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Congressional Reform

  1. Dec 24, 2006 #1

    Astronuc

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    Is it possible to fix the "Broken Branch"?


    When Congress Checks Out

    Steps to Repair the "Broken Branch"

    Audio program from the Commonwealth Club - http://www.commonwealthclub.org/archive/06/06-10mannornstein-audio.html

    Thomas Mann
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_E._Mann

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_J._Ornstein


    The Broken Branch
    How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brookings_Institute

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Enterprise_Institute


    Congresspersons to watch.

    Republicans
    Jeff Flake, Arizona
    Jo Ann Emerson, Missouri
    Jerry Moran, Kansas
    Mike Conaway, Texas

    Democrats
    Jane Harman, California
    Lincoln Davis, Tennessee
    Jim McGovern, Massachusetts
    Bill Delahunt, Massachusetts
    Hilda Solis, California
    Gregory Meeks, New York
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 25, 2006 #2

    Astronuc

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    No Appropriations Bill? Inappropriate!!!
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6669967

    Taking Time to Assess the 109th Congress
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6624488
    It shouldn't be hard for the democrat-lead 110th congress to do better - but will they?
     
  4. Feb 4, 2007 #3

    Astronuc

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    :yuck: WAIT a minute! I thought there was supposed to be some kind of reform or change in status quo.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20070201-122225-1157r.htm

    The Washington Times, like Fox News, is rather deferential to Bush and his supporters, so they are not an unbiased source, but I did here this discussed on CNN.

    Democrats and Republicans really do seem like opposite sides of the same coin - both made of the same substance.

    Why does it seem like the more things change, the more they stay the same. :grumpy:

    We really do need a third alternative.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2007
  5. Feb 4, 2007 #4
    Astronuc,

    There was a time in my life, perhaps even the vast majority of it where in idyllic splendor, I believed in our government and the principles on which it was based. Then owing to a number of events, I made a vow that for one year I would watch no TV nor listen to any commercial TV. Talk about a lifechanging event. Coincidentally that was about 3 months before 9/11. What unfolded thereafter has indelibly radicalized me. So maybe I can't even offer thoughtful comment on the matter. But we need to ditch this de facto two party tweedle-dee/tweedle-dum system, outlaw lobbying (good luck), and revise many federal issues, the first IMHO to make the presidential election a straight up vote. Then we can look at the mess with appointees, examine whether the supreme court and other judges should have life terms, etc. In short, the gov't should more closely reflect the wishes of the people, vs allfluence [sic]. In this vein, we need to sharply constrain spending on campaigns. The usual leftist stuff-wish I has domething more thoughtful to add.
     
  6. Feb 11, 2007 #5

    Astronuc

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    Congress Finds Ways to Avoid Lobbyist Limits
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/11/us/politics/11trips.html

    :yuck: :grumpy: :mad:

    Well so much for reform.
     
  7. Feb 11, 2007 #6

    verty

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    Not being an American, I'm wondering why this is not so and why it should be changed. Is a straight-up vote better than however it is now?

    (made correction)
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2007
  8. Feb 11, 2007 #7

    turbo

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    Our electoral system was set up when representatives from the states had to travel long distances to cast the ballots of the voters in their districts. There would be a popular vote in each state, then the electors (the number of which is determined mostly by the population of the state) would travel to the capitol to cast votes for the districts that they represented. This is no longer necessary, since we have the ability to transmit vote results very rapidly. Straight-up popular vote would make certain that everybody's vote carries equal weight, which is certainly not the case, today. It is possible to lose the popular vote by a significant margin, and still be elected President by the electoral college. In a democratic (supposedly) country, this should not be possible - the will of the people is reflected in the popular vote.
     
  9. Feb 11, 2007 #8

    verty

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    If the popular vote differs from what the electoral college votes, I suppose there are problem states whose vote doesn't represent the average. Which states account for the difference?
     
  10. Feb 11, 2007 #9

    turbo

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    That's not the worst part of the problem. The worst part is in the winner-take-all nature of the electoral college in most states. You can win by a slim margin in states with large numbers of electoral votes and get all their votes, and win the election by a margin that does not reflect the popular vote, even while losing the popular vote by a significant margin.
     
  11. Feb 11, 2007 #10
    TURBO-1 said:
    "You can win by a slim margin in states with large numbers of electoral votes and get all their votes, and win the election by a margin that does not reflect the popular vote, even while losing the popular vote by a significant margin."

    This is really bad because it means that presidential candidates can focus their speeches on a few states and ignore the well-being of the majority.
    A more proportional representation would force presidential candidates
    to know more about the whole country and to demonstrate that they do - no small feat -you'd have to be good to do that.And when you think of the influence the US has over the world as a whole,I think that people should demand presidents of this calibre.Since so many groups of people vote in small numbers,it might be a good idea to get a representative sample of voters from these groups and give some sort of extra weighting to their votes.Let's face it - voters staying at home because they think their votes won't make a difference is a big problem all around the world and one that's likely to persist.
     
  12. Feb 11, 2007 #11

    verty

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    Hmm, I'm reading in Wikipedia that each state has an amount of electoral votes in proportion to the state's population, so any bias is due to quantization errors, like jaggies (computer term referring to quantization errors when rendering to pixellated format).

    So because some states have many votes and some have few, the quantization error will be largely attributable to the most populous states; large quantization errors are almost certainly attributable to slim margins of victory in the populous states.

    Oh sorry, you did say that. Didn't mean to steal your thunder.
     
  13. Apr 6, 2007 #12

    Astronuc

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    OMB tracking billions in pork-project earmarks
    http://marketplace.publicradio.org/shows/2007/04/06/PM200704063.html

    Waiting impatiently for things to change. :grumpy:
     
  14. Jul 8, 2007 #13

    Astronuc

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    AP Exclusive: Cindy Sheehan considering a run against Pelosi
    Oh, sure. :rolleyes:
     
  15. Jul 10, 2007 #14

    Can you explain the oh sure? I don't know exactly what you mean by that...

    Are you trying to say that Sheehan is just as bad as the rest of them, or that she has no chance of beating Pelosi? If its the latter, Sheehan would certainly have my vote.. I certainly believe the president should be impeached, and Pelosi is in the way.
     
  16. Jul 13, 2007 #15
    oo

    Me too--I lost respect for Pelosi the moment she hit the floor and promptly struck a deal to remove impeachment from consideration. So King George, is running amok again with dismissive remarks re "old news" (if it were ever mainstream news, may not be so old by now) and executive privelege.

    Her No Cal district probably wants her head by now and a real progressive likely beat her in a NY minute,
    JS
     
  17. Jul 13, 2007 #16

    Astronuc

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    Just being cynical at this point.

    I hope Sheehan has more to offer than impeaching Bush.
     
  18. Nov 26, 2007 #17

    Astronuc

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    Well this is not really reform - just an example of status quo.

    Short of Funds, G.O.P. Recruits the Rich to Run
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/26/us/politics/26recruit.html
    By RAYMOND HERNANDEZ
    This is an interesting reversal.

    I would like to see each representative going to Washington with an independent mind, rather than one of many who simply follow party leadership.
     
  19. May 22, 2008 #18

    Astronuc

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    Congress needs to rein in the earmarks and special subsidies. The federal government needs to live within its means and stop spending more than it is taking in.

    I agree with Bush's veto, but now the question is - did he veto the right bill?

    Does Congress need fixing or what?

    Farm-bill mistake creates mess in Washington
    Paperwork blunder has lawmakers, White House crying foul
    Well - Nancy!?
     
  20. May 22, 2008 #19

    Vanadium 50

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    Hey, the Democrats promised "a different way of doing business in Washington". This is different all right!
     
  21. Jun 14, 2008 #20

    Astronuc

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    Senators Caught in Mortgage Fallout
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/14/washington/14loans.html
    By LESLIE WAYNE, NY Times
    Statement from Senator Kent Conrad on Portfolio.com Article
    http://conrad.senate.gov/pressroom/record.cfm?id=299149&

    It's the part about "he [Conrad] turned to a Washington insider, James A. Johnson, former head of Fannie Mae, the government mortgage giant, who then put the senator in touch with Angelo Mozilo, chief executive of the mortgage lender Countrywide Financial." and the "ensuing telephone call between Mr. Conrad and Mr. Mozilo," which led to "two Countrywide mortgages, including one in which the company bent its rules to give Mr. Conrad a loan."

    How many average Americans get in touch with the CEO of a major financial institution regarding a personal mortgage? Geeeezzzz!!!!!

    Politicians in the administration and Congress seem so out of touch with the reality of ordinary folks. :grumpy:
     
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