Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Human Rights: No More Foxes Guarding the Henhouse

Senator Patrick Leahy — who got cussed out on the Senate floor by Dick “I Got Five Draft Deferments Because I’m Sooo Important” Cheney — will be Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee next January.

Bush will no longer have a rubber stamp every time he tries to delete another section of the Constitution. Edicts from The King Bush’s famous “signing statements” might also come to an end. Leahy said Congress could “dissuade” Bush from issuing more signing statements by withholding funding and/or blocking nominations.

Look! Up on Capitol Hill! It’s a Spine!!!

Leahy said his upcoming Chairmanship would be a period of “restoration, repair and renewal” after six years of unchecked power. He also said “Americans’ privacy is a price the Bush administration is willing to pay for the cavalier way it is spawning new databanks. We are way overdue in catching up to the erosion of privacy, and the Judiciary Committee now will help to bring this picture into focus.”

A new subcommittee on human rights will be chaired by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), one of the Far Right’s favorite punching bags. Get ready for a mass hissyfit among rightwing bloggers.

Leahy has also introduced a bill to crack down on war profiteering. This bill would prohibit profiteering or fraud by contractors in connection with any war, relief or reconstruction efforts. It’ll be interesting to see who votes against it.

11 Comments:

Blogger Snave said...

Good for Leahy. I hope he will follow through and put pressure on Bush to just quit it with the signing statements. And so what if the rightwing bloggers have a hissy fit about Durbin? If they can't see that their heroes in the administration are messing the U.S. up in a huge way, they need to get their eyes and ears checked.

December 13, 2006 at 11:28 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Yup, this will be a change for the better when Leahy and Durbin start chairing committees. Now if Sen. Tim Johnson will just maintain his health so he can keep his senate seat...

December 14, 2006 at 1:37 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

Agreed, Tom. It somehow seems unfair to me that the people elected a Democrat but a GOP governor gets to choose a Republican to replace Johnson in the Senate if need be. The nation's voters spoke, and said they wanted Democrats to run the Senate and House. The voters got both, and to be deprived of different leadership in the Senate due to a sad tecnhicality just does not seem right or fair.

I was commenting on Lizzy's blog that Johnson's problem sounded more like someone who was having a mini-stroke, or TIA. I guess it was a congenital malformation or something that burst, though.

From my experience as a speech therapist working with stroke victims, I know that of course the prognosis is affected in a big way by how severe the initial insult was to the brain. Age is also a factor; the younger the victim is, the better the chances for recovery... and most strokes or intercranial bleeds will occur when people are older than Johnson is. We don't yet know how severe the bleed was, but his age might be on his side.

At this point we don't know if Johnson is aphasic; if he has retained his ability to speak and to process and comprehend language, he should be able to recover most of his faculties, sooner or later. During the first several months, Johnson and his doctors will probably know whether or not he can return to work. This will take time. People are going to want answers right away, but with such a problem as Johnson's there is no way to tell immediately whether or not he will fully recover if it's indeed a bad bleed. People need to be patient and at least give the Senator a few weeks before judgments start being made.

We also don't know if he any paresis or paralysis of muscles. Sometimes people who have suffered such insults are unable to use one side of their body effectively, even after rehabilitation. If there are muscular difficulties, Tim Johnson may be mentally fine but may not be able to speak clearly due to dysarthria, which is an innervation problem with the muscles of the cheeks, lips and tongue. He may be able to express ideas and opinions with the right words, but he may sound almost like a drunk, like his speech may be slurred.

Until we hear more about how he is doing, it's just impossible to know. All we can do is guess, and hope he can regain his health and make it back to work soon.

December 14, 2006 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Kvatch said...

Down with the signing statement! To war!

December 14, 2006 at 2:46 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Unfortunately, I don’t think fairness enters into this. The governor of S.D. will be a hero to the Right if he appoints a Republican senator and tips the balance back to the Republicans. But both sides can play hardball. I doubt if Sen. Johnson will die from this stroke or the surgery, and there is no rule requiring that an incapacitated senator has to resign. (Remember Strom Thurmond’s last 20 years?)

From the most recent news I’ve seen, it sounds like he’s recovering smoothly. It’ll take time of course, but I’m guessing (based on no medical knowledge whatsoever) that he’ll ultimately recover, perhaps with some loss of faculties.

Kvatch: Yup, let’s put an end to those signing statements once and for all.

December 14, 2006 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

As to your last point, putting the war funding into the general budget (ISG recommendation #72) would go a long way to that end. Oversight: what a concept! The game the whole country can play!

Tell your friends, it is a fad that is sweeping the nation! Sweeping. What a great word, light sweeping Congress, or sweeping up the dirt in Congress, or sweeping reform.

I like sweeping.

December 15, 2006 at 7:48 AM  
Blogger BaxterWatch said...

Actually, what I am concerned about is legislation passed that would force a senator or congressman to resign if he or she can't meet certain attendance/health requirements.

I suspect we might see this introduced.

December 15, 2006 at 7:48 AM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

ATTTN: below is an edited version of the same comment.

As to your last point, putting the war funding into the general budget (ISG recommendation #72) would go a long way to that end. Oversight: what a concept! The game the whole country can play!

Tell your friends, it is a fad that is sweeping the nation! Sweeping. What a great word, like sweeping Congress, or sweeping up the dirt in Congress, or sweeping reform.

I like sweeping.

December 15, 2006 at 7:49 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Prague Twin: Oversight of congressional war funding? Whose side are you on? You’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists :)

Baxterwatch: I wouldn’t mind a law like that if it was uniform and across the board. (And it probably wouldn’t apply to Sen. Johnson; it would have to apply to future cases only.) But after twenty years of Strom Thurmond’s comatose body occupying the Senate, the Republicans would have a hard time keeping a straight face while they’re pushing for that law.

December 15, 2006 at 9:42 AM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

You’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists :)

Yeah! Great! When do we start bombing western Europe?

December 17, 2006 at 6:16 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Prague Twin: That's right, we may have to start bombing Western Yerp. Them Yerpeens haven't helped us in the War on Tur. They didn't join our Coalition of the Willing. What good are they :)

December 17, 2006 at 2:33 PM  

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