Look up!

Invariably, it’s too cloudy or rainy here for me to see any of this stuff. But I can hope, can’t I?

Saturn and the bright star Spica have been making a pretty pair in our evening skies recently. This week they will be joined by the waxing gibbous moon, making a perfect threesome.

Next Monday evening, June 17, the moon will be nine days old and just to the right of Spica. On Tuesday evening, it will have moved to a position between the two, as shown in the graphic above. By Wednesday night (June 19) it will be off to Saturn’s left, 11 days old.

Working class white voters are still needed to win

How long have I been saying this? No one ever listens:

In the months since the 2012 elections it has become apparent that the victorious Democratic coalition Obama assembled is still not sufficiently large to overcome the unprecedented Republican obstruction and sabotage of the normal processes of American political life.

Although long-term demographic trends, such as the increase in minority voters and the rise of the Millennial generation, are favorable for the Democrats, translating those trends into true political and electoral dominance will remain difficult so long as Democrats rely on simply turning out core Obama coalition voters. Their margins will be too thin and subject to backlash, especially below the Presidential level.

To create a stable Democratic majority, Democrats need to win the support of a significant group of voters who are now part of the Republican coalition. As the 2012 elections demonstrated, the group that has perhaps the greatest potential in this regard is the white working class.

Consider the following:

First, in terms of sheer size, even at 36 percent of voters (and that is the exit poll figure—the Census data indicate a share about 8 points higher), the white working class remains one of the biggest sociologically distinct demographic groups that is now heavily part of the Red State/GOP coalition.

Second, a significant number of white working class voters have historic ties with the Democrats—even among those who currently vote Republican. Some have personal memories and others family traditions of past Democratic voting. No comparable connection or previous ideological affinity exists with today’s upper income or other Republican voters.

As a result, on both the positive side and on the negative side, the white working class has the potential to be a—if not the—decisive swing voter group for the future.

Continue Reading →

The end

UPDATE: City officials say he did everything right when he inspected the site, but was tormented by the deaths.

Link:

The man who inspected a building on Market Street before it collapsed last week in Center City Philadelphia, killing six people, was found dead last night in an apparent suicide.

Northwest Detectives said 50-year-old Ronald Wagenhoffer was found dead from a gunshot wound to the chest at about 9 p.m. Wednesday.

I’d like to think he was simply upset over the deaths of all those people, but this being Philadelphia, it probably had more to do with the announcement of a grand jury to look into the building collapse.

Imagine that

When you buy a judge, he stays bought!

A study released on Tuesday by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy identified a “statistically significant” relationship between ballooning campaign contributions by business interest to state supreme court candidates and pro-business decisions by those courts.

Researchers studied more than 2,345 business-related state high court opinions between 2010 and 2012 and campaign contributions during that same time to sitting state high court judges. As the percentage of contributions from business groups went up, the probability of a pro-business vote by judges — defined as any decision that made a business better off — went up as well.

The study’s author was Joanna Shepherd, a professor at Emory University School of Law. During a teleconference, she said the findings demonstrated that state court elections were becoming increasingly politicized and expensive. She pointed to surveys showing concern within the judiciary and among the general public about the influence of outside dollars on the courts.

“The more campaign contributions from business interests the justices receive, the more likely they are to vote for business litigants when they appear before them in court,” she concluded in her report.

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