Three-Dot Thursday

[ Posted Thursday, April 18th, 2024 – 15:40 UTC ]

We haven't done one of these for a while, but the disparate nature of the political news today seemed to suggest it was time for another "three-dot Thursday," where we follow in the footsteps of journalists of days of yore and heavily lean on our ellipses.

Today we have one serious story which could have very large political ramifications this November, as well as two monumentally silly stories to report from the Republican side of the aisle... but first...


We have to begin with the center ring of the Republican circus this week: Donald Trump's New York criminal trial. As of this writing, an entire jury panel has been chosen and sworn in, although only one alternate has so far been seated. Eventually there will be six alternates, but it certainly does look like the trial is on track for opening arguments to begin next Monday.

From that point on, we are going to be glued to the trial news so we have to warn everyone in advance that they might get bored with seeing so many articles about it -- and the trial could take over a month. Fair warning...


Down in Arizona, Democrats are attempting to repeal the 1864 territorial abortion law which has no exceptions for rape or incest victims, but they are in the minority in both of the statehouse chambers. They need two Republicans to cross the aisle (in both chambers) in order to pass a repeal.

Democrats have succeeded in the state senate, and a repeal bill has started the process. It looks like they have the required Republican votes to pass the repeal, but due to parliamentary rules it might take a week or so to get to a final vote.

In the state house of representatives, Democrats may or may not ultimately have the votes, but at the current time they've only convinced one Republican to vote to begin debate on a repeal bill. This is not enough, and the speaker of the state house is adamantly against repeal, so it's going to be a real battle no matter what eventually happens. There is one other Republican house member who seems amenable to voting for a repeal bill, but he refused to vote with Democrats on their motion to begin the debate, on parliamentary grounds:

Democrats had counted on Rep. David Cook's support for the repeal motion. But the Globe Republican stuck with his caucus.

"I've never rolled my leadership or my speaker," Cook said.

He said he supports a repeal, but it must be done "the right way" and waiving the rules isn't proper, he said.

So far, this has led to a standoff, as Democrats tried twice yesterday to force the bill to the floor but failed to get a majority both times. Perhaps the pressure will increase if the state senate actually passes their repeal bill?

The 1864 abortion law is sort of an ongoing major political earthquake in Arizona, and may wind up handing control of one or even both chambers of the statehouse over to Democrats this November. Also on the ballot will be an initiative to amend the state's constitution to enshrine the limits of Roe v. Wade into law. If it succeeds, it won't even matter what the legislature does afterwards, because the people will have removed the power for them to restrict abortion in the state. Republicans like the house speaker are doubling down on a very unpopular law, and it could wind up turning the entire state blue as a result.

The easy way out, for the Republicans, would have been to pass the repeal bills in an effort to make the issue go away (to a certain extent), but they're obviously not interested in taking this offramp -- and least as of yet... stay tuned...


Which brings us to the "monumentally silly" portion of the program. It's almost as if Republicans are so desperate to change the media narrative from "all Trump trial, all the time" to something... anything... else. So they decided maybe figuratively punching themselves in the face might do it...

Or maybe it should be "figuratively pantsing themselves"... but we're getting ahead of ourselves...

Conspiracy theorist queen Marjorie Taylor Greene, as the Washington Post headline put it: "would like to remind us that she is not serious." Which is actually an understatement. She is, in fact, now trolling both her House colleagues and the media with an incredible "self-own." She has seen how much fun the rest of us have had making her an absolute punchline for insult-comic humor, and so she decided to get in on the fun herself:

In a Wednesday night post on social media, Greene said she is offering an amendment to pending Israel aid package that would provide funds for "the development of space laser technology on the southwest border."

"I've previously voted to fund space lasers for Israel's defense," Greene posted, falsely (Israel does not have space lasers). "America needs to take our national security seriously and deserves the same type of defense for our border that Israel has and proudly uses."

Get it? Jewish space lasers? If you somehow don't recognize the reference, that Post story gives a good rundown of Greene's previous idiotic remarks on Jewish space lasers.

At the rate she's going, we wouldn't be surprised if she showed up on Saturday Night Live to do a cameo as herself. Hey, if Sarah Palin can do so, why not Queen Marjorie? But amazingly, even this bit of self-punchlining didn't take the absolute cake this week from the Republican side of the House aisle...


Because that distinction goes to the hardliners in the Chaos Caucus who are reportedly nervous that Speaker Mike Johnson might somehow sneak through some rules changes designed to defang their obstructionism. Rumors began flying that Johnson was considering kicking the Chaos Caucus members off of the Rules Committee, which would allow Johnson to bring bills up in regular fashion once again and avoid the embarrassment of members of his own party thumbing their noses at him. But the bigger change would be (it was rumored) that Johnson would change the House rules to require more than just one member to file a "motion to vacate the chair," which he really should have demanded when he first became speaker.

Since Marjorie Taylor Greene currently has a sword-of-Damocles motion to vacate the chair dangling over Johnson's head, this would be important because if the number required to force the issue was raised to 10 or 20 or whatever else Johnson decides, then it would remove the threat and he could get on with getting some business done.

OK, that's the setup. But we're not even going to provide a punchline for this one, because it is way too easy to do. We leave it as an exercise for the reader, and will be interested in seeing just how... um... pungent the jokes can get. So... everyone ready? Here we go...

To stay vigilant and alert to any possible sneaky move by Johnson to quickly pass rules changes by unanimous consent or just a voice vote, the Chaos Caucus folks have formed a quick response team. This team will share rotating shifts so they can monitor floor action to prevent any such sneaky moves by Johnson.

And they gave their quick-action team a name. No, we did not make this up. You can't make stuff this ridiculous up! So get ready to provide the punchlines...

The group of stalwart House members vigilantly monitoring the House floor has been named the "Floor Action Response Team." That's right -- the Chaos Caucus will preserve their hold on power by deploying a FART.

So don't hold it in -- just go ahead and post those punchlines. Really, just let 'er rip....

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


7 Comments on “Three-Dot Thursday”

  1. [1] 
    Kick wrote:

    The group of stalwart House members vigilantly monitoring the House floor has been named the "Floor Action Response Team." That's right -- the Chaos Caucus will preserve their hold on power by deploying a FART.

    FART members are the "eyes and ears" of the Caucus and report any attempts by Johnson to pass anything silent but deadly directly to their sister initiative: Caucus Response Awareness Program.

  2. [2] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    So much this week, incl FART & lasers, has made me shake my head and check the URL (nope, not The Onion...bummer).

  3. [3] 
    Mezzomamma wrote:

    Or Society Promoting Egoist Whiners?

  4. [4] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    something smelly this way comes.

  5. [5] 
    dsws wrote:

    The House has finally moved on the Ukraine bill.

  6. [6] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    huzzah. I hope it's not too late.

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    ... or too little.

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