Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration and now a distinguished professor at Berkeley, shared this memory on his Facebook page the other day:

DEPARTMENT OF PERSONAL HISTORY. Yesterday I was reminded by a lawyer friend that when I was at Yale Law School in the early 1970s I took a class in civil and political rights. In that same class were Hillary Rodham, Bill Clinton, and Clarence Thomas. When the professor asked a question, Hillary was the first to raise her hand and almost always had the correct answer. I raised my hand fairly often but got it wrong half the time. Bill missed most classes. Clarence never said a word.

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration and now a distinguished professor at Berkeley, shared this memory on his Facebook page the other day:

DEPARTMENT OF PERSONAL HISTORY. Yesterday I was reminded by a lawyer friend that when I was at Yale Law School in the early 1970s I took a class in civil and political rights. In that same class were Hillary Rodham, Bill Clinton, and Clarence Thomas. When the professor asked a question, Hillary was the first to raise her hand and almost always had the correct answer. I raised my hand fairly often but got it wrong half the time. Bill missed most classes. Clarence never said a word.

A couple of thousand miles worth of rivers and 375,000 acres of lake water in Florida are considered “impaired,” that is, dirty. The Indian River ecosystem has collapsed, fish kills are increasing, and between floods and profligate pumping, we risk contaminating our aquifer. We keep destroying wetlands and marshes, which act as water recharge areas. This isn’t abstract; it’s not some “green” trifle you can simply ignore. Nature isn’t a place outside your air-conditioned house, beyond your nice subdivision. It’s in your drinking water. When you look at a Florida spring, you’re looking at our aquifer.

—Diane Roberts, Florida State University professor and Florida Wildlife Federation board member.

Roberts was scheduled to give a public talk on Florida’s waters through a Department of State speaker series, but the event was abruptly cancelled by Governor Rick Scott’s administration. Read her Tampa Bay Times editorial, “Perspective: What I would have said about water.”

WashPost Editorial: Mr. Radel’s Questionable Rehab

Trey Radel was caught purchasing cocaine in D.C. through an undercover federal drug investigation on October 29th. But then…

[Radel] didn’t think to tell House GOP leaders of his problems. He had the gall, as the Naples Daily News reported, to go ahead with a $1,000-per-platefundraiser in Naples, Fla., on Nov. 5. He gave an interview Nov. 13 to The Post’s David A. Fahrenthold in which he actually talked about the need for Congress “to start making the adult decisions.” Please. But then it’s probably too much to expect self-awareness from someone who doesn’t see the contradiction between his actions and requiring drug tests for food-stamp recipients.

Only after he had no choice but to go public did Mr. Radel ’fess up. Then came the requisite apology, contrition to family, announcement of a “leave of absence,” donation of his salary to a charity and entry into rehab for substance abuse.

Too bad there is no clinic that treats abuse of the public trust.

From the Washington Post Editorial Board.

Alex Sink for Congress - the first campaign video is out!

Jessica Ehrlich announced this week that she is pulling out of the race, which clears the primary field and means Sink can focus on the general. The special election for Florida’s CD13 is scheduled for January 14th (primary) and March 11th (general). [source]

The Senate is expected to vote for cloture to confirm Nina Pillard to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in the next week.
Pillard is a well known litigator with significant Supreme Court experience, as well as a professor at Georgetown Law. President Obama nominated her to the court this summer, and the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination last month [source]. This is a crucial vote for the D.C. Circuit, which has more inactive judges and vacancies than judges at the moment.
Visit confirmpillard.com and help out by contacting your U.S. Senator to emphasize your support for Pillard!
Or check out Hoyas for Nina Pillard on Twitter; Facebook.

The Senate is expected to vote for cloture to confirm Nina Pillard to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in the next week.

Pillard is a well known litigator with significant Supreme Court experience, as well as a professor at Georgetown Law. President Obama nominated her to the court this summer, and the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination last month [source]. This is a crucial vote for the D.C. Circuit, which has more inactive judges and vacancies than judges at the moment.

Visit confirmpillard.com and help out by contacting your U.S. Senator to emphasize your support for Pillard!

Or check out Hoyas for Nina Pillard on Twitter; Facebook.

Election Night: Winners and Losers

Too Close to Call

  • Mark Herring, for Attorney General of Virginia. This turned into a really competitive, close race [source]. Overnight the vote count became impossibly close, and will likely go to a recount. [source]

Winners!

  • Terry McAuliffe, Governor of Virginia [source]
  • Rick Kriseman, Mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida [source]. This was a hard-fought local win in Central Florida. I really respected and appreciated Kriseman’s presence as a State Representative when I worked in the Florida Legislature.
  • Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City [source]. de Blasio is the city’s first Democratic mayor in way too long!

Losers

  • Barbara Buono, running for Governor of New Jersey, lost to Chris Christie. Article: Buono delivers blistering concession speech, attacking Garden State Democrats [source].

Florida Politics - Week in Review

→ Last Weekend at Disney: the Florida Democratic Party Convention

  • New to the party, Democrat Charlie Crist spent the weekend shaking hands and making friends. He did not address the full gathering, but spoke at many caucus and committee meetings, where his reception was positive overall. [Source: Miami Herald]
  • Former State Senator Nan Rich, who has been running for governor for 18 months but has failed to gain statewide traction, was also present. Read her address here
  • Possible Attorney General primary battle in 2014? George Sheldon, who has been working on Affordable Care Act implementation as an Assistant Secretary within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced his candidacy for Attorney General on Monday, 10/21. Then, on the first day of the FDP Convention, House Minority Leader Perry Thurston announced that he is jumping into the race as well. (I guess history repeats itself - Dan Gelber and Dave Aronberg battled out the AG primary in 2010, with Gelber winning the primary but losing the general to Republican Pam Bondi.) [Sources: News Service of Florida, TB Times.]

→ Sink for Congress —- Alex Sink announced on Wednesday that she is running for Congress in Representative C.W. Bill Young’s old seat in Pinellas County. She lives about 45 minutes away in Hillsborough County, but plans to move to Pinellas soon. [Source: Tampa Tribune]. Democrat Jessica Ehrlich was already in the race and does not appear to be stepping aside for Sink, so there will be a primary election in January.

  • Jessica Ehrlich was the Democratic nominee for this seat in 2012, when she was endorsed by Emily’s List. With Sink’s announcement, Emily’s List removed Ehrlich from their website, and are now promoting their endorsement of Alex Sink. [Source: Washington Post]
  • Within less than 48 hours of entering the race, Alex Sink had already raised over $116,000 by Thursday. [Source: Tampa Tribune]

→ Marco Rubio’s failure of leadership —- the Senator has backed out of his past initiatives, making him look like a political weathervane tuned to the Tea Party.

  • Rubio recently revoked his nomination of Judge William Thomas to the federal district court in Florida. Thomas would be the first openly gay, African-American judge on a federal court. Rubio had previously supported Thomas’s nomination, but has now blocked it. [Source: Miami Herald, PNS]
  • This week, Senator Rubio backed out of supporting the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, even though he was part of the Gang of 8 that developed the legislation. Rubio now says that a piecemeal effort is more realistic. (Which may be true, considering how pathetic the House is at doing anything, but that’s no reason for a U.S. Senator to back out of important national legislation). [Source: TB Times]

→ Nelson supports ENDA —- Senator Bill Nelson came out in support of ENDA, the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, this week. Way to go Senator Nelson! He was soon followed by Senators Joe Manchin and Mark Pryor. [Source: Miami Herald]

He’s back! Charlie Crist released this video and launched his website just in time for the Florida Democratic Party Convention this weekend. 

Now a registered Democrat, Crist is gaining momentum for a 2014 gubernatorial run, although he has not officially announced his candidacy. The only Democrat in the race right now is former State Senator Nan Rich. Alex Sink announced her decision a few weeks ago not to pursue the governorship again.

Amanda Murphy just won the special election for Florida House District 36 in Pasco County!
The seat turns blue as Murphy replaces outgoing Republican Mike Fasano, who was appointed Pasco County Tax Collector over the summer. Late in the race, Fasano came out in support of Murphy and most likely put her over the edge. (As of this evening, she leads by 297 votes.)
Amanda Murphy will bring us up to 45 Democrats in the Florida House. We’re getting further out of the superminority and closer to (someday) the majority!
[Tampa Bay Times story.]  [Photo source.]

Amanda Murphy just won the special election for Florida House District 36 in Pasco County!

The seat turns blue as Murphy replaces outgoing Republican Mike Fasano, who was appointed Pasco County Tax Collector over the summer. Late in the race, Fasano came out in support of Murphy and most likely put her over the edge. (As of this evening, she leads by 297 votes.)

Amanda Murphy will bring us up to 45 Democrats in the Florida House. We’re getting further out of the superminority and closer to (someday) the majority!

[Tampa Bay Times story.]
[Photo source.]

As an AmeriCorps alumnus, I receive occasional email updates from the organization and my alumni group. Yesterday I received this incredibly disappointing email.
AmeriCorps members make a commitment to serving communities across the country, working long hours for a “stipend” that can hardly be considered a paycheck. Having just finished my own AmeriCorps service in July, I can attest to the challenge of making ends meet with such minimal pay. 
Thanks to Republicans in Congress and the prolonged government shutdown, AmeriCorps VISTAs are starting to experience cuts to their living allowance. The DC Alums chapter is collecting gift cards to donate to AmeriCorps service members in need - sign up here to donate.

As an AmeriCorps alumnus, I receive occasional email updates from the organization and my alumni group. Yesterday I received this incredibly disappointing email.

AmeriCorps members make a commitment to serving communities across the country, working long hours for a “stipend” that can hardly be considered a paycheck. Having just finished my own AmeriCorps service in July, I can attest to the challenge of making ends meet with such minimal pay. 

Thanks to Republicans in Congress and the prolonged government shutdown, AmeriCorps VISTAs are starting to experience cuts to their living allowance. The DC Alums chapter is collecting gift cards to donate to AmeriCorps service members in need - sign up here to donate.