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Ear to the Ground

Koch Brothers Face Backlash, Colbert Reacts to Sister’s Loss, and More

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Posted on May 9, 2013

Texas Toast: Gov. Rick Perry greeted Barack Obama when the president touched down in Texas on Thursday as part of the first stop of a tour around the U.S. to draw attention to his efforts to boost the economy. The president’s visits are aimed at renewing his focus on such matters after having concentrated in recent months on immigration reform and gun control. “Watching cable TV sometimes, you might get to thinking nothing’s going right. But the truth is there’s a lot of reasons for us to feel optimistic about where we’re headed as a country,” the president told a group of students near Austin. Perry, however, seemed none too enthused about the visit. “Obama should have focused on jobs and opportunity five years ago,” his office tweeted. (Read more)

Bottling the Kochs: A major effort is underway by California lawmakers and a number of public employee unions to stymie the billionaire Koch brothers’ bid to buy the newspapers owned by the Tribune Company, including the Los Angeles Times. Union leaders sent a letter to Bruce Karsh, the president of Oaktree Capital Management—the Tribune’s largest shareholder—excoriating David and Charles Koch as “anti-labor, anti-environment, anti-public education and anti-immigrant.” Their efforts were backed by a couple of influential lawmakers in Sacramento, state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez. “The Los Angeles Times has a long and respected tradition of community leadership and impartiality. The Koch brothers have a long and demonstrated history of a rigid political ideology,” Steinberg said. (Read more)

Armed for NRA Battle: Despite the fact that legislation to expand background checks failed last month in the Senate, the discussion over gun control is far from over. But unlike in years past, the National Rifle Association is no longer the only well-funded group in the weapons debate. Case in point: After the NRA announced it would support Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire with a $25,000 television ad buy in her state, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ gun control group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, announced it had raised $11 million in its first four months of operation—money that will surely be used to counter pro-gun groups like the NRA. “The resource mismatch was always extreme and now it is basically gone. So you’ve got two heavyweights and they are battling instead of a pushover against a champ,” said Matt Bennett, who works at a moderate think tank that supports strengthening gun control laws. Between Giffords and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the NRA should have some serious competition in the upcoming midterm elections. (Read more)

Marriage Proposal: Minnesota is on the cusp of legalizing gay marriage after the state’s House of Representatives voted 75-59 on Thursday in favor of allowing same-sex couples to wed. The Democratic-controlled state Senate—where the measure is also expected to pass—will take up the legislation Monday, and Gov. Mark Dayton has already pledged to sign it into law. That means Minnesota will more than likely become the 12th state to allow gay couples to marry, and the first in the Midwest to have passed such a law out of its state legislature. CBS Minnesota: “The Minnesota push for gay marriage grew out of last fall’s successful campaign to defeat a constitutional amendment that would have banned it. Minnesota became the first state to turn back such an amendment after more than two dozen states had passed one over more than a decade.” (Read more

Video of the Day: Stephen Colbert did something unusual during Wednesday’s night edition of “The Colbert Report”—he slipped a little bit out of character. The political satirist let down his facade slightly while addressing sister Elizabeth Colbert Busch’s loss to Mark Sanford in a special election for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District. Understandably, Colbert wasn’t pleased with the outcome. Still, he tried his best—and succeeded in keeping the segment light and humorous, even as touches of frustration and anger were apparent.

 

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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