Congressman-Elect Roy’s First Hires Suggests Good Things Forthcoming

Chip Roy, the congressman-elect in Texas’s 21st congressional district, looks like he wants to establish himself as a real conservative leader in the House. His first hire is Wade Miller, a Marine combat veteran who served both in the Horn of Africa and Iraq. Miller worked for Heritage Action when it was still the congressional heart burn generator and then went to work as Political Director for Ted Cruz.

Maggie Harrell is an Auburn grad, which we won’t hold against her, and she worked as counsel to Jeff Sessions, which suggests Roy wants to be a fighter on immigration. Harrell will be the legislative director.

Then there is Nathan McDaniel who served as Roy’s campaign manager and had been a field director for Americans for Prosperity.

So we have a Jeff Sessions alumnus, a Heritage Action and Ted Cruz alumnus, and an Americans for Prosperity alumnus. In other words, we have people who can organize the grassroots and the grass tops. Insert nuclear bomb gif here, folks. Keep your eye on this office.

I’ve Got Concerns With Facebook’s Content Governance Plan

It is pretty clear Facebook and, specifically, Mark Zuckerberg have put a lot of thought into what to do with their content. As they have gotten so big, they have become an easy target for critics. Facebook is dominant in social media and, frankly, a lot of media outlets abdicated their traffic growth to Facebook. When that did not pan out, they’ve decided to nurse their grievances against Facebook with regular and sustained attacks on the platform. Many a journalist who suffered a “pivot to video” has an axe to grind and we should not forget that this shapes a lot of media coverage towards Facebook these days. Likewise, a lot of what happens on and with social media is so unknown that people fear it.

But it is clear as well that Facebook is grappling with a bunch of unknowns related to its content and how to patrol it, as Mark Zuckerberg himself outlines in a pretty lengthy piece about the steps the platform will take moving forward. You can read it here.

Essentially, Facebook is working with various countries on regulation of the platform; intends to create an independent third party group to make content decisions for it; and intends to use algorithms to degrade content that is acceptable under Facebook’s terms of service, but that approach the line of being unacceptable. I put them in that order because I want to deal with them in that way.

First, there are plenty of countries that do not value our first amendment and Facebook has to work with those countries. I think it should be applauded for pro-actively seeking to work with countries like France to find a favorable solution to that country’s concerns. That, however, leads me to the second issue.

Facebook intends to create Continue reading

After Midterms, Republicans Are Endangered Species On West Coast

As midterm election results continue to roll in from California, the extent of the Republican rout on the West Coast is becoming apparent. At this point, it looks as though Democrat gains in the House will be a net increase of 38 seats. Almost 20 percent of these gains come from the West Coast and many are in the one-time Republican stronghold of Orange County, California where Republican congressional districts were wiped out.

Prior to the election, Republicans held four of the six seats in the suburban Los Angeles county. The 46th and 47th districts were previously Democratic districts, but the remainder of the county has traditionally been Republican.

The Democratic gains in Orange County were mixed between picking up Republican open seats and knocking off GOP incumbents. Dana Rohrabacher, the 48th district congressman widely considered to be the most pro-Kremlin Republican, lost to Democrat Harley Rouda and Republican Mimi Walters in the 45th district was defeated by Katie Porter. In the 49th district, Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight committee, famous for his investigations of Benghazi and Fast and Furious, announced his retirement and saw his seat flip to the Democrats as Mike Levin defeated Diane Harkey. In the 39th district, another Republican retirement cleared the way for Democrat Gil Cisneros to defeat Republican Young Kim.

The Orange County Republican rout is similar to the Republican difficulties in the rest of the country. Orange County is heavily suburban and has a declining population of whites, which make up only 42 percent of the population per California Demographics. Hispanics comprise 34 percent of county residents while 19 percent are Asian. Exit polls show that nationally less than 30 percent of those minority groups voted Republican.

Democrats also flipped two other California congressional districts in California. The 10th district in Turlock, north of San Francisco, and the 25th district in Palmdale, on the north side of LA, both voted out Republican incumbents.

A seventh West Coast district, Washington’s 8th, home to Rep. Dave Reichert, another retiring Republican, is being replaced by Democrat Josh Harder. At this point, Democrats control seven of Washington’s 10 congressional districts. The third district, represented by Republican Herrera Beutler, is now the only Republican district on the entire West Coast that borders on the Pacific Ocean.

 

 

There were no flipped seats in Oregon, but four of the state’s five districts were already Democrat. Only Gregg Walden’s second district, which covers the inland two-thirds of the state, is represented by a Republican.

 

If the Republicans want to take back the House, they will have to become more competitive in suburban House districts like those in Orange County. Reversing this year’s losses will also require that the GOP overcome the current trend of declining minority support.

Stacey Abrams Refuses to Concede, But She Gives Up

Democratic candidate for Governor of Georgia, Stacey Abrams, says she will give up the fight for Governor, even though she thinks a “system of suppression” denied her a victory. She claims “democracy failed Georgia.” The problem is that in her litany of supposed incompetence she is actually claiming arises from problems that happened in counties, not at the state level.

State law is very clear that long lines, etc. are not grounds for overturning an election and she recognizes she has no remedy moving forward. She claims she will keep up the fight, which undoubtedly will involve a run against Senator David Perdue.

In her statement, she hints at a future race and claims Brian Kemp was “deliberate and intentional in his actions” to undermine democracy this year. She claim there will be new fights.

House Passes ‘Manage Our Wolves Act’ to Keep Gray Wolf Population in Check

This will make it easier for state wildlife agencies and other stakeholders to help manage the growing wolf herd.

 

Today, the House of Representatives passed Rep. Sean Duffy’s Manage Our Wolves Act. It passed mostly with Republican support by a vote of 196-180.

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife has determined that the gray wolf population is at healthy levels and needs to have its status updated accordingly. Per the agency, the species has rebounded “by as much as 300 percent”, with their population “estimated to be 5,691 gray wolves in the contiguous United States.” They have concluded that wolf numbers are “robust”, “stable,” and “self-sustaining.” ​

 

Any attempts to place further Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections on the gray wolf won’t stand, as the legislation makes this species exempt from further judicial review.

 

House Natural Resources Committee Chair Rob Bishop (R-UT) praised his House colleagues for passing it on the respective chamber’s floor:

 

“Scientific evidence conducted by Fish and Wildlife under multiple administrations from both sides of the aisle shows the wolf has recovered and thrived. It’s time to delist. Communities and species will continue to lose when special interest litigants and activist judges dictate Endangered Species Act policy. That’s the status quo, and today the House voted to move ESA policy in a better direction.”

 

“Wisconsin deserves the opportunity to use science-based wildlife management for our own gray wolf population, because we know what’s better for our state’s ecosystem better than activist judges in Washington,”said Congressman Duffy. “I’m proud to introduce bipartisan legislation to delist the gray wolf because Wisconsin farmers deserve to be able to protect their livestock, and they should not suffer because of the decisions made by an overreaching federal government a thousand miles away.”

 

The bill boasts two key sections: Section II of the bill calls for full removal of federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming and the Western Great Lakes, while Section III fully removes the species in question from the Endangered and Threatened Wildlife lists in the continental U.S. Any attempt to delist these gray wolves will be exempt from judicial review, as well, meaning federal judges like the one in Montana who put a halt

Delisting won’t lead to decimation of the gray wolf. An updated status will accurately reflect the health of the species free of politics but based in actual science. This is a win for true conservation.

 

A companion bill must pass in the Senate before being signed into law. Let’s hope the Lame Duck session leads to this bill becoming law.

Georgia Didn’t Offer Amazon the Moon…But Pretty Close

Now that Amazon has made its decision for its second headquarters – dividing space between New York City and Northern Virginia, along with an operations center near Nashville – it’s interesting to see how much the City of Atlanta and the State of Georgia were willing to offer up to lure the tech giant in.

Of course, we know that Georgia was so eager to whore itself out to the online shopping giant that conservatives lost opportunities at religious freedom legislation, but the state and its capital city were so smitten with “Amazon Love” (as a web page dedicated to the effort, complete with a header graphic highlighting Atlanta’s Pride Festival, describes it) that they made some pretty skanky offers.

The plans to show enough leg to lure Amazon were made public earlier this week, and what Georgia, Atlanta, and others were prepared to offer will blow your mind. For starters, the City of Atlanta was prepared to pony up $87 million in tax credits and $2.2 billion in infrastructure investments. The state was ready to throw over $2 billion in tax incentives, credits, and direct investment into the project, which would have taken place at one of over 60 locations in the northern half of the state.

One of the more interesting incentives on the table – without a price tag – was an Amazon-centered educational initiative. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Greg Bluestein reports:

One of the components would have been an on-site “Amazon Georgia Academy” operated with the help of the University System of Georgia and the state tech college system. The price tag was listed as “incalculable/TBD” by state officials.

It would have offered a 24-week boot camp program for staffers, undergraduate and post-graduate coursework, and state-sponsored recruiters to help fill the company’s jobs. The state would pay to build the academy and pick up the first five years of operating costs – including salaries of professors and recruiters.

It gets even more gross. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport was prepared to build an exclusive lounge and offer 50 special parking spaces for Amazon, and MARTA, Atlanta’s transit authority, discussed a special train car just for Amazon. The city batted around the idea of naming streets after Amazon products – names like “Alexa Way” and “Prime Place.”

All this, along with denying people of faith a religious freedom law – you know, something similar to what Virginia and Tennessee already have – and Georgia couldn’t lure Amazon. I shudder to think what New York and Virginia offered them.

Mia Love Sues To Stop Ballot Count In Utah

Yet another election lawsuit has been filed as Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) has asked a judge to stop the ballot count in her congressional district. Love’s campaign is seeking approval to challenge the county verification of signed envelopes that accompany absentee ballots.

Love was reported to have lost on election night, but the race is very close and has not yet been officially decided. Yesterday, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Love has narrowed the race and trailed Democrat Ben McAdams by 873 votes.

Love alleges that her campaign representatives have been allowed to observe the counting, but that challenges to the authenticity of voter signatures have been ignored, notes the Daily Caller. A hearing was scheduled on the lawsuit for Thursday afternoon, but Salt Lake County continued counting ballots in the meantime, releasing the updated count Wednesday night.

Love was mocked by President Trump the day after the election for her loss. The president singled her out for failing to ask for an endorsement of her re-election campaign, saying, “Mia Love gave me no love and she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.”

Love’s opponent, Democrat Ben McAdams tweeted in response to the lawsuit, “It is the job of election officials to decide what votes count, not political candidates. Rep. Love’s decision to sue only in SLCo as she continues to trail in this race is unfortunate and smacks of desperation. Utah voters deserve better than this.”

Utah’s four congressional districts were all represented by Republicans prior to the midterm elections. Rep. Love’s fourth district, which includes part of Salt Lake City and its southern suburbs, is the only district in danger of being controlled by Democrats.

In other parts of the country, election results continue to trickle in with new gains for Democrats. The race for Maine’s second district was finally decided today in favor of Democrat Jared Golden. Golden, a Marine veteran, defeated Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin. Golden’s victory brings the total Democrat gains in the House to 35 seats with seven races still undecided.

New Ruling Puts End To Georgia Election Wrangling In Sight

A federal judge issued a ruling in Democrat Stacey Abrams lawsuit over the Georgia gubernatorial election. Last night, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones ruled that the secretary of state has confirmed that absentee ballots with missing or incorrect birthdates are counted.

Per a report by WSB Radio, Judge Jones, an Obama appointee, agreed to Abrams’ request to count absentee ballots with missing or incorrect birthdates but rejected several other requests by the Democratic candidate.  Ballots cast by voters in the wrong county or with incorrect residence addresses will not be counted.

Under Georgia law, if a voter goes to the wrong precinct to vote, they are allowed to cast a provisional ballot. The provisional ballot is counted if the voter is determined to be a resident of the county and has not voted elsewhere. Several counties in Metro Atlanta reported that they rejected hundreds of ballots because people voted in a county where they were not a resident. In Fulton County, 972 ballots cast by out-of-county voters were rejected.

Abrams is about 19,000 votes short of being able to force a runoff. Austin Chambers, an advisor to Republican candidate Brian Kemp said on Twitter that the ruling would affect about 800 votes, “nowhere near enough to change the race. This is over.”

Even if the ruling does not change the outcome of the gubernatorial race, it may affect a still-undecided congressional race. Atlanta’s 11 Alive reported that the election for the seventh congressional district was still undecided. Republican incumbent Bob Woodall leads Democrat challenger Carolyn Bourdeaux by only 533 votes or 0.2 percent of the total. Georgia law allows candidates to ask for a recount if the margin in the election is less than one percent.

A similar ruling in a separate lawsuit filed by Bourdeaux required Gwinnett County to count absentee ballots with incorrect or missing birthdates as well. The Gwinnett County ruling was issued by Judge Leigh Martin May, also an Obama appointee, prior to yesterday’s ruling by Judge Jones. Per 11 Alive, the ruling affected at least 265 ballots with the birth year omitted and at least 58 ballots where the birth year was listed as 2018.

How long the recount of absentee ballots will take is uncertain at this point. The state deadline for certifying election was results was missed Tuesday due to the lawsuits. Under the new ruling, all of Georgia’s 159 counties will have to recount the absentee ballots and recertify their results.

Erick Erickson wrote on Resurgent, “There will be no recount and there will be no runoff. There are simply not enough votes. The only thing Democrats have left is to help [Democrat Secretary of State candidate] John Barrow get elected in the runoff.”

“On the upside, this is all almost over,” Erickson added.