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Rhode Island Tip Sheet: Can Congress be fixed?

December 12, 2011

STATE OF THE NATION: Approval of Congress dipped in October to an all-time low of 9 percent — worse, as HuffPo acidly noted, than “porn, polygamy, BP oil spill, ‘U.S. going communist’ ” So what’s the legislative branch of the nation to do? PBS’ Need to Know took up that question last week, in part with a panel discussion featuring Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, former GOP congressman Mickey Edwards, and Democratic congressman Jim Cooper. (Although pessimistic on improvement in the short term, the trio was optimistic that Congress will function better over the long term.)  Also worth a look is novelist Walter “Up in the Air” Kirn’s call for a virtual Congress, instead of a real one.

FOUR-YEAR TERMS?: On a related note, NPR over the weekend looked at how LBJ once proposed making congressional terms four years long, instead of two. That concept got lost amid the turbulence of the 60s, even if it anticipated what has become known as the permanent campaign — the perpetual fundraising of federal candidates. The story looks at how the current gridlock in Congress has some, including Fareed Zakaria, calling for further tweaks to the Founders’ vision.

BACK IN RI: The landfill still stinks.

PROVIDENCE: Still, a historic diner, says Jef, will be reborn on Westminster Street. 

STAFFERS: Scott reports on how the Rhode Island Airport Corporation has hired  Warwick lawyer Joseph Shekarchi, who managed Gina Raimondo‘s 2010 campaign, as a lobbyist.

DEFINED CONTRIBUTION: Speaking of Treasurer Raimondo, she’s rolled out an RFP for firms to develop the state’s new defined contribution plan.

WHITEHOUSE 2012: Newt Gingrich has cited concern about a possible electromagnetic pulse attack on the US, although some scientists, says the NYT, considers the idea a bit out there . . . . Facebook says Newt has Internet savvy . . . . 538 reports on the falling stock of Mitt Romney following his $10,000 bet.

QUIPSTER: Ted Nesi has the best line on the move by Ben Smith from Politico.

GREAT NORTH: Thomas Conroy, a state rep in Massachusetts, began his campaign for the Senate seat held by Scott Brown by walking hundreds of miles around the Bay State. But like others, Conroy is dropping out, clearing the way for fellow Democrat Elizabeth Warren.

BASEBALL: It’s too early to draw conclusions about Ryan Braun, says Grantland.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jan permalink
    December 12, 2011 9:22 pm

    123k people have signed this petition supporting constitutional amendment to undo #CitizensUnited: http://sanders.senate.gov/savingdemocracy
    This is the only way to save our Democracy. As long as the voice of the people is drowned out by the voice of corporations, nothing will change in Congress. Please sign the petition to change this.

  2. Mister Guy permalink
    January 2, 2012 7:23 am

    The only way to may Congress work again is to get the money out of the system as much as possible. Unfortunately, doing that will take a Constitutional Amendment, which has slim odds of passing at best, or a few more Supreme Court Justices that have a clue about respecting real case law.

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