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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 48
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 14,712

Journal Archives

The Senate is a horror show

In 1911, a freshman congressman from Milwaukee named Victor Berger, dissatisfied with the legislative branch, submitted a resolution to amend the Constitution. “Whereas the Senate in particular has become an obstructive and useless body, a menace to the liberties of the people, and an obstacle to social growth,” it read, the Senate should be dissolved and all its powers given to the House.

That might strike you as going a bit too far. But it’s hard not to sympathize, especially when you see stories such as this one, which describes how only one of President Biden’s ambassador nominees has been confirmed by the Senate. A key reason: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), “who has repeatedly held up confirmations of Biden nominees in opposition to a controversial natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.”

If the idea that a single senator can stop a bunch of nominations all on his own strikes you as ridiculous, you’re absolutely right.

In fact, there may be no greater obstacle to both a democratically responsive political system and an efficiently operating federal government than the United States Senate.


Republicans have made a mockery of "the world's greatest deliberative body". It's only performance art to them.

The GOP strategy for retaking power is about to take an ugly new turn

It is a brutal reality about this political moment that Republicans can capture the House while dwelling almost exclusively in the safe confines of their alternate information environment.

In this hermetically sealed-off place, Republicans can continue deifying former president Donald Trump even as evidence mounts of his naked plot to steal the last election. They can oppose an accounting into the worst outbreak of political violence in recent U.S. history despite their deep implication in it.

They can dismiss broadly popular economic policies as “socialism” while withdrawing from the conversation entirely about how they would address our deepest challenges. They can actively campaign against mask mandates despite their overwhelming public support, while boasting straight-facedly that this is good strategy.

A key reason for this state of affairs will become clearer on Thursday, when the gerrymandering wars kick off in earnest. The release of new census data will set off a scramble of state legislatures redrawing congressional and state legislative district lines, setting the political playing field for 2022.


DeSantis: Florida reporting county-level COVID data 'may not be a bad idea'

Source: Tampa Bay Times

DeSantis’ comments may signal a reversal from the way the state has reported cases for more than two months.

After weeks of hesitance from the state to release more detailed coronavirus case data, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signaled a willingness to reverse Florida’s stance.

Cases and hospitalizations are skyrocketing across the state, but the trends are uneven, the governor said. Jacksonville has long gotten the worst of this summer’s surge, for example. Other areas in the state are reporting more sick patients, but some are nearer to their peaks than others, he said.

Given the regional pandemic differences, DeSantis said it may be time for Florida to report more detailed information than the case data published daily by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It is a huge state, and I think that these waves are not necessarily uniform,” DeSantis said at a press conference in Jacksonville. “With these daily cases, those are reported publicly every day to the CDC so people have access to that. But in terms of breaking it down by county, that may not be a bad idea going forward. I know we used to look at that a lot.”

Read more: https://www.tampabay.com/news/florida-politics/2021/08/12/desantis-florida-reporting-county-level-covid-data-may-not-be-a-bad-idea/

DeSantis may have just blinked.

Former U.S. attorney in Atlanta says Trump wanted to fire him for not backing election fraud claims.

Source: New York Times

Byung J. Pak, a former U.S. attorney in Atlanta, told congressional investigators on Wednesday that his abrupt resignation in January had been prompted by Justice Department officials’ warning that President Donald J. Trump intended to fire him for refusing to say that widespread voter fraud had been found in Georgia, according to a person familiar with his testimony.

Mr. Pak, who provided more than three hours of closed-door testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, stepped down with no notice on Jan. 4, saying that he had done his best “to be thoughtful and consistent, and to provide justice for my fellow citizens in a fair, effective and efficient manner.”

While he did not discuss Mr. Trump’s role in his decision to resign at the time, he told the Senate panel that the president had been dismayed that Mr. Pak had investigated allegations of voter fraud in Fulton County, Ga., and not found evidence to support them, according to the person familiar with the statements.

Mr. Pak testified that top department officials had made clear that Mr. Trump intended to fire him over his refusal to say that the results in Georgia had been undermined by voter fraud, the person said. Resigning would pre-empt a public dismissal.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/11/us/politics/byung-pak-trump-atlanta-election-fraud.html

Giuliani told agents it was okay to 'throw a fake' during political campaign

Rudolph W. Giuliani’s promise of a “big surprise” to help Donald Trump’s election in October 2016 led to Democratic accusations the FBI was feeding him secrets about an investigation of Hillary Clinton.

But a newly obtained transcript shows the former New York mayor told federal agents it was okay to “throw a fake” when campaigning, to which his then-law partner added, “there’s no obligation to tell the truth.”

Giuliani’s comments came in a 2018 interview with agents for the Justice Department inspector general, conducted in a room at Trump’s hotel in downtown Washington. The Project on Government Oversight, a government watchdog group, sued for a copy of the interview transcript and provided it to The Washington Post on Wednesday.

Giuliani’s private defense of his actions has come to light as he and other Trump lawyers face discipline and possible court sanctions for their unfounded statements surrounding the 2020 election, raising questions about lawyers’ integrity in a democracy.


NSA quietly awards $10 billion cloud contract to Amazon, drawing protest from Microsoft

Source: Washington Post

The National Security Agency has quietly awarded a contract worth up to $10 billion to Amazon Web Services, setting off another high-stakes fight among rival tech giants over national security contract dollars.

On July 21 the Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft filed a formal bid protest with the Government Accountability Office, an independent federal agency that handles contract disputes, after Microsoft applied for the opportunity and was rejected. A decision is expected by Oct. 29.

The contract award comes on the heels of a protracted and bitter dispute over a Pentagon contract, also worth up to $10 billion, which was given to Microsoft before getting bogged down in lawsuits and ultimately scrapped. If the NSA can fight through an often bruising bid protest process, the new contract could extend Amazon’s lead in the fast-growing cloud computing market where rivals are gaining on it.

The NSA has offered few details about the purpose of the contract. An NSA spokesman said the agency had awarded a contract for “cloud computing support services,” but declined to elaborate or specify who won it. “The agency will respond to the protest in accordance with appropriate federal regulations,” the spokesman said.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/08/11/amazon-nsa-contract/

I sure hope the NSA knows what it's doing. Cloud computing just seems to me to have inherent vulnerabilities capable of being exploited by various state and NGO actors.

Santa Barbara surf school owner arrested on suspicion of killing his two toddlers in Rosarito

The Baja California Attorney General said U.S. border officers arrested the owner of Lovewater Surf Co. after the bodies of his children, aged 1 and 3, were found stabbed to death

ROSARITO, BAJA CALIFORNIA — U.S. border authorities arrested the founder of a Santa Barbara surfing school on suspicion of killing his two young children in Mexico, the Baja California State Attorney General announced Tuesday.

Border agents arrested a 40-year-old U.S. citizen, identified as Matthew Taylor, as he tried to cross from Tijuana into the U.S. at the San Ysidro Port of Entry Monday, according to Baja California officials. Authorities said he runs the Lovewater Surf Co., a surfing school based in Santa Barbara.

According to his Facebook and Instagram accounts, the school founder’s full name is Matthew Taylor Coleman.

Baja California prosecutor Hiram Sánchez Zamora said the man traveled to Rosarito, which is about a 30-minute drive south of Tijuana, and checked into a City Express hotel on Saturday with his 1-year-old son and his 3-year-old daughter.


Truly awful.

Gov. DeSantis should test his COVID theories by spending a couple weeks inside a school

And he should bring his wife and kids along, says columnist Daniel Ruth.

Let’s say your house is on fire. At the moment the crisis is limited to a small section of the garage and all you need to do to avert total disaster is call the fire department to douse the flames.

Alas, there is a problem. The governor and the state legislature has ruled municipalities are forbidden from using water (especially if it is fluoridated) to put out fires, because it is a liberal, socialist assault on liberty and freedom.

Hah, you say and yet hah again. No Republican governor and/or a Republican legislature made up of fawning, obsequious toadies doing the bidding of the Great Pumpkin of Mar-A-Lago would ever do something so insanely stupid.

Ah, but this is Florida the Home of the Knave, where ham-handed bumptiousness knows no bounds. Oh and by the way, don’t even think about voting. No good ever comes from it.


Florida doing much worse with delta variant than California. Here's why.

Experts say California’s better-than-average vaccination rates and newly implemented mandatory mask policies in parts of the state have helped prevent a more grim situation.

Despite a significant surge in both coronavirus cases and hospitalizations this summer, California so far has managed to avoid the sky-high infection rates and increasingly overcrowded hospitals some other states are now experiencing.

California’s coronavirus case rate remains below the national average and significantly less than that of Florida and Texas: two common points of comparison given their population size and distinctly different pandemic responses.

Experts say California’s better-than-average vaccination rates and newly implemented mandatory mask policies in parts of the state have helped prevent a more grim situation.

While governors in Florida, Texas and other states have opposed allowing local governments to mandate the wearing of masks, California has allowed counties to enact such orders in indoor public spaces for everyone age 2 and older, regardless of vaccination status.


Miami orders residents to evacuate 8-story condo building

Residents of an eight-story condo building in Miami were ordered to evacuate after the building was deemed unsafe by city officials.

On Monday night, six weeks after 98 people died in the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium in nearby Surfside, residents of the 138-unit building lugged belongings to their vehicles, news outlets reported. They were ordered to be out by Tuesday morning.

“My grandfather just comes in the house screaming that we have to leave immediately,” said a resident identified by WSVN as Mya Ncastanedo. “If this building is demolished, there goes our property ... and all our memories from growing up here.”

The building was put on notice July 7 for several violations, including failure to obtain its 40-year recertification as safe to occupy.

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