The last three senators you want influencing the federal judiciary

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2014-05-2008

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U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (C) and Senator Mike Lee (2nd R) speak to reporters about their opposition after the Senate passed a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown, sending the issue back to the House of Representatives, at the U.S. Capitol in Washing

Ted Cruz with sidekick Mike Lee.

Goal ThermometerJust in case you were in need of any good reasons to work on getting out the vote in the next few days, here’s this.

If Republicans win control of the Senate next week, as many expect, they will gain a powerful weapon to reshape President Barack Obama’s legacy in his final two years: the authority to block his nominations.

That means his legacy of remaking the federal courts grinds to a halt, and if he wants to get any new appointees in in his last two years, they will have to be acceptable to Republicans or remain vacant. And by Republicans, look who we’re talking about:

[Roger Pilon, the director of the Cato Institute's Center for Constitutional Studies] a member of the Federalist Society, a group of conservative legal minds whose mission it is to remake the judiciary in the mold of jurists like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, said there’s an “evolution going on with Republicans right now” in that direction, due to the election of young constitutionalists like Sens. Mike Lee (UT), Rand Paul (KY) and Ted Cruz (TX).

“They’re going to have a major influence” when it comes to nominations, Pilon said, “because that’s where the energy is.”

Do you want Ted Cruz and Rand Paul and Mike Lee to put their stamp of approval on any members of the judiciary? The people with lifelong appointments? If Republicans win the Senate, and if President Obama wants to fill any more judicial vacancies in the next two years, that’s who he will have to be working with.

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Obama has just two more years to shape a judiciary that will protect civil rights, voting rights, women’s reproductive health, the environment, fairness in the workplace, the list goes on and on. Republicans have already proved they’ll go to extreme lengths to block his appointees, and that’s when they’re in the minority! Imagine the havoc they’ll create if they hold the majority for two years.

Top Walker supporter funded website now smearing Mary Burke

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2014-05-2008

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Mary Burke for Governor portrait

Mary Burke

Mary Burke is the target of a last-minute campaign smear as the race for Wisconsin governor remains tight. Two former executives—both of whom just happen to be Republicans—of her family’s company, Trek Bicycle, are claiming that Burke was forced out of a job with the company in the early 1990s, a claim the company strongly denies. But how did this story get going and gain traction? That’s especially interesting:

An article by M.D. Kittle first ran Tuesday on the website of the Wisconsin Reporter, which is part of the conservative Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. In 2012, the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation donated $190,000 to help underwrite the website. The Bradley Foundation is headed by Michael Grebe, chairman of Walker’s campaign committee.

Okay, then. A conservative outlet supported by a foundation run by Walker’s campaign committee chair is the source of a last-minute attack on Walker’s opponent in a tight race. Gee, that all looks extremely ethical and aboveboard. Especially in relation to the campaign of a governor already under investigation for using outside conservative groups more or less as extensions of his campaign. Burke’s campaign is hitting back:

Sign up to make GOTV calls to Democratic voters in Wisconsin.

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The fact that Walker supporters are bothering with a flimsy attack based on events more than 20 years old shows how close they think this race is. Democrats need to push hard to get out the vote for Mary Burke.

U.S. spy budget down by over 15 percent since 2010: official data

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2014-05-2008

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By Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The combined budget for U.S. civilian and military intelligence operations has shrunk by more than 15 percent since 2010, official figures show. The total U.S. intelligence budget was $67.9 billion in the fiscal year to Sept. 30, according to official figures. That was up only marginally from $67.6 billion the previous year, but followed a steady decline since a peak in 2010. A variety of factors comes into play, official sources say. …

Landrieu Stands By Race, Gender Comment: "Everyone Knows This Is The Truth"

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2014-05-2008

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Says South “has not always been the friendliest or easiest place for African Americans to advance”



Being a Pop Star Can Take Up To 25 Years Off Your Life

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2014-05-2008

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A new study shows pop stars die 25 years earlier than the average American. 12,000 musicians from different genres who died since 1950 were examined for this study.



Party Game: Can You Tell the Dems From the Republicans?

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2014-05-2008

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Despite major differences, members of both parties sometimes seem more alike than you might think when it comes to some major issues.



McConnell’s Kentucky GOP threatens Grimes voters with fraud charges—just for listening to Grimes

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2014-05-2008

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Election mailer. Bold text: 'ELECTION VIOLATION NOTICE'

The mailer looks official. It has big letters marked WARNING and “ELECTION VIOLATION NOTICE,” seemingly designed to make you think you’re the one violating something, and warns of a “possible fraud being perpetrated.”  But when you open it, it turns out to be a mailer from the Kentucky Republican Party and Mitch McConnell’s committee warning you of “fraudulent information” being spread by the campaign of his opponent, Alison Grimes.

Mailed in envelopes that blare “ELECTION VIOLATION NOTICE” and state “You are at risk of acting on fraudulent information,” the Kentucky Republican Party issued a letter that accuses Grimes of “blatant lies” about McConnell’s advocacy for a local coal plant and his support from “anti-coal activists like Michael Bloomberg.”

Inside the envelope, you’ll find a letter that starts out:

Dear Citizen,

This document serves as notification to you, as a resident of Kentucky and a registered voter in the aforementioned Commonwealth, of fraudulent information that is being deliberately spread to voters in your area.

The information that has been red-flagged as 100% false is being purposely spread by the campaign of the federal candidate named below:

Alison Lundergan Grimes,

… which then launches into a more standard political tirade against Grimes. As Salon’s Luke Brinker says, it’s “hard to see the mailers as anything but a shameless suppress voter turnout.” From the outside of the envelope suggesting that you are guilty of an “election violation” to the faux-official format and claims of “fraud” by the Grimes campaign, the McConnell campaign appears to be hoping that voters will mistake these mailers for “official” documents warning them against casting a vote for Grimes at all.

That’s a desperate move. And it’s apparently not beneath supposed GOP leader Mitch McConnell, which tells you a lot about how craven his party has become.

Fired-up Republicans have edge in midterm turnout war

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2014-05-2008

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Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes remarks at a campaign rally for Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman in MarylandBy Jason Lange WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A daunting reality looms for President Barack Obama's Democrats ahead of U.S. congressional elections on Tuesday: Voters from the Republican Party are much more fired up. Reuters/Ipsos polling data shows Republicans are more certain they will vote, and see their ballot as a way to voice disapproval of Obama's handling of the Ebola outbreak and his health insurance reform law. The expectation of robust Republican turnout is why many forecasters see strong odds that the party will take over the Senate and expand its majority in the House of Representatives. …

Mid-Term Election Showdown

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2014-05-2008

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A new NBC/WSJ poll as voters decide key Senate and Governor’s races, President Obama pleads Democrat’s case one last time and Chris Christie’s viral video sensation.



California mayor at center of immigration debate charged with DUI

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2014-05-2008

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Booking photo of Marrieta, California mayor Alan LongBy Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A Southern California mayor who made headlines leading a local backlash against a flood of Central American immigrants across the U.S. border, has been charged with felony drunk driving in connection with an accident that injured four teenage girls. Alan Long, who resigned as mayor of Murrieta, California, last week, days after his arrest, was formally charged on Thursday with one count of driving while under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury, Riverside County prosecutors said. …