Category : Senate

(NYT Op-Ed) Fraidy Reiss–America’s Child-Marriage Problem

In the United States today, thousands of children under 18 have recently taken marital vows ”” mostly girls married to adult men, often with approval from local judges. In at least one case, a 10-year-old boy was legally married.

How is this possible? The minimum marriage age in most states is 18, but every state allows exceptions under which children under age 18 can wed.

The first common exception is for children marrying with “parental consent.” Most states allow children age 16 or 17 to marry if their parents sign the marriage license application.

Of course, one person’s “parental consent” can be another’s “parental coercion,” but state laws typically do not call for anyone to investigate whether a child is marrying willingly. Even in the case of a girl’s sobbing openly while her parents sign the application and force her into marriage, the clerk usually has no authority to intervene. In fact, in most states there are no laws that specifically forbid forced marriage.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Senate, Teens / Youth, Theology

(WSJ) Charles Moore–Western countries must honestly face The Middle-Class Squeeze

Since the financial crisis of 2007-08, which Western leader could boast of spreading ownership in any important way? In the U.S. and Britain, the percentage of citizens owning stocks or houses is well down from the late 1980s. In Britain, the average age for buying a first home is now 31 (and many more people than before depend on “the bank of Mom and Dad” to help them do so). In the mid-’80s, it was 27. My own children, who started work in London in the last two years, earn a little less, in real terms, than I did when I began in 1979, yet house prices are 15 times higher. We have become a society of “have lesses,” if not yet of “have nots.”

In a few lines of work, earnings have shot forward. In 1982, only seven U.K. financial executives were receiving six-figure salaries. Today, tens of thousands are (an enormous increase, even allowing for inflation). The situation is very different for the middle-ranking civil servant, attorney, doctor, teacher or small-business owner. Many middle-class families now depend absolutely on the income of both parents in a way that was unusual even as late as the 1980s.

In Britain and the U.S., we are learning all over again that it is not the natural condition of the human race for children to be better off than their parents. Such a regression, in societies that assume constant progress, is striking. Imagine the panic if the same thing happened to life expectancy.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Federal Reserve, Foreign Relations, Globalization, History, House of Representatives, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Pensions, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Senate, Taxes, The U.S. Government, Theology

The full text of Pope Francis' historic address to U.S. Congress today

Yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of Moses. On the one hand, the patriarch and lawgiver of the people of Israel symbolizes the need of peoples to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation. On the other, the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being. Moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work: you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, House of Representatives, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Other Churches, Politics in General, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Senate, Theology

(Gallup) 75% in U.S. See Widespread Government Corruption

Three in four Americans (75%) last year perceived corruption as widespread in the country’s government. This figure is up from two in three in 2007 (67%) and 2009 (66%).

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, Senate, Sociology, The U.S. Government, Theology

(Local Paper) Senator Tim Scott blasts transferring Gitmo terrorists to SC idea after touring brig

After accompanying Pentagon officials on a tour Wednesday of the Navy brig near Charleston, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott said he remained opposed to plans to transfer terrorists now held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to a mainland U.S. prison.

“The only solution is enemy combatants must stay in Guantanamo Bay,” Scott, R-S.C., said during a news conference outside the main gate to the Navy base. “One thing that’s completely clear, without any question, there is no compelling reason to close down Gitmo.”

The Navy brig and the Army Detention Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., are among the sites being considered for holding terrorist detainees if President Barack Obama succeeds in shutting down the prison at Gitmo.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Prison/Prison Ministry, Senate, Terrorism, Theology

(LA Times) The talking ”” and arguing ”” points of the Iran nuclear deal

Criticism: Thousands of Iranian centrifuges will keep spinning.

The deal doesn’t dismantle or close Iran’s two uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordow. It does require Iran to reduce its centrifuge inventory by two-thirds and eliminate 98% of its stockpile of enriched uranium. Iran will be allowed to keep about 6,100 centrifuges for the next 10 years and continue some enrichment work.

White House response: Iran’s inventory of centrifuges will be cut drastically from nearly 20,000, which is enough to create fuel for as many as 10 bombs. It will be left with only its oldest and least efficient models. No enrichment will be allowed at Fordow, and other activities will be restricted to producing uranium enriched to a level of 3.67%, far below the nearly 90% usually required to make a bomb.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, History, House of Representatives, Iran, Middle East, Office of the President, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Senate, Theology

(Bloomberg) Iran, World Powers Have Reached Nuclear Agreement

Iran and six world powers sealed a historic accord to curb the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in return for ending sanctions, capping two years of tough diplomacy with the biggest breakthrough in relations in decades.

Diplomats reached the agreement in Vienna in their 18th day of talks, officials involved in the negotiations said. A final meeting was scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. local time.

The deal, if approved by the U.S. Congress, promises to end a 12-year standoff that has crippled Iran’s economy and drawn threats of military action from the U.S. and Israel. Full implementation would take months and be contingent on the pace at which Iran meets its obligations. It would enable the oil-rich nation to ramp up energy exports, access international funding and open its doors to global investors.

“This is probably going to go down in history as one of the biggest diplomatic successes of the century,” Ellie Geranmayeh, a policy fellow at the European Council of Foreign Relations, said by phone from London.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, History, House of Representatives, Iran, Middle East, Office of the President, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Senate

(Yahoo Finance) Rick Newman–Even After Yesterday's decision, ACA still faces big challenges

….the controversial law still faces a bumpy future. Here are five challenges the ACA will face during the next several years:

Healthcare costs are still too high. As many enrollees are discovering, the “Affordable” Care Act is somewhat misnamed. Healthcare costs continue to rise faster than wages or overall inflation, putting a financial burden even on people who have healthcare. A recent study by the Commonwealth Fund found that 23% of Americans who have healthcare coverage are “underinsured,” meaning their out-of-pocket spending on healthcare is more than 10% of their income in a given year. Deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs have been rising because consumers and businesses have been opting for plans with lower premiums””which usually require the patient to bear more of the cost before 100% coverage kicks in. The irony is that insurance has gotten more affordable, but actual healthcare hasn’t.

The ACA includes several long-term provisions meant to explore ways to lower costs, but they may not be nearly enough to offset other trends pushing costs up, such as the retirement of the baby boomers and the development of expensive new drugs. If Congress ever gets serious about improving the ACA rather that faux-repealing it, cost will be the thing to focus on.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Senate, Theology

Senator Tim Scott honors the 9 Lives Lost in Charleston on the Senate Floor

You need to take the time to watch it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Senate, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Senator Tim Scott talks about his friend the Rev. Clementa Pinckney

WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

I happened to catch this and I wanted to post it because it says so much about this community right now–here is a Republican talking about a Democrat, a friend talking about a friend, and a Christian talking about his brother in Christ.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Liturgy, Music, Worship, Politics in General, Senate, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(WSJ) U.S. to Add Forces in Iraq, but Move Doesn’t Quell Critics

Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) said he remained “deeply concerned” that the additional forces weren’t close enough to the front lines and couldn’t serve as spotters to strengthen the airstrike mission. “That is the kind of assistance the Iraqis need, but the president has refused to provide,” Mr. McCain said.

Members of Mr. Obama’s party were also unsettled. Rep. Adam Schiff, (D., Calif.) said that while he supports Mr. Obama’s move, he wasn’t hopeful about the political changes the Iraqis must make themselves in a country starkly divided along sectarian lines.

“In the absence of these reforms, there is little that we can do to convince Sunnis to cast out ISIL,” Mr. Schiff said, using an alternate term for Islamic State. Sen. Jon Tester (D., Mont.), agreed, saying the U.S. can’t go it alone. “America possesses the greatest fighting force the world has ever known, but we can’t put the Middle East back together by ourselves.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, House of Representatives, Iraq, Middle East, Office of the President, Politics in General, Senate, Theology

(AP via local paper) High-cost, skimpy health insurance next big campaign issue for Democrats

A different health care issue has emerged for Democrats, in sync with the party’s pitch to workers and middle-class voters ahead of next year’s elections.

It’s not the uninsured, but rather the problem of high out-of-pocket costs for people already covered.

Democrats call it “underinsurance.”

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Senate, Theology

(W Post) E J Dionne–Insight from when Sen. Coons addressed the Secular Coalition for America

“I was very active in the progressive community in my law school, and most of my friends were politically active progressives,” he said. “But I was unprepared for their response when word started filtering out that I had enrolled in divinity school. Some of them literally disowned me; my own roommates moved out. Several folks literally stopped speaking to me and acted as if I had lost my mind.”

His own background was thrown in his face, with friends saying: “Chris, you’re a scientist, you’re a chemist, you trained as a chemist as an undergraduate, how could you possibly believe this insane stuff…?”

Coons’s message was deceptively simple: that we must find ways of “getting past some of our misunderstandings of each other.” The problem: Respecting each other on matters of faith and politics seems beyond our current capacities.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Senate, Theology

(NYT Op-Ed) Thomas Edsall–Does Emphasizing Inequality cause voters to Trust the Government Less?

Even worse for Democrats, the Saez paper found that “information about inequality also makes respondents trust government less,” decreasing “by nearly twenty percent the share of respondents who ”˜trust government’ most of the time:”

Hence, emphasizing the severity of a social or economic problem appears to undercut respondents’ willingness to trust the government to fix it ”” the existence of the problem could act as evidence of the government’s limited capacity to improve outcomes.

The findings of the Saez group are consistent with Luttig’s. Taken together, they suggest that even if Democrats win the presidency and the Senate in 2016, largely on the basis of favorable demographic trends, the party will confront serious hurdles if it attempts to deliver material support to working men and women and the very poor. Redistribution is in trouble, and that is likely to tie American politics in knots for many years to come.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, House of Representatives, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Senate, Taxes, The U.S. Government, Theology

(Local paper) Walter Scott funeral: A tearful service for a beloved man

Before the service started, the crowd grew anxious, as hundreds started to push and shove each other, hoping to make it inside, and rain clouds loomed.

[Justin] Bamberg had to ask about 200 people to back away from the church doors before the service began to allow immediate family inside.

Among those in attendance were congressmen Jim Clyburn and Mark Sanford. U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, and state Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston, were also present, in addition to state Rep. Seth Whipper, Gov. Nikki Haley’s Chief of Staff James Burns and Department of Public Safety Director Leroy Smith.

Clyburn said after the service that lawmakers need to look at how to deal with child-support issues without loss of employment. Clyburn has asked Kimpson to make sure something gets done at the state level.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, City Government, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Senate, State Government, Theology

(Time) 10 Questions With James Baker

You and President George H.W. Bush oversaw the fall of the Soviet Union. Is there anything to stop Vladimir Putin from going back to some version of that system?

Our response has been severely tepid. I don’t think you can stand up and say that if they keep doing this, there are going to be grave consequences, and then they keep doing it and we don’t do anything….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, History, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, Senate, Theology

(McClatchy) Marijuana legalization gets a boost on Capitol Hill

Marijuana legalization got a boost on Capitol Hill on Tuesday as a trio of rising stars in the Senate launched an effort to rewrite federal drug laws.

The push to decriminalize at least the medical use of marijuana came from Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

Their move comes as another sign of how rapidly the politics of marijuana are shifting on Capitol Hill. Long an issue avoided by lawmakers with big political ambitions, marijuana legalization now presents opportunities to make inroads with new voters.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Senate, Theology

Senator John Kennedy's Speech on Washington's Birthday, 1957

It is fitting that you choose the birthday of George Washington as the date on which the men of Notre Dame pay formal tribute to our country and its eternal principles. For Washington’s Birthday, long before it became a delight to children excused from school and shoppers flocking to one-cent sales, was a day dedicated to the memory of not only the greatness of our first President but also to the greatness of the nation he led.

The custom of celebrating the 22nd of February dates back to 1783. According to the historian McMaster, “On that day and year a number of gentlemen met in a tavern at New York. One had written an ode; another brought a list of toasts. All, before they went reeling and singing home, agreed to assembly in the future on the 22nd of February and make merry over the birthday of Washington,” their illustrious commander-in-chief, protector and deliverer.

From this small, if not quiet, beginning, the practice of commemorating General Washington’s birthday spread. Every year, flags were displayed, cannons were fired, bells were rung, bonfires lit, cotillions held and toasts drunk in every city in the land. It was, in the words of one newspaper at that time, “America’s political Christmas” — a day of popular tribute to the nation’s most popular man, a day to honor him, to thank him, to wish him well, a day as permanent in the lives of the American people as the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Office of the President, Politics in General, Senate

(CC) Chris Coons–Why I went to seminary: A senator’s theological education

My decision to pursue a divinity degree surprised and even alienated a lot of my friends in the law school. My group of friends was very progressive, very accepting of everyone””everyone except, I learned, people of faith. A number of them stopped talking to me, and some acted like I had lost my mind. They were dismissive of divinity as a serious field of study. It was one of the first times I experienced some genuine intolerance as a person of faith, particularly from friends in the progressive community. It was a difficult and eye-opening experience.

Despite some resistance, I never doubted my choice. The next two years of my life were incredibly formative. After starting divinity school, I helped form a prayer group with a number of other law students who were also committed Christians, and it became a dominant feature in my social life. Although I had better formal instruction in the discipline, details, and doctrine of faith at the divinity school, I actually experienced my spiritual formation through interactions with my law school peers. They came from a broad range of cultural and political backgrounds””some were very conservative and some were progressive””but they were all struggling with the culture of law school and the same kinds of questions about our purpose. Why be a lawyer? Why be involved in service? Our discussions challenged my thinking and strengthened my faith.

If there’s one thing, more than any other, that came out of my formal training in scriptural analysis, it was a focus on humility””an insistence on humility””in asserting you know the will of God and understand the word of God.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Senate, Theology

The full text of the Republican Response To the 2015 State Of The Union Address

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

(Wash. Post) Senate report on CIA program details brutality, dishonesty

An exhaustive, five-year Senate investigation of the CIA’s secret interrogations of terrorism suspects renders a strikingly bleak verdict of a program launched in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, describing levels of brutality, dishonesty and seemingly arbitrary violence that at times brought even agency employees to moments of anguish.

The report by the Senate Intelligence Committee delivers new allegations of cruelty in a program whose severe tactics have been abundantly documented, revealing that agency medical personnel voiced alarm that waterboarding methods had deteriorated to “a series of near drownings” [among many other things]…

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Senate, The U.S. Government, Theology

Local Paper front page–Tim Scott takes historic oath, puts limit on serving in U.S. Senate

Tim Scott’s oath of office Tuesday on the floor of the U.S. Senate took on a historic significance – the swearing in of the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction.

That was followed later by Scott’s revelation that he didn’t plan to make the Senate a lifelong career.

Scott, R-S.C., who was elected in November to finish out the final two years of former Sen. Jim DeMint’s term, told reporters from his home state during a conference call that he hopes to be re-elected to two, full six-year terms and then plans to leave Washington.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, History, Politics in General, Senate

(Politico) Senate rejects Keystone Pipeline bill

Sen. Mary Landrieu’s bid to pass a Keystone XL pipeline bill fell short by the slimmest of margins Tuesday, leaving the $8 billion pipeline still on the table for the ascendant Republican Party to push the project to President Barack Obama’s desk in January.

The 59-41 Senate vote was just shy of the 60 votes needed to pass the bill, following a dramatic six days of whipping by the embattled Louisiana Democrat on an issue that almost all of Washington had expected to sit idle until next year.

The defeat deals a blow to Landrieu’s campaign ahead of her Dec. 6 runoff against GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy, whom polls show running comfortably ahead. Winning on Keystone would have helped her demonstrate her clout on the Hill as a champion of her state’s influential oil and gas industry.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Canada, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Senate, Theology

Sen. Tim Scott credits his single mother for his rise from poverty to the national stage

As a kid, Tim Scott badly wanted to fit in with the majority white kids at Stall High School, and the black kids, too. And he didn’t want any outward signs of his family’s poverty.

A pair of Converse high tops were the ticket.

But his mom said no.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Senate, Theology, Women

In Move that Surprised Many, the Supreme Court Takes On the Fate Of Obamacare (The ACA) Again

The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will hear the most serious challenge to the Affordable Care Act since the justices found it constitutional more than two years ago: a lawsuit targeting the federal subsidies that help millions of Americans buy health insurance.

More than 4 million people receive the subsidies, which the Obama administration contends are essential to the act by making insurance more affordable for low- and middle-income families.

But challengers say the administration is violating the plain language of the law. They are represented by the same conservative legal strategists who fell one vote short of convincing the court that the law was unconstitutional the last time around.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, Senate, The U.S. Government, Theology

(CNN) David Gergen–The sobering message for Obama

It should be sobering for the White House that when Obama took office, Democrats had 59 senators and 256 House members; after Tuesday night, they will likely have 45-47 senators and some 190 House members. That is one of the biggest slides in congressional seats of any modern president. Surely, his White House has to take serious responsibility — and look for ways to leave a better legacy.

Ӣ This was an unexpectedly big night for the GOP: Predictions for Republicans were already high, but they blew the doors off. Who could have imagined Republicans winning the governorships of Maryland and Massachusetts, winning Senate seats in Obama states such as Colorado and Iowa, and assembling their biggest coalition in the House of Representatives since the 1940s.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Theology

Dan Diamond with some Perpective on Last Night's Election

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, Senate, State Government

(The State) Lindsey Graham, South Carolina incumbents win

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham easily won a third term to the Senate Tuesday ”“ adding three more vanquished challengers to the half-dozen Republicans he defeated in the June GOP primary.

“I return to the Senate not to seek revenge, but with a burning desire to right the ship of state before it’s too late,” Graham said in a statement from his campaign. “I’m seeking willing partners on both sides of the aisle.

“Tonight, the American people are choosing divided government and rejecting President Obama’s policies, which ”“ he rightly indicated ”“ were on the ballot. The question for the country is ”“ can a conservative Republican Congress work with a liberal Democratic president to move our nation forward? The answer should be yes. I believe it must be yes.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Politics in General, Senate, State Government, Theology

(Politico) GOP takes control of Senate in midterm rout

Republicans seized control of the U.S. Senate and were on track to expand their grip on the House of Representatives and governorships in the 2014 elections, marking a dramatic midterm rout that cut deep into territory President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party won by commanding margins only two years ago.

With several Democratic-held Senate seats still up for grabs, the GOP has already captured more than the six seats required to take the upper chamber of Congress. Their candidates ousted Democratic incumbents in North Carolina, Arkansas and Colorado and sailed into the open seats of retiring Democrats in West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana. A seventh Republican candidate, Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst, won a brutally competitive open-seat race in Iowa to pad the GOP’s new majority.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, Senate

Not for lack of trying, Democrats couldn’t distance themselves from an unpopular president

Republicans swept to control of the U.S. Senate by capitalizing on voter anger over President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, setting up a clash of priorities that will shape his final two years in office and the race to succeed him.

The economy was voters’ most pressing concern as they cast their ballots in the midterm election, with seven of 10 rating conditions poor, preliminary exit polls showed.

More than five years after the recession ended, ordinary Americans still feel pinched. Wages and incomes haven’t recovered even as corporate profits hit records, stocks have almost tripled and the nation’s output of goods and services grew more than $1 trillion from its pre-recession peak.

Read it all from Bloomberg.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, Senate, Theology