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, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.




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