Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Excellent Choice, Ms. Abrams!

Per the Washington Post:

Abrams, speaking at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades in Las Vegas, announced a 20-state voter protection initiative, using her experience challenging voting laws during her gubernatorial campaign last year in Georgia, which included widespread irregularities.

“We’re going to have a fair fight in 2020 because my mission is to make certain that no one has to go through in 2020 what we went through in 2018,” Abrams said…

The effort, expected to cost between $4 million and $5 million, will target 20 states, most of them battlegrounds in the Midwest and Southeast, and three states with gubernatorial elections this year: Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi…

In past election cycles, campaigns and state parties tended to wait until the start of general election campaigning to put together voter protection programs, which were often dismantled after elections. But with ongoing efforts by Republican state lawmakers to pass more restrictive voting laws, Groh-Wargo said, it was important that Democrats start working now to be ready to help voters navigate potential hurdles. Similarly, some states, such as Michigan and Nevada, have recently passed laws to expand access to voting, and party leaders and activists in those states need to make sure voters can take advantage of the changes…

The majority of the program will be run by Fair Fight PAC. Depending on the campaign finance laws of individual states, Fair Fight will make direct cash donations or will help groups raise money to hire staff, set up voter hotlines and develop public information campaigns…

Read the whole thing — it’s really uplifting!


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Sunday Evening Open Thread: I’m Not Feeling Much Pity

“Tripped”:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was briefly hospitalized after suffering a fractured shoulder from a fall outside his home in Louisville on Sunday, his office said in a statement.

“This morning, Leader McConnell tripped at home on his outside patio and suffered a fractured shoulder. He has been treated, released, and is working from home in Louisville,” McConnell spokesman David Popp said in a statement.

McConnell was in touch with Sens. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) on Sunday “to express his deepest sympathies for the people of El Paso and Dayton and discuss the senseless tragedies of this weekend,” the statement said…

McConnell, 77, is running for a seventh term in the Senate next year.

Not sure a doctor’s note is gonna be enough to let him escape this time:

A growing number of Democrats are calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to cancel the chamber’s August recess so that they can take up gun control legislation in the wake of two mass shootings this weekend.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on the Republican leader to end the chamber’s break to vote on a universal background check bill after the two shootings — one in Dayton, Ohio, and another in El Paso, Texas — left at least 29 dead and 53 injured in a matter of just 13 hours. The Senate is currently in recess until September.

The bill Schumer is referencing, H.R.8 or the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, would create new background check requirements for gun transfers between unlicensed individuals. It passed the Democrat-controlled House in February 240-190, with two members not voting…

Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, made the same plea in a tweet on Sunday.

“Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We must act. Mitch McConnell please call the Senate back to work tomorrow and let us vote on gun-safety laws,” he tweeted. He also told CBS’ “Face The Nation” that “the president needs to sign this bill.”…

[Last remaining black GOP congressman]Tim Scott, R-S.C., told “Face The Nation” on Sunday that he willing to come back to the Senate to work on gun safety measures.

“I’d do it tonight, I’d leave tonight, I’ll go tomorrow. It doesn’t matter to me, this is such an important issue and an issue that we sometimes only get part of the picture because of the mass shootings,” he said…

“If we have anything to pass along, we will,” McConnell spokesman David Popp told NBC News when asked if there were any plans to come back into session during the five-week August recess.








Poverty Kills. So Does The Color Bar

Today, The Guardian reported on an analysis of life expectancy by neighborhood in 500 American cities.  In that study, Chicago stood out, for all the wrong reasons.  The predominantly white, lakeside Streeterville district is a lovely place to live — for a long time, to ninety.  A few miles away, in the mostly black, Englewood neighborhood, average life expectancy is just sixty.  That thirty year gap is the largest within a single city in the study.

The implication:

“There’s a concept that is increasingly being understood, that your zip code has as much to do with your health as your genetic code,” said Dr Marc Gourevitch, chair of the NYU department and the principal architect of the health dashboard.

“Another way to look at that is that your zip code shouldn’t determine whether you get to see your grandkids. And at some level, that’s how I see and feel about these kinds of data. It’s shocking.”

Among the likely factors accounting for the disparity are the usual suspects: violence, trauma associated with fear of/proximity of violence, environmental and public health deficits, which can in turn feed back into social strife — as the Guardian story notes:

But health inequities also drive violence. Take lead poisoning. For decades, Englewood had one of the highest rates of residential lead contamination in the country. Research has shown that lead poisoning in children is associated with dramatic spikes in impulsiveness and aggression.

The larger interpretation: access to health care is only one piece of the health inequality puzzle. An important one, to be sure, but not the only one, and likely not in itself close to sufficient to deal with something like a full-generation gap in the amount of time each of us can hope to spend on this earth.  Addressing poverty, access to city services, open space, good schools, and absolutely clean air and water are all part of the puzzle.

This is, btw, why Elizabeth Warren keeps impressing me so much.  Her theory of government is one that encompasses not just a specific program or policy need, but a view of how government can address root causes and broad enabling possibilities.  I get some of that of Harris too, and some of the others, including a couple with whom I disagree on the specifics, similarly have an idea of what government is for.  Sanders and Biden, not so much.

But back to the matter at hand:  poverty kills, early and often.  We know (as the Guardian article goes into a bit) at least some of the things that work to defang that toxin.  That the GOP doesn’t see the necessity to do that is kin to the same impulse that doesn’t see what’s wrong in refusing soap and toothpaste and minimal care to those it stuffs in the American Gulag.  We can do so much better.

Image:Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn – Christ with the Sick around Him, Receiving Little Children (The ‘Hundred Guilder Print’) c. 1646-50








Lone Star Sidebar Open Thread


 
Question, especially, for Texan Juicers: Of course Beto’s not gonna step sideways now, but is there anything he / his campaign can do to signal-boost M.J. Hegar’s campaign?

And — I’m guessing the answer is no, but: Does Coryn’s disgraceful performance today make it any more likely that ‘independent’ voters will stay home come voting day, rather than pull the lever for Dishonest John?








Thursday Morning Open Thread: Always Keep Fighting