September 19, 2018

New polls

SENATE

Key Senate Races
Democratic lead in blue, GOP in red
Most recent poll to right

Democratic seats in danger: 6 Peak this season 9
Republican seats in danger:5 Peak this season:5


Democratic seats in danger
Florida: 4, 3, 4, 4, 3, 6, 1, 0, 2, 1 1%
Indiana
1, 2, 6, 2%
Missouri: 0, 1, 4, 6, 2, 2 0, 0, 3, 0, 3%
Montana 3, 2%
New Jersey
4, 2, 6%
North Dakota:
3, 4, 5, 4%


Republican seats in danger
Arizona 1, 3, 7, 3%
Nevada:
1, 6, 4, 1, 2 1%
Mississippi 3%
Tennessee
4, 0, 2, 3, 5%
Texas 2, 6, 2, 4, 1, 4, 1, 9, 2%

GOVERNOR
Republicans stand to lose 3, with 10 more seats in doubt. Three Democratic seats are in doubt

Democrat seats in doubt
Montana 8, 3, 2%
Oregon 0, 1%
Rhode Island: 3,2%

Republican seats in doubt

Arizona:
2, 1,1,3, 1, 3, 12%
Georgia 2, 0%
Iowa;
4, 5%
Ohio 7, 4, 5%
Oklahoma 1%
Maine: 0%
Nevada
2, 3, 1, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3%
New Mexico 13, 2%
South Dakota 4%
Wisconsn 13, 7, 5, 0, 2, 5%

Republican loss
Florida 5, 3, 2, 4, 3, 2, 6, 6%
Illinois: 18, 9, 16%
Michigan 5, 15, 14, 9%

Mar-a-Lago income more than doubles since 2015

The Atlantic - President Trump says he’s received tens of millions of dollars in income from the golf courses and resorts whose profile he boosted during frequent visits since taking office, according to filings released Friday by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

Properties that Trump frequently visited as president saw the largest boost in income. Trump claimed more than $37 million in income from Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach County resort in Florida he described as his “Winter White House,” as well as $20 million in income from the nearby golf club he owns in Jupiter, Florida. His claimed Mar-a-Lago income rose rapidly since his last two financial disclosures with the FEC: Trump reported more than $15 million in income from the resort in the 2015 report, followed by $29 million in the 2016 version.

Kavanaugh's pal on women and drinking

Kavanaugh pal Mark Judge's high school yearbook entry is accompanied by a quote: “Certain women should be struck regularly, like gongs.”

CNN - Judge wrote the book "Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk," where he details his experiences of extensive drinking while attending Georgetown Preparatory School. Judge writes that he is "shocked" about what he got away with in high school -- recalling beach parties that hundreds of people would attend. At another point he describes his high school as "positively swimming in alcohol." Judge also references a "Bart O'Kavanaugh," who he writes vomited in someone's car. It has not been confirmed whether this is a reference to Kavanaugh.

Opinion on Kavanaugh tilts unfavorable

Gallup -In polling conducted last week, partly before and partly after allegations that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a teenage girl when he was a teen, 39% of Americans said they favored his confirmation to the Supreme Court and 42% were opposed. That represents a slight shift from two prior surveys in which more thought his nomination should be confirmed rather than rejected.

Death by incarceration in Pennsylvania

Huffington Post - The state of Pennsylvania is using a particularly harsh form of punishment all too frequently: sentencing people to life in prison without the possibility of parole ? or, as critics call it, “death by incarceration,” according to a new report.

“A Way Out: Abolishing Death By Incarceration in Pennsylvania,” a detailed report published this week, finds that there are 5,346 people serving out life sentences without parole in Pennsylvania. Only Florida ? a state with roughly twice the population and twice the number of people in prison ? has more people currently serving such sentences.

The report by the Pittsburgh-based Abolitionist Law Center, which seeks to end class- and race-based mass incarceration in the U.S., also uncovered alarming racial disparities regarding these sentences. Black people in Pennsylvania are serving out life sentences without parole at 18 times the rate white people are. Latinx people are serving out these sentences at a rate five times that of whites. In Philadelphia,

US Court rules for tipped workers

Truthdig -Restaurants must pay waiters and bartenders minimum wage when they are engaged in tasks such as cleaning toilets that are unrelated to their main jobs and do not offer tips, a divided U.S. appeals court ruled Tuesday.

At issue in the decision by an 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was a federal law that allows an employer to pay workers who receive tips as little as $2.13 an hour as long as their tips earn them minimum wage.

Another witness against Kavanaugh ignored by committee

Alternet=  Lawyer Cyrus Sanai first attempted to contact the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee at the end of July. The information Sanai was offering was connected to disgraced Judge Alex Kozinski, the former mentor of Brett Kavanaugh, who retired before a more thorough investigation into his reportedly rampant sexual misconduct was pursued. Sanai was a California lawyer who “blew the whistle” on Kozinski’s behavior, long before news outlets picked up the story.:

    I am writing to you in your respective capacities as Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The purpose of this letter is to urge an immediate follow-up hearing to the June 13, 2018 hearing on “Confronting Sexual Harassment and Other Workplace Misconduct in the Federal Judiciary.” The June 13, 2018 hearing was substantially insufficient, because it failed to call witnesses to address the institutionalized policies of retaliation against employees of the courts, law clerks, and third parties who expose judicial misconduct. This issue needs to be addressed now because there are persons who work for, or who have worked for, the federal judiciary who have important stories to tell about disgraced former Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, and his mentee, current United States Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
According to Sanai, he received no replies. The importance of this document is that these witnesses could potentially confirm or contradict Kavanaugh’s repeated assertions—under oath—that he knew nothing of his mentor’s misconduct.

Stormy Daniels on having sex with Donald Trump

Supreme Court orders revealing of dark money sources

NPR -The Supreme Court on Tuesday insisted that many donations to predominantly conservative political nonprofit groups — what's often called dark money — be disclosed, seven weeks ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

The ruling closes, at least for now, a loophole that has allowed wealthy donors to finance aggressive ads while staying anonymous. Crafted by the Federal Election Commission nearly 40 years ago, the loophole flourished after the 2010 Citizens United ruling.

The disclosure requirement is expected to apply to explicitly political ads by nonprofit groups for the remaining weeks of the campaign season.

Just a reminder

Attempted rape of someone under 18 in Maryland is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

Word: Kavanaugh on high school standards

Business Insider
-
Brett Kavanaugh in a 2015 speech: “We had a good saying that we’ve held firm to to this day as the dean was reminding me before the talk, which is what happens at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown Prep. That’s been a good thing for all of us.”

September 18, 2018

Teacher wages are lower than ever

 

Trump leaves his own legal team befuddled

NY Times -Nearly a dozen lawyers now assist President Trump in contending with two federal investigations, one in Washington and one in New York, that could pose serious threats to his presidency and his businesses. But the expanding legal team is struggling to understand where the investigations could be headed and the extent of Mr. Trump’s legal exposure.

It is not clear if Mr. Trump has given his lawyers a full account of some key events in which he has been involved as president or during his decades running the Trump Organization.

Pope's popularity drops

A Gallup Poll pfound that 53 percent of Americans view Francis favorably, down from 66 percent in August. Views of Francis among Roman Catholics, however, remain unchanged.

McDonald's walk out over sexual harassment

Guardian -Hundreds of  McDonald’s workers will protest outside the fast-food giant’s restaurants in 10 cities across the US, highlighting what they claim is an epidemic of sexual harassment for workers that they say the company has done little to address.

Workers in Chicago, McDonald’s home town, Durham, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Orlando, San Francisco and St Louis will all walk out at lunchtime in an effort to highlight their struggle and call on the company to take action.

September 17, 2018

Key Senate and governor polls

SENATE

Key Senate Races
Democratic lead in blue, GOP in red
Most recent poll to right

Democratic seats in danger: 7 Peak this season 9
Republican seats in danger:5 Peak this season:5


Democratic seats in danger

Florida: 4, 3, 4, 4, 3, 6, 1, 0, 2, 1%
Indiana
1, 2, 6, 2%
Missouri: 2, 0, 1, 4, 6, 2, 2 0, 0, 3, 0%
Montana 3, 2%
New Jersey
4, 2, 6%
North Dakota:
3, 4, 5, 4%
Wisconsin 2, 8%

Republican seats in danger
Arizona 1, 3%
Nevada:
1, 6, 4, 1, 2%
Mississippi 3%
Tennessee
4, 0, 2, 3%
Texas 2, 6, 2, 4, 1, 4%

GOVERNOR
Republicans stand to lose 2, with 11 more seats in doubt. Three Democratic seats are in doubt

Democrat seats in doubt
Montana 8, 3, 2%
Oregon 0, 1%
Rhode Island: 3,2%

Republican seats in doubt

Arizona:
2, 1,1,3, 1, 3%
Florida 5, 3, 2, 4, 3, 2, 6%
Georgia
2, 0%
Iowa;
4, 5%
Ohio 7, 4%
Oklahoma 1%
Maine: 0%
Nevada
2, 3, 1, 2, 1, 1, 12%
New Mexico 13, 2%
South Dakota 4%
Wisconsn 13, 7, 5, 0, 2%

Republican loss
Illinois: 18, 9, 16%
Michigan 5, 15, 14%

Bada bing, bada boom

Sam Smith - Some of you may have shared my puzzlement at the Choice Hotel TV ad where the marketer ends up recommending "Badda book, badda boom" as the best way to get the firm's low prices across to people. I let it pass until I read that Paul Manafort had been using a similar phrase. It was clearly time to Google.

Interestingly, given the user, one of the definitions offered on line for "bada bing, bada boom" was:
A term commonly used by members of the Mafia. Slang for "It's finished; taken care of.: Often it is heard in the metropolitan areas of New York, specifically Brooklyn.
A more intense discussion was found on the British site, Phrase Finder:
In the March 2009 "Vanity Fair," "The Godfather Wars," Page 327, actor James Caan discusses his portrayal of Sonny in movie classic "The Godfather." He used "a rapid-fire, Don-Rickles-meets-the-Mob bravado that elevated his character to a whole new level. Then a phrase was delivered to him straight from improvisational heaven. It popped into his mouth as he mocked Michael, after hearing his kid brother say he intended to kill Sollozzo and McCluskey, the corrupt Irish cop who had broken his (Michael's) jaw: 'What do you think this is, the army, where you shoot 'em a mile away? You gotta get up close, like this - and bada-bing! You blow their brains all over your nice Ivy League suit.'

Bada-bing became a mantra for mobsters and aspiring mobsters. More recently, it served as the name of Tony Soprano's strip club in 'The Sopranos.' '....

2 in 5 Americans don't think elections are fair

NPR - Nearly 2 in 5 American voters do not believe elections are fair, according to a new NPR/Marist poll. Nearly half of respondents lacked faith that votes would be counted accurately in the upcoming midterm elections.

Race, gender and partisan identity are all a factor for those who question the cornerstone of the democratic system. Nonwhite voters, women and Democrats all report substantially greater doubts about the fairness of elections compared to Republicans, 91 percent of whom believe elections are fair.

Just a reminder

Good Supreme Court nominees don't even get accused of sexual assault and excessive gambling.

Trump's tax estimate off by several trillion

Daily Beast -The amount of cash that has flowed back to the U.S. after Donald Trump’s massive tax law overhaul is just 3.5 percent of what the president predicted. The revamp ended the practice of taxing U.S. companies when they brought home foreign profits, with Trump predicting: “Over $4 [trillion], but close to $5 trillion, will be brought back into our country. This is money that would never, ever be seen again by the workers and the people of our country.” However, an analysis by The Wall Street Journal shows just $143 billion has been repatriated—3.58 percent of Trump’s $4 trillion prediction. Companies have announced plans to repatriate an additional $37 billion.

Why are American colleges so expensive?

Has the CIA defined Donald Trump?

Professor Michael H Hunt is a history professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina. Last year he uncovered a remarkable article in a CIA publication.

Michael H. Hunt -  The June 2017 issue of [the CIA's] Studies in Intelligence contains an article by Dr. Ursula M. Wilder on “The Psychology of Espionage.” Wilder, a psychologist with twenty years of government service, provides a crisp sketch of the three kinds of personality deformation displayed by Americans who have abused their access to top-secret information and betrayed their country: psychopathology, narcissism, and immaturity.. .Wilder’s crisp sketch of each of the three conditions speaks clearly to any layperson trying to make sense of the leader thrust to the fore by the 2016 election.

Aside from the insights it offers, the piece raises two fascinating questions. Why at this point has the CIA — or more exactly the editorial board that oversees Studies in Intelligence — decided to make public an updated version of Wilder’s classified 2003 study? A hidden agenda seems unlikely. But given the antagonism between the president and the intelligence community, it is not impossible to rule out malign intent. Or perhaps we have here the bureaucracy indulging a sense of mischief.

The other question: Is it an accident that a set of personality profiles that keep calling Trump to the reader’s mind appears in a study devoted to spotting and stopping those who would betray state secrets? Given the depth of concern within the intelligence community over Trump’s Russia ties, the connection is again not impossible to rule out.  

Hunt provides a lengthy excerpt from the article. A few short takes:

On the signs of the psychopathological personality:Psychopaths cannot consistently follow laws, rules, and customs and do not understand the social necessity of doing so. They have limited capacity to experience the feelings of guilt, shame, and remorse that are the building blocks of mature conscience and moral functioning. They are facile liars. In fact, many psychopaths take inordinate pleasure in lying because perpetrating an effective “con” gives them a sense of power and control over the person lied to, an emotional charge sometimes termed “duping delight.” Their glee in manipulating others may be so acute that it overrides judgment and good sense, causing them to take foolish risks simply for the pleasure of temporarily conning others....

On the features of narcissism
: Narcissists possess a careless disregard for personal integrity and can be very unscrupulous and manipulative in pursuing their own ends. They are, on the whole, indifferent to the needs of others, who in turn see them as having flawed social consciences. Narcissists feel entitled to special—even extraordinary—favors and status that they do not believe they have to reciprocate. They heedlessly exploit others emotionally and financially, or in other ways that suit their ends. They are deeply antagonistic to sharing decisionmaking with others, irrespective of the legitimacy of the claims of others for some degree of control. Convinced of their own inherent superiority, they blame others for their problems or for negative things that happen to them, including social rejection. Because they do not consider themselves at fault for any troubles or setbacks, narcissists feel at liberty to take whatever steps they deem necessary to redress wrongs or regain a sense of mastery and superiority......


On the tell-tales of immaturity: The most salient characteristic of immaturity is the ascendancy of fantasy over reality. Immature adults spend an inordinate amount of time daydreaming, deliberately calling to mind ideas that stimulate pleasant or exciting emotions. In contrast to mature adults, immature adults do not readily distinguish their private world from objective external reality and, in fact, may expect reality to conform to their self-serving and stimulating fantasies. Their fantasies about their special powers, talents, status, prospects, and future actions can be so seductive that they become resentful of conflicting real-world truth...


Consequently, immature adults generally expect others to embrace what to them is the self-evident legitimacy of their personal ideas and longings. They often cannot understand why others do not share their perspective and fail to see that reality itself works against the validity of their fantasies. They frequently will act on their fantasies with little anticipation of consequences that to most people would be completely predictable. They are often genuinely shocked when reality intrudes on their plans and interferes with anticipated outcomes. 


Furthermore, immature people are persistently egocentric, they see themselves as the epicenter of any crowd or event. They believe others are paying close attention to them personally in most contexts, and as a result they are acutely self-aware. When it becomes clear that they are not the center of attention and that others might, in fact, be indifferent to them, they often react negatively and take steps to bring attention to themselves.



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