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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg attends the lunch session of The Women's Conference in Long Beach, California October 26, 2010. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW ENTERTAINMENT) - RTXTVCE
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, keeping it real.
In a lighthearted moment before an audience at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Thursday night, the 81-year-old Ginsburg cracked up telling the story that she “wasn’t 100 percent sober” before going to the State of the Union.
That’s why it appeared that she was falling asleep during the President’s speech. Ginsburg goes on to explain that the Supreme Court Justices had dinner beforehand, and Anthony Kennedy brought out some fine California wine.

And let's be honest. Nodding off because you had a little too much to drink at dinner is pretty tame compared with what other SCOTUS judges have done during President Obama's State of the Union. Remember what Samuel Alito did?

Oh, the Notorious RBG. Just when we can’t love you enough already. Please don’t ever retire.

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The box of petitions, with all the organizations who helped gather signatures.
On Saturday, over 8,000 people marched in Oakland to call for a ban on fracking in California. It was the largest public protest against fracking in history.

On Monday, we took it a step further when our coalition delivered 113,722 signatures to Governor Jerry Brown (including 34,000+ from California). Our online petition—sponsored by Daily Kos, 350.org, Courage Campaign, Food & Water Watch and others—was simple: Jerry Brown has made fighting climate change a top priority, so he must follow the lead of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and ban fracking in California.

I arrived in Sacramento with a huge box of petition signatures and a 4 PM appointment in the governor’s office. Daily Kos users Curtis Paullins (cooper888) and Jann Dorothy (Kestrel) were there to give me a warm Sacramento welcome, as did Sacramento resident Kyran McCann. Dan Jacobson, legislative director of Environment California, gave us an invaluable pep talk on what to expect before going into the governor’s office.

As we walked toward the Capitol with our huge box of petitions, we were joined by Linda Capato of 350.org (who helped organize the march) and Vern Goehring of Food & Water Watch.

Read below the fold to find out what happened once we got inside the State Capitol.

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Daily Kos, CRC, ACCE and others deliver 15,000+ signatures to a representative of the Federal Reserve Bank.
Yesterday, I joined the California Reinvestment Coalition, ACCE (formerly California ACORN) and other consumer advocates to deliver 15,000+ petition signatures to the Federal Reserve office in San Francisco with one demand: Stop these bank mergers.

OneWest Bank and CIT Bank have troubled histories of foreclosures and squandered public bailouts. If the Federal Reserve approves the merger, they would become “too big to fail”—which is precisely why stopping it could be a game-changer.

We also delivered a letter to the Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, signed by 51 state and national organizations, calling for hearings on the proposed merger of CIT Group and OneWest Bank.

Besides our landing page, Daily Kos collected petition signatures on our MoveOn page and via Facebook—bringing our combined total to 15,559 signatures.

According to advocates, the Federal Reserve rarely gets feedback from these bank mergers—and they are almost universally approved. Which means that this was arguably the most protested bank merger in history.

If we can stop the merger of two (comparatively) small banks whose combined assets are over $50 billion—which bank regulators consider “too big to fail”—it could be a game changer in how the Federal Reserve treats these institutions.

The Federal Reserve should look out for Main Street not Wall Street, and denying this merger could be the first step.

Click here for more information about the merger by the California Reinvestment Coalition.

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A community protest at OneWest bank HQ in December 2014
Housing advocates protest OneWest Bank's appalling record on foreclosures.
Two banks with troubled histories of foreclosures and squandered public bailouts are now asking the Federal Reserve to merge, making them “too big to fail”—and they are getting really creative in their tactics.

It is very rare for the Federal Reserve to deny bank mergers, but OneWest Bank is not taking any chances. They have set up an online petition to support the merger on the bank’s website that has netted 1,900 signatures.

The bank is even trying to pressure regulators to approve the merger with no public hearing, and the facts behind the two banks—OneWest and CIT Bank—make it clear why.

OneWest has a terrible record on foreclosures—they recently attempted to evict an 103-year-old Texas widow because she forgot to pay her homeowner’s insurance.

They are asking to merge with CIT Bank—who received $2.3 billion in taxpayer funds to help small businesses, and then filed for bankruptcy to be discharged of this obligation. If the Federal Reserve approves the merger, experts say they would become “too big to fail.”

Daily Kos was approached by consumer advocates, who asked for our assistance—so we set up our own online petition opposing the merger.

Please read below the fold for our progress so far.

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We all come to Daily Kos for our fix of political news. However, many diarists who contribute to the site bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and analysis that enriches the community beyond any single news cycle.

And just because a blog post was written months (or years) ago does not mean it is irrelevant, untimely or not worth sharing. In fact, in many cases we have learned just the opposite.

Every once in a while, an oldie-but-goodie pops up on Chartbeat (a website Daily Kos staff use to measure site traffic)—totally organically. One blog post published in 2011 wakes up so frequently that we have dubbed it the Brigadoon of Daily Kos diaries. It has now been viewed by more than 6,000,000 people—just since the start of 2014!

When we include one of these “classics” in the Daily Kos Recommended e-mail (or post it on Facebook), sometimes it gets read and shared with as much intensity as any breaking news—proving that one of our site’s most valuable resources is the reservoir of over 1.3 million community diaries that have accumulated over the last 12 years.

This is why we started Daily Kos Classics, to curate and reintroduce these quality diaries to our readers. Sharing good writing is what draws new people to the site, and we are committed to growing this community for America’s progressive movement.

Recently, we have collected over 100 diaries that have been organically shared long after they were first published—and will be rolling them out here on a regular basis. What's more, while normally you cannot comment on a Daily Kos diary after it has been published over nine days ago, re-publishing it in Daily Kos Classics re-opens that window and lets a new generation of readers comment and exchange ideas.

Now we want to hear from you! What are your favorite diaries that are just as readable and shareable today—months, even years, after publication—that new visitors at Daily Kos should read? What do you think should be included in the Daily Kos Classics group?

We are eager to find even more gems from our past. Please tell us your favorites in the comments, and join us at Daily Kos Classics to be part of the discussion.

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Volunteer making get out the vote calls in the Louisville Save the Senate Office
After 29 House Democrats voted for the SECOND time to gut crucial parts of Dodd-Frank with HR 37, we decided to amp up the pressure—and have their constituents give them a piece of their mind, asking why they voted for Wall Street over Main Street.

When Democrats behave badly, we must lay the groundwork to hold them accountable. Even if we don’t field primary challengers to all of them, having active Democrats who live in their districts register their displeasure can put enough pressure to get them to vote the right way.

One hundred phone calls to an office is more effective than 2,000 emails, because it requires staff resources to respond. But as a former Capitol Hill intern, I can tell you that out-of-state or out-of-district calls are counterproductive. Actual constituents, like this one, are gold.

I called & spoke with someone from Sean Maloney's office. I told him I was angry that he voted yes for HR37. That I was particularly upset because I was from his district & had voted for him. The man was polite & professional but sounded slightly concerned when he asked my name & address & realized that I was really from his district. Or so it seemed to me.
Read below the fold to see what some of our folks who called said (and heard).
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At the Daily Kos activism team, we ask you to sign petitions and e-mail your members of Congress every day.

But when some Democrats keep voting the wrong way, we must amp up the pressure—and have constituents call their office.

Last week, the Republican House voted on a bill to weaken the most crucial protections of Dodd-Frank. To add insult to injury, 35 House Democrats voted “yes.”

When you look at who were the 35 Democrats, some of the names may surprise you: they are not all conservative Blue Dogs. It’s proof that Wall Street pays close attention to these votes—and rewards those who do their bidding.

So we set up a Daily Kos petition denouncing the 35 House Democrats, which over 118,000 people have signed. We also generated thousands of emails from their constituents.

This week, the House voted again to gut Wall Street reform with HR 37—but this time only 29 Democrats supported the same legislation.

Four Democrats switched their votes from yes to no (Bobby Rush of Chicago, Hank Johnson from the Atlanta suburbs, Elizabeth Etsy of Connecticut and Suzan DelBene of Washington), three more did not vote, and one Democrat—Brian Higgins of New York—flipped the other way.

So our work clearly had an impact, but not enough. Every time a Democrat abandons the Party to shill for corporations at the expense of their constituents, we must let them know we are watching and won’t forget when it comes time for re-election.

And that means ratcheting up the pressure. Sure, it’s a lot easier to press “click” with an email—but clogging the Congressmember’s telephone line is harder for them to ignore.

If your Congressmember voted to gut Wall Street Reform a second time, we need you to call them and express your disapproval. We have made it really easy for you by writing a script, and listing the phone numbers of the 29 House Democrats.

After you make the call (which only takes five minutes), we ask you to fill out the form at the bottom of our landing page to give us feedback on how it went. A few of our folks have been making these calls already, and we’ll have a follow-up blog post on what they’re hearing.

UPDATE (7:45 PM P.S.T.): John Garamendi, one of the 3 House Democrats to vote "yes" last week and then switch to "not voting" issued a statement tonight saying that he was out of town on a family emergency—but would have voted "no" if present. He also credits the response from his constituents as to why he would have switched.

Click below the fold for a complete list of the 29 House Democrats.

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Democrats who voted for Keystone XL and to weaken Dodd-Frank
The new Republican Congress has wasted no time passing godawful legislation, but equally outrageous is the number of Democrats who have voted with them.

Last week, 35 House Democrats voted to gut Wall Street reform which rolls back critical parts of Dodd-Frank—but the Daily Kos activism team sprang into action.

Over 100,000 members have signed our petition denouncing these 35 House Democrats for selling out to Wall Street. Another 6,200 people who live in one of the 35 districts gave their congressmember a piece of their mind by using our email form.

The 35 House Democrats are not all Blue Dogs from conservative districts. In fact, some of the names may surprise you: Bobby Rush from the South Side of Chicago, John Garamendi from the Sacramento suburbs and the openly gay Jared Polis of Boulder—to name a few.

Voting this way allows them to please their Wall Street donors, who pay close attention. And they hope that their liberal constituents back home won’t notice—or remember.

That’s where you come in. Every single time a group of Democrats betray us on Wall Street reform (or vote for the Keystone XL pipeline or vote to cut food stamps), we will mobilize their constituents to give them hell.

We need to make it more expensive for them to vote the wrong way, and pretty soon these Democrats will realize that it’s in their best interest to hold a united front against Republicans. It’s not exactly a new idea, but we need to remain vigilant for this Congress.

Before the Internet, it was difficult to keep close tabs on what happens in Congress and mobilize thousands of constituents. K Street lobbyists ran roughshod on Capitol Hill.

But as one of the 100,000 Daily Kos members who signed our petition wrote: “In this day of the internet, the whole world is watching.”

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The Senate confirmed another dozen U.S. district court nominees last night, giving President Obama 89 confirmations this year—for a total of 305 judges in his first six years.

How does that compare historically?

President George W. Bush confirmed just 32 district court and circuit court judges during his sixth year in office, according to data provided by Alliance for Justice, a progressive advocacy group focused on the federal judiciary. President Bill Clinton confirmed 65 judges in his sixth year. In total, Bush confirmed 256 district and circuit court nominees after six years in office, Clinton confirmed 302, and President Ronald Reagan confirmed 295.
Before 2014, Obama was behind both Bush and Clinton in federal court nominations—despite the Democrats having controlled the Senate in all six years.

Filibuster reform—a wacky concept that a bunch of bloggers started pushing five years ago—is what allowed President Obama to reshape the federal judiciary. David Waldman—a.k.a. Kagro X on Daily Kos—had been organizing around this since 2009, when it became obvious that Republicans would refuse to give an inch. When the Daily Kos activism team launched its very first petition in August 2010, it was on filibuster reform—and 386,373 people on our e-mail list have taken action on this issue since.

On November 21, 2013—thirteen months ago—Senate Democrats finally answered our call and ended the filibuster for executive and judicial nominations. Forty-one senators could still block legislation from making the floor, but at least presidential appointments would get the courtesy of an “up-or-down” vote—and confirmation if a 50 percent-plus-one majority of senators approve. In other words, democracy.

But it’s not just a “process” victory. Here’s what Chris Bowers wrote at the time:

The result will be thoroughgoing, long-lasting change as the doors to the judicial branch of government are finally unlocked and thrown open to progressives. All the destructive court decisions we have recently suffered through on reproductive rights, on rights at work, on Citizens United, on the Voting Rights Act, on making the expansion of Medicaid optional to states and so much more—we now finally have a path to reverse all of that damage.
Last night, we witnessed the fruits of our labor—with a more progressive (and diverse) judiciary.
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Daily Kos and Texas Freedom Network gathered 116,582 petition signatures.
On the eve of submitting science textbooks for approval by the Texas State Board of Education, McGraw-Hill publishing has removed climate change denial from its books—after Pearson Education (the largest textbook publisher in the world) did so last week.

This is a huge victory against right-wing bullies who have tried to pressure book publishers into misleading students about climate change.

Daily Kos and the Texas Freedom Network collectively gathered 116,582 petition signatures to the book publishers requesting this change.

From the Texas Freedom Network:

While we still haven't seen any changes to the portions of the textbooks that exaggerate the impact of Moses and other religious figures on the U.S. founding, we'll be delivering your signature on those issues to publishers and the SBOE tomorrow morning. We won't back down.

This big win for science gives us significant momentum before tomorrow’s SBOE meeting, where members will cast an initial vote on the proposed textbooks. The hard work of getting the publishers to change their books is done. Now, TFN will remind the state board that the public stands behind the publishers' revisions, and we'll keep you up to date on any new developments.

Because of the size and influence of the Texas textbook market, books approved in Texas end up in classrooms around the country—which made this a national issue. We must be vigilant, because the right-wing bullies will be back to pressuring textbook companies in the future.

In the meantime, please share this graphic on Facebook to spread the great news!

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Holtedehl Bay, Antarctica
Students deserve the truth about climate change, but right-wing bullies on the Texas State Board of Education have pressured textbook companies to include false and misleading information in their science books.

The good news? After 78,000 Daily Kos members signed our petition, one company has removed climate change denial from its textbooks:

Pearson Education—the largest educational publisher in the world—has cut material from a proposed Texas social-studies textbook that cast doubt on the human causes of global warming.
Our friends at the Texas Freedom Network had asked us to get involved before the Texas State Board of Education meets on November 18 to approve the submissions of two large textbook companies for “approved” content in public schools.

Because of the size and influence of the Texas textbook market, books approved in Texas end up in classrooms around the country—which makes this a national issue.

But we have only won half the battle. McGraw-Hill also made “changes” that are problematic.

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Donna Edwards at her victory rally on February 13, 2008
In the next few days, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will appoint a new chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)—which recruits and fundraises for House Democrats in the 2016 cycle.

Current chair Steve Israel is stepping down.

While Pelosi could pick any Democrat in the House caucus, insiders say that it will come down to three choices.

Of those choices, Daily Kos supports Congresswoman Donna Edwards—and our staff has set up this petition urging Pelosi to appoint her.

With Democrats having faced terrible losses in 2010 and 2014 because the base did not turn out, the DCCC needs a chair who party activists and donors can trust.

If you’re a longtime Daily Kos reader, you will remember that Donna Edwards is one of us. Read more below the fold ...

Poll

Should Nancy Pelosi appoint Donna Edwards to chair the DCCC

81%1819 votes
7%175 votes
10%224 votes

| 2219 votes | Vote | Results

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