White House

House Republicans Sue To Raise Health Care Costs For Poor Americans

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) | CREDIT: AP PHOTO/J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE

I’m concerned about the Bulls**t  factor that politicians have served to it’s constituents since the beginning of this Republic.

House Speaker Boehner seems especially adept at this factor even better than most.  When will Americans wake up and see they’re being duped over and over again.  I favor no one party in this assessment.  They are all the same when it comes to the Bulls**t factor.

Think Progress

House Republicans filed a long-awaited lawsuit against the Obama administration on Friday, arguing that the president has inappropriately acted without congressional authority to implement parts of the health care reform law. If it’s successful, the lawsuit could increase out-of-pocket costs for millions of vulnerable Americans who already struggle to afford health services — even though the GOP has repeatedly accused the law of making coverage too expensive.

According to the legal challenge, the White House shouldn’t have acted unilaterally to delay the employer mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act. But it also takes issue with a different provision of the law: subsidies known as cost-sharing reductions, which cap the amount that insurers are allowed to charge people for co-pays, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Over the next ten years, the ACA will give an estimated $175 billion in subsidies to insurance companies to keep health costs lower for Americans earning between 100 and 250 percent of the federal poverty line. House Republicans are arguing that money was illegally appropriated without getting approval from Congress.

If insurers no longer receive subsidies from the government to offset the cost of capping out-of-pocket costs, however, the New York Times reports that “the companies might be forced to raise costs elsewhere.” That could directly affect out-of-pocket expenses among a population that already worries about being able to afford insurance.

GOP lawmakers are setting their sets on repealing this particular consumer protection despite the fact that they’ve have previously had a lot of complaints about the health lawraising out-of-pocket costs, arguing Obamacare threatens to make coverage too unaffordable for average Americans.

In advance of the law’s first enrollment period, Republicans were quick to criticize the other expenses accompanying new Obamacare plans aside from the monthly premiums, saying the deductibles were much too high. At the time, the Senate Republican Communications Center circulated a roundup of consumers complaining about their deductibles.

In April, House Speaker John Boeher (R-OH) complained that Obamacare has caused his co-pays and deductibles to triple, and said he’s been getting letters from his constituents having similar issues. In the lead up to the recent midterm elections, Republicans in close races relied on the messaging that the health law was driving up co-pays and deductibles. Candidates like incoming Sen. Jodi Ernst (IA) argued that the Obama administration was hiding the “true cost” of out-of-pocket expenses from enrollees.

“The House has an obligation to stand up for the Constitution, and that is exactly why we are pursuing this course of action,” Boehner said in a statement after the lawsuit was filed. But if he gets his way, the House GOP might also end up fueling its own complaints about the law.

10 things you need to know today: November 21, 2014

Obama makes the case for his executive order on immigration.

Obama makes the case for his executive order on immigration | (Pool/Getty Images)

The Week

Obama outlines his unilateral immigration reform, an armed woman is arrested by the White House, and more

1. Obama details his immigration reform orders
President Obama announced Thursday that he was using his executive powers to unilaterally impose immigration reform despite gridlock over the issue in Congress. In a primetime address, Obama said he would enact measures deferring the deportation of four million undocumented immigrants, allowing undocumented parents of U.S. citizens who have been in the country five years to apply for legal residency, but with no path to citizenship. Republicans vowed to fight the moves, saying Obama had overstepped his authority by acting alone. [The Washington Post]

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2. Woman arrested for carrying a pistol by the White House fence
Secret Service officers on Thursday arrested a Michigan woman who allegedly was spotted walking by the White House fence carrying a pistol. Plainclothes officers noticed that the woman — identified as April Lenhart, 23 — was wearing a holster, and notified uniformed officers. Lenhart was charged with carrying an unregistered 9 mm handgun, and a man who was with her was questioned and released. A day earlier an Ohio man was arrested after police found a rifle in his car a block from the White House. [NBC News]

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3. Five detainees released in an effort to reduce numbers at Guantanamo
Five Guantanamo Bay detainees were transferred to Slovakia and Georgia under a plan to reduce the number of suspected terrorists at the facility, Defense Department officials said Thursday. The number of detainees at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo, where many Taliban and al Qaeda fighters captured early in the Afghan war were taken, reached 750 after the U.S. began holding post-9/11 terrorism suspects there. As of Thursday, there were still 143 detainees at the facility. [CNN]

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4. Fraternity vandalized after article on alleged gang rape
Vandals broke windows and spray painted walls at a University of Virginia fraternity house that was described by Rolling Stone as the scene of a gang rape two years ago, authorities said Thursday. The article, published Wednesday, quoted a student identified as Jackie who said she was raped by seven men at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house after going on a date with a member of the house. UVa. President Teresa Sullivan said there were details in the article that school officials had not been aware of, and she had asked police to formally investigate. [The Huffington Post, Rolling Stone]

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5. Mexicans protest students’ disappearance
Masked protesters threw Molotov cocktails at police in Mexico City on Thursday in an expression of mounting anger over the government’s handling of the abduction and apparent killing of 43 trainee school teachers in the southwestern city of Iguala. Earlier in the day, tens of thousands of demonstrators, led by parents of missing students, marched through the capital, many of them calling for President Enrique Pena Nieto’s resignation. The victims were believed to have been kidnapped by corrupt police working with a drug gang. [Agence France Presse, Reuters]

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6. More women make sexual allegations against Cosby
Two new accusers came forward on Thursday saying that comedian Bill Cosby raped or made unwanted sexual advances toward them years ago. Florida nurse Therese Serignese, 57, said she had been drugged and raped. Carla Ferrigno, wife of actor and former body builder Lou Ferrigno, said Cosby forced a kiss on her in 1967. More than a dozen women have now made allegations against Cosby, who has declined to address the claims, but his lawyer has called some of the latest ones “utter nonsense.” [USA Today, People]

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7. Utah panel backs proposal that would bring back firing squads
Utah lawmakers have backed a proposal to resume the use of firing squads in state executions. Utah banned the use of firing squads 10 years ago, but state Rep. Paul Ray (R) has introduced a bill that would give the state the option of using a firing squad if officials were unable to obtain lethal injection drugs within 30 days of a scheduled execution. An interim panel approve the measure 9-2 this week. It still has to be debated by the full legislature next year. [USA Today]

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8. Five members of family killed in crash en route to Disney World
Five members of a Texas family were killed as they set off for a “dream trip” to Disney World when a 16-year-old boy apparently fell asleep at the wheel, causing the family’s SUV to roll over, police said Thursday. Police charged the boy, who had a driver’s license, with reckless driving. The dead included the driver’s parents, primary-school teachers Michael and Trudi Hardman, and three of their children — Dakota Watson, 15, Adam Hardman, 7, and Kaci Hardman, 4. [The Associated Press]

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9. NFL moves Buffalo Bills game due to massive snowfall
The NFL decided Thursday to move a Sunday game between the Bills and the Jets from Buffalo to Detroit after a storm dumped more than six feet of snow on parts of New York state. The storm left 10 people dead and thousands stranded in their homes by drifts as high as 10 feet. The game was also pushed back to Monday night to give the Bills, who could not practice this week, time to prepare. [The New York Times]

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10. Spain’s Duchess of Alba dies
The Duchess of Alba, Spain’s richest woman, died in Seville on Thursday. She was 88. Guinness World Records said the duchess, Maria del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuary, was the world’s most titled person. She was five times a duchess, 18 times a marchioness, and 18 times a countess, among other titles. She was a member of one of Spain’s oldest noble families, and had a fortune worth an estimated $753 million. She also was a gossip-column fixture known as the “rebel noble,” and was once asked by Picasso to be his muse. [BBC News]

10 things you need to know today: November 20, 2014

Tallahassee police investigate a shooting at FSU.

Tallahassee police investigate a shooting at FSU | AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)

The Week

A gunman wounds three people at Florida State University, NBC scraps Bill Cosby’s sitcom, and more

1. Three students injured in Florida State campus shooting
A gunman wounded three students at a Florida State University library packed with up to 400 students studying for final exams Thursday morning, shortly after midnight. The gunman allegedly fired at police outside the library and was killed when they shot back. “Obviously everyone wants to know why,” Tallahassee police Chief Michael DeLeo said. “That’s the hard answer we’re going to continue to investigate.” [Tallahassee Democrat, CNN]

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2. NBC ditches Cosby sitcom project as rape allegations spread
A day after Netflix called off the launch of a Bill Cosby comedy special, NBC announced Wednesday that it had dropped a sitcom project that was to star Cosby after a series of women came forward saying that Cosby had raped them years ago. TV Land also pulled Cosby Show reruns. Cosby’s lawyers vehemently denied that Cosby, 77, had done anything wrong. A former Pennsylvania prosecutor said he had decided against filing sexual assault charges in 2005 due to insufficient evidence, although he believed “something inappropriate” had happened. [USA Today]

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3. Buffalo gets more snow as storm’s death toll rises
A fresh blast of up to 30 inches of snow began falling on parts of New York state around Buffalo overnight, less than a day after a freak storm hit some areas with as much as a record six feet of snow. The death toll from the lake-effect snowstorm reached six. The area is expected to warm up rapidly over the weekend. Forecasters warn that the higher temperatures could turn the snow, which could reach eight feet in some places, into floods. “It will get worse before it gets better,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. [The Buffalo News, Newsday]

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4. Judge rules Montana’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional
A federal judge overturned Montana’s gay marriage ban on Wednesday, saying the state’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris said the ban violated the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. Morris said the ruling would displease gay-marriage opponents, “Yet the United States Constitution exists to protect disfavored minorities from the will of the majority.” [ABC News]

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5. Obama plans to announce executive actions on immigration
President Obama is preparing for a Thursday prime-time address to unveil his plan to sidestep Congress and use his executive power to protect up to four million undocumented immigrants from deportation. Obama also plans to expand visas for high-tech workers, among other actions. “Everybody agrees that our immigration system is broken,” he said in a video posted on his Facebook page. “Unfortunately, Washington has allowed the problem to fester for too long.” Republicans denounced the move as a power grab as the GOP takes full control of Congress. [The Washington Post]

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6. Honduran beauty queen found murdered
Nineteen-year-old Maria Jose Alvarado, Honduras’ Miss World contestant, was found murdered along with her sister Sofia, 23, on Wednesday. The women had been missing for nearly a week. They were last seen leaving a party and getting into an unlicensed car. Their bodies were found buried in western Honduras. Authorities said Sofia’s boyfriend, Plutarco Ruiz, confessed to killing the sisters in a jealous rage after Sofia danced with another man. [TIME, The Associated Press]

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7. Jason Collins, the NBA’s first openly gay player, announces his retirement
Jason Collins, the first openly gay player in any of the four major U.S. professional sports leagues, announced his retirement from the NBA in a first-person story for Sports Illustrated unveiled Wednesday. Collins, 35, revealed his sexuality in the same magazine in April 2013. He played professional basketball for 13 years. “It feels wonderful to have been part of these milestones for sports and for gay rights,” Collins wrote, “and to have been embraced by the public, the coaches, the players, the league, and history.” [BBC News]

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8. California committee recommends hiking public university tuition
A committee on the 10-school University of California system’s governing board on Wednesday approved raising tuition by more than 25 percent over five years. The full Board of Regents will vote Thursday. Gov. Jerry Brown (D), one of the 26 regents, strongly opposes the plan, which would start with a $612 (five percent) increase next year to $12,804. “Governor, you’re going to vote ‘No,’ and I understand that,” the system’s president, Janet Napolitano, said. “But … this plan needs to move forward.” [Reuters]

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9. Secret Service arrests man near White House
The Secret Service on Wednesday arrested an Iowa man outside the White House. The suspect, Renae Kapheim, 41, allegedly had a hunting rifle and ammunition in his car. Authorities interviewed him after he approached uniformed officers a block from the White House. “He said that someone had told him that he should come to the White House so he had driven to Washington to do so,” a senior law enforcement official said. The officers, thinking “something wasn’t right,” searched his 2013 Volkswagen Passat with his permission, and found the gun. [The New York Times]

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10. Legendary director Mike Nichols dies at 83
Mike Nichols, who won an Oscar for directing the classic 1967 film The Graduate, died suddenly on Wednesday. He was 83. Nichols is survived by his wife, former ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer. “No one was more passionate about his craft than Mike,” said ABC News President James Goldston in a statement. Over a five-decade career as a theater, film, and TV director-producer and performer, Nichols also won four Emmys, nine Tonys, and a Grammy, among other honors. [People]

Bad news for xenophobic wingnuts: Why new immigration poll should reassure White House

Bad news for xenophobic wingnuts: Why new immigration poll should reassure White House

Marsha Blackburn, Louie Gohmert | (Credit: AP/Chris Usher/Carolyn Kaster)

Salon

New survey shows familiar partisan split on executive action on immigration, a good sign for Obama

With all the turmoil and mishegas over President Obama’s plan to use executive action to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation, you’d think there’d be more polling out there gauging the public’s attitude on the issue. The guy’s been threatening to do this for months now, but the polling data seems to be sparse, and much of what there is comes from partisan outfits.

Anyway, USA Today and Princeton Survey Research stepped up to fill in the void and provide us with our first post-election look at the public’s stance on unilateral immigration action, and the results are pretty unsurprising: the country is split almost down the middle, and support for Obama’s proposal breaks down along partisan lines. Given the circumstances, that’s fairly decent news for the White House.

The USA Today poll’s question was curiously worded (more on that in a bit), but the survey found that 42 percent of Americans want the White House to act immediately on immigration, while 46 percent want the White House to wait. Democrats favor immediate action by a huge 60-28 percent margin, Republicans favor waiting by an even huger 76-17 percent, and independents are split 44-46 in slight favor of delay.

If I’m in the White House, then I’m reassured by this poll. After the child migrant crisis during the summer and Obama’s decision to delay taking executive action, the president’s credibility on immigration took a big hit, and for a while it looked like the public was starting to turn away from meaningful immigration reform. Obama’s approval rating on immigration as an issue tanked to 31 percent, according to Gallup. There were also dips inpublic support for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Gallup hasn’t polled Obama’s approval on immigration since then, but public support for a pathway to citizenship has bounced back. The fact that Obama has fought the executive action issue almost to a draw would seem to indicate that he’s come back somewhat from the summer’s immigration doldrums.

As for the poll itself, the wording of the question was peculiar, and seems to give the Republicans lots more credit than they deserve when it comes to their capacity to legislate. Here’s how USA Today put the issue to respondents:

Should President Obama take executive action this year to deal with illegal immigration or should he wait until January for the new Republican Congress to pass legislation on this issue?

The question makes it seem like a) the Republicans have legislation that they’re willing to pass, and b) that they’re going to pass it in January, immediately after the new Congress is sworn in. (Also, Obama taking action wouldn’t preclude the GOP from legislating, but that’s a separate issue.) There aren’t many people who have any confidence that the GOP can come to an agreement internally on what they’d like to do on immigration, and not even the Republicans say they’ll pass anything. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, one of the more enthusiastic Republican critics of the Obama administration’s “amnesty” proposal, appeared on Bloomberg TV this week and was asked three times what he’d do to deal with the millions of undocumented immigrants already in the country. Each time he ducked the question (except to say “secure the border”).

The best Republicans have been able to do thus far is offer up vague hints about the possibility of legislative action on immigration, but only if Obama promises to back off. The USA Today poll offers an overly generous representation of the Republican position on immigration reform, and the GOP still only comes out barely ahead.

The split-decision should also be a warning sign to the growing numbers of Republicans and conservatives who want to shut down the government to stop Obama from acting. Last October, when the Republicans forced us through their wrongheaded shutdown fiasco over defunding the Affordable Care Act, they were emboldened by the fact that the ACA was deeply unpopular, with approval ratings were mired in the low 30s. Obama’s immigration proposal is far more popular than the ACA was then, and the shutdown actually saw the ACA’s approval ratings tick up (before they crashed back down in the ensuing rollout debacle).

Anyway, it’s just one poll and definitely not the final word on the issue, but for now I tend to agree with Kevin Drum that the topline numbers and all-too-predictable split among partisans show that there’s no more political risk for the White House on executive action for deportations than there would be on any other issue for which a similar divide exists. And the numbers certainly don’t bolster the argument that the White House should wait for Godot the Republicans. Going forward would piss off the GOP, delight Democrats, and divide independents, and that’s pretty much what we’ve come to expect from everything in the Obama era.

Mythbusting The Punditry Class’ Election Postmortems

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TPM Cafe – Opinion

Republicans won a tsunami victory that portends a big win in 2016

Uh, no, probably not. The GOP victory slightly overperformed (if at all) what you’d expect from a combination of several factors: a “sixth-year” election with a Democrat in the White House, a pro-Republican midterm turnout pattern, a wildly pro-Republican landscape for members of Congress (especially senators), and a strongly “wrong track” public opinion profile reinforced by negative perceptions of the economy.

The composition of the electorate was an awful lot like 2010: 75 percent white (77 percent white in 2010, 72 percent in 2012); 37 percent 60 and over (32 percent in 2010, 25 percent in 2012); 12 percent 30 and under (12 percent in 2010, 19 percent in 2012). The party splits in various demographics also strongly resembled 2010; the better Republican numbers in pro-Democratic groups (viz. 36 percent among Latinos in 2014, 38 percent in 2010, 27 percent in 2012) reinforces the impression that more conservative voters turned out across the board. (Since nobody really thinks Republicans surged from 26 percent to 50 percent among Asian-Americans since 2012, it’s likely one or both numbers for that group are skewed).

So we’ve now seen three consecutive “swings” in turnout patterns and results that reinforce the “two electorates” hypothesis suggesting a structural Republican advantage in midterms and a Democratic advantage in presidential elections. Since the close alignment of the two parties with the segments of the electorate most likely (Republican with their older white voter base) and least likely (Democrats with their younger and minority voter base) to participate in midterms emerged in 2008, nobody’s “broken serve” yet. It could happen in 2016, of course, but nothing that occurred last Tuesday appears to make that more or less likely than it was on Monday.

Part of the illusion of a last-minute “tsunami,” of course, was created by a systematic overestimation of the Democratic vote by polls, amounting to 4 percent according to Nate Silverand 5 percent according to Sam Wang. In 2010 it was Republicans who benefited from a polling misfire.

The Democratic GOTV operation was a failure

It’s true the DSCC’s Bannock Street Project did not reshape the midterm electorate and produce victories, and national turnout was at the lowest rate since 1942. But turnout was up from 2010 levels in most states with competitive Senate races (as a percentage of 2010 vote): by 12.9 percent in Louisiana; 9.9 percent in Arkansas; 6.8 percent in New Hampshire; 6.6 percent in Alaska; 4.7 percent in Colorado; 4.2 percent in Kentucky; 3.8 percent in North Carolina; 2.6 percent in Kansas; and 1.4 percent in Arkansas. Georgia was the biggest disappointment, with 13 percent fewer votes cast in 2014 as compared to 2010, perhaps indicating that allegations of voter registration applications being buried by the Secretary of State’s office ought to get a second look.

A “but for” test would seem to indicate that overall Bannock Street kept turnout patterns from being even worse than they might have been. But to the extent it was an experiment, it needs tweaking, and it may simply be that not voting in midterms (particularly for young people) is too entrenched a habit to be significantly changed by any GOTV program. Republicans claims that Democratic GOTV efforts were canceled out by their own more impressive measures should also be examined, along with the suspicion that both parties’ early voting programs didn’t really add that many new voters.

Democrats should finally write off the south

The defeats of Kay Hagan, Mark Pryor and Michelle Nunn, along with the projected defeat of Mary Landrieu in a December runoff and the near-death-experience of Mark Warner have fed perennial talk that Democrats are wasting their time in the former Confederate States.

It may be true that Democrats will henceforth struggle in midterms in much (though not necessarily all) of the region, and that the decline in ticket-splitting means outperforming national tickets among white voters is becoming a thing of the past. But in presidential years, there’s no reason Virginia (carried twice by Obama), North Carolina (once), Georgia (where the nonwhite percentage of the population is creeping ever upward) and of course such essentially non-southern states as Florida (carried twice by Obama) cannot remain competitive for the foreseeable future. The trend lines are actually positive, with the realignment towards Republicans of southern white voters reaching its point of diminishing returns.

I’d argue what’s really obsolete is the get-as-far-to-the-right-as-possible Blue Dog model for southern Democratic success, epitomized by Rep. John Barrow (D-GA), who finally lost this year. Absent some strong, specifically partisan anti-Republican trend in a particular year, southern white conservative voters see no reason to vote Democratic any more, and each year their return becomes more unlikely. But ascending elements of the southern electorate, including transplants and knowledge workers, continue to be a ripe target for Democrats.

‘Populism’ is the cure-all/won’t work for Democrats

Nothing was more ubiquitous in Democratic campaigns this year than support for such “populist” economic themes as a higher minimum wage, which polled well nearly everywhere and sometimes split Republicans. But even in states where voters approved minimum wage ballot initiatives, Democratic statewide candidates did not benefit, leading some observers to  “populist” appeals to reduce inequality might be less effective than a pro-growth message while others countered that a sharper populist message was needed when the Democratic Party holds the While House and is deemed responsible for the economy.

This is a dilemma for Democrats that goes back at least to the Clinton years, and will be partly ameliorated by the imminent departure from office of President Obama, making it easier for his successor as Democratic nominee to make 2016 a “two futures” choice of economic policies rather than a referendum on a status quo still suffering from the mistakes of the Bush administration. I’d personally argue that what Democrats most need isn’t “less” or “more” populism, but a more comprehensive economic message that explains how income equality is critical to growth and offers not just one but various ways to boost paychecks. Princeton professor Alan Blinder has made a pretty good start.

Meanwhile, a separate argument is that some Democrats spent too much time on “culture war” issues or talking about a “war on women.” I’d just note that the single biggest difference between the 2010 and 2014 votes were that Democrats won women last week by four points and lost them by a point in 2010. Something went right.

Fundamentals explain everything

I obviously agree such “fundamentals” as turnout patterns and midterm dynamics and the “presidential referendum” factor and demographics explain most of what happened last Tuesday. But sometimes candidates and campaigns trump everything. It’s very unlikely that Joni Ernst would have won comfortably had Bruce Braley not been filmed telling out-of-state trial lawyers he was their vehicle for keeping Chuck Grassley, “an Iowa farmer,” away from the Judiciary Committee gavel. Maryland’s Democratic Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown ran a sluggish and overconfident campaign, just like Maryland LG Kathleen Kennedy Townsend did eight years ago when she was upset by a Republican. And Mark Udall lost in 2014 while Michael Bennet won in 2010 largely because Cory Gardner was a helluva better candidate than Ken Buck. At the margins of every election, anything can and does happen.

Ed Kilgore is the principal blogger for Washington Monthly’s Political Animal blog, Managing Editor of The Democratic Strategist, and a Senior Fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Earlier he worked for three governors and a U.S. Senator. He can be followed on Twitter at@ed_kilgore.

H/t: Don B.

10 things you need to know today: November 8, 2014

President Obama will officially announce Loretta Lynch's nomination today at the White House.

President Obama will officially announce Loretta Lynch’s nomination today at the White House. | (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The Week

The White House announces nomination of Loretta Lynch for Attorney General, U.S. unemployment rate drops, and more

1. White House to nominate Loretta Lynch for Attorney General
The White House officially announced late on Friday that President Barack Obama will nominate Loretta Lynch, the U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn, to be the next Attorney General. Obama will officially introduce Lynch’s nomination today at the White House, a statement from the administration said, joined by both Lynch and outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder. If she is confirmed by the Senate, Lynch would be the first African-American woman to serve as Attorney General. [The Washington Post]

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2. U.S. unemployment rate drops to 5.8 percent
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday that U.S. employers added 214,000 jobs in October, while the unemployment rate fell from 5.9 percent in September to 5.8 percent. While the jobs number was slightly below expectations, the number of Americans filing for unemployment fell to 278,000 last week, marking the lowest average for jobless claims in 14 years and suggesting the U.S. job market is improving. [The Wall Street Journal]

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3. European, U.S. authorities arrest 17 in Darknet site raids
European and U.S. officials announced on Friday that they have arrested 17 people across 16 European countries and the U.S. in coordinated raids on underground, online markets. The Darknet sites are used to sell drugs and weapons, and officials seized at least $1 million in Bitcoin, along with hundreds of thousands of Euros, and drugs, gold, and silver. [NPR]

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4. Federal judge approves Detroit plan to exit bankruptcy
Just 16 months after Detroit declared bankruptcy, a federal judge on Friday approved the city’s blueprint for exiting bankruptcy. The plan would allow Detroit to cut its $18 billion debt by $7 billion, and invests nearly $2 billion over the next nine years in city services such as computer systems, fire trucks, and ambulances. “The big hurdle is whether or not they can get the services and infrastructure in place to build the city back up,” John J. Ramirez, a restructuring lawyer, said. [The Washington Post]

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5. Supreme Court agrees to hear challenge to Affordable Care Act
The Supreme Court justices announced on Friday that they will rule on whether the Affordable Care Act “authorizes subsidies that help millions of low- and middle-income people afford their health insurance premiums.” Opponents of the law argue that such subsidies are illegal. [The Associated Press]

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6. South Korea to disband coast guard following ferry disaster
South Korea’s National Assembly announced on Friday that it will disband its coast guard, following criticism for the guard’s failure to save hundreds of passengers from April’s Sewol ferry disaster. That ferry’s sinking killed more than 300 people, and South Korean officials said “swifter, more aggressive action” from the coast guard could have saved more passengers. The guard’s duties will now be handled by the country’s National Police Agency. [The Associated Press]

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7. Dallas Ebola monitoring period comes to an end
Twenty-one days after a final person had contact with one of Dallas’ three Ebola patients, state health officials announced that the city’s monitoring period had ended on Friday evening. No new cases of Ebola have been reported in Texas, and the two nurses who treated Thomas Eric Duncan last month and became infected with Ebola have recovered and been declared virus-free. The total number of people monitored was 177 — those individuals had either handled medical waste or come into contact with one of the state’s three Ebola patients. [KERA News]

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8. VA used counterfeit, unauthorized medical equipment
Internal Department of Veterans Affairs emails obtained through a FOIA request show that some veterans who received care at VA hospitals were treated with counterfeit, possibly dangerous medical supplies. The VA purchased the equipment from Johnson & Johnson, which had purchased the supplies from “gray market” companies. [The Washington Times]

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9. Poll: 6 in 10 Americans believe homes with guns are safer
A new Gallup report shows a 30 percent increase since 2000 in the number of Americans who believe having a gun in the home makes them safer. While 60 percent of Americans said guns in the home made them safer, just 42 percent actually keep a gun for safety reasons. And, the poll responses were divided along political and geographical lines. [Time]

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10. Lionsgate announces upcoming The Hunger Games stage play
Lionsgate announced on Friday that it will mount a Hunger Games “theatrical experience” in London, opening sometime in 2016. The company promised “world-class production values and state-of-the-art technology,” and noted that a new theater will be purpose-built next to London’s Wembley Stadium for the show. [Variety]

CNN: Obama To Tap Loretta Lynch As New Attorney General

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AP Photo | Seth Wenig

Oh this will be dramatic as hell with BOTH houses dominated by Republicans.

If they fail to approve her, in 2016 women and people of color will remember this.  Mid-term elections never have the impact that general elections have.  Out of this mid-term bloodbath I see two things happening for 2016:

  • The GOP on Capitol Hill will be under scrutiny and by the time 2016 rolls around constituents around the country will not want one of those guys in the White House because of their lack of knowledge on women’s issues, immigration, voting rights, climate change and other pressing issues of the day.
  • They will inevitably screw up by saying something incredibly stupid and offensive about a large demographic,  who by the way, are also voters.
  • Stay tuned because within the next two years this list will grow exponentially…

TPM LiveWire

This post has been updated.

Lynch would be the first African-American woman to assume the position.

She graduated from Harvard Law School in 1984, according to her official biography from the Justice Department. She joined the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York in 1990 and was appointed as the U.S. attorney by President Bill Clinton in 1999.

She left in 2001 and became a partner at the Hogan & Hartson law firm until she was reappointed to the U.S. attorney position by Obama in 2010. She also served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2003 to 2005.

According to NPR, one of Lynch’s signature cases is the 1997 sexual assault of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima by New York police. One of the officers involved in the case was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Her office also indicted Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) on fraud charges earlier this year, according to Reuters.

UPDATE: 12:18 p.m. ET

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest did not explicitly deny the CNN report, but said that the president “hasn’t made a decision about who the next attorney general will be.”

10 things you need to know today: October 27, 2014

After pressure from the White House, Cuomo alters his quarantine rules. 

After pressure from the White House, Cuomo alters his quarantine rules. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The Week

Governors ease Ebola quarantine rule under pressure, a second Washington school shooting victim dies, and more

1. New York eases Ebola quarantine rule after White House intervenes
Under pressure from the White House and health experts, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Sunday relaxed his state’s strict policy of quarantining medical workers returning from caring for Ebola patients in West Africa. Administration officials and medical experts argued that the rules, announced Friday in New York and New Jersey, would discourage doctors and nurses from joining the Ebola fight. Cuomo, then New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, said Sunday that those showing no symptoms could be quarantined at home. [The New York Times]

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2. Second Washington state school shooting victim dies
A second victim — Gia Soriano, 14 — died Sunday night from wounds she sustained in a school shooting in Washington state. “We are devastated by this senseless tragedy,” her family said in a statement. “Gia is our beautiful daughter, and words cannot express how much we will miss her.” Another girl was killed Friday when a fellow student opened fire at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, north of Seattle. The alleged shooter, Jaylen Fryberg, died of a self-inflicted wound. Three other victims remain hospitalized, two in critical condition. [Los Angeles Times]

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3. Hong Kong protesters cancel vote
The students leading Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests on Sunday canceled an electronic poll that was to help determine the next step for the demonstrations, which began nearly a month ago. The main groups behind the movement issued a joint statement and said there was too much disagreement and too little planning for the poll to go forward. “We admit we did not have enough discussion with the people before deciding to go ahead with the vote,” the statement said. “We apologize to the people.” [Voice of America]

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4. Pro-Europe politicians dominate Ukraine elections
Pro-Western parties swept Ukraine’s parliamentary elections, according to Sunday exit polls. President Petro Poroshenko’s party is expected to put together a coalition with other parties in favor of strengthening economic ties with Europe, and shedding the longtime influence of Russia. Poroshenko, who still faces an armed uprising by pro-Russian separatists, thanked voters for supporting his call for “a democratic, reformist, pro-Ukrainian, and pro-European majority.” [The Wall Street Journal]

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5. Jeb Bush is mulling a presidential bid, his son confirms
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s eldest son, George P. Bush, said his father is “more than likely” seriously considering running for president in 2016. Jeb Bush’s brother, former president George W. Bush, has urged him to run, as has his father, former president George H.W. Bush. “The family will be behind him 100 percent if he decides to do it,” said George P. Bush, who is a candidate for his first political office — Texas land commissioner — in November. [CNN]

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6. Brazil’s Rousseff wins a second term as president
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff won reelection on Sunday, beating center-right challenger Aecio Neves 51.6 percent to 48.4 percent. Rousseff campaigned for a second term promising that her left-wing Workers’ Party would deliver expanded social programs, which helped her seal the support of poor Brazilians. After facing protests last year against corruption and inadequate services, Rousseff promised in her acceptance speech to be “a much better president than I have been until now.” [Globe and Mail, BBC News]

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7. Welcome Back, Kotter actress Marcia Strassman dies
Actress Marcia Strassman, best known for playing Gabe Kaplan’s wife in the ’70s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, has died after a long fight with breast cancer, her sister, Julie, confirmed Sunday. She was 66. Strassman played a nurse in the first season of MASH before landing the Kotter role. She also co-starred with Rick Moranis in the 1989 Disney movie Honey I Shrunk the Kids and 1992 sequel Honey I Blew Up the Kid. [Variety]

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8. Tunisia’s secularists out-do Islamists in historic balloting
Tunisia’s leading secular party, Nidaa Tounes, appeared to have won more seats in the country’s new parliament than the rival Islamist party Ennahda, a Nidaa Tounes party source said Monday. The official, citing a preliminary ballot count, said Nidaa Tounes had won 80-plus votes, to Ennahda’s 67. Election officials are expected to release their results later in the day. The vote brought full democracy to the country nearly four years after its uprising, which launched the Arab Spring. [Reuters]

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9. Cardinals’ Oscar Taveras dies in car wreck
St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic, Dominican police said Sunday. He was 22. His girlfriend, identified as Edilia Ardelo, 18, also died. Taveras had been ranked as one of the top minor league prospects in baseball for the last few years. He played his first season for the Cardinals this year, playing in 80 games. He was expected to compete for a starting spot next season. “Oscar was an amazing talent with a bright future,” Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a statement. [USA Today]

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10. Giants pull ahead in the World Series
The San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals on Sunday to take a 3-2 lead in the World Series. The Giants’ Madison Bumgarner pitched a four-hit shutout in a 5-0 victory that put his team within one game of taking the best-of-seven Major League Baseball championship — its third in five years. The Series will return from San Francisco to Kansas City for Game 6 on Tuesday night, giving the Royals a chance to avoid elimination with the support of a home crowd. [The Associated Press]

10 things you need to know today: October 2, 2014

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned Wednesday. 

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned Wednesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Week

The Secret Service’s director resigns, health officials say a hospital at first sent Ebola patient home, and more

1. The leader of the Secret Service steps down after security breaches
Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned on Wednesday under intense pressure over several lapses of security at the White House. Pierson quit less than a day after lawmakers from both parties questioned her over how an Iraq war veteran carrying a knife had managed to get past security and enter the first floor of the White House. Lawmakers from both parties said the security breach left them with deep concerns over the safety of President Obama and others under Secret Service protection. [The New York Times]

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2. Hospital at first sent Ebola patient home
Doctors sent the first U.S. Ebola patient — identified as Thomas Eric Duncan, 40 — home the first time he showed up in the emergency room last week, health officials said Wednesday. Some doctors were not informed that he had been to Liberia, and his symptoms were not deemed severe enough for admission. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said the hospital “dropped the ball.” Up to 18 people were exposed to the patient, who vomited outside his home before returning to the hospital two days later. [CNN, Reuters]

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3. Man convicted for murder for killing Florida teen over loud music
A Florida jury on Wednesday convicted Michael Dunn, 47, of first-degree murder for fatally shooting Jordan Davis, 17, in an argument over loud music. Another jury had convicted Dunn of three counts of second-degree attempted murder for firing his pistol at Davis and three other teenagers in the parking lot of a Jacksonville gas station. The first jury had deadlocked on the murder charge. In the retrial, Dunn said he fired because he saw a “very angry-looking young man” and feared for his life. [USA Today]

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4. Beijing warns of “chaos” if Hong Kong protests continue
Hong Kong’s police chief warned pro-democracy protesters on Thursday not to follow through on a threat to occupy government buildings if the financial center’s chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, does not step down by the end of the day. Thousands of demonstrators have been blocking streets around city government headquarters since last week demanding free elections to choose their next leader. Beijing warned of “chaos” if the protests continue, and backed Leung, signaling its unwillingness to back down. [Fox News]

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5. Canadian firm wins auction for Atlantic City’s bankrupt Revel casino
Canadian asset-management firm Brookfield U.S. Holdings on Wednesday won a bankruptcy court auction to buy the massive Revel casino hotel in Atlantic City for $110 million. The Revel cost $2.4 billion to build, and was open just two years before shutting down a month ago in a wave of casino bankruptcies in the seaside city. Brookfield, which already owns casinos in Las Vegas and the Bahamas, plans to reopen it. The sale still has to be approved in a hearing on Oct. 7. [The Associated Press]

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6. Oregon man sentenced for Christmas bombing plot
A Somali-American man was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison for plotting to bomb an Oregon Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in 2010. Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 23, had been given a phony bomb by undercover FBI agents posing as al Qaeda recruiters, and he was arrested after pressing a keypad button on a cellphone that he thought would detonate a truck bomb at the Portland event. Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen, has apologized, saying what he did was “terrible.” His lawyers plan to appeal. [Voice of America]

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7. Turkey considers joining the fight against ISIS
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria insurgents continued advancing toward a Kurdish town on Syria’s border with Turkey despite coalition airstrikes. Fear of a massacre drove thousands more refugees into Turkey. The country’s parliament is expected to begin debating on Thursday whether to join the international fight against the Islamist group, also known as ISIS, by approving military incursions over the border, and letting coalition forces operate from Turkey. [Reuters]

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8. Court forces North Carolina to ease voting restrictions
A federal appeals court on Wednesday ordered North Carolina to restore same-day voter registrationand count provisional ballots cast outside voters’ home precincts. Civil rights groups had said the state’s Republican-controlled legislature’s decision to scrap the two provisions would have disproportionately harmed minority voters. Election officials said the state would appeal the ruling because the state had already sent out four million voting guides, and changing the rules now would confuse voters. [The New York Times]

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9. Mexico arrests leading drug kingpin
The government of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto scored a major drug-war victory on Wednesday with the arrest of Hector Beltran Leyva, one of the country’s most high-profile drug bosses. The arrest was expected to be a devastating blow to the Beltran Leyva gang, which had feuded with the powerful kingpin Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, a former ally. Few details were available on Beltran Leyva’s capture. Authorities are conducting tests to confirm his identity. [The Christian Science Monitor]

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10. Walruses come ashore as Arctic sea ice melts
Thirty-five thousand walruses have come ashore in Alaska because the Arctic summer sea ice they normally rest on has been melting due to warming global temperatures, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Similar sightings were reported in 2007, 2009, and 2011. “It’s another remarkable sign of the dramatic environmental conditions changing as the result of sea ice loss,” said Margaret Williams of the World Wildlife Fund. [The Associated Press]

10 things you need to know today: October 1, 2014

Dallas' Dr. Edward Goodman takes questions from reporters.

Dallas’ Dr. Edward Goodman takes questions from reporters. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

The Week

The first Ebola patient is diagnosed in the U.S., Congress grills the Secret Service over security breaches, and more

1. First Ebola case is diagnosed in the U.S.
A man who arrived in Dallas on a flight from Liberia has become the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday. The patient did not show symptoms until several days after he landed on Sept. 20. He is now being treated at a Dallas hospital. A CDC team is tracking down people who came into contact with the man, who has not been publicly identified, to make sure no others were infected. [The New York Times]

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2. Secret Service chief vows White House breach “will never happen again”
The director of the Secret Service, Julia Pierson, promised a full review of White House security measures in response to a breach that let an armed intruder hop a fence and run into the first floor of the presidential residence last week. It was the sixth breach of the grounds this year. “It will never happen again,” Pierson told a House subcommittee on security. A whistleblower also informed the panel of an incident in which an armed contractor with a criminal record was allowed on an elevator with President Obama, violating Secret Service protocols. [The Washington Post]

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3. Iraq retakes border post from ISIS
Iraqi Kurdish forces took control of a post on the Syrian border from Islamic State of Iraq and Syria fighters on Tuesday. The Kurdish Peshmerga fighters also won the support of a major Sunni Muslim tribe in the area, marking one of the most significant victories yet for Kurds over the Sunni extremists of ISIS. The loss of the strategic border crossing was expected to create problems for ISIS on both sides of the border. [Reuters]

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4. Hong Kong protesters block streets on China’s National Day
Thousands of pro-democracy protesters returned to the streets in Hong Kong on Wednesday, the National Day holiday marking the anniversary of China’s Communist Party founding in 1949. Organizers were aiming to bring out the largest crowds yet as a symbolic show of force in defiance of a government crackdown. Riot police have tried to disperse crowds with tear gas but the demonstrators vow not to back down until they win assurances of free elections to pick Hong Kong’s next leader. [BBC News]

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5. Judge rules against the White House on some ObamaCare subsidies
A federal judge in Oklahoma ruled on Tuesday that people who bought health insurance policies through the federally run exchange are not eligible for ObamaCare subsidies, due to how President Obama’s signature health-care reform law is worded. The language suggests that only those enrolling through state-run exchanges should get the subsidies, Judge Ronald A. White said. Other courts have split on the issue. If the ruling stands, subsidies would be invalidated in 36 states. [Politico]

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6. Microsoft introduces Windows 10
Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled the latest version of its industry-dominating computer operating system. The software giant jumped from the old Windows 8 and is naming the new version Windows 10 — skipping Windows 9. “When you see the product in its fullness, I think you will agree with us that it is a more appropriate name,” said Microsoft executive Terry Myerson. The new operating system retains some of Windows 8’s tablet-style changes, such as live tiles, but also brings back some familiar features from the more widely adopted Windows 7. [USA Today]

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7. Thailand responds to backpackers’ murders with wristbands for tourists
Thailand’s tourism minister, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, said Tuesday that he was backing a proposal to make tourists wear wristbands in an attempt to improve security following the murders of two British backpackers two weeks ago. The travelers — Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24 — were killed after leaving a bar on the resort island of Koh Tao. The wristbands will have a serial number matching the wearer’s I.D. and hotel data. Electronic tracking devices are also being considered. [Bagkok Post]

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8. Taliban suicide bombers kill seven in Afghan army
Taliban suicide bombers struck two buses carrying Afghan soldiers early Wednesday in separate strikes, killing seven and wounding 21. The attacks in Kabul came a day after Afghanistan’s new government signed a security agreement with the U.S. that will allow 10,000 American soldiers to stay behind to train and support Afghan forces after international forces withdraw at the end of the year. The Taliban immediately claimed responsibility for the blasts. [Reuters]

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9. EBay, reversing course, says it will spin off PayPal
EBay announced Tuesday that it was spinning off PayPal as a separate company next year. The move was seen as a response to rising competition from Apple Pay and other new services offering to let consumers pay for everyday purchases with their smartphones. Activist investor Carl Icahn had been pushing eBay to reverse its insistence on keeping the companies mingled, arguing that PayPal would be freer to innovate on its own. EBay’s stock jumped by 7.5 percent after the announcement. [The Wall Street Journal, Slate]

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10. 18-time gold medalist Michael Phelps faces DUI charge
Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps, 29, was arrested for driving under the influence early Tuesday in Baltimore. Police said Phelps was driving 84 mph in a 45 mph zone. The bust was the 18-time gold medal winner’s second for DUI — he pled guilty to his first charge in 2004. In 2009 he lost a major sponsor — USA Swimming — and a cereal endorsement deal after being photographed appearing to smoke a marijuana pipe. His latest troubles come as he attempts a comeback to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. [The Christian Science Monitor]