Thursday, February 11, 2010

Iran: Known as 22 Bahman

Today was (as I'm writing this the day there has passed into night) a big day for Iran.  22 Bahman is the official day of victory for the Iranian Revolution under the Ayatollahs.

And as such the protesters against Ayatollah Khamenei's rule were out in force.  Even as the ones in power (Khamenei and his presidential puppet Ahmadinejad) tried to control the media both inside and out, and as they tried to present themselves as firmly in control (only by force, not by popular acclaim).

Sullivan (and his blog wranglers) payed attention for the whole day.  The link here is to a wrap-up: check the rest of his site for the various updates and retorts.

The only thing keeping Khamenei in power now is his corrupt personal army/police and basij street thugs.  They have the guns, but the Iranian people have the numbers and the will.

Just pray to God this all ends with as little bloodshed as possible.  And that it ends soon.

Friday, February 05, 2010

More About Secret Holds and the Failure of the U.S. Senate

It's like, OMG OMG I had a commentator post on my blog!  I had someone comment on my Calcification entry about the abusive Senatorial tool known as Secret Holds.

Just like to say a Big Hi and Thanks to ye for commenting.  And you mentioned that you were doing research on these Holds for your government class?  Well, here's a link to Balloon Juice just recently that will highlight a bit more about how Secret Holds are getting abused nowadays (which is also a link to Talking Points Memo, who do a decent job of keeping track of these sort of political con games):

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has put an extraordinary “blanket hold” on at least 70 nominations President Obama has sent to the Senate, according to multiple reports this evening. The hold means no nominations can move forward unless Senate Democrats can secure a 60-member cloture vote to break it, or until Shelby lifts the hold.
“While holds are frequent,” CongressDaily’s Dan Friedman and Megan Scully report (sub. req.), “Senate aides said a blanket hold represents a far more aggressive use of the power than is normal.”
The Mobile Press-Register picked up the story early this afternoon. The paper confirmed Reid’s account of the hold, and reported that a Shelby spokesperson “did not immediately respond to phone and e-mail messages seeking confirmation of the senator’s action or his reason for doing so.”
The TPM entry notes that Shelby is attempting to extort (there is no other word for it) the Obama administration into sending millions of earmark money to his state that they're trying to cut back.  While this is happening, our government is denied key people at key positions, meaning more backlog of work and more chances of screw-ups and mismanagement.  Worst of all, Shelby's not even blocking these nominations for ideological reasons.  If he was blocking them because he feared any of those 70 nominations were pro-choice or pro-union... well, that'd still suck but at least there'd be some excuse.  He's just doing it for the damn money!

As I mentioned in my Calcification thread, this is yet another example of how the legislative system is broken: its' responsibility to provide a check/balance to the executive branch twisted into an abuse of power and yet another grab at government pork (sing with me!  They want the moooooooonnneeeeeyyyy ah, It's what they want).

Get rid of Secret Holds, limit Filibustering, and maybe, just you know maybe, we might get a working Congress again.

UPDATE (2/11/2010): As of now, Shelby has given up the blanket hold, releasing all but three nominations (all of the three are military appointments) after the massive negative publicity (Republicans couldn't claim that "Democrats do it too": a blanket hold like that was unprecedented, period.).  This still doesn't change the underlying problem: HOLDS ARE UNDEMOCRATIC.  Get rid of the Damn Holds.