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Date: Monday, 28 Jul 2014 19:00
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Barbara Morrill)" Tags: "Open Thread"
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Date: Monday, 28 Jul 2014 18:20
Paul Katami (R) shares a kiss after proposing marriage to Jeff Zarrillo (L) as the two plaintiffs in the case against California's gay marriage ban known as Prop 8 address reporters outside the Supreme Court in Washington, June 26, 2013.  REUTERS/Jonathan
Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrrillo, plaintiffs in the last marriage case to hit the Supreme Court, on their decision day. It's likely marriage equality is headed back to the Supreme Court, hopefully to be settled in the law for once and for all.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage, holding, in a two-one vote, that it is unconstitutional:
The decision, by Judge Henry Floyd acknowledged both the debate over such laws and, in the court’s view, the clear constitutional impediment to laws banning same-sex couples from marrying.

“We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable,” he wrote. “However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws.”

U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen had previously ruled against Virginia's marriage ban, and the state's Democratic attorney general, Mark Herring, narrowly elected in 2013, refused to defend the ban in court.

The Fourth Circuit is the second appeals court to rule for marriage equality, following a late June decision from the Tenth Circuit, a decision cited by the Fourth Circuit (full decision here).

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Laura Clawson)" Tags: "Marriage Equality"
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Date: Monday, 28 Jul 2014 17:11
Police in riot gear met protesters at McDonald's headquarters
Some workers were already arrested protesting the McDonald's shareholder meeting in May.
The more than 1,300 fast food workers who gathered outside Chicago over the weekend to plan next steps in their fight for $15 an hour and a union have a big next step planned: civil disobedience. Steven Greenhouse reports:
“They’re already slowly killing us with the way they’ve got us living,” said Terrence Wise, a Burger King worker in Kansas City, Mo., who served as M.C. for much of the convention. “Are we going to stand up?” he asked. “I want to see who is willing to do whatever it takes, who is willing to get arrested.”

After his pleas, the workers voted unanimously to conduct a wave of civil disobedience actions.

A series of one-day strikes by fast food workers in cities across the country have fueled local and state minimum wage fights, led to workers at some fast food restaurants being fired in retaliation, and led to raises for workers in other restaurants. Civil disobedience is an obvious next step, and one we got a hint of in May when protesters were arrested around McDonald's shareholder meeting.

The number of workers in any one location willing to engage in civil disobedience may be small for now, but as part of a multipronged strategy including minimum wage campaigns, wage theft cases, and a complaint asking the National Labor Relations Board to declare McDonald's a joint employer with its franchise owners, the escalating workplace and in-the-streets activism planned creates still more pressure on fast food companies to improve their labor policies.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Laura Clawson)" Tags: "Civil Disobedience, Fast Food, Labor, Lo..."
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Date: Monday, 28 Jul 2014 16:45

Sarah Palin's new website screenshot

OMG, cannot wait!

Sarah Palin says she's fed up with traditional news media outlets. So she's starting her own online channel.

In a Sunday video, the former Republican vice presidential nominee announced the Sarah Palin Channel, a subscription-based Web site that she says will offer news, video chats with her and behind-the-scenes glimpses of speeches and political events she attends.

Hot damn, this is going to be some awesome content. Who wouldn't want to pay $9.95 month—discounted to just $99.95 for a year—to get inside "updates on the 'fun' in her household"?

Plus, it's awesome she's giving away some really great free content, like that countdown timer on how many days, hours, minutes, and seconds are left until President Obummer is no longer our commander in chief. I think I'll be checking that every day, because I, for one, am super excited for that day when we finally get a Real American President like Hillary Clinton, who Sarah Palin will obviously endorse because if you're a conservative woman and you can't endorse a female candidate for president just because she's a Democrat then you are obviously sexist.

But the thing about this that makes me most proud to be an American is here is an example of a citizen who has spent her life outside the system, except for those years when she was running for city council and mayor and governor and vice president and maybe president, taking advantage of a technology that is completely outside the realm of government control, except for that little part about DARPA research having been essential to its creation, and using that fearsome individualism to build her own media network outside the reach of Big Government or Big Corporations—unless, of course, she gets her way on Net Neutrality, in which case we won't just be paying a $9.95 monthly fee to her, we'll have to pay an additional $5.00 a month to Comcast or Time Warner in order to be able to access her website. But it will still be totally worth it.

p.s.: In case you were thinking about alternate names for the show, a few ideas:

James And  The Giant Impeach #PalinTVShows
I Love Lucy But Deport Ricky #PalinTVShows
My Three Guns #PalinTVShows
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Jed Lewison)" Tags: "Sarah Palin"
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Date: Monday, 28 Jul 2014 14:41
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks during a news conference in Trenton, New Jersey March 28, 2014. On Thursday a law firm hired by Christie, a potential Republican 2016 contender for the White House, released a report clearing him of wrongdoing in
In 2011, Gov. Chris Christie made a big push to cut pensions for New Jersey's public workers, a push that included the promise that from now on, the state would do its part to keep the pension system funded after years of failing to meet its obligations. Now, as he says that the state once again can't contribute its share to its workers' pension fund—even though the workers are now contributing more and getting less—here's Christie's explanation:
“Promises were made that can’t be kept,” Christie said of the state’s public-employee pension system. “Welcome to the real world, folks.”
Yes, promises were made. By Chris Christie. Welcome to the real world of what happens when you take Chris Christie at his word, folks.

With his state's budget a mess and his eyes still on 2016 despite being under investigation in the George Washington Bridge lane closures scandal, Christie clearly sees targeting public workers again as a way to win some conservative love and posture for the media about his willingness to make "tough" choices:

“The easiest thing in the world for me to do now would be just to say: ‘The heck with it. I tried. We got a little bit. I couldn’t fix the whole problem, but I’m gone in three years,’ ” he said at the town hall. “I wouldn’t have to take the heat. I wouldn’t have people yelling at me.”
Christie, of course, wants everything to come down to people yelling at him, and him yelling back, showing what a tough guy he is. It's a strategy that's worked for him in the past, distracting from the real issues and focusing attention on his personality. It may not work as well now that, thanks to the bridge scandal, people have started to realize that "tough guy" really means bully, in Christie's case. Not to mention that now he's not just talking about breaking the state's basic promise to its workers that they will get retirement they earned, but is planning to break—bragging about breaking—his own promise to public employees. And while the Republican base might get behind stealing pensions from public workers, who really wants to vote for a politician who can't be trusted in 2014 to live up to the promises of a law he fought for in 2011?
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Laura Clawson)" Tags: "Chris Christie, Labor, New Jersey, Pensi..."
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Date: Monday, 28 Jul 2014 14:29
Enrique Gonzalez, 22, (L-R), Janet Regalado, 21, and their nine-month-old daughter Kayleen Gonzalez pose for a photo after signing up for health insurance at an enrolment event in Commerce, California March 31, 2014. U.S. President Barack Obama's embattle
Last week's split decisions by federal appeals courts on the Obamacare subsidies are rippling down through the states. A three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit ruled that the law says that subsidies should only be available to customers in states that created their own exchanges under the law, while in a second case the Fourth District Court ruled that the law intended for everyone in all the states to be eligible. Not knowing which way the case will wind up, governors in states that base their exchanges on the federal system are working to protect the insurance subsidies that have provided millions with affordable health insurance.
Among the 36 states, the level of federal involvement varies. That means states see gray areas to work with, if they want to, though the ultimate decision about their status would likely hinge on additional court decisions and determinations by the Obama administration.

For example, two states, Idaho and New Mexico, had intended to set up their own exchanges but turned to the federal government to handle their technology in May 2013. The Obama administration has described them as "federally supported state-based" exchanges and often issues data on their behalf, in which it groups them with the other 34 states with "federally facilitated" exchanges.

Two other states, Nevada and Oregon, are currently considered to be among the 14 "state-based" exchanges, but have had technological problems and are now looking to the U.S. to operate their technology for the coming year.

Idaho, Oregon, and Nevada have all issued statements saying that they run state-based exchanges, that the technology might be borrowed from the federal government, but the actual administration of the exchanges is what matters, and that it is done by the states. That's the argument also made by Delaware and to varying degrees as well by Arkansas and Illinois, where there are strong pushes from the legislatures to move ahead on establishing fully state-run exchanges. That's because the political ramifications are potentially very big.
“It becomes health reform for blue states,” said John Holahan, an author of the Urban Institute report. “In the rest of the country you don't have health reform.” […]

“If the end result is if you live in New York you get (subsidies) and if you live in Georgia you don't, I don't think that's politically palatable,” said Kevin Wagner, a political science associate professor at Florida Atlantic University. “You start hitting middle-class people, and they vote.”

Republican governors in Florida, Georgia, Maine, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are all up for re-election this November and all to varying degrees foes of Obamacare. For a few of them who have refused Medicaid expansion, their opposition to the law has already proven to be a campaign issue. Add in the loss of insurance to a huge chunk of people who have had it for this year—and many more people being deliberately hurt for political purposes—and you've got some serious election-year fallout.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Joan McCarter)" Tags: "Affordable Care Act, Halbig v. Burwell, ..."
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Date: Monday, 28 Jul 2014 13:50

Support independent cartooning: join Sparky's List—and be sure to visit TT's Emporium of Shopping Fun!

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Tom Tomorrow)" Tags: "Dick Cheney, Satan"
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Date: Monday, 28 Jul 2014 13:42
Senator-elect Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is interviewed by a Reuters reporter at Sanders' office in Burlington, Vermont November 28, 2006. Sanders, a 16-year veteran of the House of Representatives who swept 65 percent of the vote in Vermont running as an inde
Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chair Bernie Sanders
After being at odds last week, Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chair Bernie Sanders and House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chair Jeff Miller have reportedly reached a compromise on VA funding:
According to a summary of the agreement obtained by CQ Roll Call, the negotiators agreed to $15 billion in emergency mandatory spending — $10 billion for a new private care option for veterans and another $5 billion for improvements within the VA, like hiring doctors and nurses and upgrading facilities. That’s $5 billion more than Miller offered on Thursday and about $10 billion less than Sanders sought.

To qualify for the private care option, veterans would have to be experiencing long wait times or be located more than 40 miles from a VA facility. They would be able to access providers who already participate in Medicare. [...]

The compromise legislation also permits the VA secretary to dismiss or downgrade employees in an expedited fashion based on performance or misconduct. It would also prevent wait-time metrics from being used in determining a VA employee’s eligibility for a bonus, and would authorize the VA to enter into 27 major medical facility leases throughout the country.

With Congress itching to get to its August recess, it's likely this will move quickly, with relatively few procedural delays.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Laura Clawson)" Tags: "Bernie Sanders, Department of Veterans A..."
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Date: Monday, 28 Jul 2014 12:30

Daily Kos Radio logo

Daily Kos Radio's Kagro in the Morning show podcasts are now available through iTunes.

We're back on the air, after a little experiment with a pre-recorded, but all-new show on Friday. The main difference? We can have Greg Dworkin join us for the radio version of his abbreviated pundit roundup, but with questions, jokes and other interruptions! Also, I can't go out to breakfast.

Listen LIVE at 9:00 ET, here: The Daily Kos Radio Player

Click this Link to Listen on your iTunes, Winamp or Windows Media Player

Can't see the live stream and/or podcast players in these posts? Do you use NoScript or something similar to control Javascript? Want to? Remember to enable Libsyn and Shoutcastplayer, and you'll see our players every morning!

May I have your attention, please? Want to help support the show without cracking your wallet?

Listen to Stitcher
Stitcher's got a new revenue-sharing program for shows wiht more than 5,000 "active listeners" in a month.

What's an "active listener?" Believe it or not, it's someone who listens to at least 30 seconds of a show, once in a month.

Hey, I don't make the rules! I just exploit 'em.

So, how about giving us 30 seconds of your life? Head on over to our KITM archive on Stitcher, listen to 30 seconds' worth, and then after that, your time is your own.

Did you happen to miss our last not-exactly-LIVE, but still all-new show? You can catch it here:

Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (David Waldman)" Tags: "Daily Kos Radio"
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Date: Monday, 28 Jul 2014 12:30

Excerpt of New York Times/YouGov July 2014 polling results

A sampling of YouGov's closest Senate polls

Internet polling has been picking up steam over the past decade, and on Sunday, CBS and The New York Times brought it further into the mainstream: They partnered with British pollster YouGov to conduct polls of every single Senate and gubernatorial race in the country. This gives us a far more comprehensive snapshot of the electoral landscape than we usually get—one based on an unusually large panel of more than 100,000 respondents nationwide, but one that also comes with question marks.

As for the results? Well, let's just say Republicans will uncork some bottles of champagne if these results come to pass.

In Senate races, Republican candidates are ahead in Georgia and Kentucky, the two states Democrats are targeting (by 5 percent in the former, 6 percent in the latter). More importantly, Republicans lead in eight Democratic-held states, though in four of them the margin is just 1 percent: Michigan, Iowa, North Carolina and Louisiana. In the four others, Republicans are further ahead: 4 percent in Arkansas, 8 percent in West Virginia, 16 in Montana, and 27 percent in South Dakota. That's two more seats than they need to win back control of the Senate.

Other incumbent Democrats do come up ahead, though. Mark Udall is up by 4 percent in Colorado, Jeanne Shaheen is ahead of Scott Brown by double digits in New Hampshire, and Alaska's Mark Begich is up either 2 percent or 12 percent, depending on which Republican he faces.

But the best news for the GOP may actually be how well its incumbent governors perform. Kansas's Sam Brownback, in huge trouble in every recent poll, is ahead here by a whopping 13 percent. The same goes for Georgia's Nathan Deal, up a dominant 9 percent, and Florida's Rick Scott, up 6 percent. Ohio's John Kasich is up 6 percent, while Michigan's Rick Snyder and Wisconsin's Scott Walker are up by a more more modest 3 and 2 percent, respectively. By contrast, in rarely polled Connecticut, Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy finds himself in a hole, down 7 percent in a rematch of his 2010 contest.

But there's much more to this polling than the toplines. Indeed, there are a number of issues with YouGov's data and methodology that require serious scrutiny, so we've got lots more analysis after the jump.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Taniel)" Tags: "CBS, gubernatorial, internet polling, Ne..."
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Date: Monday, 28 Jul 2014 12:17
C&J Banner


They'll be Brief

Late late late late late, that's me. Right on cue, I missed the Webby Award speeches this year. But I love 'em because they only get five words to say what they need to say (I think the orchestra starts playing 'em off after word three). Here are some of the best of 2014 for my C&J time capsule:

"Activism, meet Internet. Go crazy!"

"Once was lost, now Found."
---National Geographic

Webby Awards logo
"Thanks! We can't count."
---Mario Batali LLC

"Artists should get real pay!"

"Seriously. Please pay the artists."
---Vimeo, after winning a second award

"Math will set you free."
---PBS Digital Kids

"Dear Congress: protect Internet freedom."
---The Internet Association

"Internet vs. FCC. Let's win!"
---Women Make Movies

"Lobsters pee from their faces."
---The Week/Mental Floss

Eat yer heart out, twitter.

Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Bill in Portland Maine)" Tags: "Cheers and Jeers"
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Date: Monday, 28 Jul 2014 12:00
Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest banner
Want the scoop on hot races around the country? Get the digest emailed to you each weekday morning. Sign up here.
Leading Off:

KS-Gov: Let's not beat around the bush: A new SurveyUSA poll finds Republican Gov. Sam Brownback trailing state House Democratic Leader Paul Davis by a brutal 48-40, with a Libertarian taking five. SurveyUSA found similar numbers a month ago, when they found Davis up by six points. Brownback has posted some bad numbers before, but never quite this bad.

There are many reasons why Brownback has become so toxic in this very red state. In short, the governor and his conservative allies in the legislature have made brutal service cuts, especially to education. Brownback cut taxes without any idea of how to make up for the lost revenue, and Kansans are feeling the effects. It takes a lot to go from a 63-32 victory to a deficit in the polls in only four years, but Brownback has more than earned the dubious distinction of being the country's most vulnerable red state governor.

One small good piece of news for Brownback is that he doesn't appear to be in any primary danger. SurveyUSA finds him leading unheralded primary challenger Jennifer Winn 60-30. Not an impressive result, but it does indicate that at least some people can still stand Sam Brownback.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Jeff Singer)" Tags: "Aaron Woolf, AFSCME, AK-Sen, AZ-02, AZ-G..."
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Date: Monday, 28 Jul 2014 11:30

Charles M. Blow at The New York Times writes The Fight Over ‘Impeachment Lite’:

But this [suing of President Obama] isn’t about the public’s priorities, not even close. This is about base-voter activation; this is about midterm turnout. The president’s most ardent opposition wants more punishing actions taken. There is an insatiable vengeance-lust for the haughty president who refuses to bend under pressure or fold under duress.

He must be brought to heel. He must be chastened. He must be broken. So, House Republicans are throwing the red meat into the cage.

E.J. Dionne Jr. at The Washington Post sees one good thing in Paul Ryan’s stale ideas on poverty—which is that it would be only an experiment in a few states:
Ryan gave a well-crafted address at the American Enterprise Institute in which the centerpiece sounded brand spanking new: the “Opportunity Grant.” The problem is that this “pilot program” amounts to little more than the stale conservative idea of wrapping federal programs into a block grant and shipping them off to the states. The good news is that Ryan only proposes “experiments” involving “a select number of states,” so he would not begin eliminating programs wholesale. Thank God for small favors.
Below the fold are more pundit excerpts.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Meteor Blades)" Tags: "Abbreviated Pundit Round-up"
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Date: Monday, 28 Jul 2014 03:00
Molly Ball at The Atlantic writes The One Number That Will Decide This Year's Election:

What will be the deciding factor in this year's elections? Will it be Obamacare? The chaos erupting across the globe? The president's approval rating? Will it besingle women voters, Hispanics, young people?

Mike Podhorzer crunched the numbers and found there's one factor that, with eerie consistency, explains the way elections have swung for the past decade. Podhorzer, the political director of the AFL-CIO, is one of the top electoral strategists on the left. The crucial factor, he found, is Democrats' vote share among voters making less than $50,000.

Republicans consistently win voters making $50,000 or more, approximately the U.S. median income. The margin doesn't vary too much: In 2012, Mitt Romney got 53 percent of this group's vote; in 2010, Republican House candidates got 55 percent. And Democrats consistently win voters making less than the median—but the margin varies widely. In fact, whether Democrats win these voters by a 10-point or a 20-point margin tells you who won every national election for the past decade.

Molly Ball
In 2004, Democrats won the working-class vote by 11 points; George W. Bush was reelected. In 2006, Democrats won the working-class vote by 22 points and took the House and Senate. In 2008, Democrats won by 22 points again, and President Obama was elected. In 2010, the margin narrowed to 11 points, and Republicans took the House back. In 2012, Obama was reelected—on the strength of another 22-point margin among voters making under $50,000.

"It doesn't often get reported, but the key indicator that has been decisive for the last several elections is how people making below the median income vote," Podhorzer said this week. Black or white, Asian or Hispanic, male or female, young or old, it's that simple. To reach these voters, Podhorzer believes, candidates need to focus on the economic issues of the working class. "Economic populism decides who wins elections in America," he said. [...]

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2005Cheers and Jeers: Wednesday:


Wow. Now that it's safe to follow the herd, Chris Matthews goes out on a limb ...

"If the war in Iraq was going better, we wouldn't still be asking how we got into it. But it isn't, so we are. For some, the deciding argument for going to war with Iraq was self-defense...it was nuclear. If Saddam Hussein had the bomb or was about to [get it], we had to stop him.  

How many times were we told the smoking gun would be a mushroom cloud?  How many times did the vice president tell us that Iraq had a nuclear program?  Who can forget that the President himself used his State of the Union to warn of Saddam cutting a deal down in Africa?  It was a smart, shrewd strategy...talking about mushroom clouds.  It got people off the fence.  It carried the undecideds.  It shut down the opposition.  It got us into Iraq.  But it was based on faulty, bogus evidence.  

Two years ago, with our forces fully engaged in Iraq, the nuclear threat was long seen as inoperative.  Now a former Ambassador [Joseph Wilson], who had been sent to Africa before the war looking for evidence of an Iraqi uranium deal, said he came back empty.  But he wasn't the first to try and knock down the nuclear argument.  Intelligence agencies had been doing that for months, just as unsuccessfully.

The larger scandal in this White House/CIA leak story is not just who leaked the name of an undercover agent, but whether we were given a case for war—the deciding factor for many of us—knowing that it didn't hold water.  As we work to find our way out of Iraq, we should focus a bit...on how we got in."

Tweet of the Day
I am blown away! This is what sunrise in Mars looks like! Find the full album here http://t.co/...   #science http://t.co/...

Every Monday through Friday you can catch the Kagro in the Morning Show 9 AM ET by dropping in here, or you can download the Stitcher app (found in the app stores or at Stitcher.com), and find a live stream there, by searching for "Netroots Radio."

High Impact Posts.This Week's High Impact Posts. Top Comments
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Meteor Blades)" Tags: "2014, Economics, Elections, Molly Ball, ..."
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Date: Monday, 28 Jul 2014 01:30
Rally with Detroit residents, Netroots, and other organizations in protest of water shutoffs and draconian behavior of Detroit and Michigan officials.
I got to the hotel just before four o’clock. The excitement that is felt just before registration was palpable. I was ready. I am in Detroit. Flying over Detroit looked like any other city. I was hoping to fly over some of the blight that the traditional media made synonymous with Detroit. It felt like the flight ensured no one saw it. Was that by design?

The week before, from my keyboard in Kingwood I got into an electronic altercation with a Detroit reporter. While watching MSNBC, Detroit reporter Hank Winchester and Detroit activist Maureen Taylor were being interviewed. It turns out the Detroit water department began shutting off the water of all those who are $150 behind on their water bill. They were shutting off the water of the poor, the unemployed, the disabled, and everyone in between at the rate of 3,000 per month. Of course, corporations owing thousands were left alone.

The reporter went on MSNBC with a huge dog whistle. While he stated that some people really needed help, he felt it necessary to commit journalistic heresy: He showed his own prejudice. “Some of these people have a desperate need,” reporter Hank Winchester said. “They need help from state agencies …. But there are other people and this is where it gets controversial who simply don’t want to pay the water bill, who’d rather spend money on cable.

When I heard that I immediately stopped writing my current blog, captured the interview, shortened it, and blogged it. Suffice it to say, the blog went viral. Many bloggers in Detroit and elsewhere had a field day with the reporter. He contacted me and accused me of editing the video though I left the context perfectly reflective of what he said.

As I walked from the hotel in Detroit to register, I wondered if this reporter who had no problems getting on MSNBC, would spend the time to cover the large protest that Netroots Nation would participate in with the citizens of Detroit.

After registering I walked back to the Detroit Riverfront. Coincidentally there was a Detroit activist, Michael Doc Holbrook on his bike. I asked him for a video interview and he obliged. “This is the only city in America,” Michael Doc Holbrook said, “[where] poor people ever had property on the riverfront. And they are taking that away now.” He said Detroit’s real problem is the lack of leadership. Detroit is currently run by an omnipotent emergency manager appointed by the governor. Mr. Holbrook said that Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, the governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, and the mayor of Detroit, Mike Duggan went to law school together. “You figure it out,” Holbrook said. “How this came to be.”

Friday was fast approaching. I made sure I had all my cameras ready. We hoped the rally would be as big as Detroiters told us it would be. They did not disappoint and Netroots Nation did not disappoint. There were clearly over 1,000 protestors, in fact given the 3,000 Netroots attendees and the hundreds from the city proper, the march seemed closer to 2,000 people. Of course the traditional media claimed 300 people in one report. I have hundreds of pictures to prove otherwise

It was great seeing Reverend Pinkney from Benton Harbor Michigan, whose city is being virtually stolen from within by another emergency manager. It was great listening to labor unions, nurses associations, environmental groups and every other organization coming to support Detroit, a city whose human capital was pilfered. And now the plutocracy wants it all. It was great talking to a young woman activist, Atpeace Makita, who gave a passionate interview of what needs to be done in Detroit.

The night before Reverend William Barber electrified Netroots with his morality-based fusion 3rd reconstruction policy message. It became the calling of the convention. It was the calling of the rally and protest. He said:

“It is extreme and immoral to suppress the right to vote. It is extreme and immoral to deny Medicaid for millions of poor people especially people who have been elected to office and then insurance simply because they’ve been elected. It is extreme and immoral to raise taxes on the working poor and cutting earned income taxes, and to raise taxes on the poor and the middle class in order to cut taxes for the wealthy. It is extreme and immoral to use power to cut off people’s water in Detroit.  … It is extreme and immoral to end unemployment for those who have lost jobs for no fault of their own. It is extreme and immoral to re-segregate our schools and underfund our public schools. It is extreme and immoral for people who came from immigrants to now to have a mean amnesia and cry out against immigrants and the rights of children. It is mean it is immoral it is extreme to kick hard working people when they are down. That’s not just bad policy. It’s against the common good and a disregard for human rights. … In fact, this kind of philosophy rooted in the policies of immoral deconstruction, if you look at them carefully, they are historically inaccurate, they are constitutionally inconsistent, they are morally indefensible, and they are economically insane.”

What I learned in Detroit was simple. It reconfirmed that our economic system has no heart. Sadly our government that should ensure that a heartless system does not harm is itself controlled by the heartless. The lack of morality is ever present in the way we treat our poor, our needy, and our citizens. It is time that we force our government, we the people, to return to moral policies.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Egberto Willies)" Tags: "Detroit, Michigan, Netroots, netroots 20..."
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Date: Monday, 28 Jul 2014 00:15
Helping persons with autism spectrum disorder lead happy, productive and independent lives.
According to the NIH, 1 in 88 children in the United States is now diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

One of these persons is the son of my brother and sister-in-law. My nephew, Nicolas Llorens, is now 22 years old. Throughout his life, his parents, both medical doctors, have invested time, money and love treating his condition.

But after basically exhausting the education system alternatives, his mother, Rebecca, traveled to many locales to study programs whose objective is to transition persons suffering from ASD to living a productive adult life. Quite frankly, she found that existing post secondary education options simply were not equipped or designed to address the needs of persons suffering from autism spectrum disorder and failed to either tap into skills that are sometimes prevalent in ASD persons.

“I looked at the community college and university programs and options for persons with autism spectrum disorder and they just did not seem to fit what I thought could be achieved for my son and other persons suffering from ASD in order to help them become productive adults,” said Rebecca. “I wanted to find something that I felt really appreciated the talents and skills my son and other persons with autism spectrum disorder could develop and use to help them live happy, independent and productive lives.” Rebecca discussed these issues with her friend Teri Walden, also the mother of a son with autistic spectrum disorder. the two resolved to explore alternatives.

Rebecca traveled to California to consider a program called ExceptionalMind Studios. Rebecca said “ExceptionalMinds is a great program. It helps persons suffering from autism spectrum disorder to use their talents in such creative fields as animation. But I thought the focus was too narrow for what we were looking for. We wanted something a little broader.” So Rebecca and Teri kept searching. Teri traveled to Texas and visited with the good people at Nonpareil. But she also found that while the program was great, it also seemed too narrow for their goals. “Nonpareil focused on gaming and testing. It is a great program but it also was too narrow for what we're looking for,” said Rebecca.

Please read more on this story below the fold.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Armando)" Tags: "Autism Spectrum Disorder, Encircle Tech,..."
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Date: Sunday, 27 Jul 2014 22:59
Bruce Braley at podium
The U.S. Senate race featuring Democrat Bruce Braley is just one reason Iowa is a must-watch state.

As it became time to prepare the third go-round of our state power rankings, a problem immediately materialized. Under the criteria in place up to this point, there were simply too few changes. The dog days of summer typically don't see a ton of movement in our race ratings, as prudence often dictates to wait until it can be better assessed who is prepared for the long haul into November.

Since the bulk of the state power rankings were based on race ratings, however, that meant a stagnant top ten. So, an additional metric was added to the rubric. In addition to the race ratings (and how they accumulate points can be seen at the end of the piece), it was decided that a point would be added for every individual general election poll in the prior month per individual contest. After all, if the state power rankings were meant to give readers an idea of what states will be the most pivotal in November, it makes sense to add a gauge for what races are getting the attention of pollsters, even at this comparably early point. Only general election polls were included, to avoid a "primary effect." To wit: Mississippi would've been on the doorstep of the list had primary polls been included. Unless Chris McDaniel carries his hissy fit protest of the runoff results into the fall, and his entreaties actually find purchase in the soil of the Mississippi electorate, there will be pretty much no reason to care about the Magnolia State come November.

So, with this new metric added to the mix, there was some legitimate movement, and a new and deserving occupant in the top spot. Follow me past the jump for the new edition of the state-by-state power rankings.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Steve Singiser)" Tags: "2014, Arkansas, California, Colorado, El..."
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Date: Sunday, 27 Jul 2014 21:45
The National Education Association's Lily Eskelsen Garcia
Both major teachers unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, have been moving toward a more confrontational response to the push, from Democrats as well as Republicans, for public education to be more and more dominated by standardized testing. That testing is taking over the time students spend in the classroom, as well as being used as a weapon against their teachers—and it's all a distraction from real problem of inequality, in the schools and in the American economy more generally. "Reform" has come to mean attacking teachers and enriching testing companies, not seeking structural change; it means narrowing what children learn to what's on math and reading tests, not developing a broader vision for education. In this context, I interviewed Lily Eskelsen Garcia, the president-elect of the NEA, while at Netroots Nation.

Eskelsen Garcia, a former cafeteria worker, kindergarten aide, and then elementary school teacher, is upbeat and intense and outspoken against testing—but, as you'll see late in her comments, is carefully politic when it comes to figures like Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who her union's representative assembly called on to resign, and who she characterizes as "a good person" but one who's "just dead wrong on this obsession with test scores."

On testing and where she wants to take the NEA:

It is to me the epitome of wrongheaded corporate solutions to things like boys and girls and it is a factory model of quality control that is all wrapped around hitting a cut score on a commercial standardized test and what's being lost is the whole happy child. [...]

I got involved in my union because I had 39 kids in my classroom in Utah, where we stack 'em deep and teach 'em cheap. ... I said I want somebody who's going to fight for what I need to do my job as a good, creative, caring, competent teacher, and I got more and more involved as I saw the forces from outside education coming in and telling us that teaching and learning was reduced to multiple choice tests, because that what not what made me the teacher of the year ...

As much as I want to move a very positive agenda, if we can't move this incredible boulder out of the road and that boulder is you hit your cut score or you fail, we're never going to be able to move toward whole child reform. Whole child means the arts. It means kids who don't speak English or special ed kids or gifted and talented or gifted and talented special ed kids who don't speak English, you know, in all of their wonderful variety. I never met a kid that came in a standardized box. Not one! So what we want to do is to say how do you open that public school to all of the opportunities that that kid should have, and while we obsess over hitting a cut score on a standardized test, that's never going to happen.

We've got to approach it on two fronts. First of all, legislatively, we have to change No Child Left Untested, we've got to stop racing to chasing our tails around a cut score on a test. We have to get rid of those policies, change them dramatically, but I am not one who would tell my teachers "and we can't do anything until that happens." I have no faith in Congress all of a sudden getting smart, all of a sudden learning to look at the evidence and go "oh, this is actually hurting kids." So you have to proceed until apprehended. You have to say there's a whole lot of things you, your building principal, your school board, your superintendent—we're all sick of it. We're not always on the same side of issues, a union and the administration, but we're on the same side of this. What we have to do is to say there is no federal law that says we have to obsess over this test score. You give it as little credence as possible, you stop worrying about the punishments that come with that, you let the chips fall where they may, and you let nothing get in the way of giving these kids everything they need to make their lives what they want them to be.

There's more below the fold.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Laura Clawson)" Tags: "Arne Duncan, Education, Labor, Lily Eske..."
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Date: Sunday, 27 Jul 2014 20:29
Attorneys general races, 2014
A map of this year's attorneys general races
State attorneys general elections are almost always overshadowed by gubernatorial, Senate, and House races, but they are incredibly important. State attorneys general's powers vary from state to state, but they often have a good deal of influence over major policy issues. Attorneys general are often sought out as candidates for higher office, with many current governors and senators previously serving as their state's top lawyer. This year well-funded groups, especially Republican-aligned ones, are spending big in these races to ensure that they can take these important offices.  

What follows is a guide to 2014's elections for attorney general. In April we did another rundown of these races, and since then much has changed or better come into focus. The above map by Stephen Wolf provides an overview of this year's races. The map and the following analysis do not include states where the attorney general is not elected by voters, or where the election will be held in a different year. Republicans had a great year in 2010, flipping five of these offices at the polls. Democrats are hoping to return the favor this time around.

To start out, here is a table with all 50 state attorneys general, with notes about how they are selected and whether they are running this year.

Head below for a state-by-state look at each of 2014's attorney general races.  
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Jeff Singer)" Tags: "A.J. Kotich, Adam Gregg, Adam Laxalt, AL..."
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Date: Sunday, 27 Jul 2014 19:15
Obama hits the stage at a campaign rally in Ames, Iowa, in front of a massive United States flag.
When you've got nothing of substance to say, just say that the President of the United States isn't a real American.
Generally speaking, I support recycling. In this case, not so much. You may have read earlier this week that Rep. Steve King, (R-IA), brought back one of his party's golden oldies. You know, the one about how President Barack Obama is, for some reason or other, just not a real American. At an anti-immigration rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, King offered some musings on this theme.
[Obama's] vision of America isn’t like our vision of America. That we know. Now I don’t assert where he was born, I will just tell you that we are all certain that he was not raised with an American experience. So these things that beat in our hearts when we hear the National Anthem and when we say the Pledge of Allegiance doesn’t beat the same for him.

If you remember when he was a candidate for president he was standing at the front of a row of Democrat [sic] candidates for president down at Tom Harkin’s steak fry. The rest of them, when they played the National Anthem, had their hand over their heart. But Barack Obama was standing with arms down his side dangling — while the National Anthem was being played. Now, what was that about, was it an act of defiance? I don’t think so. Some thought so.

Before we start unpacking this [insert your own noun here], the last line of the recording makes clear the broader topic King was discussing. "Now we have our challenge, we have a challenge of an invasion that’s pouring people across ..." Given the rally's focus on immigration, it is clear that King is referring to the refugee crisis on our Southern border.

What King is saying—not implying but stating directly—is that the president's response to the crisis reflects the fact that he doesn't really care about America at all, because he isn't a real American, the kind whose heart beats the right way when the national anthem plays or when a crowd recites the Pledge. And of course there was the birther reference. You knew there had to be a birther reference.

Oh, and I loved the part where King brought up that "some thought" President Obama was engaged in an "act of defiance" toward our national anthem, but of course he, being a reasonable man, didn't think so. You know what else? "Some say" Steve King is a hateful person whose divisive rhetoric stands contrary to everything America should represent. Oh, and I agree with them.

If you do as well (or just want to read more), please join me after the fold.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Ian Reifowitz)" Tags: "Barack Obama, Immigration, Iowa, Louie G..."
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