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You Oughta Know - The Senate

Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the Secretary of Education yesterday; she has a lot of problems coming into a role for which she is wholly unqualified. However, two firsts occurred during her hearings: the vice president became the first VP ever to case a tie breaking vote and two Republican senators voted against her confirmation, which is a first for the current administration. Here are a few resources on the subject:

Elizabeth Warren

The Senator from Massachusetts was silenced yesterday by her GOP compatriots in the Senate after quoting Coretta Scott King, the widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who wrote a heated ten-page letter regarding then-lawyer Jeff Sessions when he was being nominated for a lower federal court judiciary position. After my initial confusion regarding why I did the following research on the subject. From the Washington Post:

The mechanism used to silence Warren is known as Rule 19, an arcane and seldom invoked provision in the rules of the Senate. The rule states that senators may not “directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.”

Read the whole article and you find out that the rule was put in place due to a fist fight that broke out in 1902, somewhat different than what occurred on the Senate floor yesterday. In an appeal of the rule, the Senate voted 49-43 along party lines that Senator Warren be silenced. Elizabeth Warren then took the letter and read it to all that will listen through Facebook (Source). Almost immediately, a movement began behind the “LetLizSpeak” and “ShePersisted” hashtags. Seems like the GOP might have set off Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 presidential bid.

For good measure, Bernice A. King (daughter of Coretta and Dr. King) posted some advice to Facebook about dealing with this regime.

(UPDATE: Senator Tom Udall of New Mexicotook up the charge. Also, read this 29-part tweetstorm regarding the pro-slavery origins of Rule 19, written by a law professor at Cornell.)

Here are a few more resources of note:

  • BBC News<— Good Overview
  • New York Magazine (1)(2)<— General Information
  • BoingBoing<— Good Collection of Social Media Reponse

History, on Repeat

Back in January (feels like ages ago), Dr. Drang wrote about history repeating itself. The article does a great job of collecting links and quotes from recent news, so I won’t go into much more detail than that. Here’s the lede:

America has a poor collective memory and it’s getting worse. It took about 50 years for us to forget the lessons of the Great Depression and decide that deregulating financial institutions was a good idea. That led to the savings and loan crisis of the 80s and—because we didn’t learn from that—the huge meltdown of 2007–8. The lessons of Vietnam took only 30 years to forget, leading to Iraq. The irony there was that Colin Powell, of the Vietnam-inspired Powell Doctrine, was one of the people ushering us into exactly what he had warned against.


Awesome Woman of the Day

Elizabeth Warren should be commended as today’s awesome woman, but for good measure, I wanted to share a story I came across about May Edward Chinn, the first black woman to graduate from Bellevue Medical College in 1926 with her MD. Here’s more about her and the best quote from the source: “May we all treat ‘no’ as a temporary symptom and not a chronic condition.” Awesome!

If You Watch One Video

Jake Tapper reports on The Lead, a show on CNN, and his straight-shooter reporting has interested me of late. He is especially willing to call shenanigans on the current administration. If you watch one video today, make it the full interview between Mr. Tapper and Kellyanne Conway.