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Election Countdown 2012: Occupiers Have to Figure Out How to Defend Themselves as Anniversary Celebrations Continue, and More

Tuesday, 18 September 2012 12:57 By Lambert Strether, Naked Capitalism | News Analysis

This week in the Election Countdown: Occupiers have to figure out how to defend themselves as #S17 celebrations continue in New York; Rahm Emanuel accused the Chicago Teachers Union of using children as pawns, and said he plans to take the issue to court; Seventeen people were arrested and 1,500 plants seized when state drug agents shut down a small business growing marijuana in California; and more.

Mission elapsed time: T + 11 and counting*

‘I like the Walrus best,’ said Alice: ‘because you see he was a LITTLE sorry for the poor oysters.’

‘He ate more than the Carpenter, though,’ said Tweedledee. ‘You see he held his handkerchief in front, so that the Carpenter couldn’t count how many he took: contrariwise.’

‘That was mean!’ Alice said indignantly. ‘Then I like the Carpenter best–if he didn’t eat so many as the Walrus.’

‘But he ate as many as he could get,’ said Tweedledum.

This was a puzzler. After a pause, Alice began, ‘Well! They were BOTH very unpleasant characters–’ –Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass.

Occupy. The invitation: An impressive flyer [PDF] (including bull with party hat). Explainer: “So, the protesters have to figure out how to defend themselves. This is also the problem that other great protest movements confronted: the abolitionists had to work out how to sustain the “underground railway” in the face of southern posses, and the sit-down strikers of the 1930s had to figure out how to defend their factory occupations in the face of company police and sometimes state militia.” … Explainer: “[T]here’s nothing worse than insisting,unquestioningly and unwisely, that others kiss the whip of those who would exercise their power and authority over them.” … Explainer: “What started as a couple hundred people in a park with no plan [not at all true!] has turned into a decentralized, distributed network of activists, affinity groups, organizations and organizers, working on everything from free education to fracking. And so as New York’s financial district was choked with glitter, balloons, dance parties and a whole lot of police, Occupy’s anniversary feels less like a celebration of what was and more a demonstration of what’s becoming.” …

Police state: “The police moved away from kettling and mass arrests a while ago and have settled on a much more terrifying tactic–seemingly random snatch and grabs, yanking people off the sidewalk out of a crowd.” That won’t work when the Occupiers drop those stupid V for Vendetta masks and start dressing for success. And what next, the 4AM knock? … Strategic failure, my sweet Aunt Fanny: “[T]he popular assemblies that were held in a thousand squares across the world served as a crucial lesson for the hundreds of thousands of people who participated in them. We should never underestimate how the Occupy movement radicalized an entire generation of concerned citizens across the US and around the world.” … Tactics: “As soon as the police saturated the intersection, demonstrators dispersed to form other concentrations, which was part of the plan: to create roving clusters of protesters as opposed to a singular show of force. As protesters roamed the streets, so did massive contingents of NYPD officers. The largely peaceful protests were punctuated by periodic bursts of violent arrests, as the NYPD continued its tactic of targeting seemingly random protesters to detain in their attempts to maintain order.” Well, a different kind of “order.” (Analogies are never perfect, but I’m reminded of Hutier tactics and distributed operations, which were tactical responses to a war of attrition. Note then, that this headline — “Occupy Wall St. protesters meet wall of NYPD resistance on first anniversary of movement” — gets the tactical situation exactly wrong. Let us remind ourselves also that Hutier tactics failed in the first instance because Ludendorff’s strategic goals not articulated or not achievable.) … Strategy: Reading that flyer (above), I’m not seeing demands, but I am seeing broad topic areas (“zones”) which might create a context for demands were demands to be made: 99%, Education, Debt, Eco. Not a bad cut at a set of wicked problems, eh? … From the Barcalounger: New tactics of “small pieces loosely joined,” strategic “zones”; all this, to me, looks like the beginning of a campaign season as wildly effective as the last one. And unlike last year’s efforts, this campaign can be carried on in cold weather, because the camping element is gone. No matter that the numbers are small; it only takes a pinch of yeast to make the bread rise; and if you make enough bread, the yeast becomes part of the natural environment.

Chicago teacher’s strike. The issues: “The key provision isn’t anything related to wage increases, teacher evaluations, teacher recall, merit pay and other items receiving most public attention. It’s this: The contract wouldn’t cap the number of charter schools the CPS can open or the number of schools that the CPS can close or consolidate.” (Lewis needs better PR: that “anything more they can get” quote is terrible.) …. Rahm’s injunction: “[Rahm] issued a statement that, in trademark tough-guy form, offered not even a passing whiff of conciliation: he accused the union of using children as pawns, and said he was going to court — an option he had checked on weeks ago, just in case, and one he carried out first thing Monday morning.” The case won’t be heard until Wednesday. The CTU may vote on Tuesday. … Rahm’s injunction: “[John] Hancock, who has represented several MI school districts over 30 years, says he expects Judge Flynn to force both sides back to the table to negotiate around the clock for a resolution. As it stands, the Chicago school district may have a difficult time proving that every economic issue is resolved, he says” which is necessary to grant the injunction. … Rahm’s injunction: “To me it seems more like a p.r. tactic than a legal strategy — does he really want to put Karen Lewis in jail? (During the Pullman strike in 1894, Grover Cleveland put Eugene Debs in jail — an d John Peter Altgeld made sure Cleveland was never nominated for president again.)” … Quislings: “The City Council’s Latino Caucus released a statement Monday calling on teachers to return to class while they finish negotiating their contract [quite the strategery] with the Chicago Board of Education. Meanwhile, the Black Caucus released a statement late Monday saying it would be a “travesty” if kids aren’t back in school by Wednesday.” … Intellectual history: Many of CTU’s current leaders helped found the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators, which started out as a book club to review Naomi Klein’s best-seller The Shock Doctrine, which argues that corporate interests have exploited crises to push through agendas that undermine democracy.”

CA. Legalization: “Seventeen people were arrested and 1,500 plants seized when state drug agents shut down a marijuana growing operation Monday near Elk Grove.” Another small business destroyed by regulation. …. ObamaCare: “The [health care] exchange’s public-relations plan says ‘individuals from California’s robust entertainment industry will be approached at the most senior levels’ to promote the new marketplace and get people enrolled.” More rents.

FL. Debt: “South Floridians owe — a lot — on car, home and student loans. [M]ortgage balance is more than $30,000 higher, for example, than the average U.S. home loan balance. [S]tudent debt balance: $32,330 or 11 percent more than the $29,092 national average. [C]ar loans: $16,411 vs. $15,986.” … Privatization: “[Two] unions went to court late Friday in an effort to block plans to privatize inmate health-care services in state prisons.]” Read the story for an example of horrible legislative drafting. … The trail, youth vote: “‘I think it’s going to be a tough one,” [Kristin Perkins (21)] said. “There’s Obama who hasn’t done all the changes that he said he would. But I also believe that you can’t get much done in a four-year period when you’re going against a House that’s all R while you’re a D. And I like that Romney comes from his own money. He seems to know what to do with money, so hopefully that can help the economy.”

IL. Fracking: “More than $10,000 was raised Saturday during a daylong fundraiser in Enfield, Ill., to benefit the families of four Southern Illinois oilfield workers injured in a July 24 explosion.” Story doesn’t say it’s fracking, but it is.

KS. Ballot access: “Efforts to keep Obama’s name off of the KS presidential ballot were halted Monday when a state board ended its probe over questions about the president’s place of birth, the KS SoS’s office confirmed.”

LA. Katrina: “Attorneys representing a group of Lower 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parish residents claim that Washington Group International Inc., an Army Corps of Engineers contractor, removed several buildings and dozens of pilings from land along the canal as part of a plan to expand the canal’s shipping lock, and then failed to adequately plug the holes left behind. Those holes allowed Katrina’s surge to seep underneath the 14-foot wall, significantly contributing to its failure, they argue.”

MA. Obama 2.0: “I am convinced that Deval Patrick’s oratory is second to none. Deval Patrick could get me to walk on fire for ‘the cause.’” Also advised by Axelrove.

MD. Occupy Baltimore: “‘Occupy Baltimore is more or less decentralized now, and there are many groups that are doing different kinds of work,’ said Olivia Robinson. ‘But the network itself has gotten stronger. The interest and the passion that was brought to a head through the Occupy movement is not vanished. It’s still here. It’s deeper, in a way.’” … Police state: “Police in Palmer Park, Md., plan to deploy cameras to surveil the other other cameras in their district. The police said that since April, six people have been involved in camera damaging activities. One man literally pulled out a pistol and used the camera for target practice.” Going meta!

ME. Weed dating: “Women will weed on one side of a garden bed [at the Common Ground Fair], and men on the other. As they industriously work on the beds, they’ll chat, and who knows, she said, sparks might fly along with the weeds.”

MI. Austerity: “Over the last two decades, changes in state policy and funding cuts have pushed tens of thousands of mentally ill people into county jails, state prisons, homeless shelters and hospital emergency rooms.” First, they came for the mentally ill. 

MN. Occupy Homes: “By early November, Occupy MN saw the writing on the wall: Hennepin County wasn’t going to let protestors stay indefinitely on the “People’s Plaza”, and though activists won a free-speech battle with the help of the ACLU, the movement made a strategic shift to focus on embattled homeowners facing foreclosure. This would enable Occupy activists to help people with concrete needs, and give them a place to stay when the Minnesota winter arrived.”

NC. Voting: “[T}housands of additional teenagers are signing up this month because [state] law requires county boards of elections conduct voter registration and preregistration drives in high schools during Citizens Awareness Month.”

ND. Oil: Facebook alert, but Bakken Oilfield, Fail of the Day is terrific.

NY. Greens: “Peter LaVenia wants five debates with Democratic incumbent Neil Breslin before November’s general election. He’s hoping to discuss issues ranging from student debt (cancelled), health care (single-payer), election reform (public financing) and employment (WPA).” … Occupy Syracuse: “As crowds gathered in New York City for mass protests, Scott McGrody set up a chair in downtown Syracuse. His version of Occupy.”

OH. Water: “The scum that had coated Casey during his swim turned out to be blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria. Later tests of [Grand Lake St. Marys] detected liver toxins and neurotoxins produced by various cyanobacteria.” Ick. … Swing state, Thomas Suddes: “The OH voters probably pivotal in deciding who wins power live in college-town OH, blue-collar OH and central OH.”

PA. Fracking: “Political donations from the energy sector to PA politicians and PACs spiked from $4 million in 2008 to $7.5 million in 2010–the very same time as the fracking industry there was starting to take off.” …. Voting: “[A] provision [in the challenged voter ID law] requires the PA DOT to provide a nondriver photo ID card to any registered voter who swears that he needs it for voting purposes. The federal government’s Homeland Security laws forced PennDot to require some additional proof before providing citizens with identification cards, Knorr explained, so the agency could not comply with that provision of the law.” … Cheese steaks: “I had the good fortune to purchase mine from Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagies and Cheesesteaks. Not only is Carmen’s arguably the Maxim’s of the junk food world, it was located in the Reading Terminal Market, which is surely one of the busiest indoor food courts in the western hemisphere.” I’ve had them; they’re ghastly. The Reading Terminal itself, however, is wonderful, despite tourist traps like Carmen’s.

TX. Corruption? “Charles Workman, a Baptist minister, former city council member, and civil rights advocate in Hearne, TX, was mysteriously murdered last week. According to news reports he was shot in the head and his car was found set on fire. [F]ears have arisen that the Robertson County DA, John Paschall, won’t aggressively pursue the case because Workman had become [his] nemesis in the aftermath of the infamous Hearne drug stings, which contributed to the ultimate de-funding of Texas system of narcotics task forces statewide, including one led by Paschall.” … STDs: “Worried about rising numbers of babies born with syphilis in San Antonio [and to younger mothers], local health officials have begun assigning case workers to follow infected women throughout their pregnancies to ensure proper treatment.” … Fracking: “Halliburton Co. crew members who lost a radioactive rod used in drilling [fracking] wells in west TX weren’t guilty of criminal conduct, the FBI said as a hunt for the tool entered a fourth day.” Right, which would be why the FBI was called in.

VA. Big government: “Albemarle County staff, native plant experts and the Natural Heritage Committee have created a comprehensive list of the best growing and most commercially available plants in the county.The county plans to continue to update the data behind the web tool to meet future need and introduce the database to neighboring localities and regional partners.”

WA. Corruption: “The [Seattle School] district has fixed many of the problems and now requires more than one person to sign off on any purchase orders or invoices, no matter the amount. Invoices must be detailed, he said, and can no longer say “payment per agreement.”

WI. Police state: “The most controversial part of the new policy holds that protesting groups ‘may be held liable for law enforcement expenses arising out of the event,’ and ‘may’ be required to pay in advance. Such liability would attach if “additional officers” are assigned due to the size of the event or the possible occurrence of disruption.”

Outside baseball. Good advice: “Go for the guy who hasn’t called, the guy who knows what he’s doing but is too busy enough call you up.”  Fascinating story about what’s right and wrong with law. … Et tu, Bill? “A friend just informed me that Bill Cosby has joined the board of Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst.” … Racism: “[G]iven two white people, one who went to college and one who didn’t, the former is more likely to express his racial hostility politically in the form of greater opposition to welfare. Education imparts social and political knowledge that prepares people to better read the signals provided by political leaders and the mass media.” … Climate, fracking: “[T]his year’s expected CO2 emissions have declined by more than 800 million tons, or 14 percent from their peak in 2007. The cause is an unprecedented switch to natural gas, which emits 45 percent less carbon per energy unit.” Maybe. I’d like an account of all externalities. … Climate: “With no sweat glands and a gut that has to ferment the moose’s woody diet of twigs, the animals have a hard time when temperatures reach more than 80 degrees.” … The Constitution: “Today [2012-09-17] is the 225th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution. If slaves were property, then how could they be counted even partially as human beings? By any measure that was unprincipled. But it worked to get the document approved. If legislating is like sausage making, then the Constitution is smorgasbord.”

The trail. The Senate: “The Akin controversy, and the damage it did to his party’s chances in the state, means Rs are likely to pick up between one and three Senate seats, just short of the four they need to take control of the chamber if President Obama wins reelection.” … Money: “Obama’s top five sources of funding are employed by the University of California ($491,868), Microsoft Corp. ($443,748), Google Inc. ($357,382), the DLA Piper legal/lobbying firm ($331,715) and Harvard University ($317,516). Romney’s top sources are all financial giants: Goldman Sachs ($676,080), JPMorgan Chase & Co. ($520,299), Morgan Stanley ($513,647), Bank of America ($510,728) and Credit Suisse Group ($427,560).” So Romney’s got Obama’s 2008 donors. … Polls, Nate Silver: “President Obama’s chances of winning the Electoral College fell slightly on Sunday in the FiveThirtyEight forecast, to 74.7 percent from 76.2 percent on Saturday.”

Green party. Occupy. “The Green Party of the United States saluted and praised Occupy Wall Street on September 17″ (press release).

The Romney. “Bitter” [reference; follow-up] in 2008, “entitled” in 2012: “[ROMNEY: ] All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. My job is not to worry about those people [ouch!]. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” (Obama’s version: “[T]here are going to be very difficult choices and issues of sacrifice and responsibility and duty.”) So the debates, if they are to be believed, will be about how many moochers to throw under the bus and how fast … 

Bitter then, “entitled” now: Identical scenario to the “bitter/cling to” flap, when Mayhill Fowler secretly recorded an Obama fundraiser in 2008 (references above), but how in the name of sweet suffering Jeebus did the Romney advance team not confiscate the recording device?!?!?! [NC 2012-06-13; NC 2012-07-19]. Same venue, different day: “[G]uests cavorted nude in a pool and performed sex acts.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that. … Bitter then, “entitled” now: “Republican Mitt Romney says a video clip in which he called nearly half of Americans ‘victims’ was ‘not elegantly stated’ and was ‘spoken off the cuff.’ But he says Obama’s approach is ‘attractive to people who are not paying taxes.’” More walking it sideways than back. Of course, income taxes aren’t all taxes, and blue states subsidize red states.

Bitter then, “entitled” now: “You can mark my prediction now: [The] secret recording has killed Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.” Well, no. Two things are killing Romney: He lost the political class, which gave Obama a pass in the “bitter/cling to” flap of 2008, identical in both setting and message to this flap, and more centrally (via Stoller) he wasn’t willing to do what it would take to win: Run a populist campaign from the right. So is Obama lucky, or what? What next, Jack Ryan?

The Obama. The base: “Some black clergy see no good presidential choice between a Mormon candidate and one who supports gay marriage, so they are telling their flocks to stay home on Election Day.” …. Rapture Index closes up 1 on liberalism.

* Slogan of the day: The invincible thoughts of The Obama illuminate the stages of progressive thought!

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Lambert Strether

Lambert Strether is a contributing author at Naked Capitalism and blogs at Corrente.


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Election Countdown 2012: Occupiers Have to Figure Out How to Defend Themselves as Anniversary Celebrations Continue, and More

Tuesday, 18 September 2012 12:57 By Lambert Strether, Naked Capitalism | News Analysis

This week in the Election Countdown: Occupiers have to figure out how to defend themselves as #S17 celebrations continue in New York; Rahm Emanuel accused the Chicago Teachers Union of using children as pawns, and said he plans to take the issue to court; Seventeen people were arrested and 1,500 plants seized when state drug agents shut down a small business growing marijuana in California; and more.

Mission elapsed time: T + 11 and counting*

‘I like the Walrus best,’ said Alice: ‘because you see he was a LITTLE sorry for the poor oysters.’

‘He ate more than the Carpenter, though,’ said Tweedledee. ‘You see he held his handkerchief in front, so that the Carpenter couldn’t count how many he took: contrariwise.’

‘That was mean!’ Alice said indignantly. ‘Then I like the Carpenter best–if he didn’t eat so many as the Walrus.’

‘But he ate as many as he could get,’ said Tweedledum.

This was a puzzler. After a pause, Alice began, ‘Well! They were BOTH very unpleasant characters–’ –Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass.

Occupy. The invitation: An impressive flyer [PDF] (including bull with party hat). Explainer: “So, the protesters have to figure out how to defend themselves. This is also the problem that other great protest movements confronted: the abolitionists had to work out how to sustain the “underground railway” in the face of southern posses, and the sit-down strikers of the 1930s had to figure out how to defend their factory occupations in the face of company police and sometimes state militia.” … Explainer: “[T]here’s nothing worse than insisting,unquestioningly and unwisely, that others kiss the whip of those who would exercise their power and authority over them.” … Explainer: “What started as a couple hundred people in a park with no plan [not at all true!] has turned into a decentralized, distributed network of activists, affinity groups, organizations and organizers, working on everything from free education to fracking. And so as New York’s financial district was choked with glitter, balloons, dance parties and a whole lot of police, Occupy’s anniversary feels less like a celebration of what was and more a demonstration of what’s becoming.” …

Police state: “The police moved away from kettling and mass arrests a while ago and have settled on a much more terrifying tactic–seemingly random snatch and grabs, yanking people off the sidewalk out of a crowd.” That won’t work when the Occupiers drop those stupid V for Vendetta masks and start dressing for success. And what next, the 4AM knock? … Strategic failure, my sweet Aunt Fanny: “[T]he popular assemblies that were held in a thousand squares across the world served as a crucial lesson for the hundreds of thousands of people who participated in them. We should never underestimate how the Occupy movement radicalized an entire generation of concerned citizens across the US and around the world.” … Tactics: “As soon as the police saturated the intersection, demonstrators dispersed to form other concentrations, which was part of the plan: to create roving clusters of protesters as opposed to a singular show of force. As protesters roamed the streets, so did massive contingents of NYPD officers. The largely peaceful protests were punctuated by periodic bursts of violent arrests, as the NYPD continued its tactic of targeting seemingly random protesters to detain in their attempts to maintain order.” Well, a different kind of “order.” (Analogies are never perfect, but I’m reminded of Hutier tactics and distributed operations, which were tactical responses to a war of attrition. Note then, that this headline — “Occupy Wall St. protesters meet wall of NYPD resistance on first anniversary of movement” — gets the tactical situation exactly wrong. Let us remind ourselves also that Hutier tactics failed in the first instance because Ludendorff’s strategic goals not articulated or not achievable.) … Strategy: Reading that flyer (above), I’m not seeing demands, but I am seeing broad topic areas (“zones”) which might create a context for demands were demands to be made: 99%, Education, Debt, Eco. Not a bad cut at a set of wicked problems, eh? … From the Barcalounger: New tactics of “small pieces loosely joined,” strategic “zones”; all this, to me, looks like the beginning of a campaign season as wildly effective as the last one. And unlike last year’s efforts, this campaign can be carried on in cold weather, because the camping element is gone. No matter that the numbers are small; it only takes a pinch of yeast to make the bread rise; and if you make enough bread, the yeast becomes part of the natural environment.

Chicago teacher’s strike. The issues: “The key provision isn’t anything related to wage increases, teacher evaluations, teacher recall, merit pay and other items receiving most public attention. It’s this: The contract wouldn’t cap the number of charter schools the CPS can open or the number of schools that the CPS can close or consolidate.” (Lewis needs better PR: that “anything more they can get” quote is terrible.) …. Rahm’s injunction: “[Rahm] issued a statement that, in trademark tough-guy form, offered not even a passing whiff of conciliation: he accused the union of using children as pawns, and said he was going to court — an option he had checked on weeks ago, just in case, and one he carried out first thing Monday morning.” The case won’t be heard until Wednesday. The CTU may vote on Tuesday. … Rahm’s injunction: “[John] Hancock, who has represented several MI school districts over 30 years, says he expects Judge Flynn to force both sides back to the table to negotiate around the clock for a resolution. As it stands, the Chicago school district may have a difficult time proving that every economic issue is resolved, he says” which is necessary to grant the injunction. … Rahm’s injunction: “To me it seems more like a p.r. tactic than a legal strategy — does he really want to put Karen Lewis in jail? (During the Pullman strike in 1894, Grover Cleveland put Eugene Debs in jail — an d John Peter Altgeld made sure Cleveland was never nominated for president again.)” … Quislings: “The City Council’s Latino Caucus released a statement Monday calling on teachers to return to class while they finish negotiating their contract [quite the strategery] with the Chicago Board of Education. Meanwhile, the Black Caucus released a statement late Monday saying it would be a “travesty” if kids aren’t back in school by Wednesday.” … Intellectual history: Many of CTU’s current leaders helped found the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators, which started out as a book club to review Naomi Klein’s best-seller The Shock Doctrine, which argues that corporate interests have exploited crises to push through agendas that undermine democracy.”

CA. Legalization: “Seventeen people were arrested and 1,500 plants seized when state drug agents shut down a marijuana growing operation Monday near Elk Grove.” Another small business destroyed by regulation. …. ObamaCare: “The [health care] exchange’s public-relations plan says ‘individuals from California’s robust entertainment industry will be approached at the most senior levels’ to promote the new marketplace and get people enrolled.” More rents.

FL. Debt: “South Floridians owe — a lot — on car, home and student loans. [M]ortgage balance is more than $30,000 higher, for example, than the average U.S. home loan balance. [S]tudent debt balance: $32,330 or 11 percent more than the $29,092 national average. [C]ar loans: $16,411 vs. $15,986.” … Privatization: “[Two] unions went to court late Friday in an effort to block plans to privatize inmate health-care services in state prisons.]” Read the story for an example of horrible legislative drafting. … The trail, youth vote: “‘I think it’s going to be a tough one,” [Kristin Perkins (21)] said. “There’s Obama who hasn’t done all the changes that he said he would. But I also believe that you can’t get much done in a four-year period when you’re going against a House that’s all R while you’re a D. And I like that Romney comes from his own money. He seems to know what to do with money, so hopefully that can help the economy.”

IL. Fracking: “More than $10,000 was raised Saturday during a daylong fundraiser in Enfield, Ill., to benefit the families of four Southern Illinois oilfield workers injured in a July 24 explosion.” Story doesn’t say it’s fracking, but it is.

KS. Ballot access: “Efforts to keep Obama’s name off of the KS presidential ballot were halted Monday when a state board ended its probe over questions about the president’s place of birth, the KS SoS’s office confirmed.”

LA. Katrina: “Attorneys representing a group of Lower 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parish residents claim that Washington Group International Inc., an Army Corps of Engineers contractor, removed several buildings and dozens of pilings from land along the canal as part of a plan to expand the canal’s shipping lock, and then failed to adequately plug the holes left behind. Those holes allowed Katrina’s surge to seep underneath the 14-foot wall, significantly contributing to its failure, they argue.”

MA. Obama 2.0: “I am convinced that Deval Patrick’s oratory is second to none. Deval Patrick could get me to walk on fire for ‘the cause.’” Also advised by Axelrove.

MD. Occupy Baltimore: “‘Occupy Baltimore is more or less decentralized now, and there are many groups that are doing different kinds of work,’ said Olivia Robinson. ‘But the network itself has gotten stronger. The interest and the passion that was brought to a head through the Occupy movement is not vanished. It’s still here. It’s deeper, in a way.’” … Police state: “Police in Palmer Park, Md., plan to deploy cameras to surveil the other other cameras in their district. The police said that since April, six people have been involved in camera damaging activities. One man literally pulled out a pistol and used the camera for target practice.” Going meta!

ME. Weed dating: “Women will weed on one side of a garden bed [at the Common Ground Fair], and men on the other. As they industriously work on the beds, they’ll chat, and who knows, she said, sparks might fly along with the weeds.”

MI. Austerity: “Over the last two decades, changes in state policy and funding cuts have pushed tens of thousands of mentally ill people into county jails, state prisons, homeless shelters and hospital emergency rooms.” First, they came for the mentally ill. 

MN. Occupy Homes: “By early November, Occupy MN saw the writing on the wall: Hennepin County wasn’t going to let protestors stay indefinitely on the “People’s Plaza”, and though activists won a free-speech battle with the help of the ACLU, the movement made a strategic shift to focus on embattled homeowners facing foreclosure. This would enable Occupy activists to help people with concrete needs, and give them a place to stay when the Minnesota winter arrived.”

NC. Voting: “[T}housands of additional teenagers are signing up this month because [state] law requires county boards of elections conduct voter registration and preregistration drives in high schools during Citizens Awareness Month.”

ND. Oil: Facebook alert, but Bakken Oilfield, Fail of the Day is terrific.

NY. Greens: “Peter LaVenia wants five debates with Democratic incumbent Neil Breslin before November’s general election. He’s hoping to discuss issues ranging from student debt (cancelled), health care (single-payer), election reform (public financing) and employment (WPA).” … Occupy Syracuse: “As crowds gathered in New York City for mass protests, Scott McGrody set up a chair in downtown Syracuse. His version of Occupy.”

OH. Water: “The scum that had coated Casey during his swim turned out to be blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria. Later tests of [Grand Lake St. Marys] detected liver toxins and neurotoxins produced by various cyanobacteria.” Ick. … Swing state, Thomas Suddes: “The OH voters probably pivotal in deciding who wins power live in college-town OH, blue-collar OH and central OH.”

PA. Fracking: “Political donations from the energy sector to PA politicians and PACs spiked from $4 million in 2008 to $7.5 million in 2010–the very same time as the fracking industry there was starting to take off.” …. Voting: “[A] provision [in the challenged voter ID law] requires the PA DOT to provide a nondriver photo ID card to any registered voter who swears that he needs it for voting purposes. The federal government’s Homeland Security laws forced PennDot to require some additional proof before providing citizens with identification cards, Knorr explained, so the agency could not comply with that provision of the law.” … Cheese steaks: “I had the good fortune to purchase mine from Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagies and Cheesesteaks. Not only is Carmen’s arguably the Maxim’s of the junk food world, it was located in the Reading Terminal Market, which is surely one of the busiest indoor food courts in the western hemisphere.” I’ve had them; they’re ghastly. The Reading Terminal itself, however, is wonderful, despite tourist traps like Carmen’s.

TX. Corruption? “Charles Workman, a Baptist minister, former city council member, and civil rights advocate in Hearne, TX, was mysteriously murdered last week. According to news reports he was shot in the head and his car was found set on fire. [F]ears have arisen that the Robertson County DA, John Paschall, won’t aggressively pursue the case because Workman had become [his] nemesis in the aftermath of the infamous Hearne drug stings, which contributed to the ultimate de-funding of Texas system of narcotics task forces statewide, including one led by Paschall.” … STDs: “Worried about rising numbers of babies born with syphilis in San Antonio [and to younger mothers], local health officials have begun assigning case workers to follow infected women throughout their pregnancies to ensure proper treatment.” … Fracking: “Halliburton Co. crew members who lost a radioactive rod used in drilling [fracking] wells in west TX weren’t guilty of criminal conduct, the FBI said as a hunt for the tool entered a fourth day.” Right, which would be why the FBI was called in.

VA. Big government: “Albemarle County staff, native plant experts and the Natural Heritage Committee have created a comprehensive list of the best growing and most commercially available plants in the county.The county plans to continue to update the data behind the web tool to meet future need and introduce the database to neighboring localities and regional partners.”

WA. Corruption: “The [Seattle School] district has fixed many of the problems and now requires more than one person to sign off on any purchase orders or invoices, no matter the amount. Invoices must be detailed, he said, and can no longer say “payment per agreement.”

WI. Police state: “The most controversial part of the new policy holds that protesting groups ‘may be held liable for law enforcement expenses arising out of the event,’ and ‘may’ be required to pay in advance. Such liability would attach if “additional officers” are assigned due to the size of the event or the possible occurrence of disruption.”

Outside baseball. Good advice: “Go for the guy who hasn’t called, the guy who knows what he’s doing but is too busy enough call you up.”  Fascinating story about what’s right and wrong with law. … Et tu, Bill? “A friend just informed me that Bill Cosby has joined the board of Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst.” … Racism: “[G]iven two white people, one who went to college and one who didn’t, the former is more likely to express his racial hostility politically in the form of greater opposition to welfare. Education imparts social and political knowledge that prepares people to better read the signals provided by political leaders and the mass media.” … Climate, fracking: “[T]his year’s expected CO2 emissions have declined by more than 800 million tons, or 14 percent from their peak in 2007. The cause is an unprecedented switch to natural gas, which emits 45 percent less carbon per energy unit.” Maybe. I’d like an account of all externalities. … Climate: “With no sweat glands and a gut that has to ferment the moose’s woody diet of twigs, the animals have a hard time when temperatures reach more than 80 degrees.” … The Constitution: “Today [2012-09-17] is the 225th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution. If slaves were property, then how could they be counted even partially as human beings? By any measure that was unprincipled. But it worked to get the document approved. If legislating is like sausage making, then the Constitution is smorgasbord.”

The trail. The Senate: “The Akin controversy, and the damage it did to his party’s chances in the state, means Rs are likely to pick up between one and three Senate seats, just short of the four they need to take control of the chamber if President Obama wins reelection.” … Money: “Obama’s top five sources of funding are employed by the University of California ($491,868), Microsoft Corp. ($443,748), Google Inc. ($357,382), the DLA Piper legal/lobbying firm ($331,715) and Harvard University ($317,516). Romney’s top sources are all financial giants: Goldman Sachs ($676,080), JPMorgan Chase & Co. ($520,299), Morgan Stanley ($513,647), Bank of America ($510,728) and Credit Suisse Group ($427,560).” So Romney’s got Obama’s 2008 donors. … Polls, Nate Silver: “President Obama’s chances of winning the Electoral College fell slightly on Sunday in the FiveThirtyEight forecast, to 74.7 percent from 76.2 percent on Saturday.”

Green party. Occupy. “The Green Party of the United States saluted and praised Occupy Wall Street on September 17″ (press release).

The Romney. “Bitter” [reference; follow-up] in 2008, “entitled” in 2012: “[ROMNEY: ] All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. My job is not to worry about those people [ouch!]. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” (Obama’s version: “[T]here are going to be very difficult choices and issues of sacrifice and responsibility and duty.”) So the debates, if they are to be believed, will be about how many moochers to throw under the bus and how fast … 

Bitter then, “entitled” now: Identical scenario to the “bitter/cling to” flap, when Mayhill Fowler secretly recorded an Obama fundraiser in 2008 (references above), but how in the name of sweet suffering Jeebus did the Romney advance team not confiscate the recording device?!?!?! [NC 2012-06-13; NC 2012-07-19]. Same venue, different day: “[G]uests cavorted nude in a pool and performed sex acts.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that. … Bitter then, “entitled” now: “Republican Mitt Romney says a video clip in which he called nearly half of Americans ‘victims’ was ‘not elegantly stated’ and was ‘spoken off the cuff.’ But he says Obama’s approach is ‘attractive to people who are not paying taxes.’” More walking it sideways than back. Of course, income taxes aren’t all taxes, and blue states subsidize red states.

Bitter then, “entitled” now: “You can mark my prediction now: [The] secret recording has killed Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.” Well, no. Two things are killing Romney: He lost the political class, which gave Obama a pass in the “bitter/cling to” flap of 2008, identical in both setting and message to this flap, and more centrally (via Stoller) he wasn’t willing to do what it would take to win: Run a populist campaign from the right. So is Obama lucky, or what? What next, Jack Ryan?

The Obama. The base: “Some black clergy see no good presidential choice between a Mormon candidate and one who supports gay marriage, so they are telling their flocks to stay home on Election Day.” …. Rapture Index closes up 1 on liberalism.

* Slogan of the day: The invincible thoughts of The Obama illuminate the stages of progressive thought!

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Lambert Strether

Lambert Strether is a contributing author at Naked Capitalism and blogs at Corrente.


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