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Republican debate open thread #2

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 20:32

And we’re off to the races as the Republican presidential candidates face off for the last time before the New Hampshire primary. The Iowa caucus knocked Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, and Rick Santorum out of the race, though of those three, only Paul had been on the main debate stage recently anyway. Tonight’s debate features Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and John Kasich.

Debating was slated to start at 8:15 PM ET. It airs on ABC and streaming on ABCNews.com.

Sunday, Feb 7, 2016 · 1:36:50 AM +00:00 · Laura Clawson

Marco Rubio and Chris Christie just went toe to toe and suffice it to say, Rubio did not find Christie as easy an opponent as he did Jeb Bush in the past.

Sunday, Feb 7, 2016 · 1:37:23 AM +00:00 · Laura Clawson

Although now Jeb is not doing a bad job dismissing Rubio as a gifted politician with the implication he’s also kind of an empty suit. 

Sunday, Feb 7, 2016 · 1:41:17 AM +00:00 · Laura Clawson

Would Cruz pre-emptively take out North Korea’s missiles? He won’t say because he hasn’t been briefed on the latest news. Whereas when he says he would bomb the Middle East into a glowing parking lot, it’s totally based on the best intelligence.

Sunday, Feb 7, 2016 · 1:48:31 AM +00:00 · Laura Clawson

Would Chris Christie negotiate for the release of a detainee in North Korea? Has he mentioned he was a federal prosecutor? Well, as a former federal prosecutor he is a very tough guy who would never negotiate.

Sunday, Feb 7, 2016 · 1:48:46 AM +00:00 · Laura Clawson

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Christie says current US policy backs ransom for hostages. That's incorrect.

— Ari Melber (@AriMelber) February 7, 2016

 

Sunday, Feb 7, 2016 · 1:56:51 AM +00:00 · Laura Clawson

Rubio dodges on immigration, as per usual, opening the door for Christie to attack him on the usual range of things: Rubio ran from his immigration position, he didn’t lead, he doesn’t get hard stuff done … unlike one Chris Christie, who conveniently has to hand a bunch of talking points about what he’s gotten done through sheer machismo.

Sunday, Feb 7, 2016 · 1:59:15 AM +00:00 · Laura Clawson

New thread here.

Republican debate open thread #1

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 19:50

Donald Trump is back! After skipping the last Republican presidential primary debate because Megyn Kelly is mean, Trump will bring his bluster back to the debate stage in the final days before the New Hampshire primary. He’ll join Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and John Kasich, but NOT Carly Fiorina.

Debate coverage begins at 8 PM ET and allegedly the candidates will come onstage at 8:15 PM. It airs on ABC and streaming on ABCNews.com.

Sunday, Feb 7, 2016 · 1:10:23 AM +00:00 · Laura Clawson

Can’t be said enough:

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It's mildly cretinous that Trump and Cruz got record setting numbers in Iowa and the big media story is the establishment crush, Marco Rubio

— Groundhog Dan (@Bro_Pair) February 7, 2016

 

Sunday, Feb 7, 2016 · 1:19:24 AM +00:00 · Laura Clawson

Well, this one is off to a great start as the simple process of getting the candidates to the podium gets messed up.

Sunday, Feb 7, 2016 · 1:20:58 AM +00:00 · Laura Clawson

Does Donald Trump have the temperament to be president? He has the BEST temperament.

Sunday, Feb 7, 2016 · 1:32:21 AM +00:00 · Laura Clawson

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#Marco Rubio: Even tho I haven't done much, look at all the bad stuff all the people who've actually done stuff have done. #GOPDebate

— Adele Stan (@addiestan) February 7, 2016

 

Sunday, Feb 7, 2016 · 1:33:32 AM +00:00 · Laura Clawson

New thread here.

This week in the war on workers: Chicago teachers protest planned cuts and layoffs

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 18:55

Chicago schools and teachers are once again under serious attack from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, and once again, the Chicago Teachers Union is showing that it is a powerful force. Thousands of teachers and supporters rallied Thursday, with 16 people arrested, protesting massive proposed cuts and layoffs:

Officials with Chicago Public Schools said Tuesday they're ready to cut $100 million from school budgets and force teachers to pay more pension costs after their union rejected the latest contract offer, ratcheting up the tone of contentious negotiations that have lasted over a year. [...]

The latest flare-up followed an offer a CTU bargaining team rejected Monday, after both sides had deemed it "serious." The proposal included pay raises and job security, but union officials said it didn't address school conditions or a lack of services.

The teachers have authorized a strike, though that wouldn’t happen until spring if it happens at all.

In Theory examines space exploration this week

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 18:00

The Washington Post has a feature called “In Theory” which takes a look at various, off-the-usual-beat topics. This week that topic is space exploration, and they led with this unusually accurate and comprehensive article on the challenges faced by both commercial and government funded ventures:

The privatization of space exploration isn’t new. Much of the United States’ work in space is already accomplished through government contracts with private companies: Lockheed Martin won the contract to build and launch the New Horizons probe, and NASA chose SpaceX and a few of its rivals to resupply the International Space Station through 2024. Still, the primary objective for these projects was to serve the interests of science and discovery rather than the goals of the companies, which is why a growing trend toward commercialization is so notable.

I’d quibble on the term privatization, both because of its negative connotations and inaccuracy. But commercialization, with all its attendant advantages and disadvantages, is right on. That’s the only way anyone can see the solar system being developed inside ten generations, if at all. There’s just no other viable path outside of a renewed, and so far undeveloped, public appetite for space exploration surpassing the moonshot days.

Going to Mars using souped up Apollo methods would be like getting across San Francisco Bay in a stone-age kayak and deciding your next logical destination is Hawaii. And Mars is easy compared to most of the solar system. It’s not that we’re tiny, it’s that the solar system is really big and we need new spacecrafts, new power sources, and lots of new technology in general to take it on, regardless if the crew on-board or on the ground wear government insignia or corporate logos.

Just in time for the Super Bowl: clearing out the homeless

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 16:00

This year marks the 50th anniversary of football’s Super Bowl. Fifty years is a momentous occasion, whether you’re a sports fanatic or not. Celebrations—and marketing—are underway. But guess who’s not welcome to the party? San Francisco’s homeless, that’s who. Super Bowl 50 will take place this year in Santa Clara, about an hour’s drive South of San Francisco and yet, you’d think the game was being played on San Francisco’s streets.

A “Super Bowl City” has been set up, a pedestrian-friendly village of shops, entertainment, exhibits … even a trophy collection named after famed Green Bay Packer Coach Vince Lombardi, whose name adorns the Super Bowl trophy is on display. Also on display is San Francisco’s special brand of cruelty.

“We wanted to ask San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee about his plans for the homeless, in light of the big game. We met him at the opening of Super Bowl City.”

Noyes: “Is there a special push to hide the homeless for the Super Bowl?

Lee: “No, I don't think we're hiding anybody. This is a city of a lot of tolerance, but we do want to get people off the streets. I mean that is our ultimate and day-to-day goal.”

“But homeless advocates say the tactics are having the opposite effect. Dustin Edwards got a $100 citation for blocking the sidewalk. He told us, “The police showed up and basically just wrote it out for me because I was here on the sidewalk.”

“He doesn't know how he'll pay.”

This week at progressive state blogs: Satanists spring trap in Phoenix; La. gov appoints retreads

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 15:01

This week in progressive state blogs is designed specifically to focus attention on the writing and analysis of people focused on their home turf. Let me know via comments or Kosmail if you have a favorite state- or city-based blog you think I should be watching. Inclusion of a diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement or endorsement of its contents. 

At Delaware Liberal, jason330 writes—The absence of organizational values is crippling the Democratic Party:

1 in 150 employees who say their organization does not have a set of values are “Fully Engaged.”

Okay. That’s a survey of employees. Just imagine what the ratio must be for “members” of organizations that don’t have clear organizational values? How many of them are fully engaged? 1 in 500? 1 in 2,000? 1 in 10,000?

Delaware Liberal

That we have “third way” Democrats like Tom Carper, John Carny, and (let’s be honest) Hillary Clinton constantly muddying the water as to what it means to be a Democrat is literally handing the reigns of government over to the one American political party that DOES have core values, and by extension, does have “Fully Engaged” members.

Why do Democrats constantly lose in mid-terms?

Why is participation so low across the board for Democrats relative to Republicans?

These are not mysteries. The GOP literally has nothing other than core values, and core values alone (as whacked as they are) are enough to consistently beat the listless and directionless Democrats.

As Democrats we take pride in being the rational party.  The party that values reason and science.  Except on this topic.  It is the one area where we can’t accept the behavioral science.  Where we cling to mythology about centrism and the sacred holy ground called “the middle.”   We substitute the mystical incantations that rise from the DC punditry, for hard numbers and proven facts.

View from the left—the voter turnout story no one is talking about but Democrats should be

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 14:01

The raids the Obama administration has unleashed on Central American refugees are growing more reprehensible by the week. U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) agents have begun targeting high school-aged students for deportation who fled violence in their home countries.

That’s the case of Honduran David Guillén Acosta, a 19-year-old living in North Carolina who was arrested last week as he left for school one morning.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were waiting outside Guillen Acosta's Durham home and took him into custody.

The notion that our government is targeting kids and others fleeing violence for deportation is abhorrent morally, as I have noted in previous articles. But there’s another part of Guillén Acosta’s arrest that has real political implications almost no one is taking into consideration.

Hector Guillen said he watched from inside his home as his son was arrested because he feared that his other children might be taken into custody as well if he went outside.

The family is now keeping the other children at home, and Durham Public Schools officials said they are aware of other concerned Latino families also not sending their children to class for fear they will be deported.

The story here is the fear that keeps a father from opening the door—not for his own preservation but for that of his other children. The reason Guillén Acosta was targeted by ICE is that he illegally crossed the border after May 2014, which made him (and presumably his siblings too) a priority for deportation under the Department of Homeland Security guidelines issued in November 2014. That puts the kids in this instance at greater risk for deportation than their parents, who have been living in the U.S. for four years. 

But more to the point—what most Americans have underestimated is the extent to which undocumented immigrants now feel they are living in a police state. You don’t open doors for people you don’t know. You don’t go outside if at all possible. And even if you are a legal resident or citizen, you certainly don’t engage politically if anyone in your household is at risk of deportation.

Chief Justice Roberts complains that the public perceives his court to be politicized

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 12:01

I think he's being serious here.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said late Wednesday that partisan extremism is damaging the public’s perception of the role of the Supreme Court, recasting the justices as players in the political process rather than its referees. [...]

“It’s usually discussed as, ‘Oh, you’re in favor of this or you’re in favor of that,’ ” Roberts said in response to questions from law dean John F. O’Brien.

“In fact, our ruling is that whoever does get to decide this or that is allowed to do it, and that it’s not unconstitutional, that it’s consistent with the law. But we often have no policy views on the matter at all. And that’s an important distinction.”

The counterexample, of course, would be Justice Antonin Scalia, a man who at this point will choose whatever legal theory he momentarily feels like to decide a case in favor of the side every political observer assumes he will and will happily discard that theory for the next case. But if the court in general is rigorously corporate-favoring, or conspicuously willing to discard longstanding precedents in order to ratchet our laws one direction or another, that seems a topic worthy of discussion.

Or maybe it's because confirmation hearings are too politicized these days and everyone else should just shut up. Sure, that works too.

“When you have a sharply political, divisive hearing process, it increases the danger that whoever comes out of it will be viewed in those terms — if the Democrats and Republicans have been fighting so furiously about whether you’re going to be confirmed, it’s natural for some member of the public to think, well you must be identified in a particular way as a result of that process.

Other times someone gets appointed to the court after declaring themselves a humble umpire calling balls and strikes, and it's only after sitting themselves down in the big chair that it turns out they have some pretty strong opinions on which of our current laws need a rigorous pruning. But sure, it's probably just all in our heads.

Cartoon: Animal Nuz - Dem Debate Edition

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 11:00

This week in science: 21st century schizoid man

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 10:30

Arctic sea ice set a record low this part month. Which doesn’t bode well for the minimum expected later this summer:

This winter’s freezing season in the Arctic is falling short. The extent of Arctic sea ice this week is hovering near record-low values for early February, based on observations that extend back to the start of satellite monitoring in 1979. Data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) shows that last month had the lowest overall Arctic sea ice extent of any January in the satellite record. As detailed in an NSIDC report on Thursday, the total extent of 13.53 million square kilometers (5.2 million square miles) was 1.04 million sq km below the 1981-2010 average and 90,000 sq km below the record from January 2011.

  • I know you’re going to love the fact that 14 new species of tarantula have been named in the US. That includes one named for Johnny Cash!
  • Some say the Earth and moon are really more like a binary planet system (Pluto and Charon definitely are). But the Earth by its lonesome is already two planet’s worth of stuff.
  • Speaking of Pluto, frozen nitrogen doesn't act like frozen water, it’s alive, in that acts more like cold honey. Even on the edge of the solar system a scant few dozen degrees above absolute zero, it moves, it flows, and convects and big steely water-ice mountains bob up and down in it over eons.

Obama challenges Republicans in weekly address to double clean energy investment

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 10:01
x YouTube Video

One of the greatest challenges of our time is climate change. Over the last seven years, we’ve made historic investments in clean energy that helped private sector companies create tens of thousands of good jobs. And today, clean power from the wind or the sun is actually cheaper in many communities than dirtier, conventional power. It’s helped grow our economy and cut our total carbon pollution more than any other country on earth.

President Obama signalled Americans he is getting serious about climate change and renewable energy in his weekly address this morning, telling listeners innovating to stave off environmental disaster is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart business move. He made it clear who he really hoped he was listening:

And while Republicans in Congress are still considering their position on climate change, many of them realize that clean energy is an incredible source of good-paying jobs for their constituents. That’s why we were able to boost clean energy research and development in last year’s budget agreement. And I hope they support my plan to double that kind of investment.

The gist of the address: Put aside differences, invest, innovate, and make a difference.

To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Forget about winter weather as primary season heats up.

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 07:31

K. Sabeel Rahman on what the economic fight in the Democratic party is about (Warning: even handed):

Clinton takes a managerialist view of how government works, embracing the idea that, with sufficient expertise, government can fine-tune the economy to prevent crises. Sanders, by contrast, is skeptical of expert oversight, and instead seeks to radically restructure the economy itself.

Take their positions on financial regulation and the problem of “too big to fail” financial firms. Sanders wants to restore the New Deal-era Glass-Steagall Act, which mandates a separation between commercial and investment banking, and proposes to break up financial firms that are too big to fail into smaller entities, to limit their economic and political influence. As Sanders has argued, “if a bank is too big to fail, it’s too big to exist.” Clinton, by contrast, seeks to extend and deepen oversight of by strengthening the Dodd-Frank financial-regulatory overhaul passed in 2010. She argues that the financial crisis itself was caused not by big banks, but by so-called “shadow banks” like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. These financial firms play a critical role in an interconnected financial system, but exist outside conventional financial regulation, and would be relatively unaffected by either a re-instatement of Glass-Steagall, or by breaking up banks like Citi or Bank of America. Clinton’s critique is sound, and several economists and commentators have warned that Sanders’s approach will not address shadow banking. But it misses the broader implications of Sanders’s position, which is not just about financial regulation policy, also concerns the underlying approach to governance more broadly.

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14. By definition a "progressive" person seeks to persuade and work with people who disagree. Anything less is fundamentalism.

— AlGiordano (@AlGiordano) February 4, 2016

By the way, do not miss this righteous rant by Al Giordano on being someone else's idea of a progressive. That’s the dark side of passion, young Jedi. Guard against it.