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McCain Crew Seeks to Shore Up Bush's Wartime Powers

August 31, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

There is a push on in Congress to reaffirm and make permanent the war powers that President Bush secretly used as legal justification for many of his most infamous policies - warrantless wiretapping, torture and the suspension of Habeas Corpus. The language, which was originally proposed by the White House, is included in a bill introduced recently by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of John McCain's closets advisers and national co-chairman of his 2008 presidential campaign, and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), the guy McCain wanted most as his running mate.

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McCain's Plan to Fight Child Pornography

August 29, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

(This is part of a series on legislation being sponsored in the Senate by presidential candidates Barack Obama (D-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ). Subscribe to our rss feed to get the rest.)

John McCain's Securing Adolescents From Exploitation-Online Act of 2007 is the most prominent attempt at the national level to crack down on child pornography. The bill seeks to reduce child pornography on the internet by increasing the penalties against internet service providers that fail to report any violations of child pornography laws that they come across. But concerns have been raised about its implications for privacy and the availability of broadband.

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Kerry Speaks

August 27, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Massachusetts' senators are nailing it at the DNC. Here's Senator John Kerry's speech from Wednesday night - the sleeper hit of the convention: Be sure to check out the DNC's YouTube page for more video of Members of Congress and others speaking at the convention....

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Congress Links

August 27, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Bush Steps Up to Congress >Justice Department lawyers said Wednesday that they will soon ask a federal appeals court not to force the president's top advisers to comply with congressional subpoenas next month. President Bush argues Congress doesn't have the authority to demand information from his aides. Link Encouraging Clean Energy >For all the speeches in Denver touting clean energy as the key to saving America’s economy and the future of the planet, there’s still one unmoveable obj...

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By the Bills: Obama vs. McCain

August 27, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

For the first time ever, two sitting senators are running against each other as major-party candidates for the presidency. That means we have a unique opportunity to compare their recent Senate records to find solid clues about their governing styles, policy priorities, and the kinds of things they'll likely be trying to accomplish if they win the White House. We're analyzing the bills that each candidate has sponsored in the current session of Congress

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Gang of <s>10</s> 16

August 26, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

AP: >Six more senators on Tuesday joined a bipartisan group of 10 senators backing a bill they say will break the stalemate over offshore drilling in Congress. > >Three Democrats and three Republicans joined the so-called Gang of 10, making it the Gang of 16. The group supports a bill that would lift a ban on oil and natural gas drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the southeastern U.S. coast, invest $20 billion in the development of petroleum-free motor vehicles and extend tax cre...

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Digital Bill of Rights

August 25, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Over at TechCrunch, Erick Schonfeld has started brainstorming on a Digital Bill of Rights that "spells out what freedoms and rights consumers can expect from Internet service providers, content companies, device manufacturers, and the government itself." He's asking for help in the comments to refine his ideas. Good to see this germ of an idea for legislation - I expect we'll be seeing more and more collaborative, citizen-written bills making it into Congress and state legislatures in the n...

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Kennedy Speaks

August 25, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Here's Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) speaking at the Democratic National Convention earlier this evening, despite brain cancer and his doctor's advice. No matter where you stand politically, this is moving: ...

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Obama Legislation Targets Voter Intimidation

August 25, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

(This is part of a series on legislation being sponsored in the Senate by presidential candidates Barack Obama (D-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ). Subscribe to our rss feed to get the rest.)

The findings section of Barack Obama's Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2007 tells horror stories about our democracy from recent elections - minority voters being falsely told they are ineligible, legal immigrants being threatened with incarceration if they vote, etc. The bill would make this kind of voter intimidation and purposeful misinformation a federal crime, but it's being held up in the Senate due to partisan gridlock.

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A VP and a Plan for Iraq

August 24, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

CQ reminds us of Joe Biden's plan for federalizing Iraq, which Obama is sort of adopting de facto by picking him as his VP: >Biden’s plan, written with Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, would turn Iraq into a loose federation of Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish regions with broad autonomy to run their own affairs, leaving the central government in charge of common interests such as border security, foreign affairs and the distribution of oil revenue. Obama was...

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The War on Pork

August 22, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

The AP says it's over: >Just months ago, most Republicans in the House swore off pork barrel projects — at least until new reforms could be put in place. The moratorium on such "earmarks" was to be a key plank in the House GOP's fall platform, issues Republican candidates will emphasize in their campaigns. > >Since then, it's been supplanted by high gasoline prices and the weak economy as dominant campaign issues. > >But there's another factor, too. The appetite for home state earmarks amo...

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Images of War, Freedom of the Press

August 21, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Although a few photographs - like the one at left - have been leaked to the public, one distinctive quality of the Iraq war is that we have rarely seen any of the 4,000-plus flag-draped caskets that have been flown into the Dover Air Force Base . That's because in 1991, during the Gulf War, the Department of Defense established stated that "media coverage of the arrival of remains at the port of entry or at the interim stops will not be permitted." A new bill in Congress would override that DoD policy and demand that journalists be allowed to cover the commemoration ceremonies and memorial services for U.S. soldiers who have died in Iraq.

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No Way to Win Votes

August 21, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

TPM Muckraker posted some amazing audio from a radio Q&A with Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), who was recently charged with concealing $250,000 in gifts and services that he allegedly received from an oil company. At one point he basically challenges one of his constituent to a fight. Stevens has held a safe Senate seat since 1968, but, because of his serious corruption charges, is slipping dramatically in the polls for re-election this fall. ...

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Complaint Free Wednesday

August 20, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Loving this new bill, H.Con.Res.404 - Supporting the goals and ideals of Complaint Free Wednesday: >Whereas the average person complains approximately 15 to 30 times per day, resulting in approximately 4,570,350,000 complaints per day in the United States; > >Whereas people complain in order to negatively get attention from others, avoid taking action, pre-excuse poor performance, brag, or exercise control over others; > >Whereas complaining damages a person's health, relationships, and ab...

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Trouble for Buchanan

August 19, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington today filed a complaint against Vern Buchanan (R-FL): Rep. Buchanan owns several car dealerships in Florida. In September 2005, dealership employees were pressured into contributing to Rep. Buchanan’s congressional campaign and some were reimbursed for making contributions. Former employee Carlo Bell was called into a manager’s office and told that if he was part of the “team” he would make a contribution. Fearing for his job, Bell agreed to...

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