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Former Republican Governor Bob McDonnell And Blaming Of His Wife

August 26, 2014

There is no way not to be drawn to the details of a broken marriage and the legal high-wire act from former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen.  How the political mess ever was allowed to start in the first place is something that I still have not been able to wrap my mind around.  If anyone looked more like a presidential candidate in-waiting, or had the national attention that many with Potomac fever crave for it was Bob McDonnell.    What happened in regards to businessman Jonnie Williams getting government assistance promoting a health food product made from tobacco was not only illegal but even more glaring to politicos is that it was just stupid.

Having followed the trial and the public embarrassment of both Bob and Maureen I am not totally aligned with the notion that he is a pure cad.  Mostly a cad, for sure, but there is a legal strategy playing out for both of them, and that too must be recognized as Eleanor Clift makes clear.   After all, Maureen was not a potted plant during the heady days Williams was offering all sorts of money and gifts.

It’s important to realize that as all the abuse is heaped on McDonnell for the way he’s blown the whistle on his marriage and revealed his wife’s faults is that she and her lawyers are working with him and his lawyers in tandem as a defense team. In other words, she’s in on the deal to portray her in the most unflattering light. “I’ve had so many people say, ‘Gee, what a cad, chivalry is dead,’ If he had taken the rap for her, he would have had the admiration of some people,” says Sabato. “But if you’re facing jail time, you do what your attorneys tell you.”

Even so, aspects of this case are puzzling. Why didn’t McDonnell take the plea deal that was offered? He could have pleaded guilty to one felony count and shielded his wife and family from having to air their dirty laundry. The answer is likely because the felony charge wasn’t specified, and it would have come with some jail time, which he clearly wants to avoid. So he decided to go for broke with the risky strategy that is playing out in the courtroom, and in public opinion.

Another puzzle: Since governors in Virginia serve just a single four-year term, why couldn’t he do what every other Virginia governor has done, leave office in good standing and then cash in? McDonnell was poised to be the beneficiary of a bidding war among the biggest law firms. He easily would have earned the millions to support the lifestyle his wife wanted. That opportunity has been squandered, says Sabato: “It’s hard to see how either one of them has any public life after this, and I don’t mean running for office, I’m talking about just showing your face.”

Maureen McDonnell may have signed off on the legal strategy. But the strained look on her face as she enters the courtroom, and the reporting on how she and her estranged husband never exchange even so much as a glance, suggest she didn’t know how awful the trial would get—that whitewashing his behavior would mean blackening hers and turning them both into objects of ridicule, not sympathy.

Former Nude Male Model Scott Bown Confused Over How He Stands On Climate Change

August 26, 2014

First Republican candidate Scott Brown seemed confused over which profession he wanted to be a part of–being a nude model or a professional politician.

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Next Brown seemed confused over which state he lived in when it came to seeking elective office.   The former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts now is seeking to serve in the senate from New Hampshire.

Now Brown can not seem to gather his thoughts on his position concerning global climate change.    Brown is just too confused to be taken seriously as a candidate.

Former Sen. Scott Brown (R), now running for Senate in New Hampshire, over the weekend was pretty clear: science has not proven that climate change is real. But back in 2012, when Brown was running for re-election in Massachusetts, he said that he “absolutely” believed climate change is real and that it is a result of both man-made and natural causes.

Brown and the other candidates in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire were asked on Saturday “do you believe that the theory of man-made climate change has been scientifically proven?”

Former Sen. Bob Smith, another former senator running to replace Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), was first asked if he believed “that the theory of man-made climate change has been scientifically proven?” Smith responded “no.” Then the same question was posed to Brown. Brown said “no” too. The question and answer were flagged by the opposition research organization American Bridge 21st Century.

Brown’s comments strongly conflict with an answer he gave on climate change when he was running against now-Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in 2012. Brown was asked if he believed climate change is real, and if so what would should the federal government be doing about it?

“Yes, yes I do,” Brown said. “I absolutely believe that climate change is real and I believe there’s a combination between man-made and natural. That being said one of the biggest things we could do is get an energy policy and we don’t have one.”

Lay Of The Legal Landscape Concerning Same-Sex Marriage Lawsuits

August 26, 2014

This is big day for the same-sex marriage issue in Wisconsin as a federal court panel hears the arguments for and against gay couples having their full civil rights recognized.  As analysis of todays’ events trickle in here is how the lay of the legal landscape looks this morning around the nation.

There are currently: 92 pending marriage equality lawsuits in 33 states (AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, FL, GA, HI, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, MI, MS, MO, NE, NV, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WV, WI, WY) and Puerto Rico.

60 of these are in federal court;  19 of those are on appeal.  Petitions for a writ of certiorari have been filed with the United States Supreme Court in 3 of these.

32 are in state courts;  15 of these are on appeal; and 25 raise federal claims.

There are pending marriage equality lawsuits in all states that do not currently allow same-sex couples to marry, and in all Circuits of the U.S. Courts of Appeals in which not all states allow same-sex couples to marry.

Marriage equality exists in 19 states and DC

In addition:

  • more than 500 same-sex couples married in AR,
  • more than 200 same-sex couples married in CO,
  • more than 800 same-sex couples married in IN,
  • more than 300 same-sex couples married in MI,
  • more than 500 same-sex couples married in WI,
  • and more than 1,200 same-sex couples married in UT, before stays were issued of rulings that those states’ marriage bans are unconstitutional or orders were issued directing that no further marriage licenses be issued pending appeals of lower court rulings.

As a general matter, these marriages are now being recognized for at least federal law purposes. 

New-Old Look For “Meet The Press”

August 25, 2014

It is fair to ask why I get all excited–or bent out of shape–when it comes to Sunday morning news shows on the networks.  I take hard opinionated positions on these shows for two reasons.

First, from my late teenage years to this very past weekend they have been a part of my life.   I have a very regulated routine on Sunday mornings that is different than any other day of the week.   I even have a special coffee cup for Sunday!

Over the decades I watched the legends such as David Brinkley with his crusty wit use his most distinctive voice and agile mind to spark conversation with guests.   I was challenged to think about contrary opinions with the likes of George Will.  I watched as much for style as content when Tim Russert, who gave a higher meaning to being meticulously prepared, grilled his guests and demanded with repeated questions that an answer be provided.  And of course there is the institutional memory of Bob Schieffer and the gentlemanly way of asking a tough question that completes any Sunday.

The second reason these shows matter is that they always have felt like the on-air version of the Sunday papers.  Bigger, meatier, and more substantive than the weekday fare.  The thematic events of the week should be fleshed out on these programs, and if the show is doing what it was placed on the air to achieve there will be mention of it in the Monday morning newspaper.  That is how I came to know and love these programs.

So I was mighty pleased to hear that Meet The Press is not only moving forward with a new host, Chuck Todd, but also reverting back in time to a look and feel that made the program must-watching for a wide segment of the nation.

As announced by NBC News the show will “include adding a regular panel of journalists who will question guests, something of a return to the venerable show’s original format.”   This can be a great idea once again with the right journalists and proper tone set by Todd.

Over the past few years Meet The Press has slid from first place to third in the ratings, but with an emphasis on newsmakers and getting to the issues that need a conversation the show can again be at the top of the rankings.

All The Rain Falling This Morning…..

August 25, 2014

…made me think of this song by Grandpa Jones.

Joe Scarborough Gets Real Over Michael Brown And The Police Culture

August 25, 2014

More and more Republicans are seeing the light.  From Today’s Morning Joe.

“Michael Brown’s funeral is going to be held today. His father is pleading for calm, Mika. Obviously, it’s going to be very important as we move forward today after a brutal month that there is calm. … [T]his has been such a long, hot, tragic summer for this country and for Ferguson, and especially August. It’s been a brutal, hot August. You got the protests, you’ve had the riots, you’ve had the police overreacting in a lot of cases. And you’ve had race. You’ve also had police brutality … the wounds to those things ripped open on the world stage. And you know what’s so tragic, Mika? It didn’t have to be this way. …

“[W]hen you get a place where there are 50 white cops out of 53 and only three black cops in a community that is overwhelmingly black, that’s not community policing. That sounds more like apartheid in South Africa in this small town. … We had Paul Ryan on the other day talking about how welfare strips away the dignity of people. I’ve said it before: Let’s have that debate. But if we’re going to debate about culture, then why do we debate about a police culture? …

“[Y]ou got the federal government that is passing out a lot of equipment. … Military-grade body armor. Mine-resistant trucks. Silencers. Automatic rifles. And here is the thing — they are given with no strings attached. … But, more importantly, they are giving them without training. … I got to say — I’m growing so tired of these excuses that right wing commentators are making for this. And I really salute Rand Paul. … I even salute Ted Cruz. … Because there are conservatives that are talking about this. They are talking about how there’s unequal justice.”

Five Years Ago Today Senator Edward Kennedy Died

August 25, 2014

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