Archive for Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Taking the "DUH" Out of FloriDUH

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Greetings from the land of hanging chads and stand your ground insanity. It's also a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 4,587,502 to 4,128,098, yet the GOP controls both chambers of the legislature and all cabinet positions. Maybe it's the heat combined with the humidity that make people vote against their own best interests time after time.

Regardless of the reasons, Florida has a chance to rid ourselves of some of the DUH that's infected our land. But to do that, Floridians have to vote in the August 26 primary, and vote for the only progressive Democrat in the race.

If you listen to the Florida Democratic party or the media - local or national - you'd believe that the Florida gubernatorial race was between the incumbent criminal Governor Rick Scott and former Republican Governor Charlie Crist, without ever having been informed that there is even a primary, let alone the fact that Nan Rich, the former leader of the Florida Senate Democrats and a real progressive, is in the race!

I've had the honor of interviewing Nan Rich before, and was thrilled that she put aside some time to speak with us again this morning. I hope everyone in Florida gets to hear her and realize that we have a chance to take the DUH out of FloriDUH once and for all!

As we do every Monday morning, we started the week with Howie Klein of Down With Tyranny and the Blue America PAC for our "Steve Israel Hour, sponsored by Little Debbie," our weekly satirical salute to the idiots running the national Democratic Party.

A programming note: I'll be heading west on Thursday evening, flying out to Los Angeles to cover and broadcast live from the American Federation of Teachers convention on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I'll do the show from LA on Tuesday morning (perhaps Monday too, we're still working on that!).  And then on Wednesday, I fly to Detroit to broadcast live from Netroots Nation on Thursday and Friday, July 17 . Stay tuned for more details!

We're back tomorrow, hopefully with fewer technical issues (the new computer is on its way!), and GottaLaff and Claire Conner too! See you then, radio or not!

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Supremely Wrong

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The Supreme Court has now adjourned until the first Monday in October. My only wish is that they all ride off into obscurity. Or at least the five of them who insisted on being on the wrong side of everything today.

The justices decided to wait until today to render their final two opinions - one that sticks a knife through the heart of organized labor in the US, the other further eroding the separation of church and state - and underscoring the second class citizen status of women in America.

The first decision offered this morning was in Harris v. Quinn (follow the link for the full decision).  

At issue:

(1) Whether a state may, consistent with the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, compel personal care providers to accept and financially support a private organization as their exclusive representative to petition the state for greater reimbursements from its Medicaid programs; and (2) whether the lower court erred in holding that the claims of providers in the Home Based Support Services Program are not ripe for judicial review.

In plain English, what was at stake in this case:

  • Home health care workers in IL want the court to rule that public sector unions cannot collect fees from workers who aren't union members.
  • The idea behind compulsory fees for nonmembers is that the union negotiates the contract for all workers, so they all should share in the cost of that work.

The court has been hostile to unions in recent years, and today's ruling hasn't altered that. Time magazine explains the ramifications:

The Supreme Court decided Monday that public sector unions cannot collect “fair share” fees from non-union-members, in a 5-4 decision that dealt unions a sharp blow.

The much-awaited decision limits, but does not reverse, the court’s well-trodden ruling from 1977, known as Abood. In that case, the court found that requiring non-union-members to pay “fair share” fees did not violate workers’ First Amendment rights, so long as those fees do not go to advancing specifically “political or ideological” ends.

The decision, written by Justice Samuel Alito, marks a loss for public sector unions, which may see their coffers and power depleted in coming years, although it’s not the worst-case scenario that many labor activists feared. The ruling stopped short of finding all “fair share” dues unconstitutional. It also does not affect all full-time public employees, but only a category called “partial public employees,” which includes a growing sector of home heath care workers.

The decision also marks a victory for the anti-union group, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which is backed by many hardline conservatives, including the Koch family.

As if the YouTube technical difficulty we had a the top of today's show wasn't bad enough! But wait, it gets worse!

The final opinion offered was in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby (follow the link for the decision). Ahead of the actual decision being handed down, we learned that Justice Alito had authored both of them, setting the stage for bad news on both.

Needless to say, the court ruled that

the government can’t require closely held corporations with religious owners to provide contraception coverage, though the government may provide alternative ways to obtain or access coverage.

Mother Jones quickly digested Ruth Bader Ginsberg's "blistering dissent" and offers the 8 best lines from it:

•  Ginsburg wrote that her five male colleagues, "in a decision of startling breadth," would allow corporations to opt out of almost any law that they find "incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs."

•  "The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers' beliefs access to contraceptive coverage"

•  "Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community."

•  "Any decision to use contraceptives made by a woman covered under Hobby Lobby's or Conestoga's plan will not be propelled by the Government, it will be the woman's autonomous choice, informed by the physician she consults."

•  "It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month's full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage."

•  "Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah's Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today's decision."

•  "Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be 'perceived as favoring one religion over another,' the very 'risk the [Constitution's] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude."

•  "The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield."

To help put this decision in perspective, I was joined today by Greg Lipper, senior litigation counsel at Americans United for Separation of Church & State, who agreed that the recent decisions, including  Town of Greece v. Galloway are heading toward erasing that precarious line separating church and state.

In the first hour, after dealing with those pesky technical issues while digesting the Supremely fucked up decisions, I spoke with Howie Klein of Down With Tyranny and the Blue America PAC about the relentless fundraising spam over the past few days (that will only get worse today!), and the Human Rights Campaign's horrendous endorsement of Susan Collins over the awesome Shenna Bellows.

Tomorrow, we'll delve a bit more deeply into some of the Supreme Court's recent attacks on women's rights with RHRealityCheck's Jessica Mason Plieko, and we'll lighten things up a bit with GottaLaff too... radio or not!

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Between the Shiite & Where the Sunni Don't Shine

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It's just one giant mess in Iraq, most likely exacerbated by our invasion over a decade ago. And the question is whether or not we should get involved again.

I say no. But it's not up to me..

This morning, I was excited to welcome Juan Cole to the program. Unfortunately for me, a power surge knocked me off the air just moments before I was to call him. Needless to say, when I did get Juan on the line, I was a bit frazzled, and all the pages I had up on my computer had closed, leaving me a bit more tongue tied than usual.

But I always appreciate his input... probably best today found on his website at JuanCole.com. While you're there, check out "Obama Prepares for Drone War in Iraq" and prepare to be pissed!

Juan Cole has a new book coming out on July 1, The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East I'll try to get him back on for another chat then, and hope to not be interrupted so rudely next time!

In the first hour, as we do every Monday morning, I spoke with Howie Klein during our regular segment "The Steve Israel Hour, sponsored by Little Debbie".  Today, in addition to talking about Debbie Wasserman Schultz' apparent loyalites to Big Pharma and the for-profit prison industry (as evidenced by her opposition to medical marijuana), we talked about the big newspaper story on her cooking practices (can you say fluff piece?)

Howie brought a few stories too, including one about Barbara Lee's failed amendments to the Defense Appropriations bill, and another about the Democrats who are just fine with the NSA's domestic surveillance programs, thankyouverymuch.

I'm off to get a new uninterruptible power source before tomorrow's show, when we'll talk with the always awesome Thomas Frank, and the always funny GottaLaff!

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The Headless Horseman Of The GOP's Sleepy Hollow(head)

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headless Tea Party horseman

When it comes to the government shutdown (again) over Obamacare, the Democrats are so lucky to have Reince Preibus speaking for the opposition. He's so ineffective in making a case, mealy-mouthed about the last shutdown, caught in a lie on national TV, and now THE poster child for the defective Tea Party fool.

Of course, it's a lot easier to look stupid when you face a tough-minded, resolute thinker like Debbie Wasserman Schultz. But she didn't pick the opposition, the Republicans did. Chairman P. beached their ship last general election, he's sure to hit the same sandbar next time around with the type of thinking like he displayed on CNN this past Sunday.

When people say a fish stinks from the head down, so do political parties. Here's the "head" of the Republican party. Take a sniff. Warning, you won't like the stench.

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Video- Ron Johnson (R-WI) Gets the Facts Wrong on Social Security

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I like Krugman's "non facts". I think he means lies. Via.

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NBC Confirms Wasserman Schultz to Stay As DNC Chair

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I'm not a fan of some of her Cuban-hugging policies, but she did good this past election.Chris Jansing just announced that she is staying.

President Barack Obama wants Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to stay on as his party's chairwoman, a Democratic official said Monday.

Wasserman Schultz has overseen the Democratic National Committee since early 2011. Party officials credit her in part with helping the president carry her home state of Florida, as well as leading the party to an expanded majority in the Senate and more seats in the House.

Obama is asking DNC members to back Wasserman Schultz when they meet in January, just after the president's inauguration, said the official, who requested anonymity because this person was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

A mother of three and a breast cancer survivor, Wasserman Schultz, 46, has represented a reliably Democratic Fort Lauderdale-area district since 2005. Along the way she has earned a reputation as a workhorse and as an outspoken liberal happy to duke it out on television with her Republican counterparts.

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Video- Stephanopoulos Badgers Wasserman-Schultz: Will You Repudiate Harry Reid’s Comments?

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This is the kind of crap that Gotta was ranting about earlier. Just add in a few half hearted questions about VP pics, and a five year old with table manners could do their jobs. Via.

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