A Call To Action (and to Grill) ← FREE KRAUT!

A Call To Action (and to Grill) 65

I’ll leave the links to you, but I wanted to talk about the first challenge since Obama’s election where us Californians can have an impact: Filibuster reform.

Be warned, this is going to be liberal advocacy, so feel free to skip it and drop links, etc.

Background
The Constitution of the United States established a careful system of checks and balances. To pass a law, both the house (with its proportional representation) and the senate (with its state-based representation) would have to pass the same law. Then the President would have to sign it. Then, if they had gone too far, the courts could overturn it. Notably, both the legislative process and the judicial review was designed to be done via majority vote. The structure itself was the safeguard.

The majority vote part in the Senate was screwed up by a mistake. In the beginning, both the House and the Senate had what is called a “Previous Question Motion,” which ends debate on a majority vote. In 1806, the Senate dropped that rule as part of a broad rewriting of their rules suggested by then Vice President Aaron Burr, probably thinking the rule was unnecessary. And, for a long time, they were right: the first filibuster did not take place for another 35 years.

For a long time, the filibuster was a rarely used, possibly heroic act (see, for example, the scene from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, released in 1939). Even some of the most controversial laws in American history were expected to pass if they could attract 50% of the senate. After that, it was basically a tool to prevent northerners from passing desegregation laws.

Then, in 1993, filibuster threats shot through the roof (a cloture filing is the way the majority calls the vote to end a filibuster). Senate republicans filed cloture about 80 times that year, ultimately preventing votes on 60 different bills. Senate democrats returned the favor, albeit a bit less frequently, during their Bush-era minority. After Obama’s election, Republicans took filibustering to a whole new level. In Obama’s first year, Republicans threatened 140 filibusters. In 2009-2010, 90% of all bills were threatened with a filibuster. What’s more, they did so indiscriminately, filibustering bills that ultimately passed with broad bipartisan support including at least one that passed 97-0. They do this because the process of defeating a filibuster takes time, preventing the Senate from doing anything else. After you call for cloture, you need to wait two days to take the vote. After you take the vote, there’s 30 hours of post-cloture debate. And you can do this on the motion to debate, on amendments, on the vote on the bill itself … on everything, really.

The Point
The filibuster is bad. When Democrats are in power it prevents them from acting on their agenda even when, as was the case with the DISCLOSE campaign finance law this week, the bill is supported by the house, the president, and 57 senators. By the same token, when Republicans are in power, it prevents them from acting on the agenda the voters want.

The filibuster is stupid. By forcing every vote to take forever, it prevents the Senate from conducting business that isn’t high profile. Judges are not appointed. Second-tier appointees are not appointed. Routine business is delayed.

The filibuster is unnatural. It is NOT one of the checks and balances designed by the framers of the constitution. It is an extra super-majority requirement in the less representative legislative body. Senators representing 12% of the population (the 20 least populous states plus half of the 21st) can prevent any law from being passed at any time.

The Solution
Fortunately, the mistake made in 1806 can be fixed by 51 Senators. Dubbed the “constitutional option,” a majority vote of senators at the beginning of a session can enact whatever rules they want, as provided by Art. 1 Sec. V of the Constitution (“Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings”). Detailed analysis here (PDF). 51 Senators, then, simply need to put the “Previous Question Motion” back in the rules. This approach is currently being championed by Senator Udall (D-NM).

What you can do
Matt Yglesias reports that DiFi is opposed to the proposed solution. Unlike HCR, FinReg, and this Senate’s other pieces of legislation, we have a senator who is on the wrong side of the issue. I’ll be making time to call her offices. And you should too. Here are some things to think about for your call.

65 thoughts on “A Call To Action (and to Grill)

  1. nevermoor nevermoor Jul 28,2010 10:22 am

    Grill away.

    "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want"
  2. nevermoor nevermoor Jul 28,2010 10:26 am

    For the record, I agree with Ezra that the genteel solution is to make a rule that filibusters will go away in X years (when no one knows who will be in the majority). The only way to get that done, though, is with a credible “constitutional option” threat.

    "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want"
  3. mikeA Jul 28,2010 11:23 am

    “Louis” is disappointing.

    • nevermoor nevermoor Jul 28,2010 11:28 am || Up

      ?

      "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want"
    • andeux andeux Jul 28,2010 11:30 am || Up

      Huh. I watched it for the first time last night, and thought it was pretty funny. Much better than the ads made it look.
      (Edit: Also the show is “Louie” even though he is Louis.)

      TINSTAAFK
      • mikeA Jul 28,2010 11:36 am || Up

        I’ve watched 3 of them, and I actually thought the one last night was the worst. The whole opening with heckler didn’t do anything for me.

        • Leopold Bloom Jul 28,2010 1:17 pm || Up

          you know, I had friends whose opinions I respect go on about his last show and I didn’t really like that, either. I don’t think he’s all that funny of a comedian. But I’m fairly certain we’ve had that discussion here before…right?

  4. nevermoor nevermoor Jul 28,2010 11:27 am
    "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want"
  5. mikeA Jul 28,2010 11:38 am

    Choice signs for $2MM.

    • nevermoor nevermoor Jul 28,2010 11:55 am || Up

      Sweet. Sounds like a fair price to me, since he isn’t the second coming of anything.

      "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want"
  6. nevermoor nevermoor Jul 28,2010 12:03 pm

    No mention how many of the seven have the requisite plumbing expertise.

    "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want"
  7. ptbnl Jul 28,2010 1:10 pm

    Pineiro scratched with an oblique strain just before the game; Shields started in his place and gave up 2 runs on 2 homers, 2 walks, and 2 wild pitches before being pulled with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the 2nd inning.

    If this is His will, He's a son of a bitch.
    • ptbnl Jul 28,2010 4:22 pm || Up

      Pineiro out 6-8 weeks.

      If this is His will, He's a son of a bitch.
  8. nevermoor nevermoor Jul 28,2010 1:31 pm

    Yes we can! Yes we can!

    U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton sided with much of the Justice Department’s contention that the Arizona law would interfere the federal government’s function of enforcing immigration law.

    "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want"
  9. monkeyball Jul 28,2010 1:43 pm
    you better hope to God you don't show up in this little community, because you'll wish you had never come
    • nevermoor nevermoor Jul 28,2010 1:52 pm || Up

      Yikes. Sucks for Minnesota.

      "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want"
      • monkeyball Jul 28,2010 2:01 pm || Up

        Yeah, that isn’t going to end well.

        you better hope to God you don't show up in this little community, because you'll wish you had never come
  10. monkeyball Jul 28,2010 2:27 pm

    I almost posted this in the M*D ME* thread, but LB wouldn’t want this under the POLLO LIBRE tag:

    Gazpacho “Dipping Dots” Rock Shrimp Ceviche

    you better hope to God you don't show up in this little community, because you'll wish you had never come
    • Leopold Bloom Jul 28,2010 4:19 pm || Up

      I watch that one. My objections are purely egocentric in nature.

  11. monkeyball Jul 28,2010 2:37 pm
    you better hope to God you don't show up in this little community, because you'll wish you had never come
    • Kay Temple Kirk spwc2010 Jul 28,2010 3:45 pm || Up

      That was a disappointing link.

      I really thought Powell was working on his wicketkeeping for the A’s upcoming test match against Sri Lanka.

      \"Weren\'t you already aware the Kay is already writing everyone\'s story? We\'re all just characters who believe we are real. Things make more sense now, don\'t they. Be honest.\"- DMOAS
    • FreeSeatUpgrade FreeSeatUpgrade Jul 28,2010 4:19 pm || Up

      Perhaps he’s been hanging with Chad Bradford, he of the cricket farming family.

      "Kraut will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no kraut."
  12. monkeyball Jul 28,2010 2:39 pm
    you better hope to God you don't show up in this little community, because you'll wish you had never come
    • nevermoor nevermoor Jul 28,2010 2:42 pm || Up

      Dunn is not who I’d pick. We need an OF upgrade.

      "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want"
      • MikeV MikeV Jul 28,2010 2:56 pm || Up

        Unfortunately, Carl Crawford won’t be in Oakland and Jayson Werth is going to be a really bad signing for somebody.

        And I have to say: mikev is one of my favorite people on here -slusser.

        Thanks, and go As.

        • nevermoor nevermoor Jul 28,2010 3:15 pm || Up

          I think we should ask Carl very nicely.

          "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want"
          • MikeV MikeV Jul 28,2010 3:34 pm || Up

            I’m willing to buy him dinner.

            And I have to say: mikev is one of my favorite people on here -slusser.

            Thanks, and go As.

            • nevermoor nevermoor Jul 28,2010 3:39 pm || Up

              I have $5

              "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want"
            • monkeyball Jul 28,2010 3:42 pm || Up

              I’m willing to give him some FREE KRAUT!

              you better hope to God you don't show up in this little community, because you'll wish you had never come
              • MikeV MikeV Jul 28,2010 3:48 pm || Up

                I’ll invite him to the tailgate and bring the BAG.

                And I have to say: mikev is one of my favorite people on here -slusser.

                Thanks, and go As.

              • nevermoor nevermoor Jul 28,2010 3:49 pm || Up

                I’m willing to applaud his QUALITY KRAUT SINGLES

                "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want"
                • Leopold Bloom Jul 28,2010 4:21 pm || Up

                  he’s had enough of those in St. Pete.

                  We need to let him know we have free range kraut, all he can muster, at the Coliseum.

  13. monkeyball Jul 28,2010 2:52 pm

    Final confirmation that I and The Chief Administrator are one and the same:

    you better hope to God you don't show up in this little community, because you'll wish you had never come
    • Kay Temple Kirk spwc2010 Jul 28,2010 3:48 pm || Up

      The same?

      Dammit, now I have to quit FK, too!?!

      (Coming Soon: G_SPWC-K56’s new A’s blog: “I’VE KNOWN NO GOAT”)

      \"Weren\'t you already aware the Kay is already writing everyone\'s story? We\'re all just characters who believe we are real. Things make more sense now, don\'t they. Be honest.\"- DMOAS
  14. andeux andeux Jul 28,2010 3:26 pm

    Scutaro hits a grand slam off Rodney. (And E-Pat is a HR away from the cycle)

    TINSTAAFK
    • ptbnl Jul 28,2010 3:57 pm || Up

      Were he to cycle, all the hits would have been against different pitchers too.

      If this is His will, He's a son of a bitch.
      • ptbnl Jul 28,2010 4:21 pm || Up

        … but instead he sacrifices the runners to 2nd & 3rd.

        If this is His will, He's a son of a bitch.
  15. monkeyball Jul 28,2010 4:22 pm
    you better hope to God you don't show up in this little community, because you'll wish you had never come
    • andeux andeux Jul 28,2010 4:27 pm || Up
      TINSTAAFK
      • monkeyball Jul 28,2010 4:29 pm || Up

        I like mine better

        (yes, yes, TWHS)

        you better hope to God you don't show up in this little community, because you'll wish you had never come
  16. monkeyball Jul 28,2010 4:27 pm

    you better hope to God you don't show up in this little community, because you'll wish you had never come
  17. ptbnl Jul 28,2010 4:27 pm

    Santana getting roughed up … 5 6 runs for 2 outs, including 2 on a single by the Cardinals’ pitcher.

    If this is His will, He's a son of a bitch.
    • nevermoor nevermoor Jul 28,2010 4:37 pm || Up

      Dammit. There goes my fantasy week.

      "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want"
      • Leopold Bloom Jul 28,2010 4:40 pm || Up

        [picture post from “Coffee-Infused Kraut” notating a sweeping gesture of the group’s collective disinterest in your participation of rotisserie leagues.]

        • nevermoor nevermoor Jul 28,2010 4:41 pm || Up

          "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want"
          • Leopold Bloom Jul 28,2010 4:42 pm || Up

            I’m taking the second to last one in the eighth round–I got a feeling about him.

  18. Poppy Poppy Jul 28,2010 6:21 pm

    Sometimes (okay, not really ever, except in this instance)… you can find useful things posted in sfgate’s comments: Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

    There's a wild thing in the woolshed and it's keeping me awake at night.
  19. FreeSeatUpgrade FreeSeatUpgrade Jul 28,2010 8:04 pm

    Think I’m gonna git me one of these:

    "Kraut will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no kraut."
    • ptbnl Jul 28,2010 8:13 pm || Up

      For puppy training?

      If this is His will, He's a son of a bitch.
      • FreeSeatUpgrade FreeSeatUpgrade Jul 28,2010 8:59 pm || Up

        Heh. I’ll need this one too:

        Hey, what’s with the username change?

        "Kraut will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no kraut."
        • ptbnl Jul 28,2010 11:04 pm || Up

          I’ve never been entirely happy with gso, which was a hurriedly chosen nod to red star belgrade back when I first joined AN, and since we can change here (and the avatar and sig make it clear it’s still me) I thought I’d try out something … to be named later.

          If this is His will, He's a son of a bitch.
    • mikeA Jul 29,2010 12:05 am || Up

      I saw someone wearing one a couple weeks ago.

    • Leopold Bloom Jul 29,2010 12:33 am || Up

      I already have one.

  20. monkeyball Jul 29,2010 12:45 am
    you better hope to God you don't show up in this little community, because you'll wish you had never come
  21. nevermoor nevermoor Jul 29,2010 9:32 am

    So did anyone else call?

    "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want"
  22. nevermoor nevermoor Jul 29,2010 9:54 am
    "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want"
  23. nevermoor nevermoor Jul 29,2010 10:01 am

    This looks like an excellent chronology of the oil spill. With pictures.

    "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want"
  24. nevermoor nevermoor Jul 29,2010 10:06 am

    The “Rational” Republican Agenda:

    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced Wednesday night that he is considering introducing a constitutional amendment that would change existing law to no longer grant citizenship to the children of immigrants born in the United States.

    We are all children of immigrants.

    "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want"
    • ptbnl Jul 29,2010 11:23 am || Up

      First Nations excepted (unless you’re really going back).

      If this is His will, He's a son of a bitch.
      • monkeyball Jul 29,2010 11:33 am || Up

        Got to be Nation’s!

        you better hope to God you don't show up in this little community, because you'll wish you had never come

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