Posts tagged with "California"

Sticking to their guns: Walmart asks employees to pull violent video game signage from stores

August 12, 2019

Even a mass shooting at its El Paso, Texas, store is not enough to make Walmart gun-shy, it became apparent last week, when the major retail chain asked employees its employees nationwide on August 10 to take down signs and playable demos of violent video games—but made no changes to its policy on selling firearms.

According to a report by Reuters, in doing so, the retailer said it has taken the action following the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio in the past week, which left 31 people dead.

In an internal memo, the retailer asked employees to check their stores for signage or displays that contain violent or aggressive behavior and remove such items immediately. It also instructed employees to turn off hunting season videos.

The company has come under increasing pressure to act in the past few days. A petition started by Thomas Marshall, a category manager in Walmart’s San Bruno, California-based e-commerce business, to protest the retailer’s sale of firearms, has gathered more than 50,000 signatures by Friday, Bloomberg reported.

Walmart told Reuters there has been no change in its policy on gun sales after the mass shootings, one of which took place in a Walmart store. This has not always been the case: Years of public pressure led Walmart, the largest U.S arms retailer, to end assault-rifle sales in 2015 and to raise the minimum age for gun purchases to 21 in 2018.

Some gun control activists and Walmart customers now want the retailer to drop sales of guns and ammunition altogether.

Research source: @Reuters

Pundits shift nine House races toward Democrats

November 6, 2018

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report shifted nine House races toward Democrats in a new forecast published on November 5—the day before the midterm elections—The Hill reported.

The changes predicted by Cook are as follows:

Three races — in Texas’s 6th and 10th Congressional Districts and in West Virginia’s 2nd — moved from solid Republican to likely Republican. Two other races—Florida’s 25th and 6th districts, went from likely Republican to leaning Republican.

The movement is the latest indication that Democrats still have the upper-hand in the House prior to Tuesday’s midterms, when Democrats need to pick up 23 seats to regain control of the lower chamber. 

Research contact: @thehill

Trump administration to dismantle Affordable Care Act after midterms

June 11, 2018

One of the great advantages of Obamacare was that it enabled Americans with “pre-existing medical conditions”—from diabetes, to heart failure to cancer—to get coverage from insurance providers. Now, Politico reports, the Trump administration “is urging a federal court to dismantle” this provision—but to wait until after the midterm elections this year.

What’s more, the administration would like to see the very basis of the Affordable Care Act—the mandate for every U.S. citizen to get coverage—taken out of the bill as soon as December.

Both moves come in response to a lawsuit from conservative states seeking to entirely invalidate the act. Indeed, On June 7, the Justice Department told a judge in Texas who will rule on the case that Congress’ decision to repeal the penalty for failing to buy health insurance renders unconstitutional other Obamacare language banning insurers from charging people more or denying them coverage based on a pre-existing condition.

According to the Politico story, the Texas-led lawsuit— filed last February—claims that the recent elimination of Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty means that the whole healthcare law should now be ruled invalid. The mandate penalty was wiped out, effective as of 2019, as part of the GOP tax law passed late last year.

The administration’s evening filing says it agrees with states bringing the suit that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, as are two of the law’s major insurance provisions meant to protect people with expensive medical conditions. With the filing, the Trump administration is asking the courts to wipe out protections that many congressional Republicans were wary of eliminating in their failed efforts to repeal Obamacare.

And they are right to worry: Findings of a Monmouth University poll, released in March, show that 51% of Americans  would prefer to keep the Affordable Care Act and work to improve it, with another 7% saying that they want to keep the ACA entirely intact. Just four out of ten U.S. voters wants to see the act repealed, either with a replacement put in place (31%) or without one (8%).

The poll established that a majority support Obamacare, regardless of whether they get their coverage through an employer (57%), through a privately purchased plan (55%) or through publicly funded coverage (63%).

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, acknowledged that the executive branch typically defends existing federal law, but he said this was a “rare case where the proper course” is to forgo defense of the individual mandate.

The administration’s decision means that a group of 15 Democratic states led by California will be largely responsible for defending  Obamacare against its latest legal threat, Politico said.

Research contact: pdmurray@monmouth.edu

Stockton, California, experiments with Universal Basic Income

May 8, 2018

On May 4, Mayor Michael Tubbs (D) of Stockton, California, appeared on the HBO political talk show Real Time with Bill Maher to discuss a pilot program he is sponsoring that would give some low-income residents of the city $500 a month—no questions asked.

The program, called Universal Basic Income—which would require the participants to take courses, check in with advisors, and turn their lives around before receiving the money—is one of the first of its kind nationwide; but already has been tried in Finland, with mixed results.

According to CNBC, pilot programs also are underway in Canada and rural Kenya.

And today, fully 48% of Americans support the idea (and 52% oppose it), according to a recent Northeastern University/Gallup survey of more than 3,000 U.S. adults.

Indeed, Americans are almost equally split over a hypothetical universal basic income (UBI) program that would guarantee a minimum income for workers who lose their jobs because of advances in artificial intelligence (AI).

However, they are united in their fear of what AI will do to the U.S. job market. The report found 73% of Americans predicting that AI will lead to a loss of more jobs than it creates.

Some U.S. demographic groups are more supportive of the concept than others. More than six in 10 self-described Democrats (65%), as one example, say they would support a UBI program, compared with slightly more than one in four (28%) Republicans.

Additionally, roughly half of most U.S. adult age groups express support. However, support is substantially lower—38%—among Americans aged 66 and older.

While the exact cost of a UBI program in the U.S. depends on the specific details, it is estimated the program could run into the trillions of dollars. U.S. adults who favor a UBI program show mixed support for the idea of financing this type of program through taxes: About 46% say they would be willing to pay higher personal taxes to fund the program and 54% say they would not be.

But for now, Mayor Tubbs is “all in.”  He says, ““I feel that as mayor it’s my responsibility to do all I could to begin figuring out what’s the best way to make sure that folks in our community have a real economic floor.”

Research contact: datainquiry@gallup.com

Anti-Semitic GOP Senate candidate may challenge Dianne Feinstein

May 1, 2018

Overt anti-Semites who are members of the “alt-right” movement are said to have helped President Donald Trump win the presidency in 2016—and now one of them has an outside chance to represent the Republican Party in a midterm Senate race, Newsweek reported on April 28.

The hard-line white supremacist in question is Patrick Little, who will be squaring off against ten other Republicans in a “top-two primary” on June 5 in California—aimed at beating incumbent Dianne Feinstein in the general election on November 6.

A poll conducted by local ABC News affiliates along with the organization, Survey USA, suggested that Little is polling at 18% of the vote on the Republican ticket— a full ten points ahead of his next-strongest opponent, the researchers found.

The 84-year-old Feinstein, who first entered office in 1992, at the start of  former President Bill Clinton’s first term, remains a solid favorite to win the state—polling at 39%.

According to Newsweek, Little has said he believes Jews should have no say over white non-Jews and wants to see them removed from the country altogether. The weekly news magazine reports that, on Gab, a social media site with large numbers of extremist users, Little has asserted that the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, whose editors praise Adolf Hitler, is too Jewish.

 He also wrote that he wanted to keep Americans “free from Jews.”

Research contact: @MichaelEHayden

Republicans strongly support citizenship question on 2020 Census

April 5, 2018

On March 26 Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that he would reinstate a question on legal U.S. citizenship that has not appeared since 1950 on the 2020 Census questionnaire.

The change in policy was greeted by great consternation on the part of Democrats—but was lauded by Republicans. Indeed , a poll of 1,000 U.S. adults released on March 30 by the Republican-leaning Rasmussen Reports organization found that 89% agree that it’s at least “somewhat important” for the government to get as accurate account of U.S. citizens as possible—including 69% who believe that it’s “very important.” Only 25% disagree.

Democrats counter that fewer people will respond to a survey that includes a citizenship question—and that America will collect less population data as a result. Test surveys conducted by the Census Bureau in late 2017 found that some immigrants were afraid to provide information to U.S. Census workers because of fears about being deported.

The Census data is highly important because it is used to determine representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as federal spending allocations and electoral votes by state.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was the first to file a suit contesting what he called “a bad idea” on March 26, according to ABC News.

The next day, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he would lead a coalition of 18 states, six major cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in filing a lawsuit against the Trump administration for inclusion of the question.

At a press conference announcing the suit, Schneiderman commented, “This is a blatant effort to undermine the Census. Someone from the Trump administration knocking on your door asking about your citizenship status would provoke real fear.”

Schneiderman said the decision to add the question “directly targets” states with large immigrant populations, according to a same-day report by The Guardian.

In an interview with Fox Business, Ross asserted that the question was added at the request of the Department of Justice to protect minorities. “The Justice Department feels they need it so that they can enforce section two of the voting rights act, which protects minority voters,” said Ross.

Research contactinfo@rasmussenreports.com