Who Won the Week? 06/20/2021

FWWTWThe idea behind Who Won the Week is to give you the opportunity to select who (or what) you think “won” this past week. Your selection can be anyone or anything — politicians, celebrities, athletes, authors, bloggers, your friends or family members, books, movies, TV shows, businesses, organizations, whatever.

I will be posting this prompt on Sunday mornings (my time). If you want to participate, write your own post designating who you think won the week and why you think they deserve your nod. Then link back to this post and tag you post with FWWTW.

I often have difficulty, given the state of the world, picking a Who Won the Week winner. Not so this week, though. In fact, I have two winners this week: Juneteenth and the Affordable Care Act. Let’s take them one-by-one.

Juneteenth

This past week Congress overwhelmingly passed a bill, which President Biden signed into law, making June 19th a federal holiday. June 19th is known as “Juneteenth,” a day commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. It is also often observed for celebrating African-American culture.

Juneteenth celebrates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered and about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.

It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. One of the federal holidays, Inauguration Day, happens every four years.

Upon signing the bill into law, Biden said, “This is a day of profound weight and profound power, a day in which we remember the moral stain, the terrible toll that slavery took on the country and continues to take.”

The Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act, also known as ACA and Obamacare, survived yet another challenge to the legislation passed under Barak Obama that provided health coverage to 31 million Americans who previously had none. This week the Supreme Court voted 7-to-2 to turn aside the latest effort by Republicans to kill the health care law.

And yet, for some reason that I just can’t fathom, after more than a decade as law and multiple failed challenges in Congress and efforts to have the Supreme Court kill the ACA, 77% of identified Republicans still disapprove of Obamacare.

What about you? Who (or what) do you think won the week?

Who Won the Week? 06/13/2021

FWWTWThe idea behind Who Won the Week is to give you the opportunity to select who (or what) you think “won” this past week. Your selection can be anyone or anything — politicians, celebrities, athletes, authors, bloggers, your friends or family members, books, movies, TV shows, businesses, organizations, whatever.

I will be posting this prompt on Sunday mornings (my time). If you want to participate, write your own post designating who you think won the week and why you think they deserve your nod. Then link back to this post and tag you post with FWWTW.

This week’s Who Won the Week winner is the environment. It’s about time the environment started winning, isn’t it?

So how did the environment win? Well, have you ever heard of the XL Pipeline? The 1,200 mile Keystone XL pipeline was first proposed in 2008 by Canada-based TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) as a way to quickly pump 830,000 barrels of tar sands (a.k.a. oil sands) per day from Canada’s Alberta province across the border to Steele City, Nebraska.Once there, the Keystone XL expansion would extend converge with the existing pipeline infrastructure, traveling south to Texas for processing in Gulf Coast oil refineries.

When the idea for Keystone XL was first conceived, the project made a lot of sense — the U.S. economy depended on oil, and supporters of the pipeline claimed it was in both countries’ interest to find a way to transport oil efficiently across the continent.

However, many Indigenous rights groups and people from communities along the proposed route argued the pipeline extension would have disastrous impacts for Native communities in both Canada and the U.S. and on the environment.

Environmental groups took note of Indigenous opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and the pipeline became a cause célèbre of the various stakeholders — Native communities, climate activists, scientists, policymakers, farmers, landowners, and everyday citizens — engaging in the broader debate about climate change.

Facing pressure from the anti-Keystone movement, President Obama finally canceled the pipeline in 2015, saying the pipeline wouldn’t make gas any cheaper or improve American energy security.

But in January 2016, TC Energy filed a lawsuit against the U.S. for canceling Keystone XL pipeline. And of course, In January 2017, just days into his presidency, Donald Trump issued an executive order inviting TC Energy to reapply for a presidential permit for Keystone XL to cross the Canadian border. He also promised a speedy approval process.

President Joe Biden issued an executive order revoking the pipeline’s permit on his first day in office, halting construction on the project. And finally, this past Wednesday, the Canadian developer TC Energy said that, after reviewing its options, the company had decided not to move forward. And so the embattled Keystone XL pipeline has officially been abandoned.

Good for the environment and good for the Indigenous people in both Canada and the U.S.

What about you? Who (or what) do you think won the week?

Who Won the Week? 06/06/2021

FWWTWThe idea behind Who Won the Week is to give you the opportunity to select who (or what) you think “won” this past week. Your selection can be anyone or anything — politicians, celebrities, athletes, authors, bloggers, your friends or family members, books, movies, TV shows, businesses, organizations, whatever.

I will be posting this prompt on Sunday mornings (my time). If you want to participate, write your own post designating who you think won the week and why you think they deserve your nod. Then link back to this post and tag you post with FWWTW.

This week’s Who Won the Week winner is Philip Uster. Who, you ask, is Philip Uster? Oh, he’s just a senator in the U.S. Congress who may be singlehandedly responsible for the death of democracy in America, is all.

Okay, that is not true. There is no Senator Philip Uster in Congress. He’s is a fictional creation. I’m actually writing about the filibuster, and when I decided to write a post about filibustering, I thought I was being quite clever in creating a persona named Philip Uster as a literary device for that infamous congressional procedure.

So what is a filibuster? The word originally derived from a Dutch term for pirate, robber, or “freebooter.” It was defined as someone who engaged in illegal activities for self-gain.

It has since evolved. According to Dictionary.com, a filibuster is “the use of obstructive tactics by a member of a legislative assembly to prevent the adoption of a measure generally favored or to force a decision against the will of the majority.”

It also used to be an exceptionally long speech, as one lasting for a day or days, or a series of such speeches to accomplish this purpose. But more on that later.

Philip Uster — I mean the filibuster — was born in 1806 when the Senate changed its rules, enabling a way to delay or block floor votes. The first actual filibuster in the Senate occurred in 1837. But it wasn’t until the 1930s when the filibuster really came of age.

Senator Huey Long of Louisiana used it against bills that he thought favored the rich over the poor. He would take up time — once up to 15 hours — by reciting Shakespeare and reading recipes. The record for the longest individual speech, however, belongs to South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond, who filibustered for 24 hours and 18 minutes against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

Do you remember when I said earlier that the filibuster used to be an exceptionally long speech? Not any more. In the 1970s, the Senate introduced the concept of the “silent filibuster,” which enabled members to indicate that they merely intended to filibuster to block a measure. To bring this “non-filibuster” to an end in order to vote on the question, at least 60 senators must vote for cloture. So while the Senate likes to call itself “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” these days the minority party uses the filibuster as a blocking tactic for nearly any significant legislation that doesn’t address that party’s priorities.The Republican strategy in the Biden administration, like it was when Obama was president, is crystal clear: obstruct everything. The GOP battle cry has been to stop Biden from passing legislation at all costs. If Biden and the Democrats support it, they oppose it, even if “it” was something they previously supported or even proposed.

This past week the Republicans in the Senate were able to kill the effort to create a bipartisan commission to study what happened during the insurrection of the Capitol building — their place of employment — on January 6th because not even ten Republicans voted in favor.

In the Senate today no significant legislation can be introduced or votes taken without a super majority of 60 votes. Thanks to these arcane procedural rules on filibusters, it requires only 41 senators out of 100 to quash a bill.

So much for “majority rules.”

What about you? Who (or what) do you think won the week?

Who Won the Week? 05/30/2021

FWWTWThe idea behind Who Won the Week is to give you the opportunity to select who (or what) you think “won” this past week. Your selection can be anyone or anything — politicians, celebrities, athletes, authors, bloggers, your friends or family members, books, movies, TV shows, businesses, organizations, whatever.

I will be posting this prompt on Sunday mornings (my time). If you want to participate, write your own post designating who you think won the week and why you think they deserve your nod. Then link back to this post and tag you post with FWWTW.

This week’s Who Won the Week winner is, unfortunately, gun violence in America. So far this year, in just five months, there have been at least 232 mass shootings. And that includes 15 mass murders, which is defined as four or more people killed.Meanwhile, two gun reform bills that have been passed by the House of Representatives are pending in the senate. These bills would require expanded background checks for gun purchasers and would give authorities ten business days for federal background checks to be completed before a gun sale can be permitted.

But these bills are unlikely to get passed in the Senate even though the majority of Americans, including Republicans, support more effective gun laws. But most Senate Republicans will vote against gun reform legislation. And even with the Democrats holding a 51-50 majority in the Senate (with VP Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote giving the Dems the majority), the Republicans will block gun reform legislation due to the filibuster.

The filibuster is a Senate procedural rule that requires a vote by 60 of the 100 senators to cut off debate and advance a bill. With the Senate divided 50-50, Democrats would need the support of 10 Republicans to move most bills.

And so gun violence in America is the winner of the week, with no end in sight.

What about you? Who (or what) do you think won the week?

Who Won the Week? 05/16/2021

FWWTWThe idea behind Who Won the Week is to give you the opportunity to select who (or what) you think “won” this past week. Your selection can be anyone or anything — politicians, celebrities, athletes, authors, bloggers, your friends or family members, books, movies, TV shows, businesses, organizations, whatever.

I will be posting this prompt on Sunday mornings (my time). If you want to participate, write your own post designating who you think won the week and why you think they deserve your nod. Then link back to this post and tag you post with FWWTW.

Never in a million years did I ever think I’d select a conservative Republican member of the U.S. Congress as my Who Won the Week winner. But I did. I chose Wyoming Republican representative Liz Cheney as this week’s winner.Why on earth, you ask, would I select a consistently conservative congresswoman who voted with Trump on substantive issues 93 percent of the time as my winner? Have I lost my marbles? Well, one could argue that all of the Republicans in Congress have lost their marbles.

This week, House of Representatives Republicans voted to purge (i.e., “cancel”) Liz Cheney from their leadership ranks, ousting her as the number three leader in retaliation for her ongoing criticism of the former president and his claim that last year’s election was stolen.

Good for Liz. Seems she’s the only Republican in the House with the balls to question Trump’s Big Lie.

Cheney challenged Republicans to turn away from Trump after the January 6th attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building that was instigated by Trump and carried out by a horde of his rabid MAGA-maniacs. Cheney said, “There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution. If you want leaders who will enable and spread his destructive lies, I’m not your person.”

Cheney said that she is “deeply, deeply concerned about where our party is headed.” She said that the Republican core principles of limited government, low taxes, and a strong national defense were being overshadowed by darker forces. “We cannot become the party of QAnon,” she said. “We cannot become the party of Holocaust denial. We cannot become the party of white supremacy.”

Sorry, Liz, but it might be too late for that. You should have realized what the Republican Party under Trump had become long before now.

But, for what it’s worth, after being ousted from her post, Cheney said that she is still committed to doing “everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets near the Oval Office.”

You go, girl.

What about you? Who (or what) do you think won the week?