Friday News Bites: Boehner Tantrums, War Trickery, Whiskey + More

Every time you think that the Republican wing of the U.S. House of Representatives has exhausted their list of fit-throwing methods, they double down and find new ways to be petulant children. On a related note: I may be a bit cranky about the world this week. Shocking, I know.

After a vote of 225-201, the House passed a resolution that “authorizes [Speaker of the House John] Boehner to challenge Obama in court for exceeding his authority by unilaterally delaying deadlines under Obamacare.”

Talking Points Memo reports:

Boehner faces an uphill battle in court. The first big question is whether he can achieve “standing” which requires proving a material injury to the House. Legal experts say that’s a very difficult task because no lawsuit emanating from members of Congress against the president has ever achieved standing in court. The next question, if the courts grant standing, is whether the lawsuit has merit to succeed. Republicans may have better luck on this question, experts say, as Obama’s unilateral decision to delay a statutory deadline is arguably problematic from a legal standpoint.

Progressives and some conservative legal minds warn that if the lawsuit succeeds, it would declare open season for the executive and legislative branches to sue each other over any legal disagreement and empower judges to resolve such disputes.

Allow me to editorialize the fuck out of this story: What a gigantic waste of time.

By the way, did you know that this 113th session of Congress has only passed 142 bills? And that they have only been in session for 69% of work days this year? NBC News has a handy infographic showing just how little they have accomplished compared to the original “Do Nothing Congress,” a term coined in 1948 by President Truman. (That session of Congress, by the way, passed over 900 pieces of legislation.)

Oh, and while they’re busy fighting over whether or not people should be allowed basic healthcare, the U.S. is also quietly supplying Israel with ammunition, even after publicly speaking against their bombing of Gaza schools.

Despite re-upping Israeli forces, somehow a spokesperson from the White House could say this with a straight face:

“We are extremely concerned that thousands of internally displaced Palestinians who have been called on by the Israeli military to evacuate their homes are not safe in U.N.-designated shelters in Gaza,” said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the White House’s National Security Council.

Are we going to pretend that cause and effect isn’t a thing? Really?

There is at least a bit of a bright spot: While I was working on this post, news broke that Israel and Hamas have agreed to a humanitarian cease-fire to start Friday morning for 72 hours.

Not that we haven’t been careless with our weaponry before. Did you know that nearly 750,000 U.S. weapons in Afghanistan are missing? Congress is busy bitching about a comparatively negligible percentage of the budget that will help people, but letting $626 million evaporate into the Afghani ether is met with indifference? REALLY?

It’s not that I’m even surprised. That’s the worst part of all this: This shit-show has become so commonplace that we’re rendered near-helpless at the enormity of it all. You all better vote in November, is what I’m saying. At least do that.

And in the UK, the government has decided that fracking is A-OK in National Parks in “exceptional circumstances.” Yeah, that won’t end badly. (Ed. note: FRAK! -Hillary)

More Government News:

Okay, this is a better story: The Federal Appeals Court in Virginia struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban. Judge Henry Floyd wrote, “[I]nertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws.” High-five, dude.

Using the recent Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision as precedent, the Satanist Temple want “to exempt its believers from state-mandated informed consent laws that require women considering abortions to read pro-life material.”

Didn’t think about that potential effect, pro-lifers, did you?

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is choosing to work around the other recent Supreme Court decision that “buffer zones” outside abortion-providing clinics were unconstitutional. Instead:

The bill, passed by the [MA] House of Representatives and Senate this week, just days ahead of the end of the current legislative session, gives law enforcement agencies the power to disperse protesters from the entryways of reproductive health facilities, keeping them 25-feet away for eight hours after the order.

The bill also puts teeth into the state’s ability to prosecute individuals who break the new law by bringing the issue to court.

Also, a judge has ruled against Donald Sterling’s suit that wanted to stop the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers. The sale will proceed with Sterling’s estranged wife, Shelly, being the beneficiary.

Journalism Losses:

Longtime NPR journalist Margot Adler died this week at age 68. She had been battling endometrial cancer for over three years, but had only developed symptoms during the past three months.

The newspaper industry lost 1,300 full-time editorial positions in 2013, the American Society of News Editors reports. Hey, maybe instead of eroding your content by laying off all your quality people in the name of profit, you could divert some of that energy into changing how you present said quality coverage. Crazy thought, I know.

In Other News:

Sheik Umar Khan, Sierra Leone’s top doctor in the study of Ebola, died this week from the virus. In Liberia, doctors are trying out an “experimental serum” on a U.S. aid worker.

Hey, if you’re going to go to the trouble of a gift card scam, maybe don’t brag about it to your co-workers. Muneeb Akhter is under investigation after he admitted to writing a code that inflates the value of retail gift cards. The way in which Homeland Security got him to confess is amusing.

Another scam: Your craft whiskey, allegedly distilled from the enlightened tears of your area’s most earnest hipsters, may not actually be so local after all.

But this is really cool: The Turkish company Pugedon has invented a machine that feeds Istanbul’s stray dog population in exchange for residents’ recycling. Get on that, other cities.

All right, I have to end on a positive note. Or rather, somewhat positive, as I can’t actually take advantage of said event: BBC America has announced that select U.S. theaters will screen the Season 8 premiere of Doctor Who on August 25th.  I am cursed by my geography because the closest theater screening is six hours away. Oh well. Go in my stead while I watch at home! Additionally, there will also be special TV coverage leading up to the August 23rd premiere, so do click on through the above link to find out more.

I think we need a cat .gif to make us feel better about life. Yes? Yes.

Cat Skateboarding

Until next time, friends.


5 replies on “Friday News Bites: Boehner Tantrums, War Trickery, Whiskey + More”

Leave a Reply