Friday, September 4, 2015

Last Call For Rowan County Calculus

Lexington Herald-Leader political columnist Sam Youngman weighs in on the situation in Rowan County and how it will affect Kentucky's gubernatorial election in two months.

The longer Davis sits in a Carter County jail cell, the worse it is for Conway. Bevin is enjoying daily opportunities to motivate his base and present a clear, if at times misleading, message
Keep in mind that there are two other county clerks refusing to issue marriage licenses, and really it's anybody's guess how Davis eventually gets out of jail or what she will do when that happens. 
Regardless, this is not a story that will end in the next few days. 
Time is running out before Election Day, and the longer the saga endures, the harder it will be for Conway to get voters to focus on state issues — jobs, education, pensions — and his opponent's flaws. 
The bottom line is that we don't know how this will impact the fall elections. 
It could be the first ripple in the water that becomes a wave that wipes out the entire Democratic slate. Or it could marginalize Bevin and make Conway look more palatable to the broader electorate. 
It has been a quiet race so far, and the general consensus is that very few Kentuckians have been paying attention. 
But given the attention this episode is generating, it seems like a safe bet that voters will be tuned in from here on out.

Youngman's take is pretty much in line with my own opinions here.  It's is a safe bet to say that yes, as long as this election remains about "Barack Obama persecuting the good white Christian people" of Rowan County, Matt Bevin is going to be the commonwealth's next governor by double digits.

On the other hand, Bevin really, really, really tends to overplay his hand and he clearly doesn't know when to shut up while being ahead.

But if Huckabee, Paul, etc. show up and make constant news, it's only going to be helping Matt Bevin.

That means Jack Conway had better work damn hard to get this election back to being about what Matt Bevin will destroy if he's allowed to win, and fast.

Read more here:

A Bad Judgment Call In Kansas

I've been talking for months about how Kansas Republicans have effectively decimated the state, cutting taxes to the point where the state can no longer fund itself, under the nightmare tenure of Gov. Sam Brownback.  But now the state is rapidly going from permanent Laffer Curve punchline to third-world banana republic status with blinding speed.

On Wednesday night, a district judge in Kansas struck down a 2014 law that stripped the state Supreme Court of some of its administrative powers. The ruling has set off a bizarre constitutional power struggle between the Republican-controlled legislature and the state Supreme Court. At stake is whether the Kansas court system will lose its funding and shut down. 
Last year, the Kansas legislature passed a law that took away the top court's authority to appoint chief judges to the state's 31 judicial districts—a policy change Democrats believe was retribution for an ongoing dispute over school funding between the Supreme Court and the legislature. (Mother Jones reported on the standoff this spring.) When the legislature passed a two-year budget for the court system earlier this year, it inserted a clause stipulating that if a court ever struck down the 2014 administrative powers law, funding for the entire court system would be "null and void." Last night, that's what the judge did. 

The Republican legislature has threatened to destroy the state's court system unless the GOP can strip the power the judiciary has to appoint judges and give that power to lawmakers instead.  The judiciary called the legislature's bluff.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt warned that last night's decision “could effectively and immediately shut off all funding for the judicial branch.” That would lead to chaos. As Pedro Irigonegaray, an attorney for the Kansas judge who brought the legal challenge against the administrative law, put it, “Without funding, our state courts would close, criminal cases would not be prosecuted, civil matters would be put on hold, real estate could not be bought or sold, adoptions could not be completed."  
Both parties in the case have agreed to ask that Wednesday's ruling remain on hold until it can be appealed to the state Supreme Court, so that there is a functioning court to hear the appeal. On Thursday, a judge granted the stay. Meanwhile, lawyers involved in the case and advocates for judicial independence are preparing a legal challenge to the clause of the judicial budget that withholds court funding. Sometime in the next few months, the state Supreme Court is likely to rule on whether the legislature has the right to strip the Supreme Court of its administrative authority, and whether it can make funding for the courts contingent on the outcome of a court case. 
“We have never seen a law like this before," Randolph Sherman, a lawyer involved in fighting the administrative law, said in a statement, referring to the self-destruct mechanism in the judicial budget. "[I]t is imperative that we stop it before it throws the state into a constitutional crisis.”

So depending on the outcome, Kansas may or may not have courts.  Amazing.

Imagine if a Republican Congress and Republican president passed a law that said the President could no longer appoint federal court or Supreme Court judges, and that instead they would be appointed by the Speaker of the House and approved by the Senate, and that the law also said that if the Supreme Court struck the law down, that Congress would automatically end all funding for the federal court system.

That's the kind of thing you find in a dictatorship, not a representative, Constitutional democracy. But here we are.

The most broken state in the Union continues to stay broken.

Under A Snow, Hill

Guy who exposed bunch of classified information to the world and fled the country to hang out with Putin:  Hey, Hillary Clinton is a dirty leaker!

National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden said on Thursday that 2016 Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is likely aware her personal email server exposed sensitive national intelligence.

Snowden added that lesser employees would have lost their jobs for copying Clinton’s actions during her tenure as secretary of State. 
“This is a problem because anyone who has the clearances that the secretary of State has, or the director of any top level agency has, knows how classified information should be handled,” he said, according to excerpts of an Al Jazeera interview airing Friday. 
If an ordinary worker at the State Department or the Central Intelligence Agency … were sending details about the security of the embassies, which is alleged to be in her email, meetings with private government officials, foreign government officials and the statements that were made to them in confidence over unclassified email systems, they would not only lose their jobs and lose their clearance, they would very likely face prosecution for it,” he added.

Or they would, you know, fly to Moscow with even more info and get Glenn Greenwald's merry team of assholes to cover for you.

Coming from Snowden, that's frigging hysterical.


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