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Message to Sen. Portman: 220,000 Ohioans with substance abuse coverage will lose it if ACA repealed

Article posted June 25, 2017 at 3:01 PM

By (David Akadjian)

Last week, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman was in Cincinnati for a press conference about the heroin crisis in Ohio.

Portman said this about recent deaths due to Fentanyl-spiked drugs:

You’re playing Russian roulette with your life every time you use a street drug, because you don’t know what’s in it

Meanwhile, behind closed doors in the Senate, a small group of Republicans worked with industry lobbyists to eliminate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that currently covers 2.8 million people with substance abuse disorders, including 220,000 Ohioans. The Senate bill was released Thursday and it too will make the heroin crisis worse.


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Donald Trump Confirms He Called House GOP Health Care Bill ‘Mean’

Article posted June 25, 2017 at 2:36 PM

By Marina Fang

President Donald Trump confirmed that he privately called the House Republicans’ health care bill “mean,” the same legislation he publicly celebrated with a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden.

Asked about former President Barack Obama’s response to the Senate version of the bill, unveiled Thursday, Trump said that his predecessor, who blasted the legislation’s “fundamental meanness,” had appropriated “my term.”

“He used my term: ‘mean,’” Trump told “Fox and Friends” in an interview that aired Sunday. “That was my term, because I want to see — and I speak from the heart — that’s what I want to see. I want to see a bill with heart.”

Based on unnamed congressional sources, it had been reported earlier this month that Trump told GOP senators during a private meeting that the House bill was “mean,” and the Senate version should be “more generous.”

In his latest comments, he again criticized Democrats for being “obstructionists” in the health care debate, saying the process for passing a new bill on the issue should be “so easy.”

“It would be so great if the Democrats and Republicans could get together, wrap their arms around it, and come up with something that everybody’s happy with. It’s so easy!” he said. “But we won’t get one Democrat vote. Not one. And if it were the greatest bill ever proposed in mankind, we wouldn’t get a vote. And that’s a terrible thing.”

Earlier this year, Trump lamented that “nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”

The interview shown on Sunday’s “Fox and Friends” program was the second time within the last few days the Trump-friendly network has broadcast comments by him.

During an interview that aired Friday, he discussed how he had falsely insinuated that he had “tapes” of his private conversations with FBI director James Comey before he fired him from that post. His interviewer, Ainsley Earhardt, praised the president’s subterfuge as “smart.”

Trump’s last non-Fox interview was on May 11, with NBC’s Lester Holt, in which he all but admitted that he had fired Comey because of “this Russia thing.”

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Step, tap, stomp: The power of dance rhythms

Article posted June 25, 2017 at 1:00 PM

By (Denise Oliver Velez)

There are times when we are overwhelmed by a world which seems to be knocking us down and crushing us under the weight of hate and social inequities. Many of us turn to music and song to lift those blues and inspire us to get back up, persevere, and move forward, yet again. A similar and related method used by many of us is the sheer physical expression of dance, which is both powerful and empowering. Dance is the language of the body. It communicates for us and connects us, across cultures.

While not a dance critic or film reviewer by trade or inclination, I do love dance in all its many forms. From time to time I write about it here, particularly its history and place in our culture.

So my interest was piqued by the announcement of an opening night premiere at the Berkshire International Film Festival. I have finally gotten to see the trailer for STEP, and can’t wait to see the film when it goes into distribution in August.

STEP is the true-life story of a girls’ high-school step team set against the background of the heart of Baltimore. These young women learn to laugh, love and thrive – on and off the stage – even when the world seems to work against them. Empowered by their teachers, teammates, counselors, coaches and families, they chase their ultimate dreams: to win a step championship and to be accepted into college.

Watch the trailer below.


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Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The Great Leap Backwards

Article posted June 25, 2017 at 11:29 AM

By (Mark Sumner)

If you’d asked me a year ago, I would have assumed that right now we’d be arguing fiercely over how quickly we were moving the national minimum wage to $15. That we would be looking at just how to implement a carbon tax as part of a tough package of reforms to address climate change. That we’re be talking about serious reform of the criminal justice system that included an end to the death penalty. Expansion of both Social Security and Medicaid. Putting back the “bumpers” that Republicans stripped from the ACA to end that artificial crisis, while we phased over to a single-payer system.

That world didn’t happen.

It’s still a shock, and the world we’re facing instead—the world were the US is conducting a retreat from science, education, honesty, morality, and respect—is more than just disappointing. Because that other world? The happy path? It wasn’t enough. Not nearly enough to address the level of change that is on us right now, much less what’s coming soon.

Kalfu Lee on what’s coming soon.

A.I. products that now exist are improving faster than most people realize and promise to radically transform our world, not always for the better. They are only tools, not a competing form of intelligence. But they will reshape what work means and how wealth is created, leading to unprecedented economic inequalities and even altering the global balance of power.

It is imperative that we turn our attention to these imminent challenges.

What the Democratic Party’s “most progressive platform ever” failed to address last year was that the current system of corporate capitalism no longer has the ability to sustain the sort of broad middle class that we idolize as the best state of our economy. Capitalism is a wealth concentration engine. It always has been. But increasing efficiency has simply made that engine run too well, too smoothly. There is no room in the system for the millions of workers who were existed on nothing but the friction of old, labor-intensive processes. They’ve been stripped out, pared back, smoothed out of existence. No change, no regulation or lack of regulation, is going to put that sand back into the gears.

Bank tellers, customer service representatives, telemarketers, stock and bond traders, even paralegals and radiologists will gradually be replaced by such software. Over time this technology will come to control semiautonomous and autonomous hardware like self-driving cars and robots, displacing factory workers, construction workers, drivers, delivery workers and many others.

We don’t need a platform that cushions us against the accelerating excesses of the current system. We need one that describes a new system.

Come on in. Let’s read some pundits.


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Meet Brynneth Pawltro, Kentucky Town’s New Pit Bull Mayor

Article posted June 25, 2017 at 9:16 AM

By Dominique Mosbergen

WDRB 41 Louisville News

The small Kentucky town of Rabbit Hash has a new mayor. Brynneth Pawltro is outgoing and has a great smile, said the town’s residents of their new elected official. She also happens to be a dog.

There’s always inappropriate licking going on,” Bobbi Kayser, secretary of the town’s historical society, told of how meetings with the new mayor tend to go.

Brynneth, or Brynn for short, is a 3-year-old rescue pit bull. She edged out several contenders, including Stella the cat and a donkey named Higgins, to win the mayoral election. According to People, Brynn amassed more than 3,300 votes, winning the election by a “landslide.”

This adorable pit bull just got elected Mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky!

— NYCLASS (@nyclass) November 14, 2016

This is Brynn’s first foray into politics, but it’s not the first time that Rabbit Hash has had a canine mayor. reported this week that Brynn is the fourth consecutive dog mayor that the town has had. She took up the mayoral mantle after Lucy Lou the border collie resigned from office last year.

HuffPost reported in 2015 that Lucy was considering running for president.

Real convo about the mayor of Rabbit Hash:@Nancy_Daly: Is Lucy Lou retiring as mayor?
Me: Yes, to run for president

— Sarah Brookbank (@SarahBrookbank) August 31, 2016

Brynn’s mayoral win happened in November, but her story has gone viral again this week. Brynn’s owner, 23-year-old Jordie Bamforth, told the Cincinnati Enquirer in an earlier interview that Brynn had run for mayor on a platform of “peace, love and understanding.”

“Brynn has declared to be peaceful with any human or animal that comes through Rabbit Hash, especially the cats. Brynn does like to chase the cats around here, but has pledged to refrain from it as much as possible,” Bamforth, who adopted Brynn from a local shelter, told the outlet.

Meet the newest mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky! 🙂 ttp:// #cute #sweet #woofwoofwednesday #dogoftheday

— Truly Pawsome (@trulypawsome) November 16, 2016

According to the Associated Press, Rabbit Hash is such a small town that it doesn’t really have need for a mayor. Since the 1990s, however, the town has been holding elections as a fundraising effort. Each vote is $1 and residents can vote as many times as they want.

The most recent election raised almost $9,000, reported People. That money went towards the restoration of the town’s general store which burned down in a fire last year.

In March, Mayor Brynn announced the store’s impending grand reopening on her Facebook page:

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Schwarzenegger And Macron Troll Trump Over Climate Change

Article posted June 25, 2017 at 7:09 AM

By Mary S Papenfuss

I was truly honored to meet with President @EmmanuelMacron about how we can work together for a clean energy future. He’s a great leader.

— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) June 23, 2017

New best bros Arnold Schwarzenegger and French President Emmanuel Macron teamed up in Paris to talk about the Paris climate agreement and global warming. They also pulled off a selfie video not-so-surreptitiously aimed at you-know-who: that other president.

The video, posted to Schwarzenegger’s Twitter on Friday, is labeled: “With President Macron, a great leader.” The former California governor notes on the vid: “I’m here with President Macron. We’re talking about environmental issues and a green future.”

Macron pipes in: “And now we will deliver together to make the planet great again.”

Macron coined his “great planet” line — a pointed twist on Donald Trump‘s “make America great again” catchphrase — after Trump announced early this month that he was backing out of the Paris climate accords. Macon presented an address in English on French TV criticizing Trump’s decision, and his government issued a “corrected” climate-change video produced by the Trump administration.

We’ve seen the @WhiteHouse video about the #ParisAccord. We disagree – so we’ve changed it. #MakeThePlanetGreatAgain.

— France Diplomacy (@francediplo_EN) June 2, 2017

Schwarzenegger’s trip to France to meet with Macron is one sign of a growing movement to keep America in the Paris accords despite Trump and the federal government. Governors, along with scores of mayors, university presidents and business representatives are preparing pledges to meet the goals of the Paris agreement. Billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg has pledged up to $15 million to cover America’s initial commitment to the accords.

The trip also rubbed more salt in the wounds inflicted on each other by Schwarzenegger and Trump — two Republicans who have very different politics. Schwarzenegger blasted Trump for his decision to pull out of the Paris agreement.

“One man cannot destroy our progress,” said Schwarzenegger. “One man can’t stop our clean energy revolution. And one man can’t go back in time. Only I can do that,” he added in a funny reference to his time-travel “Terminator” movies.

BREAKING: Arnold Schwarzenegger has a blunt message for Donald Trump. #ParisAgreement

— ATTN: (@attn) June 2, 2017

Trump had previously scorched Schwarzenegger for poor ratings when he took over “Celebrity Apprentice” from Trump (though Trump always exaggerated his own ratings).

Schwarzenegger shot back that maybe Trump should head the reality program again, and let Schwarzenegger move into the White House.

The National Prayer Breakfast?

— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) February 2, 2017

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Bernie Sanders Slams ‘Moral Outrage’ Of Trumpcare At Pittsburgh Rally

Article posted June 25, 2017 at 4:11 AM

By Mary S Papenfuss

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) headlined the start of a campaign against Trumpcare Saturday night before some 1,000 angry people in the Pittsburgh Convention Center, calling the plan slicing millions from insurance coverage an unconscionable “moral outrage.”

“This so-called health care bill passed in the House last month is the most anti-working-class piece legislation passed by the House of Representatives in the modern history of this country,” said Sanders. “And the Senate bill … is even worse.”

“We will not allow 23 million Americans to be thrown off of the health insurance they currently have in order to give over $500 billion in tax breaks to the top two percent, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, and to other multi-national corporations,” he added.

“What kind of a country are we if anyone can come before you and talk about cutting health care for children with disabilities in order to give tax breaks to the richest people on earth?”

The 30-minute speech was Sander’s first in his “Don’t Take Away Our Healthcare” tour of towns rallying opposition to the proposed plan that aims to also slash $800 billion from Medicaid.

Sanders has joined forces with for a bus tour that will also include stops in Columbus, Ohio, and Charleston, West Virginia. It’s part of a push to convince Republican Sens. Pat Tuomey of Pennsylvania, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia to vote against the Senate version of Trumpcare revealed Thursday.

Sanders said that while Obamacare has its faults, “we should improve it, not destroy it.” He called on the U.S. to “join the rest of the industrialized world” concerning health care. “We are the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all people as a right,” he said.

Sanders urged the establishment of an even more inclusive insurance system — a kind of “Medicare for all.” That “is where we have to go, and clearly the momentum from California to Maine is with us,” he said to wild cheers.

He focused on Trumpcare’s pain for children, the elderly, the poor and veterans.

Sanders presented the health care battle as one in a growing war between the wealthiest in the nation and the most vulnerable. He railed against growing income and wealth inequality in a nation where the top one-tenth of one percent of the population owns “almost as much wealth” as the lower 90 percent combined.

Beyond the details of the “disastrous” Trumpcare legislation, “we are talking about a very profound moral issue,” Sanders said. “A great nation is not judged by the number of millionaires and billionaires it has … it’s judged by its compassion and by how well it treats the most vulnerable people in this country,” he said.

“It is a moral outrage that this nation will never live down if we take health care from the most vulnerable to give tax breaks to the very rich.”

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Retirement Rumors Ramp Up For Influential Supreme Court Justice

Article posted June 25, 2017 at 2:42 AM

By Carla Herreria

As the end of the Supreme Court term approaches, rumors of retirement have ramped up around Justice Anthony Kennedy, a pivotal judge who often bridges a gap on the bench between conservatives and liberals.

The Associated Press and CNN reported Saturday on rumors swirling around the 80-year-old Kennedy’s retirement after the Supreme Court’s final week before the bench breaks for summer.

Sources close to Kennedy told CNN that the justice has been “seriously considering” retirement after nearly 30 years of service, though it’s not clear when exactly Kennedy would hang up his robe. Both conservatives and liberals have been gearing up to fill Kennedy’s spot when he retires, CNN reported in May.

This new round of speculation was sparked by a private reunion of Kennedy’s former clerks in Washington D.C, according to the reports. The reunion date was moved up one year, AP reported, sparking talk among former clerks that it would be the last time they see Kennedy while he is on the bench.

Orin Kerr, law professor at George Washington University and a former clerk of the senior justice, tweeted on Friday that they would likely know soon “if rumors of Kennedy’s retirement are accurate, which makes this post on time limits timely again.”

Soon we’ll know if rumors of Kennedy’s retirement are accurate, which makes this post on time limits timely again.

— Orin Kerr (@OrinKerr) June 23, 2017

Kennedy, a conservative Republican, has become a breadwinner for the left by siding with liberal justices in pivotal Supreme Court decisions.

Appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1988, Kennedy has cast swing votes for groundbreaking issues including the legalization of same-sex marriage ― for which he wrote the majority opinion ― protecting abortion rights and race-based affirmative action.

Kennedy’s retirement would create an opportunity for President Donald Trump to push the Supreme Court and its future rulings in favor of conservatives. Trump’s first pick for the court, Justice Neil Gorusch, was a clerk under Kennedy and this year filled the spot of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

“As the court’s most important Justice ― at the center of the institution’s ideological balance ― Justice Kennedy’s ability to bridge the divide between left and right on critical issues such as the right to access abortion cannot be overstated,” Elizabeth Wydra, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, told CNN.

“Replacing Justice Kennedy with a Trump nominee would almost certainly sound the death knell for Roe, just as candidate Trump promised during the 2016 campaign.”

In April, Trump told the Washington Times that he would be using the same list of 21 potential Supreme Court nominees he released while campaigning for presidency if any vacancies opened up on the bench.

When asked of Kennedy’s potential retirement by the newspaper, Trump said he didn’t want to talk about it.

“I don’t know. I have a lot of respect for Justice Kennedy, but I just don’t know,” he said. “I don’t like talking about it. I’ve heard the same rumors that a lot of people have heard. And I have a lot of respect for that gentleman, a lot.”

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Open thread for night owls: Sen. Warren blasts ‘blood money’ cuts in Republican healthcare bill

Article posted June 25, 2017 at 2:31 AM

By (Meteor Blades)


YouTube Video

What’s coming up on Sunday Kos …

  • A final ode to Cliff Huxtable: Burying the past in order to deal with the present, by Kelly Macias
  • Right-wing ‘news’ sites distract from nightmare Trumpcare with scary fairy tales of freedom lost, by Ian Reifowitz
  • The Democratic Party does not need a civil war, now or later, by Egberto Willies
  • Hot enough for you? It’s likely to get worse. Much worse, by Sher Watts Spooner
  • Senator Portman: 220,000 Ohioans with substance abuse coverage will lose it under repeal, by David Akadjian
  • Step, Tap, Stomp: The power of dance rhythms, by Denise Oliver Velez
  • The consequences of voting against you best interests, by Mark E Andersen
An Activists’ Calendar of Resistance Events
Indivisible’s list of Resistance Events & Groups




Mushroom cloud after nuclear test is viewed from Las Vegas, 60 years ago today:

— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) June 24, 2017


At Daily Kos on this date in 2008Bush Justice Department politicizes absolutely everything:

Two reports today confirm that under Bush the Justice Department has politicized everything it touches, even programs for the young.

Not that we should have needed any further proof of the obvious after AG Gonzales’ deputy, Monica Goodling, confessed last May to illegally discriminating in hiring along partisan lines. But now it’s official: DOJ hiring committees went to great lengths to exclude Democratic, liberal, and activist job applicants under both John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales. A new report (PDF) investigates Republican manipulation of the Honors and Interns programs, which together bring new lawyers into DOJ. Ashcroft restructured the programs in 2002 specifically to ensure that more conservatives and fewer liberals were hired. He removed career officials from the hiring committees and replaced them with highly partisan political appointees.

Monday through Friday you can catch the Kagro in the Morning Show 9 AM ET by dropping in here, or you can download the Stitcher app (found in the app stores or at, and find a live stream there, by searching for “Netroots Radio.


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Ivanka Trump Ordered Deposed In Suit Accusing Her Of Ripping Off Shoe Designs

Article posted June 25, 2017 at 1:34 AM

By Mary S Papenfuss

A Manhattan judge has ordered Ivanka Trump to give a deposition in a lawsuit by an Italian designer accusing her of trademark infringement and ripping off a shoe design. The ruling was in response to her lawyers’ arguments that Trump should be allowed to skip the deposition in part because of her “extraordinary circumstances” as a “high-ranking government employee.”

In a statement filed with the court June 16, Trump said she had “no involvement in the conception, design, production or sale of the Hettie shoe,” the sandal at the center of the suit by Florence shoemaker Aquazzura. She said her only involvement was a “final sign-off of each season’s line after it was first reviewed and approved by the company’s design team.”

But the judge wasn’t buying it.

“Trump’s public statements regarding active and comprehensive brand management lead to a reasonable inference that the shoe at issue would not have been released without her approval,” U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest wrote in her decision Friday. “A deposition is appropriate.”

Forrest ignored Trump’s claim that she was too busy for the deposition, but did say that questioning should be limited to two hours because of Trump’s “competing professional obligations.”

Aquazzura Italia SRL filed the suit last June against Trump’s company IT Collection LLC. The action claims Trump’s Hettie sandal is “virtually identical” to Aquazzzura’s Wild Thing shoe.

In demanding that Trump be deposed, Aquazzura’s attorneys quoted Trump as recently saying, “There’s not a shoe I’m not intimately involved with designing.” IT Collection shoemaker Marc Fisher Holdings is also named in the suit.

Other shoes sold by Trump’s IT Collection and named in the suit also appear strikingly similar to those created by Aquazzura. The Italian company claims Trump can sell them at a fraction of the cost because she has dodged the costs of their original designs. The Hettie shoe sells for $130 while the Wild Thing has a pricetag of $785.

The lawsuit accuses Trump and Fisher of “seeking the same success Aquazzura experienced, but without having to put in the hard creative work.”

Trump stopped selling another shoe model similar to an Aquazzura design after the Italian company complained, according to the lawsuit.

Aquazzura is seeking unspecified damages.

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