End-of-Week Comment Rescue -- What OpenCongress Users Have Been Saying About Bills, Legislators and VotesMarch 18, 2011 - by Donny Shaw
Each week, we’ll be going through all of the comments posted to OpenCongress over the past week and picking out a handful of particularly popular, insightful and timely ones to bump up to the OpenCongress Blog. OpenCongress users leave hundreds — sometimes thousands — of comments each week, creating a treasure trove of political thought from around the country and around the partisan spectrum that reflects the moods and topics of the day. In these posts, we’ll be highlighting comments that were voted up by users and provide valuable insights to legislation and politics at large. Get involved by commenting on bills, articles, senators and representatives, and rate other users’ comments, to influence what gets highlighted here each week.
fakk2 pushes back on Rep. Justin Amash’s argument that the bill to defund NPR is an unconstitutional bill of attainder:
I think the keywords in the post is “arguably unconstitutional”. A bill of attainder has 2 requirements: 1.) It an entity guilty of a crime, and 2.) It names the entity, in this case NPR.
This bill does not specify any crime has been commited and does not name a specific entity but applies the defunding to “an organization that is incorporated as of the date of the enactment of this Act for each of the purposes described in subsection ( c), or to any successor organization;”.
Section 1( c) states 7 organizational purposes that any organization could adopt. Although the name “National Public Radio” is in the title, it doesn’t specify NPR for, as the post above said, other national public radio stations/entities receive federal funding. So if they have any of the purposes in Section 1©, they would lose funding as well.
adamaiken notes the growing disillusionment of unemployed Democratic voters:
Whereever I link to on the internet in my search for news on the consideration of 589, I am coming across the same discontent with our President. I could not agree more with the perception that he has not stepped up for the unemployed. People are saying that he will not get their vote next time. My problem with this line of thinking is that we really will not have a choice if he is running against any Republican. I simply do not think we can afford to replace complacency with outright destructiveness. At least he will never sign away our rights to SSI or Medicare or Medicaid etc. but if a Republican, any Republican is voted in, his pen will be ready, willing and able. I would love for Kucinich or Bernie Sanders to run in his stead so I could vote with gusto but that is not going to happen so I am pulling the lever for Obama one more time.
The defund NPR bill would disproportionately affect local affiliates that often serve rural areas with few other options for news. jessienichols of Montana tells his Rep. that defunding NPR would mean no access to news:
I am Very upset that you would vote to defund NPR. For so many rural montanans, like myself, the radio is the only way we can get our news. I have zero TV reception and it is going to be a century or two before cable gets out this far. We are penny pinchers and are not going to waste our money on satelite television. NPR is an asset to all Americans. Shame on you for not understanding that.
geneve78 illustrates why, in today’s job climate more than ever, Congress should look at making student loan debt eligible for bankruptcy like other kinds of debt:
The irony of all of this is that I currently work in STUDENT FINANCE. Like many others I choose to pursue a graduate degree with the hope of improving my standard of living and helping others. Post grad school I am now in $60,000 PRIVATE student loan debt. After a period of 2 plus years of unemployment my home is now in foreclosure and I have a net worth of approximately NEGATIVE $180,000. It seems a big coincidence that tuition seems to increase at an alarming rate just when it is harder to discharge student loans be they private or federal. How can we help all these people who have been put through the ringer on so many levels all in an attempt to find a better life? How do you reconcile the fact that you have earned a MBA but you currently earn $30,000. Whats more is how are you expected to pay a mortgage, student loans, car note, food and other essentials on that salary?
Commenting on the Republicans’ bill to repeal the health care reform law, kbthiede reminds us of the significance of the public option that was ultimately left out:
I agree with having choices. I think a government-run insurance provider would be a great choice to have. In England, most people CHOOSE the govt single-payer system, there are also private insurance providers, but most choose the public option. Too bad those poor old insurance barons need another fleet of yachts. A public option would have been really good.
DeborahJBrown warns us about the rampant misinformation in the political discourse these days.
Almost every vote, almost every decision, almost every bit of information that is disseminated to the public these days contains “misinformation”. Some of this false information is so outrageous and can incite fear in both stable and unstable people and result in very dire consequences (as we saw in AZ). I’m wondering when people, politicians included, are going to be held accountable for the intentional (or ignorant) dissemination of totally false information. I’m wondering how long this ugliness will continue and how far from the truth these politicians can get before the public realizes that we are basing all opinions and our votes on dissemination of false information. (much of it intentionally false).