1) The nuclear option exercised by the U.S. Senate. This involved the majority Democrats changing the Senate rules so that only a simple majority is needed to approve a president’s Cabinet nominations and some judgeships. This was done because the minority Republicans abused the previous rule (requiring basically 60 votes to get a nomination through) the last few years (just as Democrats abused it during Republican presidencies. Let me quickly add, the current Republican minority has abused it to a higher level – but abuse is abuse). This is the camel’s nose under the tent. With this precedent, other votes can be moved to this kind of rule, up to the majority’s whim.
And that is the problem. I agree the Republicans have abused the rule. BUT let’s not cut off that camel’s nose to spite his face. That rule is one of the things that has kept the Senate somewhat more collegial than the House, where such rules don’t exist. The rule was there to protect a minority from being steamrolled by the majority which could work its will at will. It is not a rule change that encourages comity (with a “t” not an “ed”). It’s a short-term fix to what isn’t a long-term problem. It should not stand.
2) Cell phones on planes. My first instinct was to think, “OMG, everyone will be yakking on flights. ANNOYING!!! The government is wrong to do this!!! But then I read The Washington Post editorial today which said that it favors the decision by the federal government because now it leaves the decision of whether and how to allow personal cell phone use is up to the airlines. Which means it will be a decision made by the marketplace. Which means you and I will make the decision by how we react to whatever the airlines decide.
I go back far enough to remember when smoking a cigarette was allowed on flights. Smokers were relegated to the back rows of the plane, I presume so the smoke wouldn’t annoy the non-smokers. Of course this ignored the fact that smoke
floats through the air and the non-smokers still were affected. Thus, smoking was banned eventually on flights. Trust me; I don’t want to sit through a flight listening to anyone else’s phone conversation. I hate it enough when I’m walking down the street and I hear phone conversations I truly don’t want to hear. But I do like the idea of not leaving this up to the government to decide. We can turn our views toward airlines now. And I encourage you to do that.
3) The Cheney nuclear family is being blown apart. At least that’s how it appears publicly. One sister, Liz, is running for the Republican Senate nomination in Wyoming, challenging a popular incumbent. She is running to the right, thus says
she opposes same-sex marriage. She has a sister, Mary, who is a lesbian, married, and the couple has children. Mary and her spouse published, on Facebook, their reaction to Liz’ view – and, needless to say, it wasn’t positive. Their dad, former Vice President Dick Cheney, favors same-sex marriage.
Now, what is the problem here? Has Liz moved to the right disingenuously to prove to The Right that she is with them on gay folks getting married? Does she have a religious view that says same-sex marriage is okay but should not be sanctioned by religions that prohibit it? Does she agree with civil marriages? She has not nuanced, nor been forced to nuance, her views sufficiently so all I know is she opposes same-sex marriage, therefore apparently does not recognize her sister’s marriage.
I’m not sure and I don’t really understand why the sisters, being raised in a family as political as any that exists, didn’t work through these issues privately before they went public, either agreeing to disagree or agreeing that Liz could say what she wants without risk of Mary responding publicly. I also don’t know that their disagreement is pertinent to anything
other than as a snapshot into a well-known family that has its “issues” as do each of our families.
I don’t agree with my siblings on everything. It doesn’t affect our relationships. You respect the view and move on. But,
apparently, not in today’s world of politics and social media and talking heads.