ProgressVirginia reported Tuesday afternoon that the Virginia Senate’s Privileges and Elections Committee killed Sen. Charles “Bill” Carrico Sr.’s electoral college-rigging bill, despite an offer by Carrico to amend the bill to award electors in proportion to the state’s popular vote. The vote was 11-4 against the bill, although it will not be official until the close of the committee meeting.
Dan Sebring is running for the umpteenth time against US Representative Gwen Moore. Last go around, Sebring's claim to fame was running a racist ad against her. This year, he decided to let his proverbial hair hang loose by going with a full blown right wing conspiracy theory:
Republican Dan Sebring, who is running to represent Wisconsin’s 4th District in the House of Representatives, told ThinkProgress he suspects a political motive behind the Supreme Court’s recent ruling putting the state’s voter ID law on hold.
“The United States Supreme Court said we can’t implement it for this election,” he said at a Milwaukee County Republicans party this week. “My personal feeling is that this is a play to steer the outcome of the gubernatorial election so that Scott Walker wouldn’t have a chance of getting on the ticket in 2016 for the White House. I think that’s what they’re trying to do.”
Yeah, okay, Danny Boy, whatever you say.
Not that Dems are never indicted, of course, but Republicans are frequently notable for the sheer depth and width of their crimes:
Mike Hubbard, speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives and a powerful leader in the state Republican Party, has been indicted by a grand jury and charged with 23 counts, including using his office for personal gain and soliciting things of value.
Hubbard, 52, who led a historic Republican takeover of the state Legislature during the 2010 election, was charged after an investigation in his home county that has lasted more than a year.
The charges against Hubbard include 23 class B felonies. Those charges include:
Four counts of using of his office as Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party for personal gain;
One count of voting for legislation with a conflict of interest;
Eleven counts of soliciting or receiving a thing of value from a lobbyist or principal;
Two counts of using his office as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives for personal gain;
Four Counts of lobbying an executive department or agency for a fee;
One count of using state equipment, materials, etc. for private gain.
Pope Francis made big news when a report he authorized said that the church should be open to change regarding gays and divorcees.
In a marked shift in tone likely to be discussed in parishes around the world, an assembly of Catholic bishops convened by Pope Francis at the Vatican released a preliminary document on Monday calling for the church to welcome and accept gay people, unmarried couples and those who have divorced, as well as the children of these less traditional families.
There was a gathering of Bishops for the last two weeks and as usual Conservatives blocked everything they could to undermine the new message of change that the Pope obviously wants the Church to adopt.
Roman Catholic bishops on Saturday failed to reach a consensus on opening the Church's doors to remarried divorcees and gays after a special synod on the family, in a blow to Pope Francis.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said participants had approved a "re-balanced" final report that took into account the concerns of the most conservative members.
In a final vote after two weeks of fierce debate, three paragraphs touching on the hot-button issues of a more welcome stance towards gays, and allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive communion, did not get the two-thirds majority needed from the 183 bishops present.
When it comes to dealing with Ebola in the United States, former Congressman Ron Paul (R) and his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), don't see eye to eye.
In an interview with Fox News radio host John Gibson last week, Rand Paul argued that a ban on people traveling from west African "ought to be considered."
"It's not like AIDS," he explained. "AIDS is difficult to transmit. You're not going to go into a cocktail party and have someone cough and get AIDS. If you are in a cocktail party with someone with Ebola and they cough, you are at risk for getting Ebola."
The Kentucky senator said that a "temporary hiatus on flights" was "only reasonable."
But as BuzzFeed pointed out on Monday, Ron Paul urged people to put the situation in "perspective."
"For a government to just ban all travel, I'm not much interested in that," the former Republican presidential candidate told Newsmax. "You've got to put it in perspective. What if you wanted to save 15,000 deaths from AIDS this year. Why don't you ban certain practices that spreads AIDS? So, we're talking about one person that's died [of Ebola in the U.S.] and we want to close down the world travel system."
I gotta wonder if it's really that simple: Buy a new iPhone, forget about the feds eavesdropping. Is the encryption really unbreakable, or are the feds only looking for a plausible (legal) cover story for information they plan to get anyway? Time will tell, I suppose. In the meantime, nice to know this change has little support in Congress -- so far. The Hill:
FBI Director James Comey has launched a new “crypto war” by asking Congress to update a two-decade-old law to make sure officials can access information from people’s cellphones and other communication devices.The call is expected to trigger a major Capitol Hill fight about whether or not tech companies need to give the government access to their users' data.
“It's going to be a tough fight for sure,” Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the Patriot Act’s original author, told The Hill in a statement.
He argues Apple and other companies are taking the privacy of consumers into their own hands because Congress has failed to pass legislation in response to public anger over the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.
“While Director Comey says the pendulum has swung too far toward privacy and away from law enforcement, he fails to acknowledge that Congress has yet to pass any significant privacy reforms,” he added. “Because of this failure, businesses have taken matters into their own hands to protect their consumers and their bottom lines.”
Obama's political calculation on holding back action on immigration until after the mid-terms looks like it may backfire. The LA Times:
As Democrats struggle to hold the Senate, limit their losses in the House and maybe gain a few governor seats Nov. 4, they are counting on strong support from Latino voters, a rapidly growing part of the electorate and a big reason states like California, Nevada and Colorado have gone from red to blue in their presidential preferences.
But Latino voting tends to drop in midterm elections and, as Trujillo's sentiment suggests, that may prove all the more so next month, given deep frustration with the president.
He drew a record Latino turnout in 2012, but since then has repeatedly deferred action after pledging to push through comprehensive changes in immigration law, acting without Congress if necessary. For many, that failing seems to trump anything positive Obama has accomplished.
"All the air has been let out," said Matt Barreto, a University of Washington political scientist who conducts extensive polling among Latinos nationwide.
Nothing makes the Meet The Press panelist and controversial Republican Joe Scarborough happier than an alleged Democratic guest trashing that 'feckless, smug' President Obama. Tina Brown, for some reason, is sought after (less and less) because of her history as editor of a few publications.
Her success in the print medium is, at best, questionable and hardly laudable.
Tina, who is always referred to as a legendary editor in America, has lost a vast mass of money for the owners of the magazines she has edited. She almost broke Harvey Weinstein with Talk magazine — 50 million big ones in two years — ditto with the New Yorker and Vanity Fair before that, and has cost another sugar daddy, Barry Diller, at least 100 million since 2008 with the Daily Beast and Newsweek. He finally pulled the plug on her, but what the hell, what’s a hundred million big ones anyway?
Thomas Eric Duncan's fiancée and others first exposed to him after he was symptomatic have officially been declared Ebola-free, but that isn't stopping our irresponsible media from going overboard and into panic mode over it, particularly the politics of it.
Frank Bruni sent my blood pressure into outer space yesterday with his op-ed blaming Obama for all things Ebola in the United States. It's all Obama's fault because, well, just because.
Never mind that private, for-profit hospital who ignored CDC protocols with regard to Ebola. The one that sent Mr. Duncan home with antibiotics for a deadly viral infection. Never mind that, because it's easier for lazy people like Bruni to blame Obama, and by extension, all Democrats everywhere.
This is why we cannot have nice things. We have no surgeon general, but that's of no moment because the whiny ass Republicans bleated for an Ebola czar and now that they have one, they're criticizing the president for not appointing a doctor.
Look over there and you'll miss the forest for the trees! Also, on November 5th there will be little talk, if any, about Ebola. I guarantee it. Just like there's no talk about the "border crisis" or the IRS or even Benghazi!.
John Oliver and his staff at Last Week Tonight have found a way to make those formerly unwatchable Supreme Court reenactments fun.
John Oliver noted on Sunday's "Last Week Tonight" that the Supreme Court's term that began earlier this month would be one to watch.
"Unfortunately, we won't actually be able to watch any of it because the Supreme Court does not allow cameras during oral argument," Oliver said.
Oliver then played a clip of Justice Antonin Scalia saying that he was opposed to the presence of cameras because Americans would only see 15-30 second snippets of argument, which he didn't think would accurately characterize what the Supreme Court does.
"You know, he might be right about that," Oliver said. "Television can be very irresponsible, which is why you never want to, for instance, do an interview in front of a blue screen because someone might then superimpose a creepy orgy behind you because that's the sort of terrible thing that television can do."
"There aren't any cameras, but they do release audio recordings of their arguments so TV does play 15 second clips of the Supreme Court," he continued.
For all of the talk about how unpopular President Obama is, you'd never be able to tell from the rallies he held on Sunday. In Maryland, for example, he spoke to a packed house with an overflow crowd, firing them up for the midterm election.
Then he went to Chicago to campaign for Governor Quinn, and had a packed house there, too.
Big, enthusiastic crowds, but this is what Reuters chose to report instead:
"You've got to vote," Obama repeated over and over at a rally for Brown in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, near Washington.
Democrats have a history of not turning up to vote in midterm elections.
"There are no excuses. The future is up to us," Obama said.
A steady stream of people walked out of the auditorium while he spoke, however, and a heckler interrupted his remarks.
Obama's help, or lack thereof, may not matter much to Brown, who is 11 points ahead of Republican opponent Larry Hogan, according to an average of polls by RealClearPolitics.
Quinn's race is tighter. He is ahead of Republican opponent Bruce Rauner by 1.8 points, according to the RealClearPolitics average.
Obama is scheduled to spend the night at his Chicago home after the campaign event for Quinn.
At some point, the Mitch McConnell contingent who resolved to do absolutely nothing until Obama left office must have bribed the perennially dissatisfied contingent who think complaining without action is somehow helpful.
Tavis Smiley has long been an Obama hater and complainer. Either Obama isn't black enough or he just isn't magical enough to wave his Magic Fix-It Wand™ and make everything all better for everyone everywhere but most especially in the black community.
Never mind the things Obama and the Democrats have done, things that cost a ton of political goodwill like the Affordable Care Act and the stimulus bill, which saved a lot of people (regardless of race) from being completely destitute after Wall Street ran the table.
On This Week, Tavis sat at a table with Bill Kristol, Mary Matalin, Stephanie Shriock and GSteph and said this with a straight face, concerning the Democrats' focus on women's issues as opposed to economic populism:
SMILEY: That's a good point. And I think that issue would probably play better. And a lot of the reasons it might not be the top of the agenda is that Democrats respectfully know that they haven't even done everything they could have done on this issue.
The slogan that it could have been worse is not a winning slogan. And I think the economy is certainly better now that we expected it would have been a couple years ago. I think the president gets some credit for helping put what policies that have turned this economy around slowly.
Vegas-Macau gambling kingpin Sheldon Adelson, who fronts for organized crime and launders money from China into America politics, has decided to try to win Henry Waxman’s congressional seat on Los Angeles’ west side— from Malibu down through Santa Monica, Venice, El Segundo and Manhattan Beach to Redondo Beach, Torrance, Rancho Palos Verdes and Harbor City— for a Republican stooge he can easily control, Elan Carr.
First the good news: the last publicly-available polling— by Democratic firm, GarinHartYang Research-- showed Ted Lieu, the state senator from most of the district, leading Carr 55-36%, nearly 20 points. Party registration in the district is 44% Democrat, 33% Republican and Obama beat Romney 61-37%. The PVI is D+11.
“Ted Lieu,” writes Garin, “maintains a healthy lead over Elan Carr in the initial trial heat and Senator Lieu’s support expands slightly, even after we assume attacks from our opponent. Senator Lieu’s strong position in the race is due to his legislative experience, better alignment with the values and priorities in this district, AND the tarnished GOP brand.”
They no longer have to “assume” attacks. Carr’s biggest supporter, the Sheldon Adelson family and his crooked circle, came roaring into the district Friday with 4 mailers, one of which is an ugly racist piece trying to paint Lieu as not sufficiently pro-Israel— and appeal to the district’s huge Jewish population. And now the Adelson front has reserved several hundred thousand dollars on broadcast TV to saturate the airwaves with anti-Lieu smears.
Voter caging is a dirty little trick that the Republicans around the country have been using for over half a century to purge voters - mainly African Americans - from voting lists. Here's how it works:
Voter caging is a practice of sending mass direct mailings to registered voters by non-forwardable mail, then compiling lists of voters, called “caging lists,” from the returned mail in order to formally challenge their right to vote on that basis alone. Other methods, such as database matching, have been used more recently to compile voter caging lists. The practice is used almost exclusively by officials or members of the Republican Party, local and national.
Wisconsin has not been spared from this crap.
In 2010, One Wisconsin Now broke the story of how Republicans, Americans for Prosperity and other Tea Party groups were conspiring to commit voter suppression - complete with a recording and transcription of their meeting discussing exactly how they were going to do it.
Hello, everyone. It's good to be back.
So… Ebola. Not good, eh? But, then… cancer, heart disease, gun violence…
It's a good thing there's a Surgeon General in place to tackle all the truly terrifying health problems facing the country while Republicans scream about Ebola as a way to stir up the culture of fear, score cheap political points against a "foreign" president, and further their insane rightist narratives about terrorism and immigration, all while denying government adequate funding and waging an ongoing ideological war against science and enlightenment, progress be damned. Oh, right.
Pensito Review: Who's afraid of the flu?
The Brad Blog: Who's concerned about racist anti-democracy?
Vagabond Scholar: Who's going to miss Roy Edroso at The Village Voice?
The Moderate Voice: Who's ready for Hillary vs. Mitt in 2016?
Otherwise, who's cheering for the Steelers tonight???!!! (Yes, I know. They suck. Alas.)