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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit Area, MI
Home country: USA
Current location: San Francisco, CA
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 02:53 PM
Number of posts: 6,191

About Me

Husband, father and liberal Democrat. I am a native Michigander living in San Francisco who is a citizen of the world.

Journal Archives

Looks like CNN moved onto the next tragedy.

CNN must have squeezed every drop of milk they're going to get out of the Malaysia Airlines story. I looked over at their website and the screaming headlines are all about the Korean ferry disaster. They've devolved into nothing more than peddlers of disaster porn.

Mitch McConnell hindered harassment investigation of Bob Packwood.

With Republicans now in the majority, McConnell, as chair of the Senate ethics committee, took control of the Packwood inquiry. And the investigation suddenly slowed down. As the committee missed its projected deadline for voting on public hearings by several months, McConnell dodged questions about where the investigation stood.

In mid-May, the committee announced it had acquired sufficient evidence to hold public hearings on the allegations. Its investigation had substantiated "18 instances of kissing, grabbing, groping or propositioning women," often by force, the New York Times reported.

It was unprecedented for such serious ethics charges not to result in public hearings. But McConnell battled to keep the ensuing proceedings against Packwood closed. With Democrats demanding public hearings, McConnell canceled an ethics committee vote on holding such hearings without explanation. In the following weeks, he allowed committee debates over whether to hold public proceedings to drag on without a vote.

In July, fed-up Senate Democrats pushed for a vote before the full Senate on holding hearings. McConnell responded with a threat, according to the Washington Post:

Senate sources said McConnell told Boxer on Tuesday that he would hold hearings on two prominent Democrats if Boxer persisted in plans to force the issue of public hearings on Packwood.

According to the sources, McConnell approached committee member Barbarba Mikulski, D-Md., and told her, "You go find Barbara Boxer and tell her if she brings this amendment to the Senate floor, I'll be having hearings on Daschle and Chappaquiddick."

This was a reference to the 1969 incident involving the drowning of a woman companion of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and to allegations earlier this year that Senate Minority Leader Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., may have intervened improperly on behalf of South Dakota air charter company.

The sources said Boxer confronted McConnell later and asked him if he was threatening her.

He responded, "I'm not threatening you; I'm promising you," a source said.

The Associated Press recounted it this way:

"I want you to tell her (Boxer) if she does that, we will offer amendments for hearings on Daschle and Chappaquidick. It will work both ways," McConnell reportedly said. "I want you to tell her that right away."


I still cannot get used to working on Good Friday

I was born and raised in the Great Lakes part of the Midwest and, throughout all my life in school, college and work as a local public employee, I had Good Friday off. In the eight years since I cannot get used to the idea of going into work that day. I'm not very religious, but it still bothers my Midwestern sensibilities to the point that I take it off every year. Has anyone ensue gone through this or something similar?

Brown Headed for a Landslide Win in California

A new Field poll in California shows Gov. Jerry Brown (D) with an all-time high approval rate of 59%.

In the June open primary -- with candidates from all parties competing together -- Brown leads with 57%, followed by Tim Donnelly (R) at 17% and all other candidates in the low single digits.


9.3 million more people have health coverage because of Obama

RAND’s Health Reform Opinion Study (HROS), a survey conducted using the RAND American Life Panel, allows us to estimate how many people have become enrolled in all sources of health care coverage since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The analysis presented here examines changes in health insurance enrollment between September 2013 and March 2014; overall, we estimate that 9.3 million more people had health care coverage in March 2014, lowering the unin- sured rate from 20.5 percent to 15.8 percent. This increase in coverage is driven not only by enrollment in health insurance marketplace plans, but also by gains in employer-sponsored insurance and Medicaid. Enrollment in employer-sponsored insurance plans increased by 8.2 million and Medicaid enroll- ment increased by 5.9 million, although some individuals did lose insurance. We also found that 3.9 million people are now covered through the state and federal marketplace—the so- called insurance exchanges—and less than 1 million people who previously had individual-market insurance became unin- sured during the period in question. While the survey cannot tell if the people in this latter group lost their insurance due to cancellation or because they simply felt the cost was too high, the overall number is very small, representing less than 1 per- cent of people between the ages of 18 and 64.


Yep, the party elders are rallying around Jeb!

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour defended Jeb Bush’s recent comments that some illegal immigration is an “act of love,” saying it’s very similar to what former President Ronald Reagan thought.

“What people want you to do: Tell the truth,” Barbour said Tuesday at the LBJ Presidential Library’s Civil Rights Summit. “And if Jeb feels that way about it — it sort of reminds me of my boss, Ronald Reagan.”

Barbour, who was an aide in Reagan’s administration described what the president used to call the “gates test” during a panel Tuesday with Democratic San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro.

“Ronald Reagan used to say, ‘When the ‘Blame America first’ crowd gets out of hand, then you need to apply the gates test,’” Barbour said.


Ron Johnson was asked to keep silent in ex-aide’s alleged assault

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.) and his chief of staff did not tell police, Senate or Wisconsin officials that a former aide was allegedly sexually assaulted by a state lawmaker in April 2011, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Johnson and Tony Blando, the senator’s chief of staff, were asked by the woman and her attorney to keep the incident confidential, according to a statement from the Wisconsin Republican’s office.

But when Wisconsin state Rep. Bill Kramer - who had been elected majority leader of the Wisconsin State Assembly in Sept. 2013 - was alleged to have improperly touched and harassed two women at a February fundraiser in Washington, D.C., the former Johnson aide came forward and filed a criminal complaint against him. Kramer was charged on March 28 with two felony counts of second-degree sexual assault stemming from the April 2011 incident.

Kramer has been stripped of the post of majority leader and has announced he will not run for reelection, but he still remains in office.


Michigan woman beaten after same-sex marriage featured in the news.

(CNN) -- Nine days after her same-sex wedding, a 28-year-old Michigan woman was set upon on her way home from work, knocked unconscious by three men who kicked and punched her while shouting anti-gay epithets.

"Hey b----, aren't you that f----- from the news?" one of the men asked, according to police.

The assailants in Monday's assault recognized her from local TV news coverage of her wedding, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office. She and her partner were among the many gay and lesbian couples to recently make their unions official after a federal court struck down a Michigan amendment restricting marriage to one man and one woman.

The victim, who doesn't want to be identified, got herself to a hospital with significant bruising and swelling to the right side of her face as well as her torso and arm, Jackson said. Police in Washtenaw County -- about 30 miles west of Detroit -- were looking for the attackers.


Ted Cruz asks his Facebook friends about Obamacare, gets an earful

The Olympiad of officials and institutions reaching out to the public via social media and not hearing what they expected has a new champion: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Back on March 24, Cruz posted an informal survey on his verified senatorial Facebook page. It read: "Quick poll: Obamacare was signed into law four years ago yesterday. Are you better off now than you were then? Comment with YES or NO!"

It's probably fair to say that he didn't expect the tsunami of "YES" votes that have shown up on the page among the 47,000 that Facebook says have been posted.

Respondents have listed, among other things, their newfound ability to obtain coverage despite preexisting medical conditions, the right of young adults to stay on their parents' policies to age 26, lower premiums and the end of lifetime benefit limits.

Some posted impolite remarks about Cruz's personality or political positions. And some -- rather tactlessly, we thought -- observed that Cruz himself isn't subject to Obamacare. He gets his coverage through Goldman Sachs, where his wife is an executive. But the general tenor of remarks is that the Affordable Care Act is a good thing, that Cruz should get out of its way already and that, if anything, he should be working to improve it, not overturn it.


Many long-term unemployed may never find full-time jobs again

WASHINGTON — A new study documents the bleak plight of Americans who have been unemployed for more than six months: Just 11 percent of them, on average, will ever regain steady full-time work.

The findings by three Princeton University economists show the extent to which the long-term unemployed have been shunted to the sidelines of the U.S. economy since the Great Recession. The long-term jobless number 3.8 million, or 37 percent of all unemployed Americans.

“The long-term unemployed are more than twice as likely” to stop looking for a job than to find one, according to the paper co-written by Alan Krueger, formerly President Barack Obama's chief economic adviser. “And when they exit the labor force, the long-term unemployed tend to say they no longer want a job.”

During any given month from 2008 to 2012, barely more than one in 10 of the long-term unemployed had found full-time work. Their troubles were similar in states with high as well as low unemployment rates.

The analysis shows that a better predictor of hiring comes from the short-term unemployed, who are far more likely to be rehired.

Across the country, levels of short-term unemployment have essentially returned to pre-recession averages, even though the overall national unemployment rate remains historically high at 6.7 percent. The paper says that based on the number of short-term unemployed, further job gains could lead to “rising inflation and stronger real wage growth.”

That's because the relative exclusion of the long-term unemployed means that employers must choose from among a limited supply of workers. That trend could push up prices.

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