13 Stories

'Dysfunctional' FEC Missing a Head Lawyer for 2 Years

Agency is heading right into Election 2016 with no chief counsel

(Newser) - When your chairwoman goes on the record as saying your agency is "worse than dysfunctional," chances are you may have a hard time attracting talent. That's the issue now faced by the Federal Election Commission in terms of its legal counsel: Next month will hit the two-year... More »

Thanks, Obama: Mom Stuck in His Traffic Has Baby

Mother, son, president all fine

(Newser) - President Obama visited Louisville, Kentucky, yesterday, which resulted in the usual presidential traffic jam. In this case, it was I-65 that turned into gridlock, the same route that an expectant woman and her husband were taking, reports Wave3 . Police took a call about 5:15pm from the husband explaining that... More »

National Guard to Escort 2.4K Atlanta Kids Home

There have been 791 accidents

(Newser) - The National Guard is being called in to help escort school buses as they evacuate the 2,400 students who have been trapped in Atlanta-area schools and buses since yesterday's three inches of snow , Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal announced today. State police will also be involved. Deal said the... More »

The Shutdown: Democracy at Work?

Debate rages over the GOP's big stand

(Newser) - The first government shutdown since the Clinton/Gingrich years has some people bemoaning our divided government. And yes, "separation of powers is inefficient," admits Charles CW Cooke at the National Review ; "it will not only 'allow' gridlock, but it is explicitly designed to encourage it." And... More »

Politicians Privately Yearn for Smoke-Filled Backroom

Gov. Hickenlooper says transparency causes gridlock

(Newser) - How to unblock the least productive Congress in US history? Here's a counterintuitive notion: Reinstate pork-barrel spending and the smoke-filled backroom, where lawmakers can make legislative deals in private, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper tells Time . Surprisingly, other politicians agree—some off the record—that modern attempts at transparency and... More »

Los Angeles First Big City to Synchronize All Traffic Lights

But whether it will make a big dent in gridlock is unclear

(Newser) - Somewhere in a bunker underneath downtown Los Angeles works a guy named Edward Yu, traffic god. Yu runs the software that controls all 4,500 traffic lights in the city, explains the New York Times , and this is noteworthy because LA has become the first major metro area to sync... More »

House GOP Lets Violence Against Women Act Expire

House GOP opposed new protections

(Newser) - Public scorn may have saved the vote on emergency aid funding for superstorm Sandy victims , but the same can't be said for the Violence Against Women Act. The Huffington Post reports that the latest version of VAWA—which was originally signed in 1994 and reauthorized in 2000 and 2005—... More »

Democracy Is Dead, Welcome to 'Vetocracy'

Thomas Friedman says special interests rule because government can't act

(Newser) - The US isn't a democracy anymore. It's a "vetocracy," with a system designed to prevent anyone from doing much of anything, Thomas Friedman argues in the New York Times . The constitution's system of checks and balances "assumes—indeed requires—a certain minimum level of... More »

Congress Is Done for the Year

Don't expect any major legislation in 2012

(Newser) - It's only February, but most lawmakers expect the payroll tax holiday extension be the last major piece of legislation Congress passes all year, as election year politicking brings the 112th Congress —not exactly known for its blistering pace —to a screeching halt. What will Congress do about... More »

Americans to Congress: Do Your Job

Public frustration over gridlock, politics hits new highs

(Newser) - Congress has been extremely unpopular for some time , but Washington's inability to pass a payroll tax cut extension before adjourning for the holidays appears to have people disgusted like never before, reports the AP . "It's just another smack in our face for the working public. We just... More »

'Corrosive' Partisanship Drives DC's Gridlock

Divided government requires compromise, critic opines

(Newser) - Washington's hyper-partisan gridlock is far worse than the usual political squabbling; in fact, this political breakdown "could be as corrosive to the political system as the possible financial default looming could be to the economy," writes Dan Balz in the Washington Post . Voters have chosen divided government... More »

America's 75 Worst Commutes

How does your 'highway to hell' rank?

(Newser) - We all know LA has a traffic problem, but Honolulu? It's No. 2 in the nation, finds the Daily Beast , which crunched the numbers to rank America's 75 worst commutes. Some of the highlights:
  • No. 3, Capital Beltway, Washington, DC: This slow moving route totals an average of 194 hours
... More »

Evan Bayh Calls It Quits

Indiana senator says partisan bickering drove him out of politics

(Newser) - Evan Bayh won’t seek reelection, he announced today, saying he was sick of the partisan rancor in Washington. “My decision was not motivated by political concerns,” the Indiana Democrat said in a statement. “Even in the current challenging environment, I am confident in my prospects for... More »

13 Stories