Friday, January 7, 2011

The 112th Congress is in Session, Are You Scared Yet?

Okay, the word "scared" may be a little too dramatic so I'll ask, "Have you seen anything over the past few days that has given you cause for concern?" 

No, I'm not referring to the new House Speaker's over-sized gavel or his displays of emotion.  I'm referring to the perplexing and, in some cases, frightening Congressional Committee Assignments. 

Let's start with Rep. Michele Bachmann [R-MN-6]'s assignment to the House Intelligence Committee.   Yes, this is the same Michele Bachmann who claimed that the President's trip to India last November was costing taxpayers $200 million a day. The same Representative who suggested that the media investigate Democratic Party members of Congress for un-American beliefs.   But of course that's old news by now.

So let's consider Rep. Darrell Issa {R-CA-49], the new Chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  The wealthiest member of Congress has started his tenure by calling the Obama administration corrupt and promising months and months of hearings and investigations. That ought to get the economy moving again.

Then there's Rep. Viriginia Foxx [R-NC-5]'s assignment to the Chair of the House Sub-Committee on Higher Education.   When questioned during an interview with The Chronicle of Higher Education, about whether she supported the president's ambitious graduation goal for community colleges, Rep. Foxx said she was "curious to find out what the basis is for the claim that we have to graduate five million more people."  The article further quotes her as stating, "I don't think the measure of success of a community college is always graduation," she said. "Many times, all people need to learn is a skill and perhaps get certification in an area."     

So I ask,  Ms. Foxx, where are all the "skilled labor" jobs in the state of North Carolina, a state where the banking industry moved in and manufacturing and other industries left for foreign shores?

Ms. Foxx is also no fan of the legislation that reformed the student loan program.  The Chronicle of Higher Education article quotes her as saying that the bill "eliminated choice, competition, and innovations from student lending," and promising hearings aimed at making "improvements to a very flawed law."

What was it that the "birther" said when she interrupted the reading of The Constitution, "Jesus Help Us!"

And then there's the appointment of Rep. Ralph Hall [R-TX-4], who as the Wall Street Journal  pointed out, "at age 87, was born before commercial radio really came on the market, to Chair of the House Science and Technology Committee.  

In all fairness, the Wall Street Journal article also pointed out that "the ranking Democrat on the committee is Eddie Bernie Johnson, a fellow Texan, who at age 75 was born before Amelia Earhart disappeared."  The article quotes Rep. Johnson as saying, "There is a wisdom that comes with greater years, But sometimes in Congress that isn't the case with everyone. We'd be better off with picking chairmen on the basis of who has the best ideas and vision rather than longevity."

Rep. Johnson, I couldn't agree more.

During Thursday's broadcast of the Rachel Maddow Show,  Rachel took a close look at the assignments of Reps. Foxx and Hall.  Needless to say,  I didn't sleep well after this. 

Of course, these committee assignments are a reflection of an overall agenda to repeal what the GOP & Tea Party have labeled as "the Obama Agenda".  Not only do they want to repeal health care reform, banking reform and student loan reform. They're against establishing a path to citizenship for undocumented workers and birthright citizenship..  In fact, it seems like they are slowing trying to return us to the 19th century.  

Over the course of the past few months, we've heard MS Gov. Haley Barbour praise "Citizen's Councils" and the good folk of South Carolina celebrate the Confederacy's secession from the Union.  We also heard a sitting Supreme Court Justice, Anthony Scalia say that the 14th amendment doesn't protect against discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation. 

Friends, I ask you again, "Are You Scared Yet?" Better yet, are you outraged?     


  1. Oh, I am not afriad. I am outraged, very, very, outraged!

    If the two individuals who now head up house committees are any example of the type of mentality that is going to rule, we have a national problem that no one is willing to acknowledge-the inmates have taken over at the asylum!

  2. I'm not afraid yet, but I am concerned. I confess that I was so focused on covering the Scott Sisters release that I didn't pay close attention to the incoming Congress's first days. (After the midterms, I had chills about 'em though.) However, I heard about the big gavel and as it was happening, I saw Pelosi going out and Boehner coming in. Later I caught part of the theatrical ploy aka hat tip to the Tea Party to read the Constitution. When I heard that they chose to exclude the 18th Amendment, I thought, "Here we go!" I enjoyed the conversation with John McWhorter and Michaela Angela Davis on CNN about that.


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