The DNCC and Host Committee are getting hammered left and right by complaints and bad news. Good news from both organizations seems to be stagnant right now. We'll see the occasional community service story but that's about it. Everybody is writing about Democrats not attending the convention. To me it's a non-issue. I've seen just as many stories about Republicans not attending but they don't get as much play.
Here are a couple stories that stand out to me:
Local Labor Leaders Upset By Parade Route, Plan To Protest DNC
"To have (the Labor Day parade) be disrupted and changed for the sole purpose of the convenience of the DNC is very disturbing to us," says Foster, who is president of the Southern Piedmont Central Labor Council and AFL-CIO in the Charlotte area.
A late-stage decision to hold the Democratic National Convention kick-off festival Uptown, rather than at the Speedway, means Labor Day marchers will be relegated to the Second Ward parade route established for protest groups. City permit officials had already told Labor Day Parade organizers public march attracting thousands of onlookers "would not be logistically feasible" on Tryon Street this year because of DNC security. - WFAE
Vendors: DNC needs to get us more details
Eight weeks before the start of the Democratic National Convention, some vendors who hope to sell merchandise are frustrated they have no information.
Convention organizers asked businesses last fall to sign up with an online directory to hear about opportunities. Some vendors said they hoped they’d hear by now about chances to sell souvenirs during the September event.
But so far, they’ve heard nothing.
“I’ve never gotten a direct email regarding the straight-up vendor side of the DNC,” said Salisbury, N.C., native Shequeta Smith, with Off My Chest Tees based in Los Angeles. “They haven’t told us anything.” - Herald Online
I'm seeing a widespread feeling of disorganization from the entire Charlotte convention. It's almost like they don't realize the whole world will be watching in less than two months. While Denver had its issues in the weeks ahead of the 2008 convention I don't remember anything like this.
In 2008, Democratic Convention Watch was credentialed to attend the convention in Denver the first week of June. Now heading into the second week of July we still haven't heard whether we can go. And we're not the only ones. No one else waiting for credentials from the DNCC Press Gallery has an answer. At this point any hotel close to the city is over $300 a night... even for no-tell-motels.
Growing up in North Carolina I hope more than anybody that it's a huge success. Right now I'm not too confident.
For the third month in a row, job growth has been lackluster. In June, the number of new net jobs came in at 80,000?slightly below the 90,000 to 100,000 expected. Likewise, revisions for previous months were a wash?April?s numbers were revised from 77,000 to 68,000, and May's were revised from 69,000 to 77,000. There simply isn?t much news in this jobs report, which is another way of saying that our sluggish economic growth is grinding to a halt.
Millions of American workers are stuck in continued stagnation, and the odds for relief are low. Republicans in Congress have no interest in providing additional fiscal stimulus, and the Federal Reserve is unmoved by widespread economic misery?if anything, it sees high unemployment as the necessary cost of low inflation.
Politically, this obviously isn?t good for President Barack Obama?s re-election chances, and it's a godsend for Mitt Romney, who has been struggling against a headwind generated by the Supreme Court?s ruling on the Affordable Care Act. That said, I would exercise caution before making a declaration about Obama?s chances in November. The overall level of unemployment is less important than the trend?if the economy is growing, and voters feel that things will get better, then Obama is in relatively good shape.
What?s more, it?s important to recognize that voters already know if they have jobs or not?the monthly jobs report is important because it sets expectations and determines media coverage. If Obama?s approval rating declines over the next week, it will have more to do with poor headlines than it will with the jobs report itself. Underlying conditions are important, but their political effect will play out over a longer time horizon.
Finally, there?s the possibility that President Obama has become politically resistant to stagnant job growth. Public expectations are low, and opinions of Obama are mostly set. Absent a dramatic change in economic conditions in either direction, there?s a fair chance the public will remain stable in its assessment of Obama?divided on his tenure but still open to giving him a second term.
When more than a million metro-area Washingtonians lost their power in last Friday?s superheated near-hurricane, and hundreds of thousands of them went three, four, or five sweltering days before it came back on, was Pepco?the local power company?to blame? How about Dominion Virginia Power? Would a municipally owned company have done a better job?
I?m all for having publicly owned utilities, but in this case, I don?t think ownership mattered. When a storm like last Friday?s sweeps through, all that counts is whether the power lines are buried underground or strung from poles. Neighborhoods that had their power lines underground (like mine, in Dupont Circle) didn?t lose power. Neighborhoods that didn?t went dark?unless they were spared by a shift in the winds.
As climate change subjects more and more cities and regions to extreme weather, one obvious response is to bury the lines underground. This probably isn?t a good idea in earthquake belts, but there aren?t all that many such belts lurking below. For the rest of us, burying the lines seems the best solution.
But how to pay for all this? It?s become common practice in the region to require developers who are building new neighborhoods to bury the lines, and the economics of burying lines in densely populated urban areas are benign: There are so many consumers in an urban city block that the per capita costs of taking the lines underground aren?t all that high. The problem comes in suburban and rural areas, where millions live but not all that densely.
This is hardly the first time we?ve confronted this problem. In the 1930s, urban America was almost completely electrified, but rural America was almost completely not. In 1934, just 11 percent of American farms had electric power. Private power companies demanded that the farmers pay the full cost of building the system, which farmers plainly lacked the money to do. (In Germany and France, whose governments had built the power grids, 90 percent of farms were electrified.)
President Franklin Roosevelt asked Morris Cooke, a Pennsylvania utilities executive, to compute the cost of electrifying America?s farms (and in the '30s, the percentage of Americans who lived on farms was more than ten times what it is today). Cooke ran the numbers and presented them to FDR, who in 1935 created by executive order the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) and appointed Cooke to run it. The following year, Congress authorized and appropriated roughly $400 million for the new agency. The REA then made long-term, low-interest loans to states, localities, and rural power cooperatives that covered the construction and start-up costs of electric power systems. By 1942, half of America?s farms were electrified; by the early 50s, virtually all of them were.
That suggests a possible solution for suburban Washington?s woes. As climate change manifests itself differently in different parts of the country, a federal appropriation such as that which funded the REA doesn?t make sense (nor would it make it through Congress, since nothing makes it through Congress). But there?s no reason why Maryland and Virginia, say, couldn?t issue bonds that would cover the costs of burying their power lines, the repayment of the bonds to be stretched out over several decades so that the area?s power consumers wouldn?t get socked by massive rate increases. (Indeed, since the bonds would in essence subsidize Pepco, Dominion, and their ilk, the states could dictate the rates the companies could charge.) In Maryland, it might even be politically possible to enact, say, a sales tax increase that could be used, rather than surcharges to electric bills, to repay the bonds. (In Virginia, there?s no way such a tax could be enacted.)
With the cost of borrowing at an all-time low, and with who knows what storms 'a-brewing, there?s no time like now to get started.
The Correspondents Explain - The Economy - Economists (1:55) [...]
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Today in fundie dumb@ssery, for sure. Louisiana State Rep. Valarie Hodges (R-Watson), like many bible-thumpers who believe your tax dollars should fund their "Christian" indoctrination centers schools, originally supported Governor Bobby Jindal's voucher[...]
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In yet another disappointing report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday morning that, seasonally adjusted, the economy created just 84,000 new private jobs in June, less than half of what a private survey by ADP reported Thursday, and below the consensus of experts surveyed ahead of time. Government layoffs subtracted 4,000 jobs from the total. The official "headline" unemployment rate remained at 8.2 percent.
An alternative measure, which counts part-time workers who want full-time jobs (but can't find any), and some of the millions of people who have become too discouraged to look for work, rose from 14.8 percent to 14.9 percent.
Mediocre is the most generous assessment that can be made, and Republicans can be expected to hammer on the results even though they have worked assiduously to block every effort to improve matters since President Obama arrived in the Oval Office.
For the eight months just ended, the average monthly job growth has been 160,250. But for the first four months of that period, the monthly average was 229,000; for the four months just completed, the monthly average fell to 92,000. That's an ominous trend. Even at the higher average growth of those earlier four months ending in February, it would take until 2019 to absorb population growth and return to the unemployment level we had in December 2007.
The civilian labor force participation held steady at a very low 63.8 percent; the employment-population ratio also was unchanged at 58.6 percent.
The BLS jobs report is the product of a pair of surveys, one of business establishments and the Current Population Survey of 60,000 households. The establishment survey determines how many new jobs were added, calculated on a seasonally adjusted basis. The CPS provides data that determine the official "headline" unemployment rate, also known as U3. That's the number now at 8.2 percent.
The CPS report for June showed 156,000 additional workers joined the civilian labor force; there are 128,000 more workers employed now than in May. That number is more volatile month-to-month than the number from the business establishment survey.
Overall nearly 24 million Americans are now counted as jobless or underemployed. But if millions of Americans had not been leaving the labor force in such large numbers, those statistics and the unemployment rate would look a good deal worse than they do, with perhaps 29 million out of work entirely or underemployed. If we now had a labor force participation rate closer to its higher historical average and job-seeking drop-outs had stayed in the labor force, the unemployment rate right now would be as high as 11.1 percent, instead of that 8.2 percent we'll be hearing about all day.
Here's what the job growth numbers have looked like for June in the most recent six years:
June 2007: +75,000
June 2008: -198,000
June 2009: -482,000
June 2010: -167,000 (worsened by Census layoffs)
June 2011: +84,000
June 2012: +80,000
Among other changes detailed in today's job report:
? Construction: +2,000
? Health care: +13,000
? Manufacturing: +11,000
? Professional and business services: +47,000
? Retail: -5,400
? The average workweek (for production and non-supervisory workers) rose from 34.4 to 34.5 hours.
? Average manufacturing hours rose to 40.7 hours
? The average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 6 cents to $23.50. Over the past year such earnings have risen 2.0 percent, compared with an inflation rate now running at 2.7 percent. In other words, workers' real wages are falling.
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Protester Al Neal of Fight For a Fair Economy in Ohio got some unusual silencing treatment today during a speech by former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty at Kentown Plaza in Parma, Ohio.
At one point, one of the protesters, Al Neal of Canton, 25, who said he was a union worker and a member of Fight for Fair Economy Ohio, was confronted by Richard Brysac, 77, of Parma.
Brysac attempted to quiet the protester by emptying a bottle of water in Neal's mouth.
"He seemed thirsty, so I tried to shove the bottle in his mouth," Brysac said. "I thought it was wrong to interfere with [Pawlenty's] freedom of speech.
"I acted out of character and I apologize if I offended anyone."
When the bottle didn't work, Brysac pulled out his handkerchief and gagged Neal.
Neal removed the handkerchief and continued chanting with the other protesters until the group was escorted from the rally.
The old chestnut "I apologize if I offended anyone" is now being used to literally gag protesters.
Clarence Page: My job is safe -- for now.[...]
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Yesterday Sam Stein blew the whistle on how the DCCC has "favored" the worst Democrats in Congress. If you're a regular DWT reader you're well aware of the overall narrative: the DCCC recruits and finances conservatives and discourages and starves progressives. We've mentioned it... frequently. In fact, it's gotten even worse since "ex"-Blue Dog Steve Israel took over the committee and has systematically gone forward institutionalizing a policy Rahm Emanuel put in place in 2006 and that lapsed slightly when Chris Van Hollen ran the show-- but just slightly. Now, however, it's full steam ahead.
Let me share a couple of examples. (This post would never end if I shared all the examples.) On March 20th the big news out of Illinois was that progressive Ilya Sheyman was defeated by garden variety, conservative-leaning, corporate Democrat Brad Schneider. Schneider and 4 other conservative, corporate-leaning Dems were put into the DCCC's Red to Blue program in a matter of hours. The next morning Israel was boasting how they had 5 new candidates-- Tammy Duckworth, Brad Schneider (New Dem), Bill Foster (New Dem), Brad Harriman and Cheri Bustos. He even mentioned that IL-13 was redistricted in a way that would make it much easier for a Democrat to win. But the Democrat that won that night, progressive doctor David Gill, was the only winning candidate not put into the Red to Blue program. He had had the temerity to beat corporate shill and Israel-favored conservative Matthew Goetten. And three months later, David Gill is still not on the Red to Blue list-- even though incumbent Republican Tim Johnson saw the polling numbers and announced he was retiring-- a couple days after he won the Republican primary! Until Joe Walsh destroyed himself Tuesday Dr. Gill's race was probably the surest thing in the state for the DCCC... but Israel would rather see a Republican win than a progressive.
How dare I? Someone's got to tell the truth about what Israel is up to and how he'd rather restock the Democratic caucus with Blue Dogs and New Dems than win back the majority if it means helping to elect progressives. Let take a look at another example-- one down in western North Carolina, NC-10. No one would argue that nasty, extremist, mean-spirited little closet case Patrick McHenry has earned a tough reelection battle but this is another one Israel is ignoring. "Oh," you might say, "he has to pick and chose carefully and decide where to spend DCCC resources where it will do the most good." And that is absolutely true-- and he point of this whole post-- and we'll get to how Steve Israel picks and choses in un momento. Meanwhile, though, let me remind everyone that before the May primary in North Carolina Steve Israel thought enough about the race against McHenry to recruit a candidate to run for the nomination. But instead of picking progressive champion, state Rep. Patsy Keever, he recruited Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy. Problem is that, despite Israel's fantasies about western North Carolina, only Republican voters like candidates like Bellamy, who is anti-Choice, anti-gay, pro-developer and completely unsuitable to go up against McHenry, a corporate shill just like her. But not only did she lose in Asheville, she lost every single one of the seven counties that make up NC-10. That's how inept and clueless Steve Israel is... but inept, clueless and vindictive.
The day after his pathetic candidate lost the primary, he walked away from NC-10. The far more Republican district next door, where anti-Choice, anti-gay, corporate whore Hayden Rogers, a fellow Blue Dog, won the primary, Israel is excited about. Rogers was immediately put on the DCCC's "Emerging Races" list. That's how he rolls-- and that's what he's turned the DCCC into.
The corporate-oriented New Dems-- think Blue Dogs without the KKK regalia-- has endorsed 27 candidates. 8 still have primaries coming up. But of the 19 who will be running in November, the DCCC is pushing every one of them-- and even some who haven't won their primaries yet. And of the mangy 7 Blue Dogs running in November (+ Rob Wallace who still has a primary run-off), the DCCC has embraced all of them. Just what Congress needs, lots more Democrats who are anti-Choice, anti-gay, anti-worker, anti-consumer, anti-family... Isn't that what the Republican Party is for?
So, as Sam Stein pointed out yesterday, "the 17 House Democrats who voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in criminal contempt last week have received more than $1.3 million in financial aid from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee since the start of 2009, a review of campaign finance records shows. That total constitutes roughly one out of every nine dollars that the committee either spent or earmarked for candidates during that time period."
Of course that isn't half the story. When the DCCC gets behind a candidate, they tell big Democratic donors around the country-- as well as sleazy lobbyists in DC-- that these are the candidates the Democratic Party wants funded... and that other candidates should NOT be given any money.
[W]ith anger mounting among the Democrats over the GOP's treatment of Holder, the money breakdown threatens to re-ignite a long-simmering debate over what type of lawmakers are best suited to fill the party's ranks. The 17 Democrats who voted to hold Holder in contempt for the invoking of executive privilege in the Operation Fast and Furious investigation did so under pressure from the National Rifle Association. Their votes demonstrate the gun lobby's continued power within the halls of Congress, while raising the question of why the DCCC lacks that same institutional clout.
In addition, seven of those 17 Democrats have said they either are skipping the party's convention this summer or remain unsure of their intentions. One member has declined to endorse President Barack Obama's reelection campaign.
"[DCCC Chairman Steve Israel] is spending gargantuan amounts of money and energy on hopeless Blue Dogs ... [rather] than working on winnable campaigns for independent-minded, progressive Democrats," said Howie Klein, the co-founder of Blue America PAC, an organization devoted to promoting progressive candidates. "Those 17 Democrats didn't just suddenly join [Rep. Darrell] Issa's witch hunt and stray from the Democratic fold. All 17-- no exceptions-- are among the Democrats who vote with [Speaker John] Boehner and [House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor most frequently for the far right's anti-family agenda."
The vast majority of the support the DCCC offered these members (approximately 95 percent) came in the form of earmarked donations-- money that came from other groups and donors but was solicited by the campaign committee.
"What the DCCC is doing for those candidates is what Act Blue does for other Democrats," explained a prominent campaign finance lawyer who advises congressional candidates. "They are sending out an email saying, 'Here are our top 10 target races. Will you give money to those races?'"
Because the DCCC is thereby prioritizing those races, the lawyer continued, it is fair to categorize an earmarked donation as a form of support from the committee. It's "a conscious decision" to help that candidate.
The extent of that support is disproportionate to the help the DCCC is offering House members and candidates at large. During the same period that the committee funneled $1.3 million to those 17 anti-Holder lawmakers, it sent just over $9.1 million to all House Democratic candidates.
That breakdown may seem counterproductive-- why reward the party's least orthodox members?-- but for party strategists, it reflects a political reality. Those 17 members hail from some of the most closely contested districts in the country, meaning that they, more than their colleagues, need the support.
"The only way you're going to have Congress not bringing up Eric Holder contempt resolutions, [and] instead bringing up middle-class jobs bills, is to have the majority in Democratic control," said a Democratic Hill aide.
Not all of the 17 members received the same level of support:
* Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), who lost his primary bid for reelection, received $17,000-plus in contributions and earmarked donations.
* Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.), who is not attending the convention, received $13,000-plus.
* Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.), who is not seeking reelection in 2012, received just $1,000.
* Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) received $90,200-plus.
* Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) received $60,000-plus.
* Rep. Mark Critz (D-Pa.), who defeated Altmire in the primary and has said he will not be attending the convention, received more than $300,000, much of it coming during his special election campaign to replace former Rep. John Murtha in 2010.
* Rep. Joseph Donnelly (D-Ind.), who is running for the Senate in Indiana, received $57,000-plus.
* Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) received $54,000-plus, much of which came during her special election campaign to replace Rep. Chris Lee, who resigned.
* Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) received $26,200-plus. He is not attending the convention.
* Rep. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.) received more than $110,000. He voted against health care reform, has continued to advocate its repeal and recently said he was unsure about going to the convention.
* Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah), who is not attending the convention, received $44,000.
* Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), who has declined to endorse Obama's reelection, received just shy of $60,000.
* Rep. Bill Owens (D-N.Y.), who won a special election in 2009 and will not be attending the Democratic convention, received more than $375,000.
* Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), who is also not attending the convention, received more than $10,000.
* Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) received $6,000.
* Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) received more than $65,000.
* The only member for whom there were no records of DCCC financial aid since 2009 is Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.).
Happy Friday, and get ready for today's edition of Daily Kos Radio, live from 9-11 a.m. ET. We'll be joined as usual by Greg Dworkin (DemFromCT) for a polling roundup, plus we'll welcome Steve Singiser for his first appearance on the show. In between, we'll flip through the news, the Twitter buzz, and maybe sneak in some Independence Day political philosophizing, because it's Friday.
We're going forward despite the terrible news that the Netroots Radio studios were burglarized yesterday. I guess that's the value of distributed networks, eh? The show can go on.
Next week, Congress returns to DC, which will give us some more to talk about. But even better, we'll hear Armando and Jesse LaGreca (Ministry of Truth) chiming in to extend our programming in the 11 a.m. to noon hour, Eastern time. Big changes are coming to Daily Kos Radio, by which I mean small changes that I will inflate the importance of, including a switch in podcast players that'll address the concerns some of you have raised about how we serve those up. What can I say? Small things excite me in this adventure we're having.
Find us here, or by clicking the player below. And if you miss the show, or just love it so much you want to hear it again and again, be sure to check in at the Daily Kos Radio group page for podcasts, highlights, etc.
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