Posted by Gypsy Chief
After appearing to agree to a debate with his Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes in late October, Sen. Mitch McConnell abruptly flip-flopped and refused to debate the fiery Democrat.
According to WHAS11, McConnell turned down the debate because he would be on a bus tour of KENTUCKY during the potential dates,
The chances for more than one U.S. Senate debate in Kentucky narrowed Tuesday afternoon when the campaign of U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) declined specific dates agreed to less than two hours earlier by Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.
“Senator McConnell will be in the middle of a bus tour during the dates suggested,” said McConnell campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore. “Ultimately, much like other debate negotiations, neither the timing nor the format could be agreed to by both campaigns.”
We all know how difficult it can be to turn the bus around, and drive to another location. McConnell has come up with what is easily the worst excuse ever for ducking a debate.
McConnell’s biggest issue with the format seemed to be that Grimes was going to be there, and he was going to have to answer questions. Mitch McConnell objected to a live audience being present, and the moderator being allowed to ask questions. Sen. McConnell’s excuses are getting more flimsy with each passing day. There is only one current debate scheduled on October 13.
The only conclusion that can be drawn from McConnell’s behavior is that he is afraid to debate Alison Lundergan Grimes. Mitch McConnell is trying to hide and ride out the storm. His strategy is to win reelection with an onslaught of negative ads against Grimes. McConnell doesn’t believe that voters in all parts of Kentucky deserve to see the candidates live together.
The Grimes campaign had this to say about Yellow Mitch’s duck and run act, “Mitch McConnell had to invent a phantom bus tour to hide from the fact that he has done next to nothing to help create jobs in 30 years, while we’ve lost thousands of good-paying jobs. Rather than accept multiple opportunities for Kentuckians to hear two very different visions for the future, McConnell is strangely comfortable hiding behind the dark money millionaires and billionaires trying to buy his way back to Washington.”
Debates are a key piece of the democratic process. Voters deserve to see their choices debate. Mitch McConnell doesn’t want the Kentucky voters informed. He doesn’t want the voters to compare the two candidates. This behavior is coming from the same candidate who constantly complains that the Koch brothers right to free speech is under attack.
If Mitch McConnell has his way, he will speak more to the Koch brothers this year than to Kentucky voters.
Sen. McConnell is running scared.
Source: Politicus. Written by Jason Easley.
Posted by Gypsy Chief
The City of Fort Collins, Environmental Services Department is sponsoring another household hazardous waste collection semi-annual event. Saturday, September 6, 2014 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at CSU’s parking lot at the northwest corner of Lake Street and South College Avenue.
Follow the link to Environmental Services Department, above, for more information. The event coordinator is Erin Henggeler.
Posted by Gypsy Chief
Who would have ever thought that something like this could happen in all American Mormon land?
Homophones, as any English grammarian can tell you, are words that sound the same but have different meanings and often different spellings — such as be and bee, through and threw, which and witch, their and there.
This concept is taught early on to foreign students learning English because it can be confusing to someone whose native language does not have that feature.
But when the social-media specialist for a private Provo-based English language learning center wrote a blog explaining homophones, he was let go for creating the perception that the school promoted a gay agenda.
Tim Torkildson says after he wrote the blog on the website of his employer, Nomen Global Language Center, his boss and Nomen owner Clarke Woodger, called him into his office and told him he was fired.
As Torkildson tells it, Woodger said he could not trust him and that the blog about homophones was the last straw.
“Now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality,” Woodger complained, according to Torkildson, who posted the exchange on his Facebook page.
Source: Daily Kos.
Posted by Gypsy Chief
From Colorado Pols.
Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post reported Friday, and we didn’t want it to escape mention:
A new campaign ad that features the “Flat Earth Discussion Group,” cheese by-products and a man with a sock puppet takes a humorous look at Colorado’s fracking battle, but some voters aren’t laughing.
The Environmental Policy Alliance launched the 60-second spot this month as a way to counter what it says are are false claims from “radical activists” about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, an issue that has dominated Colorado’s political landscape for almost two years.
But in hyper-educated Colorado — which ranks second in the nation per capita for the number of people with college degrees — will the ad backfire? [Pols emphasis]
Because the oil and gas industry has–pardon the pun–money to burn on promoting its agenda, we expect them to shovel every kind of media at Colorado voters for as long as their risk/benefit equations make it gainful. This ad is a lesson in the need to better prescreen the concepts their media department/consultants/meddling executive directors hatch in a moment of heady, undisciplined groupthink. You’ve been to those meetings.
Meetings where they hatch really bad ideas.
You see, outside the world of the oil and gas industry’s vast payroll and legions of politicos and PR firms in their orbit, a large percentage of perfectly reasonable, well educated people have legitimate concerns about drilling–especially now that “fracking” has brought drilling to places it previously was not, residential areas unaccustomed to industrial activity. These are not people who want to ban the practice of fracking outright; but they are persuadable that the industry’s invasive status quo, sometimes in neighborhoods like their own, is not satisfactory.
And this ad more or less insults them all.
At the end of the day, the purpose of paid advertising is not to make the people who already agree with you chuckle, it’s to persuade persuadables who have not yet decided. This might be a good video to play at oil and gas industry trade conferences to lighten the mood or whatever, but for the purpose of reaching the middle-road segment of Colorado voters who could decide the fate of local control ballot initiatives this November, it’s misguided enough to significantly backfire on its creators.
Posted by Gypsy Chief
Five Things This Weekend’s [July 18-July 20] Rallies Tell Us About The Nativist Right
For weeks now, anti-immigrant groups have been hyping a “National Day of Protesting Against Immigration Reform, Amnesty & Border Surge,” meant to be two days of protests in cities across the country in reaction to the Central American children who are coming to the southern border to flee violence in their home countries.
The protests were a bust. Local news reports and pictures posted on social media show anemic turnout, from about 40 people in front of the United Nations in New York to just three at a McClellan, Texas, border control station who wondered if they had gotten the wrong address.
These small but vitriolic protests, although they didn’t meet the hype of their organizers, tell us everything we need to know about today’s anti-immigrant movement.
- It’s driven by extremists.
This weekend’s protests were organized by three fringe groups: Make Them Listen, Overpasses for America, and Americans for Legal Immigration PAC.
Overpasses for America is a group led by activist James Neighbors that organizes demonstrations over highway overpasses to call for President Obama’s impeachment. The group went a step further this year when it backed Operation American Spring, an effort meant to flood Washington with protesters and force Obama out of office , which also came up slightly short of expectations .
Overpasses frequently shares images like this on its Facebook page:
The group also uses the platform to share its views on immigrants, including this image and its accompanying caption.
Americans for Legal Immigration is a one-man anti-immigrant hate shop run by North Carolina-based activist William Gheen. Gheen has said that “illegal and violent” means might be necessary to remove President Obama from office and has a long record of virulent anti-immigrant rhetoric . Gheen’s last national action was encouraging his supporters to mail used underwear to undocumented immigrants.
Gheen also has ties to the right-wing militia movement: he personally invited the anti-government group Oath Keepers to join the weekend’s protests.
Other groups listed as “participating organizations” in the event included 2 Million Bikers To DC, whose leader wants to repeal all but the first 10 amendments to the Constitution and which deals in racist Facebook images, and Americans Have Had Enough Coalition, which is led by white supremacist Roan Garcia-Quintana .
The largest recent anti-immigrant protests — the attempts to turn back busses of migrant children in Murrieta, California, and Oracle, Arizona — were also populated by anti-government fringe groups. The Murrieta protest, which was organized by activists tied to the Minutemen and the John Birch Society, drew some of the same people who had recently set up shop at the anti-government standoff at the Bundy Ranch.
- It relies on xenophobia.
Signs and chants at this weekend’s protests show that the movement draws its energy from Nativism and xenophobia.
A number of signs at the events drew from the ginned-up fears of migrant children carrying diseases. In New York, one protester parodied Emma Lazarus, shouting, “bring us your smallpox, bring us your malaria, your scabies.”
Another woman in New York held a sign calling “illegals” and President Obama “cockroaches.”
At the Raleigh event, attended by Gheen himself, protesters in front of the Mexican consulate held a large sign reading “No Way Jose.”
A protester in Texas held a sign saying, “We are a nation of immigrants, not a nation of welfare.”
Another protester in Florida wrote a sign that read, “Send Them Back with Birth Control.”
- The fringe and the “mainstream” are closely knit.
The weekend’s protests were organized by fringe extremists, but they were promoted by large national groups that have access and influence in national politics.
The largest anti-immigrant organizing groups, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and Numbers USA quietly promoted the events: Numbers sent a notice about the events to its email list and a number of FAIR’s state affiliates directed members to events in their areas.
Prominent GOP-tied activists also promoted the events. The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios urged listeners of her radio show to attend events in their area and advertised the protest on Facebook. The Right’s favorite “constitutional scholar” Mark Levin also advertised the rallies on Facebook.
Rep. Steve King, the leading anti-immigrant voice in Congress, spoke at a sparsely attended protest in Nebraska, telling his audience that the migrant children at the border represent an “invasion” the size of “Santa Ana’s army.”
- The movement’s running on fumes.
The small turnout at the weekend’s rallies highlights the truth that the anti-immigrant movement is desperately trying to hide: it just doesn’t have that much support.
Reports from cities across the country show just small handfuls of people showing up to yell about the child migrants to passing cars.
About 12 people turned up on an overpass in Milwaukee. A similar number gathered in Oklahoma City and Placentia, California. An event in Dover, Delaware, seems to have attracted about twenty. About eight appear to have made it out to hang an “Obama Sucks” banner on an overpass in Chattanooga. Three people turned up on an overpass in Oregon. San Diego mustered 25 people. A small group of protesters in Columbus, Ohio, were disappointed that so few people had showed up. About 15 people made it to the parking lot of the Mexican consulate in Little Rock; consulate officials and local police assured local news that they weren’t too concerned about needing additional security.
Meanwhile, Think Progress reporters in McClellan, Texas, ran into a group of three anti-immigrant demonstrators who wondered if they had gotten the wrong address for the protest. They were drowned out by the more than 60 people rallying in support of the refugee children at the border.
The protests this weekend were an attempt to create the illusion of widespread outrage at the children coming to the southern border and at the concept of immigration reform. A number of the protest groups, however small, garnered local news coverage and were able to say that they were part of a large nationwide effort. A look at reports from across the country shows that that was not the case.
The anti-immigrant movement, for all its smoke and mirrors, consists of a small network of closely tied advocacy groups who rely on fringe extremists like Gheen and Neighbors to rally scant amounts of grassroots support.
- The GOP is still listening.
The anti-immigrant movement may be smoke and mirrors, but it has some very influential people fooled. House Speaker John Boehner still refuses to bring immigration reform up for a vote in the House. Ted Cruz now says that deporting DREAMers is his “top priority.” Republicans in Congress, spooked by the victory of ALIPAC-supported David Brat in Virginia, say that immigration reform is dead — even though an overwhelming percentage of Republicans want Congress to take action to fix the immigration system and a majority of Republicans want that to include a path to citizenship or permanent residency for undocumented immigrants.
The child refugee crisis has brought out the true colors of the anti-immigrant movement. Even as some conservative groups are urging compassion and care for the children fleeing to the southern border, Republican leaders seem to be buying the narrative of the small, Nativist anti-immigrant fringe.
Posted by Gypsy Chief
From Colorado Pols.
Earlier this week the Wall Street Journal wrote at length on a subject we have been intimately familiar with in Colorado: Congressman Cory Gardner’s Personhood problem. It has now been more than 4 months since Gardner first tried to flip-flop on Personhood (but only the “Colorado” kind), and he’s had a hell of a problem with the issue ever since. Gardner has tried hard to distance himself from the issue — which was the point of the flip-flop to begin with — but things have gone so bad that 4 months later Personhood is still dogging the Republican Senate nominee. He’s now being criticized by Cosmopolitan magazine, which is a problem for a lot of reasons.
Since we all agree that women are probably the key to winning statewide races in Colorado, a new story out today should absolutely scare the hell out of the Gardner campaign — not just for what it says, but for where it says it: Cosmopolitan magazine. Ada Calhoun writes this week about the federal “Life at Conception Act,” which Gardner sponsors and which is pretty much the exact same thing as the Colorado Personhood ballot measures:
A bill introduced in the House of Representatives last year has major criminal implications for women. If it passes, women could be prosecuted for seeking an abortion or even for taking a drug and then having a miscarriage. It would also outlaw IVF and any form of contraception that could theoretically prevent implantation of a fertilized egg, including Plan B, the IUD, and the pill …
… More than anywhere else, the debate over personhood is playing out in Colorado, the home base of Personhood USA. There, Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat, has been pounding his challenger, Cory Gardner, with ads calling him out for his support of personhood. Gardner responded in a commercial that he no longer supports personhood after he “listened” to his constituents. But Udall’s campaign launched a website that shows Gardner with a cartoon of the federal personhood bill perched on his shoulder, and Planned Parenthood Votes released an ad calling Gardner “still wrong for women’s health.” Gardner’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
“Colorado might be a little unique because Coloradans know what this means,” says James Owens, deputy communications director for the Udall campaign. “We’ve had two ballot initiatives on [personhood] in the last six years, and they’ve failed by overwhelming margins. So when people hear that there’s a congressman running to represent the entire state who still has his name on a federal personhood bill, they know what that means for their access to birth control and safe access to abortion.” …
… “[Gardner has] built his entire political career on support of personhood,” Personhood USA president Keith Mason told Cosmopolitan.com. “I think he’s just listening to some bad advice, and he’s playing politics.” [Pols emphasis]
Whoa. That quote from Personhood USA president Keith Mason is a doozy. When you call out Gardner for basing “his entire political career on support of personhood,” it absolutely kills Gardner’s hopes of trying to make this look like a reasonable re-think of a controversial issue. And it’s not like there isn’t a preponderance of evidence against Gardner on this “change of heart.”
Not that we’re surprised this isn’t going well. Take a look at what we wrote in late April, and notice how you could use the same paragraph months later:
Look, we get it. We understand the idea here. Rep. Cory Gardner was obviously concerned that his longtime support of the Personhood issue — both in Colorado and in Congress — would be a significant problem in his quest to defeat incumbent Sen. Mark Udall in November. From a broader perspective, it probably seemed like a wise move to try to distance himself from his Personhood past. But Gardner and his campaign team didn’t spend enough time thinking this through.
Not only has the Personhood issue failed to fade for Gardner, but his clumsy handling of the flip-flop has actually made things worse for his candidacy. And from what we hear, some high-level Republicans are quietly growing nervous about Gardner’s silly mistakes.
If Gardner loses his bid for the U.S. Senate largely because of the Personhood issue, he’ll have nobody to blame but his own campaign. Personhood was going to come up in this campaign one way or the other, but Gardner’s own arrogance at thinking he could just tell people he “changed his mind” has kept this as a top issue as we enter August and the busiest time of the campaign season. He should never have tried to flip-flop on an issue as seemingly black and white as Personhood, but now he’s living with the consequences.
Posted by Gypsy Chief
From Alternet. Published July 16, 2014. Written by Amanda Marcotte.
There’s been a lot of ink spilled about the increasing political polarization in America , which is at historically high levels. There are a lot of reasons for it, including changing demographics, women’s growing empowerment, the Internet, the economy and cable news. But religion and religious belief plays an important role as well. There’s no way around it: America is quickly becoming two nations, one ruled over by fundamentalist Christians and their supporters and one that is becoming all the more secular over time, looking more and more like western Europe in its relative indifference to religion. And caught in between are a group of liberal Christians that are culturally aligned with secularists and are increasingly and dismayingly seeing the concept of “faith” aligned with a narrow and conservative political worldview.
That this polarization is happening is hard to deny, even if it’s harder to measure that political polarization. The number of Americans who cite “none” when asked about a religious identity is rising rapidly, up to nearly 20% from 15% in 2007, with a third of people under 30 identifying with no religious faith. Two-thirds of the “nones” say they believe in God, suggesting that this is more of a cultural drift towards secularism than some kind of crisis of faith across the country.
But even this may underrepresent how secular our country really is getting, as many people who say they belong to a church don’t really go to church much, if at all. While Americans like to tell pollsters they go to church regularly, in-depth research shows they are lying and many of them blow it off, putting our actual church-going rates at roughly the same level of secular Western Europe.
Even when people identify with a label like “Catholic” or “Methodist”, that doesn’t mean they consider it an important part of their identity in the way that people used to. Take, for instance, the way that weddings have quietly changed in this country. It used to be that you had a wedding in a church, and only people who were eloping got married by someone other than a minister. Now, outside of very religious circles, it’s more common to see weddings on beaches or at country clubs, and very often officiated by friends of the couple rather than clergy. Indeed, state laws are slowly beginning to change to reflect this reality, allowing more flexibility for people to have the secular weddings they increasingly desire.