ALLEGEDLY drunk Rudy Giuliani denies his denial, Michael Cohen ALLEGEDLY paid $50,000 to be an internet sex symbol, and Trump to re-start Star Wars. Your morning news brief!
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
They can't seem to face up to the facts.
California's biggest investor-owned utility, Pacific Gas and Electric, is fixing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after starting a whole bunch of the wildfires that plagued the state in 2017 and 2018, the company announced yesterday. PG&E announced it's seeking bankruptcy to protect itself from more than $30 billion in lawsuits filed over the fires, which killed scores of people as well as burning down thousands of homes and businesses. The fires also caused disastrous erosion of Donald Trump's already-failing brain.
The actual bankruptcy filing won't happen until near the end of the month, but PG&E filed notice of its plans Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A new California law requires the company to give employees 15 days advance notice of any Chapter 11 filing. And no, those fires weren't caused by inadequate forest raking:
OK, at least kinda socialish and a little paradise-ish.
Newly sworn-in California Gov. Gavin Newsom cemented his credentials as a great big handsome policy nerd Thursday with a budget speech that lasted nearly two damn hours, laid out solid progressive budget goals, and yet also managed to win some praise from Republicans for taking a cautious approach to ramping up state funding of early childhood education and improving healthcare and housing. Let's have some Golden State budgetary nicetimes!
Flay that funky music, white boy.
From the magical world of Twitter, we learn that newly sworn-in Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont "isn't afraid to live his best life and dance like no one is watching." And even if they are, he's having fun, and honestly we wish we could dance this weirdly and exuberantly without giving a single fuck what anyone says.
He's wonderful and loopy, and we approve. And it only slightly reminds us of Twilight Sparkle dancing. God help us we are nerds.
[Chris Soto on Twitter]
Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. Send us money or Dok will dance. [No he won't]
Florida's former asshole governor Rick Scott and Florida's new asshole governor Ron DeSantis have been butting heads for the last week or so, making a bit of a hash of DeSantis's transition into office, according to a fun piece in Politico that makes one long for the classy rich-gal catfights of "Dynasty" or that episode of "Star Trek" where Captain Kirk's body was taken over by a lady. What we're saying here is that TV sure can be terribly sexist, huh? And also that Florida politics attracts grandiose weirdos like Rick Scott. We'd give the advantage in any "Dynasty"-style fight to Scott, by the by, as he has no hair for DeSantis to claw.
Politico details several slights and insults on Scott's part, the sort of thing that in another age might have pushed DeSantis to demand satisfaction on the field of honor (which is a good reminder for you to read The Field of Blood, Joanne Freeman's excellent book on violence on the floor of Congress in the 1830s-'50s). Apparently there had been a whole bunch of little tiffs that finally "burst into public view" on Tuesday, when Scott unceremoniously walked out of DeSantis's inauguration ceremony so he could fly off to Washington to get sworn in to the Senate. DeSantis had planned to thank Scott in his speech for being a wonderful governor and stuff, but was left having to ad-lib in the parts where we assume he'd written "hug Baldy" and "ask Bat Boy to stand up and take a bow."
All Republicans want is a level playing field where Republicans always win. Is that so wrong?
Republicans in several states have decided the problem with American democracy is that it allows for too much democracy, so to protect states from voters with bad ideas like popular sovereignty, they're pursuing measures that would make it much harder for voter initiatives to ever get on the ballot. After all, this fall's elections resulted in a whole bunch of voters stupidly electing Democrats, leaving Republicans to fix that in lame-duck sessions aimed at stripping power from the incoming Dems. And since voters in red states passed initiatives that clearly defied Republican wishes, then for the sake of good government, it's time to knock that shit off, too.
Awww, they think they're people!
As ever, the new year brings with it a bunch of new laws going into effect and new people in office, so let's take a moment to pet and love some nifty new developments in the states. Maybe not all the states (Bad Georgia! Bad!) but there's some Good Laws and Good Government out there. Here, have a Snausage and celebrate!
California: That Doggie (And Kitty, And Bunny) In The Window Has To Come From A Shelter, Hooray!
A new breed of animal-welfare law went into effect in the Golden State January 1: Pet stores will now be banned from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits from commercial breeders. Instead, those pets will have to come from shelters. The law is the first statewide ban on sales of pets from breeders, and is intended to put "puppy mills" and "kitten factories" (and we guess ..."bunny bodegas"?) out of business. The law was passed in October 2017, but only went into effect now to give pet shops time to adjust to the new rules.
A fact sheet for the 2017 law, AB 485, explained the new regulations were intended to crack down on unregulated breeding facilities that "house animals in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate food, water, socialization or veterinary care." Pet stores violating the law will have to pay a fine of $500 per animal.
Trump insults a seven-year-old, and holds the country hostage. Your morning news brief!
Happy Kwanzaa and Boxing Day, Wonketariat! We'll be slow-posting with both Evan and Dok out, so just consider it "artisanal." Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
If you're gonna steal headlines, steal from The Onion. If you're gonna work in TV news, don't work for Sinclair.
In May of this year, 22-year-old reporter Alex George and two anchors on Chattanooga TV station WTVC went briefly off-script to explain that Ms. George would be absent from the broadcast for a while because she would be on medical leave after being diagnosed with cancer. She said she would be heading home to stay with her parents and kick cancer's butt, and would return once she did, and then the anchors teared up a little while talking about how everyone at WTVC had her back. It was very sweet.
Alert the Federal Department of Obvious Metaphors.
For those of you who see signs and portents everywhere, which we kind of hope is about zero percent of Wonkette readers, because we are good decent people who do not read anything significant into mere coincidences, today was one of those days when Donald Trump's Twitter and the mundane lived reality of Fox News actual reporter John Roberts briefly touched, and ... Oh, rats! JUST YESTERDAY, Trump was fulminating about that dirty rat, Michael Cohen:
Welcome to the Fartenberry Effect, Mr. Governor!
Kentucky's Extra-Crispy wingnut governor Matt Bevin sure knows how to pick a fight. A few years back, during his failed bid to primary Mitch "Top Turtle" McConnell, Bevin explained how "chicken boxing" was a benign pastime that even the founding fathers enjoyed, and also a great big states' rights issue. Once in office, he was, predictably, a reliable supporter of stupid ideas, like spending a lot of money to ramp up a "work requirements" bureaucracy to make sure fewer people received Medicaid, thus spending more but claiming he'd "saved" money. He also claimed this year that striking teachers probably caused an invisible wave of child rape and death, because kids weren't in school. No, of course there wasn't any such result, but hey, it's OK, Bevin eventually not-pologized.
Bevin's other specialty is trying to drum up a good culture-war panic, like that time in 2016 when he predicted there'd be bloodshed if Hillary Clinton were elected, because sane governors predict civil war all the time. That desire to warn of impending calamity seems to be behind Bevin's latest idiocy, a Twitter rant yesterday in response to national investigative nonprofit ProPublica's decision to partner with the Louisville Courier-Journal for coverage of state government. So it only makes sense Bevin would lose his shit over the fact that one of the many sources of funding for ProPublica is George Soros's Open Society Foundation. How dare those monsters bring their radical leftist "reporting" to the Commonwealth of Kentucky!
Good news! One extremely bad idea appears dead for the moment.
It's a day ending in existential dread, so we have more updates for you on the squalid carnival of election fuckery in North Carolina. As you'll recall, it looks fairly certain a Republican operative illegally messed with the absentee votes in at least one county (probably two), putting in doubt the 905-vote "win" by Mark Harris in the state's ninth congressional district. The state board of elections refused to certify the results, and last week, Democratic candidate Dan McCready withdrew his concession in the race, calling on Harris to tell what he knew about the absentee ballot scheme and when he knew it. The operative accused of illegal ballot tampering, Leslie McCrae Dowless, worked for a campaign consulting firm hired by the Harris campaign, and has a long history of shady absentee-ballot operations. It's kind of his speciality.
Next you'll be saying all eligible voters should be allowed to vote.
More tales of voting madness from the Sunshine State, part ninety-jillion: Following last month's What-The-Clusterfuck of attempts to accurately count, then recount, the votes from the midterm elections in Florida, state officials now have at least a pretty good tally of just how many absentee votes didn't get counted because they arrived in the mail after Election Day. Bad news: It was thousands of votes -- 6,670 ballots which were mailed before the election but not counted because they didn't arrive by the November 6 deadline. Sorta-Good News: This year, at least, it doesn't look like the results in any races would have been any different if those rejected ballots had been included in the statewide totals. Weird News: Two counties -- Polk in central Florida and Palm Beach, one of the state's most populous -- still haven't reported their uncounted absentee ballot totals to the state, so who knows how accurate the previous statement will be once they do, particularly since Palm Beach County is heavily Democratic. Forget it, Jake, it's Floridatown.
So here is Florida's stupid, stupid absentee voting law: Unlike in sane states which will count votes postmarked by election day, ballots sent within the USA have to arrive at county offices by 7:00 p.m. local time on election night in order to be counted. Yes, no matter how well in advance of the election they were postmarked or who was responsible for the delay, like maybe a Post Office that was shuttered for a while thanks to that pipe bomb investigation. Absentee ballots from military personnel or civilians living overseas will still get counted if they arrive up to 10 days after election. But even if you mailed your ballot from Yeehaw Junction two weeks ahead of time, it won't be counted if it didn't get delivered in time, sucks to be youhaw.
Simple! DNA tests on all mail-in ballots! (Crom help us, they might try it.)
In the midst of the ever-growing vortex of election fraud emanating from absentee-ballot shenanigans in North Carolina's Ninth Congressional District, the Republican-controlled state legislature has taken bold action: Thursday, the state Senate passed a voter-ID bill to prevent voters from impersonating someone else at the polls (the House passed it Wednesday). Voter ID wouldn't actually do anything to prevent the festival of absentee ballot frauding in NC 9, but it's something Rs have wanted to do for years. With the passage of a referendum calling for voter ID, and just a few weeks to go until the Rs lose their veto-proof supermajority following Democratic gains in the very same midterms, the GOP is in a hurry to put an ID law in place before power shifts and they can no longer override a veto from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who opposes voter ID. But don't worry! The Rs say they're very, very concerned about the mail-in vote fraud question, and even added a clause to their voter ID bill that "directs the state elections board next year to figure out how people requesting mail-in absentee ballots also must offer ID." Crisis averted!
Captain, by my calculations, in 30 days the fuckery will have displaced all matter in the galaxy.
We keep learning more daily about the endless fucktangle of shitweaselry in the absentee ballot fraud (at this point, do we need to say "alleged"? Fine, "alleged") that "won" North Carolina's Ninth Congressional District for Republican Mark Harris. Harris appeared to get 905 votes more than the Democrat, Dan McCready, but the state elections board, alerted to some serious fucking fuckery, refused to certify the result and is now investigating just what the fucking fuck happened. A criminal investigation is underway as well.
Yesterday, the Washington Post reported it looks like the architect of the fuckery, this one motherfucking Republican campaign operative named Leslie McCrae Dowless, has been at it for at least eight years, apparently working his magic on absentee voting in Bladen County in at least five different elections. (A whole bunch of mail-in ballots also went missing in neighboring Robeson County, but most of the attention has been on Bladen.) Maybe "architect" is too grand a term -- Dowless seems more the type to pound together election fraud in his garage out of two-by-fours and baling wire.
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