[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/02/16/bayh.senate/story.bayhe.gi.jpg caption="Bayh and other politicians have warned of dysfunction in Congress." width=300 height=169]
Julian E. Zelizer
Special to CNN
When Sen. Evan Bayh announced that he would step down from the Senate, he said that Congress had become a dysfunctional institution. "I love helping our citizens make the most of their lives, but I do not love Congress," Bayh lamented.
Bayh is not the only politician or pundit to issue this warning in recent months. There have been an abundance of proclamations that Congress no longer works.
Certainly, the argument has merits. Institutions and process matter very much in American politics. As many commentators, including myself, have written, the constant use of the filibuster by both parties, the power of interest groups and their lobbyists and the intense pressures to fundraise are just a few examples of why legislating is so difficult. There is no disagreement here.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/05/palin.reaction/art.palin.gi.jpg caption="Palin was the intended target of the 'Family Guy' joke, says Navarrette."]
Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN
Sarah Palin has awesome power. We already knew that she had the power to drive liberal Democrats crazy. They don't respect her, but they sure do fear her.
And this week we learned that Palin also has the power to make those same liberal Democrats forget all the preaching they've shared with the rest of us over the years about the importance of tolerance and defending those with special needs.
Like, say, a little boy with Down syndrome who will be two years old in April but who has already been the butt of a national joke by the brainless and heartless creator and producers of the Fox animated comedy, "Family Guy."
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/OPINION/10/30/ron.paul.fed/story.ron.paul.gi.jpg caption="Ron Paul-style themes have spread through the conservative movement since his 2008 presidential campaign." width=300 height=169]
A growing number of Americans are becoming aware of the Federal Reserve System, what it is, how it has precipitated our financial crisis, and how it continues to pursue policies that delay economic recovery and weaken the dollar.
The Fed's actions, combined with the federal government's bailout bills and stimulus packages, have struck a nerve in the American people.
Recent polls have shown that more than 75 percent of Americans support efforts to audit the Fed, something which my bill, HR 1207, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, aims to do. HR 1207 has the support of 304 members of Congress, and the Senate version of the bill, S. 604, is supported by 31 U.S. senators.
Reporter's Note: My letters to the White House this week are coming from the great state of Texas. Which, considering its size, is kind of like saying “Hey, I’m in Europe!” Still…
Tom Foreman | BIO
Dear Mr. President,
I am whipped! Flew from Baltimore to Austin and while the flight was fine, trust me it was no Air Force One. Landed and spent the whole day running around town talking to people about the local economy and now it is late and I feel flatter than a road kill rabbit.
That said it is always a great treat to escape the gravity of DC to hear what the rest of the nation is thinking. I feel kind of like a collie let off of the leash. And let me tell you, here it’s not so bad. Oh sure, the recession has hammered them a bit, but by and large this area has done a remarkable job of hanging tough.
We’re here to find out why that is the case, so of course we went to a totally rocking place called Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon to hear Dale Watson play music. Ha! No kidding! This guy, in case you don’t know, is a bonafide country music star who lives here. And he lays down licks hotter than the Gulf shore in August. It was a blast and you should have been there. Even though it was the middle of the afternoon, the place was packed with folks of a wide variety of ages, and they all had theories about why their town has done so much better than others.
Program Note: Don't miss our live coverage from Haiti tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
Over the weekend, Gary Tuchman, photographer Phil Littleton and I went to a tent city unlike many of the tent cities that are becoming the norm around Haiti's capital city.
Petionville is one of the wealthier suburbs outside of Port-au-Prince. In the parks and the main square, displaced people have set up tents and call what used to be a public area a home. They cook on makeshift grills, wash clothes and bathe in tubs and hang those clothes to dry on clothing lines. In short, they are making do with what they can.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/TRAVEL/02/08/olympics.truce.united.nations/story.whistler.afp.gi.jpg caption="Greene: Vancouver Olympic athletes should have demanded an apology for 'repugnant' statement on Georgian luger's death." width=300 height=169]
It would have been one of the most memorable moments in the history of the Olympic Games.
It wasn't to be - it's probably unrealistic to think that it could have happened.
But what a message it would have sent.
Think what the response of the world would have been if, in the wake of that repugnant official statement blaming 21-year-old luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili for his own death during a practice run, all of the more than 2,500 athletes from 82 countries at the Winter Games had stood together and announced, in polite and respectful tones:
We will not compete in these Olympics until the organizing committee issues a public apology for what they have done to the memory of our fellow athlete.
AC360° Associate Producer
A vast majority of Americans believe that the government is broken, according to a new national poll. Still, the public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what's broken can be fixed. All week we're taking a look at the promises made – and kept – and what changes are being made in Washington.
We’re kicking off the series with a report on who really runs Washington? The lawmakers, the lobbyists or both? Joe Johns teams up with a Washington insider to show us just how close K Street is to Capitol Hill – both literally and figuratively. He’ll take us on a tour of some of the offices of a few of the biggest power players in the Capitol. It’s not uncommon for lawmakers to become lobbyists and vice versa – some call it the revolving door of Washington. So how much influence do lobbyists have? We’re keeping them honest tonight.
And at the White House, President Obama is proposing giving federal authorities the power to limit rate hikes by health insurance companies. In the past, the states were responsible for this authority. But how will these rate hikes by enforced? And what does it mean for your insurance rates? President Obama will take part in a televised health-care summit on Thursday which is being billed as the last chance for the GOP to limit the legislation. Will the summit accomplish anything or will it get bogged down in partisan gridlock? We’ll have all the raw politics tonight.
Editor's Note: After Friday night's AC360°, many of you weighed in with mixed opinions on Tiger Woods' public apology.
Tiger’s problem is between him and his wife. He did not show any disrespect on the greens so he owes the public no explanation. It was wrong but not the public’s business. He did not spend the tax payer’s tax dollars on entertaining his affairs. All needs to sweep off their own porches before explanations are expected from tiger
Larry King and Anderson Cooper their show is about Tiger Wood. Tiger Wood came on TV and told his story. Leave him alone. There is more important news out there such as the guy that flew his plane into that building because he hated the USA Government