There's been some controversy over what shape ENDA will take, with the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision highlighting the dangers of the extremely broad religious exemption included in the version of ENDA passed by the Senate. Several major LGBT organizations withdrew their support of the Senate ENDA over that issue, and when President Obama subsequently issued an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, he did not include any new religious exemptions, saying that existing ones were strong enough. The discharge petition from Polis is in that spirit:
It’s that version of ENDA that would come up for a vote if the discharge petition is successful.Of course, while ENDA not only enjoys widespread support among voters but a majority of Americans actually believe it is already illegal to fire people for being LGBT, Republicans will not sign a discharge petition even if they would vote for the underlying bill, Boehner will not allow a vote, and Republicans in the Senate who voted for a bill with a Hobby Lobby-style religious exemption might refuse to vote for a bill with a narrower one. So, once again, all Democrats can do is remind voters of the gulf between Democratic priorities and Republican ones, and lay the groundwork for the kind of legislation they'd pass if they controlled Congress.
Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson testified for almost four hours Tuesday in front of a St. Louis County grand jury investigating the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown, a source with knowledge of the investigation said Wednesday.
Wilson was not obligated to testify, and has also spoken with St. Louis County investigators twice and federal investigators once, the source said. The source said that Wilson had been “cooperative.”The grand jury term was set to expire last week, but was extended until January 7, 2015.
The latter option is, of course, the correct one, so let's see what we've got here, starting with Colorado. There, Quinnipiac finds Republican Bob Beauprez implausibly surging out to a 50-40 lead on Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who's generally held small leads. In fact, Beauprez's only ever led in two polls, and never by more than a single point. One of those was from Rasmussen and the other from ... Quinnipiac, back in July, when they had Beauprez ahead 44-43. Since then, they've switched to a likely voter model, and it seems that their screen must simply be bonkers.
And as we've noted before, the school has had trouble polling Colorado in the past, often finding much more positive numbers for Republicans than other outfits have. In Aug. 2012, they found Mitt Romney up 5 points, the most optimistic poll he ever saw there, and their final poll still had him on top by 1, even though he lost by more than 5. Likewise, in the summer of 2008, they also had John McCain leading at a time when pretty much no one else did.
And if Beauprez had internal numbers that were nearly this good, don't you think he'd have released them by now? He hasn't—but Democrats were ready with their own polling to counter Quinnipiac. Project New America released data from Myers Research showing Hickenlooper with a 51-44 advantage. That's actually the biggest lead Hick's seen in a while, but if you think those numbers are too gaudy, then that's a good reason to reject Quinnipiac's as well.
Iowa also requires the same level of skepticism. There, Quinnipiac has Republican Joni Ernst up 50-44 on Democrat Bruce Braley, the largest lead she's seen since just after she won the GOP primary. But again, Quinnipiac's switch from registered voters to likely voters has caused a dramatic shift, as Braley was up 4 in their last poll in June. Most recent polling has put Braley up a touch, and perhaps more importantly, Republicans are privately confessing that Ernst has slipped behind. (Politico's headline: "GOP frets over Harkin seat.")
And to be crystal clear, we're urging caution when interpreting these results not because they're bad for Democrats and we want people to plug up their ears and clap louder, but because they don't make sense in light of all the other available evidence. We'd be insisting on the same thing if Quinnipiac had suddenly found Pat Quinn or Mary Landrieu up 10. The point, as always, is that you can never rely on a single data point to draw conclusions, and Quinnipiac just gave us two good lessons as to why.
But, under the language used by the company, the new clothes aren’t “uniforms.” Instead, they’re part of a new “dress code.”
As Reuel Schiller, a law professor at UC Hastings, told NPR’s Marketplace, “There’s a legal difference between a uniform and a dress code.” Walmart skirts the regulation about uniforms and is able to pass the cost on to workers by calling it a dress code rather than a uniform. It also gets around it by making employees buy clothes that they could conceivably wear elsewhere, not ones branded with a logo, for which it would otherwise be legally required to pay.Although, if workers don't already have the required clothes, Walmart has helpfully marked the tags on items that pass muster in case workers want to buy those clothes from Walmart. Isn't that thoughtful? Worker group OUR Walmart estimates that the company stands to make $51 million or more in sales to workers buying the new not-quite-uniforms.
Walmart will also be supplying workers with a vest they're required to wear—a vest that, for all the company's big talk about American-made products, is currently being made in Jordan. They promise that soon, the vests will be made in the U.S., but:
"The sheer number of vests that we ordered for our associates is the reason that we utilized a current apparel supplier in that location," she said. "Our intent is to replenish the vests as needed through a U.S. supplier."What was so urgent about putting workers in new clothes that they couldn't wait long enough to get 1.4 million vests made here? And if it was hard for Walmart, with its massive profits, to get vests quickly enough, think about the strain for its workers, many of who are forced by their low wages and part-time hours to rely on food stamps and Medicaid, and are now required to quickly come up with the money to buy new work outfits.
"Obamacare is part of the mix, but it is nowhere near the sole focus of our campaigns," said Republican pollster Neil Newhouse. "Obamacare has come to symbolize government overreach, Obama's liberal values and poor policy judgment." […]
"We still capture ads attacking Obamacare just about every day of the week, but there are lots of issues being focused on now," said Elizabeth Wilner, who tracks campaign ads as vice president of Kantar Media Ad Intelligence. "Republicans were trying to make the election a referendum on the president, and a health-care law with his name on it was a perfect vehicle to do that. But now they are finding other vehicles."Those other vehicles are immigration, and general voter dissatisfaction with how government is not working. And if you think it takes a lot of chutzpah for Republicans who have ground government to a halt to be running against government dysfunction, you're absolutely right. When has hypocrisy ever stopped them before?
That doesn't mean there won't still be obligatory Obamacare votes in the House—they had one last week. But by now that's just become as much habit as anything else. With Democrats like Mark Begich and Mark Pryor and even West Virginia's Natalie Tennant running on the benefits of the law—benefits that people are actually quite pleased with, there's not much for Republicans to do but try to change the subject.
"It is time to move on," he wrote in a message to constituents. "In supporting the apology for slavery, most members felt it was an opportunity to recognize a past wrong and move on to pressing matters facing our State. HB 751 and others in the pipeline are redundant and they are consuming time and attention that should be dedicated to addressing education, transportation, and immigration problems plaguing this State."
But at the time, Tillis—who showed up in Wilmington on Tuesday with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in tow—offered another explanation for opposing the measure: Not all whites had participated in the riots. So Tillis pushed for an amendment introduced by a fellow state representative that would have added language to the bill commemorating the heroic white Republican lawmakers who had opposed the violence. "The proposed amendment would have acknowledged the historical fact that the white Republican government joined with black citizens to oppose the rioters," he argued. The amendment failed, and Tillis ended up voting no on the final version.Hey, we already apologized for slavery, so it would be redundant to apologize for the killing of 25 black citizens more than 30 years after the Civil War! Also, too, #notallwhitepeople.
Seriously, this guy. He just can't stop making clear that the only people who matter to him are people just like him. White Republicans did something good more than 100 years ago? It absolutely must be mentioned or we shouldn't apologize for mass murder. The electoral challenge today's Republicans face? Not enough "traditional," i.e. white, population. People objected to his mansplaining? That's "just silly." A woman criticized him? That was "born out of emotions." Tillis seems to realize that other people exist, people who are not white male Republicans. It's just that he doesn't seem to realize they matter except insofar as he needs at least a few of them to vote for him—and he resents that.
The House on Wednesday is expected to vote on – and likely pass – an amendment authorizing President Obama to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels in his war with the Islamic State, but don't expect the vote to fall neatly along party lines.
While the measure has drawn support from both the Republican and Democratic leadership, rank-and-file members across the political spectrum have raised concerns about it in recent days. The opposition is likely not enough to derail the proposal, but it could deny Obama the overwhelming vote of support he wants from Congress.Adding to the likelihood that it will pass, the Syrian opposition aid package is being tacked onto the continuing resolution that Congress must pass before the end of the month to avoid a government shutdown. It will provide about $500 million in funds to the Syrian opposition, a sum that pales in comparison to what we're expected to spend on Iraq air strikes, which are also intended to go after the militants calling themselves Islamic State. Although there is some opposition to the measure from the right, tea party groups like Club for Growth have decided against actively rallying opposition to it.
(A pathetic side note worth noting: Even as Congress and the White House prepare to spend enormous sums to attack ISIS, a request for $1 billion to combat the truly catastrophic Ebola crisis languishes, as David Nir noted earlier. It's a false dichotomy to say we can't do both, but it's mind-boggling that we aren't dealing with Ebola.)
In the Senate, which will vote on the House measure if it is approved, support for military aid was mixed. Sen. Tim Kaine came out in favor of aid, but also said he wanted to vote on an authorization for military force in attacking ISIS as part of the package. Congress, however, is unlikely to take a vote on authorizing military strikes until after the November elections. Sen. Joe Manchin said he opposed funding the Syrian opposition. But because the aid will be packaged with the continuing resolution, it seems unlikely that aid opponents will vote against final passage no matter how they vote on amendments leading up to the ultimate vote.
Meanwhile, as Meteor Blades wrote yesterday, Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey said that despite assurances from the president and Congress, he may recommend ground forces in attacks against ISIS, euphemistically describing such personnel as "close combat advisers."
Republican legislative leaders filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking changes to the newly redesigned ballot for the November election, claiming the one drafted by the nonpartisan elections agency unfairly benefits Democrats [...]
The ballot design is unfair because Democratic candidates are listed first under the name of the office being sought and Republican candidates are separated by a line, the lawsuit said.
Democrats are listed first, per state law, based on results in the 2012 election where President Barack Obama won Wisconsin. Republican candidates were listed first in 2012 because Gov. Scott Walker won election in 2010.The ballot is unfair because Democrats are listed first! It wasn't unfair in 2012, when Republicans were listed first. Because, you know, Republicans were listed first.
So to recap, the only fair Wisconsin ballots are ones where Republicans are listed first, and where draconian photo ID requirements protect against voter fraud that doesn't exist.
But hey, can't blame them. It's not as if they can win fair and square on their ideas.
There are lots of ways to put that amount of money in context, but here's a particularly salient one. Right now, the United States is spending $7.5 million dollars a day to support military operations in Iraq, at an annual cost of $2.7 billion per year. But if, as Joe Biden put it, we chase ISIS "to the gates of hell," we'll wind up paying far more.
Just how much? One expert says that ramped-up air operations could take our costs up to $100 million to $200 million a week, or $5 to $10 billion a year. But that only accounts for air strikes in Iraq. Another expert points out that if our reach expands—as military endeavors are wont to do—by engaging in air attacks in Syria, say, or paying other countries to join us, we could easily get up to a price tag of $15 to $20 billion per year, for what may be a multi-year venture. And none of this covers the possibility of ground troops. Add them in and the sky's the limit.
All this to hunt down a "ragtag collection of militants using secondhand weapons" that poses a very uncertain threat to the U.S. ISIS are barbarians—there's no disputing that—and the world would be a far better place with them gone. But their ability to target Western nations directly is limited at best.
Ebola, on the other hand, only needs to catch a single plane flight to cause far more terror and devastation than a handful of terrorists ever could. But even if you're of the opinion that we must spare no expense in stopping ISIS, there's no reason why we can't also focus on halting the spread of Ebola. As one of those defense experts notes, even $10 billion a year is "a round-off error" when it comes to our military budget.
But $1 billion—a rounding error on a rounding error—could save lots and lots of lives in Africa. It could also prevent the disease from reaching our own shores. We owe it to our fellow human beings to help them in a time of desperate need, and it's also just good sense to take preventive action that could protect this country, too. It's long past time for the West to act and put a stop to this dread virus, and it's long past time for the United States to lead.
Instead, the committee will examine the State Department's implementation of the recommendations made by the Accountability Review Board, an independent outfit that investigated the attack and in late 2012 issued proposals for improving security for American diplomats and US diplomatic facilities overseas. And the idea for this first hearing came from…a Democrat. As Corn says, this actually could be a worthwhile hearing topic—but it's certainly not the kind of hearing you need a special select committee to hold. Without the conspiracy theories that keep the Benghazi story alive, the House never would have voted to create the committee in the first place. And if the only thing they do is examine relatively mundane questions about how the administration handled the aftermath of the ARB report, they will have effectively conceded that there was never a good reason to create the committee.
So what's going on, then? Well, as Corn also notes, it turns out the committee chairman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina has been pretty clear about his strategy:
The Democrats’ strategy of making an increase in the minimum wage a midterm election rallying cry has been drowned out by world events. The party continues to talk about it, but it appears that few are listening. [...]
Events overseas have undermined Democrats’ strategy to tie their midterm prospects to an economic theme that includes calls for a higher minimum wage, reducing income inequality, pay equity for women and help with college tuition. Instead, the public and Congress have been overwhelmed this summer by a border crisis, an Ebola outbreak in Africa and, most notably, the terrorist threat from the Islamic State, also known by the acronym ISIS.That's true to an extent, but the Times' Michael Shear and Carl Hulse, though, seem to be missing just how much they're talking about a national-media phenomenon that doesn't necessarily reflect voters' priorities. The Middle East may be drowning out the minimum wage on CNN and in the New York Times, but in Arkansas, Republicans are feeling threatened enough by the popularity of a minimum wage ballot initiative to say they support it, however tepidly. For that matter, in recent polling, the economy is still way out in front of terrorism or international issues as the most important issue facing the United States.
Yes, if the media focuses overwhelmingly on bombings and beheadings, it can drown out the economic issues voters care most about, and the constant media chatter can help push voter interest in some issues over others. But even though the media's Middle East coverage is dominated by Republican voices like Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, Americans are still deeply divided over how the government should respond to ISIS. It's hardly clear that this is a home run for Republicans, even if it is a serious distraction from the issues Democrats would prefer to focus on. And raising the minimum wage and promoting equal pay remain incredibly popular issues—issues Republicans are on the wrong side of.
In a segment called "Willary or Won'tary" Jon checks in on Hillary Clinton and her hint-of-a-campaign-style-stop in Iowa this weekend. And what report about Hillary Clinton in Iowa would be complete without the nauseating reaction of the media?
See Jon Stewart's hilarious take in the video below the fold.
At least it's Wednesday, which we call Joan McCarterday. Because it's the day when the show has Joan McCarter on it, obviously. I only said that because I needed to type Joan's name a second time, so that I could bold it and it wouldn't look funny.
We'll catch up on all things Daily Kos, probably tsk-tsk disapprovingly at the national security landscape, and draw on the vast reservoir of stuff I haven't gotten to yet. All with a dash of delicious Fall Flavor!
Daily Kos Radio's Kagro in the Morning show podcasts are now available through iTunes.
Listen LIVE at 9:00 ET, here: The Daily Kos Radio Player
How are we doing on that? Well, it's been a little underwhelming, to be honest. Hundreds of thousands of you come through here every day, but I only tricked succeeded in convincing 762 of you to do this last month. So if you're seeing this and you didn't participate last month because you figured there were thousands upon thousands of your fellow Kossacks filling the quota, we could use your help on that.
Did you happen to miss our last LIVE show? You can catch it here:
Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold.
From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…
Parchment is Brittle---Do Not Eat!
I hope you put some extra starch in your bloomers this morning because no slouching is allowed on Constitution Day. 227 years ago, on September 17, 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed by delegates from 12 states. And you can thank a wily West Virginia Democrat for making us pay attention to the damn thing at least once a freakin' year:
- Constitution Day became a national observance in 2004, when Senator Robert Byrd passed a bill designating September 17 as the day for citizens to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution and learn more about our founding document. Senator Byrd once said, "Our ideals of freedom, set forth and realized in our Constitution, are our greatest export to the world." … In honor of Constitution Day, all educational institutions receiving federal funding are required to hold an educational program pertaining to the U.S. Constitution. Fun facts:
Yeah, even that jerk Gladys in HR.
- The U.S. Constitution was prepared in secret, behind locked doors that were guarded by sentries.
When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, it was moved to Fort Knox for safekeeping.
More than 11,000 amendments have been introduced in Congress. Thirty three have gone to the states to be ratified and twenty seven have received the necessary approval from the states to actually become amendments to the Constitution.According to the Daily Show's classic history manual America (The Book), the early reviews were boffo:
After the signing,
they enjoyed this
fine malt beverage. "Checks, balances, executive, legislative, judiciary--this baby's got it all!"
---George Washington, Mount Vernon Bee-Dispatch
"The Constitution grabs you right from the Preamble and doesn't let go until the last Article…the must-ratify document of the summer!"
---Alexander Hamilton, New York Post
"Belongs in the so-bad-it's-good genre of political charters…destined to become the kind of camp classic revered by some of our more, shall we say, 'unmarried' friends."
---Melancton Smith, "Melancton's Musings" (syndicated column)
Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
By Rachel Goldfarb, originally published on Next New Deal
Click here to subscribe to Roosevelt First, our weekday morning email featuring the Daily Digest.
Fighting Inequality in the New Gilded Age (Boston Review)
Roosevelt Institute Fellow Sabeel Rahman reviews three new books that ask who is engaging in democracy and how they are doing so in light of today's economic inequality.
Home Free? (New Yorker)
James Surowiecki looks at Utah's Housing First and Rapid Rehousing programs as examples of a better approach to solving social problems: investing in prevention.
At the Uber for Home Cleaning, Workers Pay a Price for Convenience (WaPo)
Lydia DePillis compares HomeJoy, an app-based cleaning service, to traditional services that count workers as employees, complete with worker's compensation for a job that involves harsh chemicals.
Do State Retirement Pensions Belong with Wall Street Hedge Funds? (The Guardian)
Suzanne McGee looks to current arguments in Rhode Island to explain why the high risks and high fees associated with hedge funds make some pension managers think twice.
‘A National Admissions Office’ for Low-Income Strivers (NYT)
David Leonhardt says Questbridge, a non-profit connecting low-income students to full-ride scholarships at top universities, has an innovative approach that is shifting the admissions process.
Americans' Stagnant Incomes, in Two Depressing Charts (Vox)
Danielle Kurtzleben looks at new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which confirms that U.S. household income remains stagnant and income inequality hasn't shifted either.
New on Next New Deal
Roosevelt Institute Fellow Saqib Bhatti explains how Wall Street harmed municipalities with risky interest rate swap deals, and argues that those deals may have been illegal and should be fought in court.
• KS-Sen: PPP's new poll of the Sunflower State, their first since Democrat Chad Taylor announced he was dropping his bid for Senate, confirms that Kansas—Kansas!—has cemented its position as the most exciting state of the 2014 election cycle. Taylor's status remains uncertain, though: The state Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday morning as to whether Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach should remove his name from the ballot (Kobach's refused to), and election law expert Rick Hasen thinks that Taylor's likely to prevail.
Fortunately, while we wait for the court to rule, PPP checked in on both possible scenarios—i.e., with Taylor on the ballot and with Taylor off—but in both cases, the news is equally dire for Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. In a three-way race, which is what we still have for the moment, independent businessman Greg Orman holds a 7-point lead:
Pat Roberts (R): 34
Chad Taylor (D): 6
Randall Batson (Lib): 4
Undecided: 15Unlike SurveyUSA, which recently found Taylor at 10 percent despite informing respondents that he'd quit, PPP didn't prime the folks they interviewed. Instead, they asked Taylor supporters after the horserace question above whether they knew he'd dropped out, and 36 percent said they were, in fact, not aware.
That's good news for Orman, because this group of inattentive voters is heavily Democratic (42 percent, versus just 12 percent Republican). That means they're more likely to come over to his side once they learn Taylor's not running, even if his name does formally remain on the ballot. (Of course, it'll be a struggle to get folks who haven't paid attention to the single biggest political story in Kansas in the past month out to the polls, but that's a separate problem.)
And in the event that the Supreme Court does side with Taylor, PPP's numbers show that such a development would indeed redound to Orman's advantage. In a direct head-to-head matchup without Taylor or Batson, the Libertarian, Orman holds a huge 46-36 lead on Roberts, whose job approval rating remains mired at a miserable 29-46, unchanged from his 27-44 score in August. Orman, meanwhile, has seen his standing surge with voters, despite Republican attacks that he's a stealth Democrat who's Harry Reid's willing puppet: His favorability rating has jumped to 39-19, up from 24-12 a month ago.
That won't last, because the GOP has yet to train its biggest guns on Orman, and they most certainly will. But Roberts, despite a peppy debate performance 10 days ago, still hasn't managed to stanch the bleeding. It's hard to get over what's happening in Kansas, which last sent a Democrat to the Senate in 1932, but yeah, it's happening.
Bond for Daniel Ken Holtzclaw, 27, was set at $500,000 Wednesday with conditions placed upon his release, if bond is posted. Holtzclaw has been held since his arrest two weeks ago in lieu of a $5 million cash bond. His attorney had wanted bond set at $139,000.
According to online court records, if bond is posted, Holtzclaw would be under full house arrest, have a GPS monitor and would only be allowed to go to his attorney’s office and court proceedings. At an earlier hearing Wednesday, Holtzclaw was set for a Sept. 18 preliminary hearing. A judge entered not-guilty pleas for him.
Holtzclaw was arrested last month following a months-long investigation by Oklahoma City police following a complaint from one of his alleged victims. Prosecutors have filed 16 felony charges against Holtzclaw, including four counts of forcible oral sodomy, two counts of first-degree rape, four counts of sexual battery, four counts of indecent exposure, one count of first-degree burglary and one count of stalking. The charges allege there are eight victims.
Newsweek recently featured "Why Cops Get Away With Rape."
“Unfortunately, this is more the norm than the exception,” she continues. “It’s hard to do research and find reliable statistics on a topic that nobody wants to speak about.” An unofficial study by the Cato Institute’s National Police Misconduct Reporting Project found that sexual misconduct is the second greatest of all civilian complaints nationwide against police officers, at 9.3 percent in 2010. The organization noted that 354 of the 618 officers under investigation for sexual offenses were accused of engaging in nonconsensual sexual acts, and just over half of the 354 cases involved minors.Please read below the fold for more on this story.
Fivethirtyeight: chance of Democratic control 43.7%
Election Lab: 49.9%
HuffPost Pollster: 53%
Daily Kos poll explorer: 55%
Princeton Election Consortium (Sam Wang): 70%
* Colorado: On Aug. 27 — the last time I wrote a big piece on the model — Election Lab said Sen. Mark Udall (D) had a 64 percent chance of winning. Today he has a 94 percent chance.
* Iowa: Two weeks ago, the model gave state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) a 72 percent chance of winning. Today she has a 59 percent chance.
* Kansas: Republican Sen. Pat Roberts's reelection race wasn't even on the radar on Aug. 27. Today, Election Lab predicts that he has just a 68 percent chance of winning.And that model may well be wrong about IA and KS. But, to be fair to the model, a 60% e.g. chance of winning is a 40% chance of losing. And that's a good chance.
Another reason things might not turn out for Republicans is if the highly touted Democratic Senate ground game comes together. Clearly the Obama campaign and Democratic allies had a superior voter-identification and get-out-the-vote operation two years ago. Earlier this year, Senate Democrats announced the Bannock Street Project, a $60 million program with the goal of putting in place 4,000 paid workers to use techniques perfected and put to work in 2010 by DSCC Chairman Michael Bennet in his race, and again two years ago by the Obama campaign. While some Republicans have scoffed at the likelihood of Democrats being able to mount such an effort, they concede that the Democratic ground game was superior two years ago. In midterm elections, if Democrats can crank up the turnout among young, female, and minority voters, then their chances of success this year increase.
Thus, if things go awry for Republicans on election night, some of the same factors that went wrong for them in 2012 will have been repeated.More politics and policy below the fold.