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Member since: Sat Sep 26, 2015, 03:46 PM
Number of posts: 9,582

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Decorah North eagles welcome first new eaglet of the year

Good News! A livelink is embedded in the article...

It's hatching season at the famous Decorah eagles nests.

Mr. North and Decorah North Female, eagles named for the location of their nest, welcomed the year's first eaglet on Thursday.

Watchers of the Raptor Resource Project's livestream had been keeping an eye on the egg for a couple of weeks and noticed a pip — the first hole broken in the shell — Wednesday.

The eaglet, named Decorah North 13, fully hatched on Thursday. The young eagle has found eating tough, failing on a handful of early attempts, but that doesn't worry officials with the Raptor Resource Project.

"The chow might not always reach the moving target, but practice makes perfect while the hatchling strengthens neck muscles to get bites and its vision comes more into focus," they said in a Facebook post.
. . .

source: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/entertainment/2021/03/26/decorah-north-eagles-first-new-eaglet-2021-nest-egg-hatch-eagle-livestream-live-cam-raptor-resource/6986010002/

Iowa GQP legislators keep voting against public opinion

The GQP-run legislature has been on a rush to pass pro-gun, anti-public education, pro-cop, anti-city, voter suppression, and anti-free speech laws all session. Of course, they can't leave abortion alone, either, despite the public's opposition.

Iowa Poll: Less than a third of Iowans support anti-abortion constitutional amendment

Fewer than one-third of Iowans now support the Legislature’s push for an amendment that says the state constitution does not secure a right to abortion, according to a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll.

Support for the proposal has dipped slightly from 33% last spring to 31% this year, the poll found. Opposition has also risen, with 58% of Iowans now saying they’re opposed, up from 54% a year ago. The remaining 11% of respondents are not sure.

The Republican-controlled Iowa Legislature is working this year to approve the amendment. It would change what abortion opponents say is an overreach by the Iowa Supreme Court in a 2018 decision that found there is a fundamental right to abortion in the Iowa Constitution. Those who support a legal right to abortion oppose the amendment, saying it could lead to extreme abortion restrictions.
. . .

Rest of the article: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/iowa-poll/2021/03/26/iowa-poll-less-than-third-back-anti-abortion-constitutional-amendment/4655603001/?utm_source=desmoinesregister-Daily%20Briefing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_briefing&utm_term=hero

Senator Joni Ernst voted against more than half of Biden's cabinet

This is no surprise to anyone paying attention to Ernst's voting record.

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst has voted against confirming 12 of President Joe Biden’s cabinet appointees. . .
. . .
Only 10 of the 50 Republican senators have voted against more of Biden’s appointees than Ernst: Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Rick Scott, Tom Cotton, Tommy Tuberville, Bill Hagerty, Rand Paul, Richard Shelby, Marsha Blackburn, and Tim Scott.

Iowa’s senior Senator Chuck Grassley has voted against 5 of the 21 cabinet members confirmed so far.

Both of Iowa’s senators have voted for nine of the Democratic president’s picks:
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen (15 Rs opposed)
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (2 Rs opposed)
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (13 Rs opposed)
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (7 Rs opposed)
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo (15 Rs opposed)
Council of Economic Advisers chair Cecilia Rouse (4 Rs opposed)
Attorney General Merrick Garland (30 Rs opposed)
Small Business Administration Administator Isabel Guzman (17 Rs opposed)
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai (unanimously confirmed)

Ernst and Grassley voted against 5 nominees:
Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas (43 Republicans opposed)
U.S. representative to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield (21 Republicans opposed)
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm (35 Republicans opposed)
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (40 Republicans opposed)
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra (49 Republicans opposed)

Ernst has voted against confirming 7 cabinet members whom Grassley supported:
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines (10 Rs opposed)
Secretary of State Antony Blinken (22 Rs opposed)
Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough (7 Rs opposed)
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona (33 R opposed)
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge (34 Rs opposed)
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan (34 Rs opposed)
Labor Secretary Marty Walsh (30 Rs opposed)
. . .
Ernst’s office has released only one statement explaining a vote against a Biden appointee (EPA administrator Michael Regan). Her staff have not responded to Bleeding Heartland’s inquiries seeking insight about her general approach to evaluating prospective cabinet members or her reasons for opposing certain officials. In communication with other reporters, staff said Ernst’s no votes on Haines and Blinken were grounded in her concerns about the multilateral Iran deal.

Source: https://www.bleedingheartland.com/2021/03/23/joni-ernst-voted-against-more-than-half-of-bidens-cabinet/

Defense Sec. Austin replaces Trump appointees on panel to strip Confederate names from bases

I'm impressed by Secretary Austin. It's like he's been waiting his whole career to fix the DOD.

President Joe Biden and his top officials are once again showing that they won’t hesitate to throw out the terrible, often last-minute, appointees Donald Trump tried to seed throughout the government. This time, the effort is to de-Trumpify a panel tasked with stripping Confederate names off of military bases and other property.

Congress only overrode one Trump veto during his four years in the White House—after Trump vetoed a defense bill to protect the names of military bases honoring Confederate traitors to the United States. The veto override passed the defense bill putting into place a three-year process to strip Confederate names off of bases, buildings, streets, ships, aircraft, and more, with an eight-member panel doing the work involved. But Trump, of course, tried to stack that panel with his people at the last minute. Now, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has replaced them with more diverse members with more respect for history.
. . .

source: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/3/19/2021826/-Defense-Sec-Austin-replaces-Trump-appointees-on-panel-to-strip-Confederate-names-from-bases

McConnell's filibuster threats are already backfiring: Biden signals support for major Senate reform

As usual, another excellent article by Heather Digby Parton.

Mitch McConnell has finally managed to get the Democrats to understand they have nothing to lose

During the Trump years, there was an excessive amount of hand-wringing over the fact that he and his administration were exploding all the "norms" that had previously held our government institutions together. His insulting behavior and crude lack of decorum woke up many a pundit to the idea that much of our system was dependent upon a good faith adherence to the spirit of democracy as much as any formal rules, regulations and laws. He came to Washington without any serious understanding of how government worked and he didn't care when it was pointed out to him. Many were left shocked at how feeble our institutions had turned out to be in the face of someone who had no respect for them.

But let's not kid ourselves. Those norms had always only been as strong as the people who were charged with upholding them and those agreements were unraveling long before Trump entered politics. So we should have seen it coming.
. . .
On Tuesday, he angrily declared that if the Democrats were to change the rules as he routinely does when he is in charge, the Republicans would respond by defunding Planned Parenthood and loosening gun restrictions as soon as they get the majority, which he will do in any case if it pleases him.
. . .
McConnell's extreme politicization of Senate norms, grinding the Obama administration to a halt and then confirming hundreds of extremist judges, including three onto the Supreme Court, demonstrated that he has absolutely no respect for democratic norms. He didn't try to hide it. And that was his big mistake. By being so smug and so flamboyant in wielding his power (remember "we'll fill it"?) he finally managed to get the Democrats to understand that they have nothing to lose by going around him to enact their agenda and letting the people decide if they like the results. If it works out they, will be re-elected. If not, they did their best. That's democracy, after all, the most important norm of all.

source: https://www.salon.com/2021/03/17/mcconnells-filibuster-threats-are-already-backfiring-biden-signals-support-for-major-senate-reform/

She Came to the US to Study With Only $300 in Her Pocket --

Now She’s a NASA Director For the Mars Rover

What an uplifting story of a truly inspirational person.

For a little girl growing up in Colombia in the 1980s, a science career with NASA may have seemed about as likely as setting foot on a faraway planet. These days, however, Diana Trujillo is an aerospace engineer.

In fact, she leads a 45-person team at the NASA laboratory that’s responsible for the robotic arm of the latest Mars rover.
. . .

Rest of article at: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/diana-trujillo-nasa-role-model-mars/

GOP Can't Figure Out How To Make Joe Biden Black, A Woman Or Both

Nothing new, but a good read.
Republicans are struggling — hooray! — to “define" Joe Biden or, more to the point, falsely smear the president as a Kenyan socialist demonic baby eater. Their scuzzy tactics worked so well with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. What's different about Uncle Joe? That will likely remain a mystery for as long as Biden remains an old white guy.

From the Associated Press: "There's just not the antipathy to Biden like there was Obama. He just doesn't drive conservative outrage," said Alex Conant, a longtime GOP operative, who worked for the Republican National Committee in 2009 as they labored to undermine then-President Barack Obama.

There's not much “labor" involved with going full racist against the first Black president. (Which AP actually noted! "Biden, who focused a portion of his campaign trying to win back working-class white voters who left the Democratic Party for Trump, also inherently does not face the racist attacks aimed at Obama or the sexist ones targeted at Clinton." Will you look at that!)
. . .
They've started to focus their attacks on Vice President Kamala Harris, who is both Black and a woman. She even has her own racist “birther" controversies. Conservatives are now implying that Harris is the true power behind the throne because unlike Mike Pence, her duties are more comprehensive than massaging the president's ego.
. . .
It's reasonable that world leaders would view the young, badass vice president as a future commander in chief. Preparing Harris to take the conn is responsible leadership from Biden, not an abdication of duty. The New York Post reported that Pence didn't speak directly with any world leaders during his final year in office, even though there was a global pandemic and he was theoretically the head of the coronavirus task force.

Harris isn't running the country, but conservatives probably wish she was. Their bigoted bag of tricks just aren't working against Biden.

Source: https://www.wonkette.com/gop-cant-figure-out-how-to-make-joe-biden-black-a-woman-or-both

On Jan. 6, Proud Boys believed police were on their side because for four years...

they had been.

A veteran officer on the Fresno, California, city police force was placed on leave over the weekend when it emerged that he had joined a group of Proud Boys in counterprotesting local citizens who oppose turning over a local theater to an anti-LGBTQ church. But it also turned out that this was nothing new: The officer, a veteran of over a decade named Rick Fitzgerald, had been marching with the hate group for over three years.

It went unnoticed largely because modern police culture, over the past four years, developed an extremely tolerant and often benign approach to dealing with far-right street brawlers like the Proud Boys. As The New York Times explored in depth this weekend, it took their prominent role in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol for law enforcement to recognize that these proto-fascist organizations are a public menace, and the involvement of law enforcement officers both in the groups themselves, and in enabling their violence—often by turning a blind eye to it, while charging their victims with crimes—is a serious problem that police agencies around the country must confront.
. . .
Investigative journalist Will Carless—who last year cowrote for Reveal News a piece exposing how police officers around the United States participate in extremist Facebook pages, and how their departments permit it—observed on Twitter that in the course of reporting that piece, his team had contacted several internal affairs departments about these officers’ activities, and “as far as we know, they did nothing.”
. . .

source: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/3/15/2021212/-A-police-culture-sympathetic-to-Proud-Boys-helped-fuel-their-violent-drive-toward-insurrection

President Joe Biden makes dent in partisan divide with COVID-19 response

Latest Iowa Poll, with interesting breakdown of so-called "independents".

The majority of Iowans hold favorable feelings toward President Joe Biden a month and a half into his term, despite the state voting to re-elect former President Donald Trump by a margin of 8 percentage points four months ago.

Fifty-one percent say they hold either very favorable or mostly favorable feelings toward him, according to the latest Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll. The poll, conducted by Selzer & Co., found 46% hold either mostly unfavorable or very unfavorable feelings toward Biden, a Democrat.

In September 2020, as the former vice president campaigned for the presidency, only 43% of Iowa adults said they had favorable feelings about him, and 51% held unfavorable feelings.
. . .

And as an example of an "independent" views:
. . .
Poll respondent Chris Savin, 45, of Cedar Rapids, also identifies as a political independent who intended to vote for Trump in November but his schedule interfered with getting to his polling place. He said he generally disapproves of Democrats and lumps Biden in with his party.

He specifically cited his disapproval of Biden's move to rescind Trump’s border control policies and speculated he did so because "obviously the Democrats want the Mexicans’ votes.” Savin also questioned Biden’s age and fitness for office.

“When Trump was running things, he had his finger on the pulse of everything. But Biden is going through a fog — whatever they tell him to do, he does,” Savin said.

Savin told pollsters he holds very unfavorable feelings toward Biden, and disapproves of Biden’s overall job in office as well as his response to the pandemic. COVID-19 relief hasn't gone to those who need it, Savin said.
. . .

Source: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/iowa-poll/2021/03/15/iowa-poll-joe-biden-majority-favorable-ratings-trump-won-state/4645121001/

Joe Biden is boring -- and it's driving the media crazy

Excellent article by Amanda Marcotte. She understands how the media, even the serious media, works.

After years of relentless reality show antics caused by Donald Trump, the latest word in the cable news discourse is that President Joe Biden is boring. He spends all his time doing policy work and his press engagement is a total snoozefest, with nary a single unhinged rant in front of buzzing helicopter blades. And the mainstream press is starting to get annoyed by it.

Last week, the Washington Post editorial board complained, "Avoiding news conferences must not become a regular habit for Mr. Biden," even while grumpily admitting that, unlike Trump, Biden's White House has daily press briefings that "are informative, not forums for White House lackeys to attack journalists." Over the weekend, the clamor for press conferences featuring Biden himself grew louder, with members of the White House press corps such as Jonathan Karl of ABC News admitting that "reporters like press conferences and will always demand them" while insisting "press conferences are for the public's benefit."
. . .
Biden's refusal to take the bait helps cut off oxygen to such bullshit.

The Dr. Seuss story, for instance, is already running out of steam because Biden isn't on hand to give quotes for Fox News to pretend to be offended by. Republicans are nothing but trolls these days. There are plenty of people on hand who can handle the fake outrage about children's toys and "cancel culture" without wasting Biden's time. For his purpose, Biden's smartest move when dealing with trolls is not to feed them.

To be certain, the idea that the president should do more press conferences sounds good and reasonable in the abstract. In our current climate, however, there's a serious need for everyone — politicians, pundits, journalists, even news consumers — to detox after years of Trump's roller coaster of manufactured drama.

Trump turned governing into a reality TV show akin to "The Apprentice." Turning it back into a real government may just depend on Biden's ability to stop feeding the beast. There is no reason to think Biden will hold out on press conferences forever, but by keeping them lean and mean, he can hopefully train the press to focus on issues that matter instead of wasting everyone's time with "gotchas" and right wing-generated nonsense.

source: https://www.salon.com/2021/03/15/joe-biden-is-boring--and-its-driving-the-media-crazy/
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