JanF

Primary 2016: Horse race polls, June 7, 2015

The nominating conventions, when the Democratic and Republican parties will pick their general election candidates, are more than 15 months away. This far out, polls are generally not worth wasting pixels on. But NPR readers had a good question for their Ombudsman: “Why are the single digit also-rans in the Republican Party being treated with more respect than Sen. Bernie Sanders who is pulling in 15% in the Democratic Party primary polls?”

Here is a recent Q-Poll (May 28th):

If the Democratic primary for President were being held today, and the candidates were Joe Biden, Lincoln Chafee, Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, and Jim Webb, for whom would you vote?

Clinton 57%, Sanders 15%, Biden 9%, Chafee 1%, O’Malley 1%, Webb 1%, Someone Else 1%, Wouldn’t Vote 2%, Don’t Know 14%

If the Republican primary for President were being held today, and the candidates were Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, and Scott Walker, for whom would you vote?

Bush 10%, Carson 10, Huckabee 10, Rubio 10, Walker 10, Paul 7, Cruz 6, Trump 5, Christie 4, Fiorina 2, Kasich 2, Graham 1, Jindal 1, Perry 1, Pataki -, Santorum -, Someone Else -, Wouldn’t Vote 1, Don’t Know 20

The bigger question is whether any of these candidates can win a primary. Paul? I doubt it. Cruz? No way. Christie or Trump? HAHAHAHAHA!

Here is what NPR said, by the way:

Michael Oreskes, NPR’s editorial director and senior vice president for news, in a letter to the Columbia Journalism Review editors that he shared with me, wrote, “we do not use polling to allocate coverage,” adding: “Even mildly experienced political journalists and their editors understand that polls at this stage capture little more than name recognition.”

The bigger challenge, he wrote, “is what I’d call the paradigm problem,” that is, when “We get a certain paradigm in our heads. A conventional wisdom. Someone is a front runner, someone else a long shot. We develop this paradigm from a witches’ brew of polling, money, instinct and the ineffable judgments of the chattering classes of political ‘experts.’ ” The only antidote, he added, “is reporting.”

… going forward, as the campaign coverage gears up, I do hope that NPR will back off on what seems to me to be the overuse of dismissive terms, such as “long-shot,” to describe Sanders, or any of the multitude of presidential candidates, whatever their party affiliation.

As Oreskes wrote elsewhere in his letter: “Political journalists should not try to pick winners and losers. That’s the job of voters. Predicting the outcome of elections isn’t really very interesting and we aren’t any good at it anyway.

Exactly! Leave that up to Karl Rove and his “special math” …

Pssst, Karl!!!

President Obama: “The world noticed”

On Saturday, June 6, President Obama delivered a eulogy in honor of Beau Biden, the son of his friend and vice-president, Joe Biden.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

Without love, life can be cold and it can be cruel. Sometimes cruelty is deliberate –- the action of bullies or bigots, or the inaction of those indifferent to another’s pain. But often, cruelty is simply born of life, a matter of fate or God’s will, beyond our mortal powers to comprehend. To suffer such faceless, seemingly random cruelty can harden the softest hearts, or shrink the sturdiest. It can make one mean, or bitter, or full of self-pity. Or, to paraphrase an old proverb, it can make you beg for a lighter burden.

But if you’re strong enough, it can also make you ask God for broader shoulders; shoulders broad enough to bear not only your own burdens, but the burdens of others; shoulders broad enough to shield those who need shelter the most.

To know Beau Biden is to know which choice he made in his life. To know Joe and the rest of the Biden family is to understand why Beau lived the life he did.

Like his father, Beau did not have a mean bone in his body. The cruelty he’d endured in his life didn’t make him hard, it made him compassionate, empathetic. But it did make him abhor bullies.

Beau’s grandfather, Joe’s father, believed that the most egregious sin was to abuse your power to inflict pain on another. So Beau squared his broad shoulders to protect people from that kind of abuse. He fought for homeowners who were cheated, seniors who were scammed. He even went after bullying itself. He set up a Child Protector — Predator Task Force, convicted more than 200 of those who targeted vulnerable children.

You know, anyone can make a name for themselves in this reality TV age, especially in today’s politics. If you’re loud enough or controversial enough, you can get some attention. But to make that name mean something, to have it associated with dignity and integrity –- that is rare. There’s no shortcut to get it. It’s not something you can buy. […]

That’s what our country was built on –- men like Beau. That’s who built it –- families like this. We don’t have kings or queens or lords. We don’t have to be born into money to have an impact. We don’t have to step on one another to be successful. We have this remarkable privilege of being able to earn what we get out of life, with the knowledge that we are no higher than anybody else, or lower than anybody else. We know this not just because it is in our founding documents, but because families like the Bidens have made it so, because people like Beau have made it so.

As hard as it is right now, through all the heartache and through all the tears, it is our obligation to Beau to think not about what was and what might have been, but instead to think about what is, because of him. Think about the day that dawns for children who are safer because of Beau, whose lives are fuller, because of him. Think about the day that dawns for parents who rest easier, and families who are freer, because of him. Some folks may never know that their lives are better because of Beau Biden. But that’s okay. Certainly for Beau, acclaim was never the point of public service.

Jill, Joe, Hallie, Hunter and Natalie — the world noticed. They noticed. They felt it, his presence. And Beau lives on in the lives of others. And isn’t that the whole point of our time here? To make this country we love fairer and more just, not just for Natalie and Hunter, or Naomi, or Finnegan, or Maisy, or Malia, or Sasha, but for every child? Isn’t that what this amazing journey we’ve been on is all about -– to make life better for the next generation?

Full transcript below.

Weekly Address: President Obama – Celebrating Immigrant Heritage Month

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President recognized Immigrant Heritage Month, an occasion that allows us to celebrate our origins as a nation of immigrants. The basic idea of welcoming people to our shores is central to our ancestry and our way of life. That’s why the President asked everyone to visit whitehouse.gov/NewAmericans and share stories of making it to America.

And as we celebrate our heritage and our diversity, the President promised to continue to fight to fix our current broken immigration system and make it more just and more fair, strengthening America in the process.

How did that turtle get there?

Yesterday, June 4th, was the 96th anniversary of the day that Congress passed the 19th Amendment, granting the right of women to vote, and sent it to the states for ratification. That act was an example of what happens when people of goodwill come together to right a wrong. It happened again in 2006 when a Republican president signed the re-authorization of the Voting Rights Act … a bill that had passed 98 to 0 in the U.S. Senate and 390 to 33 in the House of Representatives.

Since 2006, this happened:

First, in 2013, Chief Justice John Roberts declared that there is no racial discrimination in America, none, zero, zilch, nada … and that the quaint pre-clearance rules in the Voting Rights Act should be relegated to the dustbin of history. Then, to exactly no ones surprise, in 2013 and 2014, teaparty governments in states that would have been subject to pre-clearance passed some of the most onerous voter suppression laws in the country.

Hillary Clinton, June 4, 2015:

‘You find a turtle on a fence post, it did not get there on its own.’ Well, all of these problems with voting did not just happen by accident. And it is just wrong, it’s wrong to try to prevent, undermine, inhibit Americans’ rights to vote. Its counter to the values we share. And at a time when so many Americans have lost trust in our political system, it’s the opposite of what we should be doing in our country.

From HillaryClinton.com:

During a speech at Texas Southern University in Houston, Hillary Clinton called for expanding Americans’ voting rights while decrying Republican efforts to restrict them. The latest in her long history of fighting to expand voting rights, she called for universal, automatic voter registration for every American in every state when they turn 18. She called for a new national standard of no fewer than 20 days of early in-person voting in every state, including opportunities for weekend and evening voting. And she urged Congress to restore key sections of the Voting Rights Act, which the Supreme Court invalidated

VIDEO from CSPAN:

Secretary Clinton was at Texas Southern Universty to accept the inaugural Barbara Jordan Public-Private Leadership Award from The Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs and the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at the university. She spoke to the gathering:

… like every woman who has run for national office in this country in the last four decades, I stand here on the shoulders of Barbara Jordan and so does our entire country. […]

… unfortunately, Barbara isn’t here to speak up for them and so many others. But we are. And we have a responsibility to say clearly and directly what’s really going on in our country—because what is happening is a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people, and young people from one end of our country to the other.

Because since the Supreme Court eviscerated a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, many of the states that previously faced special scrutiny because of a history of racial discrimination have proposed and passed new laws that make it harder than ever to vote. […]

Today, Republicans are systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting. What part of democracy are they afraid of? […]

We need a Supreme Court that cares more about protecting the right to vote of a person to vote than the right of a corporation to buy an election. […]

But of course, you know what we really need? We need more elected leaders from Houston to Austin to Washington who will follow in the footsteps of Barbara Jordan and fight for the rights and opportunities of everyday Americans, not just those at the top of the ladder. And we need to remember that progress is built on common ground, not scorched earth. […]

As Barbara Jordan famously reminded us, when the Constitution was first written, it left most of us here out. But generations of Americans fought and marched and organized and prayed to expand the circle of freedom and opportunity. They never gave up and never backed down.

And nearly a century ago on this very day, after years of struggle, Congress finally passed the 19th amendment to give women the right to vote in the United States.

So that is, that is the story of progress, courageous men and women, expanding rights, not restricting them. And today we refuse, we refuse to allow our country or this generation of leaders to slow or reverse America’s long march toward a more perfect union.

Commentary and full transcript below …

President Obama: “It’s never too late to say thank you”

On Tuesday, President Obama presented Medals of Honor, posthumously, to two soldiers from World War I , Private Henry Johnson, of Albany, New York, an African-American, and Sergeant William Shemin, of Bayonne, New Jersey, a Jewish man.

We are a nation — a people — who remember our heroes. We take seriously our responsibility to only send them when war is necessary. We strive to care for them and their families when they come home. We never forget their sacrifice. And we believe that it’s never too late to say thank you. That’s why we’re here this morning.

Today, America honors two of her sons who served in World War I, nearly a century ago. These two soldiers were roughly the same age, dropped into the battlefields of France at roughly the same time. They both risked their own lives to save the lives of others. They both left us decades ago, before we could give them the full recognition that they deserved.

Our country did not do a great job with the “caring for them and their families when they come home” part when it came to Private Henry Johnson:

Henry was one of the first Americans to receive France’s highest award for valor. But his own nation didn’t award him anything –- not even the Purple Heart, though he had been wounded 21 times. Nothing for his bravery, though he had saved a fellow solder at great risk to himself. His injuries left him crippled. He couldn’t find work. His marriage fell apart. And in his early 30s, he passed away.

Now, America can’t change what happened to Henry Johnson. We can’t change what happened to too many soldiers like him, who went uncelebrated because our nation judged them by the color of their skin and not the content of their character. But we can do our best to make it right. In 1996, President Clinton awarded Henry Johnson a Purple Heart. And today, 97 years after his extraordinary acts of courage and selflessness, I’m proud to award him the Medal of Honor.

Full transcript below.

SCOTUS Watch – Monday, June 1st

It’s June! Time for legal geeks to look to the Supreme Court for rulings on the cases argued this session before the court adjourns on June 30th for the summer. The calendar calls for orders and decisions to be released every Monday at 10:00am but history has shown that additional “decision days” are often added as the month unfolds.

As always, the Moose News Network will cover the SCOTUS events with the help of SCOTUSblog and Twitter.


All eyes turn to the court

UPDATE

Four cases decided, two that we were tracking:
– EEOC v Abercrombie & Fitch: ruled 8 to 1 that the job applicant was discriminated against for her religion because the employer would not make an accommodation for her religious headgear in their “no head gear” policy. Win for EEOC.

– Elonis v US: ruled 7-2 that “reasonable person would think it was a threat” was not enough, that the court has to show that the defendant meant it as a threat. Remanded.

The Supreme Court will be in session this morning for orders and opinions starting at 10:00am Eastern. SCOTUSblog will liveblog at this link starting at 9:30am Eastern.

Included in the list of cases heard in the current term but not yet decided are these:
DECIDED: The Facebook threat case, Elonis v. U.S.
– The marriage equality cases, listed under Obergefell v. Hodges
– The Affordable Care Act state exchange case, King v Burwell
– The “can citizens redistrict?” case, Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission
– A death penalty case related to the drugs used, Glossip v Gross
– Some other First Amendment cases:
    – The Confederate license plate case, Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans
    – A signage case Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona
    – DECIDED: A religious liberty case Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) vs. Abercrombie & Fitch
– An assault on the Fair Housing Act, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.
– Three suits against the EPA over its regulation of utilities and “failure” to consider costs, listed as Michigan vs. the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
– A 4th Amendment case involving hotel guest registries, The City of Los Angeles vs. Patel

A full list of pending cases (with links) is below the fold.

The passing of Beau Biden

Last night, Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, died of the brain cancer he had been battling since 2013.

This is Beau Biden at the DNC in 2008, introducing his Dad:

(grab kleenexes)

From the White House: Statement by the President on the Passing of Beau Biden:

Michelle and I are grieving tonight. Beau Biden was a friend of ours. His beloved family – Hallie, Natalie, and Hunter – are friends of ours. And Joe and Jill Biden are as good as friends get. […]

… for all that Beau Biden achieved in his life, nothing made him prouder; nothing made him happier; nothing claimed a fuller focus of his love and devotion than his family.

Just like his dad.

Joe is one of the strongest men we’ve ever known. He’s as strong as they come, and nothing matters to him more than family. It’s one of the things we love about him. And it is a testament to Joe and Jill – to who they are – that Beau lived a life that was full; a life that mattered; a life that reflected their reverence for family.

Good Government: The EPA Protects Our Drinking Water

Clean water rules released on Wednesday will give the EPA more power to protect our drinking water:

The Waters of the United States rule, developed by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, offers protection to two million miles of streams and 20 million acres of wetlands that, until now, were not clearly designated under the Clean Water Act. The rule clarifies what tributaries and wetlands are part of the overall water system and will decrease confusion and expense, the EPA and Army Corps said Wednesday.

“For the water in the rivers and lakes in our communities that flow to our drinking water to be clean, the streams and wetlands that feed them need to be clean too,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Protecting our water sources is a critical component of adapting to climate change impacts like drought, sea level rise, stronger storms, and warmer temperatures – which is why EPA and the Army have finalized the Clean Water Rule to protect these important waters, so we can strengthen our economy and provide certainty to American businesses.”