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Date: Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 22:00

What's coming up on Sunday Kos ...

  • Obamacare is working. Now's the time to start talking about making it better, by Joan McCarter
  • We unlucky few: a look at the incumbents who lost their primaries, 1994-2012, by Darth Jeff
  • The ghosts, joys and unexpected obsessions of seeing it live, by Laura Clawson
  • Repeat after me: President. Obama. Is. Black. by Denise Oliver Velez
  • The real IRS scandal that's costing Uncle Sam trillions, by Jon Perr
  • Not this Chait again: or, hating Obama is part of the right's racial animus, by Dante Atkins
  • Remember when the GOP was the patriotic, law and order party, by Mark E Andersen
  • It’s time for the Alan Grayson health care narrative: 'Don’t get sick or die quickly,' by Egberto Willies
  • Anything Russian 'in czarist times' is fair game in Putin's mind, by Ian Reifowitz
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Laura Clawson)" Tags: "Open Thread"
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Date: Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 20:00
Many of the dozens of environmentally related posts that appear at Daily Kos each week don't attract the attention they deserve. So, more than seven years ago, a new feature was launched to highlight those diaries. Initially called Eco-Diary Rescue, the name was changed to Green Diary Rescue after a couple of years. Now, after nearly 17,000 green diaries have been rescued, the name is changing again. From now on, because of the growing number of diaries being posted at the site, "Spotlight on Green News & Views" will appear twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Wednesday April 16 Spotlight can be found here. As has all along been true, inclusion of a diary in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.
Bundy vs the tortoise—by Blue Tortoise: "There is a bigger story behind the recent standoff between the BLM and rancher Clive Bundy. The confrontation is part of a long battle over Federal land management practices after the Mojave Desert Tortoise was listed as an endangered species in the fall of 1989. I think the battle could have negative consequences for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Endangered Species Act. I am a wildlife biologist that has worked on desert tortoise related projects in southern Nevada since 1990. A large part of the Mojave Desert has been classified as tortoise habitat by the United States Fish and Wildlife Sevice. In the eastern half, southern Nevada, this habitat area is where people decided to build Las Vegas and other sorts of communities. The response to the federal listing was ugly, and the science community was met with howls of derision from the developers, realtors, and local politicians. It would stifle the growth of Las Vegas, they said. Other interests, such as the ranching and mining communities, derided the listing as well. There was much speculation by these groups that the listing was bogus, that the justification for it was a lie."
green dots
The Gift of Fracking: Multiple Swarms of Earthquakes in Ohio and Oklahoma—by Steven D: "Fracking our way to destruction, one state at a time. In Ohio, a swarm of earthquakes is being attributed to hydrofracking activity: Geologists in Ohio have for the first time linked earthquakes in a geologic formation deep under the Appalachians to hydraulic fracturing, leading the state to issue new permit conditions Friday in certain areas that are among the nation's strictest. A state investigation of five small tremors last month in the Youngstown area, in the Appalachian foothills, found the injection of sand and water that accompanies hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the Utica Shale may have increased pressure on a small, unknown fault, said State Oil & Gas Chief Rick Simmers. He called the link 'probable.' [...] Oklahoma, which is usually more concerned about tornadoes this time of year is also a hotbed of earthquake activity this past month. Take a wild guess as to why that might be."
green dots
The Daily Bucket--A Mother's Fears—by 6412093: "I work at, and roam a golf course west of Portland, Oregon. A recontoured farmers's field, it includes four multi-acre lakes, a handful of bogs, lowlands, wood lots, and expanses of open fields. For 16 years, I've followed the tribulations of the feathered, furry, and finned critters that eke out a life amid its fertilized boundaries. This week I've peered into the details of feathered females who care for their prospective progeny; as they deal with the aftermath of that emotional (or instinct-driven) afternoon or evening when avian desire overcame common sense. I'll start with the coots.  From Google: Coots are medium-sized water birds that are members of the Rallidae (rail) family. They constitute the genus Fulica. Coots have predominantly black plumage, and—unlike many rails—they are usually easy to see, often swimming in open water. They are close relatives of the moorhen. During the winter, I often see over 100 coots on the course ponds, mostly flocked in a single pond. In the Spring, the coots have generally scattered to all four ponds and begun nesting. I've taken the following pictures at what I call Coot Pond. Cattails envelope most of the 600 yards of Coot Pond shoreline."

You can find more rescued green diaries below the sustainable squiggle.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Meteor Blades)" Tags: "spotlight on green news & views"
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Date: Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 17:55
Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York, laughs during a news conference to announce details of a newly renovated Madison Square Garden in New York, October 24, 2013. Over a billion dollars was spent on the three year, top-to-bottom renovation.  REUTERS/Carlo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has tilted the playing field toward well-funded charter chains.
With New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature giving away the educational farm to politically connected charter school chains and preventing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio from making decisions about how classroom space in the city will be allocated (Cuomo's answer: What charters want, charters get, and screw public school students), a lot of the coverage has focused on the people and organizations with their own PR staff. Former city councilwoman and Success Academies founder Eva Moskowitz has had her say far and wide, for instance. But what about the kids being crowded out of their traditional public schools by Moskowitz's incessant demand for more public space in which to run the business that pays her a hefty salary? They don't have a PR staff.

In one school building, which houses a traditional public school, a special education public school, and a Success Academies school:

... when the classrooms of P.S. 149 and Mickey Mantle give way to Success Academy on the third floor and part of the second, one notices the aesthetic differences immediately. The public school hallways are cheerful but basic, with a ragtag assortment of colors and student art on the walls. A few fluorescent lights flicker; the bathrooms are standard cinderblock.

In Success Academy’s bright hallways, signs are stenciled in the same font and bear inspirational quotes like “Actions speak louder than words.” Classrooms are outfitted in splashy blues, reds and greens, with the same multi-colored, polka-dotted carpets. Success Academy students wear orange and blue uniforms: jumpers for the girls, shirts and ties for the boys.

According to Barbara Darrigo, principal of P.S. 149, there’s an unmistakable discomfort in the building.

“It’s this underlying tension,” she said. “There’s almost an air of elitism. When they’re not making eye contact with you [in the hallways] and they’re not acknowledging your existence, you kinda start thinking, ‘I guess I’m less than.’ I know my kids must feel that.” [...]

“I find it really hard to accept that my kids have to have lunch at 10:40 in the morning,” she said, while Success Academy eats lunch later. “I can’t open up another pre-K class.” Even if Darrigo had enough phys-ed teachers to meet compliance, she said, she wouldn’t have enough time in the gym.

Continue reading below the fold for more of the week's education and labor news.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Laura Clawson)" Tags: "Andrew Cuomo, Bill de Blasio, Education,..."
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Date: Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 17:00
Baby crying holding his ears
Robert Jackson, probably.
He may not be a neo-Nazi like my last pen pal George Rockwell, but Robert Jackson is the epitome of conservatism, all wrapped up in a delicious two-day back-and-forth. With all the debate skills of a three-year-old and the mental capacity of one too, you should come away from this exchange nodding your head and thinking, "Oh, that's why they're so stupid!"

So head below the fold for all the fun!

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (kos)" Tags: "Dailykos, Hate Mail"
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Date: Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 16:00
This week in the war on voting is a joint project of Joan McCarter and Meteor Blades

Iowa is one of four states that requires felons who have finished their sentences to appeal directly to the governor if they want their voting rights restored. As Nicole Flatow at Think Progress points out, when Democrat Tom Vilsack was governor, he issued an executive order automatically restoring felons' voting rights when they completed their sentences. But Republican Gov. Terry Branstad reversed that ruling. As a consequence only 12 of the 8,000 felons who have finished their sentences have had their voting rights restored.

The way the law works now is confusing both to ex-convicts and public officials.
For the 2012 election, at least a dozen citizens who weren't felons were included on a list of people barred from voting and at least three offenders were mistakenly removed from the list.

As a result of a ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court, that situation may be headed for a slight change that could enfranchise some felons.

The case involved Anthony Bisignano, a state Senate candidate whose opponent sought to have disqualified on the grounds that Iowans who have committed an "infamous crime" cannot run for public office. Those who have committed "infamous crimes" are also barred from voting unless the governor proves merciful.

Without making a distinction between misdemeanors and felonies, the Iowa Supreme Court has previously categorized an "infamous crime" as one that carries the possibility of time in the penitentiary. Bisignano's crime was a second offense of drunk driving, which he said should not be considered "infamous." Under the law, that offense is an "aggravated misdemeanor," which can be punished with time in the slam. But the justices this time found the "infamous" label too harsh for that particular crime and reaffirmed the lower court's decision saying Bisignano should not be disqualified.

But they went further, noting at length that the Court had previously considered the meaning of "infamous crime" in a number of cases. The justices determined that the Supreme Court had wrongly decided previous cases and mere punishment by prison time should not be the determining factor as to whether a crime is "infamous." The upshot: Many misdemeanor offenders and some felons now may not have to depend on gubernatorial clemency to get their voting rights restored.

But the ruling leaves behind a tangled web since, other than Bisignano's particular offense, no bright line was drawn between what is and what is not an "infamous crime." Tom Vilsack had the right idea. Returning to that approach would make a lot more sense, be a lot more fair and present no danger to the public or the electoral process. The system was broken, Vilsack fixed it, and Branstad rebroke it.

More on the war on voting can be found below the orange butterfly ballot.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Meteor Blades)" Tags: "this week in the war on voting"
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Date: Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 15:00

image

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (ericlewis0)" Tags: "Animal Nuz, Cartoons, Recommended"
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Date: Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 15:00
megaphone
Just as states with progressive lawmakers and activists have themselves initiated innovative programs over a wide range of issues, state-based progressive blogs have helped provide us with a point of view, inside information and often an edgy voice that we just don't get from the traditional media. This week in progressive state blogs is designed specifically to focus attention on the writing and analysis of people focused on their home turf. Let me know via comments or Kosmail if you have a favorite state- or city-based blog you think I should know about. Inclusion of a diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement or endorsement of its contents.

At Nevada Progressive, atdnext writes—Clear & Present Danger:

Nevada Progressive
We could definitely see this coming. Ever since they caught wind of Cliven Bundy's attempt to subvert federal law at Gold Butte, G-O-TEA media personalities have been sharing their wet dreams of "Second Amendment Remedies". And a number of G-O-TEA politicians have gone out of their way to celebrate the extreme right "Patriot Movement" Militia's "victory" over the rule of law. [...]

Not only are Cliven Bundy and his "TEA" fueled allies completely wrong on the facts and wrong on the law, but they're also sending out a dangerously wrong message. That message is the same one we heard 19 years ago this week in Oklahoma City.

Before 9/11, this was the worst terrorist attack on US soil. And it was no hidden secret that Timothy McVeigh was motivated by the kind of extreme "Patriot" ideology that we've been catching glimpses of at #BundyRanch.

This is why we've been urging G-O-TEA politicians who have all too eagerly endorsed this lawless "uprising" to reconsider what they're advocating. Cresent Hardy & Michele Fiore may think it's cute to grandstand alongside the Bundy Gang and their new extreme right militia BFFs, but it's not. Rather, they're cozying up to what all the rest of us see as a clear & present danger.

At Intelligent Discontent of Montana, Don Pogreba writes—TEA Party Facts for Tax Day!:
Intelligent Discontent, state blogs
I didn’t understand last year when the Montana media decided totumbleweed-lebowski cover the dying TEA Party movement on tax day, and I don’t really understand why they chose to today, but there are some gems of facts from TEA Party “rallies” that perhaps make it worthwhile to read. Or at least enjoy. [...]

Then child-hating Tom Burnett, Republican candidate in House District 67, in his non-stop war against feeding poor children offered this statistic, only problematic in that it is complete nonsense:

He also took aim at reduced-cost school lunches, bringing black-and-white images of food left on cafeteria trays: "Kids on free and reduced school lunch waste 46 percent more than the average kid who pays their way."
Below the fold, you can read excerpts from more progressive state blogs.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Meteor Blades)" Tags: "This week at progressive state blogs"
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Date: Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 14:00

For me, and for countless other Christians, Holy Week and Easter are times for reflection and renewal. We remember the grace of an awesome God, who loves us so deeply that He gave us his only Son, so that we might live through Him. We recall all that Jesus endured for us – the scorn of the crowds, the agony of the cross – all so that we might be forgiven our sins and granted everlasting life. And we recommit ourselves to following His example, to love and serve one another, particularly “the least of these” among us, just as He loves every one of us.
Worst. Muslim. Ever.

President Obama used the occasion of his weekly address to wish listeners of all faiths an inspired celebration of holy days and a joyful weekend. He emphasized his own faith and that of his family, and discussed the universal messages for believer and non-believer alike, of hope, responsibility for our fellow beings and the spirit of human endurance.

The common thread of humanity that connects us all – not just Christians and Jews, but Muslims and Hindus and Sikhs – is our shared commitment to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. To remember, I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper.  

Whatever your faith, believer or nonbeliever, there’s no better time to rededicate ourselves to that universal mission.

To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Susan Gardner)" Tags: "Barack Obama, Easter, passover, weekly a..."
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Date: Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 13:00
Hypothetical illustration of Kepler 186f
"Lycoris," a hypothetical illustration of the surface of Kwepler 186f by Karen Wehrstein. Click image for detailed description.
If you haven't heard yet, the now defunct Kepler planet finder bagged a planet almost exactly the same size as Earth orbiting in its star's habitable zone. Why is this such a big deal? For starters, Kepler 186 is a Class M star, the same kind that make up about three-quarters of our galaxy, meaning there are roughly 75 billion in the Milky Way alone. Statistically, that means a billion or more Earth-sized planets in or near the habitable zone. This particular star is a largish red-dwarf, it is not a flare star and does not exhibit great variability like some of its smaller, redder cousins. Class M dwarfs last a long, long time giving life plenty of opportunity to develop and evolve.
It's only about 1.1 times the size of Earth! Together, these make it potentially the most Earth-like planet we’ve yet found.

I say potentially because honestly we don’t know all that much about it besides its size and distance from its star (and its year—it takes 130 days to orbit the star once). The next things we’d need to know about it are the mass, what its atmosphere is like, and the surface temperature.

Based on the NASA hypothetical image and a bunch of guesses, Karen and I produced the image above. For a detailed background on what it is, click here.
  • NASA Ustream press conference with multimedia slides on Kepler 186f
  • Despite decades of devaluing science, Americans are still bullish on its benefits.
  • We may be looking at a Super El Nino, rivaling the 1998 maximum. But if it comes to pass, it might restrain hurricane formation.
  • The lunar eclipse was spectacular in the southern parts of North America (nice round up of pics here) this week. But there are always those folks anxious to exploit ancient superstitions for a buck:
    The Blood Moon predictions are going to be with us for a while because there will be four of the same lunar eclipses over the next year and a half. And Hagee’s theories have sold a heck of a lot of books on Amazon. But they lack the exciting specificity of the classic end-of-the-world prophecies. Like polar shifts (earth crust moves, triggering volcanoes, floods and eliminating all life-forms) or the Amazing Criswell, who was waiting for a black rainbow to show up and suck off all the oxygen.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (DarkSyde)" Tags: "Science"
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Date: Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 11:30
Jonathan Chait:
The health-care system still has lots of problems, beginning with the 5 million poor Americans cruelly denied health care by red state Republicans. Compared to an ideal blue-sky health-care system, we still fall short. What’s beyond question is that Obamacare has effected a revolutionary improvement by its own standards.
If it’s so easy to massively improve health care, why didn’t it happen before? Because passing a health-care reform through Congress is incredibly hard. The system’s waste created an enormous class of beneficiaries with a vested interest in the status quo. And the insecurity of private insurance made Americans terrified of change (which was necessarily complex).

And this is what conservatives have never understood. They act as if reforming health care is a mere matter of drawing up a health-care plan on paper and rounding up the votes, something they could do anytime they really feel like getting around to it, rather than a Herculean political task. They further convinced themselves that administering the new law would prove devilish if not impossible. They had it backwards.

The triumphs of Obamacare were designing a plan that could acceptably compensate the losers and generating the resources to cover the uninsured without alienating those with insurance. Designing and passing Obamacare was a project requiring real policy and political genius. Implementing it was easy.

In case anyone needs a Fox News-style interpretation of today's ACA enrollment statistics http://t.co/...
@D_Liebman
More politics and policy below the fold.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Greg Dworkin)" Tags: "Abbreviated Pundit Round-up, APR"
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Date: Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 03:30
At The Nation, Mychal Denzel Smith writes We Built This Country on Inequality:

I admit to tuning out most conversations surrounding income and/or wealth inequality in the United States. It’s not because I don’t find these conversations important; they are vital. The problem is that I always hear the issue of inequality situated around what has happened in the last thirty or forty years, which ignores the fact this is a nation built on inequality. The wealth gap didn’t spring up from policy gone awry—it is the policy. This country was founded on the idea of concentrating wealth in the hands of a few white men. That that persists today isn’t a flaw in the design. Everything is working as the founders intended.

The source of that inequality has changed, as the past thirty/forty years have been dominated by the financial class and rampant executive corruption, but the American economy has always required inequality to function. Even times of great prosperity, where the wealth gap decreased, inequality was necessary. The post-WWII period is notable for the lowest levels of inequality in the modern era, but the drivers of that prosperity (the GI Bill, construction of the highway system, low-interest home loans) deliberately left black people out, and the moments of robust public investment that have benefited racial minorities and women have always been followed by a resurgence of concern over government spending and “state’s rights.”

Our job, then, if we’re serious about forming a society of true equality, is to interrogate and uproot the ideologies that created the original imbalance. In other words, we can’t deal with income/wealth inequality without also reckoning with white supremacy and patriarchy.

So far, we haven’t done a very good job of that.


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003Massive protests against US:

The US has occupied Iraq all of 37 minutes, and already is facing mass protests.

In the first Friday prayers since U.S. tanks drove to the heart of Baghdad last week, a Muslim preacher said the United States had invaded to defend Israel and denied Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, a key justification Washington offered for the war.

No prayers were held last Friday. Followers of the preacher, Ahmed al-Kubaisi, carried Korans and waved banners that read "No to America. No to Secular State. Yes to Islamic State."

"Leave our country, we want peace," one banner read.

"This is not the America we know. The America we know respects international law, respects the right of people," Kubaisi said.

What is worrisome to me is not the protests against the US—this was to be expected. It's the way the US invasion and nacent occupation is strengthening the hand of Islamists. Say what you will about Saddam, but he kept the hard-core fundamentalists under control (the reason Hussein and Osama Bin Laden hated each other). They have now been let loose, and it does not portend good things, either for the US occupation or for the region's future.

Tweet of the Day:  

Lofoten, Norway. Photo by Daniel Kordan. http://t.co/...
@BestEarthPix



On today's rerun of the Kagro in the Morning show, there was tough news everywhere today, from the Senate floor to West, Texas. We spent a little more time clearing up issues of procedure, and pointed out that maybe Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey, both conservatives, have a little bit of thinking to do about who supports you when you go out on a limb to do what you think is the right thing, and who leaves you hanging out to dry. Rep. Aaron Schock declares good corporate PR is now a government entitlement. The attacks in Boston give rise to renewed inquiry into the nature of terrorism, and the political symbolism of using the word.



High Impact Posts. Top Comments.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Meteor Blades)" Tags: "Open Thread for Night Owls"
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 23:00
C&J Banner

From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…

Late Night Snark: Hippity Hop Edition

"This year's Easter Sunday happens to fall on the same day as the marijuana holiday, 4/20. Which means no matter what your religion, this Sunday you're probably going to see a giant bunny."
---Conan O'Brien

Vintage Easter graphic of chicks climbing into an airship
"Chickies! Don't get on that ship!
The rest of the book 'To Serve
Fowl,' it's... it's a cookbook!"
"Walmart's owners are so absurdly rich that one of them, Alice Walton, spent over a billion dollars building an art museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, 500 miles away from the nearest person who ever would want to look at art. And she said about it: 'For years I've been thinking about what we can do as a family that can really make a difference.' How about giving your employees a raise, you deluded nitwit?"
---Bill Maher

"A woman in Las Vegas was arrested after she threw a shoe at Hillary Clinton while Hillary was giving a speech. The woman was tackled, cuffed, and thrown into a police car. Then the cops said, 'Normally, we do that, Hillary, but thank you for the help.'"
---Jimmy Fallon

"Kim Jong Un was re-elected as leader of North Korea, winning 100 percent of the vote, easily defeating his challenger, Or Else."
---Colin Jost

"It's Derek Jeter's final year in baseball. Don't you hate it when a guy announces his retirement a year in advance and then spends every day milking it for cheap sentimentality?"
---David Letterman

And five glorious years ago:
"People have been mailing tea bags to members of Congress to express their dissatisfaction with taxes and government spending. Nothing shakes a politician up like a complimentary bag of tea. Next year will be crumpets, buddy!"
---Jimmy Kimmel

"Let me get this straight. To protest wasteful spending, you bought a million tea bags? Are you protesting taxes or irony?"
---Jon Stewart

C'mon down and splash---we turned the kiddie pool into a giant coconut nest and filled it with Cadbury egg goop. Your west coast-friendly edition of  Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Bill in Portland Maine)" Tags: "Cheers and Jeers"
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 21:40
Fox News Sean Hannity program on April 15, 2014
Media Matters went through the painstaking research of calculating just how much time Fox News primetime hosts have spent during the past two weeks covering deadbeat cattle rancher Cliven Bundy's dispute with the Bureau of Land Management over his refusal to pay grazing fees for the last 21 years like every other cattle rancher in Nevada, and the numbers are staggering:
Led by Sean Hannity, Fox News has devoted 4 hours and 40 minutes of its prime-time programming to cheerleading for a Nevada range war.
The reason for the coverage is obvious: Even though the real story amounts to nothing more than a guy who doesn't want to pay his bills, Fox was able to spin it into a clash between a simple cattle rancher and a Leviathan federal government, creating a storyline guaranteed to enthrall their conservative audience.

Sure, turning Bundy's story into a symbol for something which he has no business representing required Fox to invent a narrative disconnected from reality, but what's the harm in a little bit of storytelling? Well, there's a serious answer to that question: The harm is that by making Bundy into something that he is not, Fox created a flashpoint for dozens of extremists, turning what should have been a run-of-the-mill law enforcement operation into a dangerous standoff featuring scenes like this:

Eric Parker from central Idaho aims his weapon from a bridge as protesters gather by the Bureau of Land Management's base camp, where cattle that were seized from rancher Cliven Bundy are being held, near Bunkerville, Nevada April 12, 2014. The U.S. Burea
Fortunately, nobody got seriously hurt. But you can bet that if tragedy took place, Fox would be right there, covering the story they helped to create.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Jed Lewison)" Tags: "Fox News"
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 20:21
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (C) is flanked by Senator John Thune (R-SD) (L) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) (R) as he addresses reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, February 4, 2014.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst    (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX1880M
GOP immigration reform supporters want action now because
they're afraid of what might happen if these guys win.
At the end of a Wall Street Journal report on how House Speaker John Boehner and other top House Republicans are privately telling campaign donors who support immigration reform that they still believe it can happen in 2014 comes this amazing passage explaining why some Republicans believe it's important to take action this year instead of waiting until 2015 or beyond:
GOP lobbyists and some congressional staff say the task might grow harder if the party waits.

If Republicans win control of the Senate, for example, Sen. Charles Grassley (R., Iowa), who is widely seen as opposing an immigration overhaul, would be slated to lead the Judiciary Committee, which handles immigration.

Many in the business community have shifted their lobbying to emphasize this point, several lobbyists said.

In other words, Republicans who support immigration reform want to act now because they're afraid of what would happen if Republicans were to take full control of Congress. In a way, that makes sense, but it's also a damning indictment that the possibility of winning the next election is one of the biggest fears of the GOP's immigration reform supporters.

But how about this for a better solution? Deny Mitch McConnell his dream of becoming Senate Majority Leader and put the Democrats back in control of the House. Short of a miracle from House Republicans, that's the only way immigration reform is going to happen anytime soon.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Jed Lewison)" Tags: "Immigration Reform, John Boehner"
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 19:22
Rep. Paul Ryan at CPAC 2014
He doesn't represent America.
The conservative vision of the world is in stark contrast to what the rest of the country sees. That's been obvious in all sorts of issues, from abortion to gay marriage to marijuana legalization, but here's an issue that's particularly salient this election year: poverty and income inequality.
Among all Americans, 44 percent said they think poor people are poor mostly because of a lack of opportunities, while only 30 percent said it's mostly because of their individual failings. More specifically, 47 percent said poverty has to do more with the fact good jobs aren't available, while only 28 percent said it's because poor people have a poor work ethic.

Likewise, 52 percent said most wealthy people got where they are primarily because they had more opportunities, while 31 percent said the wealthy just worked harder than other people.

When it comes to unemployment, 51 percent said most are trying to find jobs but can't, while only 36 percent said most could find jobs if they want to. On the other hand, respondents were more divided about the long term unemployed. Forty-five percent said people who have been unemployed more than 6 months are trying to find jobs but can't, while 41 percent said they could find jobs if they wanted to.

Those in the minority on every question were, of course, Republicans who "tended to think the poor are poor because of individual failings, rather than lack of opportunities (48 percent to 23 percent), and that they have a poor work ethic rather than good jobs being unavailable to them (49 percent to 21 percent)." So it's no surprise that 58 percent of Republicans think that the unemployed don't have jobs because they don't want them. Even people making more than $100,000 a year in this poll believe that the rich just have more opportunities available to them than everyone else, by a 49-33 margin.

Here's just one more issue on which Republicans are far, far apart from the mainstream.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Joan McCarter)" Tags: "Economy, Income Inequality, Jobs, Republ..."
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 19:01
  • Today's comic by Mark Fiore is George W. Bush's Art of Legacy:
    Animation still
  • Coming up on Sunday Kos ...
    • Obamacare is working. Now's the time to start talking about making it better, by Joan McCarter
    • We unlucky few: a look at the incumbents who lost their primaries, 1994-2012, by Darth Jeff
    • The ghosts, joys and unexpected obsessions of seeing it live, by Laura Clawson
    • Repeat after me: President. Obama. Is. Black. by Denise Oliver Velez
    • The real IRS scandal that's costing Uncle Sam trillions, by Jon Perr
    • Not this Chait again: or, hating Obama is part of the right's racial animus, by Dante Atkins
    • Remember when the GOP was the patriotic, law and order party, by Mark E Andersen
    • It’s time for the Alan Grayson health care narrative: 'Don’t get sick or die quickly,' by Egberto Willies
    • Anything Russian 'in czarist times' is fair game in Putin's mind, by Ian Reifowitz
  • These Daily Kos community posts were the most shared on Facebook April 17:
    Jews Ordered to Register in Eastern Ukraine, by Timaeus

    Justice Stevens: Supreme Court has Misinterpreted the Second Amendment, by night cat

    Industry Expert Says StopRush Has Destroyed Limbaugh's Business For Good, by ProgLegs

  • The world's $50 billion toxic money pit: A giant oil field was discovered in 2000 50 miles off shore in Kazakhstan's slice of the Caspian Sea. It's called the Kashagan oil field and it's huge. But the international consortium of companies—including ExxonMobil—seeking to get the oil out in the tough climate and problematic underwater terrain has proved difficult and expensive.
    In thirteen years, they've spent $50 billion, building islands and pipelines and digging deep, some two and a half miles below the surface, to reach a so-called supergiant oil field where sour crude is mixed with toxic gas at ungodly pressures. In industry circles, Kashagan has become a watchword for massive complexity and near impossibility, and adopted an unofficial motto: "cash all gone."
  • Ethnic America, on a map:
    The history of European colonization of the Americas is still evident today in most of the United States. This very cool map shows which ancestries make up the largest population in each of the country’s 3,144 counties. [...] The legacy of slavery still shows up in many rural Southern counties, where African Americans make up dominant slices of the population. Mexican Americans are dominant in border states, and in rural areas where agriculture is a big slice of the economy in places like eastern Washington and southern Idaho.

    And note those of non-Mexican Hispanic/Spanish origin in northern New Mexico. Those are the families who were in the United States before there was a United States. Or a Mexico, for that matter.

  • Texans lose another abortion clinic:
    Texas’s harsh anti-abortion law has claimed another victim, as a clinic in El Paso has been forced to immediately halt its abortion services. The Reproductive Services clinic attempted to seek an injunction against the provision of the law that requires abortion clinics to get admitting privileges from local hospitals—a medically unnecessary requirement that’s often impossible to meet—but a federal judge denied that request.
  • How the BP oil spill turned African American oystermen into an endangered species.
  • John Roberts and the Color of Money v. People of Color:
    People of color are almost entirely absent from the top donor profile, and none more so than members of the community that white Americans enslaved for two centuries:

    While more than one-in-six Americans live in a neighborhood that is majority African-American or Hispanic, less than one-in-50 superlimit donors do. More than 90 percent of these elite donors live in neighborhoods with a greater concentration of non- Hispanic white residents than average. African-Americans are especially underrepresented. The median elite donor lives in a neighborhood where the African-American population counts for only 1.4 percent, nine times less than the national rate.

    In other words: Political money and hence influence at the top levels is disproportionately white, male, and with almost no social context that includes significant numbers of African Americans and other people of color.

  • Chelsea Clinton expecting a baby in the fall:
    With her mother at her side, Ms. Clinton added, “I just hope that I will be as good a mom to my child and, hopefully, children as my mom was to me.” [...]

    In September, CBS News asked [Bill] Clinton whether his wife would rather be president or grandmother. “I think she’d say grandmother,” he replied.

  • The rollercoaster-building business:
    according to Roller Coaster Database, there are 2,956 roller coasters in 2,067 amusement parks worldwide, with nearly 400 million riders each year. How did these feats of engineering become so popular, and who are the people behind them?
  • On today's rerun of the Kagro in the Morning show, it's 4/18/13. West, TX has just exploded, the gun bill has gone down, we pondered what is & isn't "terrorism," and Aaron Schock presaged the court ruling discussed yesterday, declaring good PR a new corporate entitlement.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Meteor Blades)" Tags: "Midday Open Thread"
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 18:54
Keystone XL pipeline route
Unnamed sources familiar with the decision have told Reuters that the Obama administration will announce Friday that it is extending the government comment period for the Keystone XL pipeline. This will likely delay any decision on whether to build the pipeline until after the November midterms:
President Barack Obama has said he will make a final decision on whether to allow the pipeline connecting Canada's oil sands region to Texas refiners but several government agencies were expected to weigh-in by the end of May.

A dispute over the proposed route of the pipeline has stalled the project in Nebraska, though, and officials will cite that uncertainty in its announcement on Friday justifying the delay.

A judge ruled in February that the state had unconstitutionally transferred authority to the governor's office to approve the revised route that TransCanada, the pipeline builder, has chosen for Nebraska. That decision, she said, should be made instead by the Nebraska Public Service Commission. The case is being appealed by the state attorney general.

Please read below the fold for more on this story.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Meteor Blades)" Tags: "dk environmentalists, Environment, Keyst..."
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 18:42
Scott Brown in his pickup, giving a thumbs up.
"Scott Brown. He, um, owns a truck."
Oh Gawd, this is going to be hilarious to watch.
Some of the best-known “super PACs” and outside groups — like Americans for Prosperity, which is backed by the conservative billionaires David H. and Charles G. Koch — are making an effort to also cast their candidates in an appealing way instead of solely attacking opponents. Already this year, 16 percent of Americans for Prosperity’s spots have been positive; in 2012, the group did not run a single one.
Sixteen percent? That's off the positivity charts, baby!
The shift is the product of several factors — the renewed hope that positive commercials can break through the advertising clutter; lessons of the 2012 presidential race, when Mitt Romney and outside Republican groups largely failed to offer an alternate message to an onslaught of negative spots; and the increasing prevalence of stock footage made public by campaigns that makes producing positive ads easier.
Ah ha ha ha ... so that's it. Campaigns are going to release footage of their candidate "to the public," which will mean that the SuperPACs can "appropriate" those candidate images for use in their own totally uncoordinated advertising campaigns for that candidate. And since no campaign is going to release footage of their candidate biting the head off a squirrel "to the public," positive ads it is!
“Any idiot can do a negative ad badly, and many do, but a good positive ad captures a sense of the candidate and the candidate’s connection to the place where he’s running,” said Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist who advises roughly a dozen super PACs and candidates, and who made the 2002 ad tying a Democratic senator from Georgia, Max Cleland, who lost both legs and his right hand in the Vietnam War, to Osama bin Laden.
And fuck you for that forever, fella. Run all the positive ads you want from now on, you're still a piece of trash. And I mean that in the most positive of ways.

Note that the Koch brothers alone are worth 100 billion dollars. They could spend one billion dollars on every last American Senate race in the next six years and still have enough left over to buy a cheeseburger. When they want a certain candidate in office, or don't want a certain candidate in office, Americans for Prosperity can spend as much money as they want to try to make that happen because the Supreme Court doesn't think one family personally buying all the Senate seats would be a problem. With the kind of money being thrown around these days, of course there's going to be some percentage of positive ads. There will have to be, simply because they will eventually have run through every possible smear on every possible opponent and have nothing else to run.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Hunter)" Tags: "Americans For Prosperity, Campaign Finan..."
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 18:09
The number of things that set decent God-fearing folks off really does seem infinite. Chief among them is daring to even express an opinion other than their own, because that's oppressing them, you see.
The new unholy war on Easter finding a new battleground in the Windy City.
Well that's quite the intro. Do go on.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation, an atheist group that already posted an anti-Easter sign in the Wisconsin state capital, is now erecting a massive display in Chicago's Daley Plaza. Two eight-foot banners featuring Thomas Jefferson and President John Adams promoting the secular views of our founding fathers.
THOSE BASTARDS.
One banner reads "In reason we trust", the other will say "Keep state and religion separate." The exhibit, aimed at countering the Jesus in Daley Plaza displaying a display that is going on today or going up today, it's been going on for eight years there in Chicago, it'll feature a nineteen foot tall cross and a 10-foot tall image of the resurrected Jesus. Has Easter evolved into an occasion to demean religious beliefs and Christianity?
Blah blah interview Satan blah. And since it's been going on eight years, it's clearly our national tradition and how dare some other group try to bring the hellhound Founding Fathers into this.

Thankfully all parties agree that it's within atheists' rights to put up their own public display, even if it lacks, quote, "class." What we can't agree on is whether merely expressing an opinion other than a belief in Christianity in the public square is an "unholy" attack on Christianity. Fox News says it is, the founding fathers didn't seem to think so, and I guess the founding fathers don't have their own television network so it sucks to be them.

"God bless you both," the Fox anchor ends the interview with. Now that's class.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Hunter)" Tags: "Conservatives, Fox News, Media, Recommen..."
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 17:58
Infographic showing result of decision by states to refuse Medicaid expansion money.

In Thursday's press conference announcing that the Affordable Care Act had reached 8 million exchange enrollees, President Obama was asked whether that would mean Democrats would start campaigning on Obamacare. His answer in part:
I think that Democrats should forcefully defend and be proud of the fact that millions of people like the woman I just described who I saw in Pennsylvania yesterday we’re helping because of something we did. I don’t think we should apologize for it, and I don’t think we should be defensive about it. I think there is a strong, good, right story to tell.
He gave them the blueprint for telling that story, here:
[I]f the Republicans want to spend the entire next six months or year talking about repealing a bill that provides millions of people health insurance without providing any meaningful alternative, instead of wanting to talk about jobs and the economic situation of families all across the country, that's their prerogative. At some point I think they’ll make the transition. That's my hope, anyway. If not, we're just going to keep on doing what we're doing, which is making it work for people all across the country.

I'm sorry, I'm going to say one last thing about this, just because this does frustrate me: States that have chosen not to expand Medicaid for no other reason than political spite. You’ve got 5 million people who could be having health insurance right now at no cost to these states—zero cost to these states—other than ideological reasons. They have chosen not to provide health insurance for their citizens. That's wrong. It should stop. Those folks should be able to get health insurance like everybody else.

Democrats can stand behind Obamacare, making the case that it has helped millions of people. But that's just part of the story. The other side of it is that Republicans aren't just fighting to take all that away from the people who just got it—anywhere from 14 to 23 million people—they're keeping 5 million out of coverage. Simply because of politics. People are dying simply because of Republican politics.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Joan McCarter)" Tags: "Affordable Care Act, Barack Obama, Medic..."
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