Saturday, February 8, 2014

Eric Holder Comes Through Again

Eric Holder and the Department of Justice look like they're ready to make the next step in forcing LGBTQ equality at the federal level:

The federal government will soon treat married same-sex couples the same as heterosexual couples when they file for bankruptcy, testify in court or visit family in prison. 
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was preparing to issue policies aimed at eliminating the distinction between same-sex and opposite-sex married couples in the federal criminal justice system, according to excerpts from a speech prepared for a Saturday event organized by a prominent gay-rights group. 
In every courthouse, in every proceeding and in every place where a member of the Department of Justice stands on behalf of the United States, they will strive to ensure that same-sex marriages receive the same privileges, protections and rights as opposite-sex marriages,” Mr. Holder’s prepared remarks said, according to the excerpts circulated by the Justice Department.

This is great news.  The response by some advocates, not so much.

Gay-rights advocates welcomed the changes but had hoped Mr. Holder would use his address before the Human Rights Campaign to announce that the president would sign an order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation. 
“That would be big,” said Gary Buseck, legal director for Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders.

It would be big.  I'm betting it'll happen.  There's infinitely more chance of that happening than under any Republican President, just so you know...and any Republican in the White House would be under tremendous pressure to reverse all of this, and probably would.

Matt Bevin? Who's That, And Who Cares?

The Daily Beast bravely pretends that Matt Bevin has a shot in the Kentucky GOP primary against Mitch The Turtle.

Most Southern towns of any size have something like the Lexington Club, where behind a nondescript door with a keypad lies a warmly decorated clubhouse, complete with a fire in the fireplace, thick cigar smoke in the air, and portraits of both Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee on the wall. 
The presence of both portraits signify the state’s complicated past. But the present is not much less complex: The Bevin-McConnell race is the biggest battle yet in a Republican civil war that’s been raging since 2010. 
And Bevin’s reinforcements have begun to arrive in Kentucky. 
The SCF kicked in half of the $900,000 Bevin raised in the last quarter of 2014. The Madison Project is opening five Get Out the Vote offices in areas in which McConnell has traditionally done well. FreedomWorks recently endorsed Bevin, but they too had trouble with his name. 
“If you have not heard, FreedomWorks has recently endorsed Matt Blevins for U.S. Senate and we are now looking to employ Field Staffers for Kentucky,” said one email.

Reinforcements!  The underdog is going to fight back!  Senate minority leader defeated in a primary! 


Perhaps the equally irrelevant Daily Beast might have tried to get this article out before Friday's poll showing Bevin down 26 points with only 14 weeks to go.  And McConnell has more than five times Bevin's money.

As much as I'd love to see a Tea Party puke like Bevin get stomped in November by Alison Grimes, his message that government is evil in a state that's 92% white and where one in six households has food insecurity isn't going to cut it.  Republicans know Mitch brought home the pork and they'll vote for him over Bevin.  Remember too this is a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by half a million.  Only 38% of the state's registered voters are Republican, and we have closed primaries here.

So the people Bevin needs to reach are the "hands off my government programs!" folks in some of the poorest, least diverse counties in America.  That's working about as well as expected, and he's down 26 points as a result.

I want to see McConnell lose.  But he won't be beaten by Matt Bevin.

Austerity Republicans Keep Cutting Government Jobs

Kevin Drum explains why we're a couple of million jobs short of where we need to be right now, and why Republicans keep complaining that this is a jobless recovery:  Austerity Republicans have cut millions of government jobs, period.

January's job numbers were fairly dismal, but the bad cheer wasn't equally spread. Private sector employment, as usual, increased—by 142,000 jobs last month. At the same time, public sector employment declined. Government employment at all levels was down 29,000 in January. 
Aside from the brief census blip in early 2010, this has been the usual state of affairs for the past four years, ever since the recession officially ended. The chart below shows public and private sector employment indexed to 100 at the end of the recession. Private sector employment is up 6.8 percent. Public sector employment is down 3.4 percent. And that's during a period when population grew 2.3 percent. On a per capita basis, government employment has declined more than 5 percent since 2009, and it's still declining.

All in all we've lost millions of local, state, and federal government jobs thanks to Republicans who have demanded that we cut millions of government jobs.  Now these same Republicans are wondering where the jobs are.

We're doing exactly what the GOP said we should do:  cut millions of government jobs and they would be replaced by "higher paying private sector jobs."  Gosh, that hasn't happened.  I wonder why?

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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