By Doug Porter
Having lost out on a Congressional attempt to derail President Obama’s executive orders on immigration and facing increasing grim news about the possibility of their Supreme Court challenge to Obamacare blowing up in their face, Republicans nationwide are amping up the crazy.
To help readers better understand this off-election year phenomena, I’ve organized the best of the worst stories from this past week’s reportage into four brackets, not unlike a certain annual basketball contest. Highlighting all 65 contenders in this contest of crazy would take more time and effort than it’s worth, so I’ve focused on a few efforts I think have the potential to make it to the April Fool’s Day championship.
The divisions are: You’re Not Worthy (Racism/Sexism), Not A Scientist (Science/Technology), BombBombBomb (Foreign Policy), ObamaScare (Everything Else)
You’re Not Worthy
There are four contenders:
Barefoot & Pregnant University
The Republican-controlled West Virginia legislature on Friday banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, overriding the governor’s veto and joining 11 other states in prohibiting abortion at that point.
The state Senate voted 27-5 to override the veto by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat. The state House of Delegates had voted to override his veto on Wednesday.
Tomblin had rejected the measure on Tuesday. He cited constitutional concerns since the bill barred termination of some pregnancies before the fetuses were viable.
College of Gender Specifity
(From Mother Jones)
Go to the wrong bathroom and risk a felony charge, 180 days in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
If lawmakers in Florida, Texas, and Kentucky have their way, transgender people would be breaking the law when using the bathroom of their choice. Bills introduced in three states over the past month would make it illegal for an individual of one biological sex to enter a single-sex restroom or changing room designated for the opposite sex—even if the individual self-identifies as a person who belongs there.
(From Talking Points Memo)
Michael Carvin, the attorney arguing on behalf of the plaintiffs in the King v. Burwell case, said this challenge is different because the argument against the [Obamacare] law centers on a statute that was “written by white women and minorities.”
Carvin’s comments were published in a Wall Street Journal profile of him on Tuesday, a day before oral arguments began in the King v. Burwell lawsuit.
Carvin argued that the difference between this lawsuit and the one in 2012 is that unlike the 2012 challenge, the argument on Wednesday is on “a statute that was written three years ago, not by dead white men but by living white women and minorities.”
Electoral College of Selma
(From Think Progress)
Dozens of members of Congress, and many more Republicans than ever before, came to Selma this week to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the infamous attack on voting rights protesters known as Bloody Sunday.
Some lawmakers told ThinkProgress the event highlighted the urgency of passing a currently languishing bill that would restore the full powers of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Others showed little interest in doing so…
…While walking to the VIP section of the Selma anniversary event, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said of Lewis’ bill: “I haven’t studied it sufficiently to comment on it.” And while Lewis, President Obama and others emphasized Saturday how far the country still has to go to eradicate racism and voter suppression, Sessions told ThinkProgress: “I think we’ve had so much improved voting rights in Alabama that the Court was probably correct [to strike down part of the Voting Rights Act].”
Not A Scientist
South Carolina Institute of Technology
(From Crooks & Liars)
The Hillary Clinton “email” story has mostly Conservative politicians and pundits frothing at the mouth and that carried over to the Sunday morning talk shows. A Politico story even compared her to Richard Nixon, for God’s sake. Senator Lindsey Graham was on Meet The Press for his usual visit and Chuck Todd asked him if he had a private email since that’s what all the fuss is about. His answer was quite stunning all on its own.
Todd: Do you have a private email address?
Graham: I don’t email. You can have every email I’ve ever sent, I’ve never sent one. I don’t know what that makes me.
FYI-Senator Graham sits on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law
West Virginia Skool of Science
Regarding the House version of the Science Advisory Bill, Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) has an important amendment…
Here’s the amendment. Its sole purpose is to prohibit the EPA’s Science Advisory Board from taking into consideration, for any purpose, the following reports:
- the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order No. 12866 (which I wrote about here)
- the July 2014 Pathways to Deep Decarbonization Report, from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (which I wrote about here)
So. When considering what to do about carbon pollution, EPA may not consider what America’s best scientists have concluded about it, what an international panel of scientists has concluded about it, how the federal government has officially recommended calculating its value, or the most comprehensive solutions for it. Oh, and it can’t consider Agenda 21 either. Otherwise the EPA can go nuts.
Florida College of Koch Studies
(From the Miami Herald)
The state of Florida is the region most susceptible to the effects of global warming in this country, according to scientists. Sea-level rise alone threatens 30 percent of the state’s beaches over the next 85 years.
But you would not know that by talking to officials at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the state agency on the front lines of studying and planning for these changes.
DEP officials have been ordered not to use the term “climate change” or “global warming” in any official communications, emails, or reports, according to former DEP employees, consultants, volunteers and records obtained by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.
There’s only one school in this bracket worth mentioning: Benedict Arnold College
(From Daily Kos)
The Logan Act is a 215-year-old law imposing fine, imprisonment or both on anyone who
without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States.*
So what exactly did 47 Republicans just do? They wrote to Iranian leaders advising them that Republicans will undo any nuclear deal [the President] might enter into with Iran. In other words, they are corresponding with Iran to “intentionally influence the measures or conduct of a foreign government” with the United States.
(*§ 953. Private correspondence with foreign governments. 1 Stat. 613, January 30, 1799, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 953 (2004).)
This is a deep division, what with Republicans pushing the fear of the Black Guy in the White House button early and often as a fundraising tool.
Dallas Academy of Guns & Ammo
(From The Hill)
The much-maligned Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is again coming under fire from Republicans and gun rights groups, who are pushing to rein in the agency’s power — or abolish it altogether.
The recent attacks follow the ATF’s proposal to prohibit a popular type of armor-piercing ammunition that critics say is a backhanded attempt to render useless AR-15 semi-automatic rifles.
It’s a blatant “power grab” that runs counter to the spirit of the Second Amendment, said Michael Hammond, legislative counsel at Gun Owners of America.
Arizona S&M University
(From Think Progress)
As states across the country are moving to expand Medicaid coverage to additional low-income people under the Affordable Care Act, lawmakers in Arizona want to take the opposite approach.
On Friday, Gov. Doug Ducey (R) approved a measure that seeks to tighten the state requirements for Medicaid eligibility, ultimately limiting public health insurance to fewer residents. The legislation proposes requiring the program’s recipients to be employed in order to qualify for assistance and kicking them out of the program after they’ve been enrolled for five years….
…Republican governors typically say that it’s simply too expensive to provide public insurance to additional low-income people. But some of them also make arguments along the same lines as Ducey, suggesting that Medicaid coverage should be limited to “responsible” people because too many Americans are abusing the system. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) once said that denying Medicaid coverage to low-income people helps them “live the American Dream” because they won’t be “dependent on the American government.”
The Kentucky School of Economics
(From Huffington Post)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Sunday that despite his differences with President Barack Obama, he has no interest in shutting down the government or causing it to default on its debt.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned Congress on Friday that on March 16 the government would no longer have authority to take on debt to pay for spending Congress has already approved. If lawmakers don’t raise the so-called “debt ceiling” by then, Lew said the Treasury Department can take “extraordinary measures” to continue government operations for a short time…
…Defaulting on the debt would not only shut down the government; economists say it could have catastrophic financial consequences. The Obama administration has previously refused to bargain with Republicans who wanted policy concessions from Democrats for agreeing to raise the debt ceiling.
Nevertheless, McConnell suggested Republicans could try to get some policy initiatives out of a debt ceiling hike — even though demands could lead to a standoff with the Obama administration.
From The ‘We’re Not Racists’ at KUSI
— KUSI News (@KUSI_News) March 8, 2015
YouTube Video of Bloody Sunday March
President Obama’s Historic Speech in Selma on March 7, 2015
On This Day: 1933 – The Congress began its 100 days of enacting New Deal legislation. 1964 – Production began on the first Ford Mustang. 1997 – In Los Angeles, the Notorius B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace) was killed in a drive-by shooting at the age of 24.
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