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Benny

Thanks orl!

GOP judges have no shame.

Benny

So the withdrawal is temporary until the US sends more bombs, then Israel will continue to destroy Rafah and what’s left of Gaza while starting a war with Iran. I hope not, but that’s what it looks like from over here.

Benny

Seems like with Biden it is one step forward and three steps back.

jcitybone

Paul ADK

The eclipse was absolutely stunning. And the weather cooperated. It was touch and go for awhile with some high, thin, clouds, but they obscured nothing. Ring of fire and all. Just breathtaking.

bernin
bernin

Yeah, I feel the same way, I was lucky to see totality here in Ohio (and the weather cooperated for once). All of sudden there’s a sunset on the horizon in every direction, the sky turns night, and there’s a giant black ball in the sky. It was one of the most stunning and spectacular things I’ve ever seen.

jcitybone

Benny

Is it possible AOC didn’t vote for Biden in the primary?

Benny
Benny

AZ SC Determines 160 Year Law Still in Effect to Abolish Abortion

The Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a 160-year-old abortion ban that could shutter abortion clinics in the state, saying the law that existed before Arizona became a state could be enforced going forward.

The ruling indicated the ban can only be prospectively enforced and the court stayed enforcement for 14 days. But it’s already causing political earthquakes.

“There really is no way to sugarcoat it, today is a dark day for Arizona,” said Angela Florez, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona.

The pre-statehood law mandates two to five years in prison for anyone aiding an abortion, except if the procedure is necessary to save the life of the mother. A law from the same era requiring at least a year in prison for a woman seeking an abortion was repealed in 2021.

Enforcement would mean the end of legal abortions in Arizona, though some providers said they will continue offering abortions at least for a time — likely through May — because of a prior court ruling. And, the state’s top Democrats have taken steps to thwart that enforcement. Reproductive rights activists say it means Arizona women can expect potential health complications.

Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs issued an executive order last year giving all power to enforce abortion laws to the state attorney general. The current attorney general, Democrat Kris Mayes, has vowed not to enforce any abortion bans. But her decision and Hobbs’ order could be challenged by one of the state’s county attorneys.

The decision was 4-2, with Justices John R. Lopez IV, Clint Bolick, James P. Beene and Kathryn H. King in the majority. Lopez wrote the majority opinion, while Vice Chief Justice Ann A. Scott Timmer penned a dissent. Chief Justice Robert M. Brutinel joined Timmer.

“Physicians are now on notice that all abortions, except those necessary to save a woman’s life, are illegal … and that additional criminal and regulatory sanctions may apply to abortions performed after fifteen weeks’ gestation,” the ruling reads.

The majority ruled that a law passed in 2022, which prohibited abortions after 15 weeks, did not repeal the pre-statehood law nor create a right to abortion. The justices said the 2022 law was enacted by the Legislature because the prior law was at the time enjoined in court.

“Life is a human right, and today’s decision allows the state to respect that right and fully protect life again—just as the legislature intended,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Jake Warner, who argued the case before the court in favor of the pre-statehood ban.

One immediate effect of the ruling could be more support for a potential ballot measure in the works for this year. Advocates say they’ve already got more than 500,000 signatures, well above the threshold of 383,923 signatures needed by an early July deadline.

Benny

wi65

Meanwhile in Wi;

Trump’s Pick for Wisconsin Senator Suggests Nursing Home Residents Shouldn’t Vote
YIKES

AJ McDougall
Published Apr. 08, 2024 6:02PM EDT
Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Wisconsin Eric Hovde

Eric Hovde, a Republican candidate for Senate in Wisconsin, floated the bizarre idea that people in nursing homes should be disenfranchised because they’re simply too close to death to be “in a point to vote.” In a recent interview on Fox News’ Guy Benson Show, Hovde, who picked up a key endorsement from Donald Trump last week, was asked about the former president’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen. “Do I believe the election was stolen? No, but did things happen in that election that were very troublesome? Absolutely,” Hovde responded, according to audio published by the Heartland Signal on Monday. “And I can point them out right here in Wisconsin.” The businessman went on to point out that one of these supposed irregularities was the high turnout in nursing homes. “We had nursing homes—where the sheriff of Racine investigated—where you had 100 percent voting in nursing homes,” he said. “Well, if you’re in a nursing home, you only have a five, six-month life expectancy. Almost nobody in a nursing home is in a point to vote. And you had children, adult children showing up saying, ‘Who voted for my 85 or 90-year-old father or mother?’” Hovde is looking to unseat Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).

Why would this idiot keep some of cult-45s most loyal voters from voting? Hovde said on the local news he was proud to have Cult-45s endoursement 🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮.
He’s also a influential millionaire banker that spend a lot of time in California vs WI.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trumps-pick-for-wisconsin-senator-eric-hovde-suggests-nursing-home-residents-shouldnt-vote

wi65

Meanwhile in Wi 2.0

Evers vetoes bill that would have allowed 14- and 15-year-olds to work without permits
Laura Schulte
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

MADISON – Gov. Tony Evers vetoed a bill Monday that would have eliminated work permits for the state’s youngest employees, which he said would prevent children from being “taken advantage of.”

Evers vetoed the bill at the Wisconsin State Council of Machinists Conference on Monday at a Capitol Square hotel alongside members of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO.

“Growing up, it shouldn’t be worrying about getting injured on the job, or receiving a fair wage for their work, or being taken advantage of,” Evers said shortly before the signing. “It’s time that Republicans get real about the real pressing challenges, and I’ve put them on notice.”

The bill would effectively eliminate work permits for 14- and 15-year olds in Wisconsin, as state law changed in 2017 to remove the requirement for 16- and 17-year-olds. That law also replaced references of “child labor” in state statutes to the “employment of minors.”

More:Ending teen work permits could impact ability to investigate child labor violations, DWD warns

“Parents should have the right to deal with this issue,” Evers said as he vetoed the legislation. “(The bill) sends a message that 14- and 15-year-olds can do anything, they can go into the most dangerous places without any OK. And that is just absolutely wrong.”

Sen. Cory Tomczyk, R-Mosinee, Rep. Clint Moses, R-Menomonie and Rep. Amy Binsfeld, R-Sheboygan, who introduced the bill last year, said that it would remove needless administrative barriers that slow down the hiring process.

Currently, work permits are required for 14- and 15-year-olds, unless they work in the agriculture or domestic service sectors. Parents or guardians must apply for their child’s work permit, and the $10 fee is reimbursed by employers.

The bill would have also eliminated street trade permits for the age group, which are needed to deliver newspapers or sell products door-to-door, for example. Those permits don’t apply when fundraising for nonprofits or schools.

Gov. Tony Evers takes action on Senate Bill 436 at the Wisconsin State Council of Machinists Conference on April 8, 2024.
DWD issues about 35,000 work permits for minors each year.

Opponents of the bill argued that removing the permit system would take away the method of informing employers about child labor laws and the Department of Workforce Development’s system for collecting data to guide efforts to reduce violations, which would be suspended without funding to cover the agency’s $169,000 increase in costs.

“The bill is anticipated to reduce education and outreach interactions with employers, employees and their guardians, which would increase the number of (Equal Rights Division) investigations,” the department wrote in testimony during a hearing on the bill late last year.

More:Bill to eliminate work permits in Wisconsin comes amid national push to loosen child labor laws

Child labor violations tracked by the federal government have spiked nationally, including investigations tied to Wisconsin.

A federal investigation into a 16-year-old boy’s death at a Florence sawmill this summer found the company employed children as young as 14 to illegally operate machinery and work outside of permitted hours. Three children, ages 15 to 16, were injured at the mill in the last two years. The company paid about $191,000 in fines.

And a Wisconsin-based food safety sanitation company paid $1.5 million in fines earlier this year for illegally employing more than 100 children in eight states, following a U.S. Department of Labor investigation.

Evers has vetoed similar bills before.

Labor groups like the Wisconsin AFL-CIO opposed that effort, arguing permits protect young workers from exploitation and give parents a say in their child’s employment .

Benny
Benny

I started working when I was 15, back in the day when you didn’t have to present a gov’t id to work other than a SS card. However, my parents didn’t force me to work as much as they didn’t have much discretionary income, thus I had to earn my own money to buy clothes, gas for the car, or concerts.

Evers did the right thing because the idea behind it was to keep immigrants from getting jobs.

wi65

Same here, parents signed off on the work permit when i was 15 , pushed grocery carts on Fri,Sat. Actually took them out to the customers cars back then. Yes i’m old as the stores were closed on Sundays back then…

Paul ADK

I started working when I was 12. Between the paper route and the lawn work and the babysitting, pretty much anything I could do for a few bucks, I was able to save enough for my first stereo. That was a big deal, then, putting together the best sound system you could. I think the paper route required documentation because I was bonded but the rest of it didn’t. When I was 16 I got a job at McDonald’s. For whatever else it is, they sure do teach a kid how to work.

Benny
Benny

https://www.cnn.com/2024/04/09/media/tv-networks-letter-to-biden-and-trump-campaigns-2024-election-debates/index.html

Five of the major US television networks have banded together to draft a letter urging President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump to commit to participating in televised debates ahead of the 2024 election.

According to a draft of the letter shared with CNN, which is also a signatory on the letter, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox News and CNN urged the presumptive nominees “to publicly commit to participating in general election debates before November’s election.”

The television networks are seeking additional news organizations to sign the letter, which has not yet been sent to the campaigns, a person familiar with the matter said. The New York Times was first to report on the existence of the letter.

The letter, which has not been finalized, notes that general election debates have “played a vital role in every presidential election of the past 50 years, dating to 1976” with “tens of millions” tuning in to watch a competition of ideas for the votes of American citizens.

“Though it is too early for invitations to be extended to any candidates, it is not too early for candidates who expect to meet the eligibility criteria to publicly state their support for – and their intention to participate in – the Commission’s debates planned for this fall,” the letter states.

Frank Fahrenkopf, co-chair for the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, told CNN he has not yet seen the letter.

Biden has not publicly committed to debating Trump, although he has not ruled it out.

“It depends on his behavior,” Biden said in early March.

Trump has posted on social media that he will debate “anytime, anywhere anyplace” despite the Republican National Committee voting unanimously in 2022 to withdraw from the Commission on Presidential Debates.

While historically debates were confined to good-spirited discussions on public policy issues, Trump over the last two presidential cycles has deformed the tradition with uncontrolled outbursts and an avalanche of lies.

Nesters, are debates worth our time? To me, they are just fundraisers and another way for networks to boost ratings.

jcitybone

Well I personally couldn’t imagine sitting through a Biden/Trump debate.

Benny
Benny

I should have clarified: for this particular election, I do not believe a debate will help the candidates other than fundraise. They are very well known candidates and the debates won’t help them in terms of policy (or lack of, in Trump’s case).

Paul ADK

I think there’s a major contrast and a debate is the best way to show it. The reality is that most of the Biden is feeble narrative is projection, and that it’s Trump who thinks he’s running against Obama. And that’s just for starters. But I agree that most people have made up their minds and a debate would not actually change anything.

jcitybone

Benny

Our home insurance just went up, mainly due to adding solar panels/system to our house. Our solar grids went online on Eclipse 2024 day, which we thought was kind of fitting.

Benny

Ron Klain on Biden: Economic Message Focuses too much on Bridges, Not on Future

Former White House chief of staff Ron Klain openly questioned President Joe Biden’s political strategy Tuesday night, arguing he was too focused on long-term infrastructure projects and not enough on immediate economic needs as he runs for reelection.

“I think the president is out there too much talking about bridges,” Klain said, according to audio exclusively obtained by POLITICO. “He does two or three events a week where he’s cutting a ribbon on a bridge. And here’s a bridge. Like I tell you, if you go into the grocery store, you go to the grocery store and, you know, eggs and milk are expensive, the fact that there’s a fucking bridge is not [inaudible].”

Speaking at an event hosted by the publication “Democracy: A Journal of Ideas,” the longtime Biden adviser went on to say that while the infrastructure being built under the Biden administration was “a positive thing,” the president was thinking too narrowly in focusing so heavily on it.

“He’s not a congressman. He’s not running for Congress,” said Klain. “I think it’s kind of a fool’s errand. I think that [it] also doesn’t get covered that much because, look, it’s a fucking bridge. Like it’s a bridge, and how interesting is the bridge? It’s a little interesting but it’s not a lot interesting.”

In a follow up interview, Klain noted that elsewhere in Tuesday evening’s event, he expressed pride over Biden’s accomplishments. But he also did not back down from the main thrust of his critique, noting that it was incumbent on Biden and his campaign to turn the election into a debate about the future and not a referendum on what they’ve done.

“The president’s most effective economic message is contrast around whose side are you on, and compassion for the [pinch] of family budgets, and his agenda to bring down costs and raise incomes — and that lauding achievements — especially ones with abstract benefits — is less persuasive with voters,” Klain said.

The comments from Klain are a rare instance of a luminary from the president’s close orbit openly questioning current White House strategy. Klain left the administration in February last year, having helped spearhead the passage of much of the domestic agenda. But he also has had a long-standing reputation for being among the more politically aggressive of Biden’s core advisers.

And he has a well known, well publicized belief that a key component to Biden’s political survival is getting prices down. In the lead up to the 2022 midterms, Klain was monomaniacally focused on the cost of gas, searching the average national price on AAA every morning. In recent days, he also cautioned the Biden campaign against taking a victory lap on inflation.

“Although inflation has moderated, prices are still high, the price of gasoline is still high, other prices are still high, and people feel that pinch,” Klain said on MSNBC recently. “And though wages have gone up, and the statistics say wages have gone up faster than prices, people still feel pinched in their pocketbooks. And so, I think the president needs to make more progress on that.”

Reached for comment, the White House said it sees no daylight between what it’s doing and what Klain is suggesting.

“Like Ron says, President Biden is crisscrossing the country building on his State of the Union message, highlighting that he is fighting to grow the middle class and lower costs like prescription drugs while blocking the trickle-down agenda Republican officials have proposed on behalf of rich special interests, including Medicare cuts and tax giveaways to big corporations,” said White House Deputy Press Secretary and Senior Communications Adviser Andrew Bates. “The President repeated that message in his Univision interview yesterday and will not let up.”

Klain’s comments on Tuesday echo some concerns that some other Democrats have about the balance the administration and campaign are trying to strike in crowing about accomplishments and focusing on the future. The former chief of staff said there was an easy template for Biden to follow when it came to finding that proper balance: the State of the Union address he delivered one month ago.

“I thought the economic message of that speech was very strong and should be the economic message overall, which is less about just logging the accomplishments and more about an agenda and choice,” Klain said. “And I think when they frame it that way, it’s very powerful.”

After the State of the Union address, Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and top administration officials went on a nationwide tour, touting the accomplishments and talking about the promises the president made in the speech. Biden himself has made appearances in Raleigh, Chandler, Arizona and Las Vegas talking about everything from housing to health care costs.

wi65

At least thats understandable, most of the increase in premiums are because of profits and because they can. The govt wont do a thing about greed/shrink-flation which is destroying the average american budget.

Benny

Paul ADK

I sure do wish there was a law that would stop them from throttling me. It’d be nice to actually get what I pay for.

Benny

Benny

A US Rep Is Trying to Undo Clean Water Laws That He Violated part 1

fter being sanctioned by federal regulators for plowing up protected wetlands on his California farm, a US lawmaker is now spearheading an effort to roll back federal water protections — including the very same provisions that he once paid penalties for violating.

If the scheme is successful, environmental groups say industrial polluters could more freely contaminate wetlands, rivers, and other waters, harming both the nation’s water resources and the communities depending on them. It could also benefit the lawmaker spearheading the attack, since he still owns the farm where he was found to be destroying wetlands.

In 2017, before he was a lawmaker, Republican California representative John Duarte was fined $1.1 million by federal regulators for disturbing wetlands and streams on a five-hundred-acre plot of land owned by his business, Duarte Nursery. The settlement ended a long and public legal battle between Duarte and environmental authorities over violations of the Clean Water Act, the landmark 1972 legislation that protects the nation’s rivers, wetlands, and other bodies of water.

That same year, Duarte Nursery paid an outside firm $30,000 to lobby on “issues relating to the Clean Water Act,” according to federal disclosures.

Since taking office last year, Duarte, who sits on a key House committee that oversees water policy, has become a vocal supporter of efforts to roll back clean water standards and other environmental protections, including a 2023 attempt by Republican lawmakers to redefine what bodies of water are federally protected.

But Duarte’s latest effort — a bill he has spearheaded called the Creating Confidence in Clean Water Permitting Act, which passed the House of Representatives on March 21 — goes further and deals directly with the provisions he and his company fought in court for years.

And since Duarte has remained a co-owner of Duarte Nursery, he could potentially benefit from the rollbacks. In May 2023, Duarte reported earning a salary of $783,000 from the company.

The proposal, part of a January package of conservative bills that take aim at the Clean Water Act, specifically weakens oversight of so-called dredge-and-fill permits — the same type of permit that Duarte was sanctioned over by regulators in 2017. The effort follows the devastating decision by the US Supreme Court in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency last year, which decimated long-standing protections for the country’s wetlands.

In a letter to lawmakers signed by more than forty different environmental groups, which we obtained, environmental advocates warned that Duarte’s bill would “prevent effective judicial review of projects that fill in and destroy wetlands, streams, and other waters.”

“Rep. Duarte has long been pushing for weaker protections to clean water,” said Julian Gonzalez, senior legislative counsel and lead water policy lobbyist at Earthjustice, an environmental advocacy group. Gonzalez called Duarte’s new bill a “wish list for industry deregulation of federal water protections.”

Duarte’s office did not respond to our requests for comment. Speaking in support of the proposal in March, Duarte said the law would provide “relief to farmers, small businesses, and energy producers” and “shield permit holders from activist lawsuits.”

“A Who’s Who of Large Polluters”
Duarte’s plant nursery is based in California’s Central Valley, growing almonds, pistachios, and grapes. The company employs hundreds of people and claims that it’s one of the largest plant nurseries in the country.

In 2013, years before Duarte was a lawmaker, the US Army Corps of Engineers sent his company a cease-and-desist order, alleging that it had plowed wetlands on a plot of land in rural Northern California, introducing pollutants and violating the Clean Water Act. The wetlands on his property, the government said, fed into tributaries of the Sacramento River, and disturbing the waters required a dredge-and-fill permit from the Corps of Engineers, which Duarte did not obtain.

Duarte then sued the Corps of Engineers over the cease-and-desist order, and the government countersued, initially asking for $2.8 million in sanctions. Eventually, Duarte settled with the Department of Justice for less than half that amount — but not before painting himself in the press as a persecuted farmer, boosting his political profile.

“He tries to come off as somebody who is a business owner and a farmer, who just has a family farm,” Gonzalez said, calling this act “disingenuous.”

“Most small farmers — they’re not millionaires,” said Gonzalez. “They don’t have five hundred acres, and they certainly don’t have a million dollars to spare as the cost of doing business while violating the Clean Water Act.”

Back in 2013, Duarte needed a permit under section 404 of the act in order to plow the wetlands on his property, which governs “fill” materials in waters and wetlands. These permits are required if a developer wants to fill a wetland with gravel to build on it, for example, or make an artificial island in a body of water.

In January 2024, Duarte introduced a bill called the Confidence in Clean Water Permits Act, which was later combined with legislation introduced by Republican North Carolina representative David Rouzer. Both sit on the Transportation Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, which oversees water pollution and conservation issues. Rouzer serves as the subcommittee chair.

Their final bill, the Creating Confidence in Clean Water Permitting Act, proposes narrowing the statute of limitations for review of dredge-and-fill permits, among other measures. It also would limit how and when courts can intervene to rescind the permits if they are found to violate the Clean Water Act.

The bill weakens the Clean Water Act in a number of other ways, environmental advocates say. It revokes the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to intervene to stop large-scale polluting operations. And it rewrites permitting rules that experts say would shield polluters from liability for dumping chemical contaminants in water if environmental regulators had not expressly barred them from doing so.

“We think it is highly likely that this law will suddenly make it legal for companies to dump all kinds of PFAS [per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, toxic ‘forever chemicals’] into the water instead of giving communities and state agencies a tool to protect the public from that kind of pollution,” said John Rumpler, the clean water director at Environment America, an environmental advocacy group. It would turn the landscape of water protections into “a wild west of ‘catch me if you can,’” he said.

“This partisan bill weakens clean water protections while providing exemptions, legal shields, and limited oversight to special interests, polluters, and large-scale projects that demand higher scrutiny,” Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) said on the House floor in March, speaking in opposition to the bill. The legislation “guts the independent authority” of both the US Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA, she said.

Private interest groups have lined up behind Duarte’s bill. The Independent Petroleum Association of America, a Big Oil lobbying group, and several natural gas industry groups have come out in support of the legislation. So have the Associated Builders and Contractors, a construction industry group, and the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association.

This amounted to a “who’s who of large polluters and developers,” Gonzalez said.

The bill has attracted particular support from offshore energy interests, which would benefit from weakened oversight of industrial polluters. The National Ocean Industries Association, a trade group representing offshore oil and gas companies, noted that the bill would “provide critical regulatory certainty for businesses operating under Clean Water Act permits in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Benny

part 2

Rollbacks to Water Protections

Rouzer and Duarte’s bill passed the House on March 21 in a partisan vote. It now heads to the Democrat-controlled Senate, where it likely faces a slim chance of passing as is. Still, as Gonzalez noted, the bill is just one part of a broader push to roll back water protections. And in this area, Duarte and his industry backers have already secured significant victories.

“[The bill] comes on the heels of a devastating Supreme Court decision that eviscerated protections for America’s remaining wetlands,” Rumpler said.

Last May, the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Sackett v. EPA rewrote long-standing protections in the Clean Water Act. Harlan Crow, Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas’ billionaire benefactor, and his business interests were involved in the Sackett case. Trade groups with close ties to Crow’s companies pushed the high court to rule against the EPA, we reported last year.

In Sackett, the court ruled that, contrary to decades of environmental protections, only wetlands that are directly connected to larger bodies of water are protected under the Clean Water Act, decimating federal protections for an estimated 118 acres of fragile wetlands and marshes.

The plaintiffs in that case — a couple in Idaho — were represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, the same conservative legal group that took on Duarte’s case back in 2014. At issue in the Sackett case was the same kind of dredge-and-fill permit that Duarte has fought against in Congress and on his own land.

“Over half of the wetlands in the country lost federal protections from the EPA [as a result of Sackett],” Gonzalez said. “The reason this was a big target for industry was because they want to be able to develop wetlands, to fill them, and to build homes, build industry without dealing with EPA.”

Now, he said, Duarte and other conservatives in Congress are carrying on that mission.