Like all certainties in life, rules in the Senate change. One of America's most glorified political theatrics, the filibuster, now only exists should the majority party choose.
(Editor Note: This Tyrades! column was originally published in December of 2004)
For farm and ranch families across Kansas, adding flexibility to our agribusiness laws represents a unique opportunity to access new markets, to diversify operations and to attempt a new strategy to invigorate rural communities and offer young people a rural alternative.
The whole world mourns Nelson Mandela. Rightly.
It was 73 and sunny, still two weeks before Thanksgiving, and I was stuck in traffic on the 405. Over the car radio a DJ on KOST-FM was extolling the "holiday spirit." Then he played "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" by Gene Autry - a song so old that it doesn't rouse spirits so much as it conjures ghosts of Christmas past.
If 2013 was a year of ups and downs, it was also a year peppered with ironies. Here are just a few:
For those who enjoy lowbrow political theater, it's Christmas come early. Steve Stockman, a Texas congressman so far to the right he's in danger of falling into the Gulf of Mexico, is challenging Sen. John Cornyn in the Republican Primary. Though Tea Party leaders were calling Texas' senior senator a "traitor" who "surrendered" on Obamacare, the conservative case against Cornyn is thin. Stockman's challenge demonstrates that nothing less than absolute faith is sufficient to survive in a radicalized Republican Party that no longer resembles the Party of Reagan, much less that of Lincoln.
Environmentalists and budget critics of California's proposed bullet train may be breathing a sigh of relief.
President Obama's "Mission Accomplished" moment: "We have met the goal" of fixing the Healthcare.Gov website.
A new study has come out that finds men and women really do think differently.
After losing the Virginia governor's race because single women voted for the Democrat by a margin of 42 points, Republicans have found the solution. They will teach their candidates how to, in Speaker John Boehner's words, "be a little more sensitive" to the ladies. But Republicans painting over policy differences with pretty words piles insult on top of offense and will do little to close the gender gap.
A hundred years ago, business tycoon Samuel Insull consolidated smaller utility companies to form the behemoth (albeit public charity-sounding) Commonwealth Edison. Because of the infrastructure needed to provide energy to an increasingly power-hunger public, Insull and others argued that Commonwealth Edison was a natural monopoly; inherently one company had to dominate the market. This battle cry enabled a mere 10 utility systems to control three-quarters of the nation's electricity business by the time FDR was in the White House, subjecting consumers to higher rates with absolutely no competition save candles.
What compromises must we make when it comes to our security on the one hand, and our privacy on the other? Personally, I'm far less concerned about being tracked by the National Security Agency than I am about being monitored by, say, Google.
Trust ain't what it used to be in America.
God bless America, and how's everybody?
Can Elizabeth Warren, the progressive senator from Massachusetts, wrest the Democratic presidential nomination from Hillary Clinton? Moreover, could she somehow leap an even higher hurdle and succeed Barack Obama?
The 2016 presidential campaign has barely started, and I'm already bored.
If you believe the recently released Senate Intelligence Committee torture report, you might be tempted to conclude that the CIA lied to the press and the public and to Congress about the extent and effectiveness of its torture campaign. And that conclusion would be correct, sir.
Would police have harassed Eric Garner or his wife if the government had no financial interest in the selling of taxed cigarettes?
Oil, like political punditry, is a commodity, traded freely on the open market and subject to the laws of supply and demand. The difference of course is that punditry enjoys an abundant and renewable supply, flows freely, and produces nothing of value. Oil, on the other hand, is actually important. The problem is that people think they are related.
The political class breathed a sigh of relief Saturday when the US Senate averted a government shutdown by passing the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill. This year's omnibus resembles omnibuses of Christmas past in that it was drafted in secret, was full of special interest deals and disguised spending increases, and was voted on before most members could read it.
Torture is illegal. Period. End of debate. There is no legal, moral or probable justification for torture. It's against the Bill of Rights; it's against the Geneva Convention; it's against United Nations Convention Against Torture (ratified by the U.S. in 1994); it's against every state statute from every modern constitutional democracy and every decent and encouraging proposal coming from humanity in the last century.
Well over two years ago, a local public figure encouraged folks to give blood because it was the selfless thing to do.
Remember Kelly Thomas?
They say there's been a recovery, but most of us haven't seen it. Our economy is creating more jobs, but they don't match the wages, benefits and working conditions of the ones we've lost. The stock market is at a historic high, but its gains seem eerily divorced from how the economy is actually performing. Unfortunately, it looks like just another speculative bubble.
Recent reports have circulated that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has not treated Kansas well. Some point to the rise in premiums, or the fixed monthly costs you pay for health insurance, and that in Kansas, the rise in these premiums is more compared to the rest of the country. Perhaps not surprisingly, given the political nature of evaluating the success of the ACA, there is disagreement by analysts over the accuracy and the relevance of the numbers.
A diverse group including concerned parents, sports fans and even the Writers Guild of America is fighting the proposed merger of media monoliths Time Warner and Comcast. The effort is spearheaded by the non-profit organization Public Knowledge, which claims the $45 billion merger would harm both the economy and our democracy.
On Tuesday December 9, disgraced Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber will face the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He has a lot to answer for.
Hey guys, Will Durst here with your eagerly awaited Top Ten Comedic News Stories of 2014.