2014's fast food atrocities
Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.
In light of the filibuster of Chuck Hagel, Senate rules reform advocates are having a bit of an “I told you so” moment, lamenting the fact that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democratic leaders agreed to a weak filibuster tweak last month instead of one of the more robust plans reformers had hoped for. In response, it’s been noted that those proposals would not have eliminated the filibuster or even the 60 vote threshold needed to break one.
But that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have helped Hagel. In fact, if Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley’s plan had been in effect yesterday afternoon when the Senate voted on cloture, the vote would have succeeded and Hagel would be one step closer to confirmation.
Here’s why: While Merkley’s “talking filibuster” idea got the most attention, one plan the reformers would flip the burden for preserving a filibuster from the majority to the minority. Right now, the majority (Democrats) need to assemble 60 votes to break a filibuster, regardless of how many Republicans vote against cloture — anything less than that means the vote dies. So, under yesterday’s 58-40 vote, Democrats couldn’t move the vote forward.
But under a plan that Merkley and others pushed, the reverse would be true: The minority (Republicans) would need to assemble 41 votes to prove they can stop a cloture motion, and any absent senators in the minority would be considered in the affirmative. Again, yesterday’s vote was 58-40, meaning Republicans would have fallen one vote short of preserving their filibuster against Hagel. In that alternative universe, all that would stand between Hagel and confirmation would be 30-hours of post-cloture debate and a final vote, which only requires a 51 vote simple majority to succeed. He could be confirmed this weekend.
Five Republicans voted with the Democrats – Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and Mike Johanns of Nebraska – while Utah’s Orrin Hatch voted present and Louisiana’s David Vitter was absent. To be fair, if Merkley’s rule had been in effect, Republicans very likely would have called Vitter back to the chamber to make sure he voted, and he would presumably voted against cloture, thus giving them the 41 votes needed to keep up the obstruction.
But it would also mean that Democrats would need to peel off only one Republican to vote present or to skip the vote entirely, as Vitter did, in order to win. Right now, they need to get one more Republican to vote in favor of cloture, which is a much taller order. It would also force Republicans to stay in Washington as long as they want to preserve their filibuster. Instead, they’re expected to leave the capital later today for the President’s Day recess and not reconsider Hagel’s nomination for another 10 days.
Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.More Alex Seitz-Wald.
Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.
KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.
Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.
Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.
Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.