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Morning Digest: Is Utah's governor really retiring next year? Even he doesn't seem sure

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. LEAD
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Morning Digest: Is Utah's governor really retiring next year? Even he doesn't seem sure

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. LEADING OFF ● UT-Gov: On Tuesday, GOP Gov. Gary Herbert hosted a fundraiserfor Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who is considering running to succeed him in 2020. However, while Herbert, who has served since 2009, has long signaled that this will be his final term, it seems the political world may have been too hasty in listing him as retiring. When the local Fox affiliate asked the governor if he was interested in running again, he replied «Never say never,» though he added that he wouldn't be hosting a fundraiser for Cox if he didn't want him in the race. Campaign Action This isn't even the first time that Herbert has left the door open to running again. In April of 2017, Herbert was asked if he would seek a third full term in 2020 but begged off, saying it was too early to make a decision. The governor then proceeded to joke about running for Congress in 2018 (which he didn't do). When he was asked to clarify his comments, Herbert laughed and snarked, «Politicians are always clear,» and declined to comment further. The following January, The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the governor was still holding major fundraisers for his campaign, despite the apparent fact that he wasn't running again. Salt Lake Chamber head Derek Miller, a former Herbert chief of staff and current advisor, said at the time that Herbert was just raising money to support other candidates and paying for things he cared about, like flying veterans to D.C., and that he wasn't seeking re-election. However, in June, Miller was a whole lot less sure when asked if the governor would run again, saying, «I would say maybe, a definitive maybe,» and adding, «The reason I say that is I don't think he's reconsidering it, but I can tell you there are a lot of people who are asking him to reconsider.» Herbert's spokesperson also didn't rule out a 2020 bid on his boss's behalf, saying, «While it is true that many of Gov. Herbert's supporters have encouraged him to consider another run, there are no plans in place to seek an additional term.» For the moment at least, it looks like Herbert is sincere about wanting Cox to replace him. At Tuesday's fundraiser, despite his «never say never» remarks, Hebert opined that his lieutenant governor «needs to look into the possibility» of running for governor himself. Still, it feels like Herbert is at least giving some consideration towards running if Cox stays out.

Trump folds in State of the Union face-off with Pelosi

Despite sending a pair of snarly, snarky letters hinting that he intended to march into the House chamber with or without an invitation from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Donald Trump tweeted on Wednesday evening that he would hold off on delivering a State o
Daily Kos

Trump folds in State of the Union face-off with Pelosi

Despite sending a pair of snarly, snarky letters hinting that he intended to march into the House chamber with or without an invitation from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Donald Trump tweeted on Wednesday evening that he would hold off on delivering a State of the Union address until his shutdown of the government was over. Since this delay is exactly what Pelosi demanded from the beginning, it’s hard to see Trump’s statement as anything but a complete surrender. On Wednesday, Trump sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi in which he continued to play at ignoring her earlier request that he delay his speech until the crisis that he created in rejecting bipartisan legislation was resolved. In response Pelosi made her position clear: She would not introduce the legislation necessary to invite Trump to address a joint session of Congress. The immediate response from Republicans included a considerable amount of flying spittle, and suggestions of alternatives. Mitch McConnell could invite Trump to address the Senate. Trump could hold a rally. Maybe he could just drop in on the House and happen to start talking.  But hours later, Trump agreed to exactly what Pelosi has said at the beginning of the exchange—no government funding, no speech. The Washington Post called Trump’s move a “retreat.” The same right wing sites that were in high moral outrage over Pelosi’s refusal to invite Trump to get his moment in the spotlights, suddenly decided that the State of the Union speech was never that important anyway. The face off with Pelosi is a stark symbol of the year ahead for Trump. Having started a shutdown under a compliant Republican House after blowing off a legislation that passed the Senate 100-0, Trump has now encountered something he hasn’t seen since he entered the GOP primaries, if ever—someone willing to stand up to his childish demands and not back down. Pelosi’s actions set the tone for a 2019 in which Trump can no longer take arbitrary action and expect no opposition. Mitch McConnell may still be willing to subject the nation to any damage in order to gain more Republican judges, but on the House side of the aisle Trump’s agenda, such as it is, can expect to face constant demands for reason and fairness, factors that were nonissues in Trump’s  first two years. Score this one Trump zero, Pelosi all your base. And now … round two.

Cartoon: Donald Trump IS... Tariff Man!

FOLLOW @RubenBolling on the Twitters and a Face Book. JOIN the Proud & Mighty INNER HIVE. GET the EMU Club Adventures, Ruben Bolling’s series of kids’ books: Book One here. - Book Two here.
Daily Kos

Cartoon: Donald Trump IS... Tariff Man!

FOLLOW @RubenBolling on the Twitters and a Face Book. JOIN the Proud & Mighty INNER HIVE. GET the EMU Club Adventures, Ruben Bolling’s series of kids’ books: Book One here. - Book Two here.

Abbreviated pundit roundup: Suborning perjury; taxing the rich; making TVA a clean energy leader

At The New Republic, Marcy Wheeler, known for a decade and a half to her many readers as emptywheel, writes—How Trump Suborns Perjury: Even without BuzzFeed’s explosive report about Michael Cohen, the evidence shows that the president has persuaded his as
Daily Kos

Abbreviated pundit roundup: Suborning perjury; taxing the rich; making TVA a clean energy leader

At The New Republic, Marcy Wheeler, known for a decade and a half to her many readers as emptywheel, writes—How Trump Suborns Perjury: Even without BuzzFeed’s explosive report about Michael Cohen, the evidence shows that the president has persuaded his associates to lie to Congress and the feds: BuzzFeed set off a cascading series of controversies last week when it reported that President Donald Trump had “directed” his longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a Trump Tower deal in Moscow that was being negotiated during the 2016 election. The immediate takeaway was that, if the report were true, then Trump had committed a straightforwardly impeachable offense. The allegation was “so cut-and-dried that even Republicans would be hard-pressed not to consider impeachment,” wrote Aaron Blake in The Washington Post. Democrats in Congress raised the alarm. “If the President directed Cohen to lie to Congress, that is obstruction of justice. Period. Full stop,” Rhode Island’s David Cicilline, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted. But then, as happens so often in this presidency, the story quickly became clouded by uncertainty and accusations of media bias. The office of the special counsel issued its first public response to a specific story since Robert Mueller began investigating Russia’s involvement in the election. “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate,” the statement read. You could practically hear the sighs of relief in the Oval Office. Trump even went so far as to express gratitude to Mueller, his most implacable enemy: “I appreciate the special counsel coming out with a statement last night,” he said. “I think it was very appropriate that they did so, I very much appreciate that.” But there’s no reason to doubt that Trump has, in fact, repeatedly instructed subordinates to tell lies to Congress and law enforcement authorities, including lies that amount to crimes. The difference is that the media outlets that reported those other cases didn’t say, explicitly, that the president “directed” his aides to lie. Another important difference is the way in which Trump gets his subordinates to lie, which has served to delay the moment when we all admit that he is quite clearly suborning perjury. xFive people where killed today in Florida and our government continues to send their thoughts and prayers. #Enough— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) January 24, 2019

Open thread for night owls: Excerpts from the February Harper's Index

Okay, it’s a little delayed given that the Harper’s Index regularly comes out around the 15th of the month previous to the publication date, but better late than …. you know. It was the fault of my vacation, which was 50 percent dedicated to serious veg
Daily Kos

Open thread for night owls: Excerpts from the February Harper's Index

Okay, it’s a little delayed given that the Harper’s Index regularly comes out around the 15th of the month previous to the publication date, but better late than …. you know. It was the fault of my vacation, which was 50 percent dedicated to serious vegging and 50 percent catching up on reading books (remember those?). I didn’t actually catch up, but I did shorten the stack somewhat: Portion of Americans who believe another world war is likely: 2/3 Percentage of Americans who say they would be “not at all” willing to volunteer to fight in another world war: 42 Who say they would be “very” or “somewhat” willing: 31 Estimated percentage chance that the UN’s “worst-case scenario” for  global warming is too optimistic: 35 Year by which a Norwegian company aims to use dead fish to help  power cruise ships: 2021 Percentage of US college graduates whose first jobs do not typically require a college degree: 43 Of college graduates whose jobs five years after graduation do not typically  require a college degree: 35 Average value of labor that US employees annually donate to their employers by  not taking vacation days: $561 Time at which Arkansas shuts down the website on which Medicaid recipients must report their work hours: 9:00 pm Number of states with lower rates of internet access than Arkansas: 0 Percentage of 18- to 29-year-old social-media users who say it’s acceptable for their data to be used to personalize ads: 54 Who say it’s acceptable for their data to be used to show them messages  from political campaigns: 35 Number of degrees since 1999 by which the Leaning Tower of Pisa  has straightened: 0.55 TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES QUOTATION “The feminists had destroyed the old image of woman, but they could not erase the hostility, the prejudice, the discrimination that still remained.”                  ~~Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, 1963 TWEET OF THE DAY xThis shutdown put in place by @realDonaldTrump violates treaties between the federal government and tribal nations. #HonorTribes and end the shutdown today! https://t.co/lZhBql8egZ— Utah Diné Bikéyah (@UtahDineBikeyah) January 23, 2019 BLAST FROM THE PAST On this date at Daily Kos in 2006—Extend Debate on Alito: It seems clear to me that the significance of Alito's views on executive power, access to the courts, civil liberties, the right to privacy, the federal Commerce power, and a myriad of other issues, is only now coming into proper focus. More time is needed for the Senate to properly carry out its Constitutional function of advice and consent. An appointment to the Supreme Court is for a lifetime. Samuel Alito is 55 years old and, like Justice O'Connor, is likely to sit on the Court for a quarter century if confirmed. Given the stakes, an additional period of consideration and debate seems appropriate. The length of this additional period need not necessarily be long nor the debate protracted. It seems to me that with a fairly brief period of consideration, the members of the Senate can chart a course for appropriate action regarding Judge Alito. LINK TO DAILY KOS STORE On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: The shutdown drags on. It’s anybody's guess how the Senate votes on it tomorrow. Greg Dworkin and Joan McCarter frame the (in)action. Ivanka bags bizarre new Chinese trademarks. Trump photoshops himself some weight loss & longer fingers. x Embedded Content RadioPublic|LibSyn|YouTube|Patreon|Square Cash (Share code: Send $5, get $5!)

Trump allows South Carolina foster care agency to discriminate against Jewish families

After months of speculation, the Trump administration has used the cover of a shut-down government to greenlight the kind of discrimination that recalls policies of Nazi Germany. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar signed a waiver on Wednesday
Daily Kos

Trump allows South Carolina foster care agency to discriminate against Jewish families

After months of speculation, the Trump administration has used the cover of a shut-down government to greenlight the kind of discrimination that recalls policies of Nazi Germany. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar signed a waiver on Wednesday that allows Miracle Hill Ministries, a federally funded Protestant foster care agency in South Carolina, to break federal law. The law that Miracle Hill Ministries has been given the right to break is one that usually protects people of faith from being discriminated against. In this case, Jewish families are being discriminated against by Miracle Hill Ministries, by being denied the chance to foster children in Miracle Hill’s network—under the foster agency’s “strict religious requirements.” The waiver argues that HHS nondiscrimination regulations are broader than those outlined in the specific Foster Care Program Statute, which specifies that agencies receiving federal funding can’t deny foster parents based on race, color, or national origin — but not religion. As the Intercept points out, multiply indicted Texas State Attorney General Ken Paxton has issued a request for a similar waiver, but in his case he hopes to get federal waivers allowing discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation as well as religion. It’s relatively hackneyed at this point to mention how the “religious freedom” that conservatives speak of seems to refer to all of the things religions want to discriminate against others for. And yet, here we are again.

Blue Origin launches New Shepard rocket for 10th flight

At its Boca Chica, Texas, location, SpaceX suffered a delay when a storm toppled the nose section of the Star Hopper test vehicle, setting back plans for testing. Meanwhile, across the state at Blue Origin’s launch facility, the company that could be Space
Daily Kos

Blue Origin launches New Shepard rocket for 10th flight

At its Boca Chica, Texas, location, SpaceX suffered a delay when a storm toppled the nose section of the Star Hopper test vehicle, setting back plans for testing. Meanwhile, across the state at Blue Origin’s launch facility, the company that could be SpaceX’s biggest rival in the near future got off another flight of its suborbital New Shepard rocket. x x YouTube Video The 10th flight of the reusable New Shepard booster and capsule still didn’t carry any human crew, but it did bring along eight NASA-sponsored experimental payloads. Those payloads spent a brief time in space as the capsule arced to an altitude of 107 km (355,000 feet or 66 miles) in a flight lasting just over 10 minutes. New Shepard is slated to begin carrying human beings on suborbital flights later in the year and is expected to eventually become Blue Origin’s platform for space tourism. Meanwhile, Blue Origin is also well along in the development of its much larger New Glenn vehicle. The scheduled first flight of the large (large) New Glenn orbital rocket is slated for 2021. The actual launch doesn’t occur until just after the 42-minute mark in the linked video, so scroll ahead if impatient. The booster lands on its tail at the 50-minute mark, with the capsule parachuting to earth at 52:50. Meanwhile, the first uncrewed mission for the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule has been rescheduled for Feb. 7.

Harris Wofford, a Martin Luther King ally who played key role in JFK's narrow win, dies at 92

Former Sen. Harris Wofford, a Pennsylvania Democrat who served from 1991 until he was defeated by Rick Santorum in the 1994 GOP wave, died Monday at the age of 92. Wofford, whom the New Republic dubbed “The Man Who Was Everywhere” in a must-read 2014 pro
Daily Kos

Harris Wofford, a Martin Luther King ally who played key role in JFK's narrow win, dies at 92

Former Sen. Harris Wofford, a Pennsylvania Democrat who served from 1991 until he was defeated by Rick Santorum in the 1994 GOP wave, died Monday at the age of 92. Wofford, whom the New Republic dubbed “The Man Who Was Everywhere” in a must-read 2014 profile by Jason Zengerle, had a very long career in public service despite only spending a few years in elected office. Among many other things, he was an early supporter of Martin Luther King Jr. and an aide on John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign. He even helped convince JFK to defy his campaign advisors and call Coretta Scott King after her husband was arrested, a politically risky move that probably tipped the election towards Kennedy. Wofford was born in upstate New York into a wealthy family of transplanted Southerners, and at the age of 11, he accompanied his grandmother on a six-month tour around the world. In perhaps the first example of Wofford’s Forrest Gump-like presence at major historical events, he personally witnessed Italian dictator Benito Mussolini declaring that he was withdrawing Italy from the League of Nations, an announcement that Wofford later recounted was followed by “a fascist torchlight parade.” However, it was his stop in India, where Wofford saw and became fascinated by Mahatma Gandhi and his nonviolence movement, that would most impact his future. Wofford would later say that he returned from the trip as a “know-it-all foreign policy expert.” In high school, Wofford founded a group called Student Federalists that called for united world government. The organization would grow to include 30 chapters, and when he was only 18, Newsweek published an article predicting he would be president. The Student Federalists would later transform into the group that is now known as Citizens for Global Solutions. Wofford went on to serve stateside in the Army Air Corps during World War II and later enrolled in graduate school at the University of Chicago. In 1948, he married fellow student Clare Lindgren, and the two traveled throughout India and Pakistan, which had just gained their independence from the British Empire and where Wofford studied the recently murdered Gandhi and civil disobedience. Wofford would later recount that Gandhi’s disciples asked him about the nascent civil rights movement back in America, a movement that he would soon become immersed in.

New court-ordered Virginia House map gives Democrats a great chance to take the majority this year

On Tuesday, the federal court that last year struck down 11 Republican-drawn state House districts in Virginia for unconstitutionally diminishing the power of black voters ordered the adoption of a replacement map to remedy the GOP’s now-invalid gerrymander
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New court-ordered Virginia House map gives Democrats a great chance to take the majority this year

On Tuesday, the federal court that last year struck down 11 Republican-drawn state House districts in Virginia for unconstitutionally diminishing the power of black voters ordered the adoption of a replacement map to remedy the GOP’s now-invalid gerrymander. The court’s map is similar to the Democratic plaintiffs' proposals and makes changes to more than two dozen of the chamber’s 100 districts, since many of those adjacent to the illegal districts need to be redrawn as well. As a result, this map would give black voters greater clout in several districts, consequently making several Republican-held seats considerably bluer ahead of this November's elections. In fact, as you can see in the map at the top of this post (see here for a larger version), Hillary Clinton won 56 districts to just 44 for Donald Trump, a big jump from Clinton’s 51-49 advantage under the old lines. In the House, Republicans are clinging to a 51-49 edge. As the map below demonstrates, none of these 49 Democratic incumbents would hold Trump seats (currently one does). On the flip side, seven Republicans would be placed into Clinton districts, compared to just three right now: Tim Hugo (HD-40), Kirk Cox (HD-66), Chris Jones (HD-76), Christopher Stolle (HD-83), Gordon Helsel (HD-91), David Yancey (HD-94), and Robert Bloxom (HD-100). Click to enlarge In a fitting twist, Cox is the state House speaker, and his district would flip from backing Trump heavily to voting for Clinton by a 50-46 margin. And as analyst Chaz Nuttycombe notes, Jones was the architect of the GOP’s original map that the courts struck down, while Yancey infamously won re-election in 2017 thanks to a tiebreaker that never should have happened in the first place. Democrats could therefore enjoy a whole lot of karma on their way toward winning their first majority in more than 20 years.

Michigan sheriff's office limits ICE cooperation after U.S.-born Marine veteran nearly deported

A Kent County, Michigan, sheriff’s office has announced that it will no longer hold detainees to hand over to deportation agents unless they have an order signed by a judge or magistrate, after the sheriff’s office transferred a U.S.-born Marine veter
Daily Kos

Michigan sheriff's office limits ICE cooperation after U.S.-born Marine veteran nearly deported

A Kent County, Michigan, sheriff’s office has announced that it will no longer hold detainees to hand over to deportation agents unless they have an order signed by a judge or magistrate, after the sheriff’s office transferred a U.S.-born Marine veteran to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation last month.  Lance corporal and tank crewman Jilmar Ramos-Gomez, who has post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Afghanistan, had been held by the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, “accused of trespassing and damaging a fire alarm at a Grand Rapids hospital.” But as he was set to be released, “authorities then contacted ICE because it believed the incident may have been a possible act of terrorism, according to a statement released by the police department.” ICE claims that the Michigan-born man told them that he was undocumented, but ICE lies, and quite frequently. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) believes it was more of a case of good old-fashioned racism. “”If his name is John Smith, ICE isn’t interviewing him,’ Miriam Aukerman, a senior attorney with the ACLU of Michigan, told BuzzFeed News.” The veteran was held for three days before being released to family, and is now reportedly getting mental health care.  Under a barrage of public blowback, the sheriff’s office will now limit cooperation with ICE—which it should have done from the start—by honoring only judicial warrants (PSA: if ICE agents show up to your home with warrant in hand but its not signed by a judge, ’ICE is not allowed to enter or search your home’”). “The basic probable cause standard used in every other area of law enforcement will now be applied to ICE, at least in Kent County,” noted WOOD TV.  «Jilmar’s case,” Aukerman continued, “shows that blindly turning people over to ICE based on ICE’s error-ridden detainer system is a recipe for disaster. We call on local law enforcement across the country to follow the lead of the Kent County Sheriff, and ensure that no one gets held for ICE unless a judge signs off.  We also call on ICE—which has refused to do an investigation—to do so.»

Trump offered NASA unlimited funding to go to Mars ... by 2020

Donald Trump presented his new NASA administrator with a bit of a conundrum: an unlimited check if he could plant the flag on Mars—by 2020. New York Magazine reports that Trump was conducting a publicity call to astronauts aboard the International Spa
Daily Kos

Trump offered NASA unlimited funding to go to Mars ... by 2020

Donald Trump presented his new NASA administrator with a bit of a conundrum: an unlimited check if he could plant the flag on Mars—by 2020. New York Magazine reports that Trump was conducting a publicity call to astronauts aboard the International Space Station when his mind began to wander. Not only did Trump step out on his call to the space (a televised call) to make a quick trip to the bathroom, he also developed an on-the-spot “fantasy” of putting men on Mars before the end of his first term. The incident, from the new book Team of Vipers about life in the Trump White House, threatened to derail every priority at NASA and set the nation on a new space race whose only goal was satisfying Trump’s vanity. During the call, Trump asked one of the astronauts about Mars, and was reminded that he had himself just signed a directive that set a date in the 2030s for human missions to the red planet. Trump, astonished to learn what he had already put his name to, was unhappy with this. Instead he replied that he wanted to make it happen “in my first term or at worst in my second term.” The administrator attempted to explain to Trump the extreme distance—over 200 times farther than the Moon, even when the Earth and Mars are at their closest approach—and NASA’s lack of any vehicle that could sustain astronauts for the time and conditions that would be required. But Trump had an answer. Trump: But what if I gave you all the money you could ever need to do it? What if we sent NASA’s budget through the roof, but focused entirely on that instead of whatever else you’re doing now. Could it work then? it was a crazy thing for Trump to do. However, the honest answer to that question is … maybe. Depending on just what it means to put humans on Mars.

New Democratic governors move their states forward on Medicaid, equal pay, and more

While House Democrats fight to reopen the federal government, the new Democratic governors elected across the country are working to move their states forward—a particularly big job for those who flipped seats in November, and even more so for those still c
Daily Kos

New Democratic governors move their states forward on Medicaid, equal pay, and more

While House Democrats fight to reopen the federal government, the new Democratic governors elected across the country are working to move their states forward—a particularly big job for those who flipped seats in November, and even more so for those still contending with Republican-controlled state legislatures. A Democratic Governors Association round-up offers some highlights: In Maine, Gov. Janet Mills finally expanded Medicaid after former Gov. Paul LePage had repeatedly vetoed Medicaid expansion, even blocking it after voters approved it in 2017. Already more than 500 Mainers have gotten covered. In Wisconsin, while Republican legislators are standing in the way of Gov. Tony Evers’ push on Medicaid expansion, Evers signed an order that “instructs three state agencies to develop plans and offer recommendations on how to protect insurance coverage for people with preexisting conditions, make health plans more affordable and accessible, create insurance literacy curriculum for students and require insurers to be transparent about health plan costs, coverage and benefits.” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order promoting equal pay for women and men working for the state. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly reinstated employment non-discrimination protections for LGBT state employees that former Gov. Sam Brownback had ended, because of course he did. And Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is taking aim at sexual harassment with a new task force. Undoing Republican damage will be the work of years if not generations, but it’s good to get the job started.

'This is the first time I've had to ask for help': Shutdown sends federal workers to food banks

The government shutdown has federal workers lining up at food banks to get by while their paychecks aren’t coming. Whether they’re off the job or required to work without pay, people need to eat. In Washington, D.C., the Capital Area Food Bank offered po
Daily Kos

'This is the first time I've had to ask for help': Shutdown sends federal workers to food banks

The government shutdown has federal workers lining up at food banks to get by while their paychecks aren’t coming. Whether they’re off the job or required to work without pay, people need to eat. In Washington, D.C., the Capital Area Food Bank offered pop-up sites for federal workers Saturday morning, giving food to 1,140 people—people who’d mostly been accustomed to donating money to food banks, not getting food from them. “For many, many years, I sent in donations to the Capital Area Food Bank,” one older woman told a volunteer as she picked up food. “This is the first time I’ve had to ask for help.” Hundreds of Coast Guard families visited food banks in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, and Novato, California, while in some locations, FBI field offices are setting up their own food banks where employees who are able to donate can leave food for coworkers who need it. The FBI has also seen an increase in workers asking permission to do outside work—they aren’t allowed to take just any job. Chef José Andrés has opened a kitchen offering free lunches to federal workers in Washington, D.C., and has served thousands of meals per day.

Denver public school teachers vote to strike

Even dubious threats from management could not sway Denver teachers from voting on Tuesday to authorize a strike. Ongoing negotiations have come to an impasse as Denver officials haven’t been able to meet the Denver Classroom Teachers Association’s deman
Daily Kos

Denver public school teachers vote to strike

Even dubious threats from management could not sway Denver teachers from voting on Tuesday to authorize a strike. Ongoing negotiations have come to an impasse as Denver officials haven’t been able to meet the Denver Classroom Teachers Association’s demands—seemingly unwilling to part with $8 million dollars, or 1 percent of the school system’s budget. As one teacher told CNN, «Oh, we have to strike. We have no choice.»  With terrible salaries and very little in incentives, the Denver public school system has faced an issue facing many school systems: incredibly low retention rates. New and young teachers are great and full of energy, but they get better—as do we all—from experience. That experience directly benefits the students and communities they serve. If they are unwilling or unable to remain teachers for years to come, everybody loses. And according to the teachers union, 31 percent of teachers in the Denver system have been at the school they teach at for less than 3 years. That is unacceptable. DCTA hopes to alleviate the high turnover with changes to Denver teachers' pay, which the union says prohibits some teachers from paying for housing in the area and forces some to take on second jobs. As an example of the hardships Denver teachers face, the union cited a teacher who taught in Indianapolis and Chicago before moving to Colorado. The teacher makes $10,000 less in Denver than he did in Indianapolis and $15,000 less than he did in Chicago, the union said in its statement. According to NPR, 93 percent of the teachers voted to strike. Work stoppage could begin as soon as this coming Monday, Jan. 28.

Gallup: Uninsured rate highest in 4 years, with 7 million losing coverage under Trump

Since 2008, the Gallup organization has tracked the uninsured rate through a quarterly survey of Americans in which they report their own health insurance coverage. Its National Health and Well-being Index has repeatedly and accurately reflected the state of
Daily Kos

Gallup: Uninsured rate highest in 4 years, with 7 million losing coverage under Trump

Since 2008, the Gallup organization has tracked the uninsured rate through a quarterly survey of Americans in which they report their own health insurance coverage. Its National Health and Well-being Index has repeatedly and accurately reflected the state of healthcare access for Americans, and what it tell us now is not good. The uninsured rate has reached a four-year high, to 13.7 percent. That's the highest rate since the Affordable Care Act reforms were implemented and Medicaid expansion began. Beginning from a historic high of nearly one-fifth of Americans uninsured—18 percent in 2013—it had dropped to 10.9 percent in the last two quarters of 2016, a historic low. Because, of course, there was Obamacare. Along comes the Russian asset in the White House and a Republican House and Senate, and all the sabotage that goes along with that, and this is the result. Which, by the way, the Republicans knew was going to happen, and which they're absolutely fine with. The pre-Obamacare status quo was just fine, because what do they care if people  bankrupt themselves to get health care or simply die? Somebody was profiting, and turning those profits into campaign contributions. We're inching our way back to that status quo. The groups Gallup found were most likely to lose their coverage were women, low-income people, and people under 35. The uninsured rate for women, in fact, is the fastest-rising, and increased from about 9 percent at the end of 2016 to almost 13 percent at the end of last year. Younger people and poorer people, however, make up the largest percentages, with more than a quarter of people whose household income is less than $24,000 uninsured, and nearly 22 percent of adults under 25 lacking coverage. Regionally, the South has the worst number, with nearly 20 percent uninsured. Medicaid expansion was nearly uniformly rejected by southern states, and this is the result. Even when uninsured rates were their lowest in 2016, those states still had nearly 16 percent uninsured. What this means is that 7 million Americans have lost coverage in two years. That's problematic, to say the least, for health advocates and providers. «Research shows uninsured individuals are more apt to skip cancer screenings, delay getting necessary care and ultimately are more likely to have their cancer diagnosed at a later stage when survival is less likely and costs are higher,» says Chris Hansen, president of the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society. It is «deeply troubling to see more Americans becoming uninsured,» he added. We're going to have another healthcare election in 2020, and it's going to result in Democrats winning, again.

Democrats want to raise purchase age for assault-style weapons, impose universal background checks

Thanks to the Democratic victory in November and what advocates say is a new national attitude regarding the pervasiveness of firearms in America, 20 gun-related bills and resolutions have been introduced in the 116th Congress so far this year, including 13
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Democrats want to raise purchase age for assault-style weapons, impose universal background checks

Thanks to the Democratic victory in November and what advocates say is a new national attitude regarding the pervasiveness of firearms in America, 20 gun-related bills and resolutions have been introduced in the 116th Congress so far this year, including 13 in the House of Representatives. Another was to be added Wednesday by Democratic Rep. Anthony Brown of Maryland and dozens of co-sponsors. It would raise the minimum age to buy semi-automatic assault-style weapons from 18 to 21. Federal statute already prohibits sales of handguns to anyone under 21. Four states—Washington, Illinois, Florida, and Vermont—already set the age limit for assault-style weapons at 21, and seven others, including California and New York, ban sales of such weapons to anyone. The National Rifle Association is suing Florida over its law. Brown brought the same legislation last year in the wake of the slaughter of 17 students and staffers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The murderer was 18 when he legally bought the semi-automatic assault-style rifle used in the slayings. Brown’s bill failed to pass the Republican-dominated House in 2018, but now Democrats have the majority. Three Republicans have joined as co-sponsors—Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Brian Mast of Florida, and Peter King of New York. The bill includes exemptions for active-duty military personnel and some police officers: Last March, Trump told a group of lawmakers in a meeting that aired live on cable news that he supported raising the minimum age to purchase semi-automatic weapons to 21. “It doesn’t make sense that I have to wait until I’m 21 to get a handgun, but I can get this weapon at 18,” Trump said then. The remark stunned Capitol Hill. Within weeks, however, Trump reversed his position after a high-profile meeting with the National Rifle Association. Chances are slim that such a bill would be passed—or even considered—in the Senate, where the Republicans have a 53-47 majority over Democrats and Democratic-caucusing independents. And, of course, the squatter in the Oval Office would veto it if it did. But as in the case of a broad range of bills being introduced in the House this year, Brown’s and other gun proposals are seen as providing legislative ammunition to help spur voters to give Democrats the Senate majority and the White House in the 2020 election, and thus provide them the political clout to actually turn those bills into law. In other words, this is messaging legislation. 

Trump claimed there were no plans for Trump Tower Moscow. There were plans

BuzzFeed is still sticking with its story that Donald Trump instructed Michael Cohen to lie during his testimony before a congressional committee, and since Rudy Giuliani spent the weekend confessing that, sure, Trump might have coached Cohen on his testimon
Daily Kos

Trump claimed there were no plans for Trump Tower Moscow. There were plans

BuzzFeed is still sticking with its story that Donald Trump instructed Michael Cohen to lie during his testimony before a congressional committee, and since Rudy Giuliani spent the weekend confessing that, sure, Trump might have coached Cohen on his testimony, it seems more probable than ever that the core of that original story was correct all along. And now BuzzFeed is back with another story on that Moscow Project, showing that, far from being an idea that Trump was just kicking around, or a passing fancy dropped when the campaign got serious, it was actually this project that was Trump’s “lifetime goal.” Forget the election: What Trump wanted most was a massive tower that would have dominated the city skyline, been among the world’s ten tallest buildings, and generated a massive boost to both Trump’s ego and his bottom line. xTrump’s Lawyer Said There Were “No Plans” For Trump Tower Moscow. Here They Are. https://t.co/4vvkufJ8Ci— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) January 22, 2019 The Moscow Project was everything that Donald Trump wanted. It would put his name on a blazing diamond more than 100 stories above the Moscow streets. It would provide a lavish home to the nation’s undisputed ruler. And it would give Trump a much more direct pipeline to the wallets of the oligarchs whose money he had been laundering for over a decade.  It wasn’t just a dream. It was an architectural design completed in New York and sent to Trump’s Moscow agents in 2015. The same oligarchs Trump had been dealing with were telling him that they were ready to build this monster with his name on it. And there’s no doubt at all that this was more than enough to get Trump to go along with absolutely anything.

With DACA safe for now, advocates urge beneficiaries to use 'the extra cushion' and renew early

The Supreme Court’s refusal this week to fast track the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) case was a blow to the Trump administration and has bought program beneficiaries more time to renew their protections—and immigrant youth leaders are c
Daily Kos

With DACA safe for now, advocates urge beneficiaries to use 'the extra cushion' and renew early

The Supreme Court’s refusal this week to fast track the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) case was a blow to the Trump administration and has bought program beneficiaries more time to renew their protections—and immigrant youth leaders are calling on them to not waste any of that time.  The administration had been trying to leapfrog the legal process and go straight to the Supreme Court to challenge lower court decisions that had partially resurrected DACA. Following the Supreme Court declining that demand, the case will most likely now be heard in the fall—meaning a decision could come in the first half of 2020—giving beneficiaries a precious buffer to get renewed two-year permits under their belts. “I thought for me this was going to be my last go around for the program,” said Sheridan Aguirre of United We Dream (UWD), the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the U.S. “Thankfully, we have the extra cushion.” Greisa Martinez, another UWD leader, ”said she’ll be getting her application in by next week. Her DACA was set to end in June.” The group has created a hub to assist DACA recipients with the process. While the importance of DACA cannot be overstated, it doesn’t change the fact that immigrant youth shouldn’t have to keep living their lives from court decision to court decision, worried that their current work permit might be their last. What immigrant youth need is certainty, and while DACA has been life-changing, it doesn’t match permanent relief in the form of a pathway to citizenship. What immigrant youth also know is that the current immigration “deal” from the Trump administration is a deal only for its white supremacist agenda, trading some DACA recipients’ temporary protections for a permanent wall, devastating changes to asylum, and generating more money for detention and mass deportation agents. “No way,” said Martinez. And, renew, renew, renew.

Mass arrest of federal employees outside Sen. McConnell's office: 'Where is Mitch? We want to work!'

Federal employees are growing increasingly impatient as they stand to miss their third paycheck. Today they took their complaints directly where they belong—to the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who refuses to even bring a bill to open th
Daily Kos

Mass arrest of federal employees outside Sen. McConnell's office: 'Where is Mitch? We want to work!'

Federal employees are growing increasingly impatient as they stand to miss their third paycheck. Today they took their complaints directly where they belong—to the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who refuses to even bring a bill to open the U.S. government to the floor for a vote and get back to work.  Here is video of the federal employees putting their bodies on the line outside Mitch McConnell’s office, chanting “Where is Mitch?” and “We want to work!” xLive from Mitch McConnell’s office https://t.co/qJghfWTbtg— Kristin Mink (@KristinMinkDC) January 23, 2019 After the federal employees were arrested and the hall was clear, Getty photographer Win MacNamee captured a jovial, extremely-wealthy-and-not-missing-any-paychecks Senator McConnell returning to his office.

How the 'cultural Marxism' hoax began, and why it's spreading into the mainstream

It all seems plausible enough on the outside, especially for people conditioned to think of Communism as a conspiracy-driven enterprise aimed at overturning Western capitalist societies. Why wouldn’t Marxism, which is mainly devoted to economics, also have
Daily Kos

How the 'cultural Marxism' hoax began, and why it's spreading into the mainstream

It all seems plausible enough on the outside, especially for people conditioned to think of Communism as a conspiracy-driven enterprise aimed at overturning Western capitalist societies. Why wouldn’t Marxism, which is mainly devoted to economics, also have cultural component that complements its ultimate goal? That’s the claim made, anyway, by right-wing pundits and thinkers who insist that “cultural Marxism” is the underlying belief system that brought multiculturalism to the modern world, and is now forcing it all down our throats as “political correctness.” It’s become a common reference in recent years as conservatives have increasingly attacked multiculturalism in the public square. From Fox News to Breitbart to pop philosophers such as Jordan Peterson, “cultural Marxism” is increasingly identified as the source of everything wrong with modern liberal democracies. The problem with these claims, however, is that they are fundamentally groundless. The only place that “cultural Marxism” actually exists is within a very narrow and relatively minor faction of academia, and in the fertile imaginations of the right-wing ideologues who see it as the wellspring of a nefarious conspiracy to undermine and eventually destroy Western civilization. The whole concept is essentially a kind of hoax, a conspiracy theory concocted by radical white nationalists in the 1990s to explain the spread of multiculturalism, and nurtured by a combination of neo-Nazis and nativists over the ensuing years, as it gradually spread to mainstream conservatism through the activism of a handful of key players. It is also deeply anti-Semitic at its root, offering essentially an updated version of the classic “Protocols of the Seven Elders of Zion” conspiracy theory, postulating a scenario in which a cabal of elite Jews conspires in secret to inflict all the ills of modernity onto society for their own benefit.

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