Mike Konczal lays out the new frontier in right-wing argument that the American tax code is too progressive. How do they call that pile of dung meatloaf? Not by looking at top tax brackets, which is where you or I would start, but by looking at "percentage of taxes from the top decile" of earners, which you probably knew instantly was bunkum, because the annual income of the top decile (or 10%) of earners in America starts in the low hundred thousands -- or because a percentage of total tax revenue means less as that tax revenue goes lower, as Matt Breunig demonstrates here.
ProPublica describes how "dark money" groups (which do not need to disclose their donors) got a mining corporation a law it wanted in Wisconsin -- first by targeting a Republican state Senator (Dale Schultz, who you may also remember opposed Scott Walker's union-busting "budget repair" bill) and then by pouring over $1.8 million into a race to defeat a first-term Democratic state Senator. Oh, and the two "social welfare non-profits" spending all this money may have broken the law, by declaring that they engaged in no political spending during 2012. Remember that, next time you're tempted to think that 2012 proved that campaign spending doesn't mean a whole lot.
The Center for Effective Government describes a complaint filed with the EPA by Earthjustice, alleging that North Carolina's permitting process allows factory farms to operate (and pollute) mostly near minority neighborhoods, violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. There's a degree to which Everyone Knows That, I suppose, but that doesn't make it right, and it would be nice to see minority folks get some relief from being the dumping ground of big corporations.
Uh oh: Marquette University Law School poll finds Scott Walker and Mary Burke actually tied at 47 in the Wisconsin gubernatorial race. Neither one's going to win with 47, of course, but Marquette has a pretty good track record with Wisconsin polls, and you wonder whether Mr. Walker's recent unforced errors -- inartfully describing matching jobs with skills as Wisconsin's "work problem," and saying the minimum wage doesn't "serve a purpose" -- will affect his prospects. Then again, Marquette still finds his approval rating at 50%, and Mr. Walker still seems pretty confident, which latter item, especially, is critical -- voters respond to that, especially from controversial candidates.
In other gubernatorial campaign news, Florida Gov. Rick Scott apparently refused to debate his opponent, former Gov. Charlie Crist, for a few minutes because Mr. Crist asked for a fan underneath his podium, violating an apparent debate rule banning electronics from the debate. Maybe there is such a rule, but Gov. Scott compounded his error by trying to blame his brief absence on his uncertainty over whether Mr. Crist would show up. I'm willing to bet just about everyone else in Florida saw it differently for at least four minutes.