Immigration Today: How the Laws are Changing and Why

For more than a decade, United States immigration policy has been at the forefront of a fierce legislation battle. While both sides of the political aisle have traditionally focused immigration enforcement rather than immigration reform, years of inflated enforcement spending with few results to show for it have led public opinion to shift in favor of more effective alternatives.… [Read more]

Congress Calls for Lung Cancer Screening Test Expansion Under Medicare

Preventative care is all the buzz these days in the medical field.  

Think about it: every so often, you take your car in for a tune up so as to hopefully prevent serious problems from occurring down the road. Maybe the mechanic will notice something’s slightly loose in your engine and tighten it. Had he or she not done that, a few more miles of wear and tear and your engine might have overheated—with you bearing the brunt of the bill.… [Read more]

Make Them Eat Cake

The US House of Representatives voted to defund  $40 billion dollars from the SNAP program of food assistance for the poorest of the poor. SNAP, better known as the food stamps assistance program, is claimed by some in the House to be a program steeped in fraud.   That’s right — people are stealing a whopping $4.50 a day and some people are getting fat off food stamps, making them lazy.… [Read more]

Weiner (or, at least, some part of him) is back in the news

New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner is back in the news. When Weiner left his political office under a cloud of shame due to a ‘sexting’ scandal, he was clear that there were other shady pictures that could make their way to the public’s attention. That day has come.

“This behavior is behind me,” said Weiner in a statement that he released today.… [Read more]

Pass the ‘Fiscal Conservative’ Grey Poupon

As a political writer, my antennae always quiver to pick up blatant hypocrisy in elected politicians. The “do as I say, not as I do” mob on Capitol Hill never fails to provide madcap manna. Often, the quirky quarry are found in the oddest places.

Congress looks like America, or at least like the Hamptons on Long Island as far as wealth goes, with more multimillionaires to shake a ‘Murrican Exceptionalism stick at.… [Read more]

Going Around in Circles

The title of this week’s “Say It In Song” pick is one that came to mind several times, one of which was during President Obama’s press conference at which he talked about progress being made in states that have accepted the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

If the states would allow for the Medicare expansion, and let the ACA do what it’s supposed to do, the forces of competition will help to do what is currently happening in California: insurance companies working within the healthcare exchanges and their exorbitant premiums are competitive.… [Read more]

Ask Mrs. Vera: Should There Be a Mandatory Retirement Age for the House and Senate?

Dear Mrs. Vera,

Should there be a mandatory retirement age for the House and Senate? This Congressional Afterlife Country Club I joined is letting just anyone and everyone in.  I’m thinking of coming back from the dead and running for office in South Carolina.

Regards, Even though I hate your work and everything about you, The Hoovering-Around-The-Set-Of-A Scooby-Doo™-Cartoon Ghost Of Jesse Helms.… [Read more]

Bye, Bye Bachmann

Sometimes insomnia is a bane for political columnists. At other times, though, it’s a blessing. Of course, not being Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, I did have to carefully check to see if breaking wee hours news that Tea Party doyenne Rep. Michele “Fact-Free Diet” Bachmann (R-Minn.)’s local video announcement that she would not be seeking a fifth term in Congress did not have a byline from The Onion, Daily Currant, or a late night comedy writer.… [Read more]

Benghazi Buffoonery

The continuing Benghazi debacle on Capitol Hill has all the marks of a Cecil B. DeMille Hollywood blockbuster. Starring the Marx Brothers.

“Impeachment,” hinted Sen. James “Lousy Okie Pilot” Inhofe (R-Okla.) as he made another pass at Runway ‘X’ and as construction workers scurried to safety. Inhofe is still mad at the Federal Aviation Administration for questioning his airmanship skills.… [Read more]

Can anyone imagine Congress taking a pay cut?

President Obama’s salary and pension may be exempt from sequestered cuts but that hasn’t stopped him from taking the same cut that other federal employees are being subjected to due to budget sequestration. Today, it was announced that the POTUS plans to return 5% of his $400,000 annual salary in response to and in support of federal workers who are going to be furloughed.… [Read more]

Fixing Food Stamps

Part of the fallout from our current recession has been the growth of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), neé ‘Food Stamps,” participation throughout the nation. This Federal program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Food & Nutrition Service and the states, provides non-cash food assistance to households in impoverished financial distress.

Republican conservatives regularly use SNAP as a poster child for lambasting ‘welfare’.… [Read more]

When Pushing Congress Works – Violence Against Women Act

Here’s an update for you:   FINALLY, the House has passed the broader Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act bill. It’s now on it’s way to President Obama for his signature.

We wondered if House Republicans would FINALLY do right by women and sign the reauthorisation of the Violence Against Women Act.

We are aware that the hold-up on the issue had been that House Republicans wanted to make sure the law omitted references to sexual orientation, and that it didn’t give Native American courts greater authority to try non-Native Americans who are accused of acts of domestic violence on tribal lands.… [Read more]

When We Look Back, What Will We See?

Beginnings, endings and periods that mark great changes occur during every moment of every day. Wrapping up this week, a few events in history that took place on February 24th caught my attention:

  • In 2008, Fidel Castro retired as the President of Cuba after nearly fifty years, and his brother Raul Castro was unanimously elected.
  • In 2011, the final launch of Space Shuttle Discovery (OV-103) took place.
[Read more]

Senate Follies

“Senators are a never-ending source of amusement, amazement, and discouragement…” Will Rogers (1879-1935)

Never a Senator….overqualified

So nice to see in the land of the free and home of the brave the US Senate remains ever vigilant. Not content to convene a Secretary of Defence confirmation hearing reminiscent of Romper Room, the Republican minority brain trust has let slip their dogs of war and …..sanctioned the latest howler, a once-in-a-century filibuster to ensure that the self-styled Great Democracy® again lives down to its formidable reputation for utter stupidity.… [Read more]

Dear Mrs. Vera: How will the USA survive without Saturday mail delivery?

Dear Mrs. Vera,

Now that the US Postal Service is ceasing mail delivery on Saturday, how will the USA survive?

Mailless in Matamoras

Mrs. Vera Newman,San Francisco, CaliforniaPhoto: John Carr

Hello dear readers. I’m deluged as usual by Saturday’s post, and I’m going to say right off the top of the old bat that my Saturdays will be a heck of a lot easier knowing that a full 1/6th of everybody’s remaining problems have now been solved by a stroke of a pen, though I do wish it had been mine.… [Read more]

The Immortal Filibuster

Amid all the Progressive wailing and conservative faux victory laps, last week’s “filibuster reform” came out pretty much as I had expected it.

Our Federal legislative bodies on Capitol Hill continue to stick pretty close to what the Eighteenth Century powdered wig framers had intended.  As a moderating influence to that rabble called the House of Representatives, the Senate is, by design, the “adult in the room.”  Some rabble-rousers, such as Sen.… [Read more]

Ask Mrs. Vera: The three-month delay in the debt ceiling impasse

Dear Mrs. Vera,

I was hoping to take my family grocery shopping during the first quarter of 2013, but my husband wants to wait to see what Congress does first. He thinks if we wait until after June, it can be a sort-of early Christmas gift and teaching lesson for any of our remaining children, who are all convinced that Santa will surely step in and save them at some point, hopefully by running for the next available Senate seat in Alaska.… [Read more]

Michele Bachmann, “She’s Baaaaaaacck!”

After squeaking out what she thought was a cake walk to reelection in November, Tea Party doyenne Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) reminded us the obstructionist 112th Congress is not dead and buried. This columnist does have a gaffe search list for daily use, with Bachmann near the top, but our Michele has been uncharacteristically quiet of late.… [Read more]

Americans Still In Shock: Congress “Worked” During a Holiday!

“I’m shocked! Shocked, shocked to find there is gambling going on in here.” – Claude Rains, Casablanca, 1942.

I’m still in shock, and in politics I lost my virginity more than a few decades ago (along with the “other” one.) Congress working a Federal holiday. House Speaker John Boehner (R) must have had to pull back from the bar early in tears on that Amateur Night Monday to greet the challenge of herding House cats and have a clear eye to look out for Überconservative tea drunks with steely knives from Solingen.… [Read more]

Adios, 2012. We’ll Still Have Congress.

“We’ll always have Paris.” – Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca, 1942

It’s New Year’s Day, and we all noted that Congress managed to do nothing on New Year’s Eve. At least they are being consistent.  What’s the objective? Single-digit public approval? As in a beach  limbo, “How low can you go?”

There’s a standing tradition for columnists to record, and often lampoon, a “year in review” piece.… [Read more]