On Tuesday, Absecon 6th grade teacher Amy Petitgout–aka the wife of ex-Rhode Island congressman Patrick Kennedy’s–gave birth to a little girl. (Pat=son of Teddy.)Today, two-day-old Nora made her first appearance in the press, which as a Kennedy, won’t be her last.
Moderate Republican congressman Jon Runyan won’t run for reelection in 2014, leaving New Jersey’s third district (BurlCo, Ocean County) wide open. The 40-year-old Runyan (of course) said he is leaving to spend more time with his family, which includes a teenage son who plays football at St. Joe’s Prep. The real reason, many suspect, is that he’s sick of the hard-liners in his own caucus.
The temporary boost in food stamps that arose out of stimulus spending to combat the recession has officially ended. $5 million has been cut nationwide from the program, and more cuts may be coming.
Fresh off the government shutdown,Republicans in the Senate are giving us …another shutdown. This time it’s in miniature: They’re threatening to filibuster one of President Obama’s nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals—and Democrats are contemplating action to end the filibuster, for judicial nominees.
To which I say: Please, please, please. It’s time to end the filibuster. Let’s kill the damned thing.
It got close-ish at the end there, but was there ever any doubt? Booker won 55%-44% in an election featuring one of the lowest-ever statewide turnouts in New Jersey, with under 25% of the voting population participating. (Hmm, wonder why?) Here’s Senator-elect Booker’s characteristically enthusiastic, hoarse-throated, victory speech. For what it’s worth, Booker began by praising his predecessor Frank Lautenberg, who wasn’t exactly fond of him.
One of conservatism’s really great beliefs (I’m serious about this) is about the unknowability of the future: That well-intentioned actions can have big unintended consequences; once those butterfly’s wings start flappin’, there’s no telling where the hurricane might pop up. For such folks, limiting government is just a way of trying to limit the damage that government can do.
The problem with modern American conservatism is that it so rarely applies its own best insights at the moment of truth.
Fox 29 reports that the F.B.I. has issued a subpoena requesting U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah’s tax records, focused specifically on property that the congressman owns. More intriguingly, Fattah and his lawyer said he’s actually been under investigation since 2007. The subpoena is thought to have been issued as part of a grand jury investigation.
Capitol Hill was briefly locked down today after reports of shots fired on Capitol Hill at around 2:30 p.m. One woman–reportedly the suspect–is suspected dead. Despite the government shutdown, lawmakers and journalists were present. As of just before 3 p.m., the lockdown was lifted.
So, America, are you ready for a dictator yet?
That seems like a crazy question to ask, doesn’t it? After all, we Americans practically invented democratic self-governance. We spend a day every year celebrating democracy’s virtues, and let’s be honest—that’s just the day we set off fireworks. We’re pretty proud and evangelistic (in multiple meanings of the term) about the way we govern ourselves. Surely we’re not ready to simply let government of the people, by the people, for the people to simply perish from this land, are we?
Maybe. Maybe not.