Once Around the Statehouse Lightly

Devil in the Details | 12-14-2018

Visitors to the Illinois statehouse this month will be greeted by all the usual pageantry of the holiday season: Christmas decorations, a nativity scene, a Menorah and a display from the Chicago chapter of the Satanic Temple. Wait, what? Old Ned himself...

Oh Brother Where Art Thou? | 12-14-2018

For the better part of a century the small town of Severance, Colorado has banned the throwing of snowballs. The prohibition was part of a larger ban that made it verboten to throw or shoot rocks or any other projectiles at people, animals, buildings...

We Need an Emoji for This | 12-14-2018

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger once famously complained that in the Golden State folks are even taxed for flushing the toilet. While that’s not actually true, state regulators are apparently considering a tax on something almost as...

Reply All Apocalypse | 12-14-2018

It is the bane of office workers everywhere – the people who hit “reply all” to emails, resulting in a seemingly never-ending chain of replies and pleas to be removed from the list before violence ensues. Just such an event recently...

Truly the Greatest Generation | 12-07-2018

Funerals for heads of state are always solemn affairs, as they should be. On occasion, they also lend themselves to moments that elevate all of us to a higher place. Such was the case last Monday in Washington D.C., where many came to pay their respects...

Born In the USA | 12-07-2018

Americans are notoriously inept at geography, but one might think we’d at least be up to speed on our own country. Uh, not so much. As the Las Cruces Sun News reports , former New Mexico Secretary of State candidate Gavin Clarkson was recently turned...

You Gotta Have A Dream | 12-07-2018

And for California Assembly member Phil Ting, that dream is a whole state of cars that run on something other than gasoline. Yep, Ting so wants to see the nation’s number one vehicle market move entirely to cars that don’t run on fossil fuels...

Better Late Than | 11-30-2018

For decades, every California governor followed up their January budget release with an appearance at a Sacramento Press Club luncheon. It was always the most heavily attended event of the year, and thus also the best moneymaker for the SPC’s journalism...

Now That Was Just Dumb | 11-30-2018

Politics has always driven intense emotions. Some would say now more so than ever, while others might counter that it has always been this way and we just know more of what is said and done than we used to. For example, like when Illinois state Rep. Stephanie...

Voter-Slapped Instead | 11-30-2018

California state Sen. Joel Anderson has always been a little ornery. But as the Sacramento Bee reports , that crankiness – and a little too much booze - got the better of him last summer when he responded to a disagreement at an after-hours party...

Score One for Sasquatch | 11-16-2018

There’s rarely a shortage of goofballs seeking public office, and this year was not different. Most but not all fail and slink quietly back into their own little worlds. Alas, newly-elected Congressman Denver Riggleman fits into the “but not...

Speaking of Strange Beasts | 11-16-2018

As expected, self-described pimp Dennis Hof – who also liked to call himself the “Trump of Pahrump” – won his race for the 36 th Nevada Assembly District a few weeks ago. That’s a problem because Hof is dead, having gone...

Honesty is the Best Policy | 11-16-2018

Or so recent Oklahoma House candidate LaVelle Compton has learned. Compton was thrilled recently include a lengthy endorsement from popular former Sooner State gov Brad Henry in a mailer he sent out as part of his campaign to unseat House Majority Leader...

The Personal Touch | 11-16-2018

If you want to collect back taxes you ought to ask nicely. That’s the lesson from Syracuse, New York, where city officials recently tried using the personal touch in their efforts to get tax scofflaws to pony up the dough they owed. As the AP reports...

Definitely Not Fake News | 11-09-2018

On occasion, really valuable things mistakenly find their way to thrift stores or yard sales. Such was the case last month when, as the AP reports , an original copy of a 1774 “rebel” newspaper featuring articles penned by some guy named John...

A Foundational Issue | 11-09-2018

California Gov. Jerry Brown has always had his quirks, many deeply rooted in the time he spent as a youth in a Jesuit seminary. Case in point comes in the form of the space in his outer office where he often addresses reporters. More specifically, the...

That Done Bit Him on the Backside | 11-09-2018

John Lennon fans likely recall a song he did called “Instant Karma.” Well, some karma of the fairly-immediate variety jumped up and bit Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker square in the fanny last week. As CBS News reports , Walker lost his bid on...

Show Me a Good Loser and I’ll Show You a Loser | 11-09-2018

A slew of ex-jocks had a good Election Day this year. As Pro Football Talk reports , former NFL linebacker Napoleon Harris retained his seat in the Illinois Senate, while Green Bay Packer safety Aaron Rouse, late of the Green Bay Packers, kept his seat...

The Burns of the Night | 11-09-2018

I still marvel that some people shoot off their mouths on social media when they know they are in no way smart enough or tough enough to handle the Internet mob. Case in point from Election Night comes from uber right wing commentator/gasbag Ann Coulter...

At Least She Had the Right Country | 11-02-2018

Celebrities have as much right to get involved in the political process as anyone. After all, we’ve elected two TV hosts to the presidency, right? But if you’re going to give a big thumbs up to a candidate, you might want to be sure it’s...

Superstition Ain’t the Way | 11-02-2018

It’s traditional come World Series time for mayors of the cities of the teams involved to make a showy bet on the outcome. But don’t tell that to Boston Mayor Mary Walsh. As the Los Angeles Times reports , Walsh just said no to making a bet...

Don’t Knock It | 11-02-2018

Experience is the best teacher. So says Utah Sen. Jim Dabakis, who posted videos of himself last month trying an edible marijuana gummy candy outside a medical weed dispensary in Las Vegas. Utah voters decide tomorrow a ballot measure that would legalize...

What’d They Say? | 11-02-2018

California Gov. Jerry Brown, Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Air Resources Board chief Mary Nichols held a presser in Sacramento last week to announce further legal wrangling with the Trump administration. They had plenty to say that was interesting...

Bless the Beasts of Brexit | 10-19-2018

We’ve heard the complaint that politics is going to the dogs, but in the UK earlier this month it was all true. That’s because, as Reuters reports , close to 1,000 dogs and their owners recently marched on parliament to call for a second vote...

Wanted, Dead or Alive | 10-19-2018

Bombastic brothel owner Dennis Hof may be dead, but he’s likely going to win election to the Nevada legislature anyway. That’s because, as KTLA reports , it’s too late to remove the self-described pimp and “Trump of Pahrump”...

Pot, Meet Kettle | 10-19-2018

Speaking of candidates who might generously be described as a bit off center...Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner appears to have the temperament of an agitated pit bull. Or maybe just a desperate pol trying to stay relevant in a race he’s...

Oh Mom, No You Didn’t | 10-12-2018

Oh yes, yes she did. University of Florida student Pieter Hanson was in the middle of a test recently when his phone started going off nonstop. Fearful something terrible had happened, he quickly handed in his test and headed for the hallway. But nothing...

Kinda Situation Normal | 10-12-2018

If you’re looking at the California voter guide for this November’s election, you might notice a glaring omission. Yes, as the Los Angeles Times reports , while the guide contains the usual candidate statement from GOP gubernatorial candidate...

Snap What? | 10-12-2018

Anyone who has spent any time walking in San Francisco can tell you the City by the Bay has a lot of homeless people living on the streets. A lot . And one of the myriad problems with that is that folks inevitably end up relieving themselves on those...

And They Are Never, Ever, Ever Getting Back Together | 10-12-2018

The ultra-far right has had a pretty festive last 18 months, what with feeling like they have a true friend now in the White House. But as the Washington Post reports , the hopes and dreams of a plethora of young white supremacists were dashed last week...

Til Couch Do Us Part | 10-05-2018

If you’re like me, you’re inclined to live by the adage of “out with the old and in with the new.” Well, thankfully for Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant some folks have no use for that. As the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports , an old...

Youth Shall Be Served | 10-05-2018

Much has been made of the number of women running for state or federal office this year, but the ladies aren’t the only group of traditionally underrepresented folks making a run this year. As the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports , the younger...

All in the Family, Feuds Edition | 10-05-2018

Nobody needs to tell us that recent political events have caused huge riffs between friends and families on opposite sides of the political spectrum. But those feuds are not relegated to voters – pols are increasingly finding themselves crossways...

How Not to Moderate for $1,000, Alex | 10-05-2018

Future debate organizers might want to cross famed “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek off their list of potential moderators. Goodness knows the folks who put together the recent debate between Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and challenger Scott Wagner...

And The Winner Is | 09-28-2018

We’ve seen some great political ads over the years, but Minnesota Congressional candidate Dean Phillips has outdone them all. In a new video , Phillips uses the legend of Bigfoot to accuse his opponent – incumbent Erik Paulsen – of ignoring...

Safety While Selfying | 09-28-2018

Getting your first driver’s license is one of the great moments in life for most teens. And this being 2018, that means taking a selfie with their new license and posting it online. Alas, also because this is 2018 that opens the door to identity...

Get the L Out | 09-28-2018

Or better yet, get it back in. That’s the word from the folks in the New Jersey town of Lavallette, who saw something glaringly wrong on a new road sign state transportation folks erected on Route 37. As UPI reports , the contractor who made the...

God Save the Queen, and Send Me a Picture | 09-28-2018

Be careful what you tell folks they can get for free. Ohhhh boy. When the Australian magazine Vice reported recently that a quirk in the law allowed every Aussie citizen to receive free “nationhood material,” it was on. As NBC News reports...

All Cheese Politics Are Local | 09-14-2018

Me or you griping? Meh. The governor griping? Now there’s a call to arms! Case in point comes from New Hampshire, where the AP reports that a Londonberry Township resident took to Twitter to ask a local market to stop placing the price stickers...

Definitely Not Going Postal | 09-14-2018

State and local lawmakers used to dealing with homelessness issues know that one of the major aspects of that dilemma is public urination. And as city leaders in Paris can attest, it certainly is not a problem relegated to the U.S. As such, the City of...

Gone to the Dogs, In a Good Way | 09-14-2018

The tiny Kentucky town of Rabbit Hash (population 315) is mostly known for two things: the bunny-based meal that gave the burg its name and for having the best known country store in the Bluegrass State. That’s worthwhile enough, but there’s...

Ins and Outs of a Boycott | 09-07-2018

Boycotts are all the rage these days. Undies in a knot over Nike featuring former football player Colin Kaepernick in an ad campaign? Set your running shoes on fire and declare a boycott! Bent out of shape at In-and-Out Burger for sending the Cali GOP...

Friends in High Places | 09-07-2018

It’s good to be king, but it’s better to be friends of the king. Or at least the king of the commonwealth of Kentucky. As the Louisville Courier Journal reports , Charles Grindle, the state’s chief information officer, received a $215...

No Seal of Approval | 09-07-2018

Common sense ought to be enough to convince most people to leave wildlife alone, both for their own safety and that of the critter. But then common sense isn’t always so common. Case in point, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration...

It Beats Raising Taxes | 09-07-2018

Raising funds for civic works isn’t easy in small towns where the tax base is often more limited than seats on the DC Metro at rush hour. One dramatic way for burgs to gain some bucks is to let Corporate America have its way with them. This week’s...

Now That’s Hot | 08-31-2018

Government officials all over the world are feverishly working to figure out ways to mitigate the worst impacts of global climate change. In the meantime, we poor peons have to learn to deal with a rapidly warming globe. But if you think you have it bad...

And The Winner – and Loser – Is | 08-31-2018

That Ron Estes is a real winner. Ron Estes is also a loser. Wait, what? Yes, as the Huffington Post reports , Ron Estes was both the winner and the loser in last month’s GOP primary to represent Kansas’s 4th Congressional District. So how...

It’s Not the Lie, It’s the Cover Up | 08-31-2018

As Richard Nixon would tell you if he was here, the lie is rarely what sinks your ship, it’s the cover up. And now-former Florida legislative candidate Melissa Howard can vouch for it as well. As most folks have now heard, Howard’s run for...

Now We Can All Sleep at Night | 08-31-2018

With wildfires burning the state down amidst the usual end-of-session jamming through bills that really ought to have had a lot more deliberation, California lawmakers can point to at least one epic accomplishment: surfing is now the official state sport...

Giddy Up Go A Go Again | 08-17-2018

With the session winding down last month, Massachusetts lawmakers passed a bill extending authorization of the Bay State horse racing industry. But with the hour late and everyone exhausted, lawmakers neglected to send it to Gov. Charlie Baker, inadvertently...