Here I was, preparing to do a post on the indictment of Sen. Ted Stevens (R - the 'Internet is tubes' guy) for failing to disclose services he received from a company that benefitted from legislation that he championed. It wasn't going to be much, just a little wiseass-ery to tide us over until tonight's debate between Gerald Richard and Tim Nelson, the Democratic candidates for Maricopa County Attorney.
Note: that debate will be held at Central High School, 4525 N. Central Ave, Phoenix at 7 p.m.
Then I happened to surf by C-SPAN, which was airing the House's debate on H. Res. 194, a measure "apologizing for the enslavement and racial segregation of African-Americans".
The resolution is sponsored by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and was brought to the floor by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI).
The Republicans didn't openly oppose the measure (they wouldn't dare during an election year), but they expressed their contempt for it and for slaves and their descendants by sending one of their favorite nativist pit bulls, Steve King of Iowa, to lead their "support" of it.
He spoke at length on the resolution, but rarely talking about the abominable part of America's history that was slavery. However, he did use his time to bring up many topics that were tangentially related (or at least could be made to seem related, perhaps by using a rhetorical shoe horn, hammer, and can of WD-40). He likened post-civil war tribunals targeting KKK members (King even referred to them as "terrorists") to military tribunals for terrorist 'suspects' held by the Bush Administration. He went on to complain that 4th Amendment considerations (aka - habeas corpus) destroyed the effectiveness of the post-Civil War tribunals and that such considerations will do the same to modern military tribunals.
King also used his time -
- to express support for the anti-affirmative action referendums pushed by Ward Connerly and supported wholeheartedly by John McCain;
- to object to the use of the term "African Americans" in the bill because that term might apply to modern immigrants from Africa who never had an ancestor who was a slave in the United States;
- to talk about the Bible carried by his 5-times great uncle who fought during the Civil War (no indication as to which side he fought for);
- to tell a perhaps apocryphal story about Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation that highlight his (King's) support for a President that goes his own way without regard to the opinions of others (or, by extension, the rules or laws that even apply to others). King even admitted on the floor that the story might be an "urban legend";
- to generally blather on about many topics that weren't slavery in America.
One thing he didn't do? He didn't bother, as is traditionally done in the House, to ask his colleagues to vote for the bill, even though he spoke in "support" of the resolution.
Passage of the bill will be considered by a roll call vote later this evening.
Edit1 - The House passed H.Res. 194 by voice vote at 6:40 p.m. EDT.
Rep. King didn't limit his racial dismissiveness to just this one measure - he had plenty dismissiveness left when the House debated H. Res. 1357, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act that apologized for the blanket internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
His prime quotes in 'support' of the commemoration (and the original act)?
He said that when FDR ordered the internments, he "had the best interests of America in mind" and that he was "worried about lost intelligence," harkening, perhaps, to a certain current President and his habit of ordering the detentions of "terrorism suspects" and "intelligence sources."
That resolution will also be voted on later today.
I've written about King before (here, too), and nothing has changed - he's still a stone bigot who represents an extreme faction of his party at the expense of his constuents, state, and country.
The best part of it all? King (and his local Republican analogues, Russell Pearce (R-National Alliance) and Jack Harper (R-"Rules? We don't need no stinkin' rules") is a *typical* Republican.
You know, my first instinct was to title this post "Steve King (R-IA): Always a reliable source for subject material." He *is* a reliable source for material, but I decided that didn't really express the actual issue here - the average Republican elected official's disdain for anybody who isn't rich, white, and a fundamentalist Christian.
When the Congressional Record posts today's debate, I'll update this post with a link to it.
Edit on 7/31 - the link to the Congressional Record's documentation of the debate is here.
Anyway, hope to see you at tonight's debate...