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“Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Fox News host Megyn Kelly were pretty steamed earlier about Stephen Colbert’s testimony earlier today on behalf of the United Farm Workers Union. “I think it’s an insult to the time, an insult to the intelligence of the American people,” King said.
Kelly agreed: “Many people perceive that as a huge waste of your time and our taxpayer dollars.”
But King also suspected there was something more nefarious afoot in Colbert’s testimony. After watching video of Colbert’s day working as a migrant farm worker, King concluded: “The video looks to me like it was staged.” He added: “He didn’t do real work. They said it was hot, it was hard. I saw no sweat.””
“The Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation has reopened its investigation into District Attorney Kenneth Kratz, who allegedly sent sexually suggestive text message to four women, including one whose domestic abuse case he was handling.
Kratz has admitted to sending Stephanie Van Groll inappropriate text messages in October 2009, when he was handling her domestic abuse case. Since then, three other women have reportedly come forward alleging that Kratz sent them suggestive text messages. One of the women also accused Kratz of inviting her to an autopsy on a date.
OLR Director Keith Sellen said that his office is reopening the investigation since the new revelations indicate “a pattern of conduct” by Kratz, The Associated Press reports. ”
[Local Followup: In December, Kratz told the OLR that he sent the text messages. The agency closed the case without a formal review in March, saying the messages were inappropriate but did not amount to professional misconduct.]
“House Republicans have had a tough time getting anyone — even fellow conservatives and Republicans — to endorse their new gimmicky “Pledge to America” they rolled out yesterday. Newt Gingrich, David Frum, Erick Erickson, the Club for Growth, conservative radio hosts, and even some GOP House candidates aren’t too thrilled with the recycled Republican pledges.
It seems Republicans are so desperate for someone to endorse the Pledge that they are now touting the fake support from a fictional character. Today, Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert testified — in character — before Congress on migrant labor issues. During the hearing, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) noted that Colbert supports giving lawmakers 72 hours to read bills before they’re voted on and extrapolated that Colbert must support the entire Pledge because that “idea” is within it. Later, Colbert reassured Smith with this satirical response:
COLBERT: By the way I do endorse your policies. I do endorse your policies. You asked me if I endorse Republican policies. I endorse all Republican policies without question.
SMITH: Okay, including the requirement that members have 72 hours to read a bill before we vote on it?
SMITH: Thank you for your endorsement of the “Pledge to America.””
“Yesterday, House Republicans rolled out their “Pledge to America,” which is supposedly a series of ideas that the GOP would enact tomorrow, if given the chance. At the top of the list, of course, is a full extension of the Bush tax cuts — at a cost of almost $4 trillion — and a promise to allow no tax increases.
At the same time, though, the Pledge claims to put the country “on a path to a balanced budget.” But when it comes to spending cuts, it is incredibly vague, including only a promise to reduce non-defense discretionary spending to the 2008 level and to “set benchmarks” for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Today, in fact, the lead architect of the Pledge, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), couldn’t name a single program that he’d cut from the federal budget when pressed by MSNBC’s Savannah Guthrie and Chuck Todd:
GUTHRIE: Everybody likes to cut spending, but the issue is where, how? What specifically are you going to cut? […]
MCCARTHY: What are you going to cut? Discretionary spending. Anything that’s not security…
TODD: Well, hang on. What is discretionary? Give us two or three items that are discretionary.
MCCARTHY: You could go through every different program within government, outside of entitlements, outside of national defense, that is discretionary spending that Congress has control of. That has gone over 88 percent in the last two years.
GUTHRIE; So what comes to mind for that, if you could wave a magic wand and do it unilaterally, what would you cut?
TODD: If you had the line item.
MCCARTHY: The line item would be across-the-board.
McCarthy is not unique in this regard: plenty of Republicans, including House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), can’t identify a single program that they would cut.”
“A U.S. district judge has ordered the Air Force to reinstate a veteran flight nurse who was dismissed in 2004 because she’s a lesbian, dealing another blow to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military.”
“The House of Representatives may take a politically explosive vote before Novembers congressional elections on whether to extend tax cuts for individuals who earn less than $200,000 a year in gross adjusted income and joint filers who make less than $250,000.”
“Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is calling on BP to extend the deadline to apply for relief under a $100 million compensation fund for rig workers who have lost their jobs under the Obama administration’s moratorium on deepwater drilling. The Associated Press reported this week that fewer than 400 people have applied for relief under the program, an indication that few rig workers have been laid off as a result of the moratorium.
But Landrieu, in a letter sent today to BP Chief Managing Director Bob Dudley, said she believes the ongoing moratorium could cause companies to lay off employees in the near future.”
“It’s been a hard week for campaign finance reform advocates, what with the failure of the DISCLOSE Act to once again overcome a Republican filibuster on Thursday in the Senate, but Congress did make progress on a different, yet related, measure in the House yesterday.
It’s called the Fair Elections Now Act (H.R. 6116), and yesterday it cleared the House Committee on Administration with bipartisan support. Public Citizen’s David Arkush hailed the bill and its passage out of committee as “one of the most effective single steps Congress could take to loosen the special interests’ grip on Washington. It would enable candidates to forgo large campaign contributions and instead fund their campaigns with small donations from average Americans, which would be multiplied by matching federal funds.”
The goal of the bill is to set up an alternative system of financing Congressional campaigns that House and Senate candidates could opt into. If candidates qualify by obtaining sufficient initial support, they would receive a lump sum right off the bat. Donations of $100 or less from in-state contributors would then be matched by the government 4 to 1. Participating candidates would also receive a 20% reduction from the lowest broadcast rates in their state or district. In return, a candidate’s PAC would be limited to a $100 contribution limit per individual per year.
Public financing has been a touchy subject among the Obama administration and good government groups ever since Obama decided to opt out of the public system of presidential campaign financing while on the campaign trail in 2008. He declared the system antiquated (which it was) and pledged to fix it when he got elected (which he hasn’t).”
“Politico has a story that notes today’s conservative movement is essentially getting bankrolled by ten wealthy donors. Having shied away during the end of the George W. Bush presidency and the failed presidential bid of Sen. John McCain, many of the same Bush-era donors — like Bob Perry and fellow Texan Harold Simmons, who put up big money for the infamous swift boat attack ads against Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in 2004 — are back in the business of funding the conservative movement:
Since Obama took office, ten of the most active conservative donors identified by a POLITICO analysis have contributed $19 million to Republican candidates and the political committees that boost them — a pace that far eclipses their giving at this point in the 2006 and 2008 election cycles, according to professional fundraisers, as well as anything big Democratic donors have done.”
“A new exhibit in London on past British wars in Afghanistan offers caution for the current one.”
“The showdown ended when Tokyo accepted Beijing’s demands for the captain’s release, a concession that appeared to mark a humiliating retreat.”
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