In a move that is bound to displease, to put it mildly, the radical right, Republican Governor Jan Brewer has vetoed HB 2177, the so-called "birther bill" that have required presidential candidates to provide their birth certificates to appear on the ballot.
the "birther" bill, "creates significant new problems while failing to do anything constructive for Arizona," Brewer said.
The bill would have required presidential candidates to present their birth certificates or other birth records to be eligible to be on the ballot.
"As a former Secretary of State (sic), I do not support designating one person as the gatekeeper to the ballot for a candidate, which could lead to arbitrary or politically-motivated decisions," Brewer wrote in her veto message to House Speaker Kirk Adams.
"In addition, I never imagined being presented with a bill that could require candidates for President (sic) of the greatest and most powerful nation on earth to submit their "early baptismal or circumcision certificates" among other records to the Arizona Secretary of State. This is a bridge too far," Brewer wrote.
Candidates could have substituted those records for a birth certificate if the bill had become law.
So-called "birthers," pushing a theory that President Barack Obama is not a native-born citizen as required by the Constitution, want to force candidates to disclose their birth certificates. The irony, of course, is that Obama's opponent in the 2008 election, Arizona Sen. John McCain, was likely ineligible to hold the nation's highest office because of the circumstances of his birth, while Obama was born in Hawaii to a mother who was a citizen.
Governor Brewer also vetoed two other bills of note. Brewer vetoed a bill that would have directed the governor to set up an alliance with other states to regulate healthcare, in a challenge to the Federal government, another that would have allowed guns to be carried on school grounds. She vetoed the guns at school bill "because it is so poorly written," Brewer said.
"Bills impacting our Second Amendment rights have to be crystal clear so that gun owners don't become lawbreakers by accident," she wrote in her veto message to Senate President Russell Pearce.
The Governor added that the bill didn't define the "public right of way" where weapons could be carried on school campuses, and included K-12 schools where firearms are prohibited by Federal law.
A round up of news and blog posts from around these United States.
Delaware House Passes a Civil Unions Bill. The Delaware House has approved a measure that allows civil unions for same-sex couples by a vote of 26 to 15. Last week, the same measure passed the Delaware Senate by a vote of 13 to 6. The bill now goes to Governor Markell who last week after the bill passed the Senate: "It's time for this bill to pass. It's time for the bill to be signed. It's the right thing to do for the people of Delaware." Once signed, Delaware will become the eighth state to offer civil unions.
Green Mountain Care Passes Senate Panel in Vermont. The Burlington Free Press reports that the Senate Health and Welfare Committee passed by 5 to 0 vote a bill that would put Vermont on the road toward creation of a government-financed health insurance plan called Green Mountain Care by 2017. The legislation, a priority for Gov. Peter Shumlin, already passed the House.
Arizona's Birther Bill Advances. A year in the making, the Arizona Senate approved a bill requiring presidential candidates to prove they were born in the U.S. before they're included on Arizona's ballot. The Senate made a few changes to the bill before passing it and turning it back over to the House of Representatives. Believe it or not, there are actually conservatives who believe that this will keep Barack Obama off the ballot next year. It's not for nothing that the Grand Canyon state is derided as the "meth lab of American democracy." More from KPHO-Phoenix.
Georgia Set to Pass Arizona-Style Immigration Law.Stateline reports on Georgia House Bill 87 which would allow local police to check the immigration status of anyone whose legality it suspects.
Obama's Insane Hostage Bargaining Strategy. Jon Chait of the New Republic bemoans the President's handling of the debt ceiling issue. Chait writes, "If Obama is going to begin by saying he'd like a straight vote on the debt ceiling but is willing to make policy concessions, what do you expect the Republicans to do? Keep in mind, the assumption that the Congressional minority can use the debt ceiling as a hostage to win substantive policy the president opposes is entirely novel. Obama has introduced this new development." Indeed, the President should insist on a clean bill. Anything else would allow lunatics to run the asylum.
Last month, Marg Baker, a Tea Party-backed candidate for the Florida State House, suggested that illegal immigrants be rounded up and placed in internment camps. She floated her idea at a local meeting in Tampa of the 9-12 Project, the Glenn Beck-founded group.
After the video of remarks surfaced earlier this month, Justin Elliott of Salon caught up with Ms. Baker where she expanded on her idea.
"We can ship them out to the middle of the country and put up high walls and leave them there," said Marg Baker, the middle-aged real estate broker vying for the Republican nomination in the state's 48th district, north of Tampa.
Baker was filmed advocating the camps idea at a local meeting of the 9-12 Project, Glenn Beck's activist group, earlier this month. She told Salon today that she was upset at the way some had misinterpreted her comments. "They're trying to think I want to erect some sort of prison camps like over in Germany" -- which she is not, Baker said.
Asked if what she had in mind was more like the Japanese internment camps of the World War II era, Baker said, "something like that. But unfortunately in the Japanese camps they detained American citizens. The only ones I want to detain are the ones who are illegal."
She added, "You've gotta have places for them to eat and sleep and breathe fresh air. It can be a tent city ... You don't want to make them too comfortable or they'll want to come back."
While illegal immigrants are held in detention centers, they are generally processed quickly and then deported. It may surprise Ms. Baker to learn that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency expects to deport about 400,000 people this fiscal year, nearly 10 percent above the Bush Administration's 2008 total and 25 percent more than were deported in 2007.
Perhaps that number remains a drop in the bucket but the deportation of all illegal aliens is a non-starter. The economic impact would be severe. A 2007 study put the economic contribution of illegal aliens at $1.7 trillion. Add in that illegal aliens perform tasks at 20 percent below market rates, the inflationary impact would be immediate. Few Americans are willing to work for or able to survive on wages of $8.00 an hour. The Washington Post in a June 4, 2007 editorial article titled "Immigrants Equal Growth... Reform Isn't Just Humane. It's Self-Interest," offered the following position:
Amid the blizzard of data concerning immigrants' effects on wages, welfare and municipal budgets, the essential point is this: The latest wave of immigrants - legal and illegal, skilled and unskilled - has stimulated enormous economic activity and wealth generation in this country, and it is implausible that the American economy would fare as well without them...
Since most immigrants come when they are young and working... they tend not to collect Social Security or Medicare for many years - even while paying into the systems with payroll taxes, in many cases with phony Social Security numbers (meaning they will contribute but not collect). In fact, illegal immigrants do not get federal welfare benefits of any kind. At the same time they often pay income tax (through paycheck withholdings) and sales tax, thereby helping directly or indirectly to underwrite transportation, health care, education and other services.
But beyond the economic impact, we can't hold people against their will. There's the matter of due process and then there's the matter of how you round up an estimated 8 to 12 million illegal aliens. The suggestion is ludricous but such are many of the suggestions emanating from the Tea Party wing of the GOP.
Now comes word that a Tea Party backed Republican candidate for Governor in New York Carl Paladino said he would transform some prisons into dormitories for welfare recipients, where they would work in state-sponsored jobs, get employment training and take lessons in "personal hygiene."
Two-term Democratic Congressman Joe Donnelly, who represents the Indiana Second Congressional District that covers north central Indiana including South Bend, has released the above 30 second spot. The ad touts Rep. Donnelly's tough anti-immigration stance.
"No one should ever be rewarded for breaking the law," Donnelly says in reference to illegal immigration. "That may not be what the Washington crowd wants. But I don't work for them, I work for you."
By the "Washington crowd," Rep. Donnelly means President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader John Boehner.
Over at his campaign website, Rep. Donnelly assures his constituents that he will "an independent voice" for the district, adding that it "has never been about Democrats or Republicans" but "about doing what is right for families" in Indiana and across the country.
The Long Island born and Notre Dame graduate Donnelly is an anti-abortion-rights Democrat who did vote for the healthcare reform law this year but he is opposed to the Obama Justice Department's lawsuit seeking to overturn the Arizona immigration law. He supports more border agents, penalizing businesses that hire illegal immigrants, deporting illegal immigrants convicted of felonies and eliminating "amnesty."
Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post has more on the story. Donnelly is not considered to be vulnerable this cycle. He won re-election with 58 percent of the vote and leads his GOP opponent state Rep. Jackie Walorski by 17 points.
Shirley Sherrod, the former USDA official in charge of rural development in Georgia, will sue Andrew Breitbart who edited her remarks at a NAACP Freedom Fund dinner to appear as if she were making racist remarks when in fact the opposite was true. Mrs. Sherrod made the announcement Thursday in San Diego at the National Association of Black Journalists annual convention. More from USA Today.
Ian Welsh wrote earlier this week on the divide he witnessed at Netroots Nation. On the one hand, "about half the people there are some combination of angry, disappointed and bitter with Democrats in general and Obama in particular" and there are those "folks who would characterize themselves, in general, as hard nosed pragmatists and 'realists'." Today, Jonathan Cohn of the New Republic castigates those who talk "about disappointment and disillusionment" in an article entitled The Stupidity of Liberal Apathy.
The Miami Herald has published a poll from Quinnipiac University showing millionaire outsiders in their first run for office besting established career politicians in both the GOP Governor primary and in the Democratic Senate primary.
Republican Rick Scott holds an 11 percentage-point lead over Attorney General Bill McCollum in the GOP race for governor, a Quinnipiac University poll finds.
In the main statewide race for Democrats -- the U.S. Senate contest -- Jeff Greene is beating U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek by 10 percentage points, the poll shows.
Neither Greene nor Scott have held elected office before. McCollum has held or run for office for the past 30 years. Meek has been in Congress and the Legislature for more than a decade.
Both political newcomers have relied on a simple formula to best their rivals: Spend millions on television ads and watch your poll numbers rise. Greene has outspent Meek by an estimated $6 million. Scott has poured an estimated $30 million into his race, doubling what McCollum has spent. ``Money matters. You can go from nobody knowing you to becoming a front-runner if you spend enough,'' said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. ``That's not to say it's only money,'' Brown added. ``The messages that Scott and Greene have been able to send to voters through record television ad spending have been effective.'' But Brown cautions that ``anything can happen'' leading up to the Aug. 24 primary. Voters haven't completely made up their minds. And many don't know for whom they'll vote.
In the Democratic Senate race, more than a third of likely voters are undecided. And a majority -- 54 percent -- say they might change their minds.
In the Republican governor's race, 23 percent of likely voters are undecided; 43 percent say they might change their minds; 55 percent say their minds are made up.
GOP Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina announced Wednesday night that he is considering introducing a constitutional amendment that would change existing law to no longer grant citizenship to the children of immigrants born in the United States. The full story from Politico.
Samuel and Charles Wyly , two billionaire brothers from Dallas who founded Sterling Software and who are large donors to conservative causes, were charged by the SEC with conducting an extensive securities fraud including insider trading. The story in the New York Times.