Pennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP-gerrymandered congressional districts as unconstitutional, orders redistricting

One of the most GOP-gerrymandered states in the country is Pennsylvania. Today the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the GOP-gerrymandered congressional districts as violative of the Pennsylvania state constitution, and ordered all 18 districts redistricted.

The Washington Post reports, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court just gave Democrats a big win on redistricting:

In a decision that could tilt the congressional balance of power in a key swing state in favor of Democrats, Pennsylvania’s highest court decided Monday that the state’s GOP-drawn congressional districts violate its Constitution, and ordered all 18 districts redrawn in the next few weeks.

Less partisan congressional districts could give Democrats a chance this November to win back as many as half a dozen seats that had been lost to them over the past decade. It could also give the party a major boost in its quest to take back the House of Representatives, where Democrats need to net 24 seats to win control of the chamber.

“Yet another gerrymandered district map thrown out!!” tweeted Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) of the news.

“Today’s decision is a victory for democracy and another blow to the Republican Party’s nationwide effort to game the system,” said Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, in a statement.

In a 4-to-3 decision, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ordered the Republican-controlled state legislature to redraw the lines by Feb. 9, an extraordinarily quick timeline that will reset the districts in time for the state’s May congressional primaries. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf will have veto power over the maps.

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‘In Mitch We Trust’ for a DACA vote to end the ‘shit-show’ shutdown? That was your whole plan, Chuck?

This reminds me of the library ghost scene in Ghostbusters where Dr. Raymond “Ray” Stantz confronts a full torso apparition of a librarian in the library.

Ray tells his colleagues, “OK, I have plan. I know exactly what to do. Now stay close. Do exactly as I say, get ready — get her!” (The ghost transforms into an evil demon and turns on them).

Later, Dr. Peter Venkman laughs, “Hee hee hee! ‘Get her!’ That was your whole plan, huh, ‘get her.’ Very scientific.”

Dr. Venkman’s response — “‘Get her!’ That was your whole plan, huh, ‘get her.'” — is similar to my response to the deal struck today by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer with the Septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to end the “shit-show” shutdown: “In Mitch We Trust” to bring up a vote on DACA after February 8? That was your whole plan, Chuck, “In Mitch We Trust.” You’re kidding me, right?

The Washington Post reports, Senate breaks budget impasse, paving way for government to reopen:

Senate Democrats bowed to pressure to reopen the government Monday, joining Republicans in backing an immigration and spending compromise that was quickly denounced by liberals and immigration activists.

Roughly 60 hours after the federal government first shut down, a bipartisan group of negotiators in the Senate prevailed with leadership, trading Democratic support for reopening the government for a commitment by Republicans to hold a vote resolving the status of young undocumented immigrants by mid-February.

The Senate voted 81-18 to end a filibuster of a spending bill that would fund the government through Feb. 8 and reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years. The upper chamber was expected to pass the measure Monday afternoon, then send it to the House for quick approval.

The government can reopen once President Trump signs the funding into law.

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Koch-Funded Prof Back Again with Lecture Against Public Schools

Assistant Professor Jonathan Anomaly

Assistant Professor Jonathan Anomaly

Remember professor Jonny Anomaly? When faced with public outrage last September, he canceled his anti-public school lecture at a Koch-funded University of Arizona class in Tucson.

Like Jack Nicholson in The Shining…he’s back. Anomaly will present “Public Goods and Education” on Thursday, January 25 at 12:30 pm in the Maloney Room, SS 224, on the UofA Campus in Tucson.

The class description reads:

“But public financing of education can produce negative externalities by creating perverse incentives, and a public monopoly on the delivery of education can discourage experimentation and turn schools into an outlet for intellectual fads and political propaganda.”

“I conclude with a note of skepticism about the desirability of direct government involvement in education, even if it plays a limited role in financing it through vouchers, grants, or loans that can be redeemed at accredited schools.”

This talk is directly from the propaganda playbook of the right-wing Koch Brothers, their front group Americans for Prosperity, and their toady — anti-education Governor Doug Ducey.

The dark-money Charles G. Koch foundation donated $1 million to the UofA to create the “Center for the Philosophy of Freedom,” which is a think tank designed to turn students into future lobbyists for the right-wing, anti-education foundation.

Bogus economic analysis

Concerned parents, teachers, and elected representatives should attend to ask why a publicly-funded university is being utilized as an indoctrination tool to sabotage publicly-funded education.
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Trump takes credit for the Obama economic recovery, but will not take the blame for the next market correction and recession when it comes

Over the weekend, Clad in pink and vowing to vote, activists around the globe flooded streets for another women’s march.

The serial sexual predator and misogynist Twitter-troll-in-chief couldn’t resist trolling the women marchers.

Screen Shot 2018-01-22 at 6.12.01 AM

Donald Trump, once again, is taking credit for the economic recovery that his predecessor, President Barack Obama, handed off to him.  Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers explains at the Washington Post, Trump doesn’t deserve credit for all the economic good news:

President Trump will be attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week. Inevitably, attention will focus on whether the president projects a commitment to internationalist values or reiterates his truculent nationalism in the name of making America “great again.” Attention will also focus on the durability of the current economic and market upswing that has buoyed the spirits of businesses and investors around the world.

While Trump will probably try to take credit for all the economic good news, it is unlikely that he deserves it. He is president of the United States, not the world. And the economic surprises in the rest of the world have been more favorable than those in America. The scale of upward revisions of growth forecasts for 2017 and 2018 has been higher in Europe, Japan, China and emerging markets broadly than for the United States. Many other stock markets have outperformed those here. If Trump’s pro-business policies were driving the global economy, one would expect an increase in net capital flows into the United States, and so a stronger dollar. In fact, the dollar has weakened significantly in the past year, despite more Federal Reserve tightening than was anticipated at the beginning of 2017.

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Photo gallery of 2018 Tucson Japanese Festival

Yesterday Jan. 20, 2018 our Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition  (SAJCC) sponsored another New Year celebration, for the 5th year, now calling it Tucson Japanese Festival (instead of Tucson Mochitsuki — named for the mochi (rice) pounding, which is demonstrated every year).

The festival was held once again for 3rd year at Pima Community College downtown (1125 N. Stone Ave.), with musical & dance performances on the stage in the Amethyst Room and activities outside on the patio, and Japanese games/origami upstairs in the Campus Center.  Japanese food was for sale, and samples of green tea and mochi were provided to the 1000 plus attendees.

Here’s some photos of the festival, courtesy of various photographers.

Traditional Japanese New Year’s display of mochi (white rice cakes) with an orange fruit on top, photo courtesy M Craig

Mochi pounding demonstration outside of PCC Downtown campus center, photo courtesy Teena Werley

More mochi pounding, photo courtesy James Tokishi

PCC Chancellor Lee Lambert giving welcome remarks, courtesy of James Tokishi

Soulful Sumi Calligraphy by Akiko Victorson, with Master of Ceremonies Louis Rivera, photo courtesy of Louis

Kyudo (Japanese archery) display, photo courtesy M Craig

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Rep. Devin Nunes is back with his conspiracy theories to discredit the FBI and to obstruct the investigations into Donald Trump

Should Special Counsel Robert Mueller bring charges against Donald Trump and members of his inner circle for a conspiracy to obstruct justice in the Russia investigation, he should include Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, for his direct coordination with the White House and the conservative media entertainment complex in manufacturing conspiracy theories with which to discredit the FBI, to misdirect the House Intelligence Committee from its Russia investigation, and to obstruct the Special Counsel investigation into his “Dear Leader,” Donald Trump.

Rep. Nunes is back in the news again with a unified theory of the several conspiracy theories he and the Trump White House have manufactured over the past year in a “memo” he has prepared, reportedly based on highly classified information, over which the conservative media entertainment complex are all frothing at the mouth accusing the FBI of criminal misconduct in order to target their “Dear Leader” with the Russia investigation.

POLITICO reports, House Republicans clash over secret memo:

House Republicans are sharply divided over how to handle a classified memo that President Donald Trump’s allies say contains explosive details of misconduct by senior FBI and Justice Department officials.

The memo, compiled by House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes and fellow Republicans on the panel, claims that senior federal officials abused a secret surveillance program, commonly known as FISA, to target the Trump campaign. It also alleges other federal law enforcement wrongdoing that some Republicans insist should lead to the firings of senior officials.

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