Dayen, Dave


Dave Dayen is a writer, comedian and TV/film editor based in Santa Monica. He is an elected member of the Democratic State Central Committee from the 41st Assembly District. He blogs on state and national politics at D Day

President Endorses Reinstatement of Assault Weapons Ban, Other Gun Safety Legislation

By David Dayen

The President will support a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban in the wake of the mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. He will also "consider" legislation limiting extended magazines that carry a high capacity of bullets, as well as legislation closing the "gun show loophole," which enables gun purchasers to avoid background checks by buying them at gun shows. Press Secretary Jay Carney also emphasized the importance of improving the nation's mental health system as a way to prevent more mass shootings. This is certainly further than the President had been willing to go after other similarly situated mass shootings over the first term. Vice President Biden will lead a task force that will presumably come up with legislative and administrative steps to curtail gun violence.

Feinstein Plans to Reintroduce Assault Weapons Ban Next Year

By David Dayen

Dianne Feinstein, author of the 1994 assault weapons ban that expired under President George W. Bush in 2004, told Meet the Press that she plans to reintroduce the law on the first day of the new Congress in 2013. The bill seeks to respond to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, one of several this year.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D, said she intended to introduce a gun control bill on the first day of the next Congress. Paired with a twin version in the House, Feinstein's law would take aim at limiting the sale, transfer and possession of assault weapons, along with the capacity of high-capacity magazines.

"It can be done," she said on NBC's "Meet the Press." The senator, a proponent of gun control, said she expected Obama to offer his public support for the law.

White House Makes Aggressive Opening Bid in Fiscal Slope Negotiations

By David Dayen

In the context of doing a deficit reduction deal at all, this is an extremely strong bid that Tim Geithner delivered to John Boehner today. Now we know why Boehner whined and cried all afternoon. Let's walk through it.

House Republicans said on Thursday that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner presented the House speaker, John A. Boehner, a detailed proposal to avert the year-end fiscal crisis with $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years, an immediate new round of stimulus spending, home mortgage refinancing and a permanent end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits.

Labor Unions Show Solidarity with Walmart Workers

By David Dayen

We can now see why the imminent Walmart strikes on Black Friday have spooked the company.

Walmart has engaged in a two-prong PR strategy, dismissing the strikes as being carried out by a small faction of its 1.4 million associates, while also seeking National Labor Relations Board relief to block the strikes as illegal union-based activity. The thinking here is that the strikes have gained in strength over the month of October, with wildcat walkouts ongoing at both stores and warehouses, and that they want to nip this in the bud. In the Internet age, actions like this hold the potential for going viral.

Pelosi to Stay on as House Minority Leader

By David Dayen

Backed by a larger caucus, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will stay on in the post for another two years. She made the announcement this morning before gathered press. Nobody will challenge her for the Democratic leadership position.

Why We Must Abolish the Electoral College

By David Dayen

Chris Hayes had the most thoughtful discussion of the National Popular Vote I've ever seen on cable television the other day. Every so often, it's worth pointing out that it's entirely unnatural to run a national political campaign through a handful of boroughs and counties in at most 9 out of the 50 states, which leads to highlighting a mish-mash of local issues as if they were the most vital and critical national issues.

The Hiding of Liberalism

By David Dayen

Michael Gerson is a former Bush speechwriter, and an unlikely candidate to have written something with which I wholeheartedly agree. But I think he’s reached a core insight here:

In its heyday — say, the 1960s — American liberalism had an obvious identity. It was ambitious, reformist and frankly moral in its appeal to a common good that included minorities and the poor. It was praised as idealistic and attacked as utopian. Robert Kennedy, quoting Aeschylus, set out "to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world." […]

ACLU Sues Morgan Stanley, Targets Loan Securitizer Over Loan Originator

By David Dayen

The ACLU plans to sue Morgan Stanley on behalf of five named plaintiffs (they will seek class action status), for the investment bank's role in fueling what they view as a discriminatory subprime bubble. In doing so, the ACLU will try to pioneer a new legal strategy, by going after the securitizer of the loans instead of the now-defunct originator.

Why California's Gas Prices Have Skyrocketed

By David Dayen

Brad Plumer has a decent enough explanation of why gas prices have soared in California over the past week or so. But being a resident of Southern California, perhaps I can provide a bit more insight into how this has played out on the ground.

Professor James Hamilton explains that a series of refinery and pipeline shutdowns, and a fire at the Richmond Chevron refinery back in August, have conspired to create a perfect storm in California. A power outage shutdown at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance last Monday was kind of the last straw. As California is somewhat closed off from the rest of the country in terms of pipelines feeding into the state, this has a major impact. In addition, California mandates a particular blend of gasoline, which reduces smog and other pollution, but also is more specialized to produce. So the price of gas leapt 50 cents per gallon in the last week.

Federal Government Runs out of Money to Fight Fires, Pays for It By Cutting Fire Prevention Programs

By David Dayen

Here's a story at the intersection of catastrophic climate change and austerity.

Because of the constant burning of carbon into the atmosphere and the resulting changes to the weather and climate, the US has experienced more and more wildfires over the past several years. In fact, this has been the worst wildfire season on record.