Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


BeckyDem's Journal
BeckyDem's Journal
July 5, 2023

Shapiro: "I Will Line-Item Veto" PASS Voucher Program

By: Steve Ulrich
July 5, 2023
3:42 PM

In an effort to get a state budget passed, Gov. Josh Shapiro has announced that he will line-item veto the $100 million allocated by Senate Republicans for its Pennsylvania Award For Student Success scholarship program (PASS).

“Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation with a full-time, divided legislature — meaning nothing gets done unless it can make it through our Republican-led Senate and our Democratic-led House,” Shapiro said in a press release statement. “Over the past several weeks, I have worked with leaders in both chambers to craft a commonsense, responsible budget that makes critical investments in public safety, agriculture, economic development, public education, workforce development, relief for our seniors, and much more, as I laid out in my budget address in March.

“Last Friday, the Senate passed a responsible budget that delivers critical funding to our shared priorities and sent it to the House for its consideration. Now, we stand at an impasse largely over one provision of this budget, PASS Scholarships, a proposal I support that has been passed by the Senate but one that Leader Bradford has made clear does not have the support of the House, where it was voted down in committee on Friday.

“Over the weekend, (House Majority) Leader (Matt) Bradford (D-Montgomery) requested a legal memo from the Office of General Counsel, which confirmed that without enabling legislation setting up this program, my Administration legally cannot implement it. Knowing that the two chambers will not reach consensus at this time to enact PASS, and unwilling to hold up our entire budget process over this issue, I will line-item veto the full $100 million appropriation and it will not be part of this budget bill.


( Absolutely awesome, he will be fighting 'til the bitter end! )

July 5, 2023

John Roberts Is Winning. The Rest of Us Are Losing.

JULY 03, 2023 4:16 PM

As the Supreme Court term crashed to a close last week, in a string of stinging defeats to progressives, a familiar narrative began shaping up in the public discourse: The court had, on balance, remained largely loyal to the conservative legal project while delivering just enough compromises to quell any meaningful challenge to its power and legitimacy. That story is the one Chief Justice John Roberts would probably like to have you tell; it is both descriptively accurate and superficial to the point of distortion. The court did, indeed, refuse an invitation to clobber several liberal precedents and policies, which had the effect of leaving the law in place, a set of status quo decisions dressed up as liberal “wins.” It then used the resulting good press as cover to pulverize laws that directly improved the lives of tens of millions of Americans, including the most vulnerable and underprivileged among us. And it achieved these goals largely through the invisible hand of docket manipulation, a trick that’s unique to the modern Supreme Court.

What does that all mean? Nothing too lofty. Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett have finally embraced the chief justice’s tried-and-true formula of years past, joining a series of decisions rebuffing some of the most radical Republicans’ most cynical efforts to yank the law far rightward. The sloppiest, least defensible big swings—pushed by Alabama, Texas, and North Carolina—were rebuffed. Slightly less sloppy big swings were embraced joyfully and written into law, including a case that had no facts and a case that ignored the record below. In swinging at only some of the worst pitches served up, Barrett, Kavanaugh, and the chief justice got a chance to tick off a bunch of policy agenda items that are too unpopular and misery-inducing to pass via the democratic process. After last term’s eruption of molten, cruel conservatism, the 6–3 majority has sought safer political ground without sacrificing any of its most cherished goals.

To see why this term was not some kind of triumph for moderation, consider the decisions that commentators have deemed huge victories for the left. Moore v. Harper simply rejected the independent-state-legislature doctrine, a fringe theory that was rendered toxic by its central role in Donald Trump’s failed coup; at the same time, the court awarded itself ongoing authority to rein in any state courts that it deems to have gone “too far” in protecting democracy, codifying a minority viewpoint into law. United States v. Texas merely put a new limit on the outrageous collusion between red states and a clutch of rogue Trump judges eager to seize control over immigration enforcement. Haaland v. Brackeen followed precedents reaching back two centuries in upholding Congress’ power to protect Native people; even then, it left the door open to future legal attacks on Indigenous rights. Allen v. Milligan affirmed an interpretation of the Voting Rights Act that has stood for nearly four decades and imposes moderate limits on racial gerrymanders. It was arguably the one clear-cut “liberal” victory of the term, and that’s only because the protection of voting rights has now become coded as an exclusively liberal concern. Even that “win” came only after the court left an illegal gerrymander in place for the 2022 midterms, and after years of attacks on Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act that left it much weaker than it used to be.

( Yep, he was never a moderate. )

June 30, 2023

The Mysterious Case of the Fake Gay Marriage Website, the Real Straight Man, and the Supreme Court

Melissa Gira Grant

June 29, 2023

In filings in the 303 Creative v. Elenis case is a supposed request for a gay wedding website—but the man named in the request says he never filed it.

Long before the Supreme Court took up one of the last remaining cases it will decide this session—the 303 Creative v. Elenis case, concerning a Colorado web designer named Lorie Smith who refuses to make websites for same-sex weddings and seeks an exemption from anti-discrimination laws—there was a couple named Stewart and Mike. According to court filings from the plaintiff, Stewart contacted Smith in September 2016 about his wedding to Mike “early next year.” He wrote that they “would love some design work done for our invites, placenames etc. We might also stretch to a website.” Stewart included his phone number, email address, and the URL of his own website—he was a designer too, the site showed.

This week, I decided to call Stewart and ask him about his inquiry.

The Supreme Court is expected to deliver its opinion in a case in which Stewart plays a minor role, a case that could be, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor stated by way of a question at oral argument in December, “the first time in the Court’s history … [that] a commercial business open to the public, serving the public, that it could refuse to serve a customer based on race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation.” (Update: On Friday, the court ruled 6-3 in the web designer’s favor.) It took just a few minutes to reach him. I assumed at least some reporters over the years had contacted him about his website inquiry to 303 Creative—his contact information wasn’t redacted in the filing. But my call, he said, was “the very first time I’ve heard of it.”

( JCA is all I can say. )

June 30, 2023

Climate nears point of no return as land, sea temperatures break records, experts say

By David Stanway
June 30, 20236:20 AM EDT
Updated an hour ago

Temperature records topple around the world
Sea temperatures also hit record high
Climate talks failing to respond to extreme weather emergencies
U.S. climate envoy Kerry expected in Beijing in July

SINGAPORE, June 30 (Reuters) - The target of keeping long-term global warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) is moving out of reach, climate experts say, with nations failing to set more ambitious goals despite months of record-breaking heat on land and sea.

As envoys gathered in Bonn in early June to prepare for this year's annual climate talks in November, average global surface air temperatures were more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels for several days, the EU-funded Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said.

( Democrats do not have partners to solve this problem, we all know the culprits and the remedy. It is deeply distressing to need them because they will never bend against their big donors. They have children, and grandchildren, but that seems irrelevant as reflected in their voting record.)

House Republicans to introduce climate change strategy with eye on midterms

In leaning too much into fossil fuels to counter Biden’s more aggressive climate agenda, Republicans risk turning off swing voters in states and districts already feeling the effects of climate change, with forecasts predicting a brutal summer for wildfires, extreme heat and drought. https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/climate-nears-point-no-return-land-sea-temperatures-break-records-experts-2023-06-30/

June 30, 2023

House Democrat blasts affirmative action exemption of military academies 'grotesque'

BY LAUREN SFORZA - 06/29/23 12:23 PM ET

Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) blasted the Supreme Court’s decision to exempt military academies from its ruling on affirmative action as “outright grotesque.”

“This decision is deeply upsetting but outright grotesque for exempting military academies. The court is saying diversity shouldn’t matter, EXCEPT when deciding who can fight and die for our country—reinforcing the notion that these communities can sacrifice for America but not be full participants in every other way,” Crow, a former Army Ranger, wrote on Twitter.

Excerpt: In a footnote, Roberts wrote that military academies are exempted from the court’s opinion.

“No military academy is a party to these cases, however, and none of the courts below addressed the propriety of race-based admissions systems in that context. This opinion also does not address the issue, in light of the potentially distinct interests that military academies may present,” the footnote states.

( Disgusting. )

June 29, 2023

Biden on affirmative action decision: 'This is not a normal court'

President Biden on Thursday weighed in on the Supreme Court following its decision to upend affirmative action in college admissions, calling it “not normal.”

“This is not a normal court,” the president said at the White House when asked whether thought the institution had gone “rogue.”

Excerpt: Earlier on Thursday, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) said the court’s legitimacy is now in question, calling the decision “radical.”

In the opinion that broke along ideological lines, conservative justices invalidated admissions practices at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, ruling they did not comply with the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.


( Yep, not normal. )

June 27, 2023

'Planned in plain sight': Senate report finds intel agencies failed in the lead-up to Jan. 6

The FBI and DHS downplayed the potential for violence even as rioters openly planned to attack the Capitol online, Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security Committee found.

June 27, 2023, 5:00 AM EDT
By Ryan Nobles and Ryan J. Reilly

WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement agencies failed to correctly analyze a wide range of intelligence showing the potential for violence on Jan. 6, 2021, Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security Committee concluded in a report released Tuesday.

The report, written by the committee's chair, Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and staff, provides specific examples of threats of violence and plans for an attack on the Capitol that were collected by agencies in the lead-up to Jan. 6, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A). The report concludes that the agencies consistently downplayed the potential for violence and, as a result, the government did not prepare the proper security apparatus for Washington that day.

"At a fundamental level, the agencies failed to fulfill their mission and connect the public and nonpublic information they received," the report reads, pointing to internal emails and documents that "demonstrate the breadth and gravity of the threats these agencies received related to January 6th."

As an example, on Jan. 2, 2021, four days before the riot, the social media platform Parler sent a post from a user on its site to the FBI that read, “This is not a rally and it’s no longer a protest. This is a final stand where we are drawing the red line at Capitol Hill. … don’t be surprised if we take the #capital building.”


( Yea, why would anyone worry about as specific a threat as that. )

June 24, 2023

Wagner uprising shows Russia's 'full-scale' weakness and chaos, says Zelenskiy - Ukraine war live

From 5h ago

03.29 EDT
Here is what Vladimir Putin has said so far:
Putin gave an emergency televised address on Saturday as the Wagner mercenary chief leads an armed rebellion:

Putin said Russia was fighting “the toughest battle for its future”.
He said the Wagner “armed mutiny” was a “stab in the back” to Russia. He called the rebellion treason and said anyone who had taken up arms against the Russian military would be punished.
He said he would do everything to protect Russia, that the Russian armed forces “have been given the necessary orders” and that “decisive action” would be taken to stabilise the situation.

More here:


( Fingers crossed and all that. )

June 23, 2023

America's Dangerous Trucks (full documentary) FRONTLINE

Deadly traffic accidents involving large trucks have surged over the past decade. FRONTLINE and ProPublica investigate one particularly gruesome kind of truck accident — underride crashes — and why they keep happening.

“These are crashes where a smaller vehicle gets caught under large trucks like 18-wheelers, often with devastating consequences,” says award-winning correspondent A.C. Thompson (“Documenting Hate,” “American Insurrection,” and “Law & Disorder”). “Our new investigation explores what the trucking industry and the government knew about these crashes, when they knew it, and their role in the fight over safety measures that could potentially save thousands of lives.”

America’s Dangerous Trucks is a FRONTLINE production with Midnight Films LLC in partnership with ProPublica. The director is Gabrielle Schonder. The producers are A.C. Thompson, Gabrielle Schonder and Karim Hajj. The correspondent is A.C. Thompson. The writers are A.C. Thompson and Gabrielle Schonder. The editor-in-chief and executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.

( The culprit here is deregulation going back to the Reagan era. There are good people who tried under the Obama administration, take a listen and please share with your elected reps. )

Profile Information

Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Feb 9, 2017, 01:31 PM
Number of posts: 8,361
Latest Discussions»BeckyDem's Journal