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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit Area, MI
Home country: USA
Current location: San Francisco, CA
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 02:53 PM
Number of posts: 34,102

About Me

Partner, father and liberal Democrat. I am a native Michigander living in San Francisco who is a citizen of the world.

Journal Archives

Biden to Dems: Focus on health care, not Supreme Court expansion

WILMINGTON, Del. — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wants voters to see Republicans’ push for a speedy Supreme Court confirmation as an end-run of Congress and the 2010 health care law.

In remarks on Sunday, the former vice president sidestepped any talk of expanding the court to counter conservative gains should he defeat President Donald Trump in November and Democrats regain a Senate majority. Biden called that scenario a distraction from the practical effects that Trump’s nominee, conservative federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett, could have if she succeeds the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“They see an opportunity to overturn the Affordable Care Act on their way out the door,” Biden said, speaking near his Delaware home. “The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court right now, as I speak, to eliminate the entire Affordable Care Act.”

Biden repeated his calls that the Senate delay confirmation proceedings until after the Nov. 3 election, moving ahead then if Trump wins another term or awaiting a nomination from Biden if the Democrat prevails.


Democrats focus Pennsylvania campaign on existential threat to health law

WASHINGTON — For almost four years, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., had told anyone who will listen — sometimes smaller audiences than he would prefer — that he believes the Affordable Care Act faces existential threats. President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress, he warned, have attempted to repeal the decade-old health law and chipped away at its coverage and consumer protections.

After the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Sept. 18, Mr. Casey suddenly found national attention on his biggest issue as Democrats scramble to illustrate to voters, in the final five-week stretch of the 2020 campaign, the dangers of a third Trump nominee confirmed, which would mean a 6-3 conservative majority on the high court.

In Pennsylvania, Mr. Casey, a top supporter of former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, will deliver a message of imminent doom: One week after Election Day, the Supreme Court will hear a lawsuit, backed by the Trump administration, that seeks to vacate the ACA entirely.

The Supreme Court nominee “will be the deciding vote on health care,” Mr. Casey said in an interview last week, noting 1 million Pennsylvanians have gained health coverage and 5.5 million have pre-existing conditions protected by the law. “These are big stakes.”


Shelley Luther's attacks on Gov. Greg Abbott in Texas Senate race open up new front in GOP civil war

STEPHENVILLE — Metal chairs scraped the floor after Shelley Luther urged her audience to scoot closer. None of the roughly three dozen voters that came to see her Tuesday night wore a mask inside The Purple Goat restaurant. But that didn’t matter.

Luther, whose refusal to shutter her Dallas hair salon launched her into the national spotlight, has built her campaign for state Senate on defying COVID-19 shutdown orders.

She pitched herself to the crowd as a normal person like them, who would take their fight to Austin, even if it means going up against the state’s Republican leader.

“I’m embarrassed that we’ve been shut down that long, that our tyrant governor has embarrassed us completely,” she said.

The overt attacks on Gov. Greg Abbott — a relatively popular Republican who has largely avoided opposition from within his own party — signals a new chapter in the state’s GOP civil war.


TX-25: Julie Oliver seeks narrow path to victory in polarized district

On a recent Zoom fundraiser with Beto O’Rourke, Democratic congressional candidate Julie Oliver was asked what the campaign was doing in the vast rural stretches of a district that extends 220 miles from Hays to Tarrant counties.

“We’re doing everything we did before the pandemic except knocking on doors and having rallies, so we’re connecting with people throughout the district,” said Oliver, an Austin lawyer and former health care executive. “Y’all that live in Austin might not be able to see what is happening in rural Texas. But that’s what’s exciting. The Democrats that have been scared to be Democrats for years and years and don’t tell their neighbors are now loud and proud. And even more than that, Republicans who have lost their party are loud and proud.”

Two years ago, Oliver came within 9 points of defeating U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin.

Williams won reelection in 2016 by nearly 21 points. In 2018, Oliver won 20,000 more votes than Kathi Thomas, the 2016 Democratic nominee, while Williams drew 18,000 fewer votes than he had two years previous.

Most of Oliver’s gains came from winning 15,500 more votes in Travis County, even as Williams’ total declined by 6,500 votes.

But, beyond Travis County, there are all or part of 12 other counties in the 25th Congressional District, and, of those, Oliver only prevailed in the small slice of Bell County by Fort Hood, and only has any chance of adding to the win column this November the western portion of Hays County that lies in the district.

The other counties are mostly rural and extraordinarily hard country for Democrats.


Texas DPS debuts state's first online voter registration form

For the first time in Texas history, the state has a method, albeit limited, for voters to register online.

The state was forced to set up the online voter registration system by a U.S. district judge in San Antonio who ruled last month that Texas officials were violating the National Voter Registration Act by denying residents a chance to register to vote anytime they apply for, renew or update their driver’s licenses. The deadline for the state to set up the online registration portal was Wednesday.

While the online voter registration is available only to that particular population, the fact it was created at all is a significant shift for the state, which until now had required Texans making license changes online to print and mail a form to their county registrar.

Texas is one of just nine states that do not offer widespread online voter registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.


Florida voters already casting ballots in presidential race

Voting has already begun in Florida, whose 29 electoral college votes will be critical in the presidential election.

The Department of State reported Saturday that more than 6,600 vote-by-mail ballots have already been returned and more than 5 million others have been requested. That could put Florida on a pace to double the number of people who voted by mail in the 2016 presidential election.

In 2016, 2.7 million people voted by mail out of more than 3.3 million ballots requested. This year, more than 2.3 million Democrats have requested vote-by-mail ballots, compared to nearly 1.6 million Republicans. More than 1.1 million people not registered with either major party have requested ballots to vote by mail.

Voters have until Oct. 24 to request a vote-by-mail ballot.

Overall, Florida has more than 14 million voters, including more than 5.2 million Democrats and more than 5 million Republicans. The deadline to register to vote in the November election is Oct. 5. In-person early voting begins Oct. 19 in some counties and statewide on Oct. 24.


Donald Trump blasts Mike Bloomberg felon rights restoration spend as 'bribing,' a 'serious crime'

President Donald Trump waded into Florida affairs Sunday, condemning Democrat Mike Bloomberg for fundraising to pay off the fines of 32,000 reformed felons, allowing a pathway for them to vote in November.

The President echoed and amplified the concerns of Florida Republicans in a pyrotechnic Sunday morning tweet, saying the payouts amount to a “serious crime,” a bribe to recipients to vote Democratic.

“Wow, nobody realized how far Mini Mike Bloomberg went in bribing ex-prisoners to go out and vote for Sleepy Joe. He is desperate to get back into the good graces of the people who not only badly beat him, but made him look like a total fool. Now he’s committed a serious crime!”

As is often the case, the President amped up the rhetoric, giving new visibility to concerns raised last week by some of his staunchest supporters in the Sunshine State.

Bloomberg’s $16 million commitment to pay the debts of potential voters via the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, which includes over $5 million in his personal fortune, has roiled Florida Republicans.


Ex-Pennsylvania Gov. Ridge explains vote for Biden in Philadelphia paper

Tom Ridge, the former Republican governor of Pennsylvania and the first U.S. secretary of Homeland Security, has announced he will be backing former Vice President Joe Biden in the presidential race, saying in an op-ed that President Trump “lacks the empathy, integrity, intellect and maturity to lead.”

Ridge, who served in former President George W. Bush's administration, said in an op-ed in The Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday that his decision to vote for Biden in November will mark the first time he has voted for a Democratic presidential candidate.

Ridge, who has a history of criticizing Trump, accused the president of sowing “division along political, racial and religious lines” in the op-ed on Sunday morning and said he “routinely dismisses the opinions of experts who know far more about the subject at hand than he does – intelligence, military, and public health.”

“Our country has paid dearly in lives lost, social unrest, economic hardship and our standing in the world,” he wrote.


Dwayne Johnson backs Biden in first public presidential endorsement

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson endorsed Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Sunday morning, calling the November election “critical.”

“I’ve got friends in all parties, but the one thing we can always agree on is the conversation and the dialogue, and where that conversation lands is always the most critical part,” Johnson said in a video he tweeted Sunday.

The actor and former wrestler described a conversation on political issues he recently had with Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).

“I thought it was a great and extremely productive conversation that we had, and as a registered Independent for years now with centrist ideologies, I do feel that Vice President Biden and Sen. Harris are the best choice to lead our country, and I am endorsing them to become president and vice president of our United States,” Johnson said.


ME-SEN: In Maine, a Race About the Issues Has Become a Referendum on Susan Collins

Now Ms. Gideon’s admirers are touting her friendliness, desire for compromise and bipartisan credentials as she seeks to do the once unthinkable: unseat the four-term Senator Susan Collins, one of the last surviving moderate Republicans, and the only Republican from New England, in the U.S. Senate. Not Trumpian enough for many Republicans, too Republican for most Democrats, the once-popular Ms. Collins is unexpectedly vulnerable in this strangest of election years.

Her challenger is a smooth campaigner, fluent and assured about issues like Medicaid expansion, the environment and health care, and skilled in talking about how they affect Mainers. But the country’s partisan divisions are infecting the state, and the local contest is part of a much wider national picture. The race will turn much less on Ms. Gideon’s record, or even her political positions, than on what Maine voters think about Senator Collins. Has she sold her soul to President Trump’s Republican Party?

And so Ms. Gideon is attempting to present herself not just as an effective state politician who is ready for the national stage, but also as the obvious choice for voters alarmed at the president — and, by extension, at Ms. Collins.

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