‘I am not a scientist’, say Republicans, so let’s just ignore the people who are

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 20-10-2014-05-2008

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U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) makes a point about his meeting with President Barack Obama regarding the country's debt ceiling, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington May 12, 2011.   REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst   (UNITED STA

'It also may be time to sacrifice a goat to the volcano gods.'

Goal ThermometerThe Rude Pundit notes that the Republican “I am not a scientist, so let’s do nothing” talking point that gets used for climate change does not similarly extend to the panic of the moment.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on why we shouldn’t do anything about climate change: “I’m not a scientist. I’m interested in protecting Kentucky’s economy.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on why we should take strict measures to prevent the spread of Ebola: “”I’m not an expert on this, but it strikes me that it would be a good idea to discontinue flights into the United States from that part of the world.”

I am not an expert, so we should probably just do whatever I say is a good conservative talking point that doesn’t get used often enough.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on why he doesn’t want to say how much human activity contributes to climate change: “I’d leave it to the scientists to decide how much, what it means, and what the consequences are…Let the scientists debate and figure that out.”

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on why we should act preemptively to stop Ebola’s spread: “It’s pretty clear they refused to take common sense steps and call for the ban of these flights…That’s been something I’ve been calling on for quite some time now. This is just common sense. Why in the world wouldn’t we do this?”

You told us common sense dictated that we shouldn’t be monitoring the nation’s volcanoes, presumably because monitoring them ruined the element of surprise when one blew. Your common sense, to use the scientific term for it, sucks.

So the climate experts are telling us that climate change is real, and the medical experts are telling us that any safety we feel from banning direct flights to West Africa won’t be real, and in both cases the answer is to ignore the experts and just do the thing that ideology demands because it feels good. Well, at least it’s consistent. You can base a whole movement around it.

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Idaho wedding chapel files lawsuit demanding right to discriminate against same-sex couples

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 20-10-2014-05-2008

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Rainbow flag

Marriage equality continues to hurt businesschurch fee-fees.

Goal ThermometerFreedom and liberty have a new defender. It’s the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, which insists that having to accommodate same-sex couples will make a mockery of their deeply religious beliefs as to who should or should not be very religiously hitched and to which post. So with the help of the usual freedom-lovers, they’re making a preemptive stand.

The complaint suggests that because the city will only prosecute businesses who oppose same-sex marriages, it constitutes “rank viewpoint discrimination.” They seek to have the law declared unconstitutional, at least as applied to them, for violating their rights to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, equal protection under the law, and due process of law. As ordained ministers with the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, they worry that they risk discipline from the Church if they perform a wedding not sanctioned by their beliefs.

Ah, the perils of running a public business that has to serve all comers, even gay people and ethnic people and women who wear pants instead of dresses. How will the righteous survive?

Indeed, the Hitching Post is a for-profit business, but with help from [Alliance Defending Freedom], the Knapps have been gearing up for this challenge for some time by redefining their business in more religious terms. [...]

Jeremy Hooper notes that back in May when it was first in the news, the Hitching Post Chapel’s website said that the Knapps offered a “traditional or civil ceremony” for weddings and that they also would “perform wedding ceremonies of other faiths.” Though the website still said as much as recently as October 9, 2014, the old language has been scrubbed and the Hitching Post now only offers “a traditional Christian wedding ceremony.”

This is the new battle line. We used to have a fairly clear grasp of what was a church and what was not a church; the new trend is to assert that your business is both a for-profit company and a religious institution, depending on who’s asking. It’s not just wedding venues and flower shops, now you have deeply religious hobby supply stores and God-seeking furniture factories and presumably even things like Fracking For Jesus, why not, which will be regular fracking but with the insistence that the chemicals injected into the ground are God’s Love so everyone else has to shut up.

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I honestly don’t know how this one will turn out. The theory that craft supply stores ought to be able to restrict the medical rights of their female employees if their owners have the Deep Spiritual Belief that those women might be sluts has opened up the door to, seemingly, any company being able to veto the legal rights of any employee or customer or truck driver if they can claim their religion says that person shouldn’t have that established public right. If the place that sells Chinese-made pipe cleaners is now considered a corporate church, isn’t a Hitching Post at least twice as sacred?

Hearing on Ebola response funding scheduled in Democratic Senate

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 20-10-2014-05-2008

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Senator Barbara Mikulski addresses the Maryland Space Business Roundtable (MSBR) Luncheon at Martins Crosswinds in Greenbelt, Maryland on Monday, April 11, 2011...The MSBR is an organization that encourages the growth and development of aerospace-related business in Maryland...Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Bill Hrybyk.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski

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Budget cuts in the past decade to the National Institutes of Health have hampered the U.S. response to the disease in Africa, according to the NIH director, who said “if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.” The Centers for Disease Control has had its emergency preparedness budget cut nearly in half since 2006. A Health and Human Services program to help hospitals prepare for “bio-disasters” has also been slashed. With that as a backdrop, House Democrats have been pushing for funding hearings, to little avail.

It’s a different story in the Senate, though, where Sen. Barbara Milkulski has scheduled a hearing for November 6, two days after the election.

It would mark the first appropriations hearing on Ebola since Congress recessed in September. A number of other congressional panels have also held hearings examining the administration’s response to the deadly disease in recent weeks.

On Friday, Office of Management and Budget spokeswoman Emily Cain told The Hill, “OMB is working with CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and other agencies to determine whether additional resources will be needed to address the epidemic beyond those provided in the Continuing Resolution.”

This hearing could be the first opportunity to try to determine whether our public health system is adequately prepared to deal with a potential infectious disease outbreak like Ebola, but it’s also a great opportunity to talk about the diseases we are already dealing with—the flu, the enterovirus that’s infecting children, paralyzing some—and whether the funding is in place to support healthcare providers across the country to respond.

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It could also be the administration’s opportunity to begin making a case for more funding, if necessary. But don’t expect that to be a simple request. There’s already talk from the Republican House of forcing counter-productive travel bans to be included in the continuing resolution that has to pass before the end of the year to keep the government functioning.

Midday open thread: Ebola panic, sex tech, Cronkite and the home office

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 20-10-2014-05-2008

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South Dakota ground game fleshes out as GOP rushes in reinforcements

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 20-10-2014-05-2008

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South Dakota Senate candidate Rick Weiland campaigning at American Indian reservation. 2014

Rick Weiland, with the people he’s fighting for.

Goal ThermometerJust a few moments ago, supporter #10,000 gave to the NDN Election Efforts PAC, the GOTV operation focused on American Indian reservations in the now-pivotal state of South Dakota. The $124,691 raised is slightly above my initial goal of $50,000 (which I considered overly optimistic at the time), and puts us well within reach of the PAC’s entire 2014 GOTV budget of $200,000.

South Dakota Rep. Kevin Killer, head of the PAC, sends me an update on what the fresh funds are allowing them to do.

I hope this email finds you well and I do apologize for the delay in updates. I’ve been on the ground setting up and we are ready to go for these last 2 weeks. Before I begin the updates I just can’t say thank you enough for believing in all of us and our communities are forever grateful!

This past week in Pine Ridge, which is the largest of all the reservations, people are upbeat about voting. All of the tribes have been working against the Keystone XL pipeline since 2010 and its coming to a head this election because Rounds is running ads constantly in favor of it. Pressler, to my knowledge, isn’t in favor of it either but supports building more pipeline to transfer Balkan crude from ND. Most of the people we talked to so far know Weiland is against it and mention this when voting.

We’ve had close to 400 people vote early so far in Pine Ridge since the fundraising campaign started. Close to 100 are first time voters or purged off the list after having not voted in 4 consecutive elections. We registered over 100 people today and will be on it tomorrow and Monday 10/20, the last day to register for South Dakota.

With resources we have been able to recruit experienced organizers in Cheyenne River (NW South Dakota), Rapid City (Urban Natives are 13 percent of the total population), Pine Ridge, Rosebud (South Central SD), Crow Creek (Central SD), Sisseton (Dustina’s homelands/Eastern South Dakota) and Sioux Falls (Eastern SD) all working on getting Native populations out to vote. All of the organizers on the ground managing these places have worked previous elections with the average experience being 3 cycles.

We will have early voting sites set up on all reservations except for Crow Creek and will be pushing hard to find first time voters on Monday. After the deadline, we will hire people to go door to door to set up rides to the polls for early voting, election day, and providing voters with sample ballots/lit. We have great down ballot Native candidates running in Rosebud, Pine Ridge, Crow Creek and Rapid City. Most of the Tribes own their own radio stations so they can run GOTV ads up until Election Day.

Let me know if you have any ideas or questions and thank you again for your wonderful support.

Pretty amazing stuff—both the organizers on the ground making this happen, and the Daily Kos community for helping fund it. You are all incredible! What’s more, in the combined fundraising page for both Democrat Rick Weiland and the NDN PAC, you guys (and me too!) have now broken $300,000. And that’s in what, ten days?

Republicans are certainly noticing.

National money now is pouring into the state for team Rounds to counter the millions that Democrats and Democratic-leaning PACs are spending for Weiland. The big infusion of money is most obvious for both candidates in advertising. An observant person might notice that KELO’s newscasts seem a bit shorter as the station tries to cram in more political ads [...]

The National Rifle Association, the American Hospital Association and others also are trying to match the Democratic PACs supporting Weiland. They have put in money for print and radio ads.

Behind the scenes, national money is assembling a get-out-the-vote operation. Previously, the Rounds campaign had been relying largely on volunteers and parade appearances to build its GOTV operation. Now, with national money behind the effort, the campaign can hire professionals. Last week, Republican loyalists were getting phone calls offering them up to $15 an hour to knock on doors and make phone calls to help build a GOTV network for Election Day.

It’s all-hands-on-deck time. Conservatives have decided that they won’t sit on the sidelines and lose this race. About 10,000 of us have decided the same thing on our side. But there are more of us who have yet to engage.

Now’s about as good a time as any. It’s either that, or you cede the floor to the NRA.

Politico in disarray

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 20-10-2014-05-2008

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A worker in a hazardous material suit removes the contents of the apartment unit where a man diagnosed with the Ebola virus was staying in Dallas, Texas, October 6, 2014. Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to develop Ebola in the United States, was stru

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Scary news, breaking from Politico:

POLITICO poll: Democrats in danger over Ebola

Uh-oh. I guess this means the GOP has scored another big political win by blaming Obama for Ebola, right? Well, sure, except the poll—which was conducted from October 3-11 in House districts and states with “competitive” races (pdf)—only had one question about Ebola, and that question found that most voters actually had some or a lot of confidence in the government response to Ebola:

How much confidence do you have that the U.S. government is doing everything possible to contain the spread of Ebola?

A lot/some confidence: 61%
Not much/no confidence: 33%

Given those numbers, how on Earth did Politico reach the conclusion that Ebola represents a grave threat to Democratic political fortunes? Because, they say:

Voters who intend to support Republicans in the most consequential Senate and House elections this November had significantly less confidence in the federal government’s response to the occurrence of Ebola, according to a new POLITICO poll.

Specifically, Republicans had 43 percent confidence while Democrats had 81 percent confidence. But that doesn’t tell us that Ebola imperils Democrats … it tells us that people have partisan views of whether government is working. Duh.

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Oh, and one other thing. The poll did ask a generic ballot horse race question, and you know what they found? Democrats leading:

If the election for the [U.S. House of Representatives/U.S. Senate] were held today, would you vote for the [Democratic candidate] or the [Republican candidate] in [your district/your state]?

Democratic candidate (incudes KS-I): 41% (44% w/leaners)
Republican candidate: 36% (41% w/leaners)
Don’t know: 23% (14% w/leaners)

To summarize: Politico poll found roughly 2:1 confidence to no confidence ratio on the government’s Ebola response, with Republicans more critical than Democrats, and found that Democrats led Republicans in the horserace … yet somehow they decided that what their poll really showed was that Ebola is a problem Democrats.

Obama Delivers ‘Campaign Snacks’ in Chicago

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 20-10-2014-05-2008

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President Obama visits Governor Pat Quinn’s campaign headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, Monday.



With voter ID on hold in Wisconsin, Republicans call for vigilantes

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 20-10-2014-05-2008

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at CPAC 2013.

Wisconsin Republicans getting desperate to keep Scott Walker’s job.

Goal ThermometerTen days ago, the Supreme Court delayed implementation of Wisconsin’s voter ID law until after this year’s election. Since the Republicans there cannot count on the law to keep voters from the polls, they’re calling for vigilantes to take the law into their own hands.

Milwaukee County’s Republican Elections Commissioner Rick Baas warned a crowd of volunteers and supporters Friday night to be “concerned about voter fraud,” and urged the hundreds of attendees to take an “extra step of vigilance. […] You as a Wisconsin resident can challenge people who are not supposed to be voting,” he said at the Milwaukee County Republicans event. “You’ve got to do that.” […]

“There’s a fine line by legitimate questions and harassment and intimidation,” said Darryl Morin, the Midwest vice president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). Morin told ThinkProgress that as a Republican it is “disappointing” to see such rhetoric coming from “a party that claims to be reaching out to minorities.”

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) signed a law earlier this year allowing poll observers to be as close as three feet to a voter. Democratic lawmakers and progressive organizers have expressed concern that the measure could lead to greater harassment and intimidation and Morin said that some of LULAC’s Wisconsin members have already experienced such treatment when going to cast a ballot.

It is true that under state law, anyone can challenge a voter. But they can’t do it just because, oh, let’s say just because that person happens to be brown. Or young. Any person challenging a voter has to swear an oath that they have personal knowledge that the person trying to vote is not qualified. So what are Republican officials really calling for here? After all, it’s not too likely that every Republican going to the polls is going to have direct knowledge about the people voting with them and whether they should be there. What they’re calling for is intimidation of would-be voters based on profiling.

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Wisconsin voters need to be aware of their rights, and they need to be prepared to confront any of these potential vigilantes with the facts. But to make life easier, and to thwart these voter intimidation plans, they can also vote early, starting today.

Obama Promotes Early Voting in Illinois

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 20-10-2014-05-2008

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President Barack Obama promoted early voting in his home state of Illinois on Monday by casting his ballot near his home in Chicago.



Oops: Pro-McConnell lobbying group sends out endorsement mailer saying Mitch is ‘For Sale’

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 20-10-2014-05-2008

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An instant classic campaign fail from the National Association of Realtors in their endorsement mailer backing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:

National Association of Realtors mailer endorses Mitch McConnell with a

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Although surely not the message they intended to send, the mailer might have accidentally been one of the most honest mailers of the entire campaign given stories like this one:

One morning last month, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, the minority leader, was dining with Richard H. Anderson, the chief executive of Delta Air Lines.

The breakfast was a rewarding one for McConnell, because:

Only one week after Sen. Mitch McConnell took the CEO of Delta Air Lines to breakfast in the exclusive Senate Dining Room last month, the airline executive and his wife wrote $10,000 worth of checks to help fund McConnell’s political operation.

So yes, Mitch McConnell is indeed for sale. But in his defense, he’s not cheap—he only sells out to the highest bidder.

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