The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, June 30, 2006

A small, good thing-- plus one bad thing

The House GOP's "American Values Agenda" package of proposed legislation isn't faring too well so far, which is good insofar as it suggests there's a limit in the lengths to which they'll go to amend the Constitution and undo checks and balances in the name of pandering to fundamentalists.

House Republicans failed Wednesday to advance a bill protecting the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. Only a day earlier, the GOP had placed the measure on its "American Values Agenda" in hopes of bolstering the party's prospects in the fall election.

But Republicans could not muster a simple majority on the issue in a committee where they outnumber Democrats by six.

The legislation tries to strip federal courts of jurisdiction over cases challenging the pledge. It responds to a federal appeals court ruling in 2002 that the pledge is unconstitutional because it contains the words "under God." A district court judge made a similar ruling last fall, citing the appeals court precedent.

But don't get too excited. The House also passed a non-binding resolution "condemning the disclosure and publication of classified information that impairs the international fight against terrorism and needlessly exposes Americans to the threat of further terror attacks by revealing a crucial method by which terrorists are traced through their finances."

The measure's sponsor, Ohio Republican Mike Oxley, spelled out the reasoning behind the resolution:

Just to make his point clear, Oxley explained to his colleagues that the intention of his resolution was to signal that the government "expects the cooperation of all news media."

Once again, the right's attack on the media is grounded in the idea that they should be under government control. The resolution passed 220-195 along party lines, with only one Republican rejecting it, and one Louisiana Democrat supporting it.