Friday Reads: Obama (a verb) Our ( a noun)

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

Too bad not every question thrown at Biden could be completely packaged in his way of riding our last real President’s coattails.  He might have managed to escape today’s headlines.

Let’s just start with this Vox headline from Joe Prokop: “This wasn’t the way Joe Biden wanted the first debate to go. His exchange with Kamala Harris was the standout moment of the entire first debate.”

The biggest single question going into the first Democratic debate was whether any candidate would manage to lay a glove on the frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Well, Sen. Kamala Harris did that, and then some.

In an exchange that immediately became the standout moment of the two-night event, Harris sharply criticized Biden’s recent musings about his past productive work with segregationist senators. (“At least there was some civility. We got things done,” Biden had said.)

Biden tried to respond by arguing that he fought for civil rights — but Harris fired back, pressing him on the issue of busing in particular, and citing her own personal story. “There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day,” Harris said. “And that little girl was me.”

Again, Biden tried to make a distinction. “I did not oppose busing in America,” he said. “What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education.” Harris, however, then responded by saying that the federal government does need to step in to support civil rights if state and local governments can’t or won’t.

At the end of the exchange, Biden ran out of things to stay. “Anyway, my time is up,” he said, trailing off.

Followed by this where Julian Castro and Kamala Harris were declared the winners of the first debate series.  This is also from Vox and this time written by Zach Beauchamps.





Before the debate, there were basically three tiers of candidates in the polls. You had the top three in double digits (Joe Biden, trailed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren), two runners-up around 6 percent (Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg), and then a whole mess of candidates near the bottom. By the end of both nights, there were only two candidates who seemed like they may have performed well enough to move up a tier: former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Sen. Kamala Harris.

Castro’s extremely low poll numbers — he’s under 1 percent currently — were always a little odd. He’s a former mayor who was in President Obama’s Cabinet and also rumored as a potential VP choice in 2016. He had by far the most sophisticated policy platform on the high-profile issue of immigration. He’s done a lot of stuff and had ideas to offer but couldn’t seem to get traction.

From that standpoint, he couldn’t have hoped for a better night than the one he had on Wednesday. Castro’s bold idea on immigration — to decriminalize illegal entry — was taken up by other candidates onstage and then was endorsed by the vast majority of candidates on Thursday. He used his mastery of the issue to pounce on a fellow Texan, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, making O’Rourke look like an empty suit while elevating his own profile. (O’Rourke had a bad night in general, but Castro was the single biggest reason.)

It’s too early to tell what the effect of all this will be, but it seems like Castro’s numbers have at least a decent shot at going up; if they don’t, he certainly is looking like a more promising VP for whoever emerges on top.

Harris, meanwhile, needed to get out of her dead heat with Buttigieg — who is far from being her equal in national profile — and make it into the first tier. She did that brilliantly, dominating the conversation overall and delivering what feels like the biggest single moment of the debate: her takedown of Joe Biden, the frontrunner, on race.

The biggest laugh of the morning for me was this (via CBS and Emily Tillett): Kamala Harris responds to criticism that she delivered “low blow” to Joe Biden.

2020 contender Kamala Harris came out swinging with a memorable performance in the second night of Democratic debates in Miami.  It was Harris’ confrontation with former Vice President Joe Biden where she pressured to get him on the record on his past support of segregation-endorsing Democrats and as well as his past stance against busing to desegregate public schools, that left a mark on would-be voters’ minds.

In her only network TV interview, Harris responded to criticism from Biden’s camp that the contentious moment was a “low blow.”

“It was about just speaking truth and as I’ve said many times, I have a great deal of respect for Joe Biden…but he and I disagree on that,” Harris told “CBS This Morning” on Friday.

She added, “My purpose was to really just make sure that in this conversation we are appreciating the impact on real people of policies that have been pushed in the history of our country.”

The California Democrat stood out amongst the packed crowd of 10 candidates on stage, eliciting some of the loudest applause after she forced moderators to give her time to answer a question on race relations — noting that she was the only African American present on the debate stage.

Harris later said she does not believe the former vice president is a racist but called his statement about finding “common ground” with segregationists personally “hurtful” to people of color like her.

“It was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing. There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day,” Harris, 54, told Biden. “That little girl was me.”

“That’s a mischaracterization of my position across the board,” Biden shot back at Harris, defending his support for civil rights and highlighting his work as a public defender.

Harris explained to CBS that the issue was a clearly a personal one for her.

“If segregationists had their way, I would not be a member of the United States Senate today,  I would not be a top contender to be president of the United States,” Harris said.

We’ve discussed Biden’s inability to really own his past and here it is just as we predicted! His trick of connecting his entire life to the 8 years of the Obama term are not going to work the more every sees and learns about him. He doesn’t respond to these things well at all. There were an awful lot of Ali’s twittering after Kamala started landing punches.  Hmmm?  Plus Junior tweeted out some stupid remark questioning if Kamala was really a black woman which I will not dignify by posting it here but you can view it if you want.

Also, here’s a link to the WAPO transcript of the second night’s debate if you prefer that format.

While our wanna be dictator POTUS was cozying up to his Dear Leader, we got this headline via the UK Guardian. “Trump jokes to Putin they should ‘get rid’ of journalists. US president voices disdain for ‘fake news’ at G20 and makes light of election meddling”  He’s at the G20 summit in Japan.

Donald Trump joked with Vladimir Putin about getting rid of journalists and Russian meddling in US elections when the two leaders met at the G20 summit in Japan.

As they sat for photographs at the start of their first formal meeting in nearly a year, the US president lightheartedly sought common ground with Putin at the expense of the journalists around them in Osaka.

“Get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia but we do,” Trump said.

To which Putin responded, in English: “We also have. It’s the same.”

Twenty-six journalists have been murdered in Russia since Putin first became president, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), many of them investigative reporters scrutinising governmental abuses.

Trump has frequently referred to the press as the “enemy of the people” and in February the CPJ expressed concernabout the safety of journalists covering Trump rallies, where they have been the target of derision and abuse from the president and his supporters. It is a year to the day since five Capital Gazette employees were killed in their newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland. The shooting led to the organisation Reporters Without Borders adding the US to its list of the five deadliest countries for journalism.

So Friday Fresh Hell continues too .. well, not so fresh, more like Deja Vu all over again.

It’s just hard not to be grossed out and outraged by everything Trumpist.

So, let’s return to the Russian Troll Army and see what they’re up to via NBC. What have Putin’s sock puppets been up to?

Users from pro-Trump communities on 4chan and Reddit implored fellow members to vote for lower-polling candidates in online polls, specifically Tulsi Gabbard and Bill de Blasio, in the hours after Wednesday’s Democratic debate — a sign that digital manipulation efforts related to U.S. politics and elections remain very much alive.

Users on 4chan’s anonymous far-right /pol/message board repeatedly posted links to polls across the web, encouraging one another to “blow the polls out” for Gabbard, the congresswoman from Hawaii who has developed a substantial support base among many of its users.

The posts pointed users toward polls on national news websites like the Drudge Report, The Washington Examiner, and, but also polls from local news providers like, which posts from several newspapers in the state.

“GIVE HER YOUR POWER,” read one 4chan post from 1 a.m. Thursday, pointing to a screenshot of the still-active Drudge poll showing Gabbard leading.

The efforts from 4chan’s /pol/ board and Reddit’s pro-Trump subreddit mirror the notorious troll communities’ strategy from 2016, when they bombarded polls in an effort to drive more visibility and confidence to their candidate of choice, and hoped news websites and candidates lent credibility to the results later on.

Traditional polls, such as those run by researchers, polling companies and universities are not susceptible to such manipulations. Pollsters usually call a diverse set of citizens from various levels of political engagement, and those polled are not allowed to vote several times or through automation, unlike many online polls.

The results from the poll on the Drudge Report, where Gabbard netted almost 40 percent of the vote, despite previously polling at less than 2 percent in national polls, created coverage in itself. The politics blog The Hill and The Daily Mail wrote about Gabbard’s performance in the poll, with The Daily Mail calling Gabbard the “shock winner” in the “first poll” after the debate. As more mainstream outlets pick up the methodologically questionable polls, the likelihood that they will be covered by more prominent news media and political figures increases.

Well, that should be disqualifying for that candidate.

So, here’s something to think on from our oldest living President …

And with that … have a great weekend as we careen towards Independence Day. We have a Democratic Republic if we can keep it to paraphrase Ben Franklin.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

26 Comments on “Friday Reads: Obama (a verb) Our ( a noun)”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Nice round-up. Trumps disgusting performance with Putin should light a fire under House Democrats. A big thank you to Jimmy Carter for speaking the unvarnished truth.

  2. bostonboomer says:

  3. bostonboomer says:

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    The year is 2019 and we are still fighting race wars.

    And because of Trump the hatred has become more visible, the rhetoric more divisive, the issue more discussed.

    Harris probably succeeded in blocking black votes from Biden going forward which was her goal.

    It is beginning to get “dirty” and I am not sure I have the stomach for it.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I’ve been surprised by the AA support for Biden – I hadn’t realized it was so strong. They were saying last night he was at 49% with AA voters. Buttigeig is at 1% and I don’t see him winning over any AA converts. He needs to drop out.

      I admire Harris for speaking her mind and she went way up in my estimation. She spoke the truth. I hope she steals every last one of Biden’s voters.

      • bostonboomer says:

        It’s mostly because of Obama, I’m guessing. If Kamala proves she can win primaries, it could change.

  5. Enheduanna says:

    Does anyone know what’s going on with that Senate border funding bill they just passed in the House? All the GD stories are about the Dems imploding over it – but I can’t find anything about what the ramifications of passing it like it was are.

    I assume the administration will misuse it in every conceivable way and spend nothing on the children.

    • quixote says:

      I don’t know either. I’m guessing people are furious the House Dems agreed to funding for the concentration camps. Because that’s included in that bill as far as I know. Plus of course the Big Monument To Stupidity Wall.

      I’m sure others here will be able to tell us what’s actually happening.

    • NW Luna says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Oh, it’s about this:

      Pelosi-Schumer rift

      House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her colleagues in a private meeting Thursday that she thought she had a deal this week with her longtime ally, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer: She would ensure passage of a more liberal border funding bill in the House, and he would back her up by persuading Democratic senators to fight for it.

      Instead, Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, she was blindsided. Nearly all Senate Democrats voted for a Republican-backed bill that kneecapped the House and marked the most embarrassing defeat for Pelosi in the six months since Democrats took over the chamber. “Schumer destroyed all our leverage on Wednesday by not being able to hold his people,” said a senior House Democratic aide.

      Compared to a White House proposal, the compromise bill was viewed as a solid victory by most Senate Democrats. The bill made sure migrants would receive humanitarian aid while allocating no new funding for migrant detention beds; had a strict prohibition on using the funding for a border wall or to bulk up immigration enforcement; and established new standards for facilities while also delivering funding for immigration judges and $30 million in grants to nonprofits caring for migrants.

      • Enheduanna says:

        Thanks Luna – that is exactly what I wanted to know.

        So disappointing. Now we have to hear all about how they’re going to spend billions of our tax dollars on anything but what is right for those kids.

        The Senate needs to be abolished IMO. Electoral college and Senate.

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. dakinikat says:

  8. NW Luna says:

    • palhart says:

      She’s so threatening since her Thursday night debate success that the “Birthers” have crawled out from under their rock with the claim that she’s not a true African-American because her father was born in Jamaica. She was black enough to be bussed.

      • NW Luna says:

        As if that matters to how well she’ll handle the presidency.

        It’s going to be a long, long primary.

    • Enheduanna says:

      He sees himself in them.

      I’m seeing reports that Melanie stayed home…..she’s not there and no one has seen her. I suspect the latest rape allegations set her off again.