party-line vote.

Associated Press
LOLitics | BAMF

Senator's Babby steals Biden's notes; Biden steals notes back with Stealth Grandpa Tactics.

Biden negotiates w/ child to get script back

WASHINGTON (KABC) -- Vice President Joe Biden's keen negotiating skills paid off for him during Wednesday's congressional swearing-in ceremony.

He was up against the precocious 3-year-old son of Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden who had snatched his speech script.

"I think he wants to speak," Biden said jokingly when the boy took the papers. When the parents tried to take the papers back, the boy says, "no, no, no," and squirms away.

So Biden offers the boy a trade.

"Hey, here's the deal. You see this? If you can tell me which hand it's in, you can have it," Biden said.

The vice president was only distracting little William, taking the opportunity to pull the old bait-and-switch. In exchange for the script, William received a mint.



SOURCE