Saturday Night Live Blog: Debt Ceiling Watch

Hello Sky Dancers! If you don’t have a hot date, join us in documenting the atrocities as the Senate the Congressional food fight continues–building up to the crucial vote on Harry Reid’s debt ceiling/deficit reduction bill at 1AM.

I haven’t been watching it, but Dakinikat says it’s been really wild. Here’s a link to watch Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell “spar” over whether there has been progress on an agreement based on McConnell’s meetings with Obama.

It seems that McConnell and Boehner are betting the farm that President Obama will cave, and stab Reid and Pelosi in the back. I just can’t imagine that Obama would agree to the Boehner bill though–not with the spending caps and the balanced budget amendment in there. But with President Pushover, you just never can tell how low he will go.

The most interesting news I’ve seen tonight was that earlier tonight, according to ABC News,

Tom Harkin made a plea on the Senate floor Saturday evening for President Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling if Congress fails to strike a deal before the Aug. 2 default deadline.

“If the Congress through inaction, through inaction or action, tries to destroy or alter those obligations I believe it is incumbent on the chief executive to exercise his authority to make sure the full faith and credit of the United States is not jeopardized. The president should use his authority to do so,” Harkin said.

Harkin joins a growing number of Democrats who have called on the president to broadly interpret a section of the 14th Amendment which says “the validity of the public debt… shall not be questioned” as justification for him to authorize continued borrowing if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling.

In addition, Huffpo is reporting that according to an unnamed Congressperson, Nancy Pelosi is privately supporting the notion of Obama invoking the 14th amendment.

“Nancy clearly wants it,” said the lawmaker, who requested anonymity. “Publicly? No. Privately? She thinks the president should do it. Period.”

Several top Democrats have endorsed the idea in recent days as an eleventh hour solution: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) backed the option on Wednesday, and House Democratic Caucus chairman John Larson (D-Conn.) and Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) emerged from a Monday Caucus meeting announcing their support for the idea as well.

But Pelosi, the highest-ranking House Democrat, has been mum. One possible reason is that she has to preserve the image that Congress will reach a deal before the situation even gets to that point.

Josh Marshall says he’s heard “rumblings” about the 14th amendment idea, but he’ll believe it when he sees it.

Well, what does he know? If he could predict the future, he probably wouldn’t have supported Obama in 2008.

I’m going to try to stay up until the vote. Those of you in other times zones will have an easier time of it. You can watch the Senate debate on C-span. MSNBC has broken into their usual weekend prison break fare and are following the debate. I’m listening to that on satellite radio. Dak is going to watch C-Span and provide updates. So join us if you dare! And if you have ideas for drinking games, throw put them out there.


Saturday Reads

Good Morning news junkies! I’m filling in for WonktheVote today. She is taking a little break from blogging, so Dakinikat, Minkoff Minx, and I are going to take turns doing the Saturday Reads for a little while. So what’s in the news today? Let’s see…

After his blow-up-the-economy plan passed the House yesterday, John Boehner gave a very defensive-sounding speech to justify his treasonous behavior.

A defiant House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) late Friday defended his debt-ceiling plan by saying it is the only viable plan on paper so far….

“I’ve offered ideas, I’ve negotiated,” Boehner said in closing debate on his bill. “Not one time, not one time did the administration ever put any plan on the table. All they would do is criticize what I put out there.

“I stuck my neck out a mile to try to get an agreement with the president of the United States,” Boehner continued to grumbling among Democrats. “Hey, I put revenues on the table in order to try to come to an agreement in order to avert us being where we are. But a lot of people in this town can never say yes.”

He also defended including the ridiculous balanced budget amendment to the Constitution in his bill.

“It’s time for this to happen,” he said. “It enjoys support from both houses of this Congress, and it enjoys bipartisan and widespread support across our country.”

No. It doesn’t, Mr. Speaker.

A short time later the Senate put Boehner’s bill out of its misery.
Now what?

Despite a day of frenzied legislative maneuvering and another attempt by President Obama to rally public opinion behind some kind of compromise, the two parties made no visible progress in finding common ground, leaving Washington, Wall Street and much of the nation watching the clock toward a deadline of midnight Tuesday.

Reid has made some changes in his plan, hoping to appeal to Senate Republicans. The NYT didn’t elaborate on what these changes are. At Huffpo, Michael McAuliff and Sam Stein say Reid’s plan is now a lot like Mitch McConnell’s. But whatever its contents, Republicans in the House plan to hold a “symbolic vote” on it today in order to “send a message” that whatever the Senate agrees on will not pass the House.

These people are playing with fire. It’s looking like they’re not going to meet the August 2 deadline either.

The seemingly unbridgeable impasse between the two parties as the deadline for raising the nation’s debt limit approaches has Tom Daschle losing sleep, as he never did when he was a Senate Democratic leader in the mid-1990s and Congressional Republicans forced government shutdowns rather than compromise on spending cuts.

“That was nothing compared to this. That was a shutdown of the government; this could be, really, a shutdown of the entire economy,” Mr. Daschle said. “You can’t be too hyperbolic about the ramifications of all this.”

Democrats and Republicans with legislative experience agree that even if both sides decided Saturday to raise the $14.3 trillion borrowing ceiling and to reduce future annual deficits, it would be extremely difficult for the compromise measure to wend its way through Congress before Tuesday’s deadline, given Congressional legislative procedures.

But all signs point to August 2 passing with no budget bill. As we all know, President Obama could end the struggle at any time with an executive order, but then he’d have to put off gutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for a little bit longer. He can’t allow that, now can he?

Stay tuned…

There has been a disturbing string of sexual assaults on women in Ann Arbor, Michigan over the past two weeks. the assaults have taken place near the University of Michigan campus. There have been six attacks, two of which were rapes. In the others, women were grabbed and fondled, but managed to escape.

Two different composite sketches of the suspect have been developed. Police aren’t sure if there is just one perpetrator two. The FBI is now involved in the investigation.

The agency will be assisting Ann Arbor police at the city’s request, said FBI spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold. She did not provide any details about the agency’s role.

The six attacks occurred between July 15 and 26, and between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. The victims were traumatized, said police spokeswoman Lt. Renee Bush.

Ann Arbor Police Chief Barnett Jones said he did not know if the attacks were linked. He warned in a letter to university staff, faculty and students that there was a “predator or predators operating in our community.”

Emily Zinn and her boyfriend were sleeping when one of the rapes took place right outside their apartment.

…an 18-year-old woman was pulled behind a wall outside Zinn’s bedroom window and raped on July 18.

She first noticed something was wrong when she and her boyfriend, Matt McAnelly, 24, a University of Michigan graduate student, heard the girl sobbing outside about 12:45 a.m.

“We heard a girl crying and ‘Help me, help me,’ ” Zinn said. “She was saying, ‘He left, I’m alone,’ so we didn’t really know what was happening.”

The couple heard nothing while the girl was being attacked.

This monster (or monsters) must be stopped ASAP.

Is the U.S. on the verge of a revolution?

On last night’s The Big Picture with progressive talk show host Thom Hartmann, author Neil Howe discussed how he and William Strauss came to accurately predict today’s political crisis in their 1997 book “The Fourth Turning,” and offered speculation as to what might happen next….

Speaking of the generational differences between today’s new guard and the retiring baby boomers, Howe said that cultural forces have essentially forced this crisis, with “culture warriors” and “values voters” in direct contention with “gen x” for control of the national budget.

“Are we on the verge of another ‘fourth turning’ — another major crash leading to a world war and a world-wide depression?” Hartmann asked.

“No,” Howe said. “I hope it won’t be bad. I hope the destructive will be avoided to the furthest extent possible and the constructive, which always comes out of a fourth turning… will be maximized.”

Watch it:

———————————————–

A judge has ordered the release of Richard Nixon’s grand jury testimony about the Watergate scandal.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth granted a request by historian Stanley Kutler, who has written several books about Nixon and Watergate, and others to unseal the testimony given on June 23 and 24 in 1975.

Nixon was questioned about the political scandal during the 1970s that resulted from the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington….

Lamberth ruled in the 15-page opinion that the special circumstances, especially the undisputed historical interest in Nixon’s testimony, far outweighed the need to keep the records secret. Grand jury proceedings typically remain secret.

The Obama administration opposed the release of Nixon’s testimony. It figures, doesn’t it?

Finally, here’s a fascinating bit of historical revisionism from George W. Bush.

In a rare interview with the National Geographic Channel, Bush reflects on what was going through his mind at the most dramatic moment of his presidency when he was informed that a second passenger jet had hit New York’s World Trade Center.

Bush was visiting a Florida classroom and the incident, which was caught on TV film, and has often been used by critics to ridicule his apparently blank face.

But Bush claims he deliberately decided to stay in his seat so as not to alarm the children and to “project a sense of calm.”

“I had been in enough crises to know that the first thing a leader has to do is to project calm,” he added.

I wonder what “crises” he’s talking about? Just about the only thing he did as Governor of Texas was execute people. Let’s watch Bush’s demeanor on 9/11/2001 and see how well he projected “a sense of calm.”

——————————————

Here’s what one of the children who was in the classroom that day had to say about it:

“The president he just sat there, and his face — he just went dead,” says Jaimie, who was among the second graders in the classroom where President Bush learned of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Jamie’s one of the kids featured in Nickelodeon’s Linda Ellerbee news special, “What Happened?: The story of September 11, 2001,” which debuts Sept. 1.

That’s all the news I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about?