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This is a request for information:

~90% of the public favors universal background checks according to a recent survey.  The fraction of congress is lower, but by how much? Could anyone point me to a site that has compiled this information and has the fraction of congress that supports universal background checks?

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The LA legislature has passed an anti-evolution law that is poised to be signed into law by Gov. Jindal. Please read the email posted below the fold for what you can do to try to stop it.  It's a small chance, to be sure, but this law is a definite wedge that will resonate nationally (or at least in places that would have us return to an 18th century understanding of the world).

Updated:  More info and links to bill text here http://www.ncseweb.org/...

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Sat Feb 03, 2007 at 10:47 AM PST

Boston Bombs and ignorant bloggers

by delphis

It seems to be fashionable in the blogging world to make fun of the Boston government and police force for seriously investigating various boxes placed around the city.  "Haha" say the armchair detectives, the intestigating 101st, "they were just lite brites. What rubes to be duped by lite brites!"  "Morons in Boston" says kos gleefully.

Maybe these fierce protectors of our rights to place random boxes on bridges and tunnels should pause a bit to get the full story before they proclaim their superiority all over their blogs...a few more details below.

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Deborah Owens-Fink is a creationist up for re-election to the Ohio school board. She is well funded but is facing opposition from three candidates.  One of these is Tom Sawyer who has been a teacher, mayor, legislator and Congressman and who would uphold strong standards for teaching science.

I am copying below the fold an email I received (through a listserv) from Randy Mitchell, a Professor of Biology at the University of Akron which describes the situation.

Although there are lots of demands on your money, a school board race shouldn't be all that expensive to win (see below).  Ohio has been flirting with destroying science education for years.  A good way to prevent that is to strip creationists of power on the school boards.

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I'd like to see an ad without any fancy scenery or staging per se...just Lamont speaking to the camera, speaking to viewers and saying something like (fact checked for accuracy, of course):

On September 28, Joe Lieberman voted to condone torture.  He voted to strip prisoners of their right to a trial or even to see the evidence against them.  He voted to allow Donald Rumsfeld, the architect of the disaster in Iraq, to decide who should be imprisoned and who shouldn't and for how long.  And anyone who Donald Rumsfeld fingers never gets a trial.

(continued...)

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Sat Jan 28, 2006 at 08:28 AM PST

Alito and Personal Political Calculus

by delphis

Some diarists have noted that it would be hard for red state democratic senators to vote against Alito.  They wouldn't get reelected and then we definitely wouldn't have Harry Reid as majority leader.  So it's important they get reelected.  That's the claim.

But the job of a senator really is not to get reelected.  It's to vote on and legislation and nominations and things like that.  And it isn't even to do the will of the people who elected them because they don't know what that is.  They have the whole election season to convince their constituents that they actually did the right thing.

So if a Supreme Court nomination is one of the most crucial events these senators will vote on (and the Alito one in particular), then this is one vote on which senators should vote what they think and set for themselves the job of convincing their constituents.  Not having Alito on is more important than personal political calculus. In this case, being a red state Democrat is not a reason, it's an excuse.  

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The bigots are out in force in Bristol, Connecticut.

From the Bristol Press.

HARTFORD -- Supporters of legislation that would allow gay marriage in Connecticut won't find any help from Bristol's lawmakers.

"It's a sickness I think," said state Sen. Tom Colapietro, a Terryville Democrat whose district includes Bristol. "It?s not a cure for the sickness allowing them to marry."

more below...

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Monday, I posted about NPR's All Things Considered ignoring the Democrats agenda for the Senate session.  Today, they shilled for the Republicans again.

In a segment on Social Security they repeated the canard that Social Security is unfair to African-Americans because on average African-Americans die younger than whites.

...

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Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 07:23 PM PST

NPR ignores the Democrats' agenda

by delphis

On NPR's All Things Considered this evening, about 15 minutes in (ended at 5:18...i don't know if there is a 4 PM hour too on my station), they covered the bills to be introduced in the Senate this term.  Or, I should say, they covered the ones the Republicans were planning to introduce - privatize social security, ban gays from marrying, heap permanent (what does 'permanent mean in this context?) tax cuts on the rich, etc.  And they had a statement from Durbin and Reid commenting on those.

NPR neglected to mention the Democrats' plans.  Perhaps the Dems released their 10 bills too late.  Perhaps not.  It would be good to find out why they ignored the Democrats' plans and how they are going to redress that.

Details after the fold...

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Mon Nov 08, 2004 at 08:26 AM PST

Creationism advancing

by delphis

As the line between church and state continues to blur, we can expect to see more of the following:

here

GRANTSBURG, Wisconsin (AP) -- School officials have revised the science curriculum to allow the teaching of creationism

Biology is of course a perennial hobgoblin of the unreality-based community even in the face of  tremendous advances  in recent years.  

What other topics will fall prey to their ignorant clutches?  

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Over and over we hear and read that this is the most important election of our lifetime.  I could argue (and did at the time) that 2000 was more important, but put that aside for the moment, that's just squabbling.

I can certainly see why anyone on the left would frame  this election that way.  I can even see why actual conservative republicans might frame it that way after they've had four years to think about it.  

But if Bushies frame it this way (anyone know of references?), that's pretty telling.  I realize they don't live in the real world, but do they really think that Kerry is way, way outside the mainstream of past Democratic nominees?  I doubt it.  Instead, by framing it this way, they acknowledge what we realize.  This isn't about a quantitative swing of the pendulum left or right.  This is about a qualitatively huge gap between two versions of the American future.  And if Kerry isn't too outside the mainstream, then Bush must be.

Even if they claim that terrorism changes everything, Kerry is still not really outside the mainstream of past dealings with terrorism.  So they must be saying that terrorism changes everything, hence we need radical change in America, and Bush is the one to bring it = Bush is the radical.

Incidentally, this is a small media framing victory for the left.  Because if people think of it as the most important, then the natural question is, what are the differences which are so much bigger than the differences in the past?

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Sun Oct 03, 2004 at 02:25 PM PDT

Why do Dems love Bush 1?

by delphis

There seems to be lots of praise for Bush the elder all over the place.  I just read in one of the recommended diaries that Dean praised him in an interview with Russert, Kerry praised him int he debates, and I've heard him praised in converstaions I've had.

To some extent, this is clever politics because it's a way of making Bush 2 look bad while seeming to be fair, and I suspect that's the main motivation behind it.

But it would be a sad thing if these Democrats actually believed that Bush 1 was a good president, a straight talker, and all.  He was a scumbucket, not only as a campaigner, but also as VP and president.  I look forward to the release of papers from the Reagan and Bush years when Kerry wins (after all, they're supposed to be released 12 years after the pres. left office) so Bush 1's role in Iran-Contra, coddling Saddam, invading Panama, etc., becomes public.

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