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In the recent gubernatorial campaign, Governor Deal promised to overhaul school funding - he wanted to be an education governor!  Coming from a governor who presided over years of gigantic austerity cuts to public schooling, it hardly seemed believable.  

Naturally, the promised overhaul became a toothless blue ribbon panel.  This has cleared the slate for Deal's attack on locally controlled, public schools in the poorest areas in the state.  Under his plan, Deal would be made the superintendent-in-chief of dozens of schools across the state, with the authority to bid the management of those schools out to private, for-profit corporations.  Which schools to usurp from local county control would be within Deal's discretion - any school that has received a failing grade on the state College and Career Ready Performance Index for three years in a row would be eligible.

A lot is being said about this plan - including this must read piece on why such a plan is likely to worsen the education quality at those schools.  Here, I want to shine a spotlight on the College and Career Ready Performance Index.

The College and Career Ready Performance Index ("CCRPI") was developed by the state of Georgia.  The state described its creation in the following way: "Accountability is about giving leaders a roadmap for improvement.  It is not about threatening schools."  What a difference a few years makes, eh?  The Georgia DoE describes the index as "a comprehensive school improvement, accountability, and communication platform for all educational stakeholders that will promote college and career readiness for all Georgia public school students").  In plain English, the CCRPI is a gussied up report on standardized test performance. Look for yourself.  The CCRPI has has four parts: 60 possible "Achievement" points, 25 possible "Progress" points, 15 possible "Achievement Gap" points, and 10 bonus "Challenge" points.  

"Achievement" is made up of 40% "content mastery," 30% "post readiness," and 30% "grad rate/predictor."  The CCRPI uses eight end of course tests as a proxy for the "Content Mastery" performance of high schools across the state - 2 years of literature, 2 years of math, 2 years of science, American history, and economics.  Nothing else the school does over four years counts toward content mastery - buckle down freshmen and sophomore, most of those courses are aimed at you.  

And it's all turtles testing, all the way down.  That 30% "post readiness" component is a flurry of test results: students earning a passing score on an "end of pathway assessment;" students doing well on SAT/ACT/AP/IB exams; students doing well on the Georgia High School Writing Test; students earning a "Lexite measure greater than or equal to 1275 on the American Literature EOCT"; and percent of EOCT assessments scoring at the Exceeds level.  At least at the high school level, you've got graduation rates making up some portion of the CCRPI.  For middle and elementary school, they substitute in standardized test results.  

So much for "Acheievement."  How does a school earn "Progress" points?  Or "Achievement Gap" points?  If you answered more of the same test results, pat yourself on the back.  For elementary and middle, almost 100 out of 100 points are earned by performance on standardized tests.  High schools are tempered with the addition of four and five year graduation rates - and that's it.

And about that three-years-in-a-row requirement.  Since its creation, the state has continued to change the formula, changing the tests that make up the measurements, the benchmarking of those tests, and the weighting of each part.  See here  and here.  So let's be clear on what the state is really doing here.  The state has largely abandoned its citizens to poverty.  Counties, which by law have to at least attempt to provide a quality education to every child, try to do so.  And now the schools in the poorest counties are called "failing" for their inability to hit a constantly moving target.

And all for what?  Despite the propaganda pushed by the testing industry and its acolytes, high stakes testing only appears to accurately predict one thing: the financial well-being of the students.  This is a subject too broad to address here, but I'll quote from a recent article on the subject:

Poverty’s predictive influence has been documented in studies dating back almost 50 years. A landmark 1966 study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education surveyed staff and students from 4,000 schools. It identified the effects of socioeconomic status as “the most powerful predictor of student success,” Ceglarek wrote in his dissertation.

“Schools bring little influence to bear on a child’s achievement that is independent of his background and general social context,” the federal study noted, adding the “inequality imposed on children by their home, neighborhood, and peer environment” follows them throughout school.

Ceglarek cites subsequent studies showing a growing achievement gap between lower- and higher-income students, and research asserting state testing and federal reform programs have not made a major impact on it.

In a 2009 nationwide analysis, the Federal Education and Budget Project found students’ proficiency in standardized eighth-grade math and reading tests was nearly twice as high in states with the lowest poverty compared to those with the highest poverty

Source.  See also: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5).

Governor Deal has responded to criticism of his victim-blaming attack on schools in poor areas.  Politifact took an unfortunately poor swing at Deal's statement that:

"I would say to them that 96 percent of those (failing schools) pay more than the average of the state of $8,400 per child per year, and about 26 percent of them spend considerably more than the state average," the governor said. "If they say that money alone will fix this, then the statistics and the information that we have does not bear that out."
This statement is so misleading, in two major ways, that it deserves an actual fact check.  Is the state average of $8,400 a meaningful number?  Georgia's schools consistently rank as among the worst in the nation. Is Deal saying that because those schools are getting more than "worst results in nation" dollars, more money won't fix this? Or compare to what other states spend per pupil.  Several states spend DOUBLE what Georgia does, per pupil.  So again, is Deal saying that because those schools are getting more than "extremely poor compared to other states" dollars, more money won't fix this?  And as to his statement that 26% are spending considerably more than the state average?  Apparently if you use $10,000 as the standard for "considerably more," that's true.  But $10,000 is less than the national average of spending per pupil - and is HALF of what New York City spends on its pupils.  The Governor's comments are an intentionally misleading non sequitur.  

And as Politifact points out, schools serving poor citizens get more money than schools not serving poor citizens.  Duh.  But free lunches aren't putting more teachers in classrooms, or getting their kids more homework time with parents who are busy working 2-3 jobs for poverty wages.

Every student in Georgia deserves a quality education.  That costs money.  For example, Georgia's teachers are making far less money than a decade ago, when accounting for inflation.  Poor students have additional challenges, and if we want to really address those, that costs money too.  Governor Deal can shed crocodile tears for the children all he wants.  Since he's not proposing any additional dollars for those children, I think we know what he really thinks.

Discuss

In a previous diary, I previewed the effort by state Republicans to untie the Gordian knot they've tied for themselves.  On the one hand, beholden to corporate masters, they have to raise money to improve our state's broken transportation system.  On the other hand, they are a philosophically bankrupt party that has preached taxes are evil like the devil - naturally, their base will tear them apart like rabid wolves if they even hint at raising taxes.

The first move by the Republicans was the release of a widely-publicized report.  Based on that report, I expected the Republicans to go after their favorite target - the poor.  But, wily as they are, just when you think they're going to zig, they zag.  

Following up on the report, the House Republicans announced the outline of a plan!   As House Majority Leader Larry O'Neal stated in words that should be etched in stone, "It's really not a sleight of hand."  

I have to hand it to the House Republicans, they're crazy like a fox.  All this time, I thought they would try to get the money from taxpayers.  But why go through all the trouble of pissing off Republican voters, when you can just take it from Georgia's counties and schools instead?  In what can only be a cynical ploy to hit those too afraid to hit back (witness the Cobb county chairman immediately walking back his criticism), the House plan is to plunder funds currently being used by the counties, cities, and school boards of Georgia.  Yes, they found some big pockets to shove their hands into - including, as it turns out, their own.  Stick with me.

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The Georgia legislature started its 2015 session last week, a frenzied 40 days to accomplish a year's worth of work.  Naturally, with so little time, certain priorities take focus.  The top of the Georgia Republican agenda is clear: look good for their corporate sponsors basic road maintenance.  Republican dominance of the state for over a decade has created a huge backlog of projects for the state DoT.  State roads are on schedule for repaving only once every fifty years.  

Failing to provide basic public services doesn't bother Georgia Republicans - that's their creed, after all - but it does bother their large corporate donors.  Businesses need transportation infrastructure to get customers in the door, attract employees, and deliver goods and services.  Georgia's business community is only conservative until it hurts the bottom line (see Coca-Cola's response to the "religious liberty" bill).  So when Georgia's business community says to build some roads, the Georgia GOP has to find some way.

As you may know, Georgia Republicans have already tried to address this problem.  But when TSPLOST failed (a Byzantine Balkanization of state transportation planning and funding), they were forced back to the drawing board.  While they're remaining tight lipped, the fix is in.  Republicans are once again finding a way to hit the poor, for the benefit of their wealthy benefactors.  

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November 4 was a disaster for the Democratic party, which was once again trounced in a mid-term election.  Despite a much touted get-out-the-vote operation, early numbers look like the Democratic party did even worse than 2010.

The question I think we all had the morning of November 5, right after "what just happened," was "what now?"  Here on DKos, we've seen great suggestions and discussions surrounding that question.  We should face facts.  We should clean house at the DNC - maybe even the entire Democratic Party.  We should stop selling watered down beer, and get back to basics.    We need to use our values and our brains.

Like many others, I think the Democratic party has lost its way.  How do we get back on track?  I found inspiration right here on Daily Kos.  In a great rec list diary, we saw what I hope is the start of a Progressive Great Awakening  I wish I could link every single comment I've seen over the last couple days where people are responding by rolling up their sleeves.  If we want to get back on track, we're going to need to all pitch in.  We must start the hard and slow work of organizing a progressive supplement to the Democratic Party.  Once we've organized, we won't have to wonder how to improve the party - we'll demand it.

This site's motto is more and better Democrats.  If we want better Democrats, we should avoid trying to influence any national campaigns for a long time.  They're a lost cause.  What happens when we put all of our time and effort into getting a progressive-insurgent candidate elected on the national stage?  We lose - and no wonder.  

In the era of billion dollar presidential campaigns, insurgent candidates don't have the money to compete.   Even if they did, the machine finds ways to crush anyone who opposes it - see what happened to Howard Dean.  If by some impossible confluence of events you beat the odds, what then?  What's one insurgent against an entire political system hostile to your philosophy?  Even worse, you may find your insurgent swallowed up by the machine he once vowed to fight.

What can we do?  Way more on that over the fold.

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Thu May 01, 2014 at 05:18 PM PDT

USA Today: Benghazi!!!! Fever

by MPociask

Oren Dorell has a story that's on the USA Times website today.  The story is purportedly about Retired Air Force Brigadier General Robert Lovell testimony in the House (which, yes, is apparently still doing hearings on Benghazi).  The real point of the story, however, appears to be to repeat discredited GOP talking points.  

The problem starts with the headline - General - Military should've tried to rescue Benghazi Americans.  Reading the story itself, you'll see that the military did take action - it tried everything it could do.  For a headline to suggest that more could have been done, and that perhaps Americans died for lack of effort by the military, is stunningly irresponsible.

General Lovell's testimony deserves attention - but it's the statements of supposedly objective journalist that are the most striking.  For example, the story first recounts General Lovell's testimony that military personnel knew that the attack on the embassy was a hostile action, and not a protest gone awry.  Dorell then writes that this "contradicts the story that the Obama administration gave in the early days."  Of course, rather than quoting the administration story, Dorell gives his own version:"the attack was a protest against an anti-Islam video that turned violent."

Did the Obama administration say that?  Susan Rice said that following an initial apparently spontaneous protest, there was an assault on the embassy. Lovell's testimony - that this was a hostile action - mirrors what Rice actually said, which was there was an assault on the embassy.

General Lovell's claim that the military knew this was a hostile action is undercut by the testimony of.... General Lovell.  Later in the same piece, he is quoted saying "As the attack was ongoing, it was unclear whether it was an attempted kidnapping, rescue, recovery, protracted hostile engagement or any or all of the above."  So despite General Lovell himself testifying that they really had no idea what was going on, Dorell is comfortable saying that his testimony contradicts the Obama administration's initial assessment (left out of the story is that this assessment was based on CIA intelligence - no one in the Obama administration made it up out of thin air, like certain WMDs near Tikrit.  But I digress).

So after blaring a headline that suggests the military did nothing,  you'd expect some damning evidence of negligence by the military.  Buried towards the end, however, the story admits the opposite is actually true.  The Joint Chiefs agree with the Secretary of State that "the interagency response was timely and appropriate, but there simply was not enough time, given the speed of the attacks, for armed U.S. military assets to have made a difference."

All sizzle, no steak.

And at the very end of the column is this interesting tidbit: "On Tuesday, a conservative watchdog group released an e-mail showing that White House aide Ben Rhodes wanted to blame the 2012 assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on a protest that never happened there."  That sentence can be read two ways - the most natural of which is that Ben Rhodes was urging the administration to lie to the American people by consciously blaming the attack on protests he knew at the time were not real.  The column omits that the email was circulating talking points created in the immediate aftermath of the attack, by the intelligence community itself.  How casually journalists repeat Republican propaganda!

Let's look at that nefarious email full of talking points for the Sunday shows.  Anything about getting Obama reelected by covering up an attack by terrorists?  Or about making sure Clinton looked good for an election four years away?

 "We are not aware of any actionanable intelligence indicating that an attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent.  The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the US Consulate and subsequently its annex."

Well, that's a let down.  And hey, the talking points do talk about one "protest" - at the US Embassy in Cairo, which most assuredly happened.  And as for Benghazi, no,there were not demonstrations.  But the NY Times did the most exhaustive investigation of any newspaper into that day's events.  What did they find?
 

The violence, though, also had spontaneous elements. Anger at the video motivated the initial attack. Dozens of people joined in, some of them provoked by the video and others responding to fast-spreading false rumors that guards inside the American compound had shot Libyan protesters. Looters and arsonists, without any sign of a plan, were the ones who ravaged the compound after the initial attack, according to more than a dozen Libyan witnesses as well as many American officials who have viewed the footage from security cameras.
In the immediate aftermath of an attack that took place half the world away, the talking points, based on the then-best assessment of the intelligence community, were not 100% accurate.  Overall, though, they've held up remarkably well.  Much better than, say, the constantly repeated and completely discredited story of a cover up for the sake of Obama 2012 or Clinton 2016.

One group of individuals has been lying repeatedly and incessantly about the events that day, for no purpose but their own political gain.  But it's not and never was the White House.  USA Today not only failed to shine a light on the real bad guys here, it went to bat for them.

The story in question

Discuss

The President of the United States has an amazing power - the power of clemency.  While President Obama has not exercised this power as much as his predecessors, he has made several key pardons.

While past Presidents made pardons de jure, President Obama has preferred more de facto pardons.  When the telecoms illegally allowed Americans to be wiretapped without a warrant, then-candidate Obama supported retroactive immunity.  Americans illegally tortured who knows how many people in black sites across the globe, incalculably damaging America's reputation and engendering hatred for our country across the globe. We need to look forward, directed the President.  Wall Street nearly destroyed the entire American economy, in its lust for greed and disregard for the law.  But President Obama made sure that there would be no legal repercussions - his administration was "the only thing between [Wall Street] and the pitchforks."

Now, due to the brave actions of Edward Snowden, we are beginning to discover the horrifying degree of surveillance that the NSA has directed against the American people.  Secret surveillance, authorized by secret courts, secretly briefed to Congress - is it any secret that the American people cry out for justice against this destruction of constitutional rights?  

And yet, perhaps feeling that the pitchforks may soon be pointed their way, many members of Congress and even the President's administration have begun saying that investigations should be aimed at Mr. Snowden!  

President Obama should remember his past glowing words about whistleblowers.  He called whisteblowing acts of courage and patriotism that should be encouraged.  President Obama, you can, and should, do something NOW to encourage such bravery and patriotism.  Pardon Edward Snowden.  He deserves it, at least as much as the criminals you have supported in the past.

Discuss

Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 01:06 PM PDT

Running to the Left

by MPociask

This diary is a short illustration of why more Democrats should embrace the Left, and cast asunder the notion that they need to appear as sensible serious moderates.  I also want to briefly show what the terrible long term consequences are of the Democrats always positioning themselves as the party of sensible moderates.

So, for the sake of argument, let's pretend there is a left-right spectrum of political thought that embraces all positions.  (I know it's not the best model, but in the words of Rummy, you go to war with the army you have).

Let's graph this spectrum with L being far-left, C being the center, and R being far-right.  Here:

L--------C--------R

Note that L, C, and R are absolute positions, that aren't defined relative to other positions.  In other words, L represents the Plantonic ideal of Leftist thought, not just that you are to the left of the rest of the population's political thinking.  

Now, I'm not trying to start a pie fight over where the current party is, or where to pin a particular politician.  Let's just mark out 4 different positions on our chart, and I'll explain them afterward:

L----1----2C----3--4--R

1: once known as a New Deal Democrat
2: a Democrat who mixes New Deal principles with some conservative philosophy
3: Typical Republican
4: Fundamentalist Republican

Over the fold, see why Democrats win when they run to the left and lose when they run to the right.  Just as importantly, see how the entire country suffers when the Democratic party chases mythical moderates ever rightward.  

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Who doesn't love a good metaphor?  A metaphor can take a drab or difficult subject, and turn it into something compelling and relatable.  So it is with strategic political decision making - something relatively few Americans have participated in at a national level.  So, to understand and discuss this somewhat mysterious process, we discuss politics as poker, as baseball, as football, as negotiating purchase price, and of course, as chess.  

Chess has long been a favored metaphor for politics and warfare.  After all, it is the game of kings.  It may have peaked in America in the 1970's, when Bobby Fischer thrilled the country, won a world championship, and beat the Soviets.  Still, chess clubs continue to be found in schools all over the country, online chess has made the game more accessible than ever, and people are generally familiar with the game.

As chess developed, the pieces themselves, and how the pieces moved underwent changes, but the board mostly stayed on the same two dimensional plane.  In the late 19th and early 20th century, some attempts were made to create three dimensional chess, played on several planes, and this attempt was much later reimagined and popularized by Star Trek.  Most recently, the phrase 11th dimensional chess has entered the public nomenclature.  If my Googling is Correct, it was coined by Daily Kos's very own Armando in early 2009, writing on TalkLeft at the time.

I don't want to get into a pie fight about whether or not the President is playing 11 dimensional chess when he makes strategic decisions.  Rather, I want to provide a brief introduction to strategy in chess, and how our political leaders could learn from that strategy.

Now, at the outset, it should be noted that chess is a poor metaphor for politics.  Every chess game starts the exact same way - every piece in the same position, both players having the same amount of pieces, and white moving first every time, which gives the white player a significant advantage.  Both players are trying to achieve the same goal - checkmating the other's king.  The political landscape is not so, as various players bring vastly different amount of resources to bear on a universe of issues and problems.  That being said, the strategy and tactics of chess do have universal application.  

Every game of chess can be broken down into three phases: the opening, the middlegame, and the endgame.  I'm going to simplify a bit, but bear with me.  

In the opening, the player is trying to develop his pieces so that they are in the most effective place.  Chess theorists have written tome after tome on the theories behind opening, and for expert players, the opening is almost by rote, as they have memorized and internalized a large variety of potential openings and the moves which should follow therefrom.  The metaphor for military battle is a marshaling of resources, and marching troops into position from where they can most strongly attack or defend.

A political player is trying to bring about action on his chosen issue, and make sure that the terms of the debate itself are favorable (the Overton window).  The player also wants to make sure that his allies and supporters are positioned for action.  For a hypothetical example, imagine a Democratic President trying to do tax reform.  He must gather his allies in other political organizations, prime his supporters to be prepared to apply political pressure, and make sure that the debate isn't about "Tax Relief" but about "Tax Fairness," for example.  To the extent a politician has accumulated political capital, now is the time to spend it - unlike in chess, where every move is "free," a politician has to spend his accumulated capital to even play the game.

After the opening comes the middlegame, when the pieces are in place and a battle for strategic domination begins.  In chess, that means controlling the center of the board.  To an untrained eye, this is where the battle "begins," because this is when the front lines are joined.  Of course, both sides have actually been maneuvering for favorable ground since the very first move.  Both players strive to control the center, because if the opposing player wins that territory, the king in the player's rear may soon himself come under assault.  

In politics, this is also the battle for the center.  In the opening, the player has already tried to set the terms of the debate.  Now, the debate is joined, on the terms dictated by the player.  The goal?  Capturing the elusive center, or moderate, voter.  In our two party democracy, team Red will always have at least 1/3 of the vote, and team Blue another 1/3 - you've got to get that middle 1/3 on your side to provide a public "mandate" for your proposal.  The allies and supporters you've lined up are unleashed in a coordinated effort to push the needle in your favor.

Last, in chess, comes the endgame.  Where the middlegame was the grand strategy, the endgame is focused on tactics.  This is where Hollywood will show how smart someone is, by having the actor briefly glance at a chess board and announce "Mate in four."  Chess is a game of action and reaction.  Once you can force your opponent to react to your moves (or else risk certain loss), you can start planning whole series of moves and forced reactions (hence, the player can through a series of forced reactions win the game, no matter what, in four moves, aka "Mate in 4."  

Now, this may be controversial, but I'd say the entire business of drafting and legislating a bill that makes it through Congress is all endgame - the terms of the debate were set long before, and the political calculations have all already been made based upon what the player's saw brought to bear in the middlegame.  Tactics are very important, and understanding the details of the sausage making is crucial, because you can still lose despite having a favorable strategic advantage - but more than likely, based upon the strategic struggles, the outcome is not really in any doubt.

The current Fiscal Deal is difficult to evaluate in the terms laid out above.  On the one hand, viewed on its own terms, the President's supporters can say he decisively won.  On the other, the President's liberal detractors can be despondent that he gave away the store.  I think the difference is in defining what game the President was playing.  Was the fiscal cliff one game, and the upcoming sequestration expiration, the debt limit, and the continuing funding resolution all new games to tackle?  Or were they all part of larger game?  I want to say, I don't think either view is necessarily wrong, although I'm inclined to agree with the latter.  

And to come back to chess, I think there's a parallel in what the President just did.  In chess, one strategy is called a gambit.  In a gambit, you purposefully sacrifice one piece, giving up material, in order to gain some other favorable advantage.  President Obama just played a tax cut gambit - the expiring rates are now set in stone.  He budged on $250,000 in order to get a deal through.  Now, this is where it's very important to understand what game the President is playing (keep in mind, there is no right answer for this).  If the President was just playing at getting a deal, giving up $250k was a successful gambit, as he won the game.  

However, if the game is still ongoing, and we're still in the grand strategy of the middle game, the President just played a very risky gambit.  The tax rates were a very important piece - they were all about to return to Clinton-era rates, and the Republicans would have been desperate to deal to lower them.  Now, those rates are set in stone.  President Obama just sacrificed that piece.  Is he playing several moves ahead?  Does he see in the upcoming endgame of the sequestration, funding resolution, and debt ceiling some tactical combination that he's not telling anyone else about (i.e., playing in 11 dimensions?)  Was the advantage he gained - a split in the Republican party, forcing them to raise taxes on the wealthy for the first time in forever, and positioning for the upcoming fights - worth the piece he sacrificed?  We will see.

The other lesson from chess is that so much of this fiscal deal was decided long, long ago, in its opening.  I'd say it started when the deficit scolds first screeched, and much of it was set in stone when the President reacted by embracing austerity-lite and setting up the Simpson-Bowles commission.  That determined, long ago, the terms of the debate today.  We're just living through the consequences of playing that game.

Discuss

Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 10:05 AM PST

Harry Reid: You Swore an Oath

by MPociask

Every Senator takes an oath upon election and prior to serving in the Senate.  That oath states:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
Source.

So while I am glad that the fight for filibuster reform continues, your comments on the matter have been troubling, to say the least.

You stated:

As the majority leader, I intend to run the Senate with respect for the rules, for the minority rights that the rules protects. [...] I'll do my part as majority leader to foster respect for the rules and traditions of our great institution. I say here, Mr. President, on this floor that I love so much, that I believe in the Golden Rule. I am going to treat my Republican colleagues the way that I expect to be treated. There's no "gotcha," no "get even." I will do everything that I can to preserve the rule and the tradtions of this institution that I love.
No man can serve two masters, Senator, and no Senator can serve both the United States Constitution and the currently broken Senate Rules.  You have to choose.  More importantly, you already chose.  
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Defenders of the Senate filibuster like to wax poetic about our structure of government.  The filibuster, the story goes, is one of the essential parts of our system of checks and balances.  Without it, the majority party could run roughshod over the poor, helpless minority party.  Thus, while the filibuster may provide temporary inconvenience, it is part of a much greater system we dare not tamper with.  

This entire story is bunk, and it's time to put it out to pasture.  

The Founding Fathers established our system of government as an intricate, interlocking system.  The President is commander in chief, but the Congress declares war and controls the military purse strings.  The President makes appointments, but they must be confirmed by the Senate.  Congress passes legislation, but it may be vetoed by the President.  The President is indirectly elected by the people via the electoral college, but may be impeached by the House and tried by the Senate.  This is the system popularly known as checks and balances.  It has nothing to do with the filibuster.  Follow over the squiggle for more.  

Poll

How should the Filibuster Be Reformed?

1%5 votes
47%152 votes
0%3 votes
44%145 votes
5%18 votes

| 323 votes | Vote | Results

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Well, many of us predicted this would happen.  After the RNC was a non-stop lie fest, filled with every form of mendacity possible, many on the left knew exactly how the media would react: by promoting a false equivalency during the DNC.

The AP has a story that takes the cake.  Fact Check - Clinton Claims of Compromise a Stretch purports to be a fact check on President Clinton's claim that President Obama has been stymied in his attempts at compromise by the Congressional Republicans.

Instead, it's a nauseating smear job, and the "journalist" who wrote it ought to be ashamed.  See the gory details after the fancy cursive looking symbol.  

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Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 06:54 AM PDT

Do Not Prosecute New Jersey officials

by MPociask

By now, we all know that a huge ring of corruption and bribery circled the state of New Jersey.  Its tentacles reached mayors, rabbis, the governor's office, and to every politician who leapt at the chance of selling their soul for a few thousand bucks.  It is truly a sad chapter in state politics, not just for New Jersey, but for the entire nation.  Let's not compound the problem by prosecuting the officials involved.

This investigation has been going on for ten years.  I say to you, my fellow Americans - isn't it time to look forward, not backward?

Poll

What are you in favor of?

15%10 votes
39%26 votes
45%30 votes

| 66 votes | Vote | Results

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