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Why Do Marylanders Keep Voting For White Men?

Huffingon Post Politics - Wed, 2016-04-27 20:03

WASHINGTON -- On Tuesday night, Maryland was once again offered the chance to back an African American seeking statewide office, and once again said no. Even with record turnout among African-American voters, Rep. Donna Edwards lost her primary fight with Rep. Chris Van Hollen for Senate. Because of the state's strong Democratic lean, Van Hollen’s primary win all but assures that he will replace Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who is retiring.


The results weren’t even that close. Unofficial tallies show Edwards losing to Van Hollen by more than 10 percent. But considering Maryland's demographics -- African Americans make up roughly 30 percent of the population and made up 28 percent of the vote in 2012 -- a better result for Edwards might have been expected. She herself talked up the need to have a congressional delegation that better reflected the state's population during the campaign.


"What I’m surprised about is that there are Democrats who are calling into question whether we should have the most diverse and inclusionary representation in the United Senate, and I thought that was a no-brainer for Democrats," Edwards recently told The Daily Beast.


During her concession speech in Lanham, Maryland, she offered another plea for voters to think about the slate of politicians they send to D.C.


"To my Democratic Party, let me say today Maryland is on the verge of having an all-male delegation in a so-called progressive state," Edwards said, according to the Baltimore Sun. "When will the voices of people of color; when will the voices of women; when will the voice of labor; when will the voices of black women; when will our voices be effective, legitimate, equal leaders in a big-tent party?"


Maryland had been grappling with these questions long before Edwards' failed bid. Anthony Brown, the former lieutenant governor of the state, probably wondered the same thing after losing his 2014 campaign for governor. Instead of electing an African-American Democrat, Marylanders chose Larry Hogan, a white Republican, to the shock of just about every political consultant. (Brown may felt a bit of redemption on Tuesday when he won a primary to replace Edwards in the House).


And before Brown, there was Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, whose campaign for the Senate in 2006 featured not one but two instances of the state going with a white candidate over an African-American one.





That year, Steele easily took the Republican primary with the backing of President George W. Bush, robust fundraising and the underlying promise that his election would diversify the GOP. On the Democratic side, however, there was a bitter battle between Rep. Ben Cardin and Kweisi Mfume, the former head of the NAACP.


Mfume and Steele would talk about their mutual desire to face each other in the general. “The goal for our respective campaigns is for both of us to win -- to be in the general because that way we knew there would be an African American going to the United States Senate,” Steele recalled in an interview on our Candidate Confessional podcast. But Mfume went on to lose. And in the general, Steele did as well.


Steele knew his odds weren’t great. He had done some clever polling, in which he asked people if they thought their neighbors would be comfortable voting for an African-American candidate  -- the idea being that no one would admit it would be an issue for them, but they might be candid about others on the block -- and found that he faced hurdles.


In addition to the polling, he had first-hand experience with racism in politics. Democratic opponents had once labeled him an “Uncle Tom.” After he lost the 2006 race and took over as chairman of the Republican National Committee, an official within his own party wanted him to, well, sound less black.


“The [Republican] party’s never taken the time to actually groom blacks to be political operatives, to be campaign managers, political directors, communication directors, finance directors,” Steele said. “So when I have to go as a candidate into a statewide campaign, or even if I’m running for local sheriff, what pool of talent am I gonna pull from? I’m gonna pull from the established talent that has been developed by the white infrastructure, which is largely white males.”

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How to extend the life of your smartphone by years without it slowing down

TreeHugger Science-Tech - Wed, 2016-04-27 10:41
Many users replace their smartphones every couple of years, even though they have years of life left in them. Here's how to keep your smartphone for longer while keeping up its performance.

Scientists using artificial intelligence to develop tastier vegan foods (Video)

TreeHugger Science-Tech - Wed, 2016-04-27 07:00
This food-tech startup is using artificial intelligence to create plant-based foods that taste and smell like their animal-based counterparts, down to the molecular level.

DeRay Mckesson Is Famous. Here's Why That Didn't Sway Baltimore Voters.

Huffingon Post Politics - Wed, 2016-04-27 05:06

BALTIMORE -- When protests rocked the city last April following the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, Baltimore’s residents were expressing their anger and frustration not just with the police but with the city’s political leadership.


The current mayor is not seeking re-election after widespread criticism of how she managed the unrest. Thirteen people threw their hats into the ring for Tuesday’s Democratic mayoral primary -- the main contest in this heavily Democratic city. On Feb. 3, DeRay Mckesson joined the race.


As a candidate, Mckesson had some points in his favor. He’s a nationally known advocate against police violence who rose to prominence with the Black Lives Matter movement. At 30, he’s a seasoned voice for younger voters’ dissatisfaction. He grew up in Baltimore. And his many Twitter followers stood strongly behind his bid for the city’s top job.


The love he received online, however, did not translate into votes. Despite participating in mayoral forums, knocking on doors, doing multiple interviews and making a huge social media push, Mckesson walked away with just 2 percent of the vote on Tuesday night.


Mckesson came into the race with national prestige, but that wasn’t what the voters wanted. Here’s why he lost on Tuesday.



When The Huffington Post chatted with Mckesson early in his campaign about how he intended to build his relationship with the voters, he pointed to his resume. The Teach For America alum said he was a community organizer in Baltimore as a teenager, worked with nonprofits in the city and served on the Maryland Advisory Board on After-School Opportunity Programs. After he finished college, Mckesson opened an after-school center in the city before becoming the special assistant for human capital in the Baltimore school system in 2012.


“My work in Baltimore is long. I’ve had a lot of results,” he said.


Yet that history didn’t come with much local name recognition. Kurt Schmoke, who was mayor of Baltimore from 1987 to 1999, has moderated two mayoral forums this election cycle. When he asked people in the audience -- who tended to be older than the average Twitter user -- about Mckesson, he found that no one was quite sure who the guy was.


“He’s far better known outside of the city than he is with local voters,” Schmoke said. “About every voter that I’ve talked to about this kind of scratched their head about the national interest in the Mckesson campaign.”


When a Baltimore Sun reporter asked former Mayor Sheila Dixon about Mckesson, her initial response was telling. Dixon, who was running for her old job, said she had never heard of him. Some saw this as Dixon being out of touch, given Mckesson’s massive Twitter following and prominence in the media. Others, however, saw the real problem.


“To announce a campaign when folks don’t know [you] or know what you’ve done in their community makes your campaign kind of a long shot,” Schmoke said.



He’s far better known outside of the city than he is with local voters.
Former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke


Still, Mckesson wasn’t the only new kid in the contest, as John Bullock, an assistant professor of political science at Towson University, pointed out. Because there was no incumbent in the race, Bullock said it attracted “a whole host of people who are not really engaged in politics in the past.”


One way to beef up your name recognition, according to Schmoke, is with basic grassroots campaigning. Knock on doors, participate in community forums. But lesser-known candidates have to go a step further.


The latest crop of mayoral contenders tackled this in different ways. Venture capitalist David Warnock spent money on TV advertising, while others sent out mailers. Mckesson leaned on his strongest asset -- social media.


But many voters in Baltimore don’t use Twitter or even have Internet access, and only 2 percent of Mckesson’s Twitter followers live in the city. Voters in the city’s Democratic primary traditionally tend to be older and thus less likely to follow social media closely.


It’s not as if Mckesson was the only candidate who might appeal to younger voters either. Schmoke pointed to lawyer Elizabeth Embry, who has a better-known track record of service in the community.


Mckesson seemed to understand he had a hill to climb. He recruited his Twitter followers to call voters and launched “30 Days for 30,000,” during which his goal was to reach 30,000 voters by phone or in person before early primary voting began on April 14. He also aimed to contact another 30,000 afterward.


What he couldn’t overcome was the extent to which his efforts to become mayor would be overshadowed by his national status as an activist. “Connecting to the events of last April, some will remember him for that activism for good or for bad,” Bullock said.



Judging from online commentary and multiple HuffPost interviews, many in Baltimore never believed that Mckesson, who was born in the city, was truly committed to working there. Local activists, those who had been laboring in Charm City’s trenches, were notably wary.


“If he was serious about it, why didn’t he do a search in the community and see if the community even wanted him to run?” said local advocate Duane Davis. “How come he didn’t talk to … the community in which you wanna represent? He just threw his hat in the ring to cause chaos and get attention.”


Kwame Rose, a prominent Baltimore activist, recalled how McKesson identified himself during the protests that followed Gray’s death.


“He would say he’s a Ferguson protester and his fight isn’t for Baltimore. Is it weird? I think it is,” Rose said. “For him not to have interacted with people involved in the movement from Baltimore City, I think that's very problematic.”


Dayvon Love, director of public policy for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, suggested that Mckesson’s skill set wasn’t well developed for local battles.


“It’s easy to show up at a demonstration at the height of a big mainstream media spectacle. It’s another thing to get people to turn out to go to [an event] on a Thursday during the day,” Love said. “Those are just different kinds of organizing. The former is more of like the microwave activism. It doesn’t require the infrastructure building … having to actually knock on doors, canvass, go to PTAs, go to schools, go to rec centers, go to churches -- and to really build relationships that way.”



We don't need to be condescended to by activists or people who don't live or vote here. No, thanks.
Local activist David Pontious


Moreover, some Baltimoreans worried that Mckesson’s high-profile presence might draw unwelcome national interest to their local political scene.


“I hope that his entrance will shift the conversation around the mayoral race from broad platitudes to specific discussions on racial justice and police brutality,” David Pontious of City Blocc, a student grassroots organization, said before the primary. “I am concerned, though, about the potential amount of non-Baltimore money and voices in this election. We don't need to be condescended to by activists or people who don't live or vote here. No, thanks.”


Certainly, Mckesson raised a significant amount of money in a short time. In the first 12 hours after he officially entered the race, he raised over $30,000 online, immediately outpacing many of his opponents across all parties. Overall, Mckesson raised more than $265,000. But most of his donors were not from Baltimore.


Mckesson said his national exposure made him a better candidate for mayor.


“It exposed me to, in a way, other places ... [how to] identify and address challenges and think about solutions in innovative ways,” he told HuffPost. In announcing his bid, he had similarly talked about “being aggressively innovative” on Baltimore’s issues.


“Much of that is my exposure to other places and my deep experience here in the city,” he said.



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Another mark against Mckesson was how late he launched his campaign -- he waited until the filing deadline. Some saw in this a lack of sincere enthusiasm for the task ahead.


“He put in at the last hour, at the last possible moment,” said Davis, the local activist.


By contrast, Maryland state Sen. Catherine Pugh, who won Tuesday’s Democratic mayoral primary, launched her campaign in September 2015. Dixon, who came in second, began her campaign in July 2015.


Jumping into the race with less than three months to go before the primary didn’t give Mckesson much time to overcome people’s concerns, grow his name recognition or build up the necessary relationships with voters and local thought leaders.


The chances of anyone running a successful campaign in little more than 80 days were slim to none, professor Bullock said.


As a candidate running on ideas rather than long experience, Mckesson also faced a problem differentiating his proposals from those of his fellow candidates. As Bullock noted, many of the candidates mentioned the need for police reform in their platforms. Pugh made police reform the cornerstone of her campaign, along with lowering property taxes in heavily blighted neighborhoods. Dixon, like Mckesson, ran on the promise to reduce crime in the community and bump the minimum wage up to $15 an hour.


“It wouldn’t be anything new brought to the table in those areas by [Mckesson],” Bullock said. “The only thing that might be different is bringing the hashtag or bringing that slogan of Black Lives Matter. But all the candidates here do agree that black lives do matter.”


National fame and lots of Twitter followers just weren’t enough to clear all Mckesson’s hurdles.


“Quite frankly," Bullock said, "Those people who know you nationally can’t vote in Baltimore."

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Embattled Congressman Is First Incumbent To Lose In 2016 Race

Huffingon Post Politics - Wed, 2016-04-27 04:01

Rep. Chaka Fattah, an entrenched Democratic incumbent from Philadelphia, lost his primary Tuesday night after being indicted on corruption charges last year.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Traffic To Wikipedia Terrorism Entries Plunged After Snowden Revelations, Study Finds

Huffingon Post Politics - Wed, 2016-04-27 03:42

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Internet traffic to Wikipedia pages summarizing knowledge about terror groups and their tools plunged nearly 30 percent after revelations of widespread Web monitoring by the U.S. National Security Agency, suggesting that concerns about government snooping are hurting the ordinary pursuit of information.


A forthcoming paper in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal analyzes the fall in traffic, arguing that it provides the most direct evidence to date of a so-called “chilling effect,” or negative impact on legal conduct, from the intelligence practices disclosed by fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.


Author Jonathon Penney, a fellow at the University of Toronto’s interdisciplinary Citizen Lab, examined monthly views of Wikipedia articles on 48 topics identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as subjects that they track on social media, including Al Qaeda, dirty bombs and jihad.


In the 16 months prior to the first major Snowden stories in June 2013, the articles drew a variable but an increasing audience, with a low point of about 2.2 million per month rising to 3.0 million just before disclosures of the NSA's Internet spying programs. Views of the sensitive pages rapidly fell back to 2.2 million a month in the next two months and later dipped under 2.0 million before stabilizing below 2.5 million 14 months later, Penney found.


The traffic dropped even more to topics that survey respondents deemed especially privacy-sensitive. Viewership of a presumably “safer” group of articles about U.S. government security forces decreased much less in the same period.


Penney's results, subjected to peer-review, offer a deeper dive into an issue investigated by previous researchers, including some who found a 5.0 percent drop in Google searches for sensitive terms immediately after June 2013. Other surveys have found sharply increased use of privacy-protecting Web browsers and communications tools.


Penney’s work may provide fodder for technology companies and others arguing for greater restraint and disclosure about intelligence-gathering. Chilling effects are notoriously difficult to document and so have limited impact on laws and court rulings.


More immediately, the research could aid a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Wikipedia’s nonprofit parent organization and other groups against the NSA and the Justice Department.


The year-old suit argues that intelligence collection from backbone Internet traffic carriers violated the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches.



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Trump's Biggest Wins On Tuesday Were These Obscure Races In Pennsylvania

Huffingon Post Politics - Wed, 2016-04-27 01:59

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Donald Trump was remarkably dominant in Tuesday's Republican presidential primaries, sweeping Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island handily. But his biggest victory may have been in a bunch of tiny contests in Pennsylvania that you may not have known were happening. And those wins show how the Trump campaign -- and the race itself -- is changing.


Most people who've been following the race for the GOP nomination know it isn't just about winning votes -- it's also a race for delegates. The majority of the delegates awarded Tuesday were bound delegates -- that is, they are required to vote for their assigned candidate on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in July. Trump did well on that front Tuesday, taking home more of the bound delegates at stake than most pundits predicted. 


But where Trump really outperformed Tuesday was in his quest for unbound delegates -- which, by a weird quirk of primary rules, are particularly common in Pennsylvania. 


The majority of Pennsylvania's 71 GOP delegates -- 54 of them -- are unbound, and free to vote their consciences at the convention, much like Democratic superdelegates. (The other 17 delegates are bound to vote for the statewide winner -- in this case, Trump.) This gets complicated, but it will make a big difference in the presidential race, so stay with me.


In Pennsylvania, unbound delegates are elected directly -- their names are on the ballot. Republican primary voters in each of the state's 18 congressional districts each vote for three delegates to the convention.


Unbound delegates often run as members of slates backing particular candidates. But the presidential candidate each delegate is backing is not listed next to the delegate's name on the ballot. That means presidential candidates have to recruit potential delegates to run and make sure that voters know that, say, a vote for an unbound delegate named John Smith is really a vote for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. 


In Pennsylvania's 11th Congressional District, for example, GOP primary voters didn't just have to pick among Cruz, Trump, or Ohio Gov. John Kasich. They also had to choose three delegates out of a field of 15 candidates -- most, if not all, of whom they'd probably never heard of. 


Making sure voters knew which delegates they had to vote for to help Trump was an immense organizational and logistical challenge for the Trump campaign, which is better known for attracting media attention than for its attention to the intricate rules of the nominating process. (The Trump campaign has consistently performed poorly in caucus states, which require more organizing than primaries, for example.) But this time, they seem to have done it. Voters across Pennsylvania received mailers letting them know which delegates were on the Trump slate:



@NickBaumann @LaurenHailey201 @DemocraticLuntz the Trump slate is here: pic.twitter.com/NZOBVKikCQ

— Taniel (@Taniel) April 27, 2016


The Trump campaign handed out fliers with its delegate slate at campaign events. Some voters received mailers urging them to vote for Trump's delegates in their congressional district:



@NickBaumann @Taniel @DemocraticLuntz pic.twitter.com/R5Kk9yBBs6

— Hailey Lauren (@LaurenHailey201) April 27, 2016


All that voter information seems to have worked. Trump's slate won 35 of Pennsylvania's 54 unpledged delegates, according to reporting figures from 99 percent of precincts, The New York Times reported Wednesday morning. Additionally, 11 or 12 of the delegate candidates who were leading late Tuesday night have promised to vote for the candidate who won their congressional district -- which, given his near-clean sweep of the state, will almost certainly be Trump. That means Trump won't just take Pennsylvania's 17 pledged delegates to the convention. He's also likely won the votes of 42 or 43 more. 


Those 40-some-odd delegates could make a huge difference in the outcome of the race. Trump's the only Republican candidate left with a chance of winning an outright majority of delegates before the convention. Cruz and Kasich are trying to block him from getting to that magic number, 1,237. The 40 or so unbound delegates from Pennsylvania could be the difference.


Now, Trump just has to hope they keep their promises.


Editor's note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.

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Hey Democrats: Be Careful What You Wish For

Huffingon Post Politics - Wed, 2016-04-27 00:49

PHILADELPHIA -- The thing to realize is this: The human wrecking ball called Donald Trump is swinging in an ever-wider arc.


The next edifice in his destructive path is the Clinton family, which has been a core symbol and central structure of the Democratic Party and Washington as a whole since 1992.


Yes, Trump’s “numbers” are bad -- in fact, the worst of any major presidential candidate in modern times. Right now, he is reviled and feared by most minorities, women generally and, in the aggregate, the American people.


But in an era of mass disgust with politics, Washington, Congress and the federal government, Hillary Clinton stands exposed as the last representative of politics as it was.


This is grossly unfair, because a woman winning the presidency would be as revolutionary as anything that has happened since, well, Barack Obama’s election in 2008.


But timing is everything in campaigns and in politics, and once again -- as it was in 2008 -- Clinton may be in the wrong place at the wrong time.


It wasn’t that long ago that TV viewers flocked to a show, “The West Wing,” that offered respect to the White House -- the traditional view that had survived for a while, even after Richard Nixon ruined it for a generation.


But, today, the two most popular depictions of the pinnacle of elected power in America are “Veep” and “House of Cards," which portray the president either as a foul-mouthed cynic or a murderer bent on one-man dictatorial rule.


Now comes reality show star Trump, who has destroyed presidential campaigning as we thought we knew it. And there is no reason to think that he’s done with his work.


Here in Philadelphia, I got news of the early returns at the MSNBC set in the Red Owl Tavern, almost directly across the street from the sacred ground of Independence Hall.


In that magnificent building, more than two centuries ago, the classically educated Founding Fathers delved deeply, seriously, with great erudition and eloquence, into the most profound issues of self government, justice and freedom.


And Tuesday night, it was Pennsylvania that gave Trump perhaps his biggest and most important victory of the night.


Here is a summary of the man and the methods that were victorious.


He has ignored every rule of decorum and decency in political discourse -- even admitting what a low bar that is. In his victory statement Tuesday night, he came out with this crudity: “If Hillary were a man, she wouldn’t get 5 percent.


It was sad -- not amusing -- to watch network anchors try to parse this language without losing their own sense of decency. But parse they did.


Trump has no compunction about using blunt, uncoded, racial -- even racist -- language about Mexicans, Muslims and women. 


But by repeating, rather than abandoning, most of that language, he has dragged down the level of public discourse to the point where everyone’s senses can get dulled.


He is proud of his own ignorance, and many of his supporters like him for that very reason. They interpret his lack of knowledge not as a handicap, but as an asset: It means that he hasn’t been corrupted by politics or the facts.


He has done little paid advertising, instead relying on billions of dollars worth of “free media” news coverage. “There has never been anything like it,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a professor of political communications at the University of Pennsylvania. “He gets it all for free because he knows how to get your attention.”


He has no campaign structure to speak of -- the “structure” mostly consisting of what he thinks and feels and tweets. 


His lack of detailed issue positions has, paradoxically, freed him from scrutiny of whatever substance there happens to be. All reporters can do is point out this deficiency -- but there are only so many times they can repeat it.


Shrewd and almost feral in his sense of the weakness of other public figures -- the legacy of a lifetime of being a controversial public figure in Manhattan and a TV star -- he has made the process of attack his message as well as his method.


Twitter is the perfect vehicle, and 140 characters the perfect length. That, too, limits scrutiny of substance and sharpens (because that is what Twitter encourages) his attacks.


“How can you analyze tweets?” Jamieson asked in frustration. “In the past, I studied political debates and ads and the fine details of political rhetoric. With Trump, it’s impossible.”


But none of this means that Trump would be an easy mark for Clinton. It could be just the opposite.


If there is a Clinton-Trump contest, it will surely be the nastiest and most negative presidential race in decades, and even centuries.


Whatever the Electoral College map might show, that kind of election is Trump territory.


Editor's note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

OK Bernie - Time to Face Reality and Urge Your Supporters to do the Same

Huffingon Post Politics - Wed, 2016-04-27 00:33
Bernie the time has come to face reality; your chance of becoming President is over. You and your supporters should take solace that you ran a great campaign and came much closer to winning than you or anyone else ever thought possible.

You touched a nerve in the Democratic Party and used that to great advantage. You brought the issue of income inequality to the fore and calling for breaking up big banks, free college and a single-payer healthcare system found a receptive audience. But as of April 26th with your losses in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Connecticut your Don Quixote like quest for the nomination has become the 'impossible dream'.

Now is the time to begin uniting the Democratic Party and reaching out to Independents who share your understanding Republicans' Donald Trump or Ted Cruz would be a disaster for the nation. They would end any chance to move your progressive ideas forward. Worse they would take us back to the 18th century running on a platform to suspend voting rights; take away a woman's right to control her own body and healthcare; deport millions of immigrants; and take away the hard fought-for rights of the LGBT community. They even think income inequality is a good thing as it serves their purposes.

With her wins on Tuesday Hillary is the presumptive Democratic nominee. She has 3.2 million more votes than you and a lead in pledged delegates of about 325. Instead of superdelegates moving towards you we will see more coming out in support of Hillary.

Bernie you need to stop the attacks and help your supporters understand buying into twenty-five years of Republican attacks on Hillary is counterproductive to what they want to accomplish. You know Hillary actually has a very progressive record with a myriad of successes benefiting the people you want to help. From children's healthcare, to education reform, to speaking out around the world on women's rights and LGBT rights; Hillary has fought the good fight and in doing so moved the nation and the world forward.

The woman who you and some of your supporters call establishment was once labeled a radical feminist. She was excoriated by the right and many in her own Party and her husband's administration for going to Beijing and speaking out for women. Hillary is a feminist. She was the big breadwinner in her family, a respected attorney, an activist for progressive causes including education and civil and human rights, and a great mom. She was vilified when in response to questioning about her work and independence she once said "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas".

It was Hillary who went undercover in the south for the Children's Defense Fund to investigate segregation in schools; and with Bill managed the George McGovern campaign in Texas in 1972. It was Hillary who was appointed to and then elected Chair of the Legal Services Corporation; and it was Hillary who fought for universal healthcare in the early 90s and took the slings and arrows that came from attacking the big insurance companies and big pharma.

Anyone in politics understands the period of grief that comes when you realize the dream of winning has ended. You worked hard 24/7 and you can only do that if you believe you will win. Thousands of young people cheered you at huge rallies, yelling "Bernie! Bernie!" making it nearly impossible to consider you would lose. I remember working on campaigns where that happened. For Bella S. Abzug (D-NY) who eventually lost a close senate primary to Pat Moynihan (D-NY) and for Hillary in 2008 who kept winning primaries and piling up actual votes even when it was clear she wasn't going to be the candidate. Thousands cheered her wherever she went and it was a close race. You need to take a lead from how both these women handled it when it was clear they couldn't win. Though they didn't agree with all the positions of their opponents they understood for the good of the country they needed to support and campaign for the winner and they did.

I know you will do the same. Your statements all indicate that. You said more than once you will support Hillary if she is the candidate and you will do all you can to make sure Donald Trump or Ted Cruz aren't President. Your campaign manager has said you will stay a Democrat for life. That shows you do understand to accomplish any of what you have campaigned so hard for Democrats need to keep the White House and take back the Congress.

Of course you will try to negotiate some platform issues and what role you will have at the convention and in the campaign. Those negotiations will be more successful if done in private. You will get more and look like a winner.

Bernie you have a big role to play in uniting the Party because you have been successful. It doesn't necessarily mean ending your campaign immediately as when you do that is your decision. It does mean changing your rhetoric and tone to ensure after the convention in Philadelphia Democrats will move forward united and go on to win big in November.

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Only A Fraction Of Students Are Prepared For College When They Leave High School

Huffingon Post Politics - Wed, 2016-04-27 00:01

The gap in literacy performance between star students and struggling students is getting larger.


While the nation's top students continue to attain higher, more impressive reading scores, the number of students left in the dust with scant skills is also growing, according to new results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress for 12th-graders. 


NAEP -- also called the Nation's Report Card -- is a reading and math exam given to a nationally representative sample of students every few years. The exam acts as a "common yardstick," designed to gauge the ability of students across the country and over time.


The latest NAEP results for 12th-graders -- released Wednesday -- do not paint a rosy picture. On the whole, reading scores stayed roughly the same from 2013, although a closer look at the numbers shows an increase in students on both the high- and low-achieving ends of the spectrum. In math, the average scores for 12th-graders declined slightly.


Overall, only 25 percent of students performed at a proficient level or above in math in their year before graduation. Thirty-eight percent of students who took the exam -- a higher portion than in previous years -- showed "below basic" skills in math, the lowest score designation given by NAEP.


In reading, 37 percent of students performed proficiently or above, meaning they are academically prepared for college, according to NAEP. Twenty-eight percent of students showed below basic reading skills.  


There were no significant changes in reading or math scores when broken down by racial or ethnic subgroups. Female students performed better on average in reading, while male students outperformed in math. 


The increase in the number of low-performing students might be due to a national decline in the high school dropout rate, noted Peggy Carr, acting commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics.


"Overall the drop out rates have improved. That means we have students who normally would not be there [but] are there," Carr said. 


"In the case of reading, the students at the top of the distribution are going up and the students at the bottom of the distribution are going down, which means there is a widening gap of higher and lower ability students. I think that’s something we need to think about."


Indeed, a recent report from the NCES -- the branch of the U.S. Department of Education that delivers NAEP -- shows that this trend is also true for adult literacy. 


"The United States has a slightly higher percentage of adults that score at the highest levels on literacy tasks compared to international norms," says an Education Week piece on the report from earlier this month. "These high performers are, however, offset by a disproportionate number of adults who score at the lowest level."


In terms of math scores, "I think a decline is real," Carr said. 

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Hillary Clinton Wins Newtown, After Making Gun Control Central To Her Campaign

Huffingon Post Politics - Tue, 2016-04-26 23:41

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As part of her victory over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in Tuesday's Connecticut primary, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton defeated him in a place that became central to her campaign: Newtown, Connecticut, where in 2012, 26 people were killed during a gun massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.


Clinton got 1,371 votes to Sanders' 1,177, or about 53 percent of the vote to Sanders' 45 percent.



Just in: Clinton takes Newtown, Connecticut by 8 points. https://t.co/JEm7U0j86C pic.twitter.com/sgeWKssX6y

— Will Jordan (@williamjordann) April 27, 2016


Clinton's win in Newtown was significant because she made gun control a major issue in the state's primary, holding several campaign events that discussed gun violence. 


The former secretary of state has been eager to highlight the issue as an essential policy difference between her and Sanders in a state where it has become important and personal to voters. On the campaign trail, she emphasized Sanders' 2005 vote to allow gun manufacturers immunity in assuming legal liability over deaths caused by gun violence. Family members of gun violence victims have also criticized Sanders for his position.


To further drive home Clinton's focus on gun control, her campaign released an emotional ad featuring Erica Smegielski, the daughter of slain Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung.


“No one is fighting harder to reform our gun laws than Hillary,” Smegielski said in the ad. “She reminds me of my mother: She isn’t scared of anything. And that’s how I know she is the person who can actually make a difference.”



Clinton also mentioned Smegielski during her victory speech after last week's New York primary.


In addition to Smegielski's support, Clinton received endorsements from Connecticut politicians who have fought for tighter gun laws in the wake of the Newtown shooting, like Gov. Dan Malloy (D) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D). Another Clinton supporter, gun control advocate and former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), joined Clinton at campaign events in the Nutmeg State to highlight Clinton's gun control platform.

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Chris Christie's Wife Had The Best Reaction To Trump's Sexist Attack On Clinton

Huffingon Post Politics - Tue, 2016-04-26 23:36

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On Tuesday night, Donald Trump, who won five primaries and moved a step closer to the Republican presidential nomination, closed his victory speech with a swipe at Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.


"The only card she has is the woman's card," Trump said. "She's got nothing else going on. And frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don't think she'd get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she's got going is the women's vote. And the beautiful thing is that women don't like her."


Mary Pat Christie, who is the first lady of New Jersey and is married to Chris Christie, a Republican governor who has endorsed Trump, had an amusing reaction to Trump's comment about Clinton:



This woman's reaction behind @realDonaldTrump is classic. pic.twitter.com/bGbQNXjsYS

— David Hudgins (@DavidHudgins3) April 27, 2016


In case you missed that, don't worry: The New York Times' Nick Confessore didn't:



When Trump said that, Mary Pat Christie, standing over his shoulder, grimaced, then glanced over at Chris Christie and rolled her eyes.

— Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) April 27, 2016


Again, Mary Pat Christie is married to a Republican governor who endorsed Trump. But even she didn't like what Trump was saying. She has options, though:



Mrs. Christie, of course, can vote however she likes behind the curtain on November 9th. https://t.co/YwX0eCCpMk

— Robert A Stribley (@stribs) April 27, 2016


Tuesday night wasn't the first time Trump accused Clinton of playing "the woman's card." He made similar comments that morning.


Clinton responded in her victory speech. "The other day, Mr. Trump accused me of playing the, quote, woman card," she said. "Well, if fighting for women's health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the woman card, then deal me in!"


Editor's note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.

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Ted Cruz Calls Basketball Hoop A 'Ring' And Forever Tarnishes 'Hoosiers'

Huffingon Post Politics - Tue, 2016-04-26 23:33

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In what will henceforth be remembered as Ted’s Terrible Tuesday, Ted Cruz (R-Texas) bricked big in the night’s primaries and in an even more damning misstep, he completely botched a re-enactment of the timeless movie “Hoosiers” when he called a basketball hoop a "ring."


Cruz chose to hold a rally outside Indianapolis at the gym where the iconic basketball movie was filmed. The GOP presidential candidate has touted his love of the 1986 film, which tells the inspiring tale of a small-town high school basketball coach played by Gene Hackman who leads his team to the state championship. Cruz elected to stump in Indiana instead of hanging around for a primary drubbing in five northeastern states.


On Tuesday night, Cruz was trying to re-create the scene where Hackman measures the court lines and hoop at the court where the state championship is to be played, to show that the measurements are the same as their home court.


Watch the clip of the original scene, and remember that this movie has been used to inspire every athlete in the nation to greatness. Also remember that this movie is very near and dear to Hoosiers, as residents of Indiana call themselves.





Cruz deviated from the script, introducing the term "basketball ring," which is not a thing. 


"The amazing thing is, that basketball ring in Indiana, it's the same height as it is New York City and every other place in this country," he says, as a man measures the height of the basketball hoop.


Cruz finished the night with zero wins in the primaries, and with a flagrant foul for his sports movie sacrilege.

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GOP Rep. Bill Shuster Narrowly Survives GOP Primary Challenge

Huffingon Post Politics - Tue, 2016-04-26 23:27

In a surprise turn of events Tuesday evening, incumbent Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) survived a closer-than-expected GOP primary race against real estate investor Art Halverson.


Halvorson, a retired Coast Guard captain backed by the Tea Party, seized on Shuster's romantic involvement with a top airline lobbyist, citing it as evidence of "collusion" between lawmakers and special interests in Washington. He even went so far as to call the relationship "criminal," criticizing the House Ethics Committee for not opening an investigation into the matter.


As chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the 15-year veteran of Congress wielded enormous influence over the airline industry. Shuster repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, stating he and the woman, a lobbyist for Airlines for America, only maintained "a private and personal relationship."


As HuffPost reported in February, however, the FAA reauthorization bill that emerged out of Shuster's committee contained a sweetheart deal for Airlines for America.


To get a sense of the magnitude of Tuesday's primary result, it's important to note that Shuster walloped Halvorson in the 2014 primary for the 9th Congressional District, 53 percent to 34 percent.


Shuster enjoyed the broad support of the GOP establishment, including from groups like the National Rifle Association, National Right To Life, and major railroad and energy figures. He also enjoyed a massive cash advantage -- raising $720,000 from Jan. 1 through April 6. Halvorson, in comparison, raised a meager $24,000 in donations and loaned $110,000 to his own campaign.


Shuster narrowly avoided becoming the second incumbent to lose his seat in the 2016 campaign cycle. Fellow scandal-plagued Pennsylvania Rep. Chaka Fattah (D), who is facing a federal corruption trial, became the first incumbent to lose his seat on Tuesday evening.

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Bernie Sanders Suffered A Big Blow. Here's His Plan Going Forward.

Huffingon Post Politics - Tue, 2016-04-26 23:11

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Despite a series of costly defeats on Tuesday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) remains committed to seeing the Democratic primary through to the convention, his top aide, Tad Devine, told The Huffington Post.


"We are nowhere near the end game," Devine declared. "The end game is going to come at the end."


That doesn't mean losses in Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Pennsylvania won't prompt shifts in strategy and rhetoric. With a narrower path to the nomination, Devine acknowledged that Sanders, who did win Rhode Island on Tuesday, would likely place even more focus on policy prescriptions and a vision for the future of the Democratic Party, and less on personal contrasts with Hillary Clinton.


"I don't think we will stop talking about the issues. I think a lot of the rhetoric that was more heated, in New York for example, was the product of that white-hot primary atmosphere," said Devine, suggesting that the upcoming contests won't be so vivifying.


The Sanders campaign had, earlier Tuesday, sent a fundraising email that included a picture of Clinton along with Donald Trump, with a note that the businessman had praised her in the past. Asked if he thought that email went beyond where the forthcoming focus of the campaign would be, Devine responded: "I guess so."


With a pledged delegate deficit that is basically insurmountable, Sanders is under growing pressure to soften his barbs at Clinton in upcoming contests. But Devine said he has had no conversations with political supporters who have suggested that Sanders leave the race or even moderate his attacks. If anything, the sense of the campaign is that the Democratic Party writ large benefits from Sanders staying in the race (as more voters would be compelled to register to vote for him) and that the senator owes it to his supporters to run through the California primary to give them an opportunity to support his platform.


"It is not just a campaign. It is a cause. It is something much bigger than him," said Devine. "We want to make sure that anybody who has been part of this campaign, the contributors and volunteers, has a chance to vote for him and what he represents."


Devine didn't concede defeat, either. He said the campaign remained committed to trying to persuade so-called superdelegates to change their support from Clinton by arguing that Sanders would be a stronger general election candidate. The argument would be aided, Devine said, by the upcoming primary calendar. Primaries in Indiana and California (which allow independents to vote), along with demographically favorable states like Kentucky and Oregon, would yield victories for Sanders and change the conversation heading into the convention, Devine predicted.


"I understand her lead is significant and it is real, but I also think that between now and then … we have an opt to win a lot more states and delegates and that's our focus," said Devine. "We are going to go through a period of several weeks now where there is just great opportunities to win."


But a separate statement issued by the Sanders campaign late Tuesday was notable in that there was no overt mention from the senator that he remained in the race to be the nominee. Instead, the statement talked about giving voters the right to "determine who they want as president and what the agenda of the Democratic Party should be."


Devine did allow himself to address the hypothetical of a Sanders and Clinton rapprochement at the end of the primary process. While Sanders has pledged to support Clinton as the nominee, Devine suggested that it wouldn't be a simple or even an orderly process.


Looking back to 2008, Devine argued that the philosophical distance between Clinton and then-Sen. Barack Obama was narrower than what exists between Clinton and Sanders now. And while the Sanders campaign was happy to hear Clinton pledged her commitment to some of the causes that he has pushed during this campaign, Devine made it clear that his boss wanted to see something firmer.


"I think we need to understand that it isn't sort of a political divide. It really is a substantive difference and these policies are very meaningful to him as a candidate, and that needs some recognition," Devine said. "I'm not saying everything Bernie says she has to say verbatim. But there does need to be an acknowledgement ... that maybe we do need universal college for Americans."


Asked what a firm commitment looks like, Devine replied: "We are a long way off from that."

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Bernie's Political Revolution Comes To The D.C. Suburbs

Huffingon Post Politics - Tue, 2016-04-26 23:05

In one of the most closely watched Democratic primaries in the country, a wealthy self-funder squared off against a highly regarded progressive, state Sen. Jamie Raskin, and against a popular former local TV anchor, Kathleen Matthews.


Raskin won the primary contest Tuesday for Maryland's 8th Congressional District.


But not before David Trone, the man behind the chain store Total Wine, had pumped nearly $13 million of his own money into his campaign, setting a record for a congressional race and filling the mailboxes and airwaves in the district.


Matthews, the wife of MSNBC host Chris Matthews, left her anchor gig at WJLA in 2006 for a job as an executive at Marriott. She spent more than $2 million in her bid, and recently lent her campaign half a million. Raskin spent just over $1 million.


The district had long been represented by moderate Republican Connie Morella, until it was gerrymandered so that Chris Van Hollen could move up from the state legislature in 2003. Van Hollen is now making a bid against Rep. Donna Edwards for the Maryland Senate seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who plans to retire.


Raskin was endorsed by The Nation magazine, which rarely weighs into Democratic congressional primaries. Take a listen to his interview on HuffPost's "So That Happened" to get a sense of why. 




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Lots Of Republicans Think Denying Trump The Nomination Would Be Unfair

Huffingon Post Politics - Tue, 2016-04-26 23:04

Donald Trump's sweep of five state primaries Tuesday night wasn't enough for him to actually clinch the nomination. But it was enough for him to declare himself the GOP's "presumptive nominee," and it may be more than sufficient to convince Republican voters that, as the party's clear front-runner, he deserves to be its standard-bearer.


Trump remains as gleefully divisive a figure as ever. But in a primary dominated by voters who feel disenfranchised and betrayed by their party, it's hard to envision anything more likely to engender backlash than Republican leaders deciding to nominate someone who's won fewer votes than Trump -- or none at all -- based on the vagaries of delegate math.


About two-thirds of Connecticut and Maryland primary voters think that the candidate who gets the most votes should win the nomination, even if that candidate fails to reach the 1,237-delegate majority needed to win outright, according to preliminary exit polls. Seventy percent of primary voters in Pennsylvania feel the same.


"If there's a chance that Trump goes in with the most, and Cruz comes out with the nomination, I don't think that's fair," one Pittsburgh voter said to wide agreement last week in a focus group of Republican women.


"I would feel totally misled," another chimed in. "I would not even want to participate. What is the point of us going to vote, exactly?"



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Trump nodded to that argument in his victory speech Tuesday night. "You know what's going to happen?" he said, imagining a scenario in which he's not the nominee. "Those people, at a minimum, are going to be very upset, very angry. But at a minimum, they are just not going to vote."


The sense that the leading candidate should win the nomination isn't solely a self-serving argument from his supporters. In Wisconsin, where Cruz scored a significant victory, voters said by a 12-point margin that the leading candidate, rather than the "best candidate," should get the nod. Nationwide, Republican voters say by a 50-point margin that it would be bad for the party to choose an alternate nominee.  


Many Republicans believe Trump is the best candidate, if only by the process of elimination. A March HuffPost/YouGov poll found that more than 40 percent of Republican voters would be dissatisfied or angry to see Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ohio Gov. John Kasich or another candidate picked as the nominee. While Cruz garnered the least resistance, a majority of his party now views both him and Kasich as establishment candidates, a label they don't mean as a compliment.


Editor's note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.


 

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Hillary Clinton Wins Connecticut’s Democratic Primary

Huffingon Post Politics - Tue, 2016-04-26 22:43

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton has narrowly won Connecticut’s Democratic primary, completing a big night for the Democratic front-runner and further progressing on her already favorable path toward the party’s nomination. 


The win wasn’t entirely unexpected, though polls showed the race closing prior to Tuesday’s vote. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was hoping to score an upset in the Nutmeg State, which has something of a history of backing more liberal candidates. But a win wouldn’t have been enough — he needed a substantial victory to gain ground in the pledged delegate count that will ultimately determine who ends up the nominee. Clinton was able to build on that lead elsewhere on Tuesday night, with wins in the Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware primaries. Her only loss was in Rhode Island.  


Connecticut, which has a closed primary, awards its 55 delegates on a proportional basis, meaning that Sanders’ loss wasn’t overly severe. There are, additionally, 16 so-called superdelegates from the state. Many have come out in support of Clinton, but they retain the option of changing their vote before the convention.


Sanders’ chance of securing the nomination rests on getting those superdelegates to make that change. His campaign has conceded that he is unlikely to overtake Clinton in pledged delegates or popular vote. But aides to the senator say that neither candidate will have the necessary number of delegates to wrap up the nomination before the convention. Therefore, they will encourage superdelegates to switch their votes on the grounds that the Vermont independent will be better positioned to go against a Republican nominee in the fall.


Clinton’s win in Connecticut doesn’t complicate that case, necessarily. But it does make it harder for Sanders to argue that he is the candidate with the momentum heading into the convention. The senator has argued that Clinton’s support has come primarily from the South and won’t translate nationally, but her wins in the Northeast challenge that idea.


Prior to Tuesday’s primary, both both candidates spent time campaigning in Connecticut. Sanders held a rally in Hartford on Monday and one in New Haven on Sunday. Clinton stopped in New Haven and Bridgeport on Sunday, and held a town hall meeting on gun violence in Hartford late last week. Former President Bill Clinton and former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) held get out the vote events in Hartford and New Haven on Monday.


Sending Giffords to Connecticut wasn’t a coincidence. The former congresswoman has become a fierce gun control advocate after she was shot in the head during a town hall event in her home state. Connecticut has likewise been deeply affected by gun violence, with the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School taking place in December 2012.


The Clinton campaign sought to make gun control one of its signature issues in the state’s primary by painting Sanders as too lenient. The senator has stood by his support for legal immunity for gun manufacturers even while cheering on a lawsuit brought by family members of Sandy Hook victims against the gunmaker Remington.


During the town hall in Hartford, Clinton was joined by Erica Smegielski, whose mother, Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung, died in the mass shooting. Smegielski also appeared in an ad for Clinton.


“No more families should have to go through what we have,” Smegielski says in the spot. “Hillary Clinton is the only candidate that has what it takes to take on the gun lobby.”

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You can prevent forest fires with the Birdhouse Alarm

TreeHugger Science-Tech - Tue, 2016-04-26 16:07
It has a solar powered smoke alarm, GPS and is standing on guard, ready to phone it in.

Hot and bothered about heat pumps

TreeHugger Science-Tech - Tue, 2016-04-26 10:24
How do these things actually work? We try to explain.