Slatest PM: Senate Dems to Stage Their Own Faux Filibuster

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 10 2014 4:55 PM

Slatest PM: Senate Dems Prep For All-Night Climate Talkathon

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Senator Barbara Boxer and two dozen or so of her fellow Democrats will take the floor tonight to talk about the need for a climate bil

Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

An All-Nighter: New York Times: "The Senate was headed into another all-nighter Monday evening as 26 Democrats who call themselves the 'climate caucus' planned to speak nonstop about climate change from about 6:30 p.m. until 9 a.m. Tuesday. The talkathon is the latest effort by the group, which is working in concert with a parallel House caucus, to elevate the issue of global warming. The members know that serious climate change legislation stands no chance of passage in the current divided Congress, where many lawmakers in the Republican-majority House deny the science of human-caused global warming. The members of the climate caucus say their objective is to raise the urgency of global warming and build toward a time in the coming years when the political landscape may have shifted enough that a bill could pass Congress. They argue that there are early signs that the political winds may already be changing."

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A Strategy We've Seen Before: Washington Post: "It's a strategy used in the past year by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who led a filibuster last spring that lasted into the late-night hours as he raised concerns with the Obama administration's drone policy, and by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who steered a 21-hour filibuster-style exchange before the government shutdown last fall. Democrats have been plotting this all-nighter for several months, led by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who've been seeking to raise awareness about their concerns on and off the Senate floor. The format planned for Monday is an extension of floor speeches given regularly by Whitehouse that usually begin with him saying that 'it's time to wake up' to climate change. ... Notably absent from the list are Democrats facing difficult reelections this year in states that President Obama lost in his two elections. Only two Democrats who might face tricky reelections—Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.)—are among the expected speakers."

It's Monday, March 10th, welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees, and the whole team at @Slatest.

Still No Signs of Missing Jetliner: Los Angeles Times: "Despite the efforts of some 40 boats and three dozen planes, the three-day search for the missing Boeing 777 off the southern coast of Vietnam has yielded nothing but dashed hopes for the friends and family members of the 239 people aboard. By Monday evening, Malaysian and Vietnamese authorities said they had yet to find anything linked to the airliner and that the search area was being expanded and the operation 'intensified.'"

Port Authority Subpoena: Wall Street Journal: "Manhattan federal prosecutors have subpoenaed records from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey related to the business interests of its chairman, David Samson, people familiar with the matter said Monday. The demand for records comes as scrutiny of Mr. Samson—a close ally of Gov. Chris Christie—has increased since allegations emerged that the Port Authority closed George Washington Bridge access lanes for political purposes. Mr. Samson's law firm, Wolff & Samson PC, is one of the most prominent in New Jersey and has clients involved in a range of matters important to the Port Authority and the state's elected officials. The inquiry by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office, which hadn't previously been disclosed, comes in addition to an investigation by federal prosecutors in New Jersey, who are investigating the bridge lane closures that caused five days of traffic in Fort Lee, N.J. ... According to people familiar with the matter, Manhattan federal prosecutors were specifically interested in any conflicts between Mr. Samson's private business interests and his actions as chairman of the sprawling bi-state authority, which oversees Hudson River crossings into New York City, airports, the PATH rail system and the World Trade Center complex."

Army Sex Assault Case: Associated Press: "A military judge declined Monday to dismiss sexual assault charges against an Army general after reviewing what he said was evidence that political considerations influenced the military's handling of the case. Judge Col. James Pohl reviewed newly disclosed emails and said he found evidence of unlawful command influence in Fort Bragg officials' decision to reject a plea deal before the trial. Under military code of justice, the decision was supposed to be decided solely based on evidence in the case — and not its broader political implications in a military grappling with sexual assault cases. Pohl gave the defense team the choice of having a different commanding general and prosecutors consider the rejected plea deal. The defense has until Tuesday morning to decide whether to accept the offer or allow the trial to proceed. Before the trial, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair had offered to plead guilty to some of the lesser charges in exchange for the Army dropping the sexual assault charges, but he was turned down. ... Pohl said he doesn't think the whole case was tainted, just decision on plea agreement."

SCOTUS Ruling Threatens Bike Trails: USA Today: "The Supreme Court's ruling in an obscure Wyoming land dispute Monday could result in the loss of thousands of miles of bicycle trails or cost the government millions of dollars in compensation. The justices ruled 8-1 that government easements used for railroad beds over public and private land in the West expired once the railroads went out of business, and the land must revert to its owners. Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, said the case was decided based on an 1875 act of Congress and a 1942 Supreme Court decision involving the Great Northern Railway Co. That ruling confirmed that the government merely had received easements without any long-term land rights, he said. The establishment in 1983 of the federal 'rails to trails' program didn't change the court's interpretation for easements that expired earlier. The decision could jeopardize the ... program, responsible for creating more than 1,400 bike and nature trails, many of them built along railroad rights-of-way."

Frat to End Pledging: NBC News: "One of the pillars of American fraternity culture eliminated its hot-button 'pledging' process Sunday after a string of hazing-related deaths. Sigma Alpha Epsilon—one of the nation's largest and oldest fraternities that counts among its alums William Faulkner and President William McKinley—had announced in a statement Friday that it would end its member initiation practices. ... The frat will now have a more cerebral selection process they are dubbing 'The True Gentleman Experience.' 'Pledges' across the country have allegedly been subjected to rituals that run the gamut from goofy high jinks straight out of 'Animal House' to grisly physical abuse that some say turns recruits into veritable prisoners. The pledge process usually involves initiates doing menial chores or memorizing obscure fraternity trivia for weeks or months. But in some instances, initiates have alleged being forced to guzzle gallons of alcohol while others say they were brutally beaten by their compatriots."

That's all for today. See you back here tomorrow. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.