Thursday Reads: Democratic Debate First Night and Other News

Good Morning!!

Democratic Debate, First Night

I wasn’t too with it during the first Democratic debate last night. I had difficulty following the discussion; it seemed incoherent to me with so many people involved. It might have been better if the moderators stuck to one topic at a time instead of jumping around and having different candidates respond to different questions. But I was kind of tired, so maybe it was just me.

I really felt that some of the candidates–Delaney, Ryan, de Blasio–simply didn’t belong on the stage. My impression was that Julian Castro and Jay Inslee really stood out. Elizabeth Warren seemed to get more questions than the others. I still can’t get enthused about her. Anyway, here’s an annotated transcript that I might try to read through today.

Here’s a summary of the debate from The Guardian: Democratic 2020 candidates clash on healthcare, immigration and economy in first debate.

Ten Democratic presidential candidates cast themselves in sharp contrast to Donald Trump in the first primary debate of the 2020 election on Wednesday night, even as they disagreed on how far left the next US president should lean….

Candidates savaged Trump’s handling of the US economy and the migration crisis at the US-Mexico border. But despite his tweets, the president did not dominate the debate, which also saw clashes on healthcare, inequality and foreign policy, promises on immigration, reproductive rights and the economy, and a lengthy discussion of the climate crisis – a novel development for US presidential debates.

Elizabeth Warren took center stage in more than one sense, as the only top-tier candidate to appear in the first debate…

The Guardian treated the rest of the candidates as also-rans, but had reactions to a few of them:

The debate was seen as clarifying moment for several candidates who have struggled to break through. Castro appeared to find his voice on immigration and afterward told reporters that he believed his standing would “change after tonight.”

O’Rourke, who entered the presidential race with a higher national profile than many of his rivals, found himself on the defensive. No candidate criticized Warren directly, allowing the Massachusetts senator to largely command the conversation.

In one of the most memorable exchanges of the evening, Inslee touted his record as the “only candidate here” who has passed legislation protecting a woman’s right to access reproductive health through her health insurance.

With a smile, Klobuchar shot back: “There are three women on this stage that have fought pretty hard to protect women’s right to choose.”

Inslee was just trying to highlight what he had accomplished in his state; but, of course, Senators don’t have the power to pass such legislation as long as Republicans remain in control.

Read more at The Guardian. It’s a pretty good summary of what happened. A few more reads to check out:

The New York Times: Democrats Diverge on Economy and Immigration in First Debate.

Slate: It Was Almost a Good Debate Until Chuck Todd Mucked It Up.

NBC News: Democrats trot out their español thrilling some Latinos, turning off others.

Jonathan Chait: Elizabeth Warren Takes a Huge Risk by Calling to End Private Health Insurance.

Vox: Why only 2 of 10 Democrats raised their hands to say they’d abolish private insurance.

Ezra Klein: Democrats need a better answer to the Mitch McConnell question.

Other News

Good news and bad news broke from the Supreme Court this morning. I’ll give you the bad news first.

The Washington Post: Supreme Court says federal courts don’t have a role in deciding partisan gerrymandering claims.

The Supreme Court’s conservatives decided Thursday that federal courts do not have a role to play in deciding whether partisan gerrymandering goes too far.

The 5 to 4 decision was written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and joined by the court’s other conservatives.

Elena Kagan and John Roberts

“We conclude that partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts,” Roberts wrote. “Federal judges have no license to reallocate political power between the two major political parties, with no plausible grant of authority in the Constitution, and no legal standards to limit and direct their decisions.”

Justice Elena Kagan dissented for the court’s liberals. “For the first time ever, this court refuses to remedy a constitutional violation because it thinks the task beyond judicial capabilities,” she wrote.

Kagan underscored her disagreement by reading a lengthy excerpt of her dissent from the bench.

While the Supreme Court regularly scrutinizes electoral districts for racial gerrymandering, the justices have never found a state’s redistricting map so infected with politics that it violates the Constitution. Such a decision would have marked a dramatic change for how the nation’s political maps are drawn.

Now the good news:

CNN: Supreme Court blocks 2020 census citizenship question in setback for Trump admin.

The Supreme Court has blocked a citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census for the time being in a major setback for the Trump administration.

The bitter controversy centers around whether the administration can ask all recipients a citizenship question on the 2020 census for the first time since 1950.

Writing for a 5-4 majority, Chief Justice John Roberts concluded that there was sufficient reason for concern about why the Commerce Department wanted to add the question. Roberts had the support of the four liberal justice.

If judicial review is to be more than an empty ritual, it must demand something better than the explanation offered for the action taken in this case,” he wrote.

The decision raises the question of whether the administration will have enough time or the ability to add the citizenship question before the census begins. The administration previously told the court that the questionnaire needed to be printed by the end of June.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Craig Ruttle/AP/Shutterstock (10320034c)
E. Jean Carroll is photographed, in New York.

E. Jean Carroll is back in the news, because her outcry witnesses have come forward.

The New York Times: Two Women Who Heard E. Jean Carroll’s Account of Being Attacked by Trump Go Public.

Two women in whom E. Jean Carroll confided about having allegedly been sexually attacked by Donald Trump in the 1990s spoke publicly about it for the first time in an interview excerpted on the New York Times podcast “The Daily,” describing the conflicting advice they gave their friend at the time.

On Wednesday, Megan Twohey, a Times reporter, interviewed Ms. Carroll and the two women, Carol Martin and Lisa Birnbach, who had not been publicly identified until now. It was the first time since the alleged assault that the women had discussed it together.

Portions of the interview were played Thursday on “The Daily,” and a fuller article about Ms. Carroll by Ms. Twohey, Jessica Bennett and Alexandra Alter will follow later in the day. For now, here are the main takeaways from the interview:

• The two women in whom Ms. Carroll confided were well-known figures in the ’90s world of New York media. Ms. Martin was a news anchor on WCBS-TV in New York from 1975 to 1995. Ms. Birnbach is a writer best known for “The Official Preppy Handbook,” a best seller released in 1981. She has occasionally written for The Times.

Carol Martin

Both knew or had met Mr. Trump during that period: Ms. Birnbach had recently interviewed him at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Fla., while Ms. Martin had met him at her news station and had a friend who briefly dated him.

• When Ms. Carroll told the two women about the alleged attack, they had very different reactions: Ms. Birnbach said she told Ms. Carroll to call the police, while Ms. Martin told Ms. Carroll not to talk about it because Mr. Trump was too powerful. Ultimately, Ms. Carroll, thinking she was partially to blame for the encounter, remained silent about it for decades.

“I said: Don’t tell anybody. I wouldn’t tell anybody this,” Ms. Martin said.

Also check out Charles Blow’s piece at The New York Times: Is Trump a Rapist? America needs to give these women, and the accusations they’ve brought forth, the full attention they deserve. Blow sees the failure to take Trump’s accusers seriously is a symptom of the way

…the country, or large segments of it, seems to be acquiescing to a particular form of evil, one that is pernicious and even playful, one in which the means of chipping away at our values and morals grow even stronger, graduating from tack hammer to standard hammer to sledgehammer.

Lisa Birnbach

America, it seems to me, is drifting toward catastrophe. Donald Trump is leading us there. And all the while, our politicians plot about political outcomes and leverage. Republican politicians are afraid to upset him; Democratic politicians are afraid to impeach him.

Read the whole thing at the NYT.

One more example of the war on women and then I’m going to wrap this up because my internet keeps disconnecting. Alabama woman loses unborn child after being shot, gets arrested; shooter goes free.

A woman whose unborn baby was killed in a 2018 Pleasant Grove shooting has now been indicted in the death. I’m sure it’s not a coincidence that this woman is black.

Marshae Jones, a 27-year-old Birmingham woman, was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury on a manslaughter charge. She was taken into custody on Wednesday.

Though Jones didn’t fire the shots that killed her unborn baby girl, authorities say she initiated the dispute that led to the gunfire. Police initially charged 23-year-old Ebony Jemison with manslaughter, but the charge against Jemison was dismissed after the grand jury failed to indict her.

The shooting happened about noon on Dec. 4, 2018, outside Dollar General on Park Road. Officers were dispatched to the scene on a report of someone shot but arrived to find the shooting victim – later identified as Jones – had been picked up and driven to Fairfield. Police and paramedics then found the Jones at a Fairfield convenience store.

Marshae Jones

Jones was taken from Fairfield to UAB Hospital. She was five months pregnant and was shot in the stomach. The unborn baby did not survive the shooting.

“The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby,’’ Pleasant Grove police Lt. Danny Reid said at the time of the shooting. “It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby.”

Women’s rights advocates were outraged.

The Yellowhammer Fund, a member of the National Network of Abortion Funds which helps women access abortion services, released a statement Wednesday night. The group gained national attention after the passage of Alabama’s new abortion law.

“The state of Alabama has proven yet again that the moment a person becomes pregnant their sole responsibility is to produce a live, healthy baby and that it considers any action a pregnant person takes that might impede in that live birth to be a criminal act,’’ Executive Director Amanda Reyes said in the statement.“

“Today, Marshae Jones is being charged with manslaughter for being pregnant and getting shot while engaging in an altercation with a person who had a gun. Tomorrow, it will be another black woman, maybe for having a drink while pregnant. And after that, another, for not obtaining adequate prenatal care,” Reyes said.

The presidential candidates should be asked about this. We desperately need to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. Women are losing their status as human beings with individual rights.

So . . . what stories have you been following?

16 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Democratic Debate First Night and Other News”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    My internet must have gone out 10 times while I was working on this. Thank goodness it’s up. I’ll put up another live blog for tonight’s debate.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    I just lost the internet again for a few minutes. I sure hope it will be working tonight!

  3. NW Luna says:

    I felt pretty much the same way about the debates — too jumbled, candidates rarely got a chance to sum up their plans or accomplishments in a particular area, and the moderators weren’t fair about how many questions each candidate got, or even which topics.

    • NW Luna says:

      Reposting this from last night as it illustrates how unevenly the moderators treated the candidates.

  4. NW Luna says:

    I can’t believe (OK, yes I can) that SCOTUS thought that disproportional representation due to partisan gerrymandering was ‘too political’ to fix. Sounds just like the Republican ‘alternative fact’ it is.

    • Enheduanna says:

      John Roberts is as racist as Dump I think. I still can’t believe they gutted the VRA. As soon as they did all the usual culprits set about gerrymandering and suppressing votes as fast as they could.

      I don’t think they’ll do right on the census question either. They kicked it down the road, right? It could still appear on the census.

  5. dakinikat says:

    I’m grading and swamped but found this in a quick twitter looks:

  6. TokyoSand says:

    The format of the debate was a mess, but that’s not the candidates’ fault. And the moment that John Delaney jumped in to comment when it wasn’t his turn, the moderators lost control and had some difficulty getting it back. That said, overall, I’d take any of these candidates over Trump.

  7. palhart says:

    I have Blue Cross Blue Shield and Medicare. Last October I had a $70,000 hip replacement (THR) which was paid by insurance. I want my insurance plan left alone. Warren’s all government healthcare plan may sink her candidacy.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’m afraid it will ruin Medicare. The program is set up for old people and payments are controlled. Now they want it to cover everything young people need? It really makes no sense. And if they eliminate health insurance, the entire jerryrigged health care system could collapse.

  8. quixote says:

    The woman was shot — shot! for god’s sake — and the cop says “The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby.’’

    And it’s all her fault for not wearing her Scold’s Bridle?