California went through a nonpartisan congressional redistricting and it looks like it could work out well for Democrats. Although the Republicans were once hopeful they could make conservative Democratic incumbent Jerry McNerney's race competitive (CA-09), last month a poll, from Celinda Lake, the most consistently accurate pollster in America, showed McNerney with a pretty insurmountable 16 point lead over Ricky Gill, an unemployed 25 year old stalker with a fake resume. The NRCC also had some kind of delusion they sold to the clueless media-- and Colusa County supervisor Kim Vann-- that they could beat John Garamendi (CA-03). Two polls have shown Garamendi leading by 15 points.
The DCCC is backing 7 challengers in Republican-held districts: Ami Bera (CA-07), Jose Hernandez (CA-10), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Raul Ruiz (CA-36), Mark Takano (CA-41), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), and Scott Peters (CA-52). Bera and Peters have been endorsed by the pro-business, anti-consumer/anti-worker New Dem Coalition. Takano is a progressive. The rest are somewhere in between. The most obvious race the DCCC should be pursuing, CA-25, pitting Dr. Lee Rogers, a progressive, against House Armed Services Committee chairman Buck McKeon, who is drowning in a sea of corruption scandals and a local GOP civil war, is being studiously and aggressively ignored by "ex"-Blue Dog Steve Israel. (You can contribute to helping Rogers replace McKeon here.) The DCCC doesn't take on Republican leaders like Boehner and Cantor and they don't take on Republican committee chairs like Paul Ryan and Buck McKeon. They specialize in faceless, unknown backbenchers. OK, someone's got to. But someone has to go after these galoots as well too... and corrupt hacks Steve Israel, Joe Crowley and Debbie Wasserman Schultz take too much cash from the same nefarious interests that finance your Eric Cantors and Buck McKeons and Paul Ryans to ever go up against them.
On the other hand, the good news is that Ventura County Democratic Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (CA-26) leads Republican extremist Tony Strickland by 4 points (48-44%) according to a recent poll by Tulchin Research. She has a decent record in the state legislature and would probably wind up voting with the Democrats on all important issues. Even better news is that the one real progressive the DCCC is backing in the state, Mark Takano (CA-41), is ahead of Chamber of Commerce candidate, Republican John Tavaglione by 4 points (42-38%), even with ConservaDem Riverside mayor Ron Loveridge campaigning for the Republican. And in the new 47th CD (Long Beach, Westminster, Cypress and Garden Grove), state Senator Alan Lowenthal leads Republican Gary DeLong by 11 points (47-36%), despite a huge fundraising advantage by DeLong.
Dr. Ami Bera, who has come close twice before, is tied with far right Congressman Dan Lungren at 47%, and after positives Bera leads by five points (51-46%). Obama leads Romney 52-44% in this same poll. Similarly, conservative New Dem Scott Peters is tied with shady incumbent Brian Bilbray in two recent polls, one at 45-45% and one at 40-40%. Peters is a total Steve Israel brand of candidate and the DCCC is expected to spend close to $2 million on this race.
And even in the two races where the DCCC candidates are losing, they're not losing badly and could make up some lost ground. Dr. Raul Ruiz (CA-36) trails Mary Bono Mack by only two points (43-45%) with 12 percent of voters undecided, according to a recent PPP poll. Obama leads Romney 49% to 48% in this same poll. And freshman Jeff Denham (CA-10) is under 50% with astronaut Jose Hernandez trailing by just seven points (41-48%) with 12 percent of voters undecided, according to a recent PPP poll. Obama and Romney are tied at 47% in this same poll.
Meanwhile, the big one in California is CA-25, the one Steve Israel, for whatever reason, is adamant on throwing. McKeon has been the epitome of right wing conservatism and his career is characterized as being anti-gay, pro-war, and anti-immigrant, and as a leader in the war against women. As chair of the House Armed Services Committee, he opposes any reduction in defense spending or withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan. He promotes proliferation of nuclear weapons, threatening Iran with war, and the use
of military drones domestically. He is the top recipient of campaign cash from the defense industry-- more even than any TWO senators!-- and he founded and chairs the drone caucus, which is giving him money hand over fist.
Several other circumstances make McKeon vulnerable for the first time. Redistricting was not favorable to him. The 25th CD used to be the second largest in California and had a 9 point partisan Republican advantage. Now it is a more compact, a mostly LA County district with a 4 point Republican advantage over Democrats and 18% Decline-To-State voters. The district is now 30% Latino, a group McKeon has alienated with his anti-DREAM Act stance and he?s even been caught trying to help overturn California?s state DREAM act.
What makes the race unique is that several large scandals have surfaced this year surrounding McKeon. The largest is the Countrywide Financial VIP program in which McKeon received a preferential loan at the direct intervention of then-CEO Angelo Mozilo. He lied about his involvement and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee recently released their report implicating McKeon. Issa, the chairman, referred to this loan program as a ?bribe? on TV. National and in-district media have covered this story extensively. A newspaper poll even showed McKeon losing to an unnamed challenger over this issue.
McKeon has several FEC violations and failure to report in-kind donations and pays his wife to be his treasurer, in effect, illegally funneling vast amounts of campaign contributions into his personal household accounts. She is the highest paid congressional spouse and has made $600,000 from the campaign in recent years. McKeon also pays other family members for questionable services.
In the district, there is a gaping rift in the Republican party. McKeon former district director, Scott Wilk, is running for State Assembly in AD-38, a district wholly located inside CA-25. McKeon and Wilk separated on bad terms and McKeon ran his wife Patricia against him in the primary. Patricia lost embarrassingly, but not before causing irreparable damage to McKeon. In fact, all of his supported candidates in 2012 have lost local and state elections in the district, including the incumbent mayor of Santa Clarita. Being endorsed by McKeon is known as the kiss of death for any local Republican.
McKeon?s Democratic opponent is Dr. Lee Rogers, a surgeon and former national spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association and first time candidate. I know Lee personally and he's an independent-minded progressive who is articulate, intelligent and committed to public service in the same terms he's been committed to serving his medical patients.
Meanwhile, McKeon?s hometown newspaper, The Signal, refused to endorse him for the first time in 20 years in the primary over the CEMEX mining issue that Lee's been all over and will probably be the most important single issue in the minds of voters when they go into the voting booth. Please help us make sure Lee beats McKeon-- even without any help from Steve Israel, Joe Crowley and the rest of the corrupt DC insiders. You can contribute here.
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From this Friday evening's The Daily Show, Jon Stewart had some fun with Clint Eastwood's appearance at the Republican National Convention, which he described as the "most joy" he's "gotten from an old man since Dick Cheney non-fatally shot one in the face."
After showing a bit more of Eastwood's performance at the RNC, Stewart proceeded to rip apart Mitt Romney's speech and the reason that Clint Eastwood's speech was so damaging to Republicans.
STEWART: Here's why it hurts. It hurts these Republicans bad because this convention, like all conventions is a scripted and focus group fantasy and the display of Eastwood's Gran Torino id was the very thing Republicans had constructed the entire week to suppress.
This convention was the vision of a perfect America that used to exist, until Barack Obama ruined it and so what if that America had never actually existed.
ROMNEY: To be an American was to assume that all things were possible. That unique brand of optimism, humility... it's that good feeling when you have more time to volunteer to coach your kid's soccer team or help out on school trips. It's when we see that new business opening up downtown, so when we go to work in the morning and see everybody else on the block doing the same thing. My friends cared more about what sports teams we followed than what church we went to.
STEWART: Gee whiz pops, that sounds awesome. That was the uncomplicated America that you remember. I think in the early '60's there are some churches in Alabama that would have disagreed with your sports team versus place of worship anecdote.
But the point is this, when this convention attempted to do is say that we could all live again in this nostalgic paradise, if it weren't for this one f**king guy.
After pointing out that Republicans have invented a complete fiction of a world that never existed and playing a bunch of clips of these Republicans at the convention attacking President Obama, Stewart laid waste to Romney's ridiculous talking point during his speech that he really wanted Obama to succeed.
STEWART: Bull f**king s**t! You... wanted... Obama to succeed? We may not remember that America was never Mayberry, but we sure at s**t can remember back to 2009.
Cue the clips of Fox "News" and rMoney himself hoping for failure from President Obama almost immediately after he got elected and Clint Eastwood giving us more proof that Republicans live in upside down land and a world of projecting their faults onto their opponents, regardless of reality.
Martin A. Lee's latest book, Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana ? Medical Recreational and Scientific reflects his skills as a researcher, especially in the historical sections and his analysis of scientific and medical research. The copy is[...]
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enlargeTake a little bit of madness and mix it with a steady diet of Fox News, and you'll get David Kappheim.
Via Huffington Post:
A Florida man "obsessed with Fox News and the Republican party" felt that his girlfriend was too "liberal" -- so he decided he had to kill her.
Police arrested David Kappheim, of Lake Park, on Saturday after the 60-year-old threatened a woman's life because of her supposed political orientation, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The report recounts several incidents in which Kappheim allegedly arrived "stark naked" at the home of his girlfriend's friend, choked his girlfriend and told her that he would "kill her and burn her home," the Palm Beach Post reports.
Kappheim explained to a sheriff?s deputy, ?He was very conservative, and his girlfriend was liberal and he felt he was going to have kill her," according to the arrest affidavit, according to WPTV.
As tempting as it may be to write the guy off as just another crazy person, I think we do so at our own peril. When they're feasting on eliminationist rhetoric and hearing everyone all the way up to the Republican nominee claim what America "needs is an American", it's not hard to see where reality and illusion blend into delusional, authoritarian, deadly behavior.
Roger Ailes and the crew over at Fox News should be ashamed, but I'm sure they're just sorry the liberal got to live after all.
The Democratic National Convention is less than a week away, and liberals are getting fired up. But at least one of the party's key constituencies isn?t quite so excited.That group is organized labor.Last July?s announcement that the convention would be[...]
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Labor Day is coming up this Monday, September 3. Please be certain to tip well and to treat working people well over the Labor Day weekend and on Labor Day. How we treat our fellow working people is the same as self-respect.
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The day after Mitt Romney mocked President Barack Obama for wanting to keep the oceans from rising, he visited flood-stricken parts of Louisiana recovering from Hurricane Isaac. While there, he showed the human warmth and caring for which he's renowned:
Romney shook hands with National Guardsmen outside the U.S. Post Office and talked with a local resident, Jodie Chiarello, 42, who lost her home in Isaac's flooding.Go to the home that's submerged under water and call 211. Maybe they'll let the National Guard and the governor know there's a problem. Oh, wait, the National Guard and the governor are already there. I'm not knocking 211, but, you know, first, this woman doesn't have a home to go back to and make a phone call. Second, the disaster relief that exists is pretty much already engaged. Thousands of people are in shelters after fleeing their homes or being rescued from their rooftops. "Call 211" is what you say when it's not clear what help is available.
"He just told me to, um, there's assistance out there," Chiarello said of her conversation with Romney. "He said, go home and call 211." That's a public service number offered in many states.
But surely calling 211 is not all the man who would be president has to suggest about disaster aid, right?
Romney was silent on whether, as president, he would support paying for such an expansion. Romney's running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, has proposed eliminating $10 billion a year in disaster spending and requiring Congress to pay for emergencies by cutting from elsewhere in the budget. That proposal was blocked by GOP leaders.A disaster spending cut so deep it was too extremist for the leaders of today's Republican party, and Mitt Romney chose the guy who proposed it as his running mate. Maybe Romney is suggesting that people call 211 because, under him, that would be the only help available.
(For more discussion see luckyguyjoe's diary.)
Does this mean viewers prefer crazy over lies?As a Republican National Convention speaker, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan isn't nearly as much of a draw as Sarah Palin.The Nielsen ratings company said an estimated 21.9 million people watched GOP convention coverage Wednesday night over nine networks. The marquee event was Ryan's acceptance speech as Mitt Romney's running...
This seat's taken
During a trip to Epcot at Disneyworld, Pennsylvania delegate Mark Harris and his wife were shocked and offended to find a Mexican employee working at the amusement park?s American pavilion, which showcases the different cultures in the United States. According to the couple?s blog, Harris complained to staff that he was ?highly offended? that a ?person from Mexico? was working in the American pavilion when other nations? pavilions were staffed by people from each respective country.It's all about the Anglo-Saxon heritage, remember.
A federal judge sided with the Obama campaign and ruled Friday to order Ohio to restore three days of early voting before Election Day, a decision that could affect the outcome of the 2012 election in a key battleground state.That's huge. Not just for democracy, but for Democrats and the Obama campaign. A brief perusal of the electoral map shows that if the President takes Ohio again, Romney would need to deny him 15 electoral votes from all of New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin, Colorado and Nevada. Tough math for Romney. Even not counting Florida, that condition could be met with North Carolina alone, or by focusing out west in Colorado and Nevada.
Judge Peter C. Economus of the Southern District Court of Ohio granted an injunction in favor of Obama For America, the Democratic National Committee and the Ohio Democratic Party, which sued Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to restore in-person voting in the last weekend before the election.
"On balance, the right of Ohio voters to vote in person during the last three days prior to Election Day -- a right previously conferred to all voters by the State -- outweighs the State's interest in setting the 6 p.m. Friday deadline," ruled the court. "The burden on Ohio voters' right to participate in the national and statewide election is great, as evidenced by the statistical analysis offered by Plaintiffs and not disputed by Defendants. Moreover, the State fails to articulate a precise, compelling interest in establishing the 6 p.m. Friday deadline as applied to non-UOCAVA [Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act] voters and has failed to evidence any commitment to the 'exception' it rhetorically extended to UOCAVA voters."
That's why the Republican Party has put such a focus on preventing people from voting in Ohio. They know that if they don't win there, their chances at beating Obama are very slim.
(Colbert destroys Ryan over Ayn Rand and wonders how he ever fell in love with her after the things she has said about religion: Just because Paul Ryan got into politics because of Ayn Rand and requires his staff to read her doesn't mean he likes her.)
Much has been written about the love affair Rep. Paul Ryan has with Ayn Rand's ideas. He gave each member of his entire staff a copy of Atlas Shrugged demonstrates perfectly that he worshiped her as much as AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. He's not the only one. Justice Clarence Thomas has also cited Rand as a huge influence and reportedly makes all his law clerks watch The Fountainhead. But as Ryan's profile increased in DC, he was forced to backtrack on Rand since the Christian conservatives in his party attacked him for his admiration towards her.
Not much has been said about Rand's views on Ronald Reagan since Ryan got the VP nomination, but it's worth repeating here since Romney was introduced practically at the alter of St. Ronnie Thursday at the Republican National Convention. Here's how Ayn felt about Ronald Reagan.
"She thought he was extremely destructive figure," [Jennifer Burns, the author of Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right] said. She was disgusted by how he let his religious beliefs influence his political perspective. And she devoted one of her final newsletters to encouraging Americans not to cast ballots for Reagan in the primary. In the Ayn Rand Letterm she wrote "I urge you, as emphatically as I can, not to support the candidacy of Ronald Reagan. I urge you not to work for or advocate his nomination, and not to vote for him."
The cult of Ronnie will probably stick their heads in the ground again when it pertains to one of their icons and both Ayn and Reagan count as conservative heroes. She hated him because his religion influenced his politics--that's what he said anyway--but how can any member of the Bible Caucus in DC even mention her name when she's said this about their beloved religions?:
Playboy: Has no religion, in your estimation, ever offered anything of constructive value to human life?
Ayn Rand: Qua religion, no - in the sense of blind belief, belief unsupported by, or contrary to, the facts of reality and the conclusions of reason. Faith, as such, is extremely detrimental to human life: it is the negation of reason. But you must remember that religion is an early form of philosophy, that the first attempts to explain the universe, to give a coherent frame of reference to man's life and a code of moral values, were made by religion, before men graduated or developed enough to have philosophy. And, as philosophies, some religions have very valuable moral points. They may have a good influence or proper principles to inculcate, but in a very contradictory context and, on a very - how should I say it? - dangerous or malevolent base: on the ground of faith.[Playboy interview with Ayn Rand]
For centuries, the mystics of spirit had existed by running a protection racket - by making life on earth unbearable, then charging you for consolation and relief, by forbidding all the virtues that make existence possible, then riding on the shoulders of your guilt, by declaring production and joy to be sins, then collecting blackmail from the sinners. [Ayn Rand, For the New Intellectual]
Rand's philosophy not only rejected the basic tenets of Christianity, but repudiated it. Christ's teachings of love and the obligation to care for others were sneer-worthy concepts.
Remember this video? Watch Ayn really tell you how she feels about the evils of religion.
Then ask yourself how anyone who swears that he is a devout Catholic can possibly simultaneously hold the Objectivist philosophy of Rand, and worse, attempt to legislate policy that affect all Americans from such opposing forces.