Monday Morning Politics

Happy Monday – just six days until Christmas!  Nope, I have not started my shopping yet, either.

Almost every Monday I round up some of the political stories from the weekend and put them all in one place for all to see – and offer some commentary.

Today I take a look at a Braveheart moment and House Republicans, franking, Montana PSC, Little Shell, the U.S. Department of Justice and waste, and much more!

House Republicans:

The Senate passed a two-month payroll tax cut extension 89-10 on Saturday and left town.  The bill also extended unemployment benefits and froze scheduled cuts to doctors’ Medicare reimbursements until March.  It also had a (weak) provision to expedite a decision on the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

Apparently some House Republicans don’t like it – we’ll probably find out this evening if they have enough people disliking it to defeat it.  Although this is “just another show down” it really will be a test of House Speaker John Boehner’s leadership.

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) told Fox News this morning that this was Speaker Boehner’s “Braveheart moment” and that Boehner was “our William Wallace.”

I don’t think things ended well for William Wallace…

Franking:

According to this article from the Washington Examiner, members of the U.S House of Representatives cannot write “Merry Christmas” in their official (taxpayer funded) correspondence (also called franked mail).

The Senate can write it.

That difference shows how dysfunctional Washington is…

Franking 2:

According to an article from TPM, the Montana Democrats believe that Congressman Denny Rehberg has misused his franking privilege.

The Montana Democrats have filed a complaint with the U.S House Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards (yes, there is “Franking Commission” in the House).

I reviewed the complaint.  IMHEO (In My Humble Expert Opinion) the Montana Democrats were swinging for the fence and popped up to an infielder – but we’ll see what the Franking Commission decides…

I’ve written about Franked Mail before HERE.

Molnar Counterpoint:

For those of you who are not keeping score at home, the Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) has had several disagreements over the past year (kind of reminds me of Congress).  In today’s Great Falls Tribune, PSC Commissioner Brad Molnar gives his two cents about the PSC intervening in co-ops.

In my humble opinion, the counterpoint seemed more about Molnar’s dislike of fellow commissioner Travis Kavulla than anything else.  I’m yawning here…let’s move on, PLEASE.

Little Shell:

It was good to hear that a three judge panel settled the dispute that had split the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe.  The Great Falls Tribune announced on Saturday that a decision had been rendered by the judges and that John Gilbert was the Chairman.

The Little Shell Chippewa Tribe should be given federal recognition, too – it’s the right thing to do.

Barry Bonds:

It took about eight years, but the nut jobs who work in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) got Barry Bonds and they got him good – Bonds was sentenced Friday to 30 days of home confinement and two years of probation and a $4000 fine.  According to the Associated Press, “The former baseball star was found guilty in April not of using steroids, but of misleading grand jurors.”

Bonds is appealing.  I’ve read that that the investigation and trial cost the taxpayers between $55 and $75 million.

This would be a good time to stop this nonsense.  The DOJ is going after Roger Clemens now. 

Parting Shot:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died.  I guess he was more than just Il.

Follow Jack on Twitter @TheWesternWord – you’ll have fun….