Ok, once again, this isn't going to be about animal law... but here goes. Imho, Republicans are - already - feeling their oats and this country is - already - seeing the start of the next Republican reign of terror.
The House - no doubt feeling pressured to acknowledge the "message" the Republican and Tea parties keep bludgeoning us with in the wake of last month's election - voted overwhelmingly today to censure longtime Democratic Representative Charles Rangel of New York. Rangel was found guilty of 11 ethics violations. True, this is not a good thing. But those violations were - in comparison to some of the other crap that other politicians have pulled in recent decades - for relatively minor things like violating the gift ban. Even tax evasion pales in comparison. Did anyone watch CBS Sunday Morning last weekend? Even longtime Republican TV commentator Ben Stein urged lawmakers that censure was too harsh for the 20-term, decorated war veteran Rangel. Oh well.
Perhaps more disappointing, it appears that Congress - driven in particular by a few old-school Republicans - won't even accept a recommendation from no less than the Pentagon itself to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" ban. What is up with that? Defense Secretary Robert Gates testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee today that a Pentagon study found that ending the ban is unlikely to reduce military preparedness. However, if Congress refuses to enact legislation to allow for a gradual repeal, the all-at-once repeal that would come from a court overturn of the ban would be much more difficult. So far, it's unclear at best whether Gates has actually persuaded his opponents.
On the other hand, it does appear that Illinois is about to become the next state to legalize civil unions. The senate passed the measure today over the opposition of a handful of legislator-curmudgeons from the southern part of that state. And although Illinois may be incredibly corrupt, at least it still has a Democrat governor (who has indicated previously that he supports the measure). As I've blogged before, improvements in gay rights is likely a good thing for animal rights.