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Monday, March 07, 2011

Stories to Watch: 3/7/11

I came across an interesting piece at The Altantic, but it needs a lot of background, so bear with me here.

In the battle over Scott Walker's budget fiasco, Republican state Senator Dale Schultz has bravely staked out the middle of the road. In a move that he labels a "compromise," he's been pushing -- with the help of the Wisconsin State Journal -- a really boneheaded idea.

Basically, Shultz's idea works this way: unions accept the concessions they've already made and Republicans agree to sunset a ban on collective bargaining after a year. You see the problem right? Since unions make the concessions, there's really no need for the ban -- it's pointless.

Or so it would seem. Anyone who's watched the PATRIOT Act become a cornerstone of American life knows that once government takes your rights away, it's really hard to get them back. Schultz would have us put this whole argument on the backburner for a year, after which it'll all come up again. Excuse me if I have my doubts that Republicans are going to be less insane in a year. Still, everyone in the media has been pushing this as the "sensible middle ground," ignoring the fact that the premise -- that collective bargaining must be banned -- makes no damned sense at all if unions agree to the concessions.

Anyway, The Atlantic's Natasha Vargas-Cooper attended a Schultz town hall in Reedsburg and found that, despite the media line that he's the only "reasonable" guy here, his plan is wildly unpopular with his constituents -- who apparently see through it as easily as I did. According to her report, when Senator Dale spelled out his plan, "The word 'no' reverberated loudly through the crowd, while many others shook their heads silently."

"After hearing you speak," one constituent said to Schultz, "I've decided to become a Democrat." Schultz is considered the Republican most likely to cave and, judging from the article, it's easy to see why.

Now here's (the rest of) the news...


Scandal-plagued Republican Senator John Ensign decides losing reelection isn't worth the headache.

Continuing what seems like an endless stream of disappointments, the Obama administration is going to restart military tribunals at Gitmo.

Experts call bullshit on John Boehner's claim that the United States is "broke."

Ick. ThinkProgress has video of Sen. Scott Brown begging David Koch for money.

Republicans in the states try a back door repeal to the 26th Amendment, which gives eighteen year-olds the right to vote. In New Hampshire, one moron comes right out and says it's because young people vote liberal.

Finally, Democrats have already raised over $200,000 to recall Wisconsin GOP senators. See you at the ballot box, guys.
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