After more than three decades in the Senate, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) announced that he will not seek re-election in 2014, leaving behind two important vacancies: the chairmanship of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the title of America's Most Disheveled Statesman.
Let's meet the nominees for the latter job:
In the far left corner, our first nominee: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the sincerely frazzled socialist who would be attracting stares in your local public park as he railed against Wall Street cronyism, if he hadn't been elected to the Senate… where he rails against Wall Street cronyism.
And in the other left corner we have Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), the wrinkliest populist the Midwest has to offer.
Ugh, this is impossible. We need a tie-breaker. Is there a photo that shows one of these gents in something other than his everyday garb?
Winner! Congratulations, Sen. Brown. May you
stand tallslump awkwardly as America's next Rumpliest Senator.
Photos by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images, Ibid., Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Group/Getty Images, and Douglas Graham/CQ-Roll Call Group/Getty Images, respectively
Tags: Bernie Sanders, Carl Levin, Senate, Sherrod Brown
Thank god for the right wing citizen vigilante blogosphere. If not for their noble efforts, how would we ever have rooted out anti-American scum like Shirley Sherrod and that lady on the dildo boat?
Anyway, some anonymous conservative blogger has just done it again, discovering a secret nefarious relationship between U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and syndicated columnist Connie Schultz. He wrote to Schultz to give her the chance to tighten the rope around her own neck…
"Dear Ms. Shultz,
"We are doing an expose on journalists in the elite media who socialize with elected officials they are assigned to cover. We have found numerous photos of you with Sen. Sherrod Brown. In one of them, you appear to be hugging him.
"Care to comment?"
Oh, man! Talk about nailing a journalist to the wall! Way to go, anonymous conservative blogger! You are truly a credit to the James O'Keefe generation of professional whistleblowers!
I can't wait to find out how this pathetic excuse for a member of the fourth branch of government responds to this…
"Dear Mr. [Name Deleted]:
"I am surprised you did not find a photo of me kissing U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown so hard he passes out from lack of oxygen. He's really cute. He's also my husband.
"You know that, right?"
They always have some kind of an excuse, don't they?
Photo by Jamie Rose/Getty Images/Getty Images
Tags: Senate, Sherrod Brown
Looks like your U.S. senators may soon be voting on a measure that would make it illegal for them to use their voting powers to influence the financial fortunes of companies for which they are stockholders. Hmmmm… Interesting.
In other news, your U.S. senators are currently totally allowed to use their voting powers to influence the financial fortunes of companies for which they are stockholders…
Senator Brown tells [the Washington Post's Greg Sargent] he is introducing a measure in the Senate today that would require all Senators to divest themselves of any stocks in companies that are impacted by their actions as a Senator…
"Members of the House and Senate should not be voting on issues that affect their financial investments," Brown told [Sargent]. "We have the privilege of holding these jobs. There should be no perception that we're benefitting. We need to show the public we mean business."
This seems like a no-brainer, right? I mean, what kind of shameless self-serving tool of corporate America would even lift their pinky and risk looking like they're trying to obstruct such an undeniably reasonable and necessary law?
Late last year, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) effectively halted Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus's (R-Ala.) plans to move the measure through his panel… And even though Bachus wanted to move forward with a markup, a majority of Republicans on his panel have not formally backed the measure.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Eric Cantor, Money, Senate, Sherrod Brown, STOCK Act
So, taking collective bargaining rights away from public employees seems to be a pretty popular pastime for Republicans in the Midwest lately, doesn't it? With so much media heat on the frozen tundra of Wisconsin, it's easy to not notice that pretty much the same (or worse) is also happening in Republican-dominated Iowa, Michigan, Idaho, Indiana and Ohio. (I would like to take this moment to remind you that liberals are destroying the fabric of this country. Thank you.)
How is a decent human beings supposed to respond to this? Well, despondency is one option. (And I have a feeling it's going to be a popular one.) But, also, hope? Maybe some optimism? Sounds crazy, but some people are actually choosing to go that way. Like, for example, in Ohio where there's some speculation that today's bitter pill is maybe tomorrow's ice cream…
Labor is planning to launch a repeal referendum against the bill, and Republicans stand a better chance of defeating such a measure if it makes the ballot in 2011 instead of 2012.
Labor groups privately admit they'd rather vote on a repeal in November 2012 to take advantage of a more Democratic-leaning electorate and potentially help Obama's reelection prospects…
Another potential beneficiary of a 2012 referendum would be Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who is likely to face a tough reelection race next year. Brown has repeatedly spoken out for state workers over the past several weeks and has been dispatching staffers to labor rallies in Ohio.
This is, of course, assuming that the Koch brothers don't decide to privatize the election process between now and then. I have a feeling we could be looking at a President Angel Soft Toilet Paper in a few years time.
Tags: Barack Obama, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Senate, Sherrod Brown, Unions, Wisconsin
As you may have heard, progressive Sens. Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown are threatening to filibuster Obama's deal with Republicans to "temporarily" extend the Bush tax cuts due to the clear damage it will do to the US economy.
And you may also have heard that Republican Sen. Jim DeMint is also threatening to filibuster the deal due to the slight damage that it might maybe do to billionaires' pocketbooks given the tiny chance that the cuts are not made ultimately permanent.
But what you may not have heard is that Rep. Michele Bachmann also has a big problem with the deal, but not for the same reasons as DeMint or Sanders or Brown. Her problem is that she's a… a… Um, what do you call them? Oh, that's right, a not smart person…
"As part of the compromise, the President wants to extend unemployment benefits for another 13 months," Bachmann said. "Unemployment benefits are already at a historical length of 99 weeks, and the President's request would push benefits to three years."
Problem is, the president's request would do no such thing. It would preserve the 99 weeks by reauthorizing Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits programs, which together provide up to 73 weeks of benefits beyond the standard 26 funded by states.
Excellent work, Rep. Bachmann. It isn't every congressperson who's so aggressively vigilant and willing to take a stand against the very idea (literally) of relieving some of the burden of working class Americans.
Tags: Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, House of Representatives, Jim DeMint, Michele Bachmann, Republicans, Senate, Sherrod Brown, Taxes, Unemployment