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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 13,368

Journal Archives

Last Chance to Save American Democracy

Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, has indicated that he plans to schedule a vote for Wednesday to open debate on a new voting rights bill, the Freedom to Vote Act.

The bill would set national standards for early voting, expand voting by mail, allow the use of more forms of voter identification, make Election Day a federal holiday and institute measures to counter voter suppression tactics. It would also automate voter registration, force states to give voters the option to register on Election Day and offer safeguards against voter purges. Finally, it would overhaul portions of the campaign finance system, prohibit partisan gerrymandering and prevent the politicized removal of election officials, among other changes.

This is a compromise bill, but it is still a good bill that would go a long way toward protecting the country’s electoral system and preventing Republicans around the country from instituting a new electoral Jim Crow.

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia — who opposed an earlier, bolder version of the bill and who opposes getting rid of the filibuster — helped craft the compromise version. He’s now invested. (This was a shrewd tactical move by Democrats, I must say.) Manchin is lobbying Republicans to support the bill — to little avail, unfortunately.


During the Cold War, D.C. was ringed by Nike missile sites. One had an accident.

April 14, 1955, was a good day to not be driving on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. It was also a good day to not be manning the U.S. Army’s Nike missile site at Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County, Md.

At around 12:35 p.m. on that Thursday, one of the 22-foot-tall antiaircraft missiles was accidentally launched from Fort Meade. It traveled three miles before exploding above the parkway, showering the pavement with debris.

“Luckily, no cars were moving along the section of the parkway a half-mile south of the Laurel-Fort Meade overpass when the fragments of the guided missile splattered down,” wrote The Post.

The only injury was to Sgt. Stanley C. Kozak, who was standing near the missile when it took off. He suffered minor burns.


Times are tough for lovers of vintage cameras. One was just pulled from a plane.

Did you hear about the airline passenger who wound up face down and spread-eagle on the tarmac at LaGuardia Airport this month? He’d been pointed out to law enforcement by a woman sitting near him on the plane who thought he had a bomb.

When I heard about him, I thought: There, but for the grace of God, go I.

It turned out the guy didn’t have a bomb. He had a camera. A vintage camera, to be exact. I wish I could be exacter, but when I contacted the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, it couldn’t tell me what kind of vintage camera.

“It was probably something like a Rolleiflex,” David Silver told me. He’s the president of the International Photographic Historical Organization.


Police shoot and kill man in Tarpon Springs

The man reportedly was carrying a military-style rifle and pointing it at passing cars.

A man reported to be carrying a military-style rifle was shot and killed by Tarpon Springs Police officers Saturday night.

According to a police report, several calls reported a man was walking down Pinellas Avenue near the intersection with Tarpon Avenue, pointing a gun at cars driving by. Around 9:27 p.m., officers arrived at the intersection, and the man pointed the gun at officers and at several occupied cars on the road. Officers then fired at the man, striking him several times, according to the police report.

The report said once the man had been shot, officers began administering first aid before the man was transported to Bayonet Point Hospital. He was pronounced dead upon arrival.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney’s Office are actively investigating this case. The officers involved and the man who died are not being identified at this time, police said.


Despite a Punishing Drought, San Diego Has Water. It Wasn't Easy.

Sustainability measures that the city and county have taken over decades are paying off. But residents still might have to do more.

LAKESIDE, Calif. — In many parts of California, reminders abound that the American West is running out of water. “Bathtub rings” mark the shrinking of the state’s biggest reservoirs to some of their lowest recorded levels. Fields lie fallow, as farmers grapple with an uncertain future. A bed-and-breakfast owner spends $5 whenever a tourist showers.

But not in San Diego County.

In this coastal desert metropolis, life has stayed mostly the same for residents already accustomed to conserving what they have long treated as a precious resource.

On a recent afternoon, boats sped over the silvery surface of San Vicente Reservoir, a key water storage site for the county about 25 miles northeast of downtown San Diego. It was about as full as usual, cutting a sharp contrast with the desiccated lake beds where state officials have appeared in recent months, pleading with Californians to save water. The San Diego County Water Authority estimated that it would have sustainable water supplies through 2045, even if dry conditions persisted for years.


I can attest that water rates -- along with electricity rates -- are probably higher than almost anywhere else in the US. Coupled with SoCal real estate prices, it's a very expensive corner of the country.

The dangerous idea behind Trump's coup effort is still alive. Let's kill it.

As the Jan. 6 select committee kicks into high gear, one big thing it will examine is the role played by Mike Pence in the final days of Donald Trump’s effort to overturn his presidential reelection loss and remain in power illegitimately.

As vice president, Pence ultimately rebuffed Trump’s pressure on him to halt the congressional count of electors and declare Trump winner. Whether he did so after seriously entertaining this scheme, and what other bad actors pressured him to execute it, are things we need to learn about.

But we also need to do something else: We must kill off the dangerous legal theory that Trump and his co-conspirators hatched to justify that scheme, so it never rises again.

Some new reporting on Pence’s role, combined with a new analysis of that legal theory, should give us the hook for this. It’s important, because there are new signs this legal theory remains alive, though in staggering zombie form.

The theory is the one in the now-notorious Trump coup memo. Lawyer John Eastman outlined a scheme for Pence to ignore federal law and refuse to count President-elect Joe Biden’s electors, making Trump winner. Eastman discussed the theory with Trump and Pence a couple days before Jan. 6. Pence was unpersuaded.


QAnon Figure Ron Watkins Announces Plans to Run for Congress in Arizona

Source: Rolling Stone

Prominent QAnon figure Ron Watkins has announced his plans to run for Congress in Arizona via a dramatic video on Thursday. Earlier in the day he filed a “statement of interest” to run in Arizona’s first congressional district against Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran, an initial step to petition for signatures to appear on the ballot, as Vice reports.

His apparent bid will make him the most prominent QAnon-related person to run for office in the United States, signifying how deep the far-right conspiracy-driven group has recently taken hold within the Republican party.

In the clip released Thursday evening, he appeared outside Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office. He lauded the AG for “proceeding on election fraud cases” and re-upped the QAnon false claim that the election was stolen from Donald Trump via election fraud. His beliefs along with encouragement from his pastor Jeff Durbin from Apologia Church led to his decision to run against O’Halleran, whom he called “O’Hooligan” in the video.

“I’ve come to realize that following God’s word is not always the easiest route but if we don’t follow our beliefs and the founding principles of our nation, it will crumble this must stop now,” he said. “Therefore I have decided to double down with God as my compass to take this fight to the swamp of Washington D.C. I am here to formally announce my run for Congress in Arizona district number one.”

Read more: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/qanon-ron-watkins-congress-arizona-1242682/

Trump asserts his dominance inside GOP, pushing Republicans to embrace his false claims of fraud

Former president Donald Trump has in the past week threatened electoral defeat for Republicans who dismiss his election falsehoods, inserted himself into the Virginia governor’s race to the delight of Democrats, and promised to root out disloyal GOP officials in legislative primaries in Arizona and Michigan.

With more than a year to go before the midterm elections, the former president is leaving no corner of the party untouched as he moves to assert his dominance, both in public and behind the scenes. His stepped-up efforts create a conundrum for many of the party’s strategists and lawmakers, who believe they could have a banner election year in 2022 if they keep the focus on President Biden and his agenda.

But Trump has repeatedly turned the focus back onto the 2020 election. He moved into new territory Wednesday when he released a statement threatening the GOP with ballot-box repercussions if candidates do not embrace his false claims that the White House race was rigged.

“If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ’22 or ’24,” Trump said, part of a barrage of statements on the election and the Jan. 6 Capitol attack that he sent out this week. “It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do.”

The former president’s threat drew winces among GOP operatives and U.S. senators gathered for a donor retreat for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) in Palm Beach, Fla., this week. Many still blame Trump for the loss of two U.S. Senate seats in Georgia in runoff elections early this year, saying his false claims of fraudulent ballots kept people from coming to the polls.


Trump won Florida, but online and at your door, his supporters are trying to force an audit

The push for a recount began months ago in states like Arizona, where Trump lost by a narrow margin. But the movement is now bleeding into states Trump won comfortably, including Florida.

LAND O’LAKES — Debbie Horgan, 64, approached the beige house and rapped her knuckles against the door.

A few minutes later, she returned to an SUV idling in the street.

“Another no answer,” she said to the driver, 61-year-old Kevin May. “I’m willing to bet not everyone lives here.”

A recent Saturday morning found Horgan, May and 77-year-old Paul Jordan on a mission. They drove around Pasco County seeking to ferret out voter fraud that local and state election officials have affirmed doesn’t exist. Each knock presented an opportunity to find someone whose address didn’t match their voter registration — and cast doubt on Florida’s election systems.


Fucking idiots. They're everywhere.

Gov. Ron DeSantis vows that Biden's coming COVID-19 vaccine mandate 'will go down' in court

Florida will challenge the Biden administration's vaccine mandate in federal court, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday, vowing that the pending requirement on businesses and hospitals "will go down."

DeSantis spoke at a Florida Department of Health office in Fort Myers, where he was linking his promotion of monoclonal antibody treatments to the recent sharp drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide.

He noted that demand for such treatments is down considerably in recent weeks, prompting a reevaluation of which sites are still needed.

He used the example of the site in nearby Immokalee, saying it was down to three to four people a day and has now closed. The Immokalee site is still on the state's locator map, which shows 24 sites.

President Joe Biden's mandate has yet to be released but is expected this month. It would apply to hospitals that treat Medicare and Medicaid patients and employers with 100 or more employees.

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