Saturday Open Thread

Good Morning. I hope you’re enjoying the weekend with family and friends.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama deliver remarks at the 2014 Kids’ State Dinner in the East Room of the White House, July 18, 2014.

West Wing Week 07/18/14 or, “Where Are You Going to Go Build Your Widgets?”

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38 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Homophobia, racism and the Kochs: San Francisco’s tech-libertarian “Reboot” conference is a cesspool

    By Mark Ames
    On July 18, 2014

    Starting today, San Francisco plays host to the Reboot 2014 conference. According to the event’s blurb:

    Reboot 2014 will bring together technical talent and policy advocates to turn ideas into deliverables for liberty.

    The word “liberty” is the giveaway, of course. With “Reboot,” libertarianism is making its Big Pitch to Silicon Valley. The event features the movement’s superstar scion, Rand Paul, as keynote speaker; alongside Nick Gillespie, the leather-jacketed editor of Reason.com, the online edition of Reason magazine, the longest-running and most successful libertarian media outlet, backed by the infamous Koch Brothers. In fact, the entire event is sponsored by the Kochs.

    Under the weird banner of “conservatarianism,” other key speakers include prominent republicans like Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chair of the House Republican Conference, and Andy Barkett, CTO of the Republican National Committee.

    http://pando.com/2014/07/18/homophobia-racism-and-the-kochs-san-franciscos-tech-libertarian-reboot-conference-is-a-cesspool/

  2. rikyrah says:

    Just finished watching The Lego Movie.

    eh.

    Don’t see why folks were raving about it.

  3. rikyrah says:

    More reasons not to trust the traffic cameras

    July 20, 2014

    If you drive in Chicago at all, the Tribune’s investigation (chicagotribune.com/news/local/redlights/) into the city’s wildly unreliable red light cameras ought to make you blow a gasket.

    Thousands of drivers have been ticketed in error under highly questionable circumstances that neither the city nor the private vendor that operated the cameras has explained.

    Reporters David Kidwell and Alex Richards analyzed more than 4 million tickets issued since 2007. They found a series of dramatic spikes in the number of drivers cited by robotic cameras at intersections all over the city.

    Cameras that typically generated a ticket or two a day suddenly snared dozens of drivers daily for days or weeks, then abruptly dropped to their previous levels.

    ………………………….

    The spikes weren’t isolated or rare, nor should they have been hard to detect. The vendor, Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., was required by the city to monitor for such anomalies every day. But Redflex apparently never reported any spikes, and the city’s woefully cursory oversight never picked up on it, either. City officials say they learned about the problems from the Tribune.

    And not because they wanted to. It took six months and thousands of dollars in legal fees for the Tribune to wrest those public records from the city under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. (See Editor Gerould Kern’s note here.) Even worse: The city spent your tax dollars fighting our request.

    With the records finally in hand, the Tribune charted the daily ticket counts for each camera. That data revealed some patterns that can only be described as suspicious.

    In the days before or after a spike — or both — cameras frequently recorded no violations at all. That could mean the camera was broken, though as one expert pointed out, “these things do not repair themselves.” The city has no records of what went on during those dark periods. There’s no log indicating that a malfunction was detected and repaired, nothing to explain why a camera would go into hyperdrive once it went back online — or why, days later, it would stop.

    Those events went on for years, all over the city.

    Redflex — fired last year after acknowledging it likely paid $2 million in bribes to land the city’s contract — wouldn’t answer reporters’ questions.

    ………………………….

    Two of the tickets showed the yellow light lasted 0.05 seconds. Again, the city has no explanation.

    Experts consulted by the Tribune could think of only two: Either someone deliberately tinkered with the cameras to generate more tickets, or the system malfunctioned repeatedly, resulting in wrongful citations. Those anomalies, they said, should have been detected and addressed.

    That failure falls squarely on city officials whose lackadaisical oversight allowed the system to cheat thousands of Chicagoans out of $100 of their hard-earned money.

    This dereliction undermines the credibility of the entire red light camera program, which this page has supported, as well as the newer speed camera program. City officials are going to have a hard time earning back the citizens’ trust.

    Chicago has more red light cameras than any other city in America, 352 right now. Those cameras have generated nearly $500 million in fines since 2003, but they’re supposed to be about safety, not money. That argument has always been a hard sell. It just got a lot harde

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-red-light-cameras-chicago-edit-0720-20140720,0,1609114.story

  4. rikyrah says:

    Red light cameras tag thousands for undeserved tickets
    Analysis of 4 million violations recorded since 2007 reveals suspicious patterns at dozens of intersections, raises questions about system’s management

    By David Kidwell and Alex Richards, Tribune reporters

    11:58 p.m. CDT, July 18, 2014

    Thousands of Chicago drivers have been tagged with $100 red light fines they did not deserve, targeted by robotic cameras during a series of sudden spikes in tickets that city officials say they cannot explain, a Tribune investigation has found.

    The Tribune’s analysis of more than 4 million tickets issued since 2007 and a deeper probe of individual cases revealed clear evidence that the deviations in Chicago’s network of 380 cameras were caused by faulty equipment, human tinkering or both.

    Chicago transportation officials say they had no knowledge of the wild swings in ticketing until they were told by the Tribune — even though City Hall legally required the camera vendor to watch for the slightest anomaly in ticketing patterns every day. Many of the spikes lasted weeks.

    The lack of oversight raises new questions about the controversial traffic enforcement program, the largest in the country, now embroiled in a federal corruption probe into allegations that the city’s longtime red light camera manager took bribes from the camera company.

    “Something is terribly amiss here,” said Joseph Schofer, an associate dean at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science who reviewed the Tribune’s research.

    ……………………………………

    A 10-month Tribune investigation documented more than 13,000 questionable tickets at 12 intersections that experienced the most striking spikes; similar patterns emerged at dozens of other intersections responsible for tens of thousands more tickets. Among the key findings:

    Cameras that for years generated just a few tickets daily suddenly caught dozens of drivers a day. One camera near the United Center rocketed from generating one ticket per day to 56 per day for a two-week period last summer before mysteriously dropping back to normal.

    Tickets for so-called rolling right turns on red shot up during some of the most dramatic spikes, suggesting an unannounced change in enforcement. One North Side camera generated only a dozen tickets for rolling rights out of 100 total tickets in the entire second half of 2011. Then, over a 12-day spike, it spewed 563 tickets — 560 of them for rolling rights.

    Many of the spikes were marked by periods immediately before or after when no tickets were issued — downtimes suggesting human intervention that should have been documented. City officials said they cannot explain the absence of such records.

    Drivers who appeal red light tickets in Chicago win less than 10 percent of the time, but drivers caught in one severe spike won 45 percent of the time. Yet the vast majority of drivers caught during spikes never appealed and therefore missed an opportunity to have bad tickets thrown out.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-red-light-camera-ticket-spikes-met-20140717,0,704793.story

  5. rikyrah says:

    Mayor Antoinette, don’t give us no cheesecake
    Answer those lingering red light questions instead

    John Kass

    July 20, 2014

    Rahm Emanuel, the beloved mayor of Chicago, has a problem.

    He’s beloved by the national media, by uber-wealthy Democrats on the coasts, by reporters he served with leaks and tips in New York and Washington, and by his loyal straight man Jimmy Fallon.

    He’s also developed a habit of gifting his political servants with cheesecakes — $50,000 worth, according to a Tribune report. Nothing like cheese and crumbs to buy you love.

    And Esquire magazine, in its May issue, gave the Rahmfather a big wet smooch as one of “The Men We Love.” Here’s what Esquire said: “RAHM EMANUEL: Because sometimes only a true alpha male can get the job done.”

    Get a room, please. But in the meantime, what job is Rahm doing, exactly?

    The job of putting on his Mayor Antoinette persona and arrogantly blowing off questions about how his nearly $500 million red light camera revenue program has given thousands of undeserved traffic tickets to Chicago drivers?

    Just take a look at the Tribune’s expose on City Hall’s red light cameras in the paper, or go to chicagotribune.com and enter your license plates in the prompt to see if you were one of the suckers impaled on those mysterious ticket spikes.

    The mayor’s administration has cast aside the idea of refunds. And now the boss is bravely running away from questions.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/kass/ct-red-light-kass-met-0720-20140720,0,3977958.column

  6. rikyrah says:

    Kwame Raoul slams the door on challenging Emanuel
    Fri, 07/18/2014 – 10:47am
    Fran Spielman
    @fspielman | Email

    State Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, said Friday there is no movement in the black community to draft him to challenge Mayor Rahm Emanuel and he wouldn’t respond to a draft, even if there was one.

    “When I’m ready to do something else — and I’m sure that day will come — I will say it before anybody else says it. This is not the time,” Raoul said.

    “There have been people who have run campaigns who were ill-prepared for the job or the campaign. I’m never going to put myself in that position just to satisfy people who are disenchanted with an incumbent or just want to see a race. It’s got to be something I’ve studied and prepared for.”

    Earlier this week, the political landscape changed.

    It happened after County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, the big-name challenger City Hall feared most, dropped out of the mayor’s race even before jumping in.

    The following day, Raoul joined a parade of potential mayoral challengers who told the Chicago Sun-Times he was not interested in taking on Emanuel, whose poll numbers are in the tank.

    That left Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) and Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who has gone toe-to-toe with Emanuel, but never run for political office, as the biggest-names in politics even considering the race.

    Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed has reported that black business and civic leaders were searching for an alternative to Lewis and have focused on two names: 78-year-old Emil Jones, the former Il. Senate president, and Raoul.

    ……………………….

    Emanuel has alienated African-American voters who helped put him in office by instigating Chicago’s first teachers strike in 25 years, closing 50 public schools, opening new charter schools and unveiling plans to build new schools and school additions, with the educational largesse heavily concentrated on the North Side.

    That includes a $14 million addition to Walter Payton College Prep and a new, $60 million selective enrollment high school nearby named after President Barack Obama, whose 2011 endorsement of his former White House chief-of-staff sealed the deal with black voters.

    A recent Chicago Sun-Times poll showed how big a price the first-term mayor has paid for those decisions and for violent crime concentrated in South and West Side neighborhoods. Only 29 percent of those surveyed and eight percent of African-Americans said they would support Emanuel if the election were held today.

    http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/kwame-raoul-slams-door-challenging-emanuel/fri-07182014-1047am

  7. rikyrah says:

    NYC-style progressives try to influence Chicago mayoral race
    Fri, 07/18/2014 – 12:43pm
    Natasha Korecki
    @natashakorecki | Email

    When it comes to New York City comparisons, Chicagoans defensively side with their own city.

    We love Chicago-style pizza, we’ll take our losing sports teams over the Yankees any day and our architecture is second to none, thank you very much.

    But if you’re really in love with Chicago politics, brace yourselves.

    A new progressive movement that’s swept through New York; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Jersey City, New Jersey; Oregon; and Seattle has arrived in Chicago.

    What is it? The marquee example is that of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was propelled into office following a campaign pushed by the Working Families Party, or WFP, which aims for electing everybody-type candidates who vow to stick to a community-based platform.
    …………………………..

    A new progressive movement that’s swept through New York; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Jersey City, New Jersey; Oregon; and Seattle has arrived in Chicago.

    What is it? The marquee example is that of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was propelled into office following a campaign pushed by the Working Families Party, or WFP, which aims for electing everybody-type candidates who vow to stick to a community-based platform.

    …………………………….

    “I think that a progressive movement is thriving in Chicago and it comes very much out of when you close 50 schools in brown and black communities … the result is you have angry voters who are ready for change and who are looking for alternatives to the status quo. The current approaches aren’t working,” said Amisha Patel, executive director of Grassroots Illinois Action.

    “We’re hearing a very similar response wherever we go. People are fed up and they’re looking for something different. The fact that there hasn’t been a response to the violence — that it hasn’t changed the reality in so many neighborhoods, I think that’s a huge problem,” Patel said.

    Violence and a lack of jobs in poor neighborhoods where schools are being closed while new construction goes up in the Loop and schools are built on the Northwest Side play into the narrative of inequality.

    http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/nyc-style-progressives-try-influence-chicago-mayoral-race/fri-07182014-1243pm

  8. rikyrah says:

    Girl, 11, dies after being shot in her head on the West Side

    BY BECKY SCHLIKERMAN AND MAUDLYNE IHEJIRIKA Staff Reporters
    July 18, 2014 10:14PM

    Shamiya Adams and a group of her friends were getting ready to make s’mores during a sleepover Friday night when a bullet crashed through the window and struck the little girl in the head.

    “It was going to be a little sleepover,” a tearful Rosemarie Jones said hours after the 11-year-old girl died from her injuries.

    Jones, who hosted the gathering, said her daughter and Shamiya were best friends. Both went to Melody Elementary School and were going to be in 6th grade in the fall.

    Jones said the girls were sitting in a circle, in the 3900 block of West Gladys Avenue, when “gunshots rang out and one came in through the window and shot one of the girls in the head.”

    The bullet went in through an open window, into an open closet and through the wall into another bedroom’s closet before striking Shamiya, who was sitting on the floor with her friends, according to accounts of the family inside the home.

    The marshmallows, Capri Sun, chocolate and fruits snacks the girls had planned to feast on remained on the bed, untouched Saturday afternoon. Shamiya’s blood was visible near the snacks.

    Shamiya ‘s grandmother and aunt arrived at the scene of the shooting Saturday trying to find the location of where the bullets flew.

    “That is so crazy,” said Nanette Dailey, the little girl’s grandmother.

    http://www.suntimes.com/28739722-761/girl-11-dies-after-being-shot-in-her-head-on-the-west-side.html#.U8rl7LG2Ono

  9. rikyrah says:

    Hospital food gets a locavore makeover

    [….] Major institutions like Jefferson have long relied on whatever giant food service companies provide, often processed foods that are delivered efficiently and are easy to heat and serve. But with a steady supply of locally grown food from the Common Market food hub, Jefferson now serves vegetables like bok choy and asparagus, creamy yogurts from Amish country and omelets with locally sourced cage-free eggs and spinach.[….]

    St. Luke’s University Hospital Network is taking that a step further by
    growing veggies on site at its new facility in Bethlehem Township, Penn. This year, the five-acre plot is expected to grow 44,000 pounds of organic food like tomatoes, squash, and peppers. St. Luke’s plans to eventually double the size of the farm.[….]

    Health benefits aside, institutions like hospitals are perfectly poised
    to give the food movement the kick it needs by making local food
    available on a bigger scale.[….]

    http://grist.org/list/hospital-food-gets-a-locavore-makeover/

  10. rikyrah says:

    The health benefits of pomegranate

    If you’re not familiar with pomegranate, it’s one of the oldest
    known fruits native to Persia. This dense, interesting-looking fruit has
    also been revered as a symbol of health, fertility and life — and research now backs up that pomegranate may be one of the healthiest fruits going. It also has a unique, slightly tart, slightly sweet flavor. The tough, red exterior houses edible seeds that can keep for up to two months in the refrigerator and are often tossed on salads and foods as a crunchy, delicious and nutritious garnish.

    Pomegranate is high in vitamin C, contains a large amount of vitamin K — which is good for bone health — and vitamin B5, which helps the body metabolize protein, carbohydrates and fats. The fruit is also high in phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, zinc, folate, potassium and iron, contains no cholesterol and has about 105 calories from the seeds.[….] A glass of pomegranate juice has more antioxidants than a glass of red wine, green tea or blueberries.[….]

    http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/the-health-benefits-of-pomegranate

  11. rikyrah says:

    ok, this made me cry. no dust excuse for this one.

    ……………………….

    Couple marries in HUP one day before woman’s death
    Missi Wright’s hospital room turned into a scene from a Nicholas Sparks novel

    By Madeline McCallum · July 15, 2014, 10:56 pm · Updated July 17, 2014, 5:40 pm

    Marriage is a big step for most couples. For Bill Carroll and Missi Wright, it was a milestone at the top of a mountain.

    Their decision turned Wright’s Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania room into what could have been a scene from a Nicholas Sparks novel.

    Throughout their 11-year relationship, 31-year-old Carroll and 36-year-old Wright opted out of an official marriage because it may have impeded Wright’s healthcare benefits.

    “That was the most important thing, that she got the care she needed,” Carroll said.

    On July 2, Carroll and Wright exchanged vows in a ceremony in Wright’s streamer-draped hospital room, surrounded by a group of 20 friends and family members.

    “It was a very touching ceremony,” Director of the Adult Cystic Fibrosis program at HUP Denis Hadjiliadis said.

    Wright had told her team of doctors that if she had no chance of getting better, she didn’t want to be on a machine all the time. “We discussed the fact that there was no way to make things feel better,” Hadjiliadis said. On July 3, Wright was taken off the ventilator. She died around 10:25 p.m., holding her husband’s hand.

    Wright was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 7-months old, according to her older sister, Rachel Gillis. The youngest Wright sister, Colleen, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth and passed away in 2000 at age 18, only 26 days after her admission to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

    Hadjiliadis — who was one of the doctors on Wright’s team — called cystic fibrosis a “disease based on genetics.” However, the disease — which involves a buildup of sticky mucus in the lungs — does not run in Wright’s family.

    “[My family] didn’t know anything about cystic fibrosis when Missi was born,” said Gillis. “No one in the family had it…we had never heard of it.”

    Gillis said that their mother, a single mom, along with other family members, familiarized herself with how to give pills and perform percussion treatments to loosen mucus in her daughters’ lungs.

    ………………………………………

    Carroll recalled asking Wright if she wanted to “make this serious, here, in the hospital,” before proposing on June 30.

    The couple met in 2003 at a friend’s graduation party. Carroll said that they “started off slow,” doing the “kind of normal thing any couple would do” before taking their relationship to the next level.

    After about a year, the couple moved in together and Wright earned a Bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration at St. Joseph’s University, all while enduring her illness.

    Carroll and Wright continued to live their life as a couple “in the midst of having to deal with her [cystic fibrosis] issues,” Carroll said. They went on trips to the beach and Niagara Falls and also volunteered at cystic fibrosis fundraisers and walks.

    As Wright’s health declined, their connection translated from romantic vacations to “time spent in the hospital.” Carroll recalled “sitting with [Missi] in the hospital for hours on end, just being there for her support.”

    More than a final act of love, Carroll’s proposal was rooted in hope.

    “We wanted to do it, but also in an attempt to help boost her moral a little bit, give her something to strive more…give her a little more pride in herself,” Carroll said.

    “He wanted to lift her spirits and help her continue her fight in the end,” Gillis added. “We didn’t realize that it would be so short.”

    Carroll asks that any donations be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation or to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

    http://www.thedp.com/article/2014/07/couple-married-in-hup

  12. rikyrah says:

    GOP Wants Mitt Back: 70% Of Republican Voters Are Open to Voting For Romney in 2016
    By: Jason Easley more from Jason Easley
    Friday, July, 18th, 2014, 1:53 pm

    The idea that Mitt Romney may run for president again in 2016 is getting closer to becoming a reality as a Vox Populi Poll found that 70% of Republican primary voters are open to voting again for Romney.

    Republican primary voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina were asked if they would consider voting for Romney again for their party’s nomination in 2016. Twenty-three percent of South Carolina primary voters would vote for Mitt Romney again, and 51% would consider it. In New Hampshire, 30% would definitely vote for him, and 47% would consider it. In Iowa, 21% would definitely vote for him, and 53% would consider it.

    The numbers in each state suggest that Romney already has enough support to win two or maybe all three of the first three primary states on the Republican calendar. Romney’s support has stayed fairly consistent with his 2012 performance. In 2012, Romney got 25% of the caucus vote in Iowa. Today, he is at 21% in the state. Romney got 39% of the 2012 GOP primary vote in New Hampshire, and he is at 30% today. In South Carolina, Romney got 28% of the vote in 2012, and he is sitting at 23% today.

    http://www.politicususa.com/2014/07/18/gop-mitt-back-70-republican-voters-open-voting-romney-2016.html

    • Liza says:

      I dunno. Anyone the GOP runs is going to suck. Mitt isn’t fat or ugly, so at least he’s got that going for him. But his ego could not withstand another loss of that magnitude and it seems unlikely he will put himself in that position.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Casting Announced for McCarter Theatre’s Antony & Cleopatra

    The New Jersey theater will open its 2014-15 season with the Shakespearean tragedy.
    By Hayley Levitt • Jul 16, 2014 • North Jersey, New Jersey

    Further casting has been announced for the McCarter Theatre production of Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra, set to open its 2014-15 season.

    Artistic Director Emily Mann directs the tragic story of Egypt’s star-crossed lovers. Esau Pritchett joins the cast as Antony opposite the previously announced Nicole Ari Parker, who takes on the role of Cleopatra, Egypt’s last queen. The cast also includes Keith Eric Chappelle (Menas), Zainab Jah (Charmian), Mairin Lee (Iras/Octavia), Warner Miller (Eros), Everett Quinton (Mardian/Clown), Tobias Segal (Caesar), and Michael Siberry (Enobarbus), with live music from percussionist Mark Katsaounis.

    The creative team will feature scenic design by Daniel Ostling, lighting design by Edward Pierce, costume design by Paul Tazewell, sound design and composition by Mark Bennett, and movement direction by Peter Pucci.

    Performances will run from September 5-October 5, with an official opening set for September 12.

    http://www.theatermania.com/new-jersey-theater/news/07-2014/mccarter-antony-cleopatra-casting_69214.html

  14. rikyrah says:

    U.S. judicial agency OKs early release of federal prisoners

    By Julia Edwards Reuters

    3:25 p.m. EDT, July 18, 2014

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than 46,000 drug offenders will be eligible for early release from federal prison under an amendment to sentencing guidelines passed on Friday by a U.S. judiciary agency – unless Congress blocks the change.

    The U.S. Sentencing Commission voted unanimously to make 46,290 drug offenders eligible for review by federal judges to determine if the sentences can be reduced without jeopardizing public safety.

    The commission expects eligible candidates to receive an average of 25 months off of their sentences beginning in November 2015, making retroactive an amendment to sentencing guidelines passed earlier this year.

    Congress has the authority to block both amendments by Nov. 1 of this year.

    “Making these new guidelines retroactive will offer relief to thousands of people who received overly harsh sentences under the old sentencing guidelines,” said Jesselyn McCurdy, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, which has advocated sentencing reform.

    Read more: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-justice-vote-20140718,0,279463.story#ixzz37vGsV7rM

  15. Oh ISH!

    Barney Frank and Steve Kornacki

    Dangrous Fight

  16. rikyrah says:

    SG2,

    Ametia wanted the pic of POTUS in that car for the sidebar.

    It’s the first pic in the Pics for Sidebar post. All ready for posting.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Greg Pinelo @gregpinelo
    Follow

    One more time: Obama does not shoot first and aim later. Presidents who do that invade Iraq for no reason.
    4:54 PM – 18 Jul 2014

  18. rikyrah says:

    Jamison Foser @jamisonfoser
    Follow

    I read a lot of awful, depressing sentences.
    “The cure for AIDS may have been on that plane” is tough to beat.
    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2014/07/18/3461625/aids-experts-malaysian-plane/
    11:06 AM – 18 Jul 2014

  19. rikyrah says:

    NYC118 @nyc118

    @JoyAnnReid Did they refuse to go somewhere? Or say they were going off duty?

    Joy Reid ✔ @JoyAnnReid
    Follow

    .@nyc118 one stopped, thinking he was picking up my EP (who is white) but pulled off when he realized I was getting in the cab…
    5:48 PM – 18 Jul 2014

  20. rikyrah says:

    Defeating Obama’s kryptonite with the black vote

    By Jonathan Capehart April 23

    Norm Ornstein’s piece in National Journal today came up during a taping of “Press Pass” for “Meet The Press” this morning. It was one more in a series of pieces on the “Green Lantern theory” of the presidency, which was refined by Greg Sargent and others riffing off Matthew Yglesias’s “Green Lantern theory of Geopolitics” from 2006. “In a nutshell,” Ornstein writes, “it attributes heroic powers to a president — if only he would use them.”

    If only Obama had dealt with Congress the way LBJ did — persuading, cajoling, threatening, and sweet-talking members to attain his goals — his presidency would not be on the ropes and he would be a hero. If only Obama would schmooze with lawmakers the way Bill Clinton did, he would have much greater success. If only Obama would work with Republicans and not try to steamroll them, he could be a hero and have a fiscal deal that would solve the long-term debt problem.

    Having a little fun with the topic, NBC News’s Kristin Welker asked me what superpower I thought President Obama needed. Before the segment, I thought long and hard about this. The president has tried working with Republicans. He’s tried schmoozing them. He’s tried cajoling them. And he’s tried to giving them space so it wouldn’t look like he was interfering or that Republicans were doing the bidding of the man the base hates. That’s when it hit me.

    Superman has superpowers and a great costume (even though it breaks Edna Mode’s “No capes!” rule), but he was no match for kryptonite. What Obama needs more than anything is for the American people, voters, to knock the kryptonite out of the hands of his opponents.

    …………………………………..

    If this is too much theorizing for you, look at what happened in the race for governor of Virginia in 2013, a non-presidential election year. Ken Cuccinelli II, the Republican candidate and the state’s attorney general, was a problematic figure. But there wasn’t universal praise for Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate. Yet McAuliffe was able to eke out a win by almost three percentage points because African Americans showed up at the polls. Domenico Montanaro, then of NBC News, dug into the numbers the day after McAuliffe’s election.

    McAuliffe won black voters by a 90-8 percent margin, a similar spread to the 93-6 percent President Barack Obama ran up in the 2012 presidential election in the Old Dominion.

    Black voters also voted at a similar clip to the 2012 election. They made up 20 percent of voters, or one of every five people who went to the polls. That’s exactly the percentage of the electorate black voters made up for Obama in 2012 in Virginia.

    And I’ll be bold and say that black women put McAuliffe in the governor’s mansion because of what Montanaro found on the gender gap.

    McAuliffe won women overall by a 51-42 percent margin. But he lost white women by 16 points (54-38 percent) and won black women by an astonishing 91-7 percent spread. They made up 11 percent of all Virginia voters. Black men voted at a similar margin as women, 90-9 percent, and made up a similar percentage of the electorate, 9 percent.

    So if the American people are going to succeed in knocking the kryptonite out of the hands of Obama’s opponents, black voters will have to lead them. All that’s required is casting a ballot.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2014/04/23/defeating-obamas-kryptonite-with-the-black-vote/

  21. rikyrah says:

    Black voters could decide who controls the Senate in 2015. Here’s how.
    By Aaron Blake
    April 23

    Black voters played a huge role in delivering Barack Obama to the White House in 2008 and 2012. And in 2014, they will play a huge role in determining whether the president’s party can stop Republicans from taking the Senate.

    Why? Here are four reasons:

    1. Black voters are hugely influential on the 2014 map

    Six of the 16 states with the highest black populations are holding key Senate contests in 2014. A seventh — the most African American state in the country, Mississippi — is holding a contest that could get interesting if there’s a tea party upset in the GOP primary.

    This is a highly unusual set of circumstances, especially when you consider that most states with large numbers of African American voters generally don’t hold competitive Senate races because they are safely red (in the South, generally) or blue (in the Northeast).

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/04/23/black-voters-could-decide-who-controls-the-senate-in-2015-heres-how/

  22. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone:)

    Off to swim and run some errands.

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