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The latest blue state political news, from the most reliable sources, all in one place.

Daily Kos Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:54:57 GMT  

Democratic group calls Christie's bluff on 'sit down and shut up' bluster
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks during a news conference in Trenton, New Jersey March 28, 2014. On Thursday a law firm hired by Christie, a potential Republican 2016 contender for the White House, released a report clearing him of wrongdoing in
Goal Thermometer

This public records request from American Bridge PAC to the office of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in response to his "sit down and shut up" bluster during an event in New Jersey on Wednesday is pretty funny:

To Whom It May Concern,

The following request is being made in accordance with the New Jersey Open Public Records Act (N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq.) and all other New Jersey open record laws.

At an event commemorating the two year anniversary of super-storm Sandy on October 29, 2014, Governor Christie claimed “I've been here when the cameras weren’t here and did the work [on Sandy recovery]”

We respectfully request a list of all trips to which Christie was referring - specifically trips to the Jersey Shore to work on Sandy recovery, where no “cameras” – from the media or the Governor’s office – were in attendance to record the event. [...]

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

The context: A New Jersey resident confronted Christie at a public event and accused Christie of being more interested in grandstanding than finishing recovery efforts, at which point Christie told him to "sit down and shut up," saying:
I'll be more than happy to have a debate with you anytime you like, guy, because somebody like you doesn’t know a damn thing about what you're talking about except to stand up and show off when the cameras are here. I've been here when the cameras aren't here, buddy, and done the work.
Not a bad line, though it is ironic that it was delivered for the cameras. And now, with this public records request, we'll find out if it wasn't just another bout of hot air from Christie.
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Pensito Review Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:54:57 GMT  

Paul: Republican Brand ‘Sucks’

The Republican Party brand sucks and so people don't want to be a Republican.

— Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), quoted by CNN.

The Republican Party brand sucks and so people don’t want to be a Republican.

— Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), quoted by CNN.


http://blogs.ajc.com/mike-luckovich/feed/ Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:58:14 GMT  


ThinkProgress Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:54:57 GMT  

The First College To Use Affirmative Consent Was A Laughingstock. Now, The Tide Is Turning.

Despite the current controversy, Antioch College is confident that other schools will follow in its footsteps.

The post The First College To Use Affirmative Consent Was A Laughingstock. Now, The Tide Is Turning. appeared first on ThinkProgress.

antioch

CREDIT: Antioch College via Flickr Creative Commons

When Antioch College implemented the first affirmative consent policy in the country, “we became laughingstocks,” one of the former students involved in the effort admitted in a essay published this month in New York Magazine. Despite the ridicule, officials at the college haven’t backed down since 1991 — and now, they see the rest of the country slowly starting to change its tune.

In the 1990s, once it unveiled its Sexual Offense Prevention Policy (SOPP), the small Ohio school became transformed into the ultimate symbol of overzealous liberalism. An infamous Saturday Night Live skit mocked the new policy for classifying normal sexual interactions as date rape, depicting college students’ robotic requests to “elevate the level of sexual intimacy by feeling your buttocks” to suggest that was the only way to avoid breaking the rules.

More than two decades later, some of those dynamics persist in a renewed national conversation about sexual consent. As states like California and New York have asked colleges to update their policies to include an affirmative consent standard — which requires sexual partners to obtain explicit consent before proceeding, rather than assuming it’s okay unless the other person says “no” — critics are using some of the same arguments to make their points about why the policy is ridiculous.

But something about the current landscape is also very different. With national attention focused on the campus rape crisis, and colleges struggling to figure out how to update their sexual assault policies to avoid even more bad press, affirmative consent is gaining momentum. People are looking to Antioch as an example instead of as a joke.

“I came to Antioch from two other institutions that were in the process of wrestling with their Title IX policies,” Luis Rosa, the dean of community life at Antioch and the administrator who’s tasked with investigating potential sexual assault cases, said in an interview with ThinkProgress. “I can safely say that both of those schools are now working in the direction of creating policies that resemble ours.”

Rosa is new to the school this year, but he said that Antioch’s reputation precedes it. At orientation this fall, parents and students told him that the affirmative consent standard factored into their decision to enroll. They said they liked the fact that Antioch has been on the front line of this particular issue.

“The policy is fairly embedded into the culture,” Rosa said. “I think if you were to survey students, you’d be surprised to learn how many of them know of the SOPP program, how many of them are proud of it, and how many of them use the language of affirmative consent. Very few would speak negatively about it.”

Speaking with NPR earlier this month, an Antioch alumna who was on campus during the 1990s echoed that sentiment.

“It really, at least for me personally, became part of who I am,” Kristine Herman, one of the students who helped draft the SOPP policy, said. “Media attention didn’t even really explode until 1993, which, of course, was already two years into us living with policy where it wasn’t that controversial, because there were already two incoming classes of students who sort of thought this was normal and status quo.”

Rosa predicted that at some point within the next 10 years, affirmative consent policies will be a “given” at most college campuses across the country. “I think Antioch has become somewhat of an example and a role model for this notion that consent can become something that students translate to their own language and even something they use to enhance their sexual experience in a healthy fashion,” he said.

In fact, according to the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management, more than 800 colleges and universities already use some kind of affirmative consent definition in their sexual assault policies. This data point has gotten somewhat lost in the concern over California’s new law. But what was once seen as an outlier at Antioch is increasingly becoming best practice in the higher education community.

“There’s quite a surge in support of a ‘Yes means yes’ formula,” Ada Meloy, the general counsel for the American Council on Education, recently told Insider Higher Education. “It’s certainly an ongoing movement, and is likely to be a generally positive thing.”

That current movement owes a lot to Antioch’s initial activism, and the community there is proud of that. “My sense is that this effort that Antioch has made, and continues to make, on this issue has made this probably the safest campus I’ve worked on for women and men when it comes to sexual assault,” Rosa said.

The post The First College To Use Affirmative Consent Was A Laughingstock. Now, The Tide Is Turning. appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Video: Texas Candidate Says Democrats Should Go Spend Their Food Stamps Instead Of Vote

"What we want them to think is, 'There's no reason. She doesn't have an opponent. I don't need to go to the polls. I'll go spend my food stamp money at the grocery store or whatever, you know, on election day,'" a Dallas County judicial candidate said.

The post Video: Texas Candidate Says Democrats Should Go Spend Their Food Stamps Instead Of Vote appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Early Voting Texas

CREDIT: AP

A judicial election in Dallas County may heat up after video emerged of the Republican candidate in the race using a colorful analogy to explain the importance of limiting election day turnout by voters in Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson’s (D) congressional district.

“You might question, ‘why would you talk a Republican out of running against Eddie-Bernice Johnson?’,” Ron Natinsky (R) said in the video clip reported by the Dallas Morning News’ Trailblazer blog, explaining why he discouraged a fellow GOP politician in the area from mounting a challenge to Johnson in the 2014 midterms. “Well because we don’t want to motivate her voters. We don’t need another 5 or 10,000 of her people going to the polls. What we want them to think is, ‘There’s no reason. She doesn’t have an opponent. I don’t need to go to the polls.

“I’ll go spend my food stamp money at the grocery store or whatever, you know, on Election Day,” Natinsky concluded. The remarks are from a 2013 appearance at the Coppell Republican Club but had not been reported before this week. The club took the video of Natinsky’s appearance down shortly after the comments made the news, but the Trailblazer blog posted the relevant segment from it on their own site:

Natinsky told a local CBS affiliate that he doesn’t regret saying what he did but that he’s “sorry that people are misinterpreting it because it is being taken somewhat out of context.”

The implication that Democrats in Johnson’s largely African-American district are likely to be food stamps recipients did not sit well with some Democrats in the area, the paper reports. But Natinsky’s comments reflect a view of Democratic voters and public assistance recipients that has been commonplace among GOP politicians in recent years.

Long before the 2012 election changed thanks to video of Mitt Romney telling a private donor gathering that 47 percent of the country would never be convinced to vote for Republicans because they are too dependent on government handouts, other prominent members of the party were openly dividing the electorate into righteous, conservative “makers” and ignoble, liberal “takers.” Rep. Paul Ryan (R), who was the most prominent Republican to use that rhetorical frame over the past several election cycles, has softened his manner of talking about the differences between rich and poor in his public rhetoric since he and Romney were defeated in 2012. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed explaining his shift in rhetoric, Ryan wrote that he stands by the underlying concept about how government aid alters people’s behavior but that calling such people “takers” is ineffective at changing minds.

Over 70 percent of Dallas County residents were eligible for the food stamps program in 2012, according to Feeding America, with 20 percent of the county’s households unable to consistently provide sufficient nutritious food throughout the year. The county is 22 percent black, 32 percent white, and 39 percent Hispanic, with a median household income significantly below both the state and national levels. At 19.6 percent, Dallas County’s poverty rate is a quarter higher than the national average, according to Census data.

More than four in ten food stamps users nationwide are white, compared to one in three who are black and one in five who are Hispanic.

Aside from the crack about food stamps, Natinsky’s point about voter turnout is consistent with what other state-level GOP officials have said in the past about various efforts to manipulate exactly who shows up to cast a ballot on election day. But where Natinsky was explaining the tactical rationale for a piece of political advice, local Republican operatives elsewhere have gone much farther.

In 2012, a Florida GOP official admitted that a slate of new election day laws was intended to suppress Democratic turnout. When Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State banned early voting systems over Democrats’ protests, the chair of the Franklin County GOP applauded the move because “we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accomodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine.” Also in 2012, a Pennsylvania state lawmaker listed “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania” among the party’s accomplishments. Last year a county-level GOP official in North Carolina resigned after telling The Daily Show that if the state’s voter ID law “hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that wants the government to give them everything, so be it.”

The post Video: Texas Candidate Says Democrats Should Go Spend Their Food Stamps Instead Of Vote appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Behind The Scenes, Southern Baptists Wrestle With How To Handle Homosexuality In The Modern World

ThinkProgress joined 1,200 Southern Baptist leaders for a conference addressing "The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage."

The post Behind The Scenes, Southern Baptists Wrestle With How To Handle Homosexuality In The Modern World appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Every session at the ERLC conference opened with praise music.

Every session at the ERLC conference opened with praise music.

CREDIT: ERLC

The Southern Baptist Convention is the U.S.’s largest Christian denomination after the Catholic Church, with some 16 million members and over 45,000 congregations, concentrated mostly in the South. This week in Nashville, the Convention’s public policy arm, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), hosted its first-ever national conference, focusing on “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage,” and ThinkProgress was there.

The Convention’s theology on homosexuality has not changed. The Bible, as they read it, declares homosexual behavior to be sexual immorality, and there was no debate about this tenet among any of the religious leaders who spoke at the conference. But the world has changed in its understanding and acceptance of people with same-sex orientations, and the Convention has been affected by these changes. The conversations this week indicated new ways that these evangelical Christians are working to negotiate their beliefs.

If someone only watched the live stream of the conference, they would have heard what sounded like a variety of mixed messages, but all of which obeyed this theology and sounded similar to familiar anti-gay and anti-transgender rhetoric. But among the 1,200 attendees, who were almost all pastors themselves (and as a result, almost all men), there were much more complex conversations being had about not just how best to uphold the theology, but also how to do genuinely do right by LGBT people. And even onstage, there were a few distinct signs of change even within the bounds of that theology.

“I Repent Of That,” But Not Of That

Albert Mohler speaking at #ERLC2014

Albert Mohler speaking at #ERLC2014.

CREDIT: ERLC

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, opened the conference with an example of such progress. “Early in this controversy, I felt it quite necessary, in order to make clear of the Gospel, to deny anything like a sexual orientation,” he admitted, saying that he got that “wrong” — “I repent of that.” He went on to explain, “I believe that a Biblical theological understanding, a robust Biblical theology, would point to us that human sexual affective profiles — that who we are sexually — is far more deeply rooted than just the ‘will,’ if that were so easy.” In other words, people don’t choose to be gay, and church leaders were wrong to ever assert that they did. That’s a pretty significant admission, and it wasn’t the only shift heard at the conference.

But Mohler immediately went on to address the “revisionists,” advocates like Matthew Vines who do not believe the Bible condemns homosexuality and are encouraging others to similarly rethink their theology. “If the revisionist arguments are right, then we’ve got to join them,” Mohler said. “I don’t believe for a minute they are right.”

Some of those revisionists were in attendance, including Vines, though none were invited to speak. A group known as the Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists (AWAB) launched a campaign inviting supporters to sign a statement challenging the Convention’s theological stance. In addition, AWAB, which boasts 98 churches in its membership, held its own press conference in Nashville to counter the messages of the ERLC conference, encouraging church leaders not to treat LGBT people as “issues” or “cultural phenomenons,” but as “fellow human beings.”

AWAB also joined other local groups, including PFLAG of Nashville, the Tennessee Equality Project, and Vanderbilt Divinity School, in a candlelight vigil outside the conference center Monday night. Their simple message was that “God is Love” and that LGBT people should not have to reject who they are in this life for a promise of redemption in the next. So long as the theology is not open to debate, churches can not truly be welcoming to LGBT people.

Brandan Robertson, spokesperson for Evangelicals for Marriage Equality, echoed these sentiments in an interview with the Christian Post, explaining, “Christians should be able to disagree about these sorts of issues without having their salvation called into question by other Christians.”

There’s More Than One Way To Translate Theology To Ministry

Members of Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists and Vanderbilt Divinity School holding vigil outside #ERLC2014.

Members of Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists and Vanderbilt Divinity School holding vigil outside #ERLC2014.

CREDIT: ThinkProgress/Zack Ford

Questions like these were apparent among the pastors in attendance as well. Though they didn’t doubt the theology that homosexuality is a sin, neither were they convinced that such a belief painted a clear path to ministering on the issue. Speakers who emphasized positive ways to show support to LGBT people, like Focus on the Family’s Glenn Stanton (“Loving My (LGBT) Neighbor“) and Jim Daly (“Reconcilable Differences: Building Bridges With Those Who Disagree About Marriage“), seemed to resonate with them more than those that were more critical on the topic.

The pastors who talked to ThinkProgress preferred they not be quoted by name, but spoke openly about the way they wrestle with the issue of homosexuality in their own ministries. They felt torn between what their faith tells them is true and what they hear from LGBT people about the negative way those messages are received. Rather than needing reinforcement about what the Scripture tells them, they were focused on learning how to improve their tone to be more loving and respectful, how to truly treat LGBT people as more than just their identities, and how they might reconsider how much to emphasize the sin of homosexuality. “We’re all sinners” was a common mantra among speakers and attendees alike — a bit ironic for a conference dedicated to discussing one particular sin.

And some in attendance even had different thoughts about what limitations the theology placed on how they interact with LGBT people. One young man, who is helping plant a new church in a big city, told ThinkProgress that the issues at the conference were personal for him because he has a close family member who is gay. If that family member invited him to his same-sex wedding, he said that he probably would attend the ceremony because his beliefs about homosexuality did not compromise the love he had for his relative. Incidentally, during a session the next day, ERLC president Russell Moore told the conference that they should not attend a same-sex wedding, because all witnesses to a marriage ceremony are condoning that union. (Receptions and showers are okay, though.)

Inconsistencies And Strange Bedfellows

"Unlikely Convert" Rosaria Butterfield speaking with Dr. Russell Moore at #ERLC2014

“Unlikely Convert” Rosaria Butterfield speaking with Dr. Russell Moore at #ERLC2014.

CREDIT: ERLC

The theology condemning homosexuality may have been consistent, but even the conference’s official speakers disagreed about its implications. Moore notably disavowed ex-gay therapy, but other speakers like Rosaria Butterfield spoke of their own journey out of homosexuality, and others like closing speaker J.D. Greear suggested that change in orientation is possible beyond just a commitment to celibacy. Several speakers also discouraged the use of language like “sexual orientation,” because it validates individuals defining themselves by their sexuality.

Additionally, some speakers delved into transgender issues in ways that sounded much less compassionate than how issues of sexual orientation were largely discussed. The Southern Baptist Convention already adheres to fairly strict notions of gender just in terms of men and women; only men are allowed to serve in pastoral office and “a wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband.” Attempting to assert these norms translated into significant rejection of the existence of transgender people — not unlike the same claims about sexual orientation that Mohler repented of.

The conference’s overall “love thy neighbor” theme was also compromised by some of the bedfellows invited to participate. Most notably, lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom trumpeted their call for “religious liberty” and the idea that Christians should be able to refuse to do business that might involve a service provided for a same-sex wedding. Barronelle Stutzman, the Washington florist fighting for the right to not sell flowers for a same-sex ceremony, also spoke briefly, garnering an enthusiastic standing ovation from all in attendance. Despite all the rhetoric used at the conference, that ovation was the one moment that made this openly gay reporter feel particularly unsafe at an otherwise hospitable conference.

The Glory Days Have Passed

#ERLC2014 Attendees Standing In Prayer

#ERLC2014 attendees standing in prayer.

CREDIT: ERLC

The Convention itself recognizes that its influence over society is waning. Mohler was the first of many to use the phrase “moral minority,” signalling that the days of the “Moral Majority” are over. “The disappearance of cultural Christianity, like a morning mist,” he said in his opening remarks, “is a reminder to us that it was cultural and not Christianity… We are accustomed to ministry from the top side of the culture, not from the underside. We are accustomed to speaking from a position of strength and respect and credibility, and now we’re going to be facing the reality that we are already, in much of America, speaking from a position of a loss of credibility, speaking from the underside, speaking from the wrong side of the moral equation.”

Nevertheless, the reach of the Southern Baptist Convention remains wide, not only among its member churches but among the many independent evangelical churches who might still look to it for guidance. Understanding how these church leaders are discussing LGBT issues is essential to the ongoing work of increasing LGBT acceptance in society, not only under the law, but culturally. In a series of posts, ThinkProgress will take a discerning look at how the ERLC conference revealed the struggle in evangelical Christianity to address LGBT issues and the gap between the love with which they are ministering and the hate they are perceived as reinforcing.

The post Behind The Scenes, Southern Baptists Wrestle With How To Handle Homosexuality In The Modern World appeared first on ThinkProgress.


PoliticusUSA Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:58:14 GMT  

The Affordable Care Act Is Under Attack in California with Prop 46
California will be faced with yet another deceptive "proposition" at the ballot box this November 4th. This one is Prop 46, and on its surface, it sounds great, but under the hood, Prop 46 has some major unintended consequences.

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While Alison Lundergan Grimes Speaks to 16,000 Only 250 Show Up For McConnell Rally
While Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes was addressing 16,000 Kentuckians last night, Sen. Mitch McConnell spoke to a virtually empty room of 250 people while campaigning with Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA).

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Newspapers Across America Are Stealthily Helping The Koch Brothers Buy The Government
What makes newspapers actions more despicable is that they are not owned by the Kochs, but they are using so-called "opinion and editorial" pages to promote Republican candidates, and push Kochs brother ideology and vision for America as the country's salvation.

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Paul Krugman Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:58:15 GMT  

Lars Svensson 1, Sadomonetarists 0
But vindication may have come too late.
Notes on Japan
A cautionary tale no more.
Open Letters of 1933
Same as it ever was.

Media Matters for America - Latest Items Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:58:15 GMT  

Limbaugh: Street Harassment Shows The "Massive Failure Of Modern Day Feminism"

From the October 30 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

Previously

Limbaugh On NYC Street Harassment Video: "Most Of It Was Just Men Being Polite"

Fox News Defends Street Harassment As "Nothing Disrespectful"

Related:

A Woman Walked Around New York City For 10 hours And Filmed Every Catcall She Received


Right Wing Watch Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:58:15 GMT  

Matt Barber: Satan Deceiving People Into Denouncing Ex-Gay Therapy

Upset with Southern Baptist official Russell Moore’s recent rebuke of ex-gay therapy, Matt Barber appeared on “The Janet Mefferd Show” yesterday to criticize Moore for failing to hold the anti-gay line when “the heat is on.”

Barber told Mefferd — who took to Facebook yesterday to attack Moore for “playing right into the hands of Big Gay” — that Satan is behind the foundering anti-gay cause: “It’s this homosexual issue that is the head of the spear. This is the issue that the Enemy is using to both divide the church and separate souls from God.”

Barber also claimed that the higher rate of sexual abuse reported in the gay community is proof that abuse makes people gay.

“We know conclusively that sexual abuse is one of the main catalysts for same-sex attraction,” he said. “And now we have Christian kids and other kids, Christian or not, who want to find freedom from a demonstrably self-destructive lifestyle.”

Actually, experts have not found a connection between sexual abuse and gay sexual orientation, but have found that gay people are targeted for abuse because of their sexual orientation.

“They want freedom from this identity, the same-sex attractions, that stem from a sexual assault at the hands of a person like a Jerry Sandusky for instance,” Barber said. “It is reckless, it is irresponsible of Russell Moore to give fodder to these sexual anarchists.”


http://blog.buzzflash.com/rss.xml Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:58:15 GMT  


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