The Wider World

Can the filibuster be busted?

SENATE wing of the U.S Capitol building (Wikipedia).

The long-standing “filibuster” rules that allow a minority party in the U.S. Senate to stall action favored by the majority may soon come in for an historic challenge.

According to The New York Times, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) announced on Monday that a vote would be held soon to “ease” that measure.

Schumer said in a letter that the Senate will “debate and consider” rules change by Jan. 17, which is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The timing is intended to focus attention on the fate of a bill – already passed by the House of Representatives – seeking to override some state legislation that Democrats claim is aimed at making it more difficult for many people – especially Blacks and Hispanics – to vote.

Currently, it takes 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, but a decision to change or eliminate the filibuster would only require a majority vote of the upper house.

Democrats – narrowly – have that advantage. The parties are deadlocked 50-50, but Vice President Kamala Harris could break the tie in their favor.

However, two Democratic senators – Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Krysten Sinema of Arizona – have expressed some reluctance to support changes.

It’s snow joke: the D.C. area is freezing

SNOW in the east

Heavy snow dumped by a powerful winter storm is clogging roads and grounding air flights in the Washington, D.C. area.

According to United Press International, as many as 10 inches of snow are expected in the nation’s capital, as well as northern Virginia and central Maryland. Many local and federal government offices are closed, as well as some schools. Between 400,000 and 500,000 customers were believed to be without electrical power.

Non-essential travel is discouraged, reports UPI, and bus service is only available on major highways.

Sports: Monday Night with meaning

Even with so many teams in the NFL bunched up with similar records going into the final two rounds of the season, it still comes as a bit of a surprise those one of those two teams with 15 losses between them still has a chance to qualify for the playoffs.

The Monday Night Football clash with Cleveland (7-8) visiting Pittsburgh (7-7-1) holds that possibility. Of course, to accomplish that the Steelers need a victory tonight and one next Sunday are essential. It should be an epic duel between QBs: veteran Ben Roethlisberger for the Steelers and relative newcomer Baker Mayfield for the Browns. Cleveland is a three-point favorite. We’ll have the results later tonight.

Weather: They’re cold, we’re cozy

While much of the eastern United States is shivering through a snowy, windy stretch, West Orange County continues to experience a mild winter. According to forecasts, Tuesday should be partly cloudy with a daytime high of 61 and an overnight low of 44. Wednesday will be warmer with high of 66 (47) under mostly sunny skies. Thursday will go even further with a high of 68 (48) with lots of sun.

Finance: S&P starts year with record high

2022 started off with some good news for people with investments in an S&P Mutual Fund. The S&P 500 rose 30.38 points to 4,796.56, a record high. The Dow also started off fast, rising 246.76 points to 36,585.06 on Monday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was up 187.83 points to 15,832.

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