Keyser menaces reporter: ‘My dog’s bigger than you are. A big guy. Very protective.


CO-Sen: It’s official: former state Rep. Jon Keyser’s campaign for Senate is officially in meltdown mode. Just two days after Denver7 reporter Marshall Zelinger discovered that Keyser submitted multiple forged signatures to get on the June primary ballot, Keyser participated in a Republican debate, where a moderator repeatedly pressed him on the matter. Keyser refused to directly answer any questions, just saying, over and over again, “I’m on the ballot” and accusing liberal billionaire George Soros of trying to “derail my campaign.”

Following the debate, Zelinger attempted to interview Keyser on camera and asked the same questions the moderator had. Keyser again tried to evade, but then things took a turn for the bizarre—deeply bizarre:

Keyser: Were you the guy who was creepin’ around my house yesterday?

Zelinger: I knocked on your door.

K: You woke up my kids—my baby cried for an hour after that.

Z: I apologize.

K: Did you get to meet my dog?

Z: I met your dog and your nanny—she was very kind. Your dog was kind.

K: My dog is—he’s a great dog. He’s bigger than you are. He’s huge. He’s a big, big guy, very protective.

Z: I don’t know what that meant, but okay.

K: Oh, he’s a great, he’s a great, he’s a great dog.

Z: His size—what did you mean by his size?

K: Oh, have you seen him? He’s a Great Dane—he’s 165 pounds. He’s a good dog.

Was Keyser quasi-threatening Zelinger with his “big, big” “very protective” “huge” dog who’s “bigger than you are”? How the hell else to interpret those remarks? Zelinger finally managed to re-rail the interview, but Keyser simply wouldn’t say anything about the forgeries—because what is there to say? And wait, sorry, we’re still not over the dog. What on earth was that?

Anyhow, if Keyser survives this nightmare, he’d be like Gandalf returning from the dead. Somehow, though, we don’t think he has any wizardly powers. ProgressNow Colorado, the group that first discovered a forged signature among Keyser’s petitions, has asked the Denver and Jefferson County district attorneys to investigate. Even if a criminal inquiry never takes root, you’ve gotta believe that at least one of Keyser’s Republican opponents will take him to court to try to knock him off the ballot—if, that is, Keyser doesn’t drop out first … to spend more time with his ginormous dog, of course.

Senate:

FL-Sen: Hardee har har. On Thursday, TPM reporter Lauren Fox caught up with Florida “Senator” Marco Rubio on Capitol Hill and asked if he was thinking about seeking re-election. Rubio’s response was decidedly wishy-washy: “I’m not focused on that. I’ve already said what my intentions are and at this point you know [we] have people out there running already.” Fox then noted that Rubio had until the end of June to change his mind. Walking away, Rubio turned to smile and cited the precise filing date: “June 24.”

So was this some kind of ZOMG moment? Was Rubio really thinking about upending Florida politics and running for another term in the Senate despite burning bridges with plenty of Republicans in his home state, performing miserably in Florida’s presidential primary, and just generally showing zero interest in remaining a legislator? Turns out, no. A spokesman subsequently told Fox, “It was a joke. He’s going to serve out the rest of his Senate term and become a private citizen in January 2017.” A joke, indeed—just like Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign.

GA-Sen: Wealthy Democratic businessman Jim Barksdale has released his first TV ad of the race, and it’s, well, a bit awkward. Narrating the spot himself, Barskdale says, “I’m not a politician, and I can prove it: I wear this hat”—as he tugs a newsboy cap over his bald head. What exactly is the message here? That real politicians would never be caught dead in such a hat? Or that only authentic reg’lar folks wear cloth caps like this?

Barksdale then proceeds with what is mostly a standard-issue outsider’s message, saying he’s an “investment manager” who “stood against the Wall Street crowd to protect my clients’ retirement.” He continues by promising he’ll “stand against the Washington crowd and their bad trade deals, wasteful spending, and mass incarceration.” The “bad trade deals” sounds a lot like Bernie Sanders, but it’s that last bit that’s the most interesting, since you don’t typically expect a white guy running in Georgia to run against mass incarceration, even in a Democratic primary.

The size of the buy isn’t known, but Barksdale’s put $1 million into his own campaign and has apparently bought TV time “in every significant Georgia market.” Barksdale faces two Some Dude opponents for the Democratic nomination, which will be decided later this month. Assuming he’s successful, he’ll get to take on GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson in November. We currently rate this contest Safe Republican, but if Georgia comes into play in the presidential race, funky things could happen downballot, too.

IA-Sen: The pro-Democratic Constitutional Responsibility Project is out with a TV spot against Republican incumbent Chuck Grassley and as you can probably guess from their name, they’re hitting him on the GOP’s Supreme Court blockade. The commercial starts with a 2006 clip of Grassley declaring that a “Supreme Court nomination isn’t a forum to fight any election,” before voters accuse him of now being a part of the problem in DC. There’s no word on the size of the buy, though the CRP has spent a total of $150,000 on similar ads in Ohio and Pennsylvania so far.

IL-Sen: For years, Republicans have been convinced that a long-running legal battle would one day tank Rep. Tammy Duckworth’s political career. Two former employees of Duckworth’s at the Illinois Department of Veterans affairs filed a suit all the way back in 2008 alleging that Duckworth had engaged in improper retaliation against them after they filed complaints against the acting director of the facility at which they worked.

The case was dismissed by a federal judge, who called it a “garden-variety workplace case,” then was refiled in state court, only to get dismissed once more. It was then refiled a third time on narrower grounds; the judge hearing the matter declined to dismiss the case a third time, and this week, he tentatively scheduled a trial date for August.

Republicans still think the case will damage Duckworth, while her campaign has dismissed it as “politically motivated.” The state attorney general’s office, which is defending Duckworth, has said the plaintiffs claims are merely “petty complaints by two malcontents.” Duckworth is the Democratic nominee against Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, and the GOP knows that Kirk faces tough odds in this blue state. Team Red has been attacking Duckworth over this matter for many years, but they’ve never drawn much blood. Maybe this time will be different, but so far, this affair just has not been the political kryptonite Republicans wish it were.

OH-Sen: Republican Sen. Rob Portman has a huge financial edge over Democratic ex-Gov. Ted Strickland, and he’s going to make the most of it. On Thursday, Portman announced that he’s reserved $14 million in TV time from June to Election Day, plus he’s setting aside another $1 million for YouTube. Portman held a $13.4-million-to-$2.7-million cash-on-hand advantage over Strickland at the end of March, so we’ve always known Portman would swamp his opponent on the airwaves.

Democrats won’t abandon Strickland, of course. The DSCC has reserved $10 million in Ohio (to the NRSC’s $6 million), and other organizations on both sides will get involved here. But unfortunately for Strickland, party committees and super PACs need to spend far more money than campaigns to purchase ad time because FCC regulations give candidates—but not outside groups—discounted rates on TV and radio. So while allies can help Strickland make up some of the gap, Portman’s dollars will stretch much further.

Gubernatorial:

NC-Gov: The Republican Governors Association is out with their second 15-second TV spotattacking Democrat Roy Cooper. Once again, they go after him on taxes, accusing him of wanting to tax everything in sight. The RGA recently launched an opening $510,000 buy here.

WA-Gov: The GOP wants to unseat Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee this year, but Seattle Port Commissioner Bill Bryant hasn’t exactly emerged as a fundraising dynamo yet. Thanks in part to a $300,000 transfer from the state Democratic Party, Inslee widened his already large financial in April. Inslee currently holds a $2.5 million to $626,000 cash-on-hand edge; a month before, Inslee led $1.9 million to $700,000.

House:

FL-10: Ex-Orlando Police Chief Val Demings has consolidated support from national Democrats and she recently earned a prominent local endorsement from Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. However, the Central Florida Police Benevolent Association announced this week that they would back Bob Poe, a wealthy former state party chair and Demings’ most prominent foe in the August primary. It’s a pretty against-type endorsement, especially since Demings’ husband is the sheriff of Orange County.

NC-02: Rather unusually, GOP Rep. George Holding’s own pollster, Carter Wrenn, just told Roll Call that his boss is in a “statistical dead heat” with fellow Rep. Renee Ellmers in their redistricting-induced primary, a topic Wrenn discussed at much greater length in a blog post earlier this month. While Wrenn, a longtime aide to the late Sen. Jesse Helms, didn’t divulge the actual toplines of his polling, he says that in early March, Holding, who represents a plurality of the redrawn 2nd, had a 10-point lead on Ellmers, with 25 percent of voters undecided.

But after tea partying physician Greg Brannon, who’d run a couple of unsuccessful campaigns for Senate, decided to run for the House later that month, his entry scrambled the race. Wrenn says that Brannon cut into Holding’s support with conservative voters, resulting in Holding and Ellmers winding up “neck-and-neck” at about 25 percent apiece, with Brannon “running below 20.” But Wrenn also notes the difficulty of polling this race, since the state had to push its House primaries to June 7 thanks to the same court-ordered redistricting that pitted Ellmers and Holding against one another in the first place. Simply put, no one knows how many voters will turn out for what is an unusually timed election for North Carolina.

All external signs, however, point to success for Holding. The Club for Growth has hated Ellmers for a while due to her votes to raise the debt ceiling and reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, and they’ve pledged to “actively oppose her”in the June primary. The Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity is planning a “six-figure” media blitz, hitting Ellmers for her supposed conservative apostasies, though it appears the campaign is confined to mail and digital platforms—no TV.

To make matters worse for Ellmers, the Susan B. Anthony List, a bizarro-world version of EMILY’s List that supports “pro-life” Republican women, has broken its own rules to endorse Holding over Ellmers. (Last year, Ellmers dissuaded House leaders from moving forward with a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy because it contained an incendiary provision that would have only permitted an exception in the case of rape if the victim reported her assault to the authorities first.) SBA List is a pretty small-time operation and nothing compared to AFP, but with both economic and social conservatives ganging up against her, it’s quite evident that Ellmers simply has no friends left.

Holding is also airing a new ad on his own behalf, a truly feeble spot with languid editing and cheap production values that tries to push back against an Ellmers mailer that supposedly claimed Holding “opposed the United States Army.” You’d think he could afford better.

NC-13: The Club for Growth recently endorsed gun range owner Ted Budd in the 17-way June 7 GOP primary, and they’re out with their first spot for him. The whole commercial is painfully generic, with the narrator stressing that Budd’s a conservative who hasn’t run for office before. There is no word on the size of the buy, but the Club usually spends big to help their friends. No influential outside groups have sided with any of Budd’s foes yet; if the Club ends up running most of the ads here (boring as they may be), it could make all the difference next month in this red Greensboro-area seat.

NH-02: The June 10 filing deadline is coming up, and the GOP is still struggling to find a viable candidate to face Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster. State Rep. Eric Estevez says he’s considering and plans to decide in June. Estevez doesn’t exactly come across as a very intimidating contender. Estevez was dogged by several questions about his resume and campaign endorsements during his failed 2010 run for the Massachusetts state legislature. (Estevez had unsuccessfully campaigned for the New Hampshire state House in 2006.) Last year, Estevez also got into a heated argument with Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau (a fellow Republican) after he showed up to a Lozeau event he was not invited to, and reportedly called her a “bitch”. So yeah, Estevez’s not an ideal nominee for this 54-45 Obama seat.

Kuster hasn’t emerged as a GOP target this cycle, and the quality of her opponents shows it. Ex-state Rep. Jim Lawrence recently formed an exploratory committee, but his 2014 campaign was far from impressive. Lawrence raised a total of $42,000 during his 2014 campaign andtook only 19 percent in the primary. Ex-state House Majority Leader Jack Flanagan, who actually has declared he’s in, raised just north of $5,000 over the first three months of 2016.

NV-03: With a month to go before the GOP primary for this swing seat, state Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson is airing out wealthy perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian’s dirty laundry in a new spot. The narrator notes that “[a] federal judge ordered Danny Tarkanian to pay $17 million for a fraudulent development scheme,” and goes on to accuse him of defrauding creditors and lying under oath.

The commercial refers to the $17 million judgment Tarkanian and his family was hit with in 2012 from a lawsuit over bad loans that Tarkanian had personally guaranteed. As the narrator later mentions, Tarkanian declared bankruptcy because he didn’t have $17 million, and he finally settled the matter for just $525,000. (Tarkanian emerged from bankruptcy protection last year, just in time to launch another campaign.) The ad doesn’t mention that these loans were for the family’s planned “equestrian destination resort,” which if anything makes Tark look a lot worse.

Grab Bag:

Where Are They Now?: About to be in jail. On Thursday, Dean Skelos, the former Republican leader of the New York state Senate, was sentenced to five years in prison for corruption; his son Adam was given a longer six-and-a-half year sentence. Just last week, ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, was sentenced to 12 years for a different corruption scandal. Who knows, maybe they’ll be cellmates—and believe it or not, that kind of thing has happened before.

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir and Jeff Singer, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and Stephen Wolf.

May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month


Girl sitting outside and blowing her nose

 

05/26/2016 10:00 AM EDT
Children are magnets for colds. But when the “cold” won’t go away for weeks, the culprit may be something else: allergies.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicines that offer allergy relief, as well as allergen extracts used to diagnose and treat allergies. And parents should take particular care when giving these products to children.

May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. Read the Consumer Update to learn more about allergy relief for kids.

Brandi Collins, ColorOfChange.org


Black people read more books than anyone else.

Shouldn’t booksellers make it easy to find books that reflect us?

Amazon wouldn’t be the biggest bookseller in the world without our business.

Tell Amazon to increase visibility and accessibility of books by Black authors or with Black protagonists.

 

 

As one of the largest booksellers, and the largest ebook retailer, the power of Amazon to influence the success or failure of products cannot be overstated. How a book is classified, listed, and ranked by genre, section, or algorithmic determination directly affects how many copies are sold.1 74% of all US ebook purchases and 71% of all US consumer dollars spent on ebooks go through Amazon’s website.2 For some authors, such as those who are self-published or in partnership with small publishers, visibility and accessibility can make or break their literary career. For Black authors and other authors of color especially, the lack of a specialized section where their novels are highlighted and made easily accessible further diminishes their already small presence in the majority white literary industry.

It’s time for Amazon to show that they understand the desires of the Black readers.

Amazon has recognized the need for minority-specific genres and section headings in the past, and taken steps to allow specific categories or headings for work by certain groups, such as LGBT authors in 2014.3 However, they have not extended the same attention towards the needs or concerns of other groups. All people of color, whether Black, Latino, Asian American & Pacific Islander, or Native American & Indigenous, deserve to have their voices heard and their literary interests represented by booksellers. The lack of these sections leaves many books and authors unknown to their desired audiences. As the largest and one of the most influential booksellers, Amazon should take the lead in showing that they hear and understand the desires of their customers.

The lack of the speculative fiction sections for Black people gives the impression that science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories featuring people of color don’t exist. Let’s change that.

Currently, there is no specific way to find science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories written by or featuring Black people as main characters when browsing Amazon’s online stores. Additionally, when the genre specific categories are used to search, works by Black authors are lost among results with no way to sort them out specifically. Even within the African American literature section, there are no sub-genre headings for science fiction, fantasy, or horror. College-educated Black women are the group in the U.S. most likely to read books, and Black people read more of every type of book overall.4 Creating genre headings within the African American literature section and an African American grouping under science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres is not only good business sense.5 It is the morally right thing to do in ensuring diverse literary representation, and that Black people and other people of color can easily find books which reflect their their experiences and creativity.

Thanks and peace,

–Brandi, Rashad, Arisha, Bernard, Brittaney, Evan, and the rest of the ColorOfChange team

References:

1. “How to Engage Amazon’s algorithms to sell more books.” Readers in the Know, 12-14-2014. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6095?t=5&akid=5835.1174326.uWog3D’s-algorithms-to-sell-more-books

2. “October 2015 – Apple, B&N, Kobo, and Google: a look at the rest of the e-book market.” Author Earnings, 10-2015. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6096?t=7&akid=5835.1174326.uWog3D

3. “Dear Mr. Bezos: Pushing Queer Romance Forward with Community Action.” Lambda Literary, 09-16-2014. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6097?t=9&akid=5835.1174326.uWog3D

4. “The Most Likely Person to Read a Book? A College-Educated Black Woman.” The Atlantic Wire, 01-16-2014. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/5965?t=11&akid=5835.1174326.uWog3D

5. “Thinking About Writing in Multiple Genres? Here’s What You Need to Know.” The Book Designer, 11-11-2016http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6098?t=13&akid=5835.1174326.uWog3D

How to Have a Food Safe Memorial Day


Avoid the “Danger Zone” this Summer

Summer picnic foodsfoodsafety.gov

With the summer right around the corner, families across the country will take out their grills and start spending more time in the great outdoors.  We are urging everyone to remember the four simple steps to food safety – Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill – and to steer clear of the ‘Danger Zone’ when grilling this Memorial Day weekend.

It is important to remember that bacteria grow faster in the same warm temperatures, so extra care should be taken to make sure perishable food doesn’t spend too long in the Danger Zone. That is temperatures between 40 and 140 ˚F when perishable food spoils rapidly. Foods that should be served hot or cold should not spend more than one hour in the Danger Zone when temperatures are above 90 ˚F, and two hours when temperatures are below 90 ˚F.

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Native Americans


S. 3548, Native American Veterans’ Memorial Amendments Act of 2012http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/s3548.pdf

GOP Ignores Environment and Native Americans to Pollute Lakes in Wisconsin                                                                   Native Americans in the Great Lakes region are concerned about proposals for mining in the area, which could create substantial pollution.
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                                    Deforestation. Palm oil. Mining. Oil and gas drilling. Although the tribes that call the Amazon home have lived in peace with the planet for centuries,…
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