Passing a controversial bill is just the first step. Then come the legal costs.
Just last week, Idaho was ordered to cover the $376,000 in legal fees a woman there spent on suing the state after she was charged for an illegal abortion, according to the Associated Press. Combined with its past defense of abortion limits, the state has shelled out more than $1 million since 2000.
And it’s far from alone. South Dakota’s attorney general predicted in 2011 that a law passed that year would cost anywhere from $1.75 million to $4 million to defend. And last summer, the Argus Leader reported that the state had, to that point, spent $378,000 in defense of a separate 2005 abortion law.
Texas Sen. Wendy Davis (D) leads a rally in support of abortion rights in Austin. (Credit: Erich Schlegel.)
Kansas has spent $769,000 defending abortion limits from January 2011 to June of this year, according to the Associated Press. The state’s attorney general predicted an additional $500,000 cost over the next two years.
And in North Dakota, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (R) was given a $400,000 fund to draw from to defend that state’s abortion restrictions.
It [Obama Administration] said storing a large volume of information is necessary to ensure that a much smaller subset of terrorist-related phone records are preserved, since phone companies store data for a limited period. The letter added that aggregating the data is necessary as well to identify records that involve different telecommunications networks.
The U.S. government has defended its use of a phone-tracking program that collects the telephone records of millions of Americans in a letter to a federal judge, saying it is a program monitored by all three branches of government that is necessary to learn the contacts of known or suspected terrorists and thwart terrorism.
The letter sent Thursday by assistant U.S. attorneys in Manhattan [Obama Appointees] said the “highly sensitive and, in many respects, still classified intelligence-collection program” required the collection and storage of a large volume of information about unrelated communications to fight terrorism.
It said that under the program, the FBI obtains authorization from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [Kangaroo Court with Chief Justice Roberts pulling the strings] to collect data from certain telecommunications service providers.
“The program has contributed to the disruption of multiple potential terrorist attacks in the United States and abroad,” according to the letter.
Democtratic Senators Wyden and Udall disagree about how well it works. Wyden is on the Senate Select Intelligence Committee.
In an email, Koch brothers’ front group, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), sent congratulations to Republicans and their supporters around the country for helping push sequester cuts AFP says are “an important step forward for economic growth.” The email continued, “Americans for Prosperity thanks Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans for standing up to President Obama and making sure the $85 billion in much-needed sequester spending cuts took effect,” and it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Koch brothers and Republicans own the sequester and are giddy at the prospect of a recession and killing millions of jobs. One aspect of sequester cuts little mentioned is that the devastating $85 billion for 2013 is just the beginning of greater domestic spending cuts, devastating effects on anti-poverty programs, Medicare, and without cessation, the end of recovery.
The sequester is a ten year plan that cuts $1.2 trillion across the board, and because they began in March, $85 billion is about 70% of the next nine years of cuts coming in at about $123.88 billion every year. It spells the end of recovery because experts estimate that by the end of 2013, $85 billion in cuts means nearly a million jobs will vanish, and GDP will fall between .7% and 1.7% in the first year a
While the Family Christian Center was spending millions of dollars annually on leadership compensation, travel, meals and jet fuel, it was falling behind on its mortgage payments and racking up a list of past-due bills, a Times investigation found.
Five properties owned by the megachurch were sold last year in the Lake County treasurer’s tax sale because of unpaid property taxes, though Family Christian Center later reclaimed four of them, county records show.
Family Christian Center’s financial situation grew so precarious, it agreed to turn all its money and financial records over to a court-appointed administrator in 2012.
“When I saw some of the expenditures being made in this church when there was a mortgage not being paid, I was astounded,” Lake Superior Court Judge Diane Kavadias Schneider told attorneys during a Dec. 4 hearing relating to a California-based credit union’s attempt to foreclose on the church.
At the time the mortgage foreclosure case started in 2011, Family Christian Center had been bringing in about $10 million per year and had a $98,000 monthly mortgage payment, a transcript of the Dec. 4, 2012, hearing states.
Because kids with assault rifles makes such good sense…
Kids make the perfect target audience for the NRA
Responding to Americans’ declining interest in shooting sports, gun manufacturers are developing programs to market their products to younger children. The National Shooting Sports Foundation trade association and the industry-funded National Rifle Association spend millions of dollars annually to recruit kids as gun enthusiasts. And those efforts increasingly focus on pushing semi-automatic assault weapons, including the very model used by the shooter in the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy.
The New York Times reports:
The pages of Junior Shooters, an industry-supported magazine that seeks to get children involved in the recreational use of firearms, once featured a smiling 15-year-old girl clutching a semiautomatic rifle. At the end of an accompanying article that extolled target shooting with a Bushmaster AR-15 — an advertisement elsewhere in the magazine directed readers to a coupon for buying one — the author encouraged youngsters to share the article with a parent.
“Who knows?” it said. “Maybe you’ll find a Bushmaster AR-15 under your tree some frosty Christmas morning!”
Mitchell: Beyond that congresswoman, you’ve got to go beyond that if you’re going to get anything from the other side.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, to her credit, said there was no need to talk about benefits cuts when there was more savings to be wrung out of the health care system. But clearly, Mitchell is channeling the zeitgeist when she says that the Republicans are going to “need” some benefits cuts.
Mitchell, like so many other wealthy, celebrity pundits sees these “popular” programs as something frivolous that Democratic voters are hanging on to out of immature petulance and they just need a stern Daddy to come along and take away their toys for their own good. The fact that these “toys” are equivalent to Andrea Mitchell’s yearly dry cleaning bill doesn’t change the fact that they represent the entire hand to mouth existence of millions and millions of elderly people who are too sick and too old to go out and become wealthy TV stars.
Peter Cohan looks at the money gathered by the doom industry. This article merely scrapes the surface, but it is time to recognize that there is profit going to people who are professional nihilists. Their business, whether they are religious zealots like Harold Camping or Glenn Beck, or secular Kookspiricists like Alex Jones and Howard Ruff, is to sell you fear.
So no matter how good things are, these people will tell you the worst angle, and if none exists they will make one up out of blue sky. They live to profit from false predictions of doom, and as Peter points out, once sold the buyers almost always return even after the prediction is falsified.
Let me assure you that I do not think I am anywhere near smart enough to explain why people are willing to sell all their possessions, spend all their money, and gather in public places carrying signs about the end of the world on the strength of Camping’s predictions.
But I do know — after teaching students about business strategy for the last six years — that people who are set in their beliefs are prone to denying data that conflicts with those beliefs. This phenomenon, dubbed confirmation bias about which I’ve written, affects CEOs just as much as people who believe in the Rapture or buy stock in unprofitable biotechnology companies.
That’s why I am confident that most of the people who bet their lives on the Rapture happening last Saturday are delighted that Camping has set a new date. Heaven forbid that any of them should doubt Camping on the strength of his most recent failed prediction.
In sizing up the RIC, let’s start with Camping. His enterprise, Family Radio International (FRI), spent millions of dollars— some of it from donations made by followers — on 5,000 billboards and 20 RVs proclaiming his Judgment Day message, according to AP.
FRI has been around since 1958 and now sports 65 stations across the U.S. It received $80 million in contributions between 2005 and 2009. In 2009, FRI reported in IRS filings that it received $18.3 million in donations, and had assets of over $104 million — including $34 million in stocks or other publicly traded securities.
Next stop on the RIC tour is Tim LaHaye, co-author of the best-selling “Left Behind” novels about the Rapture. He’s sold at least 40 million copies – at $15 a copy that would translate into $600 million in sales. LaHaye appears to view Camping as an upstart competitor — noting that his prediction is “not only bizarre but 100 percent wrong!”
While Sarah Palin does her best to distract us from these prominent losses, it’s time to count corpses. These are some of the mama and papa grizzlies who couldn’t buy an election even after spending hundreds of millions — perhaps it was those faint whiffs of corruption, craziness, and fanaticism that turned the voters off, or perhaps it was just Sarah’s endorsements that cost the GOP a senate tie or even majority.
Carly Fiorina (CA - Senate)
Meg Whitman (CA - Governor)
Sharron Angle (NV - Senate)
Christine O’Donnell (DE - Senate)
Linda McMahon (CT - Senate)
Ken Buck (CO - Senate)
Joe Miller (AK - Senate)
Douglas Hoffman (NY-23)
Tom Emmer (probable loss MN - Governor)
Dan Maes (CO - Governor)
Carl Paladino (NY - Governor)
Those are the prominent ones, here are more Tea Party House losses:
(bear with me, trying to cut and paste, but when I do it thinks I’m pasting video code…)
… I know there are others out there, help me finish the list in comments fellow lizards, and don’t forget those primary losers either. There were more Tea party winners than losers, but most of them were shoo-ins for their particular very red states — moderate candidates in the Western and North East states could have put the GOP in total control. Meanwhile, there are probably Democrats wondering what sort of plum Chairmanship they could offer Moderate Republican Lisa Murkowski to switch, even though she’s stated that she will caucus with the GOP.
Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, and Linda McMahon were anointed Tea Party favorites by Sarah Palin. And Mama Grizzly has laid down the conservative scenario for women who want to capitalize on their national fame to pose as political revolutionaries, pledging to save the citizens of their states from an unemployment sinkhole and their children from educational dead ends.
Whitman spent $143.6 million of her own billions during her unsuccessful run for governor of California. California Watch tallies her expenditures at more than $160 million, and the group says that number could rise by the time the last month of campaigning is tallied. Using the official expenditure number, each of the 3,748,669 votes cast in the former eBay CEO’s favor cost $38.32.