In her final days as Commander of the International Space Station, Sunita Williams of NASA recorded an extensive tour of the orbital laboratory. It is pretty interesting.
Bob Woodward on why the President chose fomer Senator Chuck Hagel (R) to be Secretary of Defense:
“The two share similar views and philosophies as the Obama administration attempts to define the role of the United States in the transition to a post-superpower world. This worldview is part hawk and part dove. It amounts, in part, to a challenge to the wars of President George W. Bush. It holds that the Afghanistan war has been mismanaged and the Iraq war unnecessary. War is an option, but very much a last resort.”
“So, this thinking goes, the U.S. role in the world must be carefully scaled back — this is not a matter of choice but of facing reality; the military needs to be treated with deep skepticism; lots of strategic military and foreign policy thinking is out of date; and quagmires like Afghanistan should be avoided.”
In Allen Loudell’s blog on the surprise of Senator Tom Carper introducing a bill that would grant statehood to the District of Columbia, he included a paragraph that I found perplexing:
Since many Republicans regard D.C. statehood as tantamount to handing the Democrats two new perpetual U.S. Senate seats, and a Democratic House seat, this latest statehood legislation may be only symbolic. Critics of D.C. statehood also offer legal objections: The U.S. Constitution holds that only states can be represented in Congress, and consequently, a Constitutional Amendment would be required.
First, it reveals just how simultaneously racist and evil the Republicans are. They justify denying full citizenship and representation to the residents of the District of Columbia because those residents will never vote for the Republican Party because the residents are black. Ok. So according to the Republican Party, enjoyment of your full rights under the Constitution and having representation in Congress depends entirely on your love of the GOP.
But, shockingly, the more troubling thing about this paragraph is the second sentence. The sentence says that people criticize the DC Statehood bill, which will, by definition, make the District of Columbia a state entitled to representation in Congress by two Senators and at least one Representative, because the Constitution presumably requires a Constitutional Amendment in order to create a new state. That is 100% false, and a simple google search would have reviewed that to either the critics (who are presumably teabaggers, conservatives or Republicans, and thus by their nature are prone to be unintelligent) or to Mr. Loudell, who neglects to correct that impression in his blog post.
The U.S. Constitution is pretty brief on how new states are created, noting only that “[n]ew States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union” and forbidding a new state to be created out of the territory of an existing state, or the merging of two or more states into one, without the consent of both Congress and all the state legislatures involved. It does not state that an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is required to create a new state. The Constitution leaves it pretty much up to Congress to pass legislation creating new states.
If you haven’t yet…Just listen to John Kerry on climate change.