So my three-part series last week on whether or not marriage equality is radical (in brief: who cares?; yes; and no) drew the attention of Maggie Gallagher, longtime opponent of same-sex marriage. It was kinda fun to be called "always interesting and honest." I've known for a long time that she and I agree about the symbolism of allowing two people of one sex into marriage?it's why we were paired several times in debate. As she says, quoting me whole:
Graff also acknowledges that Blankenhorn?s (and mine!) core concern is not irrational. Gay marriage furthers the disconnection of marriage from procreation; it helps in an ongoing way to sever the link between sex and diapers.
I just think the change is a good idea while she thinks it's a bad one. I have long wondered, though, why she's fighting this particular rearguard action. Our 1.5 percent of the population is hardly a very important symbol. Why doesn't she focus on the real source of this disconnection?same-sex couples are just the aftereffect?and take up arms against legal contraception? Maggie, this is a real question. If you have an answer, I will give you my spot, here, for a day in which to post it.
Fatster compiles headlines and links from the stories you might have missived over the weekend, including articles on rendition, drone strikes, Burma, Barclays Bank thieves, House GOP underfunding, dumb ALEC, Rick Scott's voter purge, private prisons,[...]
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Not all teenagers are as lucky as J?Len Glass. He trusts his parents. He knows they will always tell it to him straight. Yet the 15-year-old, who wants to be a doctor, can?t help being skeptical of his elders? veracity?or at least of their memories?when they tell him that his shrinking, economically depressed hometown of Gary, Indiana?Steel City?was, once upon a time, a wonderful place to raise a family. That it had good public schools and well-maintained city parks and streets. That there were department stores, restaurants, movie theaters, nightclubs, and crowded office buildings up and down Broadway, its main thoroughfare. That a young guy could go outside, play some ball, flirt with girls, and not worry about getting killed in a drive-by shooting. That he could graduate high school, and if he didn?t want to go to college or join the military, he could just stay put and make a decent living in one of the smoke-belching steel mills that ringed the city and provided paychecks to tens of thousands of workers. That Gary used to be part of the American working- and middle-class mainstream, a place folks moved to and put down roots in?not some decaying, can?t-wait-to-pull-up-stakes-and-get-the-hell-away-from-here outpost of the Other America, which these days is just about the only America J?Len sees when he walks out his front door.
?It?s hard to imagine the Gary older people talk about,? he says early on a Saturday morning as he and several other teenage volunteers, armed with bottles of Windex, prepare to wash windows in a senior citizens? apartment building. The teens don yellow plastic gloves and T-shirts that plead Bury Guns, Not People. ?It?s nothing like that now. My dad told me how he used to love to play outside. Now there aren?t a lot of kids in our area. Everybody has moved away. When you do go outside, you have to watch to see if someone is following you home. There?s nothing here for young people. No jobs. No future. I?m leaving as soon as I can.?
This is what happens when work disappears and dreams die. A once-bustling American city turns into Gary. A model of industrial might for much of the 20th century, sometimes called ?the Magic City? by early boosters, Gary today is anything but. Over the past four decades, the jobs and the people have been chased away as Gary?s biggest employers had to grapple with low-cost foreign competition and responded by installing technology that enables two steelworkers to turn out as much steel as a dozen did a quarter-century ago. The five steel mills of Northwest Indiana?including the largest, the U.S. Steel mill in Gary?used to have a combined workforce of up to 100,000. They now employ roughly 20,000 people and are producing as much steel as ever.
Like Flint, Detroit, Cleveland, and Akron, like hundreds of cities and towns across the once-industrial Midwest, Gary is emblematic of the new American poverty, the poverty that descended when the factories closed down. The city is half the size it was in 1970, its population reduced from 170,000 then to 80,000 today. Its poverty rate is 28 percent. A fifth of its houses, churches, school buildings, and other structures are vacant and boarded-up. The hulking steel mills still line the Lake Michigan shore in northwest Indiana, but they?ve been hemorrhaging workers for decades.
Mary Boner worked in the mills for five years, from 1976 to 1981. She was assigned to the ore dock and was part of a large group of women hired in the late 1970s. Boner?s father worked the mills and tried to discourage his daughter from doing so as well. Too dirty, too hot, too dangerous, he told her. ?I had two kids, and I was head of the household,? she says. ?I had no choice.?
Before becoming a steelworker, she was barely making minimum wage stitching tarps for cars and boats. The mill paid her $8 an hour more. ?I felt economically comfortable for the first time in my life,? she says. ?I could have things. I could buy my kids clothes. That job just opened a whole other world to me.?
She bought a car and in 1977 purchased a house for $25,000. ?I was on easy street,? she says. Then she got laid off in 1981 and was never called back to work. ?Before I knew it, there goes the house,? she says. By 1984, she was living with relatives. Today, at 73, she works as a home health-care attendant. ?Lots of people would kill for my job,? she says.
About 30 miles east of Chicago, Gary was founded in 1906 by U.S. Steel for one purpose: to make steel. ?To really understand Gary you have to go back to the origins of Gary and Flint, Michigan, and Youngstown, Ohio,? says S. Paul O?Hara, a historian and author of Gary: The Most American of All American Cities. ?They were built at a particular time for a particular reason. They were industrial spaces. Their schools, their churches, their pride were all built upon a foundation of industrial labor and wages. Deindustrialization just doesn?t remove the wages, the jobs, the pride?it removes that foundation that undergirds the churches, the social institutions. The soul of the city is tied up in industrial work and now, for most people, that work is gone.?
The city?s tax base has gone with the work. ?We base our city services on property taxes,? says Karen Freeman-Wilson, Gary?s first-term mayor. ?But people can?t pay their property taxes if they don?t have jobs.?
The ?stated unemployment rate? in Gary, she says, is 9 percent. ?But the only way you can get a rate of 9 percent is if you count the number of people who are looking for jobs. There are a significant number of people here in Gary who have never held jobs, who never started looking for jobs, or who have stopped looking for jobs a long time ago. I would estimate our unemployment rate is at least 20 percent.?
Indiana changed the way property taxes were assessed in the state a decade ago, shaving tens of millions of dollars off the steel industry?s tax bill. ?Gary was hit hardest by the change,? she says. ?We lost $40 million from our budget.?
Every imaginable city service and amenity has been affected by the loss of jobs and tax dollars. Gary is currently facing a projected $15 million deficit on its budget of $60 million. Without the revenue from two riverboat casinos on the edge of town, Gary?s budget would be $37 million, the mayor says. The sight of cars with Illinois license plates in the casino parking lot gladdens her heart. If enough losers come to town to visit the boats, Gary can keep the lights on for a little longer.
Last year, the lights were turned off for good in the city?s main downtown public library. The school district is currently laying off 169 of the city?s 732 teachers to make ends meet. Gary has 57 public parks but only enough money to maintain six of them. Freeman-Wilson put out a call asking church groups, high-school students, and social clubs to volunteer to clean the parks. ?People have really stepped up to the plate,? she says. Next they may have to step up to the curb. Gary does not have a working street sweeper, and at one point the mayor contemplated dispatching people doing community service into the streets with brooms.
The city?s population decline means that there are far fewer children in the classrooms, leaving 10 to 12 empty schools that have become the targets of vandals who rip off the wiring and plumbing fixtures in hopes of making a few bucks at the local scrapyard. As she drove through her city recently, Freeman-Wilson noticed a suspicious white-paneled van parked in front of the open door of an abandoned school building. She called the police. ?People are desperate,? she says.
Once a week since January, when she became Gary?s first woman mayor, Freeman-Wilson has opened the doors of her city-hall office for two hours to Gary residents for one-on-one sessions. Each citizen is allotted 15 minutes to discuss whatever he or she wants about life in the city. On a recent spring afternoon, Freeman-Wilson sits in a cream-colored chair next to a matching sofa where a woman is perched, rifling through photographs. Freeman-Wilson takes notes on an iPad.
The woman says she is caring for her elderly mother and that the sidewalk in front of their home is so cracked and uneven that it is dangerous for her mother to walk outside. ?I?ve been calling General Services for years to get it fixed,? she says. The woman hands the mayor a photograph of the sidewalk, which looks like it has been blown up by dynamite. The mayor shakes her head as she examines the picture. ?I can?t sit here and tell you I?m going to fix your sidewalk next month or six months from now,? she says. ?Unfortunately, we just don?t have the money.? Vernon Smith, who represents Gary in the state legislature, praises Freeman--Wilson for ?surrounding herself with competent people. But she has a major task ahead of her, because she doesn?t have the financial resources.?
Even a Harvard-trained lawyer such as Freeman--Wilson will do crazy things for love?like run three times to become mayor of Gary, as she did before finally winning last November. Indiana?s former attorney general, Freeman--Wilson, who was born and raised in Gary, remembers the city that J?Len?s parents and grandparents tell him about. That Gary, she says, is worth fighting for. That Gary can make a comeback. ?I want to rebuild Gary on existing assets,? which include Gary?s proximity to Chicago, its easy access to highways and Lake Michigan, and its underutilized airport.
?There is a real sense of indebtedness I have to Gary because whatever success I?ve achieved is attributable to people in Gary,? she says. ?And I like a challenge. The biggest challenge I have is instilling hope.?
Then Gary?s new police chief, Wade Ingram, walks into her office.
?How are you doing, Chief?? the mayor asks.
?Fine until a minute ago,? he says. ?We just had a drive-by at 43rd and Massachusetts.?
Ingram was one of the mayor?s first hires. A police officer for more than three decades, most of that time as a member of the Chicago Police Department, Ingram says he had never been to Gary until he was hired to lead its 246-officer department. ?I don?t know the city very well yet,? the chief says. ?But I do know human nature after 32 years as a police officer. Poor, uneducated, lacking economic opportunities?it?s a deadly mix. I think jobs will make a big difference. But around here there aren?t any.?
When he arrives at the scene of the shooting, an ambulance is speeding the 21-year-old victim, shot in the leg, to the hospital. The street is filled with police officers, the stoops with young men. Suspicion and fear hang in the air.
?Hey, Chief, we need an explosives dog,? an officer says.
?We?ve got to come up with some more money first,? Ingram replies.
?I still have eight puppies at home,? the officer says. ?I?ll give the city a good deal on them.?
Just then, an officer chases a woman out of the middle of the street. She was walking through the crime scene. The police had not cordoned off the area with yellow tape.
?Don?t we have any?? the chief asks.
?I just sent one of the guys to my car to get what little I have left,? an officer says.
?We go through a lot of tape,? the chief says, shaking his head.
The food bank at First African Methodist Episcopal Church is busier than ever. The church opened its food bank in the 1960s, when fewer than 60 people used it in an average week. Now, about 150 people visit the bank weekly. Recently, 175 people came. ?Before, the food bank for most people was a supplement,? says Maurice Preston, who oversees the bank. ?Now it?s a necessity. Nobody?s working. Everybody is laid off.?
As the need increases, the Sunday offering keeps getting smaller and smaller at the church. It?s hard to tithe when your pockets are empty, says the senior pastor, the Reverend Emmanuel Vaughn. There are also fewer people in the congregation to give. ?We have a lot of people moving away, especially the young people, looking for work,? he says. ?There?s an age gap in the congregation. We have the very young and the old. We?re missing the middle.?
So far, Catherine Hopson, 20, has decided to stay, at least until she completes college at Ivy Tech in Gary. She had a job during the Christmas season at a big-box toy store in a neighboring town. No such stores exist in Gary. When Christmas ended, so did her job.
?The few jobs that are available,? she says, ?are filled by older people.?
?Even McDonald?s employment is extremely competitive,? Vaughn adds.
There is no movie theater in Gary. No Gap or Apple Store. Starbucks, it seems, has an outlet on every corner in the world?everywhere, that is, except Gary. Freeman-Wilson says she can count the number of restaurants on two hands and have plenty of fingers to spare.
Gary has been shrinking for decades under the weight of so much hardship. When journalist Marshall Frady visited the city for Harper?s in the late 1960s, Gary had a much more diverse population than it has today. ?Its population over the past 60 years,? Frady wrote, ?has accumulated almost exclusively through great migrations that attended the mill?s boom times, so that now it is made up of a kind of global tumbleweed: Poles, Czechs, Irish, Swedes, Lithuanians, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Mexicans. More recently, there was a surge of Negroes from the South, who were shortly followed by the New Oakies: Appalachian whites, wandering up from the gullies and honeysuckle into the clashing steel and treeless asphalt, lank and quiet with a certain blasted look after a while in their pale blue eyes.?
Today, Gary is 85 percent black, 5 percent Latino, and 10 percent white. Much of the white population fled the city shortly after the election in 1967 of Gary?s first African American mayor, Richard Hatcher. ?There were key structural changes happening in Gary at this time,? says O?Hara, the historian. ?People were moving out of the city. The suburbs were growing. Racial segregation was becoming more clear, particularly as capital pulled out, not just factories but banks, stores, everything.? Most of the steelworkers still employed by the plants?who make among the highest blue-collar wages in the country?have fled to the suburbs, too.
The story of Gary?s racial transformation obscured the story of its deindustrialization. ?The people fleeing the city were so obsessed about race that they didn?t notice, or they didn?t care to notice, that mechanization was taking away jobs,? O?Hara says. ?Within the American imagination, job loss, poverty, and crime in Youngstown and Flint is seen as tragic and unfortunate, when we so rarely apply that to Gary because we think in terms of race. There is no one talking about Gary the way Michael Moore talks about Flint.?
The men?s homeless shelter in Gary is named Brothers? Keeper. It is located in a single-story gray building that used to be a tire outlet store on Broadway. Unlike so many other buildings on Broadway, at least the old tire store is being used for something more than a house for ghosts. For the shelter?s longtime executive director, Mary Edwards, ?being our brothers? and sisters? keeper is the only way Gary is going to survive, because no one else is looking out for us.?
Edwards has been working at the shelter for 24 of its 26 years of existence. At one time, she says, there were as many as ten shelters and flophouses where a man, down on his luck, could find a meal and a place to sleep. ?Those places are all gone,? she says. ?No money to keep them open. The government has downsized the role it plays in the lives of poor people.??
Two of those luckless men, shelter residents Levi Gildon, 60, and Charles Byrom, 58, sit in Edwards?s office and talk about the Gary they remember and the Gary they know today.
?You could leave a job on Monday and have another job by the end of the week,? says Gildon, who worked as a heavy-machine operator at construction sites around town. ?There were so many little plants and factories, all kinds of feeder plants to the mills. Now they?re all gone.?
The men fall silent for a moment. Gildon shakes his head and sighs.
?They left a downtrodden city behind,? he says. ?It?s almost to the time there should be a eulogy spoken over the city.?
?It?s not dead yet,? Byrom says. ?But it?s definitely on life support.??
Is the IRS starting to look into political groups set up as 501(c)4s?
A Wall Street Journal article last week reported that the agency was "taking initial steps to examine whether Crossroads GPS, a pro-Republican group affiliated with Karl Rove, and similar political entities are violating their tax-exempt status by spending too much on partisan activities." But the IRS told TPM that the plan has been around for a while.
In an article published Wednesday, the Journal reported:
Holly Paz, a senior official in the IRS's tax-exempt division, said Friday that the agency was working on a questionnaire to send to some of the largest of the groups. Sending such a questionnaire is considered to be the first step in an IRS investigation.
The voluntary questionnaires will ask the organizations about their activities and compliance, said Ms. Paz, the IRS's director of tax-exempt rulings and agreements, speaking at a conference of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Contacted by TPM last week, IRS spokesman Dean Patterson said in an emailed statement that Paz's comments at the conference "are the same as what we've had on our web site and in our Exempt Organization work plan since February." He pointed us to a passage on "501(c)(4), (5) and (6) self-declarers" in the agency's 2012 Exempt Organization work plan that reads, in part:
"In FY 2012, EO will send a comprehensive questionnaire to organizations based on Form 990 filings to assess compliance in this area."
According to Patterson, the questionnaire is not yet ready to send out.
"We have not announced when the questionnaire will be sent, and we have not announced any specific details about this beyond what's in the work plan. Other details have not been finalized, such as who will receive the questionnaire or the size of the groups receiving the questionnaire," he said in the statement. "We anticipate asking groups a range of questions on topics including executive compensation, member services, political activity and a number of other issues."
6:04 AM PT (Jed Lewison): p.s.: He offered this defense of Obamacare in January, 2006 to the conservative Heritage Foundation ... so, yes, Mitt Romney is something of a precog. Albeit a weird one.
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We've had an awful lot of really terrible reporting on the so-called Fast and Furious "scandal," primarily from the right, Fox "News" and right wing hate talk and in the mean time, we also were lucky enough to have some good reporting on the issue, like Cenk here from this week, or Rachel Maddow from this week as well. This Saturday on Chris Hayes' show on MSNBC, we were treated to even more in depth coverage of the issue with this really great interview of Forbes reporter Katherine Eban.
If anyone has not read the entire article yet, here's the link: The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal.
Here's a rough transcript of the early portion of Eban's time on the show and the portion about the kids being paid for the gun walking and how ATF's hands were tied was just astounding to me, but in this day and age with the NRA having the hold it does over our members of Congress, nothing should be surprising these days.
HAYES: So Katherine, let's start with the context. I think one of the most important things about this article [?] it was sort of unclear, like what was the whole problem it was set up to solve, that, it was a point unclear, like what exactly was the issue they faced? And one of the things you created is the context of this, which is that there is a massive flow right now, of weapons from the U.S. to Mexico. In fact, 70 percent of weapons recovered in Mexico come from the U.S., which is a startling statistic and that's largely due to the fact that Mexico has very tight gun restrictions and the U.S., particularly along the southwest border has particularly lax ones.
So what was the idea behind this operation to begin with?
EBAN: What's alleged or what in fact is the idea behind the operation?
HAYES: Let's go with the facts. I think the allegations have gotten a lot of time. So what was the idea?
EBAN: Basically the idea behind this ATF investigation, it's not a program, it's a single investigation called Fast and Furious was to stop straw purchasers from buying guns that they were then funneling to Mexican drug cartels.
HAYES: Explain what a straw purchaser is.
EBAN: A straw purchaser is basically somebody the cartels tap who can legally go and buy weapons, so in Arizona that might be an 18 year old kid who is not old enough to buy beer, but who, if he has no criminal record, or she, can go into a gun dealership and buy 50 AK47's, pay in cash and face no waiting period, no need for extra permits.
So there are lots of kids in Arizona for example who want to make a few extra bucks. This is what they do.
HAYES: And the cartels find them. You go and buy the gun and give them to the cartels...
EBAN: That's right, or you give them to intermediaries, who give them to the cartels.
HAYES: In one of the cases, one of the folks they investigated, the ATF, was on food stamps, but had made $300,000 in purchases of weaponry. And so the initial problem they face though, right, was what? Why didn't they just, when the straw purchaser, the 18 year old kid walks out of the Arizona gun shop, right, slap the hand cuffs on him and bring the whole force of federal law down on him?
EBAN: Because that kid just made a legal purchase, and as prosecutors determined, there was nothing in the laws that gave the ATF agents grounds to seize those guns or to make those arrests.
I mean, you can complain all you want that guns were walked. However, we are a nation of laws. And I can assure you that if ATF agents were running amok making baseless seizures...
HAYES: Of law abiding citizens purchasing guns...
EBAN: ?that's right.
HAYES: ...that would have been a political firestorm.
EBAN: They would have been hauled before Congress. The reason I can say that with confidence is because that is exactly what happened in 2006, that ATF agents were hauled before Congress for making allegedly illegal seizures of suspected straw purchasers at a gun show in Virginia.
Simply astounding. But it's all Eric Holder's fault that border patrol agent was shot! I'd say there's plenty of blame to go around, starting with our members of Congress and the NRA and anyone at the state level who is voting for these very weak gun laws.
Here's part two:
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And part three is below, and here's part of the transcript from that portion:
HAYES: When asked about the conspiracy theory that this ?was an intentional conspiracy by the Obama administration to produce some sort of gun tragedy, which they could then use as an excuse to crack down on the 2nd Amendment, here's Chairman Darrell Issa making exactly that point. [?] How plausible an account is that for you?
EBAN: There's no evidence whatsoever to support that claim and John Boehner himself has said that. You don't need to have a botched gun walking operation in order to produce evidence that we need an assault weapons ban, right, you know, the attempted assassination of a U.S. member of Congress would seem to some to be sufficient evidence.
HAYES: Which did not trigger any, I mean, there is no will on the part of... that's the irony of this whole thing of course is that the President has gotten an F from the Brady Campaign, which is the main gun control advocacy group. There is no appetite on Capitol Hill for gun legislation.
It is a sad, sad day in the United States when we can have a sitting member of Congress almost assassinated and the rest of her colleagues don't do a damn thing to make sure it doesn't happen again. It's also a sad day when we're not talking about our ridiculous drug laws and policies and how they're responsible for all of this violence as well.
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Last month we warned that Center Forward, the Blue Dog PAC, was running TV ads for Republicans. The one above is innocuous enough because the conservative Republican being lionized with $100,000 worth of free advertising, Todd Platts, is retiring and the nutcase Republican running in Pennsylvania's 4th CD (York and Adams counties plus part of Harrisburg and the West Shore), to replace him, Scott Perry, is running on a deranged repeal-Obamacare platform. (He's also running on a platform to prevent voters from finding out that in 2002 he was convicted of falsifying reports to the state Department of Environmental Protection.) Platts is a hard-core conservative but he voted against the Paul Ryan's budget meant to kill Medicare.
The last ad campaign Center Forward did was a million dollars with of TV spots just north of the 4th CD to try to save corrupt conservative Blue Dog Tim Holden. The ad was ineffective and had no impact at all and didn't prevent Holden, a longtime incumbent, from being routed by progressive newcomer Matt Cartwright. This new ad is being run to save the necks of 4 more vulnerable Blue Dogs, John Barrow (D-GA), Ben Chandler (D-KY), Joe Donnelly (D-IN)-- who's running for the U.S. Senate-- and Mike McIntyre (D-NC). All 4 are likely to lose in November. Democrats don't want them because the four of them usually vote with the Republicans, and Republicans don't want them because they have actual Republicans to vote for instead.
The Blue Dog ad buy, though, includes three Republicans, the retiring Platts plus a sociopath from Kansas fully owned by the Koch brothers, Tim Huelskamp, and, most disturbing, David McKinley (R-WV). The idea is that Platts, Huelskamp and McKinely are somehow "moderate" and voted against killing Medicare when Ryan tried to do it in his budget. But when the budget was first voted on April 15, 2011 every Democrat voted NO (even the Blue Dogs) and they were joined by 4 Republicans-- Ron Paul, Denny Rehberg (who's now campaigning for the Senate in Montana based on opposing Ryan's plan), McKinley (who is also trying to campaign on being an anti-Ryan Medicare) and supporter) and Walter Jones, the only actual moderate Republican in the House. Platts and Huelskamp voted with Ryan. This year when the House voted for Ryan's budget again at the end of March, every Democrat again voted NO and they were joined by 10 Republicans-- Joe Barton (R-TX), Jimmy Duncan (R-TN), Chris Gibson (R-NY)-- likely to lose his reelection bid to Julian Schriebman-- Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Justin Amash (R-MI), Jones, Rehberg, Platts, Huelskamp, and McKinley. (Ron Paul was away from Congress stealing Romney delegates that day.)
So why did the Blue Dog PAC pick the 3 Republicans but not, say, Gibson or Duncan or Whitfield? Duncan has no serious opponent (not in the August 2 primary nor in the general) and Whitfield doesn't either. (Whitfield's Democratic opponent lists "praying in Jesus' Name to the God of Creation" as his #1 attribute.) But the Blue Dogs were very careful with their targeting and they picked McKinely to help because he's the only Republican pal of their in actual trouble in the general-- and in trouble from a populist, Sue Thorn. McKinley is petrified that West Virginia seniors are wise to what the Ryan budget would do to Medicare and he's running against it. The Blue Dog PAC is hostile to the pro-family/pro-worker/pro-consumer/pro-environment ideas that are behind Sue Thorn's campaign so they're giving McKinley a boost across the aisle. So far Blue Dog backers among the corrupt Inside-the-Beltway Democratic Party Establishment, particularly Steny Hoyer and Steve Israel, have been silent on Blue Dog efforts to reelect McKinley. The DCCC has adamantly refused to help Thorn, despite WV-1 being a traditionally Democratic district in which Thorn took significantly more primary votes this year than McKinley did, 49,203 for her, 36,107 for him. The DCCC wasted a fortune in 2010 trying to elect a horrifyingly conservative corporate shill in the district, Mike Oliverio. He was rejected by Democratic voters-- who sat out the elect rather than vote for someone that reactionary. But now that there's a real Democrat in the race-- one who can win the seat back-- Israel and the DCCC are studiously ignoring the district as though it were some far right bastion of congenital Republicanism. They're starving her campaign of funds and letting the Blue Dogs get away with running ads for McKinley. This is where real Democrats should step up to the plate for Sue and tell the DCCC to stop functioning as the BDCCC-- the Blue Dog Congressional Campaign Committee.
Blue Dog-backed Republican McKinley & populist Dem Sue Thorn
And just so you don't get the idea that McKinely is some kind of a moderate or even a mainstream conservative, his Progressive Punch lifetime voting score on crucial roll calls is a 5.10, more conservative than radical right freaks like Allen West (R-FL), Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Connie Mack (R-FL), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Lou Barletta (R-PA), Paul Broun (KKK-GA), Jeff Flake (R-AZ)... you get the idea. McKinley is an extremist who feared seniors in his district and made, basically, one good vote. Here's his record on support for Big Oil-- a zero-- his record on equality for the LGBT community-- a zero-- his record on government spying on U.S. citizens-- a zero-- his record on women's Choice-- a zero-- his record on education-- a zero-- his record on tax breaks for the rich-- a zero... getting the picture?
Reached early this morning, Sue Thorn was very clear about what she stands for and what McKinley stands for and the stark contrast between them:
"I?m running for Congress because people in the 1st District of West Virginia wanted a real Democrat to run, a representative who would fight for working people. Standing up for the middle class doesn?t mean voting against a bad bill once. As Congresswoman for WV-01, I will stand up for the middle class with every single vote.
"My opponent is an extreme, far-right Republican who has consistently voted for the interests of the wealthy CEOs that finance his campaigns over the middle class interests of the working people of West Virginia. Our country?s roads and bridges are falling apart, but McKinley and the rest of the House Republicans give tax breaks to the top 1% instead of investing in a jobs program rebuilding our infrastructure. We have military families on food stamps, but they vote to allow military contractors to become war profiteers instead of supporting our veterans. They claim to support seniors, but then vote to slash safety net programs our seniors rely on, such as Meals on Wheels, and vote against closing the Medicare Part D ?donut hole? that?s forced many seniors to choose between food and medicine.
"My opponent shows his allegiance to his corrupt campaign backers with every vote he makes. Time and time again, he has voted to make sure the gap between the rich and poor in this country keeps growing, and the middle class keeps falling farther behind. In Congress, I will vote to protect people, not profits."
Welcome to The Morning Pride, ThinkProgress LGBT?s daily round-up of the latest in LGBT policy, politics, and some culture too! Here?s what we?re reading this morning, but please let us know what stories you?re following as well. Follow us all day on Twitter at @TPEquality.
- Fred Karger’s presidential campaign is now officially over.
- There’s now a Change.org petition defending the same-sex family in Roanoke, VA that was kicked out of an athletic club. because they’re not a “family.”
- Dr. Richard Isay, a psychiatrist who historically lobbied for LGBT equality, passed away this weekend.
- A majority of people in Scotland support marriage equality, but belief that LGBT people still face prejudice in society.
- Ireland’s deputy prime minister has come out in support of marriage equality, making him the highest-ranking official in the country to do so.
- Singer-songwriter Cidny Bullens (formerly Cindy) has come out as transgender.
- Conservatives in Brazil are trying to lift the ban on harmful ex-gay therapy, but gay activists are objecting through direct action.
- Facebook has introduced same-sex marriage icons.
– Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) had a clear lead over his rivals in exit polls and a “quick count” conducted by electoral authorities yesterday. The PRI had been out of power for 12 years and previously ruled Mexico for decades.
– The Wall Street Journal reports: “Turkey on Sunday reiterated its position that Syria shot down its jet in international airspace, denying an article in The Wall Street Journal Saturday that cited U.S. officials who said the plane was most likely downed with shore-based antiaircraft guns over Syrian waters.”
– Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood officially became Egypt’s first freely elected president on Saturday. He swore the presidential oath in front of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court Saturday morning before delivering his first address as president in front of an audience of foreign and Egyptian dignitaries at Cairo University.
– The AP reports from Baghdad: “A half year after the U.S. military left Iraq, dire predictions seem to be coming true: The country is mired in violence and the government is on the verge of collapsing. With no relief in sight, there?s growing talk of Iraq as a failed state as al-Qaida?s local wing staged near daily attacks that killed at least 234 people in June.”
A round-up of the top climate and energy news.
With widespread power outages still plaguing a multistate swath from Indiana to Virginia after the severe ?derecho? event on Friday night, the late June heat wave continues to make headlines. Numerous all-time high temperature records were set on Saturday, with additional records expected to be set during the first few days of July. [Climate Central]
Australia on Sunday joins a growing number of nations to impose a price on carbon emissions across its $1.4 trillion economy in a bitterly contested reform that offers trading opportunities for banks and polluters but may cost the prime minister her job. [Reuters]
As temperatures soared again on Sunday, utility crews in the mid-Atlantic region raced to remove fallen trees and restore power to about two million customers, even as the area faced the threat of additional thunderstorms. [New York Times]
Snow hardly fell during winter in snowy Colorado. On top of that, the state?s soaking spring rains did not come. So it was no wonder that normally emerald landscapes were parched as summer approached, tan as a pair of worn khakis. All the earth needed was a spark. [Washington Post]
This town on the parched plains, best known for its bountiful pheasant hunting and museum of oil history, recently earned a new, if unwelcome, distinction ? the center of America?s summer inferno. [New York Times]
When meteorologists predict temperatures will be in the low 90s in downtown Los Angeles, it’s a given the mercury will reach the high 90s or triple digits in many parts of the San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire. But what is not predicted, nor recorded, are 10- to 20-degree higher spikes in micro-climate pockets called heat islands – areas of concrete and asphalt that have few shade trees and radiate heat. [San Gabriel Tribune]
Could India?s power problems eventually be solved through tens of millions of mini-grids and other local power efforts? [Wall Street Journal]
In a series of short essays, Collier travels around the state, meeting with various researchers and showing the differing ways that climate changes are impacting human, animal, and plant life in Alaska. [Fairbanks Daily News]
Rising sea levels cannot be stopped over the next several hundred years, even if deep emissions cuts lower global average temperatures, but they can be slowed down, climate scientists said in a study on Sunday. [Reuters]