Political Implications of the New Census Data

The Daily Escape:

Nathan’s Batteries, a converted Esso station, Wilkesboro NC. –  February 2021 photo by Greg Kiser Photography

The Census announced the Congressional reapportionments from the 2020 census: Texas picked up two seats, while Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon each picked up one seat.

California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia all lost one seat.

Here are a few quick observations regarding how the Electoral College has shifted since 1959, when Hawaii became the 50th state: (h/t Paul Campos)

  • California, Florida, and Texas have collectively picked up 58 electoral votes (This census is the first time California has lost a congressional seat since it became a state).
  • New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania have together lost 38 electoral votes.
  • West Virginia has suffered the biggest proportional decline, losing half its electoral votes.
  • Florida and Arizona have enjoyed the largest proportional gains, tripling (FL), and nearly tripling (AZ) their representation in the Electoral College respectively.

And counting mattered. A couple of the shifts were by razor-thin margins, with New York losing a seat by just 89 people and Minnesota holding on to one by just 26 people. The news is generally good for Republicans. They control the redistricting process for five of the seven new seats.

The Cook Political Report estimates the shifts are worth about 3.5 seats to Republicans, which if no other seat shifted in the coming midterms, would put the House near-even (either 218-217 or 219-216 in Democrats’ favor, versus the current 222-213).

But the most perilous statistic is that Republicans control 61 of the 99 state legislative chambers and almost 55% of the state legislative seats, giving them control of redistricting and ultimately, a good shot at preserving the possibility of controlling one or both Houses of Congress.

In August, the Census Bureau is expected to release detailed information showing down to the block, where nearly every person lives. New legislative maps will be redrawn in each state to ensure equal representation. Right now, the GOP controls more statehouses overall and has an edge in growing states. Republicans will only need to net a handful of seats to control the House.

This is made worse if we remember that in June, 2019, in Rucho v. Common Cause, the Supreme Court essentially gave partisan gerrymandering its constitutional blessing by ruling that local political decisions are non-justiciable.

From Charlie Pierce: (emphasis by Wrongo)

“You have to have some appreciation for what a perfectly complete whole the conservative project is. By pressing every advantage…they have gained sufficient control of the process to defuse most progressive initiatives, to defang most governors if the state happens to…elect a Democrat, and to arrange for the various judicial branches to be their ultimate backup.”

Overall, the US population grew to 331 million, a 7.4% growth rate since 2010. This is the second slowest rate of population growth the census has ever recorded, just behind the 7.3% growth in the 1930s. That decade’s slowed growth was rooted in the Great Depression. From the WaPo:

“Unlike the slowdown of the Great Depression, which was a blip followed by a boom, the slowdown this time is part of a longer-term trend, tied to the aging of the country’s White population, decreased fertility rates and lagging immigration.”

This decade’s sluggish growth started in the Great Recession. Its weak recovery saw many young adults struggling to find jobs, while delaying marriage and starting a family. That blow to the nation’s birthrate was exacerbated by the Covid pandemic.

West Virginia and Maine saw deaths exceed births over the decade.

Most demographers forecast even slower population growth in the coming decades. For the first time, we have more people over the age of 80 than under age 2. The median age in the US is 38, up one year since 2010. Going forward, the number of people over age 65, will grow faster than younger cohorts.

What about counting Latinos? Texas, Florida, and Arizona had been predicted to gain more seats but didn’t. It’s possible that Latinos weren’t properly counted. They make up a large segment of the population in the three states that didn’t gain expected seats. Some point to Trump who tried to intimidate immigrants or people in the country illegally from participating in the Census. Additionally, the pandemic made it difficult to reach certain populations.

Now it will be a bare-knuckle fight between the Parties in most states to win the gerrymander war.

That will be watched closely by candidates across the country who need to decide how redistricting affects their chances of winning an election.


Monday Wake Up Call – April 26, 2021

The Daily Escape:

The Wonder Gardens, Bonita Springs, FL – April 2021 photo by Merrill Dodd

Alex Pareene in the New Republic writes about how Republicans have endorsed a terrorist tactic against protesters. He means new legislation in several states that shield drivers from civil liability if they injure or kill protesters. Florida is an example:

“Earlier this week, Florida Republicans enacted a law they claimed would prevent riots in the state. Its real purpose, of course, was to discourage protesting and punish demonstrators. One of the bill’s provisions has received a fair amount of national attention, as it seems to give Floridians permission to attack protesters with their cars.”

The law increases penalties for protesters who block roadways or deface public monuments. It creates a new crime, “mob intimidation.” That clause makes it illegal for a group of two or more people to use force or to threaten force. But what constitutes a threat of force? And the law requires that anyone arrested at a protest be denied bail until their first court appearance, making for overnight jail stays.

It also makes local city and town officials in Florida liable for lawsuits from injured parties if they are found to have not done enough to respond to control violent protests. And it reacts to the mythical “defund the police” movement by allowing an appeal to the governor of any decision by local officials to reduce law enforcement funding.

Pareene asks: (brackets by Wrongo)

“What problem does it [the new law] solve? As the Florida American Civil Liberties Union pointed out, very few recent protests in the state involved violence or even vandalism, and police and prosecutors were already well equipped…to handle whatever rioting might occur. If demonstrators blocking roads and snarling up traffic were a serious problem in Florida in need of a legislative remedy, surely thoughtful legislators could come up with a more effective or ethical response….”

Five states besides Florida have introduced similar bills this year, granting some form of immunity to people running into demonstrators. Iowa’s measure was passed by the state’s House and awaits Senate approval. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt just signed another version into law in his state. Oklahoma’s shields attacking drivers from criminal but not civil liability.

More from Pareene:

“A few years ago, most people would have seen “politically motivated vehicle attacks” as a terrorist tactic pioneered by ISIS. Now American police regularly carry out these kinds of attacks, and Republican policymakers have officially endorsed the practice.”

Ari Weil, a researcher at the Chicago Project on Security and Threats, counted six states that considered laws shielding drivers who attack protesters in 2017, but most of those bills went nowhere. But the car attacks kept coming: In 2020, Weil tracked 72 incidents of cars driving into protesters across 52 different cities in a period of just over a month.

And police are more likely than individuals to use vehicles as weapons. Cops in New York and Detroit have hit demonstrators with cars. In Boston last year, Police Sergeant Clifton McHale was recorded on a police body camera bragging about hitting demonstrators with a police cruiser. If you think this is an exaggeration, consider this image that Wrongo saw on Facebook by a Santa Fe, AZ Police Sgt. (via Digby):

Civil rights and social justice groups say these laws are an unconstitutional attack on free speech. Micah Kubic, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, said:

“To be clear, the goal of this law is to silence dissent and create fear among Floridians who want to take to the streets to march for justice.”

One question is: Who gets to define and/or decide what a riot is, or what’s a violent protest? It’s most likely the local police; so as always, they now get to wield violence against protesters, up to and including driving into a crowd.

Even if a person accidentally stepped on the gas during a protest, if they kill or hurt someone in their car, there is no reason to create a legal shield for them. The incident must be adjudicated in court. That’s how we do this.

Carving out a legal exception to allow the potential killing of someone because they happen to be protesters is mind-boggling. Our democracy is under attack by a large portion of a major political party which seeks to transform the relationship between the government and the governed.

Time to wake up America! These laws will endanger the lives of people who are exercising their right of free speech by demonstrating. To help you wake up, listen to Tom Jones covering a Todd Snider song, “Talking Reality Television Blues”. The song shows the snowballing damage that television has inflicted on our psyche:

An 80+ year-old star covers a song by a dope smoking old hippy, making it sound like something NPR would feature.


Sunday Cartoon Blogging – April 25, 2021

Last Thursday, the House passed a bill for DC statehood. The cause has been around for at least 30 years. It’s got more energy right now because of the Democrat’s desire to break up Republican obstruction in the Senate.

The current 50-50 party split in the Senate means that 41 million more Americans are represented by Democrats than by Republicans, even though their number of seats is equal.

Republicans have argued that the bill is a Democratic “power grab”. Some GOP lawmakers agree with Democrats that DC residents should have representation in Congress but say they should become part of Maryland or Virginia, rather than having their own state. They also claim that DC has too small a population, even though it has more residents than both Wyoming and Vermont.

One of their grasping-at-straws arguments is that there’s not a car dealership in DC (actually, they sell Tesla’s).  They also complain there isn’t an airport. But neither of those are prerequisites for statehood. On to cartoons.

Just another form of vote suppression:

Speaking of vote suppression, the GOP is on the march:

Just after Biden said he’s removing all troops from Afghanistan, we learn that we’re deploying additional troops to Afghanistan to aid in Biden’s plan for withdrawing all combat troops. Confused? So are these guys:

One team racks up its first score:

The GOP made a tiny counter proposal to Biden’s infrastructure plan:

Ready for the Oscars tonight? Not really:


Another Problem for Biden: Who Controls the Arctic Ocean?

The Daily Escape:

Cape Porpoise, ME – April 20, 2021 photo by Eric Storm

American has only two icebreakers that can operate at the North Pole. One is more than 40 years old, and the other is in drydock. This is a problem because the Arctic ice cap is melting, and many countries plan to use the Arctic Ocean as a much quicker transit route from Europe to Asia.

Why is this a big deal? Rockford Weitz, professor at the Fletcher Maritime Studies Program of Tufts University, has an article in The Conversation about the looming competition for control of the warming Arctic Ocean. He points to a recent voyage:

“A tanker carrying liquefied natural gas from northern Russia to China tested that shorter route this past winter, traversing the normally frozen Northern Sea Route in February for the first time with the help of an icebreaker. The route cut the shipping time by nearly half.”

It’s clear that even including the cost of having an icebreaker along for the trip, traversing the Arctic Ocean was cost-effective. The polar ice is melting quickly, so countries will need more icebreakers to help LNG tankers cross the Arctic.

Russia has 46 icebreakers and has 11 under construction. The US has three and has three under construction. Wikipedia says that the US icebreaker situation is currently so dire that the US Coast Guard is loath to send the working icebreakers too far north, because if one breaks down, it would almost certainly have to call for help from a nearby Russian icebreaker.

That demonstrates how bad US/Russian relations have become. At one time, both powers could cooperate on this kind of prosaic thing.

There’s more at stake. The US Geological Survey estimates that about 30% of the world’s undiscovered natural gas and 13% of undiscovered oil may be in the Arctic. As waters become passable, that will attract both more shipping and more mineral exploration. Weitz also says that the competition for control of the Arctic has reached new levels:

“Russia is now attempting to claim more of the Arctic seabed for its territory. It has been rebuilding Cold War-era Arctic military bases and recently announced plans to test its Poseidon nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed torpedo in the Arctic.”

It’s remarkable to learn that the US military has been caught flat-footed with the retreat of Arctic sea ice. The retreat of the polar ice cap and the opening of a Northern passage have both been well covered in the media for years. Yet, both the arms merchants and hawks in Congress somehow missed this profit opportunity?

More from Weitz:

“Congress put off investing in new icebreakers for decades….Now, the lack of polar-class icebreakers undermines America’s ability to operate in the Arctic region, including responding to disasters as shipping and mineral exploration increase.”

Congress has authorized construction of three more heavy icebreakers at a total cost of around US $2.6 billion but has so far funded just two of them. They take years to build. A shipyard in Mississippi expects to deliver the first by 2024.

The US has one heavy icebreaker, the Polar Star, that can break through ice up to 21 feet thick. It was commissioned in 1976. While it is usually in Antarctica each winter, it was sent to the Arctic this year to provide a US presence, presumably to counter the Russians.

But the Polar Star’s crew had to fight fires and deal with power outages and equipment breaks. Our second icebreaker, the much smaller Healy, commissioned in 2000, also suffered a fire on board in August 2020 and had to cancel its Arctic operations.

How is it possible that we spend roughly 10 times more on defense than Russia, but once again, we’re behind in a strategic situation? This proves that our defense procurement is corrupt. It has been for a very long time.

We have two problems. First, today’s Earth Day, and on its 51st anniversary, the Arctic Ocean is melting because of global warming. Despite that, the world’s saying: let’s all go up to the Arctic and produce more global warming. Second, our Defense Department has known for years that Russia had a big advantage in icebreakers, and that climate change would certainly open the area to competition.

What did the military and our Congress Critters do about these totally knowable things? As usual, nothing. American politics has become self-destructive.

Once again, the only skills the US Congress displays are obstruction and corruption. The beat goes on.

What did you expect?


Sunday Cartoon Blogging – April 4, 2021

The NYT has a great explainer about the new Georgia voting law. The Times summarizes:

“Go page by page through Georgia’s new voting law, and one takeaway stands above all others: The Republican legislature and governor have made a breathtaking assertion of partisan power in elections, making absentee voting harder and creating restrictions and complications in the wake of narrow losses to Democrats.”

Below are a few of the changes, with links to the appropriate section of the article.

On to cartoons. Baseball reacted by moving its All-Star game from Atlanta:

Georgia-headquarted Delta Airlines also wasn’t happy. They plan to help:

And it isn’t only Georgia:

The trial continues in Minneapolis:

Asian prejudice is about the people, not their products:


The Vaccine Passport Debate

The Daily Escape:

Paint Mines, Calhan, CO photo by Matt Colver

Republicans have invented yet another culture war to fight so they don’t have to talk about the popularity of President Biden’s rescue plan: This time they are outraged over vaccine “passports,” the plan by some states and some private businesses to require people to verify that they’ve been vaccinated by showing some form of digital certificate or scannable document.

The passports or certificates could be a way to ensure that people could return to normal activities without risking further spread of the virus. By people putting their health data on a device like a smartphone or in a printed-out QR code, they will be able to confirm their vaccination status and  possibly resume activities such as going to concerts or even traveling to other countries.

Wait until Republicans hear about driver’s licenses, photo IDs to vote, Social Security cards, TSA screening, employer drug tests, birth certificates, proofs of residence and citizenship, real passports, and the certificates of vaccination we ALREADY require. Most of which Republicans are all for under normal circumstances, but these aren’t normal times.

Take Florida for example: Governor Ron DeSantis declared:

“It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society.”

But, here’s a list of the required vaccinations children in Florida must have to attend school:

And despite what DeSantis says, Florida requires this:

The Form DH 680, Florida Certification of Immunization, must be used to document receipt of immunizations required for entry and attendance in Florida schools, childcare facilities, and family daycare homes.

Isn’t that a vaccine verification form? What’s the outrage about? Proof that you’ve been vaccinated against certain contagious diseases has long been common in order to travel to many countries. The feds have said they don’t intend to require a national system, preferring instead to set privacy and security standards for states and companies to follow, or not.

Other Republicans have jumped on board, with some conservative activists comparing it with Nazi policies to identify Jews. It’s easy to pick on Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) who the WaPo reported, called the passport idea “Biden’s Mark of the Beast”.

Unlike recent attacks by Republicans that centered on Dr. Seuss, this one focuses directly on the Biden administration. It taps into a long-standing right-wing trope: that the federal government led by Democrats want to eliminate our personal freedoms.

If you are unaware of the vaccine passport idea, Recode has an explainer on Vox that you can read here. They say that the Biden administration is leaving the decision to require digital vaccination records up to states and the private sector.

Private businesses are interested, particularly companies where large numbers of people gather, such as malls, sporting events, or concerts. They’re considering requiring vaccination proof to protect their workers and customers, including Walmart, and the airport security company, Clear.

New York state has already rolled out its health certificate, called the Excelsior Pass. The European Commission is proposing a Digital Green Certificate that would track whether people have been vaccinated, recently tested for Covid-19 (with a negative result), or are fully recovered from a previous infection in order to travel within the European Union.

In March, the WHO released interim guidance for how digital vaccine certificates should work globally, opening the door for even more countries to create their own passports. The WHO’s working group includes 25 governments, and representatives of the CDC and the HHS.

It’s unclear where Republicans will take a stand on battles over vaccination requirements. But it is clear that many schools and employers will probably require some form of proof of vaccination.

Wrongo and Ms. Right had our second shots (Pfizer) in mid-February. We plan to take the CDC shot records with us if and when we travel this year.

Finally, is there anything Republicans won’t try to screw up? They don’t want rules. Back in the day, many of them were against car seat belts, or motorcycle helmets. They’re against background checks for gun purchases. They really don’t like limits on the magazine capacity for their semi-automatic weapons.

And they’re definitely against wearing surgical masks to help slow the Covid pandemic.

They have no desire to help solve problems.  They just work hard to make everything worse.


The Democrats’ Dilemma

The Daily Escape:

Bristlecone pine, Cedar Breaks National Monument – photo by Jessica Fridrich

Here’s the Democrats’ dilemma: They must pass legislation that protects voting rights and ballot access. Otherwise, they will allow the GOP to cheat its way to victory in 2022 and beyond, by subverting democracy to empower a minority, as they are doing in Georgia.

One aspect of Georgia’s new election law that nobody’s talking about is that the law replaces the elected secretary of state (currently Republican Brad Raffensperger) as the chair of the state election board with a new official appointed by the gerrymandered Georgia legislature.

It also allows Georgia’s election board to remove and replace any county election official it deems to be under-performing. That provision could be used to target Fulton County, a Democratic stronghold covering most of Atlanta, which came under fire after long lines plagued primary elections over the summer.

David Atkins says:

“The direct implications of the new law are alarming enough: conservatives with an interest in voter suppression could use their authority to disrupt election administration in majority-minority counties. The possibilities for mischief by a partisan legislature fearful of high turnout by opposed constituencies are endless.”

The Republicans sitting on bipartisan election boards were the reason that Biden is president. Next time, they will find reasons not to certify a close election. And as Jonathan Chait says: (brackets and emphasis by Wrongo)

“ [Republican] states that are rolling back democratic protections are not responding to demographic change nor to any change internal to their state. They are following the agenda of the national Republican Party. That agenda is spreading throughout the states, which are imposing voter restrictions almost everywhere their party has the power to do so. Restricting the franchise has become perhaps the party’s core policy objective.”

And the problem must be addressed immediately, since it will impact the 2022 and 2024 elections. Georgia’s Sen. Warnock must run again in 2022. His losing would put the remainder of Biden’s term in jeopardy.

That means that the Senate must pass some version of HR-1. Currently, the Democrats are taking an “all or nothing” approach to HR-1. That may be their opening shot, but some parts should be non-negotiable. Vox lists some important provisions: it establishes automatic voter registration for anyone interacting with designated government agencies; broadens access to mail-in voting for every eligible voter; and mandates that states accept ballots at drop boxes or polling places, and requires counting all ballots postmarked by Election Day.

Further, it establishes same-day online registration and nationwide early voting. It requires a paper trail for every vote cast. Critically, it ends partisan gerrymandering by directing states to use independent commissions in drawing Congressional maps. It also makes Election Day a national holiday.

Ezra Levin, co-founder of the Indivisible, says:

“The choice is the republic or the filibuster — there is no third option….We are at an inflection point in American history. Down one path is a Trump-inspired white plutocracy, and down the other is a representative democracy.”

But many believe some sections of the nearly 800-page bill may be unconstitutional. Rick Hasen of the Election Law Blog, writes:

“Some parts of it could well be found unconstitutional if it passed, such as a provision requiring states to re-enfranchise all people convicted of felonies who are not currently serving time in a correctional institution.”

The bill also contains controversial rules on campaign financing, including the creation of a public financing program for congressional candidates, new ethics rules for the Supreme Court, and a requirement that most candidates for president and vice president publicly disclose their tax returns.

None of those are key to the problem facing Democrats in states where Republicans control the legislatures. As written, HR-1 is unlikely to make it out of the Senate, so there are good reasons to tailor it both to survive judicial scrutiny, while also properly targeting the problems with voter registration, voting, and ballot counting.

That means whatever bill passes must have all 50 Democrats supporting it, and then, they must agree to end the filibuster to enact it. Therefore, the HR-1 wish list must be simplified and shortened. Democrats who object to ending the filibuster need to ask themselves if they genuinely want to facilitate Republicans in reclaiming Congress and the White House, in the name of preserving an arbitrary rule. The filibuster rule has been amended often in recent times: In 1974, 1975, 2013 and 2017. Time to do it again.

We can’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. Today, it seems more likely that HR-1 won’t become law before the 2022 mid-terms than that it will, absent ending the filibuster.

Democrats can’t be left looking back at yet another missed opportunity to protect voting.


Sunday Cartoon Blogging – March 28, 2021

A few quick thoughts on Georgia’s new voter suppression law. You may remember the day in 2013 when Chief Justice John Roberts wrote  that “Things have changed dramatically” in the South.

He had just authored the majority opinion in Shelby County v. Holder, where the Court struck down the Voting Rights Act’s Section 4, that determined which states needed federal approval for changes to their election law. That made one of the law’s most important parts inoperative. Today, the new voter suppression law in Georgia is Exhibit A for why Roberts was wrong.

Biden carried Georgia in November, and Black voters turned out again in record numbers in January to elect Democrats Warnock and Ossoff, thus giving control of the Senate to the Dems. The response from Georgia Republicans was to pass a sweeping rewrite of the state’s election laws, making it harder for Democratic voters to vote and have their ballots counted.

The new law allows the GOP-controlled legislature to appoint a majority of members of the state election board. It gives the board the power to take over county election boards, making it easier for Republicans to challenge election results, or to decline to certify the results.

These are things that Trump tried and failed to get Georgia to do in 2020.

The not-so-funny thing is that should HR-1 (now S-1) become law, Roberts gets another chance to review the state of voting rights in America. Will he “atone” for his egregious error in gutting the original VRA? Don’t count on that. On to cartoons.

And now it’s a crime in Georgia to give water to people in line:

It’s easy to understand Republican priorities. They make access to BALLOTS more difficult, and make access to BULLETS easier:

There’s always another Boulder for Dems to worry about:

Mitch tries offering a compromise:

Of all the busters, only the filibuster has to go:


The Filibuster Must Go

The Daily Escape:

Sunrise, Owens Valley, CA – 2021 photo by tokalita

It has become obvious that the Senate Republicans plan to use the filibuster to block everything President Biden and the Democrats will try to do to make this country better. It means we’re looking at government gridlock for the next two years. Without some reform or elimination of the filibuster, we can only hope that Democrats can build a larger majority in the Senate. That’s unrealistic, given the political landscape.

As Wrongo has said:

“…the next 20 months will be a battle royal for control of the last two years of Biden’s term…”

For Democrats to do well in the 2022 mid-terms, it requires dealing with the Senate filibuster this year. Unless the Dems deal with it, a single Republican can continue to keep a bill blocked by doing nothing more than sending a memo.

The Republicans threaten that if the Dems eliminate the filibuster, the GOP will repeal or privatize Social Security and Medicare once they return to power.

At this point, Democrats should call the GOP’s bluff. If the GOP tries carrying through on their threats, they would be signing their political death warrants. And Democrats would simply promise to reenact those programs in full (possibly retroactively) once they returned to power.

While the above situation is sub-optimal, once the Dems are willing to call the bluff, the question is: What should they do about the filibuster? There are three choices: Eliminate it altogether, eliminate it just for another special case, as McConnell did with judges, or modify it by returning to a “talking filibuster”.

Eliminating it altogether seems unlikely with at least two Democratic Senators (Manchin and Sinema) saying they are against doing that. OTOH, maintaining it, while requiring an old-fashioned talking filibuster seems doable, since it’s supported by Biden, along with Sens. Manchin and Sinema.

A talking filibuster means that if the GOP ever achieves control of all three branches of government, while Democrats couldn’t prevent the enactment of the GOP agenda, they could make it front page news for several weeks while holding the Senate hostage in protest. In some cases, the minority might prevail, as Wrongo said here:

“When Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was minority leader, he used the filibuster in 2019 to block funding for construction of Trump’s border wall. Dems used it twice to impede passage of the Cares Act, forcing Republicans to agree to changes including a $600 weekly federal unemployment supplement. They used it to block legislation to force “sanctuary cities” to cooperate with federal officials, and to stop a prohibition on taxpayer funding of abortion.”

Wrongo also supports a limited removal of the filibuster for specific forms of legislation, like the new Voting Rights Act. As Sen. Ralph Warnock’s (D-GA) said in his maiden speech:

“…access to the ballot ought to be nonpartisan. I submit that there should be 100 votes in this chamber for policies that will make it easier for Americans to make their voices heard in our democracy. Surely, there ought to be at least 60 people in this chamber who believe, as I do, that the four most powerful words uttered in a democracy are, ‘the people have spoken,’ therefore we must ensure that all the people can speak.”

Passage of the Senate’s Bill S-1 (with changes) ought to be Biden’s highest priority. It is a key to preventing the efforts by Republicans to suppress the vote in the coming mid-terms. Meanwhile Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) has already threatened to filibuster S-1. That shows us all we need to know about the bill’s chances if the filibuster stays in place.

So, eliminate it for Voting Rights, or institute the talking filibuster. Going to a talking filibuster really doesn’t require anything inventive. It’s as simple as the Presiding Officer (VP Harris) announcing, after the failure of a cloture vote, “Debate will now resume on Senate Bill X,” rather than moving on to a separate Senate bill or adjourning.

Keep doing that for a week or two, and ultimately, a substantive vote on a possibly amended bill can be had.

Right now, the Senate’s rules are exactly what the GOP want: they were able to fill all the judicial vacancies left unfilled in the Obama years; plus, they filled all the new ones with right wing ideologues, all via simple majority.

Simply put, the Dems should enact laws that enable the kind of society we all want to live in. The Republicans have no vision for America. Their plan is to keep allowing corporations to skim what they can, while letting our infrastructure wear out.

They purposefully avoid legislation that could lead to an abundant future for America. And now, we’re worn out, hollow, and unable to pass laws to change our destiny.

The filibuster must go.


Sunday Cartoon Blogging – March 21, 2021

Welcome to the first week of spring. Last week, 12 House Republicans voted against a resolution to award Congressional Gold Medals to the Capitol Police, the DC police and the Smithsonian Institution in recognition of those who protected the Capitol when it was attacked by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6.

They said they objected to the use of the term “insurrectionists” in the resolution. On to cartoons:

March brings on Republican madness:

They’re mad at a few other things too:

The fearmongering never ends:

The only caravan at the border:

Jim Crow lives in the Party of Lincoln:

Cuomo needs to go: