WPRI News is reporting that “Rhode Island moved one step closer to allowing same-sex civil unions on Wednesday after the Senate passed a bill to legalize them.” Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I-RI) has said he will sign the bill, which has already passed the Assembly, but some are urging a veto in order to later secure full marriage rights for gay couples. With New York codifying gay marriage into law last week, Rhode Island and Maine are the only New England states left where gay marriage is illegal.
If you do not get Current TV you can watch Keith here:Watch live video from CURRENT TV LIVE Countdown Olbermann on www.justin.tvIf you can't watch here Timbuk3 has supplied a link to DU [...]
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Two elected officials who are not registered republicans spoke on the subject of our grave economic crisis in Washington, D.C. this week. One got a lot of coverage. The other got ignored. Watch and read them both, then you decide who has the plan and the passion for the people.
I guess if Rick Perry wants to run for president he can't talk about seceding from the Union, but if this clip is any indication, then he's settled for a second best that will surely appeal to Bachmannbots: claiming that just about everything the federal government does is unconstitutional. And what better place to make the claim than Glenn Beck's show:
It?s really that competition [among states] that?s going to make America strong again. It?s the federal government kinda getting out of our hair. The idea that they?re telling us how to educate our children or how to deliver health care or how to, for that matter, clean our air is really nonsense. If you really want to get America back to this vibrant economy then respect the Tenth Amendment allow the states to be the laboratories of innovation.
As Ian Millhiser points out, it's absurd for Perry to turn clean air, Medicaid, or school funding into a Tenth Amendment issue. If Texas doesn't want federal funds and the requirements that go along with them, then Texas shouldn't accept those funds. It's as simple as that. Meanwhile, for a guy running an oil state at a time of $3 and $4 gas, Perry should be spending more time explaining why Texas is only 24th in the nation when it comes to job performance. Clearly, he's spending his time on thinking about how to appeal to teapartiers instead.
A recent report by the Arizona Republic, which reviewed audits, correspondence, and interviews from the Department of Corrections reveals that many of the security lapses that led to the escape of 3 murderers from the MTC facility in Kingman last year[...]
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Scott Walker wishes these people had never noticed what he was doing.
(Photo: SEIU)Scott Walker just cannot get his story straight. Previously, his stories ranged from gathering with his cabinet months after the election for "kind of a last hurrah, before we dropped the bomb" to claiming he campaigned nonstop on eliminating collective bargaining and "Anybody who says they are shocked on this has been asleep for the past two years."
This week, in an interview with the Journal Sentinel, he's trying to have it both ways, hoping that unleashing an avalanche of bullshit will make him look better. On the one hand,
Gov. Scott Walker said Monday he should have done more to prepare the public for his plan to eliminate most collective bargaining for public employees.
"We had not built enough of the case" for the sweeping plan, Walker said during a wide-ranging session with Journal Sentinel reporters and editors.
On the other hand,
the governor did say he gave plenty of warning during his campaign for governor last year?and even before then?that should have signaled he would take action to limit collective bargaining.
In other words, the current Scott Walker story is that he kind of dropped a bomb (his bad!), but if you'd been paying attention you would have seen it coming (your bad!). He's very regretful about the fact that his failure to build his case in advance (even though he'd campaigned on the issue), let to some misunderstandings:
"They defined it as a rights issue," Walker said. "It's not a rights issue. It's an expensive entitlement."
Actually, no. Governments can refuse to honor our rights. They cannot take them away. Scott Walker using the rightwing boogeyman word "entitlement" does not have magical powers of transformation.
Walker's opinion of his constituents' intelligence seems pretty low in general; about the response to the law eliminating collective bargaining,
Fewer people seem to be upset now than just a few months ago, the governor said.
It's logic! There are no longer tens of thousands of people occupying the Capitol, ergo fewer people must be upset. (Nobody tell him it's that those people are out in the districts working on recall campaigns.)
President Obama was asked today about the decision by the National Labor Relations Board with respect to Boeing, and you can see his answer in the video. He said that the NLRB is an independent agency and that there's a pending judicial matter. "So I[...]
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Your average meeting of the Federal Election Commission is lucky to attract one reporter - usually Ken Doyle, the senior editor of the trade publication BNA's Money & Politics Report. "I've been there many times when he and I were only people in the audience," campaign finance lawyer Brett Kappel told TPM.
But when Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert shows up to FEC headquarters in downtown Washington on Thursday, things will be a bit different. A staffer for the FEC said they expected the hearing room to be full and have created a waiting list and an overflow room to handle the reporters and onlookers expected to attend.
Sounds like a circus, right? That's what Colbert -- who attracted a huge crowd when he filed the request in-person at FEC headquarters last month -- has been going for all along: poking fun at the FEC and the nation's lax campaign finance regulations.
For its part, the commission has been treating Colbert's request like any other. It's created some quirky moments, like when Colbert had to assure the commission that the cash he collected outside their office was "received by Mr. Colbert personally as payment for shaking his hand" and wasn't going to his yet-to-be-formed "super PAC."
Ultimately, if they follow the suggestions of their staff, the FEC seems set to let the Colbert Super PAC go forward one way or another. The commission will consider one of three draft opinions authored by their staff, all of which appear to let Colbert's parent company Viacom pay for the Colbert Super PAC's expenditures without having to publicly report their donations.
"This would carve out a gaping loophole in campaign finance laws, allowing any company involved in media to foot, in secret and without limit, the electioneering expenses of political committees," Public Citizen's government affairs lobbyist Craig Holman said in a statement.
Holman warned that if the FEC granted Colbert's request, "the next request will be for media companies to directly finance unlimited candidate campaigns under the press exemption - an abuse that is already being advocated in some quarters."
Libertarian-minded group opposed to what they call campaign quote-unquote "reform" say more power to him.
"Essentially I think what has happened is that what started out as a pretty funny comedy skit has kind of gotten very serious," Sean Parnell of the Center for Competitive Politics told TPM.
Parnell, who was interviewed by Colbert for a segment that the show hasn't yet aired, says the point that Colbert was trying to make -- that Citizens United was a bad decision -- has been undermined.
"What he's actually been doing for the last several weeks is educating his audience in how complex and convoluted campaign finance laws can be," Parnell said.
Conservative lawyer James Bopp, who has been involved in suits that have taken a hatchet to campaign finance regulations, told TPM he sees no reason why the commission should reject Colbert's request.
"I don't see why not," Bopp said. "I mean, he's on TV. I don't think it really matters. Either one seems to fit within the law -- that is either getting a media exception or having Viacom report the in-kind contribution. I think either way allows him to do what he wants to do."
Colbert's appearance at the FEC will almost certainly overshadow what campaign finance reformers say is a much more important decision on whether politicians are allowed to solicit on behalf of super PACs, as first proposed by Bopp.
"That certainly will have a much more immediate impact on the 2012 elections," Tara Malloy of the Campaign Legal Center told TPM.
Colbert is expected to be accompanied by his lawyer, Trever Potter, who heads up the Campaign Legal Center, a group that has opposed Colbert's request. Here's a clip of Potter and Colbert discussing how his press exemption would work.
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Citing his two daughters as examples of people who get it done on time without procrastinating or bringing it down to the last minute, President Obama called out Congress, and Republicans in particular, for failing to make the 'hard choices' necessary to establish a framework for deficit reduction and raising the debt ceiling.
It frustrates me that the two arguments -- revenue/budget issues and the debt ceiling -- are being conflated, because one really has nothing to do with the other. However, when you have wingnuts in Congress like Republican Rep. Ron Johnson, who threatened to shut down the Senate if a budget bill doesn't come to the floor (regardless of whether it could actually pass, mind you), the frame gets distorted this way. It also frustrates me that Democrats, including the President, are allowing Republicans to define that frame.
President Obama came out in the beginning with a forceful statement saying that it's time for Republicans to accept a balanced package of increased revenues blended with spending cuts. The message was pretty clearly stated: Quit holding your breath and behaving like children. At one point in the larger press conference (not the clip above), he said this:
?They?re in one week, they?re out one week,? said Obama of Congress. ?And then they?re saying Obama needs to step in. I?ve been here.?
He repeatedly challenged Republicans to make compromises in order to adopt a truly ?balanced approach? to the debt deal; ?Call me naive, but my expectation is leaders are going to lead,? he said.
Ezra Klein believes that this press conference indicates a complete breakdown in the budget discussions:
What the two parties are really doing is trying to position themselves politically to survive the consequences of their failure. We don?t yet know if we?ll get to the point where the market will panic, but it could. We?re very likely to get to the point where we have to stop funding certain government services, which could mean as little as delaying payments to military contractors and hospitals or as much as halting Social Security checks. Either way, the public is likely to ignore the political breakdown until the consequences begin. At that point, both parties are hoping they will have framed the debate such that the electorate?s fury falls squarely on the other?s shoulders. That?s what today?s news conference was about.
The President expanded on the dangers of magical thinking around the debt limit; specifically, that it wasn't that big of a disaster if we defaulted. Transcript follows (via CNN):
Moreover, which bills are we going to decide to pay? These guys have said, "Well, maybe we just pay the interest on -- for bondholders." So are we really going to start paying interest to Chinese who hold treasuries and we're not going to pay folks their Social Security checks or we're not going to pay veterans for their disability checks?
I mean, which bills -- which obligations are we going to say we don't have to pay?
And last point I want to make about this. These are bills that Congress ran up. The money's been spent. The obligations have been made. So this isn't -- this isn't a situation -- I think the American people have to understand this, this is not a situation where, you know, Congress is going to say, "OK, we won't -- we won't buy this car or we won't take this vacation."
They took the vacation. They bought the car. And now they're saying, "Maybe we don't have to pay, or we don't have to pay as fast as we said we were going to," or -- that's not how responsible families act, and we're the greatest nation on Earth and we can't act that way.
So this is urgent and it needs to get settled.
QUESTION: Is August 2nd a yellow light or a red light?
OBAMA: I -- I think people should think of -- look, I'm the president of the United States and I want to make sure that I am not engaging in scare tactics. And I've tried to be responsible and somewhat restrained so that folks don't get spooked.
August 2nd is a very important date and there's no reason why we can't get this done now.
We know what the -- what the options are out there. This is not a technical problem any longer. This is a matter of Congress going ahead and biting the bullet and making some tough decisions.
Because we know what the decisions are. We've identified what spending cuts are possible. We've identified what defense cuts are possible. We've identified what health care cuts are possible. We've identified what loopholes in the tax code can be closed that would also raise revenue.
We've identified what the options are. And the question now is, are we going to step up and get this done?
And, you know, Malia and Sasha generally finish their homework a day ahead of time.
Malia is 13. Sasha's 10.
OBAMA: It is impressive. They don't wait until the night before. They're not pulling all-nighters.
They're -- they're 13 and 10.
OBAMA: You know, Congress can do the same thing.
If you know you've got to do something, just do it.
And -- and -- and I've got to say, I'm very amused when I start hearing comments about, "Well, the president needs to show more leadership on this."
Well, hey, let me tell you something, that after -- right after we finished dealing with the government shutdown -- averting a government shutdown, I called the leaders here together. I said, "We've got to get done -- get this gone."
I put Vice President Biden in charge of a process that, by the way, has made real progress. But these guys have met, worked through all the issues.
I met with every single caucus for an hour to an hour and a half each: Republican senators, Democratic senators, Republican House, Democratic House. I've met with the leaders multiple times.
At a certain point, they need to do their job, you know.
And so this thing, which is just not on the level, where we have meetings and discussions and we're working through process, and when they decide they're not happy with the fact that at some point you've got to make a choice, they just all sit back and say, "Well, you know, the president needs to get this done."
They need to do their job. Now's the time to go ahead and make the tough choices. That's why they're called leaders.
And I've already shown that I'm willing to make some decisions that are very tough and will, you know, give my base of voters further reason to give me a hard time.