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

Daily Kos Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:25:33 GMT  

Mitch McConnell dodges question about paying people to support him at rallies

West Virginia's WVNS TV, whose broadcast market extends into Eastern Kentucky, catches up with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and asks him about his campaign's tactic of reimbursing supporters to show up and generate enthusiasm at events:

Goal Thermometer
McCONNELL: Uh, I'm not sure what to say about that, ma'am. That's a Josh Holmes [McConnell's campaign manager] question, it strikes me.
But while McConnell refused to answer the question about whether or not his campaign is paying people to support him at campaign events, he was eager to talk about the enthusiastic crowds showing up at his events:
REPORTER: What the Grimes campaign is saying is that you're paying supporters to come to events.

McCONNELL: We've got a lot of enthusiastic supporters. You've seen them at every stop. And I'm happy to have them.

Well, yeah. We know people are showing up and cheering, Mitch. And it's great that you're happy to have them. The question, however, is about why you need to pay them. And given the fact that you are still in jeopardy despite having served 30 years in the Senate, the reason is obvious: People in Kentucky just don't like Mitch McConnell very much.
Please chip in $3 or more to help elect more and better Democrats to the U.S. Senate so we can stop Mitch McConnell from becoming majority leader.

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Pensito Review Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:25:34 GMT  

Warren Doesn’t Rule Out Future Prez Run

I don't think so. If there's any lesson I've learned in the last five years, it's don't be so sure about what lies ahead. There are amazing doors that could open.

—- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), in an interview with People, on whether she's interested in running for president.

I don’t think so. If there’s any lesson I’ve learned in the last five years, it’s don’t be so sure about what lies ahead. There are amazing doors that could open.

—- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), in an interview with People, on whether she’s interested in running for president.


Mike Luckovich Wed, 01 Oct 2014 14:49:07 GMT  

01/08 Luckovich cartoon: Chilled out

010814-toon-luckovich-ed


ThinkProgress Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:25:34 GMT  

Fake ‘Progressive’ Group Pits Blacks Against Immigrants In Nasty TV Ad

This group wants African Americans to think that immigration reform will take their jobs away.

The post Fake ‘Progressive’ Group Pits Blacks Against Immigrants In Nasty TV Ad appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Progressives for immigration reform

CREDIT: youtube.com

An anti-immigrant group, dubiously named Progressives For Immigration Reform (PFIR), released a 30-second ad this week seizing on anxiety over African-American joblessness and Hurricane Katrina to slam on prospects of immigration reform. The PFIR ad criticizes the President and some Louisiana lawmakers for endorsing “amnesty for millions of illegal aliens.” Suggesting that immigration reform could strip jobs away from African Americans is a political tactic employed time and again by anti-immigrant groups to manufacture tension between blacks and immigrants.

African Americans were devastated by Hurricane Katrina, devastated by joblessness with the Great Recession. Now we face another challenge — our own President. He wants to double immigration and bring in millions more immigrant workers to take jobs, when many of us still can’t find jobs. He wants amnesty for millions of illegal aliens who will take jobs too. Ask Louisiana’s leaders where they stand on millions more immigrant workers.

Watch it.

Driving a wedge between the African-American community and immigrants is nothing new. Before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, an immigration-restrictionist group released an ad suggesting that the civil rights leader would not approve of immigration reform because of high unemployment rates among the African-American community. Another Tanton Network organization, NumbersUSA, came out with an ad portraying African Americans as hostile to immigration in 2012. As Daniella Gibbs Léger at the Center for American Progress pointed out at the time, “Going back decades, Black unemployment has generally been about double that of the White population. If you look at the employment of Blacks and Whites on a graph, they will move up and down with each other, but they will never meet,” a reality influenced by economic factors and not by increased immigrant employment. Studies find that African Americans are three times more likely than non-African American workers to “change their relative task specialization” — in other words, transition to higher-skilled jobs — as a result of immigration.

PFIR has a storied anti-immigrant history that is anything but progressive. As Imagine 2050 noted, “PFIR aims to make the anti-immigrant movement’s nativism palatable for environmentally minded liberals.” The group has ties to the nativist John Tanton Network, designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Imagine 2050 also found a group photo of PFIR’s executive director Leah Durant posing with two anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic individuals at a 2009 writer’s workshop put on by The Social Contract Press, known for publishing provocative, anti-immigrant, and sometime racist works. Durant also worked as an attorney for another anti-immigrant Tanton organization called the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform (FAIR).

The wedge tactic has especially gained traction among anti-immigrant congressional members like Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) who recently told the conservative-leaning Breitbart News that African Americans would be economically impacted by the passage of immigration reform. Arguing that immigration reform would hurt the African-American labor force, Sessions cited a widely-panned study which found that immigrants could take jobs away from low-skilled workers, many of whom are African-Americans.

Sessions previously voted in support of “an ultimately unsuccessful effort to end affirmative action programs in the federal government (a measure so extreme that many conservatives were against it), he opposed hate-crimes laws, and he opposed a motion to investigate the disproportionate number of minorities in juvenile detention centers,” New Republic’s Sarah Wildman wrote in 2002. Sessions was once quoted as labeling the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as “un-American” and “Communist-inspired.”

The post Fake ‘Progressive’ Group Pits Blacks Against Immigrants In Nasty TV Ad appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Proof That The GOP’s Effort To Politicize Ebola Literally Makes No Sense

After blocking Surgeon General nominee, a GOP Congressman demands to know why he hasn't been appointed to lead the nation's Ebola response.

The post Proof That The GOP’s Effort To Politicize Ebola Literally Makes No Sense appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Chaffetz Ebola

CREDIT: Screenshot

The GOP’s persistent and oftentimes conflicting criticism of the administration’s handling of the Ebola crisis within the United States jumped the shark on Wednesday, after a prominent Republican congressman questioned why President Obama hasn’t yet named a medical doctor to manage the situation whom the party has vociferously opposed.

After the first case of Ebola was diagnosed in Dallas, Texas in September, Republicans abandoned their longstanding opposition to government czars and called on the administration to appoint an “Ebola czar” to coordinate and message the government’s response to the deadly virus.

Obama resisted such calls for weeks, insisting, primarily through White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, that “clear lines of authority” already exist within the government’s effort. But the administration ultimately named Ron Klain, a former chief-of-staff to Vice President Joe Biden, to act as the point person on the issue.

Republicans immediately pounced. They accused Obama of nominating a “hack,” claimed that Klain had no “medical experience,” and would only “add to the bureaucratic inefficiencies that have plagued Ebola response efforts thus far.”

Others still insisted that the president shouldn’t have appointed a czar at all, because he simply needed to lead. “This is a public health crisis, and the answer isn’t another White House political operative. The answer is a commander in chief who stands up and leads, banning flights from Ebola-afflicted nations and acting decisively to secure our southern border,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced.

On Wednesday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) appeared on Fox News to complain that Klain had not yet agreed to testify before Congress, firing another criticism at the White House. “Why not have the surgeon general head this up?” Chaffetz said, adding, “at least you have someone who has a medical background who has been confirmed by the United States Senate, that’s where we should be actually I think going.”

But Obama can’t appoint the Surgeon General to lead the Ebola response because his nominee, Dr. Vivek Murthy, is being opposed by the National Rifle Association and Republicans senators (as well as a few Democrats) for supporting the expansion of background checks during gun purchases. In February, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) officially placed a hold on the nomination.

Chaffetz seemed unaware of this wrinkle during his Fox interview, and his office would not return repeated requests for comment. Confusing matters even further, a FoxNews.com article summarizing the Chaffetz interview appears to have changed his wording to correct the error. It reports that the Congressman called on Obama to nominate the “acting-United States surgeon general,” a claim he never made. In fact, that individual, Boris D. Lushniak, serves in a place-holder position that does not receive Senate confirmation. Lushniak, who is filling in because Murthy has been blocked, has not taken an active role in the Ebola response.

Still, the mistake — and the political back-and-forth over Obama’s response — underlines the GOP strategy of criticizing every aspect of Obama’s response in an effort to capitalize on the public health story ahead of the midterm elections.

The post Proof That The GOP’s Effort To Politicize Ebola Literally Makes No Sense appeared first on ThinkProgress.

How 55 Different Studies Say There’s A Real Link Between Climate Change And Rising Violence

A temperature increase of one degree Celsius could deliver a 20 percent increase in civil conflict in Africa, and a one percent increase in interpersonal conflicts in the United States.

The post How 55 Different Studies Say There’s A Real Link Between Climate Change And Rising Violence appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Armed vigilantes and local hunters patrol the streets of Maiduguri, Nigeria on September 4, 2014.

Armed vigilantes and local hunters patrol the streets of Maiduguri, Nigeria on September 4, 2014.

CREDIT: AP Photo / Jossy Ola

According to a new review of 55 separate studies, there is a meaningful connection between climate change and human violence.

The working paper, put out by researchers with the National Bureau of Economic Research, is what’s called a meta-analysis: a study of studies, in effect. After going through numerous analyses of the relationship between climate change and violence in various settings, the researchers settled on 55 of the most rigorous pieces of work. They then evaluated the picture painted by those studies, and worked to amalgamate their findings into a single statistical result.

They looked at conflicts between individuals — “domestic violence, road rage, assault, murder, and rape” — as well as conflicts between larger human groups — “riots, ethnic violence, land invasions, gang violence, civil war and other forms of political instability, such as coups.” The end result? The researchers determined that changes in drought and rainfall patterns, but especially increases in temperature, all have a meaningful link to increases in both forms of violence. “We find that deviations from moderate temperatures and precipitation patterns systematically increase the risk of conflict, often substantially, with average effects that are highly statistically significant,” the researchers wrote.

Statistical significance is technical term meaning that the researchers’ numbers are robust enough to point to a real phenomenon in the populations their meta-analysis covered. It doesn’t confirm exactly what is going on; there could still be a correlation-versus-causation problem between climate change and violence, for example. But it does mean Burke and his colleagues aren’t being fooled by random noise in the data.

The effects are different for different parts of the globe. Stanford researcher Marshall Burke, one of the study’s three co-authors, told Chris Mooney at the Washington Post that “for a degree Celsius of temperature increase (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) … there could be a 20 percent increase in civil conflict in Africa.” In the United States, meanwhile, every one degree Celsius increase in warming should bring “a one percent increase in interpersonal conflicts.”

It’s important to note that what rising temperatures and climate change are doing here is increasing the odds of violence rather than causing it in a direct, if-this-then-that relationship. Steroids in baseball are a good analogy: they don’t cause any particular home run, but instead increase the likelihood that a batter will hit a long bomb. It works the same way with extreme weather, where global warming increases the chances and severity of events rather than directly causing any particular storm or drought.

The latest work by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change also suggests climate change drives up inter-group conflicts by placing added stresses on societies: food shortages, water shortages, extreme heat, flooding, and the like. In turn, societies that suffer from more violent conflict are also more vulnerable to the damage climate change can do, and are less able to adapt.

Countries like Nigeria and Syria have been pointed to by experts as examples of violent conflict helped along by climate change. A 2011 report on Nigeria by the U.S. Institute for Peace explained how additional heat, reduced rainfall, and the resulting desertification damaged the Nigerian economy and placed added social and psychological stress on Nigerians themselves: “Evidence in and outside Nigeria suggests that alienated young people who lack resources and economic opportunity are more likely to join rebellions,” the report went on. “In the dusty streets of Borno’s state capital, for instance, the violent anti-establishment Islamic group Boko Haram attracts rafts of jobless young men, as do the Delta’s many militias and groups.”

Another recent and extremely granular examination of the risks climate change posed for the American economy also included increased crime rates for different parts of the country. Overall, the effect was modest, amounting to a likely cost of only $35 per person by 2100. But it also became significantly more pronounced on days over 95°F. “A growing body of rigorous quantitative research across multiple disciplines has found that weather, and in particular temperature, affects the incidence of most types of violent and non-violent crime in American cities and rural areas alike” according to the study.

Mooney also talked to Richard Larrick, a professor at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, who was the lead author on a study looking into the effect of unusually hot days on how often Major League Baseball pitchers throw retaliatory beanballs at the other team’s batters. “Researchers in social psychology have studied the relationship between temperature and aggression for many decades,” Larrick said. Laboratory research in “tightly controlled” settings shows that Larrick “changes in temperature directly lead to more aggression.”

“Heat changes the way people feel and think, increasing anger and making thoughts of aggression increase,” Larrick continued.

The post How 55 Different Studies Say There’s A Real Link Between Climate Change And Rising Violence appeared first on ThinkProgress.


PoliticusUSA Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:47:42 GMT  

Chris Christie Advocates For Election Rigging By Republicans Controlling The “Voting Mechanism”
Christie may not have the anti-voter credentials of some of his Republican brethren, but he does not support the right to vote for all Americans.

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Prominent Tea Partier Says Michael Brown’s Parents Received ‘Taxpayer-Funded Abortion’
Former executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party Todd Kincannon sent out a tweet Wednesday evening saying Michael Brown's parents shouldn't be upset because they are pro-choice Democrats and "they got a taxpayer-funded abortion."

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Scott Walker’s Wisconsin Comeback is More Republican State-Wrecking
If you live in Wisconsin, you have heard of the alleged “Wisconsin comeback” touted by Governor Scott Walker. This is not to be confused with the Green Bay Packer comeback, and you should not relax. After their 1-2 start, QB Aaron Rodgers took to ESPN to tell fans, “Five letters here just for everybody out […]

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Paul Krugman Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:59:08 GMT  

Fly the Derpy Skies
Why was Ron Paul staring at me?
This Age of Derp
We are not having a real discussion.
Friday Night Music, Saturday Night Followup
Live concerts, there's still nothing like them.

Media Matters for America - Latest Items Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:59:08 GMT  

Rand Paul Has A Friend At Time

Republican Rand Paul certainly seems to be riding an extended wave of glowing press coverage, as reporters and commentators line up to dub the Kentucky senator a deeply fascinating man.  

From Politico:  "Rand Paul, The Most Interesting Man in Politics."

The Washington Post: "Rand Paul Is The Most Interesting Man In The (Political) World"

And now this week's cover story from Time: "The Most Interesting Man In Politics."

What the supportive Paul coverage lacks in originality, it makes up for in passion and admiration. We've learned Paul represents "the most interesting voice in the GOP right now." He boasts a "supple mind" and is a "preternaturally confident speaker." And from Time, Paul spoke to a recent crowd "with the enthusiasm of a graduate student in the early rapture of ideas."

There appears to be such a media rush to toast Paul as a Republican freethinker that the feel-good coverage sometimes confuses what he actually stands for. Note that Politico claimed the senator's "instinctive libertarianism, meanwhile, plays well with America's pro-pot, pro-gay marriage younger generation."

Fact: Paul opposes gay marriage.

Nonetheless, the glowing press clips pile up, with Time's cover story representing the most recent entry. In April 2013, the Kentucky senator graced Time's cover when he was dubbed one of the 100 Most Influential people in the World. (Paul's entry was written by Sarah Palin, who declared that his "brand of libertarian-leaning conservatism attracts young voters.") 

What's especially odd about Time's most recent salute is that the magazine essentially published the same laudatory Rand Paul feature last year. It marveled at his political rise and suggested he might change the course of the GOP ("Can he reshape [the] party"), which is precisely what this week's cover story is about. ("Can he fix what ails the GOP?")

Time is hardly alone in terms of showering Paul with attention. Between two recent features, The New Yorker and New York Times Magazine dedicated nearly 18,000 words to the senator.

But there's something about Time's supportive Paul coverage that stands out. Indeed, the publication has morphed into something of a national cheering section for the Kentucky Republican, obediently covering his appearances, typing up as news his attacks on Bill and Hillary Clinton, and publishing his first-person essays.


Right Wing Watch Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:59:08 GMT  

Georgia Congressional Candidate Jody Hice Doesn't Want Us Listening To His Radio Rants Anymore

This summer, we spent a couple of scintillating days listening the archives of a radio program hosted by Georgia pastor Jody Hice, who won the Republican primary for an open U.S. House seat and is now the favorite to replace outgoing Rep. Paul Broun.

From Hice, we learned that by accepting homosexuality, “we are enslaving and entrapping potentially hundreds of thousands of individuals in a lifestyle that frankly they are not,” that the Sandy Hook and Aurora gun massacres were the result of the separation of church and state, and that we ought to have our “antennas up” that blood moons coinciding with Jewish holidays could signal “world-changing events.”

Soon after we and other outlets started posting clips from Hice’s radio musings, the archives of his programs were removed from his show’s official YouTube page, leaving only a month or so of archived programs for public consumption. But we and others kept listening to Hice’s broadcasts as he posted new ones online, reporting on his views that, for instance, church-state separation causes violence and teen pregnancy and that “government has the responsibility to encourage religious belief.”

But it seems that Hice doesn’t want us listening to his radio show anymore. When we went to his YouTube page this morning to look for a new program, all of his archives had disappeared except for some short year-old broadcasts, and a list of recent programs on his website now leads to dead YouTube links.

We wonder why he’s suddely so shy.


http://blog.buzzflash.com/rss.xml Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:59:08 GMT  


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