Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Saturday compared the federal government borrowing money from other countries to slavery, assuring attendees at an Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition fundraiser that the notion "isn't racist" just in case.
"Isn't racist" is the new "no homo."
Yesterday, more than 150 women and families converged on Downtown Bellevue in a protest calling for comprehensive immigration reform. After occupying Washington State Republican Party headquarters, around 30 women were arrested, including, as has been widely reported, outgoing mayor Mike McGinn's wife, Peggy Lynch. Others arrested, according to a press release from immigrant rights group OneAmerica, were the executive directors of 21 Progress, Casa Latina, and the NW Network, SEIU Healthcare 99 Northwest's political director, and presidents of Washington Education Association and AFT Washington.
One GOP response? Just a healthy reminder that the only thing white Republican men think women are good for—especially badass, hardworking, civil-disobedience-committing women of color—is being sexually attractive to white Republican men. From former Washington State Republican Party chair Kirby Wilbur:
iI missed all the fun at State HQ today as the left wing witches and hags protested and got arrested. They look so old and ugly...#wagop
— Kirby Wilbur (@KirbyWilbur) November 8, 2013
We're discouraged and appalled that the GOP's response to a powerful action geared towards raising awareness about a substantive issue resorted to sexist name-calling and degradation. Representatives McMorris Rodgers and Herrera-Beutler should be ashamed that this is the response that Washington women received from former GOP leadership, and should stand up and support women regardless of party or issue.
While OneAmerica founder and former director Pramila Jayapal replied directly to Wilbur's tweet:
@KirbyWilbur Shame on u, Frmr State GOP Chair. No wonder the GOP has lost women & immigrants @americasvoice @WomenBelong @weareoneamerica
— Pramila Jayapal (@pramilaj) November 8, 2013
Next week, former President George W. Bush is scheduled to keynote a fundraiser in Irving, Texas, for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a group that trains people in the United States, Israel, and around the world to convince Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah. The organization's goal: to "restore" Israel and the Jews and bring about about the second coming of Christ.
George W. Bush's post-presidency is just as terrible as his presidency was. Everything he does makes me hate him a little more. He's just the worst thing to happen to America. Check that. He's just the worst, period.
(Via Christian Nightmares.)
I was about to let this go—the empty anti-522 conference room I sat in for 2 hours on election night—and move on to other things, such as this story concerning a student leader at a Christian college who recently admitted that he doesn't believe in the existence of a supernatural ape. But just as that strange experience (the empty chairs, the silent TV, the humming vents), was setting on the horizon of my thoughts, a commenter on my post, nickj116, wrote the most astounding thing:
I find it hilarious that Charles confused the press room with the party room. As someone who attended the No on 522 party, I can assure you it was not held where he was.
Empty room at the anti-522 campaign party at the Weston. Spokesperson Dana Bieber to arrive shortly #WAelex pic.twitter.com/eFHjpmJHE2
— Alisa Zaira Reznick (@AlisaReznick) November 6, 2013
I asked Cienna Madrid, the person who made the arrangements for our campaign coverage, if there had been a place for the party (a high alligator roars at the lights of downtown Seattle) and a place for just the press (the hot water in my cup cools), and she wrote:
I emailed them about an election night party, that's what they sent me. I don't know what else to say... If they're butthurt that their party sucked, or that we didn't cover the "real" party, it's their own goddamn fault.I will get to the bottom of this.
CNN has a new video of Rob "I Only Smoked Crack Because I Was in a Drunken Stupor" Ford. What's new this time, Ford? And how do you explain it?
Just days after admitting he had smoked crack cocaine, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford found himself trying to explain more bizarre behavior.
A video obtained by the Toronto Star and released Thursday shows the embattled mayor staggering around and making violent threats about some unknown person.
"I'm going to kill that (expletive) guy. I'm telling you it's first-degree murder. ... He dies or I die, brother," Ford is heard saying in the video.
Ford makes large motions with his hands in the video as he explains what he will do: "When he's down, I'll rip his (expletive) throat out" and "I'll poke his eyes out" and "I'll make sure that (expletive) is dead."
Ford responded to the video shortly after it was released, saying that he was drunk at the time.
"All I can do is reassure the people that I don't know what to say," Ford told reporters. "It's extremely embarrassing. The whole world is going to see it. I don't have a problem with that."
He added, "Obviously I was extremely, extremely inebriated. That's all I have to say."
Keep 'em coming, Ford!
That's it, I'm in love with the very public, post-election Peggy Lynch:
The wife of outgoing Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, Peggy Lynch, was one of the women arrested at an immigration reform rally in Bellevue for refusing to leave the office of the Washington State Republican Party.
About 30 women refused to leave the office Thursday during the demonstration, which was party of national actions urging Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives to reform immigration laws.
Of course, if she'd used these tactics as an Occupy Seattle protester, McGinn would have had her pepper-sprayed in the face.
Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley sang a little duet about signing up for Obamacare on the Country Music Awards last night that had the crowd a-hootin' and a-hollerin':
Here are the lyrics:
Obamacare by mornin'/Why is this taking so long/I'm gonna wind up with hemorrhoids/If I sit here till dawn/We'll have cataracts and dementia/Oh, this is gettin' on my last nerve/Obamacare by mornin'/Over six people served.
Aren't conservatives always whining about taking the politics out of entertainment, specifically entertainment awards shows? There's strangely no outrage on conservative blogs about this skit.
In any case: They really need to fix that fucking website. These sorts of complaints won't matter in the long run, but the longer this takes, the more hits Democrats are going to suffer in the run-up to the midterm elections.
I'm reading Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's new book Double Down: Game Change 2012 right now. It's exactly what you'd expect: A gossipy insider's account of the 2012 presidential campaign that is obsessed with trivia and wholly unconcerned with policy. I was especially interested in a chapter titled "The Uncle Joe Problem," in which the authors said Vice President Biden and his staff tried to do battle with the public perception of Biden:
Joe was perfectly aware of the widespread caricature of him as a clownish gasbag. He understood that the image was largely self-inflicted but hated it all the same, and he was intensely concerned that being vice president would only exacerbate the problem. Biden even had a name for the trap that he was determined to avoid: the Uncle Joe Syndrome, which would leave him looking not only buffoonish but irrelevant.
Like every other vice president in history (with the possible exception of Dick Cheney,) Biden is obsessed with how he's seen as the number two guy in the nation, and he's always calculating about a potential run for the White House when his boss's second term is over. I don't think Biden should run for president—I think he's been a great VP, but he makes for a terrible frontman. But Biden's awareness of the Uncle Joe Syndrome was enough to make me feel a little sorry for the guy. And then I read this story at Time today:
Vice President Joe Biden was kind enough to call Marty Walsh to congratulate him on his electoral victory Tuesday to become the next mayor of Boston. “You son of a gun, Marty!” he said. “You did it!”
One problem: Biden had the wrong Walsh.
Oh, Uncle Joe. You just can't win.
Sawant may not win a cushy leather seat at the city council dais this time around, but there’s no question that she won everything else: the spirit award, a dedicated base of Seattle progressives who are committed to helping her run again (and again, and again, if need be), and most importantly, the public debate. She framed the discussions that dominated both her own race and the mayoral race (such as raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour), forcing incumbent council members to at least feign allegiance to working-class voters instead of just the business bigwigs who routinely fund their reelection campaigns. Conlin may have out-fundraised Sawant two-to-one and had 16 years of name recognition from his tenure on the council, but voters are now quite aware that he’s also had few memorable legislative victories—and they’ll expect Conlin and his colleagues to prove their progressive bona fides before the next election. Not bad for an outspent outsider who turned Socialism from a pox to a pistol. Here’s how she did it.
For all the hype over her Socialist label, Sawant’s greatest strength has proven to be her focus on policy, putting forth a specific and relentlessly lefty agenda that helped her build momentum among union members and even some district Democrats—two denominations that normally vote en bloc for whomever their overlords recommend. She protested with striking fast-food workers. She waved signs with picketing taxi drivers. She got arrested while protesting bank foreclosures in South Park. She didn't do any of these actions to score political points—she’s an activist by nature, and these are the issues she cares about. In focusing on platforms instead of platitudes, she not only framed her race against Conlin—forcing him to run on the defensive, both with reactive mailers and talking points—but she also managed to inject her primary cause, a citywide $15 minimum wage, into the mayor’s race. In fact, last night Sawant vowed to run a $15/hour minimum wage initiative in Seattle in 2014.
During her campaign, she also:
Take issue with Senator Paul's characterization of Kentucky in the comments over here.
In other news, our new columnist recently lost his job as columnist for the Washington Times. Condolences.
The conservative civil war continues:
It took a flood of campaign donations from the business community and the backing of a large part of the Republican establishment, but Bradley Byrne, a lawyer and former state senator, successfully fought off a Tea Party-supported rival on Tuesday to become the Republican candidate for a House special election here in coastal Alabama.
The runoff was the first of what is likely to be many battles to come over the direction of the party, and it proved, to the relief of many in the Republican leadership, that a strong showing by the establishment can win tough races. But it also underscored just how difficult and costly such victories may be going forward.
The Tea Party is going to be as expensive to put down as it was to create.
Marty Walsh is the new mayor of Boston.
Bill di Blasio has won the race for mayor of New York by a landslide.
And NBC is calling the Virginia governor's race for Terry McAuliffe.
(This post has been moved up because HOORAY!)
UPDATE 2:13 PM: The Illinois House has voted in favor of marriage equality. Governor Quinn has previously announced his intention to sign the bill into law. I'm hearing that gay marriage will become legal in Illinois on June 1st, 2014.
ORIGINAL POST 11:15 AM: It's a big day for voting. BuzzFeed says:
The Illinois House will take a final vote on marriage equality legislation Tuesday, a leading advocate tells BuzzFeed. Previously, sources had said a vote would not take place until Wednesday at the earliest.
If passed in the House, the bill will be sent back to the Senate for a vote. The Senate already approved the previous version of the bill earlier this year.
Good luck, Illinois.
One of the things for which Kshama Sawant's critics love to make fun of her is her call for a millionaires tax to fund transit expansion. "We don't have the authority," an exasperated Richard Conlin exclaimed at a recent candidates forum, "We can't do that in this city."
But we can do that in this city. And in fact, we must do that in this city if we're ever going to have a hope of passing an income tax statewide.
First, let's dismiss with the common misconception about taxing authority: There is nothing in the state Constitution or the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) that explicitly denies municipal governments the authority to levy an income tax. Nothing. Go ahead—take a look. The legal barrier to an income tax stems from a 1933 state Supreme Court decision that defines income as property (every other court in the nation considers income to be a transaction), thus making an income tax unfeasible by subjecting it to the same constitutional and statutory limits as our property tax (a 1 percent aggregate cap, uniform rates, a maximum $15,000 exemption, and so on).
But there are two kinds of taxes under state law: Property taxes and, well, everything else. The sales tax, the B&O tax, the gas tax, the syrup tax, the oil spill response tax, etc.—these are all forms of excise taxes that are defined and regulated within the RCW. Many of these excise taxes are "privilege taxes"—taxes imposed on the privilege of engaging in a specific economic activity—and state law restricts cities' abilities to impose nearly every privilege tax you can conceive of. But earning income is not one them. Because, why bother? A local income tax has been unfeasible since 1933, so state lawmakers never saw the need to restrict or prohibit local governments from imposing one.
And cities have the authority to levy any privilege tax not explicitly restricted or denied to them under state law.
Slog tipper John points out that Kshama Sawant is heavily featured in this Vice Magazine report on the way that the Occupy movement is affecting politics. That makes two Seattle races that have captured the nation's attention.
Over the weekend, BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski noticed that Rand Paul doesn't just plagiarize descriptions of movies from Wikipedia entries. He also apparently cuts-and-pastes passages from think tank documents directly into his books:
An entire section of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s 2013 book Government Bullies was copied wholesale from a 2003 case study by the Heritage Foundation, BuzzFeed has learned. The copied section, 1,318 words, is by far the most significant instance reported so far of Paul borrowing language from other published material.
The new cut-and-paste job follows reports by BuzzFeed, Politico, and MSNBC that Paul had plagiarized speeches either from Wikipedia or news reports...In this case, Paul included a link to the Heritage case study in the book’s footnotes, though he made no effort to indicate that not just the source, but the words themselves, had been taken from Heritage.
How's Paul handling all these charges? By passive-aggressively challenging his accusers to an imaginary duel:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) fired back Sunday against accusations that he plagiarized portions of his speeches from Wikipedia articles, musing "if dueling were legal in Kentucky" he could "challenge" the charges.
Plagiarism in politics is a pretty serious deal. The whiff of plagiarism can linger on a candidate for years—reporters are people who take plagiarism very seriously—but it's not insurmountable. It just takes about twenty years or so for the stink to go away.
Maine state representative (and gubernatorial candidate) Mike Michaud came out of the closet over the weekend with an editorial titled "Yes, I’m gay. Now let’s get our state back on track." Here's the big moment:
So I wasn’t surprised to learn about the whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls some of the people opposed to my candidacy have been using to raise questions about my personal life. They want people to question whether I am gay.
Allow me to save them the trouble with a simple, honest answer: “Yes I am. But why should it matter?”
That may seem like a big announcement to some people. For me, it’s just a part of who I am, as much as being a third-generation mill worker or a lifelong Mainer. One thing I do know is that it has nothing to do with my ability to lead the state of Maine.
You should go read the whole editorial. It's a classy piece of writing, and it brings us one giant step closer to the moment when a gay candidate doesn't have to write something like this before running for office.
Now that reelection is secure and safe: "You people! Just do your job!"
That's what Chris Christie shouted today while his wife smiled at New Jersey public school teacher, Melissa Tomlinson, who dared approach him at the Rutgers football game rally and ask the question, "Why do you portray New Jersey Public Schools as 'failure factories?'"
John Nichols of The Nation has this and other things to say:
In the officially nonpartisan race, Conlin is backed by most of the Democratic leadership in the very Democratic city of Seattle; he’s also got the support of a number of major environmental groups. But both candidates have obtained endorsements from labor organizations and Sawant has won the enthusiastic support of the city’s politically potent alternative weekly The Stranger.Nichols provides a little Seattle socialist history and also a link to my piece, "The Return of the Alternative," which provides a wider history of the ups and downs of the political form that actually gave capitalism its name.
“An immigrant woman of color, an Occupy Seattle organizer, and an economics instructor at Seattle Central Community College, Sawant offers voters a detailed policy agenda, backed up by a coherent economic critique and a sound strategy for moving the political debate in a leftward direction,” argued The Stranger in an editorial that celebrated Sawant’s run. “She is passionate but thoughtful. She speaks comfortably on non-economic issues. She is likable. And most important, she’s winning over voters.”
#KshamaSawant speaking with Mayor McGinn about the fossil fuel divestment movement #nocoaltrain pic.twitter.com/3kM2ckPTMd
— Kshama Sawant (@VoteSawant) October 31, 2013
We have a secretive agency that costs $10.8 billion a year and can successfully tap into computers and cell phones on the other side of the planet. But, we can't launch a working health care web site.
ORIGINAL POST 12:37 PM: Slog tipper Sam wants us to know that Kshama Sawant will be answering questions on Reddit from 1 to 3 pm today. If you've got a question for our favorite socialist, this is your best chance to get an answer.
UPDATE 3:49 PM: And it's over. I'm bumping this post up to remind you to go take a look at the thread, which includes a substantive discussion on rent control, among other topics.
Obafemi Martins, a Seattle Sounders FC team member, does the right thing and endorses Kshama Sawant...
#ObafemiMartins of @SoundersFC endorses #Sawant #ConlinisGonelin @KUOWRoss @KUOWsteve @mudede http://t.co/DoeOpN1yqc pic.twitter.com/LI79Jm0wZr
— Kshama Sawant (@VoteSawant) November 1, 2013
The headline on TPM screams that a new poll finds that "More Americans Want To Keep Or Expand Obamacare Than Repeal It." True enough. The Kaiser Family Foundation poll of 1,513 Americans ages 18 and over finds that 47 percent of respondents want to keep or expand Obamacare, compared to only 37 percent who want to repeal it or replace it with a Republican alternative. Interesting.
But even more interesting is that when you go to Kaiser's website you find that their main takeaway from their October tracking poll is that "the public’s overall views of the ACA have held relatively steady." For example, Obamacare's favorable/unfavorable ratio was 38-44 in October compared to 39-43 in September and 35-43 in June. And while the September poll does not ask the same exact question on repeal, you can extrapolate the results quite easily: Only 81 percent those respondents with an unfavorable view of Obamacare in September expressed support for repeal. That comes to just 35 percent support in favor of repeal.
How is this possible? Well, only 33 percent of respondents in the September poll who held an unfavorable view of Obamacare expressed the opinion that the law went too far. Another 7 percent of respondents express disfavor because the law doesn't go far enough! It is a distinction that most media outlets gloss over in feeding the Republican frame that Obamacare is broadly unpopular with American voters. In fact, a significant chunk of public dissatisfaction with the law has always come from voters who would prefer a more sweeping public option or single payer system.
The top line favorable/unfavorable ratio has always been misleading as it lumps together the disparate reasons for disfavor while ignoring the fact that many voters are realistic about the choices before them. We've all voted for candidates we don't like, because the alternative was worse. In fact, a substantial majority of Americans who express an opinion support moving forward with Obamacare. Period. But you wouldn't know this from watching cable news.
So some guy who calls himself Darwin Rockantansky has written a post at Tea Party Nation about how the Obama campaign logo hides a much more sinister meaning. First, let him explain his credentials:
My wife has always told me that I have a creative mind (she may be biased) and “Finding Elmo” was always about a thirty second exercise for me. But somehow, looking at this symbol of oppression I cannot see either a rising sun nor do I see a horizon.
The blogger notices that the top of the "O" in the logo "does not resemble a rainbow as much as it resembles the muzzle of a large caliber firearm." But then he sees a bunch of good things: a plowed field; a well-traveled road; the "testament to the blood, sweat and tears sacrificed in the American journey to defend freedom around the world;" and a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. So what's wrong with those things? Turns out, nothing. It's the meaning behind the symbol that's so eeeeevil:
...as the National Socialists in Germany perverted what was historically a symbol meaning “this is good” into a symbol that will forever connote evil so the meaning of what the supporters of this regime would have us believe as their symbol of “..a sense of new hope” is in all actuality the symbol for heralding the extermination of the American Dream for all the world to see; the American Swastika.
As of this writing, Elmo remains at large.
(Via Addicting Info.)
Only three days after a federal judge blocked a new Texas law that threatened to shut down many of the state’s abortion clinics, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, reversed the decision, saying the rule should take effect while the case is argued in the months to come.
Abortion clinic owners and women’s health advocates said the decision would have catastrophic effects because as many as 13 of the 36 clinics providing abortions in the state would have to stop doing so immediately, forcing women in large swaths of Texas to travel several hours on at least two days to obtain abortions.
What's behind the reversal? A guy who wants to be the next Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott. He used his post as state attorney general to file an emergency appeal.
Republicans are still the party of no:
Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked confirmation of two Obama Administration nominees, signaling a return to the chamber’s protracted fight over White House appointments that led to talk of filibuster reform over the summer.
This is the sort of boring, everyday shit that the Senate is supposed to do on a daily basis; they're supposed to approve these positions after making sure that the appointees are competent. These appointments were not a big deal. They didn't symbolize anything. They just represented the Obama administration trying to do the work the American people sent them to Washington to do—twice. And Republicans refuse to do their fucking jobs. Why? Nobody knows why. I don't even know if they know why at this point. They blocked the confirmations because that's what they do, because the confirmations are what Obama wanted and Republicans are against what Obama wants.
One day in the not-so-distant future, young Democrats are going to wonder why President Obama didn't get more done. The sad thing is that most people are going to forget that it was the Republican Party that froze government for eight solid years, just because they refused to give the president a inch.
Just a reminder that our country is cutting more benefits and social programs than ever. Tomorrow's cuts are especially egregious:
That is when Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits are set to fall for more than 47 million lower-income people — 1 in 7 Americans — most of whom live in households with children, seniors or people with disabilities. Barring congressional intervention, the maximum payment for a family of four will shrink from $668 a month to $632, or $432 over the course of a year.
That amounts to 21 meals per month, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The cuts will leave participants in the program, better known as food stamps, with an average of $1.40 to spend on each meal. The amount people get could sink even more if Congress makes deeper cuts later this year when House and Senate lawmakers try to hammer out a farm bill.
As food gets more and more expensive—some of the most basic things that I buy, like fruits and vegetables, have noticeably increased in price over the last year—we're asking poor people to make do with less and less. And this is the safety net that low-wage employers like McDonald's are asking their employees to take advantage of! These are working poor people who are trying to do everything right, and starting tomorrow, they're going to have to make do with a lot less.