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Stellar's Journal
Stellar's Journal
January 31, 2017

Before You Call Your Senator, Read This On How Our Trump Scores Work

By Nate Silver

On Monday, we launched a dashboard that tracks how often members of the House and Senate have voted in line with President Trump’s position on bills and nominations. We were pleasantly surprised at how many people1 were interested in this feature — the level of political energy right now is about as high as I can remember in the almost 10 years that I’ve covered politics. But as a result, what we’d expected to be a fairly slow rollout suddenly occurred much faster. So I wanted to add a word of caution, along with a bit more methodological detail.

The caution is simply this: For the time being, these calculations aren’t based on very many votes. Therefore, they’re likely to bounce around over the next few weeks until more votes are taken. As of Monday, they included just four votes in the House and six votes in the Senate. It’s also important to note that we aren’t tracking all votes — only those on which Trump takes a clear position.2 So they represent a small sample size, for now.

Another unique feature of our dashboard is the plus-minus scores. The basic idea is to compare how often a member of Congress voted with Trump against others where the 2016 presidential vote was similar. For instance, you’d expect members to support Trump most of the time if they come from a state or district that voted for Trump by 30 percentage points, but not very often if they’re from one where Hillary Clinton won by that margin.

These estimates are calculated on a bill-by-bill basis. Here, for instance, is a breakdown of votes on confirming Mike Pompeo as CIA director based on the 2016 vote in each senator’s state. Almost all (38 of 40) senators from states that Trump won by 10 or more percentage points voted to confirm Pompeo. Just five of 24 from states that Clinton won by 10 or more points voted to confirm him, however. The majority of senators from swing states voted to confirm him, however, which is why his nomination eventually passed by a fairly clear 66-32 margin...

More :FiveThirtyEight
January 29, 2017

Suburban Bar Apologizes, Rescinds 'Build-A-Wall' Burger Special After Backlash

A Palatine bar that planned to offer a “Build-A-Wall” burger adorned with Mexican condiments has walked back on the special after receiving criticism from some saying it was offensive—though not everyone agrees.
A Facebook post on Durty Nellie’s Facebook page shows a kitten with the words “I am sorry!!! I am sorry!!! I am very sorry!!!”

“Durty Nellies is extremely sorry for posting something that was so upsetting to so many people,” the establishment says in the post. “It was our lame attempt at humor and an attempt to put a little levity in such trying times that severely backfired. It was not the intent of Durty Nellie's to offend anyone or show any malice. Durty Nellie's prides itself on a fun atmosphere and we took it a little too far. We will not be supporting such behavior and will leave all attempts at comedy to the professionals in the future.”

A screengrab of the original offer, which was deleted, three silhouettes depicting President Donald trump filled with brick walls. “Stack as many 40 oz. Angus patties as you want between a brioche bun,” it reads. The ingredients were to include homemade mole, tortilla strips, Chihuahua cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole and jalapeno peppers.

NBC5 Chicago
January 29, 2017

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner Attends Koch Brothers Donor Summit in California


Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has yet to weigh in on President Donald Trump's executive order that halts refugee resettlement and imposes a travel ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations.
As demonstrators protested the order at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and across the country this weekend, NBC 5 confirmed that Rauner has been in Palm Springs, California, for a three-day donor summit with Koch Industries.

The first-term Republican sees the event as a policy summit, a spokesperson said, calling it a chance to discuss criminal justice reform and the advancements they believe they've made in Illinois.

However, the seminar is also considered a chance for 2018 Republican candidates to meet potential donors. Led by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, the Koch network plans to spend up to $400 million on policy and political campaigns during the midterm cycle, according to several reports including from the Washington Post.
January 29, 2017

Netanyahus Support Of Donald Trump Is Already Causing Him Problems

By Luke Baker

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - When Benjamin Netanyahu sent a tweet in support of President Donald Trump’s plan for a wall along the Mexican border, the Israeli prime minister can barely have expected it would be retweeted 40,000 times and cause a backlash at home and abroad.

Already under arguably the greatest pressure he has faced in his 11 years as prime minister, with police questioning him in two criminal probes into abuse of office, aligning himself with Trump may further undermine his standing.

The tweet, sent from his personal account shortly before the Jewish sabbath officially ended on Saturday, was very clear:


Netanyahu was referring to a steel fence Israel has built along its border with Egypt, mainly to keep out migrants fleeing conflicts in Africa, including Somalis, Sudanese and Eritreans.

Israel has also built a steel-and-concrete barrier along its border with the occupied West Bank, which it says is to prevent militants crossing into Israel. Palestinians see the barrier, which has drawn international condemnation, as a land grab.

On the one hand, Trump’s election as president was seen as a godsend for Netanyahu, the first time in four terms as prime minister that he would have a Republican in the White House.

As well as the Republicans being more ideologically aligned with Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition, Trump has already shown a willingness to turn a blind eye to Israel’s settlement building in the West Bank, which Barack Obama’s administration frequently criticized, casting a pall over U.S.-Israeli ties.

On the other hand, Trump is an unpredictable actor who in just nine days in office has sewn division across the United States and shocked capitals around the world with a series of executive actions that are overturning decades of U.S. policy.

The adverse reaction to Netanyahu’s tweet, which was retweeted by Trump and drew far more attention than Netanyahu’s tweets usually do as a result, appeared to be an early sign of the dangerNetanyahu faces with aligning himself with Trump.

The Mexican government was outraged that he would involve himself in what it regards as a bilateral issue...

More :HuffPo
January 27, 2017

The Democratic Base is Marching Right Past It's Leaders.

Newly minted activists want leaders in Washington to actually fight against Trump or- move out of the way.

More :HuffPo

January 25, 2017

A white Trump voter explains why he was inspired to leave a black waitress a $450 tip

and an uplifting note

When Jason White walked into Busboys and Poets Monday morning, a Washington restaurant that promotes social justice, he looked around and told his friend he might want to remove his red “Make America Great Again” cap.

The three white Texan men knew they stuck out in a place where African-American art and images cover the walls. And White said he could sense when his waitress greeted them that she knew they did too.

But Rosalynd Harris had arrived at work that morning still high off the energy from the Women’s March. Her customers Saturday had been abuzz with an optimism that was contagious.

So she was especially cheery when she greeted White and his two friends. They chatted warmly. They told her they were from West Texas. White is a dentist and he complimented her on her smile. They were jovial and fun.

Harris admits that White was right. She did prejudge them, by instantly assuming they were in town for President Trump’s inauguration by appearance alone, even though by that point the signature red baseball cap at been tucked away.

When the men finished their meals White decided to leave Harris, a 25-year-old African American woman, a personal message on the receipt. Then, after he wrote it, he left a $450 tip on their $72.60 bill, which is a nearly 625 percent tip.

More :WaPo

January 25, 2017

Obama makes healthcare plea in handoff letter to Trump


More :The Hill

In the tradition of departing presidents, Barack Obama left a letter for incoming President Donald Trump.

The thrust of the message, which Trump relayed to congressional leaders during their White House meeting Monday evening, was a plea to salvage ObamaCare — or swap it for something at least as generous.

"I haven't seen the letter," Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who attended the meeting, told reporters Tuesday. "But President Obama correctly … stated that, 'Look, we believe the Affordable Care Act is a very important piece of legislation which has given Americans better health, better access, more reliability. And if you have a bill … that improves upon all this, well, you know, maybe I could support it."

"I don't know what the verbiage of President Obama's was," he added. "But his point was: 'If you've got something that's really better and we see it and we think it's better, then we could support that.'"

Trump previously called Obama's letter "beautiful."

Monday's assembly, the first bipartisan meeting hosted by Trump since Friday's swearing in, was by all accounts an informal gathering, heavy on meatballs and light on specific policy details. But Hoyer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), the House Democratic leader, both said they pressed Trump on Republicans' early plan to repeal Obama's signature healthcare law and replace it with something they consider more market-driven.

Democrats are concerned that undoing ObamaCare would extinguish certain benefits while threatening to terminate coverage for millions of patients newly insured under the law. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that repeal would cause 18 million people to lose coverage in the first year alone.

Trump, for his part, has dismissed such dismal predictions by vowing that the Republicans' replacement plan will provide "insurance for everybody." But no detailed plan has yet emerged, and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill have avoided similar coverage promises.

Trump and the Republicans are huddling in Philadelphia beginning Wednesday for a three-day retreat where they're hoping to hammer out at least a preliminary strategy for making good on one of their chief campaign promises.

Hoyer said Trump's response to the Democrats' healthcare concerns was curious.

"He said, 'Well, the Affordable Care Act is going to self-destruct.' And he turned to [Speaker] Paul Ryan, and he said: 'Paul, what I told you is we could [repeal it] or we could leave it in place for two years and it would self-destruct and we'd all look good. But that wouldn't be a good thing to do and … we need to replace it now.'" Hoyer said, relating Trump's words.

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