1.) Q: What does Gabrielle Giffords have to do with the Wisconsin budget debate? — A: Absolutely nothing! Nevertheless, last night marked the second time in a week that Giffords’ name was dropped for emphasis. The scene was Wisconsin’s lower house, where Assembly Republicans decided to hold a late-night vote on the budget repair bill that’s currently stalled in the Wisconsin Senate. Assembly Democrats attempted to block the vote with “a motion to remove Republican Rep. Bill Kramer as speaker pro tem,” reports Dave Weigel, but the motion failed. Democratic Rep. Gordon Hintz then suggested that if the budget repair bill passed, protestors might get violent. “Never underestimate the will of someone when their back is against the wall,” he said. Democratic Rep. Terese Berceau took the threat a step further, “I think tonight we had a Gabrielle Giffords moment. I don’t know if you heard that outside, but it shook me up.” The Washington Post’s Chuck Lane started the Giffords’ name-dropping trend when he wrote, “If the brave Gabrielle Giffords could speak normally, what would she say about these events? I hope she would agree with me: This is a sad moment for liberalism, for the Democratic Party, and, really, for the whole country.” Keep it classy, folks!
2.) Mitch Daniels is an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a modest suit — “Every list of potential Republican presidential nominees contains his name,” writes The Daily Caller’s Alexis Levinson. “Yet according to many who know him, Daniels hasn’t come close to making up his mind, and in fact may not be preparing for a national run at all.” Someone close to the governor, when asked if Daniels was considering running, said, “Depends on the day of the week. You know, everyday is different in terms of what Mitch is saying.” Political observers have said the same thing about Daniels’ response to Indiana’s budget woes. “Many conservatives faulted the Indiana governor and 2012 hopeful Tuesday for seeming to encourage Republicans to drop a right-to-work bill Democrats are protesting while offering little in the way of admonishment for lawmakers who fled the state and their duties to avoid the topic,” wrote TheDC’s Mary Katharine Ham on Wednesday. By Thursday, Daniels had clarified his position on the absent Democrats, saying, “Their conscience tells them they should do their duty.” His plans for a presidential run, however, remain a mystery.
3.) FCC’s ‘net neutrality’ order could get sent to the glue factory during congressional horse trading — Is there any chance that Congressional Republicans will successfully reverse the FCC’s “net neutrality” power grab? Why, yes! That is technically a possibility! “The House and Senate issued a Joint Resolution of Disapproval of the FCC’s ‘net neutrality’ rules which, if passed, would nullify the rule-making and deny the FCC future authority to try again,” writes Larry Downes on Tech Liberation Front. While said resolution could die by Obama veto, Downes suspects that the president might be willing to trade: “Net neutrality is certainly a priority for the White House, but it may not be as high as other priorities. The net neutrality rules–unpopular with just about everyone–may fall victim to horse-trading over the budget or other more important legislative goals for the White House.”
4.) House committee to shut down failed HAMP program — “At its meeting next Thursday, the highest-profile target of the Republican-run House Financial Services Committee will be the Home Affordable Modification Program,” reports the AP. “The Treasury Department has acknowledged the program won’t meet its original goal of preventing 3 million to 4 million foreclosures, and last month a federal inspector general said it has been a failure.” Republicans plan to kill a number of other programs supposedly intended to help struggling homeowners, but that have in reality had little or no impact other than to deepen the pool of red ink in which America is drowning. In response, Rep. Barney Frank posited that the very same HAMP program that independent investigators determined “continues to fall dramatically short of any meaningful standard of success,” is nevertheless “a responsible way” to “respond to the victims of the foreclosure crisis.”
5.) Federal judge rules Congress has power to regulate thoughts — The first step in allowing the state to pass judgment over thoughts (as opposed to actions) was arguably hate-crime laws, which more harshly penalize criminals who “hate” their victims’ skin color, ethnic background, or sexual orientation. The next step was laid out this week by U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler, who, in upholding Obamacare’s abuse of the Commerce Clause, argued that “making a choice is an affirmative action, whether one decides to do something or not do something. They are two sides of the same coin. To pretend otherwise is to ignore reality.” Writes the WSJ’s John Fund: “This sort of strained legal reasoning by activist judges has led to all manner of state intrusions on economic and personal activities. It’s no wonder so many members of Congress thought that passing ObamaCare was a routine act. Here’s hoping that the Supreme Court provides some adult supervision.” Indeed!
6.) Business mogul colludes with government to make big money — No, we’re not talking about Koch Industries: “George Soros is launching a new investment fund that plans to profit off of the ‘green energy’ boom, which is entirely dependent on government subsidies supported by the groups Soros funds,” writes the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney. And not only is Soros starting a business to profit off policies lobbied for and written by the Center for American Progress–which Soros himself bankrolls!–but he’s also hired Cathy Zoi, Barack Obama’s “Acting Under Secretary for Energy and Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy,” to run it.