Saturday brought a light volume of polling data, and the FiveThirtyEight forecast was not much changed. Barack Obama's chances of winning the Electoral College, according to the model, are slightly improved from Friday's forecast.
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In the wake of 9/11, on Saturday, September 22, 2001, eleven years ago today, my friend Martin Baumgold decided to stand at the Seventh Street Park in Hudson, New York to demonstrate for peace. The world needed to find peace, and he saw that. He's been at it since. Every week. Every Saturday. People have come to stand with him, and they have gone away. New ones have come and they too have gone away. Usually, there are 3 or 4 or even 5 people standing at the South side of the Seventh Park on Warren Street. Martin is undeterred, he stands anyway. He's not the leader of a movement; he just hopes that others will stand with him. But even if they don't, obviously he's in it for the long haul.
The message is incredibly simple (these are my words, not anyone else's): make peace, be peace, live in peace. And for eleven years, Martin has showed up virtually every Saturday at 2 pm to stand up for peace until 4 pm. The time is a measure of his commitment.
He's humble about it. You have to be when you spend more than 500 Saturday afternoons in all kinds of weather standing on a corner with a sign or two. You have to be humble when peace has not broken out in the world. You have to be humble when the occasional car gives you the finger. Or honks approval. But when most people are utterly apathetic about your standing there, you have time to ask whether it makes any difference to be standing there. You have to be humble when others don't come out in great masses to clamor for peace. And when you seem to be invisible to most people.
A friend of Martin's realized that today was going to be the eleventh anniversary of the vigil. He put up an invitation on Facebook to an event and invited everyone he could think of. As Saturday came closer, even Martin was taken in. He got a map of the Seventh Street Park, calculated its circumference, and determined that if there were 206 people, they could all hold hands and circle the park. Wouldn't that be spectacular? Indeed, it would be. It would be monumental.
Earlier in the week the Rotary Club had planted a peace poll in the Seventh Street Park and had a ceremony asking for peace, asking that peace prevail on earth. I am not aware that any of the many people who attended that organized ceremony showed up today to stand with Martin. But the existence of the peace poll right near where Martin stands feels like his vigil has borne fruit.
Today's demonstration was about 175 people short of the "goal." No matter. It started to sprinkle. No matter. People stood for peace, they talked with each other, and then they went home. And the vigil will continue. Really it will.
Which brings me to this. This kind of unorganized, leaderless ceremony and demonstration for peace deserves widespread support. So I am directly asking you for it. If I didn't ask, you wouldn't know that support was desired.
What kind of support? It's really simple:
If you're near Hudson, Columbia County, New York on a Saturday between 2 and 4 pm, please come to the Seventh Street Park and stand with the vigil for peace.
If you're elsewhere in the world, please let your friends, family, colleagues, acquaintance know about this vigil and that it would be wonderful if they would just drop in some Saturday afternoon.
That's it. This is the Internet. My hope is that one Saturday in the not to far distant future, there will actually be 206 people in the Seventh Street Park in Hudson, New York, and that they will be able to hold hands and circle the entire park. That would be a beautiful gesture. It would say to Martin and all of those who stand with him, you are not alone, we agree that peace is important, let there be peace.
Make peace, be peace, live in peace
cross-posted from The Dream Antilles
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When politicians talk about a "balanced approach" to deficit reduction, that usually means cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and other benefits for working families.
In this week's Massachusetts Senate debate, Elizabeth Warren offered a bold progressive alternative.
A "balanced approach" should mean tax the rich and then cut wasteful military spending, end the Afghanistan war, end subsidies to Bil Oil, and end other corporate giveaways. Sound good to you?
Sign on as a citizen supporter of Elizabeth Warren's progressive vision. (And see the debate clip.)
Let's be clear: When you hear the words "Simpson-Bowles," "Grand Bargain," "shared sacrifice," or "balanced approach," that's usually code for cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits. Many Democratic politicians are complicit in this.
Elizabeth Warren had the courage to offer a progressive alternative, and we can't just let it die as a little debate moment. We need to thrust it into the center of the political discussion and encourage her to keep going!
The first step is for lots of us show visible support for Elizabeth Warren's vision. Please click here to do that.
We will see Elizabeth Warren this Thursday and will tell her about the outpouring of support, so she keeps making the case on the campaign trail.
The second step is to spread her progressive vision to others. So please forward this email to 5 others, including any elected officials or reporters you know. (We'll tell the media about the growing public support for Warren's vision.)
Third, we must ask every congressional candidate to join Elizabeth Warren in opposing all cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits. Print off our 99elect questionnaire and ask your local candidates to fill it out right in front of you. (Send us video if you do!)
We can stop cuts to Social Security and Medicare by rallying around bold leaders like Elizabeth Warren. Show your support for her vision here.
Thanks for being a bold progressive.
-- Adam Green, Megan Gean, Matt Wall, and the PCCC team
P.S. Now you know what we mean when we talk about the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party. Click here to get your Warren wing stickers, magnets, and t-shirts before they sell out!
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Click here to view this media
Bill Maher took a few shots at those coveted "undecided voters" that politicians are still vying for and that the media constantly puts on a pedestal, and voiced his disdain for having been subjected to one too many of these so-called "focus groups" with a bunch of ?nincompoops" who have trouble focusing.
As he noted, if he wanted to watch a bunch of ?ignorant jackasses bullsh*tting about the election,? he'd just turn on Fox & Friends. He also got shots in on the Octomom, Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump along the way.
I agree with him on being tired of the media and their focus groups and asking these people what they think. They ought to be doing a better job actually educating voters on the issues, but that would distract from their time continually pushing their he said/she said fake balance spots where the "truth" doesn't seem to matter much.
I've mentioned the saga of Rep. David Rivera once before. He's the South Florida Republican Congressman who paid for mailers for a fake Democratic "candidate" in the hopes that he could either drive up the negatives or defeat his likely opponent, Joe[...]
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Daily Kos really wants to boot Rep. Michele Bachman out of office. That much is clear by your vote yesterday, when out of a field of five candidates, you gave her opponent Jim Graves 41 percent of the Hell to Pay vote.
What was so motivating to so many Daily Kos readers? This ad against Graves.
"When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation, and we all grow poorer because of it."So when Jim Graves called Bachmann's attacks a McCarthy-style witch-hunt, he wasn't that far off from Bachmann's GOP colleague, McCain. For that, he was attacked by this crazy, fringe organization that is supporting the crazy fringe Bachmann, saying "Jim Graves defends Muslim Brotherhood."
Bachmann is sometimes an entertaining sideshow in American politics. But what Minnesota, and the nation for that matter, needs right now is not a sideshow. We don't need a person like Bachmann, speaking from a position as a government official and a member of the Intelligence Committee, to be making such dangerous and crazy allegations. We've seen what a poorly produced, obscure YouTube video can do to incite anger and violence in the mid-east. The last thing we need is a representative of the U.S. government saying this kind of shit.
That deserves an answer. Hell, being as crazy as Bachmann and spending money on the airwaves to prove it deserves an answer.
Bonus points for Graves, by the way, for just being a solid, progressive stand-up kind of guy. He's a hotel executive who has the endorsement of of the hospitality union Unite Here. That's because he has a commitment to making his hotels a good place to work.
Our hotel workers are organized. The way we treat all our hotel workers and guests and investors is all about ethics and integrity and we all work hard together for a common goal. [...]Beating Bachmann would be big. Beating Bachmann with someone like Graves would be humongous. Let's do it.
When it comes to our [labor] contracts, we sit across the table and talk. Our interests aren't mutually exclusive but mutually beneficial. The company has to make money and our employees and staff have to have a good life and good livable wages. The people who work for me and my company treat people with respect.
Jump in. See if we can get 75 donations to Graves in half an hour.
4:25 PM PT: We seem to have a stuck thermometer, but I'm reliably informed that there are 31 donations for $789.01. I love that $0.01, whoever you are who did that!
Keep it up, and we'll try to fix the thermometer.
4:33 PM PT: Ok, sort of fix on the thermometer. This one shows all the Hell to Pay donations we've received in the two weeks we've been running the campaign.
4:40 PM PT: Whooohoooo! We're up to 66 donations and $1,705.53. Go, go, go!!!
Yes, Congress is barely back from a five-week August recess. But after just two weeks back from that break, they now stand adjourned again, this time for a seven-week stretch taking us past the November elections, leading to a new round of "do-nothing Congress" reportage.
But you already knew about that, didn't you? Because the regular Daily Kos Today and This Week in Congress features have been telling you since forever that Republican obstructionists have used procedure to keep the Senate idling for years, and now even the Republican-controlled House?where there is no filibuster?has nonetheless spent the better part of its two years on nothing, only there they've done it as an affirmative matter.
What do I mean? Let's go to the blog equivalent of the videotape:
The House starts the day by finishing the repeal of the imaginary drilling moratorium (read brief descriptions of pending amendments here), then moves on to that Intelligence authorization bill that magically appeared, ready for floor action after two months in limbo, just a few days after President Obama pretty much pwned everybody on intelligence and national security matters, including the do-nothing-that-can-pass GOP House, by overseeing the killing of Osama bin Laden.
But whereas the Senate has the excuse of the filibuster, the House is a place that can get through whatever it wants to get done, because it's strictly majoritarian. It's just that the House doesn't have anything it cares to get through. It's particularly stunning in combination, to see both houses do as close to nothing at all on the same day, in the middle of the week, while thousands are literally in the streets clamoring for action on jobs and economic reform.Feb. 27, 2012:
Besides, what the hell else are you going to do? Aside from the anticipated (but as-yet-unscheduled) return to the transportation bill, there's nothing else to watch. Any energy this 112th Congress has left in it is likely to be poured into the budget, and later, the appropriations bills, before they look to cut out early and hit the campaign trail. Floor time in a do-nothing Congress that already has one eye on adjournment and no hope of serious compromise on a budget just might never really get exciting, unless Republicans resolve to fill it with designed-to-fail political plays. And this week, I guess they're fresh out.Apr. 18, 2012:
Today, the House takes up what I believe is the ninth emergency band-aid transportation authorization extension bill of the 112th Congress. At this point, nearly 10% of the entire public law output of the 112th is made up of transportation extensions, even though transportation authorization is usually a relatively easy, bipartisan affair. This time, however, Republicans are killing themselves internally, with Tea Party types battling old line Republicans over vague, ill-defined notions about what constitutes wasteful spending and the like. Unable to resolve the issues, they haven't found a way to put a permanent renewal on the table that they can patch together a working coalition to pass. But hey, if you thought that was a sign of incompetence and a do-nothing Congress, keep in mind that over 15% of the public law output has actually been post office and federal building naming legislation. Together, those two things by themselves constitute a quarter of their entire output.Apr. 23, 2012:
Don't worry, though. That's not all the House has planned for the day. They're also going to vote on the Mark Twain commemorative coin.
This week looks to be another humdinger in the House, with suspension bills already scheduled into Thursday. That's a little unusual, especially so early in the year. While we do frequently see suspension votes stretched into the latter part of the week these days, it's usually not openly planned that way, heading into the week. Holding suspension votes after Wednesday requires a special dispensation from the Rules Committee, and while that's easy enough to arrange and pass on the floor, the fact that we're filling a pre-recess schedule in April (yes, they're taking another recess after this week) with suspensions that last into Thursday is a sign that the Republicans are putting the House into pre-elections mode, and plan to do as little of substance as possible. They'll have to get through the appropriations bills, of course. But beyond that, expect nothing more than throwing non-controversial bones to legislators who need shoring up at home, and political ploys designed to play to the base. And we're talking all the way from now through the election.Yeah, it's been obvious for a long time, if you were willing to subject yourself to a close examination of the day-to-day record. Though even a quick perusal of the enacted public laws of the 112th Congress will tell you what you need to know. Just skim the titles of the stuff that's actually made it onto the books. Or easier still, flip through the available pages leading to the public laws enacted by previous Congresses, and take note of the sheer volume of the output. For the 112th Congress, you have the option of examining Public Laws 112-1 through 112-173. That is, there are 173 new laws on the books, passed by the 112th Congress. Whereas for the 111th, you have 383 laws to choose from. For the 110th, 460. The 109th, 482. The 108th, 498.
Back to the subject of things slowing down in the House, I want to note that even while it looks increasingly like they're planning to do nothing between now and November, word is they're looking to get seriously busy after the elections, in a lame duck session. Now, I'm old enough to remember the days when Republicans used to say that lame duck Congressional sessions were practically treason. But then again, Republicans think everything is practically treason these days. Still, you'll probably recall that when the very last Congress proposed a lame duck session after the 2010 elections, Republicans screamed bloody murder. Which is why it'll come as no surprise whatsoever to you if they in fact do that very thing themselves. What'll really be interesting is the reaction of the 27 Republican co-sponsors of H.R. 339, the "End the Lame Duck Act."
I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
But lest you be tempted to conclude that the 112th has simply been more efficient with its work, I'll remind you as I quoted above that as of mid-April, nearly 25 percent of the 112th Congress's total legislative output in terms of enacted laws consisted of re-namings of post office and other federal installations, and temporary transportation spending authority renewals and nothing else.
Nobody's ever done nothing like these Republican clowns did it. It's no wonder their brand, along with Congress's reputation, is in the toilet.
[NE-Sen] NE-Sen: Even Deb Fischer Is Running Away From Mitt Romney by Skylewalker - Republican Senate candidate Deb Fischer joins the ranks of GOP candidates across the country distancing themselves from Mitt Romney. Bob Kerrey is her Democratic opponent.
[FL-18] FL-18: Patrick Murphy a huge upgrade to Allen West by pistolSO - Patrick Murphy (D) is a much better candidate than Allen West (R), in all kinds of ways. Direct quotes for comparison on some of those ways.
[Var-Polling] Daily Kos Elections Polling Wrap: Wildly diverging national polls still net positive for Obama by Steve Singiser - Friday is ordinarily a very slow polling day, but courtesy of what appears to be the start of a regular set of data courtesy of the online polling unit known as YouGov, we have another day with a ton of data. Thanks primarily to the deluge of data from the YouGov team, we have our third consecutive day of record-setting Wrap girth. Today, we see 60 unique polls, including no less than four states or races that had not yet been polled in this cycle.
Today's EDR covers rescued down-ticket election diaries published between noon on September 21st till noon on September 22nd.
This edition of Election Diary Rescue includes the following gems dug up by our miners, for a total of (19) diaries:
Senate: (9) posts, (4) states plus various
House: (5) posts, (4) states, (5) districts
Our regular featured content-On This Day In History September 22 by TheMomCatPunting the Pundits by TheMomCatThese weekly features-Popular Culture 20120921: Jethro Tull -- Thick as a Brick Side One by TranslatorHealth and Fitness News by TheMomCatAnd[...]
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