The Method To Steve King's Madness
"Sahil Kapur takes a look at how rank and file congressman Steve King (R-IA) came to call the shots on one of the most important issues of the modern era [immigration]."
A Republican panel of the D.C. Circuit has ruled
[.pdf opinion] in the case of Halbig v. Burwell
that a drafting error in the Affordable Care Act provides subsidies exclusively to state-based exchanges and not to federally-facilitated ones, even while subjectively intending to provide subsidies in both cases.
The ruling threatens to take away federal subsidies for insurance sold on Obamacare exchanges in 36 states.
The Republican Party began selling new web domains
ending in .gop today at www.join.gop
. Public interest has definitely been sparked, but perhaps not for the reasons Republicans have hoped. [more inside]
The Big Lobotomy: How Republicans Made Congress Stupid
A quick refresher: In 1995, after winning a majority in the House for the first time in forty years, one of the first things the new Republican House leadership did was gut Congress’s workforce. They cut the “professional staff” (the lawyers, economists, and investigators who work for committees rather than individual members) by a third. They reduced the “legislative support staff” (the auditors, analysts, and subject-matter experts at the Government Accountability Office [GAO], the Congressional Research Service [CRS], and so on) by a third, too, and killed off the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) entirely. And they fundamentally dismantled the old committee structure, centralizing power in the House speaker’s office and discouraging members and their staff from performing their own policy research. (The Republicans who took over the Senate in 1995 were less draconian, cutting committee staff by about 16 percent and leaving the committee system largely in place.) Today, the GAO and the CRS, which serve both House and Senate, are each operating at about 80 percent of their 1979 capacity. While Senate committee staffs have rebounded somewhat under Democratic control, every single House standing committee had fewer staffers in 2009 than in 1994. Since 2011, with a Tea Party-radicalized GOP back in control of the House, Congress has cut its budget by a whopping 20 percent, a far higher ratio than any other federal agency, leading, predictably, to staff layoffs, hiring and salary freezes, and drooping morale.
The Absolutist: [The New Yorker]
Jeffrey Toobin profiles the current state of Ted Cruz.
Fifty years ago this week Andrew Goodman, James Cheney, and Michael Schwerner
, three voting rights workers were savagely beaten and shot to death by klansmen after being stopped by a Neshoba County, Mississippi Sheriff's Deputies
. Today, sheriff's deputies across Mississippi have been tasked with preventing voter intimidation in the ugly
Republican primary runoff election between incumbern Thad Cochran and Tea Party favorite Chris McDaniel. [more inside]
The Color Of His Presidency
A few weeks ago, the liberal comedian Bill Maher and conservative strategist and pundit Bill Kristol had a brief spat on Maher’s HBO show, putatively over what instigated the tea party but ultimately over the psychic wound that has divided red America and blue America in the Obama years. The rise of the tea party, explained Maher in a let’s-get-real moment, closing his eyes for a second the way one does when saying something everybody knows but nobody wants to say, “was about a black president.” Both Maher and Kristol carry themselves with a weary cynicism that allows them to jovially spar with ideological rivals, but all of a sudden they both grew earnest and angry. Kristol interjected, shouting, “That’s bullshit! That is total bullshit!” After momentarily sputtering, Kristol recovered his calm, but his rare indignation remained, and there was no trace of the smirk he usually wears to distance himself slightly from his talking points. He almost pleaded to Maher, “Even you don’t believe that!”
“I totally believe that,” Maher responded, which is no doubt true, because every Obama supporter believes deep down, or sometimes right on the surface, that the furious opposition marshaled against the first black president is a reaction to his race. Likewise, every Obama opponent believes with equal fervor that this is not only false but a smear concocted willfully to silence them. [more inside]
was selected by President Obama to be assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The Senate, aided and abetted by seven Democratic senators, killed his nomination
. Why? Because
for civil rights
Jesse A. Myerson described five economic reforms millenials should be fighting for in Rolling Stone.
Conservatives were generally aghast at the suggestions. Dylan Matthews at Wonkblog wrote a response, "Five conservative reforms millenials should be fighting for".
Liberals disapproved. Both articles argued for I. Employer of Last Resort II. Basic Income III. Land Value Tax IV. Sovereign Wealth Fund V. Public Bank. Ezra Klein discusses the trolling.
The GOP's new target for voter disenfranchisement: women.
As of November 5, Texans must show a photo ID with their up-to-date legal name
. Only 66% of voting age women have ready access to a photo ID of this nature, as many women have not updated their photo IDs with either their married names or their name after a divorce. This disenfranchises 34% of women voters, while 99% of men are home free. Similar laws now exist or are in the process of being passed
in numerous other states.
The data analysis group that used Facebook and set top TV data to help Barack Obama win the latest election is taking its talents to the private sector.
A middle-aged man in a red golf shirt shuffles up to a small folding table with gold trim, in a booth adorned with a flotilla of helium balloons, where government workers at the Kentucky State Fair are hawking the virtues of Kynect, the state’s health benefit exchange established by Obamacare.
The man is impressed. "This beats Obamacare I hope," he mutters to one of the workers.
“Do I burst his bubble?” wonders Reina Diaz-Dempsey, overseeing the operation. She doesn't. If he signs up, it's a win-win, whether he knows he's been ensnared by Obamacare or not.
Inside The Meltdown At America’s Most Conservative, Most Christian Political Consulting Firm
Rex Elsass built a Republican empire on his faith. But he found himself battling his closest allies over his immortal soul.
In 1964, Goldwater campaign strategist Clif White
made a 28-minute long film called "Choice." Once Senator Goldwater saw it, it was never shown publicly. Now it's on YouTube! [more inside]
Conservative Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) came out in favor of marriage equality today, in an interview on CNN
and an Op-Ed in the Columbus Dispatch.
This reversal comes via Portman's son, who came out as a gay man to his parents two years ago. Reaction has been mixed.
The national Republican Party still continues to oppose same-sex marriage
, one of the factors of social conservatism that lost it the youth vote
in the 2012 election and may have caused Romney's defeat. Many Republicans, however, have been arguing for a sea change
to revitalize the party. They may have found it, in an unlikely appeal that "The party of Lincoln should stand with our best tradition of equality and support full civil marriage for all Americans."
. A large number of prominent Republicans
have signed onto an amicus brief
opposing same-sex marriage bans in the Proposition 8 case currently before the Supreme Court - and some believe that the Republican support may allow the justices the political and legal support
to rule for national marriage equality.
Coming this summer: North Carolina [will be] the only state that will clearly mark all people who are not U.S. citizens – everyone from business executives with “green cards” to students on visas – with a newly designed driver’s license.
However, Republicans are trying to block the issuing of driver's licenses to immigrants who have qualified for a two-year reprieve from deportation. Those immigrants have been deemed by the federal government and the state attorney general’s office as being lawfully present in the U.S. [more inside]
Joe Arpaio has followed the NRA's suggestion and tasked a 3,500 man volunteer armed posse with patrols of 59 elementary, middle and high schools in the Phoenix area.
The journalist details his experience of posse training, and the article notes that the same force may previously have been involved in the shooting of a surrendering burglar. History bonus: there's already too much Arpaio previously on Mefi
to individually detail.
sat at the conference table next to Frederick Douglass as they tried to convince President Abraham Lincoln that African Americans should be allowed to fight for their own freedom. He served five terms in Congress. He ran a newspaper and helped found a state Republican Party.
But first, he had to win his freedom.
"Why Obama Is Giving Up on Right-Leaning Whites
: For decades, Democrats shaped their policies around fears of the culturally conservative white voters to the GOP. But Obama’s winning coalition has altered that calculus."
: Why the GOP is and will continue to be the party of white people"
"The Future Of The Republican Party Is By The Pool At The Biltmore
: The talk at the Miami hotel where Jeb Bush works, and Marco Rubio works out, is of the next president. But can the young senator get out from under Jeb’s shadow?"
"This is all out of Lord of the Flies and Karl Rove is Piggy and we’re supposed to all chase him around with spikes and throw him on a fire?"
An assortment of popular conservative pundits are trapped on a luxury cruise with well-heeled members of their audience, right after losing the election. One question hangs in the air: who is responsible for this loss?! Hilarity ensues.
During his tenure as George W. Bush's campaign manager and later as chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), Ken Mehlman helped push an anti-gay agenda which eventually led to legislation that banned same-sex marriage in 21 states
. He came out of the closet
in 2010. Since then, he's openly supported gay marriage
. Now, his newest endeavor, Project Right Side
, is trying to attract conservatives to the fight for marriage equality. He discusses the non-profit's goals in a WSJ editorial: Making the Same-Sex Case
. [more inside]
Pity the Billionaire
(YT): Thomas Frank
discusses how the American right pulled off a massive coup and successfully branded itself the party of rebellion and protest in the wake of the financial crisis.
According to Adorno, in psychoanalysis only the exaggerations are true.
If you wished to characterize the Democrats and the Republicans in terms of true exaggerations, you might say that the Republicans have become the Party of Psychosis while the Democrats have become the Party of Neurosis. The Republicans are psychotic because they have lost contact with reality, and orient their behavior not toward realities but toward fantasies. The Democrats are neurotic because they are aim-inhibited, as an old-fashioned shrink might say: their anxieties, hang-ups, and insecurities mean that they can’t attain satisfaction, since in a basic way they won’t even allow themselves to know what they want.
Small business owner and candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Delaware Sher Valenzuela is slated
to speak at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday as part of a platform meant to suggest business owners build businesses on their own with no assistance from government. The problem is that Valenzuela received millions of dollars in taxpayer funds as business loans from the US government, along with other government assistance. One Reddit user noticed
the url for the full name of Valenzuela's First State Manufacturing business was unregistered, and remedied that with full details. [more inside]
No more "Hunger Games" in our District! [autoplaying music]
Running for State Senate in Brooklyn on the Republican and Conservative tickets, Mindy Myers, 22 and an Orthodox Jew, is the self-proclaimed Diva of the District. In an interview with City and State
she says “I’m trying to attract a young crowd and recruit more young people," [...] "People in politics are out of touch with the younger generation, who are not voting, are not registered.” [more inside]
Kansas passes Tax Act meaning that business owners are not taxed at all on income derived from business profits.
"Who will still be paying Kansas income tax? Only three groups: 1) employees, 2) some retirees and 3) individuals whose investments are so modest that they cannot afford to create a trust or partnership to shelter their investment income." The $3.7bn pa cost of the tax cuts is said to create the risk of a $2.5bn pa deficit by 2018
Arizona's Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu
, a Republican border-security hawk
and a leading candidate for Congress has been accused
, along with his attorney, of threatening to deport a Mexican former lover when the man refused to agree to not disclose the relationship. [more inside]
A Million Wisconsinites Petition to Recall Scott Walker
: "Petitions with the names of 1 million Wisconsinites were submitted to state elections officials today, in a move that will jump-start the process of removing the nation’s most notorious antilabor governor from office... In all, close to 2 million signatures were submitted Tuesday, building the historic in-the-streets popular uprising that rocked Wisconsin in 2012 into a electoral uprising that has the potential to rock the politics not just of the state but of the nation in 2012. The movement to oust Walker will have secured the support of a higher percentage of eligible voters than has ever before sought to recall an American governor." [more inside]
After interminable months of campaigning, debates, and roller-coaster polling
, the first official vote of the 2012 presidential race is in -- and boy, is it a doozy. Ames straw poll winner Michele Bachmann
placed second-to-last, while former juggernaut Rick Perry performed so badly he's canceled upcoming events
and is said to be on the verge of dropping out. Meanwhile, perennial laughingstock Rick Santorum, consolidating the support hemorrhaging from Perry, Bachmann, and an ad-blitzed Newt Gingrich
, rocketed past the youth- and independent-backed Ron Paul
and, with 99% of the vote counted, is separated from Mitt Romney by four votes
out of ~120,000 -- by far the closest result in caucus history
. As the shaken field contemplates the path ahead through Romney firewall New Hampshire, conservative South Carolina, Florida, Super Tuesday, and beyond, President Obama staged a quiet redux
of his own dramatic caucus win four years ago
, a dry run for the looming general election. And as for powerhouse Buddy Roemer
? Don't worry -- his team
is ready to do battle with evil
Santorum surges from behind in Iowa.
With the countdown to the Iowa Caucuses entering its final hours
the GOP race
remains in a dead heat
. Polls show
the unlikely campaigns of social conservative Senator Rick Santorum and libertarian leaning Representative Ron Paul in surprisingly strong positions to challenge Governor Mitt Romney
for the opening victory in the Republican primary season. Both Paul and Santorum have focused heavily on traditional retail politics
in the Hawkeye State.
Shockingly, Newt Gingrich does not own newtgingrich.com
. Instead, a group of pranksters called American Bridge 21st Century
have used the domain to redirect visitors to various sites and stories that cast him in a negative light
. For maximum entertainment, copy and paste the URL into your address bar. Lather, rinse, repeat. [more inside]
Senator Amy Koch, who campaigned this year to put a constitutional amendment on next year's ballot to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman.
has admitted that she had "a relationship with a Senate staffer" who is not her husband.
She has stepped down as Majority Leader of the Minnesota Senate, announced she will not seek re-election, and issued an apology.
In response, the gay and lesbian community of Minnesota has issued their own apology, for "ruining the institution of marriage and causing her to stray from her husband" [more inside]
Texas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry is booked on all the major morning shows tomorrow, and with good reason.
After two months of gaffes
, impolitic stands
, and bizarre speeches
that quickly waned his once-strong odds
of winning the Republican nomination, Perry went into Wednesday's CNBC debate
sorely needing a win... only to deliver a tortuous, cringingly forgetful attempt [video]
to recall just which three cabinet departments he'd vowed to abolish, a stunning failure political scientist Larry Sabato deemed "the most devastating moment of any modern primary debate"
in his memory.
While Perry's slow-motion flameout has boosted the fortunes
of dark horse candidate Herman Cain, the unlikely challenger is facing troubles of his own in a volley of sexual harassment claims
-- an oddly ineffective
scandal Cain is doing his best to (somewhat dubiously) disavow
. If Cain collapses, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich may reap the benefits
, but his moribund campaign has issues of its own
. Pawlenty, Bachmann, Perry, Christie, Cain, Gingrich... the base is loathe to rally round him, but after so many failed, flawed, or forfeited challenges, can anyone topple Mitt Romney?