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Impromtu Speech - DASH


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Pope holds first general audience
The pope touched on the issues as he described how he chose his name, recalling Pope Benedict XV, who led the church during World War I.

"In his footsteps I place my ministry in the service of reconciliation and harmony between peoples," he said.

Benedict also recalled St. Benedict of Norcia, a patron saint of Europe, "whose life evokes the Christian roots of Europe. I ask him to help us all hold firm to the centrality of Christ in our Christian life."
Pope psychology: Pay not heed to predictions
The ordination of women, a seemingly rational response to the crisis, is rejected on grounds of doctrine by Rome. More women grow increasingly discontent with their secondary role in the Catholic Church. But as everyone must understand, church teaching does not change. Wrong again.
Benedict XVI installed as pope
During his homily, the new pontiff said he wished to reach out to Jews and "believers and non-believers alike" and asked for prayers from the St. Peter's Square onlookers as he assumed "this enormous task."
Pope Benedict XVI Reaches Out to Muslims
A day after reaching out to other Christians and to Jews in his installation Mass, Pope Benedict XVI met Monday with members of the Muslim community, assuring them the church wanted to continue building "bridges of friendship" that he said could foster peace in the world.
Pope Benedict XVI Faces Huge Challenges
He was known for the past 24 years as the Vatican's enforcer. But the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has now become the spiritual leader of more than one billion Catholics. And, as such, he carries with him the tough and controversial points of view that he has expressed in the past.
He has also said the modern world has caused feminists to be adversaries of men. He has called homosexuality an intrinsic moral evil. He has argued that predominantly Muslim Turkey does not belong in Christian Europe. And a church document he wrote maintains that Catholicism is the only true religion.
Hardcover Nonfiction
10 A DEADLY GAME, by Catherine Crier with Cole Thompson. (ReganBooks/HarperCollins, $27.95.) A former judge and current Court TV analyst looks at the Scott Peterson case.
E Exempt
C Children
C8+ Children eight years and older
General programming, suitable for all audiences
PG Parental guidance
14+ Viewers 14 year and older
18+ Adult programming
WASHINGTON – House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) today congratulated the president’s nominee for NASA administrator, Dr. Michael Griffin, who was confirmed to lead the agency by a unanimous vote in the U.S. Senate.

“Michael Griffin is the right choice to lead NASA, and I am glad the Senate recognized that and completed the confirmation process so quickly,” DeLay said. “Now we can move on to fulfilling the vision President Bush, Dr. Griffin, and I all share – to send a man back to the moon and on to Mars.”
Tom DeLay serves as majority leader, the second ranking leader in the United States House of Representatives. He is responsible for developing the issues and policies that form the Republican agenda, in conjunction with committee chairmen and the rest of the leadership. DeLay sets the legislative schedule by selecting which bills the House will consider and the timing of their consideration. DeLay also coordinates House committees’ work to ensure national priorities are addressed.
More Wrangling Over Tom DeLay
(CBS/AP) In an ethics stalemate that is rivaling the most partisan legislative struggles, House Republicans are proposing an investigation of Majority Leader Tom DeLay while threatening to put several Democrats under scrutiny as well.

Republicans made their second attempt in two weeks Wednesday to get a deadlocked House ethics committee functioning again, adding the new proposal to blunt Democratic demands for an investigation of DeLay. Some House Republicans have acknowledged the steady Democratic attacks have made them nervous.
Junkets Didn't Start With Tom DeLay
WASHINGTON (CBS) A new study shows that members of Congress have taken more than $16 million in privately financed trips over the past five years, with many of the trips sponsored by non-profit groups that are not obligated to disclose who paid the bills.
DeLay has company in ethical gray areas

By Jim Drinkard and Kathy Kiely, USA TODAY
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is defending himself against accusations of ethics violations by insisting he didn't do anything that fellow lawmakers haven't done. The Texas Republican has a point.

Like DeLay, dozens of lawmakers have paid family members to work for their campaigns. It's common to take privately financed "fact-finding" trips to resort locations, as DeLay did. And many members of Congress, particularly those in leadership roles or with presidential aspirations, pump money into state legislative races to enhance their influence.
Filibuster and Cloture

Using the filibuster to delay debate or block legislation has a long history. In the United States, the term filibuster -- from a Dutch word meaning "pirate" -- became popular in the 1850s when it was applied to efforts to hold the Senate floor in order to prevent action on a bill.

In the early years of Congress, representatives as well as senators could use the filibuster technique. As the House grew in numbers, however, it was necessary to revise House rules to limit debate. In the smaller Senate, unlimited debate continued since senators believed any member should have the right to speak as long as necessary.

In 1841, when the Democratic minority hoped to block a bank bill promoted by Henry Clay, Clay threatened to change Senate rules to allow the majority to close debate. Thomas Hart Benton angrily rebuked his colleague, accusing Clay of trying to stifle the Senate's right to unlimited debate. Unlimited debate remained in place in the Senate until 1917. At that time, at the suggestion of President Woodrow Wilson, the Senate adopted a rule (Rule 22) that allowed the Senate to end a debate with a two-thirds majority vote -- a tactic known as "cloture."

The new Senate rule was put to the test in 1919, when the Senate invoked cloture to end a filibuster against the Treaty of Versailles. Despite the new cloture rule, however, filibusters continued to be an effective means to block legislation, due in part to the fact that a two-thirds majority vote is difficult to obtain. Over the next several decades, the Senate tried numerous times to evoke cloture, but failed to gain the necessary two-thirds vote. Filibusters were particularly useful to southern senators blocking civil rights legislation in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1975, the Senate reduced the number of votes required for cloture from two-thirds (67) to three-fifths (60) of the 100-member Senate.

Many Americans are familiar with the hours-long filibuster of Senator Jefferson Smith in Frank Capra's film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, but there have been some famous filibusters in the real-life Senate as well. During the 1930s, Senator Huey P. Long effectively used the filibuster against bills that he thought favored the rich over the poor. The Louisiana senator frustrated his colleagues while entertaining spectators with his recitations of Shakespeare and his reading of recipes for "pot-likkers." Long once held the Senate floor for fifteen hours. The record for the longest individual speech goes to South Carolina's J. Strom Thurmond who filibustered for 24 hours and 18 minutes against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
Under Senate rules, the speech need not be relevant to the topic under discussion, and there have been cases in which a senator has undertaken part of a speech by reading from a telephone directory. Senator Strom Thurmond set a record in 1957 by filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1957 for 24 hours and 18 minutes. Thurmond broke the previous record of 22 hours and 26 minutes set by Wayne Morse (I-OR) in 1953 protesting the Tidelands Oil legislation.

Preparations for a filibuster can be elaborate. Sometimes cots are brought into the hallways or cloakrooms for senators to sleep on. According to Newsweek, "They used to call it 'taking to the diaper,' a phrase that referred to the preparation undertaken by a prudent senator before an extended filibuster"[1] ( Strom Thurmond visited a steam room before his filibuster in order to dehydrate himself so he could drink without urinating. An aide stood by in the cloakroom with a pail in case of emergency.

Filibusters have become much more common in recent decades. Twice as many filibusters took place in the 1991-1992 legislative session as in the entire nineteenth century. (Frozen Republic, 198)
Posted by Gene Vorobyov on March 20, 2005 at 02:16 PM
I found Manshardt v. Federal Judicial Qualifications Committee fascinating because it sheds some light on the topic that interested me for a long time - how does one become a federal judge.

As it turns out, two CA senators (Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer) formed the Federal Judicial Qualifications Committee with a private citizen (and a Republican party member) Gerald Parsky, which screens the names of potential nominees for district court and U.S. Attorney positions, and makes recommendations to the President. A private citizen (and a candidate for a U.S. Attorney position in Los Angeles) sued the Committee, alleging that its activities violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act (1) by not giving notice of its meetings and holding them open to the public, (2) by not filing a chapter with the General Accounting Services.

The holding of the case is fairly unremarkable. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of the defendant's motion to dismiss, reasoning that the Federal Advisory Committee Act did not create an enforceable private remedy. In reaching this conclusion, the court relied on the text and structure of the Act,which did not expressly create an enforceable private remedy, and the court declined to infer one absent clear Congressional intent. (Alexander v. Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275 (2001).)

But the process of appointment strikes me as inherently undemocratic and somewhat imperial. It is understandable that appointment to the federal bench is a discretionary choice by the President, based on recommendations of U.S. Senators. As a practical matter, these folks are going to select whomever they want. But the process does not even have a token appearance of openness and impartiality, i.e., it does not invite or allow a lawyer to just submit an application for an open judicial position. In contrast, in California, one can at least express an interest in an open state judicial position by simply applying, i.e., without knowing anyone at the highest levels of power.
Will TV indecency ban become censorship?

Associated Press
"We don't need to have United States government commissars telling the American people what they can watch," says Sanders, who is concerned that already, even without new restrictive laws in force, spooked broadcasters are erring on the side of caution. In other words, censoring themselves.

He points to the 66 ABC affiliates that opted not to air the patriotic war film "Saving Private Ryan" last November because of fears that the FCC might rule certain swear words in the film to be indecent (it didn't). And last spring, some PBS stations removed the image of a nude lithograph from "Antiques Roadshow."

Not too much further down this slippery slope, Sanders warns, "you might find some people here in Congress and some right-wing fundamentalists arguing that, in the midst of the war on terrorism, attacks against the president of the United States border on indecency."

A poll released last week reported broad public support for curbing media indecency. But the Pew Research Center survey found something else: By 48 to 41 percent, respondents saw greater danger in the government imposing undue restrictions on the entertainment industry than from harmful material the industry might dispense.
Will TV indecency ban become censorship?

Associated Press
With a four-letter word here and a "wardrobe malfunction" there, surely someone in power - the executives, the stars, the creators? - deserves a good thrashing. Viewers may not agree on what indecency is or how to fix it. But they want someone to answer for TV's sins.
Ethics investigation extends to legislators' travel in Pacific

By Kate Zernike and Phil Shenon The New York Times
DeLay also visited the Marianas in late 1997 on a trip arranged by Abramoff. The documents, obtained by The New York Times under a Freedom of Information request, do not include information about how DeLay's expenses were covered.

DeLay, his aides and two Democrats all said they thought the travel had been paid for by the government of the Marianas or, in one case, by an educational group, the National Security Caucus Foundation, which would have been in accordance with House ethics rules.

The former director of that group, Gregg Hilton, said in an interview on Tuesday that the group, now defunct, had not paid for the trip, and that he had believed the trips were being paid for by the Marianas government. According to the records, Hilton's own travel to the Marianas was paid for by Abramoff.

Abramoff, who is now under scrutiny by a federal grand jury in Washington and two Senate committees, also played a role in arranging and paying for a trip to Britain for DeLay, his wife and members of his staff in May 2000.

The investigations into Abramoff have centered on whether he defrauded Native American tribes he represented, but in recent weeks, Democratic House members have urged that the inquiry be expanded to include his activities in the Marianas. The islands, under scrutiny for the sweatshop-like conditions in their garment factories, hired Abramoff in 1995 to help them fend off legislation aimed at establishing American workplace and wage standards.

One of the Democrats who went on the trips, Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina, said in an interview on Tuesday that he had been assured that his trip was in full accordance with House travel rules and had been paid for by the National Security Caucus Foundation. He released a copy of a letter dated Dec. 17, 1996, that invited members of Congress on the trip.

"I've never heard of Abramoff - or whatever his name is - until all this stuff hit a few weeks ago," Clyburn said noting that the invitation had been signed by Admiral Thomas Moorer, a former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"The invitation was signed by a chairman of the Joint Chiefs," Clyburn said. "What was I supposed to believe?"

Dan Allen, a spokesman for DeLay, said that the congressman and his aides had been assured that the trips were paid for by the islands' government. Allen said he did not know the details of how DeLay's hotel and air-travel bills had been paid.

Andrew Blum, a spokesman for Abramoff, declined to answer questions, but issued a release that includes a statement saying: "Abramoff once again is being singled out for actions that are commonplace in Washington, D.C., and are totally proper."

James Brooke contributed reporting from Saipan.

WASHINGTON Newly disclosed documents from an American island territory in the Pacific show that a powerful Washington lobbyist at the center of a government corruption investigations paid directly for travel to the islands by several members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, as well as by two senior aides to Tom DeLay, the majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives.

House rules bar such payments.

The lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, submitted bills to his law firm for more $350,000 in expenses for several trips to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in 1996 and 1997 on behalf of the congressmen as well as several others, including Edwin Buckham, DeLay's former chief of staff, and Tony Rudy, his former deputy chief of staff.

In letters and e-mails to the Marianas government, Abramoff said that he had paid for the trips and asked the island government, which had hired him to lobby against proposed labor laws that would have affected the islands' garment industry, to send him checks.

House travel rules bar lobbyists from paying for congressional travel, even if the lobbyist is later reimbursed by a group or government agency that is allowed to pay for such travel.

DeLay also visited the Marianas in late 1997 on a trip arranged by Abramoff. The documents, obtained by The New York Times under a Freedom of Information request, do not include information about how DeLay's expenses were covered.

DeLay, his aides and two Democrats all said they thought the travel had been paid for by the government of the Marianas or, in one case, by an educational group, the National Security Caucus Foundation, which would have been in accordance with House ethics rules.
Parallels Between Scandal of 90's and Travel Issue

Published: May 4, 2005
The House ethics committee, which is scheduled to meet Wednesday to begin work for the year after resolving an impasse over rules, is expected to open an inquiry soon into the travels of Mr. DeLay and his relationship with Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist who helped arrange trips for him. The panel could end up examining the travel history of other members as well, and the work is likely to take months, perhaps extending into next year.
Hardcover Nonfiction
5 ON BULL----, by Harry G. Frankfurt. (Princeton University, $9.95.) A philosopher attempts a theoretical understanding of a "vast and amorphous" phenomenon.
Ad blitz supporting Bush nominees
At the same time, recent internal Republican polling found only minority support for the GOP plan to abolish judicial filibusters, with much of the public said it views as political in nature. At the same time, a heavy majority in the same poll favored guaranteeing all nominees a yes-or-no vote.
Frist defends efforts to end judicial filibusters
Controversial rally to include video from Senate leader
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist was telling conservatives on Sunday that judges deserve "respect, not retaliation," no matter how they rule, and he defended his effort to strip Democrats of their ability to block votes on President Bush's court nominees.
Phoenix (1) vs. Memphis (8)
San Antonio (2) vs. Denver (7)
Seattle (3) vs. Sacramento (6)
Dallas (4) vs. Houston (5)

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