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Name: Chris Bastian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 72,662

Journal Archives

'What Democrat beats that guy?': Top Dems flinch from Rubio challenge


MIAMI — Few Republicans are more loathed by Democrats than Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Many have never looked at him the same since, after helping to draft the 2013 bipartisan immigration bill, he backed away under conservative pressure. They mock him as an opportunist or a Donald Trump sycophant.

With an approval rating under 50 percent, Rubio would seem ripe for a takedown in next year’s election. But right now, Florida Democrats don’t have much confidence they can topple him.

The state’s top Democratic prospects are instead jockeying to run for governor against Rubio’s fellow Republican, Ron DeSantis. And the architecture of Trump’s Florida victory in November revealed just how difficult it will be to knock off the two-term senator in a general election in the giant, expensive and red-leaning state.

“For a variety of reasons, Rubio will be tough to beat — whether because it is an off-year election, his Miami roots or his profile — that’s hardly a surprise to anyone and I believe that is why there is an absence of big names lining up early,” said Steve Vancore, a veteran Democratic pollster and strategist.

San Francisco to strip Washington, Lincoln from school names

Source: AP News

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The names of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and other prominent figures including California Sen. Dianne Feinstein will be removed from 44 San Francisco public schools, a move that stirred debate Wednesday on whether the famously liberal city has taken the national reckoning on America’s racist past too far.

The decision by the San Francisco Board of Education in a 6-1 vote Tuesday night affects one-third of the city’s schools and came nearly three years after the board started considering the idea. The approved resolution calls for removing names that honored historical figures with direct or broad ties to slavery, oppression, racism or the “subjugation” of human beings.

In addition to Washington and Thomas Jefferson — former presidents who owned slaves — the list includes naturalist John Muir, Spanish priest Junipero Serra, American Revolution patriot Paul Revere and Francis Scott Key, composer of the “Star Spangled Banner.”

Changing the name of Dianne Feinstein Elementary school, named for the Democratic senator and former mayor of San Francisco, has raised eyebrows. The trailblazing 87-year old’s star has dimmed in recent years with dismayed liberals joining calls for her retirement last year after she embraced Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham at the end of heated confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Read more: https://apnews.com/article/race-and-ethnicity-san-francisco-school-boards-education-dianne-feinstein-8ed10976d4041129917914f7dd73c14e

I have received confirmation of my COVID vax appointment this afternoon...

...after last week's cancellation.

Biden seen likely to keep Space Force, a Trump favorite

AP News

WASHINGTON (AP) — To the last moments of his presidency, Donald Trump trumpeted Space Force as a creation for the ages. And while President Joe Biden has quickly undone other Trump initiatives, the space-faring service seems likely to survive, even if the new administration pushes it lower on the list of defense priorities.

The reason Space Force is unlikely to go away is largely this: Elimination would require an act of Congress, where a bipartisan consensus holds that America’s increasing reliance on space is a worrying vulnerability that is best addressed by a branch of the military focused exclusively on this problem.

The new service also is linked to an increasing U.S. wariness of China, which is developing capabilities to threaten U.S. satellites in space and which has become, in the minds of some, the singular national security challenge. Russia, too, stands accused by Washington of seeking to challenge American dominance in space.

“They’re building capabilities to use space against us. We have to be able to respond to that,” Gen. John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the National Security Space Association, an advocacy group, last week, referring to Russia and China.

Marcia Fudge to press senators for more housing aid, setting up clash with GOP

Source: Politico

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) will call on lawmakers to boost funding for housing programs in the U.S., saying the money allocated by Congress is woefully inadequate to help the millions of Americans struggling to stay in their homes.

“We need to expand resources for HUD's programs to people who are eligible,” Fudge, President Joe Biden's nominee to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will tell the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday, according to prepared remarks. “Today, according to a 2017 study, only 1 out of 5 eligible households receive housing assistance.”

Read more: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/27/marcia-fudge-hearing-hud-463366

Democrats look to quickly move past Trump trial


Even before Donald Trump’s impeachment trial begins, some Senate Democrats are getting ready to speed to the end.

After only five Republican senators joined Democrats in a vote Tuesday essentially declaring that Trump’s trial was constitutional, some in the new majority are signaling they’d like to quickly focus their attention elsewhere. If it wasn’t obvious before, they say, it’s now clear the GOP isn’t going to convict Trump.

“ To do a trial knowing you'll get 55 votes at the max seems to me to be not the right prioritization of our time,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told reporters Wednesday. “Obviously we do a trial, maybe we can do it fast, but my top priority is Covid relief and getting the Biden Cabinet approved.”

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), a member of Democratic leadership, agreed: “It is really a judgment call about whether or not people think that his inciting an insurrection and essentially an attack on our democracy warrants conviction.”

Washington is lovely this time of year...


Federal Judges Are Retiring Now That Joe Biden Will Pick Their Replacements

Source: Huffington Post

For at least one federal judge, it appeared that President Joe Biden couldn’t be sworn in fast enough.

“It has been my honor to serve,” U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts wrote to Biden on Inauguration Day, roughly 90 minutes after he took office, announcing her plans to step down. “With respect, I congratulate you on your election as the 46th President of the United States, and Kamala Harris on her election as Vice President.”


Roberts is one of five federal judges with lifetime appointments who have announced plans to retire or semi-retire since last Wednesday, the day Donald Trump left the White House, according to data provided by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. That’s after eight judges had already announced their plans to step down since Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election.

The retirements keep coming. On Tuesday, two more U.S. district judges announced their plans to take senior status, though their names aren’t yet listed on the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts’ website. And there are likely others in the queue with similar plans.

Read more: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/federal-judges-retire-joe-biden_n_600f3759c5b676ad837652a8

Doomsday Clock remains at 100 seconds to midnight -- perilously close to catastrophe

Source: NBC News

Humanity is perilously close to catastrophe, according to a group of scientists that said the coronavirus pandemic, coupled with growing threats from climate change and nuclear weapons, is pushing civilization close to a human-caused apocalypse.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists announced on Wednesday that its symbolic Doomsday Clock remains at 100 seconds to midnight, the same as last year. That's the closest the timepiece has been to symbolic doom in the more than 70 years of its existence.

The clock doesn't function as a prediction of calamity but rather represents humanity’s perceived proximity to human-caused catastrophe. The Bulletin has maintained the Doomsday Clock since 1947, and it has become a stark visual metaphor since its launch during the Cold War, when the clock's hands were set at seven minutes to midnight.

Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, said the pandemic has functioned as a "historic wake-up call," and one that revealed how many governments and international organizations are unprepared to handle complex and dangerous challenges.

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/doomsday-clock-set-100-seconds-midnight-perilously-close-catastrophe-n1255708

Biden won the fight over the filibuster without saying a word

NBC News

WASHINGTON — When the dust settled from the first round of the Senate battle over the filibuster, one man had clearly won: President Joe Biden.

The new president, a 36-year veteran of the Senate, has long believed in the principle of unlimited debate. But as many of his fellow Democrats clamored to kill the filibuster, silence was Biden's best friend.

In sidestepping the fight publicly, Biden protected his political capital while reassuring both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that he could see both of their divergent points of view — and, more important, their political needs.

Jim Manley, who was an aide to Harry Reid, D-Nev., when he was the Senate majority leader, said Biden's handling of the filibuster debate demonstrates an understanding of how a president can and can't help himself by engaging on Capitol Hill.

"Presidents get entangled in internal Senate politics at their peril," Manley said in an email exchange. "Doesn't mean they can't talk privately, but he is playing this pretty close to perfect for right now by not putting a lot of pressure on Democrats."

The closest Biden got to taking a side was when White House press secretary Jen Psaki said his position "hasn't changed" — a tea leaf that Republicans could take as a sign that he wouldn't steamroll them and that Democrats could read as a harbinger of a possible future flip.

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