<b>Putting the filibuster in its place</b>
From Dwight Eisenhower to Gerald Ford, the Senate approved executive branch appointments without a single filibuster. There were a combined 16 in the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush years, and 16 more for Barack Obama's nominees. Well, so far.
With filibuster threats tying up more nominees,Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is finally taking steps to require an up-or- down vote on cabinet nominees and other executive branch appointees. The proposed rule change wouldn't extend to judicial nominees or legislation. As for the remaining filibusters, how about insisting that senators actually stand and talk if they don't want to vote?
<b>An early start to the 2014 campaign</b>
It's healthy for democracy to have contested elections. Challengers bring fresh ideas, incumbents must defend their records. Voters get to make choices. But must the campaigns start so far in advance? There's nothing new about presidential candidates visiting early primary states and lining up support years in advance of the election. Nor is it likely to change. But the practice is working its way down the ballot.
Last week, Petaluma City Councilman Mike Harris announced his candidacy for mayor. Incumbent David Glass announced his re-election bid last year. The election is in November .<TH>.<TH>. of 2014.
Let the fundraising begin.
<b>Hungry Americans left in the cold</b>