The United States used to have a House of Representatives and a Senate.
They operated under different rules.
The House requires a simple majority vote to do anything.
The Senate requires at least 60 votes to pass much of what comes before the 100 members.
(In ‘the ol’ days’ there used to be something called a filibuster, where a Senator would actually speak on the floor of the Senate forever in order to block a vote on a piece of legislation — unless there were 60 votes to shut down the filibuster.)
Today . . . all of that changed.
The Senate changed its long-standing rule —and eliminated the need for a super-majority (60 votes) to consent to a nomination for a member of the Supreme Court.
Since 1954, only two Supreme Court nominees (out of twenty-six) have been approved with less than 60 votes.
Now, we have two houses of Congress where only a simple majority is required to pass major legislation; and in the case of the Senate – lifetime appointments.
What was once known as the greatest deliberative body in the world (The United States Senate) faded into the unremarkable today.
Can you hear the hammer striking the chisel as it chips away at our democratic republic?
Hey, everybody — did you hear she’s writing a new book?
No, really? That’s so exciting!
Who? Who’s writing a new book?
Penguin #1 (Reginald):
The lady who writes this blog, dummy!
Penguin #2 (Matilda):
What’s it about? Does it have a penguin hero?
Penguin #3 (Archibald):
Oh boy! A penguin hero! I can’t wait to read it!
Don’t be silly, Archibald! This blogger writes about human beings, because she is one, and she was taught to write about what she knows. She doesn’t know anything about us.
Oh drat. No penguin hero. Then why did you call us here today?
Yes, Reginald, I agree with Archibald — if it’s not about us . . . what is this new book about?
It’s about a woman named, Annie Mae Steinberg from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Her friends called her Mae.) The story begins in the late 1800s, when she travels west to South Dakota to become an actress on the stage of the Gem Theater. The Gem is located in a mining town called Deadwood.
Deadwood? O-o-o-h . . . that sounds scary!
Yes, it does sound frightening. Was she all alone out there?
Completely. She left all her friends and family back in Philadelphia to have her own adventure. You see, Mae was a dreamer . . . a bit like you, Archibald. But, fate stepped in and completely altered her grand plans.
Oh no. How? Why? What did fate do to her? I’m beginning to like this Mae human.
Me too! Tell us more, please.
I can’t . . . the book’s not finished . . . the blogger human is still writing it. We’ll just have to wait until it’s published.
Ya know what, Reginald? You suck! You called us all over here to share your big news, and now you tell us — you can’t tell us! What a jerk!
Now, now. Don’t be so hard on Reggie — he hasn’t been the same since he lost that part in “Penguins of Madagascar.”
Reginald’s head droops as he walks away:
Thanks a lot, Matilda. Just for that, I won’t tell you what the book is called, and you’ll never be able to find it to read. So there!
That’s not fair! I want to read about Mae. Sorry for calling you a jerk, Reginald.
I’m sorry too. You would have been the best actor in that movie — honest! Please tell us, Reggie.
Reginald turned, his ego restored, and with his head held high, declared:
Please return here at various intervals for updates on this human blogger’s progress with Mae’s Revenge. The target release date is early fall, 2017.
The kind of day where the last of the dry, dead leaves are ripped from the trees and are tossed high in the air, and tumbled over and over before they come to rest on the brown, crisp, dying lawns of the suburbs.
Raking occupied the last three weekends. Too soon.
But—the current windy day (one of the last of its kind this autumn) has decided to conduct one more performance by rustling the uppermost leafy branches of its arboreal orchestra.
The sky provides a bright blue curtain behind the pine, maple, oak, and dogwood musicians.
I watch and listen again to the wind as it takes its last gasp of warmth before winter.
For some reason, I always hear a balalaika playing “Lara’s Theme” from Doctor Zhivago.
On September 27th, 1958, a vote was held, with an overwhelming outcome, to keep the schools of Little Rock, Arkansas closed rather than integrate them. In September 1957, nine Black students known as the Little Rock Nine entered Central High School and were met by angry Protesters. Known as The Lost Year, high schools in the city remained closed for the entire 1958-59 academic term.
It is hard for me to comprehend that this happened less than sixty years ago.
There is an election coming up where one of the candidates wants to “Make America Great Again.”
The, “Again” part is what upsets me. Is this what he means? I remember the fire hoses and the dogs, and the people dragged beaten and bloody through the streets. Those images flashed across our TV screens almost every night when I was young.
It’s disturbing to see and hear white supremacist groups brazenly supporting a presidential candidate “again” in this country. Many of us thought their time had passed—and we were all the better for it.