We Need Reservations

I’m back with a political post! It’s literally been since February, but in my defense, I was in law school and basically couldn’t pay attention to anything but law stuff for months. It paid off though, thank you for asking. And I did learn a lot that will help me analyze Supreme Court decisions, so you’d think I could have written a lot of great blogs, but I started watching Schitt’s Creek, so that’s taken up a lot of my free time. But I’m back, and I have a post about the Supreme Court! Not about what they did, but in frustration about what they didn’t do!

On June 27, 2019, the Supreme Court scheduled Carpenter v. Murphy for re-argument, rather than hand down a decision in the case. The judges have been asked to determine the boundaries of the Muscogee Creek Nation, and the decision they hand down in this case has drastic implications for half the land in Oklahoma. Namely, if they find for Patrick Murphy, half the land in Oklahoma becomes Indian country. I learned about this case from the amazing podcast This Land, and you should all go listen to that. But I know how hard it is to make time for podcasts, so if you want a brief rundown, just keep reading!

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Are There People Who AREN'T Running for President?

Someone reminded me recently that Pete Buttigieg is running for president. It’s really a testament to how many people are running for president that I completely forgot a gay person was running. We’re over a year and a half out from the election and there’s already too many Democrats running for me to keep track of, so I decided to do what I do best. Make a list.

Except there are literally over 500 people who have filed to run for president. 537 to be exact. Almost half of those are not affiliated with a political party (not even Green or Libertarian) so we don’t have to take them seriously in any way. That still leaves 184 declare Democrats, 69 declared Republicans, 19 Libertarians and 14 Green party candidates.

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Presidential Responses to HIV/AIDS

With the passing of George H.W. Bush, I saw a lot of posts about how his inaction around AIDS led to hundreds of thousands of deaths. Let me be crystal clear, I am not a fan of George H.W. Bush, or really a fan of any Republican since Lincoln, but I have also spent four years obsessively researching the early years of the AIDS epidemic and I’m not sure Bush deserves some of the criticism he’s been getting. But I realized if I was going to talk about what George H.W. Bush did to combat HIV/AIDS, I’d have to do a little more research about where he stacked up against other presidents.

And so, in order of historical appearance, our Presidents and their responses to HIV/AIDS.

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Why Do People Hate Nancy Pelosi?

I vividly remember 2006 when the Democrats took back the House. For the first time in history, we were going to have a female Speaker of the House in Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). I remember running up to my friend at our middle school lockers and jumping up and down saying “Nancy Pelosi! Female Speaker! Democrats!”

Look, I wasn’t “cool” in middle school.

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Election Round Up

I don’t know about you, but election night was a stressful time. Everyone I knew had some type of self-care going on in the face of a very important and very stressful midterm elections. I personally decided to have a glass of very cheap Trader Joe’s wine and “watch” SVU while obsessively refreshing the New York Times. That’s my self care.

There were big wins and losses across the country, and I’m going to go through some of the ones I find most interesting (and the ones my friend Elyse directly asked me to cover).

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Lesser Evils

If you know a little about me, you know I’m very willing to overlook prior bad acts by candidates in order to ensure Democratic control of our bodies of government. The electability of a moderate Democrat with a less-than-perfect record was one of the primary motivators behind my support for Hillary Clinton. And if you’re one of my friends on the farther left, I’m sure you’re thinking “Bella really will just shill for any empty suit that calls themselves a Democrat. Is there a floor on this thing, or will we have to re-educate her when the revolution comes?”

I’m proud to report to you, my left friends and all other readers of the blog, that we found the floor. The floor named Joe Manchin.

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Amy Klobuchar's Anger Translator

There’s truly so many angry rants I could write about the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. Thankfully, there are smarter people than me who have already written about the impact of these hearings on survivors of sexual assault, the implications of certain questions in the hearings, and this hearing’s impact on the legitimacy of the highest court in the land.

This gives me the opportunity to focus on what I know best. Female Senators and daughters of alcoholics.

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Kavanaugh Confidential

One of the major debates in the Kavanaugh hearings was about documents that had been deemed committee confidential. That meant these documents could only be viewed and discussed in closed door meetings of the Judiciary Committee. 200,000 pages of Kavanaugh’s documents from his time in the White House were withheld from the public. another 100,000 documents were withheld from the Committee altogether at the request of the current White House, on the grounds of executive privilege.

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Unofficial and Totally Subjective Guide to the NYC Primaries

It's that time of year again! The time for the complicated New York state and local primary system! This year, our primary elections is going to be held on Thursday, September 13th, because the Tuesday when the election normally would have been held is September 11th. I understand not having an election on September 11th, but I don't know why they decided to hold the election on a Thursday instead of the next Tuesday. But I don't pretend to understand how New York decides their many primary dates.

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What To Expect When You're Confirming

I know it's been a long time since I've written a blog post, but I can assure you, I have a good excuse. You see, on June 27th, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he'd be retiring at the end of July, leaving it open for the President to appoint another judge to the Supreme Court.

Upon hearing the news, I fainted from shock and I was only recently revived because I had to start law school. I'd hoped that by the time I came out of my Fear Coma our nation would have figured out a way to appoint a nice, sensible judge like, I don't know off the top of my head, Jane Kelly. Unfortunately, I awoke to find the President had nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the hearings were set to begin on Tuesday, September 4th. It's almost enough to make a girl slip back into a Fear Coma.

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The Timeline of Family Separation

If you, like me, feel like you're barely treading water in the ocean of human horrors created by the Trump administration, it can feel like the zero tolerance immigration policy almost came out of nowhere. One day I was bemoaning the inaction on DACA, the next we have concentration camps full of innocent children. Given that I only started hearing about this in the month of June, I'd assumed this cruel and inhumane policy was announced very recently. But as I did some research, I realized that I'd become so overwhelmed with all the human rights abuses of the Trump administration that I'd missed the early days of this policy.

Back in March of 2017, John Kelly who was then the Secretary of Homeland Security discussed the idea of a policy to separate children from their parents when family crossed the border. Secretary Kelly specifically said he was considering this policy to deter people from crossing the border illegally. In April, the New York Times reported that around 700 children had been taken from their families, though at that point it wasn't clear that this was a formal policy. Then this May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions (human Confederate flag) announced a policy that said anyone crossing the border illegally would be prosecuted, and children would be separated from their parents.

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Which Scott Pruitt Ethics Scandal are You?

Scott Pruitt's many ethics scandals say a lot about the state of our country. But they can say just as much about the state of your inner self. Thank you to Orli Matlow @HireMeImFunny for the inspiration! Hire her people! She is funny!

1. There's a big party at your favorite club tonight. How do you get there?

A: This is a job for Limo Larry. Thank goodness your favorite limo driver is on speed dial.

B: Drive yourself. And pick up your friend on the way. But it's ok, he offered to buy you a drink once you get there.

C: Your friend is going to drive you, but you'll chip in for gas.

D: Armored car. It's the only way you go anywhere.

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It's 2018, Do You Know How Much Your Government Spends on Corn?

The summer after my first year of college, I took my political passion to the streets and got a job as a door to door fundraiser for various progressive causes. I could write a whole other essay about this, but suffice to say, please be nice to canvassers. We hate us too. Anyway, after a summer of knocking doors, much of my political passion had been replaced for a feverish anger about how much money the government spends on corn.

Do you have any idea how much the government spends on corn? Between 1996 and 2016, the government spent over $21 billion on direct payments to corn farmers. And that was only on direct payments. In total, over ten years, the federal government used $106 billion of our taxes for corn payments. That's around $10 billion a year. On corn.

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Primary Challenges

Researching the Kennedys and hating the President has me thinking a lot about primary challenges to incumbent presidents. After FDR fundamentally changed the American presidency by running for president until he died, the 22nd amendment was added to the constitution, limiting each subsequent president to two terms. This means that most presidents, once elected, do try to run for another term. Of course, presidents usually face challengers from the opposite party, but do they ever face a primary challenger?

I mentioned the Kennedys earlier, because one of the more famous primary challenges was Robert F. Kennedy, who ran for the Democratic nomination in 1968. In 1968, LBJ was the incumbent candidate. He had taken over after JFK was assassinated in 1963, and was elected in his own right in 1964. But come 1968, LBJ was very unpopular with anti-war segments of the party. After anti-war candidate Eugene McCarthy won a primary in New Hampshire, and RFK entered the race, LBJ sensed the changing winds and withdrew, choosing not to run again.

Of course, RFK was later assassinated, and McCarthy lost the primary to Hubert Humphrey, LBJ's Vice President, who then lost the general election to Nixon.

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What You Can Do to Weaken NRA Control of Congress

Like most people with a heart, I was shocked and saddened by the recent school shooting in Florida. This was the 7th firearm attack during school hours in 2018, and the 5th resulting in injury or death. This was also the deadliest school shooting this year, resulting in the murder of 17 people.

As we all know, children being killed and injured by firearms is too commonplace in America. An average of 24 children are shot every day in the United States and in 2016, 1,637 young people were killed by firearms. And the saddest thing is, we all know in our guts that this type of school shooting will probably happen again, unless major gun control regulations are implemented. Which will be tough as long as the NRA maintains its stranglehold on Republican politicians.

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One Last Chance

Last week, as many of you know, Senate Republicans voted for a major tax overhaul, working overtime to cut corporate taxes while raising taxes on thousands of middle class families. The corporate tax rate would be cut from 35% to 20% and the personal deduction would be eliminated. And even though they are doubling the standard deduction, the elimination of the personal deduction means that many families would end up paying extra.

That wasn't the only thing in the Senate bill. The bill removed the individual mandate and raised the threshold for the estate tax. The last one is good news for all those poor families who stand to inherit between $6.5 million and $11 million. Now people who will inherit only $10 million dollars won't have to pay those predatory taxes.

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#FlashbackFriday: Democratic Primary Edition

It's well known that a large percentage of this blog is answering the political questions my friend said to me, and this post is no different. My friend Maxine asked me to write something about the Clinton/DNC fundraising agreement, and I felt like it was the least I could do. See, Maxine taught me how to door-to-door canvass, and those skills have proved incredibly handy in my current job, and I'll do what I can to pay Maxine back.

(Side note, I get that everyone is annoyed by street canvassers, but please, be nice to them. They're people too.)

Yesterday, Donna Brazile published an article in Politico about a secret fundraising agreement between Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. It's a detailed article, with a lot of different moving parts, and we're going to address them one by one.

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Last Gasp of Repeal

Republicans have until September 30th to pass a repeal of Obamacare with 51 votes, instead of the filibuster proof 60. This is because the reconciliation process, which Republicans have been using (in vain) to try to repeal Obamacare expires on September 30th. Reconciliation allows bills that impact the budget to be passed with only 51 votes, and it was used to pass certain sections of the Obamacare we know today.

Never one to let an opportunity pass them by, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced an amendment to repeal key sections of Obamacare. As with past measures to repeal Obamacare, this bill would harm low-income Americans, and make healthcare more expensive for all of us.

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