Senate Shenanigans

By now you’ve probably seen the video in which Sen. Al Franken declines to allow Sen. Joe Lieberman to drone on past his 10 minute allotted time. Well, it wasn’t just Lieberman, and it wasn’t just Franken. Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) similarly declined to allow Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to go over 10 minutes.

It turns out the freshman Democrat from Alaska was acting under orders of Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Senate majority leader, who said he had grown tired of what he deemed Republican delaying tactics.

Begich, who as a junior member of the Senate is required to preside over the chamber frequently to learn its rules, had been asked to limit everyone to 10-minute speeches to speed up proceedings. Another freshman, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., treated Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., much the same way Thursday.

OK, but … so little, and so late.

For another exhibit in the “IOKIYAR” museum, see Paul Kane and Lori Montgomery in the Washington Post:

Senate Republicans failed early Friday in their bid to filibuster a massive Pentagon bill that funds the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an unusual move designed to delay President Obama’s health-care legislation.

On a 63 to 33 vote, Democrats cleared a key hurdle that should allow them to approve the must-pass military spending bill Saturday and return to the health-care debate. After years of criticizing Democrats for not supporting the troops, just three Republicans supported the military funding.

Proof that atheists are on to somethingEric Kleefeld reports for TPM:

The Family Research Council Action PAC held an extraordinary “prayercast” event last night, praying for the intercession of God to change Senators’ minds and stop the health care bill. …

…Co-host Lou Engle focused the event as a protest against abortion, alleging that the bill would result in government funding and promoting it, and likening their prayers to Biblical figures who worked to stop the genocide of the Jews. “But the Bible’s very clear that prayer affects government,” said Engle. “Esther’s three-day fast changed public policy; Daniel’s fast changed public policy; and it’s the same, yesterday, today and forever, and that’s why we’re here.”

Does that mean they’re going to fast until the health care bill is defeated (she said, hopefully, thinking that this could take a while)? Apparently not; they’re just going to pray a lot. Anyway, I’m saying that any self-respectful wrathful omnipotent being would have sent enough lightening bolts to vaporize the lot of them by now. Yet members of the Family Research Council are still corporeal.

On the plus side, Susie Madrak’s report on yesterday’s blogger conference call on health care (which I skipped, sorry) is reassuring.

11 thoughts on “Senate Shenanigans

  1. The churches not coming out in support of healthcare for the flock still stuns me.
    I do not believe they do not see the need for it. Why don’t they leave the punishing up to God, or at least pray FOR healthcare and against any sinners getting it or something..

    • The churches not coming out in support of healthcare for the flock still stuns me.

      In truth, in the U.S. fundamentalism took hold in the late 19th century partly as a backlash against evolution but also partly as a backlash against the “social gospel” movement. The social gospel was very popular for a time among progressive Christians and also some Jews. Many religious institutions became very active in social welfare, working to get better living conditions in inner city tenements, for example. I’m not sure exactly what the fundies had against the social gospel except that many of the people they were trying to help were racial minorities or from less “desirable” parts of Europe, like Ireland and Italy. But they made up their minds that the social gospel was evil.

      In the early 20th century, fundamentalists campaigned hard against just about every progressive cause, including child labor laws. Little immigrant children working ten-hour days in dangerous factories was part of God’s Plan, apparently.

      I am reasonably well acquainted with the Bible, including the Gospels, and there really is no scriptural justification for overworking little children children or not providing people with health insurance, other than by taking passages out of context and twisting their meanings. Indeed, passages from the Gospel of Matthew, among others, suggests that Jesus approved of taking care of the sick and the poor. But when fundies read their Bibles they see only what they want to see.

  2. The hell with Senate decorum – I would like to see Al Franken cold cock John Thune in the well of the Senate. I would pay good money to see that. I would also love to see Alan Grayson deliver a roundhouse to Eric Cantor on the floor of the House that straightened his hair. Let’s challenge these vermin to a fistfight and settle this, once and for all.

  3. The churches not coming out in support of healthcare for the flock still stuns me.

    Half a century of disciplined, co-ordinated right-wing messaging (lies).

    Government helping people equals socialism.

    Socialism equals communism.

    Communism equals godless totalitarianism, the Evil Empire, the spawn of Satan, opposed without thinking by every American.

    And by this simple syllogism, the parable of the Good Samaritan is made inapplicable to any government action. What is right and commendable for individuals or charities or churches to do becomes evil and an existential threat to the American way of life if undertaken by government, even by a lowly city council.

  4. Here’s the most trenchant explanation I’ve seen so far of why the health care process has been conducted by all parties as kabuki theater rather than as good-faith lawmaking :

    A diary entry by thereisnospoon at the Great Orange Santa, er, Satan
    No One Is Going To Save You Fools

  5. That Prayergasm thing was a waste of time. Those chronic complainers never get past God’s spam filter; remember when they prayed for the weather to smite the Democratic National Convention in Denver? They’re always praying for such things, and they always get just what they deserve, which is nothin’.

  6. Ah, intrepretion… On Monday, from reading “The Bible,” I can tell you who would have won the football games on Sunday. It’s all in how I interpret. If you want a piece of the action, please call me at 666-666-6666, and I’ll tell you my Sunday favorites on the Monday after. HURRY! Only the first thousand people will find out my Sunday picks when they call the Monday after. Don’t let this opporltunity pass you by! When you see my track record on Monday, you’ll be happy to pay $2,000 for my picks next Sunday. There is no guarantee as/because… if you have high blood pressure you may experience bleeding of the nostril’s… also flaming of the anus… and if you have depression…. kill the nearest child… depart to Equador… Leave your wife and take trip to South America… Putt better, sleep worse, divorce your beautiful wife, and find yourself next to some toothless Waffle House waitress on the morning before The Masters tournament… Always check with a Physician before betting on this site – preferable one who graduated from the top 40% of his class from a Northern American Mediacl School. And, always bet responsibly!!!
    As for fasting, let the Republican’s try it. They can’t spend a day without taking money from some lobby group (Dem’s too, for that matter). If these fat assholes can do without a day of eating “Ring Ding’s” and mainlining potato chip’s, you call me and let me know. I’ll bet on the under on Wall Street for companies that make junk food.
    As for Al Franken, you go, boy! Tell them to STFU as often as you can!

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