After his answer, the room went wild, and then someone said they hoped he would take the step.I will say this about Jeb Bush: There's no question that he's got the ability to bring Democrats and Republicans together ... because they'd both love to see him at the top of the GOP ticket in 2016. And as long as the GOP is thinking about doing us favors, can I make a small request? Tap Ted Cruz for vice president. That'd be the perfect cherry on top.
“Would you call and tell my mom?” Bush quipped, a reference to his mother Barbara Bush’s comments that there have been enough Bushes in the White House.
You can find more rescued green diaries below the sustainable squiggle.
The image is from a July 2012 appearance Obama made with Udall, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, and other state officials at a hospital treating victims of the July 20, 2012, Aurora movie theater shooting.Yep, that's about as classless as you can get, attacking the president and the senator with a picture taken when they were visiting victims of a mass shooting in the hospital.
1:53 PM PT: Some of the families of the victims of the Aurora shooting are demanding that AFP take the ad down. Via email, here's their statement:
"The use of an image taken from the President's visit to Colorado to meet with us after our children were killed in the Aurora Theater shooting is an utter disgrace. And to insinuate the somber expressions were for anything other than their compassionate response to our heartbreak is beyond unconscionable. Americans for Prosperity is exploiting our tragedy for political gain and this ad should be pulled from the air immediately. We hope Colorado television stations will exercise sound judgment and not air this ad until AFP removes the image."
Theresa Hoover, mother of AJ Boik
Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, parents of Jessica Ghawl
Terry and Tom Sullivan, parents of Alex Sullivan
Caren and Tom Teves, parents of Alex Teves
After spending months gleefully shitting on liberals and rival elected Democrats (pretty much everyone not named "Cuomo"), the governor is suddenly on the defensive.
But he's particularly wrong on that second tweet above. He says liberals should work to elect people who want those great liberal policies. Fair enough.
But it was Cuomo who signed into law the extreme GOP gerrymander that gave Senate Republicans an unfair advantage in a state in which they can barely garner a third of the vote statewide. He even supported the GOP gerrymander after spending a year pretending to fight to reform the redistricting process. Kind of like how he pretended to clean up corruption in Albany.
And still, Democrats took over the State Senate in 2012, despite that extreme gerrymander. But did Cuomo celebrate that? No, he tacitly supported a breakaway faction of Democrats that kept effective control of the chamber in Republican hands.
And don't even get Bill de Blasio started on the ways the governor is sabotaging his initiatives, in a city in which three-quarters of the electorate voted for him.
So liberals have done their part to shape New York to their liking. The only impediment left is Andrew Cuomo himself.
- Today's comic by Matt Bors is Indefinite internment:
- Congrats to "Digby" for winning the prestigious Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism:
In many ways, Heather “Digby” Parton is the blogging godmother to a generation of new voices who grew up over the last decade to prominence at major journals, news sites, and on public affairs television. Just say "Digby" to any of hundreds journalists and commentators, and you'll get an appreciative smile.
Her blogging name stands for commitment and a consistent point of view. It also stands for both independence (she writes mainly for her own simply-designed blog) and generosity (she links frequently and credits others freely). Together with co-bloggers tristero and David Atkins, she has made Hullabaloo an influential daily read among the political technorati. Yet you will never see her on cable television, and she rarely does conferences. From her perch in a beach cottage in Santa Monica, she writes eloquently on a daily basis about feminism, race, labor, immigration, firearms, the environment, privacy, national security, and criminal justice reform.
- SC lieutenant governor candidate urges Christians to yank their kids out of public schools:
Addressing a crowd at an April 12 rally in Charleston, Republican E. Ray Moore said Christians currently face a culture war caused by the non-religious teachings of public schools.
“We cannot win this war we’re in as long as we keep handing our children over to the enemy to educate,” said Moore, after explaining that he had home-schooled his son.
He continued thus: “It cannot be fixed, the socialistic model, and we need to abandon that. As conservatives and Christians, if you think you’re going to win this war you’re in, and leave your children in those schools, it will not happen.”
- Erick Erickson explores new depths in attack on HRC: Here's the Red State and Foxaganda commentator at Rush Limbaugh's outhouse flinging fecal matter.
[I]t's very, very hard for incumbent parties to win three in a row no matter how it goes. Look at Bill Clinton going into 2000. I could be wrong. All my Democratic friends are salivating, yea, I have a couple of them.
They're all salivating at the idea of Hillary Clinton running in 2016. She's gonna be old. I don't know how far back they can pull her face, can I say that on the air?
- Sixty years ago today, Hank Aaron hit the first of his 755 career home runs:
A native of Mobile, Alabama, Aaron began his professional baseball career in 1952 in the Negro League and joined the Milwaukee Braves of the major leagues in 1954, eight years after Jackie Robinson had integrated baseball. Aaron was the last Negro League player to compete in the majors. He played his first game with the Braves on April 13 and went hitless in his five times at bat. Two days later, he got his first hit, a single, in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals, and on April 23, 1954, pounded out his first major league home run off Cardinals’ pitcher Vic Raschi.
- Quiz! Match the word with its creator:
Are you a literary muscleman or a munchkin? A word ninja or a spewer of malaprops? And who came up with these terms anyway? In Authorisms, out this week, Paul Dickson traces writerly coinages (a coinage of the Elizabethan scribe George Puttenham) of words and expressions ranging from assassination (Shakespeare's Macbeth) to zombification (the poet Andrei Codrescu).
Dickson takes things too far sometimes—while Jane Austen may have been the first to mention base ball in print, for instance, it wasn't the baseball we know. Yet I was fascinated to discover that sayings I'd mistaken for relatively recent—blurb (1907), frenemy (1953), weapons of mass destruction (1937), wimp (from an 1898 children's book by Evelyn Sharpe)—actually predated me. It's enough to drive an anxious magazine editor to verbicide.
- Watch this drone fly way too close to passenger jet:
It might not look like much, but it's likely one of the first videos of a small-fry cinema drone cruising in close proximity of a descending passenger jet. The footage was shot over Vancouver International Airport by YouTube user Quadrotor Dragonfly late last year, and is just now coming to the attention of Canadian air safety officials.
- On today's Kagro in the Morning show: Greg Dworkin & Joan McCarter hit ACA news highlights, tells us Digby's won a Hillman, and note Medicaid expansion & birth control coverage are pretty popular. More Gop "no backsies!" NFL cheerleaders join the fight against wage theft.
[Tuesday], for example, Freedom Partners, a political operation that enjoys financial support from Charles and David Koch, launched a new attack ad in Michigan’s U.S. Senate race, targeting Rep. Gary Peters (D). The voice-over tells viewers: "Congressman Gary Peters says he’s standing up to health insurance companies. The truth? Peters voted for Obamacare, which will give billions of taxpayer dollars to health insurance companies." […]Who could imagine that the right would start attacking Democrats from the left when Democrats "compromise" on a policy conservatives have been pushing? That never happens!
Keep in mind, this truly ridiculous pitch isn't just popping up in Michigan.
* Earlier this month in Iowa, the Koch-financed Freedom Partners condemned Rep. Bruce Braley (D) for supporting a health care reform law through which "health insurance companies stand to make billions."
* The same day, the Koch-financed Freedom Partners launched an attack ad in Colorado: "Mark Udall worked with insurance companies to pass Obamacare. Now Udall claims he’s standing up to them."
* A day later, Freedom Partners launched an attack ad in Alaska with the same message.
But what this really reflects is the fact that the Kochs have pissed away millions in 2014 on ads that haven't moved the needle in polling at all. The anti-Obamacare message they've been pushing so far, with all those debunked "horror" stories, has failed. So now they think they can pick up the disgruntled left with this campaign? Good luck to them.
Given how difficult avoiding violence can be, the criteria for clemency sharply limit how many prisoners could be released. But they could still number in the thousands, many of whom are serving exceedingly long, even life, sentences. All told, there were, as of April 17, 216,265 prisoners held in the federal system.
Most inmates likely to be eligible under the criteria for clemency wound up imprisoned as a consequence of drug laws, the worst being the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986. Among other outrageous things, that law assigned a 100:1 sentencing disparity to persons holding crack vs. powder cocaine. Getting caught and convicted for possessing five grams of crack put a person away for a five-year mandatory sentence, the same penalty meted out for getting convicted for having 500 grams of powder cocaine. The disparity had a tremendous negative impact on African Americans who, statistics show, are far more likely to be targeted by law enforcement for drug crimes.
Not just cocaine or other hard drugs, either. For instance, a study last year by the American Civil Liberties Union found that blacks are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites even though the rate of use is similar for both. But the cocaine law presented the most egregious disparity.
After more than a decade and a half of attempts, that law was superseded with the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. It did away with the mandatory five-year sentence for cocaine possession and reduced the disparity between crack and powder cocaine from 100:1 to 18:1. An improvement, without a doubt, but as long as we're stuck with morally criminal, draconian drug laws there is no excuse for not making the ratio 1:1.
And no excuse for not making fair sentencing retroactive. There are, after all, thousands of people serving sentences under the old law who would have long since been released had they been convicted under the 2010 law. But such a change would take another act of Congress. That for now seems out of the question. The clemency initiative, part of Attorney General Eric Holder's Smart on Crime reform, will go part of the way to make sane what Congress will not.
Below the fold, you can read about Justice's clemency criteria and additional analysis.
GOP’S NEW STRATEGY: MAKE 2014 ABOUT HARRY REID: The Associated Press reports that GOP Senate candidates are “adjusting their plans” to tie Democratic Senate incumbents to Harry Reid, arguing that he has abused his power and is no longer fit to remain Senate Majority Leader:Good luck with that one. Things are worse for them than even I thought.
Which brings us to today's dispatch from Crazytown, in which Rep. Bill Cassidy argues to town hall meeting attendees that when it makes it to the likely Dec. 6 runoff between him and Landrieu (because Louisiana just likes being different), the world will be watching.
"If I’m elected there will be 51 Republicans and the people of Louisiana have cast the deciding vote. For 30 days the entire world will be looking at Louisiana and that sounds a little bit like rhetoric but think about it. You don’t think Vladimir Putin is going to look to see if the Senate remains Democrat which is to say a rubber stamp for Barack Obama or if there is a Republican senate which would insist upon a strong military? The Chinese, the Iranians, the Israelis, they’re all going to be watching Louisiana for those 30 days."We may have this all wrong. Conservatives may be acting the way they do not because it makes any rational sense or follows any particular agenda, but because they are continually making desperate bids for Russian heartthrob Vladimir Putin to notice them. Comrades, Putin will say, who is this American by name of Bill Cassidy, and is he manly man? Truly, American state of Louisiana is force to be reckoned with. Now our plans are doomed.
"I like to think of the historian. She will be writing about this race 100 years from now and she will write about it and she will say in 2014 the country made the decision either to keep going to the left because Louisiana reelected Mary Landrieu 30 days after everyone else was elected, or she will write in 2014 the country made the decision to veer back to the right because Louisiana elected Bill Cassidy."All right, "veer" is never a good word to use if you're a politician. Saying you are going to make historians 100 years hence take note of how you made the country "veer" sounds like a drunken friend telling you he just learned how to do a barrel roll in his Miata so hold his beer and watch this. Nobody likes to "veer" anywhere.
Anyway, we should probably not be keen on this new crop of would-be senators that harbor fantasies of Vladimir Putin needing to pay attention to them. They tend to act out on those beliefs, and Pay Attention To Me diplomacy never works out very well for anyone but the defense contractors.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is mad at Senate Majority Harry Reid—so mad that he's asking the Senate Ethics Committee to open an investigation into Reid's use of Twitter. Seriously:
“Here is the problem: Harry Reid is so dirty and so unethical that some of these things have to happen,” Priebus asserted. “You have to put a marker down and say, ‘Wait a second. You are not going to use a taxpayer web site and a taxpayer Twitter account to attack Republicans.’”Apparently, it's tweets like this that have Priebus so upset:
“But now he’s crossed a line in regard to the law, and we have to bring it out. And I think that’s our job to do it.”In other words, just in case you thought Reince was simply getting a little oversensitive about having his party linked to the billionaires trying to buy the 2014 election on the GOP's behalf, that has nothing to do with it: Reince is simply trying to uphold the rule of law.
Except if that's true, then why isn't Reince outraged at House Speaker John Boehner for sending out tweets like this:
11:17 AM PT: As if to put an exclamation point on Reince's idiocy, Speaker Boehner's "taxpayer Twitter account" weighs on on who is "winning at Twitter in 2014":
So the law isn’t on Bundy’s side, the court isn’t on Bundy’s side, even the Nevada state constitution, which Bundy claims to abide, isn’t on his side—who the hell is on Bundy’s side? […] Hannity!Hannity fires back (it was probably the bit about Hannity making Glenn Beck the voice of reason that sets him off). Note that Hannity doesn't respond with any, you know, substance. Just with a pure, mean-spirited personal attack.
Sean Hannity went after Jon Stewart on Tuesday night, accusing him of being a "comedic hack" and a shill for the Obama administration.That's not new for Hannity. He's been trying to change the subject of his untenable support for Bundy by attacking critics, like MSNBC's Al Sharpton and Ed Schultz in the same personal, nasty vein. Of course, personal attacks are pretty much all he's got for a defense of his asinine efforts to foment violence. He sure doesn't have truth, justice and the American way for back-up.
The Fox News host said Stewart is "kind of obsessed with this program" and that he and those at Comedy Central "kind of are the chief apologists for the Obama administration."
Most Americans—69 percent—support the requirement that health insurance plans pay for birth control, a new survey shows. […]While 77 percent of women support the mandate, a very respectable 64 percent of men do, too. The least amount of support is in the group that has the least need for it, people 60 and older. But still, 62 percent of them believe health insurance plans should include birth control. African Americans register the highest degree of support at 81 percent, followed by Hispanics at 76 percent.
"Overall, 69 percent of respondents supported mandated coverage of birth control medications in health plans, with significantly higher odds of support among women, black, and Hispanic respondents," they wrote in a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Unfortunately the survey that matters most right now politically, with the Hobby Lobby challenge to the law being considered right now, is what five old men on the Supreme Court think.
One legislator has lodged a complaint over Nixon’s executive order last year that directed state tax officials to accept joint tax returns from same-sex couples who were legally married in other states. Nixon said in November, when he issued the order, that the state should accept the same sorts of tax returns as the Internal Revenue Service, which accepts joint returns from same-sex couples.Those are the three proposed articles of impeachment against Nixon: gays, guns, and some other thing. An aide to Nixon dismisses the pending impeachment as a "publicity stunt." That's a generous assessment, but this move still gives Missouri Republicans the ability to say "Gov. Nixon was impeached," because they'll have the hearing and the committee will probably vote to do it. The full House might not be willing to embarrass themselves with a floor vote, and the state Senate is even more unlikely to do so.
Another legislator said Nixon hadn’t moved fast enough to call special elections in three state House districts and a Senate district left vacant by resignations. State law directs the governor to call elections “without delay”; state Rep. Mike Moon’s (R) legislation accuses Nixon of breaking that law.
And a third legislator says Nixon deserves the boot for insufficiently punishing officials at the state Department of Public Safety for releasing a database of Missourians with permits to carry concealed weapons. In 2013, the state Highway Patrol said it had given the list of 163,000 concealed carry permit holders to a Social Security Administration agent in relation to an investigation into fraudulent disability claims.
But, hey, when did sounding like they might just be crazy ever stop a Republican?
ArkansasThese sorts of numbers underscore what kos wrote last week when he showed why it won't be as easy as Republicans think for them to win control of the Senate. In all likelihood, they need to win each of these four races to achieve their dream of a Red Senate, but these polls show them trailing in 3 of the 4 contests and with a Republican incumbent up by only one point in the fourth while falling well below the 50 percent threshold.
Mark Pryor 46
Tom Cotton 36
Mitch McConnell 44
Allison Lundergan Grimes 43
Louisiana (multiway primary)
Mary Landrieu 42
Bill Cassidy 18
Paul Hollis 5
Rob Mannes 4
Kay Hagan 42
Thom Tillis 40
Another interesting finding from the poll is that the Democratic Party appears to be in better shape than one might expect it to be in the south:
The poll also found that Democratic governors fared better than Republican ones. Gov. Mike Beebe, Democrat of Arkansas, whom term limits prevent from running again, enjoys a 68 percent approval rating. The race this year is effectively tied, with the former Republican congressman Asa Hutchinson drawing 41 percent and the former Democratic congressman Mike Ross winning 40 percent. In Kentucky, 56 percent of voters favored the job performance of Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat who cannot run for re-election next year. In Louisiana, only 40 percent approved of the job that Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, is doing, while in North Carolina, the view of the performance of Gov. Pat McCrory, who is not up for re-election until 2016, was split, with 43 percent approving and 44 percent disapproving.Obviously these numbers come from just a single poll and if you're going to draw firm conclusions about the races you should take a broader look at the data. The good news there, however, is that Democrats are leading in 3 of the 4 states: Arkansas, Kentucky, and North Carolina with an extremely close race in Louisiana, assuming Landrieu can't avoid a runoff.
8:57 AM PT: The New York Times is (predictably) facing criticism for the polls because they look good for Democrats. As usual, the main criticism is about whether they obtained a good sample. Their defense is here, but a key thing to remember is that it's not just the NYT polls showing close races: The multi-poll averages linked at the end of the post also show tight contests.
This week we have interactive state legislative district maps for Washington, New Mexico, and New Jersey. Each legislative chamber is mapped out using the presidential election results calculated by Daily Kos Elections, the legislative election results, and some info on each legislator. For maps of 21 other states' legislative chambers see the first, second, third, and fourth in this series.
Districts in solid blue were carried by Obama and are represented by a Democrat, while those in solid red were won by Mitt Romney and are held by a Republican. Lighter red districts voted for Obama and a Republican legislator, while those in lighter blue went for Romney and a Democratic legislator. All vacant seats are assigned to the party that last won them. Note that the map displays use only the two-party vote to give you a more equivalent comparison between presidential and legislative results, but the diary and Daily Kos Elections' numbers include totals for third party candidates, though the differences are minor.
Washington State Senate
A bipartisan commission drew Washington’s state legislative districts with an equal partisan split, but Democratic member Tim Ceis voted for the Republican plan that predictably benefited that party a modest amount. While Obama carried 34, Republicans hold nine. The GOP controls all 15 Romney districts. To make matters worse two renegade Democrats, SD-35's Tim Sheldon and SD-48's Rodney Tom (whose districts are colored in yellow), caucus with the 24 Republicans. This gives Team Red an effective majority of 26 over the remaining 23 Democrats. Sheldon is likely safe from losing to a real Democrat since the state's top-two system has all candidates run on the same primary ballot with top two vote winners advancing regardless of party. Sheldon also represents a swing district giving him some more room for error.
On the bright side, Rodney Tom is retiring in 2014. His seat went for Obama 62-36 and Democrats are favored to take it back, meaning the party would need to gain just one more seat for outright control of the chamber. While only half the seats are up each cycle, Republicans will be defending a lot of their 2010 gains this year, giving Democrats an excellent shot at retaking the Senate. However, the map still leans Republican with the median district voting for Obama just 54-43, putting it four points to the right of the state.
Washington State House of Representatives Position 1
Washington State House of Representatives Position 2
Along with just Idaho, Washington uses the same district map for both legislative chambers yet conducts two separate races for the lower house in each one. Obama won 68 seats to Romney's 30. Republicans hold 15 Obama seats while just two Romney seats elected Democrats, but Team Blue has a healthy 55 to 43 majority. The median seats are again the same as the Senate at 54-43 Obama, making it four percent more Republican than the state overall.
Head below the fold to see maps for New Mexico and New Jersey.
But there is also the rhetorical cul-de-sac Republicans are trapped inside: They've made much hay of the president's promise that no one would lose their existing insurance. Yet here they are, a few months later, running explicitly on a promise to take away insurance from well over 10 million Americans. In Kentucky, that number is 413,000, exactly.
Beth Moore left her job - and her health insurance - to start her own company in January.That's a lot of Kentuckians, many with the same story as Beth Moore, who are now in Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's crosshairs. And that 413,000 will grow because applications are still being processed.
In March, while visiting Texas, she had an emergency appendectomy followed by a nasty bout with pneumonia that added up to more than $30,000 in medical bills.
But Moore was one of 413,410 Kentuckians who signed up for free or subsidized health insurance through kynect, Kentucky's state-run health insurance marketplace made possible by the federal Affordable Care Act. So far, the most she has paid for her treatment is $150.
Given that 1.35 million voted in the last off-year election in Kentucky, that 413,000 represents about 31 percent of the electorate. Of course not all of them will vote, and not all will vote Democratic, but that's a huge chunk of people who now have a vested interested in ensuring that McConnell doesn't hold on this November.
Rand Paul won that 2010 election over Jack Conway by 155,000 votes. So in case you're wondering why Republicans are panicking over the ACA's success, there you have it. But as we're seeing with Red-state Democrats in Louisiana and Alaska, the law isn't the liability Republicans think it is. And by the time this is all said and done, conservatives will rue ever calling it "Obamacare".
Democrats will win elections thanks to this law, and sooner than we could've ever hoped.
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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…
Premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival this Sunday...
Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank is a rare and intimate peek into the life of Barney Frank, the quick-witted, cantankerous, and first openly gay Congressman in the United States. On the verge of his retirement, Frank reflects on his 40 years in office and the role his own homosexuality played in his campaigns for social justice. This documentary reveals Frank as one of the most sharp-tongued, entertaining, and lionhearted politicians of our time.The executive producer is Alec Baldwin. Variety talks to Barney about the movie and life after Congress here. I'm preemptively giving it 20 stars out of five. Just to piss off the haters.
Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]