A very brief Congressional explainer

I’ve seen a fair number of people who are confused about what the hell the House is doing right now. To be clear, I am very very far from being an expert, and it’s possible that I’m going to get some details incorrect in this, but I think I’ve got the basic gist, and if anybody sees any outright errors, please put them in comments and I’ll amend the post.

My current understanding is that Pelosi has brought the House back into session today and has already asked for unanimous consent to bring a bill to the floor calling on the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment. That unanimous consent has been denied, and therefore there will be a vote by the House on the bill tomorrow. Pence will be given 24 hours to do the right thing and then impeachment proceedings will begin.

I’ve seen a lot of people asking why they have to wait so long, and why they can’t vote on the bill today. That is, in fact, exactly what they asked for unanimous consent on. You cannot introduce a bill and vote on it on the same day; that’s been a rule for several years now, and it’s a rule that makes good sense– remember, a lot of the bills passed can be hundreds of pages long and complicated, so it makes sense to give people enough time to read the final version of the bill before they vote on it. Now, of course, you don’t need a full day to read a two-page resolution, but the rule still stands. The House can break their own rules with unanimous consent— in other words, if no House member disagrees with breaking the rule, a rule can be broken. But since they didn’t get that unanimous consent– the Republicans blocked it– they have to go to a full vote, and therefore have to wait until tomorrow, when the resolution will most assuredly pass.

Now, in theory, and at least as far as I know, they could also formally introduce the impeachment article or articles (more than one Congressperson has announced that they’re working on them, and I’m not sure who wrote the final text) today, and then again, in theory and as far as I know, they could vote on them or at least get the process started on Tuesday. They’re waiting an extra day to give Pence his 24 hours basically as a strategic measure, which … well, you can decide on your own whether that’s a good idea or not, given that Mitch McConnell has refused to bring the Senate back into session before the 19th. The resolution on Pence is something the House can do on its own. Impeachment is not. The only way to get that done any faster is if, oh, say, Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski were to agree to caucus with the Democrats for a while, giving them the majority immediately and making Chuck Schumer the Majority Leader. Otherwise, the Dem majority doesn’t actually kick in until Kamala Harris is Vice-President.

(EDIT: It does look like the impeachment articles have been formally introduced.)

(Don’t ask me what happens if Pence does invoke the 25th. I don’t even know if there are rules for that, or whether Pence is for-real President or acting President or what if the Beast is removed via that method. I have no idea who casts tie breaking votes in the Senate under those circumstances, but it definitely wouldn’t be Harris before the 20th, so it probably doesn’t actually matter.)

(I’m also not sure exactly how the 14th Amendment applies to all of this– I know the Senate and the House can expel their own members, and they’ve used this power in the past, but I have no idea how the law works regarding declaring that someone cannot run for office again. I’ll look into it.)

Anyway, hopefully this is helpful, and again– I’m not an expert, so if you see something I’m wrong about, let me know.

In which I have plans

UnknownI’m gonna vote tomorrow.

I will be voting a straight Democratic ticket, with the exception of my local Congressional race, which does not feature a Democrat to vote for.  I will instead be writing in Pat Hackett, who I voted for in the primary.

I will be voting for Oletha Jones over Stan Wruble for School Board.  I have nothing in particular against Mr. Wruble but my preference is to not vote for white men when I have an alternative, and in this case I do.

I will be voting no on Public Question #1, which doesn’t actually literally read “Is it OK if Republicans deliberately force a budget crisis and then steal the pensions of Indiana’s public servants in order to fix the problem they created?” but may as well.  I very strongly recommend every Hoosier vote against this fucking nonsense.

I have no plans to vote for or against any judges.  I honestly don’t have time for this shit and, more importantly, I lack any relevant expertise and therefore I’m not qualified to make decisions here.  I did some brief research on each of the judges up for retention votes (which are always successful; they never lose these things) and found no giant blinking red lights so I will ignore these questions as usual.

I will, once again, almost certainly not be receiving a sticker.

In which I make choices

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Pat Hackett

Having looked for transcripts of the two Democratic primary debates and discovered to my faint disgust that they did not exist, I spent the morning digging through both Pat Hackett and Yatish Joshi’s websites.  Accordingly, I’ve decided that while I’d be perfectly happy for either of them to win the nomination, I’ll be voting for Hackett in the primary.   The main things that swung my decision?  Gun control is listed first on Hackett’s “issues” page, and while I’m much more abolitionist than she is, I’m much more abolitionist than absolutely everyone and she has a pretty well-thought-out and achievable plan.  In general, I feel like Pat’s priorities match mine more closely than Yatish’s do at this time.  In addition, personally, if you ask me to pick between the businessman and the adjunct professor I’m going to choose the professor every single time.

The only other St. Joseph County race of note is the county sheriff’s office.  Ordinarily I wouldn’t think too hard about a sheriff primary, but something about the tone of one of the candidates’ ads around town has really rubbed me wrong, and I’ve decided to vote for Bill Redman in the primary.  In this case his issues page and his opponent’s are not all that far apart, but in general I think I’ll vote for the guy whose background is in D.A.R.E. rather than the one whose career path went from narcotics to homicide to SWAT and who brags about being sniper trained on his site.  There is a third candidate, but I feel like if you’re running for office in 2018 and you can’t be bothered to put together a website at all then I’m justified in ending my consideration of your candidacy right then and there.  I suspect just from the volume of yard signs and roadside advertisements and such that this particular race won’t be close (and not in my candidate’s favor) but there you have it.  I may go ahead and go vote tomorrow; we’ll see.


I have read two really good books recently, and while this isn’t the post for book reviews, they’re probably coming.  In the meantime, check out Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland, and Void Black Shadow, by Corey J. White.

In which I deliberate

Early voting just opened for the Indiana primaries yesterday, and as someone who tries his damnedest to never actually vote on Election Day, I probably ought to figure out who I’m voting for.  My Senator is an incumbent and I won’t be voting in the Republican primary to choose his opponent, so the big race is for my Congressional district, to oust the rather odious Jackie Walorski.  Here are the choices:

I have made a decision in the last couple of years: I am dead tired of voting for white men in situations where I have another choice.  I’m sure Mel Hall is perfectly fine and save some sort of disastrous scandal or something like that I’ll very likely vote for him if he wins the primary (possibly important: I have not seen a single speck of polling and have no idea who the frontrunner might be) but I have two non-white-men choices up there and I’m for damn sure picking one of them in the primary.  The only question is which one, and I think in between taking the boy to school tomorrow morning and my dentist appointment (just a cleaning this time, no more pulling teeth) I’m going to read some transcripts of the last couple of primary debates and pick myself a Congresscritter. I think given the current political climate any of the three of them ought to be able to unseat Walorski– my district was reliably Democratic until recent redistricting pulled in a healthy chunk of the more Republican rural areas outside of South Bend, and there are still more than enough Democrats here to get one of us elected if we show up.

Entertaining sidenote: Mrs. Hackett is a married lesbian.  My mayor is a gay man, engaged to be married soon.  I would like to submit that if we send Pat Hackett to Congress, South Bend, Indiana immediately gets to claim the title of the gayest place in America.  I would love to know if there’s anywhere else in the country that can claim that both their mayor and their Congressperson are gay.  Somehow, I doubt there is.