A rough year for Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) just got rougher. Democrat Lee Rogers, a podiatrist and Democratic candidate for the nomination to oppose McKeon this November, won a charity auction earning a lunch for four with the incumbent. And he has invited three local reporters to be his guests for the festivities.
Rogers won the auction – benefiting the College of the Canyons Foundation – with a $300 bid, the only bid made.
McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services committee, is well known for his extreme opposition to allowing gay and lesbian Americans to serve openly in the military. Last year, he threated to threaten to hold up an entire defense authorization bill unless it contained provisions restricting military chaplains from officiating at same-sex unions.
He has also made headlines of late for his questionable ethics. He used his campaign account to funnel more than $260,0000 in payments to his wife for her work on his behalf, making her his highest paid staffer. And congressional investigators have reportedly alleged he got a cut-rate home loan from Countrywide.
Perhaps Rogers might ask McKeon about these ethical issues over their lunch.
Climate hawk Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) is resigning from Congress, effective March 20, to focus on his campaign for governor of the state of Washington. His seat will remain vacant until the November elections. “A son of the Pacific Northwest, Jay has been a champion of our natural resources while pushing for new sources of clean energy,” President Barack Obama said in a statement. “Jay has supported new frontiers in technology, and worked to increase fairness in our nation’s health care system. While Jay’s voice in Congress will be missed, I know he will continue his dedicated service to the people of Washington state.”
Guess whose budget Republicans want to save
from the "sequestration" ax.House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) hope to use an unusual procedural technique to keep cuts in Pentagon spending from happening in January, according to David Rogers.
Those cuts are automatic, a consequence of the "sequestration" arrangement agreed to last summer in case the so-called congressional super committee could not come up $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction under the Budget Control Act (BCA). Sequestering the money was the stick deployed to spur the committee to make a deal, no matter how painful. If no deal were reached, cuts were to be taken evenly from defense and non-defense discretionary spending. But the threat didn't work and the super-committee failed. Come January, the first cut of $109.4 billion is due and Republicans are eager to keep the Pentagon's half from happening.
To avoid this, Cantor and Ryan hope to use an expedited internal House "reconciliation" procedure to speed the legislative process and put a bill before the Senate that would avoid deep cuts in defense spending. The savings would come from other budget areas. Given that it's the GOP at work, you don't need much imagination to figure out whose ox will get gored in the process.
The House GOP?s strategy will almost certainly shift the burden away from defense. Health care expenditures, federal workers? compensation and farm subsidies are all potential targets in the reconciliation process. Ryan is already contemplating a nearly $20 billion cut from the appropriations caps set last August.The Obama administration and congressional Democrats say this approach means the Republicans are abandoning last summer's deal even though their own leadership backed it.
But, given that the super committee's failure was widely predicted, and the Republicans' stance on maintaining defense spending at the current high level was one of the reasons the super committee was set up in the first place, the attempt to make an end-run around sequestration is hardly a surprise.
The internal party pressure to cut the deficit without increasing taxes is going to make the Republican effort difficult, to say the least. While keeping the knife away from the Pentagon will be popular, making deeper cuts into non-defense programs to reach the needed $109.4 billion needed because of sequestration is going to be tough because programs like farm subsidies will be on the table.
In fact, however, if the Cantor and Ryan push forward with this plan, the Democrats should call the whole arrangement arrived at last summer null and void. The deal was an even split between defense and non-defense. These guys are determined not to let that happen. So why should the rest of the deal?to cut $1.2 trillion?remain in effect?
LBJ's signature on the Voting Rights ActThe Department of Justice has refused to preclear a new Texas voter ID law on the basis that it would disproportionately impact Hispanic voters.
?The department?s letter states that Texas did not meet its burden under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of showing that the law will not have a discriminatory effect on minority voters, and therefore the department objects to the Texas voter identification law,? said Xochitl Hinojosa, a Justice Department spokeswoman. ?According to the state?s own data, a Hispanic registered voter is at least 46.5%, and potentially 120%, more likely than a non-Hispanic registered voter to lack the required identification.? [...]Texas is among the states, because of their history of voter discrimination, that is required under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to get advance approval of voting changes from either the Justice Department or the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who expected the federal government's rejection, said late last week he plans to forge ahead with the lawsuit he filed last month to have the bill implemented immediately. The Justice Department has until April 9 to respond to the lawsuit.
Texas's suit is just one of the suits in the legal assault on the Voting Rights Act currently being waged by the Right.
After fourteen months of investigation, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez has published his report on the United States' "cruel and inhuman treatment" of Pfc. Bradley Manning, who allegedly released classified information to WikiLeaks. The[...]
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Mitt Romney's idea of being in touch is telling out-of-work Floridians that he's "also unemployed"
Mitt Romney keeps on spouting nonsense:
"This is a president who thinks America is doing better," Romney told more than 200 people who crammed into a restaurant porch trying to escape heavy rains and lightning. "He should go out and talk to the 24 million Americans who are out of work or stopped looking for work or are unemployed."First of all, America is doing better than it was under President Bush. During Bush's eight years in office, we lost 646,000 private sector jobs. When President Obama was inaugurated, the economy was in free fall. And if it weren't for the stimulus, we'd have hit ended up with another Great Depression. Today the economy is growing: More jobs have been created in the past 12 months than in any 12 month stretch in the past five years.
Second, President Obama has never suggested that we should go home and declare victory. When Republicans in Congress were whining about him wanting to give a speech during a GOP presidential debate, he was busy putting together a jobs plan because he wanted to accelerate the recovery, and he's continuing to push Congress to take steps to bolster growth.
Third, not only has Mitt Romney himself acknowledged the the economy is getting better (and that President Obama is not to blame for the recession), but Romney also publicly advocated a massive stimulus. He might not have supported every single thing in the stimulus President Obama signed into law, but most of what ended up being enacted were things that he had advocated in December 2008.
(Also worth noting: Romney, like the Obama economic team, didn't fully understand the devastating impact the financial collapse was having on the economy. He warned that unless Republicans signed a stimulus into law by mid-December, 500,000 jobs would be lost between then Obama's inauguration. A stimulus wasn't signed, and roughly one million private sector jobs were lost in those five weeks.)
Finally, given that Mitt Romney told a group of out-of-work Floridians that he considers himself to be among the unemployed, he really ought not be giving President Obama lectures about how to stay in touch. The next thing you know Mitt Romney is going to say that President Obama is trying to end Medicare as we know it. Oh wait. He already is.
When the first few advertisers dropped Limbaugh's show, he was petulantly defiant, basically saying "good riddance!" to folks who have not only paid his bills but made him a very rich man over the last 25 years or so. McClatchy even reported last week that Sleep Train offered to resume advertising but the host rebuffed them. He compared the advertisers who had bailed on him to "losing a couple of french fries out of your value meal at the drive-thru window."
Putting aside the fact that I don't think Rush has let too many fries get away over the years, he might be rethinking his whole "Who needs ya, ya bum! Get out and don't let the door hit ya!" pugnacity, given the fact that the tide hasn't been turned and more and more advertisers are either dropping him outright, or informing Premier Radio Network that they do not want ads that are pre-bought in bundles aired on Limbaugh -- or any other right-wing extremist show. The number of companies that have consigned him and his ilk to parriah status was, at last count, up to 141. Some of the organizations that sponsor unpaid public service announcements don't want their spots running on Limbaugh's show. As a result, the show has been broken up by chunks of dead air where the commercials should be.
The list of companies that are no longer willing to be associated with right-wing hate and misogyny is starting to include some really big names...Walgreens, Rite Aid, Outback Steak House, Wells Fargo, Hallmark, General Motors, Ford -- even favorites of right-wingers like Dominos Pizza, Wal-Mart and the U.S. Army have decided their money is better spent elsewhere. That last one gives me hope that refusing to advertise on his airwaves is the first step, and the last one will be dropping his hatefest from Armed Forces Radio.
Here's some perspective for you -- even BP, spoiler of entire ecosystems, poisoner of the planet -- finds him too toxic to continue the association, and he's too much of an asshole for Preparation H.
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Elizabeth Warren, running for Senate in Massachusetts, today called attention to a stealth bailout of AIG through special tax breaks created for them and other bailed-out companies. Warren showed some independence from the Administration and joined a[...]
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- Sunday's comic was It lives!!, by Matt Wuerker
- God v. James Inhofe, by Hunter
- Mitt Romney, incompetent campaigns, and anti-Southern elitism, by Steve Singiser
- Teacher job satisfaction drops as school budget cuts and layoffs rise, by Laura Clawson
- The PVI/Vote Index: Quantifying good Dems, bad Dems and ugly Republicans, by David Jarman
- The Obama administration steps up for bullied kids in Minnesota, by Scott Wooledge
- Women of color in women's history. Part two: Latinas, Denise Oliver Velez
- The danger of the current arguments on contraception, by Dante Atkins
"As a Southerner, I would tell him: that kind of stuff doesn't really go over well in the Deep South," Gibbs said on CBS's "Face The Nation."
"I will tell him this," said Gibbs, a devoted Auburn University football fan who sometimes abandoned the White House podium to catch a gam. "If somebody says they love the SEC, it's not the investigative body that looks into offshore, Cayman bank accounts. In fact, it's the world's greatest football conference. I hope he'll sort of go with the flow if he's down there."
Former Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) writes in a new book that President Obama ditched him in the 2010 election after he helped Obama win the biggest legislative victory of his term by passing healthcare reform.
Specter also claims that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) did not uphold his promise to grant him seniority accrued over 28 years of service in the Senate as a Republican.
Love letters reveal Nixon's sensitive side
This week, Rod Blagojevich becomes federal prisoner number 40892-424. [...]
A trip to the big house would be humbling for anyone, but it is a particularly degrading ordeal for a man who until a short while ago dreamed of being president. To find out what Blagojevich can expect inside, POLITICO talked with ex-pols who served time behind bars about how best the disgraced 55-year-old Chicago native can survive prison.
And nothing will be more difficult than the first day, they said.
In January, 77 percent of Capitol Hill staffers said they have BlackBerrys, down from 93 percent in 2009, the last time the survey was conducted. Just 1 percent of those surveyed who work on Capitol Hill said they were planning to buy one. In 2009, 76 percent of the private-sector staff surveyed said they owned BlackBerrys, but now just 50 percent do. The technology?s predominance fell among federal executives, from 76 percent to 57 percent. Fewer than 1 percent in the private sector and executive branch planned to buy a BlackBerry.
Iowa school superintendent tells TPM that the anti-gay Christian rap group Junkyard Prophet will not be performing in his schools again. [...]
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