Political Trivia: Skinny Dipping With President Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt was not the first President of the United States to skinny dip in the Potomac River.  John Quincy Adams would rise early in the morning and strip off at the shore and plunge into the river.  I have never read that Adams did this in the winter months–it is recorded that the ever-charged Roosevelt did so regardless of the temperature.  BULLY!

At about 1903 comes a great story of the skinny dipping President Roosevelt, and his most trusted confident who also was first Chief of the United States Forest Service, Gifford Pinchot.

Both Roosevelt and Pinchot had been out for a strenuous outing with the French Ambassador when they all found themselves at the shore of the Potomac.  Without missing a beat both Roosevelt and Pinchot stripped and dove into the water.

The ambassador hesitated on the shore before taking his clothes off, leaving him naked but for his gloves.

“Why do you wear the gloves?” Roosevelt asked the ambassador as he swam towards them.

“We might meet ladies” was the reply.

From The Big Burn by Timothy Eagan

Tom Barrett Will Run In Recall Election To Replace Scott Walker

Game On.   Barrett will face a tough Democratic primary against Kathleen Falk.

In a Friday afternoon email to supporters, Barrett, who has twice run unsuccessfully for governor, announced that he will be making a third bid for the state’s highest office as part of the recall election of Gov. Scott Walker.

“We need to bring our state back,” Barrett wrote in the note. “Wisconsin needs a governor who is focused on jobs, not ideology; a leader committed to bringing our state together and healing political wounds, not pitting people against each other and catering to the special interests.

“This is the governor I will be for the people of Wisconsin.”

Barrett’s top adviser put the matter more succinctly.

“Game on,” the adviser said. “I think we had a sleepy campaign. For a lot of reasons, I don’t think it’s going to be sleepy now.”

Is This How Madison Teacher Should Instruct About Trayvon Martin?

From a Facebook friend of James come this message regarding the ‘lesson’ taught at a Madison middle school over the shooting of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin.   The parent writes the following.

She told the kids that she thinks Trayvon got shot because he “looked suspicious” with his hoodie up. She told my daughter (who said she thought he got shot because Zimmerman was racist) that she can’t judge him: it’s like calling him a jerk. Then she proceeds to “demonstrate” how suspicious Trayvon looked by telling two Latino boys to stand up and put hoodies on (saying, “You’re not black, but you’ll do), then turns off the lights, and asks if these kids “look suspicious.”

Wisconsin Republicans Will Again Run Fake Democrats In Recall Primaries

Leave it up to the Republicans who like to pull their copies of the Constitution out of their pocket and inform all the rest of us who how government is supposed to operate to again work over-time to foul the air of the Badger State.

This is more proof of how fearful the GOP is over having their majority stripped away before their eyes.   Wisconsin Republicans will stoop to any level, along with creating any and all mischief to hold onto the thinnest of chances to not lose control of the state senate.

The GOP might have thought about that when they were neck-deep up Walker’s backside during the attack on state employees and public workers.

The state Republican party says it plans to run fake Democrats in four upcoming recall elections targeting Republican state senators.

GOP executive director Stephan Thompson says the move will guarantee that a Democratic primary has to be held. He says that ensures one clear date for the primary and a separate one for the general election, thereby limiting any scheduling control the Democratic Party might try to assert. 

The Republican party used the same tactic last year in recall elections targeting six other GOP state senators. The move gave the incumbents more time to campaign and raise money.

Kathleen Falk Responds To Federal Court Ruling Limiting Gov. Walker Over-Reach on Collective Bargaining

The naked power grab by Governor Scott Walker over collective bargaining met a Federal Court, and was sent into reverse today.  Two portions of ACT 10 were viewed by the court as violating the First Amendment rights of public workers.

Kathleen Falk responded to the court decision today.

“Wisconsin citizens have long known Gov. Walker’s attack on workers was not honest and today’s court ruling shows his attack was not legal,” said a statement from former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, a Democrat running against Walker.

“Gov. Walker tore Wisconsin apart and his way has failed us. As governor, I will restore transparency, accountability and honesty to the governor’s office and bring Wisconsin together.”

Federal Court Hands Governor Walker Partial Defeat On Collective Bargaining Law

There have been many voices who argued the courts would be a remedy for the collective bargaining over-reach that took place by Governor Scott Walker, and the Republican majorities in the state legislature.  Today the partisan power grab which took place last year in Wisconsin, and has resulted in a recall election for Walker took  new dramatic turn.  Walker took a loss in federal court when two part of Act 10 were ordered to be stopped.

U.S. District Judge William Conley ordered that automatic dues  for unions members withdrawal be reinstated no later than May 31.  That is a major win for public workers, state employees, and the Democratic Party.  Conley also found that annual rectification for unions violated the First Amendment rights of the affected workers.

The court side with state officials in upholding limitations on what can be bargained, but found the two other provisions violated the union members’ First Amendment rights, considering that the same rules did not apply to unions for public safety workers such as police and firefighters.

“So long as the State of Wisconsin continues to afford ordinary certification and dues deductions to mandatory public safety unions with sweeping bargaining rights, there is no rational basis to deny those rights to voluntary general unions with severely restricted bargaining rights,” wrote U.S. District Judge William M. Conley.

Republican Party Turning Away From Gay Marriage Fight

Hard work by progressives, and a persistent demand for fairness is making a difference.  There has been a cultural earthquake regarding gay rights in this nation, and now even the Republican Party is coming to grips with that fact.

It’s not like the GOP has become a bastion of progressiveness on gay rights,  but there has been an evolution in the political approach — and an  acknowledgment of a cultural shift in the country. Same-sex relationships are  more prominent and accepted. There are more gay public figures — including  politicians — and it’s likely that many Washington Republicans have gay friends  and coworkers. Just as important — there’s also a libertarian streak of  acceptance on people’s sexuality coursing through the House Republican  Conference.

“In one decade, what’s shocking on TV is accepted as commonplace in the  other,” said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), a veteran of the culture wars of  the 1990s. “It’s the same with sexual mores all over that if you look at  campuses and universities, they have a lot of gay pride clubs and so there has  been a deliberate and effective outreach to the younger generation about being  more accepting of same-sex relationships.”

But there’s also a political strategy at work: The economy has displaced  moral issues in today’s politics. Ask most House Republicans today if they have  deep convictions about gay relationships, and it hardly registers.

“I personally have deep convictions about my children having a financially  stable country that they can live in,” Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) said in an interview. “I want my  daughters to have the opportunities that I had, and that’s what concerns me.  That’s what keeps me up awake at night, not worrying about who’s sleeping with  who.”

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), a 32-year veteran of Congress, never a  man of many words, simply said, “I don’t hear it discussed much.”

Even die-hard social conservatives like Texas Republican Louie Gohmert aren’t  digging in.

“That’s not something we’re focused on now,” Gohmert said.

Social issues haven’t fully escaped the party. They’ve worked vociferously to  ensure the federal government doesn’t spend money on Planned Parenthood and  talked for weeks about the contraception mandate and religious liberty.

But there’s no question that for Republicans, the politics of gay rights has  dramatically changed. In 1994, lawmakers say, there was “sticker shock” when  President Bill Clinton created “don’t ask, don’t tell” for the military. They  dashed to the House floor to rail on what they perceived as his immorality.

“It’s been realized that back in ’94, you could jump up on the House floor  and pound your chest about [gay issues], and secure a good voter intensity,  which you can’t do anymore,” Kingston said, describing the shifting dynamics of  the issue.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released earlier this month showed a 9 percent increase  in support for gay marriage among Republicans to 31 percent. Support among  18-to-34-year-olds was nearly 70 percent, according to a 2011 Washington  Post/ABC News poll.

At Third Way, the prominent centrist think tank has undertaken a bipartisan “Commitment Campaign” pushing gay marriage. The group has made it easier for  lawmakers to shift views on the issue, laying out steps for elected officials to  change their position.

Leadership, too, has played a role. At the top levels of House Republican  leadership, aides have tried to “quell” legislative proposals on the sanctity of  marriage.

48% Of Wisconsin Voters Say They Will Vote Against Governor Walker

Latest poll shows tight recall race in Wisconsin.  No one has ever thought differently, but the poll shows just how close the numbers are in this highly divided state.

As for the recall contest of Republican Gov. Scott Walker, 46 percent of Wisconsin voters say they will support him in that race, while 48 percent indicate they’ll vote for the eventual Democratic candidate who will face off against the incumbent governor.

The approval rating for Walker – who sparked a firestorm of criticism in his effort to curb collective-bargaining rights for the state’s public-sector workers – sits at 48 percent approval, 48 percent disapproval. According to the poll, a majority of likely Republican voters say they’re following the recall more closely than the GOP presidential primary race, 51 percent to 37 percent.