Category Archives: Updates

2018 Midterms could bring Good Luck and Bad News to Democrats…FiveThirtyEight…

over at Nate Silver’s blog point to a possible that would have Democrats win a majority in the House and lose even more ground in the Senate….

The 2018 midterms are a story of two chambers. Democrats are in the best position they’ve been in since 2010 to win a majority of seats in the House of Representatives. The Senate map, on the other hand, is so tilted toward the GOP that most political analysts have all but dismissed Democrats’ chances of winning the chamber before 2020. It has even been suggested that Republicans could gain enough Senate seats(eight) in 2018 to amass a filibuster-proof majority (60 seats).

This is normally the part of the article where I push back on the conventional wisdom and argue something like, actually, the 2018 Senate map isn’t that bad for Democrats. But no, it’s pretty bad: Democrats are a long shot to take back the Senate.

What I will argue, however, is that it’ll also be difficult for the GOP to pick up a bunch of seats. Republicans would need to oust incumbent Democrats, and it’s extremely difficult to beat an incumbent senator in a midterm when his or her party doesn’t control the White House.

It may seem a little nuts to suggest that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer can keep losses to a minimum in 2018….

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100 years ago, Americans viewed Catholics the way they see Muslims now…

History regularly repeats itself…

Can we learn from it?

About a century ago, millions of Americans feared that members of a religious group was amassing an arsenal of weapons for a secret, preplanned takeover of the United States.

The feared religious group wasn’t Muslims. It was, as Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce wrote in a great piece in 2015, Catholics:

Hatred had become big business in southwestern Missouri, and its name was the Menace, a weekly anti-Catholic newspaper whose headlines screamed to readers around the nation about predatory priests, women enslaved in convents and a dangerous Roman Catholic plot to take over America.…

America’s deep and widespread skepticism of Catholics is a faint memory in today’s post-Sept. 11 world. But as some conservative politicians call for limits on Muslim immigration and raise questions about whether Muslims are more loyal to Islamic law than American law, the story of Aurora’s long-ago newspaper is a reminder of a long history of American religious intolerance.

Today, there are calls for federal surveillance of mosques in the name of preventing terrorist attacks; a century ago, it was state laws that allowed the warrantless search of convents and churches in search of supposedly trapped women and purported secret Catholic weapons caches.

This may seem absurd today, but there was a real fear among Protestant Americans back then that Catholics were planning to take over the country….

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Pediatricians Say No Fruit Juice in Child’s First Year…

…from the NY Times…

CreditGetty Images

The nation’s top pediatricians are advising parents to stop giving fruit juice to children in the first year of life, saying the drink is not as healthful as many parents think.

In the past, the American Academy of Pediatrics had advised parents to avoid 100 percent fruit juice for babies younger than 6 months. On Monday, the group toughened its stance against juice, recommending that the drink be banned entirely from a baby’s diet during the first year. The concern is that juice offers no nutritional benefits early in life, and can take the place of what babies really need: breast milk or formula and their protein, fat and minerals like calcium, the group said.

This is the first time the pediatricians’ group has updated its guidelines on fruit juice since 2001.

“I think this is a fantastic recommendation for infants, and it’s long overdue,” said Dr. Elsie M. Taveras, chief of the division of general pediatrics at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston, who was not involved in the new report. “Parents feel their infants need fruit juices, but that’s a misconception.”….

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2020 Democratic Presidential bench…LA Mayor Eric Garcetti ….

We look at another early  name in the race….

Image result for eric garcetti

Eric Garcetti is headed to Wisconsin.

The Los Angeles mayor and his staff like to say his trip to the state Hillary Clinton famously forgot to pay attention to last year — he’ll keynote the state Democratic convention June 2 — is because the state party finance director is a friend who used to fundraise for him, or that he was just such a hit when he spoke to the Wisconsin delegation during the Democratic convention last year that they invited him for more.

Or, crazy as it may seem right now, it’s exactly what you think.

Running for president without being a statewide elected official first, and the mayor of L.A. to boot, goes the thinking in his orbit, isn’t the kind of liability it used to be — have people not noticed that Donald Trump is the president, that Emanuel Macron just won in France as a first-time 39-year-old candidate?

“I’m not focused on running for president,” was how he tried, briefly, to deflect when I asked him whether he’s looking at the 2020 race, in an interview in Washington, D.C., for POLITICO’s Off Message podcast.

We were sitting in a room one floor up from where he’d just spoken at the Ideas Conference, hosted by the Center for American Progress, which eagerly promoted the event as the first roundup of potential Democratic candidates and picked him to give the opening keynote.

His deflection on 2020 lasted about 20 seconds.

“I think the rules have changed, absolutely. And these categories are artificial. Does a governor of a state of 3 million have more experience than a mayor of a city of 4 million? I mean, we’ve got the sixth-largest economy in California in the world. We’ve got the 17th-largest in Los Angeles if it was an independent country,” Garcetti said. “It’s not an issue of experience or whether voters are even willing to anymore. I think, ‘What does this country need?’ Who will they need?’ And I trust voters. They respond to the right people at the right moments, and I’m ready to support that person in the future.”

I asked him whether he’s ready to be that person himself. He went right back to that not-so-wiggly wiggle word……

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image…governing.com

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The Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Program could be up in the air…

Some of us are  in the program for loans we have to help our kids…

It’s not bad enough that the company handling the loans are playing games…

Now we find that the Government under Trump and the Republicans COULD try screw hundreds of thousands  of people out of a program they THOUGHT they had?

The program has been shrouded in some uncertainty for months.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the Department of Education is planning to propose ending the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

The article was based on budget documents obtained by the Post. A public version of the department’s budget is expected to be released next week. Congress would have to approve the department’s proposed changes for them to take effect.

It’s unclear whether the Trump administration may propose ending the program for future graduates, or end it for those who have already applied and made qualifying payments.

The Department of Education did not respond to CNNMoney’s requests for comment, and “had no immediate comment” for the Washington Post.

“It would be absolutely detrimental to those of us who have planned our lives around this program. It would be the equivalent of pulling the rug out from under us,” said Daniel J. Crooks III, a government attorney who is expecting loan forgiveness from the public service program in six years….

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Trump efforts to shut down the Russian Connection probe was wider than thought….

The Washington Post is out with a piece that details a wide coordinated effort by the Trump Admin to get FBI Director to call off his investigation of their contacts with the Russian’s during the campaign….

Trump personally asked his Director of National Intelligence and National Security Agency head to help him get FBI Director Comey to stop his probing…

All of this before Trump DIRECTLY went on a fired Comey for continuing….

By the way?

A recent poll has the number at around 60% of Americans wanting the Trump campaign / Russian connection investigation to CONTINUE….

THE BIG IDEA: James Comey was not alone. Even Donald Trump’s own pick for director of national intelligence, former Republican Sen. Dan Coats, refused to comply with a request by the president to push back against the FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government.

Trump also reached out to Adm. Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency. He pressed both men to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election. Each saw the president’s entreaty as inappropriate.

The Post’s Adam Entous and Ellen Nakashima broke this latest bombshell last night: “Current and former senior intelligence officials viewed Trump’s requests as an attempt by the president to tarnish the credibility of the agency leading the Russia investigation. A senior intelligence official said Trump’s goal was to ‘muddy the waters’ about the scope of the FBI probe … Senior intelligence officials also saw the March requests as a threat to the independence of U.S. spy agencies, which are supposed to remain insulated from partisan issues.‘The problem wasn’t so much asking them to issue statements, it was asking them to issue false statements about an ongoing investigation,’ a former senior intelligence official said of the request to Coats.”

This new scoop is hugely significant because it suggests a concerted, multi-front effort by the president and top White House staff to rein in an FBI investigation in the months before Trump fired Comey. You really should read Adam and Ellen’s full story, but here are three important nuggets….

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The Senate is in No Rush on their Obamacare rewrite bill….

Meaning that the Affordable Healthcare Law will continue in effect and the political ‘hot potato’ will be left on the side for a long while…

The Senate GOP’s progress on Obamacare repeal has been hard to decipher so far, with lots of public assurances that negotiations are continuing but few tangible results.

The process, which Republicans claim began even before the House passed its repeal bill, has been notable for what it’s been missing. It’s unclear, publicly at least, who is leading the effort, the direction they’re taking and whether there’s even agreement on how far the Senate will stray from the deeply unpopular House proposal, which guts Medicaid while scaling back the Affordable Care Act’s widely-liked consumer protections.

The Senate GOP’s 13-member working group initially unveiled to iron out an approach that could bring 51 votes was quickly met with ugly headlines about the lack of women, while rival groups have popped up among the members left out of the original task force. GOP leaders have since stressed that all Republicans are invited to participate in the talks, which happen twice or thrice weekly in Capitol, behind closed doors.

In the meantime, trial balloon after trial balloon has been floated with anonymous leaks, only to be immediately popped by other Republicans, who sometimes are only hearing of alleged proposals directly from the press….

While GOP Senators swear their not adhering to any specific timetable, some deadlines do in fact exist. To stay on track to pass both Obamacare repeal and tax cut legislation this year, the Senate will likely need to wrap up their health care talks this summer. More pressing, however, is insurers’ filing deadlines for their 2018 plans. Insurers would like to see more certainty on what the marketplace will look like, including what will happen to key ACA subsidies Republicans have previously attacked….

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Former CIA head John Brennan…Trump campaign Russian contact’s ‘concerned him’….

All this went on and President Obama said NOTHING out loud because he was worried about the politics of announcing this would look?

He insisted that he did not know if there had been any intentional collusion between those campaign associates, who he declined to name.

“But I know that there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau to determine whether U.S. persons were actively colluding,” Brennan said.

The contacts concerned him, he said, because of known Russian efforts to suborn U.S. individuals.

In response to direct questioning from Reps. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) and Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) to provide evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Brennan said he had “unanswered questions” when he left office about the extent to which Russian spies were successful at co-opting U.S. persons to do their bidding….

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Ya Gets’ what ya vote for?…Donald Trump…Open Thread for May 22, 2017….

It’s been 122 days since Donald Trump moved into America’s White House….

I have written President Trump about 3 times here at the PDog in those 122 days….

I have written a LOT about Donald Trump’s bumbling in these past months….

I wrote a LOT about how Trump wasn’t qualified to be President and I think I got THAT Right….

But millions of people out there in America voted FOR Donald J. Trump ….Less than voted for Hillary Clinton by about THREE MILLON….

That’s the  way things work in America…. You CAN win the election if you get votes in certain places even if you get less overall….Trump surprised MOST of us and won the Presidency by less than 100,000 votes out of 140 MILLION or so ….

Turns out the people who voted FOR Trump believed him when he said the whole US Government was ‘rigged’….

Now that Trump IS the Government?

Things haven’t changed from the campaign….

He say’s crazy things that often make NO sense…

Even his party members in the House and Senate decided that THEY would draft an 2017 budget that had few of Trump campaign things in it….

Trump said he’s make sure NO one lost their Healthcare coverage….But that’s isn’t what is coming out of the GOP House with Trump’s Budget wishes….DEEP cuts is what he’s looking for…

Trump ranted about how Hillary Clinton couldn’t be trusted?

But Trump is out there GIVING the countries secrets away to the Russians IN THE White House….

It has got so bad with him countermining his staff in public  (Trump continues to be Trump) that we now wait for the next morning to get Trump’s REAL feelings on anything…

No Wall…

No Muslim Ban….

But we STILL can count on Trump to keep trying to stop HIS government people from investigating his buddies getting cozy with the Russians…Its gotten to Trump telling the Russians he’s trying to bury the probe HIS government is making against His  former and present campaign staff buddies….

For Now?

Trump STILL has a LOT of people happy that he’s in the White House even if he’s hard on offering up cuts for their benefits and hasn’t followed thru on getting them jobs…

Around 40% of Americans, according to polls, actually think Donald Trump is doing a Good Job….But…..

The other 60% of us didn’t vote for the guy ….

We’re NOT Happy….

We didn’t vote for this…..

We’re living with what the ‘other guys’ voted for….

It’s a Democracy , Right?

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Nike Announces New Apple Watch Bands With Matching Running Shoes

by Mitchel Broussard @ macrumors….

Nike today announced four new Apple Watch bands for Apple Watch Nike+ that will match the Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit “Day to Night” collection of shoes. The company said that the new colors of bands and shoes are “inspired by a shade of the sky, from dawn to dusk,” and mark the first time that Apple Watch owners can directly match their band choice to their Nike sneakers.


Similar to previous Nike+ Apple Watch bands, the new options are made of the same flexible fluoroelastomer material that Apple uses in its own Sport bands, but include a perforated design for ventilation and sweat management. The most recent Nike and Apple partnership was in the cream and black NikeLab band that launched in April, following the first Apple Watch Nike+ device that debuted last September.

Users will be able to purchase the new Nike Apple Watch sport bands for $49.00 each beginning on June 1 on Nike.com and in select Nike stores….

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Trump asked intel chiefs to knock FBI’s Russia probe: report

Didn’t Donald Trump say he didn’t ‘trust’ his intelligence community which has leaked extensively against his efforts to get tight with the Russians?

So he asked Comey in February to get Mike Flynn off the hook….

Now we have a leak that points to Trump going to his DNI and NSA heads to say his campaign had no part in extensive talks with the Russians during his campaign?

WTF was the man thinking???

Image result for Trump and Coats/Rogers

Staff and BOTH agencies have ALREADY provided PROOF to the FBI and Congress of just the opposite…That members of his immediate staff WHERE in contact with various Russians….

This continues to point to a man desperate to stop the dogs hunting around him for MORE proof that he and others have worked extensively to communicate with Russian interests during the campaign….

,,,,drip….Drip….DRIP.

President Trump reportedly asked two top intelligence officials in March to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russia, the Washington Post reported Monday.

Trump reportedly asked Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, and Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, to make public statements that there were no ties between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. Both officials refused to do so because they thought the requests were inappropriate, according to the report.

Senior White House officials also reportedly asked how they could directly intervene with former FBI Director James Comey’s investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

“Can we ask him to shut down the investigation? Are you able to assist in this matter?” one official reportedly asked.
The NSA and a spokesman for Coats declined to comment to the Post, citing the current investigation….
image….Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers refused…SFGate.Com
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More Fox News Sexual Harassment and Discrimination lawsuits filed…

They just keep coming…..

Fox News was hit with new sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits on Monday, adding to the catalog of complaints that has rattled the U.S. cable news network and its corporate parent 21st Century Fox Inc.

New York City lawyer Douglas Wigdor filed lawsuits in federal court in Manhattan on behalf of Kathleen Lee, a Fox News Radio shift editor who says she was sexually harassed and subjected to “unceasing retaliation” for complaining, and Naima Farrow, who maintains she was fired from her job as an accounts payable coordinator after telling supervisors she was pregnant.

In a third case in the same court, Vidya Mann, a Fox News accounts receivable specialist, said she was taken on as a temporary employee but passed over for permanent jobs in favor of white coworkers.

A spokeswoman at Fox News said the company believes the suits are without merit, noting that the company took prompt action and takes all complaints of discrimination seriously.

The new legal claims come as Fox News is already battling a series of lawsuits that led to the resignations of former chief executive Roger Ailes, who died last week, star anchor Bill O’Reilly and network co-president Bill Shine…..

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19 DOA @ at Ariana Grande Concert in Manchester, England due to an explosion…

Panic and mayhem seized the crowd at the Manchester Arena as the blast reverberated through the building, just as the show was ending and pink balloons were dropping from the rafters in a signature flourish by Ms. Grande, a 23-year-old pop star on an international tour.

Traumatized concertgoers — including children separated from parents — screamed and fled in what appeared to be the deadliest episode of terrorism in Britain since the 2005 London subway bombings.

Prime Minister Theresa May said her thoughts were with the victims and their families in “what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.”

There was no immediate word from the police on the precise cause of the blast but unconfirmed reports said it was possibly a suicide bomber who had detonated a nail-filled explosive device.

The scene immediately evoked the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, which included a deadly assault inside the Bataclan concert arena where the Eagles of Death Metal had been playing. But unlike the Bataclan victims, the Manchester concert was filled with young teenagers….

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image…PRESS ASSOCIATION

Armed police (left) at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande concert.

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The How’s and Why’s of Impeachment explained by FiveThirtyEight….

While the term is throw around quite liberally?

The actual REMOVAL of an American President against his will is a complicated endeavor ….An Political in nature…

Image result for trump/nixon/clinton

After a cacophonous two weeks of political news, a new sound has begun to emerge from Washington: the word “impeachment.” Following the news that President Trump may have tried to bully FBI director James Comey out of investigating Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia, Sen. Angus King of Maine, an independent, told CNN that recent allegations, if true, are already making impeachment hearings more likely. Rep. Al Green, a Democrat from Texas, became the first congressman to call for Trump’s impeachment from the House floor. And even some Republicans in blue-leaning districts, such as Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, have begun to entertain impeachment as a possibility.

This might all seem like a liberal fantasy: No president has ever been booted out of the job, and only Richard Nixon resigned under the pressure of the impeachment process.

But people putting money on the line are taking impeachment seriously. According to the prediction market Betfair, the chance that Trump will fail to serve out his four-year term is about 50 percent (!). There’s even a 20 to 25 percent probability (!!) that Trump doesn’t finish out 2017 in office, these bettors reckon.

Are those numbers within the realm of reason? It isn’t easy to forecast Trump’s odds of impeachment, or of his removal from office. There isn’t enough data to build a statistical model of it, in the way we would for an election. But we can say that there are two opposite forces tugging strongly on the impeachment rope:

  • On the one side, there’s Trump’s escalating pattern of (alleged) misconduct, which increasingly reflects behavior that has been used as grounds for impeachment in the past.
  • On the other side, there’s the intense partisan loyalty of Republicans, both among GOP members of Congress and among voters in the states and districts they represent.

So long as these sides are pulling with roughly equal force, Trump isn’t going to be removed from office, which would require a two-thirds majority in the Senate. But if something snaps — if Republicans have reason to think Trump has become a liability even in red states — look out. History suggests Trump could be vulnerable under such circumstances, despite the historical rarity of impeachment. Here’s how to think about the chances…..

A LOT More…..

image…CNN.Com

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Trump / Republican Congress Immigration policy Updates…

While Trump has NOT been able to get his ‘wall’ or Muslim ban?

He has jaw boned illegal border crossing down by record amounts….

In addition, while he has not gotten money for more immigration enforcement ?….Immigration and Border cops HAVE increased their searches for illegals resulting in increased deportation cases…

The Hill does a piece on a new House bill offered up and the actions of the Trump admin to increase sticking to the letter of the law  against illegal’s in America….

The Trump administration has found a way to deport millions of undocumented aliens without hearings, and the Republican-controlled congress is working on enforcement-only legislation.

On May 16, Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), introduced the Davis-Oliver Act, H.R. 2431. Davis and Oliver were law enforcement officers who were murdered by an alien returning to the United States illegally after being deported twice. …

Section 314 makes crimes out of illegal entry and unlawful presence. If an offender does not have three misdemeanor convictions or a felony conviction, a first offense can result in imprisonment for up to six months. Subsequent offenses can result in imprisonment for up to two years.

The Davis-Oliver Act would make it possible for the states to take over the responsibility for immigration enforcement if a future president limits enforcement the way Obama did. ..

The Republicans can deport most of the undocumented aliens in the country if they choose to do so, but it would take a long time and would be very expensive politically as well as financially…..

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Update on Haitian Refugees ….

…twitter…

BREAKING: Federal officials: DHS to extend temporary protected status to Haitians

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Trump lands in Israel…..

President Trump began a two-day visit to Israel and the West Bank on Monday, wading into a generations-old Middle East standoff that will pose an early test of whether his business deal-making skills can translate to the high-wire world of international diplomacy.

Air Force One touched down around noon at Ben-Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv, where the president and his family were greeted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials. Mr. Trump had a day of symbolic visits ahead, before delving into the heart of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians in pursuit of what he has called “the ultimate deal.”

Mr. Trump arrived on what was believed to be the first open, direct flight to Israel from Saudi Arabia, which do not have diplomatic relations, and said he had “found new reasons for hope” for peace during his meetings with Muslim leaders in the Saudi capital of Riyadh over the weekend.

“We have before us a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace to this region and its people, defeating terrorism and creating a future of harmony, prosperity and peace,” Mr. Trump said during an airport arrival ceremony before flying by helicopter to Jerusalem. “But we can only get there working together. There is no other way.”….

More from the NY Times….

Note…

Trump just can’t stop being Trump….

…twitter…

JERUSALEM (AP) — Trump says he never mentioned Israel in Oval Office meeting with Russian diplomats.

Trump’s non-denial denial is publicly confirming that the agent he blew was, in fact, Israeli.

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