Bell tolls for Britain’s lordly lawmakers
Big changes are in store for Britain.
First, the Clock Tower at Parliament – much better known as Big Ben – is in for a name change. After 153 years, it will be known as Elizabeth Tower, in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s 60 years on the throne.
Now, Prime Minister David Cameron wants to overhaul the seven-century-old House of Lords, the upper chamber of Parliament composed of an unwieldy 775 members – none of them elected. Members of the truly antiquated governing body are either appointed, inherit the position as part of a noble title or automatically take the office due to their ecclesiastical office, such as the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Gradually, the House of Lords has lost power over the years, and unlike the U.S. Senate, it cannot initiate legislation – but it can amend the House of Commons’ legislation.
Cameron wants to replace the House of Lords with a 360-seat elected chamber.
While there is bound to be political opposition from the Labour Party, so far few House of Lords members have been as direct as David Trefgarne, who claims his seat was granted to his ancestors by Britain’s monarch, making the privilege a divine right.
The Almighty decided that I was to have a certain duty imposed upon me, he said.
Indiana is comedy central
It wasn’t exactly as spot on as Tina Fey’s portrayal of Sarah Palin, but Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert does a pretty good Richard Mourdock.
Colbert made light of Mourdock’s four – count ’em, four – different reactions to the U.S. Supreme Court’s health care decision recorded before the decision was issued.
The GOP Senate candidate said he wanted to be prepared for any of four different rulings. Colbert talked about Mourdock’s presponses but questioned why Mourdock didn’t prepare for other outcomes. Then Colbert recorded a few alternatives of his own, complete with a similar-looking brick wall in the background.
Among the possibilities Mourdock didn’t anticipate? Justice Samuel Alito resigns from the court to become the bass player for Iron Maiden.
The ability to share thoughts instantly that has made Twitter a cultural phenomenon was a liability Thursday for health care act critics subscribing to bad information.
When Fox News and CNN briefly and wrongly flashed the news that Obamacare had been overturned, some critics tweeted responses they would later regret.
This is a big win for liberty and the Constitution, posted Rep. Justin Amash, a Michigan Republican. Unfortunately, looks like Chief Justice Roberts upholds individual mandate as a tax. Still not completely clear, he posted a few minutes later.
Individual Mandate ruled unconstitutional. Let Freedom Ring, tweeted Florida Republican Dennis Ross, followed by Truly disappointed in Justice Roberts and others who allowed this assault on the Republic stand.
Another Florida Republican, Rep. Tom Rooney, also jumped on the flawed reports. Breaking – #SupremeCourt strikes #individualmandate. Great news for American people, victory for constitution, he tweeted, only to delete the post a minute later.
Slate.com had some fun with the premature tweets. The online magazine illustrated its story with a Photoshop picture of President Obama holding aloft a CNN screenshot on an iPad, reminiscent of Dewey defeats Truman.
… and regrettable reaction
If Fox News and CNN officials were regretting their reporting errors Thursday, congressman Mike Pence might have been wishing he had the wrong version himself. Instead, the Indiana Republican gubernatorial candidate attended a House Republican Conference meeting within an hour of the ruling and compared it to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The House Republican Conference is the political caucus he once chaired.
I made an unfortunate statement, Pence said later. Let me just say my remarks at the Republican Conference, following the Supreme Court decision, were thoughtless.
He told Indiana reporters later that he certainly did not intend to minimize any tragedy our nation has faced, and I apologize.
Pence’s misstep had Indiana Democrats rushing to question his judgment.