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Showing content with the highest reputation since 01/17/2019 in Posts

  1. 6 points
    A few months ago, as I came on the boards, I noticed only one or two people were visiting here daily, with almost no one being on when they usually would have been. This concerned me, because I've always loved polsimming and I've always thought of these games as an integral part of my childhood, helping me through some tough times and helping me learn so much. The last thing I wanted to see was VGS become another govsim statistic. So I approached Cyril and told him I wanted to take over leadership of the game again in hopes that we could bring people back, get them engaged, and make the game fun again. Fortunately, I believe I at least accomplished two of those goals upon reentering the Administrative Board and we did so without resetting, which is something I am proud of. The people who contributed to that; Reed, Storm, Ironsides, and Avner. Thank you all for your contributions on the AB and thank you for helping breathe new life into VGS. Without any of your efforts, we would not have been able to do what has been done. Over the course of my time as an Administrator, however, I became more and more understanding on why so many people were apprehensive about joining the AB. I fully believe players do not see any reward for becoming a member of the Administrative Board, other than having to deal with some players who are more interested in the OOC politics than they are interested in the in-character politics. During my time as Chief Administrator, players used complaints to try and score an advantage, they insulted both Administrators and players over minor disagreements, and they disingenuously called people bullies as they were acting like bullies themselves. I believe Reed was correct in his assessment that certain 'cliques' within the game try and exert their influence on how the game operates far too often. Instead of operating within the confines of the game rules and what Administrators decide, some players opt to try and influence Administrators through complaints, through OOC wrangling, rather than through playing. This certainly needs to end for the game to flourish. Insulting, passive aggressively mocking, belittling, or otherwise acting abusive toward Administrators is both unproductive and also demoralizing. It will not get you further with your complaint, it will not earn you extra attention, and I'm guessing it isn't how you would deal with a situation in your real life job or schooling. We are all (mostly) adults or at least in college. We are all here to have fun, play a game, and play some politics. I've encouraged Reed to keep that in focus during his tenure as Chief Administrator and ensure that remains the focus. In the councils of his AB, I would encourage him to guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence from certain players, whether sought or unsought. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power from cliques within the game exists and will persist if it goes unchecked. While I am not without fault, one thing I am proud of is the fact that I have always tried to be fair, I have always tried to simulate the world realistically, and I have always tried to provide players with a fun and immersive experience to match what I would enjoy if I were playing. Volunteering to do this was a choice I made because I love VGS, this community has always been one I've enjoyed being apart of, and I wanted everyone to be able to continue to enjoy it for a long time as well. I entrust Reed with VGS and believe he has the best intentions in mind. As Cyril said, this job was only supposed to be temporary, and my time as Chief Administrator has come to an end. As my fifth tenure, I believe it will also likely be my last. So -- for my last statement as the exiting Chief Administrator -- I thank you for the many opportunities you have given me to serve in both turbulence and smooth sailing. I trust that in that service you find some things worthy; as for the rest of it, I know you will find ways to improve performance for the future.
  2. 4 points
    When I took on this job it was with a great deal of hesitation and trepidation. After all, as the general murmur went, *Reed*?! I like to think I acquitted myself and I executed the job without bias or malice and put aside all personal feelings to focus on this place. In a sense it was a penitence, a way to make up for what happened when I pressed the Strangelovian nuclear button and the warheads erupted. So, I felt the strange desire to put things to the mend. But, if you'll allow me to state a few things, characteristically insensitive and blunt, I want to talk about the state of the place. First, I think that cliques and personalities have replaced capable game play. Polarization in our politics have only accelerated the trend. In the past we had 40-60 players and could resolve both. Today we have 10-15 people. At best. And so, of the remaining players, cliques emerge, and they increasingly become personalized against other players and groups. It has led to a deep fissure filled with secret chats, cliques, and groups filled with animosity against others. Because, let's face it, when you play with the same faces you've seen for years and there's no new blood because of polarization and old technology, how soon does "familiarity breed contempt" start applying to at least some people you play with? How long until some game fight takes on the dimension of a real and personal fight because you felt the other person knew better or wronged you in such a way you believed malice the reason? And simply because you played so long, how long until you decide the game is a personal outlet? (This describes our recent conflict, so I'll leave it at that). So, as Chief Administrator, I want to stress that we need to respect each other. The Administrative Board will try to be transparent and we will try to fulfill our duties to the game in a way that we succeed in delivering the essentials without burning out. In return, however, we will ask and request that you give us respect and that you work with us in a cooperative spirit. Let me be clear. We will be transparent and try to produce as much as we can honestly and forthrightly. But in return, we expect respect and we expect a cooperative spirit. If you come at us, and claim bias and claim we’re against you, we will take it in the way intended – a hostile gesture designed to intimidate us. And I think that you all know me at this point how I respond to that. But on the other hand, talk to me constructively and be willing to play the game and be partners with us, and I think that things will go better for everyone. We’re unpaid people who try to make this game work. You’re players who play the game to make it work. We’re both in this together and we need to act like it. We’re also mostly adults and we all need to act collaboratively. A lot of times, we lose our cool and then we descend into behavior that wastes hours of time in unproductive grudge holding and bickering. Not everyone will get what they want. But everyone will get something if they work for it, if that makes sense. Done with the spiel. Let's get to it.
  3. 4 points
    First batch; second batch to come later. SENATE Jack Edwards (R-Montana). 75% Recognition: 39 approve-31 disapprove-30% undecided. Jack Edwards has been the Administration – backing Senate Majority Leader and hails from a conservative state (Montana). He has pushed welfare reform, and pushed a solidly Republican agenda in the Senate, including a pro-life bill. He has also pushed a 4% outlay increase cap, amending Gramm-Rudman-Hollings. He defended former Republican Senator Charles H. Percy for Secretary of State, blasted the House Majority for not taking up the Senate’s agenda, and has been a reliable GOP soldier. Montana is a lean Republican state but more Democratic downballot. He has 15% of Democrats, 90% of Republicans, and 60% of independents. The state is 40% Republican, 35% Democratic, and the remainder independent. HOUSE Hugh Ashcroft (R-Virginia 1st). Recognition: 60%; 34-26-40%. The first district of Virginia stretches just below the future booming North Virginia counties to just north of Norfolk. Reagan won 62-37%, so it stands at 53% Republican. It includes Newport News, Hamptons, Williamsburg and Jamestown, and borders the Chesapeake Bay. The military is very important here – especially the Navy (it has the largest concentration of naval bases and ship-building manufacturing centers). It is a Southern Democratic district that is slowly marching to the GOP. However, it is 29% African American, and 31% minority overall; making it some 69% white. And these white voters tend to be monolothic. His biography emphasized his support for civil rights, which I’m going to give him a handicap for. It’s admirable, laudable, and great. But it’s also something that 1988 Newport Virginia isn’t always entirely onboard with. We’ll get to this in a second but it’s not great. The Congressman applauded the White House on ethanol (good, but not relevant to the district), extended consumer protections for airlines, and sponsored an amendment to crack down on crime around drug parks. His participation in the Drugs Free Parks Act was picked up by local outlets and applauded (especially those ticked off by his stated pro-civil rights views). The HCBU bill was something he backed in an un-amended form, which kind of annoyed white voters in his district. So his behavior on the first two major bills of the Democratic docket cancelled out. He has been reliable on the House Floor in voting; so he got full marks for that one. Designating the Speaker as an ex officio member of the National Security Council – and making it a PR focus – seems designed to rebuke the Reagan Administration on Iran-Contra, which concerned conservative voters in the district, who voted for Reagan twice. He has to recognize that he is operating in basically a Southern Democratic seat. 60% of Democrats disapprove of him, and is operating as a Republican in this district. 15% of Republicans are not happy either; and yes, he has 60% of independents, but again, Southern Democratic district. Thomas Blackstone (D-Massachusetts 2nd). 80% recognition: 52-28-20%. This is a Reagan district, 53-46% but don’t be fooled by the number – it underperformed Reagan’s 59% by 6% so in an even election, it probably is a 56-44% Democratic seat. This is Springfield and surrounding towns – and a typical Democratic district in Massachusetts. Carter almost assuredly won the district twice; look at Worcester and Hampshire in 1980. Edward Boland (of the Boland II amendment) represented this district. Now, Thomas Blackstone – Democratic National Committee Chair – represents this district. Mr. Blackstone is a progressive firebrand. Ranging from fighting for seat belt laws, pushing for repeal of earnings tests for Social Security (even if they voted down it in the entire House), and has pushed to protect American textiles from the Soviet Union and South African imports. He spoke up in favor of drug importation reform to lower the price of prescription drugs. He is one of the most prolific House Democrats and his (very white, very educated) district loves him. It is unlikely he could win a national election but in his district, he’s a typical Massachusetts Democrat and could one day replace Senator Kennedy or Senator Kerry. He has an 80% recognition rating in his district; 52-28-20%. Of decided voters; 90% of Democrats approve of him, while GOP approval is at a paltry 10%, and 60% of independents approve. He is behaving well enough to avoid both a Democratic primary and a general election. Elizabeth Callaghan (D-Pennsylvania 14th). 85% Recognition: 44-41-15% among Democratic Primary Voters (See Fitzgerald, Kyle for more information on primary approval ratings). Mondale won the seat 68-30%, and it is primarily a Pittsburgh seat. It has been Democratic since Roosevelt’s times. It is 19% black, 1% Spanish, and 1% Asian – making it 79% white. This is another historically Democratic district that is populated by whites loyal to the Democratic Party. That is not to say the Speaker isn’t surrounded by friendly Democrats; Democrats won Allegheny County just 48-44%. For a few reasons, I’ve downgraded her district to be between a “regular Democratic” district and a “swing district.” Speaker Callaghan is the first female Democratic Speaker of the House in history; the dream of an aspiring freshman named Nancy Pelosi who joined in mid 1987. The Speaker has established a solidly liberal record. She voted for the minimum wage hike of 1987, sponsored a healthcare package, and voted for the “Real Right to Work Act.” Eyes have been raised for her profile on climate change, which is not a major issue in the late eighties, especially among steel workers who reside in the 14th. Some working class Democrats wonder if that act signifies she’s more of a “wine track” Democrat or a “beer track” Democrat. In the eighties, the UN hadn’t even established its panel on climate change until 1988. Her convention speech was very liberal and conventionally so. She also attacked Phyllis Schafly for attending the RNC; a sign she is catering to a liberal base. The introduction of the ERA also catered to the wine track Democrats inside Pittsburgh rather than Allegheny. Most recently the Speaker has pushed an investigation into China’s government collapse. In voting, the Speaker missed the first docket on the Drug-Free Parks and Recreation Facilities Act but voted on the HCBU legislation. What dinged her is that under her, the House failed the Older Americans’ Freedom to Work Act 1989 (her district is among the older ones in Pennsylvania and nationally). She has missed a couple of votes, which also has distressed her district. (I know, Speakers don’t vote, but you should). The Speaker needs to be aware of a couple of things, which is why her rating isn’t as high as it should be. One, there’s BOTH types of Democrats in her district, steel workers and white professionals. She has to balance both (steel workers are a little more culturally conservative, even if they voted for Mondale). Two, it’s a little older than the national average. It’s stuffed with New Deal Democrats who grew up under Roosevelt and Truman. Three, while safe, the district isn’t going to always tolerate a Speaker who doesn’t get the balance between the blue collar and white collar Democrats. Right now, the breakdown among Democrats in her district is 75-25, but independents are less happy 45-55% and Republicans are a monolithic 95% in disapproval. Julie Carpenter (R-Maine 1st). 60% Recognition: 33-27-40%. It is one point more Republican than the national average so in an even election, it’s 51-49 Republican. It is the lower parts of Maine bordering the Atlantic Ocean and New Hampshire. It is a swing district, nationally, and will be regarded as such, although this being Maine, she has a slight bump for its Republican heritage in demographics. I’ve assigned it a value of 38% Republican, 34% Democratic, and 28% independent. She just began so no real rating in Maine. Henry “Hack” Earle (R-Oregon 5th). 60% Recognition: 31-29-40%. The 5th district of Oregon is an even district with a Republican lean, 50-50 or if you want, 51-49. It is south of Portland, and includes Clackamas, Marion and other surrounding counties and is like 98% white. It has a high income suburb (Oswego) and is considered Republican leaning by political observers. Oregon, in this era, is still a Republican state, having gone Republican in every election since 1948 except 1964 and 1988. The Congressman has widely been seen as a shill for the Kaine-Saroyan Administration. Now, fortunately for Earle, Oregon did go Republican 53-47% for Kaine (otherwise, it would be a little more tricky). He has routinely praised, in no particular order, the President’s cabinet picks, attacked the Democrats on the HCBU bill, introduced legislation to boost the Administration’s ethanol push, voted no on the HCBU, and yes on the Drug Free Parks and Recreation Facilities Act. Constituents widely believe him to be an Administration figure and as Clackamas and Marion only went narrowly for Kaine, the opposition and support gauge him accordingly. Thus, as the Administration rises and falls in Oregon, so will Earle given his behavior (unless he separates himself from the Administration). 90% of Democrats off the bat don’t like him; but 90% of Republicans do, and so do 55% of independents. William Ferris (R-Nevada 2nd). 95% recognition: 49-46-5%. The district is a distinctly Republican one; the second is basically everything not Las Vegas and its suburbs. It is (fortunately for the esteemed Congressman of this district) 89% white, and it is one of the heartbeats of the Sagebrush Rebellion. So, the Congressman. William Ferris (R-Nevada 2nd). There is only one thing to be said: his libertarian ideology and his comments during the HBCU debate that ignited a racial firestorm dominates his approval rating. There is of course his close association with the Administration (which has enraged Kaine supporters in the more liberal states) and his opposition to everything federal be it mandatory seatbelts, supporting a repeal of the national speed limit, backing the Older Americans Freedom to Work Act, and pushing tax cuts for the White House. To start with, the KKK and white nationalist groups latched onto his comments which were racially loaded and covered elsewhere. They celebrated it and they applauded him. It caused a firestorm. To make matters worse, for everyone involved, somehow, the Kaine Administration decided to get it into their heads to have him sponsor their tax cut. This has caused an even larger firestorm and headaches for Kaine in more liberal states. Naturally, everyone in the district has an opinion on Ferris given his need to ignite a firestorm every time he speaks. The Nevada Republican Party (for now) stands by him, Las Vegas hates him, everyone else is okay with him to a degree and given the right wing lean of his district, he’s okay. If this was 2008, he would be kicked out of Congress. But it’s 1989 and he’s now the Steve King of the 101st Congress. This has probably damaged, as I said, President Kaine in Western states. The Congressman has 85% of Republicans but the very Republican nature of this district probably keeps him afloat. Ferris, for the record, is endangering Western Republicans and giving an opening to California and Sunbelt Democrats to sneak in some GOP leaning districts. Kyle Fitzgerald (R-Texas 7th). 85% Recognition: 58-27-15% Approval Among GOP Primary Base Voters. This is the Houston district; and oil is king here. It voted Reagan 83-17%, despite the oil bust that the Gipper presided over. That means, in a neutral year, it is a 74% Republican district and one of the most Republican districts in the United States, period. The primary here is then dispositive. As a result, giving the general election rating here is useless; Mr. Fitzgerald will be rated by **primary** voters who will judge him fit or unfit for Congress. The Republican primary voters are practical foreign policy hawks and economic conservatives rather than social conservatives. About 50% of the district’s Republicans are partisans beyond hope; they will turn on you if you buck the Reagan Revolution. Another 40% will consider themselves Republicans but are pragmatic (ie economic conservatives who back a strong national security conservatism). 10% are liberal Republicans. Enter Kyle Fitzgerald (R-Texas 7th). The one time Presidential contender and current House Minority Leader is a long time serving Republican who rose through the ranks to become House Minority Leader; if the Republicans gain another 11 seats to gain the Majority, he would almost assuredly be Speaker. Not the most flashy Republican, Mr. Fitzgerald is a populist. He is a former Cadet and oil man; a good fit for the Republican district. Legislatively, he has pushed requiring the Defense Department to build all equipment using made in America products; pushed a 28% flat tax, 15% corporate tax rate, repealing the estate tax, pushed to end chain migration, and backed the Defense of Marriage Act. He asked the 40th President to retaliate against Japanese manufacturers via executive, and backed Reagan on Iran-Contra while nodding to the need for an Ethics commission. The Congressman deeply – and completely cares – about immigration. He wants 5,000 new border agents on the border. He pushed for tough punishments for those who illegally cross the border. An outsourcing tax of 15% was also pushed by the Congressman’s office, outraging companies outside Houston. This is what was reflected in his Presidential campaign; to Keep America Great. Unfortunately for him, he did not win the nomination but came close in a number of states and second to the eventual winner, Anderson Kaine. He has been a reliable Republican for the President. He backed the Cabinet nominations, and is currently engaged in a fight with the House Majority Leader, Axel Storm (D-New York 17th) about some parliamentary interpretation. So, what to make of the House Minority Leader who would become Speaker in the 102nd Congress, if Republicans take the Majority? Well, first of all, he is not a Reaganite Republican, no matter how often he professes his loyalty. He is not a liberal, in the slightest. What he is best known as is a paleoconservative Republican who is socially conservative, looks askance to our economic ties abroad, and generally backs Reagan on anti-Communist stuff. The ascendant Jack Kemp wing of the Republican Party is probably not too fond of him but he has not (yet) offended his Texas 7th district too much. Overall, he has kept most of the Republican primary voters in his corner and has been an effective House Minority Leader. If he enters into open conflict over trade or immigration with the White House, it could force his Houston district to decide what kind of Republicans they are. For now, that has not yet happened, so he’s fine.
  4. 3 points
    After much contemplation, I have asked Ed @Sweet Daddy Ironsides and he has accepted the position of election grader alongside myself. For a few reasons. I think that it's important that everyone has confidence in the results and and I think that entrusting the results and process in one person for the entire game (even if it is the Chief Administrator) is asking for that person's biases to inform the results. Secondly, I want everyone confident in the results and process. Consequently, Ed and I will have 50-50% joint power over the results and grading process and election process. In short, neither of us will be able to - going forward - make a decision without a joint agreement. I will be in that vein submitting how I do the elections and working with Ed to make sure he is involved 100% in the process. I consulted him on the schedule and he is fine with it. So be aware of that schedule and it will proceed on that basis. I'll be spending the next few weeks off and on informing him how we do this and so on. Additionally, I have asked Kyle @TexAgRepublican Fitzgerald to head up election simplification and reforms. It is my hope - probably too much - that nobody loses their marbles during the election. Send inquiries to my Telegram or PM or whatever.
  5. 3 points
    Democratic House, GOP White House Lock Horns (Washington, D.C.) Political circles are buzzing in the nation’s capital about the “Cold War” between former Speaker Teddy King (D-Calif. 13th), House Majority Leader Axel Storm (D-N.Y 17th), and President Kaine Anderson (R-Ill.). With the recent resignation from Speaker Elizabeth Callaghan, it is widely assumed these three men would have the power to broker a wide range of deals in Washington, but sources say there is no attempt to and the animosity among all three runs fairly deep. The White House in their press release stated, “However, the Kaine Administration remains deeply frustrated by partisan Democrats who remain committed to denying the President's policy proposals to even receive a committee hearing, despite the President's overwhelming majority of the Electoral vote just six months ago.” House Majority Leader Axel Storm said, “The communication between the White House and the Democratic House is abysmal. We are nearing midterms and not once as House Majority Leader have I received any official communication from the President regarding any of his initiatives … I am hoping that he improves communication with us and seek to include Democrats in his plans.” The Republican – controlled Senate and the Democratic – controlled House did agree on one bill: the Drug-Free Parks and Recreation Facilities Act and most of the Cabinet. Major political analysts view this as a gridlock and deepening partisanship in the nation’s capital. Southern Democrats are likely to give their leadership a pass if major Kaine initiatives come up, in the name of bolstering the Democratic Party’s chances in the 1990 elections, but will not be happy if the Democratic leadership blocks all initiatives in the House. Likewise, in the Republican-controlled Senate, the expectation from moderate GOP Senators is that major Democratic bills may not necessarily get their vote (nor will they stymie Majority Leader Edwards from blocking bringing them up) but they will be unhappy if the Majority Leader dockets all GOP bills without giving some Democratic initiatives a chance to pass. Americans are also asking their political leaders to sit down and cut deals, or at least talk together in public to ensure that there is some communication between the leaders of the divided U.S. government. By a 64-19% margin, Americans hold both sides responsible for the divide and want both leaders to talk on some issues. Americans are a lot more divided on hot button issues, but analysts feel that political leaders might benefit from holding discussions. The era featured significant political deals being cut after long periods of partisan trench warfare. Notable examples include the 1986 tax reform package, deregulation, civil rights (well, sectional warfare in this context). (OOC: also the 1990 tax hikes, the Clinton era welfare reform package, etc). Often, the participants faced off for years before cutting a deal made urgent by the needs to cater to electoral coalitions (OOC: welfare reform) or concerns about fiscal needs (the budget deficits, etc). The two parties did not cut deals on abortion, gun rights, and other hot button issues that had polarized the party bases. Democrats were happy to block much of President Reagan’s initiatives and to amend significant chunks of his agenda. Often, the 40th President swallowed many tax hikes (like in 1982) and the Boland II Amendment. Social Security reform went to a commission in 1983 to garner bipartisan support since direct negotiation would have likely failed (at the time, Social Security was facing a shortfall). The Democratic leadership under Speaker O’Neill also held major hearings to embarrass and to face down the Reagan Administration, to considerable political success. A final note – the significant emphasis on minority issues has excited many minorities, but they make up some 15% of the electorate, at best. Analysts warn the Democratic leadership to bear in mind the 1990 and 1992 electorates that will be 85-90% white, and to docket bills and to make political strategy that is appropriate for that time. Political analysts feel that with the third term of a Republican White House and Democratic Congress, only external forces will force Congress and the White House to talk – if they want to talk at all. The times being what they are, the public is not expecting major breakthroughs – but they do hope that good government bills and smaller legislation will make it through. [OOC: This is the reflection of a ruling I made in response to a formal Republican complaint lodged with the AB that stated the Democrats were blocking all GOP initiatives. Our ruling is stated basically in the article and explains that the historical background here, saying that the Democratic leadership blocked many major Reagan and Bush initiatives (while, incidentally, 40 and 41 also blocked many initiatives of the Democratic Congress – think Family Medical Leave Act). What brought a lot of the people involved was the need to cut deals in the face of fiscal issues coming to a head, or the need to appease an electoral coalition. In 1996, Clinton signed welfare reform to win over bubba folks, in 1990, George H.W. Bush raised taxes because deficits had become a major issue). On hot button issues, the major parties often refused to give grounds].
  6. 3 points
    I will say that I do love the new way we are doing ARs. @Reed has done a great job at breaking down congressional districts as a hole and I like that. Keep this because it is very helpful to me as to what my district wants, especially with very little information about Congress in the 1980s and early 90s. I still am not that happy with the new voting system. I think the old way was better. I understand that the AB wants to move away from voting records but I think to have them are very helpful and easier to look up for players.
  7. 3 points
    A Quick News Roundup from USA Today 1. Madonna testified before Congress, with her picture once again gracing the covers of newspapers across the world as she answered questions on HIV prevention and awareness in front of the House Ways and Means Committee. The presence of Madonna before Congress was carried live on a few networks. Madonna has appeared on MTV announcing her partnership with organization ACT UP while also promoting her new album, Like a Prayer. The Christian Coalition and Fight for Family condemned Madonna appearing before Congress, with the former calling it a "circus side-show act" and the latter saying it was "normalizing deviant behavior for children." 2. The 61st Academy Awards were held, with Mississippi Burning winning Best Picture, Gene Hackman winning Best Actor for his performance in Mississippi Burning, and Meryl Streep winning Best Actress for her performance in Cry in the Dark. 3. The 'Drug-Free Parks and Recreation Facilities Act' passed Congress and was signed by President Anderson Kaine. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Michael Marshall (R-NC), increases penalties for individuals who sell drugs near schools or public parks. Democrat Jesse Jackson said the bill was going to "disproportionately affect those of color." Polling shows large support for the bill, however, and more stringent anti-drug measures. 4. The U.S. Supreme Court announced they would hear the case Texas v. Johnson, a case in which Gregory Johnson was charged in violation of Texas law for burning the U.S. flag at a pro-communist protest. After the Texas Court of Appeals overturned his initial conviction, Texas asked the Supreme Court to hear the case. 5. Following controversy for an altercation at a Las Vegas club, Mike Tyson announced an upcoming fight against undefeated boxer Michael Spinks at the Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The tag-line for the fight is "it's finally here", with many expecting the event to be one of the largest in boxing history. 6. Two homosexual men were reportedly attacked in New York after leaving a bar late at night. One of the men is still being hospitalized for his injuries which include a fractured jaw and local authorities say there is currently no description for the individuals who attacked them.
  8. 2 points
    Brink has been added to the Administrative Board to handle domestic matters. A more specific role will be announced tomorrow for him. Please welcome him to the Administrative Board
  9. 2 points
    Houston, TX – House Minority Leader Kyle Fitzgerald (R-TX) resigned from Congress yesterday and has announced his candidacy for Governor of Texas. In an announcement speech in his hometown of Houston, Fitzgerald cited a desire to return home to Texas and lead his state. Privately, Congressional aides have speculated that Fitzgerald has become disillusioned with the partisan gridlock in Washington. Incumbent Republican Governor Bill Clements has decided not to run for re-election due to his involvement in the Southern Methodist University football scandal. Fitzgerald is expected to face Democrat State Treasurer Ann Richards in the general election.
  10. 2 points
    Thanks for the welcome, guys. Since I'm in a creative mood, here's a fuller bio... Sam Benzley was born in Los Angeles and raised in the San Fernando Valley region of the city. His parents are both of primarily English descent; his father was en electrical worker and his mother taught elementary school. He spent his formative years in Canoga Park and graduated from Canoga Park High School in 1960. Having been brought up near Hollywood, Sam long had dreams of making it as an actor, and auditioned for film and television roles throughout his college and post-graduate years. He received a bachelor's in finance from San Fernando State College and went on to support himself as a bookkeeper while continuing to pursue acting roles. Although he landed some guest roles in both film and TV during the 1960s, long-term success in the entertainment industry eluded him. In 1966, Sam married his long-time sweetheart, Sarah Laxalt. In early 1968, they welcomed their first daughter, Nadine. Later that year, the Benzleys relocated to Safford, Arizona, after a colleague of Sam's convinced him to sign on as a partner in a cattle operation. The Benzleys have lived in Safford ever since, and eventually welcomed two more daughters, Kimberly (b. 1970) and Nicola (b. 1978). Sam took part in the local community, training to become a volunteer firefighter and becoming involved in the local Lions Club. He later said, "After spending my entire life in the big city, I was taken by Safford's small-town charm, and I realized that the best way to connect in these places is to learn from my neighbors and help them." Sam also became active in local politics; although he was a supporter of Barry Goldwater's Senate campaign in 1974, he did become a full-fledged Republican until 1976, when he felt inspired by the messages of presidential candidate Ronald Reagan. In 1978, Sam made his first foray into politics and sucessfully ran for a seat on the city council. After gaining recognition in Republican circles throughout the state, he moved to state politics in 1984 with a successful run for the Arizona Senate. In 1987, he received statewide recognition for his criticism of Governor Evan Mecham's proposal to eliminate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, calling it "an enormous disgrace that is not reflective of the values of this great state." Possibly propelled by this surge in name recognition, Sam ran for the open Fifth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives in 1988. Relying largely on grassroots efforts, he captured the seat by a margin of 8,000 votes.
  11. 2 points
    The 1980s: As a precursor statement, I am a professional historian. However, mistakes can and will be made and I have my biases. Take my word as law at your own peril. Be sure to also take your time to check out Reed’s background and make your own call. Economics: From the end of the Second World War and into the 1970s, one of the major concepts in economics was that inflation and recession were mutually exclusive - recession implied a lack of growth, whereas inflation was seen as a kind of growth that was excessive or out of control. This dynamic fell apart in the 1970s with ‘stagflation,’ the perception that the economy was by and large stagnant, inflation was increasing, and the unemployment rate was relatively high for a developed economy. Traditionally, stagflation in the United States has been explained by two points: Richard Nixon’s wage and price controls in 1971 (the ‘Nixon shock’) and the start of the OPEC crisis in 1973. To reduce stagflation, Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker instituted a series of disinflationary policies beginning in 1979, which carried on throughout his term of office. The most notable of these changes was the interest rate, which Volcker increased to the double-digit range. Volcker’s policies were largely successful in reducing inflation, but the result was that the economy went into the doldrums for the first several years of the 1980s, bringing about a mild recession and aiding in the election of Ronald Reagan. Despite having won the election in part due to frustration with Volcker’s (and by association, Carter’s) economy, Reagan towed the line and presided over economic recovery during the middle part of the decade. One major shift was that Reagan ended many of the price control policies that had been put in place by Nixon and maintained by his immediate successors. One point of contention is that Reagan cut taxes during his term as part of his policies - this is not, in a technical sense, correct. While Reagan’s tax policies brought down the income tax brackets and the estate tax, they also resulted in an extensive closure of loopholes that made Reagan’s tax cut, in reality, one of the largest tax increases in American history. This led to additional reforms from 1982 to 1986 that slowly ate away at the cuts, leaving many of the original accomplishments of the reform in the trash bin. In 1986, a secondary set of sweeping reforms cut personal income tax yet again, reducing the overall brackets but shifting the tax burden into a variety of other areas. A similar point of interest is that while the Reagan years saw a reduction in spending on social welfare, federal debt did not decrease during the early part of the 1980s. Reagan pumped billions of dollars into the military industrial-complex and related fields, a move that increased federal debt but also kept money flowing into the US economy. One useful snapshot of the economy during this time can be found in the farm crisis. It was, essentially, a perfect storm. The disinflationary policies of Volcker had reduced grain prices, as had Reagan’s reform of agricultural price controls. This, conjoined with Carter’s grain embargo on the Soviet Union, has resulted in a situation where prices were dropping and the US now had a more limited market in which to sell their goods. As the dollar strengthened and interest rates increased, so too did farm debt. Many farms were forced to close, creating economic turmoil in the farming regions of the United States that was seen by many as a throwback to the crises that emerged during the Great Depression. In short, the overall effects of the Reagan economic plan are sharply contested. In real terms, the economy did expand on a level that was rare for peace time. However, the exact cause of this growth is disputed and, in modern rhetoric, his economic policies have been simplified to the point that they are almost unrecognizable. Likewise, many of the structural changes that Reagan benefited from emerged during the Carter presidency, pointing to larger economic trends being involved in this process than just one figure riding in and saving the day, and it can be contested whether the day was saved at all. Evangelicals Despite how we might see the history of the United States from the present moment, evangelicals in the modern sense really only emerged in the period after the Civil War as more missionary and socially-oriented churches of the Northern states found a foothold in the South and began to intermingle with their more socially conservative co-religionists. After the end of Reconstruction and through the First World War, the United States faces what could be considered its first major religious culture war. Since the period is usually referred to as the ‘Golden Age of Free Thought,’ it should come as no surprise that this early period saw the advance of secularism in American society, peaking respectively at the 1876 Republican National Convention with Robert G. Ingersoll (known in his time as ‘the Great Agnostic) delivering the best received speech and the Scopes trial of 1925, which I will return to shortly. Evangelicals were largely in social, cultural, and political decline throughout the late nineteenth century, really emerging only as a political and social force in the aftermath of the First World War and growing nativist sentiment in the United States. In this initial period the face of the movement was multi-time Democratic nominee William Jennings Bryan. Bryan’s leadership eventually brought him to the Scopes trial as well. In 1925, the free thought movement and early evangelicals came into conflict in the small town of Dayton, Tennessee. John T. Scopes, a substitute biology teacher, confessed to teaching evolution to his class in circumvention of state law. This was complicated by several matters. The first was that Scopes had not actually taught evolution - he had merely responded to an ad asking for someone willing to testify that they had. The second is that there were conflicting state laws; he was not allowed to teach evolution, but also had to teach the state approved text book verbatim, which happened to have a chapter detailing evolution. Regardless, it resulted in the famous Scopes trial, where evangelical leader Bryan came into conflict with secularist golden boy and long-time political ally Clarence Darrow of the ACLU. While Scopes was convicted (and had never contested his guilt during the trial), the radio broadcasts of the trial ended up being a national embarrassment for Bryan and his allies after Darrow cross-examined him on the stand as a ‘Biblical expert,’ and Bryan passed away shortly after the conclusion of the trial before having a chance to rebuild his reputation. The Scopes trial put American evangelicalism on the back burner, something occasionally paid lip service to but not as something that was taken as a serious political movement. This changed during the Civil Rights movement, where preachers and other religious figures took leading roles in both sides of the dispute and put the power of the church on display. While a number of conservatives, most notably Barry Goldwater, were skeptical of wedding themselves to evangelicals, others established relationships that would develop long-term consequences. In some sense, Nixon’s silent majority approach was one of the first to call on evangelicals for political support. Frustrated by the counter-culture and be seeming anti-Americanism of the Vietnam War protests, Nixon and evangelicals found themselves increasingly connected in terms of shared goals if not means of accomplishing them. However, the full flowering of evangelicals really developed during the 1976 Presidential election, when Jimmy Carter outperformed Gerald Ford and his Democratic competitors on the strength of the evangelical vote. However, Carter’s win was short lived, as was his support among evangelicals. Throughout his term, Carter’s disinterest in rolling back the limited victories of the counter-culture disenchanted evangelical and fundamentalist voters with their co-religionist, and by the 1980 election they were firmly in the Republican camp. The irony of this success was that one of the driving factors in the emergence of evangelical Christianity was the counter-culture itself. While the hippie and other such cultures had embraced alternative religions and drug culture, the failure of the experiment and growing dissatisfaction with its remainders led many former hippies and drop outs to embrace Christian outreach groups. In short order, the very people that had helped inspire the rebirth of active evangelicalism became some of its most ardent foot soldiers. It should be noted that the evangelical groups really started emerging only in the late 1970s, and while many of their leaders held high positions within the Reagan administration (most notably Gary Bauer), their power was still nascent and contested throughout the 1980s, and as the elections of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton proved, one could still win a Presidential election with limited or even without evangelical support. HIV/AIDS On June 5, 1981, two theoretically unrelated events came together to create one of the most famous health crises of the contemporary world. In Los Angeles, several CDC scientists identified the emergence of an incredibly rare lung infection, pneumocystis carinii-type pneumonia, in several young and otherwise healthy gay men. On the same day but on the other side of the country in New York City, Dr. Alvin Friedman-Kien contacted the CDC to report that he had identified a particularly aggressive type of cancer, Kaposi’s Sarcoma, in several gay men. The next day, June 6, the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle both reported on the lung infections and tied it into something that had been known in the gay community but the mainstream of American society was entirely ignorant of: gay men were getting sick at an alarming rate and no one could explain why. Eight days later, the National Institute of Health Clinical Center admitted its first patient showing the symptoms – like many millions more over the coming decade, that man would die in medical care with few people understanding what exactly had happened to him. In December of 1981, Dr. Arye Rubinstein made what could have been the biggest breakthrough of the crisis: identifying the disease in children and straight patients. Despite impressive evidence to support his point, Rubinstein is ignored as the stereotype of ‘Gay Man’s Pneumonia’ had already infiltrated the medical establishment. While 1982 saw the term ‘AIDS’ used for the first time, the bias and stereotype led to its earliest name, GRID, or Gay-related Immune Deficiency. Largely, 1982 and 1983 were static years. The number of cases steadily grew, morbidity increased, and the number of deaths escalated. Only in May of 1983 did Congress authorize funding for HIV/AIDS research, but this was a mere twelve million dollars. Later in the year the retrovirus behind HIV/AIDS would be identified and the CDC would issue the first directive for nurses and doctors to wear latex gloves when interacting with patients, but that was the breadth and depth of the story. 1984 was much the same way, with the only notable change being revisions in blood screening policy by private entities. 1985 was the year that the HIV/AIDS crisis was first taken seriously by the federal government. One hundred and ninety million dollars were allocated by Congress for research, though in many ways this was too little and too late. By 1986, the year of our game start, the CDC reported that there were an estimated 38,400 cases of HIV/AIDS world-wide; the World Health Organization, recognizing the inferiority of the testing system, put the guess at five to ten million. The latter number was far closer to the truth. At the executive level, Secretary of Health and Human Services Margaret Heckler was an effective public face for the department but had little political clout with Ronald Reagan. Even as the crisis began to heat up during the early 1980s, Heckler failed to organize any cabinet discussions on the crisis and was entirely negligent in managing the nation’s blood supply, leading to the spread of HIV/AIDS into communities previously untouched by the crisis. Another internal conflict emerged between Gary Bauer, who held several positions in the Reagan White House, and Surgeon General C. Everett Koop. Bauer took the position that the federal government had little reason to concern itself with HIV/AIDS and that it was primarily a problem for the gay community, which the evangelical Bauer was unsympathetic towards. Koop, although an evangelical himself, took a stand as a medical professional and advocated for more funding and awareness campaigns about the importance of safe sex. Reagan himself seemed nonplussed about the issue, mentioning it publicly for the first time in 1985 and calling it a ‘top priority’ before doing nothing to meaningfully change the federal approach. Crime Explodes From the 1940s and into the 1980s, crime in the United States of America surged to previously unprecedented levels. From 1960 to 1986, the violent crime rate quadrupled, the crack cocaine market exploded, and crime stories took an increasingly prominent role in the public consciousness. Organized street crime, something long avoided by older styles of criminals like the Italian mafia or the Chinese triads, became normalized throughout the United States. In part, this transition happened due to the failure of the Italian mafia to take effective control of the drug trade. While they dabbled in cocaine and heroin distribution, they never dominated it in the way that they had mastered traditional racketeering. This combined with elevating federal and state pressure on the Mafia, leading to its slow decline throughout the 1980s. The decline was not, however, passive. As names were named and groups were taken down, the Mafia entered a clean-up mode where hundreds of underworld figures were violently murdered. Those that remained, by and large, found their way into federal prison by the end of the eighties. The Italian Mafia and similar organizations were replaced by street and biker gangs, plus associates of Central and South American cartels. Without external pressure to preserve the peace and respect turf, the American inner city saw significant levels of gang violence throughout the decade, the expansion of drug availability, and a militarization of the American police force. Growing Distrust in the National Intelligence Community Starting with the Presidency of Woodrow Wilson, the federal government had taken an increased interest in policing the states and the residents thereof. Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, organizations like the FBI, the CIA, the NSA and more shadowy groups had watched the political activities of American citizens and pursued questionable policies in the hopes of achieving somewhat vague goals. COINTELPRO, HTLINGUAL, MKULTRA, and other such projects worked to undermine American confidence in the goodness of their government, and the events of Watergate helped solidify that idea when a handful of individuals unattached from the national intelligence apparatus carried out clandestine operations in support of Richard Nixon. The Watergate scandal was flanked by two additional events that worked to confirm the overriding suspicion of the federal government. The first came when Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to the national press. Ellsberg, a military analyst and member of the RAND Corporation, revealed to the American people that there had never been a cohesive strategy in Vietnam, that the Gulf of Tonkin incident had not been accurately portrayed to the American people, and various other sundry aspects that discredited the establishment on Vietnam and helped propel the anti-war movement to new levels of prominence. The second event was the Church Committee, where members of the United States Senate investigated extensive reports that US intelligence agencies were conducting intelligence operations and secret medical tests on the American population. For Frank Church, the head of the committee, the threat was immense: “If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know.” When Ronald Reagan ran on a small government platform in 1980, there were large sections of Americans who viewed this platform as a rejection of ‘intelligence creep.’ This, however, did not come to pass. In fact, Reagan’s administration saw the steady growth of a national intelligence scheme that was regularly involved in scandal, from the Iran-Contra agreement to more obscure projects like INSLAW. The Satanic Panic By 1980 darker elements of American culture had bubbled to the surface. Dungeons and Dragons had been a source of controversy due to the inclusion of ‘demonic forces’ in its rule books, the Church of Satan had emerged out of edgier elements of the counter-culture, and David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam killer, had attributed his actions to a Satanic cult active in New York. This initial fear culminated in the book Michelle Remembers, an eventually discredited story about a girl raised in and abused by a Satanic cult. Soon, the idea of Satanism as a real and palpable threat was in the public consciousness. Bands like Death and Celtic Frost embraced Satanic imagery, while producers popular culture began to use the idea of Satan in new ways. Serial killers arrested during the early 1980s such as Henry Lee Lucas and Richard Ramirez attributed their actions to widespread Satanic cults, while former military and intelligence officer Michael Aquino began to make appearances in the media as a representative of the Temple of Set. The situation was perfectly set for a moral panic, and that is exactly what happened. In 1983, the Satanic Panic came into full force with events in Los Angeles. Initially, the accusations at the McMartin Preschool revolved around a single instructor sexually abusing his own son. Before long, however, accusations came out that the entire school administration were involved in an elaborate ploy to kidnap, abuse, and torture children for their dark lord. What ensued was one of the most expensive (at fifteen million dollars) and controversial criminal prosecutions in American history. After accusations were made that the psychiatrists involved in the initial investigation had abused their training to implant false memories in children testifying for the state, the initial trial of the primary accused McMartin administrators and staff was ended in 1986 by order of a newly elected district attorney. Despite this, follow-up prosecutions (with zero convictions) continued well past the start of our game calendar. In many ways, the Satanic Panic was the consequence of the rise of moral and social conservatism at the end of the 1970s, coming about due to the pressure to reimbue American life with religious ideals and orientations. Individuals who did not conform to society’s standards, whether they embraced Satanic world views are not, found themselves victimized by a more restrictive society than the one that they had grown accustomed to.
  12. 2 points
    Better coverage of what's going on in Congress and reaction to what seems to be gridlock between the two parties could be something the AB could also work on a little more. The Washington piece by Reed is good but a little expansion could go well with it, maybe more public opinion or factor of spin instead of just facts and little to no appliance of public opinion.
  13. 2 points
    Radically reduced activity through Monday due to anniversary road trip.
  14. 2 points
    James Parker (R-California 44th). 60% name recognition: 29-31-40%. Reagan won 52-47% here, meaning it is functionally 55-45% Democratic district in a neutral year. This is, in a nutshell, a San Diego district (and not the Republican parts). It is also a 21% minority district, and only 79% white, with a national electorate in the 80s. Note two facts about San Diego: it is close to the border, with tons of Mexicans crossing it to jobs in San Diego and second, it is a military – strong region. To his credit, Rep. James Parker has a military background, which means he understands the military nature of this district. He pushed for the enforcement of the Drug Free Parks and Recreational Facilities Act, pushed to address the AIDS crisis (?), pushed the White House line on taxes, and towed the GOP line on the mandatory seatbelt law, strenuously so. So, a couple of problems for Parker. He made the Drug Free vote, but not the HBCU stuff. Which is interesting. But more to the point, his bigger issue is that he is playing a Republican that is to the right of the district at large. So, the tone of the Congressman and the inability to cross the aisle in the Democratic – led House may cause voters back home – and political activists – to take a serious thought about challenging California Republicans. With that, he has a basically even rating. His problem is that only 50% of independents like him and only 15% of Democrats and the 90% GOP is not enough to offset that. The Democratic registration edge in this district is roughly 10 points and it reflects so in the poll. Charles Pinkerton (D-Massachusetts 3rd). 60% name recognition; 32-28-40% approval. It includes Worcester city, a small manufacturing city, and is an ancestrally Democratic district. Reagan won 57-43% here, so the district is nominally 51-49% Democratic but in reality, should be really like 53-54% Democratic. It is your basic gritty Irish Catholic New England Democratic district. (Indeed, the real life member is Catholic!) The Congressman is a very quiet Democrat but he seems an intelligent one – Charles Pinkerton, D-Massachusetts 3rd. He has established a liberal voting record, and blasted Ferris for his comments. He has also pushed for a Committee hearing on the AIDS crisis in Ways and Means. For a freshman, he’s doing well.. (OOC: Democrats should get his Telegram and get him more active. He’s quite smart). Frank Stokes (D-New York 10th). 65% name recognition; 51-14-35%. It is a Bedford-Stuyvesant district and a minority-majority district. As a 89% minority majority district, it is one of the most Democratic in the nation. Mondale won 85% of the vote and therefore, it is pointless to guess a general election poll here. It is better to estimate Mr. Stokes among the primary electorate. This is Shirley Chisolm’s district and it is infused with African-American politics and culture. To move on with this, Frank Stokes is the House Majority Whip. He has voted for a minimum wage hike to $5 an hour, voted for the Family Medical and Leave Act, and the Workers Protection Act, and worked on capital financing for historically black colleges, among other things. He also pushed the FCC to better multilingual broadcasting. The Workers Protection Act is pretty much the epitome of Stokes; he blasted President Kaine and Reagan and the GOP for blocking the bill. Most notably, he is the chief sponsor of the HBCU Historic Building Restoration and Preservation Act. He is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and has released statements for the Caucus. This is a classic minority majority Congressmember and he does it very well. His district is enormously pleased by the almost singular focus on minority issues and the fact he has made it national news. It is significant enough that he could parley minority support in a Senate race in New York or another state that has a significant bloc of minority voters. Axel Storm (D-New York 17th). 65% name recognition: 42-23-35%. This is the West Side of Manhattan. As the book archly notes, it is a district that is inclined to political liberality, artistic sensibilities, and cultural views that run counter to the rest of America. It is not a minority majority district (30% minority; but that means 70% white), and is considered affluent (median house value is $51,800 – near 2008 levels). This is the onetime district of Bella Abzug and it is basically a gentrifying district, as well. It voted Mondale 74-25%, meaning in a neutral year, it would be on the order of 85-90%. They distinctly hate Reagan and the Reagan Revolution. (And would spend the next 30-40 years expressing their edgy views as such). There is just enough minorities to justify Storm’s activity in the CBC and the electorate itself is very minority friendly (unlike Speaker King). So, to the House Majority Leader, Axel Storm. Storm has sponsored the Workers Protection Act for 1989, stating “We were founded on the pillar of domestic tranquility, and I'll dare challenge to say that protecting the labor rights of every American and ensuring that every American has a job, is one of the most revolutionary and Democratic things.” He came out as strongly pro-Israel (I’m not sure he thought about this in this context, but the constituents in his district appreciated it very much) and anti-Percy. I’ve covered his legislative behavior on the first House docket elsewhere so I won’t recapitulate. The Drug Free Parks and Facilities Act maneuver was a black eye. It’s fine that Storm and the Democrats eventually made out fine, but it was not a good start to his House Majority Leadership. Nationally, the first docket looked very minority-oriented in a 85% white electorate, so some people grumbled, but his West side district was by and large happy. The Older Americans thing was a blunder but he explained it well and the Democrats are bringing up the bill on their own. Anyway, Storm wades into controversy but so far he has avoided Ferris like disaster or being a national albatross. That is in part because he isn’t the Speaker and has a little more latitude. But that all said, Storm has avoided being a liability to the House Democrats. But he has skated to the edge a couple of times and risks ticking off swaths of the white electorate that will be voting in 1990. There is a possibility Storm implodes and brings down the Party with him but there’s also a chance he can become Speaker. He has strong approval ratings among progressive Democrats (80-20), strong opposition among conservatives (10-90), and a 40-60% rating among moderate Democrats. For him, progressives make up 70% of the district, and that’s good enough for him. However, should the moderates break against him heavily, he could bring down other New York and Northeast Democrats. Diane Williams (D-Virginia 2nd). 60% name recognition; 34-26-40%. Reagan won here 63-37%, and it is the Norfolk – Virginia Beach area district. It is also a military-heavy district and leans Republican. (In a neutral year, it would be 54-46% Republican). This was a seat that flipped in 1986 from the Republicans to the Democrats. It is a 25% minority majority district (23% African American). However, the whites vote here as a decisive bloc. The Congressman recognizes this (I think) by pointing out that the Democratic message had to be broader than just minority oriented issues. She also sponsored an initiative to increase cop pay and backed the White House’s Affordable American Gas Act, and has pushed to simplify the capital gains tax. While stating her support for free trade, she also backed the Democrats’ ban on textile imports from the Soviet Union. She has (for the most part) delivered strong messaging but the question will be, will she vote like a party line Democrat or will she break ranks to help the Republicans in the House? Her operative problem will be and always will be the conservative bloc of white voters who dominate this district. The bottom line: her messaging gets her a lot of credit and goodwill. But it will be a test of taking tough votes for a conservative district. If she continues to try messaging but her voting record remains liberal, it will become a problem. (Her first two final votes were fine; but she missed the crucial Marshall amendment vote, which her district probably wanted her to see. Right now, 85% of Democrats approve as do 35% of Republicans and 60% of independents. These numbers are extremely soft and fluid; and can change. Evelyn Withers (D-Tennessee 9). 32-28-40. Tennessee’s ninth district is 51% African American and voted Mondale 64-36%. It is concentrated in Memphis and is likely to be such (it is likely 75%+ Democratic). Therefore, the primary rule applies here. The Democrats in this district are half liberal, a third conservative, and a fifth moderate. She is a freshman so I’m going to wait to give her a rating.
  15. 2 points
    Please don't abuse the react system in order to bait other players or otherwise harass them. Excessive use of the react system will result in certain board restrictions. Thank you.
  16. 1 point
    Daily Briefing 3: Congressional Commentary Kaine Tax Cut: President Kaine remains committed to the passage of his low-tax agenda, which permanently moves Capital Gains income from its current structure to instead be taxed as normal income. This is combined with the elimination of taxation on the first $35,000 of long term investments and $20,000 of short term investments, to allow families and retirees to access a modest amount of their savings to pay for sudden expenses without the crushing hand of the government taking a significant portion. No American should be punished by their government for using their savings. This tax cut does not eliminate the Capital Gains Tax, but rather ties it to individual income permanently. While multiple members of the Democratic House caucus appear to not understand the bill in its entirely, calling for hearings on something that is simply not in the bill. But President Anderson Kaine's agenda is directed at Main Street rather than Wall Street, and seeks to help everyday families take advantage of the incredible potential for financial growth and security available mostly to America's wealthiest located in Manhattan. Energy Talks: The President is excited to announce he has entered talks with members of Congressional leadership on the future of energy in the country, for more sustainable domestic energy solutions that help create jobs. While the Kaine Administration's Affordable American Gas Act, currently held up over special interest objections in the House, has received support from leaders of both parties in the House, he is ready to approach other ways to assist the energy industry's growth to be joined with its coming passage. The President, however, wants to insist that the interests of the American taxpayer must remain the priority throughout these talks. The President is also hoping to announce major changes to executive energy policy in the coming weeks, to ensure Congress has a full arsenal to address the issue when talks conclude. Domestic Violence Prevention Act: The President to glad to see the poison pill amendment proposed by House Democratic Leadership removed from the Domestic Violence Prevention Act by the Senate in an overwhelming vote for gun owners across the country. The President is a strong supporter of the second amendment, and seeks a solution that both honors the Constitution and protects victims of domestic violence. He hopes to see a clean bill leave the Conference Committee and arrive for his signature. No Seat Belt, No Sale Act: President Kaine has invited several mayors and governors to the White House to discuss the impacts and costs of the No Seat Belt, No Sale Act. The invitees are leaders among both parties. The President is hoping to have a robust discussion of the bill's financial burden, and whether its requirements would potentially leave America's cities and small towns facing hardship. The exact impact of the bill, and its support outside of the Beltway and into the communities affected most by it, is a priority for the President and he hopes to be able to come to an informed decision on the legislation after meeting with experts. Vice Presidential Leading Discussion on Refugee and Asylum Policy: With increased turmoil over the past few years in the Middle East, South America, Northern Africa and now the reverberations from the situation in China throughout the Asian continent, it is clear that the US policies towards political asylum and refugees need to be brought into the present and prepared for the future more now than ever. As such in the coming months the President has asked Vice President Saroyan to lead a project with help from the cabinet and Congressional leaders to modernize, restructure and if possible streamline the system looking towards the coming millennium to better deal with increased demand.
  17. 1 point
  18. 1 point
    This was quick but I think we can all agree that there is one member of the AB that has excelled in his position. Welcome our new CA, @Reed
  19. 1 point
    Name: Hector Lorraine-Montbatten Party: Republican Agency: East Bay Times "When presented with the binary choice between complete dysfunction and cutting deals, the American people will always choose deal cutting for its government; however, I believe that what the American people truly desire is for Congress to engage in fruitful dialogue and investigation in good faith. But we cannot achieve that until all of the players, and especially the leaders on Capitol Hill, decide that this is how we're going to progress. Republicans and Democrats need to focus on their intentions: do we want to win, or do we want to govern well? If we want to govern well, then we owe it to ourselves to hear the other side and respond honestly. Political point scoring and partisan rhetoric are destroying our republic."
  20. 1 point
    Mr Chairman I would argue that since this committee does not have the jurisdiction to review this bill, that you could simply take it off the floor and replace it with another without any procedural motion I yield
  21. 1 point
    Mr Chairman Why is this bill being debated in this committee instead of the Ways and Means Committee? I yield.
  22. 1 point
    While I play catch up, I'll try to do a Washington Daily today, with polls, then publish Senate and House rules formally, then write up what states are up in 1990. (AL, GA are for sure up, but I'll finish the rest today).
  23. 1 point
    Madam Speaker, Since my colleague has asked for information regarding the impact that this legislation will have on the locals, let me again point to the death toll in the last year which was nearly 50 thousand for motor vehicle deaths. The impact that this legislation would have is to cut that number down. This is the most important impact from this legislation, and I ask my colleague to consider that fact. Majority Leader Storm is correct that manufacturers have often times spurred the discussion of the need for seat belts in vehicles, which is impressively honest and thoughtful on their behalf, but even if this were not the case, since when should the U.S. government look to a private industry to lead on issues such as these? Isn't it the very function of the government to protect the safety of the American people? I do not recall the constitution stating that this task falls only to Congress if the private industries whole-heartedly agree with it. I Yield.
  24. 1 point
    Marshall happy to see Drug Free Parks bill reach President's Desk WASHINGTON DC - Chairman of the Republican Party Michael Marshall spoke to members of the press following the arrival of the Drug-Free Parks and Recreation Facilities Act to the President's desk. "I am a keen supporter in the War on Drugs and the Drug-Free Parks and Recreation Facilities Act takes that fight a step further by fighting drugs in our parks and on our playgrounds. I would like to extend a level of thanks and gratitude to members of the Democratic leadership who dutifully shepherded this legislation through Congress and providing proof that when we are sensible and offer commonsense proposals, they can be passed with ease. The bill acts mostly as a deterrent to increase tenfold the penalties for using drugs close to where our children congregate and play with their friends. I look forward to the signing of this piece of legislation by the President and the continued fight we will have against drugs and those that want to put our children in the line of them."
  25. 1 point
    The Washington Daily Ratings: Republican win, lean GOP/advantage GOP, Neutral, Lean Democratic/advantage Democratic, Democratic Win. Public Awareness: 1-10, 10 being the highest. Subject to evolution and change; these ratings will not be final unless noted. The House Marshall Amendment Passes Narrowly … By 218-216, the Marshall Amendment to revise the funding streams to be allocated in a “fair and open application.” The Republican victory on the bill managed to mitigate the news on the Ferris uproar (which didn’t, given the era, and given MLK Day, Jr being blocked by a number of Senators who won re-election anyway, necessarily hurt the GOP). The bill passed 312-85, with a leading Democrat expressing surprise that House Minority Leader Kyle Fitzgerald (R-Tex. 7th) backed it.. Pundits rated it advantage GOP. Public awareness: 5. (In a 85% white electorate, minority issues are a bit de-emphasized, especially in the eighties in the full flower of the Reagan Revolution). Democrats successfully Push Drug Free Parks and Recreation Facilities Act Amendments … After an embarrassing start, Democrats rallied with Storm I and II to modify punishments set out in the bill (making it more relative and allowing the Attorney General to pursue “lesser punishments.”) Drug reform advocates widely hailed the move. Pundits rated the final outcome advantage Democrats. Public awareness: 7/10. (Crime is a huge issue in the late eighties, as is drugs). So, that’s a wash on the titanic battles …. The GOP erased the Ferris screw up while the Democrats erased the Storm screw up. Maybe a slight GOP win. Senate Stalls on Percy Nomination … Wrangling over the Percy nomination stalled the Senate and the nomination is expected to be stuck for a while (OOC note: That’s on the Admins, so nobody is getting hit). Outcome: Neutral. AARP Furious at House Democrats …. Without much debate, House Democrats voted down a measure 228-207 that would have ended the earnings test to earn Social Security for older Americans. The AARP declared, “Older Americans need our help, now, more than ever, in a slowing economy.” Republicans were united for the measure. Interestingly, the weakest demographic for President Reagan (and maybe Kaine) in 1984 and 1988 were seniors. Republican Michael Marshall (R-N.C. 10th) pushed the measure on the House Floor. Republican Ronald Prescott (R-WI 9th) sponsored the measure. (His statement ran, “This bill will end the unfair and quite frankly ridiculous rule that says that if you reach retirement age, continue to work and contribute to society, you are to be punished by having your benefits cut if you earn above a certain amount.” A second statement said, “ “I cannot understand why we punish people who want to contribute to society after reaching retirement.”) House Republicans expressed outrage with GOP Rep. Dylan MacMillan (R-CA 42nd) accused the Democrats of “not having a care in the world for our senior citizens” Democrat Thomas Blackstone shot back, “If you have a bill that you care about, that you feel the American people would care about, stand strong behind it and debate it on the House Floor.” Michael Marshall noted, “ Again we hear more excuses of procedural barriers instead of helping older Americans earn more in the United States. The House Majority Whip has added his name to the list of Democrats that don't support giving our senior citizens more opportunity to get more money without losing their social security checks.” The RNC also released a statement, saying, “It is quite clear from this decision that there is only one party in the United States that work for the benefit of our seniors and its the Republican Party … All we want to do is give our seniors more money in their retirement by allowing them to work and collect social security,” adding to the momentum. At this hour, pundits are saying the fight leans Republican. Public Awareness: 9/10. This is a huge issue for an aging electorate. No Seatbelt, No Deal Act debate underway in House … Of course, ten gallon weird man from Nevada opposed it. (Ferris) That said, Republicans followed Ferris again on this measure and this is the second measure Ferris has led the House GOP on, despite emerging as a racial lightning rod. Thomas Blackstone (D-MA 3rd) and the new Party Chair) asked the House, “Do we not have money to ensure that our children (and all members of society as well) are safer.” In 1986, Nebraska (a Republican state) and Massachusetts repealed the seat belt law but since 1984, 24 states have passed a mandatory seat belt law. In both states, the vote was close, suggesting a national divide (albeit, in favor of mandatory seat belt laws, given that 24 states now have it). No Clear Outcome/Neutral. Public Awareness: 5/10. Phyllis Schafly Blasts House GOP and White House for Allowing the Equal Rights Amendment to go through Committee without Opposition … GOP doyenne and anti-ERA activist (and longtime Illinois Republican) Phyllis Schafly blasted the Republican Party for allowing the ERA to pass Committee, raising fears among the Right that the Left would try a second crack at the ERA. Potential GOP damage here (no rating yet). Public Awareness: 6/10, 9/10 among the Right. The DNC PR received widespread praise for their well written legislative roundup, found here. Media outlets may cover the DNC a little more favorably as a result. Democrats Push Textile Import Ban from Soviet Union, South Africa … Thomas Blackstone, DNC Chair, pushed the bill saying, “This bill will help protect American workers and make certain that our economy remains strong. This is a comprehensive bill that secures a position of strength for our textile industry here in America.” Speaker Elizabeth Callaghan (D-Pa.) issued a strong statement saying, “Cheap imports from the Soviets and South Africa, two places that stand fundamentally at odds with the values of the United States, will be banned under this act as they rightfully should.” The issue is advantage Democratic. Public Awareness: 9/10, as the nation has been recently aggressive against foreign imports and the Soviet Union is a historic American foe. Refer to Item #9 and #5. The RNC is courting senior Americans while Democrats are pushing for the blue collar vote. The senior vote could go to the GOP in the 1990 midterms but blue collar Americans could be tempted to vote Democratic. The Senate GOP Senate passes Measures Through UC … The Senate passed a counter-narcotics measure, some FDA measure, and unemployment compensation for battered female domestic victim survivors. (Not language you’d see in the eighties). None of the measures were controversial. Majority Leader Jack Edwards (R-Montana) said "The Senate has considered a range of bills so far in this session, which range from allowing our senior citizens to earn more money to ensuring that battered women receive unemployment insurance. Bills which have received broad bipartisan support in the upper chamber, sadly, the same cannot be said for the lower chamber.” Shade thrown at the Speaker, which is interesting if they ever need to pass a budget. The rating is advantage Republican and public awareness is 3/10. The White House President Anderson Kaine announces Elimination of (some) Capital Gains Tax and Middle Class Tax Cut … Once again, Republican and lightning rod Will Ferris (R-Nevada 2nd) is at the forefront of the GOP legislative efforts, having sponsored the Administration's leading tax package. Aside from having a racial firestorm lead the 41st President’s tax agenda (which got a hearty denunciation from the NAACP), the White House is attempting to pass a tax cut (as Republican White Houses tend to do). As the Administration PR put it, “The tax credit would convert capital gains to regular income, and ensure that the first $20,000 for short-term investments and $35,000 for long-term investments is untaxed in its entirety.” Ferris said, “With the passage of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, we have an unparalleled opportunity to bring about an end to the capital gains tax for all short-term gains of up to $20,000, and long-term gains of up to $35,000. This will cover 99% of all Americans and the entire middle class, effectively eliminating the unjust and punitive capital gains tax nationwide.” (Side bar, everyone noticed that he called the President of the United States a close friend, a statement not repudiated by the President). The President gave a lengthy statement of mostly platitudes, as most Republican Presidents tend to do. House Republicans were for the President’s tax cuts, with Dylan MacMillan saying, “Today the President and other leading Republicans outlined a major set of tax cuts for America's middle classes that will save them thousands of dollars each.” The RNC also issued a statement in favor of it. House Majority Whip James Parker (R-CA 44th) also issued a statement, saying “We see a cut on Capital Gains investments which will allow low and middle income families to finally be allowed the opportunity to invest in their future, and, in tough times.” Rating is advantage Republican, bordering on GOP win, with a public awareness rating of 9/10.
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