Political Animal


February 16, 2013 8:55 AM Saturday Morning Reads

By Samuel Knight

-According to Reuters, a remote control bomb was detonated in a Hazara Shi’ite quarter of Quetta, Pakistan today, killing at least 15 people. In recent months, Pakistan’s Shi’ite Muslims have been systematically targeted by Sunni hardliners.

-Meanwhile, in northern Iraq, a suicide bomber killed a senior army intelligence officer and two bodyguards. According to Reuters, while violence is less frequent now than it was in 2006 and 2007, religious tensions have boiled over in recent weeks. “Increasing sectarian violence has accompanied growing political unrest in Iraq as thousands of Sunni Muslims in western provinces rally against Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, accusing him of marginalizing their minority sect. More than 10 suicide attackers have struck security forces, Shi’ite targets and a lawmaker since January.” Violence in neighboring Syria is also threatening the fragile peace in Iraq, as Sunni militias there battle against the Assad regime’s mostly Alawite Shi’ite loyalists.

-The farce that is the Chuck Hagel nomination process, writes Salon’s Jonathan Bernstein, will pale in comparison to the vote to replace a Supreme Court Justice, should a SCOTUS vacancy arise in the next few years. “It will be a circus — and unlike the situation in 2009 and 2010, Republican activists and members of Republican-aligned interest groups will know that all they need to defeat the nominee is a unified GOP voting against cloture.”

-Michael Bloomberg’s super PAC is injecting a mound of cash into the special election in Chicago being held to fill the Congressional seat vacated by Jesse Jackson Jr. According to POLITICO, the group tied to the New York mayor is set to spend “at least $2 million” in an effort to thwart Debbie Halvorson, an NRA backed Democrat and current frontrunner. “It’s a none-too-subtle statement of Bloomberg’s intention to take on the NRA after the Newtown, Conn. school shooting — though it’s debatable how much of a test case it is since the NRA is staying out of the race.”

-The conversation about religion in America is going to drastically change over the next two decades, if this piece on college atheist groups published by Religion Dispatches is any indication. The number of Secular Students Alliance (SSA) affiliates has increased exponentially over the past few years: “By 2007, 80 campus groups had affiliated with them, 100 by 2008, 174 by 2009, and today there are 394 SSA student groups on campuses across the country. ‘We have been seeing rapid growth in the past couple of years, and it shows no sign of slowing down,’ says Jesse Galef, communications director at SSA. ‘It used to be that we would go to campuses and encourage students to pass out flyers. Now, the students are coming to us almost faster than we can keep up with.’”

Samuel Knight is a freelance journalist living in DC and a former intern at the Washington Monthly.


  • c u n d gulag on February 16, 2013 10:12 AM:

    And once again, Charlie "Harry Reid" Brown is down in the cold mud on his @$$, wondering 'Whaaa Happen?', as Lucy runs home to pee, because she's laughing so damn hard.

    Great work, Harry!
    WE TOLD YA SO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So, yes, if the opportunity for President Obama to replace a SCOTUS Justice, it will be a circus.

    The GOP will try to hold off replacing any Justices until the next Republican becomes President.

    And if the nation is left with 111 year-old Justice Scalia as the LONE SC Judge left in that wait, well then, the Republicans will be perfectly fine with that.

    If they can't win the Presidency, or win back the Senate, or keep the House, then they'll desperately need a Conservative majority on the SCOTUS to keep destroying the nation.

    Senator Reid, you wanna rethink your little "Gentelman's Agreement" with the Lucy party?

    We'll pick-up the drying-cleaning bill for the seat of your pants.

  • c u n d gulag on February 16, 2013 10:21 AM:

    In all honesty, I know that Harry Reid is not the only one responsible on the Democratic side.

    All I'm saying, is that if LBJ were the Senate Majority Leader, right now there'd either be no filibuster, or at least a "stand and talk" one - or else a whole lot of Democratic Senators would be walking around with casts on their wrists and arms, a few with neck braces, and at least two looking for a Proctologist to do "Boot-removal" surgery.

  • schtick on February 16, 2013 11:23 AM:

    I really wish the people that support the lies of the teapub party would wake up and not elect or re-elect these jokers. I don't want a one party system, but I'd like a republican party with brains and common sense for a change so I would at least have a choice.

  • Rick B on February 16, 2013 4:50 PM:

    Hey cund
    Remember FDR's "court packing scheme?" At least there is a precedent for that.

    There is a political limit to just how much the nation will permit the treasonous cabal on the court to block the actions required from government by a modern urban industrialized society.

    The Supreme Court has what power it has through tradition. Period. It's authority to declare laws unconstitutional can be easily removed by the Congress simply stating that the Supreme Court does not have the jurisdiction to hear cases on that subject.

    Granted that would really, really complicate the U.S. judicial process, but if the cabal on the court were willing to push it that far they can be stopped. The Republicans are the ones who are breaking the traditional rules and setting that precedent.

    But I like FDR's court-packing scheme myself.

  • James E. Powell on February 16, 2013 5:11 PM:

    @c u n d gulag

    I agree that it's more than Reid, but I also agree that if he had strong-armed, he could have at least pushed through a 'no filibuster of appointments' rule. It is ridiculous.

  • nonymous on February 16, 2013 7:05 PM:

    Sam mentions the Hagel nomination process.

    Repeatedly I have seen the televised replays of the close-fisted and mean-spirited John McCain chastising his colleagues for disparaging Hagel's reputation, after he himself angrily badgered, interrupted, yelled at, INSULTED, and absolutely demanded compliance from Hagel, a fellow Vietnam veteran.
    McCain represents the divisive ugliness of the republican party, a party of mean old, out of touch rich guys.
    This party is doomed.