Texas Republican Gets Dem Challenger

Democrat Michael Cole has announced that he will challenge freshman Congressman Steve Stockman in the 2014 election for Texas’ 36th district. Cole has said that he wants to help “turn Texas blue” and him running will bring it closer to that. He is a Libertarian-turned Democrat and educator who wants to strengthen our education system by giving teachers more flexibility, and wants to focus on job creation. Here is a statement he made on his Facebook page:

“If your candidate for Congress is not talking about good paying jobs, better education or equality for all… then he doesn’t understand the problem facing South East Texans and is probably part of it. Time to focus on the real issues.”

It is unclear whether he stands a chance in such a notoriously conservative state like Texas, but his Libertarian ties and focus on education may help him convince voters that he is right for them. Also with people like Wendy Davis taking a stand and all those women going to the state capitol to fight for their rights, Texas may be starting to understand that the GOP is the problem, not the solution. We’ll have to see how things play out, but in the meantime you can check out Michael Cole’s website here to learn more about him.

Posted in Central States, Democrats, Election Reports | Tagged ,
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Today’s Stupid Conservative Quotes

buckmckeonBuck McKeon of California (personally, I can’t stand good-ol-boy nicknames like “Buck”) kicked the conservative, anti-immigration reform rhetoric up a notch with the claim that Arab persons disguised as Hispanics could take advantage of our immigration reform to harm Americans:

There are people that can’t tell the difference between a Hispanic person and an Arab person. They can mingle in, and they can get in here, and then they can do damage.

And by “people that can’t tell the difference” he means himself.

markwaynemullinHere’s multi-millionaire businessman and House member Markwayne Mullen on why we shouldn’t increase the current minimum wage:

You guys wanna pay $20 for a hamburger at McDonald’s? If you wanna increase it, that’s great, but what you’re gonna do is punish everybody along the way.

Thank God there’s Markwayne to stand-up for the rich. That poor, international conglomerate McDonald’s would be forced to pass-on the additional labor costs to the customer, eh? McDonald’s has maintained a roughly 20% quarterly profit margin for many years, which is revenue minus all fixed and variable costs, including labor. 20% is a very healthy profit margin and the company could easily handle additional labor costs. But the “investor class”, as Dubya called them, cares more about building their pile of wealth higher and higher than paying a decent wage to the lowly, working class. And millionaire Markwayne Mullen appears to agree.


McDonald’s Quarterly Profit Margins

Steve King announced a Stop Amnesty rally to be held today in Eric Cantor’s hometown of Richmond, VA that he hoped would draw a “massive” response against immigration reform. King famously claimed that most young, Mexican immigrants are drug mules, to which Cantor responded, “I strongly disagree with his characterization of the children of immigrants and find the comments inexcusable.” King probably hoped he could count on the lunatic fringe to back him in a fight against Cantor and the Republican establishment. Today’s rally was estimated to have drawn an embarrassing 50-60 people.


View the Stupid Conservative Quotes series.

Posted in Economic Justice, Immigration, Politics, Racial Issues, Terrorism, Working Class | Tagged , , , , , , ,
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Fundie Judge Throws Popular Baby Name Out With The Bathwater

When the parents of 7 month old Messiah DeShawn Martin could not agree upon their child’s last name they took the issue to court. Little did they know that the judge hearing their case would not just resolve the last name issue, she would resolve the (formerly nonexistent) first name issue as well.

According to judge Lu Ann Ballew:

“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 also notes that her American south is no place to raise a baby named Messiah:

She said the decision is best for the child, especially while growing up in a county with a large Christian population. “It could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point he has had no choice in what his name is,”

The judges definition of the word Messiah relies upon a uniquely modern and fundamentalist Christian understanding. The etymology of the word Messiah is based upon a Semitic word meaning “to anoint” or “anointed”. The biblical kings of Israel, having been anointed with oil, were literally Messiahs in their time. In fact there were even ancient gentile kings, considered to be divinely inspired, who were given the title. The title was not just bestowed upon kings, but priests, prophets and other great men who were anointed with oil.

From the Roman occupation to modern times Jews use the word Messiah to define the expected liberator of Israel who will bring freedom and peace to the land. Judge Ballew immediately dismisses one half of the Judeo/Christian tradition she so fiercely defends (signified by hanging the ten commandments in her office) because under the modern definition Jews believe that The Messiah has yet to appear.  They certainly do not believe that the only person who deserves the title is Jesus Christ.

Good news though. Even as the judge dismisses the Judaic understanding of Messiah, she is right in line with the Muslim interpretation. Islam teaches that Jesus was Allah’s Messiah to the Jews, to spread the good news of the Muslim faith well before Muhammad was even born. The Koran only mentions the prophet Muhammad by name 4 times but mentions Jesus, Allah’s Jewish Messiah, at least 25 times.

Who knew Judge Ballew was such a steadfast proponent of the Islamic/Christian tradition?

Having determined that the judge is completely out to lunch with her fundamentalist Christian definition of Messiah, what do we make of her determination to force her view on the families she judges. The name Messiah is one of the fastest growing names in popularity (#6 for growth, 387th in popularity) according to the Social Security Administrations website.

It is not acceptable for a fundamentalist judge to use wrong headed religious justifications to ban one child from holding a name she considers sacred when that name is acceptable for thousands of other children.  This fits in the Amish bus driver career choice field as far as I’m concerned.  If this judge cannot fairly rule without insisting that those she has control over be forced to live by her fundamentalist point of view, she should not be a judge.  If an Amish person wants to be a bus driver, but due to their deeply held religious belief they refuse to operate the bus, they should not be a bus driver.   If a faith healer does not believe in modern medicine, refusing to fill prescriptions while insisting that their customers must pray to be healed, they should not be a pharmacist.

Frankly the judge citing regional prejudices only makes it worse.  Maybe judges in liberal San Francisco should start banning the name George, particularly for families with the surname Bush.  Some poor child being raised with the name George Bush in that county will be put at odds with many residents through no choice of their own.

I wonder how this judge treats brown people named Jesus?

Posted in Justice, Religion | Tagged , , , , , ,
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Clinton Impeachment Counsel To Investigate Swallow…

Ok… I just could not resist this headline.   So that makes me childish and creepy, but I mean c’mon! 

Essentially the Attorney General for Utah for is a fellow named John Swallow.  He is in a bit of hot water over some apparent ethics lapses.  One of the lawyers being brought on to the case is Steven Reich, who played a key role both in both the house and senate   defense of President Clinton during his impeachment.

Obviously it is in the best interest of all involved for me to simply leave the story alone at this point.

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Liz Cheney Lies, Then Tosses A Clerk Under The Bus

Liz Cheney has had one of the worst campaign starts in American history. Earlier this week news broke that she had purchased a Wyoming residential fishing license under false pretenses.

To be eligible for the residential fishing license in Wyoming the applicant must have been a resident of the state for at least one year. When Cheney applied for her residential license she had only been a resident for about 4 months. Her application listed Cheney as a Wyoming resident for 10 years.

What may seem trivial to some big city political reporters is a bigger deal to many Wyoming residents.  As one Republican strategist put it:

“Allegedly poaching in a state where being a resident sportsman is, by law, an earned privilege. Wyoming people will take this very seriously.”

The reader may be interested to know that my one non traffic related run in with the law as an adult came as the result of “illegal taking“. While fishing with a proper license I was visited by a ranger who noticed that one of my catch did not have clipped fins. According to Oregon state law native game fish must be released so I lost the fish (which the ranger advised would be used by a local charity to train wounded birds of prey how to hunt when released) and about $125 at the local courthouse.

There has been some speculation that Cheney was trying to avoid the higher fee for an out of state fishing license. The residential license costs $24 while the out of state option costs $92. I for one doubt Cheney lied on the application to save herself $68.

Most likely the real reason for the discrepancy is that the truth of her residency is a political liability for Cheney. It is quite apparent that Cheney knew she was going to run for state wide office when she moved to Wyoming. What are the chances that Cheney would apply for an out of state license knowing she would be running for the senate? That would provide irrefutable proof in state records that she is a carpetbagger.

Once the cat was out of the bag so to speak, Cheney did what Cheney’s can be counted on doing. She obfuscated, and blamed someone else. In this case it was the clerk’s fault!

Cheney said Monday she didn’t tell anyone that she had been a Wyoming resident for 10 years. “No, I did not,” she said. “That would be an error on their part, I didn’t tell them that.”

Cheney blaming the clerk for what is obviously her own fault is a ringing indictment of her character. The sense of privileged entitlement just oozes from her. The one mitigating factor for Ms. Cheney is her last name. She comes by the need to lie, cheat and be generally unpleasant when it comes to politics honestly. It is literally in her genes.

Editor’s Note:

And as I suspected, this is Cheney’s child-like argument to get away with wrongdoing (as Ken said, she inherited that from dear ol’ Daddy). Cheney attempts to redirect the conversation by saying she did not “tell” the clerk how long she was a Wyoming resident. Actually, she may or may not have told him but she would have been required to write the number of years she was a Wyoming resident in the fishing application. Like a child, she thinks the semantic difference gets her off the hook.

The Wyoming Game & Fish Department provides a pdf copy of the actual “resident/nonresident” fishing license on their website that clearly shows the field where Cheney was required to enter the number of years she was a resident in Wyoming.

wyoming fishing license where liz cheney would have written the number of years she claimed she was a wyoming resident

Just above it is the following warning (with my emphasis):


Cheney is clearly busted. But the chances are slim-to-none that anything will come of it.

Posted in Politics, Primaries, Republicans, Senate | Tagged , , , ,
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Cut the Cord! Switch to Online Video Streaming and Save Money

After decades of conservative business leaders cutting our wages and benefits or outsourcing our jobs to China and India, we’re left with lower or stagnant wages and less disposable income than ever before.  But with advances in technology, we have more entertainment options than ever, options we can’t necessarily afford. So this nonpolitical post will explain how I take advantage of the many entertainment options available on a very tight budget, in two words: video streaming.

Assuming you already have a broadband or DSL connection (through your phone company or standalone broadband via cable), you’re in the perfect position to, as they say, “cut the cord” (cable or satellite tv).  What you need is a “streaming video box” to take advantage of rokuyour internet connection.  There are several manufacturers of these devices (including Apple TV) but the one I use is the ROKU Lite streaming video box which only costs $50 to $60 to purchase.  Its a one-time purchase; after that there is no monthly or yearly cost of any kind, no fees. Its a small device that connects wirelessly to your wireless internet modem, with more expensive models that connect directly to your modem (and with an earphone jack in the remote!). Through this device you’ll have access to hundreds of free or paid tv, movie, and entertainment channels.

If you wanna go the completely free route, there are many free channels to choose from with the ROKU box (I would imagine Apple TV is similar): there’s Crackle (movies), Pandora (personalized radio), Vevo (music videos), Nowhere TV (many options including full episodes of Maddow and other MSNBC shows), PBS, OVGuide (movies), PopcornFlix (movies), Vanguard (movies), Indie crush (movies), HuffPost live (live discussions of politics and news), 8ctave (movies and tv), Viewster (movies and tv), AOL.On (variety), Snag films (movies), Koldcast (tv for tweens and teens), weather underground (weather forecasts), NBC News (videos of broadcasts), and many, many more channels. There are even channels from other countries and some specialized content providers for a relatively small monthly fee.

netflix2An option that is still very cheap is to add the Netflix video streaming option for $7.99 a month.  That plan offers many TV series from cable networks and network TV, plus hundreds (possibly thousands) of movies.  Netflix runs through your ROKU or other streaming video player, plus you can watch it on your PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. It includes some new, highly-acclaimed original programming such as the new season of Arrested Development, House of Cards, and Orange is the New Black.  You can choose from years of archived programs from well known cable networks like AMC, including The Killing, The Walking Dead, Madmen and Breaking Bad.  There’s also The Fall, Hell on Wheels, Sons of Anarchy, Durham County, Weeds, and Nip Tuck. Then there are some not-so-ancient archives of shows like Lost, Fringe, Heroes, and Scandal. Seriously, there are way too many shows and movies to count for such a low monthly fee.

If you want the latest film releases, you can add a Netflix DVD-to-home plan for an additional $8.99 a month for one DVD at a time or $11.99 a month 2 dvds at a time.  So even with Netflix’s second DVD plan and the video streaming plan, not to mention all the free programming with ROKU (or Apple TV), you’re only paying $20.00 a month.  We’re talking about free programming with ROKU, $8 a month Netflix streaming, and $9 a month or $12 a month for Netflix DVDs at home plans. So the monthly costs range from free to $20 a month for a ton of entertainment. Compare that to the latest, outrageous prices of cable, Dish or DirecTV.

Of course there are downsides to any new idea.  With Netflix, you won’t be seeing archived episodes of shows like Madmen or Breaking Bad as soon as they are released on the actual cable networks – there’s a delay of several months. But if you’re new to the programs or introducing someone else to them, you can literally watch them all in a row over several days or weeks. And if you go with the Netflix DVD-at-home addition, you’ll see movies anywhere from 3-12 months after their release. Note: OnDemand movies by Amazon and others are also available, but at $3 or more per individual video its not a cost-saver, and that’s the purpose of this post.

If your goal is to save money for yourself and your family, you have to admit that video streaming is a really great, cheap alternative to cable or satellite tv, even if you factor in the cost for broadband.

Note: This site receives no compensation in return for the aforementioned products.

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Mark Warner is Pushing for Housing Finance Reform

Ever since Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced a bipartisan bill to crack down on banks and strengthen the housing finance system in June, he has been promoting the bill and trying to get Americans to realize how important it is for the future of our economy. He is a member of the Senate Banking Committee, and has been working tirelessly to promote this legislation. This past week, President Obama made a speech on the topic, which means that it is starting to gain friction and more people are approving of the idea. Mark Warner released this statement in response to Obama’s speech:

“It’s good to see additional momentum to strengthen the economic recovery by addressing mortgage finance reform. Our bipartisan Senate approach protects taxpayers while maintaining access to affordable mortgage credit… I look forward to getting to work on this issue with my colleagues in September.”

Warner is the leading Democrat promoting this legislation, along with 7 other co-sponsors on the Senate Banking Committee. It is a bipartisan bill, with 4 Democrats and 4 Republicans in the Senate sponsoring it. If this legislation continues to gain momentum it would not only protect taxpayers and homeowners, but it will also help with Warner’s hopes of re-election to the Senate next year. Warner is one of the most popular Virginia politicians, but a huge reform like this becoming law would solidify him as Senator for at least another term.

Warner himself has said that this reform would be “the last piece of unfinished business remaining” after the economic meltdown under Bush. The details of the bill are slightly confusing, but you can find them on Warner’s website here. I think that this legislation would do good for all Americans, but especially the middle and lower class looking for affordable homes and mortgages. If the Tea Party can be shut out and popular opinion polls show that this legislation is what the majority of people want, I think it has a real chance of becoming law and Mark Warner will get the credit he deserves for it.

Posted in Eastern States, Election Reports, Housing Crisis | Tagged
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Today’s Stupid Conservative Quotes

Rick Santorum thinks his greatest asset is his strong moral conviction. I say its his ability to provide material for comedians. Here’s Santorum speaking to a pro-life student group:

santorum ice creamYou see, what the left does, what the pro-choice movement does is they just don’t focus on their little issue, they focus on everything they do and every aspect of their life. They make it uncomfortable for students who come to Austin to shower at a young men’s Christian association YMCA gym. Because they live it. They’re passionate. They’re willing to do and say uncomfortable things in mixed company. They’re willing to make the sacrifice at their business because they care enough… They simply won’t give up. We have the truth and we give up! We have righteousness and we give up because it’s unpopular!

Besides the weird shower reference, it sounds like a back-handed compliment to lefties. Myself, I’m happy to see lefties finally fighting back against the Republican war on women, war on minorities, and war on the lgbt community. Santorum’s Catholic “righteousness” kills me, since Catholicism is a religion led by pedophile priests who raped thousands of children, and yet they still have the nerve to claim the moral high-ground. If anything should make those students uncomfortable in the YMCA showers, its Catholicism.

gordonklingenschmittDisgraced, former Navy chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt is at it again. Last month, after the DOMA ruling by the SCOTUS, he claimed Justice Kennedy was calling Jesus “evil”. This week, he told his followers:

You know what, citizens, if you don’t have a gun, I’m telling you as a Christian chaplain, sell your clothes and buy a gun. It’s time. The government persecution will be coming against you, and you need to arm yourselves and your family when that time comes.

Go for it, conservatives. Most gun deaths occur in the home so, in theory, there would be fewer conservatives, and that’s always a good thing for society.

RacistObamaPic27The radical right tries really hard to convince others they’re not racists, despite the evidence. Yesterday, the President was met by some of these “non-racist” protesters in Arizona. From Maddow Blog:

Racially-charged sentiment infused the protests and split the crowd both politically and physically…. Obama foes at one point sang, “Bye Bye Black Sheep,” a derogatory reference to the president’s skin color, while protesters like Deanne Bartram raised a sign saying, “Impeach the Half-White Muslim!” Another protestor shouted, in reference to the president, “He’s 47 percent Negro.

Conservatives had two options after losing in 2012; they could try to be more inclusive and cut back on the racist rhetoric, or just say screw-it and become even more extremist. Ted Nugent is emerging as a top leader on the right – what does that tell you?

View the Stupid Conservative Quotes series.

Posted in LGBT Rights, Politics, Racial Issues | Tagged , , , , , ,
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If You Thought the Radical Right was Racist Under Obama, Wait for Their Sexism Under Hillary

Back in the 90′s when the radical right invented the politics of personal destruction, we watched them use it with great success against the Clintons. President Clinton was elected twice and was responsible for 8 years of peace and prosperity, and that drove the radical right batshit-crazy. Throughout the Obama administration we’ve watched teabaggers, neocons and vulture capitalists sink to new lows with blatantly racist attacks and hyperbolic cries of “socialism” and “tyranny” (another Dem elected to two terms). Most with a brain recognize that the President is as capitalistic and as democratic as any former president. In fact, many on the far left say he is no different than a Republican (he does have a moderate streak). I think most intelligent people see the new Teapublican Party as being driven by the most extreme conservatives in American history, who refuse to govern or compromise on any legislation that would help the American people simply because the President may also support it. Moderate Teapublicans are pressured into even more extremist positions by the true leaders of the party – Limbaugh, Beck, Nugent and Palin. And we have every reason to believe that the Teapublican party will lead even more irrational, personal attacks against all future Democratic presidents.

slaphillaryCase in point – Hillary Clinton. We’re still years away from her potential run for the presidency and there’s already a Republican superPac that brought back a disgusting “game” created in 2000 by Hillary-haters. The game asks visitors to “Slap Hillary”, which doesn’t surprise me at all when you consider the vicious, Republican War on Women that’s gone on for the past few years. Slapping a woman is an everyday occurrence for rednecked conservatives. I can only imagine how low their sexist rhetoric will go if Hillary decides to run in 2016. Will they use the “C” word? It wouldn’t surprise me.

Posted in Hillary Clinton, Republican Propaganda Machine, Republican War on Women | Tagged , ,
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Today’s Stupid Conservative Quotes

tedyohoFlorida Representative Ted Yoho (more like “yahoo”) says the President’s health care law is racist because it forces white people to pay more for tanning beds:

I had an Indian doctor in our office the other day, very dark skin, with two non-dark skin people, and I asked this to him, I said, ‘Have you ever been to a tanning booth?’  and he goes, ‘No, no need.’ So therefore it’s a racist tax and I thought I might need to get to a sun tanning booth so I can come out and say I’ve been disenfranchised because I got taxed because of the color of my skin.”

In another battle of the radical fringe versus the Republican establishment, we get two completely different views on the President ordering embassy closings due to an al-Qaeda threat:

tuckercarlsonTucker Carlson: “You wonder if they’re drawing the right lesson from Benghazi. It seems to me the real lesson from Benghazi is don’t lie, and don’t stage a cover-up. But don’t formulate your policy based on the last war. Right? I mean, just because Benghazi happened doesn’t mean we need to close 28 embassies and consulates.”

king/napolitanoSteve King: “What they are doing now is what has to be done. They’d be derelict if they were not. And you know we can’t criticize them for doing too little with Benghazi and now criticize them for doing too much.”

And then there’s the propaganda being spread by establishment Republicans on the possibility of a government shut-down that is directly contradicted by their tea party fringe [with my comments in brackets]:

marcorubioMarco Rubio: “Well, the one who’s threatening to shut down the government is the president and his Democratic allies. What they’re basically saying is, unless the budget funds Obamacare [THE LAW OF THE LAND!], they won’t support it. They’re basically saying that, unless we fund Obamacare [THE LAW OF THE LAND!], they are willing to shut down the government…. Its their insistence on continuing to pour money into this broken and failed experiment that is threatening a government shutdown, not us.”

Their intention to shut-down the government over Obamacare but blame the President and Dems is the same kind of game they played with the sequester, which they loved and openly supported but then tried to blame Obama. If you’re wondering who would buy their twisted logic, just listen to any fool on the right. They’re the same people who believe the fake stories in supermarket tabloids.

View the Stupid Conservative Quotes series.

Posted in Affordable Care Act, Healthcare, Marco Rubio, National Security, Politics, Racial Issues, Republican Propaganda Machine | Tagged , , , , , , , ,
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Despicable Mitch Gets Dissed

Things got really heated this weekend when all three of the top candidates for a Kentucky Senate Seat exchanged words at Fancy Farm’s 133rd political forum. McConnell refused to mention Alison Lundergan Grimes by name, his Tea Party challenger viciously attacked him, and Grimes gave a classic one-liner:

“The GOP has come to stand for gridlock, obstruction and partisanship,” she said to cheers and boos. “If doctors told Sen. McConnell he had a kidney stone, he’d refuse to pass it.”

The next year 15 months are going to be quite fun to watch.

Posted in Central States, Election Reports, Mitch McConnell | Tagged ,
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Fighting Redmap And If Obama Wins By Losing Update

During the 2013 election I wrote a post on the possibility that President Obama could defeat Mitt Romney by winning the electoral college vote, while losing the popular vote. While such speculation may seem laughable in hindsight, remember that Gallup was showing a Romney lead throughout the race, and the right wing echo chamber was convinced that the other polls showing Obama with a lead were completely out to lunch.

When Obama won the election handily I wrote a post on how Republicans were considering a way to gerrymander presidential elections in blue states by giving electoral college votes based upon the results in local house districts.  By those standards Romney would have won 6 of the 9 electoral votes in Wisconsin, even though Obama won the popular vote in that state by nearly 4%. Romney would have taken 12 electoral votes in Ohio while Obama, who won the statewide popular vote by 3%, would be allotted 4 votes.

Under the Republican “redmap” proposal, where red states would not change their method of allotting electoral votes, but blue states would split based upon house districts, a Democrat would have average a 7% national popular vote landslide on the national level to win more than half the electoral college votes.

Both of those posts were in support of The National Popular Vote Initiative, a compact by some states to pledge their electoral college votes to the candidate that wins the national popular vote.

States that pass the National Popular Vote Initiative into law agree to switch to the new system when enough states sign up to give the majority of electoral college votes (270) to the real winner.

The National Popular Vote Initiative reached a milestone when Rhode Island signed the compact. States representing 1/4 of electoral college votes (136) have joined. If you, like me, are not a whiz at math, this means the initiative has more than half the needed electoral votes to become effective.

The widespread perception is that the new system would do away with the electoral college. I titled the post from last year’s election “If Obama Wins While Losing, Let’s Ditch The Electoral College.” The link in the last paragraph is to a story titled “We’re halfway to eliminating the Electoral College.” Both of those titles, and the perception that the new system would do away with the electoral college are incorrect. The National Popular Vote Initiative pledges the electoral votes of the states that authorize it to the winner of the popular election. It is an elegant solution that solves the problem of the loser winning in a manner that is entirely consistent with the constitution, right down to the requirement that each state determine the manner in which electoral delegates are selected.

I feel quite tempted to ramble on about the benefits of the popular vote initative. Do you live in a state that watches in envy as the candidates focus on the so called swing states… those lucky 10 or so states that decide elections under the current system? The National Popular Vote Initiative insures that your state matters again. Do you want to stop political parties from messing with the process to give their candidate an unfair advantage like Republicans propose with redmap? This is the solution. There are several other advantages, but in the interest of brevity…

Let me wrap by congratulating the National Popular Vote Initiative on their success, and wish them good luck in getting the rest of the way to 270.

Posted in Barack Obama, Democrats, Election, Mitt Romney, Politics, The Constitution | Tagged , , ,
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