I've been meaning to get to this first item for a few days--better late than never. From Think Progress:
"Debo Adegbile, who previously served as the acting head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, is one of the nation’s top civil rights attorneys. He’s also a leading expert on voting rights who twice defended the Voting Rights Act before the Supreme Court — the first time successfully. He was, in other words, an ideal candidate to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division — the division which, among other things, oversees the federal government’s voting rights work in an era where conservative state lawmakers are currently waging a widespread campaign to prevent demographic groups that tend to vote for Democrats from casting a ballot. "
"And yet, the Senate just voted his nomination down, thanks to seven Democrats. The Democrats who opposed Adegbile’s confirmation are Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Pryor (D-AR) and John Walsh (D-MT)." 1
The operative adjective charitably omitted in that last paragraph is "gutless": as in, "The gutless Democrats who opposed Adegbile's confirmation..." I've highlighted Senator John Walsh (D-MT) for the obvious reason: he's one of my two Senators, and by god I resent his disgraceful surrender in this case to Republican race-baiting. Walsh was appointed (by Montana's Democratic Governor Steve Bullock) to fill out the term of our long-time Senator Max Baucus, and I assume he plans to run for re-election. If he thinks this vote will help him in Montana--well, he may turn out to be right, but I know for a fact that he's just lost himself one vote. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
From John Aziz at The Week:
"Yesterday's jobs numbers revealed a shocking truth, at least for those who believe that President Obama is a socialist/communist/Marxist/Alinskyite. As Floyd Norris at the New York Times points out, government now employs 15.9 percent of all Americans who have jobs. That is the lowest proportion since 2001, and almost a million less people than five years ago. Hardly what you'd expect from a pinko determined to turn the U.S. into a European-style socialist republic. But the more serious point is that this slide in government employment has come at a time when there remain millions of unemployed people who could use a job." 2
Aziz says there's been a recent uptick in government hiring, but of course there's no guarantee that will continue, and there's every guarantee that Republicans will resist it. Regardless: the so-called "explosive growth" of the government under President Obama turns out to be--and this may shock you--nothing but a relentlessly and shamelessly repeated lie. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Finally, and speaking of shamelessly repeated lies, Marjorie Romeyn-Sanabria (at The American Conservative) takes to task one of the Right's rising stars, Dr. Ben Carson:
"Carson referenced—and defended—his claim that Obamacare is the worst thing to happen to this society since slavery, calling anyone who believes that he equated the two institutions a “dummy”. Aside from that claim being patently false—there were a number of things that were nearly as bad as slavery, but none so awful as slavery itself—it is an irresponsible claim to make as a physician. Doctors are trusted to be objective and rely on facts to make decisions on courses of treatment. The fact that Carson was willing to wade into the political fray, making claims that can be easily misconstrued is alarming. Anyone hoping that Carson would bring some balance and perspective to the blaring rhetoric from CPAC this weekend was in for a disappointment."
Given Dr. Carson's performances over the past year, going back to his much-publicized speech at the 2013 "National Prayer Breakfast," why would anyone expect anything better from him? Dr. Carson had a sterling reputation in his field, and had written some well-regarded books, before taking a new career tack pandering to the Right, which transformation Ms. Someyn-Sanabria bemoans:
"Carson’s best-selling books—the nonpolitical ones—are nothing like his speeches, and the vast disparity between the two personas is unsettling. The pediatric neurosurgeon whose memoirs I read as a child emphasized self-reliance, hard work, and trust in Providence to achieve the impossible. The speaker today was a speech away from running for office on fearmongering and repealing Obamacare. I was hoping to see more of the man I trusted to perform a complex operation instead of a pedantic speaker that validated the borderline irrational whims of CPAC attendees." 3
My guess is, you can still trust Dr. Benjamin Carson to perform surgery--just not on the body politic.