Friday, February 28, 2014

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) It’s cold. It’s the kind of cold that saps your energy the way staying up for 72 hours straight, then quitting coffee would.

2) Speaking of weather, for the past eight weeks, I’ve seen nothing but gloating from Southern Californians about our cold weather. So there’s a small invitation to schadenfreude today.

3) As goes Texas, so goes the South.

4) I disagree with this article. Here’s how the Teabaggers have changed politics:                *crickets*

5) Introducing Sharkcam

6) OK, so there’s a Mommy and a Daddy and…?

7) The more he opens his mouth, the more persuaded I am that Joe Biden will run for President. It’s not often a sitting Veep gets knocked out in the primaries.

8) Well, if they want two assholes for the ark, they can just invite their Senators.

9) And now we know who cut the cheese.

10) Finally, it’s yoga mats, all the way down.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Veto By Not Vetoing

Jan Brewer was really between a rock and a hard case this week, with the passage of SB1062, which I refer to as the Jim Peacock Law. I’m surprised how deftly she manuevered around it:

In her veto message, Brewer addressed not just SB 1062 but other issues confronting the state, obliquely chiding the Legislature for not focusing on pressing issues.

Brewer reminded lawmakers that she had said earlier that her main priorities were passing a responsible budget and fixing a problem plaguing the state’s child protective services system.

“Instead, this is the first policy bill to cross my desk,” she said.

She went on to say that the bill “could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want. Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value; so is non-discrimination. Going forward, let’s turn the ugliness of the debate over Senate Bill 1062 into a renewed search for respect and understanding among all Arizonans and Americans.”

The text of her message (pdf) is revealing. She doesn’t veto it on moral grounds at all. Indeed, the text suggests that she sides with the people who feel it’s a violation of their religion to serve “their kind,” but basically tells the legislature “Go back and try again, and next time, don’t make it so blatantly hateful.”

She heard about it from business leaders, in particular the NFL (imagine an openly gay football player being denied service in a Phoenix restaurant during the Super Bowl) and even Andy Borowitz captured the spirit of the “OMG!”, headlining a post, “Arizona Confronting Awkward Realization That Gay People Have Money, Buy Stuff.”

So yes, be happy she vetoed the bill. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It was an adept political move, raising the art of the possible to a new height in Arizona, but it does not make the Arizona government suddenly saintly.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I Wonder if He'll Include Bridge Toll Revenues?

Chris Christie will make his first appearance in front of the state legislature of New Jersey this afternoon in the wake of the explosive Bridgegate scandal [ed. Note: his State of the State address was just before the shit hit the fan]:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will propose a budget Tuesday afternoon with no tax increases but a slightly smaller pension payment than the state is obligated to make—a proposal that could set off strong pushback from Democrats.

The Republican governor will deliver his fifth budget message Tuesday afternoon in front of the state Legislature, one of his first major acts of governance since a scandal overshadowed the administration last month.

Mr. Christie faces a tight fiscal situation this year, and alluded to tough choices facing New Jersey during his State of the State address last month.

The administration’s proposed budget is set to include a pension payment next fiscal year of $2.25 billion, an amount Mr. Christie will frame as a record amount, according to prepared remarks released ahead of the speech.

Christie has a history of Democratic cooperation, but as the Bridgegate scandal has exposed (and kudos to Steve Kornacki and the crew at MSNBC for being diligent in this story), that cooperation was more along the lines of the Five Families of Mafia fame than a spirit of communal bliss.

You may recall that challenger Barbara Buono was mocked for her concession speeches in which she chided the state party leadership for selling her upriver. Turns out, she has the last laugh.

For instance, Essex County executive Joe DiVincenzo was an early supporter of Christie. DiVincenzo was mentored by Stephen N. Adubato…well, let Steve Kornacki explain the relationships. It’s not pretty. And Buono is partly vindicated. It really comes off as oily behavior all around.

And does explain why Corey Booker didn’t challenge Christie last year as many hoped he would.

I don’t expect Christie to be heckled the way a certain black President is heckled during his addresses to the opposition, but it would be nice if someone called him on this in chambers.