In this week's Election Countdown: Its a young crowd at this year's Repuplican National Convention as headliners are barely in their forties; Georgia has to borrow federal funding to keep their unemployment insurance trust fund; Protests continue in New York against Goodwill over low wages; and more.
D – 19 and counting*
"Think happy thoughts," the MP said to Eric, "on the way down." Grabbing Eric by the arm, he slung him into a helpless, crippled posture and shoved him toward the hatch. It was all expert and entirely professional; he found himself teetering at the hatch and then the MP released him in order to escape falling himself. –Philip K. Dick, Now Wait for Last Year
Montreal. Manifestation: "'This August 22, CLASSE invites you to the largest demonstration in Quebec history,' reads the Facebook page created by the Coalition large de l'Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Étudiante, the federation representing 100,000 students that has been the most ardent backer of the protests."
RNCon. Speakers: "Many of the up-and-coming Republican leaders are barely in their 40s. All are part of next week's Republican convention lineup, with Christie as the keynote speaker and Rubio getting the prominent role of introducing Romney." ... Party crashing: "On Monday, August 27 and Tuesday, August 28, Vice President Joe Biden will travel to the Tampa area and other cities for campaign events," Obama's campaign announced Tuesday. "Additional details on the Vice President's trip are forthcoming." ... Party crashing: "Wasserman Schultz [will inaugurate] the D's 'rapid-response war room,' a home base said to be 'just a short walk' from the heart of the R convention in downtown Tampa." ... Police state: "The pipes and bricks were found Friday on the roof of a building at 1004 N. Florida Ave. Graffiti, including the numeral '99′ and an image of a person wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, similar to those worn by members of the Anonymous collective, as well as Occupy movement protestors, was found on the building." Gee, does the word "planted" come to mind?
DNCon. City workers: "Sanitation workers picketing outside the Government Center Monday said they aren't letting the upcoming Democratic National Convention stop their weekly protests. All of the demands are listed in a 13 point Municipal Workers Bill of Rights. The protesters said the goal is to get the City of Charlotte to adopt it."
AZ. Voting: "After spending almost $1 million and successfully fighting a court challenge, the citizens' initiative that seeks to put in a 'top-two' primary election system in AZ appears to lack the signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot."
IA. Teebee: "Obama's latest television commercial in IA spotlights abortion rights and federal funding for Planned Parenthood."
CO. Legalization: "Yet, although Obama desperately needs to turn out a constituency that was key to sweeping him into the White House, he is keeping a safe distance from the marijuana legalization measure, known as Amendment 64, and its organizers."
FL. Election: "Miami Gardens Rep. Barbara Watson [D] edged out North Miami Beach Rep. John Patrick Julien [D] by a narrow 13 votes, according to a manual recount.Julien went to the Miami-Dade State Attorney's office Monday with what he called evidence of a third boletero [here] submitting hundreds of absentee ballots on election day." ... Media critique: "A political writer for Examiner.com who for months has written stories attacking opponents of Hallandale Beach mayoral hopeful Jay Schorr did not tell her readers that she is Schorr's wife." .... Disemployment: "Critics say Gov. Rick Scott and Florida's Legislature are behind a multipronged effort to restrict [unemployment] payments to eligible Floridians. A required 45-question 'skills review' and an online-only application system have combined to restrict thousands of applicants from receiving aid."
GA. Stimulus (not): "[GA] has not only depleted our unemployment insurance trust fund, we are also one of 20 states that have been required to borrow funds from the federal government to keep our fund solvent. [O]ur outstanding balance is $742 million. Because the interest cannot be paid from the unemployment tax or trust fund, it has to be paid from other state revenues. Last year the interest payment exceeded $20 million. In an effort to pay back the loan and prevent the fund from further insolvency, earlier this year the legislature passed SB 347, cutting jobless benefits while increasing unemployment benefits paid by employers."
LA. Foodies: "[Brennan's] oyster soup was overly vegetal and bitter on the edge lacking in any of the buttery richness or salty punch of Louisiana oysters." Thanks, BP?
MA. Ethnography: "When you're talking about local politics, everybody knows everybody." And all politics is local.
ME. Angus King: "The moderate centrist is polling more than 50 per cent in a three-way race, almost 30 points ahead of his Democratic and Republican rivals, but says he will not decide which party to support until after he is elected."
MI. Pipelines: "The Brandon Township Board unanimously passed a resolution Monday demanding that Enbridge Energy meet eight requirements before beginning construction of its oil pipeline in the township."
NY. Corruption: "David Paterson is joining in the protest against Goodwill Industries in the wake of revelations that they paid some workers as little as 22 cents an hour."
PA. Fracking: "When PA released official data on Marcellus Shale natural gas production last week, there was no mention that numbers from Chesapeake Energy were missing, meaning the bi-annual totals weren't close to being accurate. The firm has been a top producer in previous reports."
VA. Sea level: "In the wettest zones [of Norfolk], streets are studded with 'for sale' signs. [The neighborhood] fronts on a canal and floods regularly. Telltale signs are easy to spot. Evaporating salt water leaves rusty stains on street curbs. Repeated overflows have killed grass in waterfront parks, leaving stretches of bare ground. Spartina, a salt-tolerant marsh grass, is sprouting on slopes above canals and marinas."
VT. Bees: "Kirk Webster, a well-known Vermont honeybee queen breeder, didn't use chemicals at all when tracheal mites were first discovered in the state in the late 1980s. He lost 95 percent of his bees the first year, but by breeding the survivors, now has a resistant stock."
WI. Credentials: "The new pathway [to become a licensed educator] allows an individual with three years of teaching experience – such as in a private school, workplace training center, child care center or postsecondary institution – to apply for a teaching license by submitting a portfolio of work to the DPI for review." ... Agriculture: "State soybean production has been forecast to drop 18 percent to 60.5 million bushels, according to a report from the Wisconsin office of the National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS). Soybeans have been damaged by the drought and an infestation of pesky two-spot spider mites."
Outside baseball. Market state: "Their goal is to push schools into a market-system despite any evidence that such a system makes any sense for anyone except those selling stuff to schools or wanting to take over schools and make a profit by cutting costs (teachers)." ... Coal: "Tighter emissions standards and an abundance of cheap natural gas have made coal less attractive to domestic utilities. [That's why] coal, rail and shipping companies are looking to overseas markets. To reach them, they need to build export terminals along the West Coast. A string of derailments of trains carrying coal has galvanized opponents." ... Constitutional order: "I think we are looking at an 1850′s of the political mind. I think we are two countries, each with its own history, and laws, and language, and religion, and their own mass media to amplify all those things. But only one of these two countries of the mind is tightly organized and capable of moving as a single unit. I think things like the sovereign-citizens movement are merely a particularly vivid example of this." ... Constitutional order: "'Lonely Planet types from around the world would immediately embrace the [newly seceded] South as ... an indigenous society teeming with underappreciated folk wisdom, ancient values, and fascinating dialects deserving of fierce protection and a slew of new expat-financed eco-lodges.' It would be another Mexico, in other words, 'only with an even weaker currency and more corrupt government.'"
Grand Bargain™-brand Cat Food watch. Medicare: "A new Obama radio ad on Monday featured an elderly male voice complaining Romney would "end Medicare and replace it with a voucher." That's not true. That's bad public policy, but Ryan would allow those 55 years old and older now to keep traditional Medicare." Two-tier Medicare is the real evil. So why doesn't Obama attack that? A question that answers itself once asked.
The trail. ObamaCare, voter interview: "Obamacare would force me to spend money that I do not have, with no guarantee that I'm still not going to spend more money at the hospital or on prescriptions than I already do. Except I can get fined by the federal government. That gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling." Forced to buy a defective product. ... ObamaCare, poll: "The [Siena Research Institute ] survey found NY voters supported Obamacare by a 59-36 margin." ... ObamaCare, the cuts: "The [Obamacare cuts to Medicare] are targeted at insurance companies and hospitals, not beneficiaries. Whether they'll reduce services in future years is an open question." Not in a profit-driven system, it's not. ... Money: "Romney, who is out-fundraising Obama by impressive margins, is attracting thousands of donors this summer from traditionally D areas of the United States, collecting millions of dollars in even progressive communities from New York to Los Angeles." ... Polls, PPP, VA: "Obama leads by 5 points, 50-45. In 8 Virginia surveys PPP has done this cycle, Obama has never led Mitt Romney by less than 4 points. It continues to look like it could be his firewall state this fall." ... Media critique: "[Percentage of election coverage from citizens] increased to 17% in the week ending on August 10. Following [the Ryan] announcement, citizen VoiceShare was drowned out by coverage of Paul Ryan and so it fell to 11% last week."
Roboma vs. Obomney watch. Climate: "Nary a word has been spoken about climate change on the presidential campaign trail, and it's a silence that some journalists find deafening." And the parties took the economy off the table too.
Romney. Oppo: "[RYAN:] Remember this other time where [Obama] was caught on video saying, 'People like to cling to their guns and their religion.' Hey, I'm a Catholic deer hunter. I am happy to be clinging to my guns and my religion." Memories....
Akin flap. Matt 22-39: "We see it on TV all the time. Whenever a women is raped by someone she knows, she falls in love with her rapist. It's just the way it is. Search 'rape' on YouTube and see what comes up." ... Matt 22-39: "[American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer:] 'You know the Gospel writers say that [the scribes and Pharisees] kept looking for some way to trap Jesus in something that he might say, just one single word they could jump on to try to discredit him and that's what they did with Todd Akin and his comments about rape.'" (That the Ds are, in fact, scribes and Pharisees, doesn't make Akins Jesus.) ... "Shut the whole thing down" watch: "Why didn't God go further, and give us the superpower ability to, I don't know, secrete a toxin that would instantly dissolve the human penis that's being forced into our bodies?"
Oppo, Lynn Sweet: "Ty Matsdorf, a senior adviser for American Bridge, told me their Missouri tracker saw the interview live and flagged it for his bosses. They posted a clip on YouTube and sent it around to some reporters. The explosion was just a matter of time." ... Losing the political class: "Politico editors have removed David Catanese from [Akin] coverage following the reporter's defense of the congressman's comments." ... Even Karl Rove: "This is one of those unfortunate things that's so bad, so deplorable, so out-of-touch that there's no way to recover, in my opinion, from it." ... Even Rush Limbaugh: "[A]ll of these things that he truly cares about will be much easier to make happen if we win the Senate and the White House and hold the House this November." ... Oh, and Romney, 4:24PM: "Today, his fellow Missourians urged him to step aside, and I think he should accept their counsel and exit the Senate race." ... Religious right: "[Dr. Jack Willke, founder of the International Right to Life Federation] and his wife, Barbara, are leading antiabortion advocates. Their book, first published in 1971, asserts that 'assault rape' rarely results in pregnancy because the assault traumatizes the woman and makes her body less habitable." They're shipping Akin their book. ("Habitable"?!) ... Pass the popcorn: "[I]t really is all kinds of hilarious watching Rs, for once, have to try to throw somebody over the side. I mean, they don't even really know HOW." True, dat. Rove/Bush/Cheney would have thrown Akin out of an airplane.
Top of the ticket: "[Akin and Ryan] share a voting history on abortion rights, including mutual support for a controversial measure that would define an embryo as a person. They cosponsored another measure, subsequently withdrawn, that would distinguish 'forcible rape' in banning abortion funding. Akin, Ryan, and Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney also back less-controversial measures, such as defunding Planned Parenthood." ... Sticking: "Akin said definitively that he would not leave the race for the Senate in MO, saying on Mike Huckabee's radio show that 'there's a cause here' and that an outpouring of grass-roots support [for example] would propel him to victory without the support of the R establishment." Because he's now a superstar! The 10 Reasons Todd Akin Is Staying In. ... That PPP snap poll (here): "But if you're Todd Akin looking for some justification to continue your increasingly doomed campaign, you can use this flawed Republican-heavy poll to make your case to stick around." But PPP is D-leaning. Hmm.... Akin speaks: "Will you stand with me and chip-in $3 as a sign of support of my continued candidacy?" In the "apology" video!
* 19 days until the Democratic National Convention ends with turkey tetrazzini for everyone on the floor of the Bank of America Panther Stadium, Charlotte, NC. A go board was 19 vertical and 19 horizontal lines.