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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit Area, MI
Home country: USA
Current location: San Francisco, CA
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 02:53 PM
Number of posts: 36,987

About Me

Partner, father and liberal Democrat. I am a native Michigander living in San Francisco who is a citizen of the world.

Journal Archives

Nigel Farage's Brexit Party set to win most UK seats in EU vote

Britain’s newly-formed Brexit Party will comfortably beat the country’s two main parties in European Parliamentary elections, exit polls and early results showed Sunday, as voters expressed their frustration over the Brexit deadlock.

The projected result comes shortly after Conservative Party leader Theresa May announced her resignation as prime minister on Friday morning.

Brexit has gripped British society for more than three years, splintering both the ruling Conservative Party and the opposition Labour party into warring factions since the country’s EU referendum in June 2016.

The U.K. participated in European Parliamentary elections on Thursday after failing to leave the EU at the end of March. The exit polls are not necessarily an accurate indication of the result. A BBC projection shortly after 10 p.m. local time put the Brexit Party ahead.

Veteran euroskeptic campaigner Nigel Farage — who is credited by some with forcing Britain’s 2016 referendum on EU membership — launched his new party in April, after claiming the country’s political leaders had betrayed the vote to leave. Farage’s former party UKIP (The U.K. Independence Party) gained the most U.K. seats at the 2014 European Parliamentary election.


VA: These Ten State Districts Will Determine the Majority in 2019


Democrats have one opportunity to get a head start in a senate race, and that race is SD-08, a Virginia Beach district that voted for both Trump and statewide Democrats in 2017. Incumbent Bill DeSteph is stuck in the past, in terms of his high-school humor, his attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community (which have somehow moved right recent years), and his belief that none of this will affect his reelection chances, even in a district statewide Democrats have recently won. Democrat Missy Cotter Smasal promises to be a different type of representative. In the tradition of newly elected Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, she focused on getting the details right, in her case entered politics through a local effort to lock school doors during the day, while not losing sight of the big issues like climate change.


While Northern Virginia gets the most attention for leftward swings after 2016, the Richmond suburbs had one of their own. While three Republicans in competitive districts went down, one remained. Roxann Robinson has proved herself to be an adept position, portraying herself a moderate by using the Susan Collins technique of throwing her name on a few popular sounding bipartisan measures that either won’t pass or were easily going to pass without her. In 2017, she received the first real challenge of her career when mental health professional Larry Barnett came 0.4 percent away from unseating the fake moderate. This year, he’s back for a rematch, campaigning on necessary reforms for the state, ranging from the broader concepts of clean elections to the specifics of community-based mental health services.


Virginia Democrats didn’t dream big enough in 2017, and Joshua Cole is the greatest victim of that. HD-28 narrowly voted for Obama and Trump, but had always supported its Republican incumbent, who retired in 2017. Virginia Democrats made the choice not to back up their nominee, Cole, who got outspent by over 3:1, and then went on to lose by an agonizingly close 73 votes. And that was in an election where 384 voters in HD-82 were accidentally given a ballot with a different race on it. Cole is a young progressive and president of his local NAACP who is running on platform ranging from healthcare to environmental justice to social inclusion, while the incumbent Republican is so thoroughly an anonymous party hack that there’s no point learning his name


HD-40 is the one that got away. Previously, Republican strength in Northern Virginia was built on getting crossover votes from moderates, a strength which vanished in 2017 as Republican activities had a spotlight shined on them. Democrats nearly swept all eleven Clinton-won districts in the DC area. The sole exception was HD-40, even as it was voting Democrat for governor by 10 percent. This year, the Democrat running to flip the last bit of red from Northern Virginia is Dan Helmer, a combat veteran and descendent of Holocaust survivors. The Republican is Tim Hugo, who’s been in office since 2002 and is giving off the impression of a man who’s going all in while he can, taking the most in gifts of anyone in the legislature and opposing even popular bipartisan measures for including minor taxes. He seems to recognize his time is running out, and we can help make that happen sooner rather than later.


When Republicans drew the house of delegates districts in 2011, they did so by illegally packing black voters into just a few districts, an injustice which was finally rectified in 2019 by a federal court. A whopping eleven districts were struck down for this, and the final remedy affected fourteen more, one of which is HD-66. Unwinnable by Democrats before, the new HD-66 voted for Clinton and statewide Democrats in 2017, all by single digits. The race for HD-66 this year carried huge symbolic significance. The election will be between Speaker of the House Kirk Cox, part of the leadership who drew the discriminatory maps in the first place, and black business owner and activist Sheila Bynum-Coleman. People like Cox drew districts so people like Bynum-Coleman couldn’t win against people like him. Now we have a chance to send an advocate for Medicaid and decarceration to the House of Delegates, but it won’t be as simple as the new, bluer district might suggest. As Speaker, Cox will have access to obscene amounts of money, far more than any other Republican running this year.


In 2017, HD-73 was the second closest Democratic win, with Debra Rodman prevailing by a narrow 3 percent. Rodman is now running for senate, and the newly open HD-73 promises to be a close battle once again. Republicans have pulled in a good candidate for the depleted bench they have to work with: a well off local mother active in the community. She also has the funniest issues page you’ll see all day. It has typos and three bullet points, two of which are are civility and “transparency and simplicity”. The Democratic candidate is Rodney Willett, a lawyer by training who has spent his career advising local governments on cleaner, more transparent operation. A self-described progressive, he has also created a program to provide legal assistance to the homeless.


The Stolle siblings are Virginia Beach’s own little political dynasty. While sister Siobhan is a state senator from the Richmond area, the brothers all stayed local. Ken is the city’s sheriff, Colin is its prosecutor, and Chris represents one of its state house seats. But Virginia Beach, the state’s largest city, has been drifting left, and it looks like Democrats will finally have a chance to break the family’s stranglehold. Chris’s district was affected in the racial gerrymandering lawsuit, and now voted for Hillary Clinton by about 5 percent. This makes it fertile ground for Democrat Nancy Guy, a longtime Virginia Beach resident and education activist who also served on the city’s school board for two terms.


Glenn Davis Jr is just another Republican in the House with clear statewide ambitions, spending the 2017 primary literally living out of the van he was campaigning for lt. governor in. So we can assume he’s definitely focused on his district, which voted for Trump by 4 percent, statewide Democrats in 2017, and Davis by a close 3.5 percent against an opponent who barely raised any money. His opponent this year is Karen Mallard. If you’re on the left, you might know her for her 2018 campaign for VA-02, where she ran a full throated progressive primary campaign and finished respectably well against nominee and now Congressmember Elaine Luria. To the right, however, she will always be the woman who was mean to a gun and they cried so hard about it they reported her the ATF. Mallard didn’t let that deter her and in her delegate campaign hasn’t backed down from her progressive vision for the state.


HD-85 is the twin of HD-73 in a lot of ways. While HD-73 was the second closest Democratic win in 2017, HD-85 was the closest, with Cheryl Turpin only managing a one percent victory. And like Rodman, Turpin is now running for senate, creating an open seat race that could go either way, and Republicans have landed a tough nominee: ex delegate Rocky Holcomb, the incumbent that Turpin defeated in 2017 in a rematch. Holcomb (who before 2017 had a job from his brother’s police department) is a real piece of work, who meets with hate group members and has run race-baiting ads. Our candidate is Alex Askew, a seasoned campaign veteran and and legislative aid to Del. Jay Jones.


The 100th is the most distinctive district in the state. It contains the rural, isolated, and sparsely populated Eastern Shore peninsula, combined with a chunk of the city of Norfolk. The Eastern Peninsula is an incumbent friendly area, which in 2015 simultaneously voted in landslides for Democratic state senator Lynwood Lewis and Republican delegate, Robert Bloxom. Despite it being a Obama-Clinton district, Democrats thought their candidate didn’t have much of a chance until the very end of the campaign, right before Bloxom had an unexpectedly narrow 4 percent reelection. This time around, Phil Hernandez is attempting to hit the ground running as the Democratic nominee. Hernandez was a Senior Policy Analyst in the Obama Whitehouse and has spent his career advocating for the homeless, even managing to write a bill in Virginia that was meaningfully helpful them and still got the bipartisan support needed to pass the Republican legislature and get signed into law in 2016.


Pro-EU parties hold ground in European elections

A diffuse alliance of pro-EU parties largely held their ground in Sunday’s European elections, after a bruising battle with anti-establishment groups that saw Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche defeated in France. 

With indications of turnout rising for the first time 40 years, early estimates produced by the European Parliament suggest voters returned a more fragmented pro-EU majority, with traditional centre-ground parties losing seats to Greens and Liberals. Eurosceptic and far-right parties made modest gains but remained roughly a quarter of MEPs.

The results across the EU’s 28 member states will have a decisive impact on the political direction in Brussels for the coming five years, determining the parliament’s stance on sensitive issues such as green taxes and international trade deals. They will also weigh heavily on the race for the bloc’s top jobs. 

If the estimates are confirmed, it would spell the end of the centre-left and centre-right majority that has held sway in the parliament since 1979, giving way to a more divided pro-EU bloc that will include up to four parties. 

Rightwing Eurosceptics also looked set to make some important gains, notably in France and Italy, but without amassing the numbers to make a decisive difference in the EU’s main legislative chamber. 


Jews told not to wear skullcaps in parts of Germany

The German government's top official against antisemitism has warned Jewish people not to wear skullcaps in parts of the country.

Commissioner Felix Klein was speaking following a rise in antisemitic attacks in Germany.

Mr Klein told the Funke newspaper group: "My opinion has unfortunately changed compared with what it used to be.

"I cannot recommend to Jews that they wear the skullcap at all times everywhere in Germany."

He did not say which places he thought were too risky to wear the cap, also called a kippa.

According to statistics released earlier this month, antisemitic incidents were up by 19.6% to 1,799 in 2018, with 89.1% of them involving far-right perpetrators.


Nevada's female-majority legislature passes pro-choice abortion bill bucking national trend

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada lawmakers are bucking a national trend of restrictive abortion laws by voting to repeal requirements that physicians document a pregnant woman's marital status and tell her about the emotional implications of an abortion.

Democrats in the Assembly passed the bill in a largely party-line vote on Tuesday, the same day protesters across the country decried actions in other statehouses that toughen abortion laws. Nevada has the first overall female-majority Legislature in the country.

When the rest of the country may feel hopeless, may feel bleak, they should look to Nevada as the shining beacon that we are for women's rights, Democratic Sen. Yvanna Cancela told dozens of bill supporters who rallied outside the Nevada Legislature before the vote. Some supporters at the rally held pink signs that said protect safe, legal abortion.

The legislation also removes a criminal penalty for anyone who supplies a woman with medication to induce an abortion without the advice of a physician. That criminal statute also extends to anyone who uses an instrument to terminate a pregnancy without the advice of a physician.


After close race for House, Democrat Kathryn Dodge announces run for Fairbanks mayor

After coming within a vote and a coin toss of an Alaska House seat, Kathryn Dodge announced today she’s running for mayor of the city of Fairbanks in this fall’s elections.

Dodge ran as a Democrat for House District 1 in a tightly contested race against Republican Bart LeBon for the open seat held by now-Sen. Scott Kawasaki. The outcome of the race was eventually decided in the Alaska Supreme Court, where LeBon’s one-vote margin of victory was upheld.

“After a great deal of thought, and talking with many community members, I have decided to run for Fairbanks City Mayor!” she wrote in a Facebook announcement. “Fairbanks is the bright economic spot in our state right now and we need to work to make sure we maximize this opportunity. Let’s work together to ensure we are providing quality city services, are welcoming to business and families, and that we are working toward a shared vision for our Golden Future.”

Dodge has been rumored to be considering a bid against conservative city Mayor Jim Matherly. Matherly grabbed headlines earlier this year when he vetoed an ordinance that would have extended equal rights protections to LGBTQ members in employment, housing and public accommodations. Matherly said he would rather have the issue on the ballot for a public vote.

He’s also grabbed attention for posting a meme mocking Dr. Christine Blasey Ford during the Kavanaugh hearings to his Facebook page, saying it was his girlfriend’s doing.


Trump shares edited video of Pelosi appearing to 'stammer' through speeches

President Trump shared an edited video of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday, mocking the Democratic leader for various moments during a press conference earlier in the day where Pelosi appeared to misspeak.

Trump tweeted the video with the caption: “PELOSI STAMMERS THROUGH NEWS CONFERENCE."

The video, which first appeared on Fox Business's "Lou Dobbs Tonight," cut together a number of Pelosi's apparent flubs in quick succession, but did not appear to be altered in any other way.

Earlier Thursday, a number of videos shared by conservative accounts went viral—those clips were falsely edited to make Pelosi appear as if she was slurring her words due to intoxication. The video Trump shared did not appear to have the same alterations.

His tweet came hours after YouTube removed altered videos of Pelosi following requests for comment from The Hill and other news outlets, though falsely edited videos of the speaker remained on Facebook into Thursday evening.

"YouTube has clear policies that outline what content is not acceptable to post and we remove videos violating these policies when flagged to us. These videos violated our policies and have been removed," a spokesperson for YouTube told The Hill.

The president had also shared other criticism of Pelosi's speech habits throughout the night on Twitter, including a tweet quoting GOP campaign consultant Ed Rollins, who appeared on Dobbs's show, saying Pelosi was unable to "put a subject with a predicate in the same sentence."


Fake Pelosi Videos Spread Across Social Media

“Distorted videos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), altered to make her sound as if she’s drunkenly slurring her words, are spreading rapidly across social media, highlighting how political disinformation that clouds public understanding can now spread at the speed of the Web,” the Washington Post reports.

“The video of Pelosi’s onstage speech Wednesday at a Center for American Progress event, in which she said President Trump’s refusal to cooperate with congressional investigations was tantamount to a “coverup,” was subtly edited to make her voice sound garbled and warped. It was then circulated widely across Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.”


Kushner Offered to Help Indicted Banker

“Shortly after Donald Trump’s 2016 election, Paul Manafort wrote to Jared Kushner to ask the incoming administration to consider giving a ‘major appointment’’ to Manafort’s banker,” Bloomberg reports.

Replied Kushner: “On it!”

“That email exchange, which was admitted as evidence during Manafort’s tax-fraud trial last year, gained new significance Thursday with the unsealing of a federal indictment in New York. The new filing accused the banker, Stephen Calk, of extending loans to Manafort as part of an effort to bribe his way into a plum administration job.”


Progressives Oust Incumbents in Allegheny County, PA primaries.

As elections go, Allegheny County’s 2019 primaries were relatively low profile. But in some of the most highly contested races, progressives got the better of the county Democratic committee.

The biggest name to go down was Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Darlene Harris, who lost a three-way primary to Bobby Wilson. Harris is a longtime nemesis of Mayor BIll Peduto, who strongly backed Wilson. Her twelve years on Council include a stint as its president. Wilson had 57 percent of the vote to Harris’s 32.

Bethany Hallam defeated longtime incumbent John DeFazio for an at-large seat on Allegheny County Council, 54%-to-46%. DeFazio, 77, is a labor leader who’s been on council since it was created two decades ago.

Hallam, 29, works an administrator for a personal-protection academy. She ran on a platform of banning LGBT conversion therapy and spoke openly about her opioid addiction – which landed her briefly in the county jail she’ll soon have a say in administering.

In County Council District 13, Liv Bennett defeated incumbent Denise Ranalli Russell by 17 points.
It was the third cycle in a row where energized progressives outshone establishment Democrats. State Rep. Summer Lee built on her 2018 win this year and emerged as a powerbroker. Her UNITE PAC went three-for three. It endorsed and canvassed for Hallam, Bennett, and Pam Harbin, who won a contested race for Pittsburgh School Board.

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