: News

This Week in Congress - July 2, 2010

Play associated audio

SCRIPT:

I’m Elizabeth Wynne Johnson of Capitol News Connection.

This Week in Congress…

In his final years, his appearances at the Capitol grew increasingly rare. But each time he arrived, a frail Senator Robert C. Byrd never failed to croak out a certain familiar phrase – part greeting, part command.

This week, the United States Senate would “make way for liberty!”… one last time.

The story of Byrd is complicated, contradictory, and long. When then-Senator Barack Obama greeted a crowd in West Virginia back in early 2008, he told a story about being the new kid in the chamber:

OBAMA: There was only one uniform piece of advice: when you talk to every single Senator in the Democratic caucus, they said, “The first thing you need to do is sit down and visit with Senator Byrd.”

In many ways the long story had come full-circle. The Southerner who joined the Ku Klux Klan and opposed the Civil Rights Act…would go on to support his Senate colleague Barack Obama for President.

In September of 2009, Byrd spoke from the Senate floor not far from a desk draped in a simple black cloth.

BYRD: Ted Kennedy and I were friends. Yet we were the oddest of odd couples. He was the scion of a wealthy and storied family. I am a coal miner’s son.

This week, it was the coal miner’s son whose desk sat unoccupied and shrouded. Senate Majority Leader Reid spoke of Byrd’s abiding and unmatched mastery of all things Senate. Its history. Its arcane procedures. Its place in a democracy.

REID: America’s lost its strongest defender of its most precious traditions. FEINGOLD: Nobody had a clearer sense of the roles and prerogatives of Congress and the Constitution. Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold. FEINGOLD: In particular, he was the leading voice for making sure that we tried to keep our powers over questions about when troops go to War.

NPR

Not My Job: Sharon Jones Gets Quizzed On Handshakes

We've invited the lead singer of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings to play a game called "Let's shake on it."
NPR

Salvage Supperclub: A High-End Dinner In A Dumpster To Fight Food Waste

The ingredients — think wilted basil, bruised plums, garbanzo bean water — sound less than appetizing. Whipped together, they're a tasty meal that show how home cooks can use often-tossed foods.
NPR

Barbershop: Speechwriters Speak On The RNC And DNC

Republican speechwriter Mary Kate Cary, Democratic speechwriter Jeff Nussbaum and historian from the University of Virginia Barbara Perry dissect the last two weeks of speeches at the RNC and DNC.
NPR

From 'The Water's Edge To The Cutting Edge': Fish Skeletons, CT Scans And Engineering

Professor Adam Summers is a "fish guy." He uses fish to get engineering ideas. His latest project is to CT scan every type of fish — all 33,000 of them.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.