Progressive Woman Considering Run for Snowe’s Senate Seat

Chellie Pingree is thinking about running for Olympia Snowe’s open seat in the Senate. She’s currently representing Maine in the House.

I haven’t heard of her before today, but I like what I see so far.

We need more progressive women in the Senate. We need more women, period, in the Senate. Currently, there are only seventeen women in the Senate. Out of a hundred seats? That’s ridiculous.

She has until March 15th to submit the signatures she needs to get on the ballot, about six weeks from today. I’m sure she’ll make her decision soon.

Here’s hoping.

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Senate Debating Filibuster Reform Now.

Right now, the Senate is debating on the filibuster reform. The debate is being aired on C-Span 2. This article, posted on the New York Times late last night, summarizes the current situation.

On C-Span, the Republicans are framing this as a tactic to suppress the rights of the minority. This is not so. I have linked again and again to the proposal being debated. It does nothing to suppress the minority, whoever they may be, in the Senate. The proposal requires 10 Senators to filibuster, their names to be public, and objecting Senators to remain on the floor. When no one is on the floor, the filibuster ends, and the chamber is allowed to proceed. It eliminates the ability for a Senator to filibuster a motion to proceed–which means that under current rules, a single, anonymous Senator may object to debate. It also suggests an expedited process for nomination, and ends the segregation by party in the chamber.

Read it for yourself. This does not, by any means, suppress the rights of the minority. It simply requires accountability. It eliminates the ability of a single, anonymous Senator to prevent debate on legislation. It requires more than one, single, anonymous Senator to filibuster a bill. It allows those Senators to filibuster as long as they wish–so long as they can hold the floor. If they no longer wish to speak to the body, the filibuster ends, so Senators cannot object, then traipse home for a holiday. It requires effort on the part of objecting Senators, and that is what Republicans are objecting to.

Get Your Activism On: Reform the Filibuster

Early in December, I wrote about Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and his efforts to reform the Senate’s rules on filibustering. Today an editorial appeared in the New York Times on this issue. The new Senate will vote on these changes on Wednesday. It is important that these changes be made–not for self-serving Democrats, or self-serving Republicans, or anything of the like. These changes must be made for the good of the people.

For the last two years we have witnessed the most egregious use of the filibuster in the history of the Senate. Every piece of legislation was filibustered by the GOP, whether or not they agreed with it. Legislation took weeks and months to pass, and the Republicans weren’t quiet about their motives–they wanted to make President Obama look inept. To some, I’m sure they succeeded. But to others, they only succeeded in holding up important legislation for brownie points at the cost of the credibility of the Senate and the good of the American people.

The proposal is short and simple. The highlights are in the NYT editorial. The full proposal is here. Take a look at it if you haven’t–the Senate will vote on Wednesday, and it will only take a simple majority vote to pass. The proposal is about transparency, demanding effort and accountability of the Senators who wish to hold up the work of the Senate, and limits on what they may do.

As before, contact your Senator and urge them to vote for this change.

John McCain Losing Traction, Relevancy.

With John McCain’s temper tantrums on and off the Senate floor during the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal debate, I wonder more and more at his irrelevancy. With both his wife and his daughter coming out for “the other side” you’d think he might listen to the counsel his family offered. Nope. McCain led the opposition…and lost.

As this editorial points out, when George W. Bush was still in office, McCain often joined the Democrats.

So what is John McCain’s deal?

He’s an oppositionist.

McCain, for whatever reason, has to be on the minority side. Not in a good way–he doesn’t champion the cause of the “little guy” or the “everyday American” or even the poor and downtrodden. He likes to be the one arguing against whomever has the majority in Congress and holds the Executive branch.

His lack of consistency in sticking to any one party could be admirable, if it were based on any ideals. But it doesn’t seem to be the case. Getting criticism for both parties could be seen as a good thing–but not in his case. John McCain won the nomination in 2008 because of a split in the party, not in any large showing of support for his candidacy. I believe the same for President Obama–progressives were split in their support between Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. In my analysis during the 2008 race, Obama was an idealistic politician, without any real chance for gaining the nomination. The same for John McCain, sans the idealistic part.

Yet he holds on, and Arizona keeps reelecting him. I suspect at this point it may be simply the incumbent’s advantage that keeps him in office, however. We’ll see if that’ll be enough when this term is up–if he keeps this up, I suspect it won’t be.

DADT Repealed!

Today, the Senate voted 65-31 to repeal the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

Today, Congress finally listened to the heartfelt pleas of American troops.

Today, our military is a stronger force–no longer facing continuing decimation of the ranks, and no longer are a significant portion of troops vulnerable to blackmail.

Today, a significant portion of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corp can now stand proudly in uniform, whole and free.

Today, hundreds of families can now freely support their loved ones in uniform, and hundreds of troops can now be stronger for that support.

Today, America and her Armed Forces are now stronger, freer, and more united.

The journey doesn’t end here. It will be a long journey before the damage from Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is undone. The discharge process must be stopped, the way must be opened for those discharged under DADT to return, if they wish. But that’s all paperwork. The biggest hurdle is behind us.

Let’s take this day to celebrate. Victories come all too seldom. Let’s bask in it, before we return tomorrow to work.

Contact your Senator and urge them to extend unemployment!

Holding the only income hostage that millions of Americans have to pay bills, buy food, and keep their homes from getting foreclosed on is abhorrent. Holding it hostage for tax breaks for the rich is especially so.

I e-mail Senator Mitch McConnell today. You should contact your senator as well. Here is my letter should you need any ideas:

Senator McConnell,

I cannot sit by any longer. I have watched you transform from a longstanding veteran Senator, getting many things done for Kentucky, despite my not agreeing with your politics, to someone who cannot and will not do anything save try to do anything you can to ensure President Obama is a one-term President. This is abhorrent.

While thousands of Kentuckians remain unemployed, how can you hold unemployment hostage? Kentucky isn’t going to recover from the recession overnight, nor will enough jobs be created to lower unemployment to acceptable levels, overnight. The most immediate way to help Kentucky is to extend unemployment while the unemployed continue to search for jobs.

I was lucky, Mr. McConnell. I found a job–a job doing (redacted) during night shift. I graduated from Western Kentucky University in May with degrees in English and political science. I am severely under-employed for my qualifications, but I am lucky in that I am bringing money home. My mother has not been so fortunate.

Did these tax cuts originally do anything to help the economy and create jobs? No, they didn’t. They simply further contributed to the profits made by companies who later crashed our economy. Now millions are jobless, homeless, and hungry, and you look to give further advantage to those who need your help the least?

Senator, you represent ALL Kentuckians. I ask that you remember the jobless, the poor, and the downtrodden of your constituency when you hold unemployment hostage for continuing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

I am willing to pay higher taxes, Senator, if that helps assist the US to recover from this recession. I can sacrifice for the greater good–that is what being an American, a Kentuckian, and a good neighbor is all about. If the top 3% earners are decent people, they will be willing to do the same.

Please do not hold the unemployment hostage. Do the right thing. Extend unemployment. Do not make the desperation of millions a weapon in the chamber.

Sincerely,

Brittany-Ann Wick