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RandySF

Profile Information

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: 36,806

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

VT-SEN: Sanders to run as an independent in 2018

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has confirmed that he will run for re-election in the Senate as an independent in 2018, despite recent pressure from some Democrats to join the party.

Sanders told Fox News of his decision to hold onto his independent status during an interview Sunday night.

I am an independent and I have always run in Vermont as an independent, while I caucus with the Democrats in the United States Senate. That’s what I’ve been doing for a long time and that’s what I’ll continue to do,” Sanders told Fox News.

Sanders had been facing pressure from some Democrats to officially run as a member of the Democratic party. Sanders caucuses with Democrats in the Senate.


http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/356650-sanders-to-run-as-an-independent-in-2018

House GOP Fears Wave in 2018 as Money Woes Grow

House Republicans are growing increasingly alarmed that some of their most vulnerable members aren’t doing the necessary legwork to protect themselves from an emerging Democratic tidal wave. In some of the biggest media markets, where blockbuster fundraising is a prerequisite for political survival—most notably in New York City, Los Angeles, and Houston—Republican lawmakers aren’t raising enough money to run aggressive campaigns against up-and-coming Democrats.

Of the 53 House Republicans facing competitive races, according to Cook Political Report ratings, a whopping 21 have been outraised by at least one Democratic opponent in the just-completed fundraising quarter. That’s a stunningly high number this early in the cycle, one that illustrates just how favorable the political environment is for House Democrats.

The third-quarter fundraising reports paint a gloomy picture for many Republicans. Rep. Steve Knight of California raised only $144,000 in the last three months, less than the total of two lesser-known Democratic challengers. Veteran Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey brought in only $154,000—just over one-third the amount of his leading Democratic rival, retired Navy helicopter pilot Mikie Sherrill. In the Houston area, Rep. John Culberson, who typically doesn’t face competitive races, raised only $172,000 in a Democratic-trending district that backed Hillary Clinton last year.

The list goes on: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, under scrutiny over his unseemly ties to Russia, was outraised by a highly touted challenger and has only $600,000 in the bank. Rep. Claudia Tenney of New York saw her leading opponent raise twice as much money she did; even her Republican predecessor, former Rep. Richard Hanna, donated to the Democratic challenger. Rep. Leonard Lance of New Jersey brought in less than $200,000 in the quarter and has less than a half-million in cash on hand in a district where advertising is prohibitively expensive.


https://www.nationaljournal.com/s/659667?unlock=FALH9NUB4D9E32M2

Putin says Americans don't show Trump enough respect

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that Americans don't show enough respect for President Trump.

"Mr. Trump was elected by the American people. And at least for this reason it is necessary to show respect for him, even if you do not agree with some of his positions," Putin said at the Valdai International Discussion Club when asked what advice he could give his U.S. counterpart, according to state-run Tass Russian News Agency.

Putin said that "disrespect is shown for [Trump]" in the U.S., which he called "regrettable."

"One can argue but one can't show disrespect, even not for him personally but for those people who voted for him," he said. "I believe that the president of the United States does not need any advice because one has to possess certain talent and go through this trial to be elected, even without having the experience of such big administrative work. He [Trump] has done this."

Putin said that Mr. Trump "won honestly" in the 2016 presidential election.

In September, Putin said that Mr. Trump was "not my bride, and I'm not his groom." Asked how Russia would feel if Mr. Trump were impeached, Putin said it would be "absolutely wrong" for Russia to discuss U.S. politics.


https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/putin-says-americans-dont-show-trump-enough-respect/ar-AAtM40b?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=mailsignout

The Air Force now has the power to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots to address its personnel crisis

President Donald Trump amended an executive order on Friday to allow the Defense Department to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots in order to address the Air Force's shortage of qualified fliers.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis reportedly requested the move, and he now has "additional authorities to recall retired aviation officers," Pentagon spokesman Navy Cmdr. Gary Ross said in a statement.

The Air Force is currently about 1,500 pilots shy of the 20,300 it is mandated to have. Of those missing, about 1,000 are fighter pilots. Some officials have deemed the shortage a "quiet crisis."

"We anticipate that the Secretary of Defense will delegate the authority to the Secretary of the Air Force to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots for up to three years," Ross said.


http://www.businessinsider.com/air-force-can-recall-1000-retired-pilots-to-address-personnel-crisis-2017-10

Dem lawmaker received lynching threats after criticizing Trump, Kelly

Rep. Frederica Wilson's (D-Fla.) offices in Washington and Miami have reportedly been inundated with phone calls and threats following a war of words with President Trump this week.

Staffers at one point had to turn off the phones in Wilson's D.C. office after callers bombarded the phones lines, forcing many callers to only reach a voicemail, a local CBS affiliate reported Friday.

The number of calls has apparently reached the thousands over the past few days, according to the report, which said that fax machines were turned over to investigators as threats rolled in, pulling in the Capitol Police, Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies to look into the threats.

A spokesperson for Wilson told CBS Miami that threats have intensified since the congresswoman accused Trump of being insensitive during his call to the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, one of the four U.S. soldiers killed in Niger earlier this month.

The congresswoman’s staff immediately alerted authorities to a racially-charged threat made on a Facebook account of a person named “Tom Keevers,” according to the CBS affiliate.

The account wrote about assembling "ten good men to help carry out a lynching," adding that they "must have own horse and saddle" but "rope will be provided.”


http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/356545-congresswomans-office-getting-thousands-of-calls-during-feud-with

Trump pledges to personally pay some legal bills of WH staff and associates

President Trump has promised to spend at least $430,000 of his own money to defray legal costs incurred by campaign associates and White House staff due to the Russia investigations, a White House official tells Axios.

What we know: The Republican National Committee has paid roughly $430,000 to lawyers representing the president and his eldest son, Don Jr. A White House official told me Trump will not be reimbursing the RNC for these costs. However, the White House official says he has pledged to spend the same amount, from his personal finances, "to defray the costs of legal fees for his associates, including former and current White House aides."

To understand the details of the RNC's payments for Trump and his son's lawyers, read this WashPost report — the substance of which the RNC confirmed to Axios.


https://www.axios.com/scoop-trump-pledges-to-personally-pay-some-legal-bills-of-wh-staff-and-associates-2499448011.html?utm_source=sidebar

There's talk of capping 401(k) contributions at $2,400 per year

Proposals floating around Washington to cap the amount that Americans can contribute before taxes to 401(k) plans and individual retirement accounts are unsettling professionals in the retirement industry.

Republicans are looking for ways to generate revenue to support broad reductions in individual tax rates. One idea is to limit the amount of pretax money households can sock away for retirement saving. Such a move would likely generate significant political blowback but it hasn’t been explicitly ruled out, stirring worry among industry lobbyists.

Members of the House Ways and Means Committee are widely expected to release a version of the tax bill by mid-November. Specifics on a wide range of issues remain unclear. Emily Schillinger, a spokeswoman for the Ways and Means Committee, declined to comment.

Lobbyists and others in the retirement and financial services industries who have spoken to congressional staff and committee members say lawmakers are looking at proposals that would allow 401(k) participants to contribute significantly less than what is currently allowed in a traditional tax-deferred 401(k). An often mentioned amount is $2,400 a year. It isn’t clear whether that would only apply to 401(k)s or IRAs or both.



https://www.marketwatch.com/story/theres-talk-of-capping-401k-contributions-at-2400-per-year-2017-10-20

Death of U.S. Soldiers in Niger Sparks FBI Probe

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined the investigation into how a group of militants thought to be Islamists killed four American soldiers in Niger two weeks ago, a move that comes as U.S. officials face criticism over their struggle to answer questions about the incident.

U.S. military officials said Thursday that they are trying to piece together a timeline of what happened, while lawmakers impatient for information criticized the Pentagon and White House for a lack of transparency.

The FBI’s involvement comes amid an absence of details on the ambush, which has become the center of a political firestorm over how President Donald Trump has interacted with relatives of the dead soldiers.

Bringing the bureau into the probe of a military operation gone awry isn’t unprecedented, FBI officials said. The FBI has the authority to take over the investigation but hasn’t yet done so, the officials said.

FBI investigators are helping gather and evaluate evidence about the militants considered responsible for the ambush and how members of the group learned of the joint U.S.-Nigerien patrol.


https://www.wsj.com/articles/death-of-u-s-soldiers-in-niger-sparks-fbi-probe-criticism-1508457444

Republican-led efforts to recall three state senators hit with first lawsuit

Three campaigns to recall Nevada lawmakers have been hit with their first lawsuit, with plaintiffs arguing that the state doesn’t benefit from the recalls, that a special election would place an undue burden on voters and that the whole process undermines the hallmarks of the republican system.

Marc Elias, a nationally prominent attorney who served as former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s general counsel during the 2016 election, filed the suit Monday in federal court in Las Vegas with help from Bradley Schrager, a onetime attorney for the Nevada State Democratic Party. Defendants are Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske and Clark County Voter Registrar Joe Gloria, who would be tasked with carrying out a special election if the recall petitions qualify.

“What the Republicans are doing here is interjecting the same kinds of unsavory tactics that we read about in other states into Nevada, where they’ll use any tactic to try to deprive voters of the opportunity to have their vote counted and meaningfully reflected,” Elias said in an interview with The Nevada Independent. “In this case, they just decided they didn’t like the outcome of the election, so they’re going to shorten the election. That’s not what recalls are about.”

The suit comes roughly two weeks before the first of three recall petitions is due, each of which need between 7,000 and 14,000 valid signatures to qualify for a special election. No Nevada lawmaker has ever been successfully recalled from office.


https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/republican-led-efforts-to-recall-three-state-senators-hit-with-first-lawsuit

538: Calm Down About Those Virginia Polls, Folks

A Monmouth University poll released Tuesday generated a ton of headlines. It found Republican Ed Gillespie leading the Virginia gubernatorial race by 1 percentage point, 48 percent to 47 percent. Democrat Ralph Northam has led in most surveys of the race, and if Republicans win Virginia with President Trump so unpopular, you can expect a full-blown freakout among Democrats. Adding to the confusion: Quinnipiac University released a poll on Wednesday showing Northam up 14 percentage points, 53 percent to 39 percent.

So what the heck is going on in the Virginia governor’s race? Nothing. The split between the Monmouth and Quinnipiac results is big, but it’s not unnatural. In fact, it’s a sign that pollsters are doing their job.

Polling averages work best when pollsters are working independently. You have different pollsters using different methods and making different estimates of the electorate, and you get a more accurate picture of the race by averaging their results together than by looking at any individual poll. It’s kind of like the old “wisdom of the crowd” principle.

That doesn’t work if pollsters “herd” — which my colleague Nate Silver defined as “the tendency of polling firms to produce results that closely match one another.” When pollsters release results that are closer to each other than is statistically plausible, it may make individual polls more accurate, but it makes the average less so. That is, there should be a big spread among polls of the same race. Unfortunately, herding happens, particularly as Election Day approaches.


https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/calm-down-about-those-virginia-polls-folks/?ex_cid=story-facebook
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