State/Local Politics

Gavin Newsom Proclaims California Socialist Paradise!

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!

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Nice Time

Connecticut Governor Inspires White Dads Everywhere To DANCE!

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]

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Rick Scott Is Pissing Off All The Florida Republicans By Being A Petty Dick And It Is Glorious

Florida, man.

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."

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GOP's Latest Fun Trick: Overturn The Will Of The People, To Own The Libs!

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.

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State/Local Politics

New California Gov. Gavin Newsom Handles Two Tired, Cranky Babies

Luckily, the cute one lives with him and the other is all the way across the continent.

California's new governor, former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, got himself inaugurated on Monday. While Newsom was assailing Donald Trump's awfulness during his speech, his two-year-old son Dutch toddled out on stage clutching his blankie so he could be a sleepy little wiggle-worm and the object of many d'awwws. Scene-stealing tots are the best! And then this morning the governor had to deal with a far less congenial toddler who thinks California can rake its way out of wildfires.

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'I'm Still Doing It.' Wonkagenda For Wed., Jan. 9, 2019

Buncha bullshit about Trump's wall, but many other stories too! Your morning news brief!

Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.

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Fraudy NC Election Pastor Man Sets Land-Speed Record Out Fire Door

Exit, stage-left even!

Mark Harris, the Baptist preacher turned Republican politician who "won" the fraud-soaked election for the US Congress in North Carolina's Ninth District, was in such a hurry to get away from local reporters that he fled a county building last night through an emergency exit, triggering a fire alarm. The state elections board refused to certify the outcome of the November race after credible allegations emerged that a skeevy contractor working for the Harris campaign had manipulated absentee ballots to throw the election to Harris over Democrat Dan McCready.

Naturally enough, when Harris showed up at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center to address the Mecklenburg County Republicans last night, political reporters were keen to ask him how he was doing in his efforts to be accepted as the true winner -- just in case the answer had changed from NOT WELL. Instead, when journalism reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled.

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ONE DOLLAR, BOB! Wonkagenda For Fri., Jan. 4, 2019

Nancy Pelosi starts the 116th Congress off with a bang, and Trump loves Vladimir Putin's revisionist history. Your morning news brief!

Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.

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Who's Doing Good New Laws? Is It Dems? Is It DEMS? Yes It IS!

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.

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Post-Racial America

Congratulations on YOUR BLUE WAVE, 2018!

You made this!

GREAT JOB, WONKERS! You did it. In 2018, you worked your ass off, you sent your money, you dragged your friends to the polls, and you made that sweet blue wave a reality. It only took a 9 million vote margin in the popular vote, but we are finally back in control of the House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi is ready to bang that gavel and grind her delicate heel into Trump's flaccid, orange bits.

Yes, we know everything is scary and horrible all the time. But let's not lose sight of what you accomplished. To wit ...

You Picked Up Forty* House Seats

Actually, the real number is probably 41, since Mark Harris vote-frauded the bejeezus out of NC-9 and still only "won" by a margin of 0.6%. And the fat lady hasn't sung yet, with the North Carolina GOP ratfuckers in the state legislature racing to certify Harris before they lose their veto-proof supermajority in the General Assembly next month. Incoming Majority Leader Steny Hoyer promises the House won't seat Harris until the fraud issues are resolved, so this one is anyone's guess.

You kicked Putin's favorite Congressman Dana Rohrabacher to the curb in California. You sent that anti-choice wingnut Karen Handel packing, and replaced her with badass Mother of the Movement Lucy McBath in Georgia. You got all up in Dave Brat's grill in Virginia, and sent him off to spout gibberish in the private sector after RNC goons used his opponent Abigail Spanberger's stolen personnel file to pretend the former CIA agent was part of a terrorist sleeper cell. You sent a younger, browner, more female class of freshmen to Congress who will represent America's vibrant, diverse population and ensure the longterm health of the Democratic party. And you burned the GOP to the ground in California.


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Post-Racial America

'Deportation Bus' Guy Deports Himself Straight To Jail

Karma's a bitch.

It's time to travel back to Georgia to check on some old "friends" we met here last spring. If you recall, we worked tirelessly to report on the many shenanigans, frauds, schemes, and scams cooked up by the Georgia GOP. Some of the interesting things we found were: a shady secretary of State, minorities dropped from voting rolls, an exact match system, janky voting machines, long lines, false claims of hacking, and a stupid ass deportation bus.

Speaking of that deportation bus, guess what happened to the candidate who bought that bus in order to round up "murderers, rapists, kidnappers, child molesters, and other criminals"?

If you said, "LOCK HIM UP!" please enjoy this moment of freshly squeezed schadenfreude, because instead of locking up "criminals" (that means dark people) he will be in JAIL with criminals who prolly won't like him that much.

From AJC:

The charges against the Forsyth County Republican, who will likely remain in office until mid-January, stem from a May incident in which [unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate Michael] Williams reported his Gainesville campaign office was burglarized. At the time, Williams' campaign manager said $300,000 worth of computer servers that were being used to mine cryptocurrency had been taken from the building.

Wait a fucking minute. Mining cryptocurrency? Did his campaign consist of mining bitcoins and driving that dumb ass deportation bus around until it broke the hell down? (It really broke down, lol!) No wonder you came in last place, you lazy bastard. State Senator Michael Williams, of the "Deportation Bus" Williamses, has been charged with Insurance Fraud, Falsely Reporting a Crime, and Making A False statement, and has turned himself in to Hall County Jail.

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A Sunday Rundown. In Wonkette. Being A Ghost Story Of Christmas

Hello Wonks! Welcome to the Sunday Rundown. With Christmas Eve upon us, I figured it's time for one last good ol' "Christmas Carol" style haunting for the wicked people of the political shows. Can't guarantee that they'll turn a new leaf and help people, but we certainly can make them fear the Christmases yet to come.

We begin with the chair of the House GOP conference and daughter of real life Grinch, Wyoming congressperson Liz Cheney. Appearing on CBS's "Face The Nation" with Margaret Brennan, the daughter with Dick Cheney's dark Sith powers and nepotism was asked about one of the many shortcomings of the Republican Party: Women.

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Sheldon Whitehouse wants YOU to stop being a fucking pushover, and he ain't talking to Nancy Pelosi!

Sup, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, cracking the DOMINATRIX KITTY WHIP at all of us and WE LIKE IT?

Twice, in 2000 and 2016, Democrats won the popular presidential vote, saw a Republican president sworn in, and went ahead without fussing much over the legitimacy of a president who lost the popular vote. We tend to care about process and respect rules. Imagine if President Obama had lost the popular vote and been sworn in. There'd never have been an end to it.

Republicans invented BirtherGate and simply refused to work with Obama, as if he were illegitimate, when he was a popular president who had really won—by a lot.

Five Republican justices on the Supreme Court gave a 5-4 decision unleashing partisan gerrymandering on the country, and the Republican Party instantly implemented its REDMAP project. REDMAP launched a new model of gerrymandering: gerrymander the big swing states to get the biggest Republican delegation you can, not to protect individual Republican members. Ironically, that meant creating some bombproof, highly-Democratic districts. Super-saturating those few Democratic districts left a statewide voter pool that could be gerrymandered into Republican districts everywhere else. Did it work? In 2012, Democrats won more overall votes than Republicans did in Pennsylvania, but Republicans had packed those Democratic voters so heavily into five districts that Republicans won all remaining thirteen districts. Pennsylvania's statewide vote, Democrat by a small margin; Pennsylvania's delegation in Congress, 13-5 Republican.

That helped Republicans gain the House of Representatives by 33 votes, even though Republicans lost the country by a million House votes overall. Had Democrats been the overall losers, yet through gerrymandering controlled the House, do you think Republicans would have let the public forget that, or conceded the legitimacy of the "majority"? Fat chance.

Over in the Senate, the advantage to small Republican states is baked in to the Constitution. The result is that in the current Congress, Democrats in the Senate represent about 40 million more Americans than the Republican "majority." Were the shoe on the other foot, every American would know about it.

You go read now, about how we shit the bed in our fights on climate change, dark money, and immigration reform, because we're askeered Breitbart might ACORN us, and how it is time to STAND UP AND SHOUT and stop LETTING FOX NEWS SAY WHAT IS TRUTH. We will here refrain from purity-testing Chuck Schumer's ass out as minority leader, oh wait no we won't, GO WAY CHUCK SCHUMER SHELDON WHITEHOUSE GETS YOUR JOB.

Been wanting to start your monthly donation for Wonkette since I yelled and screamed at you earlier this month and you felt really bad? Well, our donation widget is fixed! Christmas miracle hooray!

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State/Local Politics

Texas Will Fire You If You Don't Promise To Buy An Israeli SodaStream, We Guess

Is that weird? That seems weird.

Children's speech pathologists do a lot of things. They help kids overcome speech impediments, they help them speak and communicate more clearly, they assist with language comprehension, etc. etc. They are required, in the United States of America, to hold a Master's Degree in Communicative Disorders/Speech-Language Pathology from an accredited university in order to practice. In Texas and several other places, however, if they work for the state, they are also required to sign an oath swearing that they will not boycott Israeli products or advocate for a boycott of Israeli products to protest the treatment of the Palestinian people.

The Intercept reports that Bahia Amawi, a Texas elementary school speech pathologist who has been working in Texas schools since 1999, has been barred from working in public schools due to her refusal to sign this oath -- which is absurd and mostly unenforceable. (What? Are they going to stop by every state contractor's house to make sure they have some Sabra hummus in their refrigerator? Are they going to check bra tags to make sure they're from Victoria's Secret, even if Victoria's Secret does not even sell their bra size? What if they just don't happen to own a SodaStream because they don't have the counter space? What if they don't use Moroccan Oil because it weighs their hair down?) Besides that, of course, the oath is a clear violation of both her First Amendment rights and her rights as a consumer to buy whatever she damn well pleases.

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Trump Will Build A Wall ... And This GOP Idiot Is Going To GoFundMe It! With Bitcoin!

Goalposts moved again.

You might've heard that Donald Trump is interested in constructing a wall along the US southern border that will protect us from illegal immigrants. This man-made structure would be as pointless and expensive as Melania Trump. The president wants $5 billion for his moronic wall, and Democrats think $1.3 billion for border fencing is a less gargantuan waste of money. A fence is not a wall, of course. Even Trump knows that.

Mr. Art Of The Deal, in a meeting Wednesday with future House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, threatened to shut down the government if he didn't get what he wanted. Pelosi called his bluff like someone who has successfully negotiated something other than treason with Russia. She left the meeting with Trump admitting in front of everyone, including his wax dummy of a vice president, that a government shutdown would be entirely his fault. In return, Trump received a signed 8 x 10 of Pelosi's freshly manicured middle finger.

Freaking out over the fact that Pelosi's only giving him a one-year membership in the "Jelly of the Month" club, Trump shifted tactics and again claimed Mexico would pay for the wall. (As is its custom, Mexico will not be doing that.)

This time, though, Trump explained through complex "high finance" that Mexico would in effect "pay for the wall" while not actually paying for the wall in any rational sense.

Those of us who aren't real billionaires like the president might not comprehend his logic, because there isn't any. It's like when a couple on "Property Brothers" miraculously avoids some budget-busting repair job during their home remodel and suggests that Jonathan use those "savings" to pay for some ridiculously expensive feature like a walk-in wine fridge. Jonathan then patiently explains that saving money is not necessarily the same as having money.

But maybe there is another solution! Like, what if we ... CROWDFUND THE WALL?

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Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin Has Sh*tfit Over 'Soros-Funded' ProPublica. Hilarity Ensues!

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!

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