Cross posted from The Stars Hollow GazetteThis is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.Find the past "On This Day in History" here.Click on images to enalargeJuly 12 is the 193rd day of the[...]
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Let it fly Thursday! Who's on your last nerve?
New America Foundation: Jobs Are Not Enough
Misterajc: Breaking: Romney Names Running Mate
Round up by Swimgirl.(tweeter @miamiswimmer) Send tips to mbru AT crooksandliars DOT com
The Republican march towards voter suppression continues, with the Texas case currently in court, and the Pennsylvania case slated for 25 July. Yesterday, after "packing" the NAACP audience with a dozen black Republicans who do not belong to the NAACP, Mittens was still booed for his disrespect to our president and his disdain for the ACA. Not to mention the GOP House voted for the 33rd time to repeal ACA...heaven forbid they should do some actual work, but I digress.
If you have any questions about how Mitt and his minions are looking at a completely different America than the rest of us, here you go...
By the way, look forward to Nebraska on Saturday. If the Paulites prevail at the state convention, Tampa will be incredibly rough for the RNC. Unless, of course, they suppress the Nebraska vote like they did the Massachusetts vote where they found a way to exclude the Paul delegates from the state delegation.
Please remember to politic someone today. And EVERY day. This is an important election for those of us who will be allowed to vote this year.
From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE?
Oh! More Things I Know:
> I, too, have a Swiss account. I keep a c-note stashed in a cuckoo clock.I mean it.
> Maine's governor, Paul LePage, now admits he made a mistake when he referred to the IRS as "the new Gestapo" during his radio address last Saturday. He meant to say "the new Waffen SS." He regrets the error.
> If John McCain was president and the economy was the way it is now, Republicans would be boasting that John McCain deserves reelection because he saved us from a depression and besides "You don't change horses in midstream!"
> According to conservative logic, the more money the rich have, the more there is to trickle down to the rest of us. But the more money that trickles down to the rest of us, the less money the rich will have. So for trickle-down economics to work optimally, the rich should get all the money and then just keep it.
> I can't wait to see the right-wingers freak out when scientists discover that the "God particle" is totally gay.
> My first thought after CNN's unreliable sources botched the Supreme Court's Obamacare ruling was, "Well, that's gonna be a fun edition of 'Reliable Sources' on CNN next Sunday."
> Conservatives pre-July 4th: "Obama killed all our freedoms!" Conservatives on July 4th: "This is a moment to reflect on the endless bounty of freedoms we cherish and enjoy in this country every single day!" Conservatives post-July 4th: "Obama killed all our freedoms!"
> It seems a little unfair that the Wimbledon men's champion gets a big shiny gold trophy while the Wimbledon women's champion gets a silver hors d' oeuvres tray.
> Number of Obama bumper stickers I've seen in Maine lately: lots. Number of Romney bumper stickers I've seen in Maine lately: none. Fearless prediction: I'll be able to count on one hand the number of Romney bumper stickers I see between now and November.
> If the other side is going to actively supress Democratic votes, then here's a voter law I'd like to see: you can only vote if you swear that the earth is more than 6,000 years old.
> Jon Huntsman isn?t going to the GOP convention? Well then, dammit, neither am I.
Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
For nearly two years, Republicans have railed against the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with many a state-level politician going so far as to call for nullification. But even after the Supreme Court voted to uphold the ACA on June 29, state legislatures and governors in states from Florida to Wisconsin are refusing to implement the law's health-care exchange provisions, while other states are running far behind schedule.
The deadline for states to submit their exchange blueprints to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is only four months away, and several states are scrambling to draft them. Fewer than 20 states have even legislatively authorized health-insurance exchanges. Several state governments decided to wait until the Supreme Court ruled on the law to move forward with the exchanges, and now their legislatures will have to convene in special sessions to decide what path to take before the year is out.
HHS has announced that it would begin implementing ?federally facilitated exchanges? for uncooperative or unprepared states, a gargantuan task that HHS seeks to avoid at all costs?which in this case amounts to $1 billion in grants. HHS has also offered multiple blueprints with degrees of federal assistance for states that request them. Documents also mention the potential for ?conditional approval? for states whose blueprints aren?t fully fleshed out by January 2013.
But some politicians, like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, remain defiant. After originally delaying action until the Supreme Court?s decision, Walker has now decided to wait until November, saying in a statement that that his state ?will not take any action? to implement the law. Louisiana's governor struck a similar tone, refusing to act and predicting that a Romney victory would result in the ACA?s repeal. Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell stated after the Court?s ruling that the legislature would go forward to implement a health-insurance exchange, in accordance with previous statements by Virginia?s governor. But both politicians have since changed their stance, with the Governor Bob McDonnell not calling a special session and Speaker Howell following his lead.
Five of the eight members of the Republican Governors Association?s executive committee have refused to create a state insurance exchange. Only one member, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, has led her state in carrying out the Affordable Care Act?s requirements. Even states that have legislatively approved the creation of a health-insurance exchange?from Connecticut to Illinois to Washington?are still hashing out the details, more than two years after the ACA was signed.
With so many states behind schedule, officials and insurers alike anticipate that HHS will push back its deadline. But as Patty Connor, the director of Utah?s exchange, said in October, the federal government hasn?t made clear ?what exactly their expectation is.? Let?s hope they aren?t waiting until the election to clear things up.
In early 1990, as the lackluster California governorship of the lackluster George Deukmejian was running down, the two Democratic frontrunners to succeed him were Attorney General John Van de Kamp and San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein?in that order. Then, at the state?s annual Democratic Party convention?a body with no nominating power (that was to be decided in a subsequent primary) but nonetheless a yearly gathering for liberal activists?Feinstein included in her speech a ringing, if otherwise gratuitious, endorsement of the death penalty. Predictably, the delegates booed her. Just as predictably, her standing in the polls quickly shot past Van de Kamp?s and she went on to win the Democratic primary (though she lost the general election to Republican Pete Wilson).
Make no mistake, though: She?d wanted those boos. She needed them to surge in the polls.
It?s increasingly clear that Mitt Romney wanted the boos he got during his speech at yesterday?s NAACP convention, too. His campaign surely has no illusions that he can dent Obama?s support in black America, much less among the activists of the NAACP. What he could do, by eliciting boos from the crowd, is further inflame the zeal of many on the right by standing up to African Americans. Asked about the booing by Fox Business News? Neal Cavuto, Romney responded, ?I think we expected that, of course.? Of course they did. By showing up, Romney can claim he gets points for broadmindedness, or something like that, and gin up that part of his base that?s filled with racial resentment. They love him for the enemies he went out of his way to make.
Elections, like baseball, are a simple game; sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it rains. The rules are fairly intuitive to Americans from an early age. You?ve got your primaries, where the family engages in rousing infighting, and then the general election, where the guy or gal with the best power suit and tasteful red accessories wins. You vote for one candidate and get the hell out. The plebs always get stickers, and the senior citizens running the polls are guaranteed to be real pieces of work. It is democracy as the ancient Athenians must have imagined?only in their wildest dreams.
But could there be another way to do it? Indeed. The fact is, that there is more than one way to skin a cat when it comes to voting. Without further ado, we present some different flavors of democracy in action.
Also sporting the moniker ?ranked choice voting? (catchy, eh?), this mode of voting is all about "win, place, show." Voters are given a list of candidates, and must pick their number one. Then, they go on to choose a runner-up and a second runner-up. By expressing ranked preference on a ballot, the need for a separate runoff election at a later date is eliminated.
While this rank-and-label system might not be beloved by the Montessori teachers out there, it?s got a decently strong following. The Irish use it to elect their president, as does India?so it?s vouched for by the people who saved civilization and the world?s largest democracy. Not too shabby.
There are also some adherents to IRV right here in the United States, and if you guessed that those hippies in Berkley had something to do with leading the charge for crazy changes in voting structure, you?d be right. The California city uses this voting system to elect its mayor and city council reps. San Francisco has also tangled with instant run-off since 2004, using it in mayoral and other municipal elections. It has stirred controversy: According to a voting analysis from the University of San Francisco, only a third of ballots cast in the 2010 city elections were filled out properly. Some voters only picked one candidate, while others were overly zealous in exercising their right to rank, assigning a number to each candidate on the ballot?effectively nullifying their vote.
Oakland, California started using IRV in 2010, and it too has seen its share of troubles. Some city council members made a move this past spring to stop the use of IRV entirely.
Most likely only your college comparative politics professor. Now here is a voting system for the waste-not, want-not Midwestern mothers of the world. Single transferrable vote is a system slightly more complicated than trusty old IRV?it involves circumstantial instructions based on particular electoral outcomes and its acronym when spoken aloud sounds like a disease. Of course, they love it in Europe!
On an STV ballot, a voter has only one vote, but this vote may be transferred from one candidate to another, if the first choice candidate marked on the ballot doesn?t reach a certain quota that makes him or her viable in the race. This would, for example, help to make votes count for those who like to cast ballots for candidates like Ralph Nader?one would mark the perennial third-place presidential candidate as first choice, but instruct that their vote be transferred to, say, Dennis Kucinich, should Ralph not attain the ?viable? quota. Voters can rank all candidates on the ballot, if they so choose.
It?s a bit of a mouthful to explain, and a sample ballot for STV certainly does involve a fair bit of close-reading, a thing that might prove challenging in the tabbed-browsing age.
Problems are bound to happen in elections that use STV, not the least of which is that people tend to rank their voting priorities in alphabetical order (or, more simply put, the order in which they appear on the ballot)?an understandable impulse when faced with a slew of unknown names and a desire not to be duped out of one?s right to vote.
Though STV isn?t the most popular kid at the party, it has some fans. The complicated ballot isn?t too much for the big brains in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who use the system for school board and city elections. Nor are the charms of STV lost on the Scots, who use it in local elections; the Irish, who use it to elect their parliamentarians; the Australians, who use it for senatorial races; and the Maltese, who use it for every kind of election conducted in their country.
Redistricting is quite the sexy topic in American politics right now?one that?s got more than a few talking heads and deep thinkers in Washington with their boxers in a bunch. With states split into congressional districts filled with hundreds of thousands of people, it?s fair to assume a single elected official might not represent every member of his or her district. Enter the idea of multiple member districts.
Multiple member districts are exactly what they sound like?districts (we?re talking at the state legislature level, here) that have more than one representative in the legislative body. Proponents of the system say you can never have too much or too micro a representative force when it comes to democracy. Given our modern political climate?where states can stand for years at a time as solidly red or blue?districts with multiple members are more likely to shift along the political spectrum, easing the ill-effects of harsh polarization.
In fact, a lot of states once used multiple member districts?although the number has dropped?including Vermont and New Hampshire, which have a strong history of active township government that fits well with the micro-representation theme of multiple member districts. But the system has its share of problems, and it was found in many places to be a violation of the Voting Rights Act. Many states that instituted the system made their districts much larger, which in many instances, made representation of minority groups more difficult. In 1986, the Supreme Court overturned South Carolina?s multiple member districts policy on these grounds.
Like we said, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.
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? ME-Sen: Critical Insights for the Portland Press Herald. 6/20-25. Registered voters. MoE: ±4% (no trendlines):
Cynthia Dill (D): 7This is the second poll we've seen of the Maine Senate race since the state held its primaries, and the results are very similar to those MassInc published earlier in June. The bottom line is that former Gov. Angus King is not only crushing, but he's become the de facto Democrat in the race, as you can see from Cynthia Dill's painfully low share of the vote. Yet King still retains sufficient crossover support to suppress Republican Charlie Summers' performance, putting him in a commanding position for November.
Charlie Summers (R): 27
Angus King (I): 55
This contest feels like an enantiomer of the 2006 Connecticut Senate battle; here, Dill's playing the role of Alan "Gold" Schlesinger, who simply couldn't peel enough Republican votes away from the newly-independent Joe Lieberman to give Democrat Ned Lamont a fighting chance in the general election. Given this serious structural obstacle that Summers faces?not to mention King's dominance in the toplines?Daily Kos Elections is changing our rating on this race from Lean I to Likely I.
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