Christine Hallquist Would Like to Talk About the Power Grid – The New York Times

By Liam Stack Oct. 17, 2018

“BARRE, Vt. — Christine Hallquist is the first transgender person to be nominated for governor by a major party, and she knows people are interested in hearing her life story.

She is more than happy to tell it, but the thing she really wants to talk about is the electric grid.

“The foundation of all humanity, way back to the beginning, has been energy,” she said, walking outside the Washington County Treatment Court, a drug-treatment program, on a brisk fall day. “The rise and fall of empires has been based on energy.”

Ms. Hallquist, 62, a plain-spoken Democrat who spent more than a decade running an electric utility company, has been enthralled by science and engineering ever since she was young, when classmates mocked her for being feminine and the nuns at school beat her and recommended her parents treat her nonconformity with an exorcism.”

“. . . .  And in an age when Democratic politicians stake positions around terms like “socialist” — one of many labels for which she has little use — Ms. Hallquist has made the electric grid central to her political identity.

“We can grow the hell out of this rural economy if we connect every home and business to fiber optic cable” strung alongside power lines, which could bring high-speed internet to the state’s many remote towns, she said. And by moving electricity production away from fossil fuel she believes “the electric grid could be the tool to solve climate change.” “

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Opinion | Taylor Swift- the Grown-Up in the Room – By Margaret Renkl – NYT

By Margaret Renkl
Contributing Opinion Writer
Oct. 13, 2018 277 comments

“NASHVILLE — Last Sunday night, Taylor Swift did something she had never done in her stratospheric career as a pop star: She endorsed a political candidate in Tennessee, her adopted home state.

She endorsed two candidates, actually, both Democrats: Representative Jim Cooper, who is running for re-election to Congress, and former Gov. Phil Bredesen, who is running to fill the Senate seat that the Republican Bob Corker is voluntarily, sort of, vacating.

Swift did more than simply endorse the Democrats. In an Instagram post to her 112 million followers, she also slammed Marsha Blackburn, the Republican House member running against Mr. Bredesen: “Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me,” Ms. Swift wrote. “She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values.”

There’s a good reason for any female artist, especially one who got her start on country radio, to think twice about wading into politics. To understand how much courage it took for Taylor Swift to post such a statement, you need to remember what happened to the Dixie Chicks back in 2003. At the time they were one of the most popular acts in country-music history and the top-selling female group of all time. Then, in the run-up to the Iraq war, the lead singer, Natalie Maines, told a London audience that the group opposed the coming invasion: “We do not want this war, this violence,” she said, “and we’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.” “

Amy McGrath on Climate Change from her website – amymcgrathforcongress.com

Damn. Amy McGrath’s Website doesn’t have a FB share button. But she knows as much about climate change as I do. She has the global and national perspective, as well as the Kentucky perspective.  Her issues page on Climate Change goes like this:

“CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change isn’t a theory. It’s a fact.

And it’s not just scientists around the world who know it. The United States military recognizes it – and realizes that it poses a serious challenge to our national security. That’s why our military is already testing, researching, and adapting operations to succeed in these rapidly changing environments.

A changing climate has had and will continue to have hugely disruptive effects not only on the environment, but also on migration patterns, economies, disease vectors, and political unrest around the world. All of these dramatically affect our country’s safety, security and well-being.

We are already experiencing these effects: The Earth is getting warmer. Eight of the last ten summers have each been the hottest in history, and last summer was the hottest ever recorded. Sea levels are rising. This will affect massive numbers of people who live on the world’s coastlines, creating climate refugees, economic challenges, epidemics and pandemics, and geopolitical upheavals on a scale never before seen. Climate change is coming and we can’t afford to look the other way.

Our naval bases around the globe are seeing the consequences now. Ten times a year, floods cripple our Norfolk Naval Base. Key West Naval Air Station – where I learned to air-to-air dogfight in the F/A-18 – will be almost completely under water in the next 70 years. Weather patterns are creating hurricanes, floods, and fires in ways we’ve never seen before and that will both affect and in some cases demand military responses.

Large parts of the world, including the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia, are undergoing dramatic desertification at an alarming rate, meaning less food will be produced and large migrations will occur as people will be forced out of the lands they occupy today. In the 20th century, we fought wars over values or economic conflicts; in the 21st century, it will be over food, water and resources.

Another reason climate change is a national security concern is its huge impact on our economy. Rising sea levels will alter global shipping patterns, severe weather will affect the ability of goods to be produced and transported, and markets, particularly for energy, are shifting as nations work to address and mitigate these changes.

All of this is why the Trump Administration’s decision to slash research on sustainable, clean sources of energy is so wrong-headed and concerns me – and should concern every patriotic American.

Both from a security and an economic standpoint, we need to invest in renewable energy. Our military is already one of the biggest proponents of renewable energy research. Why? Because it saves lives – and makes more strategic sense – if forward operating bases overseas do not have to be constantly refueled with traditional forms of energy like petroleum, which require vulnerable ground supply lines and are subject to potentially volatile markets.

Both militarily and economically, the US must be a world leader in renewables investment or we will cede the future energy industry – and our national security – to China, which is developing in this area at a rapid pace.

America should be leading the world in responding to climate change, not running away. The Paris Climate Accords is a global agreement to recognize climate change and pursue a call to action to mitigate its detrimental effects. When President Trump pulled out of the agreement, he not only made an irresponsible move given the trajectory of the global climate, but also severely lessened our power in world leadership. He signified a lack of responsibility and seriousness in protecting our world.

Simply put, “America first” doesn’t work regarding climate change because we don’t live in a bubble. By removing ourselves from the Paris Agreement, we not only turn our back on the rest of the world, but we are turning our back on our own people. We owe it to our fellow Americans to take every measure possible in mitigating the effects of climate change.

But renewable energy research isn’t just something we need to do to respond to a threat – whether security, economic, or environmental – it’s something we should invest in as an opportunity. Renewable energy is both cleaner and more economical in the long-run, and that’s why it has tremendous potential for economic growth and job opportunities across America.

This is especially true for Kentucky. As I discuss in detail in my forthcoming economic plan, Kentucky’s energy future need not be an either/or choice between coal and sustainable sources. We can provide support for our coal communities and boost coal consumption here in Kentucky by using local coal-generated electricity for electric vehicles while we work to transition the energy infrastructure and expertise that we already have to renewables like wind and solar.

Furthermore, renewable energy represents an opportunity not a threat for our state: Kentucky can become a leader in expanding solar and wind production, which will both reduce electricity costs for our families and bring energy-related jobs back to Central Kentucky. We can achieve this in part by leveraging our military bases as national hubs for renewables research, and expanding – not cutting – federal investment in this research.

Because of our location, Central Kentucky can also continue to be a leader in the budding logistics industry by investing in needed electric-vehicle infrastructure, which will itself help produce additional jobs in vehicle manufacturing and energy provision. Such strategies will help contribute to the mitigation of climate change – but they, just as importantly, will help grow our economy and create jobs: not jobs somewhere far away, jobs right here in Kentucky.

In sum, we have the tools right here in Central Kentucky to be leaders not only in the coal economy of the 20th Century, but also in the renewable energy economy of the 21st Century. Renewables research is an opportunity for Kentucky, and we need someone to go to Washington and fight so that when the future economy comes, our district will be its home, just as it was for the energy economy of the past.

The environment shouldn’t be a partisan, political issue. This is a global issue, an American issue, and an issue for Kentucky. It’s about the future of our planet for our children and generations to come. We need leaders that get it.”

https://amymcgrathforcongress.com/

AMYMCGRATHFORCONGRESS.COM
Amy McGrath Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.) Donate

Amy McGrath Is Avoiding Attack Ads. Can a Congressional Candidate Win Without Them? – By Michael Tackett – NYT

The race for Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District between the Republican incumbent, Andy Barr, and his Democratic challenger, Amy McGrath, has featured one of the highest concentration of political ads in the country — almost 7,000 airings — in one of the most fiercely fought races.

But there is a twist. The contest also has one of the most lopsided ratios of negative-to-positive ads, with Mr. Barr and aligned Republican groups spending more than $3 million in the relatively inexpensive Lexington media market in the past six weeks, overwhelmingly on spots attacking Ms. McGrath.

Ms. McGrath, so far, has not run attack ads against Mr. Barr, an approach that makes this contest a laboratory to test the long-held proposition that while voters find negative ads distasteful, candidates use them because they work.”

David Lindsay, NYT comment:  Bravo Michael Tackett. I didn’t feel satisfied at the end of this article, and stared to tear it down in my mind for focusing on a topic, ad strategy, rather than the actual positions of the candidates. Then I reviewed the article in my mind, and had two thoughts. Today, you can get the bullet positions on their websites, so the article would have just been stronger with a hyperlink to each candidate’s website. Second, I was able to see many position obliquely, through the discussion of the ads. I watched the ad on Amy McGrath playing soccer while responding to 6 or 7 vile attacks. I wrote on Facebook: There is a good article in the NYT today about Amy McGrath, running as a Democrat in the Kentucky 6th Congressional distinct. She is turning heads, by refusing to answer her opponents onslaught of negative ads, by making almost all her ads about what she stands for. This ad, is her one attack ad, which one woman is quoted as calling stupid, since soccer has nothing to do with being a congressman. I think it’s a brilliant ad. She deserves support if you can afford it, regardless of what party you belong to.

David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com

Duncan Hunter’s Indictment in California Opens the Door for a Long-Shot Challenger – Ammar Campa-Najjar – The New York Times

By Adam Nagourney
Aug. 22, 2018 49 comments

“SAN DIEGO — Ammar Campa-Najjar is the son of an Arab father and a Mexican-American mother. His campaign for Congress has been embraced by Democratic activists across the nation. He is an advocate of tough environmental measures, including a permanent moratorium on offshore drilling, and legal protections for immigrants who were brought into this nation as children.

At 29, he has never run for office and is barely known in this suburban San Diego district near Camp Pendleton. But Mr. Campa-Najjar abruptly emerged Wednesday as a decidedly credible candidate to represent this solidly Republican enclave in a Democratic state, after the incumbent, Representative Duncan Hunter, a Republican, was indicted with his wife Tuesday on charges of using $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses.”

Duncan Hunter’s Political Promise Foiled by Hard Partying and a Corruption Scandal – The New York Times

BBy Tim Arango, Adam Nagourney and Jose A. Del Real
Aug. 26, 2018 596 comments

SAN DIEGO — In Alpine, Calif., a suburban Southern California enclave, Duncan Hunter was a good neighbor. He’d help people do yard work, or move heavy furniture. He drove the same dented-up truck for years. At parties, he’d have a beer, two tops, and he might go off and sneak a cigarette so his wife wouldn’t see. He rarely talked about his job as a congressman.

In Washington, Mr. Hunter was a fixture on the bar scene, and spent lavishly — over $400 for 30 tequila shots at a bachelor party, and countless fancy dinners. He visited one of his favorite bars sometimes multiple times a day, piling up thousands of dollars in tabs. On occasion, he would get into loud arguments with patrons, once over the choice of music on the jukebox (he hated Celine Dion).

Those divergent lives — between the watering holes and halls of power in Washington and the suburban tracts and chain stores of Southern California — intersected for years, prosecutors say, as Mr. Hunter and his wife funded their personal lives with campaign donations, the dimensions of which were revealed in an indictment last week.

Mr. Hunter, 41, once boasted a glittering political résumé that touched all the right notes in his conservative district: war hero, father to three young children, scion of a political dynasty in Southern California, where his father held power for almost 30 years. His brash personality, tough talk on national security and hard-line immigration views — he was “Trump before Trump,” staffers like to say — ensured a loyal following among his constituents.”

David Lindsay:  Who is running against this embezzler and crook?

From the LAtimes.com   a 29-year-old Palestinian Mexican American Democrat named Ammar Campa-Najjar!

“For nearly 40 years, voters in eastern San Diego County have picked a Republican named Duncan Hunter to be their representative in Congress. Duncan Lee Hunter came first, and then his son and current congressman Duncan Duane Hunter. Could 2018 be the year they change course and go with a 29-year-old Palestinian Mexican American Democrat named Ammar Campa-Najjar? Until Tuesday, election analysts said no. But after Hunter, a five-term incumbent, and his wife were indicted by a federal grand jury this week for misusing $250,000 in campaign dollars to fund their own lavish lifestyles, Campa-Najjar’s longshot bid seems, in some eyes, to be less of a stretch. Los Angeles Times

— “Hunter is running for re-election against an opponent who is not on the ballot: the U.S. Department of Justice.” San Diego Union-Tribune

— “Mr. Campa-Najjar’s campaign had been something of a stepchild in a state that had been at the forefront of the Democratic battle to win control of Congress, attracting little attention.” New York Times”

Opinion | The American Civil War- Part II – by Thomas Friedman – NYT

“I began my journalism career covering a civil war in Lebanon. I never thought I’d end my career covering a civil war in America.We may not be there yet, but if we don’t turn around now, we will surely get where we’re going — which was best described by Senator Jeff Flake on Monday: “Tribalism is ruining us. It is tearing our country apart. It is no way for sane adults to act.”

Sure, we’ve experienced bouts of intense social strife since the American Civil War of 1861. I grew up with the assassination of Martin Luther King and raging street battles over civil rights and Vietnam. And yet this moment feels worse — much less violent, blessedly, but much more broadly divisive. There is a deep breakdown happening between us, between us and our institutions and between us and our president.”

“. . . . .  It would be easy to blame both sides equally for this shift, noted Ornstein, but it is just not true. After the end of the Cold War, he said, “tribal politics were introduced by Newt Gingrich when he came to Congress 40 years ago,” and then perfected by Mitch McConnell during the Barack Obama presidency, when McConnell declared his intention to use his G.O.P. Senate caucus to make Obama fail as a strategy for getting Republicans back in power.

They did this even though that meant scuttling Obama’s health care plan, which was based on Republican ideas, and even though that meant scuttling long-held G.O.P. principles — like fiscal discipline, a strong Atlantic alliance, distrust of Russian intentions and a balanced approach to immigration — to attract Trump’s base.

Flake, the departing Arizona Republican, called this out this week: “We Republicans have given in to the terrible tribal impulse that first mistakes our opponents for our enemies. And then we become seized with the conviction that we must destroy that enemy.”

The shift in the G.O.P. to tribalism culminated with McConnell denying Obama his constitutional right to appoint a Supreme Court justice with almost a year left in Obama’s term. As NPR reported: “Supreme Court picks have often been controversial. There have been contentious hearings and floor debates and contested votes. But to ignore the nominee entirely, as if no vacancy existed? There was no precedent for such an action since the period around the Civil War.”

Image

Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, has been an opponent of bipartisan governance.CreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

In a speech in August 2016, McConnell boasted: “One of my proudest moments was when I looked Barack Obama in the eye and I said, ‘Mr. President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy.’”

That was a turning point. That was cheating. What McConnell did broke something very big. Now Democrats will surely be tempted to do the same when they get the power to do so, and that is how a great system of government, built on constitutional checks and balances, strong institutions and basic norms of decency, unravels.”

Opinion | Save Us  Texas – Here comes Beto O’Rourke – Michelle Goldberg – NYT

“On Saturday night, at the end of a hideous week in American politics, there was an unfamiliar feeling in Austin, Tex.: hope. More than 50,000 people streamed into a city park to hear music legend Willie Nelson perform at a rally with Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic congressman from El Paso who is running a strikingly competitive race against oleaginous ghoul Ted Cruz. Many were young — Nelson’s set started after 10 p.m. — wearing Beto T-shirts and waving Beto flags. Nearby, a packed restaurant advertised “Beto beer.” In the air was that slightly delirious energy you feel when a political campaign becomes a movement.

Shortly before the rally, I watched Evan Smith, chief executive and co-founder of The Texas Tribune, interview O’Rourke onstage at a nearby auditorium. It was uncanny how much the candidate recalled Barack Obama circa 2008, and not just because of his gawky magnetism. Like Obama, O’Rourke is unapologetically progressive but offers a vision of post-partisan national unity. He treats his audience as too savvy for political clichés. When Smith asked him if he planned to go negative against Cruz, he mocked attack ads with distorted pictures and ominous music. “We’re sick of that stuff,” he said, except he used a saltier term than “stuff.”

Like Obama, O’Rourke is running on hope over fear; he exudes compassion and speaks about “power and joy.” Christine Allison, a Republican-turned-independent, is president of the company that publishes D Magazine, a city magazine for Dallas, and one of O’Rourke’s ardent supporters. “He listens,” she told me, saying that he has what Christians sometimes call a “servant-leader approach to politics.” “

Fighting Climate Change in Steve King Country? by JD Scholten running for Congress in Iowa 4th district

David Lindsay: Elizabeth Warren sent out a request for folks to support this young man running against a Trumpster in the Iowa 4th congressional district. His staff have pointed me to this excellent article of JD Sholten’s on Climate Change.

“Growing up in the 80s, I was taught to dream big. I love it when the U.S. is innovative and a respected leader. That’s why last week during the international climate talks in Bonn, Germany, I was disappointed when the official American delegates were relatively non-existent and non-influential. This is a stark contrast to climate summits when President Obama was in office and exemplifies America’s division on climate talks. Governor Jerry Brown of California commented on the division when he said, “There’s a debate in the United States between the denialists who pooh-pooh any thought about climate change and the catastrophic dangers it portends, and those who agree with the scientific academies of every country in the world that we’re facing an existential threat and we have to do something about it.”

Earlier this month, 13 federal agencies unveiled an exhaustive scientific report saying:

…humans are the dominant cause of the global temperature rise that has created the warmest period in the history of civilization.

Over the past 115 years global average temperatures have increased 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, leading to record-breaking weather events and temperature extremes. The global, long-term warming trend is “unambiguous,” and there is “no convincing alternative explanation” that anything other than humans — the cars we drive, the power plants we operate, the forests we destroy — are to blame.

The time to address this issue is NOW. The time to create policy is NOW. For those who do not believe in climate change, the question of “Why you don’t believe?” is irrelevant. The question now is “What part of climate change don’t you understand?” ”

Source: Fighting Climate Change in Steve King Country?

The Five Battlefields for Control of the House – The New York Times

“THE SUBURBS. CITIES. SMALL TOWNS. RURAL AMERICA.The November election for Democratic or Republican control of the House of Representatives will come down to roughly 75 seats that are most competitive this fall.You can’t possibly keep track of all those districts and candidates across the country.Consider this your field guide to the fight for the House.We grouped the 75 districts into five main battlefields — not by what part of the country they’re in, but by the social and cultural characteristics they share.In our analysis, we looked at how Democrats and Republicans will try to piece together a House majority from across these voting blocs. Democrats need toTHE SUBURBS. CITIES. SMALL TOWNS. RURAL AMERICA.

The November election for Democratic or Republican control of the House of Representatives will come down to roughly 75 seats that are most competitive this fall.

You can’t possibly keep track of all those districts and candidates across the country.

Consider this your field guide to the fight for the House.

We grouped the 75 districts into five main battlefields — not by what part of the country they’re in, but by the social and cultural characteristics they share.

In our analysis, we looked at how Democrats and Republicans will try to piece together a House majority from across these voting blocs. Democrats need to pick up 23 seats to take the House from Republicans. pick up 23 seats to take the House from Republicans.”

David Lindsay: I’m disgusted by Donald Trump. Since the GOP will not rein him in, or protect Robert Mueller, we need to tip the Congress to the Democrats: for the environment, decency, a sane foreign policy and the democracy.