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

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's MIDAS program had a 93% error rate and falsely accused 20,000 workers of unemployment fraud

Under the cruel austerity of Michigan governor Rick Snyder -- whose policies led to the mass-poisonings of children in Flint -- any claims for unemployment insurance were vigorously investigated, with the state operating on the assumption that any worker who claimed a benefit was probably committing fraud. Read the rest

NYC will cease retaining data that Trump could use for mass deportations

IDNYC is New York City's ID card program, and it has served as a critical means for undocumented migrants to get identity papers that they can use to establish utilities accounts, bank accounts, and so on. The city has announced a change to the program's data-retention policy, vowing to purge information that might be useful in the mass deportations promised by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. Read the rest

Congressional Science Committee tweets link to Breitbart climate denial by self-confessed bullshit artist

James Delingpole is an invective-hurling anti-climate science columnist who has candidly admitted that he doesn't bother to read scientific papers, calling himself a "an interpreter of interpretations." Read the rest

The Beastie Boys' Ad-Rock designed a shoe whose profits will go to Planned Parenthood

Vegan shoe company Keep's $97 Ramos midtop sneaker was designed by Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, and will ship in February, with all proceeds going to Planned Parenthood, a vital woman's health organization under sustained assault from Republicans, who use lies about the rare abortions the organization performs to enrage and focus its low-information base, without any regard for the millions of women who rely on PP for basic health services (and the much smaller number who use PP for abortion). Read the rest

As North Dakota governor orders "emergency evacuation" at Standing Rock, Water Protectors ask court for an injunction

Jack Dalrymple, the Republican governor of North Dakota, has ordered an "emergency evacuation" on the unceded treaty lands owned by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, where protesters have endured potentially lethal, unconstitutional violence from law enforcement, including the use of water cannons as antipersonnel weapons in subzero temperatures and the use of tear-gas cannisters as projectiles fired into crowds of protesters. Read the rest

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