values voters
Paul Ryan: Listen to your voters, they value their libraries
OPINION | Libraries still matter in Wisconsin and across the nation. Will Paul Ryan listen?
By John William Templeton, opinion contributor

“An angry taxpayer called Wisconsin Public Radio on Take Action for Libraries Day as I appeared on the Joy Cardin Show on Wisconsin Public Radio.The form she needed was not in the booklet she’d received. She called her branch library, which made the copy for free and allowed her to send in her tax payment on time.During the hour, listeners shared how many ways libraries are such a good investment that the federal government should increase the $230 million it currently provides, instead of zeroing out that funding as Speaker Paul Ryan, R-WI and the Trump administration favor.“

theory v.s kritiks part 2

well actually part 3: winning theory over kritiks
okay in this scenario your opponent runs some crazy critical literature and youre like um wtf are they talking about. only run theory if you can get someone of a decent violation especially on kritiks. approach this from the perspective that kritikal debaters read the same confusing shit every round then extend something cool and important sounding and win, and they DO NOT want to engage in your theory, they want to be able to talk about their K which they probably think is super cool. ok into strategies:
1. weigh your theory violation under their role of the ballot. for example: yeah being sexist is bad and exclusive but its even more exclusive when you run a fucking mindset fiat alt and can get unlimited imaginary solvency/offense
2. out weigh the ROB with theory voters. say “valuing in round education and fairness is more important than challenging capitalism because the judge can actually change debate norms with their ballot but they cant just end capitalism” weigh in terms of the debate space
3. outweigh on links!! their in round violation is more unique and important than their super vague generic links they read on every topic.
4. once you win theory comes first, its easy to out tech them. extend no RVIs, extend specific harms that their violation causes, ect.
5. MOST IMPORTANT ARGUMENT!! if the kritikal debater is doing abusive practices, vote them down to discourage it!! your opponent wilk say “vote me up to challenge capitalism and so i can break and read this in outrounds and stop cap even more!!” NO you wont be stopping cap youll be encouraging abusive practices and just because you read critical lit doesnt mean you cant be held accountable!

if you have more questions feel free to privately message me or send an ask!


It’s Not Over Until It’s Over

This morning I heard from an old friend here in California who said “I’m for Bernie, but he doesn’t really have a chance anymore. So isn’t my vote for him in the California primary just prolonging the agony, and indirectly helping Trump?”

I told him:

1.  True, the electoral numbers are daunting, and Bernie faces an uphill task, but a win Tuesday will help enormously. One out of 8 Americans lives in California.

2.  Regardless of the electoral math, Bernie’s candidacy has never been mainly about Bernie. It’s been about a movement to reclaim our democracy and economy from the moneyed interests. And a win for Bernie in the California primary (and in other Tuesday primaries in Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota South Dakota, and New Mexico) will send an even clearer signal to Washington, the Democratic Party, and the establishment as a whole, that a large and growing share of Americans is determined to wrest back control.

3. The goals Bernie has enunciated in his campaign are essential to our future: getting big money out of politics and reversing widening inequality; moving toward a single-payer healthcare system and free tuition at public universities (both financed by higher taxes on the richest Americans and on Wall Street); a $15 minimum wage; decriminalization of marijuana and an end to mass incarceration; a new voting rights act; immigration reform; and a carbon tax. All will require continued mobilization at all levels of government. A win Tuesday will help continue and build on that mobilization.

4.  Bernie’s successes don’t help Trump. To the contrary, they are bringing into politics millions of young voters whose values are opposite to those of Trump’s. Bernie has received majorities from voters under age 45 (as well as from independents). He’s won even larger majorities of young people under 30 – including young women and Latinos. Many have been inspired and motivated by Bernie to become political activists – the last thing Trump and the Republicans want.

THIS JUST IN!  The Family Research Council thinks vewy vewy hard and determines that the 40-year decline in SAT scores has nothing to do with the fact that we are cutting education spending left and right and crippling our academic system or, definitely not this either, the fact that more kids from more diverse backgrounds are applying to college BUT NO IT’S BECAUSE MAMAS AND DADDIES AREN’T LIVING TOGETHER BUT INSTEAD ARE LIVING IN SIN!  OF COURSE THAT’S IT!  Obvious exceptions: all the kids in my family, since we all scored high and most of us were near-perfect.  BTW: SAT scores are clearly indicative of intelligence and values.  That’s why Bush (1206) scored lower than Gore (1355).   

‘Spiritual, But Not Religious’: A Rising, Misunderstood Voting Bloc

Spirituality is a big story in politics. Maybe as big a story as religion. It’s been more than a decade since evangelicals helped George W. Bush win the White House, and we’ve gotten used to the idea of the “values voter,” of religion as a political force. But while the evangelical bloc seems to have frayed a bit and liberal mainline religion continues to lose influence, another major religious category is gathering force and deserves politician and pundit attention—the “spiritual but not religious” vote.

A fifth of Americans check “none” on surveys of religious preference. Among the young adults under 30 who helped propel Obama into office, a full third check “none.” Atheist pundits are quick to claim these gains for their own, but that is not the case—nearly 70 percent of “nones” report belief in God or a universal spirit, and 37 percent describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” This may or may not be the story of the decline of “religion,” but it is clearly also the story of the ascent of “spirituality.”

Read more. [Image: Forsaken Fotos/Flickr]
John Boehner's Last Deal
The House speaker finally took a bold stand—trading his office for one last bargain.
By Molly Ball

Who did John Boehner represent? Conservatives thought he was a sellout. Liberals thought he was a lightweight. His own deputies (first Eric Cantor, then Kevin McCarthy) disrespected him; his caucus was totally out of his control. He didn’t have any particular juice back home in Ohio. If he had a constituency at all, it was the ever-more-powerless Beltway Establishment, its own isolated and isolating club. For a man whose position—speaker of the House—bespoke power, he often seemed like the loneliest man in American politics.

So it was fitting that, when Boehner announced his retirement on Friday, it was a decision he had made in solitude. He had consulted no one; he had told only his wife and his chief of staff. McCarthy, the odds-on next speaker, got a two-minute heads up. The rest of Washington, and the country, was blindsided.

Before he became a congressman, Boehner was a blue-collar Ohioan. He started as a salesman and rose to president of a plastics company. (The second of 12 children, he must have spent his childhood overseeing a houseful of less mature beings, a situation with obvious parallels to his eventual position.) He was frank and profane, liable to break into tears out of joy or despair, and incapable of maintaining a poker face. He ate breakfast every morning at the same Capitol Hill diner. When he went home to Cincinnati, he cut his own grass. He liked his cigarettes, a nice Merlot, golf, good suits (and making fun of other people’s). He believed in the Chamber of Commerce’s agenda: More immigration, less Social Security—the opposite of Trumpism, and a philosophy with very little popular support outside of K Street. Boehner was a sort of Everyman of American Capitalism; his resignation can be seen, in part, as the ultimate frustration of the GOP’s status-quo-oriented business wing, which has funded the party to ever greater legislative success only to see its priorities ignored in favor of attention-getting brinkmanship.

There are two rules of John Boehner, John Lawrence, a former chief of staff to Nancy Pelosi, told me recently: One, he always wants to make the deal; two, he can never deliver the votes for the deal. That was apparent even before he became speaker. In 2008, with the nation’s economy melting down, Boehner, then the House minority leader, worked with Democrats to craft a bailout bill for the financial industry. But when it went to the floor, he couldn’t get Republicans to vote for it. The bill failed, and the stock market plunged nearly 800 points. (A second version of the bill passed a few days later.)

After the Tea Party wave of 2010 elevated Boehner to the speakership, the White House saw him as someone it could deal with, and Boehner and President Obama set about trying to craft a “grand bargain” that would increase government revenue while cutting long-term spending. The deal fell apart—the two sides still disagree on what happened, with Democrats insisting Boehner couldn’t sell a deal to his caucus while Republicans say it was the White House that made unreasonable demands at the last minute. The result, in July 2011, was a debt-ceiling crisis that brought the country to the brink of default and resulted in a credit downgrade.

This pattern—failed dealmaking, crisis, a last-minute (or post-last-minute) patch—would repeat itself. Boehner was backed by a large Republican majority, and was himself quite ideologically conservative. But he believed in compromise, in incremental progress toward conservative goals in the long term. And as a congressional lifer, he’d been around long enough to know what was realistic—given a Democratic Senate and White House—and what was not. Several dozen members of his GOP caucus, elected from overwhelmingly Republican districts, often in race-to-the-right primaries, disagreed with this analysis and viewed compromise as capitulation. (This is also the view of the majority of the party base.)

Thanks to this conservative rump caucus, Boehner couldn’t reliably get the 218 votes he needed to pass legislation through the House. He suffered a series of humiliating failed floor votes; he repeatedly had to rely on Democratic votes to get bills through. The situation came to a head two years ago, when conservatives, led by Senator Ted Cruz, refused to vote for a funding bill to keep the government up and running unless a measure to defund Obamacare was included. With Boehner unable, again, to muster the votes for a compromise, the government shut down for two and a half weeks.

It reopened again just in time to raise the debt ceiling. Boehner was convinced he had taught the conservatives—one moderate GOP congressman termed them “lemmings with suicide vests”—a lesson. And indeed, 2014 saw a marked thaw, with a budget passing both houses for the first time in five years and some minor outbreaks of comity. At the same time, Boehner couldn’t convince his troops to move forward on immigration, an issue dear to the speaker’s base in the business lobby.

Why was Boehner so weak? In part, he was simply a man with an impossible job. Republicans are divided between their nihilist and governing wings. Having banned earmarks, Boehner couldn’t use pork-barrel spending to win votes. And with his naturally easygoing temperament, he wasn’t an enforcer—unlike the former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, no one would ever nickname John Boehner “the Hammer.” Boehner’s efforts to punish those who defied him—by stripping committee assignments, for example—were only met with more defiance. In the vote to reelect him speaker in January, 25 Republicans voted against him, the greatest number of defections any speaker has faced in the last century.

Boehner was said to like being speaker, but most days, he didn’t seem to be having much fun. For years, there have been rumors he would resign. At his press conference Friday, he said he initially planned to depart at the end of 2014, but when Cantor was deposed in a primary last year, he decided to stay one more year, for stability’s sake. Last year’s midterm elections increased the Republicans’ majority and seemed to increase Boehner’s power. But they also increased the ranks of restive conservatives, who helped torpedo another business-lobby priority, the Export-Import Bank, over the summer.

He sacrificed his career for one last deal.

Next week, funding for the government will again expire, and Boehner was looking ahead at another apparently unavoidable shutdown fight, as conservatives demanded that Planned Parenthood be defunded in exchange for any extension. In the end, he realized he had one last bargaining chip—his speakership. Without the threat of an ouster looming over him, he is free to put a “clean” funding bill on the floor, which is likely to pass with a combination of Democratic and Republican votes.

Boehner’s exit Friday was cheered by conservatives, from the halls of the Values Voter Summit to the airwaves of talk radio. After years of struggling against his own party’s rejectors of compromise, he has finally pleased them by giving up. He sacrificed his career for one last deal. This time, he may even have the votes to pass it.