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Good Enough For Government (08-06-10)

In Good Enough For Government, Matt on August 26, 2010 by Two Barbers Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Watch CBS News Videos Online
-video of Russ Travers from a 2006 interview with CBS.

Well, Obama did announce that the U.S. combat operations in Iraq will end on August 31st during a speech Monday morning at the Disabled American Veterans conference in Atlanta. But since it doesn’t involve anything too committal, like a complete withdrawal of troops, and he didn’t give too many details, spending an approximate total of four minutes out of about 30 on it, and in fact, he said a “transitional force” will stay for another year and by then who knows what could happen to shift obligations, I felt it didn’t really wasn’t as an action taken by the federal government, and so did not qualify as an example of the federal government at work.

At 3:49PM Thursday, after hours and hours of debate during which EVERYSenator had to be given at least 30 minutes to speak, the Senate confirmed with a 63-37 vote that Elena Kagan will replace Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired from the Supreme Court at the end of its last term in June.

Some Senators used their time to bring up items of other agenda over the course of sessions beginning 9:30 Tuesday morning and ending that night at 8:45, almost on the dot…then 9:30 again on Wednesday… and again, dot.

On Thursday they mixed it up with a 61-39 vote on an amendment to the 2010 FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act that authorizes $26.1 billion to aid state budgets in the areas of education and Medicaid (obviously) to be voted on in the House next week, even though the representatives just began their six week recess.

Then they went back to Kagan.

Sen. Sessions, Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, had taken a moment out of Tuesday morning’s opening Kagan harangue to proudly announce that he and Sen. Leahy, Chairman of the same committee, would be attending the Obama signing of the Fair Sentencing Act which, among other things, eliminates the mandatory minimum 5 year sentence for a conviction of simple possession of crack.

Other than that it was pretty much one speech after another about Kagan, garnering 19,722 likes for CSPAN’s website on Facebook before the lights began to dim on a lonely Sheldon Whitehouse, the Senator from Rhode Island, while he verbalized the recursive logic of why he decided not to take advantage of the near-empty chamber to pass his unanimous consent request, respecting the tradition of courtesy for the other major political party in the Senate, although that courtesy was not extended to him by the Republicans, which made him indignant and tempted to scrap the whole respect for tradition thing, all of which they weren’t there to hear because they had all left for their summer recess, which lasts until Sept. 13th, kind of making poor Sen. Whitehouse look a little pathetic.

To be totally honest though, actually a lot more than all that listed happened.

But that’s not the topic of this week’s blog either.

Also on Thursday, the State Department held a press conference on theCountry Reports on Terrorism from 2009, prepared by the National Counterterrorism Center, which the Secretary of State is required to provide for Congress every year by April 30th.

It contains 292 pgs. of nice, light, summer reading, with overviews of other nations, the four “state sponsors of terrorism”, and all 44 U.S. Government Designated Terrorist Organizations.

By the way, (By the way, fuck using an acronym for ‘by the way’. It’s five more letters and I have a keyboard.  It’s not like the phrase doesn’t already save a ton of time and space, allowing us to interject tangential details that add color without having to write a whole new, congruent paragraph or restructure the entire article.) Russ Travers, Deputy Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, is a bit of a high-talker.

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