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Name: Chris Bastian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 89,765

Journal Archives

German government in doubt after shock SPD vote

Source: Politico

BERLIN — German politics were thrust into disarray late Saturday after a surprise decision by the Social Democrats (SPD) to elect a leadership duo that has expressed deep reservations over the party’s participation in Angela Merkel's government.

SPD members elected Norbert Walter-Borjans, a former regional minister from North Rhine-Westphalia and Saskia Esken, a little known MP from Baden-Württemberg, to take over the beleaguered party, which has been under interim management for six months.

The vote casts doubt on the viability of the so-called "grand coalition" with Merkel's Christian Democrats, which has already come under severe strain amid deep divisions on issues such as taxes, welfare spending and defense, to name but a few.

Walter-Borjans, who campaigned on a promise to demand major spending concessions from the Christian Democrats, said the new leadership’s first priority would be “to define a clear position vis-à-vis our coalition partner.”

Read more: https://www.politico.eu/article/german-spd-elects-leaders-skeptical-of-merkel-coalition/

Klobuchar knocks Bloomberg late 2020 entry: 'We have strong candidates'

The Hill

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), a Democratic presidential candidate, knocked former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's late entry into the 2020 race.

Klobuchar dismissed the Bloomberg campaign's pitch that the billionaire saw a need for a candidate to take on President Trump.

"I have admiration for the work that he’s done. But I don’t buy this argument that you get in because you say ‘oh everyone else sucks.’ I just don’t," Klobuchar said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"I think we have strong candidates. I don’t think that any of the polling or the numbers show that people are dissatisfied with all their candidates. They’re just trying to pick the right one," she added.

Cats do have facial expressions, but you probably can't read them

Washington Post

We generally assume a purring cat is a contented cat. It’s safe to say a hissing cat, its ears drawn back, is not pleased.

But aside from the visage of Grumpy Cat — who may not have been grumpy at all — feline faces don’t tell us much about how cats feel. Or rather, as a new study on the topic found, most of us are pretty terrible at reading cats’ expressions.

Cats have a reputation for being “inscrutable,” the researchers say, and their results mostly back up this notion. More than 6,000 study participants in 85 countries, the vast majority of them cat owners, watched brief cat videos and then judged the animals’ moods. The average score was just under 60 percent correct — an F, if cat videos were a school subject.

However, 13 percent of participants did quite well, scoring 75 percent or above. The researchers dubbed these achievers “cat whisperers” — and said their results are important.

How a fight over health care entangled Elizabeth Warren

Washington Post

In mid-November, a few dozen of the country’s most influential advocates of Medicare-for-all were reviewing details of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan to finance the proposed government-run program when they learned that she had unexpectedly changed her position.

Warren (D-Mass.), who had excited liberals when she initially embraced a Medicare-for-all idea first proposed by rival presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), was suggesting a more centrist idea: to delay enactment of the single-payer system and, in the interim, give consumers the choice to opt in. The change might have seemed insignificant to most Americans, but to many in the suburban Washington conference room, Warren’s new stance marked an abrupt retreat, according to several people in attendance.

That moment highlighted the political turbulence that Warren has experienced in recent weeks as she has attempted to extricate herself from a policy dilemma that has blunted her steady rise to the top ranks of the Democratic nominating contest.

Warren had pleased many on the left with proposals to take on entrenched corporate and political power. But she was being warned that support for Medicare-for-all, including the elimination of private health insurance used by more than 150 million Americans, could cost her support among Democrats looking for the strongest candidate to take on President Trump.

Tulsi Gabbard attacks the DNC


The Hague stabbing: Dutch police arrest suspect

Source: BBC

Police in the Dutch city of The Hague have arrested a man aged 35 over a stabbing attack on a shopping street on Friday, in which three teenagers were injured.

The suspect, who has no fixed abode, will be transferred to a police station for questioning, local police said.

Those hurt, two girls aged 15 and a boy of 13, did not know each other, and no motive has been reported.

Al three were released from hospital following treatment.

Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50617525?ocid=socialflow_twitter

Fears mount about Biden's South Carolina firewall

The Hill

Joe Biden is counting on his firewall of support in South Carolina to help him win the 2020 presidential nomination. But Democrats are warning that if the former vice president doesn't perform well in Iowa and New Hampshire, his lead in South Carolina could be in jeopardy.

In recent weeks, Biden has been losing ground in the first two early voting states, according to polling. And if he falls behind Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) or South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, he will have to reassert his case to voters, Democratic strategists and political observers say.

“Bad losses in Iowa and New Hampshire, and some other states, could easily hurt Biden,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of public affairs and history at Princeton University.

So far, the former vice president has retained strong support from voters in South Carolina. A couple of recent surveys showed approximately one-third of likely voters in the Palmetto State plan to support Biden.

Cory Booker SuperPAC ad: "The Other Rhodes Scholar"

House GOP members are 'absolutely disgusted and exhausted' by Trump's behavior

Source: CNN

(CNN) Former Republican congressman Charlie Dent said Thursday some of his former colleagues in the House of Representatives have privately told him they are "absolutely disgusted and exhausted by the President's behavior."

Dent told CNN's Ana Cabrera on "Newsroom" that House Republicans are standing with the President at the moment because of base pressure, but said "they resent being put in this position all the time."

Dent, who is a CNN political commentator, cited the Trump administration trying to "pivot from the Ukraine scandal" by announcing the 2020 G7 summit at the Trump National Doral resort. The decision was later reversed.

“Moving from one corrupt act to another," Dent said. "I mean those types of head-exploding moments are just I think infuriating these members and I think they'd like to step out but they just can't because of their base at the moment."

Read more: https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/11/29/politics/charlie-dent-congress-trump-behavior-cnntv/index.html

New Hampshire voters to Steyer: Make it stop!


MANCHESTER, N.H. — Maggie and Libby knew Tom Steyer’s ad by heart: "I'm going to say two words that will make Washington insiders very uncomfortable: Term limits!" they recently chirped in unison at the dinner table.

Unfortunately for Steyer, their votes can’t be bought — they’re 10 and 13.

“It was like a comedy act,” the children’s father, Loren Foxx, said. “His ads are on constantly."

Some Granite staters said they’re seeing Steyer’s ads dozens of times a day — and it’s become more grating than ingratiating. A POLITICO reporter who watched YouTube music videos this week by Pentatonix, a popular a capella group, endured 17 Steyer ads in just over an hour.
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