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The Left Column


Study: American public has ‘virtually no influence’ over politics in face of wealthy interest groups

(Al Jazeera America) It’s not just your imagination: The influence of money in politics has indeed drowned out the voices of American voters, a new analysis shows, with runaway corporate lobbying and a lack of campaign finance reform to blame for giving much more political weight to the wealthy.

Researchers at Princeton University and Northwestern University compared the public’s influence on 1,779 policy issues between 1981 and 2002, finding that more often than not, the interests of wealthy groups and individuals won out over the demands of the general public. For instance, when 80 percent of the public asked for a change of some sort, they got their way only about 43 percent of the time.


Mitch McConnell Says He Stood Up for Women in a Sexual-Harassment Scandal and The Real Story Is ...

(Mother Jones) Facing his toughest reelection battle in years against a well-known and well-financed female opponent, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) recently boasted that he led the Senate in ousting a GOP colleague accused of sexual harassment in 1995. But news reports from that time show that late in the investigation, McConnell tried to stall the probe against his fellow Republican, Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.). He derided efforts by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to hold public hearings on Packwood as "frolic and detour"—after the Senate ethics committee had substantiated nearly two-dozen claims of sexual harassment leveled against Packwood by female lobbyists and former staffers.


Christie’s Presidential Chances Declining in New Hampshire

(Philly Mag) Who knows if it’s because of Bridgegate, or because of conservatives’ underlying suspicion of him, but Chris Christie’s New Hampshire support in the 2016 presidential election has declined precipitously. Power Line, a conservative blog, reports on the result of a new poll of Granite State Republican primary voters.

For Christie, there is very little good news in this poll. Sure, he places fourth with 12 percent support. But last July, the Granite State poll had him in the lead at 21 percent.


Debbie Wasserman Schultz Guts David Gregory’s GOP Cheerleading On Meet The Press

(Politicus USA) David Gregory repeatedly told Rep. Wasserman Schultz that he wasn’t interested in facts, or the merits as he called them. Gregory made it clear that he was only interested in pushing the Republican fantasy that Democrats are doomed because of Obamacare.

Wasserman-Schultz put him in his place by explaining reality. Millions of people do understand the ACA, because they now have health insurance, or they aren’t getting dropped because they have a preexisting condition. As far as the 2014 electoral map is concerned, Democratic Senate incumbents are leading in places like Arkansas and Louisiana, and they could easily pick up two more seats in Kentucky and Georgia.


"Here’s how we got to 8 million Obamacare signups"

(WaPo) After a two-week extension of the Obamacare open enrollment deadline, the White House announced today that 8 million people have signed up through the health-care law's insurance marketplaces since it opened in October. That means about 900,000 people picked a health plan in the two weeks since the end of the original March 31 enrollment deadline.


Josh Marshall: How the GOP Bet on Failure And Lost

(TPM) As I noted recently, GOP policy analysts are pretty clear now that Obamacare isn't collapsing, hopes of the politicals notwithstanding. And strategists have started to hint that flat opposition - repeal with no alternative that provides something like the same range of benefits - may no longer be viable from a political standpoint.

Of course, in the Obamacare gotterdammerung bubble, Obamacare is on its last legs and President Obama will soon resign and ask the country for mercy as he's hustled off by federal marshals to stand trial for Obamacare and socialism. Back on planet earth though reality-based opponents see the writing on the wall.

The Straight Story

Construction underway for 'USS Gabrielle Giffords'

(CBS 5) Construction of the "USS Gabrielle Giffords" is underway in Alabama. Gabrielle Giffords etched her initials into the keel of the combat ship being built for the U.S. Navy. It's the first naval vessel of its kind to be named after a living woman.


McAuliffe moves to restore voting rights

(MSNBC) Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced today that he will shrink the time violent felons must wait to seek reinstatement of their voting rights and will remove some offenses from that list.

The policy slated to take effect April 21 comes on top of years of work to streamline the process, and aims to make the system easier to understand and to allow more felons to petition the state more quickly.


Obama Blasts GOP Govs Turning Down Medicaid Expansion: 'That's Wrong'

(TPM) President Barack Obama was uncharacteristically blunt Thursday while addressing the Republican governors and state legislators who have turned down Obamacare's Medicaid expansion.

"That's wrong," Obama said from the White House briefing room after he announced that 8 million people had enrolled in private coverage under the law. The White House simultaneously released a fact sheet, which said 5.7 million people would be left uncovered in 2016 if the 24 states that have not expanded the program maintained their opposition.


REID Finally Says it: Bundy supporters are ‘domestic terrorists’

(The Hill) “They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists,” Reid said Thursday at an event hosted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, according to the newspaper. “I repeat: what happened there was domestic terrorism.”

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RPT-Russia says receives Brussels proposal on gas talks

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NYTimes Poll Suprise: Southern Senate Dems In The Lead

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California Bill Reignites Affirmative Action Fight

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Judge To Mull Chelsea Manning Name Change Request

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Republican Activists Push Party On Gay Marriage

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More powerful sonar likely next step in jet search

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Austria says more sanctions on Russia would inflame tensions

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Kremlin: Russia will retaliate to attack on its interests

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Missouri executes inmate for 1993 farm slaying

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W.Va. SOS Calls Conservative Group's (Koch Bros) Voter Registration Mailing "Misleading"

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US Troops Head To Poland, Baltics To 'Reassure' Allies

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President Obama Says US-Japan Security Treaty Applies To Islands Claimed By China

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No-fly list used by FBI to coerce Muslims into informing, lawsuit claims

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(Arizona Gov.) Brewer vetoes gun bills

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'Piles and piles' of bodies in S. Sudan slaughter

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Hundreds in Mexico protest telecommunications reform they say will allow for censorship

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UConn Grad Student Employees Will Soon Bargain First UAW Contract

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Tom Steyer: I’m not the Koch brothers

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At a rare field hearing, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson calls Miami Beach ground zero for sea level rise

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