"Thanks, President Obama!" New EPA Regulations Will Make Us Healthier and Save Lives

by: JanF

Fri Nov 28, 2014 at 06:19:02 AM EST

On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new regulations to cut ground level ozone (smog) levels in order to improve public health.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy:


EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Explains Proposed Smog Standards To Protect Americans' Health

Her editorial, published at CNN.com, explains the new regulations:

For 44 years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has defended the American people's right to breathe clean air by setting national air quality standards for common air pollutants.

Successful public health protection depends on the latest science. Think of it this way: If your doctor wasn't using the latest medical science, you'd be worried you weren't getting the best care.

That's why the Clean Air Act requires EPA to update air quality standards every five years, to ensure standards "protect public health with an adequate margin of safety" based on the latest scientific evidence.

So today, following science and the law, I am proposing to update national ozone pollution standards to clean up our air, improve access to crucial air quality information, and protect those most at-risk -- our children, our elderly, and people already suffering from lung diseases like asthma. [...]

Ground-level ozone pollution, commonly known as smog, comes from industrial action, motor vehicles, power plants, and other activities. Breathing ozone irritates the nose, throat, and lungs. Thousands of scientific studies (from renowned institutions like Harvard University, the University of North Carolina Medical School, and many others) tell us that cutting air pollution to meet ozone standards lowers the risk of asthma, permanent lung damage, cardiovascular harm, and premature death.

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In the News: "Show Me" Justice

by: JanF

Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 07:03:57 AM EST

Found on the Internets ...


A series of tubes filled with enormous amounts of material

~

From the White House: President Obama Delivers a Statement on the Ferguson Grand Jury's Decision

Transcript

PRESIDENT OBAMA: First and foremost, we are a nation built on the rule of law.  And so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury's to make.  There are Americans who agree with it, and there are Americans who are deeply disappointed, even angry.  It's an understandable reaction.  But I join Michael's parents in asking anyone who protests this decision to do so peacefully.  Let me repeat Michael's father's words:  "Hurting others or destroying property is not the answer.  No matter what the grand jury decides, I do not want my son's death to be in vain.  I want it to lead to incredible change, positive change, change that makes the St. Louis region better for everyone."  Michael Brown's parents have lost more than anyone.  We should be honoring their wishes.   [...]

Finally, we need to recognize that the situation in Ferguson speaks to broader challenges that we still face as a nation.  The fact is, in too many parts of this country, a deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of color.  Some of this is the result of the legacy of racial discrimination in this country.  And this is tragic, because nobody needs good policing more than poor communities with higher crime rates.  The good news is we know there are things we can do to help.  And I've instructed Attorney General Holder to work with cities across the country to help build better relations between communities and law enforcement. [...]

Those of you who are watching tonight understand that there's never an excuse for violence, particularly when there are a lot of people in goodwill out there who are willing to work on these issues.

On the other hand, those who are only interested in focusing on the violence and just want the problem to go away need to recognize that we do have work to do here, and we shouldn't try to paper it over.  Whenever we do that, the anger may momentarily subside, but over time, it builds up and America isn't everything that it could be.

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The Democratic "Blue Wall"

by: Ed Tracey

Sun Nov 23, 2014 at 20:31:13 PM EST

In the wake of the recent elections: an essay by a conservative analyst that is making the rounds, after the jump ....  

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Weekly Address: President Obama - Immigration Accountability Executive Action

by: JanF

Sat Nov 22, 2014 at 06:12:41 AM EST



The President's Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

 

From the White House - Weekly Address

In this week's address, the President laid out the steps he took this past week to fix our broken immigration system. Enacted within his legal authority, the President's plan focuses on cracking down on illegal immigration at the border; deporting felons, not families; and accountability through criminal background checks and taxes. These are commonsense steps, but only Congress can finish the job.

As the President acts, he'll continue to work with Congress on a comprehensive, bipartisan bill -- like the one passed by the Senate more than a year ago -- that can replace these actions and fix the whole system.

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President Obama: "We were strangers once, too"

by: JanF

Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 04:19:31 AM EST

From the White House - The President Speaks on Fixing America's Broken Immigration System

In an address to the nation, President Obama lays out the executive action he's taking to fix our nation's broken immigration system.

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In the News: It's cold out there

by: JanF

Tue Nov 18, 2014 at 08:50:34 AM EST

Found on the Internets ...


A series of tubes filled with enormous amounts of material

~

This week is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. Follow the hashtag #NHHAW and this Twitter account for more information.


~

America's Shameless Child Homelessness Record

A record 2.5 million children in the U.S. were homeless at some point in 2013, according to a new report from the National Center for Family and Homelessness.

This amounts to one in 30 children and an 8 percent increase in child homelessness between 2012 and 2013. Nearly half the children are under the age of six. While the problem is most prevalent in Alabama, Mississippi, and California, it exists in every city, county, and state in the country.

Why does this matter?

Chilly temperatures and cold on tap


- The arctic chill dominates the Midwest with highs in the 10s and 20s for most areas.
- Slightly less cold 30s are confined to eastern Kentucky and the upper Ohio Valley.
- Record low temperatures are likely Monday night from the eastern Plains through the Ohio Valley as the mercury drops into the single digits and lower teens.

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Weekly Address: President Obama - Affordable Care Act (ACA) Open Enrollment Starts Today

by: JanF

Sat Nov 15, 2014 at 06:40:53 AM EST



The President's Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

 

From the White House - Weekly Address

In this week's address, the President reminded Americans that Affordable Care Act open enrollment begins this weekend. In the past year, more than 10 million people have gained health insurance, including more than 7 million who enrolled in Health Insurance Marketplace coverage. They are proof that the Affordable Care Act is working, making health care more affordable, accessible, and of higher quality for millions of people.

The President encouraged all Americans to take advantage of open enrollment, and remind their friends and families to do so as well.

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A Heartwarming Story from Austin Children's Services

by: anotherdemocrat

Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 21:02:39 PM EST

Next February, I'm walking the half of the Austin Marathon, with a group I've been training with since August. My team raises money for Austin Children's Services, formerly known as the Austin Children's Shelter. They changed the name because they now embrace a broader continuum of services to address the needs of children and their families. Their programs include Austin Children's Shelter residential care (Emergency Shelter, Transitional Living Program, Teen Parent Program and Respite Care), Foster in Austin, Care Academy child development and family support center and a child abuse prevention program through Strong Start.

Our team slogan is "Creating a world without child abuse & neglect, one step at a time." If you want to skip the pleading, you can donate to my ACS campaign page

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In the News: Emissions

by: JanF

Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 05:26:04 AM EST

Found on the Internets ...


A series of tubes filled with enormous amounts of material some of which is emitted as noxious gasses.

~

China Agrees To Greenhouse Gas Cap; U.S. Will Accelerate Cuts

The United States and China pledged Wednesday to take ambitious action to limit greenhouse gases, aiming to inject fresh momentum into the global fight against climate change ahead of make-or-break climate talks next year.

President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. would move much faster in cutting its levels of pollution. Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to cap China's emissions in the future - a striking, unprecedented move by a nation that has been reluctant to box itself in on global warming. [...]
Developing nations like India and China have long balked at being on the hook for climate change as much as wealthy nations like the U.S. that have been polluting for much longer. But China analysts said Beijing's willingness to cap its future emissions and to put Xi front and center signaled a significant turnaround.

For Obama, the fight against climate change has become a central facet of the legacy he hopes to leave. Facing opposition in Congress, Obama has sought to bypass lawmakers through emissions regulations on power plants and vehicles.


This is not just about "cementing a legacy", this is caring about the future of the human species.

~

Emissions of a different sort (effluvia?) ... Obama's Climate Deal With China Enrages GOP In Congress

But Obama's opponents in Congress balked, dismissing the new U.S. target as "job-destroying red tape" that would squeeze the middle class.

"This unrealistic plan that the president would dump on his successor would ensure higher utility rates and far fewer jobs," said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who is set to become the majority leader early next year.

Yes, those pesky regulations ... killin' jobs again!! Who needs clean air or safe work environments??!? Why, wanting people to have better lives and a brighter future is downright un-American!!

~

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President Obama: "The FCC must protect an open, accessible, and free Internet"

by: JanF

Mon Nov 10, 2014 at 15:09:21 PM EST

From the White House:
President Obama is asking the FCC to keep the Internet open and free. Help spread the word - share his plan with your friends.

President Obama:

An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life.  By lowering the cost of launching a new idea, igniting new political movements, and bringing communities closer together, it has been one of the most significant democratizing influences the world has ever known.

"Net neutrality" has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation - but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted.  We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas.  That is why today, I am asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.

For almost a century, our law has recognized that companies who connect you to the world have special obligations not to exploit the monopoly they enjoy over access in and out of your home or business.  That is why a phone call from a customer of one phone company can reliably reach a customer of a different one, and why you will not be penalized solely for calling someone who is using another provider.  It is common sense that the same philosophy should guide any service that is based on the transmission of information - whether a phone call, or a packet of data. [...]

So the time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do.  To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act ...

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Weekly Address: President Obama - This Veterans' Day, Let's Honor Our Veterans

by: JanF

Sat Nov 08, 2014 at 06:40:01 AM EST



The President's Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

 

From the White House - Weekly Address

In this week's address, in advance of Veterans' Day, the President paid tribute to the men and women in uniform who have given so much in service of America.

Veterans have risked their lives to protect our freedom, and we need to be there for them when they return from duty by ensuring they get the care they need and the opportunities they deserve. The President asked every American to thank and welcome home the veterans in their lives who, like all who fight for our country, are heroes worthy of our constant gratitude and support.

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President Obama: "I will be president for 2 more years"

by: JanF

Thu Nov 06, 2014 at 05:11:43 AM EST

President Obama held a press conference yesterday to discuss the mid-terms and his plans for the next two years two and a half months of his presidency, 805 days to be exact. The president has an advantage there, by the way. During those 805 days, if history is any guide, John Boehner's and Ted Cruz's Congress will be in session about 200 days ... total.

The president also sent a letter to make sure that the important point was not missed because, frankly, the White House press corps' interests are quite different from the American peoples'. From the White House:

... what stands out to me is that the message Americans sent yesterday is one you've sent for several elections in a row now. You expect the people you elect to work as hard as you do. You expect us to focus on your ambitions -- not ours -- and you want us to get the job done. Period.

I plan on spending every moment of the next two years rolling up my sleeves and working as hard as I can for the American people. This country has made real and undeniable progress in the six years since the 2008 economic crisis. But our work will not be done until every single American feels the gains of a growing economy where it matters most: in your own lives.

While I'm sure we'll continue to disagree on some issues that we're passionate about, I'm eager to work with Congress over the next two years to get the job done. The challenges that lay ahead of us are far too important to allow partisanship or ideology to prevent our progress as a nation.

The president was welcome to constructive changes to the Affordable Care Act, he asked for Congress' help in procuring funds to fight Ebola and authorizing the use of military force against ISIL, and looked forward to working together on the budget, which expires on December 11. He hoped that comprehensive immigration reform could be passed.

But what he did not do is back down on his plans to issue an executive order expanding the deferred action program, giving millions of people who lack documentation a chance to get out from under the dark cloud of deportation.

That's a commitment I made not just to the American people  -- and to businesses and the evangelical community and the law enforcement folks and everybody who's looked at this issue and thinks that we need immigration reform -- that's a commitment that I also made to John Boehner, that I would act in the absence of action by Congress.

So before the end of the year, we're going to take whatever lawful actions that I can take that I believe will improve the functioning of our immigration system. [...]

But what I'm not going to do is just wait.  I think it's fair to say that I've shown a lot of patience and have tried to work on a bipartisan basis as much as possible, and I'm going to keep on doing so.  But in the meantime, let's figure out what we can do lawfully through executive actions to improve the functioning of the existing system.

And when asked whether taking this action would somehow "poison the well", a well that the Republicans have refused to drink from for 4 years, he called bs on the notion that the people upset by his actions are people who have any interest in immigration reform:

I have no doubt that there will be some Republicans who are angered or frustrated by any executive action that I may take.  Those are folks, I just have to say, who are also deeply opposed to immigration reform in any form and blocked the House from being able to pass a bipartisan bill. [...]

... if, in fact, there is a great eagerness on the part of Republicans to tackle a broken immigration system, then they have every opportunity to do it.  My executive actions not only do not prevent them from passing a law that supersedes those actions, but should be a spur for them to actually try to get something done.

The president used the phrase "two years" over and over and over again throughout the press conference (I counted 12).

President Obama will not allow the Republicans to nullify the 2012 presidential election with their claims of a mandate from a low turnout mid-term election.  

To which I say, "Thanks, Obama". :)

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Election watch: Black Sisters

by: DeniseVelez

Tue Nov 04, 2014 at 16:06:48 PM EST



 photo 35d7f2bd-84c4-41fa-8b52-1b5feb8e92f0_zpsc5471906.jpg

As people head to the polls to vote today, and as we wait to hear election results come in this evening and late into the night-along with demographic data about turnout, and the inevitable dissections by pundits and analysts-one thing is clear, even before the results come in. We have been pushing hard to GOTV, and a key part of the mobilized electorate is black female voters. One major effort has been #BlackWomenVote.  As they put it:

Black women had the highest voter turnout in the 2012 presidential election, representing almost 70 percent of the Black electorate and surpassing our 2008 record-breaking numbers. Many are expecting us to stay home on November 4th, in fact only 37 percent of African Americans normally show up to the polls for midterm elections.

Black women have the potential to take this country by storm. We have the collective power to elect representatives who will champion our interests and support legislative actions that will improve education, health care and economic opportunities for our communities.


 
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Don't let a minoritea choose our government

by: JanF

Tue Nov 04, 2014 at 11:32:05 AM EST

If you harbor any doubt as to how the Republicans prefer to hold onto power in states like Wisconsin, look no further than the comment by Wisconsin State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R):
"... high turnout elections have typically favored Democrats while low turnouts favor the GOP ..."

Fitzgerald is correct ... but he will never be right. It can never be right to want to govern without the consent of those being governed, to wish that democracy fails so that you can ignore the will of the majority of the people.

Republicans all over the United States, like Fitzgerald, are glad when fewer people vote because they know that most people reject their puny vision of America.

I am reminded of what happened as the result of a low-turnout midterm 4 years ago. In February 2011, Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) fulfilled his secret promises to his campaign donors and ended collective bargaining for public employees. People protested and the Democratic state senators left the state to deny Sen. Fitzgerald a quorum. Those were heady times for small d democracy as Walker discovered that winning an election with 32% of the registered voters of a state (25% of the voting age population) did not give him a mandate. He won the election but he lacked one very important thing: the Consent of the Governed.

Specifically, this consent, from Thomas Jefferson:


"Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

It is time to stand up and be counted as one of the governed who does NOT consent to Scott Walker's governance, one who rejects his minoritea rule.

There is no excuse to not vote today. No excuse to not take our state back from the special interests and elect a governor who cares about Wisconsin and wants to make life better for Wisconsinites. Mary Burke will have one focus: moving Wisconsin Forward.

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Votes Trump Polls

by: JanF

Sun Nov 02, 2014 at 06:38:35 AM EST


In North Carolina ...


~

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Weekly Address: President Obama - It's Time to Help Women and Working Families

by: JanF

Sat Nov 01, 2014 at 06:33:55 AM EDT



The President's Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

 

From the White House - Weekly Address

In this week's address, the President highlighted the progress our economy is making, and the commonsense policies that could make it even stronger by ensuring that everyone who works hard has the opportunity to get ahead, especially women and working families.

This commitment has been a core part of the President's Year of Action and a priority since the start of his administration, which is why he has put forth a range of policies that would help women and working families get ahead, from raising the minimum wage, to ensuring equal pay for equal work, to increasing access to high-quality child care and paid family leave. This week's address follows remarks the President delivered on Friday at Rhode Island College, where he discussed the importance of harnessing our economy's momentum by making policy choices that will help women and all working parents fully participate in and contribute to our economy.

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In the News: Ebolinsanity

by: JanF

Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 09:58:36 AM EDT

Found on the Internets ...


A series of tubes filled with enormous amounts of non-contagious but highly infectious material

~

Threat of Lawsuit Could Test Maine's Quarantine Policy

A nurse who cared for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone was headed for a legal showdown with the State of Maine on Wednesday over whether the state can quarantine her against her will.

The dispute is heightening a national debate over how to balance public health and public fears against the rights and freedoms of health care workers, and troops, returning from West Africa.

"This is a tipping point in this whole process," the nurse, Kaci Hickox, said in an interview, one of several she did from her home in northern Maine on Wednesday, as state troopers and television trucks stood outside.

"So many states have started enacting these policies that I think are just completely not evidence-based. They don't do a good job of balancing the risks and benefits when thinking about taking away an individual's rights."[...]

Ms. Hickox, 33, returned last Friday from a month treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone with the rescue group Doctors Without Borders, She was isolated in a tent at a New Jersey hospital after she registered a low-grade fever on a forehead scanner, though she had not previously registered a fever and has not since.

She has never shown symptoms of the virus and tested negative for it several hours after being quarantined. [...]

"I understand how fear spreads," she added. "But if I'm a nurse and I have a patient in the hospital, it's our responsibility as medical professionals to advocate for our patients. Now, it's the medical professionals who are being stigmatized. Even if there is popular public opinion, we still have to advocate for what's right."

~

Connecticut father sues after Ebola fears keep daughter from school

Oct 28 (Reuters) - A father sued a Connecticut elementary school on Tuesday, saying his 7-year-old daughter was discriminated against and banned from school for 21 days based on irrational fears of Ebola because she attended a wedding in Nigeria.

Stephen Opayemi filed the lawsuit in federal court in New Haven, Connecticut. He asked a judge to order the schools in Milford, Connecticut, to immediately permit his daughter to return to her third-grade class.

Opayemi's daughter has not experienced any symptoms associated with Ebola and her health is fine, but parents and teachers were concerned she could transmit Ebola to other children, the lawsuit says.[...]

According to the suit, a city health official said in an Oct. 15 meeting that the risk of the girl infecting anyone was minor but that she ought to be quarantined because of rumors, panic and the climate of the school.

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Louisiana To Ebola Experts: Stay Away

Louisiana state officials wants scientists and medical researchers who have dealt with Ebola patients not to come to the state's annual American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene conference next week in New Orleans.

In a letter to the organization, reported by Bloomberg News, the heads of Louisiana's health and homeland security departments effectively disinvited those who have recently cared for Ebola patients.

Just who are these folks who dare to gather in Louisiana?

The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), founded in 1903, is a worldwide organization of scientists, clinicians and program professionals whose mission is to promote global health through the prevention and control of infectious and other diseases that disproportionately afflict the global poor. Research, health care and education are the central activities of ASTMH members, whose work bridges basic laboratory research to international field work and clinics to countrywide programs.

Specific ASTMH goals include:

   Improving the health of people worldwide
   Advancing research in tropical diseases
   Fostering international scientific collaboration
   Supporting career development in tropical medicine and global health
   Educating medical professionals, policymakers and the public about tropical medicine and global health
   Promoting science-based policy regarding tropical medicine and global health
   Recognizing exceptional achievement in tropical medicine and global health


Certainly there would be no discernible benefit from their meeting. Sigh.

~

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Getting Souls to the Polls

by: DeniseVelez

Tue Oct 28, 2014 at 15:24:57 PM EDT


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Contrary to much of the negativity being spread by some traditional media sources, and blather from black Republican tokens, black American Democrats continue our relentless pursuit of the ballot box, with efforts to turn out our voters across the nation. Souls to the Polls operations are still underway: from Minnesota, to Ohio and Illinois, to Georgia, North Carolina, Florida and more.

NPR: After Sunday Service, Georgia Churches Get Souls To The Polls

The Piney Grove church is in an area that is 55 percent African-American and therefore one part of Georgia that could help Nunn win the Senate seat this November. That's if people turn out to vote.

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter joined the congregation yesterday to help rally churchgoers to the polls and work to "help make Martin Luther King's dream become a reality in our state." "We can do it, if we all work together, if we all go to vote, if we can be sure that all of our friends and relatives and neighbors go to vote, and vote early," Carter said.

Sunday voting caused some controversy in Georgia. Republicans grumbled about it giving Democrats a boost. But Flippin says it's only fair that black voters get a chance on Sundays to mobilize. "Many of our people still do not have professional jobs that they can take off or go into work late. You know, most corporations - they allow you to come late or come early on Election Day. Well, if you're working in a factory or job like that, they can't take off," says Flippin. Piney Grove worshippers loaded up on two church buses and, with a caravan of cars following, drove to the voter registration and elections office in Decatur to vote.

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Listen to *this* Guy!

by: JanF

Tue Oct 28, 2014 at 10:11:54 AM EDT

The problem with the U.S. Senate polls heading into the final week before election day is that when you dig a little deeper, they are essentially saying that most of the races are "too close to call".

Yet that does not stop the breathless headlines: "Democrats will be crushed by Republican wave" or "Democratic majority doomed".

I recommend listening to this Guy, Guy Cecil, who says that we can win ALL the close Senate elections if we just get out the vote, even in states where there are more Republicans than Democrats.

How? Well, state by state (from the video):
- CO (mail-in means 2 million more voters than in 2010),
- AR (95,000 more AA voters, 5% bump),
- LA (900,000 new AA voters since Katrina),
- AK (Turnout among native people),
- NC (education is #2 issue which has no anti-Obama component),
- IA (D dominating early vote, non-2010 voters are voting Democratic),
- GA (New AA voters, maximize Atlanta and southern GA),
- KY (Tied, key is turnout in Louisville, high negatives for McConnell),
- SD (Not giving up),
- NH (Shaheen is up and will stay up)
- MN (Franken is a lock)
New voters, re-energized voters, non-2010 voters. Democratic voters.

So who is this Guy and why should we listen to him?

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Your Vote Counts: Countdown to the Midterms

by: JanF

Fri Oct 24, 2014 at 09:24:46 AM EDT

Are you ready? ...
Update: 8 days until November 4, 2014


It is time to step away from the polling and get to the polls.

~

Voter Turnout in Four Charts

A recent Pew study finds that non-voters are far more likely to oppose repealing Obamacare and support government "doing more things." While likely voters were split between Obama and Romney, each with 47 percent of the vote, non-voters supported Obama by a whopping 35 points (59 percent to 24 percent). [...]

All of this suggests that more turnout, particularly among low-income voters, would shift our political system to the left. The Median Voter Theorem postulates that democratic systems will produce policy outcomes that align with the preferences of the median voter suggests that turnout gaps as a source of policy bias toward more affluent households. Because non-voters are more economically liberal than voters, the median voter is more conservative than the electorate at large. If more low-income people voted, politicians would become more economically liberal to court the new voters. [...]

Politicians respond to voters, not non-voters.


Don't leave your lives in the hands of those who, quite literally, do not give a darn about your life. Your vote will not only elect people who believe in the value of government but it will put pressure on those politicians who think they can get away with ignoring you. Turn out and tell them NO.

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The Great Kansas Tea Party Disaster

Extremist Republicans turned their government into a lab experiment of tax cuts and privatization. And now they may be losing control of one of the reddest states in the nation

"Tea Party Disaster" - my new favorite phrase. May the receding tide from the 2010 wave wash away the GOP governors who put their national party above their constituents needs.

~

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Seasonal Change at Mts. Baker & Shuksan

by: Ronk

Wed Oct 22, 2014 at 13:34:42 PM EDT

Mt. Shuksan in the clouds across Picture Lake

Mt. Skuksan

Last weekend appeared as if it might be last chance I could get up to Mount Shuksan  and Mt. Baker National Forest before the snows set in. So, with grand kids again, I went up to see the Fall colors and what happened to the plants that I saw on my last foray a couple of months ago.

This is largely a photo diary of Alpine scenery in the Mt. Baker National Forest and Wilderness Area.

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The Durham Manifesto

by: DeniseVelez

Tue Oct 21, 2014 at 15:31:46 PM EDT



 photo 5477ecb0-287c-4c55-84db-eb84c7a8bc6f_zps797e1464.jpg

So much of our history, as black Americans, is often lost, forgotten or obscured. Key moments of that history often take us to North Carolina, where struggles are still being led by groups like Moral Mondays, spearheaded by Rev. William Barber.

One such historical moment was the issuance of The Durham Manifesto, as a result of the October of 1942 Southern Conference on Race Relations, which was held in Durham, North Carolina.

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Justice Ginsburg: "... racial discrimination in elections in Texas is no mere historical artifact"

by: JanF

Sun Oct 19, 2014 at 07:08:03 AM EDT

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), snuck around in the early morning hours Saturday to decree that stopping a Texas law which discriminates on racial grounds would be unfair to Republicans in Texas who have worked so hard to disenfranchise those who might vote against them.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote (another) scathing dissent which was also signed by Justices Sotomayor and Kagan.

Sadly, three votes to protect the right to vote  is as meaningful as zero votes on a court intent upon disenfranchising those who would vote against their preferred political party. It is not enough to be right, we need to win these, especially the obvious ones.

Justice Ginsburg harkens back to the mindnumbing disconnect from reality present in the majority's Shelby v Holder ruling last year that struck preclearance from the Voting Rights Act. Chief Justice Roberts declared that we are now post-racial and there is no need to consider history, blahblah, pesky facts, blahblah. But, as Justice Ginsburg notes in her dissent "racial discrimination in elections in Texas is no mere historical artifact. To the contrary, Texas has been found in violation of the Voting Rights Act in every redistricting cycle from and after 1970."

An estimated 600,000 citizens in Texas have not paid the 2014 version of the poll tax and will not have the required ids needed to vote this year.

THAT is how Republicans win: by denying the right to vote to those who are likely to vote against them. They can't win on their ideas and this is the last desperate gasp of a party soon to become a minoritea. That moment will likely be delayed unless we can convince two more justices that the right to vote is a fundamental right under our constitution and that artificial barriers to voting should be stricken.

Really, how can they let this stand? Justice Ginsburg:

The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully dis­criminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitu­tional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hun­dreds of thousands of eligible voters.

Stop hurting America, SCOTUS. Give us back our democracy.

democracy [dih-mok-ruh-see]

noun
1. government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

There's More... :: (8 Comments, 1676 words in story)
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