Having failed twice before, Rep. Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe, is promoting another stealth creationist bill, House Bill 116, which “provides relative to textbooks and other instructional materials for [public] elementary and secondary schools.”When Rep. Gene Reynolds, D-Dubberly, expressed concern that HB116 could permit adoption of controversial books on evolution and other subjects (Advocate May 13), he was exactly right.
Hoffmann responded, “That is not what this is about. I guarantee you that is not my purpose in bringing this act.” The facts show otherwise. Enabling school boards to buy creationist books is precisely Hoffmann’s purpose, as I documented two years ago at the Louisiana Coalition for Science (LCFS) website: lasciencecoalition.org
The IRS division responsible for flagging Tea Party groups has long been an agency afterthought, beset by mismanagement, financial constraints and an unwillingness to spell out just what it expects from social welfare nonprofits, former officials and experts say.
The controversy that erupted in the past week, leading to the ousting of the acting Internal Revenue Service commissioner, an investigation by the FBI, and congressional hearings that kicked off Friday, comes against a backdrop of dysfunction brewing for years.
Moves launched in the 1990s were designed to streamline the tax agency and make it more efficient. But they had unintended consequences for the IRS’s Exempt Organizations division.
Checks and balances once in place were taken away. Guidance frequently published by the IRS and closely read by tax lawyers and nonprofits disappeared. Even as political activity by social welfare nonprofits exploded in recent election cycles, repeated requests for the IRS to clarify exactly what was permitted for the secretly funded groups were met, at least publicly, with silence.
All this combined to create an isolated office in Cincinnati, plagued by what an inspector general this week described as “insufficient oversight,” of fewer than 200 low-level employees responsible for reviewing more than 60,000 nonprofit applications a year.
In the end, this contributed to what everyone from Republican lawmakers to the president says was a major mistake: The decision by the Ohio unit to flag for further review applications from groups with “Tea Party” and similar labels. This started around March 2010, with little pushback from Washington until the end of June 2011.
A Washington ‘Whodunit’: Who Fed Bogus Benghazi ‘Emails’ to the Media? **UPDATE: A ‘Glaring Omission…’**
Here’s the Republican membership of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (the Committee is chaired by Democrat Thom Carper of Delaware):
Tom Coburn, (OK) Ranking Member
John McCain (AZ)
Ron Johnson (WI)
Rob Portman (OH)
Rand Paul (KY)
Mike Enzi (WY)
Kelly Ayotte (NH)
Pretty juicy list! Note how stacked the minority side of the committee is with presidential aspirants, potential aspirants, a former aspirant, and some of the most hardcore tea party Senators, including some, like Rand Paul, John McCain and Kelly Ayotte, who have gone after, first Susan Rice, and then Hillary Clinton guns blazing on Benghazi. But only one of those Senators ALSO sits on the Select Committee on Intelligence — which is the one that my administration source says got the February briefing”
And that person is Tom Coburn.
Now, what makes Coburn interesting?
The Treasury Department Inspector General for Tax Administration sent a letter to Congressman Darrell Issa and Congressman Jim Jordan on July 12, 2012 informing them they would be auditing the IRS in response to their concerns that certain groups might be receiving extra scrutiny. The letter came in response to a June 28th letter of that year from Congressman Issa and requests for an investigation.
After taking her viewers through the whole, long, ugly mess with ABC’s big “scoop” on the Benghazi emails and the how the story pretty much fizzled out by the end of the week with the discovery that Republicans were responsible for doctoring the supposed quotes from the emails that they published, Rachel Maddow gave her two cents on ABC still protecting the sources who lied to them.
Jon Karl Got Played by a Confidential Source and Now ABC News Has a Big Benghazi Problem » Pressthink
Jon Karl has dragged the entire news division at ABC (and now George Stephanopoulos) into his self-dug pit. He got played. His colleagues at other news organizations know it. His friends at the network, were they real friends, would try to talk him out of this disastrous state of denial.
A Republican Texas Judge has ordered a lesbian couple to live apart or give up custody of their children. According to Think Progress, Judge John Roach of McKinney, Texas has given Page Price 30 days to move out of the home she shares with Carolyn Compton and Compton’s two children from a previous marriage because he does not approve of Compton and Price’s “lifestyle.”
Roach has placed a “morality clause” in Compton’s divorce papers, which forbids Compton from having anyone she is not related to “by blood or marriage” in her home past 9:00 p.m. if the children are present. Same sex marriage is illegal in Texas, so by law, Compton cannot live with Price if she wishes to retain custody of her children.
Compton said that she and Price have been together for three years. Compton’s ex-husband rarely bothers to see the children and was previously arrested on charges of third-degree felony stalking in 2011, charges that he was able to plea down to criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor.
In a post on Facebook, Price wrote that Roach had inserted the morality clause into the divorce agreement when Compton’s ex-husband Joshua Compton attempted to gain custody of the children in 2011. The judge wrote that he disapproved of the two women’s “lifestyle.”
“Our children are all happy and well adjusted. By his enforcement, being that we cannot marry in this state, I have been ordered to move out of my home,” Price wrote.
The two women are working with attorneys to figure out what steps they can take to fight the state’s notoriously conservative court system.
Ken Upton Jr., senior staff attorney for Lambda Legal’s Dallas office, told the Dallas Voice newspaper that morality clauses are a holdover from a time when judges tried to keep people with children from living together outside of marriage. Courts often insert the clauses without telling the people involved, particularly in backward, conservative areas like Collin County, Texas.
“What the clause has become is an extra burden on gay people because they’re no more likely to violate it than straight people,” Upton told the Voice. “It’s a problem that continues with homophobia.”
I particularly like this part of a quote, “Courts often insert the clauses without telling the people involved, particularly in backward, conservative areas like Collin County, Texas.” First, “backward, conservative” parts of Texas are written off to medieval backwardness just like the “Bumfuck Egypt” parts of Afghanistan are regularly witten off to the control of the Taliban where modern medicine is resisted and girls don’t go to school etc. Then, Texas’ culture and laws are not examined, for example; if it weren’t for the US Supreme Court, interracial marriage and “sodomy” would still be illegal there.
I think that it is the height of moral relativism to classify what is happening in the rural and most backwards parts of places like Afghanistan as “Talibanism” and overlook what is happening in the rural parts of the mostly South but other parts of rural America as “Christian Talibanism”.
since they were voted for by Republicans in a Republican administration?
A new law passed by the North Carolina state Senate would apparently make it illegal for Tesla Motors to e-mail its customers, Voelcker writes. The law is an effort to prevent what the North Carolina Automobile Dealers’ Association terms ‘unfair competition’ by Tesla Motors.
Just like voter suppression efforts at the state level where Republicans are in charge, this is a bald-faced effort to change the terms of competition in a local market. “Tesla” is a “new-fangled” company that is easily associated with “modern society” symbolized by President Obama. Just like many local efforts, one cited above - voter suppression, and others like restrictions on abortion, many of these efforts will be constitutionally challenged at SCOTUS. And will be found unconstitutional unless self purported “Constitutionalist” but maybe soon to be proven to be so, “Legislative Activist” Judge Scalia wins.
You may recall that the IRS scandal emerged in unusual fashion: an acknowledgement of it by an IRS official during a Q&A at a tax lawyers conference in Washington a week ago today. (TPM’s Eric Lach reported earlier this week on the circumstances of the revelation and how stunned members of the audience were when it happened.)
Today, under questioning from Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), acting IRS Director Steven Miller seemed to acknowledge that the question in the Q&A was planted. But his answer wasn’t entirely clear, and Nunes oddly failed to follow up. More soon.
“What the bill would do is penalize public universities for providing their students with the documents they need to vote,” Daniel Tokaji, a professor and election law expert at Ohio State University told TPM. “It’s a transparent effort at vote suppression — about the most blatant and shameful we’ve seen in this state, which is saying quite a lot.”
The legislation is a provision in the state budget that was backed by the Republican majority in the Ohio House of Representatives. It is now headed to the Ohio Senate, which also has a GOP majority.
Currently, Ohio requires voters to be “a resident of Ohio for at least 30 days
immediately before the election in which you want to vote” and to provide photo identification, a current utility bill, a bank statement, current paycheck, current government check, or “an original or copy of a current other government document, other than a voter registration acknowledgement notification mailed by the board of elections, that shows the voter’s name and current address.” Students who live in dormitories and do not have state identification or a job or bank account in Ohio might not be able to meet this requirement even if they have lived in the state for over a month. Public universities provide letters or utility bills to students to help them meet the residency requirement for voter registration. If the legislation is passed, it would force schools that provide this documentation to charge out-of-state students the same tuition they charge students from Ohio.
This change would effectively eliminate out-of-state tuition, which is more expensive than the rates currently charged to students from Ohio. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, university officials have said they will continue to provide the documentation even if this item remains in the state budget and a group called Innovation Ohio that opposes the legislation has estimated the will cost the schools about $272 million.
Supporters of the legislation said it will streamline government.
“The amendment has the purpose of getting a discussion going on sort of the mismatch that exists in Ohio, where we have one requirement for when a student becomes in-state for tuition purposes and another requirement for voting,” Republican state Rep. Ron Amstutz told the Enquirer.