Coming up on Sunday Kos ...
- Banned books, authors of color and characters of diversity, by Susan Grigsby
- If the 2016 GOP presidential field is so deep, why is Donald Trump beating so many of their 'stars'? by Steve Singiser
- The Twenty Percent Solution, by Jon Perr
- 90 for 90. Getting out the vote in Virginia, by Denise Oliver Velez
- Thomas Edsall is wrong. Obamacare did not make Americans more conservative, by Egberto Willies
- The submerged state: Welfare for the well off, by Dante Atkins
- We won't be calling it Obamacare in 2045. How about 'Americare'? by Ian Reifowitz
- Beyond the Hubble, by DarkSyde
- The 2016 election is not about the presidency. It is about the Supreme Court, by Mark E Andersen
This week at progressive state blogs: equal pay in NH, tax day in MI, sharia fears in ID, guns in VA
The millions of Americans who haven’t had a raise in 15 years?
Nope. The richest .2 percent of Americans who will leave more than $5.4 million dollars to their kids. They want to cut these taxes on the inheritances of theses extraordinarily rich people—none of whom are family farmers, as much as Republicans like to pretend they are—to ZERO.
And I’d like to thank them for this, since it has zero chance of becoming law.
Republicans like to pretend their priorities are multifaceted but all connected by big themes like “life” and “personal responsibility.” In doing this, they’ve managed to trick many of the Americans who have been most brutalized by their economic failures to vote for them. …More excerpts from progressive state blogs can be read below the orange gerrymander.
- Collective bargaining raises the wages and benefits more for low-wage workers than for middle-wage workers and least for white-collar workers, thereby lessening wage inequality.
- Collective bargaining also raises wages and benefits more for black, Asian, Hispanic, and immigrant workers, thereby lessening race/ethnic wage gaps.
- The decline of unions has affected middle-wage men more than any other group and explains about three-fourths of the expanded wage gap between white- and blue-collar men and over a fifth of the expanded wage gap between high school– and college-educated men from 1978 to 2011.
- The states where collective bargaining eroded the most since 1979 had the lowest growth in middle-class wages and the largest gap between rising productivity growth and middle-class wage growth.
The analysis looked at 20 health insurers in five states and found companies that provided limited or no coverage for some forms contraception. In some cases, the insurers imposed copays or required women to pay the full cost of a drug.
For example, seven insurers didn't pay the full cost of vaginal rings, and one company does not pay for ParaGard, the only nonhormonal IUD available to women. It can cost up to $1,000.
"That's a flagrant violation of the law," says Gena Madow, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood.Insurance companies disagree, saying that the law gives them latitude and that the federal guidelines on coverage of contraception "makes clear that plans do not have to cover every single form of birth control." So, take the case of two emergency contraceptive pills: Plan B or ella. According to a recent study, ella could be more effective than Plan B at preventing pregnancy. But ella is newer and might be more expensive for insurance companies to provide. So they only provide Plan B. A woman wanting more assurance that the drug will work and choosing to use ella would have to pay for it herself.
Planned Parenthood disagrees that this picking and choosing by insurance companies is not, in fact, complying with the law, and has asked the government to make insurers comply with the actual law, not their interpretation of it.
See madmsf's post.
Many environmentally related posts appearing at Daily Kos each week don't attract the attention they deserve. To help get more eyeballs, Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue) normally appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The most recent Wednesday Spotlight can be seen here. More than 22,285 environmentally oriented diaries have been rescued for inclusion in this weekly collection since 2006. Inclusion of a diary in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.
Safari Game Hunter & Guide Ian Gibson Killed By His Elephant Prey—by Leslie Salzillo: "The death of Ian Gibson, a well-established game hunter in Africa, made news across the globe this past week. Gibson was crushed on Wednesday by the mammoth animal he set out to track and kill. A letter was released to Gibson's clients, via AfricaHunting.com. [...] The details are just starting to emerge as we write this. However it appears that Ian and his client had been on the tracks of an elephant bull for approximately 5 hours when they decided to take a break and allow the client to rest. Feeling he was quite close to the elephant, Ian and his tracker Robert continued to follow the tracks in hopes of getting a look at the ivory as the client, stayed with the game scout to rest. Robert indicated the bull was in musk. They eventually caught up to the bull, spotting him at about 50-100 meters. The bull instantly turned and began a full charge. Ian and Robert began shouting in order to stop the charge. At very close range, Ian was able to get off one shot before the bull killed him."
You can find more rescued green diaries below the orange garden layout.
Kasie Hunt: Seventy-four percent of young Americans show in the NBC poll that they back same-sex marriage. Are you out of step with younger generations on that issue?
Marco Rubio: No—well, ultimately the decision on how we define marriage has always belonged to the states. And if in fact, as the polls indicate, a growing number of Americans believe that sex—marriage between two individuals of the same sex should be—legal, then they can petition their state legislatures and change their state laws.
And in fact, I suspect you’ll see that happen. It’s already begun to happen. So at the end of the day, I always believed marriage is regulated by states. I’ve never supported a federal constitutional amendment on—on marriage.Rubio followed the new GOP playbook on gay marriage—stating his support for the right of states to decide the issue. But there's two problems with his answer: first, he appears to have lied about never supporting a federal marriage amendment (FMA). In his inaugural bid for a U.S. Senate seat in 2010, Rubio filled out a candidate questionnaire for the Christian Coalition saying he supported an FMA.
A Christian Coalition spokeswoman confirmed that Rubio had filled out a candidate survey in 2010 when he was running for the Senate in Florida and attested to the voter guide’s accuracy, which she said was rigorously checked against candidate’s questionnaires, votes, and public statements. Head below for his second reason and for how Rubio faired the rest of the week.
Medicaid prescriptions jumped 25.4 percent in states that expanded Medicaid coverage, compared with 2.8 percent in the states that didn't expand coverage. With the Affordable Care Act going into effect in 2014, that led to a 13 percent jump in spending last year, the highest level since 2001, the report found.If you're employed or invested in the medical industry, the best news is there's mountains of mo' money waiting unclaimed on the table for companies and their lobbyists who successfully expands the ACA to its full potential in every state. Your only real obstacles are Republicans at the state and federal level who have sworn an oath to keep it out of your hands using the three "L's" strategy: legislation, lawsuits, and lies.
"I think there is big news coming on the Clinton Foundation," said Paul. "I think there are things that went on at the Clinton Foundation that are going to shock people. I think they're going to make people question whether she ought to run for president."
"Can you tell us what you're talking about?" asked Cameron.
"Then it wouldn't be a secret, Carl!" said Paul. "It's coming soon."Ah, the old I have information which would doom my opponent if it ever got out, but I'm not telling anyone what it is ploy. It's even older than the I have a secret plan to balance the budget but will only let you know what it is after you elect me pledge, or the I have a plan to win our current war but—sucks to be you, our American boys overseas—will only be sharing it if I win the White House, otherwise you can all go to hell promise.
Well step up, Rand. There's a lot of people whose careers ride on beating each and every supposed Hillary Clinton "scandal" into the ground, then digging it back up and starting over. They've been analyzing "the Chipotle visit" for days now, their souls withering away with each bored, newsless day—and you're holding out on them?
Stronger storms. Deeper droughts. Longer wildfire seasons. The world’s top climate scientists are warning us that a changing climate already affects the air our kids breathe. Last week, the Surgeon General and I spoke with public experts about how climate change is already affecting patients across the country. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. The president spoke of an upcoming visit to the Florida Everglades on Earth Day, one of the areas where the environment is most fragile—and where, he points out, the economic impact of climate change will be most pronounced. And he vowed to commit the United States to a leadership role in facing the crisis:
So climate change can no longer be denied – or ignored. The world is looking to the United States – to us – to lead. And that’s what we're doing. We're using more clean energy than ever before. America is number one in wind power, and every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008. To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you may be suffering from Climate Change Denial Disorder. CCDD is a fast-moving condition that affects the brain's neurons. It starts with the critical thinking cortex and spreads rapidly, quickly rendering its victim unable to comprehend basic text or read the numbers of a simple thermometer. It is highly infectious with insidious results: even as it reduces patients to a gibbering ditto-head, the disease makes them feel smarter and more confident than ever. To learn if you or someone you love may be in the early stages of CCDD, watch this short video.
- Suspended animation a reality soon?
- Tomorrow on Sunday Kos I'll be introducing the planned successor to the Hubble Space telescope. We hope to see you there!
- Once upon a time, I was a proud night owl and late riser: Victory is mine!
- SpaceX successfully launched a resupply module to the ISS this week and came close, so close, to landing the lower stage safely on an autonomous floating barge for reuse on future missions. See video here.
- Anatomically modern humans all share a distinctive feature not found in our closest relatives: the pointy chin.
- As long as all eyes are on Iowa: Iowa's Science Standards Review Team, a panel of 16 science experts and educators, made the decision during its meeting Tuesday at the Science Center of Iowa. The review team plans to recommend to the Board of Education that the state adopt the Next Generation Science Standards with only minor alterations, including none to the standards themselves, which include benchmarks dealing with climate change and evolution.
WaPo:“When I took over as governor of New Jersey, my predecessor, Governor Jon Corzine, had left us a mess — record deficits . . . the highest top tax rates and overall tax burden in America,” the Republican governor said. “People said New Jersey could never be turned around. But we took action.”
Christie’s remarks, laced with blunt criticism of President Obama’s record, were reflective of the image that he has spent years cultivating — that of a bipartisan broker dedicated to fixing long-standing fiscal problems once and for all. That image is also one that would serve as the centerpiece of a 2016 run by Christie for the White House.
An examination of Christie’s record by The Washington Post and ProPublica, however, paints a more complicated story of his fiscal stewardship of one of the biggest state budgets. It’s a story that will probably face far greater scrutiny should he declare himself a presidential candidate.Why wait? And if his henchmen and cronies are indicted, why treat him like a contender?
Christie gave the answer he was supposed to give. "I don't know and neither do you," he told Lauer. "We'll see."
It's a really, really good question though -- and one I've been thinking a lot about lately.As well you should.
More politics and policy below the fold.
Hoping they can drive a revamped public conversation and fuel a populist counter-movement from the left against an otherwise rightward lurch in the country, a coalition of progressive organizations this week is championing a new agenda designed to galvanize those demanding an economic, political, and ecological transformation in the United States.
Representing more than 2 million active members from their respective organizations in more than 32 states, the four members of the coalition—the Campaign for America's Future, National People's Action, US Action, and the Alliance for a Just Society—say that the nation's numerous and interwoven crises have drawn them together during a historic moment that demands a populist response.
"We're in a populist moment here in America," said Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America's Future, on a Thursday press call. "Even conservative Republicans are telling us that and average Americans nod in agreement when Sen. Elizabeth Warren tells us that our economy and our government have been rigged in favor of the wealthy and the big corporations."
Isaiah Poole, CAF's communications director, says the agenda—officially titled, Populism 2015 Platform: Building A Movement for People and the Planet—was designed to put "on notice politicians who offer workers patches and palliatives to soften the blows of actions that have served to shrink the middle class and concentrate wealth at the top. This is not about remediation. The demand is for restructuring." [...]
"There is a bottom-up progressive populist sentiment building in this country," said George Goehl, executive director of National People’s Action, "It's no secret that we are looking for political leadership, but we are also not waiting for that leadership. Populism2015 and the agenda we are organizing is one sign of that. The ideas in our agenda create a clear line in the sand for all candidates. At the end of the day the question is simple: do you stand with everyday people or do you stand with big-monied corporate interests?" [...]
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2013—Two final gun amendments fail. Reid orders bill carried over until Thursday:
The Burr amendment would have mandated that people can only be barred from buying firearms for mental health reasons when a judicial authority has made that determination. Defeated 56-44.
The Lautenberg-Blumenthal amendment would have imposed a limit of 10 rounds in ammunition magazines. Defeated 46-54.Tweet of the Day Few things more amusing than news outlets chasing burrito clicks by writing news stories condemning burrito coverage chasing burrito clicks.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, we took a time-traveling, patchwork approach to today's show. If you only heard the show live, check out the extended podcast version & what see we mean! First, some discussion of the exploding scandal of the Tulsa County, OK "reserve deputy" program. Then, Meteor Blades checks in with an update on the Iran deal and the related congressional maneuverings, plus a heads-up on the fast-moving TPP situation. Finally, the long-awaited reading and discussion of James Fallows' "The Tragedy of the American Military."
High Impact Posts • Top Comments The Evening Blues
Below the fold you can read the entire New Populist Agenda.
The ruling was name-checked last year in BBC America's Orphan Black, where eugenics and questions of identity are significant parts of the plot. For those unfamiliar, the critically acclaimed series, created by Graeme Manson and John Fawcett, centers around multiple "Neolution" conspiracies dealing with clones that all look like the very talented Tatiana Maslany. Much like an X-Files conspiracy, the show is a search for answers about why they were created and for what purpose? But at every turn a new question arises. And beyond bioethics and drama, the show's subtext is feminist concerns and class issues.
As the series begins its third season, the female clones of Project Leda are no longer alone. However, like a lot of mythology heavy TV shows, there is a question of how deep down the rabbit hole can a series go before it becomes a tangled mess of its own creation? You might need a pencil and paper to keep track of all the factions (and the factions within factions), who is on which side, and the purpose and agenda each group is working toward. And at times, it seems like the writers aren't really sure about the answers to those points, or know where they're going with them. But the draw and reason to watch is still Maslany, who amazes in multiple performances.
Continue below the fold for more.
According to people involved in the discussions, the plan would largely mirror last year's failed effort to end the NSA's bulk collection of millions of Americans’ phone records. […]
Multiple advocates of NSA reform told The Hill they are optimistic that the latest bill would provide a greater check on U.S. spying powers, nearly two years after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked explosive information about the NSA's activities. […]
Like previous efforts, the new version of the USA Freedom Act would effectively end the metadata program by requiring the NSA to obtain a court order before searching through records held by private phone companies, people involved in the negotiations said.
The plan would reform the secretive court that oversees U.S. intelligence activities by adding a panel that would provide an alternate voice to the government. It would also allow tech and telecom companies to disclose more details about the records they hand over to federal authorities.Aides who spoke anonymously to The Hill said that its a "stronger" bill than the watered-down bill the House ended up with last year and ends bulk collection. Apparently there's not support in either chamber for them to reauthorize the law unchanged, but that's always subject to change if negotiations drag out right down to the deadline. That's as much as we know for the moment, besides the fact that there's been a full-court press this week from the NSA and the FBI in classified, secret briefings with Congress to scare them into preserving their massive spying powers.