Political Round-up: Republican Grinches, Trillion Dollar Bills, & First Responders

As this week wraps up, let’s take a look back at what’s happened and make a few educated (entirely speculative) guesses about the future. But first, do you ever feel like you’re on a carousel and keep passing the same waving parent, or it’s Groundhog Day and you keep eating the same diner breakfast, or you fell in a black hole and now every day is the worst day ever? You’re not alone–millions of people feel this way, and it’s because our government keeps debating the same issues, over and over, ad nauseam, and true change has gone the way of the 8-track and typewriter.

9/11 First Responders Bill Back in the News – So hey, Congress, setting aside the fact that 9/11 was nearly a decade ago and first responders have been dealing with medical problems ever since, didn’t you guys bring this to the floor months ago? You know, when it passed the House in September? And then got killed in the Senate December 9? And now it’s back again, with Harry “I mean it this time” Reid swearing he’ll push it to a vote before Christmas?

If I sound cynical, it’s because I am–I highly doubt this bill would even be getting air time, let alone a revote, if it weren’t for Jon Stewart’s advocacy for the first responders. It’s a sad state of affairs when our government officials have to be shamed into doing the right thing and our so-called free press cares too much about readership and lowest-common-denominator journalism (not just for blogging anymore!) to run stories that matter.

Fox News Viewers Win “Most Misinformed” Crown – What?! Are you telling me that people who regularly imbibe propaganda from the most right-leaning broadcast news station in America wind up with skewed perceptions of facts? Do you mean to tell me that the statement “It is not clear that Obama was born in the United States” isn’t some kind of patriotic truthiness?

But seriously, Fox News viewers were 31% more likely to believe Obama’s country of origin is suspect than people who watch more objective, less caustic (ok, MSNBC might be more caustic) news programs. They were also 31% more likely to believe “Most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit” and 30% more likely to believe “Most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring.”

And the last one really gets me, because while economics are fluid and debatable based on one’s core economic theory (Keynesianism, Friedman’s monetarism, etc.), the science behind the theory of global warming is not. Through STFUConservatives, I found a link to a scientific abstract that states a study found that “97”“98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of [global warming].” So how is Fox reporting at all, ever, in any form, that anything besides a vast majority of scientists believe global warming is real?

DADT Repeal Passes The House, Still Waiting on Senate ““ The Senate is set to vote on the repeal tomorrow, and for crying out loud, we really need some good news. We’ve pretty thoroughly covered the vagaries of the repeal here on Persephone, so I don’t have much to add except Godspeed Democrats! Anyone who votes against this is getting coal in their stocking. Oh, and Scott Brown (R ““ MA) says he’ll vote yes on repeal, so FOUR for you, Scott Brown! You go, Scott Brown!

$1.1 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill Blocked by Republicans ““ Specifically, it was blocked by Jim DeMint (R – SC), a Tea Party darling who thinks it’s cute to “[demand] the entire 2,000 page bill be read by the Senate clerk,” instead of just debating the damn thing. Seriously, if you have the votes to kill a bill, just do it already! Don’t prematurely strangle the thing to death without ever breathing a word as to why on the Senate floor–that’s the place to determine policy, not in the media, where you can whine about earmarks with no one to directly challenge you. Jim DeMint is the middle-school girl who gets mad at the other girls at school and posts passive-aggressive notes about it on Facebook. Don’t be a DeMint!

And as for Harry Reid, he gave up because his only other option was to allow the Senate clerk to spend an estimated 50 hours reading the bill, invoke cloture, vote on that, spend about 30 more hours on debate, then vote sometime on Christmas Eve. Of course, that would have meant no other bills could be discussed until after Christmas and Harry said he didn’t have the votes to pass the omnibus bill anyway, but I wish, just for once, he would give the Republicans exactly what they’re asking for. Spend 80+ hours on one bill. Ruin their holidays!

Speaking of which, get a load of this quote from Sen. John Kyl (R ““ AZ):

“It is impossible to do all of the things that the majority leader laid out without doing – frankly, without disrespecting the institution and without disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians and the families of all of the Senate, not just the senators themselves but all of the staff.”

First, let’s not assume that everyone in the Senate and “all of the staff” are devout Christians. Let’s not pretend we don’t know that the majority of people who celebrate Christmas could care less about the birth of Jesus. And let’s not blasphemously invoke a holy day as an excuse for being lazy and squandering the previous 300+ non-holy days getting absolutely nothing done.

Everything Else ““ Congress passed an $801 billion tax cut bill which is now waiting on Obama’s signature.

WikiLeaks’ dude-bro-accused-rapist Julian Assange thinks the U.S. is conducting a “secret” grand jury probe against him.

U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning (leaker of WikiLeaks documents) has been detained in solitary confinement without the right to exercise, sheets, or pillows, for 4 months now.

The widow of a man who got rich off Bernie Madoff’s pyramid scheme has agreed to give $7.2 billion of her earnings to victims of the scheme.

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