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Friday Quick Hits

It’s Friday, and I’m bored.

That’s never a good combination.

Sly’s Bid to Sabotage Ron Kind

“Blogging Blue’s” Jeff Simpson points out radio talk show host John “Sly” Sylvester has asked his minute Madison-based audience to call La Crosse  Congressman Ron Kind because crazy Lori Wallach (a Wisconsin expat out in DC who’s been called “Ralph Nader with a sense of humor” and seen as more activist than attorney in trade circles) has heard that (HORROR!!!) Kind was leaning to support the KORUS, aka the free trade agreement between the United States and South Korea.

Now, unless you make cars and electronic equipment — the only real U.S. sticking points — you might think Wallach and “Sly” are on to something.  But if you are a farmer and see the Korean Peninsula as another market for your agricultural products AND you happen to the only Congressman with river ports on the Mississippi which ship those agricultural products down barges, you might think differently.

Clearly, Sly’s trying to make his girl Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (or his boy Russ Feingold if he returns) as the “True Progressive” in the race if both Baldwin and Kind are running for the United States Senate seat being vacated by the retirement of Herb Kohl.  That’s fine, he’s entitled to it.  But I doubt either Sly or Simpson were much successful with changing Kind’s mind.  Agreements like KORUS mean jobs in La Crosse, River Falls, and other parts along the Mississippi in the 3rd.

As a wouldbe-Senator, you’d think Tammy would want to learn that.

So What is the EPA’s Jobs Plan for Manitowoc?

I’ll probably have some more on this in another forum in coming days, but this sucks for the Lakeshore economy if a solution can’t be found. The S.S. Badger is an important part to Manitowoc’s tourist economy and without it, well, it won’t be pretty.

There is a Neumann Connection There After All!

Interesting catch pointed out by the Journal Sentinel’s Don Walker. Not shocked by it, but you’d think the national Club for Growth would hide it.

If you visit the national Club for Growth website, however, you might find one reason why the group is targeting Thompson. The group’s executive vice president is Chuck Pike. Pike, according to his resume, used to work for a company owned by Mark Neumann. Pike also worked for Neumann on Capitol Hill when Neumann was a congressman.

Neumann has said he is interested in running for Kohl’s seat next year.

Who Needs the President, We Only Need His Signature!

Apparently, Obama signed the Patriot Act extension via “autopen” — a Presidential first.

Constitutional scholars, go at it!

Article 1, section 7 of the United States Constitution states: “Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it becomes a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it…”

It needs to be “presented” to him, and if he approves it “he shall sign it.”

White House spokesman Nick Shapiro seemed to suggest this was a special circumstance. “Failure to sign this legislation posed a significant risk to U.S. national security,” Shapiro said. “The President directed the use of the autopen to sign it.”

Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., wrote to the president today questioning whether an autopen is good enough.

“Mr. President, I write to request your confirmation that S. 990, as passed by Congress, was presented to you prior to the autopen signing, as well as a detailed, written explanation of your Constitutional authority to assign a surrogate the responsibility of signing bills passed by Congress into law,” Graves wrote.

To reporters, Graves said the autopen move set a “dangerous precedent.” What if the president is hospitalized and not fully alert, he asked. “Can a group of aggressive Cabinet members interpret a wink or a squeeze of the hand as approval of an autopen signing?”

The Senate’s top Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was asked at a press conference just now if he thought that the use of the autopen would pass legal muster.

“I think that’s a better question addressed to them,” McConnell said. “They did the research and their lawyers apparently advised them that this was permissible. I haven’t looked at the legality of it and therefore don’t have an opinion to express on it.”

The idea of “The autopen” goes all the way back to President Thomas Jefferson.

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