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2020 Congressional Elections

Ohio GOP Demands Investigation Of Dem Who *Didn't* Vote Twice

This aggression against a veteran and dachshund fan WILL NOT STAND, MAN.

In a nice little bit of early ratfucking for 2020, the Ohio GOP is falsely accusing a Democrat running for Congress of having done voter fraud, even though in reality she definitely did not vote twice in the 2008 presidential primary. And even after the claim was conclusively debunked within 24 hours, the state GOP is sticking to its original, inaccurate story. Judd Legum's Popular Information newsletter has all the details, and wow, what a fine crew these Ohio Republicans are. It's also a case study of the sort of crap Democrats should be ready to deal with in the age of Trump.

The target of the smear is Hillary O'Connor Mueri, who's running for the District 14 seat currently held by Republican Dave Joyce, who was appointed to fill it in 2012 and has held on to it since. If you haven't heard of Joyce, neither had we, at least until we checked the Wonkette archives and saw he'd explained in 2013 that the only reason there's any unemployment at all in America is that employers "can't find people to come to work sober, daily, drug-free and want to learn the necessary skills going forward to be able to do those jobs." So, a pretty good guy.

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Guns

Virginia Nice Time Streak Ends As 'Moderate' Dems Help Kill Assault Weapon Ban

Who'd have thought walking the streets with an AK-47 strapped to your chest would prove persuasive?

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's push to make the state just a tad less lethal failed Monday when members of his own party shivved his proposal to ban the sale of assault weapons. Gun rights advocates cheered with profane glee when state senators voted to bury Northam's bill for a year. The state crime commission will presumably use that time to "study the issue." It's unclear how many more dead people and ruined lives you need to confirm that assault weapons are bad news.

Last May, 12 people were killed in a shooting massacre at a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The same year, New Zealand banned military-style semiautomatic rifles and high capacity magazines less than a week after a horrific mass shooting in Christchurch left 50 people dead. This is not a compelling example of American exceptionalism. This nation is unable to seriously address gun violence, and it's probably because we take seriously people who parade around in public outfitted for war. This is somehow an exercise of their constitutional right to terrify and intimidate their fellow Americans. They consider any form of gun control morally comparable to Jim Crow laws (no, seriously, someone put that on a sign). They lack both an awareness of history and basic humanity.

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Trump

Florida Man May Refuse Dialysis If He Can't Bring Cardboard Cutout Of Trump With Him For Emotional Support

Florida man indeed.

Nelson Gibson of Port St. Lucie, Florida, has to get dialysis three times a week, for three and a half hours. Because his family can't join him, he — like many other dialysis patients — sometimes brings something from home for a little emotional support.

At first, he brought a picture with him. Of his family? No. Not of his family. He brought a picture of Donald Trump. That was fine with the staff and the other patients. Then, he started bringing in a small cardboard cutout of himself, which he would place next to the photo. I don't know who just has cardboard cutouts of themselves just ... around — but hey! Everyone's got their thing.

That wasn't a problem either. No one had a problem with it at all.

But then, one day, he showed up with a giant life-size cutout of Donald Trump.

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Cops Behaving Badly

Portland, OR Man ‘Wins’ $1 Million On ‘Who Wants To Get Screwed By Racist Cops?’

This is horrifying.

Michael Fesser of Portland, Oregon, just received $600,000 in the cash settlement sweepstakes, but this isn't another upbeat lottery story. The city of West Linn, Oregon, negotiated the settlement because Fesser, who's black, was the target of an "unwarranted racially motivated surveillance and arrest." Former (thank God) West Linn Police Chief Terry Timeus used his own officers to put the smackdown on Fesser as a "favor" for a fishing buddy.

The fishing buddy was Eric Benson, owner of A&B Towing, which is located in Southeast Portland sometime in the 1950s. Fesser, who'd worked for A&B since 2004, claimed in February of 2017 that coworkers had called him racial slurs, and one had asked him what he thought of a Confederate flag that decorated a pickup truck in the parking lot. Fesser escalated his concerns to Benson, who took an unconventional approach to addressing complaints of a hostile work environment: running to his buddy Police Chief Timeus and persuading him to "investigate" bogus charges that Fesser was stealing from the company. Timeus had his officers conduct audio surveillance of Fesser at work — without a court order or a warrant.

Benson kept in close contact with West Linn Detective Tony Reeves during all this, and the two exchanged homophobic and sexually explicit text messages. They also made more racist comments about Fesser. It was gracious of Benson to include Reeves in the hostile work environment.

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Environment

Hippie Enviros And Big Timber Reached A Deal, And Oregon GOP Is Losing Its Miiiiiiind

Wait, corporations care more about doing business than endless partisan war? Why?

As Oregon — or at least its most populous parts — has become an increasingly blue state, Republicans just don't know what to do with themselves, at least when they're not auctioning off semiautomatic rifles to honor Martin Luther King. There are still plenty of red counties once you get east of the Cascade Mountains, but the people they elect to the state legislature have been in the minority for some time, and have largely been reduced to just blocking as much legislation as they can manage — even if it means they have to bug out of the state to block climate legislation. The worst thing about their new status as the party of permanent obstruction? In the case of their walkout to prevent a vote on the cap-and-trade bill last June, it worked.

But now, the GOP delegation in the state lege faces a dire new threat: Some of the corporations Republicans assumed would always be on their side seem far more interested in making money than in sticking it to the Democratic majority. On Monday, a bunch of Oregon's timber industry groups announced they'd reached an agreement with a bunch of Oregon environmental groups — over two dozen industry and eco groups all together — to work with a mediator on future legislation. The two biggest goals are passing updates to the state's outdated forest-management laws, and creating a "statewide Habitat Conservation Plan" that would govern protections for endangered and threatened species on private timber acreage.

The memorandum of understanding between the industry and environmental groups should finally break a logjam (not a literal one) on legislation this session to regulate aerial pesticide spraying. The groups agreed to work together on the bill, and if it passes, neither side will launch lawsuits or ballot initiatives to block it. When she announced the agreement Monday, Gov. Kate Brown said it's "a genuine show of good faith from everyone involved" and that it would make sure "all key voices will be heard" in future legislation. Industry and environmental-group spokespeople made similar statements about playing nicely together and getting things done.

And that's why Republicans in the state Senate feel outraged and betrayed.

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News

'Drunk' Lawmaker Fights Blind Lawmaker In Capitol Parking Lot Because West Virginia

The anti-gay creep probably, most likely didn't deserve this.

The Virginia General Assembly, now under new Democratic management, has done great work lately, with only one unfortunate exception. The state's counterparts to the west are less impressive. Tuesday, West Virginia House Del. Rob Porterfield, who is blind, accused another delegate, who was allegedly drunk at the time, of bullying him in the capitol parking lot. That's an apparently normal thing that happened.

Porterfield didn't identify his drunken bully by name during a floor speech, but he "indicated" it was fellow Republican Brandon Steele. The high school gymnasium-style throw down was over House Bill 4043, which involves the health insurance of state workers. The measure would've required their spouses with non-cushy state jobs to go on their employers' most likely crappy insurance or pay premiums to the state. This was not a popular bill, and opponents argued its passage would've resulted in the third teachers' strike in three years (the streak continues!).

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Class War

Iowa Republicans Dicking Around With Food Stamps For Jesus

Let them eat state fair corndogs!

While the nation was paying attention to Iowa's dysfunctional caucus last week, the state's Republican-controlled legislature was working on some important legislation, like a bill to allow breweries in the state to purchase hard liquor, as long as it's used to create canned cocktails for the good of all. The Cedar Rapids Gazette informs us that important bill was introduced the day after the Iowa Brewer's Guild hosted a reception for state lawmakers, so let's hear it for the tradition of citizen outreach to let elected officials know what matters to constituents.

In addition to doing regulatory favors for brewpub hipsters, members of the Lege also had a thought for their less affluent constituents, and that thought mostly involved coming up with new ways of making it harder for people to qualify for food stamps (formally, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP). You see, Fox News says there's too much waste and fraud in the SNAP program, and so Iowa Republicans need to add tougher eligibility requirements.

Not that some of the changes the Iowa legislature is talking about make a hell of a lot of sense!

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Local News

Former IA Gov Tom Vilsack Wins $150,000 Powerball Prize. That's It. That's The Headline.

Reading this post doesn't actually improve your chances to win the lottery.

Last week was a complete disaster for the Democratic Party specifically and the state of Iowa in general. However, one Iowa Democrat did come out the other side in good shape. Iowa lottery officials announced Monday that Tom Vilsack claimed a $150,000 Powerball prize at the lottery headquarters in Clive, Iowa. Vilsack was mayor of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and later served in the Iowa Senate. He was governor of Iowa for eight years before serving as Secretary of Agriculture for the entirety of Barack Obama's presidency. That's all very nice, but it's nothing compared to scoring 150,000 big ones in the lottery.

When accepting his winnings, Vilsack made sure to talk up all the positives of legalized gambling.

VILSACK: Occasionally when the Powerball gets above $250 million, I think, "What the heck?" You know, you can dream, like everybody else. And I also know that the chances of me winning anything are next to none and so the money is going to go to education or veterans or the state fund for natural resources or infrastructure, or all the good things that the lottery does. So, I figure it's a good contribution.
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Education

Babies Hurt By Flint's Water Are Struggling In School. Thanks, Fiscal 'Conservatives.'

But look at all the money they saved!

The children of Flint, Michigan, haven't gone away. They're in school -- have been from the start of the 2014 water crisis, of course. But now the babies harmed at the very beginning of the lead poisoning emergency are reaching school age, and as public radio station WBUR's "Here and Now" reports, Flint schools have a far higher percentage of kids in special education than in schools in areas not treated to lead-poisoned water due to a Republican governor's fiscal shock policy.

[Flint's] rate of special education students has grown steadily since the water crisis began — 28% of students are in special education programs, while the national average is about 13%.

In response, over a dozen Flint families, with help from the ACLU of Michigan, the Education Law Center of New Jersey, and a private law firm, are suing the Flint school district and the Michigan Department of Education in federal court. They argue that the school district and state haven't been meeting their obligations to identify kids with special needs and provide them with an appropriate education as required by federal law. It's one of several ongoing lawsuits over the lead poisoning.

While the lawsuit was filed by 15 Flint families as plaintiffs, the attorneys are seeking to expand it to a class action that would cover all the kids in Flint. The case should be going to trial later this spring.

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Cops Behaving Badly

How Many Liberals Can We Blame For The Shooting Of NYPD Officers?

It's a sick game with no winners.

Robert Williams shot two New York City police officers Saturday night. Sunday morning, he continued his rampage at a police precinct in the Bronx, where he opened fire and shot a police lieutenant. He also injured another officer who was trying to subdue him before being taken into custody.

This was a terrible act of violence, but now it seems the looming question is who else is responsible other than the actual gunman. The police union pinned blame on Democratic state legislators who are apparently soft on crime. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea believed police protestors were accomplices in the "premeditated assassination attempt."

SHEA: Just remember these things are not unrelated. We have people marching in New York City last week and I condemned it and I condemn it right here again today -- using profanities against the Police Department.

They are in fact completely unrelated. However, Mayor Bill De Blasio agreed with Shea's top-notch police work.

DE BLASIO: Anyone who spews hatred at our officers is aiding and abetting this kind of atmosphere. It's not acceptable. You can protest whatever for whatever you believe in, but you cannot vilely attack those who are here to protect us. It creates this kind of dynamic.

This a crazy irresponsible statement. Roughly 500 people gathered last month in Grand Central Terminal to protest the increased police presence in subways. Demonstrators held up signs stating "Poverty is not a crime" and "The real fare beaters are on Wall Street." Some even led a call-and-response chant: "How do you spell racist? N-Y-P-D." People might consider that rude, but it's also free speech. What it definitely isn't is criminal facilitation. Saying mean things about the police didn't provide Williams with either the means or the opportunity to shoot cops.

The mayor shouldn't use the term "aiding and abetting" metaphorically. It has a specific definition. If de Blasio has evidence that the protestors had previous knowledge of Williams's intentions and actively helped him in any way, he should contact the police. However, disagreeing with police tactics or even just straight-up disliking the police aren't the same on a moral or practical level as actually trying to murder police officers.

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Nice Time

Nice Time: Virginia Secedes From Anti-Gay Union, Passes LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Bill

Virginia set to become Canada with sweet tea by end of year.

Virginia continued its march toward the promised land when lawmakers passed legislation Thursday protecting people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. That's right: We don't care if Mike Pence is the vice president. You can't deny LGBTQ Virginians employment, housing, or otherwise exclude them from public accommodations. This is 2020, y'all.

If the measures become law, as expected, Virginia will become the first Southern state to treat the LGBTQ community like human beings. Virginia's civil right protections would now extend to restaurants and stores. Racial minorities, women, and members of religious groups (all of whom include queer folk) would also enjoy these protections.

State Sen. Adam P. Ebbin from Alexandria said the Virginia Values Act "sends a message that the commonwealth is a safe and welcoming place for all people." Ebbin is the first openly gay person elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, where he served from 2004 to 2012. He made history again when he was elected to the Virginia Senate in 2012. Ebbin described lobbying the Virginia General Assembly for his human rights 30 years ago and how those appeals fell on deaf (and bigoted) ears.

"Very few lawmakers came out of their offices to meet with us, and I don't think it made a difference — at least at that time," he said. "Now we have five members of the LGBT caucus, which would have been unthinkable a few years ago."
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2020 democratic primary

Tom Steyer Paid SC Legislator $43K For One Month Of Advanced Blackness Studies

We're not sure this is entirely on the up and up.

A recent poll showed Joe Biden with a five point lead over Bernie Sanders in South Carolina. That's not great news for Uncle Joe, because he was hoping for, if not outright planning on, a more commanding victory. Hillary Clinton carried the state by 50 points in the 2016 primary.

We don't normally get bogged down in horse race reporting, because horses are annoying (don't @ me). However, one reason Sanders is closing the gap on Biden is that Tom Steyer is sucking up all the oxygen. He's dropped millions in advertising in South Carolina. This year, the first words for most babies in the state will be "Tom Steyer." Although Steyer is from California and has no natural connection to South Carolina, it was a smart move to target this specific primary. It's a potential showcase for Biden's strength as a candidate and if Steyer wants to win, he has to first weaken Biden with black voters. That is a better option than just pretending we don't exist while gushing over the "heartland."

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2020 Congressional Elections

Former Rep. Kweisi Mfume, Actual Resident Of Elijah Cummings's District, Wins Primary For His Seat

Protect this House. I will.

No one will ever take the place of Elijah Cummings, may his name be for blessing. He was a giant, gone far too soon. He was my congressman for more than a decade, and I remember so clearly when he addressed Michael Cohen after his congressional testimony:

Let me tell you the picture that really, really pained me. You were leaving the prison, you were leaving the courthouse, and, I guess it's your daughter, had braces or something on. Man that thing, man that thing hurt me. As a father of two daughters, it hurt me. And I can imagine how it must feel for you. But I'm just saying to you — I want to first of all thank you. I know that this has been hard. I know that you've faced a lot. I know that you are worried about your family. But this is a part of your destiny. And hopefully this portion of your destiny will lead to a better, a better, a better Michael Cohen, a better Donald Trump, a better United States of America, and a better world. And I mean that from the depths of my heart.

When we're dancing with the angels, the question we'll be asked: In 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact? Did we stand on the sidelines and say nothing?

I think about this a lot. I don't know where we go from here as a country, I don't know how we climb out of this pit of rage and hate. The path will be steeper without Congressman Cummings.

But we do have to keep climbing, and yesterday was the special election to fill Cummings's open House seat in West Baltimore and the surrounding suburbs.

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Recipe Hub

Excuse Me, But Some Tennessee Republican Regularly Chugs Straight Chocolate Syrup And I Have Questions

With a side of cheese crackers.

You know, you spend as much time on the internet and watching trashy TLC shows as I do, and you think you've seen everyone eat everything possible. I've seen rats eating pizza, high schoolers eating spoonfuls of cinnamon, a woman who was addicted to eating couch cushions and another woman who ate the ashes of her dead husband. Also I dated a pretentious film guy in college who made me watch Salo. I am not new! And generally, I don't judge people for what they eat (unless they try to serve me a Caprese sandwich with a giant pile of freaking arugula on it, in which case I will be mad for weeks). Never yuck someone else's yum, I say!

However.

I came across a tweet featuring Tennessee state Rep. Kent Calfee listening to the State of the State address, while casually sipping on a bottle of Hershey's chocolate syrup — as he, reportedly, "often does" during legislative sessions.

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Trump

SC Republicans Want To Give Trump His Own Confederate Memorial

Trump's disgraced name would disgrace new highway interchange.

Republicans have finally gone too far.

It was bad enough that they've actively enabled Donald Trump's shredding of the Constitution. Now, they're attempting to bestow a permanent honor on the (impeached) president in my home town of Greenville, South Carolina. State Reps. Stewart Jones of Laurens County and Jonathon Hill of Anderson County (where my mother was born) have sponsored a bill that would name the interchange of Interstates 85 and 385 in Greenville after the thrice-married New York real estate developer and credibly accused rapist.

Here is how Jones and Hill make their case for Resolution Dumbass 5009:

Whereas, President Donald Trump fights tirelessly to restore our American values and defeat the radical left; and

Whereas, President Trump has kept his promises to improve the economy, build the wall, defund Planned Parenthood, cut ISIS off at the head, and stop endless wars; and

Whereas, President Trump is under constant attack by anti-American politicians and the fake news media; and

Whereas, President Trump has the full support of countless South Carolinians and deserves to be honored.
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2020 Congressional Elections

Kentucky Rep. Just Wants To Be Loved By Trump. Is That So Wrong?

Thomas Massie runs ads in Florida to show Trump how much he loves him.

Republican House Rep. Thomas Massie is running campaign ads in Florida. What's strange is that he represents Kentucky's fourth congressional district. Floridians can't vote in Kentucky elections. Gov. Ron DeSantis doesn't even want them voting in Florida elections. But Donald Trump is a Florida Man these days, and Massie's trying to appeal to the president on his secret red state hot line, Fox News.

Massie, a four-term congressman, has bought ad time in the South Florida vicinity of Mar-a-Lago. He wants to plant the idea in Trump's feeble mind that Massie's Republican primary challenger, Todd McMurtry, "hates" the mad king. McMurtry, an attorney, has repeatedly hit Massie over his breaks with Trump on policy. Massie voted to prevent Trump from taking military action against Iran without the approval of Congress. He also said "no" to Trump's trade agreement with Mexico and Canada. He even voted to overturn Trump's emergency WALL funding.

It's no wonder Massie has gone topsy-turvy on McMurtry. His new ad highlights all the mean things McMurtry has said about Trump on social media. McMurtry called the president an "idiot" and the "epitome of a weak male." He even dared agree with Hillary Clinton that Trump was "temperamentally unqualified" to serve. (Fact check: All true.)

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