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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Massachusetts
Home country: United States
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 02:28 PM
Number of posts: 60,536

Journal Archives

Associated Press -Catastrophe 2014: How the GOP gerrymandered its way to Congressional invincibility

2012 was just a preview: Even if the GOP loses at the ballot box, it'll still likely come away with the House.


Even if Democrats recruit great candidates, raise gobs of money and run smart campaigns, they face an uphill fight to retake control of the House in this year’s congressional elections, regardless of the political climate in November.

The reason? Republican strategists spent years developing a plan to take advantage of the 2010 Census, first by winning state legislatures and then redrawing House districts to tilt the playing field in their favor. Their success was unprecedented.

In states like Ohio, Michigan and North Carolina, Republicans were able to shape congressional maps to pack as many Democratic voters as possible into the fewest House districts. The practice is called gerrymandering, and it left fertile ground elsewhere in each state to spread Republican voters among more districts, increasing the GOP’s chances of winning more seats.

Geography helped in some states. Democratic voters are more likely to live in densely populated urban areas, making it easier to pack them into fewer districts.

The first payoff came in 2012, when Republicans kept control of the House despite a Democratic wave that swept President Barack Obama to a second term. The next payoff is likely to come this fall when candidates once again compete in House districts drawn by Republican legislators in key states.


Exclusive: “Fox and Friends” poster child accused of bullying employees over safety risks

Fox held this company up as a victim of Obama's pro-union bullying — but workers say network's got it backwards


A janitorial company painted by “Fox and Friends” as the victim of attempted pro-union government coercion has in fact been coercing its own employees to hide safety risks from the government, employees charged to Salon.

“I felt this wasn’t good, to have to lie,” janitor Ana Parada told Salon in Spanish. “Because I wanted someone to know what was happening.”

Parada’s employer, the Texas-based Professional Janitorial Services, was praised on last week’s “Fox and Friends” by Fox legal expert Peter Johnson for defying what he suggested could be a government “protection racket.” After host Steve Doocy asked “Is the government quietly blackmailing companies to unionize?,” Johnson asked if “we have a situation in this country now where big federal government is putting its arm around” the Service Employees International Union, to “say, ‘Hey, this is a pretty good union here. Maybe you should hook up with these folks — and if you don’t hook up with these folks, non-union business, maybe OSHA’s going to be coming down your smoke stacks big time.”

At issue in Fox’s outrage segment — and stories about PJS in National Review and the Daily Caller — is a year-old letter issued by an OSHA official to a health and safety specialist from the United Steelworkers union, who had asked whether workers alleging safety issues in a non-union workplace could designate someone from a union to participate in an OSHA investigation as a “personal representative,” or as “walkaround representative” who accompanies an inspector on a workplace visit.


Republican elites felled by horrible new sickness: Jeb Bush fever! - By Joan Walsh

Rich donors are getting ready to draft another Bush and thumb their noses at the party’s far-right base. Good luck!


Can the Republican Party base catch Jeb Bush fever? They may have no choice. According to the Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, GOP donors panicked over Gov. Chris Christie’s implosion are going all out to draft the long-ago Florida governor to run for president in 2016.

Jeb Bush is certainly tanned and rested, if not ready: He left the governor’s office in 2006, and has done little since then besides work for disgraced and defunct Lehman Brothers and write a book that reversed his once progressive stance on immigration reform. Rucker and Costa quote a former Mitt Romney bundler saying the “vast majority” of Romney’s top 100 donors would like to see a Bush run.

“He’s the most desired candidate out there,” said Brian Ballard, a member of the Romney 2012 and McCain 2008 national finance committees. “Everybody that I know is excited about it.”

So to summarize: Bush hasn’t run for office for in 14 years, his wife Columba is known to be unenthusiastic about a presidential run, his own mother doesn’t think he should do it, and in a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, 50 percent of registered voters say they “definitely would not” vote for him – but the wise men of the party want to draft him anyway. This should all work out fine.


Why Are a Conservative Governor and Conservative Senate Candidate Struggling in Kansas?

By David Weigel

Of course not, but while the national media's attention drifted elsewhere there's evidence that the modern conservative insurgency has found its limits in one of America's most reliably right-wing states. The Republican Party has controlled Kansas' legislature for a generation, but for a long time a moderate faction held off the most conservative bills. That changed in 2012, with the assiduous (and pricey) efforts to oust moderates in primaries. One-third of the Senate GOP caucus went down after the Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity battered them on the air. In 2013 Gov. Sam Brownback had the votes to dramatically slash income tax rates, while keeping sales taxes above 6 percent.

How's it working? Well, unusually for a governor who's returning money to taxpayers, Brownback has become terribly unpopular. In the last year, Public Policy Polling found his approval rating sinking from 37 percent to 33 percent. As of last month, he trailed Democrat Paul Davis in his 2014 re-election bid. Brownback might have recovered since then, but the major legislation voters became aware of was the pioneering "religious freedom" bill that codified the right to deny service to gays.

This is news from a few weeks ago. I'm reminded of it because Dave Helling has a piece, in Politico, about Milton Wolf's aspirational Tea Party primary challenge of Sen. Pat Roberts. It is not going well, but it has nothing to do with Wolf's conservatism. It's just been easy for Roberts to tack right. But surely it doesn't help that the state's just passed conservative dream legislation and people don't like it. Over the last few days, conservatives in the state have tried to rebut and deride data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a progressive-leaning think tank, that branded the tax cuts as failures based on the lack of new revenue and the steep cuts to services. Kansas could, I guess, point to the state's low unemployment numbers as proof that the cuts are working.

But Kansas' unemployment rate has dropped by 0.7 points since the passage of the tax cuts, a bit below the median. California, that eternal punching bag for conservative governors, has seen its unemployment rate drop twice as fast in the same period of time. The theory behind steep income tax cuts in a state is that business is going to race over the border to take advantage, and that revenue will recover quickly. If that's not happening, it's tough to be a conservative crusader—tough to convince voters that the porridge that's melting through the table simply isn't hot enough.



Obama To Endorse Sen. Schatz Over Challenger Hanabusa In Hawaii


President Barack Obama will endorse Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) in the Democratic Senate primary over competitor Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, according to The Huffington Post. Obama will make the announcement on Monday, according to The Huffington Post report.

The endorsement will be a boost to Schatz, who has already won major endorsements on the left from the likes of Al Gore and Howard Dean among others. Schatz was appointed to finish out the end of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye's (D-HI) Senate term by Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) in 2012.

Schatz was an early supporter of Obama's first presidential run in 2008. Hanabusa supported Hillary Clinton. Inouye's dying wish was that Abercrombie appoint Hanabusa to his Senate seat.

The Hawaii primary is on August 9.



Registered Sex Offender And Convicted Killer Runs For CA Guv


California's gubernatorial race includes a registered sex offender and convicted killer.

The candidate, Glenn Champ, actually argues that his criminal background gives him the necessary experience to deal with politicians.

Champ, 48, spent over ten years in state prison and was convicted of intent to commit rape, assault, and voluntary manslaughter, according to The Los Angeles Times.

"In my life, I've been held accountable because of my stupidity. I do not want anyone else to be enslaved because of their lack of knowledge," Champ said recently according to the Times.


New Analysis: 9.5 Million Uninsured People Covered Under Obamacare

DYLAN SCOTT – MARCH 31, 2014, 10:14 AM EDT

About 9.5 million Americans who were previously uninsured have gotten health coverage under Obamacare, according to a new analysis.

The Los Angeles Times reported the number, which combines data from an unpublished study by RAND Corp. with other publicly available figures. It's one of the most comprehensive efforts yet to asses the law's impact on the uninsured as open enrollment comes to a close.

The numbers break down like this:

- 6 million people have enrolled in private coverage through Healthcare.gov and its state counterparts. The Times estimated that about one-third of them -- or about 2 million -- were uninsured, based in part on new numbers from RAND.


GOP Senators Call For Special Committee To Investigate Benghazi

Source: TPM

SAHIL KAPUR – MARCH 31, 2014, 10:09 AM EDT

A trio of Republican senators is pushing for a special committee to investigate the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead.

"We are once again calling for the appointment of a Joint Select Committee to investigate the terrorist attacks on our compounds in Benghazi," said Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John McCain (R-AZ) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) in a statement Monday. "It is imperative that we learn everything that happened before, during and after the attacks. A Joint Select Committee should be established."

The push comes as House Democrats are demanding that House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) give up his year-and-a-half long probe into purported Obama administration mischief over the attack. Democrats accuse Issa of pursuing a witch hunt aimed at tarnishing the president and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ahead of a possible 2016 presidential run. To date, there isn't evidence to implicate Clinton or senior White House officials in wrongdoing.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/graham-mccain-ayotte-special-committee-benghazi

GOP’s self-defeating myopia: Why its Obamacare mania is now a gift to Democrats

Turns out the political conventional wisdom around the Affordable Care Act is wrong -- and the right may be sorry


Here’s a riddle for anyone who thinks the politics of Obamacare are straightforward, and toxic for Democrats. How is it possible, in defiance of public rebuke, widespread misinformation and other headwinds, that insurance enrollment is surging in just about every state in the country?

I suppose it’s possible that these millions of new beneficiaries were all supporters of the law to begin with and don’t hint at more complex views. But I don’t think that’s right.

Over the past several days we’ve been presented with a wealth of evidence that the conventional theory of the Affordable Care Act and the coming midterm elections is flawed.

Going back to last year, before they knew how poor the rollout of the law would be, administration officials knew they’d have to circumvent traditional media to encourage enrollment. But perhaps because the rollout was so bad, the press has been less helpful to the cause of the ACA than the administration expected. Not that it’s the press’s job to encourage enrollment, exactly, but a profusion of glitches and delays has given reporters a lot to write about aside from subsidies and other ACA benefits.


Chris Christie fails Scandal Response 101: Why he’s handling it disastrously

His attorneys' laughable "report" didn't convince anyone, and only strengthened the real investigation against him


The lawyers Chris Christie hired to look into whether or not Chris Christie did anything wrong released the report that concludes their (taxpayer-funded) investigation last week, and, surprising few, they determined that Chris Christie did not do anything wrong. Christie effectively declared himself totally vindicated at a press conference in which he cracked jokes and seemed uninterested in performing any sort of penitent act. This is his official declaration that he’s done with this scandal.

The purpose of the report was the same as the purpose of Christie’s original “epic” Jan. 9 press conference: To help the governor act as though this whole mess is behind him, so that he can resume governing and preparing to run for president. At the Jan. 9 conference he made a point of answering every single question. He then limited his appearances to friendly town halls and claimed that only out-of-touch reporters still cared about the bridge scandal. Until last Friday, it had been three months since Christie’s last press conference.

That gave his attorneys (including one who has referred to Christie as a “very dear friend”) time to write up a faux-exhaustive accounting of how the time that a bunch of devoted Christie allies decided to create traffic problems as a means of political retribution against a Democratic mayor had nothing, at all, to do with Christie personally. The governor “has conducted himself at every turn as someone who has nothing to hide,” according to the report. Case closed!

The entire thing, from hiring politically connected Christie-allied lawyers to paying for the pricey investigation with public funds to crowing about the transparent snow job like it will actually convince anyone, looks like a stupid unforced error by Christie. Even the “objective” press is highlighting the attorneys’ links to Christie and the fact that New Jersey taxpayers are on the hook for $1 million spent solely to help their governor recover from a scandal. Starting with the New York Times’ initial story on the review, nearly every news organization has (appropriately) treated the report as an unconvincing attempt to venerate Christie and pin everything on a few obvious scapegoats who, conveniently, didn’t cooperate with the investigation. No one is buying it, and in thinking he could get the political press to play along, Christie just insulted a class of people who were formerly among his most valuable allies.

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