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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 21:50

Keep this artist afloat by becoming a patron for as little as $1 per month!!

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (keefknight)" Tags: "Cartoons, Comics, Police"
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 20:30
Voter buttons
Here's Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp in July saying he believes Republicans need to match Democrats when it comes to registering new voters:
Democrats are working hard, and all these stories about them, you know, registering all these minority voters that are out there and others that are sitting on the sidelines, if they can do that, they can win these elections in November. Well, we’ve got to do the exact same thing. I would encourage all of you – if you have an Android or Apple device, download that app, and make it your goal to register one new Republican voter.
Aside from the fact that Kemp was clearly writing off the GOP's ability or desire to appeal to minority voters, it's hard to argue with that. If Democrats are going to try to register new voters, then what's wrong with Republicans doing the same? Nothing, obviously. That being said, the problem for Republicans is that there are a lot more unregistered potential Democratic voters than potential Republican ones, especially in places like Georgia. That means the only way for Republicans to match Democratic registration efforts is to stop those Democratic registration efforts—and that's exactly what Kemp is doing in Georgia.

Now that a Democratic-leaning group has submitted 85,000 new voter registration forms, Kemp is no longer singing the praises of voter registration efforts: Instead, he's actively trying to block them by using his power as Georgia's top election official to force them to hand over virtually every document in their possession to his office by 5 PM ET on Tuesday.

If Kemp were serious about making elections work for everyone in his state, he'd stick to what he said in July. But now that he's seen the reality of the GOP's problem, he's changed his mind. The explanation is simple: As kos wrote earlier about the GOP's efforts to stop people from voting: "Republicans suppress voters because they've lost America."

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Jed Lewison)" Tags: "2014, Brian Kemp, Georgia"
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 20:07
Kira Kazantsev, Miss America 2015
The new Miss America, Kira Kazantsev, isn't necessarily what you'd expect. She volunteered for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's campaign. Asked what issue women in the Senate should be particularly focused on, she spoke about military sexual assault—with a shout-out to Gillibrand. She's spoken out about having been in an abusive relationship in college. And there's something else, something making Kazantsev the target of conservative venom: She interned with Planned Parenthood "where she supported staff members who provide sex education in the community and at local schools."

The horror! Naturally, conservatives can't hear "Planned Parenthood" without thinking "abortionabortionabortionabortion," even though in fact abortion is only 3 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.

Well how do you like that.  Baby killer supporter is now Miss America! t.co/LOHYpY438d
This is your Miss America in bizzarro insane libtard land. No talent and worked at Planned Parenthood.

DISGRACEFUL! t.co/8b1D7ZkrpK

Kazantsev's talent was singing Pharrell's "Happy" while using a cup for percussion a la the cup song. Conservative-land is pretending she only used the cup and didn't also sing, because pettiness is the name of the game when someone has the audacity to support Planned Parenthood.

Last year's Miss America choice also brought ugliness, remember, because Nina Davuluri became the first Indian-American Miss America.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Laura Clawson)" Tags: "Kira Kazantsev, Kirsten Gillibrand, Miss..."
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 19:59
Wisconsin State Senate candidate Martha Laning
Martha Laning, one of our four state Senate endorsements in Wisconsin.
Goal Thermometer
Republicans are America's minority party, representing a minority of its people. That's why they are doing everything possible to limit access to voting. And Republicans in Wisconsin are no different than their brethren in other places.
A federal appeals court on Friday permitted Wisconsin to restore a requirement that voters provide photo identification before casting their ballots, allowing the long-debated state law to take effect in time for a hard-fought election on Nov. 4 [...]

The finding was seen as a victory for Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican who along with a Republican-controlled Legislature had approved the requirement in 2011 and who faces a re-election challenge from Mary Burke, a Democrat, in November. The law was put on hold not long after it was enacted, as challenges were filed in state and federal courts.

Scott Walker faces a neck-and-neck battle against Democrat Mary Burke, who we endorsed back in June. If the governor was confident of winning based on democratic principles such as "a majority of the popular vote," he wouldn't be working so hard to suppress the vote of his own constituents. But this is all Republicans have left. They don't stand a chance in a fair fight.

So what do we do? Well, we beat them despite their undemocratic efforts. And to do that, we have to engage.

In Wisconsin, it's not just about sending Walker packing. It's about clearing out all the crud that swept in during the GOP's 2010 wave. That means the governor, of course, but the state legislature as well.

Currently, Republicans have a three-seat majority in the state Senate, well within reach of a Democratic majority. Republicans still have a big majority in the state assembly, but first thing's first. Let's get the governor's mansion. Let's get the Senate. With that, Wisconsin Democrats can abandon their defensive posture and go on the offensive, and they'll have two of the three legs for the next redistricting battle. Because if you—outside of Wisconsin—care about nothing else, care about this: President Barack Obama won the state by six points in 2012, yet Republicans hold five of the state's eight U.S. House seats.

Along with voter suppression, gerrymandering of legislative districts allows minority Republicans to retain some measure of control. It's not like they're going to win on popularity, love or respect. So long-term control of the House runs through fair district lines in states like Wisconsin.

So we're endorsing Dean Debroux (SD-01), Martha Laning (SD-09), Pat Bomhack (SD-17), and Penny Bernard Schaber (SD-19)—the candidates that give us our best shot at retaking control of the Senate.

Walker's Wisconsin has been a huge thorn on our side the past four years. It's time for us to finish what we started. Support Mary Burke, and support the Democrats fighting to retain control of the state Senate. Even $3 helps!

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (kos)" Tags: "2014, Elections, Governor, Scott Walker,..."
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 19:00
  • Today's comic by Jen Sorensen is The guide to e-holes:
    Cartoon by Jen Sorensen -- The guide to e-holes
  • These Daily Kos community posts were the most shared on Facebook September 15:
    Davis, California Tells Its Police Chief To Get Rid Of His Tank, by Dartagnan

    Gentlemanly Mark Sanford (R-Hiking) Breaks Engagement On Facebook, by Retroactive Genius

    Arizona's GOP Vice-Chair: I'd Sterilize Poor Women On Medicaid; Test For Drugs, Alcohol, by librarisingnsf

  • DSCC outraises NRSC in August: The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $7.7 million last month, 25 percent more than the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which raised $6.1 million. By the end of August, the DSCC had $25.3 million in the bank. The NRSC had $19.9 million. The DSCC has consistently outraised the NRSC, with President Obama headlining many fund-raisers and drawing in the big donors.
  • International Cycling Union president labels Colombian women's uniforms "unacceptable by any standard of decency".
  • Limbaugh thinks "no" is code for "yes" that experienced men can decipher:
    Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh mocked The Ohio State University's new policy telling students to get clear, verbal consent before having sex. Limbaugh went on to ask guys "how many of you guys, in your own experience with women, have learned that no means yes if you know how to spot it?"

    Early on Tuesday Democratic Congressional Committee Chairman Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) released a statement slamming Limbaugh for his remarks.

    "There's simply no excusing comments of this offensive nature, especially at a time where our country is having a long-overdue conversation about violence against women. Plain and simple—Rush Limbaugh is advocating for the tolerance of sexual assault and should be taken off the air immediately."

  • Black church leaders push climate justice:
    Rev. William Barber’s Moral Movement counts promoting environmental justice among its 14-point agenda. Ditto for the Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice in New York, who’ve been working on food, energy, and climate issues for years now. In fact, the environmental justice movement was initiated by a 1987 report commissioned by the United Church of Christ religious denomination.

    The tradition continues. In D.C., Rev. Lennox Yearwood has been leading flocks to the climate change struggle through his work not only as a minister, but also as president of the Hip Hop Caucus, which uses the culture to spur youth into  political activism. Rolling Stone called him one of the “New Green Heroes” last year. He co-authored a Huffington Post op-ed last with Climate Crisis Solutions President Tom Weis last week calling for a “Zero Emissions Manifesto for the Climate Justice Movement,” challenging world leaders to commit to complete carbon neutrality at the upcoming UN Climate Summit.

  • One in five men admits to hitting wife, girlfriend:
    Close to one in five men admits he has hit, slapped, kicked or otherwise attacked a wife or girlfriend, researchers say. It’s a rare look at domestic violence not from the point of view of the victim, but from the aggressor’s side. The data is a decade old but it comes from face-to-face interviews with men and might suggest the true number of men who have physically abused intimate partners is even higher, the University of Michigan researchers say.
  • Neuroscientists discover key role of speech gene:
    Researchers from MIT and several European universities have shown that the human version of a gene called Foxp2 makes it easier to transform new experiences into routine procedures. When they engineered mice to express humanized Foxp2, the mice learned to run a maze much more quickly than normal mice.

    The findings suggest that Foxp2 may help humans with a key component of learning languag—transforming experiences, such as hearing the word "glass" when we are shown a glass of water, into a nearly automatic association of that word with objects that look and function like glasses, says Ann Graybiel, an MIT Institute Professor, member of MIT's McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and a senior author of the study.

  • Arizona Sen. Russell Pearce had to resign as first vice chairman of the Arizona Republican Party as a consequence of saying what he would do if he were in charge of Arizona's public assistance programs: "The first thing I'd do is get Norplant, birth control implants, or tubal ligations…Then we'll test recipients for drugs and alcohol, and if you want [to reproduce] or use drugs or alcohol, then get a job." Let's just sterilize people. Brilliant idea, buddy. Team Blackness also discussed Kanye West's latest gaffe, why someone at Urban Outfitters should read a history book, and the Adrian Peterson controversy.
    Subscribe on iTunes | Subscribe On Stitcher | Direct Download | RSS
  • On today's Kagro in the Morning show: No, "tort reform" won't help health care costs. Big drop in the numbers of uninsured. How the Gop could still blow it. Mudflats on the Palin Riot. Stand Your Planet! Rosalyn MacGregor's MI update. Is a new tech bubble rising?
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Meteor Blades)" Tags: "Midday Open Thread"
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 18:49
Pro-net neutrality Internet activists rally in the neighborhood where U.S. President Barack Obama attended a fundraiser in Los Angeles, California July 23, 2014.  REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn  (UNITED STATES - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) - RTR3ZWDG
The Daily Kos community absolutely rocked the Federal Communication Commission's public comment period on its proposed net neutrality rules. We took just under 1 million online, individual actions—a combined 988,888 actions—in support of a free and open internet: 420,334 direct and personal comments to the FCC; 264,116 petitions to the FCC; 160,347 comments to the White House; 125,177 comments to members of Congress; and 18,914 petitions to the White House. We've been recognized by the Sunlight Foundation as one of a handful of organizations leading the fight with our efforts, largely thanks to our kick-ass action team, and this campaign's director, Rachel Colyer.

In our official comment to the FCC, Markos wrote about the founding of Daily Kos and what we've been able to achieve because of the open internet. Here's a snippet of the full comment (which has not been published to the FCC site yet):

Founded on May 26, 2002, Daily Kos is the premier online political community with over eight million unique visitors per month and over a quarter of a million registered users. It is at once a news organization, online community, and activist organization with a burgeoning campaign operation. Daily Kos is on the cutting edge of media, online organizing, offline action, and is a massive community building platform which millions of regular Americans have used to shape a political world once the exclusive domain of the rich, connected, and powerful.

Daily Kos depends on a level playing field online in order to create news content and drive online campaigns. We work tirelessly to elect more and better Democrats to help spread democratic values. [...]

Since, 2002 Daily Kos has grown to a staff of nearly 40 employees who telework from around the country, collaborating online to provide content that reaches millions of readers and community members each month. We’ve raised millions of dollars for candidates and causes through our website and supporting technologies, none of which would’ve been possible without a fair shot on the internet--free from unreasonable discrimination and additional access fees from gatekeepers, like the big Internet Service Providers.

Without net neutrality, none of that exists. With the "solution" Chairman Tom Wheeler came up with in his current proposal—allowing ISPs to create fast lanes for the companies who could afford to pay for higher speed delivery of their content—Daily Kos's future is in jeopardy. That's still the message Wheeler needs to hear, and he needs to hear it in person. Right now, he's planned a bunch of "roundtable" talks at the FCC in DC. Lobbyists, industry insiders, and some public interest advocates will have the chance to talk to the commissioners about net neutrality. But as Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) argue, this discussion matters a lot more outside the Beltway. They are demanding that Wheeler and the FCC take these roundtables on the road, get away from the lobbyists and talk to the people. Rep. Matsui is holding a public meeting with FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel on September 24, but so far Wheeler hasn't announced a public appearance anywhere outside of D.C.

We're joining in the demand that the FCC, and specifically Wheeler, hold large, open public field hearings to face the American public. The FCC isn't expected to make a decision on this proposed rule until late this fall. Between now and then, we can't let our voices be drowned out by Big Telecom and their lobbyists.

Sign and send the petition to the FCC demanding the Chairman come out and face the public support for real net neutrality. Please personalize your statement to the Chairman before sending the comment. The Chairman and staff are more likely to listen to personal messages.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Joan McCarter)" Tags: "Federal Communications Commission, Net N..."
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 18:44
St. Louis Planned Parenthood. The only clinic performing abortions in Missouri as of 9-16-14.
Despite efforts to shut it down, St. Louis Planned Parenthood
is the only clinic still performing abortions in Missouri.
'I'm more pro-life than you are.' 'Nuh-uh, I'm more pro-life than you are.' The only way one of us can eventually win is if we pass a nine-month waiting bill."
—Missouri state Rep. Chris Molendorp

Last week, both houses of the Missouri legislature overrode Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of one of the toughest abortion laws in the nation. Almost all the Republicans and many Democrats voted for the override of the bill that was first passed in May. Next month, therefore, Missouri will become the third state—joining South Dakota and Utah—to mandate a three-day waiting period for an abortion. There are no exceptions for rape or incest. The state already had a 24-hour waiting period plus other restrictions on abortion that have helped force the closure of all but a single clinic where women can obtain the procedure.

Molly Redden at Mother Jones reports that a few moderate Republicans who tried to persuade some of the more flexible GOP lawmakers to change their minds said they didn't want to vote for the override, but felt they had no choice:

When cornered, some GOP lawmakers made a confession. "They said, 'I don't actually want to vote for this bill,'" recalls Linda Rallo, an alderwoman who led the team that buttonholed Republicans. "'But if it comes to the floor, I'm going to vote for it.'"

Republican state Rep. Chris Molendorp, who opposed the bill, heard similar admissions from his GOP colleagues. In a closed-door meeting of the Republican caucus before the vote, Molendorp argued that the bill most of his colleagues were about to vote for was unreasonably cruel. [...]

Rallo fears this bill identifies the GOP with a "Todd Akin agenda." "It makes it harder for moderate candidates to get broad, statewide support," she says. "And a lot of women like me are feeling like there's not a place for them in the Republican Party … They take our money and our time but they don't want our opinion."

Wow. Eyes finally wide open. Yes, there really is a GOP war on women, Ms. Rallo. The message Rallo and other somewhat reasonable Republicans are getting is: Enlist or else.

Saying they had no choice on how to vote on the override of this dreadful law is sickeningly ironic. Courageous, principled lawmakers always have a choice. It's the women they've imposed the newest restriction on who don't.  

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Meteor Blades)" Tags: "Abortion, Missouri, Recommended, Reprodu..."
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 18:29
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach head shot
Goal Thermometer

PPP last checked in on this race a month ago and Kris Kobach, the worst secretary of state in the nation, had a 5-point lead on his Democratic challenger Jean Schodorf.

Today's PPP polling shows the race is now a dead heat:

The candidates for Secretary of State are Republican Kris Kobach and Democrat Jean Schodorf. If the election was today, who would you vote for?

Kris Kobach .................................................... 43%
Jean Schodorf................................................. 42% Undecided....................................................... 15%

The latest SurveyUSA poll showed Jean Schodorf with a 3-point lead and both polls reflect momentum on the Democratic challenger's side.

It's time to get Kris Kobach out of the Kansas secretary of state's office. Can you contribute $5 to help elect Jean Schodorf and send the worst secretary of state in the nation to the unemployment line?

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Jen Hayden)" Tags: "Jean Schodorf, Kansas, Kris Kobach, Reco..."
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 17:10

Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS is out with a new ad defending GOP Rep. Cory Gardner from criticism of his constant flailing on choice, personhood, and contraception, but instead of directly defending Gardner, the ad dismisses women who care about his views as "single-issue voters" and instead attacks Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) for supporting President Obama. Here's the transcript:
WOMAN 1: I want a real conversation about the issues important that matter.

WOMAN 2: Unfortunately, after 15 years in Washington, political scare tactics are all Mark Udall has left.

WOMAN 3: We aren't single-issue voters. We care about good jobs that support our families.

WOMAN 4: And making ends meet.

WOMAN 2: Shouldn't Mark Udall talk about the issues?

WOMAN 3: Udall voted against Keystone.

WOMAN 4: Udall votes with Obama 99 percent of the time.

VOICEOVER: Let's vote no on Mark Udall.

Whoever wrote the script clearly intended to attack Udall, but saying that women who care about whether a candidate has a 19th century view of reproductive freedom are "single-issue voters" makes the ad an attack on them. Moreover, by not addressing the concerns of these alleged "single-issue voters," the ad implicitly acknowledges that there isn't a credible way to defend Gardner's perpetually shifting position on personhood, contraception, and choice.

And, as Greg Sargent points out, the ad is a tacit acknowledgement that social issues aren't what they used to be for the GOP. Their culture wars no longer offer them a path to victory. Instead, as Laura Clawson notes, social issues have become a liability for Republicans—a problem to be managed, not a wedge to be exploited.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Jed Lewison)" Tags: "2014, CO-Sen, Cory Gardner, Mark Udall"
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 16:59
Gen. Martin Dempsey speaking to Senate Armed Services Committee, Sept. 16, 2014
Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey says no ground troops
to fight Iraq except maybe on a "case-by-case" basis.
Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Martin Dempsey said that while President Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to fight the fanatics of ISIS in Iraq, the president has also said “to come back to him on a case-by-case basis." Spencer Ackerman reports:
Dempsey, who has long been reluctant to re-introduce US forces into Middle Eastern wars, signaled that some of the 1,600 US military “advisers” Obama deployed to Iraq since June may directly fight Isis, despite Obama’s frequent public assurances that US ground troops will not engage in combat.

“If we reach the point where I believe our advisors should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific [Isis] targets, I will recommend that to the president,” Dempsey said, preferring the term “close combat advising.”

Dempsey said the air war in Iraq and Syria “won’t look like a shock and awe campaign,” but will instead be “persistent and sustainable.” He envisaged no end for it, but said Isis’ ultimate defeat will be a “generational” effort during which “moderate” Muslims abandon its ideology—raising questions about what the US military’s actual endpoint will be in pursuing the goal of “degrading and ultimately defeating” Isis, Obama’s stated goal.

Any Americans not fully persuaded by the president's assertion that no U.S. ground troops will be sent back into Iraq as part of the administration's campaign to degrade and defeat ISIS now have another reason to worry about "mission creep." Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry said:
Kerry reiterated that Obama has said no U.S. combat troops would be deployed to fight the Islamic State in Iraq, before adding, “Unless, obviously, something very, very dramatic changes.”

That formulation hasn’t been used previously by administration officials in discussing the growing U.S. confrontation with the Islamic State, and it’s sure to feed concerns that the United States may be making a greater commitment to a new conflict in the Middle East than it first intended.

So, no ground troops will be sent.



Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Meteor Blades)" Tags: "Iraq, ISIL, Isis, Islamic State, John Ke..."
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 16:57
Singer Rihanna arrives for the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards (CFDA) at Lincoln Center in New York June 2, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT FASHION) - RTR3RX5V
CBS just keeps compounding its ham-handedness coming out of the Ray Rice incident, and now, singer Rihanna is deservedly pissed. Last week, as the NFL reeled in response to video of Rice knocking his now-wife unconscious and Rice was dropped by the Baltimore Ravens, CBS pulled a song featuring Rihanna from its Thursday night broadcast of a Ravens game. This week, CBS thought maybe it would just slide that song back into its lineup. Rihanna did not appreciate that thought:
CBS you pulled my song last week, now you wanna slide it back in this Thursday? NO, Fuck you! Y'all are sad for penalizing me for this.
Now, CBS is saying it will drop the song permanently.

To be sure, it would have been awkward playing a song sung by a famous domestic violence victim at a game played by the (suddenly former) team of a famous abuser. But the fact that CBS discovered that only with the release of the second Rice video, rather than months earlier when video came out of him dragging his unconscious fiancee out of an elevator, highlights the degree to which this is nothing but a public relations game for the network. For all of CBS's claims last week that it was making decisions "journalistically and from a tone standpoint," it was pretty clear that the network didn't want to remind viewers to think about domestic violence. If the Rice video hadn't come out, CBS would have been happy to have Rihanna's star power in the belief that relatively few people would make the connection. Once it did, she was disposable, at least until the furor died down a little bit and the Ravens weren't the team on the field. Rihanna was right on target: "Y'all are sad for penalizing me for this."

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Laura Clawson)" Tags: "CBS, Domestic Violence, NFL, Ray Rice, R..."
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 16:54
Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts (R)
Pat Roberts (on right)
PPP's new poll of the Sunflower State, their first since Democrat Chad Taylor announced he was dropping his bid for Senate, confirms that Kansas—Kansas!—has cemented its position as the most exciting state of the 2014 election cycle. Taylor's status remains uncertain, though: The state Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday morning as to whether Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach should remove his name from the ballot (Kobach's refused to), and election law expert Rick Hasen thinks that Taylor's likely to prevail.

Fortunately, while we wait for the court to rule, PPP checked in on both possible scenarios—i.e., with Taylor on the ballot and with Taylor off—but in both cases, the news is equally dire for Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. In a three-way race, which is what we still have for the moment, independent businessman Greg Orman holds a 7-point lead:

Greg Orman (I): 41
Pat Roberts (R): 34
Chad Taylor (D): 6
Randall Batson (Lib): 4
Undecided: 15
Unlike SurveyUSA, which recently found Taylor at 10 percent despite informing respondents that he'd quit, PPP didn't prime the folks they interviewed. Instead, they asked Taylor supporters after the horserace question above whether they knew he'd dropped out, and 36 percent said they were, in fact, not aware.

That's good news for Orman, because this group of inattentive voters is heavily Democratic (42 percent, versus just 12 percent Republican). That means they're more likely to come over to his side once they learn Taylor's not running, even if his name does formally remain on the ballot. (Of course, it'll be a struggle to get folks who haven't paid attention to the single biggest political story in Kansas in the past month out to the polls, but that's a separate problem.)

And in the event that the Supreme Court does side with Taylor, PPP's numbers show that such a development would indeed redound to Orman's advantage. In a direct head-to-head matchup without Taylor or Batson, the Libertarian, Orman holds a huge 46-36 lead on Roberts, whose job approval rating remains mired at a miserable 29-46, unchanged from his 27-44 score in August. Orman, meanwhile, has seen his standing surge with voters, despite Republican attacks that he's a stealth Democrat who's Harry Reid's willing puppet: His favorability rating has jumped to 39-19, up from 24-12 a month ago.

That won't last, because the GOP has yet to train its biggest guns on Orman, and they most certainly will. But Roberts, despite a peppy debate performance 10 days ago, still hasn't managed to stanch the bleeding. It's hard to get over what's happening in Kansas, which last sent a Democrat to the Senate in 1932, but yeah, it's happening.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (David Nir)" Tags: "KS-Sen"
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 16:42
Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C.
Sen. Ron Johson (WI-tea party) sued the federal government because the federal government decided that congressional staff should have the benefit of health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act and that coverage should be subsidized to make it affordable. Johnson says that this is a terrible thing for him personally and so it should be ended. A federal judge decided that was nonsense and tossed the case. And because the tea party millionaire Johnson doesn't have a lot else to occupy his time, he's appealing that dismissal.

The case was tossed because Chief Judge William C. Griesbach of the Eastern District of Wisconsin determined that Johnson had no standing.

“The question of the legality of the regulation has not been determined yet; although Plaintiffs believe the regulation is unlawful, such a belief cannot be enough to create standing because that would open the door to any uninjured party who had a generalized grievance with a government regulation,” the judge wrote. “Under such an approach, there would be no principled limit on standing because a plaintiff need only allege a belief that the challenged regulation is illegal.”
Nuh uh, says Johnson, in his appeal. He was too hurt personally by the law.
Johnson's attorneys, however, argued the senator had suffered injury from the rule because the perceived "self-dealing" that led to the favorable subsidies might harm "his personal reputation and electoral prospect." […]

The appeal also argued Johnson suffered injury from the "time-consuming and substantial" administrative burden of the provision.

Oh, where to start? How about with Johnson's approval rating, that should be fun. Last October, a Marquette University Law School pegged it at 28 percent. A more recent PPP poll from April is a little more generous, showing Johnson still underwater with a 34 percent approval and 36 percent disapproval. Just a guess, but it's probably not the fact that his staff has health insurance that's driving that.

As for the administrative burden of providing that health coverage, if Sen. Johnson is taking on personal responsibility for being the human resources representative for his staff, he's doing it wrong. Johnson might indeed be facing some problems with his personal reputation and electoral prospects. While he undoubtedly blames all that on Obamacare—because if you're a tea partier, everything bad that happens is because of Obamacare—convincing another judge that it's true might prove difficult.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Joan McCarter)" Tags: "Affordable Care Act, Health Insurance, H..."
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 16:27
U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) addresses a news conference as he discusses his opposition to a vote on START Treaty on Capitol Hill in Washington December 15, 2010. REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTXVRL1
This morning the Kansas Supreme Court heard arguments from attorneys representing Democrat Chad Taylor and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach about whether the Democratic challenger's name should be removed from the ballot this November. The take from the Election Law Blog:
Much of the discussion at oral argument concerned other letters of withdrawal which the SOS had received in recent years, including some earlier letters which were submitted (late) to the court. It seems to show a pattern of the SOS exercising discretion in deciding which letters complied. The Justices seemed to get Kobach’s lawyer to admit that substantial compliance may sometimes be enough. With that concession, there is a relatively easy path to finding the letter substantially complied.
So, it sounds as if things are looking good for Taylor's request to withdrawal. The court is expected to rule before Friday, with some indications they may rule as early as today. The ballots head to the printing press this Saturday, so they must rule quickly. Our own Kansas political expert tmserv0433 liveblogged the hearing and more community discussion can be found in his diary.

The ruling could be critical for the Senate race in Kansas. New polling from PPP shows Greg Orman (KS-I) now has a growing lead against Pat Roberts (VA-R), but there are still Kansas voters who intend to vote for Chad Taylor if he remains on the ballot:

Independent Greg Orman leads Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Ks.), 41 percent to 34 percent, according to a poll released to HuffPost by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling. Six percent said they'd still vote for Democrat Chad Taylor, who has announced he's leaving the race, but whose name may remain on the ballot pending a lawsuit being heard Tuesday. Another 4 percent opted for libertarian Randall Batson, with the remaining 15 percent undecided.
With 15 percent undecided, Greg Orman could use a boost from the 6 percent who say they intend to vote for Taylor if he stays on the ballot, provided they decide to cast their vote for anyone but Roberts.

11:10 AM PT: Now comes news that a Brownback staffer's father is behind the motion to keep Taylor on the ballot.

The Kansas Supreme Court will review Tuesday whether Taylor, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, should be allowed to come off the November ballot. David Orel, a 57-year-old from Kansas City, Kan., filed an amicus brief with the court on Monday.

The brief argues that allowing Taylor to withdraw from the ballot would rob Orel, a Democrat, from his right to vote for his party’s nominee.

Curiouser and curiouser.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Jen Hayden)" Tags: "Chad Taylor, Greg Orman, Kansas, Kris Ko..."
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 15:50
A poll worker hands a sticker to a voter at a polling place in Charlotte, North Carolina October 27, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Keane
The GOP's biggest fear: voters.
Guy Cecil, head honcho at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (and rumored finalist for Hillary Clinton's campaign manager gig):
“Getting out the vote and protecting voter rights are critical to who controls the majority,” [Cecil] said, adding that the DSCC was especially concerned about North Carolina and Arkansas.

“There is a clear pattern in this country,” he added. “Where there are Democratic governors and Democratic legislatures, states are working very hard to think about how they can expand access to voting: vote by mail, online voting, early voting, Sunday voting.

“In places where there are Republican governors and legislatures there are moves to restrict access to the voting booth; require only a certain form of identification, limit the number of early vote locations, eliminate Sunday voting.”

If Republicans truly believed this was a center-right nation, and that they had the support of the populace, they'd be working hard to make sure everyone voted. They'd be fighting hard for universal voter registration, and work to open up polls for longer periods of time, or even transition entirely to vote-by-mail.

But they don't believe any of that. They know they are a minority, and a shrinking one, and the only way to retain any modicum of power is to keep as many people from voting. Democratic base groups help them out by failing to turn out in mid-term elections, and it's a propensity they are more than happy to encourage.

Republicans have lost the American people. Every vote they work to suppress confirms that.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (kos)" Tags: "Elections, Guy Cecil, Recommended, Voter..."
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 15:12
House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Jeff Miller (R-FL) stands at a podium with a sign saying #VAaccountability, flanked by Speaker John Boehner and Sen. Marco Rubio
What Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) wants the VA inspector general to be accountable to is Miller's personal beliefs.
The inspector general's report on health care delays at Department of Veterans Affairs didn't say just what congressional Republicans wanted it to, so they're insisting the VA must have leaned on the IG to change the report's conclusions. Specifically, the report said that the IG was "unable to conclusively assert that the absence of timely quality care caused the deaths of these veterans," a statement that goes against a key Republican talking point. So:
The issue will come to a head on Wednesday when House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) convenes a hearing with VA Secretary Robert McDonald and Richard Griffin, the VA’s acting inspector general, to discuss the report. Ahead of the hearing, Miller said he believed the agency pushed the IG to water down its findings.

“I was caught by surprise that a statement like that would be inserted between the draft and the final [report],” he said in an interview. “It’s a very curious thing to have occurred. I have every reason to believe that somebody within VA pressured [the IG].”

"Every reason to believe." That's a little different than evidence that it happened. Also, there's at least one thing we know Miller's list of reasons to believe doesn't include:
“No one in VA dictated that sentence going to that report. Period,” Griffin told the panel.
So basically, we're about to watch a House committee go to town on its Republican chair's belief that political pressure is the only reason for a report to not say what he wanted it to say. Not that this comes as any surprise after the months and millions of dollars Republicans have put into looking for anything at all to back up their Benghazi talking points.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Laura Clawson)" Tags: "Department of Veterans Affairs, Jeff Mil..."
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 15:06
U.S. Republican Senators John McCain (L) and Lindsey Graham talk during the Fiscal Responsibility Summit at the White House in Washington February 23, 2009.       REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque   (UNITED STATES)
John "Fair" McCain and Lindsey "Balanced" Graham are two of their favorite guests
Call it #Benghazi-palooza:
Fox News, which has led the cover-up charge in conservative media, aired 1,098 evening television segments on Benghazi between the night of the attacks and the formation of the select committee in early May of this year, according to a new study from liberal watchdog Media Matters. [...] For the Media Matters study, researchers examined five Fox News evening and primetime programs -- “The Five,” “Special Report with Bret Baier,” “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren,” “The O’Reilly Factor” and “Hannity” -- and found that they averaged 13 Benghazi segments per week.
And you'll never guess who their favorite guests are—well, unless you saw the picture of John McCain and Lindsey Graham at the top of this post. Graham comes in at number one, with 27 appearances, roughly once a month since the attacks. McCain is third on the list with 15 appearances, more than both Trey Gowdy, who is currently the House GOP's top Benghazi investigator, and Darell Issa, who used to be.

But far more revealing than the names of who they interview is the party affiliation, because of the 149 Congressional and administration guests that Fox has had on its evening and primetime lineup to discuss Benghazi, just 5 were Democrats. In percentage terms, that's just a hair over three percent—and nearly 97 percent were Republican. That's nearly a 30:1 ratio—or, as Fox would put it, it's Fair & Balanced, since they had both Democrats and Republicans.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Jed Lewison)" Tags: "Benghazi, Fox News"
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 14:56
Lisa Smith (R) helps uninsured Danielle Winters (L) and her 7-month-old grandson Tyler, who is on medicare, sign up for the Affordable Care Act, or
Two new federal surveys released Tuesday could provide ammunition to Obamacare haters, showing less than robust enrollment numbers in the program. These surveys, by the Census Bureau and the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) created by the Centers for Disease Control, show modest decreases in the number of uninsured, but while the data presented in them is extremely accurate, it's outdated. The Census numbers presented are from 2013, and the NHIS numbers reflect just January-March of 2014, not encompassing the late surge of enrollments at the end of March, extended into April.

The Census numbers will be helpful in setting a baseline for comparison to this year, while the NHIS essentially reiterates data that was already released by private surveys, like Gallup's. Here's what it found in the first few months of 2014.

The number of uninsured Americans fell by about 8 percent to 41 million people in the first quarter of this year, compared with 2013, a drop that represented about 3.8 million people and that roughly matched what experts were expecting based on polling by private groups, like Gallup. The survey also measured physical health but found little evidence of change. […]

There was a sharper drop in the share of uninsured in states that expanded Medicaid than in those that did not, reflecting the broad uptake of the government insurance program since the law took effect. The share of uninsured among 18- to 64-year-olds fell by nearly three percentage points to 15.7 percent in the first quarter in states that expanded Medicaid, compared with a drop of about one percentage point to 21.5 percent in states that did not, a decline that was not statistically significant. […]

[T]he survey measured a number of other basic health indicators, but only one of them registered any real change: About 2.9 percent of respondents said they had experienced a “serious psychological stress during the past 30 days,” down from 3.7 percent in 2013.

That last finding mirrors an Oregon Medicaid survey, which registered real benefits to newly enrolled Medicaid patients in mental health, while not finding real improvements in physical health. Having coverage helps bring peace of mind and more financial security. The survey did find a significant decline in the number of uninsured 19-26 year olds, down from 27 percent in 2013 to 21 percent in the first quarter of 2014.

This is all consistent with surveys done in the first quarter of the year, and basically reaffirms what the first three months of Obamacare looked like. But the most information NHIS reports won't be released until December. That's the one that will give the full picture of Obamacare's first full year.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Joan McCarter)" Tags: "Affordable Care Act, Health Insurance, H..."
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 14:00
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE)
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) is annoyed at being forced to vote on fair pay.
Republicans blocked a key equal pay measure Monday night, and are whining that Democrats made them vote on it at all. The Paycheck Fairness Act, which would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963, was defeated in one of those classic Senate votes in which the bill had 52 votes—a majority—but was blocked by 40 Republicans. That's no surprise:
Counting procedural votes, it’s the fourth time Republicans have voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act since 2012.
This is a bill with strong public support in addition to its majority support in the Senate. But Republicans have a clear view of who's causing problems here:
“It’s politics,” said Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska, one of four women Republicans in the Senate. “It’s a one-sided vote for political reasons, so [Democrats] can use it in campaigns.”
Here's a thought! It wouldn't be a one-sided vote if even one Republican would vote in favor of a bill that puts a higher standard on employers' efforts to show they're not discriminating, strengthens penalties for breaking the law, and makes it easier for women to find out if they're being discriminated against. But Republicans object, basically, that if women can find out they're being discriminated against illegally, they might sue, and that would be bad. Heaven forbid people breaking the law face penalties—if they're employers, anyway.

Republicans even added another layer of noxious political gamesmanship to the process of blocking the Paycheck Fairness Act for the fourth time:

Politico reported that Senate Republicans allowed the Paycheck Fairness Act to proceed as an apparent way to choose the lesser political evil: “To eat up Senate floor time and disrupt planned votes on raising the minimum wage and responding to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby contraception decision.”
That's right, some Republicans voted yes on a procedural vote about a popular issue that works against them in order to waste time and hopefully avoid votes on other popular issues that work against them. Because, hey, they can always use their minority to block it on the second vote, thank you very much, broken Senate rules! It's disgusting, and every voter should know that not only are Republicans standing in the way of women being paid what they deserve, they're also manipulating votes on that to better stand in the way of raising the minimum wage and supporting contraception access.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Laura Clawson)" Tags: "Hobby Lobby, Minimum Wage, Paycheck Fair..."
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 13:50

(Click to enlarge)

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Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Jen Sorensen)" Tags: "Internet, Technology"
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