Bloggers are split as to whether Democrats are overstepping their mandate as they take over Congress. They're also more skeptical about Pat Robertson's latest kibitz with the Almighty than they are about a UFO sighting in Chicago.
Bye, partisanship: New ethic rules, a higher minimum wage, funding for stem-cell research, and a revamped student-loan package are all part of the Democrats' agenda for their first 100 hours of leadership in House. Republicans need not apply. Has the new majority party already reneged on its pledge of "bipartisanship," or is it acting well within its rights as electoral thumper?
Conservative "Heavy-Handed" at Heavy-Handed Politics writes: "But ... But ... I Thought ... the Dems said you're not supposed to treat the 'minority party' like well ... you know ... a minority party. The Repubs didn't let the Dems have a say in things on the Hill; they claimed. This was all supposed to change. We were now going to be in an era of bipartisanship, they said. They weren't just pulling the wool over our eyes, were they?" Righty Karl at Leaning Straight Up adds, "How nice to once again see Pelosi showing her true colors. I love seeing her own words come back at her. … Clearly the primary issue in congress will be paybacks. As usual though, the people will bear the burden of the pain. I am not suggesting all her proposals are bad. Congress is desperately overdue for ethics reform, and some of her 100-hour proposals are also worthy of consideration. Some however are partisan slaps in the face however."
Lefty Steve Benen, who was guest blogging at the Washington Monthly's Political Animal, thinks the Post article was more remarkable for what it didn't address, namely "a single complaint from a congressional Republican. … [N]ot one GOP lawmaker was quoted expressing outrage at the Democrats' plan to push through a relatively modest 100-hour agenda. I'm not surprised—House Republicans no doubt expected this, and for that matter, they can't very well complain about Dems using the rules temporarily exactly the way Republicans used them permanently."
Borrowing the other side's tactics is fine by liberal John Cole. At Balloon Juice, he says: "While this will give the cheerleaders on the right some early cannon fodder ('See- the Democrats are no different!'), this can be completely countered with the simple statement—'Hey—we are just using your rules.' … [T]he alternative is to let the Republicans participate early on, defeat or screw up all the initiatives the Democrats plan to pass, and have the Republicans then claim the Democrats didn't change anything."*
Read more about the Democratic plans.
For hellfire and damnation, press 1: Evangelical preacher Pat Roberston claims that during a recent prayer retreat, God informed him a "mass killing" will occur in 2007. "I'm not necessarily saying it's going to be nuclear," he said. "The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that." The Lord also apparently feeds His communications director bogus leads, as Robertson owns up to having an imperfect track record for prophecy (example: American tsunamis).
Andrew Kantor, a technology columnist for USA Today, wants clarification on Robertson's get-out-Revelation-free card: "Wait wait wait. Sometimes you miss? You said you heard the word of God. Are you saying God was wrong? Are you saying you misheard God? How is that possible—the guy who created the entire universe what, didn't speak loudly enough for you?"
D.C. gossip blog Wonkette is also reluctant to believe Robertson's divinations: "Luckily, God and Robertson's accuracy is right up there with Radar Online, so this stuff never actually happens; Pat's 2005 and 2006 God-approved predictions included a tsunami destroying America's coasts and Bush successfully ruining Social Security."
"Very Old Testament," says science blogger Jan Haugland at Secular Blasphemy. "Pat Robertson probably knows that Deuteronomy prescribes the death penalty for false prophecy."
Clark at DefCon, a blog committed to defending the Constitution, points out a curious coincidence between Pat's prophecy and recent faith-based survey results: "Robertson's comment comes just a few days after the A.P. reported that a full quarter of Americans believe that 2007 will also be the year of Jesus Christ's second coming, which of course to Robertson and the rapture crowd means joyous global destruction and war."
Read more about Robertson's direct line to the Lord.
Now boarding Gate X: According to the Chicago Tribune, a handful of United Airlines employees swear they saw a UFO flying low over O'Hare International Airport in early November, just before it perforated thick clouds and left a spooky exit-hole in its wake.
MemeNexus comments: "Am I really supposed to believe that a group of trained airport technicians, whose job it is to monitor and control the skies, mistook an object flying in the sky, and didn't know what they were seeing? That seems pretty implausible. And the FAA isn't investigating whatsoever?"
Eugene, Ore., native Dan Pimenetel at Av8rdan's World of Flying isn't saying he's a believer, but isn't saying he isn't, either: "Years ago … I swear I saw a couple of unexplainable lights in the sky that did not look like airplanes. I believe they could very well have been UFOs, simply because I cannot wrap my brain around the theory that of all the planets out there in the universe, we cannot possibly be the only ones with the technology to build space ships."
Read more about ETs in Chi-town.