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“Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) says shut ‘er down. The one-time Republican conference chair, turned presidential footsie player, turned potential gubernatorial candidate, and always a tea party favorite told MSNBC on Friday that a looming spending cut deal is not worth it. He’d rather have a government shutdown.”
“The University of Wisconsin-Madison has announced that it is legally complying with the state Republican Party’s open-records request, which sought the e-mails of Professor William Cronon after he had written a blog post critical of Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union bill. But there’s a big catch.”
“For most of the last century, talk of secession, nullification and the rest of the extreme states-rights lexicon were relegated to the fringiest parts of the political fringe. But since Barack Obama entered the White House in January 2009, mainstream Republican rhetoric and proposed legislation at the state level have both warmed to the hoary idea that state governments can take their relationship with the federal government on what amounts to an a la carte basis or perhaps abandon it altogether.”
“Yesterday, ThinkProgress reported that Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), who sits on the House Foreign Affairs’ subcommittee on Africa, wondered whether the U.S.’s intervention in Libya means we might “go into Africa next.” Libya is, of course, in Africa. Jay Leno joked last night, “You see why he’s not on the intelligence committee. Even Sarah Palin’s going ‘get a map!’”
As Marino staffers were undertaking efforts to defend their boss’s competency, they were simultaneously undermining that cause. Yesterday, “about a dozen” tea party protesters showed up outside Marino’s district office in Tunkhannock, PA. At the time, Marino, who also sits on the House Homeland Security, was participating in a hearing on the “U.S. Homeland Security Role in the Mexican War Against Drug Cartels.” Marino decided to ditch the hearing and go talk to tea party protesters instead.”
“In February 2009, Continental flight 3407, operated by Colgan Air, plunged into a suburb of Buffalo, NY, killing all 49 people on board and one person on the ground. Pilot error was named as the chief cause of the crash, and investigators focused on pilot fatigue as one of the primary problems. The co-pilot had taken a cross-country, overnight flight the day before the crash, and only slept briefly in an airline lounge before she was required to pilot the flight.
When the plane encountered an ice storm as it attempted to land in Buffalo, the pilots struggled to respond appropriately, and The National Transportation Safety Board found that their “performance was likely impaired because of fatigue.” Both pilots were heard yawning on the cockpit voice recorder.”
“After weeks of flouting the state’s legislative rules to ram through an anti-union bill, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed the bill last night. Yet, while Kasich started this war on Ohio workers, the state’s increasingly disguntled voters have the power to end it:
Ohioans opposed to the union-neutering legislation vow to keep it from becoming law through the state’s referendum process.
Under Ohio law, opponents have 90 days from the time the governor signs the legislation to collect 231,149 signatures to get a referendum on the November ballot.
If they collect enough valid signatures from 44 Ohio counties within that time frame, the law wouldn’t go into effect until voters approved as much, assuming it won a majority of the vote in November, which now seems like a pretty big assumption.”
“The Montana state legislature is currently debating a series of bills related to Driving Under the Influence (DUI) laws. The bills would increase the penalties for adults who facilitate minors’ access to alcohol, count older DUI offenses against a defendant in sentencing, and require new training for vendors who sell alcohol.
Earlier this week, Republican Rep. Alan Hale took to the floor of the Montana legislature to slam these bills. The legislator — who actually runs a bar in Basin, Montana — declared that the new DUI laws are harming small businesses and destroying a way of life.”
“Like many other states, Arizona is facing a crippling budget deficit. And like other states, it’s trying to balance the books by shifting some large costs to county and local governments. And that’s not going over so well on the local level.”
“Employers added a robust 216,000 jobs in March as the unemployment rate dipped to 8.8 percent, the government said Friday in a better-than-expected report that showed the U.S. economic recovery is overcoming the headwinds from rising food and fuel prices.”
“Stirred up by a trio of angry mullahs, thousands of protesters overran the compound of the United Nations in Mazar-i-Sharif, killing at least 12 people, Afghan and United Nations officials said.”
“During a season of collapsing authoritarian regimes, Kazakhstan’s president stands as testament to the forces protecting the strongmen of the former Soviet states.”
Good News: Panel says gay sailor should stay in Navy
“A gay sailor at Lemoore Naval Air Station said a Navy panel apparently agreed with his lawyer’s argument that “don’t ask, don’t tell” is dead.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Derek Morado, 26, said he was “ecstatic” after the administrative panel’s unanimous vote Thursday not to recommend his discharge from the Navy.
Lt. Alana Garas, a Navy spokeswoman at the Pentagon, said the panel’s vote would not be made public under federal privacy laws.
The last time a service member was discharged for being gay was in November, the Pentagon said.”
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