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Senator Cory Booker (DNJ) won a full term to the United States Congress this week, garnering 1,016,204 votes from the residents of New Jersey in an incredibly low turnout election.

The number or people is larger than the number of people who live in seven states: Montana (pop: 989,415), Delaware (POP: 897,934), South Dakota (pop: 814,180), Alaska (pop: 710,231), North Dakota (pop: 672,591), Vermont (pop: 625,741) and Wyoming (pop: 563,626),

By default, no Senator from any of these states has ever garnered the number of votes in a single election that Booker has.  I’m willing to bet that the combined delegation from each of these states has never garnered the votes Booker has.

Even more telling, four of these states elected Republican Senators on the same day Booker was sent back to the Senate.  In total those four United States Senators received 581,321 votes, less than 60% of what Booker receives.

In fairness, the GOP got 14.5M votes for winners of US Senate seats while the Dems only got 9.8M, so they won more seats.  But it’s a skewed total since most races were in Republican states.  

More telling is that it took an average of 820K votes to win a Democratic seat, and only 660K to win a Republican seat.

That a voter in NJ has less influence than those in many other states is a feature, not a bug, and I’m not even close to suggesting we should get rid of the Senate or the direct election of Senators.  In fact, this kind of analysis is pretty much navel gazing, but sometimes it's gotta be done.

Just noting that it’s not really a “mandate” when one party wins the US Senate.

The House … that’s a different story (gerrymandering notwithstanding).  And we got drubbed there.

Discuss

The national unemployment rate has been improving ever since the seventh month of Barack Obama's presidency, but that improvement hasn't been the same for every state.

I'm a New Jerseyan, and with our Republican Governor we've been doing much worse than the other North East states, especially against ones with Democratic Governors.

So I decided to do a quick look at how other states were doing, and found this very interesting trend (edit) in the 15 states with the worst unemployment rates.

State            Rate        Governor
Georgia        8.1        Nathan Deal (R)
Mississippi        7.9        Phil Bryant (R)
Rhode Island    7.7        Lincoln Chafee (I)
Nevada        7.6        Brian Sandoval (R)
California        7.4        Jerry Brown (D)
Michigan        7.4        Rick Snyder (R)
Tennessee        7.4        Bill Haslam (R)
Oregon        7.2        John Kitzhaber (D)
Arizona        7.1        Jan Brewer (R)
Kentucky        7.1        Steve Beshear (R)
Alabama        6.9        Robert J. Bentley (R)
Alaska        6.8        Sean Parnell (R)
North Carolina    6.8        Pat McCrory (R)
Illinois        6.7        Pat Quinn (D)
New Mexico    6.7        Susana Martínez (R)

This should give voters significant pause, but it won't.  Just like nothing sways them when it's pointed out that the last few balanced federal budgets were all under Democratic Presidents, that incomes and employment and stock markets all do better under Democratic Presidents, that just about every serious recession started under a Republican President.

Sad.

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Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 04:08 AM PDT

GOP Loves Money More Than People

by huntsu

There's an effort in the Congress by Democrats to create more transparency in non-profits that engage in political activities, pushing for donors to be revealed as they are for electoral campaigns.

The GOP is showing its love for the rich and moneyed again by opposing such rules, saying that they stifle free speech by opening up donors to reprisals.

Funny how they never think about that when they require actual human beings to bring government issued photo identification to vote.

Discuss

I keep hearing from Republicans that Obama has destroyed any chance of peace in Israel because the Jewish state just can't trust him to have his back.  I've never really understood this tack, but then I rarely understand much of anything the GOP levels against Obama.  (Seriously, there are things like net neutrality and the NSA and drone strikes and extra-judicial executions of citizens to get pissed about, so why BENGHAZI!tm?)

I've never really had any empirical evidence to demonstrate the false nature of this claim over Israel, but this chart showing that there were massive deaths while Bush was President and only a couple spikes during Obama really shows that things are more peaceful under our guy than they were under the strong man.

It's not like facts and data really matter in modern discourse, especially on the right, but still this is pretty stark.
Discuss

There's something liberals and Tea Partiers agree on: we do not want Sharia law to be used in United States Courts.

But there's also something liberals and Tea Partiers don't agree on: having the Christian equivalent of Sharia law in United States Courts.

But it's here, for now, and we can only hope it gets booted quick.

Jaleesa Martin named her son Messiah DeShawn McCullough, but she and the now seven month old boy's father disagreed on what the last name should be.  So, seeking a little help in the issue decided to go to a family court judge and ask for some, well, adjudication.

That's when things went all higgledy-piggledy.

Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ordered the name change last week, according to WBIR-TV. The boy’s parents were in court because they could not agree on the child’s last name, but when the judge heard the boy’s first name, she ordered it changed, too. ...

“The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ,” the judge said.

Apparently it doesn't matter what issue you come to the court with, if Judge Ballew notices something else that conflicts with her religious beliefs out comes the Bible and down comes the gavel.  She unilaterally, and without anyone asking, changed a kid's name because she could.

Now imagine if there was a large Hispanic population and folks with kids named Jesus come before the court.  Woof!

Or if Judge Reinhold has a court case!  "Judge is a title," Bellew might say. "And that's only been earned by elected yahoos and not by actors from the 1980s!"

The other problem may be logistical.  Ballew's gonna be real busy once she learns this little factoid:

Messiah was No. 4 among the fastest-rising baby names in 2012, according to the Social Security Administration’s annual list of popular baby names.
Damn.
Discuss

What if things had gone just a little different in Sanford Florida 17 months ago, and we all read a tragic story of a Neighborhood Watch guard killed when he improperly threatened a local teenager?

Tragic Death a Test Case for “Stand Your Ground” Laws
February 13, 2012

Sanford, FL – Trayvon Martin, a young black man coming home from the corner store, knew he was in trouble last night.  Just walking home from the corner store he noticed a car slowly following him and got worried he was in danger.  He called his girlfriend and told her he was being followed by a “creepy-ass cracker” and didn’t know what to do.

When the driver, a local community watch member named George Zimmerman, got out of his car and began following Martin things escalated.  Zimmerman accosted Martin, and Martin -- fearing for his life -- fought back.  Unfortunately for the unarmed Martin, Zimmerman had a gun and pulled it.  Martin grabbed at the gun in terror after being followed in a car, then accosted on the street then seeing a weapon pointed right at his heart.

They wrestled for control, twisting and turning the firearm like in a Carl Hiassen caper movie, and a shot rang out.  One shot, one bullet wound, one man dying on the sidewalk.

George Zimmerman died later that night while being worked on by EMTs.

Trayvon Martin is now being held under suspicion of manslaughter, and his attorneys and supporters say he simply followed Florida law and stood his ground when justifiably fearing for his life.

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So President Barack Obama is flying in today to visit the Jersey Shore with Governor Chris Christie.  There will be photo-ops and news stories and probably a hug with one of the participants wearing a fleece.  It'll be great theater, and give even more bipartisan cover to the Governor as he runs for reelection.

Against NJ state Senator Barbara Buono.

A Democrat. The same party as the President.  Who is going to hug Christie on national TV. A Republican.  The opposite party of the President.

Now, it made sense in the fall after Hurricane Sandy ripped through the area for a President and Governor of opposing parties to show up, work together to make a change.  It's true that Christie didn't have to be as effusive as he was, but the President came not only with photo ops but also potentially billions of dollars to help Christie recover.

Billions of dollars Christie will be able to disburse this summer.  Just before his reelection campaign heats up.  Against Buono who, as noted above, is in the same party as the President.

As far as I know, President Obama is not also meeting with Buono, or holding a fundraiser, or encouraging other Democrats to get on board already.  This looks like a tacit endorsement of Christie, and essentially a Presidential Pardon for any Democrat who wants to cross party lines to go against their nominee.

That's a pretty lousy thing for a sitting President to do.

And it's not as if he had to come to New Jersey this week.  There is massive devastation in Oklahoma he needs to address, and people who could really use his warmth and comfort.  There's beaches up in New York State he could have visited.

But instead he pointedly came here to be with the Republican Governor and just as pointedly snubbed his Democratic opponent.

What is Obama thinking?

Crossposted at BlueJersey

Discuss

We were all shocked last week at the Boson Marathon bombs, hoping against hope in the early stages that it was an accident of poorly maintained infrastructure, and after we knew it was terrorism that the bastards were working alone and would be caught.

Just four days later one had died shooting it out with police, and the other is captured and alive.  Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev is in custody and we'll be able to learn his reasons and ensure that it really is a couple schnooks with a grievance and not a larger play.  The local, state and federal governments did an awesome job working together to get this done.

But just before the bombing the United States Senate voted on a bill that would ensure that bad people -- the mentally ill, convicted killers, and, say, gol-darned terrorists! -- are prevented from getting weapons.  The GOP decided this was a bad idea and blocked the bill.

As a result, if Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev --  a terrorist who killed three people and injured hundreds -- is convicted and serves out his time he can walk into a gun show and buy an AR-15 with a hundred round clip without a background check.  Walk in, buy the gun, walk out and maybe visit another Boston Marathon.

I'd love to see Harry Reid rename the bill "Background Checks for Tsarnaev" and bring it up for a vote on Monday.  Let them vote against it then.

Discuss

I'm a huge fan of editorial cartoons.  I grew up on Herbert Block books my parents had lying around, and frankly an awful lot of what I remember from Nixon, Carter and Reagan probably came from those books.  This year for Christmas (yes, a liberal who celebrates Christmas because I am a Christian as is my spouse and kid) I got the Annual Review of Editorial Cartoons.  My RSS list has a few dozen feeds including Cagle.

Which is where I saw this racist cartoon from "two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist" Michael Ramirez.

I thought it was a pretty poor excuse for an editorial cartoon since it plays off the trillion dollar platinum coin with a non sequitur of poverty and, for some reason, a Native American on what looks like a buffalo nickel. It's neither funny nor particularly illuminating, two things I look for in a good editorial cartoon.

But when I saw "Indian Giver" on it I realized where Ramirez was going, and it was totally down the path to racism.  I'm guessing Daryl Cagle, who syndicates this cartoon, didn't look at it before offering it to other publications, or if he did had just woken up and hadn't had his coffee.

Discuss

Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:03 AM PST

Wells Fargo Still Pushing Scam Loans

by huntsu

So I'm reading my Gmail this morning and I see this advertisement from Wells Fargo that says, "Wells Fargo(r) Home Equity - Pay $147 Interest-Only per Month $30,000 Line of Credit."

Image1

And this comes from the website"


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OK, now the Joe the Plumber stuff has gotten totally out of control.  We've all seen the video where McCain is trying to find Joe the Plumber and the guy is taking a bathroom break or something, but this line from McCain is insane.

If that wasn’t enough, McCain introduced Wurzelbacher as "an American hero, a great citizen of Ohio and my role model."

His role model?  McCain wants to be a guy who avoids paying his taxes?  He wants to be a guy who lied about his plans to buy his boss' business?  He wants to be a guy who fibs about his income?  He wants to be a guy who twists facts to make political points?  

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The Shulman for Congress campaign held a 9:00 a.m. telephone press conference where New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed Dennis Shulman over Republican Rep. Scott Garrett in the race for the NJ-5 House seat.  The campaign has been getting a lot of attention lately as poll show a tightening race and the potential for a wave election means Shulman has a real chance to win an upset.

Bloomberg is pretty popular in North Jersey, and the district is entirely in the New York media and employment markets.  This endorsement could make a close race significantly closer, though it is likely not a game changer.

Bloomberg is currently registered as an independent after being elected twice the Mayor of New York as a Republican.  Prior to running for Mayor Bloomberg had been a Democrat.  He maintains that his politics are about getting the job done and enacting the right policies, and not about the party he belongs to.

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