Senator Olympia Snowe to Retire from the Senate

Earlier this week and to the surprise of pretty much everyone, Maine Senator Olympia Snowe announced that she would not be running for re-election this year. Snowe has served as Senator since 1994, when she became the first woman to have served in both houses of a State Senate as well as both houses of Congress. Her departure brings up some interesting points to ponder. Read More Senator Olympia Snowe to Retire from the Senate

The Perils of the Line-Item Veto

Last week, I was in the car on the way home to campus when I heard a short blurb on the radio that made my heart skip a beat. The reporter briefly mentioned that a bill that would grant President Obama the line-item veto passed the House of Representatives. I was floored that such a bill would be passed in the first place; that it wasn’t the top news story; that I hadn’t, in fact, accidentally woken up in 1996 after all. Though there would be limits on this power and the prospect of this bill passing the Senate is comparatively slim, I think the idea of instituting a line-item veto is a HUGE and scary thing that a lot more people should be talking about than there are right now. Read More The Perils of the Line-Item Veto

How to Apply for or Renew Your U.S. Passport

I live in a part of the country where I can see Canada from my house. Until a couple of years ago, that meant frequent trips across the border–for that good Chinese food place, for the better view of Niagara Falls, to go to bars where the legal drinking age is 19–without much of a hassle. You told the border guards your nation of citizenship, how long you planned to be gone, and you were on your way. But Bush-era policy changes in June 2009 had folks around here scrambling to get a U.S. passport or enhanced driver’s license so we could continue to visit our neighbors to the north, something we hadn’t had to worry about before. Whether you’re planning a trip to Canada, Mexico, or some further flung shore, here’s what you need to do to ensure you can cross the border–and get home again!–legally. Read More How to Apply for or Renew Your U.S. Passport

My West Wing, Myself

Last year, some of our writers took on recaps of The West Wing while some of our regular recap shows were on hiatus during the doldrums of bad summer TV. That got me thinking about the show again after a long time, so when the DVD boxed set went on deep discount, I couldn’t resist picking it up. I’ve started watching the series again after not having seen it in many years, and it struck me how my choice of favorite character has changed over time alongside my increased interaction with the political world. Read More My West Wing, Myself

The State of the Union in 90 Seconds

Earlier this week, President Obama delivered his latest State of the Union address, in which he outlined his agenda for the year. Like every SOTU, there was a lot of cheering and clapping (and pointed non-clapping; I’m looking at you, John Boehner!) and a lot of talk from both sides of the political aisle afterwards. Here’s a quick run down of some of the highlights if you’re having a hard time sorting through all the rhetoric. Read More The State of the Union in 90 Seconds

What’s the Fuss About Cordray?

Earlier this week, President Obama officially appointed Richard Cordray as Director of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a relatively new agency designed to protect against the massive loophole-mining and financial excesses that led to the recession. Despite his experience and credentials, Republicans immediately called foul because the President pushed through what’s called a “recess appointment,” bypassing the usual Senate confirmation process. Here’s a brief overview of what happened and why. Read More What’s the Fuss About Cordray?

Quick and Easy Toffee Bars

I’m sharing all of my family favorite holiday cookie recipes with you in these last few weeks of the year! But by far, my mom’s toffee bars are the quickest and easiest of my top three. If you have the most basic of baking ingredients in the house, you can whip them up in a flash for those surprise guests you weren’t expecting. And bonus, they taste just like a Heath/Skor/Daim/pick your favorite toffee bar without being quite so hard on your teeth! Read More Quick and Easy Toffee Bars

Grandma’s Chocolate Butterball Cookies

I think everyone’s grandma has a version of these simple chocolate fudge cookies, but the holidays just aren’t the same without them. They’re like eating hot chocolate in cookie form, and much like my brownie recipe, they’re simple enough that you can do a lot with them. Read More Grandma’s Chocolate Butterball Cookies