Abolish the Senate

capitolThe Republican majority in the Senate, as expected, voted to eliminate the filibuster rule as it applies to Supreme Court nominees. If the trend continues and the filibuster is eliminated altogether, then the Senate should be abolished as nothing more than a less-democratic, more-pompous duplicate of the House of Representatives. What’s the point of having two houses of Congress if each does the same thing in more or less the same way? Why have two chambers each conjuring up their own moronic laws which have to be reconciled by yet another committee of morons? Why spend over a billion dollars ($10M per senator) a year to retain this foppish group of do-nothings? (Sidebar: the Republican “majority” of 52 Senators represents fewer than 45 percent of Americans – another reason to get rid of this unfairly constructed body. See table at bottom.)

Republican Senator John McCain, outraged at the notion of cancelling out the filibuster, said, “Benjamin Franklin is somewhere turning over in his grave. Why have a bicameral system?” Maverick McCain went on to vote to eliminate the filibuster anyway, thus illustrating another reason for shit-canning this country club of craven old fools.

The whole point of having a Senate was to temper rash decisions made by the House. The Founding Fathers thought this could be accomplished if bills from the House passed through a more deliberative part of the Congress where the minority could raise legitimate issues and get an honest hearing. As the Constitution lets the Senate make up its own rules, a thing called the filibuster was created which allowed the minority to force extended debate on consequential items, compelling members to defend their ideas.

Unfortunately, the filibuster became an overused tactic that infiltrated its ugly, undemocratic head into every motion, requiring 60 votes to do anything – even on votes to authorize votes. Real abuse of the filibuster started after Obama took office and the minority Republicans under Mitch the Bitch McConnell used the parliamentary maneuver as a Swiss Army bludgeon against everything the Dems proposed – even against stuff they themselves championed in the past.

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I’m not a big fan of the filibuster – after all, if you want government to run like a business keep in mind that any block of a company’s shares that totals 50 percent plus one share calls all the shots. Nowhere in the business world does it take a 60 percent majority to make a decision.

But if you’re gonna have a filibuster, do it right. Today, it takes 60 votes to shut off a filibuster (aka. cloture); change that requirement so that it requires 41 votes to keep a filibuster going. Make the minority work for their intransigence. Require the filibusterers to defend the action by going to the floor and delivering a justification. Disallow filibusters of procedural votes.

Clearly, filibuster reform will never happen, and more than likely the filibuster will be eliminated altogether by the Bitch once the Dems start shutting down everything Trump wants to do legislatively.

At that point the Congress should just pass an amendment to eliminate the Senate altogether – right after they amend the rules so that the vote of a single Senator is enough to pass the bill.

Drug Companies: Stop Encouraging Dangerous Behavior

Depending on the TV you watch, and your proximity to retirement age, you may be deluged with ads for pharmaceuticals of every stripe engineered to cure problems you never knew existed. A recurring ad has been running lately for Harvoni, a drug to fight hepatitis C – an infection that is said to affect a lot of baby-boomers, many of whom have no idea they have the disease. In this ad titled “Let Go” actors playing Hep-C sufferers are depicted releasing floating paper lanterns – presumably an allegory of the new freedom from disease Harvoni can bestow upon humanity.

On the other hand, the floating pyrotechnics could be an allegory for massive wildfires. Aren’t any of these Hep-C people concerned about what will happen when 500 fiery paper lanterns land in a dry, thatchy forest in the next county?

And then you have Xarelto, a blood-thinner seemingly designed to help mostly sports figures. Past ads have featured a golfer, basketball player, NASCAR driver, and now a competitive swimmer. In the latest ad titled “Most Challenging Opponent,” driver Brian Vickers and swimmer Katie Hoff kick it off by complaining about scary afflictions like pulmonary embolisms and deep vein thrombosis.

As a narrator explains the drug’s virtues along with a ton of side-effects, Vickers and Hoff are depicted taking part in happy-go-lucky endeavors. At one point Mr. NASCAR and his son build a wooden soapbox derby car (naturally). Here’s what it looks like when complete:

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Slick, but if the car hits a curb does it decapitate Vickers’s kid? (At least the soapbox car can pass for a coffin.)

Makeup of the Senate by the numbers

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