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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 73,485

Journal Archives

'Power grab': how Republican hardball gave us Amy Coney Barrett

(Guardian UK) The almost certain confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the supreme court on Monday represents a “power grab” by Republicans facing possible wipeout at the ballot box, activists and analysts say.

Republicans on the Senate judiciary committee shrugged off a Democratic boycott on Thursday to advance Barrett’s nomination to the full Senate, which will vote little more than a week before the presidential election. If confirmed, Barrett could be sworn in as a justice almost immediately.

To critics, the rushed process represents one of the most naked power plays yet by a party which, confronting dismal opinion polls, is weaponizing unelected judges to compensate for setbacks in elections. Even as they contemplate the loss of political power, Republicans are poised to cement judicial power for generations.

“This is like the last gasp by the Republican party to try to lock in their minority rule,” said Christopher Kang, co-founder and chief counsel of the progressive group Demand Justice. “They’re potentially just days away from not only losing the White House but also the Senate, maybe even resoundingly, and so they’re trying to do everything they can to consolidate on the supreme court a Trump supermajority for decades to come.” ..........(more)


Trump's Rural Edge Shrinks With Enthusiasm Fading in Key States

(Bloomberg) -- The big margin of support among rural voters that helped Donald Trump secure victory four years ago is looking less firm in 2020 with the potential to shift the outcomes in key battleground states.

Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, is nowhere near winning the rural areas of the country, where roads are lined with Trump-Pence lawn signs and barn banners and campaign flags flutter from pickup trucks.

But polls leading to Election Day show that enthusiasm for the incumbent has waned compared to 2016. In a race where the margin of victory may be slim and turn on the result in just a handful of states, even a slight dip for either candidate in a core constituency can mean the difference between winning and losing.

With the coronavirus spreading more than 60% faster in non-metro areas than the rest of the nation, Trump’s support has slipped. While the president has deployed agricultural subsidies to help cushion the blow, the farming sector had already suffered before Covid-19 from the trade war Trump launched with China. The bonanza of Chinese purchases Trump promised after his January trade deal have yet to materialize. ..............(more)


Amy Coney Barrett and the Second Amendment: Why her "expansive view" is utter BS

(Salon) "Pro-life" Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who will almost certainly be seated on the Supreme Court this week, seems to have no problem putting guns in the hands of individual Americans who want to buy them  —  every Tom, Dick and Kyle. She reportedly takes "an expansive view" of the Second Amendment, writing in her only ruling on gun regulation that it should not be considered "a second-class amendment."

A number of groups advocating gun control and gun safety, including Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, and the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence, expressed their deep concerns with Barrett's nomination in a recent letter sent to leading members of Congress.

The 2008 Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller expanded the meaning of the Second Amendment far beyond militias  —  regulated or not. And that 5-4 majority opinion was written by Barrett's mentor, Justice Antonin Scalia.

It might be useful to look back on that ruling to take another look at the "textualist" approach to reading statutes and the "originalist" approach to reading constitutional questions, and to learn what one might then expect of a Justice Barrett.

There are a number of things one might find admirable about Barrett. She was a seriously engaged student at all levels of her education, taking an English degree at Rhodes College and graduating at the top of her law school class at Notre Dame. She's a mother (of seven) who manages to work in a demanding career. At her gym, she's apparently known for her commitment to doing pull-ups, for gosh sakes. ............(more)


"It won't be so exhausting, just having a normal president"

Obama comes on at about 44:00 btw

Man Appears to Repeatedly Flash White Power Hand Sign at Trump Rally


How the conservative movement and the rise of the hard right created Donald Trump

How the conservative movement and the rise of the hard right created Donald Trump
Author Edmund Fawcett on how the "hard right" — and the conflict within conservatism — led to the Trump calamity

OCTOBER 24, 2020 4:00PM

(Salon) Signs are increasing that Donald Trump is headed toward the devastating electoral loss that experts expected four years ago. But even if they're right this time, what does that tell us about what's ahead? And what if they're wrong yet again? Either way, Trumpism won't be going away on its own, nor will any of the other illiberal eruptions across the West and around the world, which have left conservatives as bewildered as anybody else.

With Election Day looming, you probably don't have time for a 500-page book to help make sense of how we got here. But when it comes to making sense of things afterward, when there's time for deeper reflection, Edmund Fawcett's new book, "Conservatism: The Fight for a Tradition," plays a vital, invaluable role. This new book is a follow-up to Fawcett's 2014 book, "Liberalism: The Life of an Idea," and the contrast in the subtitles is telling. Fawcett is a British political journalist who spent 30 years at the Economist, including stints as chief correspondent in Washington, Paris and Berlin and as the magazine's European and literary editor.

The idea of liberalism he describes as "a search for an ethically acceptable order of human progress among civic equals without recourse to undue power." But fights, by their very nature, are a much messier matter, and all too often involve "undue power." Indeed, there's not just one fight involved within the conservative tradition, but a seemingly endless number. Still, there's one overarching battle between hardcore resisters of liberal modernity — those Fawcett calls the "hard right" — and those seeking accommodation, whom he calls "liberal conservatives."


The fourth period you describe as "the contest for supremacy between liberal conservatism and the hard right," starting in 1980. Say a bit more about these two terms, both what they mean generally, and specifically in this time period.

It's difficult when writing about politics, for one has to be given at least five seconds to get the canoe into the water. All these labels are very slippery, particularly the labels "liberal conservatism" — that sounds like a contradiction in terms — and the term "hard right," which many conservatives particularly dislike because they feel it's a slander or a slur. But let's say "liberal conservatism," with all those provisos, is a good label for the kind of conservatism I was describing earlier, the kind of mainstream conservatism running from Eisenhower to Nixon and even to a certain extent some of the Reagan years.

That's an OK label for the kind of mainstream conservatism that I was describing, by and large, in government. However much they turned up the gas on the campaign trail, Eisenhower, Nixon and even Reagan were within a recognizable band. It was particularly liberal in economic matters, for the free market, very business-friendly, but also liberal to an extent in the social and ethical sense. Nixon wasn't a great moral or ethical campaigner. Reagan, I don't think, believed it himself personally. He threw bones to the moral right, but it wasn't his thing. ..............(more)


Site Tracks Every Broken McDonalds Ice Cream Machine in US

from Nerdist:

Site Tracks Every Broken McDonalds Ice Cream Machine in US

It appears I have been most fortunate in life. At least when it comes to one very important issue. Apparently McDonald’s ice cream machines break down a lot—and I genuinely had no idea! Between only eating the occasional McFlurry (and yearly Shamrock Shake), along with what seem to be some very good luck, I can only ever remember one instance when I couldn’t order one. And that might have been 15 years ago. Just because I have not had to suffer, though, doesn’t mean millions of other diners haven’t had to go home empty handed. Fortunately, someone is finally here to help. A software engineer created a website that tracks every single broken McDonald’s ice cream machine in the United States in real time.

And that way you can avoid a major McDisappointment.


Earlier this year 24-year-old Rashiq Zahid created McBroken (which we first heard about at The Verve). The free website shows a map of every McDonald’s in the country. A green dot represents those locales with a functioning ice cream machine. Red dots indicate a restaurant with a broken one. You can zoom in on the map to your part of the country to see which McDonald’s closest to you can deliver on that sweet promise. .........(more)


Michigan early voting returns heaviest so far in Democratic counties

(Bridge) Michigan’s most Democratic counties are among those that have returned the most absentee ballots so far in an election that is shattering turnout records, according to a Bridge analysis of state records.

That may bolster Democrats’ hope for a big year up and down the ballot, as counties that favored Democrat Hillary Clinton in her 2016 presidential campaign are disproportionately returning ballots.

Experts caution that doesn't mean GOP voters won’t turn out in huge numbers to vote in person on Election Day, Nov. 3.

“Republicans are putting all their marbles on Election Day right now,” said Richard Czuba, founder of polling firm Glengariff Group.

“But because of the passage of the 2018 constitutional amendment allowing no-reason absentee, the game has shifted. Every day for 30 days prior has been an Election Day in Michigan, and Republicans are banking on one day when Democrats have been working — as we see in these absentee numbers — on every day of the election.” ...........(more)


Some pre-election humor: Wanda Sykes on Election 2000, from the Chris Rock Show on HBO

Plot against Whitmer shows domestic terrorism is a threat -- and the calls are coming from inside WH

Plot against Whitmer shows domestic terrorism is a threat — and the calls are coming from inside the White House
Don’t feed the trolls

By Lee DeVito

(Detroit Metro Times) It was a plot that seemingly could have been ripped right out of the pages of a Hollywood action movie script — something like Liam Neeson’s Taken, or a Coen Brothers film, perhaps, or even Joker. A group of men, secretly meeting in a hidden basement under a Grand Rapids vacuum cleaner shop, had cooked up a scheme to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, overthrow the government, and start a civil war before the Nov. 3 election.

The men connected on social media, and some had met up at the various protests against Whitmer’s coronavirus pandemic emergency powers, where they brandished guns. But these weren’t just the fantasies of a group of shit-talking internet trolls. According to law enforcement officials, including the FBI, Michigan State Police, and Michigan Attorney Dana Nessel, the men’s talk had turned to action, going as far as meeting up for training drills, making multiple surveillance missions to Whitmer’s family vacation home up north, and even testing bombs. On Oct. 7, a group of the men met in Ypsilanti to purchase explosives and exchange gear, where undercover FBI agents were waiting for their arrest. Across the state and beyond, agents arrested more than a dozen men connected to the plot.


In his criminal complaint, FBI special agent Richard Trask said the bureau became aware of the wannabe insurrectionists from social media chatter in early 2020. In fact, Metro Times reporter Steve Neavling covered a public Facebook group, “People vs Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,” which included calls for violence against the governor, in January. The group was created in March 2019 — long before the word “coronavirus” even entered the vocabulary of most Americans. The page also included calls for violence against other Democratic women, including Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Elissa Slotkin.

In the posts, people — using their real names and profile photos — brazenly talked about shooting Democrats, asked how they could join militias, and even offered to help each other train. When questioned, the creators of the page admitted to Metro Times that the discussion had spiraled out of control, and quickly deactivated it. (Among the nearly 9,000 people who followed the page included state Sen. Peter Lucido, a Shelby Township Republican now running for Macomb County prosecutor. When a Michigan Advance reporter questioned Lucido about his involvement in the group, Lucido said, “The fact that people talk crap back and forth on that page, that’s their crap, not mine. … If those people are talking cowardly and inciting violence, then they should be dealt with accordingly.” The reporter also said Lucido sexually harassed her, creating even more national headlines.)


Despite his close call with COVID-19, on Saturday Trump held a campaign rally in Muskegon, drawing thousands of his supporters, many following his lead and refusing to wear masks to prevent the spread of the virus.

“You’ve got to get your governor to open up her state,” Trump said to the cheering crowd. In response, the crowd started chanting Trump’s 2016 chant against Hillary Clinton: “Lock her up, lock her up, lock her up.” ............(more)


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