As a pediatrician whose patients and their families sometimes develop serious mental illnesses, and as a family member and caregiver, I can tell you the word “serious” is a euphemism, a polite understatement. I have a friend with stage IV cancer who has received life-saving treatment for many years—she is able to work, care for her family, and enjoy her life despite the fatigue and side effects. If she were to stop treatment she would likely die quickly. Her illness is serious. Treated, illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar with psychosis settle to the level of serious. They are not really “mental” either, which sounds as if we are speaking about nebulous, abstract, idea-based problems —they are brain illnesses.Let’s call them what they are. Untreated, these brain illnesses are not serious—they are devastating, catastrophic, and deadly. Those who do not die wind up far too often in prisons unprepared to care for them or homeless , living—if one can call it living—under bridges and in doorways.
Brain illness care has long been the red-headed stepchild of medicine—barely funded when required by law, and far too often, not even then.For decades, advocates have worked towards parity, the equal treatment of brain and other body illnesses by insurance, only to witness seemingly solid legislation morph into a sieve of loopholes.Anyone who has watched can testify to the creative genius of private insurers, against whom no legal barrier to patient abuse has so far succeeded.Prohibit annual or lifetime payment caps and they limit the number of visits allowed.Require inpatient hospital coverage and see new categories like “partial hospitalization” that don’t count.Require outpatient coverage and get provider networks at payment rates so low hardly any doctors sign up.Will the Affordable Care Act (ACA) along with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) of 2008 do any better?My short answer is “no.”For the long version, read on.
Thanks to the AFL-CIO for this excellent "Union Made in America" holiday gift guide! The Web site includes a long list of clothing, beauty products, games, wine & beer, and even autos (if you're a real big spender).
The classic "slasher movie" trope is the serial killer who will not die, & keeps coming back to wreak havoc again & again. It's beginning to look like Parker Griffith is getting political advice from the "Friday the 13th" directors and plans to haunt Alabama's 5th District forever. Yes campers... he baaaaack!
The cathouse got polled last week about Griffith's chances of returning to Congress. The wording of the questions themselves was almost laughable as Griffith was referred to as "Democrat Parker Griffith." Oh really? When did that happen?
Let's take a little trip down memory lane....
August 2006 - While running for State Senate, candidate Parker Griffith pledged to become a $100/month donor to the Madison County Democratic Party. But, as mooncat reported in April 2010, the party never saw a penny of his pledge.
August 2009 - then-Democratic Rep. Griffith suggested that Speaker Nancy Pelosi get some mental health care,called on Blue Dog Democrats to oppose health care reform, and complained about Pelosi & Rep. Henry Waxman's egos (perhaps they took up room that Griffith needed for his own ego).
February 2010 - Newly-minted GOP Congressman Parker Griffith got appointed to the "Republican Truth Squad" & held a telephone town hall meeting where he said "Obama is tone deaf," blamed Obamafor the "huge, huge debt," & rebuked the Blue Dogs for not killing the climate change bill.
"It's like he thinks nobody remembers what he said when he ran for office and nobody has a video camera or even some old newspapers laying around."
And now.... he's popped up again in public discussion. Kind of like a groundhog except that groundhogs are cute and I like them.
Griffith has started his own Web site to promote his own organization: Alabama Strong. I'd link to some of the group's goals and objectives - exept that there's almost no text on the Web site, just links to YouTube videos of Parker talking. Yuck. Oh, and there's section in the page footer dedicated to photos of Parker Griffith! Double Yuck.
Griffith apparently thinks that local Democrats suffer from some twisted version of battered wife syndrome, so we'll welcome him with open arms if he just changes his rhetoric back to where it was before he got in Congress, changed parties, ran against "The Liberal Agenda" several times, etc. etc. etc.
But AL-05 voters are smarter than that. We know that the only thing "strong" about Alabama Strong is the stench that comes from anything associated with Parker Griffith.
Time magazine named Pope Francis its "Person of the Year" for 2013, & that got me thinking about Alabama. Although many outside the state consider us to be a ruby red political lost cause, there are a number of people in the state taking leadership roles, working to advance a Progressive political agenda, and advocating for policies that improve education, the economy, and health & welfare of the state's residents.
So I wondered, if we put our heads & keyboards together, who might we name as our 2013 "Person of the Year" in Alabama?
Let's do some nominating, y'all! It can be someone in state government, a private citizen in your community, a person working particularly effectively within the non-profit sector, or some other area. We're looking for the loudmouths as well as the peacemakers because both have a place in the conversation.
I'm going to start with a few nominations below the fold, but I know we have people scattered all across the state. Tell us who in your community is doing important organizing and advocacy work?
We get a lot of comments & discussion on our LIA FB page, so I'll be updating the list with nominations from there as well.
C'mon.... let's highlight some of the unsung heroes in this state! It might be the only formal recognition they receive.
What do you call a state government that thumbs its nose to $2.1 billion in federal money that would help create a minimum of 30,000 new jobs, & provide over 500,000 citizens with health insurance? "Clueless" probably fits, but add this next tidbit into the mix, and you might agree that "criminally negligent" is a better description.
Alabama's joined with a number of other states and gone on a plane hunt. Specifically, the state wants to pay Boeing a several hundred million dollar bribe to fly on down South & build planes. Nobody's even sure of the exact total needed:
Bentley isn't saying how big Alabama's offer was. But he said that after landing several big projects - including Boeing's competitor, Airbus, for a $600 million plant in Mobile - the state will need to create new financial incentives because its current ones are about used up.
To recruit Airbus in 2012, Alabama provided a variety of state and local tax breaks and $158 million for bond expenses, site and road improvements, building costs and worker training. That plant is supposed to create about 1,000 jobs.
Boeing is looking at a $7 billion to $10 billion plant that would start with 3,250 workers in 2018 and grow to 8,500 by 2024.
"In order to recruit 8,500 jobs and that large of a project, obviously we need more than we have right now," the Republican governor said.
Boeing wants to cancel those pensions and put in much weaker 401(k) plans.
It’s a race to the bottom. Or rather, a slog to an era when workers will be more reliant on Social Security than ever.
So what’s most galling is that Boeing’s CEO is out pushing to cut back on the nation’s retirement plan as well. [...]
Speaking of expanding, that’s what keeps happening to the pension of Boeing’s CEO. According to the company’s recent annual reports, McNerney’s pension holdings soared by $6.3 million just in the past year.
If McNerney retires now he will get $265,575 a month. That’s not a misprint: The man presiding over a drive to slash retirement for his own workers, and for stiffs in the rest of America, stands to glide out on a company pension that pays a quarter-million dollars per month.
This is the poor, beleagured company that Alabama is tripping over itself to hand over a bribe "incentives" that may approach a billion collars.
For the promise of 8,500 jobs.
Expand Medicaid & receive $2.1 billion and 30,000+ new jobs - at the same time you increase the overall health and productivity of people in the state.
Spend $600 million minimum (probably much more) to lure one of the world's richest corporations and get 8,500 jobs. That's $70,588/job (more if the incentives are more generous).
Well, of course, it's totally clear which one Alabama's Doctor Governor will choose. He's already signed that blank check to Boeing. If the company cashes it, expect to hear more poormouthing from the GOP Supermajority in 2014. They'll explain how state services need to be cut even more because there's just not enough money.
So the choice that Alabama is making is to spend over $70,000 per job to lure Boeing (and with our past history, that sounds like a bargain). When it could receive $2.1 billion to create 30,000 new jobs.
Oh my... the jokes just write themselves on this one. One of the most unusual stocking stuffers ever has hit the market is on sale now: Ted Cruze To The Future! A "fact based" coloring & activity book for kids the GOP base voter.
The Cruz to the Future™ book is a non-partisan, fact-driven view of how Texas Sen. Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz became a U.S. senator and details, through his quotes and public information his ideas for what he believes will help America grow. " [...] The Cruz to the Future™ coloring book is suitable for any student desk in America, as millions of people across the country admire, respect and portray Mr. Cruz as a positive role model for children, stated publisher Wayne Bell. Parents have told our company they enjoy modern day heroes and positive role models in children's literature and Mr. Cruz as a sitting U.S. Senator certainly meets the criteria," continued Bell.
Ted Cruz Is A Man Of Great Virility And Stamina: Many “career establishment politicians are far too out of shape, old or overweight to even perform such a magnificent feat” as standing on the Senate floor and talking for over 21 hours. But not Ted Cruz!
Ted Cruz Can See The Future: Cruz spoke with “clairvoyant precision” about the “quickly approaching Obama Care disaster.
Cruz Is The Constitution’s Guardian: Ted Cruz is a “passionate fighter for limited government, economic growth, and the Constitution.
America Is A Christian Nation: American history is “replete with official references to the value and invocation of Divine guidance, including official Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, House and Senate chaplains, the national motto ‘In God We Trust,” the Pledge of Allegiance, [and] religious paintings in the National Gallery.” So hands off those government-sponsored Ten Commandments monuments!
Providing Health Care To People Who Can’t Afford It Is Worse Than War: Cruz’s failed stand against the Affordable Care Act “was so important because millions of citizens believe Obama Care is worse than any war. At least American soldiers have weapons with which to defend themselves.”
This will make perfect candlelight reading in the comfort of your home bunker or FEMA re-education camp. Former Vice-President ordered several to keep in his "secure, undisclosed location," and it surely won't be long before the Texas Board of Education replaces those pesky civics textbooks with "Cruz To The Future!"
So who are the folks considered to be the "winners" under the ACA? It's the previously "uninsurable" - those folks who had real (or imagined) pre-existing conditions, self-employed folks who had to buy individual insurance, & older people who had either taken early retirement or who had been laid off and weren't eligible yet for Medicare.
It's that latter group that AL-02 Congresswoman Martha Roby is targeting. She want to dissuade those people from signing up for affordable health insurance. Why?
Why not ask her at this exciting event!
You'll be invited to "share your story." Now, one wonders, since Congresswoman Roby has been (like AL-05 Rep. Mo Brooks) following the GOP playbook"andinviting constituents to trash the program at the same time she tries to scare them away from using the Web site.... well, what exactly will this exciting evening entail?
Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?
Well, we can guess. Congresswoman Roby will invite anyone with anything negative to step up and speak their piece. But wouldn't it be awesome if she also heard from people who have benefited? Or people who would benefit if only Gov. Robert Bentley would accept the federal money and the jobs that would come with expanding Medicaid?
We urge our LIA folks in the Montgomery area to RSVP, attend, take pictures, and give us a full report. Because we're sure that we won't get the whole story from Congresswoman Roby.
A few weeks after formally announcing his candidacy for Lt. Governor, James Fields has launched his official campaign Web site at FieldsForLtGov.com. Fields was elected to the AL House from Cullman in a special election in 2008. It was a stunning victory that earned him national acclaim and a lengthy profile in the New York Times.
At a time when the Republicans' favorite word is "NO!" and their main governing strategy seems to be "divide, demonize, and dispense favors to constributors," Fields' positive vision and hope for the future offers quite a contrast.
From the campaign Web site:
People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.
Alabama: I care about you and a future that is bigger, brighter and bolder than our past–that radiates with trust and tolerance, solidarity and strength, purpose and prosperity. My vision for Alabama’s future engages everyone who strives for success in abundant opportunities to build it. The impossible seems unthinkable until we come together and make things possible. Give me your vote in November 2014, and we will build a better Alabama.
Fields highlights four important issues on his home page:
Taking marching orders from the latest GOP "anti-Obamacare scare manual," AL-05's Mo Brooks was on the floor of the House railing about "security problems" with healthcare.gov and advising constituents to avoid it. Senator Richard Shelby is at work publicizing his constituents' paranoia.
The irony? Both men took to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, & other social media outlets to warn constituents about "privacy threats." Yep. Did you read it using your smartphone? Share it on your FB page & suddenly start receiving health insurance-related ads via Google ads? Ignore the warning message that it's time to update your anti-virus software or operating system because "I want to read this security article instead?"
Then suck it up, campers, because Big Data already has the goods on you - and so do hackers, the NSA, & even the CIA. You see, records about your private phone calls, emails, & Web surfing habits are actually profit centers for Google, Facebook, Verizon, and especially AT&T!
Understandably, AT&T customers & shareholders would like to know more about this practice, which AT&T terms "normal business operations."
In November, shareholders of AT&T and Verizon Communications sent resolutions to the two companies demanding that they publish regular reports on how they share customer information with the government for surveillance efforts.
Now AT&T has issued a response: It’s none of your business.
Yep. If they aren't selling your data to advertisers, they're selling it to government agencies. Which, if you think about it, the latter practice really sucks: you're indirectly paying the bills when a private company pads its profits by charging your own government for the privilege of spying on you.
Where exactly was the GOP outrage when these events happened?
Data broker giants hacked by ID theft service: "An identity theft service that sells Social Security numbers, birth records, credit and background reports on millions of Americans has infiltrated computers at some of America’s largest consumer and business data aggregators, according to a seven-month investigation by KrebsOnSecurity."
Because anybody who pays a credit card online, applies for credit online, uses online banking, or completes any financial transaction online is at risk. That's true whether we're dealing with private companies or governmental agencies.
While there's never a guarantee of absolute 100% security and privacy, we do have a reasonable expectation that measures will be taken to secure personal data - measures that, IMO, don't include selling it anyone with a checkbook, AT&T.
So the issue that Brooks, Shelby, & company should be pushing is data security overall. But that's not nearly as much fun as harping on the discredited meme that "your identity is at risk on healthcare.gov so stay away..." Shamelessly, the GOP lied that the well-respected Consumer Reports warned people away from the site:
In fact, Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports, issued a press release announcing the White House’s “interagency initiative to protect consumers from being victims of fraud while using the upcoming Health Insurance Marketplaces, including a way for consumers to report fraud through the Marketplace call centers.” In that release, the Consumer Union’s director of health reform, DeAnn Friedholm, “praised the commitment to preventing fraud and taking action against those connected with scams, while reinforcing the need for education to help consumers avoid these pitfalls.”
Other than some temporary political gain & exposure from the DC chattering class, what can the GOP possibly hope to gain by continuing their lies on this issue?
Keep in mind that those "young invincibles" so coveted by the health insurance marketplace live most of their lives online. Buying online health insurance is just as natural as, say, posting drunken photos of your pre-wedding party on Tumblr or uploading your resume to job sites. The scare mongering won't work with these folks.
But where it will have an impact is with older consumers who aren't as comfortable in the cyber-world and already view it with suspicion. They're the folks who, collectively, will use more health care dollars than younger consumers. It could increase costs if more of them sign up, while the younger folks stay away.
It's actually kind of funny..... without even realizing it, Brooks, Shelby, Cantor, and all the other scaremongers are working to help the marketplace look even more successful! They're driving away older, sicker people who might believe their lies making the markeplace demographic skew younger and healthier.. And in doing so, they hurt a demographic they increasingly depend on for votes at the same time
Nice work, guys.... What will you do for your next trick?
We have an incredible opportunity on January 28th to begin to break up the supermajority in Montgomery! I am running for the HD-104 seat (Mobile area) and working to give voters a choice, for a change. Too many elections have passed in this district without any opposition to the GOP candidates!
There are voters who have not gone to the polls in years becuase they have not had a candidate on the ballot, and now is the time to re-awaken those who may have given up or who have resigned themselves to accept politics as usual.
The GOP has done nothing for the vast majority of citizens that make up the population of this district. Their continued focus on big business interests, reductions in education funding, and attempts to demonize public sector workers, has caused a stagnation of our economy and a rise in the State's unemployment rate.
In addition, the GOP supermajority in Montgomery actively works to stifle its own members in cases of disagreement with platform and policy pursuits! The citizens of HD 104 deserve representation and they will not be granted that right if they choose yet another GOP candidate. These issues are all important to our residents - and ones that the current majority will do nothing to address them:
Access to affordable and competitive healthcare coverage
Sensible policies related to clean water for drinking and recreation
The GOP supermajority does not want to have more competition among insurance carriers, does not want our taxpayer dollars to come back to the State to expand Medicaid for our most vulnerable population, and does not want to oppose or restrict the construction of dangerous pipelines and "tank farms" in our watershed or Delta region.
Only a Democrat can challenge and fight policies that are not in the best interest of our citizens and only someone with a track record of successful government program management can effectively negotiate with other entities for solutions that will represent the majority and not just special interests!
I have a clear record of success when it comes to taking on very difficult and complex problems! My work in the area of disaster recovery over the last 10 years has shown that I am not afraid to take on challenges that others might consider as a lost causes:
My negotiations with FEMA following Katrina and the Tornado outbreak of 2011 have helped thousands of individuals and families in their recovery efforts both in Alabama and Mississippi.
I led the Disaster Case Management Program (MCMC) in Mississippi from 2008-2010 as we worked to assist those living in the infamous travel trailers.
I have led the Governor's Office of Faith Based and Volunteer Services (Serve Alabama) own Disaster Case Management Program (ALDCMP) for the last 2 years.
My proven leadership and government experience is what our district needs at this time in our history and I hope that all who read this will support my efforts to take this seat back for the people of District 104. Please visit my campaign website at www.carrfor104.com and also visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/CARR-for-104/567977723259247 Please pledge your support and offer your words of encouragement to my team as we build toward January 28 2014!
Uh Oh... look who's NOT running for re-election! Alabama's nationally famous state senator, Shadrack McGill, has made it official. He's leaving the fiery furnace of the Legislature and we won't have him to kick around any more.
Well, not quite. He'll be finishing out his term in 2014, and it promises to be a doozy. With over 100 bills pre-filed already, there's more than enough crazy to distract McGill's attention from mundane state activities like budgets, taxation, government transparency, and health care.
HB45 - The "Roy Moore Redux Act." Ten Commandments displays in schools and public buildings.
HB31 - Health care providers don't have to perform any acts that violate their consciences.
HB15 & SB18 - The "Santa Claus is Coming to School" bill will allow schools to "educate students about traditional winter holidays" and allow them to "offer traditional greetings." Forget math & science, let's spend a day studing the Winter Solstice and druids, kids! Blessed be.
Alabama citizens are pushing back on Gov. Robert Bentley's inexplicable refusal to expand Medicaid & forgo the tens of thousands of new jobs expansion would create. On Saturday, December 7 rally in Birmingham will publicize the effort. Organizers hope that a large show of support will encourage the Governor to change his mind. It's the first of several marches and rallies planned across the state.
The event titled "Shame On You, Governor Bentley!" will be held at 2pm in Kelly Ingram Park. It's sponsored by a coalition that includes the Progressive Democrats of Alabama, Birmingham Chapter of the NAACP, and Greater Birmingham Ministries. The organizers promise you'll be finished in time to get home and watch the SEC championship game.
From the event's FB page:
Speakers this week will feature Kim Denmark and her Walk Across America spiritual walk (now close to 4,000 miles) which is intended to attract attention to poverty, and issues surrounding economically disadvantaged communities. Also speaking will be representatives from the NAACP, Greater Birmingham Ministries, and Progressive Democrats of America.
And there will be food!
For low-income Alabama residents, Bentley's decision is a disaster. Many of these people work low wage jobs - and work hard. Even so, they survive on incomes at or below the federal poverty line and don't make enough to purchase decent health insurance. Bentley's refusal to expand Medicaid means that they don't qualify for tax credit to help them purchase affordable coverage through the marketplace.
For example, consider this family of four with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $27,000 (that's about what two full-time workers making minimum wage bring home). The calculator estimates that they could purchase a medium-level policy at an out-of-pocket cost of $600/year (with the subsidy).
But if this family makes a little less - maybe one spouse is part-time or someone got laid off for part of the year, they could easily drop below the federal poverty line. If their AGI drops just a few thousand - to $23,400 - they're at 99% of poverty level and their unsubsidized cost for a policy is $10,684.
Medicaid expansion should be a no-brainer for the Governor - particularly since the man is a DOCTOR, for crying out loud.
The federal government will pay 100% of the cost for the first 3 years.
Expansion could save 500 lives a year in this state and help build a healthier, more productive workforce.
Instead, Bentley went in the other direction with his "no-brainer," scoffing at studies that predict increased employment and bragging that he "went to school 24 years to become a doctor." Doesn't seem like he learned much about economics or basic human compassion though. Maybe it's time for a refresher course.
The governor said he did not dispute that expanding Medicaid, which states have the option of doing under the Affordable Care Act, would create some ancillary jobs.
“I’m not saying it couldn’t create some jobs,” Bentley said. “That’s not the reason we’re doing this though. That’s not the reason we’re making this decision. We’re making this decision philosophically.
On, and in Bentley-speak, "philosophically" is a synonym for "politically."
Jeff McLaughlin, the Alabama Legislature's "last honest man" was defeated in a smear campaign in 2010, but he's running to reclaim his seat in 2014. Thank goodness.
McLaughlin represented Marshall County & parts of DeKalb & Blount Counties for 10 years. He's best known for his efforts at campaign finance reform, particularly a ban on PAC to PAC transfers and his refusal to take big dollar campaign contributions from PACs or special interests.
George Talbot wrote about him in 2010:
McLaughlin is unique in Montgomery because he does not accept campaign contributions.
Now in the thick of his fourth campaign, he’s yet to take the first dollar from a lobbyist, political action committee or interest group. He asks his supporters to give that money to a church or charity.
McLaughlin is a lawyer with a degree from Harvard Law School, but he said he’s no millionaire. His most recent campaign finance report filed with the state read this way: Contributions: $0. Expenses: $4,550.76. Ending balance: minus-$9,513.72.
McLaughlin was a champion of transparency and good government, yet lost to a political nobody who was bankrolled by the very special interests that McLaughlin spurned. The GOP supermajority rolled into Montgomery promising some of the very reforms that McLaughlin championed, but quickly gutted their own ethics bills with numerous "tweaks" that opened loopholes big enough to drive a limo through.
One of their dubious reforms was to allow unlimited corporate contributions in Alabama state elections. That's just the sort of thing that McLaughlin fought against:
“I’ve just always believed that money given is money owed,” he said. “I don’t think everyone who makes a contribution does it for selfish reasons. But it can be a slippery slope. And when you get into tens of thousands of dollars, there are always strings attached.”
The incumbent, Wes Long, isn't seeking re-election and Jeff McLaughlin will need your help. He may not be the only "honest man" running for office, but he's a darn good one. Let's send him back to Montgomery.
The AFL/CIO has released this handy graphic that should make your holiday meal shopping decisions just a little bit easier. Buy union-made when you can!
Find a bigger list at the Web site in the graphic, or just click on the image here in the blog post! From the Web site:
As you prepare to head to the grocery store to pick up your Thanksgiving dinner ingredients, double check your shopping list to make sure your Turkey Day fixin's are all union made in America. Check out some highlights from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor's resource site, Labor 411. Here are some of the best union-made Thanksgiving eats and tools from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), Machinists (IAM), United Steelworkers (USW) and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).
Could it be true that one of Alabama's most infamous State Senators may sit out the 2014 election? Shadrack McGill, having come down off the mountain after a meeting with his diety, may decide that the only way to win is not to play:
"I was praying about this the other day and dwelling on the fact that the Lord put me in this position," said McGill, a devout Christian who has been outspoken about his faith. "I just felt like He asked me if I could give it up. Could I give it back, so to speak? A lot of prestige and pride and temptations and power, that sort of thing comes along with these positions.
Ahem... what sort of things that come along? Things like making a fool of yourself when discussing teacher salaries, exhibiting your ignorance of history, theology, and government (congrats on the hat trick there, Shad) at a public meeting, and allowing your wife to throw down over your marital problems on your Facebook page?
Now, while most of Alabama might certainly be celebrating McGill's uncertainity, this is not good news for Democrats.
Let's consider the long game here. McGill is deeply unpopular among Democratic base voters, teachers of all political persuasions, and even the Republican leadership in the state. SD-08 has long been a Democratic seat and can be again - especially if McGill is the nominee in the general election. If he drops out, the primary contest is between two Republicans who are almost certainly smart enough not to compare themselves to Jesus, blab about hookers, and make it a priority to outlaw infertility treatments in Alabama.
They'll look and sound like "kinder, gentler Republicans," but the legislative results will be the same. These guys will fall in line and vote like they're told. They'll be Shadrack without the entertainment value.
Certainly, Horace Clemmons will put up a spirited fight no matter who his opponent is, but our job of reclaiming the seat will be much easier if McGill is on the ballot.
It's time for Democrats to start a "Please Stay Shadrack" movement. That will make the election season ever so much more fun - and move us much farther along in our quest to break the Republican supermajority.