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House of Representatives

  1. Teacher-Turned-Congressman Grades GOP Letter to House Speaker, Posts It to Tumblr for Your Enjoyment

    There are politicians who use Tumblr? This is worse than when the celebrities find our fanfic.

    As much as high school sucked for basically everyone, there are some things about the state of the real adult world that could probably be improved by a little more of the discipline that only an overworked teacher can provide. Former high school teacher Representative Mark Takano (D-CA) decided that maybe the Republican-drafted letter about immigration that was circulating around the floor of the House might benefit from some edits and creative criticism, so he graded it and posted the results to his Tumblr. Unsurprisingly, Takano feels the work needs some serious revisions.

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  2. Good News, Everyone! The House Passed CISPA!

    They say every cloud has a silver lining. If that's true, then there has to be something good about the fact that 288 members of Congress just voted to pass CISPA, right? The bill essentially strips citizens of any right to online privacy, which is obviously terrible, but there has to be something positive about this.

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  3. Republicans and Democrats Agree On Manhattan Project National Park, Manage Not to Vote It Into Existence

    We've told you before about legislation in Congress that would make the laboratories that housed the Manhattan Project into a national park, commemorating probably the greatest gathering of scientific minds in the history of time and both the scientific progress (atomic energy) and sickening horror (the atomic bomb) that resulted from it. The Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act finally came up for a vote in the halls of Congress last night, and a majority of our great nation's elected represntatives -- 237 grown adults -- agreed that it should be a thing that exists, which, given the state of our political system today, of course means that the bill failed. Confused? We've got your explanation after the jump.

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  4. Legislation Banning Employer Requests For Facebook Passwords Reaches the House of Representatives

    Meddling Kids

    At the end of March, we learned that members of the United States Congress -- meaning the House of Representatives and the Senate -- were officially looking into drafting a bill that would disallow employers from asking potential hires for private login information for their Facebook accounts. States had been instituting laws on their own, but after more and more stories came out about people feeling pressured to hand over their private information by someone in the position of giving them a job, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal said that enough was enough -- this is something that needs to be dealt with on a national level. And now, the Social Networking Online Protection Act has made it to the House of Representatives while the Senate continues to work on their own version. Important question: Do we get to call it SNOPA? I'm going to call it SNOPA.

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  5. Don’t Worry, President Obama Will Veto CISPA — Unless the Senate Has a Different Version

    Rights of Passage

    Your "small government" lawmakers are at it again, passing laws in the U.S. House of Representatives that give the government -- namely, agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency -- the power to basically obliterate your privacy -- in this case, via private businesses, namely large corporations. The good news is that President Obama has threatened to veto the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) if it made its way through Congress, due to its vastly overreaching provisions. However, while he has come out against the House bill, what if the Senate tones things down a bit?

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  6. Another One Bites the Dust (For Now): PIPA Vote Postponed, SOPA “On Hold”

    Rights of Passage

    While the list of lawmakers opposing the internet censorship bills PIPA and SOPA continues to grow, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) tweeted this morning that he will be postponing the January 24 vote. No new date has set, but this follows his decision not to force Democrats to vote for the bill in order to prevent a potential veto by President Obama. It also appears that SOPA's lead sponsor in the House, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), has put the bill on hold following Reid's announcement. However, Reid is pledging to continue working on the bill and released a statement about his intentions. Unfortunately, his intentions still involve voting on and passing PIPA in some shape or form. Let's also point out the irony of Harry Reid making this announcement on a site that thrives on sharing so much copyrighted material.

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  7. Dropping Like Flies: List of Defecting PIPA/SOPA Supporters (and Co-Sponsors) Grows

    Rights of Passage

    The internet protest is over, and you can finally use Wikipedia without having to look at a gross, spooky cached page. (You knew you could do that, right? Oh, well, doesn't matter now.) But what was the real impact of the swath of blackouts on the web? Was is much ado about nothing? And what could have been the most significant reaction to this widespread outcry? In fact, something pretty important happened: the people responsible for actually voting on the bill and turning it into the law of the land have decided not to support it. Even lawmakers who co-sponsored the bill have taken their names off and withdrawn their support. That's wonderful! And it was also nice of them that they were so honest about apparently not reading the bill they'd initially supported in the first place. Transparency!

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  8. Which Sites Are Going Black to Protest SOPA/PIPA?

    Rights of Passage

    If you found yourself wondering what the name of the second general of the Dutch Revolution was, or if that was even real, and you ventured on over to Wikipedia to look it up, you probably noticed that the site looked different today. Different, as in blacked out. And then you may or may not have panicked, because now how would you satisfy you thirst for random trivia that is probably somewhere else on the internet, but your go-to site has shut itself down, and now your brain must find something else to do for the next -- hey, someone mentioned you on Twitter. You should check that out. Anyway, you most likely heard about this earlier in the week, when the site's administrators announced that in protest of the highly controversial internet censorship bills SOPA and PIPA, they would "censor" their own site for 24 hours. But Wikipedia is not the only site protesting today. After the jump, find out who else has shut themselves down, and see what the internet will look like should these bills become law.

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  9. SOPA Shelved by Congress and Opposed by Obama, Is Effectively Dead

    Rights of Passage

    Over the weekend, President Obama publicly declared his administration's opposition to the controversial internet censorship bill being introduced in Congress known as the Stop Online Piracy Act, better known as SOPA. (The opposition includes both versions of the bill, the House of Representatives' SOPA and the Senate's Protect IP Act aka PIPA, which is still, technically, alive.) And now, after a continuous loss of support and facing severe and vocal opposition from the public, the House has shelved the bill, and it is what insiders like to call "Dead On Arrival." But what about PIPA? Well, it's what I like to call a "Dead Bill Walking."

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  10. Marvel Comics Listed As A SOPA Supporter

    BAD IDEAS FROM SMART PEOPLE

    The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), or Protect-IP Act as it's called in the House of Representatives, has been the talk of the internet-town (and regular towns) for  months. Once everyone realized the implications this particular bill, they got extremely nervous and concerned phone calls and letters started pouring into Washington. The matter is still waiting to be settled when Congress returns from their winter recess but a list has surfaced showing particular companies who are in support of the controversial bill. And one of them is Marvel Entertainment. 

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  11. New Anti-Piracy Bill Brings Internet "Death Penalty" to the Table

    With the ubiquity of legitimate and fairly inexpensive sources for fast, high-quality streaming, the issue of online piracy seems to have taken a back seat in the public eye. Not so on Capitol Hill, where a new piece of legislation introduced to the House of Representatives could give law enforcement sweeping new powers to make so-called "rogue" websites involved in Internet piracy virtually vanish. The bill, boldly called the Stop Online Piracy Act, would grant new powers to the Department of Justice. Under the new law, the DOJ could use a court order served to Domain Name System (DNS) providers, search engines, and even advertising companies to sever an offending website from public access. Once served, these parties would be obliged to drop accused websites from search engine results, invalidate the site's URL, and presumably cut them off from advertising money; a kind of "death penalty" for websites.

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  12. NASA Takes Huge Hit In Proposed Congressional Budget

    In what feels like a completely endless debate about how the government should support its science agencies during economic hardship, it seems as though NASA is set to be the sacrificial lamb of budget balancing with almost $2 billion in cuts. Congress has just released its Appropriations bill that gives their views on how much federal money NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) should be given. Massive cuts are called for across the board, but no agency is set to lose as much as NASA.

    To determine the federal budget, the President comes up with a budget request that the House of Representatives and the Senate then consider and come up with their own independent counter offers. The House and Senate must agree on budget appropriations before the budget becomes final. In his request, President Obama was relatively kind to NASA but the House apparently doesn't see the same value in the agency. The House's budget includes a total cut of $1.64 billion from last year which is almost $2 billion short of the President's request.

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  13. The GOP’s Attack On Women Is Going Nowhere. Nowhere.

    Rights of Passage

    Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the "No Funding For Abortion Act" (also known as H.R. 3) which you may recall tried to redefine "forcible rape." That was dead in the water (mostly because statutory rape and incest would not necessarily fall under those categories), so that language was taken out. (And then, it wasn't.) Instead of trying to limit the kinds of victims of rape, they are now also aiming to limit who can provide the coverage, namely Medicaid. So, no public funding of abortion. For victims of statutory rape. Oh, and also, private health insurers who cover abortions may cause the companies who use them for their employees to lose their tax credits. (By the way, 87 percent of private health insurers cover abortions.) And now, this new version of the bill has passed the House. And that is where it will die. >>> Read the rest at Mediaite.

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  14. House Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood

    Stupid Human Tricks

    The Republicans in the House of Representatives (plus 10 Democrats) voted to defund Planned Parenthood in an attempt to "cut spending" and "end federal funding for abortion." But in a case for the Department of Redundancy Department, Planned Parenthood was already not using federal funds for abortion under Title X, which funds other reproductive health services that aren't abortion. So, if you're keeping score, Republicans voted to take away federal funding for abortion that didn't exist in the first place. Instead, defunding Planned Parenthood means stripping women of the other health services they provide, including mammograms, cancer screenings, HIV tests, and contraceptives. Aren't you glad the GOP has kept its promise to fix the economy, find people jobs, and get the country back on track?

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  15. iPads May Become the First Gadgets Allowed on the Floor of the House of Representatives

    Rules in the House of Representatives forbidding the use of electronic devices on the floor might soon be changed so members of Congress can use their iPads. Because that's what was preventing them from doing their jobs effectively. Not being able to use their iPads. An iPad first appeared on the House floor earlier this month by way of Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar. He says he mainly uses it to read news and check emails, but also uses professional apps such as Congress in Your Pocket and another that functions as a teleprompter. But he also vows to keep his device "productive and distraction-free." (The same way we all vow not to browse the Internet at work. Hi, everyone!) There are definite benefits to being plugged in on the House floor.

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