29 March 2014

Daily Kos Recommended 22-29MAR14

Virginia Christian school forces eight-year-old girl to leave because she looks too much like a boy & School Says Short-Haired Girl, 8, Needs To Start Acting More Feminine & School That Told Young Girl To Act More Feminine Says Children Had 'Restroom Concerns' 27&28MAR14

THE people at +timberlake christian school are sick. It is this perversion of Christianity by their kind that leads to abuse, bullying and murder of children based on "Christian" principles. I think the school should be investigated. If stereotyping can be used by the schools request for Sunnie to end her enrollment there it can be used to investigate the staff for their desires to have the female students dress like little girls. They should have to explain and justify why this dress / appearance code to answer and address possible suspicions of the real reason for said code. And all parents with children at the school, if they aren't already questioning the kind of Christianity their children are being taught in light of Sunnie's treatment, should be questioning the kind of Christianity being taught by the school resorting to lying about Sunnie wanting to use the boys restroom to justify their actions. And to reenforce the real harm right wing fanatical "Christian" homophobia can unleash on children see Jessica Dutro, Oregon Mom, Allegedly Killed 4 Year Old Son Because She Thought He Was Gay & ATHLA, Anti-Gay Harlem Church, To Be Protested By LGBT Activists 27&26MAR14
Here is the coverage of this story from Daily Kos and Huffpost and the letter the school sent to Sunnie's grandparents. And if you want to tell Timberlake what you think of their treatment of Sunnie you can do it here
(I did, sent my entire post above to them) just keep it clean and respectful, do not lower yourself to their level...

Christian Dem in NC

Surprised no one's mentioned this, but a Christian school in Virginia is in the spotlight after all but forcing an eight-year-old student to leave because she looks like a boy.  Eight-year-old Sunnie Kahle has had her hair cut short since she was five years old, and makes no secret she's a tomboy.  Well, Sunnie's appearance didn't sit too well with administrators at Timberlake Christian School in Forest, near Lynchburg.  Last month, her grandparents pulled her out of school after she was told her appearance didn't line up with "biblical standards."
"Sunnie realizes she's a female, but she wants to do boy things," said Doris Thompson, Kahle's great-grandmother and legal guardian.  "She wants to play rough and tough." Thompson has raised Kahle since she was an infant.  When she turned five, Thompson said she asked for a short hair cut.
"She had hair down to her waist and she wanted to give it to a child with cancer," said Thompson.  "After we cut her hair she started wanting to wear jeans and a t-shirt.  She didn't want to wear her frilly dresses anymore."
Her appearance started leading to awkward questions at school.
Kahle said her classmates would occasionally ask if she was a boy or a girl, but she said the question did not hurt her feelings.
The issue caught the attention of administrators at Timberlake Christian School, where Kahle was a student.
Elementary principal Becky Bowman sent home a letter last month, reminding Thompson of the school's religious affiliation and it's right to refuse students who contradict a "biblical lifestyle."
"We believe that unless Sunnie and her family clearly understand that God has made her female and her dress and behavior need to follow suit with her God-ordained identity, that TCS is not the best place for her future education," Bowman wrote in the letter, which was given to WDBJ7 by Thompson.
Read the letter Bowman sent here.  It implies that Sunnie is being "counseled" about her gender identity.  Thompson was gobsmacked.  She said that Sunnie is way too young to understand things like sexual orientation, and suspects the real reason is that she wanted to wear boys' pants with her school uniform.  In a reply of her own, Doris tore TCS a new one, pointing out that Sunnie is actually being counseled for mood swings.  Soon afterward, she pulled Sunnie out of TCS and enrolled her in public school. TCS' response is par for the course in an area of the country where a woman or girl with short hair is automatically suspected of being a lesbian.  Also, according to the school's Website, it is an outreach of Timberlake Baptist Church, an independent Baptist church in Lynchburg.
Yesterday, after several days of being kicked up, down and sideways over this, TCS went up the highway and asked Liberty Counsel to help defend it.  In a response released through Liberty Counsel, TCS claimed that it never called Sunnie sexually immoral, and that the real locus of the dispute is that Sunnie reportedly wanted to use the boys' bathroom.  Sorry, but TCS is lying.  What conclusion are you supposed to draw from this paragraph in the letter that Thompson got from the school?
You’re probably aware that Timberlake Christian Schools is a religious, Bible-believing Institution providing education in a distinctly Christian environment, and we believe that our biblical role is to work in conjunction with the home to mold students to be Christlike, On those occasions in which the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home is counter to or in opposition to the biblical lifestyle that the school teaches, the school reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant or to discontinue enrollment of a student. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, living in, condoning or supporting sexual immorality; practicing homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity; promoting such practices; or otherwise having the inability to support the moral principles of the school. We base this standard on Bible principles as found in Leviticus 20:13a; Romans 1:21-27; Matthew 19:4-6; and I Corinthians 6:9-20.
What makes this even more disgusting is that this whole thing arose because a little girl wanted to donate her hair to another child who was fighting cancer.  For my money, little Sunnie has more Jesus in her than the entire leadership of Timberlake Baptist and TCS has between them.  TCS has the right to set standards like this.  And we have the concurrent right to hold them up for the ridicule they deserve. 

School Says Short-Haired Girl, 8, Needs To Start Acting More Feminine

Posted: Updated:

This is really, really disappointing.
Two Virginia grandparents have pulled their granddaughter, Sunnie Kahle, 8, out of her Christian elementary school after receiving a letter from administrators saying they would reject admittance to the girl unless she started dressing more feminine, according to local outlet WSET-TV. Kahle wears her hair in a short cut, which apparently led administrators to worry over her gender identity.
"We believe that unless Sunnie as well as her family clearly understand that God has made her female and her dress and behavior need to follow suit with her God-ordained identity, that TCS is not the best place for her future education,” reads the letter from Timberlake Christian Schools, per WSET.
A representative from the school did not immediately comment to The Huffington Post, although a rep told WSET that issues with Sunnie go "far beyond her hair length" and that other problems "disturbed the classroom environment.”
The school’s website says its vision is to “develop in [students] a passion for glorifying God and train them for a life consistent with a Biblical world-and-life view.”
But if the school wants to foster young people's religious zeal, it might help to drop its problematic agenda. A survey released last month by the Public Religion Research Institute found that one-third of millennials who left their religion did so for reasons related to "negative teachings" or "negative treatment" of the LGBT community.
"While many churches and people in the pews have been moving away from their opposition to LGBT rights over the last decade, this new research provides further evidence that negative teachings on this issue have hurt churches’ ability to attract and retain young people,” Public Religion Research Institute CEO Robert P. Jones said in a statement at the time.

School That Told Young Girl To Act More Feminine Says Children Had 'Restroom Concerns'

Posted: Updated:

The Virginia school that reportedly threatened to kick out an 8-year-old student unless she started acting more feminine, is speaking out to defend its actions. We do not find the the defense comforting.
On Wednesday, Timberlake Christian Schools released a statement via right-wing legal group Liberty Counsel. Posted on the school’s website, the statement claims administrators' treatment of student Sunnie Kahle (referred to in the statement as 'S.K.') has been unfairly portrayed in the media.
“This matter is far beyond a simple ‘hairstyle and tomboy issue’ as inaccurately portrayed,” the statement reads, in part. "It is not about that at all. At no time did the Church or the School state or imply that S.K. was sexually immoral or the like.”
The story surrounding Kahle gained national attention earlier this week when her great-grandparents told Virginia outlet WSET-TV they had received an offensive letter from the short-haired child’s school which read, “God has made [Kahle] female and her dress and behavior need to follow suit.”
At the time, a school spokesperson told the outlet that issues with Kahle go "far beyond her hair length" and that other problems "disturbed the classroom environment.”
The new statement from the school elaborates on what some of these issues may have been:
When elementary children and their parents or guardians express concerns regarding use of the restroom and other matters arising from the sensitive issues here, the School has a duty to address those concerns and to ensure that all interests are heard and protected in accordance with the Christian mission of the School. While we welcome all students, parents and guardians are made aware of the School’s Christian mission and beliefs. We not only have a right, but we also have a duty to uphold these Christian standards.
Kahle's great-grandmother, Doris Thomson, told Virginia outlet The News & Advance that there was an incident several years ago when a female student thought Kahle was a boy in the girls’ bathroom. She also said a group of boys tried to drag Kahle into the boys’ bathroom earlier this year.
According to local outlet WDBJ-TV, parents from the school also claimed Kahle had talked about getting a sex-change operation and wanting to use the boys’ restroom at school. Kahle's great-grandparents told the outlet that they believe the conversations described never happened.
Thomson told the News & Advance that she will not push her granddaughter to be more feminine. Kahle left the Timberlake school after receiving the initial letter of complaint and has since been attending a local public school.

Why Did A Republican Senate Candidate’s Controversial Website Disappear From The Internet Archive? 28MAR14

NC gop / tea-bagger candidate for the US Senate, +dr greg brannon, has taken extraordinary steps to erase his lunatic fringe past from the net as part of his campaign of deception targeting North Carolina voters so they will consider him a sane and viable candidate to consider in opposition to +Sen Kay Hagan D NC. NC tea-baggers are probably disappointed as they probably see him as some sort of political prophet and believed everything he posted. The rest of the NC electorate probably saw his postings as conspiratorial bullshit, but because his website is gone they need to be reminded who dr greg brannon really is. From BuzzFeed....

The archive of North Carolina candidate Dr. Greg Brannon’s conspiracy website has disappeared. In the past, the Internet Archive has said they remove websites from their archive by request. posted on
A Republican Senate candidate’s controversial old website has disappeared from the “Wayback Machine,” a service of the Internet Archive, raising questions about what happened to the cached version of the site.
Dr. Greg Brannon, who is running in a crowded primary to take on incumbent Democratic Senator Kay Hagan, once ran a website called “” The website now excluded from the Wayback Machine.
In January, BuzzFeed reported that Brannon’s old website, a site he ran as a Tea Party activist in the state, was full of conspiracy theories. The site contained blog posts such as “The op called the Aurora massacre,” “Secret Police Murder and Cover-Up in the USA,” “TSA Electric Shock Bracelets,” “They Really Do Want To Implant Microchips Into Your Brain,” Fluoride in water is ‘patently unethical and criminal,” and “False Flag.”

This was the site’s homepage on the “Wayback Machine.”

This was the site's homepage on the "Wayback Machine."

..and here’s one of the conspiracy theory blog posts:

..and here's one of the conspiracy theory blog posts:

What the Wayback Machine now says: “Sorry. This URL has been excluded from the Wayback Machine.”

What the Wayback Machine now says: "Sorry. This URL has been excluded from the Wayback Machine."

Over the past 10 days, BuzzFeed has contacted the Archive numerous times to ask if Brannon’s campaign asked to have the site removed. Each time BuzzFeed was either told to sent an email request (which was unreturned) or said we would be called back.

BuzzFeed spoke with Chris Butler of the Internet Archive Thursday during one call, who said website owners can ask to have their sites removed. He also told BuzzFeed that the Internet Archive doesn’t reveal when people make such requests.

The Internet Archive’s own policy states they will sometimes remove websites at an owner’s request. A removal policy furthermore states seven reason sites are generally taken down.

Sometimes a web site owner will contact us directly and ask us to stop crawling or archiving a site, and we endeavor to comply with these requests. When you come accross(sic) a “blocked site error” message, that means that a siteowner has made such a request and it has been honored.
Currently there is no way to exclude only a portion of a site, or to exclude archiving a site for a particular time period only.
When a URL has been excluded at direct owner request from being archived, that exclusion is retroactive and permanent.

CALLING ALL COLLEGE STUDENTS, TEACHERS AND ALUMNI: Join Us for the Act on Climate Campus Tour 37MAR -24APR14


Hip Hop Caucus Logo
Earthjustice - Because the Earth needs a good lawyer.
“We are organizing this tour because we want a sustainable planet for our kids, grandkids, and future generations.”
On behalf of the Hip Hop Caucus, Earthjustice invites you to participate in the Act on Climate Campus Tour, coming to a university near you.
The Hip Hop Caucus, our 50 States United for Healthy Air partner, is taking their climate advocacy on the road in a series of free public events. Here is the lineup:
Hampton, VA – 3/27
Reserve Your Seat
Wilberforce, OH – 4/2
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Detroit, MI – 4/3
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Washington, DC – 4/22
Reserve Your Seat
Greensboro, NC – 4/23
Reserve Your Seat
Atlanta, GA – 4/24
Reserve Your Seat
Tour Map
The goal of these events is to make it clear that communities of color need our leaders to act on the issue of climate change, specifically by cutting carbon pollution from power plants—our nation’s largest source of this pollution. Carbon pollution threatens our health and is already responsible for destroying lives. It is time to act.
All events are free and open to the public. For tickets, visit:
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Sarah Saylor
Senior Legislative Representative

©2014 Earthjustice | 50 California Street, Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94111 | 415-217-2000 |


IF you can please click the link and donate to the US House campaigns of +Bonnie Watson Coleman D NJ and +Patrick Murphy D IA.....

Power Duo! 2 bold progressive endorsements.
Nearly every week, we hear about another member of Congress who is retiring.
That means 2014 will have an unusually-high number of open House seats. If we fill them now with bold progressives, we'll likely keep these seats for a long time.
The Koch Brothers have the same strategy. Whether we defeat corporate power with people power is up to you.
Today, we proudly endorse 2 bold progressives running in open House seats -- a Speaker of the House and a Democratic Majority Leader in their home states.
Can you donate $3 to our power duo -- Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) and Pat Murphy (IA-1)? Click here.
Bonnie Watson Coleman was New Jersey Assembly Majority Leader and has spent her life as an outspoken fighter for the poor and powerless.
As Chris Christie's top critic, she was the first legislator to call for the scandal-ridden governor's resignation recently on MSNBC. She would succeed progressive Rep. Rush Holt, who defeated a Republican incumbent to win this contested seat.
Pat Murphy was Iowa's Speaker of the House and is a prairie populist. He successfully led the fight to raise the minimum wage in Iowa, and is leading it again! He also ushered universal pre-K in Iowa.
Pat would succeed Bruce Braley, who defeated a Republican incumbent to win this contested seat for Democrats -- and is now running for Senate.
Both support expanding Social Security benefits, holding Wall Street accountable, and Elizabeth Warren's economic populist agenda. And both can win if we support them early.
Please donate $3 to our power duo -- before the important March 31 fundraising deadline hits.
Thanks for being a bold progressive.
-- Adam Green, PCCC co-founder

Want to support our work? Ed Schultz called us "The top progressive group in the country"! We're making big plans for 2014, and monthly donations help us plan with certainty. Chip in $3 monthly here. (You can also donate once here.)

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28 March 2014

Hahahaha - Wall Street "Democrats" losing so badly they need to smear us in the media & Kos Folds Up the Big Tent & We Don’t Need Two Wall Street Parties & Here's where I punch back at Third Way in Politico 19,28,24&25MAR14

Elizabeth Warren and Markos Moulitsas posing together.
Dear Third Way: Boo!
voice of the day

"Too often are poor and oppressed people (especially people of color) regarded as threats here in America, while poor and oppressed people in other countries are viewed as victims. This type of perspective is dehumanizing to people here and to people abroad. To overlook the problems here and to focus on issues elsewhere sends the message that poor and oppressed Americans' problems are either insignificant, unimportant, or non urgent and at the same time it leads to the objectification of the "exotic other."
- Ryan Herring
+third way democrats are starting to panic about the projected results of the 2014 US Senate elections. They are mounting a propaganda campaign against +Daily Kos, and will probably attack the +PCCC / the +Progressive Change Campaign Committee next, blaming them for the chance the Democrats will loose the senate in November 2014. What the refuse to acknowledge is the the threat to Democratic control of the Senate is due to their kow-towing to the gop / tea-bagger obstructionist in the Senate, their participation in the Democratic grand betrayal of the electorate that delivered the White House and Congress in 2008. The AFA? third way negotiated with republicans and tea-baggers, the legislation was weakened to meet their demands and in the end not one republican or tea-bagger voted for the bill. They have held 50 votes to repeal the AFA in the house. We could have achieved Universal Health Care. Thanks third way. Dodd-Frank? They should have restored and strengthened Glass-Steagall. Thanks third way. Economic stimulus? third way gave in to the gop and tea-baggers to the extent that the unemployment rate is still 6.7%, there are millions of underemployed and millions who have dropped out of the workforce altogether because there aren't any jobs. Unemployment benefits, job training and other social safety net programs have been cut. There are hundreds of thousands of Americans struggling to survive on $2.00 a day, poverty usually found in Third World countries. Thanks third way. The economy is stagnant, economic mobility is stagnant, wages are stagnant, income inequality has increased by leaps and bounds,  while the rich, corporate America, Wall Street, the bank-financial cabal increase their wealth and power on the backs of the poor, students, the retired, our military vets and the shrinking middle class. Thanks third way. It is understood the political parties have to negotiate and compromise in order to govern the country. But when the opposition continues to vote against compromise legislation and begins to dictate how things are going to be or nothing gets done and you go along with that your agenda changes from third way moderation to collusion. You have embraced austerity economics to protect the wealth and power of the 1%, these are the reasons why control of the US Senate is at risk. Thanks a lot third way. rover norquist and the koch brothers say thanks too, but you probably heard that from them in person. This from Politico, followed by an appeal from Daily Kos for a donation to their fund supporting Progressive candidates for congress. Click the link to donate if you can, I did. And finally, Markos Moulitsas' response to third way on +Politico and Daily Kos.....

If Markos Moulitsas had his way there’d be no Affordable Care Act, no Dodd-Frank, no economic stimulus package. That’s the price when purity tests are applied to Democrats.
In a remarkable post yesterday, Moulitsas, founder and publisher of the progressive community site DailyKos, celebrates the departure from the Senate of 10 moderate Democrats over the last decade, and makes clear his hope that Senators Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) lose their tough reelection battles this year. He doesn’t name some other moderates in tight races, like Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), but his logic suggests that he’d be only too happy to say goodbye to them as well.
Moulitsas cares passionately about progressive politics, and he is a very savvy political observer—he knows that we must have Democratic majorities in Congress to make real progress, and that to create those majorities we must have Democrats win in red states like Arkansas, Alaska, Louisiana and North Carolina. Surely he can see that such Democrats must be somewhat different than the full-throated progressives that he name-checks in his essay.
Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel understood that fact. As the chairmen of the DSCC and DCCC respectively, they aggressively recruited moderate leaders in red states and districts in 2006, and those moderates made Nancy Pelosi speaker of the House and Harry Reid Senate majority leader.
The majorities those moderates helped create made possible the progress of Barack Obama’s first term. Without them, the president would have been unable to reverse our slide toward depression with the stimulus, extend stable and secure health care coverage to all with the ACA, reform the worst abuses of the financial services sector with Dodd-Frank, remove the scourge of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell from the military or pass a sensible immigration reform bill through the Senate.
A charge implicit in the Moulitsas post is that moderate Democrats lack political courage—that they would do the right thing if only they were brave enough. This just doesn’t withstand scrutiny. We actually sat in meetings with Senate moderates during the darkest days of the ACA deliberations. They knew that voting for the bill could send them to the Valley of the Doomed, and for many it did or still could. They put their careers on the line and took that vote anyway—every single moderate named in the piece who was still in the Senate voted for the ACA. So did those unnamed, like Senators Begich and Hagan. That is political courage.
It was laudable, but hardly courageous, for a Democrat from a blue state to have voted for the ACA. The last time a Democratic Senate incumbent lost in New York was 1899, and in Massachusetts it was 1947. They don’t stare political death in the face on any vote, ever. The moderates do.
Moulitsas might have a stronger case if the moderates he abhors were replaced by more liberal members. But almost every instance saw the opposite result. Of the 10 former Democratic senators that Moulitsas identifies, seven were replaced by Republicans, one by Montanan John Walsh, who is in a fight for his political life this year, and another by Democrat Joe Donnelly of Indiana, who is unlikely to make the DailyKos Pantheon of Progressiveness. Just one, Joe Lieberman, of midnight-blue Connecticut, was succeeded by someone to his left. Meanwhile, the moderate Democrats in tough fights this cycle are running against Tea Party true believers.
Democrats across the spectrum agree on far more than we disagree—almost all supported President Obama’s key initiatives, including universal health care and fundamental immigration reform. Most support new gun safety laws, marriage for gay couples and a vigorous federal response to climate change. Yet for some, that’s not pure enough.
If we are to make progress in a divided Washington—and if we are to protect the Democratic Senate majority—we simply must embrace a big tent for the Democratic Party. Even in purple states, there are not enough self-identified liberals to elect Democrats without their winning significant pluralities or majorities of moderates. The idea that more liberal candidates could win in places like Arkansas, Indiana or Alaska is pure fantasy. And to write off those states would consign Democrats to long-term congressional minority status.
We have all witnessed the devastating effect that the politics of purity can have, as the Republicans grapple with the toxic impact of the Tea Party on their candidates, their congressional leadership and their governing philosophy. Let’s not become them.

Matt Bennett and Jim Kessler are both co-founders and senior vice presidents of Third Way, a think tank in Washington.

Hahahaha - Wall Street "Democrats" losing so badly they need to smear us in the media

Craig, corporatist “Democratic” group Third Way launched a direct assault on Daily Kos last week, writing an op-ed in Politico to try to smear me and the work we all do here to elect progressives.

Well, I like to think that if the Wall Street crowd is scared enough to attack us by name, then we’re doing something right.

Can you chip in $5 so that Daily Kos can keep fighting?

Third Way is the same group that called Elizabeth Warren “catastrophically anti-business” when she was running neck-and-neck with Scott Brown and then said after the election that Democrats following Warren’s lead would be “disastrous” for the party. They also like to spend their time scaremongering people into supporting cuts to Social Security.

So, while Third Way thinks that Democrats need to suck up to the rich to win, I think that we can leave that to Republicans. (I just don’t think we need two Wall Street parties.)

Daily Kos works to elect Democrats who stand up for core Democratic values, including protecting—and expanding!—Social Security, raising the minimum wage, ensuring everyone has access to quality and affordable healthcare… You know, the sorts of stuff that the corporatists hate.

I’ll chip in $5 so that Daily Kos can keep fighting.

Keep fighting,
Markos Moulitsas
Founder and Publisher, Daily Kos

Elizabeth Warren : Classic Takedown of Geithner Over TARP Bailout (from 2009) - MUST SEE !!!

We Don’t Need Two Wall Street Parties

Yes, I think Democrats should stop sucking up to the rich. Leave that to the Republicans.

It’s tough to be a “Third Way” corporatist in today’s Democratic Party. Sure, the numerically small faction of Wall Street and Beltway Democrats has long enjoyed an outsized influence on public policy, but all the hedge fund money in the world can’t change the fact that the party is in the midst of a dramatic reorientation toward a new progressive populism. And it turns out that populism is popular! Voters across the country are increasingly concerned about the pressing issues of income inequality and economic security, and elected Democrats have responded with a renewed focus on solutions for working Americans.
So what’s a group that exists—as far as I can tell—solely to defend the narrow interests of Wall Street Democrats, to do?
Apparently, the answer is to lash out at me and others who simply want to see the Democratic Party work for Democratic values. Third Way’s Matt Bennett and Jim Kessler took to this site last week to charge me with the apparent sin of celebrating the party’s current Senate majority, one that is finally starting to function thanks to the absence of corrosive elements like Zell Miller and Joe Lieberman, who tied the Democratic caucus in knots just 10 years ago.
Bennett and Kessler’s argument seems to be that I, and by extension the new populist majority of the Democratic Party, am somehow particularly intolerant of certain flavors of Democrats—that we’re closing up the “big tent” and limiting the party’s national appeal. That’s pretty rich coming from a group whose raison d’etre seems to be to hammer progressive candidates and policies.
Indeed, it was September 2012, just months before election day, when Third Way’s Bennett claimed that Elizabeth Warren was “catastrophically antibusiness” and that her economic populism was “not a winning strategy.” It would make sense for Third Way to prefer Sen. Scott Brown over Warren, given that 27 of the organization’s 29 board members are current or former CEOs, corporate lawyers or principals at financial service institutions.But you don’t get to whine about big tents after undermining Democratic candidates in the heat of an election.
Still, let’s look at the question of whether our populist approach is compromising the party’s ability to win across the country. Bennett and Kessler lament that seven of the 10 right-wing Democrats that I celebrated for no longer being in the Senate were replaced by Republicans—but what was then a Democratic two-seat minority is now a Democratic 10-seat majority. If you’re genuinely a Democrat, you have to admit that a 55-seat caucus reinforced with strong progressive voices is objectively preferable to a 49-seat caucus packed with corporatist Democrats who voted for the disastrous Iraq war and George W. Bush’s budget-busting tax cuts. If you’re genuinely a Democrat.
Furthermore, the notion that Daily Kos and I are intolerant toward moderate Democrats just doesn’t square with the facts. We’ve raised millions of dollars and generated on-the-ground activism for moderate Democratic candidates such as Jon Tester in Montana, Jim Webb in Virginia, Mark Begich in Alaska, Jack Conway in Kentucky and Jim Martin in Georgia. No liberal or progressive would categorize a single one of those candidates as anything other than moderate, yet our community backed them with significant financial resources. The Senate races in Kentucky and Georgia will be getting plenty of love this year despite featuring moderate Democrats on the ballot. We’ve backed similar moderates at the House and state level for more than a decade
Even Sen. Chuck Schumer—no enemy of Wall Street, he—wrote in his book Positively American about his stint as head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, “[The netroots] helped identify and encourage viable candidates, like Jim Webb and Jon Tester,” thus “it seemed somehow appropriate that as a new majority dawned for Senate Democrats, two candidates who had been propelled by the growing ‘netroots’ (Democratic leaning bloggers), had made all the difference in the end.”
Let me put it plainly: We aren’t the Tea Party, undermining our party’s electoral chances by nominating fringe candidates like Christine O’Donnell, Richard Mourdock, Sharron Angle, Todd Akin and Linda McMahon. Quite the contrary, in fact. We support Democrats of all flavors so long as they support basic Democratic values and their fellow Democrats. Can Third Way say the same, or point to anything remotely similar they’ve accomplished on behalf of Sens. Sherrod Brown, Jeff Merkley or (ahem) Elizabeth Warren?
So if Bennett and Kesler were going to try and argue that I don’t want a big Democratic tent, they’d have to invent some pretty impressive straw men. And that they did: “A charge implicit in the Moulitsas post is that moderate Democrats lack political courage,” they wrote—which was neither implied in anything I’ve written nor relevant to my argument in favor of a more ideological cohesive Senate Democratic caucus. But what was even funnier was the sentence that followed: “This just doesn’t withstand scrutiny.” It sure is easy to swat down straw-man arguments! As a blogger and columnist, I have written well over 10 million words over the past decade, and I’m never shy about what I believe. If you have to put words in my mouth, you’ve already lost the debate.
But I sort of pity the Third Way guys. They’ve had a rough few months. Back in December, they were laughed out of the room when Kessler and Jon Cowan, Third Way’s president, argued in the Wall Street Journal that cutting Social Security benefits would prove popular electoral politics.
Not only did mainstream Democrats from all wings of the party immediately reject the premise, but one of the organization’s co-chairs, moderate Rep. Allyson Schwarz, quit Third Way, saying Bennett and Cowan’s op-ed was “outrageous.” It was a stunning rejection by the broader party establishment and proof that the Democrats’ “big tent” was united around the idea of preserving—and even expanding—Social Security.
Third Way’s and its “centrist” allies have spent decades building a Beltway elitist consensus on the need to slash the safety net. It must tear them up seeing all that hard work evaporate over the span of a few years—with their economic ideas now on the party fringe, they have nothing left to do but cry persecution.
But Third Way’s attacks on me and my fellow progressives have never been about tolerance for disagreement—it’s always been about policy. And they’re losing the argument, now more than ever. Given America’s pressing economic problems, it is clear to the vast majority of Democrats that Wall Street isn’t part of the solution, it’s part of the problem. And a Democratic group that relentlessly promotes Wall Street’s agenda is as welcome among the progressive base as cholera.
Bennett and Kessler are right about one thing, however. The Democratic tent isn’t big enough for those who privilege the wants of Wall Street over the needs of working Americans.

Markos Moulitsas is founder and publisher of Daily Kos. 
Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 02:13 AM EDT

Here's where I punch back at Third Way in Politico

by kos
Elizabeth Warren and Markos Moulitsas posing together.
Dear Third Way: Boo!
Seriously, it was like shooting fish in a barrel.
Bennett and Kessler’s argument seems to be that I, and by extension the new populist majority of the Democratic Party, am somehow particularly intolerant of certain flavors of Democrats—that we’re closing up the “big tent” and limiting the party’s national appeal. That’s pretty rich coming from a group whose raison d’etre seems to be to hammer progressive candidates and policies. Indeed, it was September 2012, just months before election day, when Third Way’s Bennett claimed that Elizabeth Warren was “catastrophically antibusiness” and that her economic populism was “not a winning strategy.” It would make sense for Third Way to prefer Sen. Scott Brown over Warren, given that 27 of the organization’s 29 board members are current or former CEOs, corporate lawyers or principals at financial service institutions.But you don’t get to whine about big tents after undermining Democratic candidates in the heat of an election.
By the way, my original version said that "25 of 29 board members" were Wall Street types. Politico fact-checked me and, well, I like 27 of 29 even better. I somehow missed a couple.
Still, let’s look at the question of whether our populist approach is compromising the party’s ability to win across the country. Bennett and Kessler lament that seven of the 10 right-wing Democrats that I celebrated for no longer being in the Senate were replaced by Republicans—but what was then a Democratic two-seat minority is now a Democratic 10-seat majority. If you’re genuinely a Democrat, you have to admit that a 55-seat caucus reinforced with strong progressive voices is objectively preferable to a 49-seat caucus packed with corporatist Democrats who voted for the disastrous Iraq war and George W. Bush’s budget-busting tax cuts. If you’re genuinely a Democrat.
And so it goes, for over 1,000 words. On the plus side, for the Third Way dudes, Politico apparently couldn't find a goofy looking picture of them to illustrate the piece. So for them, at least there's that!

Originally posted to kos on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 02:13 AM EDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos. 

NATE SILVER ON THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART & FiveThirtyEight Senate Forecast: GOP Is Slight Favorite in Race for Senate Control 27&23MAR14

NATE SILVER on The Daily Show, click the link 
THE show is funny, but the article about the possible outcome of the 2014 midterm US Senate elections isn't. The Democrats have a lot of work to do, starting with convincing the electorate the Democratic candidates aren't DINOs and organizing a massive GOTV / Get Out The Vote campaign nationwide. From Nate Silver's new
When FiveThirtyEight last issued a U.S. Senate forecast — way back in July — we concluded the race for Senate control was a toss-up. That was a little ahead of the conventional wisdom at the time, which characterized the Democrats as vulnerable but more likely than not to retain the chamber.
Our new forecast goes a half-step further: We think the Republicans are now slight favorites to win at least six seats and capture the chamber. The Democrats’ position has deteriorated somewhat since last summer, with President Obama’s approval ratings down to 42 or 43 percent from an average of about 45 percent before. Furthermore, as compared with 2010 or 2012, the GOP has done a better job of recruiting credible candidates, with some exceptions.
As always, we encourage you to read this analysis with some caution. Republicans have great opportunities in a number of states, but only in West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana and Arkansas do we rate the races as clearly leaning their way. Republicans will also have to win at least two toss-up races, perhaps in Alaska, North Carolina or Michigan, or to convert states such as New Hampshire into that category. And they’ll have to avoid taking losses of their own in Georgia and Kentucky, where the fundamentals favor them but recent polls show extremely competitive races.
Since a number of you may be new to FiveThirtyEight, I’m going to go into slightly more detail than usual in explaining how we make these forecasts. You’re welcome to skip past this next section if you’re more interested in the forecasts than in how we came to them.
An overview of our methodology
In contrast to the forecasts we’ll begin issuing sometime this summer, which are strictly algorithmic based on our senate forecast model, these are done by hand. However, they’re based on an assessment of the same basic factors our algorithm uses:
The national environment. The single best measure of the national political environment, in our view, is the generic congressional ballot. Right now, it shows a rough tie between Democrats and Republicans. That stalemate likely reflects voters’ dislike for both Obama and the Republican Party.
A tie on the generic ballot might not sound so bad for Democrats. But it’s a misleading signal, for two reasons. First, most of the generic ballot polls were conducted among registered voters. Those do not reflect the turnout advantage the GOP is likely to have in November. Especially in recent years, Democrats have come to rely on groups such as racial minorities and young voters that turn out much more reliably in presidential years than for the midterms. In 2010, the Republican turnout advantage amounted to the equivalent of 6 percentage points, meaning a tie on the generic ballot among registered voters translated into a six-point Republican lead among likely voters. The GOP’s edge hadn’t been quite that large in past years. But if the “enthusiasm gap” is as large this year as it was in 2010, Democrats will have a difficult time keeping the Senate.
Democrats’ other problem is one of basic constitutional mathematics. Senators are elected in six-year cycles, so the seats in play this year were last contested in 2008,1 an extraordinarily strong year for Democrats. Even a strictly neutral political environment, or one that slightly favored Democrats, would produce a drop-off relative to that baseline. And Democrats’ losses will grow this year if voters go from modestly favoring Republicans to strongly favoring them.
Incidentally, we prefer to look at aggregate measures of the national environment, like the generic ballot and Obama’s approval ratings, instead of piecemeal ones such as voters’ views of Obamacare. Certainly the unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act — and its clumsy roll-out late last year — contributes to Democrats’ problems. But it’s hard to tell where Obamacare’s unpopularity ends and President Obama’s overall unpopularity begins. Voters’ views of the economy also have ambiguous effects in midterm years, especially when control of government is already divided.
Candidate quality. The notion of “candidate quality” might sound awfully subjective, but there are sound statistical ways to assess it. Fundraising totals, especially individual contributions, are a good indication of a candidate’s organizational strength. Various systems rate a candidate’s ideology on a left-right scale, based on her voting record or public issue statements, and we can compare those ratings against those of voters in her state. And candidates who have previously held elected office tend to outperform inexperienced ones, controlling for other factors.
State partisanship. As Dan Hopkins wrote at FiveThirtyEight last week, races of all kinds have become more and more correlated with presidential results in recent years. So the Partisan Voting Index (PVI), which compares how a state voted in the past two presidential years against the national popular vote, is also a useful tool for congressional races. At this early point in the cycle, there’s reason to be skeptical of races where the polls are out of step with how the state usually votes; states often revert to their partisan mean once more voters engage with the campaign.
Incumbency. Incumbents may be unpopular in the abstract, but they still win the overwhelming majority of races. Incumbency still represents an advantage in most cases, and sometimes a significant one. We can spot the potential exceptions by looking at an incumbent’s approval or favorability ratings.
Head-to-head polls. Head-to-head polls at this point in the cycle have some predictive power if evaluated carefully. That means taking care to see whether the poll was conducted among registered or likely voters, and putting less emphasis on polls when one or both candidates lack widespread name recognition. However, as my colleague Harry Enten has lamented, many of the more important Senate races have rarely been polled this year. Furthermore, much of the polling comes from firms such as Rasmussen Reports and Public Policy Polling, which have poor track records, employ dubious methodologies, or both. So the most appropriate use of polls at this stage is to see whether they roughly match our assessment of the race based on the fundamentals. Where there is a mismatch, it could indicate that the polls are missing something, that our view of the fundamentals is incorrect, or some of both — and it means there is more uncertainty in the outlook for the state.
Overall forecast
In consideration of these factors, we assess the probability of the Democratic or Republican candidate winning each seat. Where the choice of candidates is uncertain — for instance, in a race where a Democrat will face either a moderate, six-term incumbent U.S. representative or a poorly-financed tea party upstart, depending on the outcome of the Republican primary — the probabilities are meant to reflect a weighted combination of the plausible match-ups. Our assessment of the 36 races2 up for grabs this November is as follows:
One advantage of looking at the races on a probabilistic basis is that we can simply sum the probabilities to come up with a projection of how the new Senate will look. That method projects that Republicans will finish with 51 seats,3 a net gain of six from Democrats, and exactly as many as they need to win control of the chamber. (Democrats will hold the Senate in the event of a 50-50 split because of the tiebreaking vote of Vice President Joe Biden.)
That represents an edge for Republicans, but not much of one — and there are any number of paths by which they might get to 51 seats, or fail to do so. It might help to break the 36 races down into six categories, based on the party which holds the seat now and its likelihood of flipping to the other party.
Democrat-held seats likely to be picked up by Republicans (4): West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana, Arkansas
You’ll find that our characterization of the 36 races in most cases is very close to that issued by such forecasters as the Cook Political Report and Rothenberg Political Report. We’re looking at the same sort of information they are, and they have strong track records, so it’s natural there should be similarities.
One point of difference is that we’re much more pessimistic about the Democrats’ chances in West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana. These races have a lot in common, taking place in three red states where longtime Democratic incumbents have retired.
We’re bullish on Republican chances in these states for simple reasons. First, they’re red states. Second, we think the national political environment modestly favors Republicans. Third, we think the Republicans are poised to nominate equal or superior candidates in each state. Fourth, our research suggests there is little or no carry-over effect from incumbency once the incumbent himself retires. In West Virginia, for instance, the retirement of Democrat Jay Rockefeller provides little information about how the race will turn out in November.
We give Republicans a 90 percent chance of winning West Virginia, in fact. The state’s politics are a little more complicated than might be apparent from presidential voting — Obama is extraordinarily unpopular there, but a slim majority of the state’s voters are still registered as Democrats, and Democrats hold the governorship and both branches of the state legislature. But Republicans are poised to nominate an excellent candidate in Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, and she has held leads of 6 to 17 percentage points in polls against the likely Democratic nominee, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant.
We also give Republicans a 90 percent chance of winning South Dakota. It’s a more straightforward case, except that the presumptive Republican nominee, Gov. Mike Rounds, has been caught up in a controversy over the state’s participation in the EB-5 immigration visa program. To have much of a chance, Democrats will either need Rounds to lose the Republican primary or be significantly damaged by it.
Montana is slightly different in that Democrats technically do have an incumbent, John E. Walsh, running for re-election there. However, Walsh was appointed, not elected (he replaced Max Baucus in February when Baucus was named United States Ambassador to China). Appointed senators have a poor historical track record; from a predictive standpoint, it’s best to think of their races as open seats, rather than incumbent defenses. Walsh trails the likely Republican nominee, Rep. Steve Daines, by double digits in polling so far. The race is likely to tighten; Montana is somewhere between a purple state and a red one, and Walsh, who was elected as Montana’s lieutenant governor in 2012, is a credible candidate. Still, we give Republicans an 80 percent chance of flipping it.
The final race in this category is Arkansas, where Democrats have a true incumbent, Sen. Mark Pryor, running. Pryor was once so popular that he won without Republican opposition in 2008. But Arkansas has become redder and redder, and Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s 21-point loss to Republican John Boozman in 2010 demonstrates that past popularity is no guarantee of future success for a Democrat there. Furthermore, Republicans have a strong candidate in Rep. Tom Cotton, who is ahead by an average of about five points in recent polls. Pryor will be able to fight for his seat — he had $4.2 million in cash on hand as of Dec. 31, compared to $2.2 million for Cotton. The polling has returned inconsistent answers about Pryor’s approval and favorability ratings, so it’s hard to say how deep a reservoir of personal goodwill he will have to draw from. But the evidence points toward him being the underdog.
Democrat-held seats that are toss-ups (4): Louisiana, North Carolina, Alaska, Michigan
For Republicans, the path of least resistance to a Senate majority is winning West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana and Arkansas, and then two of the four states in this category.
Louisiana, where the Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu is running, may be the easiest opportunity. Landrieu’s fundamentals are similar in most respects to Pryor’s: Her fundraising has been fine, but otherwise she’s running against the tide in what has become a very red state, and her moderate overall voting record may be undermined by her role in passing the Affordable Care Act in 2010. The difference is that Landrieu’s most likely opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy, has yet to pull ahead in the polls, which instead show a race that’s roughly tied.
In North Carolina, Democrat Kay Hagan is an example of a candidate who could go in and out with the political tides. She was elected in 2008 over Elizabeth Dole as the Obama campaign turned out African Americans and college students throughout the state. But those are precisely the voters who don’t always show up for midterms. Still, Hagan could get a reprieve depending on Republicans’ choice of nominee. Republicans have eight declared candidates for their May 6 primary who range from Thom Tills, the speaker of the state House, to a variety of activists and political amateurs.
Alaska might be the hardest race to forecast. The polling there is often erratic. The state has voted Republican for president every year since 1968, but its independent streak sometimes translates differently in other races. The Democratic incumbent, Mark Begich, might face an establishment candidate in Daniel S. Sullivan, the former attorney general, or Mead Treadwell, the lieutenant governor — or he could face Joe Miller, the former judge and tea party activist who is unpopular beyond the Republican base.
The race in Michigan differs from the others in this group: It’s somewhere between purple and blue instead of red, and there’s no incumbent, as Democratic Sen. Carl Levin is retiring. But Republicans will have an excellent candidate in Terri Lynn Land, the former secretary of state. She comes from the old guard of moderate Michigan Republicans, instead of the tea party wing that might have preferred a candidate like Rep. Justin Amash. The likely Democratic nominee, Rep. Gary Peters, should win his primary without serious opposition, and he’s kept pace with Land in fundraising. But we take the polls that show the race as a toss-up at face value. The question is whether Michigan’s modest blue lean is enough to overcome a modestly Republican-leaning national climate.
Democrat-held seats that lean Democratic but with a plausible GOP pick-up (3): Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire
Republicans have some backup options if they fail to win states such as North Carolina and Michigan.
The best one is Colorado. The GOP got the candidate of its choice in Rep. Cory Gardner, who declared for the race last month. That will prevent them from again nominating Ken Buck, the tea party candidate who lost a winnable race in 2010. (Buck has withdrawn from this year’s Senate race and decided to run for the U.S. House instead.) By our measures, Gardner is a decent candidate rather than a great one. He’ll start at a fundraising deficit to the Democratic incumbent, Mark Udall, who had $4.7 million in cash on hand as of Dec. 31, and he comes from a conservative district and has amassed a conservative voting record that may or may not translate well in the Denver suburbs. But Udall’s approval ratings only break even, and we give Republicans a 40 percent chance of winning his seat.
The other big recruiting news is in New Hampshire, where Scott Brown, the former Massachusetts senator, has announced he’ll seek the Republican nomination. But as Harry Enten noted, Brown isn’t terribly popular in New Hampshire, which has long had a love-hate relationship with Massachusetts. Just as important, Jeanne Shaheen, the Democratic incumbent, has enjoyed approval ratings that would be good enough to get her re-elected. The political winds in New Hampshire can shift quickly, which is why we’re not ruling out a Republican win. But we don’t think Brown improves the GOP’s chances much as compared with another credible candidate.
Iowa is also a political bellwether. Sen. Tom Harkin, the Democrat, is retiring, which might seem to give Republicans even or better odds in a Republican-leaning national environment. But Democrats have a substantial edge in candidate quality. Rep. Bruce Braley, the presumptive nominee, has a fairly moderate voting record and $2.6 million in cash on hand. Meanwhile, Republicans have yet to coalesce around one of several inexperienced candidates. Perhaps like the one in New Hampshire, therefore, this race could swing Republican if the Democrats’ national position deteriorates further; Braley would hold the seat for them in an election held today.
Democrat-held seats likely or almost certain to be retained by Democrats (10): Minnesota, Oregon, New Jersey, Virginia, Hawaii (special election), Massachusetts, Illinois, New Mexico, Delaware, Rhode Island
Minnesota might seem vulnerable for Democrats. Sen. Al Franken won his seat only after a months-long recount in 2008, and he’s amassed the liberal voting record you’d expect of him. But Franken’s approval ratings are pretty good and he raises plenty of money from liberals around the country. So far, he has deterred a credible Republican challenger from entering the race.
In Oregon, Democratic incumbent Jeff Merkley has middling approval ratings. But the state has become quite blue, and the Republican roster there is weak; in 2010, the GOP nominated inexperienced candidates in both the Senate and gubernatorial races. It doesn’t look like they’ll nominate a strong candidate this year, either. Their chances of victory depend on the electoral climate becoming catastrophic for Democrats.
The other eight races on this list are likely to hold for Democrats even in worst-case scenarios. Republicans have sometimes talked up their opportunity in Virginia, where the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, Ed Gillespie, is running. Ordinarily, we’d snark about party hacks overrating the chances of one of their brethren winning office, but Virginia just elected Terry McAuliffe as its governor. However, Democratic incumbent Mark Warner maintains high approval ratings, and he’d likely hold the seat even against a strong opponent.
Republican-held seats that lean Republican but where Democratic pick-up is possible (2): Georgia, Kentucky
Republican paths to take over the Senate are complicated slightly by their need to defend two seats of their own.
The higher-profile problem is in Kentucky, where Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader, has poor approval ratings, and Democrats will nominate a charismatic candidate in Alison Lundergan Grimes, the secretary of state.4 Grimes has run about even with McConnell in polls since she declared her candidacy in July. But McConnell will have all the financial resources he could want — he had $10.9 million as of Dec. 31 — along with Obama’s unpopularity in Kentucky to undermine Grimes. His path to survival could resemble that of the Democratic leader, Harry Reid, who prevailed in Nevada in 2010 with similarly poor approval ratings after a brutal campaign. We give McConnell a 75 percent chance of holding the seat. I’ll concede that I’m curious to see what our algorithmic forecasts do with this race once they’re up and running.
Georgia might be the slightly better opportunity for Democrats. The Republican primary, to be held May 20, has been a mess in the polling, with any of five different GOP candidates near the top of the race depending on the survey. Their prospects range from Secretary of State Karen Handel, who might be the strongest general-election nominee, to Reps. Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun, who have amassed conservative enough voting records that they might turn off swing voters even in red Georgia. Democrats are almost certain to nominate Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, who has run even with or slightly ahead of the Republicans in scant polling so far. Ordinarily, we are skeptical of candidates who lack previous experience in elected office, but those from famous political families don’t have the same name-recognition deficit to overcome and can sometimes tap into their families’ networks to raise funds and staff their campaigns.
Republican-held seats likely or almost certain to be retained by Republicans (13): Maine, Mississippi, South Carolina (regular election), Nebraska, South Carolina (special election), Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma (special election), Kansas, Oklahoma (regular election), Wyoming, Alabama, Idaho
Thirteen other Republican-held seats will be contested in November, but none looks like a viable opportunity for Democrats. The moonshot for Democrats might be in Mississippi, where the Republican incumbent, Thad Cochran, is vulnerable to a primary challenge and Democrats have a good prospective nominee in former Rep. Travis Childers. Still, as Harry Enten explained, it’s hard for any Democrat to get to 50 percent of the vote in Mississippi.
A wide range of outcomes
We’ve sometimes seen people take our race ratings and run Monte Carlo simulations based upon them, which assume that the outcome of each race is independent from the others. But that’s a dubious assumption, especially so far out from the election. Instead, the full-fledged version of our ratings assumes that the error in the forecasts is somewhat correlated from state to state.
In plain language: sometimes one party wins most or all of the competitive races. If we had conducted this exercise at this point in the 2006, 2008 or 2012 campaigns, that party would have been the Democrats. In 2010, it would have been the Republicans. There are still more than seven months for news events to intervene and affect the national climate.
There are 10 races that each party has at least a 25 percent chance of winning, according to our ratings. If Republicans were to win all of them, they would gain a net of 11 seats from Democrats, which would give them a 56-44 majority in the new Senate. If Democrats were to sweep, they would lose a net of just one seat and hold a 54-46 majority.
So our forecast might be thought of as a Republican gain of six seats — plus or minus five. The balance has shifted slightly toward the GOP. But it wouldn’t take much for it to revert to the Democrats, nor for this year to develop into a Republican rout along the lines of 2010.