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Duncan Grant

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Hometown: Northern California
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 7,895

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Marie Newman vs. the Democratic Machine (Chicago: IL 3rd Dan Lipinski)

The Nation
Marie Newman Could Shape the Future of the Democratic Party
The congressional candidate in Illinois is challenging incumbent Dan Lipinski’s betrayals—and her party’s conservative tendencies.

She’s optimistic that voters in a presidential election year will swing in her favor: she’s registered some 7,000 progressive voters since the midterms, she won the under-50 set by 21 points, and her district typically sees a 10 percent voter turnout bump during a presidential election year. However, her campaign has a new and daunting obstacle to face: the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

This past March the DCCC issued new standards that stop vendors of political services—such as strategic consulting, research, and marketing—from working with primary candidates who challenge incumbents. It essentially created a blacklist: If vendors help a primary challenger, the DCCC will not hire them or recommend them to any of its campaigns. The organization justifies this by referring to its goal of supporting incumbents, maintaining or expanding its House majority, and dedicating resources to endangered or flippable districts. But the effect has been to protect the party’s straight white men. That has made it predictably unpopular among rising new stars in the party, like Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), who won their seats by primarying incumbents. But it has teeth. Three vendors have dropped Newman’s campaign, and a handful of others dropped out during the vetting process. “It’s ridiculously expensive to run a campaign,” she said. “Now we have to throw out a good bit of work…and I have to figure out how to cobble together volunteers to help me out with this, which takes my time and my campaign manager’s time. It’s stressful.”

Newman’s run highlights urgent and unavoidable questions about the future of the Democratic Party: Can it encourage new blood, promote diversity, and increase its number of seats while supporting middle-of-the-road incumbents? Should the party embrace a big tent, or is there a place for ideological litmus tests? Will the party be more successful by embracing its progressive wing or hewing more closely to the center? Should being a member of Congress be a job for life? And if the DCCC is truly interested in change, will it be willing to alter its institutional approach to running and funding campaigns?

I asked Newman these questions a few days after the parade, at her home and temporary campaign headquarters in the suburb of La Grange. We sat in a cozy home office, surrounded by stacks of paper, family photos, and a map of the district pinned on the wall. Ziggy, her beagle, sat behind her on the desk chair and snored lightly as we talked. Her campaign has attracted national attention because she has been vocal about the impact of the DCCC vendor rule and because “Pro-Choice Candidate Takes On Anti-Abortion Incumbent” makes for a nice headline in a moment when reproductive rights are under attack.

Russian LGBTQ activist is killed after being listed on gay-hunting website: Yelena Grigoryeva

Russian LGBTQ activist is killed after being listed on gay-hunting website Yelena Grigoryeva sounded the alarm after her name appeared on a website that offered prizes for attacking gays. Days later, she was dead.

A Russian LGBTQ activist, Yelena Grigoryeva, was fatally stabbed in St. Petersburg Sunday night after her name was listed on a website that encourages people to “hunt” LGBTQ activists, inspired by the torture-themed film "Saw."

Reports in the Russian newspaper Fontanka said that a suspect, a “40-year-old resident of Bashkortostan,” had been detained by police.

Grigoryeva, 41, was active with Russia’s Alliance of Heterosexuals and LGBT for Equality and other activist causes, according to the Russian LGBT Network.

According to friends' and colleagues' online posts, Grigoryeva was worried about her safety after she found her name and personal information listed on the snuff site.


Please rec to honor her and bring awareness to the injustice.


Artists are withdrawing from the Whitney Biennial (dirty plutocrat money)

A True Protest Biennia — By Jerry Saltz

Since before the show’s May opening, a constant drumbeat has sounded for the artists to refuse to participate owing to the relationship of Kanders to the museum and its exhibition. Why? In a certain way, he is a representative figure of the culture of toxic philanthropy, in which plutocrats who’ve made money in unseemly ways cleanse their reputations through donations to reputable institutions — think of the opiate-peddling Sackler family’s support of the Met or David Koch’s donations to what seems like half of high-culture New York. As for Kanders: Among the other disaster-capitalism concerns, his company Safariland manufactured some of the tear-gas canisters used by the Trump administration against immigrants crossing into America. (This news was published early on by the art blog Hyperallergic, which has continued reporting on this and has been breaking stories ever since.) Safariland’s ordinance was also used in Turkey, where over 130,000 tear-gas canisters were fired into crowds, and in Gaza, where 154 Palestinian protesters have been killed, including 34 children. Kanders and his product were toxic long before there was any outrage at the museum.

Being naïve to the ways of industrialist tycoons, I had hoped that rather than forcing the Whitney higher-ups to legislate this explosive issue — knowing such a situation opens a Pandora’s box around all cultural funding — Kanders would have resigned before the biennial opening, recognizing that his presence was harming the museum, the art, the Whitney name, and the artists. Instead, sounding as if he saw the world as his own petting zoo, Kanders opined, “While my company and the museum have distinct missions, both are important contributors to our society,” adding that “the politicization of every aspect of public life including commercial organizations and cultural institutions is not productive or healthy.”


More on Warren B. Kanders

Russia launches criminal case over gay adoption (family faces prosecution)

Russian officials allegedly allowed a gay couple to adopt children. Now Russia's Investigative Committee has opened a criminal negligence case. And thanks to a "gay propaganda" law, the family could also face charges.

Olenichev described Russian society as a whole as very conservative, but he emphasized that the outcome of a potential case against the gay fathers ultimately would "depend on the individuals making the decisions." It's hard to predict what will happen to them, he added, though he doesn't seem optimistic that the family will escape a case against them.

Investigators are currently checking the children's family circumstances, Olenichev said. He confirmed to DW that the adopted boys are 12 and 14 years old. One of the men in the family works at the Higher School of Economics, a state university in Russia, and the family is quite "well off," he said. Along with the men, a grandmother and a nanny have been taking care of the boys.

Olenichev took care to emphasize that the children feel "comfortable and safe in the family" and that a psychologist has found the relationship between the parents and children to be close and affectionate. He even pointed out that there were no "indications of violence in the family."

His emphasis on the psychological well-being of the adopted children reflects public opinion in Russia, a challenge for the LGBT community — and a potential challenge for the family should a case be opened against them.


As a quick aside, I would encourage you to follow Pompeo’s “natural law/human rights” commission. The “Ya’ll Queda” republicans would love to redefine LGBTQ equality in the U.S. — Chilling, isn’t it?

If you were a space age kid, you'll love this.

Like many of you, I was a space age kid. I remember watching the moon landing with my family. I’m glad my Dad was so enthusiastic about it all. It’s a great memory.

Today’s apps - 50 years later - are amazing. This one from Time magazine won’t disappoint you.

Link: Welcome to TIME Immersive's Apollo 11 'Landing on the Moon' Experience

From Time’s website:

“The Apollo 11 simulation on which you’re about to embark, which is the world’s most accurate 3-D re-creation of the moon landing, is the result of TIME’s partnership with the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, as well as years of painstaking research by Industrial Light and Magic CCO John Knoll. Told in two chapters, Landing on the Moon allows you to witness Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s landing from three breathtaking points of view; in Chapter 2, you can explore the surface of the moon, walk to the foot of the lunar module, and watch within inches of Neil Armstrong’s space suit as he plants the flag.”
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