Archive for December, 2011

Income Inequality: A crib sheet for reporters

Friday, December 30th, 2011

In all the hubbub of police marching in riot gear and protestors fleeing, reporters have been forgetting to tell us what’s at the heart of the matter for the Occupiers.

So, here’s a crib sheet for anyone writing about Occupy in coming year.

Income Inequality:  Occupy by the Numbers

Percentage of our nation’s wealth owned by the top 1% of earners:  33.8%

Percentage of U.S. wealth owned by the bottom 50% of Americans:  2.5%.

Percentage of investment assets (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.) owned by top 1%:  over 50%

Percentage of investment assets owned by the bottom half:  0.5%

Percentage of the nation’s personal debt owed by the top 1% in the US:  5%

Percentage of the nation’s personal debt owed by the bottom 90% of Americans:  73%

Tax rate for highest income earners in 1944: 94%

Today: 35%

Between 1980 and 2005, percentage of all income gains that went to the top 1%:  80%

Percentage growth in real income for top 1% of earners since 1979:  275%

Percentage growth in real income for bottom 20% of earners since 1979:  18%

Last decade in U.S. history when the top 1% earned as high or higher a share of the national income as they do today (24%):  1920s

Last decade in which the super-elite (top .01% of earners) claimed a higher share:  Never

Percentage change in average CEO pay since 1990:  +300%

Percentage change in “production worker” pay since 1990: +4%

Last year when the purchasing power of U.S. federal minimum wage reached as low as it is today:  1955

Ratio of average worker’s income to top CEO salaries in 1970:  1 to 38

Today:  1 to 1,723

Amount of nation’s wealth controlled by the top 1% elite in Ancient Rome:  16%

Amount of nation’s wealth controlled by the top 1% elite in U.S. today:  40%

Fraction of U.S. public who think there is too much power in the hands of a few rich people and large corporations in the U.S.: 3/4

Fraction of Americans who believed this in 1941:  3/5

Percentage of American millionaires who agree who agree that Occupy “protestors are making a good and valid point”: 35%

Percentage of U.S. Congress who are millionaires:  47%

Percentage of U.S. Senators who are millionaires:  66%

Ratio of Americans living below the poverty line:  1 in 7

Rank of U.S. among rich nations in the percentage of children living in poverty:  2nd (21.9%)

In 2010 alone, percentage change in average income among the 24 million poorest families in U.S.:  -10 %

Rank of U.S. among developed nations of the world in income inequality: 1st

Follow Jason Salzman in Twitter @bigmediablog

New York Times omits the Pill in list of Personhood prohibitions

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Our deep experience with personhood amendments here in Colorado has taught us that a government that gives legal rights to zygotes (otherwise known as fertilized eggs) would have no choice but to ban some forms of the Pill.

But unfortunately, the New York Times, in an article yesterday, failed to mention that some forms of the Pill would have had to be banned if the personhood amendment passed in Mississippi.

The Times reported:

Mississippi voters said they thought twice about the proposal when they heard that it would not only ban virtually all abortions but also some forms of contraception like I.U.D.’s and morning-after pills, could hamper in-vitro fertilization clinics and could, doctors warned, discourage critical medical care for pregnant women.

Birth control was also at the center of the Personhood debate in Mississippi, and to be fair, the Times’ Erik Eckholm should have added “some forms of the Pill” to the list of items that worried the people of Mississippi.

The New York Times itself reported in Dec. that all hormonal contraceptives, which include the pill, may “make the lining of the uterus less hospitable to a fertilized egg.”

Reporters should ask Coffman why he thinks the 9-11 compensation law was “vote buying”

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Yesterday I suggested in a blog post that reporters should look again at Rep. Mike Coffman’s reasons for opposing the repeal of the military’s Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell policy, in light of extreme statements Coffman made on the radio.

On the same radio program, KHOW’s Caplis and Silverman show Dec 21, 2009, Coffman expanded on his reasons for voting against the so-called 9/11 compensation bill, which became law nonetheless and set up a health fund for ground zero workers.

At the time, Coffman made no secret of his opposition to the bill, saying it was unnecessary and expensive.

But on the radio, talking with Bob Beauprez, Coffman went further, saying the bill was being used for “vote buying” in New York.

Coffman [at 26:10 in the recording]: This is really just about money for New York City. It’s not about, really I think, helping the first responders because we have already done that.

Beauprez: It is a very difficult vote to be no on though, isn’t it?

Coffman: Oh it’s hard. Politically it’s tough. And they know it. And that’s why this is really the [inaudible]. This bill is so vital to them politically. Because it’s obviously vote buying in New York City. But more importantly, I think…nobody mentions, not even the mainstream media, that we have already done this.

Beauprez: No, I’ve been watching a lot of reports and waiting for somebody to bring it up. And I see absolutely nothing. Where are you going to be on the vote if you have to take one?

Coffman: I’m voting against it. I voted against it the first time and I’ll vote against it this time…. But this is really expanding this to create a long-term entitlement program. A multi-billion dollar program. And I think it’s wrong. It’s open ended.

Coffman is in a competitive race now, and reporters should ask him about this, since Beauprez obviously didn’t bother to educate himself on the issue before interviewing Coffman. If he had, he’d surely have seen that Coffman’s view that the bill was unnecessary was widely reported, and, still, the bill cleared the House and Senate overwhelmingly.

But Coffman’s other position, as serious accusation, that the bill was “vote buying” for New York, wasn’t reported, per se, and reporters should ask Coffman about it.

Reporters should ask Coffman why he thinks soldiers can tell who’s gay and why Coffman thinks this matters

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Now that Rep. Mike Coffman’s congressional district is widely regarded as more competitive, reporters should take another look at Coffman’s media appearances over the past years, and ask questions where none were asked before.

Of course, the low-hanging fruit is on local talk radio, where questions about Coffman pile up in your head so quickly you start forgetting good ones unless you write them down.

So I’m going to roll out a series of these interviews over the holiday season, to lay out some questions that linger about him.

Coffman has made no secret of his opposition to repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, for example, at least for combat troops, who are, as he puts it, “at the tip of the spear.”

He’s argued:

“Interjecting sexuality into a ground combat team potentially creates an emotional divide between Marines that undermines confidence and prevents that interdependent bond from forming, ultimately compromising the combat effectiveness of the unit.”

That may sound extreme, but on the radio, mostly with, you-go-dude style enthusiasm from hosts, Coffman has gone further, arguing that combat troops can “just tell” when a fellow fighter is gay.

He dumps the qualifiers, like gays could “potentially” create problems, and goes straight to declarative assertions about the destructive impact of putting gay men in combat situations.

Below, former Bob Beauprez, subbing on the Caplis and Silverman show Dec. 21, 2009, got into the topic with Coffman:

Beauprez: You brought up something that I think is often forgotten. Outward displays of sexuality, however we want to, I guess, let our mind figure out what that really means, whether they be heterosexual or homosexual, they create a problem on the battlefield.

Coffman: Well they really do. And I think it’s hard for people to understand that. But it’s young people. And it’s not you punch out and go home at 5 o’clock. And even if it is no overt sexuality, there is an emotional tension there where people can tell.

Beauprez: Yeah, and that is not a good place for emotional tension.

Coffman: No it’s not.

Beauprez: You have enough of that going on.

I wish I could send one of those WTF Jon Stewart faces out of this blog, because reporters should ask Coffman how combat troops know who’s gay and who isn’t.

And if they think they do, how is that any different from them believing something else about a fellow soldier, like his race, class, or what have you? I mean, soldiers could suspect anything and everything, positive or negative, about  fellow soldiers, and either they’d get over it or they’d get disciplined, end of story.

Reporter’s good follow-up question shows that length of payroll tax cut extension didn’t seem to matter much to Gardner before this week

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

One reason we like to have reporters on the job is so they can join those boring conference calls with politicians who don’t say much.

Unless they are asked right questions.

The Denver Post’s Allison Sherry dialed into a call with Rep. Cory Gardner Dec. 14, and asked a really good follow-up question raising doubts about Gardner’s subsequent explanation that he opposed a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut because two months was too short.

The Colorado GOP organized the news conference call last week to tout passage of a House bill that extended the payroll tax cut, but the House bill also included riders, which would, among other things, have paved the way for the Keystone oil pipeline.

This House passed this bill before the Senate passed its bill this week extending the payroll tax cut for two months.

On the call, Sherry, along with 9News’ Brandon Rittiman, wondered about the inclusion of the Keystone rider in the House bill. And the de-funding of some of Obamacare. Why was that stuff on the bill?

Sherry put the question to Gardner like this. (at the 10-minute 40-second mark in the recording here).

Sherry: I think what one of the other Democratic members of the Colorado delegation said last night was, look, we do all agree on one thing, which is that we want the payroll tax cut to extend, and so why can’t we focus on that, and why are these other policy riders lumped into the House bill. And I’m not even talking about the Keystone pipeline. I think they were talking about the EPA regulations, the defending of some of the Obamacare stuff. Why would the House go and pass something that probably won’t pass the Senate and the President would veto, if we all do agree on wanting to pass the payroll tax cut.

Gardner didn’t answer the question.

So Sherry calmly put it another way, that got to the heart of the matter.

Sherry: And you said to me yesterday, and I want to make sure you still agree with this, that you don’t believe that this is a make-or-break deal for you. If there is something that you had to vote on that didn’t have the Keystone pipeline on it, that didn’t have some of the EPA provisions, you would still likely vote yes, because you believe in extending the payroll tax cut.

Gardner responded:

Gardner: I believe in extending the payroll tax cut. But again I don’t understand why there’s opposition to putting job-creation measures along with the payroll tax cut, because the payroll tax holiday is about job creation as well. So, they go along well. So, yeah,  I’m still in the same boat, but again, I simply don’t understand the opposition, unless it’s political opposition, and that’s a shame.

And strangely enough, the Senate passed a bipartisan stop-gap measure that gave Gardner the chance  to support a bill that would have done exactly what Gardner said he’d likely do. That is, vote for an extension of the payroll tax cut.

But Gardner opposed the Senate bill. 

He justified this by saying he won’t, no-how no-way, pass a mere two-month extension. He wants a year. The two-month part of the Senate legislation became a deal breaker for him and other Republicans.

But, if a year-long payroll tax cut was so important to Gardner, if he felt so passionately about it that he would risk passage of any bill, even one supported by Senate Republicans, why didn’t we hear about it the week before the vote? He didn’t say a word about it to reporters, when The Post gave him a clear shot to put it on the record.

But he did say it would be a “shame” if political opposition torpedoed the payroll tax cut that he and Democrats all support.

No actual factual proof of GOP misogyny offered in Post article

Monday, December 19th, 2011

The Denver Post ran a fair news article over the weekend, about GOP charges that Democrats deliberately sought, through the reapportionment process, to thin the ranks of Republican women serving in the Colorado Legislature.

No solid evidence was produced to support the Republican allegation, which was refuted by Democrats.

And no proof was offered for the other GOP allegation in the article, namely that there’s also a “very, very small” segment within the Colorado Republican Party whose “misogynistic attitude” hurts GOP women.

This charge came from Rep. Amy Stephens, according to The Post:

Stephens said she researched the word “misogynistic” — a hatred or distrust of women — earlier this year after the attacks on her started.

“It’s an attitude of ‘We know better. You don’t get it. You wouldn’t understand,’ ” Stephens said.

“As long as you’re mothering the caucus, you’re fine. But by God, raise money, recruit women candidates, train them, no, oh no, oh no. And then have the audacity to win the majority? Then, it’s threatening. Then, it’s ‘How dare you? Now you’re a RINO.’ “

The Post piece quoted former state Sen. Dave Schultheis, of Colorado Springs, who said he was gender-neutral when it came to politicos.

I thought I’d see if another critic of Stephens could shed more light on the origin of the “mysogynistic attitude” mentioned by Stephens.

In response to my email, former Secretary of the El Paso GOP Sarah Anderson wrote:

Mme. Majority Leader Stephens appears to be applying the “misogynist” label to anyone with whom she has a difference of opinion, much as she previous had with the “anarchist” label.  It’s exactly that kind of response that furthers her reputation as a “RINO”… last time I checked, you only pull out the ad hominem attacks when you are losing an argument and have nothing of substance or value left to say.  Frankly, it’s a very Alinskyite tactic, which is antithetical to being a Republican.

With radio host nodding, Coffman says U.S. military should be vetted to root out those “sympathetic to radical Islam”

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Talk-radio host Michael Brown, of Heck’ve-a-job Brownie fame, felt no need whatsoever to challenge Rep. Mike Coffman Tues. as Coffman explained to Brown that America should have an “active counter-intelligence effort, to make sure that our [military] ranks are not infiltrated by those sympathetic to radical Islam.”

Coffman told Brown, who was filling in for Mike Rosen on KOA, that the United States has “got to do a vetting of people, a counter-intelligence, the same that we did during the Cold War and an acknowledgement that we are at war today with an ideology, and it’s cloaked in a religion called radical Islam.”

“We need that same mentality today, to have that active counter-intelligence effort, to make sure that our ranks are not infiltrated by those sympathetic to radical Islam, like Major Hasan [Fort Hood], like Private First Class Abdo. And I think that is very important. And I think that it would also help Muslim Americans who are serving, because then those soldiers, Marines, and airmen, serving alongside of them would understand that they have been vetted and that they can be trusted,” Coffman told Brown.

I had a inkling that vetting members of the armed forces, based on their religious affiliation, didn’t sound kosher in terms of the U.S. Constitution. Criminal activities I can see, but religious?

So I did what Brownie should have done, and I asked the ACLU of Colorado what it thought:

“Everyone is free to worship in this country as they choose,” Rosemary Harris Lytle, Communications Director of the ACLU of Colorado, emailed me when asked to respond to Coffman’s statement. “We also have the freedom to not choose any religion. Regardless, Article 6 of the Constitution says: ‘No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States’ — and the ACLU of Colorado would argue that this would extend to military personnel. Religious freedom is one of America’s most fundamental liberties, and a central principle upon which our nation was founded. Unfortunately, though, throughout America’s history, almost every religious group has been the target of discrimination at one point or another. Tolerance and fairness have generally prevailed, but only after principled voices have transcended prejudice and hatred. We would hope that Rep. Coffman would hear those principled voices which echo not only fairness but the spirit and letter of the Constitution itself.”

I asked Brownie if he was concerned about the civil liberties of Muslims serving in the military.

“No,” Brownie emailed back. “America is at war with radical Islam and nothing in the Constitution would prohibit this kind of inquiry, any more than inquiries by the FBI, CIA, DoD, DoE, NSA or other departments and agencies through which I had TS/SCI clearances violated my Constitutional rights by making inquiries regarding activities which would have precluded me from receiving those clearances…. all military personnel should be “vetted” similar to those who seek clearances.  If they don’t meet a comparable standard they should not be permitted to serve in the military.  Just as we have physical requirements we can Constitutionally impose counter-intelligence standards which could preclude someone, including a U.S. citizen, from serving in the military.”

Miguel Ali Hasan, the award-winning film maker who ran for State Treasurer in 2010 and has defended Muslims against bigoted attacks, pointed out via email:

“Of the 56 Muslim countries out there, 53 of them have worked as our allies, in sharing intelligence against Al-Qaida and/or arresting terrorists,” Hasan emailed me in response to my query. ” Muslims, especially American Muslims, are our finest ally and weapon within the War On Terror. There are tens of thousands of American Muslims serving in our U.S. Armed Forces today, coupled with the plethora of Muslim countries that are helping us – help which didn’t come as a result of silly ‘affirmations,’ but through trust and cohesion. Congressman Coffman is terribly misguided if he is going to allow the actions of one lunatic (Nadel Hasan) tarnish America’s best weapon within the War On Terror.”

Coffman told Brown that vetting Muslims in the U.S. military would actually help develop trust in the military and help Muslims from becoming “radicalized.”

“And also it would prevent Muslim Americans from becoming radicalized once they are in the military because of the fact that they would be trusted because they have been vetted…. I served in ground combat units in both the United States Army and Marine Corps. And those relationships between the soldiers and Marines on the ground is basically developing an interdependent bond and trust. And if that trust isn’t there, my concern is that, if you have Muslim-American soldiers and Marines, that they are going to be alienated by virtue of the fact that they are not vetted under the current system, and there rises questions about trust. And that could lead to alienation of those soldiers and Marines. And through that there could be an attraction to becoming radicalized.”

I asked Brownie why he didn’t challenge Coffman on this extreme proposal.

“I’m wondering why you call it an “extreme” proposal,” he responded. “It is not extreme, it is practical and reasonable under the circumstances.”

Coffman told Brownie he had nothing against Muslims.

“I am not against Muslim Americans,” Coffman said. “Let me tell you. I served in Iraq with the United States Marine Corps and Muslim Americans served in the military and served with distinction there and were important to our war effort.”

Back in November of last year, Coffman went further, stating on KHOW’s Caplis and Silverman show that Muslims in the U.S. military “would welcome being vetted so that their fellow soldiers knew, and Marines knew on the ground, that they had no sympathies to radical Islam.” [Listen to the audio here.]

And guess what. Coffman walked away from that radio show, too, unruffled, as if he had said something that was completely in step with the core American value of religious freedom.

Coffman on KOA’s Mike Rosen Show Dec. 13, 2011:

Coffman on KHOW’s Caplis and Silverman Show Nov. 24, 2010:

Federal efforts to pass personhood bills flying under media radar

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Mississippi’s defeat of a “personhood” amendment last month got journalists across the country talking about campaigns to pass the measure in Colorado, Florida, and other states, but efforts to enact personhood at the federal level have largely flown under the media radar.

It’s not looking like this will happen anytime soon, given the makeup of Congress and the White House, but it may not be as hard as you’d think to alter the U.S. Constitution to define life as beginning at conception.

That’s because a stand-alone personhood amendment to the Constitution, requiring passage by two-thirds majorities of both houses of Congress and approval by three-fourths of the states, is not needed for personhood to become federal law.  That’s one way to do it.

But there’s an easier way personhood could become the law of the land.

The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution seems to allow Congress to pass legislation to re-define the definition of a “person” under federal law.

As Princeton Prof. Robert George, an anti-abortion activist, stated at a GOP forum in September:

Section Five of the 14th Amendment expressly authorizes the Congress by appropriate legislation to enforce the guarantees of due process and equal protection contained in the amendment’s first section.

The 14th Amendment, Section 5, states:

“The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”

Based on this interpretation of the 14th Amendment, the national Republican platform states that “we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

Three bills in Congress would make this wish in the GOP platform a reality, defining a person as a zygote or fertilized egg.

Nick Baumann of Mother Jones reported on this legislation last month:

Like the Mississippi measure, these bills, which are not constitutional amendments, would extend the rights of legal personhood—including equal protection under the law—to a zygote, the single cell formed when a human sperm fuses with an egg. The national measures are “designed to achieve the same end” as the Mississippi effort, says Sara Rosenbaum, a health law expert and professor at George Washington University who frequently testifies before Congress on reproductive rights issues. “The aim of the bills is to reclassify or to overturn…the fundamental constitutional fact on which Roe v. Wade rests,” she adds.

These bills would have to clear the House and Senate, and be signed by the President.

At this point, it looks like the only presidential contenders who’d sign personhood legislation are Newt Gingrich (See here and here.) and Michele Bachmann. They said so at a at a GOP presidential forum in South Carolina in September. Romney has flipped on the issue.

If personhood managed to clear Congress, it would most likely end up before the Supreme Court, which would try to determine whether it was consitutional. The same would be true if a state, like Colorado, passed a personhood amendment to its constitution.

Here’s a list of elected officials who support the federal personhood bills under consideration in Congress:

U.S. Senate

Members of the U.S. Senate who co-sponsored Roger Wicker’s (R-Miss.) “Life at Conception Act,” S 91:

Sen Alexander, Lamar [TN] – 2/15/2011
Sen Barrasso, John [WY] – 2/10/2011
Sen Blunt, Roy [MO] – 1/25/2011
Sen Boozman, John [AR] – 1/25/2011
Sen Burr, Richard [NC] – 1/25/2011
Sen Coats, Daniel [IN] – 1/25/2011
Sen Coburn, Tom [OK] – 1/25/2011
Sen Enzi, Michael B. [WY] – 1/25/2011
Sen Inhofe, James M. [OK] – 1/25/2011
Sen Johanns, Mike [NE] – 2/10/2011
Sen Johnson, Ron [WI] – 11/3/2011
Sen Moran, Jerry [KS] – 1/25/2011
Sen Paul, Rand [KY] – 1/25/2011
Sen Risch, James E. [ID] – 1/25/2011
Sen Thune, John [SD] – 1/25/2011
Sen Vitter, David [LA] – 1/25/2011

U.S. House of Representatives

Members of the U.S. House who co-sponsored Rep. Paul Broun’s (R-GA) “Sanctity of Human Life Act,” HR 212.

Rep Aderholt, Robert B. [AL-4] – 1/7/2011
Rep Akin, W. Todd [MO-2] – 1/7/2011
Rep Alexander, Rodney [LA-5] – 1/7/2011
Rep Bachus, Spencer [AL-6] – 1/7/2011
Rep Bartlett, Roscoe G. [MD-6] – 1/7/2011
Rep Bishop, Rob [UT-1] – 1/7/2011
Rep Black, Diane [TN-6] – 1/7/2011
Rep Burton, Dan [IN-5] – 1/7/2011
Rep Carter, John R. [TX-31] – 1/7/2011
Rep Chaffetz, Jason [UT-3] – 1/7/2011
Rep Cole, Tom [OK-4] – 1/7/2011
Rep Conaway, K. Michael [TX-11] – 1/7/2011
Rep Crawford, Eric A. “Rick” [AR-1] – 1/7/2011
Rep Duncan, Jeff [SC-3] – 1/20/2011
Rep Ellmers, Renee L. [NC-2] – 1/12/2011
Rep Farenthold, Blake [TX-27] – 1/20/2011
Rep Fleming, John [LA-4] – 1/7/2011
Rep Forbes, J. Randy [VA-4] – 1/7/2011
Rep Foxx, Virginia [NC-5] – 1/7/2011
Rep Franks, Trent [AZ-2] – 1/7/2011
Rep Garrett, Scott [NJ-5] – 1/7/2011
Rep Gibbs, Bob [OH-18] – 1/7/2011
Rep Gingrey, Phil [GA-11] – 1/7/2011
Rep Gohmert, Louie [TX-1] – 1/7/2011
Rep Herger, Wally [CA-2] – 1/7/2011
Rep Huelskamp, Tim [KS-1] – 1/7/2011
Rep Johnson, Sam [TX-3] – 1/7/2011
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] – 1/7/2011
Rep King, Steve [IA-5] – 1/7/2011
Rep Kingston, Jack [GA-1] – 1/7/2011
Rep Kline, John [MN-2] – 1/7/2011
Rep Lamborn, Doug [CO-5] – 1/7/2011
Rep Lankford, James [OK-5] – 1/12/2011
Rep Latta, Robert E. [OH-5] – 1/7/2011
Rep Long, Billy [MO-7] – 1/7/2011
Rep Luetkemeyer, Blaine [MO-9] – 1/7/2011
Rep Manzullo, Donald A. [IL-16] – 1/7/2011
Rep Marchant, Kenny [TX-24] – 1/7/2011
Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G. [MI-11] – 1/20/2011
Rep McHenry, Patrick T. [NC-10] – 1/7/2011
Rep McKinley, David B. [WV-1] – 1/7/2011
Rep Miller, Gary G. [CA-42] – 1/7/2011
Rep Miller, Jeff [FL-1] – 1/7/2011
Rep Myrick, Sue Wilkins [NC-9] – 1/7/2011
Rep Neugebauer, Randy [TX-19] – 1/7/2011
Rep Olson, Pete [TX-22] – 1/7/2011
Rep Pearce, Stevan [NM-2] – 1/7/2011
Rep Pompeo, Mike [KS-4] – 1/25/2011
Rep Roby, Martha [AL-2] – 11/2/2011
Rep Roe, David P. [TN-1] – 1/7/2011
Rep Rogers, Harold [KY-5] – 1/7/2011
Rep Rogers, Mike D. [AL-3] – 1/7/2011
Rep Rokita, Todd [IN-4] – 1/7/2011
Rep Rooney, Thomas J. [FL-16] – 1/7/2011
Rep Ross, Dennis [FL-12] – 1/12/2011
Rep Ryan, Paul [WI-1] – 1/7/2011
Rep Scalise, Steve [LA-1] – 1/7/2011
Rep Schock, Aaron [IL-18] – 1/7/2011
Rep Stutzman, Marlin A. [IN-3] – 1/20/2011
Rep Terry, Lee [NE-2] – 1/7/2011
Rep Thompson, Glenn [PA-5] – 1/7/2011
Rep Westmoreland, Lynn A. [GA-3] – 1/7/2011
Rep Wittman, Robert J. [VA-1] – 1/7/2011

Members of Congress who co-sponsored Duncan Hunter’s “Life at Conception Act,” HR 374.

Rep Adams, Sandy [FL-24] – 8/16/2011
Rep Akin, W. Todd [MO-2] – 1/20/2011
Rep Alexander, Rodney [LA-5] – 1/20/2011
Rep Bachmann, Michele [MN-6] – 6/24/2011
Rep Bachus, Spencer [AL-6] – 3/17/2011
Rep Barletta, Lou [PA-11] – 6/23/2011
Rep Barton, Joe [TX-6] – 1/20/2011
Rep Benishek, Dan [MI-1] – 2/8/2011
Rep Berg, Rick [ND] – 10/25/2011
Rep Bilirakis, Gus M. [FL-9] – 3/8/2011
Rep Bishop, Rob [UT-1] – 1/20/2011
Rep Black, Diane [TN-6] – 11/30/2011
Rep Boustany, Charles W., Jr. [LA-7] – 11/16/2011
Rep Brady, Kevin [TX-8] – 1/20/2011
Rep Broun, Paul C. [GA-10] – 1/20/2011
Rep Bucshon, Larry [IN-8] – 1/20/2011
Rep Burgess, Michael C. [TX-26] – 11/4/2011
Rep Burton, Dan [IN-5] – 1/20/2011
Rep Canseco, Francisco “Quico” [TX-23] – 1/20/2011
Rep Carter, John R. [TX-31] – 2/8/2011
Rep Chabot, Steve [OH-1] – 6/16/2011
Rep Cole, Tom [OK-4] – 1/20/2011
Rep Cravaack, Chip [MN-8] – 2/8/2011
Rep Crawford, Eric A. “Rick” [AR-1] – 4/15/2011
Rep Davis, Geoff [KY-4] – 1/20/2011
Rep Duncan, Jeff [SC-3] – 1/20/2011
Rep Duncan, John J., Jr. [TN-2] – 1/20/2011
Rep Farenthold, Blake [TX-27] – 1/20/2011
Rep Fincher, Stephen Lee [TN-8] – 11/16/2011
Rep Fleischmann, Charles J. “Chuck” [TN-3] – 9/23/2011
Rep Fleming, John [LA-4] – 1/20/2011
Rep Flores, Bill [TX-17] – 1/20/2011
Rep Forbes, J. Randy [VA-4] – 2/8/2011
Rep Franks, Trent [AZ-2] – 5/2/2011
Rep Garrett, Scott [NJ-5] – 1/20/2011
Rep Gibbs, Bob [OH-18] – 1/20/2011
Rep Graves, Sam [MO-6] – 2/8/2011
Rep Guthrie, Brett [KY-2] – 3/17/2011
Rep Hall, Ralph M. [TX-4] – 1/20/2011
Rep Harper, Gregg [MS-3] – 1/20/2011
Rep Harris, Andy [MD-1] – 2/8/2011
Rep Hartzler, Vicky [MO-4] – 1/20/2011
Rep Heck, Joseph J. [NV-3] – 11/2/2011
Rep Herger, Wally [CA-2] – 1/20/2011
Rep Huelskamp, Tim [KS-1] – 1/20/2011
Rep Huizenga, Bill [MI-2] – 6/23/2011
Rep Hultgren, Randy [IL-14] – 6/15/2011
Rep Hurt, Robert [VA-5] – 1/20/2011
Rep Johnson, Bill [OH-6] – 10/4/2011
Rep Johnson, Sam [TX-3] – 3/17/2011
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] – 1/20/2011
Rep Jordan, Jim [OH-4] – 1/20/2011
Rep Kelly, Mike [PA-3] – 1/20/2011
Rep King, Steve [IA-5] – 1/20/2011
Rep Kline, John [MN-2] – 1/20/2011
Rep Labrador, Raul R. [ID-1] – 9/23/2011
Rep Lamborn, Doug [CO-5] – 1/20/2011
Rep Landry, Jeffrey M. [LA-3] – 1/20/2011
Rep Lankford, James [OK-5] – 1/20/2011
Rep Latta, Robert E. [OH-5] – 1/20/2011
Rep Long, Billy [MO-7] – 1/20/2011
Rep Luetkemeyer, Blaine [MO-9] – 1/20/2011
Rep Manzullo, Donald A. [IL-16] – 1/20/2011
Rep Marchant, Kenny [TX-24] – 1/20/2011
Rep Marino, Tom [PA-10] – 6/23/2011
Rep McCaul, Michael T. [TX-10] – 1/20/2011
Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G. [MI-11] – 1/20/2011
Rep McKeon, Howard P. “Buck” [CA-25] – 1/20/2011
Rep Miller, Candice S. [MI-10] – 1/20/2011
Rep Miller, Gary G. [CA-42] – 1/20/2011
Rep Noem, Kristi L. [SD] – 12/2/2011
Rep Nunnelee, Alan [MS-1] – 2/8/2011
Rep Palazzo, Steven M. [MS-4] – 6/21/2011
Rep Pearce, Stevan [NM-2] – 2/8/2011
Rep Pence, Mike [IN-6] – 1/20/2011
Rep Pitts, Joseph R. [PA-16] – 8/16/2011
Rep Pompeo, Mike [KS-4] – 1/20/2011
Rep Renacci, James B. [OH-16] – 10/25/2011
Rep Ribble, Reid J. [WI-8] – 7/7/2011
Rep Rigell, E. Scott [VA-2] – 1/20/2011
Rep Rivera, David [FL-25] – 7/7/2011
Rep Roby, Martha [AL-2] – 11/2/2011
Rep Roe, David P. [TN-1] – 1/20/2011
Rep Rokita, Todd [IN-4] – 2/8/2011
Rep Ross, Dennis [FL-12] – 1/20/2011
Rep Scalise, Steve [LA-1] – 1/20/2011
Rep Schmidt, Jean [OH-2] – 1/20/2011
Rep Scott, Austin [GA-8] – 9/15/2011
Rep Shimkus, John [IL-19] – 1/20/2011
Rep Smith, Christopher H. [NJ-4] – 1/20/2011
Rep Terry, Lee [NE-2] – 1/20/2011
Rep Walberg, Tim [MI-7] – 6/16/2011
Rep Walsh, Joe [IL-8] – 10/3/2011
Rep West, Allen B. [FL-22] – 6/24/2011
Rep Wittman, Robert J. [VA-1] – 4/14/2011
Rep Womack, Steve [AR-3] – 10/25/2011

Additional federal politicians endorsed state-based personhood campaigns in Colorado (Coffman, Gardner, Lamborn)  and Mississippi, but none of the Colorado Congressmen supporting the state measure has endorsed a federal bill.

Follow Jason Salzman on Twitter @bigmediablog

In TV interview, Gessler ignores evidence that minorities would be disproportionately affected by decision not to send ballots to inactive voters

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

For months, I’ve been begging reporters to ask Secretary of State Scott Gessler for evidence when he claims there’s actual, real-life, happening-now election fraud in Colorado.

But reporters should not only ask Gessler for evidence, but also show it to him, when he makes claims that contradict facts that are admittedly obscure but should be known inside and out by the Secretary of State.

One such fact is that a larger percentage of racial and ethnic minorities than whites, at least in Denver, would not receive election ballots in the mail if ballots were not sent to “inactive voters,” defined as voters who’ve missed at least one general election and not responded to postcards.

Yet, on CBS 4 earlier this week, in a story about Rep. Diana DeGette’s warning of voter suppression in Colorado, Gessler said:

“When it comes to mail ballots, I don’t know who and I don’t know if there is any evidence of what racial minority uses them versus Causcasians. There’s just no evidence along those lines.”

Back in October, Rachel Maddow poduced maps showing, with graghic devastation, how minorities, particularly Hispanics, would be affected compared to whites if mail ballots were not sent to inactive voters.

As you can see here at the two-and-a-half minute mark, one map shows where ethnic and racial minorities live in Denver. The next map shows where inactive voters live.

It’s clear that a greater concentration of inactive voters are Hispanic and would not receive mail-in ballots under Gessler’s proposal not to send such ballots to inactive voters. ColoradoPols has a good analysis of this here.

Maybe Gessler didn’t see these maps? Or maybe when he was talking about mail-in ballots generally, not spcifically from inactive voters–even though the context of the quote makes it appear as if he’s talking about mail ballots from inactive voters?

In any case, when it comes to Gessler, reporters have to be ready to produce evidence, and ask for it, to keep the facts straight and accurate.

Columnist should explain why it’s a “cheap left-wing talking point” to point out that Coffman calls Social Security a “ponzi scheme”

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Denver Post columnist Vincent Carroll wrote last week that it’s a “cheap left-wing talking” point for Denver Rep. Joe Miklosi to point out that Rep. Mike Coffman called Social Security a “ponzi scheme.”

Carroll usually expresses himself as clearly as any columnist out there, but here he should have given us a few more details.

As it is, Carroll sounds like he’s using the “cheap left-wing-talking-point” line as a cheap right-wing talking point against Miklosi.

I mean, Carroll might have a point if Coffman had burped out the “ponzi-scheme” comment, and then said something like, “Excuse me. I didn’t mean it.”  Or even if Coffman said it just once.

But Coffman has embraced the ponzi-ssheme concept not once but twice with his trademark intellectual air of certainty, first calling it “obviously” a “ponzi scheme” and then confirming his view in a second interview.

What Coffman is saying here, unless you believe Bernie Madoff is innocent, is that Social Security is a big piece of fraud, designed by the Madoffs in Washington to rip us all off.

Actually, Social Security is a government program that’s completely above board and transparent, about as different from a ponzi scheme as you can imagine. It’s been tweaked a number of times during its existence, but it remains hugely successful. It will remain solvent for 25 more years with no changes at all, and minor changes will keep it going much longer. It’s no ponzi scheme, as explained here.

Now, to be fair to Coffman, he goes on to say in interviews that he wants to reform Social Security because unless changes are made, it won’t be there for the under-55 set.

But how does this square with his view that it’s a ponzi scheme? If it’s a ponzi scheme, you’d want to get rid of it and put the perpetrators in jail.

It’s a question someone should ask Coffman, why he wants to save a ponzi scheme, because his repeated use of the phrase seems to show that part of him must really hate the program or, in the bigger picture, government itself, because Social Security represents a successful effort by the federal government to collect taxes and design programs to improve our lives.

Coffman wants to have it both ways, allegedly believing in Social Security, yet calling it–and by implication government itself–criminal.

So, it’s not a left-wing talking point for Miklosi to highlight the fact that Coffman has repeatedly called Social Security a ponzi scheme.

It’s a legitimate statement about Coffman, and it should make columnists like Carroll wonder where Coffman really stands not just on Social Security but the basic functions of government.