If one only more GOP senator flips, the FCC's Net Neutrality order will be up for grabs

After Trump's FCC Chairman Ajit Pai rammed through an order killing Net Neutrality -- citing easily disproved lies, ignoring millions of public comments -- activists started pinning their hopes on something called the Congressional Review Act, which gives Congress and the Senate the power to overrule the decisions of regulators from the administrative agencies like the FCC. Read the rest

Senator Rand Paul severely beaten while mowing lawn, unable to return to DC; neighbor arrested

Senator Rand Paul, architect of some of the most extreme policies of the Republican Party, had five of his ribs fractured (three were "displacement fractures") and suffered lung bruising after being beaten at his Kentucky home; his next-door neighbor, Rene Boucher (59), an anesthesiologist/inventor who is thought to have worked at a nearby hospital with Rand Paul, was arrested and bailed for fourth-degree assault. Read the rest

"Monopoly Man" photobombs Equifax CEO's Senate hearing

Consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen's Amanda Werner, dressed as Rich Uncle Pennybags from the Monopoly game, sat behind former Equifax CEO Richard Smith this morning during his testimony to the Senate Banking Committee about the company's breach of 45,500,000 Americans' private data . From Public Citizen's statement:

Make no mistake: Arbitration is a rigged game, one that the bank nearly always wins. Shockingly, the average consumer forced to arbitrate with Wells Fargo was ordered to pay the bank nearly $11,000. Bank lobbyists and their allies in Congress are trying to overturn the CFPB’s rule so they can continue to rip off consumers with impunity.

(The Hill) Read the rest

Atul Gawande on the importance of preventative care and the disastrous Senate "health" bill

Atul Gawande (previously) is a highly respected expert on systems thinking, preventative medicine and dying with dignity has published an excellent editorial about the medical shortcomings of the Senate GOP's tax-break/health cut bill. Read the rest

Comey Hearing Bingo (Update: random variations option)

His "prepared remarks" are already out, and tomorrow's the big show.

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America divided into states with the population of California

Speculative redivisions of the USA into equal-population states tend to discard the existing ones entirely in favor of the average. I thought it would be interesting to instead keep the most populous state, California, then combine other states to meet it in size. Since they're always complaining. Read the rest

Senate Democrats boycott Trump cabinet confirmation hearings

After a wrangle on tactics that pitted the party establishment -- who feared that filibusters would provoke procedural reforms that allowed for a 51-Senator vote to overrule a filibuster, making future Trump appointments easier -- against party activists who want Senate and Congressional Democrats to stall, refuse and resist trumpism by every means necessary (perhaps banking on early impeachment, before a rule-change could do much damage), the Senate Democratic caucus has announced that it will boycott the confirmation hearings for Tom Price to lead the Department of Health and Human Services and Steve Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary. Read the rest

Is this the most effective political ad of 2016?

US Senate candidate Jason Kander was consistently trailing incumbent Roy Blunt in the Missouri race until this month. Many attribute the shift to a simple and memorable ad in response to criticism of Kander's position on gun background checks. Read the rest

CIA boss John Brennan drafted this never-sent apology letter to senators over the CIA hacking

“The CIA accidentally released a document to me under FOIA and then asked that I refrain from posting it,” says VICE reporter Jason Leopold. He declined their request.

Rand Paul plans to crush the PATRIOT Act

Rand Paul, who sued the NSA two years ago, just announced that he plans to "force the expiration of the NSA illegal spy program" tomorrow in order to protect Americans' privacy rights. Here is his exclusive with Politico. Read the rest