Stories to Watch: 8/26/11
Short one today. I’ve got stuff I need to finish up. Now here’s the news…
David Brooks is no fan of Rick Perry. Not surprisingly, the ‘baggers are. Michele Bachmann continues to be yesterday’s news. In fact, her diva act is starting to get people’s nerves.
Hurricane Irene could be a “multi-billion dollar catastrophe,” according to Nate Silver. It probably won’t be, but it could be. You know that old saying about hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst? Yeah, maybe we should start applying that to something other than military spending.
Details of the Wisconsin Supreme Court dust up are out and the story’s still as clear as mud.
More on just how wrong Obama is about the value of phony centrism; polling shows independents — i.e., the center — wants him to fight the GOP more.
Remember how it was such an awful idea to bail out American automakers? Yeah, about that; it wasn’t.
Finally, Ron Paul pines for the good old days of federal disaster response. You know, back when there was no federal disaster response.
Stories to Watch: 8/25/11
Making lasagna in a crockpot. You’d be amazed at how well this works. Now here’s the news…
Hey remember that case where one Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice was accused of choking another? Yeah, a special prosecutor says there won’t be any charges filed against anyone. Both David Prosser and Ann Walsh Bradley are in the clear. From what I’ve been reading, it seems that Sauk County district attorney Patricia Barrett (a Republican, BTW, but so far there’s no reason to doubt her) talked to all the witnesses and couldn’t really get anything sorted out — something you’d probably expect when the only witnesses were the state’s top lawyers. Neither side is backing away from their story and the prosecutor says that details of the investigation will be released, so we’ll see where it goes from there. Still, keep in mind that there aren’t any charges for anyone — meaning Bradley isn’t being accused of filing a false report. In other words, when Bradley said she believed she was being choked, the prosecutor doesn’t believe she was lying. At this point, the case seems destined to remain unresolved.
Eric Cantor is finding new hostages to take left and right.
John Huntsman continues to try to flank the rest of the GOP field on their left.
A new Pew poll finds voters unhappy with pretty much everyone.
Are we headed for a second market crash?
Hurricane Irene could be pretty dangerous. Stay safe, people.
Finally; that didn’t take long. The usual nuts say the east coast quake was a sign from God.
News Roundup for 6/27/11
Robertson, pictured suffering a brief bout of sanity
-Headline of the day-
“Robertson: God Will Destroy America For Marriage Equality.”
Now that the Empire State has fallen to the Homosexual Menace, professional lunatic Pat Robertson says America is doomed. Doomed!
“I think we need to remember the term sodomy came from a town known as Sodom and Sodom was destroyed by God Almighty and the thing that they practiced was homosexual activity and even they tried to rape angels who came down there, so that’s the kind of people they were,” he said — so you New Yorkers should probably lay off all that angel rape for a little bit.
“There isn’t one single civilization that has survived that openly embraced homosexuality,” he went on to say. “So you say, ‘what’s going to happen to America?’ Well if history is any guide, the same thing’s going to happen to us.” Seems like the Romans had a good thousand year run there and then they went all Christian and — poof! — they were gone.
But what do I know? I’m not a history expert like Pat. (Right Wing Watch, with video)
-Cartoon time with Mark Fiore-
Hey kids, it’s President Obama and he’s here to explain how a war can be something that’s not a war… Or how a something that is not a war but looks like one can be not a war… Or something. Anyway, here he is. Yay!
Click to read full post
Hope that clears everything up! (MarkFiore.com)
“Two Wisconsin Agencies Now Investigating Alleged Judge-on-Judge Assault.”
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser is in hot water for allegedly trying to strangle another judge — which is pretty bad. Now the Dane County Sheriff and the state’s Judicial Commission are looking into the incident.
CNN however, is not. (ThinkProgress)
Wisconsin Ruling Has a Partisan — And Possibly Corrupt — Odor
Something is not right here. Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the State of Wisconsin threw out a lower court’s ruling that, in passing Gov. Walker’s union-buster, legislative Republicans had violated the state’s open meetings law. In doing so, the court cleared the way for the law to take effect — mere hours away from Republican’s arbitrary and self-imposed deadline for passing it themselves.
The problem for Republicans: they didn’t have the votes to pass the thing and everyone knew it. In other words, the conservative majority on the court swept in and saved the bill from dying. Something is not right here.
Let’s start at the beginning. In March, Senate Republicans stripped a provision that would remove collective bargaining rights for most state employees from the state budget and passed it as a stand-alone bill. They did this because the state’s rules require a quorum for passage of all bills that have a fiscal impact and Democrats had famously denied them that quorum by fleeing the state. In order to do this, they had to skirt open meetings laws. They also had to admit that removing collective bargaining was a policy issue with no fiscal impact. This admission was later confirmed by Gov. Walker himself, while testifying under oath in Washington. File this little tidbit away for later.
The violation of the open meetings law was brought before a Dane County judge, who put a restraining order on publishing the law. At this point, the remedy for Republicans was simple; hold another vote with adequate prior notice and pass the bill. There would be nothing Democrats could do on their own to stop it. They simply did not have the numbers. But Republicans didn’t reschedule that vote. Apparently, under the pressure of recall elections for some and public opinion for others who weren’t eligible for recall, the votes were no longer there. The window of opportunity to pass the bill on an up or down vote had closed. None of this was stated outright, but later actions by Republicans made it obvious.
For example, instead of rescheduling a vote and bypassing Judge Sumi’s order, Republicans chose to defy the order. In the end, this didn’t work and Republicans were left to wait.
But waiting was too much for them.
Wisconsin State Journal:
Assembly Republicans plan to add Gov. Scott Walker’s limits on collective bargaining for most public workers to the state budget as soon as Tuesday if the Wisconsin Supreme Court hasn’t acted by then.
"If need be, we are going to have to pass collective bargaining again because it is such an integral part of not having those services slashed and those people laid off," Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon, said of the plan, which is currently held up in court.
Now remember, even the governor himself admitted that union-busting wouldn’t save any money and Senate Republicans originally passed it as a policy bill without any fiscal impact. Fitzgerald’s claim that people would have to be laid off and services would have to be “slashed” without it was pure BS. There was no emergency that required passing this bill, other than to put the whole thing behind them in the face of upcoming recall elections. The obvious purpose of Fitzgerald’s “Now, now, now!” rhetoric was to create a false urgency.
And so the clock ticked toward Fitzgerald’s arbitrary deadline. He had basically called his own bluff and would soon have to hold the vote. It would pass the Assembly, but die in the Senate. Of this I have absolutely no doubt. You don’t violate a restraining order to do something when you have the votes to do it without controversy and/or scandal. The bill was dying.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Acting with unusual speed, the state Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the reinstatement of Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial plan to end most collective bargaining for tens of thousands of public workers.
The court found that a committee of lawmakers was not subject to the state’s open meetings law, and so did not violate that law when it hastily approved the collective bargaining measure in March and made it possible for the Senate to take it up. In doing so, the Supreme Court overruled a Dane County judge who had halted the legislation, ending one challenge to the law even as new challenges are likely to emerge.
Fat officially pulled from the fire. Something is not right here.
The timing, of course, is perfect. The Supreme Court was under no obligation to render a judgement before Fitzgerald’s self-imposed and arbitrary deadline. Writing for the majority, even Judge Patrick Crooks admitted to “a hasty decision.” Yet here the court was, rushing to beat a clock set by a partisan bluff.
It all seems coordinated. There may be a very big scandal in the pipe. Something is not right here and we are by no means done with this story.
Stories to Watch: 6/6/11
Went to a street fair yesterday and got a bit of sun. You can probably read in the dark from red glow put off by my forearms. Had a lot of fun though. Now here’s the news…
Anthony Weiner comes clean; the photo is him, he sent it and, no, he will not resign — although, I doubt anyone on the left will ask him to.
Although Nancy Pelosi is calling for an ethics investigation.
The right wing is trying to (literally) rewrite history to cover Sarah Palin’s ass. People who know what they’re talking about aren’t buying it. He didn’t warn the British, he didn’t ring any bells. What little Palin got right about the story seems to be a matter of luck. Be glad she didn’t get mixed up and say that Revere the silversmith was a “silverfish.”
The Wisconsin Supreme Court takes up Gov. Walker’s union-busting bill. At issue, violation of Wisconsin’s open meetings law. I’ll point out, as I always do, that Republicans could get around this easily by rescheduling a vote and passing the thing the right way. I’ll also point out that the fact that they aren’t suggests (extremely strongly) that the votes are no longer there.
And as long as Republicans are going down in recall elections, Wisconsin Democrats figure they might as well take Paul Ryan down with them.
As Minnesotans prepare to vote on an amendment banning same sex marriage, 70 ministers in that state vow to perform those marriages anyway. First amendment fight on the way?
Finally, Home Depot to the American Family Association: screw off.
Are the GOP’s Recall Petitions a Bust or a Success?
By five o’clock central, we’ll know whether Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg will ask for a recount in her close race against incumbent David Prosser. The deadline is today. As it stands now, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board took a look at the Waukesha County vote total — which put Prosser in the lead after the County Clerk found some 14,000 uncounted votes — and found “no major discrepancies" in the totals. If you’re wondering what a minor discrepancy is, join the club. The board didn’t elaborate.
Whichever way that election goes, it’s bad news for Governor Scott Walker and Republicans. Before Walker’s attempt at union-busting, the incumbent was set to win reelection in a walk. It wasn’t even going to be a contest. After only a few weeks of organizing time, pro-worker people narrowed the margin to a statistical dead heat — if Prosser wins, he’ll win by less than 0.5% as the numbers stand now. That’s down from a 30-point lead in the primary. If everything goes David Prosser’s way, Walker and Republicans will undoubtedly publicly claim they’ve been vindicated. But privately, they’ll be sweating bullets. The final vote tally, even if their guy wins, will not be a good omen for the future.
However, it probably tells us very little about how recalls will go. The Prosser-Kloppenburg race was a statewide contest, while recall elections will be fought at a more local level. In some districts, Prosser ruined Kloppenburg. In others, Kloppenburg had Prosser for lunch. Looking at the state Supreme Court race to divine the outcomes of recalls is almost certainly a fool’s errand.
As things stand now, Democrats have the signatures to file four recall petitions against Republicans. The GOP has so far filed none. According to Dave Weigel, this may be about to change.
How are the conservative activists doing? According to David VanderLeest, head of the campaign to recall Democratic Sen. Dave Hansen, activists have surpassed the 13,852 signature goal.
"I believe we’re going to go and drive the petitions down there to Madison by the end of the week," said VanderLeest. "We’ve surpassed the total by a couple of thousand. We’re just doing the administrative work now."
I’ve got calls out to other campaigns and will report how close they are. Don’t be surprised to hear about a rush of petitions to recall Democrats in the next seven days.
If this is true, you’ve got to wonder about the strategy here. At times, it’s seemed Democrats have been running to the press to announce every new signature, while Republicans have apparently been keeping their numbers under their hats. As a result, GOP voters have been watching Democrats set up target after target, while the Republican efforts have seemed to go nowhere. Right now, it really is four to zip, with Democrats leading. It has to be disheartening for voters on the right.
On the other hand, maybe they’re hoping to time their announcement with a “Prosser wins!” announcement, holding on to their news on the chance that Kloppenburg won’t ask for a recount today. Given the state of the race before Walker’s moves energized it, a Prosser victory would be embarrassingly slim, but a win is a win and the perception of momentum can sometimes become momentum. If this scenario is the case, expect to see a lot of “the tide is turning” talk, no matter how manufactured this turning of the tide may be.
If there’s one thing we can count on, it’s that the press will always allow Republicans to set the narrative — either nationally or at the state level. If they say, “the tide is turning in Wisconsin!” then the media will ask, “Is the tide turning in Wisconsin?”
Bet on it.
Stories to Watch: 4/15/11
How about that new Statue of Liberty stamp, huh? You’d think someone would’ve actually looked at the photo. Seems completely obvious to me. Now here’s the news…
House dems painted the GOP into a corner today, essentially forcing them to vote against what would’ve been a conservative wet dream. Hilarity ensued.
That was fun. But Paul Ryan’s marginally less insane budget proposal passed anyway.
President Obama is caught on a hot mic ripping on Republicans.
Tim Pawlenty seems to believe he can win the White House byembracing an alternate reality.
Incumbent Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser is one step closer to victory, but Kloppenburg’s close enough to get a free recount.
But not as alternate a reality as Tennessee state Rep. Frank Nicely, who seems to believe that Albert Einstein was a Christian fundamentalist.
Finally, DCCC Chairman Steve Israel says the vote to pass Ryan’s Medicare-scrapping budget will cost Republicans the House.
Stories to Watch: 4/11/11
I’m having burgers tonight. I started thinking about them yesterday, when it was nice out. But I finally decided against it — still too dark at dinner time. Now I can’t get them out of my head. They’ll be pan-fried, but that’s better than nothing. Now here’s the news…
Mittens (forms a committee to explore his viability as a candidate and fundraiser before he) throws his hat in the ring.
Obama’s budget proposal calls for entitlement reform (bad idea), letting the Bush tax cuts expire on the top 2% expire (good idea), and closing tax loopholes that benefit the fabulously well-to-do (even gooder idea). Of course, there are even better ideas out there, but no one’s interested in really good ideas anymore. America is 24/7 wishful thinking now. If we can’t have our cake and eat it too, then we just won’t have any cake at all.
A CNN poll shows that 58% approve of the deal that averted the government shutdown — not a huge surprise given that previous polls showed a shutdown to be an unpopular idea. The winners seem to be Democrats here, since 48% give them credit for breaking the logjam, while 35% give it to the GOP. It’s not the best deal ever — in fact it’s a shitty one — but perceptions are what perceptions are and, even if dems let themselves be screwed, it seems they’ve hidden that fact pretty well.
Remember that Wisconsin Supreme Court election? Remember those 7,500 votes that appeared from out of the blue in Waukesha County and turned the loser into the winner? Remember the Democratic County Board member who vouched for everything and said the “numbers jibed?”
Yeah, her name is Ramona Kitzinger and this is from her official statement on the matter:
Once the canvass had been completed and the results were finalized, I was called into Kathy’s office along with Pat (the Republican observer) and told of an impending 5:30pm press conference. It was at that point that I was first made aware of an error Kathy had made in Brookfield City. Kathy told us she thought she had saved the Brookfield voter information Tuesday night, but then on Wednesday she said she noticed she had not hit save. Kathy didn’t offer an explanation about why she didn’t mention anything prior to Thursday afternoon’s canvass completion, but showed us different tapes where numbers seemed to add up, though I have no idea where the numbers were coming from. I was not told of the magnitude of this error, just that she had made one. I was then instructed that I would not say anything at the press conference, and was actually surprised when I was asked questions by reporters.
The reason I offer this explanation is that, with the enormous amount of attention this has received over the weekend, many people are offering my statements at the press conference that the “numbers jibed” as validation they are correct and I can vouch for their accuracy. As I told Kathy when I was called into the room – I am 80 years old and I don’t understand anything about computers. I don’t know where the numbers Kathy was showing me ultimately came from, but they seemed to add up. I am still very, very confused about why the canvass was finalized before I was informed of the Brookfield error and it wasn’t even until the press conference was happening that I learned it was this enormous mistake that could swing the whole election. I was never shown anything that would verify Kathy’s statement about the missing vote, and with how events unfolded and people citing me as an authority on this now, I feel like I must speak up.
This may very well change things drastically. Maybe not in this election when all the smoke clears, but in the coming recalls. The fishier this election smells, the more fired up voters may be for the next ones.
Folks in Paul Ryan’s home district aren’t sold on his fantasy-economics porn.
A court of appeals rules against Arizona’s “papers please” immigration law.
Finally, the Japanese government may reassess the Fukushima incident, reclassifying it’s severity — drastically and not in a comforting direction. The constant mantra of “it’s not as bad as Chernobyl!” may finally be proven untrue.
Stories to Watch: 4/9/11
Man, is this ever one gloomy Saturday. Must be April. Now here’s the news…
No government shutdown, Planned Parenthood and the EPA remain funded. 'Baggers are furious, freshman ‘bagger reps are less than enthused.
Steve Benen points out that Reagan signed Planned Parenthood funding too. Of course this doesn’t matter, since the ‘baggers worship a different Reagan than the real one.
Another day, another rip on the talking heads’ narrative that Paul Ryan’s budget porn is “serious.”
Thank Donald Trump for this one: the right is starting to consume itself over the birther goofiness. WingNutDaily cheers on attacks against Rush Limbaugh for not being birther enough.
In Wisconsin Supreme Court race news, incumbent Prosser hires George W. Bush’s recount lawyer, while challenger Kloppenburg hires Al Franken’s. These people don’t come cheap.
A “minor incident" at a Washington state nuclear plant forces the evacuation of 25 workers. Now seems like a good time to point out that a "minor incident" at a wind farm probably requires someone to climb up there and poke the turbine with a broom handle.
Finally, Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl explains his claim that 90% of Planned Parenthood funding pays for abortion services. In a statement released by his office, Kyl explains the figure “was not intended to be a factual statement.” This is the definition of a deliberate lie. That’s pretty much the whole problem everyone had with it in the first place, Jon.