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Ear to the Ground

The Next Citizens United, Scott Brown Explains ‘Drunk’ Tweets, and More

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Posted on Feb 19, 2013

The Sky’s the Limit: If you thought campaign finance couldn’t get any worse after Citizens United, think again. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case brought forth by the Republican National Committee that could effectively end finance-contribution limits. The plaintiff, Shawn McCutcheon, is upset that he was kept to spending a measly $123,200 in the past two years by current campaign finance laws. The wealthy Republican donor believes he should have the right to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections help propel his favored candidates to victory. Because he’s rich and entitled, obviously. Given the Roberts court’s landmark 2010 decision in the Citizens United case, legal watchers are already speculating that a victory by the RNC and McCutcheon is likely—which spells more trouble for the rest of us. The case will be heard during the court’s next term, which begins in October. (Read more

Growing Pains: In a legal battle that’s being touted as David vs. Goliath, the Supreme Court on Tuesday heard oral arguments in the case of a 75-year-old Indiana soybean farmer who is being sued for patent infringement by agricultural giant Monsanto. The multibillion dollar corporation alleges that Vernon Hugh Bowman violated its patents on “Roundup Ready” soybeans that are genetically resistant to weed killers such as Roundup—also a Monsanto product. None of the justices seem to buy Bowman’s counterargument, which is that the cheap mix of seeds he bought from a grain elevator that contained the soybeans aren’t covered by the company’s patents. As The New York Times noted: “A lawyer for Monsanto, Seth P. Waxman, a former United States solicitor general, was allowed to talk uninterrupted for long stretches, which is usually a sign of impending victory.” (Read more)

Chipping Away: Former Sens. Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson have unveiled a proposal that would shave roughly $2.4 trillion off the federal deficit over the next 10 years. Bowles and Simpson suggested a number of measures—some of which they proposed in their 2010 plan—to achieve the new financial goal. Among the ideas they put forth: enacting new tax reforms, reducing the amount of Medicare and Medicaid payments to doctors and cutting farm subsidies. The cuts, which would be enacted between 2014 and 2023, are in addition to the $2.7 trillion in deficit reduction that has already been passed by the White House and Congress. (Read more)

Gaffe Goes to the Democrat: Republicans are pouncing on a rape comment a Democratic lawmaker made while debating a House bill that would forbid concealed-carry weapons permit holders from taking their guns on university campuses. Here’s what Colorado Rep. Joe Salazar said: “And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop ... pop a round at somebody.” Fellow Colorado Rep. Lori Saine, a Republican, responded: “I guess, Rep. Salazar, if a woman doesn’t know she’s being raped, she doesn’t fear it.” Salazar later apologized in the face of mounting criticism from conservatives over the remark. (Read more)

Video of the Day: Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown insists he was perfectly sober when he tweeted, then deleted, a series of late night messages a month ago that included the rather eloquent—and widely mocked—“bqhatevwr.” Some speculated he was drunk at the time, but Brown claims he didn’t even compose the tweets—his pocket, which evidently is a talented genius, did. He explained: “Anyone ever hear of pocket tweet, pocket dial? I mean it was pretty simple, you know. I have an iPhone 5. If anyone has an iPhone 5, the keys are small. It’s very, very sensitive.” To quote Brown’s pocket: “bqhatevwr.”

Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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