Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week's address, President Obama highlighted the 21st Century Cures Act, a bill in Congress that could help us find a cure for Alzheimer's, end cancer as we know it, and help those who are seeking treatment for opioid addiction":

The Ledes

Sunday, December 4, 2016.

Washington Post: "Irving Fradkin, an optometrist who in 1958 began collecting $1 donations to help send local high-schoolers to college and whose efforts grew into a charity that has distributed $3.5 billion to more than 2.2 million students in the United States, died Nov. 19 at his home in Fall River, Mass. He was 95." -- CW

The Wires

The Ledes

Saturday, December 3, 2016.

Los Angeles Times: "Authorities said they were preparing to deal with dozens of fatalities after a fire raced through a converted warehouse crowded with people attending a Friday night concert, officials said. Nine bodies have been recovered, but Alameda County sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly said officials were prepared for up to 40 fatalities. He said many of those inside the warehouse were young, some from foreign countries. Firefighters were beginning to move through the burned-out remains of the building looking for victims. The building’s roof caved in, and debris will make the search effort difficult, Kelly said. Firefighters plan to use drones with thermal-imaging equipment to search the building. There is no known cause of the fire. While arson is not suspected, Kelly said investigators are on scene and nothing has been ruled out. Officials said the warehouse isn’t currently considered a crime scene." -- CW 

Public Service Announcement

Guardian: (Nov. 3): "An Alzheimer’s drug has been shown to successfully target the most visible sign of the disease in the brain, raising hopes that an effective treatment could be finally within reach. A small trial of the drug was primarily aimed at assessing safety, but the findings suggest it effectively “switched off” the production of toxic amyloid proteins that lead to the sticky plaques seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.” -- CW

Politico's Late Nite Jokes:

A Night at the Opera. Los Angeles Times: "The curtain rose on Act 2 of 'The Daughter of the Regiment,' revealing the figure of a tiny woman barely visible in a large dome chair with her back to the audience. Suddenly, she swiveled around — and there was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.Cheers and prolonged applause rang out from the crowd at the Kennedy Center on Saturday night even before Ginsburg, a life-long opera lover who was making her official operatic debut, opened her mouth to speak as the imperious Duchess of Krakenthorp.... Her biggest laugh came when — in apparent reference to the bogus 'birther' campaign against President Obama — she asked whether [the character] Marie could produce a birth certificate and added: 'We must take precautions against fraudulent pretenders.' Ginsburg herself wrote her dialogue, in collaboration with ... [the] dramaturge for the Washington National Opera...." -- CW 

Bruce Springsteen performs at Hillary Clinton's rally in Philadelphia, November 7:

Washington Post: "Paul Beatty won the Man Booker Prize on Tuesday evening in London, becoming the first American ever to take home the prestigious award. His satirical novel 'The Sellout' beat five other finalists for the $60,000 prize, which also essentially guarantees substantial new sales and interest around the world. Amanda Foreman, chair of the Booker judges, called 'The Sellout' 'a novel for our times. . . . Its humor disguises a radical seriousness. Paul Beatty slays sacred cows with abandon and takes aim at racial and political taboos with wit, verve and a snarl.' Originally published last year in the United States, 'The Sellout' is an outrageously funny satire of American race relations. The protagonist, a black man whose father was killed by police, wants to reinstitute segregation in his California town. He eventually lands before the Supreme Court in a bizarre case involving slavery. 'The Sellout' also won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in March." -- CW 

Washington Post: "Comic actor, movie star and America’s best friend Bill Murray tried to sum up the emotions of being honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Sunday night [Oct. 23] at the Kennedy Center. 'My theme tonight is what is it like to be beloved,' a straight-faced Murray told the crowd at the end of the two-hour salute. 'It’s hard to listen to all those people be nice to you. You just get so suspicious.'”

Hill: Actor Bill Murray "spoke with President Obama, who congratulated him for winning this year’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, a White House official said. Asked by reporters in the Oval Office if he met with Murray, Obama said 'absolutely,' but didn’t reveal what else they discussed."

New York Times: "The veteran television personality Jane Pauley will replace Charles Osgood as the anchor of the highly rated CBS show 'Sunday Morning.' Mr. Osgood, who is retiring, announced the news on his last show on Sunday. Ms. Pauley’s first day in the role will be Oct. 9, and she will become only the third anchor of the show, which started in 1979." -- CW 

New York Times: "Modern humans evolved in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago. But how did our species go on to populate the rest of the globe?.... In a series of extraordinary genetic analyses published on Wednesday, researchers believe they have found an answer. In the journal Nature, three separate teams of geneticists survey DNA collected from cultures around the globe, many for the first time, and conclude that all non-Africans today trace their ancestry to a single population emerging from Africa between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago.... All non-Africans are closely related to one another, geneticists found, and they all branch from a family tree rooted in Africa.... There are also clues that at least some modern humans may have departed Africa well before 50,000 years ago, perhaps part of an earlier wave of migration." -- CW ...

... CW Note to White Racists: You, too, are black. It's way past time to give up your quest for "racial purity"; it's genetically impossible. This, BTW, is something non-ignoramuses have known for a couple of decades. No wonder you hate science.

 

The Los Angeles Times has extensive coverage of the Emmy Awards here.

The video below will most likely be taken down for copyright infringement, so watch it while you can. It's pretty funny. Here's a WashPo report on Jeb!'s cameo on the opening bit for the Emmy Awards. Also, ABC may put up a video of it here, but they have nothing at all up on the awards ceremony as of 8:30 am ET, Monday, Sept. 19.

Chris Welch of the Verge: "Twitter is about to make a big change to the way that tweets work.... Beginning September 19th, the company will cut down on exactly which types of content count toward the platform's 140-character limit. Media attachments (images, GIFs, videos, polls, etc.) and quoted tweets will no longer reduce the count. The extra room for text will give users more flexibility in composing their messages."

Contact the Constant Weader

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Constant Comments

Anyone with a cheap computer can become a columnist or a pundit. -- Dennis Ryerson, Editor, Indianapolis Star

About Me: I have a cheap computer.
-- Constant Weader

Follow CONSTANTWEADER on Twitter... for breaking news. I update several times a day & tweet only the big deals.

Tuesday
Nov042014

Senate & House Races

The Party of No, Ctd. New York Times Editors: "Republicans would like the country to believe that they took control of the Senate on Tuesday by advocating a strong, appealing agenda of job creation, tax reform and spending cuts. But, in reality, they did nothing of the sort.... Campaigning on pure negativity isn't surprising for a party that has governed that way since Mr. Obama was first sworn in. By creating an environment where every initiative is opposed and nothing gets done, Republicans helped engineer the president's image as weak and ineffectual."

"Meet the Real Senate Majority Leader." Sahil Kapur of Think Progress: "Texas Sen. Ted Cruz ... is poised to make life very difficult for ... [Mitch McConnell] by harnessing the power of the GOP base's rightward drift to wage fierce battles with President Barack Obama. Cruz telegraphed his strategy in a post-election interview Tuesday night on Fox News, calling on Republicans to do whatever it takes to repeal Obamacare and and prevent Obama's upcoming executive actions on immigration."

Dana Milbank: "Republicans have set themselves up for chaos, if not outright fratricide."

Alex Rogers of Time: The Republican Senatorial Committee conducted exercises to try to gaffe-proof their candidates. It pretty much worked.

Jonathan Weisman & Ashley Parker of the New York Times: "An election that started as trench warfare, state by state and district by district, crested into a sweeping Republican victory. Contests that were expected to be close were not, and races expected to go Democratic broke narrowly for the Republicans."

The Times' interactive Senate map is here.

The Times' interactive House map is here.

States are listed in alpha order.

Alabama. Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions (R) has won re-election against nobody.

Alaska. Republican Dan Sullivan is leading Sen. Mark Begich (D) by about four points with 100 percent reporting, but the race hasn't been called yet. ...

... Nathaniel Herz of Alaska Dispatch News: "Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan appeared to grab an insurmountable lead over incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Begich early Wednesday, with all of Alaska's precincts reporting. With results from all 441 precincts counted, Sullivan led 49 percent to 45 percent. The margin remained essentially the same from the first returns early in the evening."

Arkansas. NBC News projects Rep. Tom Cotton (RTP) has defeated Sen. Mark Pryor (D). This of course is a Republican pick-up.

** Colorado. Cory Gardner (R) has unseated Mark Udall (D).

Delaware. Chris Coons (D) has won re-election.

Florida. Gwen Graham (D), daughter of former Gov. & Sen. Bob Graham, has won a House seat in Florida's 2nd Congressional District, which usually polls Republican.

Georgia. David Perdue (D) is predicted to be the winner in Georgia, & should win more than 50 percent of the vote, thus avoiding a runoff.

Hawaii. CNN projects Brian Schatz (D) has won.

Idaho. Sen. Jim Risch (R) has won re-election.

Illinois. Dick Durbin has won re-election.

Indiana is reporting early results as of 6:45 pm ET.

** Iowa. NBC News has called the race for Joni Ernst at 11:30 pm ET. That means Republicans control the Senate. I'm going to bed. Good night. ...

... Ted Barrett of CNN: "Republican Joni Ernst has won the race for Iowa's U.S. Senate seat held by retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, defeating Democratic challenger Bruce Braley, according to a CNN projection."

Kansas. CNN has called the race for Sen. Pat Roberts (R) over independent Greg Orman. ...

... Dion Lefler & Bryan Lowry of the Wichita Eagle: "Pat Roberts won a fourth term in the U.S. Senate and probably the chairmanship of the Agriculture Committee on Tuesday, despite a strong challenge from independent candidate Greg Orman." ...

... At 8:49 pm ET, the Senate race is really close.

Kentucky. CNN projects Mitch McConnell will win. NBC News gives it to McConnell, too. ...

... Jay Newton-Small of Time interviews Mitch McConnell: "Some examples of things that we're very likely to be voting on: approving the Keystone XL pipeline, repealing the medical device tax, trying to restore the 40-hour work week, trying to get rid of the individual mandate.... I'll give you a couple of examples where there may be areas of agreement [with President Obama]: comprehensive tax reform and trade agreements. Most of my members think that America's a winner in international trade." He wouldn't answer questions about "undoing the nuclear option" on confirmation of nominees nor on immigration reform.

Tina Nguyen of Mediaite: Chris Matthews & Al Sharpton bashed Grimes' "concession" speech. CW: McConnell's victory speech, BTW, was gracious.

... Returns are coming in already at 6:20 pm ET. Looks mighty good for Mitch with a fraction of precincts reporting.

Louisiana. Bruce Alpert of the Times-Picayune: "Louisiana's Senate campaign is heading into overtime. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. and Bill Cassidy were running neck-and-neck ahead of the field of eight candidates late Tuesday, but well short of the 50-percent-plus-one vote needed to avoid the Dec. 6 runoff. Rob Maness, the Tea Party conservative, was running a distant third." ...

... The Louisiana Senate results are here.

Maine. The NYT has called the race for Republican Susan Collins.

Massachusetts. Sen. Ed Markey (D) wins his first state-wide election. ...

... Seth Moulton (D) wins House race, per NBC News. ...

... Stephanie Ebbert & Kathy McCabe of the Boston Globe: "Seth Moulton, an Iraq war veteran and first-time candidate, swept to victory as a change agent for the Sixth Congressional District on Tuesday, denying Massachusetts Republicans their best hope of picking up a seat in the US House this year. With 89 percent of precincts reporting, Moulton was beating Republican Richard R. Tisei, 55.4 percent to 40 percent. Tisei conceded the race around 9:40 p.m." ...

How to win ...

... And lose a Congressional race:

Michigan: Gary Peters (D) wins, per NBC News.

Minnesota. Sen. Al Franken (D-Terrific) has won re-election. ...

... Katy Bachman of Politico: "Democratic incumbent Sen. Al Franken coasted to a second term over Republican challenger Mike McFadden. With four percent of Minnesota precincts reporting..., the Associated Press called the vote. The 2014 race between Franken and McFadden, an investment banker, was a stark contrast to six years ago, when Franken barely pulled out a win against Norm Coleman. Separated by a mere 312 votes, Franken didn’t take office until July 2009, following a protracted recount." With 100 percent reporting, Franken garnered 53.2 percent of the vote to McFadden's 42.9 percent.

Allison Sherry of the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Republican Tom Emmer, who failed in his bid to be Minnesota’s governor four years ago, won the seat being vacated by Rep. Michele Bachmann in the conservative Sixth ­Congressional District, ushering in an era that Emmer vows will be marked with civility and service to constituents. Emmer, who was known as a fiery state legislator, has simmered down this election season, touting conservative messages of fiscal responsibility and a willingness to reach across the aisle."

Mississippi. The NYT projects Sen. Thad Cochran (R) has won re-election.

Montana. The Republican Steve Daines wins, according to NBC News. This is a Republican pick-up. It's the seat held by Max Baucus (D), then John Walsh, the plagiarist guy.

Nebraska. Ben Sasse (R) has won, per the NYT.

** New Hampshire. Dan Tuohy & Mark Hayward of the Union Leader: "Sen. Jeanne Shaheen kept 'purple' New Hampshire from turning to Brown. The Democratic incumbent defeated Republican Scott Brown, the former Massachusetts Senator who moved to the Granite State last year, in one of the hottest U.S. Senate races in the country. ABC News projected a Shaheen victory shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday. An hour later, it was a razor-thin margin, and Brown supporters clung to hopes he could pull off the upset. But Shaheen tallied yet more votes, and won a second term. She pulled ahead, 51 percent to 49 percent, with 80 percent of the precincts reporting."

... Scott Brown is not conceding (at 10:55 pm ET) & is insisting he hasn't lost the election. The count is very close right now, about 192K (Shaheen) to 190K (Brown). ...

... ABC News has called the race for Jeanne Shaheen @ 8:45 pm ET. "The Constitution provides that every state has two Senators, but not every Senator has two states." -- Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)

... Jeanne Shaheen is looking good against Scott Brown, with 13 percent of the vote in, but @ 8:25 pm ET, the networks haven't called the race.

... Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) of New Hampshire's first district lost to Republican Frank Guinta, so New Hampshire no longer has an all-female Congressional leadership (or an all-Democratic one).

New Jersey. Sen. Cory Booker (D) won re-election.

New Mexico. Sen. Tom Udall (D) retains his seat.

New York: Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm (R), despite a 20-count federal indictment against him, won re-election, largely because his Democratic opponent, Domenic Recchia, is a dimwitted hack. CW: I seldom endorse third-party candidates, even when they're the best in the field, but I'm with the woman cited at the end of the New York Times story linked here. She voted for the Green party candidate. Once in awhile throwing away your vote is the only thing you can do.

North Carolina. The repugnant Thom Tillis (R) has unseated Kay Hagan (D).

... Kay Hagan is "in a world of trouble," according to Steve Kornacki of MSNBC.

Oklahoma. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Neanderthal) has won re-election. ...

... James Lankford (R) has won the special election to replace retiring Sen. Tom Coburn.

Oregon. Sen. Jeff Merkley has won re-election. ...

... Jeff Mapes of the Oregonian: "Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley cruised to a strong re-election victory over Republican challenger Monica Wehby. Merkley's victory was clear minutes after the polls closed as he held a commanding lead of a more than 2-to-1 ratio over Wehby in partial results.... Republican strategists once had high hopes for Wehby, 52, a pediatric neurosurgeon from Portland. She was one of several doctors around the country recruited by Republicans to run in a year when the new federal health care law -- known as Obamacare -- was having a rocky rollout."

Rhode Island. Sen. Jack Reed (D) has won re-election, per the NYT.

South Carolina. NBC News projects Sen. Tim Scott (R), a Nikki Haley appointee, has won his special election. ...

... NBC News projects Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) has won re-election.

Texas. Sen. John Cornyn (R) has run re-election.

South Dakota. Mike Rounds (R) wins, per NBC News. This was a 4-way.

Tennessee. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) wins re-election.

Virginia. Mark Warner (D), a heavy favorite going into election day, barely won. Gillespie (R) had predicted he would lose by one point or less. He was right. ...

Byron Tau of Politico: "Democratic Sen. Mark Warner is clinging to a small lead over Republican Ed Gillespie in an unexpectedly tight Virginia Senate race. With nearly all precincts reporting, about 13,000 votes separated the two men -- with Warner edging Gillespie by less than 1 percent of the vote. Warner made a brief victory speech on Tuesday night, despite the fact that the Associated Press still considers the race too close to call.... Virginia law does not have an automatic recount process but allows the loser in any race decided by less than a 1-percent margin to request one. Gillespie declined to concede in brief remarks to supporters, urging patience with the final vote tallies and the few remaining outstanding precincts." ...

... At 10:08 pm ET, Republican Ed Gillespie is still ahead. This has been considered a safe Democratic seat. ...

... Mark Warner's numbers are looking better now. (8:05 pm ET) But NBC has changed from "too early to call" to "too close to call." ...

... It's not looking so good for Sen. Mark Warner (D); his challenger is the weasel-y Ed Gillespie. However, the burbs around D.C. usually come in late. Warner was expected to win handily, so there has been little national attention to the race.

West Virginia. NBC News has called the Senate race for the Republican Shelly Capito. This is a Republican pick-up; Democrat Jay Rockefeller is retiring. Capito is the daughter of a former W. Va. governor, Arch Moore.

Wyoming. Mike Enzi (R) holds his seat.

Tuesday
Nov042014

Gubernatorial Race Results

Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: "Republicans won the two most intensely followed, high-stakes governor's races of the year as Rick Scott of Florida and Scott Walker of Wisconsin won re-election on Tuesday in states that both parties are looking to as a gauge of voter sentiment in the run-up to the 2016 presidential campaign. Their victories were part of a sweeping tide of Republican victories in governors' races. With Republican control of a majority of legislatures, the party was left in firm control of the nation's state capitals.... Surprise winners for the Republicans included Bruce Rauner, a money manager who defeated the Democratic incumbent, Pat Quinn, in Illinois, and Larry Hogan, who defeated the current Democratic lieutenant governor of Maryland, Anthony Brown. In Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback, on the defensive because of the state's embattled fiscal situation, turned back his Democratic challenger, Paul Davis. In Maine, Gov. Paul R. LePage, a staunch conservative, defeated Mike Michaud, a Democrat. And in Massachusetts, Martha Coakley, the Democrat, lost a close race to Charles Baker, the Republican." ...

... The Times' interactive map is here.

States are listed in alpha order.

Alabama. Gov. Robert Bentley (R) has won re-election.

Arizona. Doug Ducey (R) has won the race.

Arkansas. Asa Hutchinson (R) has won the gubernatorial race. The current governor, Mike Beebe, is a Democrat.

California. Jerry Brown has been re-elected to his 4th term. ...

... Seema Mehta of the Los Angeles Times: "California voters decisively elected Gov. Jerry Brown to a historic fourth term Tuesday, a rare bright spot for Democrats on a night when Republicans celebrated huge victories in the rest of the nation. Brown handily defeated GOP challenger Neel Kashkari and voters also approved the two propositions that the incumbent championed -- a $7.5-billion water bond measure and a state rainy-day fund."

Colorado. Lauren French of Politico: "Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has been reelected, fending off GOP challenger Bob Beauprez, according to The Associated Press. The Democrat trailed Beauprez in the polls for most of Election Day, but eventually pulled ahead, earning 48.3 percent of the vote with 93.4 percent of precincts reporting. Beauprez trailed by only 1 percentage point."

Connecticut. Matthew Kauffman, et al., of the Hartford Courant: "Gov. Dan Malloy appeared poised to pull ahead of Republican challenger Tom Foley as Connecticut's neck-and-neck race for governor came to a close. Around 12:30 a.m., as registrars in Hartford, Bridgeport and elsewhere were still tallying votes, Malloy gave a rousing speech to supporters, telling them 'We are going to win this thing' -- while stopping short of declaring victory. Twenty minutes later, Foley in turn told supporters 'We probably have lost this race' -- while stopping short of conceding." ...

... Here's where the Connecticut race stands now.

Florida. Aargh! The NYT has called the race for Gov. Scott. Very bad for the working poor who need health insurance. ...

... Marc Caputo, et al., of the Miami Herald: "Bolstered by a $100 million campaign and a stronger economy, Gov. Rick Scott overcame his own political liabilities and a fierce challenge from Democrat Charlie Crist on Tuesday as he won a second term that solidified Republican control of the state. Polls showed the race would be tight, and it was. As Scott clung to a 1.4 percentage point lead, Crist conceded before 11:30 p.m." ...

... With 95 % of the vote in, Scott is about 120K votes ahead. ...

... Crist's early lead has evaporated @ 7:50 pm ET. ...

... Crist is asking for an emergency court order to keep the polls open an extra hour in -- wait for it -- Broward County, because of voting machine problems. Update: Crist's petition has been denied, but everyone in line in Broward County @ 7:00 pm will be allowed to vote. ...

... Crist (D) is ahead in early returns.

Georgia. Gov. Nathan Deal has retained his seat over challenger Jason Carter (D).

Kansas. Maybe the worst governor in the U.S., Sam Brownback (RTP), kept his job. ...

... Bryan Lowry & Suzanne Perez Tobias of the Wichita Eagle: "Gov. Sam Brownback triumphed over Democrat Paul Davis late Tuesday, collecting 50 percent of the vote in a hard-fought race."

Illinois. Bruce Rauner (R) has unseated Pat Quinn (D).

Maine. The horrid Gov. Paul LePage won in a three-way race. ...

... Steve Mistler of the Portland Press Herald: "Republican Gov. Paul LePage secured a second term early Wednesday morning, defeating Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud after a long, expensive and often bitter campaign. Michaud conceded defeat at 12:30 a.m. in a speech at the Port City Music Hall. LePage triumphantly took the stage at the Franco American Heritage Center in Lewiston before Michaud finished his speech."

Maryland. Larry Hogan (R) defeated Anthony Brown (D). ...

... John Wagner & Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post: "Republican businessman Larry Hogan pulled off a stunning upset in heavily Democratic Maryland on Tuesday, winning the governor's race against Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown by relentlessly promising to roll back tax increases and chart a new direction for the state."

Massachusetts. Charlie Baker (R) beat Martha Coakley (D) by a slim margin. (Thanks, Boston Globe!) ...

... Robert Scalese of the Boston Globe: "Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley called Republican candidate Charlie Baker Wednesday morning to congratulate him on his victory. Coakley will address supporters at 11 a.m., according to multiple reports."

Michigan. Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has won re-election, per NBC News.

Minnesota. Gov. Mark Dayton (D) is the projected winner, per NBC News.

Nebraska. NBC News has called the race for Republican Pete Ricketts.

Nevada. Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) prevails.

New Hampshire. NBC News has called the race for Gov. Maggie Hassan (D).

New Mexico. NBC News projects Gov. Susana Martinez (R) has won re-election.

New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) retains his seat, per CNN.

Ohio. NBC News has called the Ohio race for Gov. John Kasich (R).

Oregon. The New York Times has called the race for Gov. John Kitzhaber (D). ....

... Laura Gunderson of the Oregonian: "Rep. Dennis Richardson refused to concede the governor's race on Tuesday night, saying the margin was too slim and that he planned to 'go to bed happy tonight.' About the same time Richardson spoke at his election party in Clackamas, Gov. John Kitzhaber thanked his supporters at the Democrats' function in downtown Portland for the "incredible honor" to serve another four years."

Pennsylvania. Democrat Tom Wolf defeats Gov. Tom Corbett.

Rhode Island. Gina Raimondo (D) won the race.

South Carolina. NBC News projects Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has won re-election.

South Dakota. Republican Dennis Daugaard has won re-election.

Tennessee. Gov. Bill Haslam (R) has won re-election.

Texas. CNN projects Greg Abbott (R) wins over Wendy Davis (D).

** Wisconsin. Scott Walker hangs onto his seat. ...

... Jason Stein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Republican Gov. Scott Walker defeated Democrat Mary Burke Tuesday, ensuring himself a second term in Madison and raising the prospect of a political future at the national level."

Wyoming. Gov. Matt Mead (R) has won re-election.

Tuesday
Nov042014

Other Ballot Issues

Paul Waldman: ballot measures were "the one bright spot for liberals." CW: These ballot measures also suggest to me that this wasn't a "wave" election in John Cassidy's definition. The vast voting public is remarkably consistent in its views & in its voting patterns.

Arkansas. Voters have approved a raise in the minimum wage (not sure what the $$ figure is).

California. Paige St. John of the Los Angeles Times: "Proposition 47, to reduce sentences for some crimes, passes, AP reports. Penalties for common drug and theft crimes in California will be reduced from potential felonies to misdemeanors, shortening the time some offenders spend behind bars."

Colorado. The "personhood" amendment failed for the third time.

Florida. Medical marijuana gets 57 percent of the vote, but not enough to pass as a constitutional amendment.

Illinois. Voters approved a minimum wage increase, via Greg Sargent.

Minnesota. The Minnesota state house flipped to Republican control, the Star Tribune reports (I can't link the page as the Star Tribune site keeping messing up my computer). Republicans defeated at least 11 DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor party) candidates. The state senate remains in DFL control.

Nebraska voters also approved a hike in the minimum wage.

Oregon. Noelle Crombie of the Oregonian: "Oregon voters said yes to marijuana Tuesday, making the state the third to allow the possession and sale of cannabis for recreational rather than strictly medical use."

Washington State: Jonathan Topaz of Politico: "Voters in Washington state backed universal background checks on firearms purchases, a solid win for gun control advocates like former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Bill Gates. About 60 percent of Washington state voters supported Initiative 594, an initiative to provide universal background checks for gun buyers, including for gun shows and private sales." The Seattle Times story is here.

Monday
Nov032014

The Commentariat -- Nov. 4, 2014

November Elections
Are Today

The New York Times is liveblogging the elections. ...

... AND the Guardian is liveblogging the elections, too.

Here are the New York Times' final odds on U.S. Senate races. Related detail is here:

AND here is Larry Sabato's "Crystal Ball" analysis for the Senate, House & governors' races. Related story here:

Ben Kamisar of the Hill: "The Department of Justice plans to send federal monitors to 18 states to watch for discrimination against voters. Monitors will head to Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin." ...

... Erik Eckholm of the New York Times: "The obscure rules of elections will be under intense scrutiny on Tuesday as civic groups, political parties and the Department of Justice, concerned about fair play, monitor polling places for irregularities. New rules to limit same-day registration or require photo identification will be in effect in some states, even as their constitutionality is argued in the courts. Most of the changes were adopted by Republican legislatures in the name of electoral integrity, even though evidence of voter fraud was negligible. They are opposed by Democrats who say tighter rules are aimed at discouraging minorities, poor people and college students from voting. All those groups tend to prefer Democrats." ...

     ... CW: I have to give Eckholm credit for "telling it like it is," rather than formulating a "both sides" pretense. This is a too-rare example of honest political reporting. He does give a GOP partisan a one-off, but most of his report centers on the ugly facts. Refreshing.

Joe Coscarelli & Margaret Hartmann of New York highlight what they think are "the 12 most interesting midterm races to watch."

Jonathan Martin & Nate Cohn of the New York Times suggest some things to look for as election results roll in.

Roger Simon of Politico: "We keep reelecting the same yahoos, expecting the results to be different.... The candidates ... believe enough money will buy enough attack ads to ensure them a victory. So public service is reduced to gathering bucks to pay for the next empty campaign. 'The hardest thing about any political campaign,' [Adlai Stevenson once] said, 'is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.'"

Danny Vinik of the New Republic: Also on a number of state ballots today: Medicaid expansion (indirectly), minimum wage, marijuana legalization & abortion.

"Let My People Go." John Oliver on state legislative elections. Thanks to James S. for the link:

Brent Budowsky of the Hill: "In a last-minute gift to Democrats on the eve of the midterm elections, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has announced his plan to push for Senate Republicans to declare a rightist war against Democrats if the GOP wins control of the Senate. Set aside the campaign pitches of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Colorado Senate candidate Rep. Cory Gardner (R), Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst (R), Georgia GOP Senate candidate David Perdue and Alaska GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan, who promise to end gridlock in Washington and govern for 'all of the people.' Cruz says they are all wrong.... Cruz is the real voice of what will happen if Republicans take control of the Senate." CW: Budowsky is an opinion writer.

Colorado. Adam Weinstein of Gawker: "Democratic Colorado Sen. Mark Udall's tenuous chance at reelection took a hard blow Sunday after he was cussed out in the middle of a public stump speech by one of his own ultra-wealthy donors [Leo Beserra] because, in the donor's words, 'fucking abortion is all he talks about.' Udall -- the scion of an American West political dynasty that descended from one of the country's most infamous religious mass-killers -- is a first-termer with a shaky tenure in a purple state where opinions are bitterly divided on the president and his political party." The Guardian story, by Paul Lewis, is here.

Iowa. Charles Pierce gets into it with Joni Ernst. It turns out that according to Ernst, it's a "press ... opinion" that only one person in the U.S. -- Dr. Craig Spencer -- has Ebola. See, inconvenient facts are merely the opinions of the liberal media. Right Wing World is a supernatural place. ...

... AND Pierce claims Bruce Braley "delivered his own eulogy" at a campaign event last night. "Braley contributed to his own peril by being approximately as charismatic as a green salad, and citing his ability to 'work across the aisle,' while his opponent was tossing red meat under cover of a very effective camouflage. There is no longer an effective and reliable constituency out there for actual governance, at least not during elections."

Louisiana. Brian Beutler: May Landrieu was right, of course, when she said last week that "President Obama's unpopularity in her state, in part, to the fact that 'the South has not always been the friendliest place for African Americans.'" She was also being politically astute: "Absent the motivating effect his candidacy has on black voters, Landrieu needs to find other ways to juice black turnout. Signaling to them that she's aware of the state's race problems, and that she's on the right side of that struggle, isn't an error 'politically,' as [that idiot Mark] Halperin suggested. It is a matter of political necessity."

Maine. Gov. Paul LePage (RTP), at a campaign rally with Chris Christie, in predicting his own victory, said he wanted to put Portland Press Herald columnist Bill Nemitz "on suicide watch.... We've got to make sure that for the next 24 hours that he doesn't go anywhere near the new Bucksport bridge." Here's the AP report, via the Press Herald. ...

... FYI, here's Nemitz's most recent Press Herald column (Nov. 2): "Here's a counterintuitive solution to Maine's not-really-Ebola crisis: Take Gov. Paul LePage, Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Sheila Pinette and lock them in a remote cabin somewhere in Aroostook County. It's the best way to prevent their ignorance from infecting the entire state of Maine."

New York. The Daily News endorses Michael Grimm! "In Domenic Recchia, the Democrats have fielded a candidate so dumb, ill-informed, evasive and inarticulate that voting for a thuggish Republican who could wind up in a prison jumpsuit starts to make rational sense." Via Joe Coscarelli. CW: That an endorsement for the ages.

AND in Other News ...

Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post: For too many Americans, there are no second chances. (One in every 13 black adults across the country cannot vote in this election because of a criminal record, according to the Craig Timberg of the Washington Post: "Verizon and AT&T have been quietly tracking the Internet activity of more than 100 million cellular customers with what critics have dubbed 'supercookies' -- markers so powerful that it;s difficult for even savvy users to escape them. The technology has allowed the companies to monitor which sites their customers visit, cataloging their tastes and interests. Consumers cannot erase these supercookies or evade them by using browser settings, such as the 'private' or 'incognito' modes that are popular among users wary of corporate or government surveillance."

Tina Nguyen of Mediaite: "During a Q&A in Canada, Glenn Greenwald was asked why his colleague and NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, wasn't on any of the social media platforms -- i.e., Facebook -- and Greenwald didn't mince words.'He doesn't use Facebook because he hates Facebook,' he said. 'They're one of the worst violators of privacy in history. Nobody should use Facebook.'" CW: Ah, eventually I knew I'd find something Ed & I had in common.

Shane Harris of the Daily Beast: "At the same time Gen. Keith Alexander was running the National Security Agency..., he was also trading stocks in an obscure technology company that had a sweetheart deal with one of the NSA's most important sources of intelligence -- the global phone and Internet giant AT&T.... The deal between AT&T and Synchronoss wasn't a secret, but Alexander's financial stake in it was. The NSA only handed over his financial-disclosure forms showing that he was an investor in October, following a lawsuit by investigative journalist Jason Leopold. The agency initially had claimed that revealing any of Alexander's investments could jeopardize national security.... Some of Alexander's other stock investments have come under scrutiny in recent weeks, raising questions about whether the former NSA director was using information he gleaned in the course of his official duties to influence his stock picks."

Steve Benen: The U.N. published a terrifying climate-change report. Republican legislators say "Meh." Lamar Smith, "the chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee said on Sunday that a United Nations report that said the earth is heading toward 'severe, pervasive, and irreversible' climate change impacts is 'nothing new.... Similar to previous reports, the latest findings appear more political than scientific,' he said. 'People are tired of the re-packaged rhetoric. It's time to stop fear mongering and focus on an honest dialogue about real options.'... The more serious the crisis becomes, the more forceful the GOP becomes in rejecting the science." ...

... Emily Atkin of Think Progress: "The Weather Channel has released an official position statement on global warming, just two days after the channel's co-founder [John Coleman] told Fox News' Megyn Kelly that climate change is based on 'bad science' and does not exist. In the statement, The Weather Channel said the planet is 'indeed warming,' with temperatures increasing 1 to 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 100 years. The statement acknowledged that humans are helping make the planet warmer due to the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation." Coleman is a former TV weatherman, not a meteorologist.

Justin Sink of the Hill: "President Obama and Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen discussed the long-term outlook for the U.S. economy in their first one-on-one meeting since she took charge at the central bank, the White House said Monday. The pair also discussed the president's upcoming trip to Asia and Australia, which is expected to include discussion of a Pacific trade deal and a meeting of the G-20 economies."

Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post: "U.S. officials are weighing whether to broaden the air campaign in Syria to strike a militant group that is a rival to the Islamic State and that is poised to take over a strategically vital corridor from Turkey. Extremists from the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra group were said Monday to be within a few miles of the Bab ­al-Hawa crossing in northwestern Syria on the Turkish border, one of only two openings through which the moderate Free Syrian Army receives military and humanitarian supplies provided by the United States and other backers." ...

... Kristina Wong of the Hill: "The Pentagon on Monday sought to play down the significance of reports that two moderate Syrian rebel groups, armed by the United States, had surrendered to an al Qaeda affiliate. 'There are battles all the time between these various groups, and territory trades hands in these local areas regularly,' Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said." ...

... CW: If the situation were not so deadly serious, this would be hilarious. Kristina Wong: "President Obama's strategy against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been a 'disaster,' Sen. John McCain said Monday. McCain cited reports that Al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria had defeated two major groups of moderate Syrian rebels -- the same forces that the United States is arming and training in their battle against President Bashar Assad." Ya know, John, it was you like a broken record, insisting "Arm the moderates. Arm the moderates." You are railing against your own damned policy, you crazy old coot.

Kevin Quealy & Margot Sanger-Katz of the New York Times: "In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act -- its expansion of Medicaid to low-income people around the country -- must be optional for states. But what if it had ruled differently? More than three million people, many of them across the South, would now have health insurance through Medicaid, according to an Upshot analysis of data from Enroll America and Civis Analytics. The uninsured rate would be two percentage points lower." ...

     ... CW: Thanks, John Roberts, Elena Kagan, et al. Some of those three million will die because of your decision, & many will unnecessarily get sick. Sometimes you make lawmakers do things because they're too fucking nasty to do the right thing on their own. If you think doing the right thing requires bending the Constitution a teeny bit, so be it. ...

... Ian Millhiser of Think Progress: "... several individuals with life-threatening health conditions ... joined an amicus brief filed Monday in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The brief asks the court to reject a claim brought by opponents of the Affordable Care Act seeking to cut off health subsidies to people entitled to receive them in nearly three dozen states.... Indeed, the Halbig plaintiffs' legal theory was rejected by dozens of Republican elected officials who called upon the Supreme Court to repeal the law. Thirty-six senators -- all Republicans -- signed an amicus brief in 2012 explaining that Obamacare is 'dependent on each of its interlocking provisions,' including the insurance subsidies. Twenty-four state governors or attorneys general signed a brief in the same litigation explaining that the Affordable Care Act's 'core provisions are carefully constructed to work in unison....'"

David McCabe of the Hill: "The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge to the Senate's filibuster rules from House Democrats. The justices declined to revisit a lower court ruling that found the congressmen did not having legal standing to sue over the rules in the upper chamber. The Democratic congressmen -- Reps. John Lewis (Ga.), Keith Ellison (Minn.), Michael Michaud (Maine) and Hank Johnson (Ga.)‬ -- joined with Common Cause in 2012 to file the legal challenge, arguing that the Senate's requirement for 60 votes to break a filibuster runs counter to the constitutional idea of majority rule."

Jack Jenkins of Think Progress: "A federal district court in Oregon has declared Secular Humanism a religion, paving the way for the non-theistic community to obtain the same legal rights as groups such as Christianity."

** Paul Starr in the American Prospect: "The United States began as two societies -- one based on racial slavery, the other on free labor -- and despite all that has since happened in the nation's history, today's political divisions are descended from that original split.... Since the 1980s..., after a long period when the prevailing currents favored convergence, the trends have reversed, and the country has split apart along its old seams...." ...

... Conservative Michael Gerson: "Republicans are stuck in a Reagan timewarp." They find support "not in history but in mythology."

Scapegoating Immigrants Is Traditional! Dan Dinello, in Juan Cole's Informed Consent: "The attempt by some GOP politicians to tie the ebola outbreak to immigration issues is nothing new in American or European history. Immigrants have often been despised, feared and stigmatized by the native-born as harbingers of disease or even death. Conflating disease carriers with foreigners and social outcasts is a practice that stretches back to the Black Death when helpless Church Officials -- fearing loss of public confidence -- blamed Jews, immigrants and witches for the plague."

My favorite thing about Mitt Romney now is, imagine if the second-string quarterback on a football team got to just go around on all the shows and go, 'I'd have fucking nailed that pass.' For Romney, it&'s, 'Ebola? There wouldn't even be Ebola if I were president. I'm not sure Africa would still exist.' -- Jon Stewart

... Chris Smith of New York interviews Jon Stewart., ostensibly about Stewart's new film "Rosewater," but about other stuff, too.

Mary Jalonick of the AP: "A 2010 email from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says his department was 'waiting for the go-ahead' from the White House before accepting the resignation of employee Shirley Sherrod, according to newly released documents, despite Obama administration assertions that her ouster was Vilsack's decision alone. Lawyers for [a] Breitbart colleague ... filed the emails in court to bolster their argument that government decisions were the reason for Sherrod's dismissal, not the blog post."

Putin's Russia Is Fairly Horrible. Karoun Demirjian of the Washington Post: "A Russian monument to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has been taken down, after Apple CEO Tim Cook's announcement last week that he is gay. The monument, which is in the shape of an oversize iPhone, was located on a university campus in St. Petersburg, one of the more liberal cities in Russia, until its removal Friday. It was put there in 2013 under the initiative of Maxim Dolgopolov, head of the holding company ZEFS, known in English as the Western European Financial Union, which cited Cook's revelations about his sexuality in a Bloomberg Businessweek article last Thursday as the reason the company decided to remove the statue." See also Infotainment.

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd.

Joshua Keating of Slate with "The latest installment in a continuing series in which American events are described using the tropes and tone normally employed by the American media to describe events in other countries." Here's a sampling: "In this deeply traditional society, where great import is accorded to family ties, powerful clans build patronage networks, and political office is often passed between relatives. Remarkably, one race pits the cousin of a former governor against the daughter of a former senator."

Jonathan Bernstein reiterates how media bias is helping Republicans. ...

... CW: Let me just add how unnecessary this is. Bernstein argues, via Norm Ornstein, that the media "adopted a narrative" early in the year & is sticking with it. In fact, the so-called media narrative is partially true. But there is no reason whatsoever that the media cannot note outlier instances where the "narrative" fails. So, where the narrative is, Republicans didn't nominate any Todd Akins this year, reports should add caveats like "of course, Joni Ernst & Tom Cotton are full-blown loonies." (Okay, hints to that effect.)

Everything Is Obama's Fault, Media Edition. Juliet Eilperin & David Nakamura of the Washington Post are unaware that Congress, the courts & the media have any influence over politics. "Where Did Obama Go Wrong?" is the headline of their piece in today's paper. It is Obama's fault, for instance, that Congress didn't act on immigration. Huh? The reporters note that even former Cabinet members Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates & Leon Panetta "question[ed] his approach" to ISIS. What the reporters didn't bother to note was that Obama was right to be concerned that U.S.-supplied weapons would fall into the wrong hands.

News Lede

BBC News: "Police in Mexico say they have arrested the fugitive mayor of the town of Iguala, where 43 students went missing in September. Jose Luis Abarca was detained by federal police officers in the capital, Mexico City, a police spokesman said. Mexican officials have accused Mr Abarca of ordering police to confront the students on the day of their disappearance on 26 September."