As Mary pointed out yesterday, Jack Murtha was a beloved member of Congress who's indelible mark that he left on the House will be felt for years to come. And there is no way that he could ever be replaced.
But, he's gone and now there's a special election coming up, so let's all hurry up and get to work replacing him…
On the Democratic side, talk is focusing on former Lieutenant Gov. Mark Singel, of Johnstown, Pa.; state Sen. John Wozniak, who has represented the area in Harrisburg since winning a state House seat in 1980; Murtha's chief of staff, John Hugya…
Hmmmm… I don't know. Those guys are all kind of reminiscent of Murtha in a not particularly thinking outside the box kind of way. But, isn't there some way that Democrats can really express to voters that they're just throwing in someone to make them feel comfortable?
…and possibly his son, John M. Murtha.
That's it. That's the guy. Now, let's all go get a beer.
Tags: House of Representatives, John Murtha, Pennsylvania
Ugh. This is awful. Stop reading right here if you're scheduled for "routine surgery" anytime soon…
Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha died Monday as a result of recent gallbladder surgery complications which arose from doctors accidentally nicking Murtha's intestines, a source close to the late congressman has told CNN. The procedure was "routine minimally invasive surgery," but doctors "hit his intestines," the source said.
As tragic as this news is, I guess mistakes can happen, even when you have health insurance and a good doctor, right? So at least there's no obvious way Murtha's death can be exploited as an argument for or against health care reform.
Although I'm sure someone will think of something.
Btw, we wrote an obit for "The Manatee of Congress" yesterday, but I'd just like to suggest that Murtha was a smidge more complex than we made him out to be — yes, he was crazy in love with pork; yes, the Abscam scandal in 1980; yes, Redneckgate of '08, but also: he was the first Vietnam combat vet to serve in Congress, he was a passionate advocate for veteran's issues, he fought for anti-torture legislation and in 2005 he took serious heat from Karl Rove and other GOP operatives for his prescient criticism of the Iraq war strategy. So please, keep all that in mind when you remember the Manatee of Congress.
Tags: Health Care, John Murtha
Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), 77, a Vietnam veteran who staunchly supported military spending and became a master of pork-barrel politics, died today at Virginia Hospital Center. The 19-term lawmaker died from complications of gallbladder surgery…
He was revered among Democrats — and even some Republicans — for his skill in using the power of the federal purse to make kings and deals. A right-hand man of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, he was considered one of the most influential lawmakers on Capitol Hill and credited with her ascension.
Although this is certainly a sad day, let us try to think of the positive side of things. Like, for example, he'll never have to serve in the House of Representatives ever again.
Tags: House of Representatives, John Murtha, Pennsylvania
Spanking Good For You! While we wait for a cure to cancer, science has taken a little time to discover that spanking can bring couples closer together! How kinky AND creepy! Yay, science! [newscientist.com]
John Murtha A Big Ol' Redneck Santa Claus Congressman John Murtha, a Democrat from West Virginia, has been consistently accused of corruption. But Big John just says he's taking care of his peeps, is all. Good job, John! [post-gazette.com]
"Casual Fridays" Now More Casual! There's nothing better than ending the workweek by letting it hang out a little, like this guy, who let all of it hang out. He's a free-spirit! A mischievous rebel! [sun-sentinal.com]
Tags: John Murtha
New President Barack Obama is off to a quick start, and — as promised — he's already used his anti-Bush pen to wipe away the jumblefuck that is Guantanamo Bay Camp for Suspected Terrorist Boys.
Well, kind of. But leaning toward not really…
Obama has already found that closing the prison is easier said than done. And if he fails, there'll be no shortage of Republicans to remind him that they told him so. On Wednesday, Senate Republicans voiced skepticism with the idea that the president would be able to break down a detention center housing what they claim most dangerous terrorists…
"I don't want them in Texas," said Sen. John Cornyn, (R-TX). "I intend to write a letter saying, 'Don't send them here. And I would suspect there might be Senators from 50 states who say the same thing. I don't know."
And there'd probably be at least 250 detainees writing similar letters agreeing with Cornyn about not being sent to Texas. (They may be suspected of terrorist activities, but that doesn't mean they're suspected of being stupid.)
Even so, at least one congressperson so far has stepped up and nobly offered his district as a place to house the detainees…
"Sure, I'd take 'em," said [Pennsylvania's Rep. Jack] Murtha, an outspoken critic of the Iraq war. "They're no more dangerous in my district than in Guantanamo."
Plus, he's probably pretty sure they'd vote Democrat.
But, really, the problems of closing Guantanamo Bay are a lot more complicated than finding a state willing to take millions of dollars of additional funding to keep 250 people locked up in some outback location…
The real challenges, however, are not political but legal in nature. The president and his lawyers will have to maneuver deftly in order to remove 250 detainees from a facility in under a year. Federal criminal trials will commence, and in some cases individuals will be transferred to other prisons.
"You want to handle this situation methodically to avoid complications," said Sarah Mendelson, Director of the Human Rights and Security Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "For every soul that has been held there you need to figure out each individual case and what the solution is. For those who can be released, there needs to be diplomatic arrangements. You can't send them to somewhere where they will be tortured."
Oh well then, we definitely can't send them to Texas.
Tags: Barack Obama, Guantanamo Bay, House of Representatives, John Cornyn, John Murtha, Pennsylvania, Senate, Texas