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Date: Friday, 10 Oct 2014 12:30
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It's Friday! And once again, we've got our pockets stuffed with more stories we could occupy ourselves with than we can realistically get to. Plus another report from Michigan from Rosalyn MacGregor.

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Author: "rss@dailykos.com (David Waldman)" Tags: "Daily Kos Radio"
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Date: Friday, 10 Oct 2014 12:30
Grumpy old man giving thumbs down.
The median age of a voter in CA-52, according to the new SurveyUSA poll

As one might expect, the emotions of the election cycle get more tense as the calendar counts down closer to Election Day. That was never more evidence than this week, when a mid-week wave of rather pessimistic polls for the Democrats in a variety of races led to teeth-gnashing wailing among many in the blue-tinted commentariat, as well as more than a fair share of stomach-turning smugness from the right.

But the taunt that caught my attention the most, because it was so incredibly and absurdly errant, was the invocation of one of the dominant election-nerd stories of the 2012 cycle.

Whether the issue was the spate of Fox News polls out of all the Senate swing states, or some particularly interesting underlying details in the SurveyUSA poll out of San Diego County's swing district (CA-52), the second that a Democratic observer found a curious characteristic in the data, the accusation rained down from some cackling right-winger in the Twittersphere:

"Oh, look at the Dems trying to unskew the poll! Losers!"

It was then that I decided that a tutorial might be in order. Because, obviously, in the 23-month interim, we have forgotten what "unskewing" was, and why it was such an absurd little McNugget in the whole 2012 electoral experience.

So we will take a trip down memory lane, and we will look at what is, and what is not, "unskewing."

But, first, as we draw closer to the big day, the volume of polling continues to get downright nasty. In just three days (Oct 7-9), we added another 69 polls to the database. So check those out first, and then let's take a deeper dive into what is, and what is not, acceptable polling critique.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Steve Singiser)" Tags: "DKE 2014 Polling Wrap, Elections, Polls"
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Date: Friday, 10 Oct 2014 12:00
Independent South Dakota Senate candidate Larry Pressler
Independent Larry Pressler

Leading Off:

SD-Sen: After the DSCC announced it would spend $1 million in support of Democrat Rick Weiland on Wednesday, we've waited to see what the GOP would do in response. David Drucker of the Washington Examiner takes the Republicans' temperature in a must-read article. There are a number of interesting details. Republican Mike Rounds' polls, conducted by Glen Bolger, consistently show him leading by 11-14 points and his party isn't panicking yet. Still, there are definitely fears that the race is getting tighter, and there's a good deal of frustration with Rounds for taking race for granted for far too long.

Former Sen. Larry Pressler's independent campaign is also a potential headache for Rounds. Many Republican voters have fond memories of Pressler's time as a Republican senator and plan to vote for him over Rounds despite Pressler's past support for Obama. The GOP does have one potential option: use ads to remind conservative voters that Pressler isn't who they think he is. Pressler is also soaking up left-leaning votes that Weiland needs, and Weiland's allies are already planning to run commercials to highlight Pressler's conservative history. Pressler doesn't have much money to defend himself with and he may have a hard time holding onto his supporters if he's being attacked from both sides.

For his part, Pressler may have just made the Republicans' job a little easier. On Thursday when asked which party he would caucus with Pressler didn't give a definitive answer, but he did declare he would be a "friend of Obama" in the Senate. If the GOP does end up running anti-Pressler ads, expect them to lead with this.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Jeff Singer)" Tags: "A.J. Balukoff, AK-Gov, AK-Sen, Al Franke..."
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Date: Friday, 10 Oct 2014 11:32
Big news on the voting rights front this week courts have blocked voter ID laws in Wisconsin and Texas. John Nichols at The Nation explains:
With a decision to block implementation of Wisconsin’s controversial voter ID law for the 2014 election, the United States Supreme Court has opted for common sense and democracy over chaos and disenfranchisement.

After a wild judicial ride that saw the Wisconsin law rejected by a federal judge, approved by an appeals court panel, wrangled over by the full appeals court and then finally moved toward an unexpected and rapid process of implementation in time for the state’s high-stakes November 4 election, the Supreme Court pulled the brakes. In an emergency ruling, the High Court’s 6-3 decision vacated the appeals court ruling, preventing the law from going into effect before it can be reviewed. (The only dissents came from rigidly conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.) [...] For civil rights and voting rights activists, however, it a striking victory. They welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling as recognition of a reality stated by League of Women Voters of Wisconsin executive director Andrea Kaminski: “Clearly there was not enough time for election officials to educate voters, prepare new materials and implement the law in the short time before the November 4 election.”

The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel editorial board agrees:
If allowed to stand, this burdensome, unnecessary law likely would have prevented some of the state's residents from casting their ballots. And given the short window to educate voters and the fact that absentee balloting already has begun in the state, implementation for this cycle was a remarkably bad idea. The law was a recipe for confusion at polling places during an already contentious election season. [...] We oppose voter ID because we think it's a solution in search of a problem. Voter fraud is exceedingly rare, and what fraud there is would not be stopped by photo identification. Voting is a substantial right of citizenship that should not be infringed, and yet that is exactly what voter ID does for certain prospective voters.
The Washington Post's Philip Bump breaks down the latest study proving that voter ID laws negatively affect turnout:
In response to a request from a group of Democratic senators, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office analyzed the effect of voter ID laws in Kansas and Tennessee on 2012 turnout. Their findings? Turnout dropped at least 1.9 percentage points in Kansas and 2.2 percentage points in Tennessee thanks to the laws. By our calculations, that's 122,000 fewer votes.

The 200-plus-page report looks at several issues related to laws aimed at tightening rules around voting. The GAO compiled detailed data on various demographic groups in states that changed their laws, reviewed past studies on the effects of new laws on turnout, and attempted to gather data on instances of voter fraud, the rationale usually provided for changing voting rules. Democrats counter that the laws are thinly veiled efforts to reduce the number of their supporters that vote, by adding additional obstacles to black and young voters.

The GAO report suggests that, intentional or not, that's what happened in Kansas and Tennessee.

More on this and the day's top stories below the fold.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Georgia Logothetis)" Tags: "APR"
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Date: Friday, 10 Oct 2014 03:00
Pines and clouds in the San Gabriel mountains.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-to-designate-san-gabriel-mountains-as-a-national-monument/2014/10/08/d1abdb74-4e2b-11e4-babe-e91da079cb8a_story.html
If you live in the general vicinity of Los Angeles, there's a good chance you'll be soon able to see the nation's newest national monument from your house.
President Obama will personally set aside the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument Friday, protecting 346,000 acres of U.S. forestland just northeast of Los Angeles. [...]

The new monument, which will include parts of both Angeles and San Bernadino National Forests, accounts for 70 percent of L.A. County’s open space and provides more than one-third of its drinking water. Fifteen million people live within a 90-minute drive, and the range provides critical habitat for imperiled plants and animals, such as the California condor, Nelson’s Bighorn sheep, spotted owl, and the mountain yellow-legged frog.

Who knows? If all the stars align, perhaps your grandchildren will someday be able to see one of these from their house as well.
California Condor flying over Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge, Southern California

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2013What the NSA is doing with all our data:

The Brennan Center for Justice has taken on the herculean task of explaining all of the ways that surveillance agencies are collecting, storing and sharing the private data on U.S. citizens. It's all in a new report, and it's disquieting, to say the least. The report focuses on the "misses"—all of the information that is collected that is completely innocuous, that shows no nefarious activity at all. What happens with that information is particularly problematic. […]

The reports' authors conclude that the "widescale collection and retention of personal information about Americans not suspected of criminal activity invites abuse without any significant demonstrated benefit." How can it benefit when there's no differentiation in how innocuous information is treated from how potentially useful information is treated? When the NSA is collecting so much data and not, as the report says, sifting the wheat from the chaff, can all these mountains of data really hold the key to protecting the nation? One technology expert, Bruce Schneier, suggests it's the opposite: “If you’re looking for a needle in a haystack, a bigger haystack doesn’t help. [...] In general, if you look at all the successes we have against the 'bad guys,' they come from following the leads ... you don’t need to surveil every American.” The firehose of information—with no apparent mechanism in place to sort it—could be obscuring any real threats the NSA might be picking up.

Brennan doesn't suggest ending the surveillance program wholesale, but does have solutions that lawmakers working to reform surveillance programs should carefully consider […]


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On today's Kagro in the Morning show: another fatal police shooting in St. Louis. The deficit has Ebola. Greg Dworkin has actual Ebola news and the many not-actual solutions to it. Joan McCarter brings up the flu, a disease that actually kills people in America. Like in Idaho. Where, as elsewhere, there are Republicans in electoral trouble all over the map. Justice Kennedy stays ID (and NV) marriage equality cases. Why? And did you know that Idaho has slashed education funding so drastically that in many counties they can only afford a 4-day school week? Dinesh D'Souza's d'scent into trolling. A GunFAIL follow-up that's sure to make you Respect the Culture.



High Impact Posts. Top Comments
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Hunter)" Tags: "California, California Condor, National ..."
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Date: Friday, 10 Oct 2014 01:30
U.S. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney answers a question as he debates President Barack Obama during the second U.S. presidential campaign debate in Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Goal Thermometer

Via Xenos and Steve Benen, let's take a trip down memory lane and recall Mitt Romney's big jobs promise during the 2012 campaign:

I can tell you that over a period of four years, by virtue of the policies that we put in place, we get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent, or perhaps a little lower.
Well, Mitt, hate to break to you, but we're not even halfway through President Obama's second term and the unemployment rate is already under six percent. And it's not just the unemployment rate, either. In September 2011, Romney pledged to create 11 million jobs in his first term:
In a rare off-the-cuff speech – Romney boasted a notepad of notes and said in an apparent dig at President Obama that he was not using a teleprompter – he detailed a jobs plan which he says will lower the unemployment rate from the current  9.1 percent  to 5.9 percent by the end of his first term as president and create more than 11 million new private sector jobs during the same time period.
Based on the last six months of jobs data, we're on track to create ... drum roll, please ... more than 11 million jobs during President Obama's second term. And given that job growth has been accelerating, don't be surprised if we surpass those numbers.
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Of course, even though Obama beat Romney's unemployment promise by more than two years and is on track to beat or exceed his job creation pledge, Republicans aren't giving him any credit. House Speaker John Boehner couldn't even bring himself to mention the jobs report in his statement that was supposedly on the report. And as for Mitt? Is he conceding that he didn't give the president enough credit in 2012? Nope. He's looking at running again in 2016. Can't wait to see what he promises then.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Jed Lewison)" Tags: "2012, 2016, Economy, Mitt Romney"
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Date: Friday, 10 Oct 2014 00:00
A fracking wastewater impoundment.  
The Susan G. Komen Foundation is once again proving its commitment to raising breast cancer awareness painting stuff pink and making corporate sponsors happy. It is—and I want to stress that this is self-parody, not parody by outside sources—partnering with a company that manufactures fracking equipment to promote pink drill bits:
Susan G. Komen, the largest breast cancer organization in America with more than 100,000 volunteers and partnerships in more than 50 countries, has teamed up with Baker Hughes, one of the world’s largest oilfield service companies with employees in more than 80 countries. Susan G. Komen hands out pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness, and Baker Hughes fracks. So, there you have it: a pink, fracking, drill head.

That’s Susan G. Komen pink, by the way. It’s special. Like John Deere green. And that signature color has been painted by hand on a thousand drill bits, which will soon be shipped by Baker Hughes to well pads all over the world, thus facilitating a thousand fossil fuel extraction projects just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Which is this month.

Health first, right? Only:
We don’t know a lot about the health risks of fracking, owing to drillers’ and regulators’ drill first, ask questions later strategy, and because the industry, in many cases, protects the precise mix of chemicals used as a “trade secret.” (Baker Hughes announced last week that it will begin disclosing all of the chemicals used in its fracking operations.) Of the 190-some chemicals commonly used by the industry, we’re lacking publicly available information about the safety of about a third of them. And in August, a federal study tested urine samples in workers who monitor fracking flowback, and found that some had been exposed to “higher than recommended” levels of benzene, a known carcinogen.
The Komen Foundation is defending itself on the grounds that "the evidence to this point does not establish a connection between fracking and breast cancer." Which makes you almost wish the Komen Foundation had been around to partner with cigarette companies a year or two before the links between smoking and cancer were established.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Laura Clawson)" Tags: "Breast Cancer, Fracking, Susan G. Komen ..."
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 23:00
Marco Rubio sips water during the 2013 GOP SOTU response
Former Republican savior thirsts for shutdown drama
Goal Thermometer

With the 2016 presidential campaign around the corner, TPM's Sahil Kapur reports on yet another example of how Marco Rubio is clearly desperate for some of that Ted Cruz magic to wash over him:

Fourteen conservative senators, led by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), wrote a letter to Boehner on Wednesday calling on him to use the continuing resolution — which must be enacted by Dec. 11 to avert a shutdown — to prohibit "unappropriated and unauthorized funds" under a market stability mechanism in Obamacare known as risk corridors. The program collects funds from insurers who enroll healthier patients and pays insurers who enroll sicker patients.
The policy details here aren't exactly Game of Thrones material, but the basic idea of the risk corridor program is to make sure that in the early years of Obamacare, insurers don't get wiped out by unexpectedly high medical costs and don't get windfalls from unexpectedly low costs. It's an obvious and useful policy, but it requires the administration to spend money, and when it comes to appropriating funds for it, Congress was sloppy when drafting the language structuring the program. To sidestep the issue, the administration decided to describe the taxes paid by insurers as "user fees,"  because it has explicit statutory authority to fund the program through user fees.

This isn't the only way to justify the legal authority for the program, but it's the simplest. Problem is, the language allowing this interpretation expires on December 11. Why December 11? Because that's the expiration date for the stopgap funding bill passed by Congress last month.

That bill, known as a continuing resolution, essentially continued existing programs, including the language the administration is using to justify the risk corridor program. And Rubio, in his letter, is putting the squeeze on House Speaker John Boehner to not only change that language, but also to add additional language explicitly barring any justification for Obamacare risk corridors, when Congress reconvenes after the election to pass another continuing resolution to prevent a government shutdown on December 12.

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Rubio has tried to present himself as a leader on opposition to the risk corridor program, and his current ploy is reminiscent to squeeze Ted Cruz put on Boehner in 2013, with one important difference: In 2013, people might not have agreed with Republicans trying to shut down the government over Obamacare repeal, but at least they understand what the GOP was trying to do. Rubio, meanwhile, is trying to have a government shutdown standoff over an obscure provision of Obamacare designed to reduce insurance risk. If you thought Cruz was tone deaf, just wait until you see what happens if Rubio gets his way here.

Oh, there's also one other big difference. Love him or hate him, nobody could ever accuse Ted Cruz of having voted for Obamacare. But when the Senate voted for the current continuing resolution, the one that Rubio now says needs to change because it is being used to justify the risk corridor program, Rubio voted for it. So even if he succeeds in rallying the GOP to force a shutdown, he'll be leading a shutdown effort to protest a law that he helped pass.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Jed Lewison)" Tags: "2016, Marco Rubio, Shutdown"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 21:55

Leading Off:

AZ-02: Americans for Responsible Solutions' new spot stars its founder, Gabby Giffords. Giffords spends most of the minute-long ad praising southern Arizona, before describing her successor and former staffer, Democratic Rep. Ron Barber, as someone who will fight for constiuents. This is the first time Giffords has appeared in an ad for Barber during this race. Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in 2011, remains a popular figure in this Tucson-area seat.

On the GOP side, Martha McSally has a positive Spanish ad on education. YG Network also spends $234,000 for Team Red: The group recently ran this spot.

Head below the fold for ads in races from across the country.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Jeff Singer)" Tags: "DKE ad roundup"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 21:50

Matt Wuerker
(Click for larger image)

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (MattWuerker)" Tags: "Iraq, Media, War"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 21:25

By Rachel Goldfarb, originally published on Next New Deal

Click here to subscribe to Roosevelt First, our weekday morning email featuring the Daily Digest.

Top 400 U.S. Billionaires' Wealth Equals Brazil's GDP (Real News Network)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Rob Johnson comments on this data point from Forbes, noting that the social dysfunction caused by this kind of inequality isn't hitting the wealthy yet. But he says that even the wealthy are starting to realize that the country can't continue on this path.

I think increasingly those billionaires and other wealthy people know that we're on an unstable trajectory, that the system is dysfunctional, the system's broken, and we are heading towards social conflict. Social conflict can take the form of more repression, military equipment, intimidation, incarceration. As you know, the prison population, particularly black male population, is exploding, and America has a tremendous eyesore associated with the incarceration of black males. But there is a sense in which if you have wealth or if you have the knowledge to create wealth, say, like an engineer at Apple Computer, you've got to be scared that it isn't going to go on, you're not going to be able to reap the fruits of your talents and your wealth unless we adjust course. I think wealthy people have to change course now. It's not sustainable.

Follow below the fold for more.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Roosevelt Institute)" Tags: "Economics Inequality, Economy, Governmen..."
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 19:14
Oglala Lakota woman registers to vote in South Dakota, 2014
Oglala Lakota woman registers to vote in South Dakota. We are helping fund more such efforts.
Goal ThermometerBloomberg:
Will Republicans Blow It?
Yes. As long as we don't sit on the sidelines.
"The Democrats are hanging around," said South Dakota Senator John Thune, who is helping raise money this week for the National Republican Senatorial Committee [...]

That's bringing back bad memories for Republicans who lived through the 2010 and 2012 election cycles, when a spate of fatally flawed candidates cost the GOP opportunities to win control of the Senate. One veteran Republican strategist said the thought of choking again sends a shiver down his spine.

Washington Post:
For months, the 2014 midterm election has looked like a deck stacked in favor of Republicans.

But as campaign season heads into its final weeks, some wild cards are now on the table in states where the GOP had been expecting easy victories on its way to gaining six seats for control of the Senate [...]

GOP donors are uneasy. At private fundraising receptions this month for Senate Republicans, some of them brought up concerns about Roberts.

This election season is nowhere near being decided, no matter the media's incessant insistence of a GOP wave. It's a 50-50 race. We're in strong position to pick up a significant number of governorships. We could theoretically get out of this election without losing any Senate seats or even gaining one (with loses in WV and MT offset by gains in KS, GA, or KY). Is that likely? No, but it's within the realm of possibilities—

IF WE DON'T SIT ON THE SIDELINES.

I know the party committees love to send out those WE ARE DOOOOOMED! emails, and claim that they generate far more contributions than hope and optimism. I'm sure they're right. Metrics and data don't lie on matters such as this one.

But I don't play that game. Here's the reality: If we engage and turn out our voters, we win. If not, we lose. And yes, that latter one would be kinda like DOOOOM, but I want to focus on what we CAN do, not what we won't do.

This cycle, we've had 75,000 Daily Kos readers give to one of our endorsed campaigns via ActBlue. That's a shit-ton of people! But here's the reality—that's only about 10 percent of our regular monthly readership. Now some can't afford to give, and that's okay. Some readers are Republicans checking in on the enemy, so they won't give to our candidates. They're busy rooting for Ted Cruz or something. Then there are casual passer-byers, who maybe stopped by because their friends posted a compelling headline on Facebook.

But even accounting for all that, there are still several million committed activists who haven't yet given to one of our campaigns. Three dollars, people. That's it. So join the 75,000 who have already given and get off that sideline. It'll make a huge difference, I promise.

You want to jump in the exciting Senate race in South Dakota and help with Native American GOTV? Click here.

If you want to take a look at the rest of our endorsed candidate roster, click here.

Three dollars, that is all. This election is balanced on a knife's edge. If you sit it out, then yeah, we might get some of that DOOOM after all.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (kos)" Tags: "2014, Elections, GOTV, Recommended, Sena..."
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 19:00
Wisconsin state Sen. Glenn Grothman (R)
Glenn Grothman, the craziest of the crazy
Goal Thermometer

Perhaps you read the title of this post and thought, "Congress already has so many lunatics, how could the GOP get any loonier?" I assure you that, sadly, it can—and if Republican Glenn Grothman wins in Wisconsin's 6th District next month, it will. Grothman is a state senator who narrowly won a primary in the race to succeed retiring Rep. Tom Petri, one of the more moderate members of what's become a completely batshit caucus, and a GOP victory here would shove this seat as far to the right as inhumanly possible. Let me give you a taste:

"Why sit down with 7th graders and say to some you will be heterosexual, some homosexual? Part of that agenda which is left unsaid is that some of those who throw it out as an option would like it if more kids became homosexuals."
"Right now in Wisconsin, you're not supposed to work seven days in a row, which is a little ridiculous because all sorts of people want to work seven days a week."
"Some people enjoy creating babies to experiment on, but I don't."
"Given the racist background of Planned Parenthood and not liking people who are not white, I wonder if one of the reasons why Planned Parenthood likes to do these sex-selective abortions is disproportionately they are done on people of an Asian background. Let’s face it; we all know Planned Parenthood’s background, very racist, probably the most racist organization."
"You could argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday, may be a little more money-conscious. To attribute everything to a so-called bias in the workplace is just not true."
"Of course, almost no black people today care about Kwanzaa—just white left-wingers who try to shove this down black people's throats in an effort to divide Americans."
"I've interviewed over a dozen people who check out people who pay with food stamps and all felt people on food stamps ate better—or at least more costly—than they did."
"Quite frankly, it's scandalous that lawyers are leading people to believe that the lead paint in these houses is responsible for the increases in the (lead) levels in their blood."
"The Left and the social welfare establishment want children born out of wedlock because they are far more likely to be dependent on the government."
Fortunately, Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris is running to stop Grothman. The Daily Kos community already came together with a spontaneous moneybomb for him, and his answers to our questionnaire are solid. Winnebago's also a very swingy county, so Harris knows how to appeal to a broad set of voters.
Please donate $3 to help Mark Harris keep the absolutely insane Glenn Grothman out of Congress.

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But make no mistake: This is a very difficult race. Grothman has a fundraising edge, he's running on turf that's friendly to him (Mitt Romney carried the district with 53 percent of the vote). So this will be an excellent test case to find out whether a Republican office seeker can be too offensive, too crazy, and just too unappealing to Republican voters. Put another way, if anyone can put a red seat like this in play, it's Glenn Grothman.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (David Nir)" Tags: "Glenn Grothman, Mark Harris, Recommended..."
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 19:00
  • Today's comic by Ruben Bolling is How the ape brain assesses risk:
    Cartoon by Ruben Bolling -- How the ape brain assesses risk
  • Help elect more and better Democrats this November! Please give $3 to Daily Kos' endorsed candidates and strike a blow against Republicans.
  • Meet Daily Kos cartoonists at Satire Fest:
    Come to Satire Fest and meet your favorite cartoonists, animators and other species of visual satirists!  October 9th, 10th and 11th in San Francisco, you can meet Daily Kos cartoonists Tom Tomorrow, Matt Bors, Jen Sorensen, Matt Wuerker, Keith Knight and Mark Fiore. In fact, if you mention you're part of the Daily Kos community, they'll give you a signed sketch!  

    Satire Fest will also feature David Silverman of The Simpsons, Stephan Pastis, creator of the hit comic Pearl Before Swine, Lalo Alcaraz, Tom Meyer, Don Asmussen, Will Durst, Johnny Steele and many more.  Check out the Satire Fest website for more info and tickets!

  • Why animals hate people: If you were #19, wouldn't you want to bite someone?
  • For fourth consecutive week, first-time unemployment claims were below 300,000: For the week ending Oct. 4, seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless compensation was 287,000, down 1,000 from the previous week's revised level. of 288,000. The four-week running average that smooths out the volatility in the weekly figure, was 287,750, down 7,250 from the previous week. That is the lowest average since Feb. 4, 2006. The total number of people claiming compensation for the week ending Sept. 20 was 2,127,499, down 44,363 from the previous week. For the comparable week of 2013, there were 4,010,587 people claiming compensation. Much of the reason for that drop-off is a consequence of the Republicans refusing to renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program last December. Only about 25 percent of Americans who are out of work receive compensation, close to the lowest level in 30 years.
  • This woman will kill herself Nov. 1. Her family supports her decision to do so.
  • Lego divorcing Shell:
    Lego, the world’s biggest toymaker, is to end its partnership with Shell following a Greenpeace campaign.

    The environmental pressure group mounted a sustained protest over the oil giant's plans to drill in the Arctic, urging Lego to end its long-running relationship with the company. [...]

    A YouTube video entitled "Everything is not awesome", which depicted a pristine Arctic built from 120kg of Lego covered in oil, attracted nearly six million views.

  • Buzzkill: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week proposed putting the western population of fishers, who are related to weasels and one of the few predators of porcupines, on the "threatened" list under the Endangered Species Act. An FWS press release said the "major threats" to fishers, who were almost wiped out by logging and trapping in the 19th and 20th centuries, include "toxicants associated with anti-coagulant rodenticides" used at "illegal marijuana cultivation sites ... on public, private, and tribal lands."
  • Austin station tweets collage of penises with its traffic update.
  • Well, this is just hilariously appropriate. Conservatives recently released an ad to show that Republicans come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and interests and colors. Only problem is that all the people they used in the ads aren't actual Republicans but stock photos. So apparently there actually aren't any black women, white fellas who read the Times, tattooed gentleman, or Prius drivers in the whole of the GOP. Well, at least you have Ben Carson.

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  • On today's Kagro in the Morning show: Greg Dworkin on Ebola vs. flu. Joan McCarter spots political tremors in ID. Kennedy's stay on marriage equality. And ID's 4-day school week! D'Souza's d'scent into trolling. GunFAIL follow-up stunner will make you Respect the Culture.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Meteor Blades)" Tags: "Midday Open Thread"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 18:52
MoveOn field organizer Janki Kaneira makes phone calls.
MoveOn field organizer makes GOTV phone calls
Daily Kos just got its 1,000th person to sign up to make phone calls with MoveOn’s Voters Rising program—where volunteers save the Senate from their home. Will you sign up so that we get 1,500 volunteers?

Even under the best of circumstances, keeping the U.S. Senate in Democratic hands in 2014 was always going to be a daunting task.

Besides the drop-off in voter turnout we see in midterm elections, just look at what states will decide who controls the upper chamber. Short version: it's brutal.

If you live in a deep-blue state with no competitive Senate race this year, this can feel very disempowering—and you are wondering: how can I help make a difference?

Daily Kos and MoveOn have set up Voters Rising—where anyone can make phone calls to targeted voters in these states from their home.

We are calling Democratic voters who vote in presidential elections—but have not voted in midterm elections. In other words, exactly the voters who could save the Senate. We are also calling voters who are more likely to be reached by phone, and at times of the day when we are most likely to reach them.

All you have to do is sign up for a specific shift here, and someone will contact you. This week, for example, we are calling voters in North Carolina, Colorado and Kentucky.

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Voting by mail is convenient, easy, and defeats the best of the GOP's voter suppression efforts. Sign up here to check eligibility and vote by mail, then get your friends, family, and coworkers to sign up as well.
Head below the fold for more information!
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Paul Hogarth)" Tags: "Activism, Community, Congress, Democracy..."
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 18:47
Sen. James Inhofe
The Party of Nope
Goal Thermometer
Ebola is an existential threat that will kill us all unless Obama does a number of things right now, and we are all outraged that the government is not doing more to protect us, and even as we speak Ebola could be sneaking across our southern border headed for Arkansas (because all foreign threats gravitate toward Arkansas), and by the middle of next week Fox News will have devolved into a Lord of the Flies-esque free for all in which the Fox & Friends have run amok and are now biting the other hosts because they've gotten Ebola and zombieism mixed up and are convinced they've come down with both. It's that serious.

But never mind all that, because some Republican noticed that responding to Ebola would cost money.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, has withheld approval of the funds in the Senate, saying that it would add demands on a defense budget already stretched thin.

A spokeswoman for Inhofe said Thursday that there is no change in his decision after approval from the other committees.

If we stopped Ebola, you see, it means we would have to not bomb somewhere else. You can see the dilemma. Sen. David Vitter is also not on board with the plan to help quell the Ebola outbreak. In his case it's because he thinks we shouldn't be bothering to help shut the epidemic down in West Africa, he thinks we should just seal our borders and let things play out as they may. Not really kidding on that one.
Vitter said more should be done, suggesting the administration should bar foreign nationals from countries dealing with Ebola from entering the U.S.

“Instead of using powers given to him, the President is requesting $1 billion for a plan that has not been presented to members of Congress, focuses on Africa, and largely ignores our own borders,” he wrote.

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health have said isolating West Africa could make the situation worse.

Yes, where Inhofe piffles that the biggest perceived Fox Newsian threat to America other than ISIS would cost money to fight so why bother, Vitter more directly objects to that money going Africa, aka the place Ebola actually is. Which of those you find the most craven is entirely up to you—as far as I'm concerned, they're both winners.

So on one hand we've got an existential threat that has conservative pundits in a frothing tizzy over how Obama isn't leading and how the government isn't responding and we're all going to die, and on the other hand those conservatives vow to block the government from spending money on responding to it if it means we'll have to shave down next month's grenade launcher budget or if the money will be going to, you know, those people. That sounds about right. Same chapter, same verse, tune in next week and it'll be something else.

Help elect more and better Democrats this November! Please give $3 to Daily Kos' endorsed candidates and strike a blow against Republicans.

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Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Hunter)" Tags: "Conservatives, David Vitter, Ebola, Jame..."
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 18:42
Voting protest
Goal Thermometer

The congressional research arm has confirmed what foes of strict photo voter ID laws have been saying for several years: The laws tend to harm voter turnout overall and particularly turnout of minorities and youth. Young people, blacks, Latinos, American Indians and, recently, Asian Americans tend to support Democratic candidates.

The Government Accountability Office reviewed 10 studies, five of which showed no change in turnout in states with strict ID laws, four found decreases and one found an increase. In its own test case, the GAO concluded that strict voter ID laws cut voter turnout in Tennessee and Kansas in the 2012 election. The drop was around 2.2 and 3.2 percentage points in Tennessee and 2 percentage points in Kansas. The decrease was greater among younger voters, racial minorities and voters who were newly registered compared with those registered 20 years or more.

GAO calculated the decrease among African American voters at nearly 4 percent more than among whites in Kansas, and close to 2 percent more among blacks than whites in Tennessee.

Like various other studies, the GAO report found little evidence of voter fraud, which advocates for mandating strict voter IDs have claimed is their key reason for pushing stricter ID requirements. The report was requested initially by the Vermont independent, Sen. Bernard Sanders, and backed by a group of Democratic senators: the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Bill Nelson of Florida, Chuck Schumer of New York and Dick Durbin of Illinois. Sanders said:

“We must make it easier, not harder, for poor and working people to vote and to participate in the political process. These state laws aren’t really intended to discourage fraud, they’re intended to discourage voting. The GAO looked at study after study and found no credible evidence of voter fraud having had any impact whatsoever on the outcome of any election in recent history.”

“The right to vote is fundamental and foundational to our democracy,” said Leahy. “Each generation has a role to play in safeguarding this constitutional right. This new analysis from GAO reaffirms what many in Congress already know: Threats to the right to vote still exist. That is why Congress must act to restore the fundamental protections of the Voting Rights Act that have been gutted by the Supreme Court. Our bill offers timely remedies for a timeless right that is the birthright of every American.”

Yes, Congress ought to act to restore what the Supreme Court wrecked in 2013 by eviscerating the Voting Rights Act. But the chances of amending legislation passing this year are nil. In the future, it depends on electing people who want more people, not fewer, to vote.
One way to help improve turnout is to choose Democrats as state secretaries of state who will do what they can to increase rather than suppress the vote. You can help us do that by chipping to support five SOS candidates Daily Kos has endorsed.

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Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Meteor Blades)" Tags: "Voter ID, Voting Suppression"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 17:23
U.S. Representative Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) speaks to the American Banker Regulatory Symposium in Washington September 20, 2011.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst   (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS) - RTR2RLDZ
Goal Thermometer

You know, People That Rule Us, you can't all be America's Dumbest Legislator. And this isn't a contest.

The Republican Senate candidate in West Virginia says she misspoke during a Tuesday night debate when she said she didn’t believe in climate change, and is pointing to the rain as evidence that conditions are shifting “all the time.”

“Is the climate changing? Yes, it’s changing, it changes all the time, we heard it raining out there,” Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) told reporters. “I’m sure humans are contributing to it.”

Wait, what?
But speaking with reporters afterward, she said she misspoke, and referred to the weather in Charleston, W.Va., to demonstrate her point, according to The Charleston Gazette.

It is unclear whether Capito meant that human activity causes weather events such as rain.

It is indeed unclear. You could suppose that she "misspoke" and said climate when she meant weather, but her answer would remain similarly indecipherable. Does she suppose humans contribute to rain, but not climate? Does she suppose the climate shifts like rainfall does, when the two things are really not at all alike except in that both will at some point get you wet? Did she copy her answer from a YouTube comment thread? It remains a mystery. We could ask her, but that would run the risk of having to hear her talk again.

It's very easy to tell when a politician is giving a rote answer because their politics demand they believe a certain thing regardless of the evidence. It's easy because their responses are shallow, and repetitive, and frequently flubbed or botched. Caputo is required to believe that all of the world's scientists are not as clever as some so-and-so who supposes that changing the very composition of the planet's atmosphere is no big deal because sometimes it rains and sometimes it doesn't, whatchagonnado, so that's what she believes. Her staff is probably hard at work on her next "explanation" of what she meant by the "it's raining" quip, and unless they force her to read it verbatim she'll probably botch that one too.

Help elect more and better Democrats this November! Please give $3 to Daily Kos' endorsed candidates and strike a blow against Republicans.

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Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Hunter)" Tags: "2014, Climate Change, Conservatives, Env..."
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 17:16
South Dakota Native American voter holds sign that says
Not only are we backing Rick Weiland in the white-hot South Dakota Senate race, but we're going to help get out the Native American vote. Isn't democracy awesome?
Goal ThermometerThe political gods are smiling on us, gifting us a real race in South Dakota and putting yet another roadblock in the GOP's attempt to win a Senate majority.

But it's not just the emergence of a legitimate three-way race in a state Republicans had already penciled in as an easy win, it's the fact that we can actually upgrade our caucus on the "better Democrats" front from the outgoing Democrat Tim Johnson. I mean, look at Democrat Rick Weiland's answers to our endorsement questionnaire. This isn't a Blue Dog that we're backing. We're backing a genuine prairie populist at a time when control of the Senate hangs on the line. We're not holding our noses on this one, we're in full-heartedly.

Money is now flowing into the state, but much of it is outside spending which can't be coordinated with the campaign. The DSCC is spending a million simply bashing Republican Mike Rounds. They don't care much if Weiland or independent Larry Pressler wins, figuring either will caucus with the Dems. Their efforts are helpful! But if we want a true populist champion to win, it's up to people like us to help Weiland directly.

But that's not all! Check out this Reddit Ask Me Anything with ace South Dakota political journalist David Montgomery. Asked by our own Jeff Singer what Weiland's path to victory looked like, he answered:

1) Hold his current support. 2) Draw as many moderate and liberal voters from Larry Pressler -- while driving as few Pressler voters to Rounds. 3) Withstand a likely barrage of negative advertising. 4) Keep Rounds' support as low as possible. 5) Turn out the vote on reservations and in Sioux Falls on Election Day.
The first will be easy, the second is on Weiland's campaign, which is why we're raising money for him, the third we can't control, the fourth is being taken care of by the DSCC's negative ad barrage, and the fifth? I bolded that last one because we're going to directly do something about that. In addition to Weiland, we're fundraising for a PAC focused on turning out voters at South Dakota reservations: the South Dakota NDN Election Efforts PAC. This PAC is run by friends of Meteor Blades and Navajo, and can literally provide the margin of victory in an election that will likely be won by hundreds of votes.

Here's my goal: I want to raise $50,000 for this Native American GOTV effort. Their ideal budget is $200,000, but let's start with a more realistic goal. Prove me wrong and too conservative and let's blow by that goal. I'm in for $100 to Weiland, $250 to the GOTV effort. I only need you to chip in $3 for each.

If you've already given, pressure is off you. But there are hundreds of thousands of you who still haven't engaged, and in this 50-50 election, the side that sits on the sideline will lose. Don't let it be us. So how about it? Three bucks to have a progressive senator from South Dakota? Another three bucks for those fighting hard to bring out the Native American vote? Do it. Now.

Please go below the fold for more information on the South Dakota NDN Election Efforts PAC.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (kos)" Tags: "2014, Election, Larry Pressler, Mike Rou..."
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 16:12
Barbara Comstock with Neil Cavuto
Barbara Comstock with Neil Cavuto, because of course
Hello there, Republican ethics! During her time in the Virginia state legislature, Barbara Comstock, now running for Congress in Virginia, pushed a series of bills that were backed by an anti-union organization that just happens to have been a client of her public relations firm. What's more:
Comstock, now running for a competitive House seat in the Washington, D.C. suburbs, also initially failed to list WFI as a client when she filed papers to run for the seat. Her campaign later disclosed the relationship to the Washington Post, calling the omission unintentional. Congressional candidates with an ownership interest in companies are required to report clients who paid $5,000 or more in fees.
The three anti-union bills Comstock passed while in the pay of the Workforce Fairness Institute were doubtless all things she supported independent of her financial interests, and Virginia ethics rules are so weak it's not clear she violated them. But it's a nice little window into how Comstock and the anti-worker right more generally work, with money being directly funneled to a legislator's business.

This isn't unexpected if you've followed Comstock's career, of course. We're talking about someone who supported forced ultrasounds, thinks the government should track immigrants like FedEx packages, and has a long history as one of the Republican Party's nastiest thugs.

Luckily, Comstock has a strong opponent in John Foust. Please chip in $3 to keep Barbara Comstock out of Congress.

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Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Laura Clawson)" Tags: "2014, Barbara Comstock, Labor, VA-10, Vi..."
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