Day: February 25, 2009

The DC Representation Bill

The United States Senate has finally agreed to consider a bill that would give Washington, DC a voting Representative, along with adding a new Congressman for the state of Utah, which just missed adding a Representative after the last census in 2000.  This bill would raise the number of members of the House of Representatives permanently from 435 to 437, with the Utah seat up for contention after the 2010 census based on the population growth at the time.

This means we would see a Democratic seat added for DC and a Republican seat added for Utah.  It would rectify the wrong of not giving Washington, DC, which has the population of a small state, representation throughout its long history.  Just because DC is not a state does not mean that the district should be denied full representation in the House. 

Senator Robert Bryd, the senior member of the Senate, claims that this move to grant DC equal status is unconstitutional as DC is not a state and only states are to be given congressional representation.  This is, in my opinion, short sighted and unjust, but a solution would be to try again a constitutional amendment to make DC the state of Columbia.  The problem is that it is unlikely that the states would agree to create a state guaranteed to have two Democratic senators due to its heavy African American population.  This was the reason why the proposed amendment years ago collapsed after only a few states went along with that idea.

So despite Senator Byrd and constitutional "purists", the only way to give any justice to the nation’s capital is to push this idea of one voting Representative as one small token of accepting the legitimacy of the DC population’s right to representation.  Let us hope this action takes place very soon!

Bobby Jindal, Universal Criticism, and the Issue of Volcanic Monitoring

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal really scored a low rating yesterday when he agreed to give the Republican response to the speech of President Obama before a joint session of Congress.

Even those who are of his party persuasion and share his conservative philosophy panned his performance, and he was also criticized for drawing attention to a portion of the economic stimulus bill that called for funding for Volcanic Monitoring.

Anyone who knows anything about the geology of  North America, and including Alaska and even the Hawaiian Islands, knows that we are a geologically active continent and that it is necessary to monitor volcanoes as a sudden eruption could have a disastrous effect on planes flying nearby.  In fact, this has already happened in the past, one time shutting down all four engines on a 747. 

We are reaching the silly season when we are being told NOT to monitor something that could lead to a natural disaster that could cost the government billions of dollars and major loss of life, and would lead to recriminations that our government was unprepared for a natural emergency. 

Public opinion polls show clearly that the majority of the American people back Obama and have no faith in the Republican party, which was the major contributor to the series of problems we now face.  This is the result of 12 years of Republican Congresses and eight years of a disastrous Republican presidency.