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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit Area, MI
Home country: USA
Current location: San Francisco, CA
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 01:53 PM
Number of posts: 16,114

About Me

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

Journal Archives

Schumer Withdraws Offer for Funding Border Wall

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) “is taking his big spending boost for Donald Trump’s border wall off the table,” Politico reports.

“The Senate minority leader, through an aide, informed the White House on Monday that he was retracting the offer he made last week to give Trump well north of the $1.6 billion in wall funding Trump had asked for this year, according to two Democrats. And now they say Trump will simply not get a better deal than that on his signature campaign promise.”


FL-27: Donna Shalala Might Run for Congress

Former University of Miami president Donna Shalala “might be eying a bid for Florida’s 27th Congressional District, where nine Democrats are scrapping to succeed retiring Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in a seat that Hillary Clinton almost won by almost 20 points,” Politico reports.

“If Shalala runs, she’s a likely frontrunner who could clear some of the field.”


Florida voters will be able to restore voting rights to over a million former felons in November

Florida voters will have a chance to restore voting rights to more than 1 million former felons through a ballot initiative this November.

The proposed constitutional amendment on Tuesday reached the 766,200 petition signatures required to go on the ballot. The Voting Restoration Amendment, which the state is expected to certify soon, would automatically restore rights to citizens convicted of most non-violent crimes who have completed their prison sentence, parole, and probation. Only those convicted of murder or felony sexual offense would be excluded.

If approved with 60 percent of the vote in November, the amendment has the potential to reshape electoral politics in Florida, a critical swing state, and set the example for other states grappling with whether to relax strict laws prohibiting people with criminal convictions from voting. Florida currently has one of the strictest felon disenfranchisement laws in the country — only Florida, Kentucky, Virginia, and Iowa permanently bar those with felony convictions from voting for life, unless they seek clemency. In total, roughly 1.6 million Florida citizens — about one in four African Americans — are barred from casting a ballot.

Sheena Meade, organizing director for the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition which led the initiative to gather more than a million signatures, told ThinkProgress that getting the amendment certified is a “huge accomplishment for the people of Florida.”


Something good came out of today whether you accept it or not

A two-week CR passed Congress that reauthorized the CHIP program for 9 million kids. And even if don’t think they were worth it, we just took them off the Republicans’ hostage list when go at this again in Feb. If that’s not something then I don’t know what to tell you.

Trumps voter fraud commission asked Texas for list of Latinos


This mess with DACA could have all been avoided in the first place

If Hillary had been elected President.

FL: Sarasota State House spepcial election has major parties on edge

Candidates typically don’t change tactics when they’re working well.

So when Republican state House candidate James Buchanan decided to stop avoiding campaign appearances with his opponents and agreed last week to a debate it was viewed by some of his supporters as a sign that the avoidance strategy — one often employed by front-runners — was starting to hurt him.

Leading Southwest Florida Republicans have expressed concerns about the District 72 race in recent days. They point to a state Senate contest in Wisconsin as an ominous harbinger for the GOP. A Democrat won a special election for the Wisconsin seat last week, despite President Donald Trump having carried it by 17 percentage points.

Trump won the Sarasota state House district Buchanan is seeking by 4.4 percentage points.

During a normal election cycle, District 72′s GOP leanings combined with Buchanan’s name recognition — he is the son of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan — and significant financial resources would put the odds in his favor.

But Democrats are fired up to push back against Trump and the GOP agenda in Congress, and that enthusiasm is manifesting itself in races up and down the ballot, including special elections for legislative seats.

Regardless, Democrats have reason to be nervous as well. Republicans still have a significant voter registration advantage in District 72, which covers much of northern Sarasota County. The seat has been held by a Republican since 2010.

As of Friday evening, Democrats had a slight edge in the number of absentee ballots returned.

The Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections office mailed out 12,545 ballots to Republicans, 11,308 to Democrats and 3,720 to voters with no party or a minor party affiliation.

Democrats had returned 4,607 absentee ballots as of Friday, compared to 4,283 for Republicans and 1,174 for all other voters.


Rick Scott releases the SSC numbers of nearly 1,000 Florida voters.

The private information of nearly 1,000 individuals was mishandled by the state’s Division of Elections as it responded to a public records request last year, making it the second time in four months that a state agency has compromised the private information of Floridians.

State officials said Friday that the last four digits of the social security number of 945 individuals were sent in error to a member of the public.

The department has notified all the individuals whose confidential information was released by mistake.

While officials say there is no reason to believe their private information has been misused, they are offering those affected a year-long membership to an identity theft protection service.

Earlier this month, officials with the Agency of Health Care Administration confirmed that the medical records and personal information of up to 30,000 people enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program may have been compromised after a data breach.

The incident in that agency stemmed from a state employee opening a malicious phishing email. The data breach exposed the Social Security numbers, dates of birth, Medicaid ID numbers and private health care information of clients.


Federal agents broke the law to implement Trumps first travel ban

On Jan. 27, 2017, Donald Trump issued an executive order prohibiting individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. In the following days, several federal judges blocked parts of the ban, and one week later, U.S. District Judge James Robart froze the whole thing. Throughout those chaotic early days, civil rights groups alleged that Customs and Border Protection officers charged with enforcing the policy had violated court orders limiting their authority. On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General released a lengthy report confirming that CBP did, in fact, break the law in its implementation of Trump’s first travel ban.

CBP ran into legal trouble almost as soon as U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly barred the government from deporting individuals covered by the executive order. By the time Donnelly issued her ruling in Darweesh v. Trump on Jan. 28 of last year, CBP had detained an Iranian national with a student visa at Los Angeles International Airport for 23 hours. When Donnelly’s decision came down, the student was in the process of being placed on a flight out of the country. She promptly informed a pair of CBP officers that a judge had issued a restraining order blocking the ban. The officers did not halt her deportation or ask a supervisor about the ruling. Instead, they forced her to board the plane. (Several days later, she obtained permission to fly back.)

The OIG report suggests this incident amounted to an honest mistake, but it is nevertheless sharply critical of CBP’s broader interpretation of the Darweesh decision. Donnelly’s ruling stated that the executive order likely violated due process and equal protection and that the government could not “remov[e]” individuals covered by the ban. CBP interpreted this to mean that officers could turn away travelers who arrived by land and sea, asserting that these individuals were refused entry, not technically “removed.” OIG criticized this approach, which barred 30 individuals from entering the country, as “a highly aggressive stance in light of the court’s concerns.”

These actions were arguably legal under an extremely narrow reading of Darweesh. But the next day, Jan. 29, CBP crossed a clear legal line. That morning, U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs issued a decision in Louhghalam v. Trump barring CBP officers at Boston Logan International Airport from detaining or removing anyone covered by the order. She also explicitly directed CBP to “notify airlines that have flights arriving at Logan Airport” that “individuals on those flights will not be detained or returned based solely on the basis of the Executive Order.”

CBP did the exact opposite of what Burroughs’ ruling required. The OIG investigation found that the agency continued to call airlines and instruct them not to let travelers board planes to the United States if they were covered by the order. It did so despite having full knowledge of Burroughs’ restraining order. Indeed, OIG found that CBP did “everything in its power to block [these] travelers” from boarding flights bound for the United States. Officers threatened airline representatives, asserting that the government would fine them $50,000 and bar their planes from landing if they ignored CBP’s (unlawful) orders.


Dallas County Republicans file lawsuit to kick 128 Democrats off election ballot

Dallas County Republicans have filed a lawsuit to have 128 Democrats kicked off the March 6 primary ballot.

The lawsuit, filed in Dallas County late Friday, contends that Dallas County Democratic Party Chairman Carol Donovan didn't sign the petitions of 128 Democratic Party candidates before sending them to the Texas Secretary of State's office, as required by law.

"The Election Code says the chairman, and nobody else, has to sign them," said Elizabeth Alvarez Bingham, a lawyer for the Dallas County Republican Party. "Carol Donovan is the chair. She was supposed to sign them. She didn't do it."

The news stunned some Democrats after a lawyer for their party notified them of the lawsuit Sunday afternoon.

"We have assembled a legal team of Dallas' best and brightest Democratic election law attorneys," Donovan said late Sunday in a news release. "Though we are taking this case seriously, the Republican Party's lawsuit is not supported by Texas law. We will fight to ensure that all Democratic voters in Dallas County can participate in a fair Primary election."

"This is just Republican shenanigans," said state Sen. Royce West, one of the names Republicans want tossed off the ballot. "Republicans are trying to drive a wedge in the Democratic Party because they can't be competitive in the county."

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