Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gov. LePage, Michele Bachmann, Ted Nugent are the worst people in the world

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Newt Gingrich: 'Kids shouldn't work in coal mines'

Newt Gingrich does not want to send your children into the coal mines.
So he said on WNYM this morning, telling radio host Curtis Sliwa that when he suggested putting kids to work in their schools, he wasn't thinking of the Dickensian child-labor force his critics imagine.
"They could be the person who greets you when you walk in the door," Gingrich said, per POLITICO's Ginger Gibson. "They could help in the school library. They can help in the kitchen. They can help clean up after lunch."
"Kids shouldn't work in coal mines, kids shouldn't work in heavy industry," said Gingrich, who suggested that hiring eight or 10 children could eliminate the need for two janitorial jobs per school.
This is the kind of statement that probably falls into the "if you have to say it ..." category. Gingrich has not backed away one inch from his suggestion that public school children be paid to do some work around their schools. He has now spent well over a week trying to clarify what he meant, however, and that kind of time isn't a luxury he'd have in a general election.
But then, doing a radio interview with Curtis Sliwa is also not typically the kind of thing a presidential candidate spends time on, less than a month before Iowa.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1211/69852.html#ixzz1fn0luRhW

Monday, December 5, 2011

FEC Deadlocks (Again) on Guidance for Big-Money Super PACs

FEC Deadlocks (Again) on Guidance for Big-Money Super PACs

A bold request from American Crossroads, a conservative Super PAC founded by Karl Rove, apparently struck a nerve with hundreds of people who don’t typically pay much attention to the more obscure aspects of campaign-finance law.
The super-spending group asked the Federal Election Commission whether it could produce an ad that was “fully coordinated” with a candidate — without having it count as a coordinated communication under federal election law.
Coordination, as we’ve noted, is the one crucial restriction on Super PACs, groups that are otherwise unfettered by the limits that apply to candidate campaigns and traditional PACs. Provided they don’t coordinate their spending with candidates, Super PACs can raise as much money as they want from anyone they want, even corporations and unions.
The request by American Crossroads was prominently parodied by comedian Stephen Colbert, who was joined by nearly 500 others in flooding the FEC with comment letters that, as one commissioner put it, were “not very complimentary” about what American Crossroads was trying to do. The commission is usually “lucky to get one or two comments,” said Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, a Democrat.
Yesterday, Weintraub and the five other FEC commissioners met to decide whether a “fully coordinated” ad could be considered uncoordinated. The result? A 3-3 deadlock.
“The commission is unable to reach a conclusion on this request,” said the FEC’s chair, Cynthia Bauerly, after several heated exchanges between the commissioners failed to produce consensus.
To be sure, the group’s request [PDF] was unusual — and so forthright about its aims that more than one commissioner praised the group for its candor: American Crossroads stated its intent to create an ad that “would be fully coordinated” with candidates, that “would be thematically similar” to the candidates’ own re-election campaign materials, and would feature candidates in the actual ad.
The purpose, the group stated, would be “to improve the public’s perception of the featured Member of Congress in advance of the 2012 campaign season.”
The three Democratic commissioners voted to deny the request, arguing that, even setting aside the FEC’s coordination rules, such an ad is essentially a donation of something of value to the candidate for the purpose of influencing an election, or an in-kind contribution. The Republican commissioners disagreed, arguing that their Democratic counterparts were judging the ad by a broader standard than the FEC’s own coordination rules, which are exceedingly narrow.
As we reported last month, the FEC, made up of three Democratics and three Republicans, has frequently deadlocked on key issues like the rules governing these increasingly influential Super PACs. And when the commission can't make up its mind, groups have the choice of taking the FEC’s deadlock as a de facto green light and plowing ahead anyway.
In other words, American Crossroads could look at this 3-3 split and still produce the ad it wants to — taking a calculated risk that if its actions are challenged down the road and the FEC's makeup doesn't change, the commissioners would surely deadlock again in the enforcement process.
Whether American Crossroads will indeed choose that path remains to be seen. After all, Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska appeared in supposedly independent, uncoordinated ads earlier this year, arguing that they were “issue” ads. Republicanshave complained, but the FEC has yet to sanction Nelson or the funders of the ad.
In a statement, American Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio said the group is "reviewing the FEC statements and evaluating options," but that the more important question is how the vote will affect Nelson, who "has already taken action identical to what we asked about." 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Senate Democrats Stand Up for Michigan's Unemployed Workers, Hold Republicans Accountable for Continued Attacks on Unemployment Benefits

Dec. 1 -- The Michigan Senate Democrats issued the following news release:
Senate Democrats stood in strong opposition today to the passage of Senate Bill 806, legislation pushed by Republicans that tinkers with the state's Unemployment Insurance system to make it harder for Michigan's unemployed to get and keep their benefits. This bill comes on the heels of earlier legislation passed by the Republican-led Legislature and signed by Governor Snyder that reduces Michigan's unemployment benefits by six weeks.
"It is fundamentally wrong to be kicking hard-working folks off of unemployment insurance while there is a major shortage of jobs in Michigan," Senator Bert Johnson (D - Detroit) said. "If the economy was booming, unemployment was low, and "Help Wanted" signs were abundant in our communities, that would be another story. In the real world, though, that's not the case."
Prior to the party-line passage of this bill, Senate Democrats asked the Secretary of the Senateto read the entire language of the bill to remind Republicans of the harm they were about to do to Michigan's unemployed workers. While reading all legislation in full is a major tenet of the Tea Party and other conservative Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville was irked by the move and bullied Senate Democrats over the motion, even threatening to fire Senate Democratic staff in retaliation.
"Senate Republicans are suddenly opposed to having important legislation read in full, even bullying our Caucus and threatening to cut our staff in retaliation," said Senator Gretchen Whitmer (D - East Lansing). "But they shouldn't really be upset about having the bill read, but rather what it does--continuing to attack Michigan's unemployed workers and treating them as the scapegoat of our economic woes rather than the solution to them."
"We should be helping our unemployed workers find jobs and be able to provide for their families while they look for work," said Senate Democratic Floor Leader Tupac A. Hunter (D-Detroit). "Our unemployed workers are struggling enough without being further punished for being unable to find work. Senate Republicans should be offering proactive solutions to create jobs and rejuvenate our economy, not kicking displaced workers while their down."
Senate Bill 806 makes a number of additional exceptions to who is eligible for unemployment benefits in Michigan and other revisions favorable to employers, bogging displaced workers down with additional bureaucracy as they simply try to make ends meet. This is just the Senate Republicans' latest attack on the unemployed in Michigan. In March, Senate Republicans passed HB 4408 that made Michigan eligible for a one-time federal Unemployment Insurance extension, but in the process, also permanently reduced the number of Michigan-paid unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 20.