Stories to Watch: 2/26/13.
It’s only been two weeks, but it feels like months of stupidity and craziness. In the end, the inevitable proved inevitable and Chuck Hagel is your next Secretary of Defense.
I try to bring it up from time to time, but I was reminded that it’s slipped my mind lately; if any of my links in these “Stories to Watch” posts seem a little spare on the info, hover your mouse over them to get the headline to the article it links to. It shows up as a tooltip near your cursor. Yes, the title tag in HTML really does have a use.
Michele Bachmann says, “I was very proud of the fact that I didn’t get anything wrong that I said during the course of the debates. I didn’t get anything wrong and that’s a huge arena.” Damned liberal reality! She’s basically just proved she still can’t get anything right. Good thing irony doesn’t hurt you any or Shelly’d be in the ER.
Mississippi GOP Rep. Steven Palazzo has introduced a constitutional amendment that would basically gut Obamacare. Normally, amendments are just ways for House Republican backbenchers to make headlines without risking all that much — amendments generally go nowhere. But Pallazzo’s is sure to earn a shunning from even many of his fellow Republicans for one simple reason: it kills dead the argument that Obamacare is unconstitutional. When SCOTUS ruled it constitutional, that’s one thing. It’s OK to disagree with a ruling. But if people were to actually vote on Steve’s amendment, they’d be admitting the opposite — you don’t need to amend the Constitution to make the unconstitutional unconstitutional. Palazzo is admitting that the Affordable Care Act is a perfectly cromnulent law — whether he meant to or not.
Right on schedule, the Republican freak out over the release of “low priority” immigration detainees begins. I’m a little surprised that Republicans aren’t urging restraint in responses to the move, because you just know this is going to go from zero to racist in no time flat.
Seth MacFarlane rules out another Oscars hosting gig. I kind of doubt they were going to ask him back anyway.
Finally, this is a short one tonight. I had to deal with a sink clog. Luckily, I had the headlines mostly done. A short stack will have to do.
[cartoon via McClatchy Newspapers]
It’s official: House GOP are ridiculous, incompetent clowns.
There’s little Republicans love more these days than falsely attacking President Obama for stripping work requirements out of welfare.
But in their zeal to slash and de-federalize safety net programs, they’ve advanced legislation that would do exactly that.
The bill — sponsored by Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Joseph J. Heck, (R-NV), and Buck McKeon (R-CA) and called the Workforce Investment Improvement Act — would allow states to lump moneys from state-federal employment and training programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, into a single fund. But by doing so, it could essentially nullify federal eligibility requirements for those programs, according to the Congressional Research Service, the nonpartisan analysis arm of Congress which reviewed the bill.
It’s ideologically consistent with other piecemeal GOP efforts to roll back and privatize federal support programs, and/or devolves them to the states. As such it would empower state and local workforce boards, and increase employers’ influence on those boards. But it goes farther than anything President Obama has done to TANF, which been accused — inaccurately — of eliminating welfare-to-work requirements.
“I don’t think the TANF work requirements were what they had in mind when they were working on the Foxx bill,” says Elizabeth Lower-Basch of the Center for Law and Social Policy. “But it is sort of a collateral consequence.”
Anyone who’s watched Foxx’s career even briefly knows she’s a buffoon. The rest of her committee are no better. These people are empty suits, with intellects no greater than your average drivetime talk radio yacker. People who think these guys have any idea what the hell they’re doing or what the hell they’re talking about are even dumber than that ridiculous clown Virginia Foxx.
Judge restores early voting in Ohio.
A federal judge in Ohio on Friday granted a request from President Barack Obama’s campaign to give all voters in the swing state the option of casting their ballot in person during the three days before Election Day.
U.S. District Judge Peter Economus in Columbus issued a preliminary injunction in a case involving a state law that cuts off early voting for most residents on the Friday evening before a Tuesday election.
The judge’s ruling said that he expects Ohio’s elections chief to direct all county elections boards to maintain a specific, consistent schedule on those three days “in keeping with his earlier directive that only by doing so can he ensure that Ohio’s election process is `uniform, accessible for all, fair, and secure.’”
Obama’s campaign and Democrats sued the state’s elections chief and attorney general over the legality of the law. They argued that everyone should have the chance to vote on those three days. The law makes an exception for military personnel and Ohio voters living overseas.
This is a real blow for Team Romney and Republicans, who wanted to steal this swing state by changing the rules in the middle of the game. Like all Republican attempts to rejigger voting laws, this was meant to disenfranchise demographic groups most likely to vote Democrat.
Freedom and democracy win this round.
GOP economic theory in action.
The debt-plagued Republican Party of Minnesota is getting kicked out of its party headquarters near the state Capitol.
Massachusetts-based Hub Properties Trust filed paperwork in Ramsey County on Wednesday to evict the state GOP for failing to pay more than $96,000 in rent over the last year.
“Tenant remains in default under the lease by failing to pay in full when due, rent from April 2011 through the present,” the court papers read. “As of April 1, 2012, the tenant owes landlord a total of $111,192.14.” (A security deposit on the property and several partial payments since June 2011 have reduced the total outstanding debt to about $96,000.)
The eviction action follows a series of revelations last winter regarding debts accrued by the party during the reign of former RPM Chairman Tony Sutton. In December, an internal review of finances revealed that the party owes $1.23 million to creditors, plus more than $700,000 in legal fees accrued during the 2010 gubernatorial recount, and is facing possible fines from the Federal Elections Commission for undisclosed debts. The party is also currently being investigated by the state campaign finance board.
Yeah, lets give these economic geniuses the keys to the economy.
News Roundup for 10/12/11
-Headline of the Day-
“Facing Cuts, a City Repeals Its Domestic Violence Law.”
Ever feel like committing a crime against your significant other? Then Topeka, Kansas is the place for you!
Yes, through the magic of Republican budget cuts, Topeka is now a paradise for alcoholic wife-beaters and emotionally unbalanced rage-freaks. Remember, that government that governs best governs least!
See, it works like this; Topeka doesn’t have any money. The county doesn’t have any money. And the district attorney’s office doesn’t have any money. So domestic violence cases get handed off every which way and the City Council finally had enough and voted to repeal the city’s statute against domestic violence.
The reasoning was that, if domestic violence cases weren’t covered under city statutes, then someone else would have to prosecute under state law. It’s drastic, sure, but city leaders believe it beats the status quo. According to the report, “Eighteen people have been arrested on domestic violence charges since September and released without charges because no agency is accepting new cases.” Whether Topeka’s gambit will work or just make matters worse is unclear.
“To have public officials pointing fingers while victims of domestic violence are trying to figure out who will protect them is just stunning,” said Joyce Grover, executive director of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence.
So keep voting for all those tax- and budget-cutting Republicans, Kansas. Because if this proves anything, it’s that you can totally pay for government with nothing but happy thoughts and rainbows. Don’t let facts or math dissuade you. Those were created by Satan and liberals. (New York Times)
-Does this explain Republicans, too?-
Click to embiggen
I think it just might. (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal)
“Rick Perry Off By Only Two Centuries On Dates Of The American Revolution.”
It’s probably some kind of record for him. (ThinkProgress)
White House Begins to Acknowledge Reality that GOP is Sabotaging Recovery
We need to be honest with the public. This election is about them, not us. And we need to treat this election as the first step in retaking the government. We need to say to everyone on Election Day, “Those of you who helped make this a good day, you need to go out and help us finish the job.”… The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president…Our single biggest political goal is to give our nominee for president the maximum opportunity to be successful.
-Republican Senate minority leader Mich McConnell, in an interview during the 2010 elections.
Mitch McConnell said that?!?… He admitted that on the record?!? That is embarrassing. Can I just say for the record — that is pathetic.”
-Former GOP congressman and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.
It was embarrassing and pathetic. One election cycle had not yet come and gone and here was the GOP’s top guy in the Senate, already working on the next. I can’t think of a better example of the Republican Party’s “permanent campaign” mode than McConnell’s admission. It would be two years before the next election and, rather than focusing of governing, McConnell was concentrating on the 2012 presidential campaign. Want a recipe for disaster? There you go.
But of course the White House, being all post-partisan and above such trifling matters as political reality, pretty much ignored McConnell’s confession. They would continue to reach across the aisle to try to work with Republicans and would continue to have their hand slapped back. Like a gambling addict plugging a slot machine, the president seemed trapped by his own losing streak and the belief that if he kept feeding the machine silver dollars, it would have to pay off eventually. Ok, so this time bipartisanship didn’t work, but if he walked away, he was walking away from the one time — perhaps the very next pull on that lever — that it would.
Maybe it was the debt-limit fight that proved to Barack Obama that the machine he was playing was either rigged or broken. Or maybe there was some sort of Oval Office intervention. But the White House seems to have come to grips with reality; Republicans are only concerned about the elections and, since this is true, they have an actual disincentive to work with the president to solve real world problems for Americans.
The shift in tone comes from a fundraising letter from the Obama/Biden reelection team. Finally, a recognition of reality.
The U.S. Senate is supposed to vote on the American Jobs Act as early as tonight.
It’s a bill that will put people to work immediately, and it contains proposals that members of both parties have said in the past that they’d support.
But Senate Republicans want to block it. Not because they have a plan that creates jobs right now — not one Republican, in Congress or in the presidential race, does. They only have a political plan.
Their strategy is to suffocate the economy for the sake of what they think will be a political victory. They think that the more folks see Washington taking no action to create jobs, the better their chances in the next election. So they’re doing everything in their power to make sure nothing gets done.
And, of course, Mitch McConnell managed to do just that last night — make sure nothing gets done. The filibuster is so worn out by this Senate that many people believe that the Constitution mandates 60 votes to pass anything in that chamber. Finally, the White House gets it; these aren’t people you work with, these are people you have to work around. They have absolutely no interest in doing anything other than winning elections, just as McConnell promised just about two years ago.
“I’d still like to see Obama say this directly,” writes Kevin Drum. “After all, he really doesn’t need to worry about bipartisan comity anymore since Republicans have made it crystal clear that they aren’t voting for any of his proposals no matter how nice he plays. So why not just tell the truth?”
Good question. Everyone’s convinced that the White House is going to take a page from Harry Truman and run against a do-nothing congress; why not point out why they’re doing nothing and what it means to the American people? Republicans have put voters’ real-world problems on hold for two years, just to win an election. They’ve left the wreckage of the Bush economy to smolder, because they think it makes the president look bad. If they’re more interested in campaigning than in governing, do you really want to give one of them the keys to the White House?
Someone has to point out the obvious: that the GOP as it stands today is completely unfit to govern anything larger and more complex than a Ronald Reagan fan club. Their idea of a brilliant election strategy translates into incompetent governance and we just can’t afford any more of it.
At the very least, since an election forces it, we can finally expect the president to become partisan.
News Roundup for 9/12/11
N. Carolina Senate schedule
-Headline of the Day-
“Senate to begin debate Monday on marriage amendment.”
In North Carolina, like every place else, the issue of the days is jobs, jobs, jobs. And in North Carolina, like every other state dominated by Republicans, jobs can wait. Now is the time to get the really important things done: like banning gay marriage in a state where it isn’t allowed anyway.
Of course, the problem here is that the general, unwashed public has a misplaced sense of priorities and would rather not have Republicans screwing around with support-bait for the crazies. They seem to think that people should be worrying about jobs and the economy — which is why the NC GOP has come up with a cunning plan. Keep it a secret.
In public notices of the schedule of the Judiciary committee, voters are being told that the committee will consider “H61, ‘Speaker/Pro Tem Term Limits’ — a proposal to limit the numbers of years House and Senate members can serve as leaders of their chambers.” In other words, a procedural yawner no one cares about — move along, nothing to see here.
“But a new version[pdf] of the bill leaked to WRAL Friday night shows the bill the committee will take up Monday has absolutely nothing to do with term limits. The new H61 is an amended version of the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage,” the report says. “You can try to look it up at the legislature’s website, but you won’t find it there.”
So, is the committee going to be voting on this term limit boring thing or the gay marriage ban? Well, quite frankly, the answer to that question is yes. “[W]hy tell the public you’re talking about term limits Monday, when you’re really planning to debate the marriage amendment?” the report asks.
“Well, that’s the name of the bill,” says a GOP spokesperson. That’s right, they actually gave the bill a misleading name to get it under the radar.
And I thought the GOP in my state was shameless. (WRAL)
-A rare (and imagined) moment of honesty-
Rick Perry clarifies his stance on Social Security.
Click to embiggen
I hope that clears up any questions you might have. (TruthDig)
“Fred Malek: ‘Too Late’ for Palin to Run; GOP Nominee Will Be Perry or Romney.”
That sound you just heard was the timer going off on Palin’s 15 minutes of fame. (ABC)