471 comments posted · 5 followers · following 0

13 years ago @ DemConWatch - How Much Do You Work? · 0 replies · +2 points

The "days in session" numbers are confusing, because it doesn't necessarily correspond to actual work. After all, they include days when the House is never gaveled to order, like most weekends.

Also, going home is not just to campaign--the "talking to constituents" function, while not clearly separated from campaigning, is important.

None of this changes the basic focus of Jessica's post. But I don't want to focus too much on the number of days, and instead on the quantity and quality of legislation.

13 years ago @ DemConWatch - What If Hillary Clinto... · 0 replies · +1 points

Well, yes, but they then have to run for reelection. In theory Congress could create two hundred new government positions with salaries of a million dollars a year each and lifetime tenure, and then two hundred of them could retire and the others could appoint them to the position, and so on with the replacements, in a kind of pyramid scheme at the taxpayer's expense. Except, of course, for that pesky Constitution. :)

13 years ago @ DemConWatch - What If Hillary Clinto... · 0 replies · +1 points

This is a tough issue, but I don't think the sexism question is a problem--doesn't the precedent of Saxbe kind of moot that? And, in any case, it's hard to claim that Clinton would be getting paid less because she was a woman with a straight face.

The other problems are tougher, though. This is an outdated provision of the Constitution: the Senate and House are much bigger, so it's harder for an individual to vote themselves money, and the growth of the lobbyist industry has replaced the kind of abuse the Constitution was trying to protect against. But no one's going to put through a Constitutional amendment to make Hillary Secretary of State!

13 years ago @ DemConWatch - Lunchtime Crime · 0 replies · +1 points

But Jack, that's how parties lose their way. Enough corrupt people get elected, and voters who are not so wedded to a party will run to the other side.

When faced with a Democrat who is corrupt (or incompetent or...) and a Republican who is against me on key issues, I vote third party. If the Republican is actually with me on key issues (i.e. they're the moderate variety), I may even go Republican, and I maintain that it's better for the Democratic party as a whole (tough love, I guess). All of that may explain why I have always voted Democratic for President--those aren't the kind of choices that come up there.

I do agree that party-line votes are more important when control of a chamber is at stake. In that case, that initial vote for speaker (or whatever the equivalent office is) matters more than everything else the legislator will do all term.

13 years ago @ DemConWatch - The Morning Poll: Shor... · 0 replies · +1 points

I'm not enthusiastic about David Gregory. Despite a lackluster job moderating the VP debate, I'd still rather see Gwen Ifill.

13 years ago @ DemConWatch - Entire National Mall w... · 0 replies · +1 points

Brilliant! Now I know where to go when I get off my Amtrak train...

13 years ago @ DemConWatch - Matthews thinking abou... · 0 replies · +1 points

Maybe MSNBC can find a seat-warmer for Matthews and then, when Rendell's term is up, he could take over as the host. :D

13 years ago @ DemConWatch - Odd Economic News · 0 replies · +1 points

A good effect of this is that the cost of recycled products will drop. So people will be more likely to buy recycled (post-consumer) paper than virgin paper. I'm having a hard time getting my head around whether a drop in the price for recyclables is a good or a bad thing environmentally.

13 years ago @ DemConWatch - The Auto Bailout: $34 ... · 0 replies · +1 points

It's hard for me to understand why the "Big 3" are significantly more important for the country than other automakers who manufacture here (e.g. Toyota). Toyota, for example, is a public company; it has a lot of American stockholders. And it employs a lot of American workers, and buys from a lot of American suppliers. And for that matter, Ford and GM have a lot of foreign stockholders, and Chrysler just came out of a period where they were a subsidiary of a foreign company.

Clearly one difference is that we wouldn't dream of bailing out Toyota. So it seems to me the notion that we'd bail out the "American" car companies is based on their historical role, not their current one.

13 years ago @ DemConWatch - It's Officially a... · 0 replies · +1 points

Inflation has been somewhat hidden because it's been concentrated right where it hits people without much money hardest: food, energy, health care, and education. Plasma TV's, meanwhile, have come down in price. And, in the past few years, house prices have fallen too. But the lower house prices don't do much good to people who can't get a loan.