Tag Archives: Senator

Troubling Issues from Boston…

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent capture of one of the perpetrators, some troubling issues have arisen.  Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and other Republicans (of course) are calling for Dzhokar Tsarnaev to be held as an “enemy combatant”.  Can you claim the bombing was “terrorism”?  Of course. However, this isn’t a foreign national in custody…it’s an American citizen.

The kid is scum…he deserves to punished under the full weight of the law.   I can’t imagine why ANY human being would do the acts he’s accused of. Given the evidence, there currently appears to be little chance of him escaping at least a lifetime in prison.  The issue about how he’s being treated under the law isn’t about Dzhokar Tsarnaev himself, it’s about American ideology. 

The Tsarnaev brothers certainly turned Boston upside down and instilled a lot of fear in folks.   I just hope that fear doesn’t cloud people’s judgement about what America stands for.  This ISN’T Russia.  The Tsarnaev’s left Chechnya to escape an oppressive regime, one where brutality and lack of due process under the law were threats to all who opposed government control.  I don’t know why they turned to such a despicable act, but it would be ironic if their presence and crime in America moved OUR justice system towards a system more like Russia’s. 

Watching the news coverage of the events, I can’t also help but be concerned about the media’s (and public’s) fixation on their religious status.  The younger brother in custody is an American citizen.  I would bet the farm that he WOULD have been read his Miranda rights, that he WOULD have been treated as a normal “criminal”…if he hadn’t come from Chechnya, and ESPECIALLY if he hadn’t had indications of ties with the Muslim faith. 

I understand the concern about further danger, and of course authorities want to know whether there are any other collaborators or any other explosive devices that may be out there.  However, to me, it’s (yet another) act of mass murder committed by an American citizen.  While his background should indeed be relevant to the investigation, it should NOT drive how he is treated under the law.

Read the scum his Miranda rights, charge him in the criminal courts, and let him spend the rest of his miserable life in high-security prison.  Treating an American citizen as an “enemy combatant”, even a scum like Dzhokar Tsarnaev, just means that the Tsarnaev’s have won.

Senator Johnson Flips on Gay Marriage

Yet another “flip” from a Democratic Senator on the issue of gay marriage, this time from our very own red-state Senator Johnson.  I believe the scorecard now leaves 3 Democratic Senators as not supporting it. 

On the other side of the aisle, I believe the current scorecard still only shows 2 Republican Senators supporting gay marriage.  What I find incredibly hypocritical about Republicans’ stance on the issue is that Republicans love to point to the Constitution when it suits their needs, but at other times, completely ignore the basic principles on which the country was founded.  “Equality” may not be mentioned in the Constitution itself (“All Men are Created Equal” is in the Declaration of Independence), but the fourteenth amendment does state that people must have equal treatment under the law.

It’s baffling to me that any group of Americans could actively promote discrimination under the law in this day and age.

In them meantime…good for you, Senator Johnson.

Senator Johnson Among Last Dem Holdouts for Gay Marriage

Politics is a strange animal in South Dakota.  Unlike adjacent Minnesota and Iowa on our eastern border, there’s simply very little doubt in the vast majority of elections in the state.  If you’re a Republican and you’re running in South Dakota, you’ve got a hell of good chance to win by a wide margin.  Even as pitiful as Republican presidential candidates have been for, oh, the last 25 years or so, there’s been absolutely no doubt that the Republican would carry South Dakota.

Despite the state being very “red”, we’ve remarkably had at least one Democratic Senator for most of the last 50 years.  George McGovern held a seat for 3 terms, from 1962 to 1980.  Tom Daschle held a seat for 3 terms, from 1986 to 2004.  Tim Johnson served simultaneously with Daschle from 1996 to 2004 and continues to serve today, remarkably giving conservative South Dakota TWO Democratic Senators for a number of years.

Tim Johnson recently announced he is retiring at the end of his third term.  Three terms seems to be a magic number for South Dakota Senators.  South Dakotans in general are a little slow on the draw, and I think it takes them 15 years or so to realize their “mistake” in electing a Senator who isn’t a conservative nutjob.  Hence, South Dakota choosing to boot out Tom Daschle in 2004, despite Daschle giving South Dakota more power than it’s ever had as Senate Majority leader for years.

We’ve had the pleasure of meeting multiple times with both of our current Senators, Tim Johnson as well as Republican John Thune.  Well, let me rephrase.  We’ve had the pleasure of meeting with Tim Johnson.  I wouldn’t call meeting with John Thune a very pleasurable experience.  Our young son was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes near his first birthday, and we’ve met with both Senators multiple times to discuss health care issues.  Senator Johnson was always very receptive, and very AWARE of the issues.  Senator Thune?  The first time we met with him, we talked about a stem-cell research bill that was up for a vote.  After we talked about it for 15 minutes or so, including the potential long-term benefits for children like our son, it was ABUNDANTLY clear that Senator Thune knew very little about the bill he was about to vote on.  It was ABUNDANTLY clear that Senator Thune knew practically nothing about stem cell research, other than the same old misguided Republican talking points that persist to this day.  What was MOST telling was Thune’s initial response when we were done talking.  He didn’t ask questions about our son.  He didn’t ask questions about the bill or embryonic stem cell research.  Instead, his first comment was, “Well, I can’t be expected to vote for that…I’m a REPUBLICAN!”.

That pretty much sums up Senator Thune, and South Dakota Republicans in general…following the party line no matter what, independent thinking (or even basic KNOWLEDGE of an issue) be damned.  If there’s one thing that drives me absolutely nuts about politics today, it’s the polarization between Dems and Republicans, where there’s simply very little chance that any Republican would support ANYTHING Obama or the Dems support.  Democrats are almost as equally guilty, although it’s damned hard to top the pig-headedness of today’s Republican party.  What happened to independent thinking?  What happened to thinking about what’s best for your constituents or the country as a whole?

Senator Johnson is making headlines recently for being one of the rare independent politicians, bucking the party line.  Unfortunately, it’s not in a good way.  As momentum continues to build for equal rights and gay marriage, what was recently 9 Democratic Senator holdouts for supporting gay marriage is as of today down to 6.   Senator Johnson remains one of the 6 holdouts in the Democratic Senate, refusing to publicly support gay marriage.

I’m disappointed.  Senator Johnson has been a wonderful, understated voice for South Dakotans.  Unfortunately, he’s now letting the conservative views of South Dakota taint his views.  He’s taking the easy way out, avoiding backlash from South Dakotans for supporting something that definitely doesn’t jive with the very conservative culture here.

Senator Johnson, as you serve out the last year and half of your 18-year career, here’s hoping you decide to do what’s RIGHT, decide that it IS important to treat all Americans equally.  You’ll never have to again face the wrath of South Dakota’s conservative electorate.  Here’s hoping you worry less about your legacy within the state of South Dakota, and pay more attention to doing what’s RIGHT.

Tiny Penis Men Renew Fight to Compensate with Guns

Just a few months after the Newtown tragedy, America is getting back to normal.  With our incredibly short attention spans, the deaths of a few dozen children seems like a distant memory for most folks.  With the incredibly pathetic, half-hearted efforts by the Obama administration and state governments to strengthen gun legislation, we’re returning to the status quo.  Tiny-penis men across America are ramping up the fight to compensate for their shortcomings by ensuring their right to carry the largest, most destructive weapon possible.

The fight has been spearheaded by tiny-penis men in my very own state of South Dakota.  Yesterday, tiny-penis governor Dennis Daugaard signed a bill that makes South Dakota the first state that allows teachers to carry guns in class.  The bill was sponsored by tiny-penis state legislator Scott Craig, a freshmen Republican (duh), who states that now “dominoes will start to fall, people will see it’s reasonable.”  Of course it’s “reasonable”!  Do you have kids?  Picture your kid’s teacher, carrying a gun in class, trying to fight off a nut with an assault rifle.  What?  A little difficult to picture that in your mind?  Hard to see that as more “reasonable” than simply disallowing access to assault rifles?  This is the 2nd bold effort by tiny-penis South Dakota men to ensure gun rights.  Last week, they voted down a bill that would have limited gun access to mentally ill people who have been deemed “dangerous” to others.  Just like tiny-penis men, crazy people have gun rights too!!!

The tiny-penis men of South Dakota are hardly the only tiny-penis men fighting for their right to compensate.  Kansas, a state that along with South Dakota is known for having a large population of weak, tiny-penis men, is considering a bill to greatly expand concealed gun carrying on college campuses. 

Compensation efforts by tiny-penis men extend all the way to the Federal level.  At Congressional hearings this week, miniscule-penis Senator Lindsey Graham stated he owned an AR-15, arguing for folks to imagine a scenario in a post-disaster world where government breaks down and roaming gangs are a danger!  EXACTLY!  WELL thought out, tiny-penis Senator Graham!!  This is EXACTLY the kind of realistic scenario that screams for the right of tiny-penis men to carry large weapons!  In a “Mad Max” post-apocalyptic world that is sure to come, tiny-penis men NEED automatic weapons to fend off gangs of evil-doers!!

FEAR NOT, TINY-PENIS MEN!!!   In America, there are SO many of you weak, tiny-member men fighting for your compensatory gun-carrying rights, that I truly doubt you’ll never have to worry about your right to carry gigantic weapons that you’ll never have use for any practical purpose other than trying to overcome your own insecurity.  With tiny-penis men like Lindsey Graham, Scott Craig, and Dennis Daugaard fighting for you, your right to access massive weapons will forever be secure.

Sen. Grassley – Crossing a Line

On the blogosphere, partisanship and strong language are generally the norm.  As normal every day citizens, bloggers venting about a topic certainly aren’t averse to using harsh, abusive language.  I certainly have done my share of that from time to time.  Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, Mitch McConnell, Rick Santorum, and John Boehner have all felt my verbal wrath at times.  Rush Limbaugh has CERTAINLY felt my verbal wrath, given the very public, hate-filled messages he spouts from his radio show every day.  Given some of my past posts, I suppose it could be viewed as a wee bit hypocritical to say what I’m about to say, but Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa has DEFINITELY crossed a line with a tweet he made over the weekend.

The Senate USED to be the place of “gentlemen” (and women) Senators, where partisanship took a back seat to civility and cooperation, at least in a MUCH stronger sense than civility and cooperation has been a cornerstone of the House.  Those days are gone.  Republicans in general have followed Rush down into the gutter, increasingly relying on stirring up hatred to drive their politics.  Evidently the Senate is no longer immune to that trend either.

In Sen. Grassley’s tweet yesterday, he said “Constituents askd why i am not outraged at PresO attack on supreme court independence. Bcause Am ppl r not stupid as this x prof of con law.”  When Grassley’s staff were asked about the tweet, the Grassley contingent took full ownership of the statement, stating that the tweet did indeed come from Grassley himself, and that he wasn’t backing down on anything he said.   

It’s one thing for a sitting Senator and the President of the United States to disagree with each other.  It’s QUITE another for an active Senator to personally attack the office of the President of the United States, and call the President “stupid“.   What bothers me the most about the current crop of Republican Senators and Representatives is that there seems to be absolutely NO respect for the President of the United States.   It’s damned hard to have a functioning government when basic disagreement on policy has morphed into a complete lack of respect, and a complete unwillingness to even LISTEN to the other side of a story, much less cooperate and compromise to reach a solution on an issue.

It’s one thing for bloggers or every day Americans to call out a politician.  I don’t like the messages of pure hatred that have permeated political discussion, but hey, it’s America, we all have the right to have our voices heard.   However, having our highest elected officials hurl personal insults at each other crosses a line, and damages the structure and functioning of our political and governmental framework.  Senator Chuck Grassley, congratulations…you have won my “Scum of the Week” award.

Doesn’t Congress have anything better to do?

Senator Dick Durbin

Dick, Dick, Dick...what the hell are you doing? Doesn't Congress have anything better to do than meddle with the NFL?

Congressional approval is hovering around 10%. They seem incapable of governing, incapable of passing the most straightforward piece of legislation.  Given how little time they actually DO spend in Washington, you’d think the time spent there would be pretty busy, and they’d have to focus on the most important issues facing the country today.

Uh, no.  Sen. Dick Durbin today announced that he was going to conduct hearings on the scandal in the NFL regarding “bounty” systems, where NFL players have been given monetary awards for injuring players on the opposing team, with the intent of rendering them incapable of continuing in a game.  Disgusting, yes.  Not surprising, given the nature of the game itself, but disgusting nonetheless.

But seriously, is it something that Congress should interfere in?  Do we really need Congress spending any time dealing with an issue that’s internal to a professional sports league?  It reminds me of the Congressional hearings that were held regarding steroids in baseball, complete with a now infamous line-up of famous major leaguers coming in to testify.  Do these buffoons in Congress think this is REALLY what they should be worried about?  Are steroids in baseball, or this bounty thing in the NFL, some of the most pressing issues facing our country?  Are they issues the Federal government should have ANY involvement in?

I’m obviously liberal on most matters.  One of the conservative talking points that bugs me the most are those who whine about how intrusive the Federal government is in our lives.  Really?  REALLY?  I find it laughable that people complain about government intrusion in the lives of Americans, given how freely we live our lives and how little interaction most Americans have with government.  However, completely pointless hearings such as these certainly feed into the conservatives’ storyline about government being needlessly involved in private affairs.

Let it go, Sen. Durbin.  Let the NFL worry about policing themselves.  I don’t think this is exactly a threat to national security or well-being.

Good for you, Sen. Adelstein

South Dakota Senator Stan Adelstein

South Dakota Senator Stan Adelstein - Had the guts to change course and take back his support of a bill he sponsored on public unions.

I was just going to add a response to an earlier post, about the South Dakota legislature and their attempts to limit collective bargaining rights for public employees in the state.  However, when someone reverses course and rights a wrong, I think they deserve recognition.  God knows it can be damned difficult to change your opinions sometimes, whether you’re Republican,Democrat, black,white,purple,Christian,Muslim,Martian, etc.

R-Stan Adelstein, a South Dakota senator from Rapid City, was a sponsor of the bill that attempted to limit the power of public unions.  I ripped him, and the rest of the legislature, for bringing this bill up.  Today, Adelstein reversed his support for the bill, saying “I am not afraid to admit a mistake and attempt to set it right.” 

Way to go Sen. Adelstein…I salute you.  You have more courage to admit a mistake than I do sometimes.