Friday, May 7, 2010

I see crazy people.

Fringe groups: fearful or funny?
May 6: Rachel Maddow re-caps the story of a member of the right-wing fringe group American Grand Jury who was arrested while attempting to make an armed citizen's arrest in a courthouse. James Cavanaugh, a former ATF Special Agent, joins to explain the difference between the dangerous fringe and the just-plain-ridiculous fringe.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Joe Sudbay
The Senate is still debating S.3217, Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010. Expect votes on more amendments today. Yesterday, a GOP amendment to weaken the consumer protection aspects of the bill was defeated 38 - 61. Two GOPers, Collins and Grassley, voted with the Democrats. The amendment was offered by Richard Shelby, the ranking Republican on the Banking Committee. He recently told a gathering of bankers that the best way to kill reform was to elect more GOPers -- and he told them all to give $10,000 to Rep. Roy Blunt who is running for Senate in Missouri. The Republicans are not even subtle about being bought and paid for by the bankers and Wall Street.
C&L: David Obey: I Would Have Retired a Long Time Ago If Not For Meeting With Bush After 9-11

David Obey talked about his reasons for deciding to retire now and he said he would have retired a long time ago had it not been for a meeting with George W. Bush after 9-11 where he found got a taste of how Bush was going to govern; my way or the highway. Even though he and other members of the House had bipartisan agreement on additions to the budget they wanted to make, Bush wasn't interested in listening to any of their suggestions.

He also said he would not have retired now if he did not know that they had a good field of Democrats to take his place. Obey said he also wanted to make sure the health care bill passed and that it looked like the economy was moving back on track before he announced his plans to leave.

Yglesias: Filibuster and Accountability

On its face, the problem with the filibuster is that it’s anti-majoritarian. But taking a broader view, the normative status of majority rules is pretty questionable. The bigger problem is that it undermines democratic accountability. Ezra Klein points out that David Obey smartly mentioned this in his retirement announcement saying “All I do know is that there has to be more to life than explaining the ridiculous, accountability destroying rules of the Senate to confused, angry, and frustrated constituents.”

This is related to the unfashionable-in-elite-circles case for strong party discipline. The point is that accountability is maximized when it’s relatively simple for ordinary people to deploy the means at their disposal (voting, or not) to effectuate their ends (throwing the bastards out, or not). When you combine majoritarian legislative procedures with strong party discipline, then all a voter needs to do is (a) remember which party is in charge, and then (b) decide if he likes what’s going on. But thanks to the filibuster, if you don’t approve of policy outcomes you’re likely to blame the majority party even if the outcomes are actually being determined by a minority.

No comments:

Post a Comment