POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/2

Tennessee Bill Would Make Some Forms of Shariah a Felony

Tennessee’s legislature is considering a bill that would make it a felony to practice some forms of Shariah law, “the most severe measure yet put forth by a national movement whose members believe extremist Muslims want Shariah to supersede the Constitution,” the AP reports.

“The bill — drawn up by conservatives with ties to opponents of a planned Islamic center two blocks from New York City’s ground zero and efforts to expand a mosque 30 miles southeast of Nashville — would face steep constitutional hurdles if enacted … Muslim groups fear the measure would outlaw central tenets of Islam, such as praying five times a day toward Mecca, abstaining from alcohol or fasting for Ramadan.”

Bristol Palin Has a Book Deal

Bristol Palin’s memoir is listed once again on Amazon and, according to the AP, it has a title: Not Afraid of Life.

The book will be out this summer.

Huckabee Claims Obama was Raised in Kenya

Mike Huckabee inaccurately claimed on a conservative talk-radio show that President Obama grew up in Kenya, NBC News reports.

Said Huckabee: “One thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American.”

However, Huckabee did say he believes Obama was born in the United States “because I know the Clintons well, and believe me they had lots of investigators out on him, and I’m convinced if there was anything they could have found on that they would have found it, and I promise they would have used it.”

Update: A spokesman says Huckabee misspoke and meant to say the president grew up in Indonesia.

Update IIAaron Blake: “Huck’s Kenya slip-up would make more sense if he didn’t repeat it and then talk about the Mau-Mau Rebellion (an actual Kenyan event).”

 

Ohio Lawmakers Schedule Fetus for Testimony

“A fetus has been scheduled as a legislative witness in Ohio on a unique bill that proposes outlawing abortions after the first heartbeat can be medically detected,” theAP reports.

The logistics: A pregnant woman will be brought before the committee and an ultrasound image of her uterus will be projected onto a screen. The heartbeat of the fetus will be visible in color.

Dodd Picked as Hollywood’s Top Lobbyist

Former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) was chosen as the next head of the Motion Picture Association of America, the chief lobbying organization for Hollywood, reports The Wrap.

What If?

The New York Times runs a fantastic review of Jeff Greenfield’s Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan.

“In his shrewdly written, often riveting new book, Then Everything Changed, the veteran political journalist Jeff Greenfield ponders some smaller-scale and more plausible what-ifs: three events, he says, ‘that came within a whisker of actually happening.’ … Thanks to Mr. Greenfield’s own familiarity with American politics and a lot of energetic research, he turns these twists of fate into accelerating historical snowballs that rumble through our recent history, altering the social landscape in ways both small and large.”

Greenfield is a great writer and this is definitely a book to add to your reading list.

In Lieu of Flowers

A Texas man leaves one last request in his Houston Chronicle obituary:

“In lieu of flowers, at Jim’s request, please make a donation to ANYONE running against Barack Hussein Obama, or the American Cancer Society.”

Woodward Rips Rumsfeld

Bob Woodward takes apart Known and Unknown: “Rumsfeld’s memoir is one big clean-up job, a brazen effort to shift blame to others — including President Bush — distort history, ignore the record or simply avoid discussing matters that cannot be airbrushed away. It is a travesty, and I think the rewrite job won’t wash.”

Toss Up in Virginia

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds a Virginia U.S. Senate race between former Sen. George Allen (R) and DNC Chairman Tim Kaine (D) would be a dead heat at 47% each.

Allen leads the other two Democrats tested against him, 48% to 41% over Tom Perriello (D) and 47% to 42% over Rick Boucher.

Ryan Talks About Prison Life

Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan (R) — “who has zealously guarded his privacy” since entering a federal prison to serve a 6 1/2 year sentence, “was heard for the first time — not in an interview with a reporter but under questioning in a civil lawsuit,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

Ryan briefly talked about his loss of freedom following his corruption conviction in the deposition.

Said Ryan: “I mean you don’t know what it’s all about until they take it away from you. I hope you never find out.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I am going to reveal a secret. There is an operations room in Tel Aviv with the aim of destabilizing the Arab world. The operations room is in Tel Aviv and run by the White House.”

— Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh, quoted by the AP, accusing the United States of instigating protests against his and other Arab regimes.

Wisconsin Voters Closely Divided

The latest poll on the budget impasse in Wisconsin: A Public Policy Polling surveyshows 51% of voters in the state support the public sector unions as compared to 47% who stand with Gov. Scott Walker (R).

When it comes to broader questions about rights for public employees the margins are less narrow: 57% of voters think that workers should have the right to collectively bargain for wages, benefits, and working environment rules compared to only 37% who think they shouldn’t have those rights.

Luntz’s Latest

Pollster and focus group guru Frank Luntz has a new book out: Win.

Which States Have the Longest Serving House Members?

Smart Politics looks at the average tenure of House delegations and finds Alaska continues to lead with its at-large Rep. Don Young (R-AK) holding the sixth longest tenure in the House at 38 years.

Next in line: Massachusetts with an average of 16.0 years, followed by Michigan at 15.9 years.

Lawmaker Beats Watson at Jeopardy

Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) — “an actual rocket scientist, as his supporters like to tout on bumper stickers” — beat the IBM supercomputer Watson in a round of Jeopardy!, theAsbury Park Press reports.

Holt was a five-time Jeopardy! winner more than 30 years ago.

Quote of the Day

“This report will make us look like jackasses.”

— Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), quoted by the Washington Post, on a forthcoming GAO report showing significant duplication and overlap in federal agencies.

Patrick Outs Possible Senate Candidates

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), “breaching all manner of political protocol,” gave up the names of the four potential U.S. Senate candidates who’ve already talked with him about challenging Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), the Boston Globereports.

They include: City Year co-founder Alan Khazei, Newton Mayor Setti Warren, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, and Democratic activist Robert Massie.

Gingrich Ready to Jump In Race

ABC News reports that Newt Gingrich will announce his intention to form a presidential exploratory committee before the end of the week.

“Gingrich’s advisors say his campaign will have a ‘major presence’ in Georgia, which Gingrich represented in Congress for 19 years, though they have not decided yet where his campaign headquarters will be. Gingrich has lived in northern Virginia for years.”

Charlie Sheen vs. Muammar Gaddafi

The Guardian has a short quiz to see if you can distinguish between recent statements of the American actor and the Libyan leader.

Edwards Indictment Looms

John Edwards has been “lying low” recently, according to the New York Times, but that won’t last as “a federal grand jury in Raleigh could soon hand up an indictment against him in a case centering on campaign finance practices.”

“If Mr. Edwards is charged in the federal case, he could take a number of tacks, say people connected to the case. Striking a deal might be the best option if the charges are misdemeanors. If he faces felony charges, many believe that Mr. Edwards, known as an exceptionally good trial lawyer who is protective of his law degree, would fight them.”

Parties Would Share Blame for Shutdown

A new Pew Research poll shows Americans would spread the blame equally for a government shutdown as a result of a budget impasses.

Key findings: 36% say Republicans would be more to blame, 35% say the Obama administration and 17% volunteer that both would be to blame.

These findings are notably different than in 1995 when the public blamed Republicans for the shutdown. One reason may be that current House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is viewed much less unfavorably than Newt Gingrich was then. Boehner’s unfavorability rating is just 25% as compared to 54% for Gingrich.

The Importance of the Union Vote for Democrats

Nate Silver finds that union voters and the union-household voters improved President Obama’s margin over Sen. John McCain in 2008 by approximately 4.8%.

He concludes: “Republican efforts to decrease the influence of unions — while potentially worthwhile to their electoral prospects in the long-term — could contribute to a backlash in the near-term, making union members even more likely to vote Democratic and even more likely to turn out. If, for instance, the share of union households voting for Democrats was not 60 percent but closer to 70 percent, Republicans would have difficulty winning presidential elections for a couple of cycles until the number of union voters diminished further.”

Public Backs Unions Over Walker

A new Pew Research poll finds that by a modest margin, more say they back Wisconsin’s public employee unions rather than Gov. Scott Walker (R) in their continuing dispute over collective bargaining rights.

Key finding: 42% say they side more with the public employee unions, while 31% say they side more with the governor.

 

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