There’s a new normal in the Senate–at least for now.
Democrats and Republicans came to an agreement on filibuster rules Tuesday morning, averting threats of a Harry Reid “nuclear option” (and the GOP ire that would have come with it), allowing most of the president’s nominations to proceed unobstructed. The deal’s bottom line is that Democrats will leave filibuster rules in place and Senate Republicans will confirm nominations of several Obama cabinet members. The deal is considered a win for the president. But while the nuclear option was averted this time, it remains on the table for future conflicts.
Majority Leader Harry Reid explained to Chris Hayes on Tuesday night that he needs to keep that option. “I have to have the ability to protect not only the Senate, but the country…Listen, they wanna filibuster, let them filibuster. And we’ll override those filibusters and if they get too out of hand, we’ll revisit all of these things again.” This is the third time the nuclear threat has been given in the past two and half years, but Reid felt comfortable saying that the three-plus hour long meeting in the Old Senate chambers on Monday night marked “a new norm” for the Senate.
Use of the nuclear option has been brought up twice before during Reid’s leadership. While an important tool to break through gridlock, the nature of D.C. politics means that as much as it can help, it can also hurt. “There’s recognition on both sides that the shoe can be on the other foot rather quickly and that people in the majority today will be in the minority tomorrow, and vice versa,” said Texas Republican John Cornyn. The GOP attempted to invoke this tactic in 2005.
While much of the northeastern U.S. broils in record heat, the southern Norwegian town of Rjukan is making plans to battle the opposite problem: no winter sunlight. Due to its location deep in a valley floor, the industrial town is completely deprived of direct sunlight five months a year. How gloomy.
Instead of wallowing in the dark, however, the city is spending about $835,000 to install three large mirrors on the sides of nearby mountains. The mirrors, known as heliostats, will capture and redirect light rays directly onto the town’s main square. As the Daily Mail reports, a solar-powered sensor tracks the path of the sun and ensures the town is always soaked in natural light. Helicopters installed the mirrors earlier this month, and the first tests will begin in September.
Although The Mirror Project is only now being implemented, the idea has been around for more than a century…
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On July 13, Canadian-born Tom Grosset set a new record for extreme drumming, becoming the second person in history to hit more than 1,200 single strokes in one minute. The 23-year-old drew applause at the World’s Fastest Drummer (WFD), Extreme Sport Drumming in Nashville, Tenn., when he broke the record with 1,208 strokes, which means his hands were moving more than 20 times per second. The title previously belonged to Dream Theater drummer Mike Mangini who hit 1,203 strokes in 2005. According to his YouTube page, Grosset adds drums to music for films and game soundtracks.
(Still) Live From New York…
On the broadest level, today’s Emmy nominations are a confirmation that this is great time be watching TV — no matter where or how you choose to watch it. The big story of the day is the fourteen nominations for Netflix’s original shows, including some major nods for the excellent House of Cards. HBO dominated the day (once again) getting 108 nominations. But this year’s Emmys are not all about new technology and relatively new networks. Saturday Night Live pulled in fifteen nominations. That’s not bad for a show that’s been around for nearly four decades. And several of this year’s nominated actors are SNL alums.
It’s definitely nice that more quality shows on cable and Netflix are getting noticed. But it’s impossible to take the Emmys all that seriously when Two and a Half Men has nine trophies and The Wire has…
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