Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Wisconsin voter ID law shot down
AZ Independent Redistricting Commission map upheld. (But the Repuglican challengers are not about to give it up.)
Seriously bad news for Dems in 2014: young people are likely not to vote.
Dem base needs to turn out.
Minnesota finds limits on stand your ground law. Man who shot two teenagers is found guilt of premeditated murder.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Martha McSally sez: "So many people in Southern Arizona have been hurt by Obamacare -- the government takeover of 1/6 of the economy, and Ron Barber supports it."
Amazing. She has staked out a position and that is a rarity. But she is wrong as this fact-check explains. So money = speech? She's got a lot of money but says little and when she does, it is wrong. Check the facts here:
Sorry about the headline. Why would anyone think the GOP has a healthcare plan? They are the party of poverty, hunger, and sickness. Even Fox News could not get any details. (Hint to GOP: when on Fox, just make something up - they won't know the difference.) Here's the story.
If you have never read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged (and even if you have), here are 10 take-away points. It's worth a read - Paul Ryan is a believer so he gets tagged with all of Ayn Rand's bad baggage.
There is enough support in the house for an immigration reform bill. Now those in charge just need the gumption to get it on the floor.
Here is a solution for AZ: Fred DuVal for Governor!
Bad news on 2014 elections here: a new poll indicates that Rs are more likely to vote than Ds.
But what needs to be done is known - GOTV! Greg Sargent from Washington Post concludes:
All of this underscores what Ed Kilgore and Sasha Issenberg have been arguing: That if Dems are going to have any chance of offsetting the “midterm dropoff” among their core voters, issues alone aren’t going to do it. The sheer grunt work of contacting voters again and again and urging them out to the polls is what it will take, and it won’t be easy. The one bit of good news is that Democrats are aware of this and are planning accordingly.
As I mentioned in earlier posts, we have some positives working for us. One is the GOP intransigence on immigration reform. Another is Obamacare - we just need to accentuate the positive.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Does anyone doubt that race is at least partly responsible for the GOP obstructions thrown at the President?
Read Eugene Robinson's take on the latest racist rants from Bundy and Sterling.
Salon.com: Bundy and Sterling echo conservative rhetoric.
Obamacare is being framed as a liability for Dems. Yet, some Dems are running on it, with it, but certainly not against it - for instance, Charlie Crist in Florida. However, GOP candidates have no credible alternative. Repeal only is not popular - most Americans are against that. So repeal and replace is catching on among the GOP. But replace with what? There is nothing in repeal-and-replace that is all that different from the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. So candidates like Scott Brown are having some serious media moments as they scramble to come up with a narrative that doesn't sound silly. The most they can do is throw money into ads promoting lies about Affordable Care.
Greg Sargent explains:
I'll say it again. Running away from Affordable Care takes Dems right into the GOP frame, and that's a loser.
Bundy and crew should be indicted as armed robbers
Paul Krugman writes:
... treating Mr. Bundy as some kind of libertarian hero is, not to put too fine a point on it, crazy. Suppose he had been grazing his cattle on land belonging to one of his neighbors, and had refused to pay for the privilege. That would clearly have been theft — and brandishing guns when someone tried to stop the theft would have turned it into armed robbery. The fact that in this case the public owns the land shouldn’t make any difference.
When do the Koch brothers like raising taxes? Answer: when said taxes interfere with solar energy. If you slow down residential solar, we get to use more fossil fuels and thereby enriching the Kochs. Blog for Arizona has a report.
the “Kochtopus” web of dark money organizations in its hub of operations in Maricopa County are hellbent on protecting their profits from carbon energy (coal/oil/gas) with the state’s largest utility companies. If the Koch brothers could buy the Sun, they would surely find a way.
For the rest of the story, see the Blog for Arizona article.
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Let's just admit it. We have reduced ourselves to the worship of instruments of death. Guns are God.
In "The gun supremacists’ folly" E.J. Dione asks: "Have we gone stark raving mad?"
The question is brought to mind by the gun law signed last week in Georgia by Gov. Nathan Deal. You might have thought that since the United States couldn’t possibly have more permissive firearms laws than it does now, nothing more could be done to coddle the gun lobby and tip the balance of our statutes away from law enforcement. Alas, you would be wrong.
Nowhere else in the world do the laws on firearms become the playthings of politicians and lobbyists intent on manufacturing cultural conflict. Nowhere else do elected officials turn the matter of taking a gun to church into a searing ideological question. But then, guns are not a religion in most countries.
In Georgia, the new law lets guns be everywhere. Bars. Schools. Churches. Airports.
What the f...? Airports? We have indeed gone mad. The U. S. is suffering collective insanity. Guns enable people to kill other people. And the argument is that more guns will reduce that? We have become the nation of nuts.
If I told you what was in the Georgia bill you would accuse me of fabrication. But I assure you - you cannot make this stuff up. Read on here.
For background, here is the report on the Georgia bill from Nation of Change.
This is one to watch. I've been saying that the sure way for Dems to lose is to run away from Affordable Care. That lets the other side define you in terms of what you don't say. From The Huffington Post:
The race for governor of Florida could hang on one issue: Obamacare.
Already Gov. Rick Scott has spent more than $4 million on television ads reminding voters that his chief rival for the job, former Gov. Charlie Crist, enthusiastically supports the controversial health law.
Crist's response is hard to find anywhere else in the country. Unlike nearly every Democrat in a closely contested race, Crist isn't retreating from Obamacare or waffling. Instead, he's embracing the Affordable Care Act, hoping to turn it into an advantage.
"I don't shy away from it. I don't back away from it. I don't apologize for it. It's the right thing to do," Crist said during a recent stop in Palm Beach County. At a Broward appearance, he brought up TV ads "where [Scott] has me saying [Obamacare] is great? You know why? Because it's great."
If you think you are going to lose a race, you might as well go down fighting. If you fight, you might even have a chance of winning. Charlie Crist gets it.
In the tight race for his senate seat, Mark Begich goes on the offensive about his opponent's record on contraceptive rights and choice and the minimum wage. Previously, he took up the banner for health care. This is a race to watch. Can Dems run successfully on social issues? (I think so - just have to run forward, not away.)
OK, I promised myself I would not give any more media space to this racist deadbeat and lawbreaker. But this cartoon is just too much. (Turn on your audio!!!)
I shop at Walmart. I suspect so do many of you. But the next time any of us thinks about shopping there, consider the Walton family's commitment to education. Uh, well some education.
The size of the Walton foundation’s wallet allows it to exert an outsize influence on education policy as well as on which schools flourish and which are forced to fold. With its many tentacles, it has helped fuel some of the fastest growing, and most divisive, trends in public education — including teacher evaluations based on student test scores and publicly funded vouchers for students to attend private schools.
And their largesse helps proponents of use of public funds for private schools, like our own Hupp who reportedly was helped by the Alliance:
Walton’s largest recipients include the ... Alliance for School Choice, a national advocate for private school vouchers ($18.4 million), whose board includes Carrie Penner, a member of the Walton family; ...
Boycotting Walmart may not be effective, but at least now you know. For more:
Saturday, April 26, 2014
As an experimental psychologist, I resonate to experimental approaches to societal issues - that is, application of science in the interest of public policy. That gets us beyond the he said/she said style of debate and into hard numbers and verifiable facts. For those who love Bill Moyers' reporting, here is his take on the experiments and more. Then follows links to the experimental reports.
Here are a pair of field experiments. In each, two different approaches were made to members of congress. For example, one communication asked for a meeting with "active political donors"; the other asked for a meeting with "constituents." Both studies show a much, much greater responsiveness from the congressional offices to the donors and lobbyists.
AZBlueMeanie in Blog for Arizona has an excellent report on the issue of personhood in upcoming elections. Elevating a fertilized egg to personhood trumps the mothers rights. That raises really disurbing questions. If the mother does have an abortion, what are the penalties? (In gory detail, please.) Because men are not subject to any of this, how do we - our Democracy - deal with the legal inequality? In what other areas, then, do women enjoy lesser rights than men? And on and on. Before any candidate, D or R, gets your vote, you need to get their answers. Read this one!
Not incidentally - we live in a country in which, soon, guns will have more rights than women.
Friday, April 25, 2014
Krugman sees some panic among the conservatives because of this book. Check out his review. Read the book.
and here is a letter from Congressman Raul Grijalva to Congressman Paul Gosar taking Gosar to task for supporting Bundy and his hooligans.
This is tricky, so you need to take some time and read this one. Really! Deportations are indeed down as GOP claims, but only for those residing in the interior of the country. Deportations at the border actually are up. GOP ignores the latter fact and wants deportation for all. I don't see how this position will endear them to the Hispanic community.
Check out the background on the organization doing the polling. Blog for Arizona presents more evidence that McSally is not a prepared candidate and not intellectually suited to the office for which she is running.
So view the polling results critically.
Science Friday bonus:
Q: Why is McSally like a cuttle fish? A: Her positions are perfectly camouflaged.
With apologies to the cuttle fish!
Tim Steller, of AZ Star, identifies a few Candidates in Name Only (CINO) - no cash, no candidacy! But there is another reason to identify CINOs. If you have no positions on any issues relevant to the office you seek, you are a CINO. Martha McSally answers every question (when she elects to answer anything) with one talking point: A-10. Question: Position on Ryan budget? McSally answer: A-10. CINO.http://azstarnet.com/news/local/column/tim-steller-moderatometer-measures-ethan-orr-s-session/article_96c705d8-81fe-5558-9d7c-e50369f7f044.html
Thursday, April 24, 2014
David Safier explains how attrition in a selective charter school leads to high performance and thus high rankings. The seniors who survive are by definition high performers. There is nothing mysterious that could not be predicted from a class on research methods in social and behavioral science. But that is, I think, Safier's point. Claims of superiority by one school or another need to be subjected to critical review.
Charles Blow in NY Times issues a call to action - lays a real guilt trip on complacent Dems:
It’s negligent at best, and derelict at worst, to elect a president but stay home when the legislatures with which a president must work are being elected.
If you don't think this matters, consider all the horrible bills being enacted daily in the AZ lege. Get out the vote!
And here is a very good explanation of why Blow is right - in the off year, angry voters win. Dems! We need to get madder than hell and not take it any more.
Here are headlines and links on developments in Bundyville. Bundy is the deadbeat Nevada rancher who is grazing for free on public land and owes grazing fees like thousands of ranchers. But he wraps himself in a flag (of the republic he detests) and calls up an armed gang to defend his misdeeds.
Debate That Divides: Cliven Bundy Accidentally Explained What’s Wrong With the Republican Party: http://nyti.ms/1lLmxhz
Nevada rancher defends remarks, loses supporters: http://bit.ly/1lLlYEw
Republicans distance selves from Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy over racial remarks; http://wapo.st/1lLnhDv
So does Rand Paul.http://rss.nytimes.com/c/34625/f/640372/s/39b71c21/sc/7/l/0L0Snytimes0N0C20A140C0A40C250Cus0Cpolitics0Cafter0Esupporting0Erancher0Epaul0Econdemns0Ehis0Eremarks0Eon0Eblacks0Bhtml0Dpartner0Frss0Gemc0Frss/story01.htm
A few days ago, Bill Moyers on his show hosted Paul Krugman. The topic was inequality and particularly the best selling nonfiction book by Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Part of the transcript is here:
From the Moyers web site:
Here’s one of its extraordinary insights: we are heading into a future dominated by inherited wealth as capital concentrates in fewer and fewer hands, giving the very rich ever greater power over politics, government, and society. “Patrimonial capitalism” is the name for it, and it has potentially terrifying consequences for democracy. For those who work for a living, the level of inequality in the US, writes Piketty, is “probably higher than in any other society, at any time in the past, anywhere in the world.” Over three decades, between 1977 and 2007, 60 percent of our national income went to the richest 1 percent of Americans. No wonder this is the one book the 1 percent doesn't want the other 99 percent to read.
So, let's all thumb our collective nose at the American oligarchs and read the book.
<span style="font-size: medium; text-align: start;">Putting the GOP on defensive with Affordable Care</span>
So the media consensus is that the Tea Potty candidates (sometimes known as GOP or Republicans) are going to make the Affordable Care Act their one-trick pony in 2014. Apparently they think that killing health care for those who now have it and are benefitting from it is a best seller. The strategy will work only if Democrats run away. Here is an example of running forward.
Senator Mary Landrieu is one of the most vulnerable of red state Democratic incumbents, and her reelection challenges — like those of other red state Dems — are said to be all about Obamacare.
But in an interview today, Landrieu vowed to campaign aggressively against GOP foe Bill Cassidy’s opposition to the Medicaid expansion in the state, offered a spirited defense of the law — while acknowledging it has some problems — and even insisted he’d be at a “disadvantage” over the issue.
Look, Democratic candidates: if you dodge ACA, the TP will run on the issue anyway, so you might as well come out swinging and the sooner the better. Landrieu is your poster child.
The AZ Senate bill to relax restrictions on coordination of independent expenditure groups with campaigns has gone to the Gov.
In the kind of last-minute twists and turns that typify the slouch toward sine die, the Senate killed, then reversed course and passed a bill dealing with elections violations. Senate Bill 1344 removes the authority of the Clean Elections Commission to enforce campaign violations against candidates who run using private financing. Lawmakers amended the bill to accommodate a request from the Arizona Chamber of Commerce to loosen a requirement that blocked anyone connected with an independent-expenditure committee from participating in a candidate's campaign. The exemption would apply if the staffer had no involvement with decisions made by the IE.
As SCOTUS adds more dark money to our elections, AZ Senators work to weaken campaign finance laws. It's called "feedback loop" - more money --> weaker laws --> more money ... ad nauseum.
The Governor vetoed bills that would have capped Medicaid (voters in CD 1 should keep this in mind if Tobin is the contender), allowed guns in public places (Georgia just one-upped Arizona), and punished public officials for enacting background checks on gun purchases (the "let's get Kozachik and Tucson too" bill). See full stories below.
See more of Brewer's vetoes and commentary at Blog for Arizona. She really did knock down some goofy stuff from the Tea Pottyers.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Read on for a summary of factors contributing to losses by middle and low income groups, and a tax policy that counters the growing inequality.
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Thom Hartmann explains why the middle class is not "normal."
There’s nothing “normal” about having a middle class. Having a middle class is a choice that a society has to make, and it’s a choice we need to make again in this generation, if we want to stop the destruction of the remnants of the last generation’s middle class. Despite what you might read in the Wall Street Journal or see on Fox News, capitalism is not an economic system that produces a middle class. In fact, if left to its own devices, capitalism tends towards vast levels of inequality and monopoly. The natural and most stable state of capitalism actually looks a lot like the Victorian England depicted in Charles Dickens’ novels.
And if we want to go down the road to letting working people back into the middle class, it all starts with taxing the rich. The time is long past due for us to roll back the Reagan tax cuts.How he gets to that conclusion is a good read.
David Safier has an update and background on how the AZ school voucher funds are [not] being used. If you are a parent in that program, you can use the money not on your K-12 child, but rather bank it for college expense. Neat idea, right? Except that's not what the program is for and not how it was sold.
Bottom line still is this: Bundy is a deadbeat who has not paid his grazing fees for many years, despite losing court battles. The recruitment of armed militias is nothing more than a smokescreen to cover Bundy's unlawful behavior.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Friday, April 18, 2014
Real ranchers pay their bills and abide by the law - and never attract Faux News.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
I was going to write some long message about, well, science and climate change and economics of poverty and why the AZ lege wants more gun totin' but hates gays and Planned Parenthood and worships Cathi Herrod and the Koch brothers and ... but there is no point. Here, in a 2 minute video, is all you ever need to know.
Parents with empowerment scholarship accounts have amassed roughly $2.5 million of unspent public money over three years ...
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
What does Wannabe Martha McSally have to say about the pay gap? I could not find an answer either on her web site or on her Facebook page. Feel free to check my work and post it here.
Monday, April 14, 2014
Wait for it: there is a bill pending in the AZ lege that would make such coordination even easier. And remember Stephen Colbert's expose of how easy it always was to set up such committees with "ex" campaign staffers?
Morning-after-thought: the headlines this morning are misleading. The ruling does not conclude innocence. And the prosecuters can still pursue the charges and the case could go to court.
Lest you take heart from the above quote, take this: Forget American Hustle - try American Madrassa. Distrust science. Forget logic. Deny facts. Believe what Faux News tells you. And we want this for our children because ... ?
DCSRA AM Discussion group member, Pat Pickett, weighs in on money=speech rulings from Supreme Court and what you can do about it.
The single biggest thing this year is to VOTE - and to get other Dems to do likewise. The President gets it. Do you?
Flash: how Dems can lose 2014
(OK - you don't like that one. How about this? Flash: how Dems can win 2014)
Public safety announcement: Thinking about venting at the driver who crashed into your car in the local parking lot? Think again. That poor, scared driver could "stand her ground" and pull out a gun and kill you. Without consequence for doing so. That's AZ law courtesy of NRA and ALEC.
Here is something that we might not want to fear: the possibility that Putin shuts off gas and oil. Tom Friedman says bring it on - the world needs the jolt.
Arizona GOP legislators push return to medi-evil times where women are chattel and children are inconvenient.
Ringside seat in AZ for GOP fisticuffs: First round with Gov. candidates Scott Smith and Doug Ducey squaring off. But the real question is who is behind the ads.
The "Why Would You Expect Anything Else in Arizona" award
Imagine this: Imagine Learning [a software company] on track to get a million bucks of taxpayer money. Here's just a little bit of that story from the Arizona Republic.
An outstanding US Senator, Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), takes on Paul Ryan and his Ayn Rand-ian disdain for common folk. Here is Ryan's plan and here is Elizabeth's response. To cut right to it, see trickle-down economics in one picture.
"Conservatives" in the news: Ally Miller
Politics is a rough game, but Miller really scrapes the bottom committing "one of the most despicable acts The Skinny has ever witnessed by a local politician."
Check this out. It keeps getting better and better. Chief of Staff quits to be replaced by spokesperson from Sean Collins' failed campaign. You know Collins - the Rosemont Mine candidate who lost to Ray Carroll. That's right - the same Ray Carroll, our county supervisor, who is a target of ... Ally Miller.
"Conservatives"in the news: Cathi Herrod
This is a long read but here you have the scoop on Cathi Herrod and the Center for Arizona Policy - authors of SB1062 and a lot of other bad stuff.