Standing Up to a Theoretical Threat


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Posted Online: March 15, 2013, 12:28 pm
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By Donald Kaul
Strange things are happening in Washington.

In the Senate, Rand Paul, the son of presidential candidate Ron Paul, recently proved himself a chip off the old blockhead by conducting a one-man filibuster.

I'm not talking about the namby-pamby sign-a-piece-of-paper-and-forget-about-it filibuster in the modern style.

I mean a real, old-fashioned, "Mr. Smith goes to Washington" Jimmy Stewart filibuster -- the kind where a senator takes the floor and talks for hour upon hour to block a bill until he or she collapses or has to go to the bathroom, whichever comes first.The gentleman from Kentucky gave up after nearly 13 hours. He didn't collapse so I guess...well, I don't want to overload you with information.

The issue in question was whether the president of the United States has the right to order a drone-bombing of a U.S. citizen on American soil.

It seems that a few days earlier Attorney General Eric Holder, when asked about the legality of such bombing, said it was potentially feasible, given "an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate" such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Following Paul's filibuster, Holder responded again, simplifying his answer to "no." It's good to know the Senate isn't squandering its time on banal issues like health care and immigration. It's busy keeping us safe from the domestic use of drone strikes.

By the way, in the three months since the Newtown massacre, approximately 2,600 U.S. citizens have been killed on American soil by gun violence.
None by drones. And neither the full Senate or House has taken any action on guns.

Meanwhile, back at the White House, President Barack Obama is waging a blistering charm offensive to win over Republicans.

(There's been a good deal of criticism of Obama over the years regarding his failure to buddy up to Republicans and get them to stop filibustering everything.)

Well, he's out there at last, courting Congress, inviting GOP members over for dinner, playing golf with them (or trying to).

And how do the conservative commentators who were so critical of his prior aloofness react? By criticizing him for faking fellowship.
All the while, the only organization less liberal than Congress' Republican caucus, the Vatican, ws choosing a new leader.

Its task was similar to that of the Republican Party -- choose someone who will look like the face of change but won't actually change anything.

Like the Republican Party, the College of Cardinals contains virtually no liberals.

All the Popes since John XXIII have resolutely chosen conservatives as Cardinals and the few leftover liberals that the Pope chose are older than 80 and can't vote.

(I thought the Church had run out of groups to discriminate against, and now I find it practices age discrimination too.)

A two-thirds majority of cardinals is required to elect a Pope, not unlike our Senate where you need a 60-percent majority to break a filibuster.

It's a race to see which institution has become more out-of-date, out-of-touch, and out-to-lunch.
Donald K Donald Kaul of Ann Arbor, Mich., retired Des Moines Register columnist, wrote this OtherWords.aul, a columnist for OtherWords, lives in Ann Arbor, Mich.


















 



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  Today is Wednesday, Oct. 1, the 274th day of 2014. There are 91 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: It is rumored in the streets that the 13 negroes sent to Quincy on the Moline quota were refused. We think this must be a mistake.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Harvey McKenna, of Detroit, billiard player matched to play Wizard Schafer in New York in January for the world championship, was a professional friend and manager, Billy Catton in Rock Island.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Levi Cralle, former Rock Island county sheriff, had come from his farm near Mitchell, S.D. to visit friends in the city.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Work is being rushed on the new high school building in Orion to replace the one destroyed by fire last winter. Classes are being held in churches.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Rehearsals for the 84th season of the Handel Oratorio Society chorus will begin at 7:30 p.m. Monday on the stage of Centennial Hall, Augustana College.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Rock Island City Council's plan announced this week to have the federal government vacate Valley Homes public housing and move residents to Arsenal Courts to reduce density may not be feasible.






(More History)