Monday Reads: Here we go again

12809656_10153257291792352_1600803200710685432_nGood Morning!

I had quite the weekend.  It was so hectic I managed to miss a wedding because I got the dates totally confused.   I’m trying to undo some of my karma this morning and that’s definitely going on the list. I’m so scatter brained these days I don’t even feel like me at times.  I had friends in from NYC and lots of Hillary work to do. It’s just been super crazy here.

Most everyone knows that the New Orleans Hillary peeps–including me–have been making phone calls to GOTV. We’ve had all kinds of stuff going on on the ground related to actually getting people to the polls. I’ve not gotten any calls from the other side but several folks showed up for a march around the French Quarter for Bernie.  As you probably know, our city is like 60% black.  There might have been 100 or so people in the march.  I only saw white faces there.  This continues to be sadly telling.

However, I can tell you about the time I’ve spent with the Hillary campaign this last few weeks. I’m so proud of the diversity of her supporter base.  I was on the phone yesterday and there were two of us aging boomers in the room. Both of us were women.  One white. One black. The diversity of the young supporters was amazing and there was a good size group. There were two Asian Americans, a Hispanic, three young black women, a young white woman and a black man. I know that many were from the GLBT community too. They were all millennials, so don’t believe it when they say there are no young people supporting Hillary.  She has a rainbow of them right down here in New Orleans.  I also spent the evening talking to Dr. Son in law who is a strong Hillary supporter along with Dr. Daughter.  As you know, Dr. Daughter had a Japanese Grandmother and Dr. Son-in-law’s family hails from the Bengal region of India. Both are avid Hillary supporters.

BB mentioned the stages of grief.  I’m pretty sure folks I know in the Sanders camp are somewhat stuck between denial and anger.  The South Carolina primary should’ve been a wake up call for the narrowing path to victory for their candidate.   The Team fighting here for Hillary on the ground definitely matches these kinds of numbers.Miguel

A bruising, nearly 48-point loss to Hillary Clinton in South Carolina on Saturday night dramatically narrowed the path forward for Bernie Sanders, raising serious doubts about his ability to win the delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination.

South Carolina will widen Clinton’s delegate lead, which stood at one after her Nevada win on Feb. 20. But more significantly, the contest here demonstrated that the Vermont senator has failed to make any headway at all with African-American voters in the South. Even with 200 paid Sanders staffers on the ground and nearly $2 million in television spending, Clinton swept the black vote by a 5-to-1 ratio, according to exit polls. Among black voters 65 and older, Clinton won by a stunning 96 percent to 3 percent.

“When we stand together, there is no barrier too big to break,” Clinton said at her victory rally in Columbia, where, for the first time on a 2016 election night, she took the stage without Bill or Chelsea Clinton by her side. “Tomorrow, we take this campaign national.”

Now, heading into Super Tuesday, when 11 states will cast ballots on March 1, Sanders will face possibly insurmountable contests in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas and Virginia, all states with sizable black populations in which he has not invested as much time or money.

“Delegates determine the presidential nomination, and I don’t see a path for Sanders to get there,” said Jeff Berman, a consultant to the Clinton campaign who ran Barack Obama’s 2008 delegate strategy.

Running through a best-case scenario for Sanders, Clinton operatives said they expect Sanders could win Colorado, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Vermont — states tailor-made for the democratic socialist because they hold caucuses, are predominantly white, located in New England or have a history of electing progressives.

But even if Sanders manages to pull out significant wins in all five, the delegate math will make it difficult for Sanders to catch up: They represent only one-third of the delegates up for grabs on Tuesday. And the Clinton campaign has invested heavily in states like Colorado and Minnesota in order to limit Sanders’ margins.

Sanders’ operatives said they are looking beyond Super Tuesday, to the friendlier terrain of Kansas, Nebraska and Maine to deliver them wins. But by then, Clinton operatives predicted, it could be too little, too late to close the delegate gap.


krewe hillary swagBB has been insistent that Mass. will go for Hillary.  It seems that recent polls back her up.

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton holds an eight-point lead over Bernie Sanders in a new poll of Massachusetts Democratic primary voters, suggesting that the Vermont senator needs to attract significant support during the final push to eke out a much-needed win in Tuesday’s Massachusetts presidential primary.

Clinton draws 50 percent of the vote, while Sanders picks up 42 percent and eight percent remain undecided, according to the Suffolk University poll released Sunday. The poll was conducted Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

I expect record turnout to continue with the nation’s Black voters because they know what’s at stake.  The dismantling of the Voting Rights Act is a not something trivial.  This will not go away.  Here in Louisiana and in New Orleans, turning out the Black vote is important.   The community is coming together for Hillary as she stands as the symbol and the promise of continuing President Obama’s legacy.  This is something not lost on any of us that were active in 2007 and 2008 from either the Clinton or Obama Camps.

As voters in South Carolina’s Democratic primary cast ballots that would ultimately lead to a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton deployed surrogates in an attempt to expand that winning strategy to Louisiana.

Former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx stumped for Clinton in Louisiana, hoping to increase turnout among black voters.

That bloc proved key to Clinton’s win in South Carolina. There she picked up 86 percent of the African-American vote, according to ABC News exit polling data.

Nutter was in Baton Rouge Friday (Feb. 26) to host a round table discussion with business leaders before campaigning with Landrieu at Dillard University.

Foxx, who joined the Obama administration in 2013, spent Sunday touring African-American churches in New Orleans.

There’s still one HUGE deal.  The Donald and his goosestepping followers really trouble me. There are two things that have popped up that are just beyond the pale.  Let’s start with this one: 12795310_10207586747399152_76255253964693655_n

Don Trump Jr. said he would happily pay for some of his father’s black critics to leave the United States.

The Republican presidential candidate’s son appeared Monday morning with his brother, Eric Trump, on “Fox and Friends” to discuss the “Super Tuesday” primary elections and the concerted attacks on their father by his GOP rivals.

And then there’s this one. His earpiece made him all confused about not knowing about David Duke and his association with the KKK.  This guy blames every one and every thing for his own damned ignorance, I swear!

Donald Trump on Monday blamed a poor earpiece for sparking a misunderstanding over white nationalist David Duke’s support of the GOP presidential front-runner.

“I’m sitting in a house in Florida with a very bad earpiece they gave me,” he told hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s “Today” show.

“I sit down and I have a lousy earpiece provided by them,” Trump continued. “You could hardly hear what [CNN anchor Jake Tapper] was saying.

“What I heard was ‘various groups.’ I have no problem disavowing groups, but I’d at least like to know who they are. It’d be very unfair disavowing a group if they shouldn’t be disavowed.”

Trump waved off questions about Duke during a Sunday morning appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He repeatedly told Tapper he is unaware of the former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard’s background and stances.

The outspoken billionaire on Monday lashed out at CNN for ignoring his multiple rejections of Duke’s support over the weekend.

“I’ve disavowed David Duke all weekend long on Facebook and Twitter, but it’s obviously never enough,” Trump said. “I disavowed David Duke the day before in a major news conference.

12798958_10101603023909336_5483709449666623779_nEven the ever Trump-fellating Joe Scarborough thought this gaffe was a bit off. 

They weren’t hard questions to answer.

“Do you condemn David Duke? And the Ku Klux Klan?”

A simple “yes” would have worked. But on Sunday, Donald Trump swatted away the easy answers and instead feigned ignorance about the KKK and its most infamous Grand Wizard. The Republican frontrunner’s failure to provide what should have been a simple answer has raised even more disturbing questions about the man who is on course to lock down the GOP’s nomination for president.

The first question is why would Trump pretend to be so ignorant of American history that he refused to pass judgment on the Ku Klux Klan before receiving additional information? What kind of facts could possibly mitigate a century of sins committed by a violent hate group whose racist crimes terrorized Americans and placed a shameful blot on this nation’s history?

Why would the same man who claims to have “the world’s greatest memory”say “I don’t know anything about David Duke” just two days after he condemned the former Klansman in a nationally televised press conference? And with that amazing memory, how could Donald Trump have forgotten that he himself refused to run for president as a Reform Party nominee in 2000 because “Klansman” David Duke was a member of that same party?

These are questions that have no good answers for a Republican Party on the verge of nominating a man who sounds more like a Dixiecrat from the 1950s than the kind of nominee the GOP needs four years after losing Hispanics by 44 percent, Asian-Americans by 47 percent, and black Americans by 87 percent.

anthony foxx and hillaryAs I said, ask any black voter in the South and you’ll hear exactly what’s at stake. Women, minorities, and the GLBT community do not want to go back to the kind of American that Trump’s voters represent because we all know what that means. Will the Republican Party really implode?  How far can Trump go in the General and what will he say and do once he faces former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?  This is Philip Rucker and Robert Costa writing at WAPO.

The implosion over Donald Trump’s candidacy that Republicans had hoped to avoid arrived so virulently this weekend that many party leaders vowed never to back the billionaire and openly questioned whether the GOP could come together this election year.

At a moment when Republicans had hoped to begin taking on Hillary Clinton — who is seemingly on her way to wrapping up the Democratic nomination — the GOP has instead become consumed by a crisis over its identity and core values that is almost certain to last through the July party convention, if not the rest of the year.

A campaign full of racial overtones and petty, R-rated put-downs grew even uglier Sunday after Trump declined repeatedly in a CNN interview to repudiate the endorsement of him by David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Trump had disavowed Duke at a news conference on Friday, but he stammered when asked about Duke on Sunday.

Marco Rubio, who has been savaging Trump as a “con man” for three days, responded by saying that Trump’s defiance made him “unelectable.” The senator from Florida said at a rally in Northern Virginia, “We cannot be the party that nominates someone who refuses to condemn white supremacists.”

The fracas comes as the presidential race enters a potentially determinative month of balloting, beginning with primaries and caucuses in 11 states on Tuesday. As the campaign-trail rhetoric grew noxious over the weekend, a sense of fatalism fell over the Republican firmament, from elected officials and figureheads to major donors and strategists.

“This is an existential choice,” said former senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota, who is backing Rubio. Asked how the party could unite, Coleman said: “It gets harder every day when you hear things like not disavowing the KKK and David Duke. It’s not getting easier; it’s getting more difficult. . . . I’m hopeful the party won’t destroy itself.”

The choice for voters is not simply one of preference but rather a fundamental one about the direction they want to take the country, with the insurgent Trump promising utter transformation.

“For many Republicans, Trump is more than just a political choice,” said Kevin Madden, a veteran operative who advised 2012 nominee Mitt Romney. “It’s a litmus test for character.”

Madden, like some of his peers, said he could never vote for Trump. If he is the nominee, Madden said, “I’m prepared to write somebody in so that I have a clear conscience.”

More splintering came late Sunday when freshman Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who has been a vocal Trump critic, declared on Twitter that if the reality TV star is nominated, he will “look for some 3rd candidate — a conservative option, a Constitutionalist.”

12799370_10207103252433397_7610076389051235349_nWith all Trumps’ issues, I agree with Amanda Marcotte on this one.  He’s not less crazy than the Cruz and Rubio boys.  I recommend reading her latest just for the linky goodness.  She’s documented some pretty unpalatable stuff.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I like Trump — I hate him with the passion of a thousand burning suns — or that I want him to be president. But yes, I think he should win the Republican nomination. He’s run the best campaign, one that speaks to what Republican voters want to hear, and, by that measure, he deserves to win the nomination, so that Hillary Clinton can wipe the floor with him in November.

This is not a popular opinion, and not just with the establishment Republicans who can’t help acting like the main problem with Trump is he puts his dirty shoes on the couch. The common wisdom in most of the media — conservative, mainstream and liberal — is that a Trump nomination would be a ruinous thing, a blow to both the Republican Party and the political system as we know it. To which I can’t help but say, “So what?”
 I don’t agree with Trump supporters on, well, almost anything, but I can’t help sharing in the pleasure they take with the way that Trump’s very existence exposes the smarmy two-faced hypocrisy of the modern Republican Party. Modern conservatism is built on a base of protecting men’s dominance over women, white people’s dominance over people of color and rich people’s dominance over everyone else, but it’s generally considered impolite to say so bluntly. Instead, it’s standard for Republicans to pretend that policies obviously designed to screw people over are meant to help.  That puts journalists in this terrible situation of having to pretend that Republicans mean well, since it’s generally considered impolitic to call someone a liar.
Trump doesn’t play that game, at least not as much, and it is nakedly obvious that this, and not his actual beliefs and policies, is what angers many of his detractors. Take, for instance, Jonah Goldberg of the National Review on Fox News recently, complaining that Trump is “completely overturning what the Republican reset was supposed to be about after 2012, which was this idea that it was going to be a more consistently conservative but more inclusive and nicer toned party.”
“And instead it’s going to be a less conservative but meaner toned and less inclusive party,” he added.

To which I must again say, “So what?” People who value kindness and inclusivity already have a party. They’re called the Democrats.

12803006_1718058728406271_183103720682307753_nI can certainly attest to that down here in the Mississippi River melting pot of America called New Orleans.  The line’s in Hillary speech that got the most applause for the night were just about that.  Our country is a great country  but unless is kind and inclusive of all its peoples, we’re not being the sort’ve of country that’s the shining beacon on a hill.

So, you’re seeing pictures of the folks working for Hillary here in New Orleans. I added one of the Honorable Anthony Foxx for good measure.  I see lots of YOUNG people with energy, smiling faces, and enthusiasm!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?  Be sure to holler out about the upcoming primaries in your states!  I know we’ve got lots of Sky Dancers out there ready to vote for Hillary this week and this month!!!

Sunday Reads: Political Avoidance Coping disorder … aka PAC’d

Close up of The Allegory of Good and Bad Government. A series of three fresco panels painted by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Salla Dei Nove 1338 - 1339.

Close up of The Allegory of Good and Bad Government. A series of three fresco panels painted by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Salla Dei Nove 1338 – 1339.

Political Avoidance Coping disorder

aka PAC’d

(Yes, a little “d” on the disorder.)

For surely the use of Avoidance Coping as an act of desperation in this Political/Presidential/Campaign Season could not be seen as a “disorder.”


This is not to confuse you with the term PAD (Political Affected Disorder)…that Mona came up with last presidential election season.

Or with the term PLUB (Pro-Life-Until-Birth) which I often use for the freakish fetus fetish GOP fuckers who are determined and….getting away with, closing down the houses of safe/legal abortion and women’s reproductive health.69bf5e42554d8eec580ff544b078efed

But if I travel down that road I will go off on a different angle than I had planned….so I need to stay focused and stick with the Political Avoidance Coping disorder as a defense mechanism in these truly fucked up times because…if you are like me, you have spent the last year looking to get PAC’d.

So, now that Hillary has won South Carolina, do you think my PAC’d defenses will weaken a bit?

Not likely.

I am still worried as fuck.

When this is the opposite side, and the possible choice of two for the presidency:



Ya know, I won’t be able to cope with this election until the election is over.



There is just too much at stake, just look at a few headlines:

Chris Wallace: This Week’s Debate Was ‘Embarrassment for the Republican Party’ | Mediaite

One bully endorses another bigger bully: Why Chris Christie hitched his wagon to Donald Trump –

Ex-Mexican President Fox: Trump reminds me of Hitler –

Trump Dismisses His Retweet of a Mussolini Quote: ‘What Difference Does It Make?’ | Mediaite



The Latest: Cruz needles Trump over tax information – The Washington Post

Ted Cruz Speculates Donald Trump’s Taxes Could Show Mafia Ties – ABC News

Oh that is nothing…hey, Mafia Ties? I’ll take some Wiseguys over cross-burning racist any day. (Cough, cough)

David Duke Urges His Supporters To Volunteer And Vote For Trump – BuzzFeed News

Trump on white supremacist support: –

The actual headline is, “Trump won’t disavow support from KKK, David Duke,” but you can take it from there.



And a sideline on the KKK: Ku Klux Klan rally in Anaheim erupts in violence; 3 are stabbed and 13 arrested – LA Times

A small group of people representing the Klan had announced that it would hold a rally at Pearson Park at 1:30 p.m., police said. By 11 a.m., several dozen protesters had shown up to confront the Klan.

About an hour later, several men in black garb with Confederate flag patches arrived in an SUV near the edge of the park.

Fighting broke out moments after Klan members exited the vehicle. Some of the protesters could be seen kicking a man whose shirt read “Grand Dragon.” At some point, a protester collapsed on the ground bleeding, crying that he had been stabbed.

A Klansman in handcuffs could be heard telling a police officer that he “stabbed him in self-defense.” Several other people were also handcuffed.

Witnesses said the Klansmen used the point of a flagpole as a weapon while fighting with protesters.

Two other protesters were stabbed during the melee — one with a knife and the other with an unidentified weapon, said Sgt. Daron Wyatt of the Anaheim Police Department.

Brian Levin, director of Cal State San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, said he was standing near the KKK members when several protesters attacked them with two-by-fours and other weapons.

Several of the Klan members jumped in the SUV and sped off, leaving three others to “fend for themselves,” Levin said.

You can read the rest of the article at the link, but this is the key phrase I wanted to get in:

Levin had been trying to interview the KKK ringleader, whom he identified as William Quigg, an Anaheim resident.

Quigg is the leader of the Loyal White Knights in California and other Western states, a sect of the hate group that aims to raise awareness about illegal immigration, terrorism and street crime, Levin said. They see themselves as a “Klan without robes” and model themselves after David Duke, the Louisiana-based former grand wizard of the Klan, Levin said.

Notice I have focused on The Donald…for it is becoming clear that he is more than likely to be the GOP’s candidate this year. Ooof!



Now for a few other links à la Dump Flambé:


A Georgia Bill Shields Discrimination Against Gays – The New York Times

Lands’ End promotes Gloria Steinem in catalog, provokes anti-abortion freakout and bails – LA Times

How Lands’ End ended up in America’s vicious abortion fight – The Washington Post

Showdown on Abortion at the Supreme Court – The New York Times


The First Successful Uterus Implant in the U.S. Just Happened in Cleveland

The War on Women Is About to Get a Whole Lot Worse | Mother Jones

Abortion Rights In Louisiana Are Under Attack, And Only The Supreme Court Can Stop It | Bustle

Alabama GOP Makes Another Push to Regulate Abortion Clinics Like Sex Offenders

Florida’s 24-Hour Abortion Waiting Period to Take Effect – ABC NewsAmbrogio_Lorenzetti_-_Effects_of_Good_Government_in_the_countryside_-_Google_Art_Project

Planned Parenthood closes Augusta clinic | The Augusta Chronicle

Alaska Senate OKs bill to bar Planned Parenthood in schools | The Charlotte Observer

Utah abortion bill would mandate anesthesia for fetus after 20 weeks | The Salt Lake Tribune

Images are from The Allegory of Good and Bad Government .

This is an open thread…


Live Blog: Nothing Could be finer than to win in Carolina …

gettyimages-509269010_custom-cc0d7bb4353ca060d0b96d4836ecc880b5422693-s300-c85This evening we are following the returns from the Democratic Party voting in South Carolina. At stake are 53 delegates.  This primary is the prelude to Super Tuesday.  All look extremely promising for candidate Hillary Clinton.  Polls close at 7 p.m. EST.

I’m getting this posted a bit early because I will be watching the returns with the Honorable Anthony Foxx–who is President Obama’s Secretary of Transportation— and members of the Krewe of Hillary. Members of the national campaign are beginning to join us here in Louisiana but Texas is the obviously big deal coming up.  Our turn to vote is next Saturday. We’re also one of the expected blowout states.

Sanders was not in South Carolina today. He spent time in Texas and Minnesota.  Two states where polls are showing less than a total blow out.

Sanders is hitting two Super Tuesday states today: He was in Texas earlier and now he’s headed to Minnesota. As a Politico reporter has pointed out, he might miss the networks calling South Carolina. And if Sanders loses the state, Clinton could have to wait for a congratulatory call.

Black voters who are extremely enthused about Hillary make up a solid majority of Democratic voters in the southern state and most southern states.

Black voters account for roughly six in 10 Democratic primary voters in preliminary exit polls reported by ABC New. That would would set a new record: the current record is 55 percent, set in 2008 as then-Sen. Barack Obama campaigned — against Clinton herself — to become his party’s first African American nominee.

Exit polls reported by ABC News also showed that a large majority of Democratic voters, fully seven in 10, wanted the next president to continue President Obama’s policies, rather than pursue a more liberal agenda. Sanders has called for a “political revolution” that would enact sweeping liberal policies — including universal, government-run health insurance — beyond what Obama has put in place.

And exit polls showed there had been no surge in young voters, a key part of Sanders’s voting base. In these early polls, younger voters’ current share of the vote in South Carolina was on pace to be the lowest yet in any Democratic primary contest this year.

Larrie Butler, a 90-year-old African-American man, was born in Calhoun County, South Carolina, at a time when the South was segregated during Jim Crow. He moved to Maryland after serving in the military and attending college, but returned to South Carolina in 2010. He got a voter-registration card and voted in the state in 2010.

In 2011, South Carolina passed a strict new voter-ID law requiring a government-issued photo ID to cast a ballot. When Butler went to the DMV to switch his driver’s license from Maryland to South Carolina, he was told he needed a birth certificate to confirm his identity. But Butler was born at home, when there were few black hospitals, and never received a born certificate. When he went to the state Vital Records office to get a birth certificate, they said he needed to produce his Maryland driving records and high-school records from South Carolina. After he returned with that information, he was told he needed his elementary-school records, which Butler couldn’t produce because the school was closed. So instead he found his census record, which was not accepted because his first name in the census, Larry, did not exactly match the name he’d used for his entire life, Larrie. He was told to go to court and legally change his name at 85 years old, in order to obtain the birth certificate required to get a driver’s license in South Carolina and also be able to vote.

“It made me feel terrible,” Butler said.

This may be a rather short evening but we’ll see.  Polls are open from 7 am to 7 pm. est.  Here’s some exciting and good news!  It’s also not surprising.

CNN says black turnout higher than 2008 – 6:25 p.m.

An exit poll conducted by CNN says 6 out of 10 voters in the South Carolina Democratic primary were black, up from 55 percent in 2008.

How that figure relates to voter turnout is unclear. In 2008, the electorate set a South Carolina record when 23.7 percent of registered voters turned out at the polls.

See the poll, which reveals a number of other details about the electorate, here. 

So, how big will the margin of victory be?  Join us!!!!!

Hello from Second Vine! This is my favorite cabinet secretary now! The enthusiasm in the room during Hillary’s victory speech was amazing!


Lazy Saturday Reads: South Carolina in the Spotlight

Hillary Clinton invited to bachelor party in SC

Hillary Clinton invited to bachelor party in SC

 Good Morning!!

Today should be a big day for Hillary Clinton. She is expected to win the South Carolina Democratic primary by a large margin. According to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, she has “a greater than 99% chance of winning” the state’s “first in the South” contest.

I’m totally psyched for for this. I plan to be on the internet most of the day following developments in SC. We can use this post as a live blog until the thread gets too long. We will put up new threads if necessary. It should be a fun day for Hillary supporters. So enjoy yourselves, Sky Dancers!

The Washington Post: In South Carolina, will Clinton’s expected victory shift momentum?  (I think the momentum shifted in Nevada, but the media needs to keep their narrative going.)

The Democratic presidential contest has moved to South Carolina, where voters began casting their ballots Saturday in a primary that serves as two starkly different milestones for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Clinton is looking to her expected victory here to prove her strong support among African American voters — and to cement her status as the presumptive front-runner heading toward Super Tuesday three days later, when six of 11 Democratic contests will take place in Southern states with large populations of black voters….

Clinton began a barnstorming tour of South Carolina on Tuesday. She and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, crisscrossed the state on separate itineraries, hitting a total of about a dozen events over three days, speaking to predominantly African American audiences of a few hundred in cities and small towns. Each drew on decades of experience with the powerful church- and civic-based black voting turnout machine.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that this article is mostly dominated by Sanders ass-kissing. If you want to read that stuff, you can head over to the WaPo link.

Supporters cheer Hillary at SC rally.

Supporters cheer Hillary at SC rally.

Post writer Anne Gearan reports from SC: What happens when Hillary Clinton crashes a bachelor party? She’s in the photos.

Joe Schreck and his 10 groomsmen were toasting Schreck ahead of his wedding with a round of Bloody Marys when Clinton and her entourage swooped into Saffron, a cafe and bar in Charleston, S.C.

They asked her for a photo — all 11 of them. When Clinton realized she was in the middle of a pre-wedding party, she exclaimed: “He’s getting married today! That’s pretty exciting.”
A day before the South Carolina primary, Hillary Clinton stumbled upon a pre-wedding party at Saffron Cafe and Bakery in Charleston, S.C. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
The campaign trail has taken Hillary Clinton through coffee shops and bakeries, diners and ice cream parlors, stands at state fairs where they fry things that shouldn’t be fried. And, Friday, it took her to a bachelor party.

Joe Schreck and his 10 groomsmen were toasting Schreck ahead of his wedding with a round of Bloody Marys when Clinton and her entourage swooped into Saffron, a cafe and bar in Charleston, S.C.

They asked her for a photo — all 11 of them. When Clinton realized she was in the middle of a pre-wedding party, she exclaimed: “He’s getting married today! That’s pretty exciting.”

Clinton’s personal photographer asked the men to pose, arranging them to Clinton’s left and right. The photographer, Barb Kinney, playfully suggested that a few of them kneel around Clinton — just as they would do later around the bride. This happened.

“I love having men at my feet,” Clinton said, laughing, as Kinney and the men all took photos.

“This is exciting,” she said.

“This is cool,” one man agreed.

Shreck was asked what his future bride would think about all this, and he said “She’ll love it!”

Jackie DeBose, center right, with her friends at Clinton field office

Jackie DeBose, center right, with her friends at Clinton field office

The New York Times: For Black Women in South Carolina, It’s Clinton’s Turn.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Jackie DeBose woke up early on Sunday, well before sunrise, grabbed her rhinestone-bedazzled Obama hat and her vintage “Hillary for President” button, loaded her suitcase in the trunk of her Lexus and headed to pick up three friends for a road trip to South Carolina.

The next day, still weary from an 11-hour drive, the four retirees from Ohio and Virginia walked into the old Kiki’s Chicken and Waffles restaurant that serves as the Clinton campaign’s field office here.

“It’s a very important state, and I didn’t want her to lose, so I said, ‘If we don’t do our part, who is going to do it?’ ” Mrs. DeBose said, holding a flip phone issued by the Clinton campaign in one hand and call list in the other.

The four, all black women in their late 60s or early 70s, counted themselves among Mrs. Clinton’s most ardent supporters eight years ago. But when Barack Obama emerged as a leading candidate during the 2008 primaries, Mrs. DeBose and her friends had to make an agonizing choice between supporting a candidate who could become the first female president, or the one who might become the first black one….

They ended up voting for Barack Obama, but this time they are determined to help put the first woman in the White House.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST and anyone still in line at 7 p.m. will still be allowed to vote, the state’s election commission says. South Carolina has 53 Democratic delegates up for grabs, with an additional six unpledged Superdelegates who are party officials who can commit to whomever they want.

South Carolina operates under an open primary system, which means people can participate in the primary even if they’re not registered Democrats. People who already voted in the GOP primary, however, cannot participate.

The primary comes a week after Clinton won Nevada’s Democratic caucuses 53 percent to 47 percent, where she performed well among black voters. More than three-quarters of black Democratic voters in Nevada caucused for Clinton, signaling she would also come out strong in South Carolina.

In 2008, 55 percent of South Carolina Democratic primary voters were black and then-Sen. Barack Obama wound up winning that primary. But this time around, polls show Clinton will almost certainly prevail. A CBS News Battleground Tracker Poll released earlier this month showed Clinton with a 19-percentage-point lead ahead of Sanders, 59 percent to 40 percent.

I wonder if Bernie Sanders will congratulate Hillary if she wins tonight? He failed to do that in Nevada.

After the SC primary the candidates will move on to Super Tuesday states, which will be voting in just a couple of days. Nate Silver has a useful article on what Bernie Sanders would have to do to catch up with Clinton in the all-important race for delegates.

Jane and Bernie Sanders with top surrogate and Obama hater Cornell West

Jane and Bernie Sanders with top surrogate and Obama hater Cornell West

Bernie Sanders Doesn’t Need Momentum — He Needs To Win These States.

The media narrative of the Democratic presidential race is that Bernie Sanders has lost momentum to Hillary Clinton. After nearly beating Clinton in Iowa and then crushing her in New Hampshire, Sanders had a setback on Saturday, the story goes, losing Nevada to Clinton by 5 percentage points. And this weekend, Sanders is about to lose South Carolina and lose it badly.

All of this is true insofar as it goes. But it doesn’t do nearly enough to account for the demographic differences between the states. Considering the state’s demographics, Sanders’s 5-point loss in Nevada was probablymore impressive than his photo-finish in Iowa. It was possibly even a more impressive result than his 22-point romp in New Hampshire. Meanwhile, a big loss in South Carolina would be relatively easy to forgive.

That doesn’t mean Sanders is in great shape, however. Based on the polling so far, Sanders is coming up short of where he needs to be in most Super Tuesday (March 1) states, along with major industrial states like Ohio andPennsylvania where he’ll need to run neck and neck with Clinton later on.

These conclusions come from a set of state-by-state targets we’ve calculated for Sanders and Clinton, which are based on some simple demographic factors in each state. As has been clear for a long while, Sanders performs better in whiter and more liberal states. But the abundance of new polling from Super Tuesday states, along with the Nevada result, gives us the data to establish more accurate benchmarks than the ones we set before. (See last week’s article “Bernie Sanders’s Path To The Nomination” for our previous estimates.) In particular, although Sanders might not have won the Hispanic vote in Nevada, he’s clearly made up ground among Hispanic voters. African-Americans, in contrast, remain overwhelmingly in Clinton’s camp. There may also be an urban/rural divide in the Democratic vote, with Sanders performing better in more rural areas.

Click on the link to check out the numbers.

Hillary Clinton during a forum at Denmark-Olar Elementary School in Denmark, S.C., February 12, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

Hillary Clinton during a forum at Denmark-Olar Elementary School in Denmark, S.C., February 12, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

In Other News:

NYT: Inside the Republican Party’s Desperate Mission to Stop Donald Trump.

Politico: 8 times Chris Christie suggested Donald Trump shouldn’t be president.

NYT: Conservative Group to Air Ads Featuring Ex-Students Saying Trump University Deceived Them.

WSJ: IRS Commissioner Says Donald Trump Audit Scenario ‘Rare.’

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg View: Trump’s Debate Was a Disaster. If Voters Notice.

Candace Kirby at Medium: Why Are the Media Afraid to Ask Bernie Sanders the Uncomfortable Questions?

Eric Boehlert at Media Matters: Speech Transcripts: The Press Finds A New Hoop That Only Clinton Must Jump Through.

Excellent summary of the case against Sanders at DailyKos: #RevealTheDeal; At Long Last Senator Sanders, Will You Reveal the Deal?

What stories are you following today?


Friday Reads: Unintelligible Yelling

unintelligible yelling

Good Afternoon!

I was in sore need of a pick me up last night after wading into the Republican debate for a period of time when this picture showed up on Scott Eric Kaufman’s facebook newsfeed.   It came with the following brief message “I’m deaf enough that even when I watch things online, I have the subtitles on, and people, CNN just the won the Internet.”Last night, he posted the same to Salon. He obviously “inspired” this in Esquire by Charles Pierce.  It’s obviously a lede worth nabbing since I’m about to do it too albeit I’m giving him full credit and luscious linky goodness.

If you expected to find out about any positions on issues last night watching that debate you would’ve been sorely disappointed.  If you like National Geographic specials of monkeys flinging poo, well, this made the monkeys behavior look absolutely rational by comparison.  I will borrow Pierce’s bottom line from his piece I attributed above.  Unintelligible yelling was a good as description as any one could’ve found for the entire evening’s discourse.

To be honest, there were some moments of clarity. Trump was the only one on stage with anything close to a reasonable position on the question of Israel and Palestine. Kasich gave a reasonable answer to the stupid “religious liberty” question. (“If you’re in the business of selling things, if you’re not going to sell to somebody you don’t agree with, OK, today I’m not going to sell to somebody who’s gay, and tomorrow maybe I won’t sell to somebody who’s divorced. I mean, if you’re in the business of commerce, conduct commerce. That’s my view.”)  And, to be completely honest, Trump probably gave the best closing statement of the bunch. But, at that point, those people watching who hadn’t turned away from this intellectual demolition derby  that, like me, they were numb and willing to believe almost anything. I felt like I’d stumbled into the ladies garden club from the beginning of The Manchurian Candidate.

There were, of course, no questions about the climate crisis. There, of course, were no questions about gun violence, even though the third mass shooting in a week was occurring at virtually the same time these guys were fighting over who was the biggest crook, con man, liar, and choke artist on the stage. Priorities, gentlemen, please.

(Unintelligible yelling).

You said it, pal. Whoever you are.

I’m not sure that you could find any moments of clarity.  Strump defended Planned Parenthood right before he said that the few abortions they do would make him completely defund the outfit.  Kasich basically 168186_600said the Supreme Court spoke on Gay Marriage and that you can’t discriminate in the public market even if he still considers religious freedom to be akin to bigotry. Cruz and Rubio were absolutely unhinged proving they could outDonald The Donald.  As we know, Cruz is a very smart and dangerous man.  Rubio basically just does what he’s told.

Earlier this month, the English version of Der Spiegel had an excellent piece on how “Donald Trump is the Most Dangerous Man on Earth.”  That’s probably because he is headed towards the Republican nomination and his closest rivals look completely off the planet by comparison.  Hell, Chris Christie just endorsed him this morning.  You can read the Rubio attack puppy mode along with Christie labelling him “desperate” at the link.  But, back to Spiegel.  Germans, as you know, have experienced fascism enough to know it when they see it. They see it.

Donald Trump is the leader of a new, hate-filled authoritarian movement. Nothing would be more harmful to the idea of the West and world peace than if he were to be elected president. George W. Bush’s America would seem like a place of logic and reason in comparison.

Well, there’s your mic drop.

And, there’s even a Nixon connection. You know there had to be.  This is their take on the upcoming Clinton/Trump general. I’ve lifted an entire section and the entire article is a very long, well thought out read.

This is evident on a bitter cold January evening in Burlington, Vermont. A line has formed in front of a local theater. Mary Loyer, 44, and her son Tim, 28, are hoping to catch a glimpse of Trump. Tim works as a waiter, Mary is unemployed. They’re supporters of the left-wing democrat Bernie Sanders, a long-time mayor of Burlington. But Mary says something that one hears over and over again on the campaign trail: “If it came down to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, I don’t know who I’d vote for. But it wouldn’t be Clinton.”

“Hillary is corrupt,” Tim says. “She does what Big Money wants her to do, and she’s a flip-flopper.” Sanders and Trump have more in common than it seems, he adds: “Both of them are the only politicians who say what they think and do what they say.” His mom nods.

For a long time, the Clinton camp fantasized about taking on Trump. The way they saw it, it would be Clinton, an experienced, middle-of-the-road candidate, versus Trump, the radical leader of the old, white guard. Many democratic strategists viewed such a matchup as a unique opportunity. Vice President Joe Biden said if Trump won the Republican nomination, Hillary Clinton would “win in a walk.”

In the meantime, it has become apparent that Clinton can’t even rely on the unconditional support of her own people. For many, she represents a political system that is symbiotically entwined with Big Business. Trump, the big capitalist, however, bills himself as someone who is not for sale. He doesn’t accept big donations and doesn’t owe anyone anything. The fact that he, unlike Clinton, has never held a political office is an advantage in this election campaign.

Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg is one of the few in his party who openly addresses how difficult it could be for Clinton to handle a Trump candidacy. The founder of the progressive think tank “New Democratic Network” believes that the widespread frustration about the status quo within the American electorate and his ability to handle the modern media better than anyone else in the race would make Trump a strong opponent in the general election. “Trump would be a lot harder to defeat than most of us think”, he says. “There were more than a dozend Republican candidates and he basically destroyed all of them. It is unbelievable what he did.”

But many democrats aren’t panicking yet. They’re betting on Clinton’s campaign coming around and gaining momentum once she secures the nomination. At the same time, they are anxious that this could become the dirtiest duel in the history of American presidential campaigns.

If it does, Roger Stone will be the man to blame. The unscrupulousness that has come to define Trump’s campaign is largely Stone’s doing. He learned the tricks of the trade from Richard Nixon in the 1970s, and later helped Ronald Reagan get into the White House. By the end of the 1980s, Stone was already trying to convince his friend Trump to run for president. Almost everything Trump knows about politics and power, he learned from Stone — including the art of manipulation. Stone is considered a master of defamatory rumors.

Stone also helped Trump lay the foundations for his campaign last spring. Then in summer, he was abruptly fired. Trump’s people cited a disagreement between the two, but observers now believe the split could have been staged, a trick.

“I remain an unabashed Trump supporter and Trump enthusiast,” Stone said when reached on the phone last autumn. “I just finally made a decision that I could have a greater impact on the outside. Trump is still a very close friend.” As before, the two talk regularly and Stone obviously gives Trump important advice. And just like old times, Stone spends nearly every evening on TV touting Trump and his “movement.”

Since he is no longer an official member of Trump’s campaign team, Stone has the freedom to be even more ruthless in his derision of Trump’s opponents, without the risk of the mud-slinging coming back to haunt the candidate. Trump biographer D’Antonio describes Stone as “pure evil.” He is a “deeply disgusting person,” someone who doesn’t understand anything but “brute force.”

Stone’s favorite victim is Hillary Clinton. His recently published book, “The Clintons’ War on Women,” is a nasty piece of work. But it could also be seen as a blueprint for Trump’s campaign against Hillary. Without credible proof, Stone claims that Chelsea Clinton is not Bill’s biological daughter and that Bill has fathered at least one son with a black prostitute. Stone calls the former president a serial rapist and Hillary his henchwoman. He also suggests that Hillary has the death of a man who knew about Bill’s escapades on her conscience.

In television interviews, Stone claims Hillary is the “point person in the terror campaign to intimidate and bully women into silence.” That she once waged a “nuts and sluts campaign to discredit Monica Lewinsky to make it her fault that she was seduced by a man three times her age.” He has also stated that “Bill rapes women physically and Hillary rapes them psychologically.” He claims Hillary Clinton “has no right to call herself an advocate for women and girls.” Trump recently released a campaign video with a similar message.

“The Clintons are money-making opportunists and criminals,” Stone says. Their foundation is nothing more than a “luxury travel service to augment the lifestyles of Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.” People with those kinds of friends and advisers don’t leave much to the imagination as to their character, he says.

This is what worries me as I deal with BernieBots and undecideds.  The long, horrible list of lies slung at Hillary has taken root even in folks that should appreciate her contributions and her tribulations. I hate it 12790901_10154045928969434_2488475492731761044_nevery time a Bernie Bot tells me she’s not trustworthy because she’s taken money for speeches or because she took Bill back or because email server or because, heaven forbid, BENGHAZI!  The years and years of Fox News like slander and the relentless battle of some republicans to take her down just gives me the Rubio flop sweat.

No Republican is positioned to beat Trump in the primary.  They all should realize that by now some where in the darkest deepest part of their dark hearts. And so, the Trump Mean Machine will take aim direclty at Hillary and a lot of the ammunition will be put there already by Bernie Sanders and friends as well as the 20 something year Republican Crusade.  It will be ugly, folks.  

Just think, Trump may sweep Super Tuesday.

Another statistical affirmation comes from Bloomberg Analysts (full pdf below) who conducted polling of the “Super Tuesday” states and found Donald Trump leading in every contest, every demographic, and every metric in the multiple races.

Donald Trump isn’t just winning, he’s way ahead of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz – AND even more substantially Trump beats each of them as individuals in head-to-head matchups. It’s not even close – heck, he’s even more supported than Pope Francis:


361c52b00b100bc1bd1bfd0e9e5714b23929d108Clinton is aware what lies ahead and sees Trump as the clear rival.

With three state wins under Donald Trump‘s belt, Hillary Clinton is now ready to acknowledge something many on both sides of the aisle never could have imagined saying: that the real estate mogul turned reality-TV star will likely be the Republican presidential nominee.

“Yes,” Clinton said on “Morning Joe” today when asked by Joe Scarborough whether she thinks Trump will beat the remaining GOP contenders.

“I mean, right now it looks like that,” she continued. “But I’m not going to handicap their race. I want to let them decide that.”

I woke up to the trolling and howling of the BernieBros.  Bernie’s the only one that can beat the STrump.  It’s all over the usual suspect places including Current Affairs where I wonder if the author of this article even shaves yet. (BB’s put it up before.) Here’s one at Slate.  But, I’m actually beginning to look at this like the endless and endlessly boring Rocky movie franchise.  If any one was set up for a long term battle fully knowing what’s going to be thrown at you, it’s Hillary Clinton.  Here’s the voice to the contrary at TNR with some hesitation.

According to RCP’s average of polls, Clinton enjoys only a slim lead over Trump in a head-to-head match-up. You have to think that her lead will climb once the Democratic Party revs up the Trump attack machine, which the GOP has so far mysteriously declined to use.

But at the same time, in a polarized, nearly evenly divided electorate, there’s only so much the Democratic Party can do to expand its coalition. It’s unlikely that the editors of National Reviewand other anti-Trumpists will flock to Clinton. The real question is whether Trump can consolidate the GOP and perhaps even make inroads with blue-collar workers who have traditionally voted Democratic. As Noam Scheiber reported, even labor unions are interested in Trump, given his idiosyncratic position on trade.

So, maybe?

ColeJ20150821_lowSo, getting out, supporting and voting for Hillary may be the most important thing we do this year.  This argues that it’s more important than voting for Obama in 2008.  Okay, I should probably tell you who wrote this first at the Daily Beast.  Sit down. Swallow any drinks you may be sipping.  Ready?  Jon Favreau.

Recently, though, there are signs that Hillary is finding this courage. About a month ago, Buzzfeed’s Ruby Cramer asked Clinton a simple question that, for some strange reason, no reporter or staffer ever thought to press her on: Why are you doing this? What truly motivates you?

Her response was not to talk about fighting for this constituency or that issue. There is no pablum about real solutions for real people with real problems, or the poll-tested garbage about coming from the middle of America with the middle class at the middle of her priorities (I can no longer remember if that’s a joke we used to make as speechwriters or an actual line).

There is only this, from Hillary: “love and kindness.” She mentioned it for the first time after the shooting in Charleston, and then expanded on the theme a few weeks later: “I want this campaign, and eventually my administration, to be more about inspiring young people, and older ones as well, to find that niche where kindness matters, whether it’s to a friend, a neighbor, a colleague, a fellow student—whether it’s in a classroom, or in a doctor’s office, or in a business—we need to do more to help each other.”

You think it might be another cynical ploy. But this turns out to be a theme that she’s repeated throughout her life. In her announcement speech, Hillary talked about being raised to believe Methodist founder John Wesley’s admonition to “do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, for as long as you can.” In her 1969 Wellesley Commencement, she called for a “mutuality of respect.” After working at the Children’s Defense Fund, she would often cite Marian Wright Edelman’s quote that “Service the rent we pay for living. It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time.”

As First Lady, Hillary spoke about the need for “a new ethos of individual responsibility, “a great renaissance of caring in this country,” and “going back and actually living by the Golden Rule.” In the State Department, she’d talk about Alexis de Tocqueville’s “habits of the heart,” and says in Hard Chocies that “I’ve also returned again and again to this question of universality—how much we all have in common even if the circumstances of our lives may be different.”

If nothing else, you’ll notice that Hillary Clinton’s words are the very antithesis of the mean-spirited, xenophobic bile that spits from the mouth of Donald Trump.

He continues.giphy

In her campaign against Sanders, Hillary has begun to tell that broader, more inclusive story about the future. There she is, comforting a crying child in Nevada who worries that her parents might be deported. There she is in South Carolina, with five mothers of African American children who died of gun violence, who told Mother Jones, “She listened and followed through for us. You can’t fake that…She cares. Not only does she care about victims of gun violence but she cares about women, she cares about African Americans. She cares!”

She cares.

Hillary Clinton isn’t perfect. She isn’t flashy or entertaining. She isn’t cool or hip, so please stop forcing the poor woman to learn the Dab on Ellen. As someone who’s been in politics for a few decades, she’s made plenty of mistakes, and will probably make many more.

But Hillary is also more than just a policy wonk who can’t wait to start shuffling through white papers in the Oval. She cares. She tries. She perseveres. And now she has a chance to tell the story she’s always wanted about America: the story about a country that found the courage to turn away from our darkest impulses; that chose to embrace our growing diversity as a strength, not a weakness; that pushed the boundaries of opportunity outward and upward, until there are no more barriers, and no more ceilings.

At stake in this election is control of a Tea Party-run Congress, at least one Supreme Court vacancy that could tip the balance for a generation, and the very real chance that a highly unstable demagogue could become the 45th President of the United States. So while I may not have imagined myself saying this a few years ago, I certainly believe it now: It’s far more important to elect Hillary Clinton in 2016 than it was to elect Barack Obama in 2008.

See.  That ObamaBot grew up.  There’s hope for the BernieBros.  Let’s just hope it’s soon so we can stop Trump.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Live Blog/Open Thread: GOP Debate #10



Yes, another Republican debate. How many more are there going to be? As I wrote this morning, I don’t know how long I’ll last, but I’ll try to watch at least some of it.  Here’s a fresh thread to document the atrocities. You can also free free to post about anything else you desire. This is an open thread.

The debate will be on CNN, beginning at 8:30 ET. A preview from the Washington Post:

Front-runner Trump is the focus of tonight’s Republican debate in Houston.

The four Republican candidates trailing Donald Trump will face him in a debate in Houston on Thursday evening in what may be their last best chance to stop the billionaire businessman before he runs away with the GOP presidential nomination — and disrupts their party…

It is the last debate before the Super Tuesday primaries next week, when 11 states and 595 Republican delegates will be at stake. Trump has already won three of the first four GOP contests. If he can win most or all of those 11, he will have a commanding advantage in the Republican race.

The other candidates onstage will include two men who have the best shot at defeating Trump — but who for months have been more concerned with fighting each other in Trump’s shadow. On Thursday, Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ted Cruz (Tex.) will have a chance to suspend their fight for second place and attack Trump directly.

In the days leading to the debate, Rubio already signaled that he may take on Trump more forcefully than he has in the past. In remarks at rallies and fundraisers, Rubio has criticized Trump’s calls for higher tariffs on China — saying it would lead to a trade war that would make everything more expensive — and for saying he would be “sort of a neutral guy” in mediations between Israel and Palestinians.

Rubio also reportedly told donors said that Trump was effectively fooling Republican voters. He reportedly called “Trump University,” a failed for-profit venture that had resulted in at least two fraud lawsuits against the mogul, a “scam.” One attendee said Rubio described a President Trump as the proverbial dog who caught the car, with no idea of what to do next.


The big news for Republicans today is that David Duke has endorsed Donald Trump.

David Duke

Politico: David Duke: Voting against Trump is ‘treason to your heritage.’

David Duke, a white nationalist and former Klu Klux Klan grand wizard, told his audience Wednesday that voting for anyone besides Donald Trump “is really treason to your heritage.”
“Voting for these people, voting against Donald Trump at this point, is really treason to your heritage,” Duke said on the David Duke Radio Program. BuzzFeed News first reported the comments.

“I’m not saying I endorse everything about Trump. In fact, I haven’t formally endorsed him. But I do support his candidacy, and I support voting for him as a strategic action. I hope he does everything we hope he will do.”

The former Louisiana representative told listeners to start volunteering for Trump.

“And I am telling you that it is your job now to get active. Get off your duff. Get off your rear end that’s getting fatter and fatter for many of you everyday on your chairs. When this show’s over, go out, call the Republican Party, but call Donald Trump’s headquarters, volunteer,” he said. “They’re screaming for volunteers. Go in there, you’re gonna meet people who are going to have the same kind of mind-set that you have.”

Wow. Will they wear their white hoods when they go out to canvass?


Will the moderators ask about this story tonight?


CNN: Multiple deaths reported in Kansas workplace shooting.

Authorities are working reports of at least four different crime scenes in connection with a workplace shooting Thursday afternoon at Excel Industries in Hesston, Kansas, said Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton.

“There could be as many as three or four others (dead), and possibly up to 20 people that have been injured,” Walton said.

The suspected shooter, an employee at Excel, was killed.

The sheriff told reporters that authorities first received a report of a man having been shot while driving. Second, a person was reported shot in the leg. Third, a report came in about a shooting in the parking lot of Excel. Finally, an active shooter was reported inside the workplace, Walton said.


A couple more links:

CNN: Rubio prepares for contested convention.

NPR: Here Are 5 Texas-Sized Things To Watch When Republicans Debate Tonight.

See you in the comment thread!

Thursday Reads: Political Parasites


Good Morning!!

I’m illustrating this post with drawings from a vintage French fashion magazine. You can read about it at Abe Books: Gazette du Bon Ton: A Journal of Good Taste.

There’s another Republican debate tonight, this time in Houston. I honestly don’t think I can stand to watch it, but I’ll keep an eye on today’s thread and put up another one tonight if necessary. The debate is on CNN, so you shouldn’t have any trouble streaming it on-line if you want to watch from your computer or other device. The freak show starts at 8:30PM ET.


Reuters: Trump versus Rubio and Cruz at Houston Republican debate.

At a CNN-hosted debate at the University of Houston, [Donald] Trump’s rivals will have one of their last best chances to try to derail the blunt-spoken political outsider before the Super Tuesday contests.

Whether they can pull it off is an open question. On stage with Trump will be U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Ohio Governor John Kasich and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. None have been able to slow Trump’s momentum in previous debates.

“Trump is on cruise control,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, a former senior adviser to 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney. He said Trump should ignore his opponents and focus on the key planks in his platform – a border wall to keep out illegal immigrants, a stronger military, defeating Islamic State and fair trade.

“It’s getting late in the game for everyone else. People who are expecting a sudden shift in the direction of the race are deluding themselves. Trump is Goliath, and we’ve seen enough of the other candidates to know there are no Davids in this field,” Fehrnstrom said.

Rubio, 44, has an added incentive to change the makeup of the race. He is scrambling to attract the financial donors who supported one-time establishment favorite Jeb Bush, who dropped out of the race after his disappointing finish in South Carolina on Saturday….

Cruz, 45, enters the debate under pressure. He must do well in his home state of Texas on Super Tuesday. Recently, he has been accused by his rivals of using negative tactics, including one that led to the resignation of his spokesman, Rick Tyler.


Mitt Romney has inserted himself into the GOP race with a highly ironic attack on Donald Trump. The Boston Globe reports:

Mitt Romney, whose 2012 presidential campaign was bedeviled over his own reluctance to publicly release his personal income tax returns, aggressively criticized Donald Trump on Wednesday for not releasing his returns….

“I think we have good reason to believe that there’s a bombshell in Donald Trump’s taxes,” Romney said on Fox News. “I think there is something there. Either he is not anywhere near as wealthy as he says he is, or he hasn’t been paying the kind of taxes we would expect him to pay, or perhaps he hasn’t been giving money to the vets or the disabled like he has been telling us he’s been doing.”

Trump quickly responded, ridiculing Romney — whom he endorsed in 2012 in a gold-studded event at Trump Tower in Las Vegas — and calling him a loser.

“Mitt Romney, who totally blew an election that should have been won and whose tax returns made him look like a fool, is now playing tough guy,” Trump wrote on Twitter. Then, he added: “When Mitt Romney asked me for my endorsement last time around, he was so awkward and goofy that we all should have known he could not win!”

In 2012, Republican candidates like Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain were running vanity campaigns–basically running for president in order to sell books.


That also seemed to be the case this year with Ben Carson. He even suspended his campaign for time to go to book signings. But it turns out that Carson’s campaign may be even a worse “scam”–one that Carson himself may not have been aware of until recently. From The Atlantic:

Carson has taken in incredible amounts of money during the race. His campaign has raised more than any other Republican presidential  rival, though they’ve raised more when super PACs are included. But he’s also spent more than any of them, so that despite his prolific fundraising, he has barely $4 million in cash on hand.

That’s because Team Carson has been plowing a huge portion of the money it raises back into fundraising, using costly direct-mail and telemarketing tactics. Pretty much every campaign uses those tools, but the extent to which Carson was using it raised eyebrows around politics. First, many of the companies being paid millions and millions of dollars are run by top campaign officials or their friends and relations, meaning those people are making a mint. Second, many of the contributions are coming from small-dollar donors. If that money is being given by well-meaning grassroots conservatives for a campaign that’s designed not to win but to produce revenue for venders, isn’t it just a grift?

These questions have been circling since last summer. If they’re right, the most sympathetic interpretation is that Carson, like his donors, was being taken for a ride by his aides, and wasn’t in on the scam. Carson seemed to suggest as much on Tuesday, implying he was taken advantage of by aides who treated the campaign as an ATM.

Read more at the link.


I’m wondering if Bernie Sanders will use his higher visibility from his campaign–which is basically a vanity campaign at this point–to get a big book contract and increase his speaking fees. It turns out Sanders has done something similar in the past. From The Center for Public Integrity:

Sanders turned a fiery, hourslong filibuster against extending the Bush tax cuts into a book. During the 2012 election cycle, his campaign gave a copy to donors of at least $50.

What he did was use campaign funds to purchase a lot of the books and then “gave” them to donors who contributed at least $50.00 That’s a pretty good profit on a paperback book that sold for around $10.00. I don’t think this is illegal, but it seems a little bit questionable for a man who calls himself a socialist (he isn’t one). Here’s a graphic posted on Twitter.



From US News: Sanders’s 8.5 Hour Tax Cut Filibuster Gets a Book.

It wasn’t exactly Washington’s version of The King’s Speech, but independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 8½-hour blast in December at President Obama’s deal with Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts is getting star treatment. Nation Books is printing it in its entirety in The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class. The senator’s passionate address, which runs over 255 pages in the book, was a rare oratorical tour de force: It attracted so many online viewers it crashed the Senate television website. Some say Obama was so miffed by the speech that he held an impromptu press conference with former President Clinton to divert attention.

So he used the speech to undermine President Obama twice–by giving the speech against the Obama’s wishes and using it to run Senate during the president’s reelection campaign. By the way, Sanders’ book “The Speech” was published by Nation Books, the publishing arm of The Nation magazine which has endorsed Sanders in the 2016 race.


At Politico, Jack Shafer has an interesting piece on Trump and Sanders as “political parasites.”

Think of the Republican Party as a host organism that has only now discovered the parasite it acquired eight months ago. The parasite, of course, is Donald J. Trump—no more a Republican than I—who has inserted himself into the party and appears to be on his way to winning its presidential nomination. Feeding on the Republican Party’s primary and caucus process, the Trump parasite has progressed from egg to larva and has now commandeered many of the Republican Party’s metabolic functions. But it’s been managed growth, as the smart-thinking parasite likes to keep its zombie host alive long enough to develop into the next stage and lay its own eggs and begin the process anew.

Trump isn’t the only political parasite on the hustings this season. Bernie Sanders, who never ran as a Democrat before this election, has likewise attempted to colonize the gastrointestinal tract of a major party in hopes that it will eventually deposit him at the White House. True to his parasitical nature, Sanders loves the idea of the party but has little interest in actually supporting it. He has raised only $1,000 for the Democratic Party’s fundraising alliance, while Hillary Clinton, who is many things but assuredly not a parasite, has raised $26.9 million.

Trump has similarly stiffed his party’s fundraising operations, canceling a scheduled appearance at a December Republican National Committee fundraising event, and Twitter-shouting his fury at the RNC for allegedly using his name in a fundraising solicitation without his consent. “Totally unauthorized, do not pay,” Trump tweeted. The true parasite never supports the host!

The life cycles of the Trump and Sanders parasites are nowhere near as gruesome as the life cycles of the Guinea worm and the parasitoid wasp, but they are as striking as anything we witness in nature. Viewing Trump and Sanders with an ideological microscope, it’s apparent that neither has much affinity for the parties they’ve joined. Their object and their genius has been to seize as much control as they can of the major parties from the various “establishments” and wage their outsider third-party candidacies from inside. Suitably camouflaged, neither Trump nor Sanders is seen by the average voter for political freeloaders they are.

I’m not a big fan of Schafer’s but that makes a lot of sense to me. Are both parties being hollowed out from within?


If the polls in upcoming primary and caucus states are anything close to correct, Sanders has no chance to get the Democratic nomination. But he is still out there trying to tear down the party and attacking Hillary Clinton–the likely nominee–in the most vicious ways he can think of. It is really starting to bother me a great deal, and I’m glad that the party seems to be coalescing around the potential first woman president.

I’ll end this post with another powerful essay from Sady Doyle: America loves women like Hillary Clinton–as long as they’re not asking for a promotion.

It’s hard to remember these days, but just a few years ago, everybody loved Hillary Rodham Clinton. When she stepped down as US secretary of state in January 2013 after four years in office, her approval rating stood at what the Wall Street Journal described as an “eye-popping”69%. That made her not only the most popular politician in the country,but the second-most popular secretary of state since 1948.

The 2012 “Texts from Hillary” meme, which featured a sunglasses-clad Clinton scrolling through her Blackberry aboard a military flight to Libya, had given rise to a flood of think pieces hailing her “badass cool.” The Washington Post wanted president Barack Obama to give vice president Joe Biden the boot and replace him with Clinton. Taking stock of Clinton’s approval ratings, Nate Silver noted in a 2012 piece for the New York Times that she currently held “remarkably high numbers for a politician in an era when many public officials are distrusted or disliked.”gazette-du-bon-ton-by-barbier-1914-deco-pochoir.-la-fontaine-de-coquillages-[2]-59020-p
How times have changed. “The FBI And 67 Percent of Americans Distrust Hillary Clinton,” booms a recent headline in the Huffington Post. Clinton’s favorability ratings currently hover around 40.8%. Bob Woodward complains that “there is something unrelaxed about the way she is communicating.” “Hillary’s personality repels me,” Walker Bragman writes in Salon.
How can we reconcile the “unlikable” Democratic presidential candidate of today with the adored politician of recent history? It’s simple: Public opinion of Clinton has followed a fixed pattern throughout her career. Her public approval plummets whenever she applies for a new position. Then it soars when she gets the job. The wild difference between the way we talk about Clinton when she campaigns and the way we talk about her when she’s in office can’t be explained as ordinary political mud-slinging. Rather, the predictable swings of public opinion reveal Americans’ continued prejudice against women caught in the act of asking for power.

I hope you’ll go over to the Quartz link and read the whole thing.

So . . . what stories are you following today?