Robert Byrd

Want to know how to sneak a gun into the U.S. Capitol? Then Donald Ritchie is your man.

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Over the course of the next year, there will be much talk about Democrats who are or are not keeping distance between their own reelection campaigns and that of Barack Obama. This is as it should be when you've got a president running with sub-50 percent approval ratings.

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While it's still too early to pick the most surreal ad of the political cycle, the one where West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin grabs a rifle and starts shooting a cap-and-trade bill must rank pretty high. But hey, maybe this little authenticity twofer worked! Previous polls, after all, showed Manchin losing the WV Senate race to GOP businessman John Raese. Whereas today, a new Marshall University survey gives Manchin a ten-point lead. Maybe more struggling candidates should try blasting away at thick reams of legislative text. But that brings up another question.

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My colleague and environmental policy expert Brad Plumer is as gloomy on the job as he is cheerful in person. When I see him in the office, I like to tease him by waving my hands wildly in the air and saying "we're dooooooomed." Unfortunately for me and the rest of you, Brad happens to know what he's talking about. Climate catastrophe seems imminent, but most Republicans and quite a few Democrats remain opposed to meaningful climate change legislation. President Obama and his allies say they will try to pass something and environmental groups are doing what they can to help.

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For years, the coal industry's strategy for dealing with climate change has gone something like this: 1) Fight off caps on carbon pollution for as long as possible. 2) Convince politicians to throw gobs of money at fancy low-carbon technologies like carbon capture and sequestration. 3) Pray that those fancy technologies actually work. The strategy has succeeded so far. Seeing as how half the electricity in the United States comes from coal, there's never a shortage of members of Congress willing to do whatever the industry wants. And yet...

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Politico has a headline, "Manchin Gets Veteran Dem Challenger." "Veteran" turns out to be something of an understatement here: Former West Virginia Secretary of State Ken Hechler, a nonagenarian Democrat who has held office in the state on and off since 1958, has filed to run in his party’s Senate primary against Gov. Joe Manchin. The West Virginia secretary of state’s office confirmed that Hechler filed the appropriate paperwork by fax and paid the $1,740 fee to enter the special election race for the late Sen.

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West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, a Democrat, confirmed today that he will run for Robert Byrd’s Senate seat this fall. Chances are he’ll be running against Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, although she hasn’t formally announced her candidacy yet. So who exactly is Joe Manchin? Here are some quick, essential facts: —Before becoming governor in 2005, Manchin served in the West Virginia state legislature and senate. He was also secretary of state from 2001-2005.

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The time was March, 1973, the place a Senate committee hearing where Robert Byrd was interrogating L. Patrick Gray, the head of the FBI. A series of probing questions from Byrd elicited an admission by Gray that he was taking orders from the Nixon White House in his conduct of the investigation into the attempted burglary of the Democratic headquarters at the Watergate. When John Dean, Nixon’s White House counsel, heard about Gray’s testimony, he realized the jig was up and that he had to confess his involvement to the United States attorney.

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I didn't get a chance to mention this yesterday, but Robert Byrd's death definitely jumbles the political landscape for climate/energy legislation—though maybe not in the way most people would assume. For a long time, Byrd had been a staunch coal guy (it's West Virginia, after all) who was firmly opposed to doing anything about global warming.

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One of the worst days for Poland is rapidly becoming one of its greatest. The country's president, its armed forces' chiefs of staff, and its National Bank President, along with many more high state officials--the core members of Poland's governing elite--lost their lives on Saturday morning. Much of the media attention has been on the destination of the presidential visit: the commemoration of the Katyn massacre in 1940. On Stalin’s orders the Soviet NKVD executed nearly 20,000 Polish Army officers (who were also key members of the educational, professional, and administrative elite).

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