Arizona House of Reps kills bill that would let cops take your home if you planned a protest that turned violent

SB 1142 is a bill introduced last week in the Arizona Senate that would allow the cops to charge participants in demonstrations with racketeering -- and confiscate their assets, including their homes -- if they attended a protest that turned violent, even if they did nothing violent and were not involved in planning any violence. Read the rest

The CPAC replacement speaker for Milo Yiannopoulos was a notorious Japanese cult-member

After his awkward endorsement of pedophilia disqualified Milo Yiannopoulos to be the hard right's token gay pal, CPAC needed a new speaker to fill his slot their conference, and the guy they chose was Jikido 'Jay' Aeba, a member of the notorious Japanese "Happy Science" cult, who helped the religion extrude a tendril into the political realm by founding the Happiness Realization Party. Read the rest

Confronted by angry voters, GOP Senator Joni Ernst flees Iowa town hall through a side-door

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, a "rising star" in the GOP, ran as an "independent" thinker, but has dutifully toed the GOP line since taking office -- that's why the town halls on her "99-county tour" of Iowa are packed with angry people who want to know about Trump's relationship to the Russian government, and the GOP's plan to destroy their health care without anything credible to replace it; it's also why most of the stops on Ernst's tours are planned photo-ops at factories instead of public events where voters can actually talk to their elected rep.

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Texas lawmaker introduces bill chastising Texans for using the Chilean flag emoji

Texas and Chile have remarkably similar flags (though Chile got theirs first, by a matter of decades) and Texas doesn't have a Unicode-defined emoji for its flag (just a sprinkling of proprietary ones that do not cross platforms gracefully), so Texans have taken to using the Chilean flag emoji as a shorthand for the longhorn state. Read the rest

House Republicans just voted to defund the agency that fights election hacking

All of the GOP's bluster about election fraud couldn't save the budget for the Election Administration Commission, the federal agency that deals with software security risks in America's creating, Windows-2000-based voting machines. Read the rest

Immediately after Mike Pence's departure, reasonable Indiana Republicans began undoing his work

As Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence was significantly to the right of the mainstream, even for his own party -- so it's no surprise that in the days after his resignation (to become vice president of the USA), his successor and state Republican lawmakers: pardoned an innocent man who'd been locked up for 20 years (whom Mike Pence refused to help); allowed a town to declare a state of emergency; greenlit a needle-exchange; and overrode his vetoes, which would have allowed university cops to keep their records secret and which prevented strict environmental rules. Read the rest

South Dakota lawmaker blocks workplace protection for pregnant workers: "It's not prison. You can quit."

South Dakota state Rep. Wayne H Steinhauer [R-9] (Phone: 605-526-4269/ 605-773-3851/ 605-359-6298); Email: Wayne.Steinhauer@sdlegislature.gov, never-used Twitter account) was part of a group of eight male, GOP reps who killed a bill that would have guaranteed workplace accommodations to pregnant South Dakotans. During the hearing, Rep Steinhauer told women "It’s not prison. You can quit." Read the rest

These are the questions the Dems should ask during Gorsuch's nomination

Gorsuch has written extensively on the role of judges' personal beliefs and the law; and on the politicization of the judicial confirmation process. Specifically, he called out Congress for its maltreatment of Merrick Garland when his federal judgeship was before the Senate. Read the rest

Utah's Jason Chaffetz meets the Resistance: protesters chant "DO YOUR JOB" at his town hall

Jason Chaffetz is a Republican lawmaker who led the Benghazi and Clinton email witch-hunts in his capacity on the Congressional Oversight Committee; when he returned to Utah for a town hall meeting, he was met by thousands of angry constituents who chanted "do your job" and called on him to investigate Trump's many irregularities, from foreign interference with the election results to his refusal to release his tax returns to his many conflicts of interest. Read the rest

Michigan young Republicans apologize for Hitler/Holocaust-themed Valentine

Central Michigan University's College Republicans threw a Valentines event where attendees got gift bags prepared by the university's young, upstanding Republicans, including this one, bearing a likeness of Adolf Hitler and the message, "my love 4 u burns like 6,000 jews." Read the rest

South Dakota Republicans want to block anti-bribery measure that limits lobbyist "donations"

South Dakota voters approved a ballot measure that would limit the amount of money state politicians could receive from lobbyists and other donors, capping "gifts" at $100 annually; now, Republicans in the SD government are seeking to block it, with an emergency resolution, a court challenge and an appeal to the governor. Read the rest

Wyoming bill prohibits power companies from using renewables

A group of Wyoming legislators in the state's House and Senate -- all representing coal country and all avowed climate deniers -- have introduced a bill that would ban Wyoming power companies from using solar or wind power by 2019, and requires non-renewable power to account for 95% of the state's power by 2018. Read the rest

In one day, Trump and Republicans shattered the norms of decency, political transparency, and accountability

In a 24-hour period, America experienced: its next president giving a press-conference in which paid shills applauded or booed as suited his needs; its next president wielding a binder of blank pages as a prop, declaring it to be his "conflict of interest plan"; its next president setting out a way to launder bribes through the State Department; its Congress holding a 1AM vote to ban the Budget Office from investigating the real costs of legislation; its Senate voting to strip 22 million people of health-care (including me and my family). That was all in one day. Read the rest

House GOP abandons plans to kill independent ethics office in favor of 1% tax cuts and taking away healthcare

A day after using an unannounced, after-hours, closed-door session to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, the House GOP has abandoned its plans, partly because President-Elect Trump told them that while he believed that the Office should be dismantled, doing so now would distract from the urgent business of slashing taxes for the wealthy and taking away healthcare from 20 million Americans. Read the rest

UPDATED: Without warning, after hours, House GOP dismantles ethics watchdog

Update: They've backed down because Trump warned them it would be a distraction from taking away healthcare and giving tax cuts to rich people.

The independent Office of Congressional Ethics -- created in 2008 after three Congressmen were jailed for corruption -- has been stripped of its powers by the House GOP, who held an after-hours vote, with no notice, on Monday night. Read the rest

Indiana's "educational achievement" bonuses: teachers in rich schools get 20x more than those in poor districts

Indiana is one of many GOP-led states that assume that the poor performance of schools in poor neighborhoods is the fault of bad teaching -- and not, say, systemic poverty, the absence of funds raised by rich parents, hunger, mass incarceration -- and so teachers are offered bonuses for "improving" their students' outcomes, which generally means their standardized test scores (since presumptively bad teachers can't be trusted to evaluate their students' qualitative improvements). Read the rest

Gingrich: Trump should illegally hire his relatives, profit from inside dealing, and then pardon them

Newt Gingrich did a radio interview where he said that Donald Trump could fill his White House with his family members, allow them to enrich his businesses with insider deals, and then just pardon them, because "Technically, under the Constitution, he has that level of authority." Read the rest

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