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Gender: Female
Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 167,136

Journal Archives

Texts Show DeSantis' Office Wanted VIPs to Get Vaccine During Guv's Visit

Too bad I don't know the guy. Maybe I'd have even my first shot by now.


Texts Show DeSantis’ Office Wanted VIPs to Get Vaccine During Guv’s Visit
Ana Lucia Murillo
Breaking News/Cheat Sheet Intern
Updated Mar. 09, 2021 4:23PM ET /
Published Mar. 09, 2021 4:19PM ET

Members of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ staff may have allowed certain VIPs to jump the vaccine line in order to maximize a public appearance by the governor, according to texts obtained by the Bradenton Herald. When it seemed like DeSantis might drop by the Feb. 17 COVID vaccination event in Manatee County for a TV appearance, local officials were excited. “Should try to see if that would help him get exposure here,” a local GOP donor wrote to the county commissioner Vanessa Baugh, who agreed the appearance could be good for DeSantis’ 2022 campaign.

Then, according to the texts, members of DeSantis’ advance team asked Baugh to compile a list of people to be vaccinated during DeSantis’ visit, rather than relying on the county’s random vaccine standby pool. Baugh, naturally, included herself and the GOP donor on the list, as well as residents of two wealthy zip codes in her district. She is now under investigation by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. DeSantis has denied that his team gave unfair priority to anyone.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Mar 9, 2021, 05:42 PM (6 replies)

Reporters' Frustration Is Building Over Lack of Biden Access

They'll complain about anything. I'm grateful for the HONEST daily briefings, something that was lacking for 4 years. I think they're looking for a 'gotcha' moment.


Reporters’ Frustration Is Building Over Lack of Biden Access
While the president regularly takes a handful of questions from the press, he has yet to hold a formal, solo news conference since taking office—a break from his White House predecessors.
By Charlotte Klein
March 8, 2021

White House reporters are getting restless as President Joe Biden has yet to hold a formal news conference since taking office, with reporters raising the issue in the briefing room and the Washington Post calling for an extended back-and-forth with the press. Though Biden has already “shown galaxies more respect for the free press and the people’s right to know” than Donald Trump, the paper’s editorial board wrote, he’s falling short in denying the media the kind of traditional news conferences that his 15 most recent predecessors—including Trump—had all submitted themselves to by this point in their term. “Avoiding news conferences must not become a regular habit for Mr. Biden,” the editorial board warned, noting that while the president regularly fields a handful of questions from reporters at the end of an event, “these often perfunctory exchanges are no substitute for formal, solo news conferences at which reporters can ask follow-up questions, answers are supposed to be more than a couple of words long, and the president’s thoughts on a wide range of issues can be mined.”

Appearing to recognize the futility in comparing Trump’s availability to Biden’s lack thereof, the Post recalled that the former president’s first news conference—complete with “[rantings] about cable news and personal grudges”—was an early preview of his abuse of the megaphone and apparent interest in taking questions only to propagate falsehoods. Trump would go on to make more than 30,000 false or misleading claims. Indeed, among the most fundamental differences between Biden and his predecessor is that “he does not lie constantly and brazenly, and he does not tweet incendiary nonsense to distract from his failings,” a “more thoughtful, reality-based approach” that Biden “should be eager to advertise,” the editorial board writes. “He should do so in front of reporters, for extended periods of time, and more often than his late start would suggest.

The editorial comes as journalists have grown increasingly frustrated with the situation, and vocally so. Asked during Friday’s briefing when Biden will hold his first solo press conference, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said he would likely do so “before the end of the month” while defending the delay by saying the president “takes questions several times a week” and citing the twin economic and public health crises he inherited upon taking office. “I think the American people would certainly understand if his focus and his energy and his attention has been on” providing “recovery and relief” to the public, Psaki said.

While Biden is undeniably busy, his late start is also part of the disciplined media strategy that the new White House has adopted, a stark departure from the chaos of Trump’s presidency, in which the former president might contradict his own administration in a tweet. The shift is welcome in many ways but frustrating in others, particularly in preventing the media from engaging Biden on policy matters and other issues in exchanges “that go beyond the administration’s curated talking points,” the Associated Press reports. “The volume has been turned so low in the Biden White House that they need to worry about whether anyone is listening,” said veteran journalist Frank Sesno, who suggested to the AP that the message management could also be a form of damage control for the historically gaffe-prone president. “He’s not great in these news conferences. He rambles. His strongest communication is not extemporaneous.” (Biden will deliver a primetime address on the COVID-19 crisis on Thursday evening, the White House announced Monday).

Still, the delay in holding a news conference is particularly notable given Biden’s repeated emphasis on freedom of the press and pledged transparency, which he has made good on in part by restoring the daily press briefing at the White House, as well as at the State Department. But with the press conference, which AP reporter and White House Correspondents’ Association president Zeke Miller called “critical to informing the American people and holding an administration accountable to the public,” Biden has come up short. According to a study by presidential scholar Martha Kumar, by this point in their terms, “Trump and George H.W. Bush had each held five press conferences, Bill Clinton four, George W. Bush three, Barack Obama two and Ronald Reagan one,” the AP reports.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Mar 9, 2021, 04:46 PM (32 replies)

Trump Looks Cooked As Manhattan DA Subpoenas Loan Documents To Compare To His Tax Returns


Posted on Mon, Mar 8th, 2021 by Jason Easley
Trump Looks Cooked As Manhattan DA Subpoenas Loan Documents To Compare To His Tax Returns

The Manhattan DA has subpoenaed loan documents from a Trump Chicago project to compare them to his tax returns.

CNN reported:

By 2012, Fortress subsequently forgave more $100 million of the loan, which, including interest and fees, was worth about $150 million, according to court filings. The forgiveness was done to secure a partial re-payment of about $45 million at a time when the real estate market was suffering from the financial crisis.

Prosecutors with Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s office are looking into whether Trump and the Trump Organization recorded the loan forgiveness as income, as required by the Internal Revenue Service, and paid the appropriate taxes, the people say.

There are several things that we know based on public reporting and Trump’s own comments. Donald Trump thought that he was smart to avoid paying taxes. Donald Trump went out of his way to avoid paying taxes. Trump has a decades-long documented history of changing the valuation of his assets to avoid taxes and get loans.

Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance has already added a former federal prosecutor who specializes in white-collar and organized crime to his investigation. The DA is treating the Trump Organization like an organized crime ring, and he is now gathering evidence of potential Trump criminal activity.

The District Attorney is digging deep into how Trump ran his business, which makes it more likely that Donald Trump is closer to a criminal indictment than a political comeback.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Mar 9, 2021, 10:17 AM (52 replies)

Biden Returns Portraits of Clinton and Bush

What a petty POS.


Biden Returns Portraits of Clinton and Bush
March 9, 2021 at 7:01 am EST By Taegan Goddard

“The White House has returned paintings of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to prominent locations in the Grand Foyer after Donald Trump hid them in a room used for storage,” the Daily Mail reports.

“The official presidential portraits were visible in the entrance hallway of the executive mansion in a video the White House posted to its social media accounts in honor of Black History Month.”
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Mar 9, 2021, 09:06 AM (75 replies)

Racist customers threatened to call ICE on Mexican restaurant's workers for requiring masks

We should be rounding the racists up.

Racist customers threatened to call ICE on Mexican restaurant's workers for requiring masks
Gabe Ortiz
Daily Kos Staff
Monday March 08, 2021 · 4:02 PM EST

One of the owners of a family-owned Mexican restaurant in Texas said that angry customers threatened to sic Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on staffers because the business continues to require masks inside, The Washington Post reports. While Gov. Greg Abbott recklessly lifted pandemic restrictions, Picos made a decision based on public health to continue its masking policy. That’s when the restaurant faced an onslaught of racist harassment.

“It was just horrific,” co-owner Monica Richards told The Post. “People don’t understand unless you’re in our business what it felt like, how hard it was to go through everything we went through during covid. For people to be negative toward us for trying to remain safe, so that this doesn’t continue to happen, just makes zero sense to us.” This hasn’t been isolated incident either, with a second Mexican restaurant in Houston also reporting similar harassment.

Cantina Barba co-owner Steven O’Sullivan said that “screaming” customers were harassing employees even before Abbott lifted restrictions. “This has been ongoing through covid,” he told The Post. “We’ve had threats of calling ICE. I had one guy just stand there and berate one of my bartenders and tell her ‘you’re an absolute idiot, you don’t know what you’re doing. If you think these masks are going to save your life, you’re stupid’ blah, blah, blah. Nobody wants to deal with that stuff.”

Much like the racists who call the police on Black people, the only thing as dangerous as ICE are the racists deliberately using the agency as a weapon against their targets. Sometimes because they feel whatever their demands are aren’t getting met. Sometimes it’s because they perceive their targets as having no right to be here.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 8, 2021, 09:53 PM (3 replies)

Eric Boehlert: Biden's Covid relief triumph -- how the press botched the story for a year


Biden’s Covid relief triumph — how the press botched the story for a year
Wallowing in Both Sides
Eric Boehlert


Over the last twelve months, Republicans sabotaged all Covid relief negotiations, including Trump who routinely, and publicly, gave wildly contradictory statements about the need for assistance. Yet since last April, the press tagged Both Sides for failing to pass a relief package that was universally seen as crucial to the country's economic survival. ("Capitol Hill's failure to compromise" is hurting America, CNN emphasized.)

Fact: House Democrats in May passed a massive $3 trillion Covid relief package. To win over Republican support in the Senate, they then agreed to pass a smaller $2 trillion version. They were then ready to sign off on a further reduced $908 billion proposal. Republican leaders wouldn't even agree to that, yet the press consistently blamed "Congress" for not being able to meet halfway and pass much-needed assistance.

CBS News wondered, "Why hasn't Congress done more at this point?" The Congressional Covid failure represented "an institution gripped with paralysis," the Times stressed, while the Washington Post claimed the lack of legislation was due to "bickering."

Last summer, journalists claimed "Congress" was to blame for weekly $600 relief checks being cut off. Wrong — the payments were ended because Republicans forced them to end. In October, CNN's Wolf Blitzer launched into a heated argument with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, demanding to know why she wouldn't accept a White House relief proposal, even though Senate Republicans didn't support it, which meant the White House proposal would never be voted on.

Twelve months ago, the Beltway press echoed GOP talking points by loudly claiming Democrats were "blocking" the first Covid relief bill, which was eventually signed into law under Trump. The Times stressed that Democrats "risked a political backlash," by lobbying hard for additional unemployment aid, as well as more money for hospitals, healthcare workers, and local governments. (Democrats won, and improved the bill.) Today, there's very little media coverage of Republicans "blocking" the recent Covid bill, or facing "political backlash."

Republicans never supported a second Covid relief bill, yet the press spent the last year pretending otherwise — insisting that of course GOP leaders urgently wanted to aid struggling Americans, where there was little evidence that they did.

The country will be well served by the American Rescue Plan, but the slow-motion train wreck of Covid relief coverage represented a distressing failure of journalism.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 8, 2021, 05:50 PM (14 replies)

The Rude Pundit: Grappling with Andrew Cuomo's Scandals

The Rude Pundit
Proudly lowering the level of political discourse
Grappling with Andrew Cuomo's Scandals

There is absolutely no reason to feel guilty or bad because you found comfort in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's daily press briefings during the lockdown early in the coronavirus pandemic. While President Bumblefuck Magoo was prancing around and lying about the severity of the situation while shitting on anyone who would dare ask the federal government to do more, Cuomo was a soothing voice of calm, seemingly honest and straightforward, ready to challenge Donald Trump, and, holy fuck, we just needed that.

You can still appreciate that. I don't feel ashamed that I enjoyed Bill Cosby's comedy for decades. But now, I feel awful for his victims, first and foremost, and, way down the list of Cosby fallout, I can't see him or listen to him without being viscerally repulsed. That's the only rational reaction. The point here is that you can have thought one way about Cuomo in March 2020 and now think the complete opposite in March 2021 (and as an employee of the state of New York, I've thought in many ways about him).

But we have to grapple now with what we know about Cuomo. We know that he has been accused of sexual harassment by at least three women, including two who previously worked for him and his administration. We know that Cuomo and his administration sought to hide the true number of deaths from COVID at nursing homes, partly because it reveals how disastrous was his decision to allow patients recovering from COVID to go back to their nursing homes while still testing positive for it.


However, as Dahlia Lithwick points out, we've gotten to where thorough investigations into allegations made in the media should be welcomed. She writes, "It’s not a terrible thing to allow an independent investigator to gather all the facts and arrive at a formal conclusion before calling for his immediate ouster...If we’d spent the time we’ve spent calling for people to step down immediately in formulating and refining an actual process that could formally investigate claims and issue guidance on what should be done about them, we might have ended up in a place where more sexual predators could be held accountable rather than fewer." And that, to me, seems like pretty solid footing to be on.

And that's not because I have any love for Andrew Cuomo. Seriously, in most ways, fuck that guy. But it's because, as I've written before, we're in the midst of reckoning on shitty behavior by men, including those who may not understand how their behavior is shitty (really, if you don't get how being a creep is making a woman feel uncomfortable or threatened or even just getting in the way of her doing her goddamn job, that's on you). It's a reckoning that is long overdue. These allegations may just take down Andrew Cuomo and force him to resign. More likely, he'll have to answer to voters, which isn't necessarily an awful outcome.

But I think the way to give power to this reckoning is for there to be some kind of official affirmation of the charges. It's not about disbelieving Charlotte Bennett, Lindsay Boylan, and Anna Ruch. As with the allegations against Joe Biden or against Brett Kavanaugh, it's about taking allegations seriously and not dismissing or accepting them because of your feelings towards the person being accused. It's about trying to make sure the due process and due diligence are done.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 8, 2021, 12:32 PM (2 replies)

Manchin Will Block Infrastructure Bill If Not Bipartisan

Fuckwad. So sick of his negative input.


Manchin Will Block Infrastructure Bill If Not Bipartisan
March 8, 2021 at 7:35 am EST By Taegan Goddard

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told Axios that he’ll block President Joe Biden’s next big legislative package — $2 trillion to $4 trillion for climate and infrastructure — if Republicans aren’t included.

Said Manchin: “I’m not going to do it through reconciliation. I am not going to get on a bill that cuts them out completely before we start trying.”

Manchin added the infrastructure bill can be big as long as it’s paid for with tax increases. He said he’ll start his bargaining by requiring the package be 100% paid for.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 8, 2021, 09:35 AM (20 replies)

'We can do big things,' Schumer says as Senate approves aid

'We can do big things,' Schumer says as Senate approves aid
Sat, March 6, 2021, 6:34 PM·6 min read


“Lessons learned: If we have unity, we can do big things,” Schumer told The Associated Press in an interview after the vote.

The outcome “gives us optimism about doing more big things in the future — because it worked,” he said.

Stewardship of the massive pandemic relief package was an inaugural foray of the new power dynamics of Washington, testing Democratic control of the White House and Congress for the first time in a decade, and setting the foundation for what’s possible for Biden’s agenda.


But that tough topic was for another day. On Saturday, Democrats elbow-bumped and cheered in the chamber — Stabenow said some were almost in tears -- as they ushered the massive aid package they had promised voters to approval. With 10 million jobs lost and countless schools and businesses shuttered, it includes $300 a week in extra unemployment benefits, money school reopenings, eviction protections and small business assistance.

“Only 45 days after Joe Biden became president of the United States, to be able to do something so big, and so significant, that fundamentally is the glue for us,” she said.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said it was the “best day” he’d ever had in the Senate. That biting speech from McConnell, R-Ky., poking at Democrats' temporary disarray? Brown dismissed it as cynical and unsubstantial.

“So what,” Brown said. “Nobody cares about that. What they care about is, did we deliver on unemployment? Did we deliver on vaccines? Did we deliver on pensions? We cut the rate of child poverty in half. Think about that.”


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Mar 7, 2021, 12:05 AM (5 replies)

After marathon session, and Manchin antics, Senate ready to pass American Rescue Plan


After marathon session, and Manchin antics, Senate ready to pass American Rescue Plan
Joan McCarter
Daily Kos Staff
Saturday March 06, 2021 · 12:05 PM EST

The longest vote in Senate history finally ended Friday night at 10:53, ET having started at 11:03 AM. That vote was on Sen. Bernie Sanders' minimum wage hike to $15/hour, but the delay wasn't about the minimum wage. The vote was held open for 12 hours while Sen. Joe Manchin preened, forcing all of Senate leadership to court him as he held up an agreement on helping unemployed people. He got what he apparently wanted: a phone call from President Joe Biden.

Manchin was threatening to support a Republican amendment that would have dramatically restricted assistance to the unemployed, reducing the weekly emergency pandemic boost of $400 in the House bill to their checks to $300, and would have ended the program in mid-July. Republicans courted Manchin all afternoon while Democrats scrambled to get him on board with a last-minute agreement they'd come to with the White House. In the end, Manchin voted for both the Republican and Democratic amendments, with the Democratic one prevailing. What he got in forcing the Senate to a standstill for a day was shaving one month off the expiration date for the program.

The Democratic amendment from Sen. Ron Wyden gives unemployed people the $300/week federal boost to their regular checks through September 6. The agreement that he had secured with leadership and the White House would have added another month onto that, ending in the first week of October. Critically, though, Wyden prevailed on making sure that the first $10,200 in UI received in 2020 will be tax-free, meaning people won't be hit with surprise tax bills. Manchin did secure means testing on that—it will only apply to people with less than $150,000 in income for 2020. Importantly, though, even with the reduction in weekly benefits, the official poverty rate drops from 12.3% to 8.3% under Democratic plan, according to poverty experts.

Sen. Rob Portman was the Republican luring Manchin into the fold, and his efforts revealed exactly what Republicans really think about tax cuts. Namely, they should only go to the wealthy. "Suddenly, if you're on unemployment insurance you don't have to pay taxes. But if you're working, you do have to pay taxes. How does that work?" Portman said during the debate on the Democrats' amendment. This is the only tax cut Republicans will ever oppose, the one that actually helps working Americans, Wyden pointed out in response. "The party that claims to want to help workers on their taxes," he rejoins, "won't lift a finger."

That issue finally worked out, the Senate got to work on a variety of Republican poisoned pill amendments, after rejecting a bid by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to adjourn the Senate for the night. Republicans are short one vote in this process, as Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan had to fly home for a family emergency. That gives Vice President Kamala Harris a break, she has not been needed to break ties on any amendments.

Out of the nearly 600 Republican amendments, only a fraction were brought to the floor and most were defeated. Sen. Susan Collins tried to replace the entire bill with her $650 billion proposal and failed, though oddly Sen Josh Hawley voted with Democrats on that one. Sen. Marco Rubio tried to tie funding to schools to reopening for in-person instruction, and failed. An alternative amendment from Democrat Maggie Hassan was adopted, requiring that elementary and secondary schools that receive aid release their plans for a "safe return to in-person instruction" within 30 days of receiving the funds.

The worst poison came from freshman Republican Tommy Tuberville, an anti-trans effort that would have stripped federal funding to "States, local educational agencies, and institutions of higher education that permit any student whose biological sex is male to participate in an athletic program or activity designed for women or girls." It required 60 votes, but failed on party lines anyway. With two exceptions: Manchin voted for it, Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski against. Another attempt from Sen. Ted Cruz to bar undocumented immigrants from getting the survival checks failed, with Democrats holding together against him.

Those survival checks, by the way, have not been altered from the last agreement Democrats came to: $1,400 one-time payment to everyone, adults and children including adult dependents; people making up to $75,000/annually, $150,000 for couple filing jointly, receive the full payments, cutting off at $80,000 for single people, $160,000 for couples. That is based on 2019 income for those who have not filed their 2020 returns yet, so if you had a big loss of income in 2020, get your taxes filed.

The Senate is rumored to be looking at a 12:30 ET timeline for wrapping votes up Saturday, at which point the bill will have to go back to the House for another vote, as it has been changed pretty substantially from that version.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Mar 6, 2021, 01:18 PM (2 replies)
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