Cory Booker announces he's running for President

On Friday morning, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey announced he's running for President. The former mayor of Newark was elected to the Senate in 2013 in a special election to replace the late Senator Frank Lautenberg.

In his video announcement, Booker said, "I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind; where parents can put food on the table; where there are good paying jobs with good benefits in every neighborhood; where our criminal justice system keeps us safe, instead of shuffling more children into cages and coffins; where we see the faces of our leaders on television and feel pride, not shame."

Booker is the fourth Democrat to officially declare their candidacy. Elizabeth Warren has said she'll make an announcement on February 9th; widely expected to be her official entry into the 2020 race.

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She may not be running, but there's already Oprah 2020 merch

Oprah has already said she won't run for president but clothing brand HLZBLZ wants everyone to know they support the idea of a future President Winfrey with their new "Oprah 2020" long-sleeve tee ($48) and hoodie ($85).

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Mexico's former president is 'not going to pay' for Donald Trump's 'fucking wall'

Univision and Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos interviewed former Mexican President Vicente Fox this week. Fox says he is troubled by the GOP presidential frontrunner's success in the recent Nevada caucus. The ex-Presidente also had a few zingers to let loose about that rhetorical device Trump loves to flog, The Great Wall Mexico is Going To Pay For To Keep Mexican Rapists Out Of Make-America-Great-Again-istan. Read the rest

Which Presidential candidates are climate change deniers?

From Columbia University's Earth Institute:

Ben Carson (retired neurosurgeon) believes that climate change is happening in the sense that there’s “always going to be either cooling or warming going on” and has called the climate debate “irrelevant.” While he has no plans to combat climate change, he does believe it’s important to protect the environment. If elected, he would approve the Keystone XL pipeline and develop oil resources while also investing in renewable resources; however, he would not support any government subsidies because he feels they interfere with the free market.

Donald Trump (real estate developer) doesn’t believe in climate change and asserts that the changes we see are actually just weather, unaffected by human actions. He puts climate change low on the list of problems we need to address. In 2012, Trump said global warming was a hoax created by China to make U.S. manufacturing uncompetitive. He supports regulating air pollution.

Hillary Clinton (former U.S. senator from New York and secretary of state) believes climate change is real and manmade. She has called it “the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face as a nation and a world.” Clinton unveiled a plan that would install half a billion solar panels across the country by 2020 (a 700 percent increase in solar capacity); and expand renewable energy (including geothermal and hydro) sufficiently to produce 33 percent of U.S. electricity by 2027. Her Clean Energy Challenge, partnering with states, cities and communities, will include incentives, competitions, and investment in transmission and R&D.

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Trump to the Future: “Back to the Future” + Donald Trump parody video

“Contrary to popular belief, the 2015 Donald Trump presidential campaign actually extends all the way back to 1985.” Read the rest

Lawrence Lessig on how to fix America's campaign finance corruption problem

“Real reform will require changing the way campaigns are funded — moving from large-dollar private funding to small-dollar public funding,” writes professor Lawrence Lessig in a New York Times op-ed today. Basically, what if elections relied more on lots of little contributions from lots of different regular working people, instead of relying on a small number of huge donations from the rich and powerful, or the big and powerful institutions that serve their interests.

Democrats, for example, have pushed for small-dollar public funding through matching systems, like New York City’s. Under a plan by Representative John Sarbanes, Democrat of Maryland, contributions could be matched up to nine to one, for candidates who agree to accept only small donations.

Republicans, too, are increasingly calling for small-dollar funding systems. The legal scholar Richard W. Painter, a former “ethics czar” for President George W. Bush, has proposed a $200 tax rebate to fund small-dollar campaigns. Likewise, Jim Rubens, a candidate in the Republican primary for Senate in New Hampshire last year, proposed a $50 tax rebate to fund congressional campaigns.

Either approach would radically increase the number of funders in campaigns, in that way reducing the concentration of large funders that especially typifies congressional and senatorial campaigns right now.

The Only Realistic Way to Fix Campaign Finance [nytimes.com] Read the rest