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Ted Cruz explains why he's electable

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 10:00
With a reflection of the U.S. Capitol dome serving as a backdrop, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) reacts to a question about negative perceptions of Tea Party Republicans during the Reuters Washington Summit in Washington, October 24, 2013.  REUTERS/Jim Bour Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, if he realized what he was saying Don't let this headline get you down...
Ted Cruz Says It's Too Early To Worry About 2016 ...because Ted Cruz is most definitely thinking about 2016, given that he made those comments in South Carolina, where the GOP's first southern primary will be held in 2016. According to Politico, the crowd there loved him:
It didn’t take much for Ted Cruz to bring a crowd of conservatives to its feet here.

By the time the Texas Republican senator finished speaking Tuesday night, an adoring audience hailed Cruz and his no-compromise, combative style of conservatism that has made him the scourge of the GOP establishment but a hero of the tea party.

Ever the wet blanket, however, Politico quickly pivoted to say that Cruz faces skepticism from some Palmetto staters:
“Electability — that will be his challenge,” said Republican Lindsey Graham, South Carolina’s senior senator. “He’s got to show he can put the patchwork together.” Kinda' hard to argue with that point. Cruz is about as electable as Attila the Hun. I mean, Cruz might do a little better, but the point is they would both be guaranteed losers.

Good news, though: As he made clear when explaining why his skeptics were wrong, Cruz is completely unaware of this fact:

When asked about doubts about his electability, he pointed to the grass-roots “army” and “diverse coalition” that propelled him to victory in his 2012 Senate race.

“We saw support from every spectrum of the Republican Party,” Cruz said.

Dear Ted: Even if the Supreme Court repealed the entire Voting Rights Act, seeing "support from every spectrum of the Republican Party" still won't win you the White House. But it might just win you the nomination. And we'll be rooting for you every step of the way.

Who wouldn't want a $58 million severance package?

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 09:46
Former Yahoo COO Henrique de Castro In what might be the purest example of income inequality, Yahoo's recently ousted Chief Operating Officer Henrique de Castro received a $58 million severance package after only 15 months on the job:
Yahoo's recently fired chief operating officer, Henrique de Castro, left the Internet company with a severance package of $58 million even though he lasted just 15 months on the job.

The disclosure in a regulatory filing may lead to more second-guessing of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's decision to hire de Castro as her second-in-command in October 2012.

Henrique de Casto apparently ruffled the feathers of ad execs from the start and despite Yahoo's growth over the same period, ad revenue continued to drop:
But he had an icy relationship with ad execs who found him aloof when they were accustomed to being catered-to by Yahoo brass.

His approach wasn't exactly working: ad revenue at the portal declined over the past year, even as Ms. Mayer touted splashy relaunches of email, the homepage, Flickr and a $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr and Summly.

In recent months Mr. de Castro had stopped speaking for the company. De Castro was conspicuously absent at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where Yahoo generally starts talks with big advertisers. Ms. Mayer gave a keynote and head deal maker Jacqueline Reses gave presentations to WPP and IPG agencies.

For what it's worth, according to simplyhired.com, the average Yahoo salary is $61,000.
The average salary for yahoo jobs is $61,000. Average yahoo salaries can vary greatly due to company, location, industry, experience and benefits. Don't you wish you could be so successful at failure?

New Daily Kos Elections interactive legislative maps of Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and West Virginia

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 09:00

This week we have interactive state legislative district maps for Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and West Virginia. Each legislative chamber is mapped out using the presidential election results calculated by Daily Kos Elections, the legislative election results, and some info on each legislator. For maps of 18 other states' legislative chambers see the first, second, and third in this series.

Districts in solid blue were carried by Obama and are represented by a Democrat, while those in solid red were won by Mitt Romney and are held by a Republican. Lighter red districts voted for Obama and a Republican legislator, while those in lighter blue went for Romney and a Democratic legislator. All vacant seats are assigned to the party that last won them. Note that the map displays use only the two-party vote to give you a more equivalent comparison between presidential and legislative results, but the diary and Daily Kos Elections' numbers include totals for third party candidates, though the differences are minor.


Wisconsin State Senate

Wisconsin Republicans exercised full control over redistricting and used it to deliver them majorities despite losing the popular vote in both chambers. Obama carried 16 districts, two of which are held by Republicans, while Romney carried 17 with a Democrat representing just one. This gives the Republicans an 18 to 15 majority. All three senators in hostile territory are retiring in 2014, though only Democrat John Lehman is leaving due to redistricting (his seat transformed into a reliably red seat). The median district voted for Romney 50-49 making it eight percent more Republican than the state. The chamber could potentially flip to Democrats in a good cycle, but only half the seats are up every two years.


Wisconsin State Assembly

The State Assembly is a bit tougher for Democrats with Obama winning only 43 districts to Romney's 56. Two Democrats sit in Romney seats while six Republicans are in Obama territory, giving Republicans a hefty 60 to 39 majority. The median district was won by Romney 51-48, placing it 10 points to the right of the state.

Please head below the fold to see the maps for Massachusetts and West Virginia.

Cartoon: No animals were harmed

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 08:50

Tom the Dancing Bug, by @RubenBolling.  Be the FIRST to see the comic every week by joining the INNER HIVE!

"My only argument with Ruben B. here is his apologetic tone for asking you to pay money for early access to his very good comics -- that is to say, something that YOU LIKE AND WANT. DO NOT APOLOGIZE, RUBEN." -John Hodgman, Charter INNER HIVE member

Please click HERE for information.

Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9am ET!

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 07:30

Daily Kos Radio logo

Daily Kos Radio's Kagro in the Morning show podcasts are now available through iTunes.

One more live Spring Break show, conducted with the kids in tow. Then on Friday, the kids tow me, and we'll be presenting an "encore performance" of a previously recorded show.

Believe it or not, there's still more to say about this Cliven Bundy character and his gimmetarian stunt. But for an interesting perspective on it, we'll talk to an old Netroots hand, Mark Brooks, who also happens to have some BLM experience in his background. Then we'll catch up on what he's doing today, keeping an eye on the shocking and outrageous lack of compliance on the state and local level with freedom of information and other government transparency laws.

Plus, as always, random selections from our filled-to-bursting backlog of interesting and/or outrageous stories that everyone would be talking about if they had the time!

Listen LIVE at 9:00 ET, here: The Daily Kos Radio Player

Click this Link to Listen on your iTunes, Winamp or Windows Media Player

Can't see the live stream and/or podcast players in these posts? Do you use NoScript or something similar to control Javascript? Want to? Remember to enable Libsyn and Shoutcastplayer, and you'll see our players every morning!

Or if you prefer, why not download the Stitcher app on your favorite mobile device, and search for the Netroots Radio live stream? And hey, when you do, be sure to sign up with the promo code DAILYKOS, and earn Daily Kos Radio $1 in the Stitcher affiliate program!

Please do remember to "favorite" us while you're at Stitcher. We're bouncing up and down in the rankings these days, and the more of you who help us, the more listeners out there who'll find us on the Stitcher network.

Miss our last LIVE show? You can catch it here:

Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold.

Economics Daily Digest: How democracy became a luxury good

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 07:19
Economics Daily Digest by the Roosevelt Institute banner

By Rachel Goldfarb, originally published on Next New Deal

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

Government by the Few (All In with Chris Hayes)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren notes that we now have social science data that proves Occupy was right: our democracy is dominated by the wealthiest Americans.

Happy Tax Day (The New Yorker)

Benjamin Soskis examines America's esteem for charitable donors over taxpayers, drawing on Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal's piece on the "voluntarism fantasy."

Millennial Perspective: Title X is Vital, Efficient, and Largely Unknown (National Priorities Project)

Tarsi Dunlop argues that Millennials should advocate for Title X, the nation's only federally funded family planning program, because of its massive impact on the lives of low-income women.

  • Roosevelt Take: Tarsi uses data from Roosevelt Institute Fellow Andrea Flynn's white paper, "The Title X Factor: Why the Health of America's Women Depends on More Funding for Family Planning."

Bill de Blasio’s Great Experiment (The Nation)

Jarrett Murphy looks at the New York City mayor's first 100 days, and finds that de Blasio is sticking to the progressive policies he proposed on the campaign. Unfortunately, the forces against him are strong.

Obama's Job-Training Unicorn: It's Time for Some New Ideas Already (The Guardian)

Pushing the same kind of job training programs isn't making any dent in the unemployment crisis, says Heidi Moore. She wants Congress to try something new, whether that's infrastructure fixes or direct hiring.

  • Roosevelt Take: A Roosevelt Institute report released last week, "A Bold Approach to the Jobs Emergency: 15 Ways We Can Create Good Jobs in America Today," provides more suggestions for government solutions.

New York Lawmakers Push to Raise Wages at Biggest Chains (NYT)

Kate Taylor reports that a group of New York City-based Democrats has proposed a bill to mandate a $15-an-hour minimum wage for employees of businesses with $50 million or more in annual sales.

The Toughest Cop on Wall Street You've Never Heard Of (TNR)

Benjamin Lawsky at the New York Department of Financial Services is pushing stricter penalties on banks, and David Dayen says that could push federal regulators to toughen up.


Cheers and Jeers: Thursday

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 07:18
C&J Banner

From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE

Our Blogging Continues After This Message…

Attention billionaires!

Are you looking for a convenient way to celebrate Easter while also protecting your precious financial assets? If so, here's good news! Now you can arrange a one-on-one consultation with The Onepercenter Bunny!

Creepy easter Bunny with baby on lap "Your golden eggs are safe
with me, trust fund baby." That's right. The Onepercenter Bunny---your fluffy and confidential partner in asset relocation! This crafty little lagomorph knows just where to stash the eggs in your financial basket. Barbados, the Bahamas, the Caymans, the British Virgin Islands. And don’t forget those nifty little lock boxes in---yodelayheehoo!---Switzerland!

The Onepercenter Bunny will hide your wealth in the safest tax havens so you can keep more of it for the things that matter to you most: buying politicians and duping the most gullible commoners into voting against their self-interest so you can make even more money for the Onepercenter Bunny to hide. It's win-win!

Let the socialist, entitlement-obsessed Easter Bunny re-distribute his silly eggs among the moocher class. With the Onepercenter Bunny in your corner, you'll be saying: "Hippity Hoppity ka-ching ka-ching ka-ching I just bought out the entire egg industry and got Congress to repeal all the egg industry safety laws!"

To contact the Onepercenter Bunny, just make an outrageous statement that gets splashed across the media about how billionaires in America are the real victims of oppression. We'll be in touch.

Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: RGA attacks Schauer for supporting program Snyder approved

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 07:00
Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest banner Want the scoop on hot races around the country? Get the digest emailed to you each weekday morning. Sign up here. Leading Off:

MI-Gov: This is what happens when outside groups, desperate for simple slogans to use in their attack ads, go off half-cocked:

In the spot above, the Republican Governors Association slams Democrat Mark Schauer, who is running for governor in Michigan, for allegedly supporting "a new fee on nursing home beds" when he served in the legislature. I mean, look at that crazy libruhl—taxing the elderly and infirm just so they can have a place to lay their heads at night! Can you imagine the kind of person who would support such a thing?

Here's one: Republican Gov. Rick Snyder—the very man Schauer is running against. Of course, the law is nothing like the RGA's caricature. Rather, according to a press release Snyder issued when he extended the program in 2011, "the state receives more in federal matching Medicaid funds than what is paid out by nursing homes." Those matching funds are then returned to the nursing homes, who wind up as net beneficiaries.

Indeed, the original legislation passed with broad bipartisan support, and it was signed into law by another Republican governor, John Engler. So a group devoted to electing Republican governors is attacking a program supported by Republican governors—and one that brings in more money for the state, no less. Makes perfect sense to me.

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The problem for the GOP is that ACA is working

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 06:30
% of newly insured this year (4%) From Gallup Jason Millman: New surveys out Wednesday morning provide a glimpse into just how many Americans have gained insurance since the Obamacare health insurance marketplaces opened in October.

First, Gallup reports that states which fully embraced the law by setting up their own exchanges and expanding their Medicaid programs saw their uninsured rate drop this year three times faster than the states that didn’t...

Meanwhile, the Urban Institute has further details on its finding that the number of uninsured nonelderly adults fell by 5.4 million people between September and early March. Urban finds that states that expanded their Medicaid programs saw their uninsured rate drop 4 percent, while states that didn't expand saw a much slower drop at 1.5 percent. The expansion states also did a better job of covering young adults and especially Hispanics — demographics targeted by supporters of the health-care law.

I understand that this isn't "proof" ACA will ultimately succeed, but the data suggests it's working as intended so far. But/and it's not unfair to suggest the GOP's problem with Obamacare isn't how well it works, it's what it does.

Jonathan Cohn:

We have some new information about Obamacare’s impact. It’s encouraging, although you should treat it the same way you should treat all of the early information: With plenty of caution.

The data comes from Gallup, the polling firm that has provided the most thorough tracking of the law’s reach so far. On Wednesday afternoon, the organization released a new set of findings. Most important among them? According to Gallup, about 4 percent of American adults report that they are newly insured as of this spring. That’s at least in the same ballpark of what the Congressional Budget Office expected to see this year. (It's hard to be more precise, because two are counting in different ways and over different time spans.) It’s also consistent with previous Gallup findings.

More politics and policy below the fold.

Open thread for night owls: Goodnight, moon

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 22:30
No, you don't have to be afraid of a lunar eclipse, even one that falls on a Jewish holy day. No matter what crackpot televangelists might try to sell you.
This time, Hagee suggests that a Rapture will occur where Christians will be taken to heaven, Israel will go to war in a great battle called Armageddon, and Jesus will return to earth. [...]

Greg Boyd, a pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minn., called the predictions a waste of time, maybe even bordering on astrology.

“You have an entire population buying into this stuff so no congregation is immune to this,” Boyd said. “It can strike fear into people, which is so unnecessary and wrong.”

The Jewish holy days carry less theological significance than Jesus’ resurrection for many Christians, said Sam Storms, a pastor of Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City. Any connection between the two events should carry less weight, he said.

“We need to stop giving into some of these sensationalist speculations,” he said. “Maybe Christians are more gullible. One has to twist the data to make it appear as if these are the fulfillment of some biblical prophecy.”


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2010Torture Tapes Destruction and "Looking Backward":

Another document release sheds some light into the the 2005 destruction of tapes showing the torture of two detainees.

Porter J. Goss, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, in 2005 approved of the decision by one of his top aides to destroy dozens of videotapes documenting the brutal interrogation of two detainees, according to an internal C.I.A. document released Thursday.

Shortly after the tapes were destroyed at the order of Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., then the head of the C.I.A.’s clandestine service, Mr. Goss told Mr. Rodriguez that he "agreed" with the decision, according to the document. He even joked after Mr. Rodriguez offered to "take the heat" for destroying the tapes.

"PG laughed and said that actually, it would be he, PG, who would take the heat," according to one document, an internal C.I.A. e-mail message.

According to current and former intelligence officials, Mr. Goss did not approve the destruction before it happened, and was displeased that Mr. Rodriguez did not consult him or the C.I.A.’s top lawyer before giving the order for the tapes to be destroyed.

Now, apparently, according to CIA officials, "Mr. Rodriguez did not consult him or the C.I.A.'s top lawyer [or Goss] before giving the order for the tapes to be destroyed."

The destruction of these tapes, Glenn points out, was called obstruction of justice by the 9/11 Commission. An obstruction that covered up the illegal torture of these two detainees. And, an obstruction that is apparently one of those things that the current administration isn't interested in looking back at.


Tweet of the Day:

How do the powerful respond to the voices of ordinary people? New evidence shows they usually don’t. http://t.co/...
@Demos_Org

On today's Kagro in the Morning show, we just had to talk about the wacko Bundy Ranch situation, as well as the wacko weather. Bundy supporters say county sheriffs have the right to disarm federal law enforcement, a theory invented by... a former sheriff! Joan McCarter, a Westerner herself, reminds us Bundy's likely got few allies among his rancher neighbors. She rounds up ACA news, the judicial nominations crisis, Mitt's trip to the Post Office, and the Kochs' weird opposition to a Memphis bus line. Armando weighs in from the road on continued Chait fallout. Finally, a student catches school bullies on tape, and ends up arrested for wiretapping!


High Impact Posts. Top Comments.

Daily Kos Elections 1Q 2014 House fundraising reports roundup

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 20:29

Quarterly fundraising reports for federal candidates, covering the period from January 1 to March 31, were due at the Federal Elections Commission on Monday night. Below is our list of fundraising numbers for House candidates in key races.

Unfortunately, some reports appear to have been turned in to the FEC but don't appear online when you search for them. For instance, if you search for IA-01 Democrat Swati Dandekar's report, you won't find it, even though her campaign did file it. We've left the fundraising numbers for candidates who do not currently have reports online blank, and we'll fill them in as we get them.

As always, all numbers are in thousands. An explanation of each column is below:
• "CD" stands for congressional district.

• "(D-inc)" and "(R-inc)" specify incumbents.

• "Raised" is the amount the candidate has received in donations from donors during the quarter, not including any loans.

• "Self Fund" is the amount of direct contributions a candidate has made to his or her own campaign. This number, if any, is also counted in the "Raised" column.

• "Self Loan" is the amount of any loans a candidate has made to his or her own campaign. This number, if any, is not counted in the "Raised" column.

• "Spent" is the amount of money the campaign has spent during the quarter.

• "CoH" stands for total cash-on-hand at the end of the quarter.

• "CTD" indicates a candidate's contributions raised cycle-to-date, as of the end of the quarter.

You can access our spreadsheet directly here. If you click through, you'll see an additional column on the right-hand side called "Transfers." This column shows monetary transfers from other political committees. Ultimately, all money received from all sources (including transfers) is reflected in every candidate's cash-on-hand totals, less spending.

You can also find our earlier roundups for the first, second, third, and fourth fundraising quarters of 2013 as well.

Mississippi GOP shocked—shocked!—to find neo-Confederates in its ranks

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 19:40

For pure political theater, it's hard to beat the Republican Senate primary in Mississippi. There, incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran is trying to fight off tea party favorite and neo-Confederate state Sen. Chris McDaniel. In the latest twist in this entertaining saga, tea party leaders called for the resignation of state GOP chairman Joe Nosef after the latter's call for McDaniel to cancel an appearance at event featuring a white nationalist leader.

But whatever the outcome of that imbroglio, it's awfully hard to take seriously Nosef's warning to McDaniel that "as a party we need to always be careful and focused and serious about what our views are and what our interests are." After all, Trent Lott and Haley Barbour—the Magnolia State's two most prominent recent Republican officeholders—traveled in the same neo-Confederate circles as Chris McDaniel.

As TPM recently reported:

McDaniel had been slated to be the keynote speaker at a combined Firearm Freedom Day/ Tea Party Music Festival in Guntown, Mississippi. That event featured a vendor who sold Confederate memorabilia and founded the Council of White Patriot Voters and the Confederate Patriot Voters United, which the Southern Poverty Law Center listed as an active white nationalist group. Organizers said McDaniel had been the confirmed speaker since February...

McDaniel's association to neo-Confederates has been called into question before. Last year he attended at least one neo-Confederate event in Mississippi.

Continue reading about the old times not being forgotten in Mississippi.

Spotlight on Green News & Views: Keeping fossil fuel in the ground, this land is not your land

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 17:30
Moorhen and babies Moorhen and babies. Many of the dozens of environmentally related posts that appear at Daily Kos each week don't attract the attention they deserve. So, more than seven years ago, a new feature was launched to highlight those diaries. Initially called Eco-Diary Rescue, the name was change to Green Diary Rescue after a couple of years. Now, after nearly 17,000 green diaries have been rescued, the name is changing again. From now on, because of the growing number of diaries being posted at the site, Spotlight on Green News & Views will appear twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. As has all along been true, inclusion of a diary in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.
Choose Wisely—by Michael Brune: "The Climate Action Plan that President Obama announced last year is full of good ideas, and his administration has already done more to address carbon pollution than any other has. New fuel-economy standards will double the efficiency of our cars and trucks. The energy efficiency of our appliances and buildings will dramatically improve. Stimulus spending has helped boost clean, renewable energy, and the president has directed the Environmental Protection Agency to set standards to curb both toxic emissions and carbon pollution from coal plants. Unfortunately, a hard look at the numbers shows that all this progress could be undermined by one bad choice -- expanding fossil fuel production. Using publicly available data already gathered by federal agencies, the Sierra Club has calculated the potential carbon dioxide emissions from dirty-fuel development proposals in a new report, Dirty Fuels, Clean Futures. Such calculations send a clear message: To protect our climate, we must keep these dirty fuels in the ground." green dots Ontario is now 100% Coal Free—by Wisper: "I write periodical "War on Coal" diaries summing up the past few weeks or months of news in the floundering coal industry, but this headline is not one to wait for the next update. Ontario Canada closed its VERY LAST COAL PLANT yesterday. Ontario had pledged to be coal-free by the end of 2014 and here we are in April and Thunder Bay Power Plant has burned its last piece of coal.  ...and that's it. And entire jurisdiction of North America is now 100% coal free and committed to staying that way. To put it in perspective, Ontario had relied on coal for over 25% of its power generation and then worked to systematically eliminate it. Not reduce.  Not install emission reduction technology. No... just GONE."
green dots developed aurora The Daily Bucket - aurora borealis—by Wood Gas: "At first, you’re not sure, reflected light? Fog, Moonrise? But then movement and you see it forming. [...] Things are definitely happening, but will the clouds win the race? This could be the best show of the night. These pictures were taken mostly hand held with a Nikon 3100, 1 sec. exposure, cheap grey market 50mm, F1.8, lens. The Northern Lights are actually the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth's atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun's atmosphere. Variations in colour are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding. The most common auroral color, a pale yellowish-green, is produced by oxygen molecules located about 60 miles above the earth. Rare, all-red auroras are produced by high-altitude oxygen, at heights of up to 200 miles. Nitrogen produces blue or purplish-red aurora."

You can find more spotlighted green diaries below the sustainable squiggle.

That's a funny definition of patriotism you've got there, fella

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 16:36
Rancher Cliven Bundy (back 2nd L) talks on stage beside Clark County Sheriff Douglas Gillespie (back 3rd L) in Bunkerville, Nevada, April 12, 2014. Gillespie announced the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was ceasing its cattle roundup operation. Armed U.S. rangers had been rounding up cattle on federal land in Nevada in a rare showdown with Bundy, a rancher who has illegally grazed his herd on public lands for decades, as conflict over land use simmers in western states. The standoff with the BLM stems in part from Bundy's belief that their right to graze the land predates the federal government's management of it, and that the county and state should ultimately have authority over lands in their boundaries. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart  (UNITED STATES - Tags: AGRICULTURE CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW ENVIRONMENT ANIMALS) - RTR3KZO5 Hmm. I have a question about the Nevada rancher who nearly caused various of our nation's fine militia folks to start shooting at federal agents, so determined they were to protect Mr. Cliven Bundy's right to graze his private herd of cattle on whatever land he feels like free of charge forever and ever because libberty.
Bundy doesn’t recognize the federal government. Speaking to conservative radio host Dana Loesch last week, he said he believes in a “sovereign state of Nevada” and abides by all state laws, but, “I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing.” So if that's the case, why does he keep waving American flags around?

An Idahoan shows Bundy what a real Western rancher is

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 16:03

Bud Purdy was so revered in Idaho that even a bunch of Republicans pay tribute to him. Being a Westerner and the daughter and granddaughter of cattle ranchers, I think it's about time that the non-crazy Western ranchers get some equal national media time. Because they're not all federal government-hating, "wise use," sagebrush rebelling, gun-toting crazies—even in a state like Idaho. One of Idaho's most influential cattle ranchers and conservationists is proof of that. His name was Bud Purdy, and in his 96 years, he became sort of a legend in the state. Unfortunately, he passed away this week, but this remembrance from the Idaho Stateman's Rocky Barker tells the story.
Purdy, 96, led the ranching industry into rest and rotation grazing on public lands that both protected the range and improved cattle production. He duck-hunted and skied with Ernest Hemingway and hosted Jimmy Stewart and Gary Cooper at his Picabo Ranch.

He helped start the Idaho Cattle Association, led the University of Idaho Foundation as president and was chairman of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry. In addition to the ranch, he and his late wife Ruth owned the Picabo Store, the Picabo Elevator and Silver Creek Supply, a seed business. […]

Purdy donated a 3,500-acre conservation easement on all of the ranch along Silver Creek in the 1990s to the Nature Conservancy, adjacent to its own Silver Creek Preserve. Purdy didn’t even take the tax break on the easement valued at $7 million. […]

He loved the cattle business, he explained to writer, producer and author Steve Stuebner in an article in 2012 for the Idaho Rangeland Commission (which he co-founded). "Every morning, you get up and do something different," he said. "You turn out on the range and ride a horse every day. Even now, I go out and make sure the water is OK, check the fences and make sure the gates are closed.

"It's just a constant going out there and doing it," Purdy said. "I was never a cowboy, but I've ridden a million miles."

As one of my good friends here in Idaho wrote on Facebook, "He loved his land so much he owned it and when owning it wasn't enough to preserve it for future generations, he figured out a way to do that."

Cliven Bundy doesn't represent the West. He doesn't represent cattle ranchers. He represents a minority of right-wing cranks who are good at making a lot of noise through threats of violence. He's also nothing more than a common crook.

If you're looking for an emblematic man of the West, it's not Bundy. It's Bud Purdy.

Rand Paul wants to know when U.S. economy last created millions of jobs. Here's the answer.

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 15:53
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks during a  news conference to announce legal action against government surveillance and the National Security Agency's overreach of power on Capitol Hill in Washington June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul asks a question:
When is the last time in our country we created millions of jobs? Unfortunately, he wasn't interested in the answer. Or, more specifically, he thought he knew the answer:
It was under Ronald Reagan. Wrong.

One way you could look at it is total number of jobs created during each presidency since Reagan. If you did that, here's what you'd get:

  • Reagan: 16.1 million (8 years)
  • Bush 41: 2.6 million (4 years)
  • Clinton: 22.9 million (8 years)
  • Bush 43: 1.3 million (8 years)
  • Obama: 4.0 million (6 years, 2 months)

Or, to look at it a different way, since Reagan became president, a total of 20 million jobs have been created in the 20 years with Republicans in the Oval Office. Meanwhile, 26.9 million jobs have been created in the 14 years with Democrats in office. And here's the amazing thing: These numbers attribute 4.3 million jobs lost during Bush's Great Recession to Obama—if you factored those out, the total job tally would be 31 million jobs under Democrats to 16 million jobs under Republicans.

As Bill Scher pointed out, the absurdity of Rand Paul's misstatement of facts really disproves the case Paul was trying to make—that the Republican economic philosophy is better for regular working people. Paul believes the GOP needs to shed its image of being the party of the rich, which is obviously true, but his solution for doing that is to fall back on the same old trickle-down economic policies that make the economy so much worse under Republican presidents. Republicans don't need new spin: They need new policies.

Christie whitewash firm a big donor to political group headed by Christie

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 15:20
Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) answers a question during a news briefing at the 2013 Republican Governors Association conference in Scottsdale, Arizona November 21, 2013.  REUTERS/Samantha Sais (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX15NG2 New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at a 2013 meeting of the Republican Governors Association, the organization devoted to electing GOP governors that he now heads When the law firm hired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to conduct an internal investigation of the Fort Lee lane closure scandal released its findings, the lead attorney took great pains to defend the investigation's independence, even declaring himself to be a Democrat:
I met Governor Christie for the first time in mid-January the day we were hired. Yes, I was Giuliani’s former deputy mayor and I’m also a former prosecutor and as you two both know, I’m an independent Democrat, life-long. But what he didn't mention was this:
Nine days before a team of its top lawyers made public a report clearing Governor Christie in the George Washington Bridge scandal, the law firm donated $10,000 to the Republican Governors Association, a group he heads. As with so many other nuggets of information in the scandal, this doesn't prove what Christie did or didn't know about the lane closure scheme. But it is yet another example of how Christie and his team have a tendency to leave out or misrepresent the facts in order to make him look good, and it provides yet another reason to be skeptical of anything he or his team says.

Here comes the next effort to get more money into politics

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 15:16
Hands forking over $100 bills. If you were wondering what limits on money in politics would be challenged in court next, here's one place to look. The lawyer who brought you the McCutcheon case is going after political action committee donation limits, because "These discriminatory restrictions impermissibly allow entrenched institutions and interests to engage in protected First Amendment activities to a greater extent than newly formed grassroots organizations that have spontaneously mobilized in response to emergent political issues and developments." His beef:
PACs that are less than 6 months old are permitted to give up to $5,200 to a candidate in an election cycle, while PACs more than 6 months old can give $10,000 per election cycle.

By contrast, new PACs can give $10,000 to a state political party committee and $32,400 to a national political party per year. Those limits actually decrease once a PAC reaches 6 months old to $5,000 each year to a state or local party and $15,000 annually to a national party.

“The right of groups and individuals to speak are being treated very differently,” Backer said in an interview.

Yes, he straight-up referred to financial contributions of thousands of dollars as speech. And yes, the limits on contributions by new PACs are meant to prevent people from saying "screw these individual contribution limits, I'll just set up a PAC to get around them."

Of course, Backer's real end game is unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations and PACs at all times. An ever-flowing river of undifferentiated money. Because democracy!

Sign the petition to demand campaign finance reform now.

Missouri mayor agrees with some of the views of racist shooter

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 14:48
Marionville, Missouri mayor Don Clevenger Frazier Glenn Cross has officially been charged with murder in Kansas and awaits federal charges after a hate-filled shooting spree at Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas, over the weekend.

OzarksFirst.com reached out to Marionville, Missouri, residents who knew Cross and while most of the community objected to his actions, they were not surprised. Unfortunately, Marionville Mayor Don Clevenger said he agreed with many of Cross's views:

Marionville Mayor Daniel Clevenger says he once called Cross his friend, and has known the man since the early 90s, having done automotive work for him.

"It's really not much of a surprise that he would do something like that, knowing how much hate was built up in him," Mayor Clevenger said.

Mayor Clevenger took office last Thursday, and says that the "hatred" harbored inside of Cross may stem from his time served in Vietnam.

"They pretty much force race relations on you," according to Clevenger.

Clevenger says he doesn’t condone the actions of his former friend, but says he does agree, in part, with some of the views Cross has.

"Just about these corporations that are ruing this country, pretty much destroying us," says Clevenger referring to part of the Jewish race.

"The industries that I talk about are run by Jews, that's nothing that he understands, because he doesn't believe any of that stuff.  But that probably might have been what cause him to do that," said Clevenger.

You can see the interview here.

More on Mayor Don Clevenger below the fold.