Good news, everyone: the U.S. House actually voted to keep the National Security Agency from fiddling around with encryption standards -- specifically, the House voted to de-fund NSA efforts to influence the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It's just one amendment to a huge defense appropriations bill, and the Senate might strip it out, or the amendment might get conferenced out -- and don't think all of that didn't enter into many House members' calculations as they voted "yea" -- but this is still progress.
Big railroad corporations publicly support better government rail safety regulations -- but argue against better regulations when meeting with our government. They don't want electronically-controlled brakes, they don't want to slow down speeds, and they don't even want to put a crew on trains so that maybe the trains don't crash (or, if they do, someone's there to do something about it). Well, it's not like train crashes have been all over the news or anything.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) suggests he'll work around the state legislature's attempts to stop him from expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. He exerted a line-item veto on a section of the state budget that would have permanently banned a Medicaid expansion, but I disapprove of line-item vetoes -- they expand Executive branch power, a power of which we should always be suspicious. And a line-item veto is no substitute for politicians who actually do the will of their constituents -- or for Executives who embarrass legislators into doing the will of their constituents.
Nestled in the middle of Friday's Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest -- which I read every day, and which I highly recommend -- was this item, describing how right-wing SuperPACs have thus far spent over $1 million in New York's 21st House district either supporting one Republican primary candidate (and ex-Bush Mobber) or trashing the other. Is this why the rich need low taxes? So they can throw away seven figures conning NY-21's primary voters into selecting the candidate who would serve big corporate power more efficiently? And not so they could create jobs and change the world for the better?
Finally, yet another right-wing Congressman suggests that since he doesn't need maternity coverage, the Affordable Care Act shouldn't mandate such coverage. Punchline: he said this to a pregnant doctor testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. (Clearly the Committee committed an oversight when they put him on it, amirite? Thank you! I'll be here all night!) It doesn't matter that he's against it not because he's a man, but because he and his wife are in their fifties and aren't contemplating having more children -- he's still acting like he's the center of the universe, which is, in my cosmology, a nearly-unforgivable sin.