In today's Election Countdown, Los Angeles bans marijuana dispensaries; a nuclear reactor in Conneticut is shut down due to Long Island's warm water; The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat commisioner is torn between saving the environment and saving the local economy; Obama draws laughter at Romney's expense; and more.
D – 25 and counting*
But we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age. This law, too, represents a cornerstone in a structure which is being built, but is by no means complete. –Franklin Delano Roosevelt, August 14, 1935
Montreal. Strike: "Following three more votes Monday to end the strike, the tally now stands at six to one among junior colleges, called CEGEPs in Quebec, in favour of returning to class." Strike: "Of the 160,000 students who boycotted their classes at the height of the strike in the spring, there are now some 110,000. If that number were to drop below 100,000, several university and college associations would automatically end their own strike mandates." ... Strike, student: "We have a provincial election [Sept. 4]. We can vote there." ... Strike, "'We're going to respect the back-to-class votes that happened in the different student associations,' said Camille Robert, co-spokesperson for [CLASSE]."
CA. Legalization: "The Los Angeles City Council's unanimous vote Tuesday to ban all pot dispensaries was met with a mixture of anger and support."
FL. Charters: "[Last spring], every Florida parent group warned that the parent trigger was a transparent attempt by the charter operators to trick parents into handing their public school over to the charter chains. By funding opposition to the senators who oppose the parent trigger, the for-profit charter chains are demonstrating that the parent groups were right."
GA. Corruption: "In a state of 9 million people, it is more than a coincidence when a handful of families have multiple members serving in appointed positions to government boards." With handy list! ... Charters: "The controversy over whether the state can fund a charter school over the rejections of a local school board will be decided in November's election." ... Climate: "This year GA became the latest state to enact new rules to prevent heat-related deaths of high school football players, a category in which the state leads the nation."
LA. Evacuation: "A nearly 400-foot deep sinkhole in LA has swallowed all of the trees in its area and enacted a mandatory evacuation order for about 150 residences for fear of potential radiation and explosions." That's some sinkhole. ... Austerity: "UNO President Peter Fos announced plans Tuesday to trim spending by $12 million to make up for a budget shortfall."
MA. Local politics: "In the old days, a few self-selected insiders [spent] hours each day on the phone gossiping like teenagers about the politics of the day. Those calls along with an inside track to what would be 'in the paper' were all one needed to be perceived as a power in local politics. All that has changed. I don't know if the internet and social media are a cause of it or a symptom of it or just tools that are used by people with a different view of how politics work in a changing city."
ME. Civic engagement: "The state senator who led the push for a study of an east-west highway across ME has asked Gov. Paul LePage to suspend the study until the Legislature can enact protections for property owners.'didn't think we'd be stepping into this kind of hornets' nest,' said state Sen. Thomas.
MI. Referendum: "A showdown is brewing in Pontiac over who controls city government after the city council voted Monday night to reclaim the power it lost when an emergency manager was appointed to run the financially-struggling community [after] a ruling earlier this month by the MI Supreme Court to let voters in November decide the fate of Public Act 4, the emergency manager law." ... Extractive economy: "[The Enbridge 2010 spill] gushed more than three million litres [790000 gallons] of oil into the Kalamazoo River and cost around $800 million U.S. to clean up."
NY. Police blotter: "A shop in Nanuet will pay a total of $15,000 after an investigation by state AG Eric Schneiderman's office found products such as nitrous oxide canisters had been mislabeled." So Lawsky claws back $350 million from Standard Chartered, and Schneiderman busts a head shop. ... Climate: "A reactor at the Millstone nuclear plant in Waterford, Conn., has shut down because of something that its 1960s designers never anticipated: the water in Long Island Sound was too warm to cool it."
PA. Fracking: "John Arway, executive director of the state Fish and Boat Commission, said he was torn between the commission's mission as stewards of the environment versus what could be significant — and sorely needed — new revenue sources generated by allowing Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling beneath some of the 56 dams managed by the commission statewide and by selling some of the water in the impoundments for fracking. Mr. Arway said the commission 'can't even come close' to being able to fund the estimated $46.5 million needed to repair 19 "high-hazard" dams." So the petro-state is a win-win!
TX. Voting: "A federal judge in Galveston today denied the state's request for a stay that would have allowed TX to enforce several of its voter registration laws." ... Disease: "The number of  reported West Nile cases is far higher this year than each of the last five years, and the outbreak has been highly concentrated in North TX." ... Lawsuits: "He stated in a nine-page, hand-written lawsuit that he told the grocery sacker, a black man, 'Wait a minute, don't touch my groceries. I can't have someone negroidal touch my food. It's against my creed.'"
VA. Transparency: "[Joan Fenton]'s planning to keep documenting [UVa Board of Vistor's] meetings, and making the recordings available to the media and UVa's special collections library, until it becomes a standard part of board meetings."
WI. Voting: "For now, at least, it seems the [recall] ballots in Waukesha County are 'safe' and can hopefully be counted by actual human beings. [F]or that to happen, the Hand Count Votes Now! coalition will have to challenge and reverse [County Clerk Kathy] Nickolaus' July 17 denial in order to gain access to examine ballots." ... Sustainability: "Over the past year, [UW student Isaac] Sinnott has volunteered with a program called Full Cycle Freight, which helps local restaurants productively dispose of organic materials. This diverts thousands of pounds of food scraps away from landfills and transforms them into fertilizer for local farms." ... Extractive economy: "More than 50,000 gallons of oil was spilled in Grand Marsh, and more than 17,000 tons of contaminated soil has been removed [of 45,000 total]. The Enbridge Energy Partners pipeline has since reopened."
Outside baseball. Sociopaths: "[US Rep James Sensenbrenner:' '[A Romney administration] will be controversial. It will cause pain' to restore the economy." ... Sociopaths: "America 2012. It's just one big laboratory for the S&M fantasies of the Villagers." Not that there's anything wrong with that. ... Sociopaths: "'You fall through the cracks and there's nothing you can do about it,' said the 52-year-old home health aide. 'It makes me feel like garbage.'" That's not a bug. It's a feature. ... The left: "For all the well-deserved bashing that Ryan is taking from my party, the Ds need to ask themselves why they won't encourage the growth of unabashed liberals the way the GOP has allowed far-right politicians to blossom." Citizen Dave, stone D. ... Water: "A well may be fracked up to 18 times. The water, usually drawn from natural resources such as lakes and rivers, is unrecoverable once it's blasted into the earth, and out of the water cycle for good." ... Water: "No one tracks the number of wells that go dry, but state and local governments and well diggers and water haulers report many more dead wells than in a typical summer across a wide swath of the Midwest." ... Judicial restraint: "Once legality and candor are rejected as the criteria for right action, then the measure must instead be based on substantive and controversial moral and political judgments." Interesting.
Grand Bargain™-brand catfood watch. Semantics: "Do not say: 'entitlement reform,' 'privatization,' 'every option is on the table,' [BWA-HA-HA-HA!]" the National Republican Congressional Committee said in an email memo. "Do say: 'strengthen,' 'secure,' 'save,' 'preserve, 'protect.'" ... Oopsie: "[ERSKINE BOWLES:] Have any of you all met Paul Ryan? .... I'm telling you this guy is amazing. ... He is honest, he is straightforward, he is sincere. And the budget that he came forward with is just like Paul Ryan. It is a sensible, straightforward, serious budget." ... Finessing the issue: "Three D House members objected Tuesday to a request by four senators that Obama and Romney be asked which of the [Catfood] commission's proposals to address the debt they support. The Ds said such a question would force 'candidates to choose solutions from one menu of options.'" ... Two-tier retirement: "Ryan has drawn nearly $400,000 from retirees this election cycle, dramatically outperforming most House lawmakers." ... Two-tier retirement: "I didn't anticipate the 'vote to cut benefits for people not yet retired some decades in the future' gambit."
The trail. Polls: "[P]olls become more accurate as you get closer to the election. But this is the part of the cycle when that rule is violated, because of the vice-presidential announcements and the conventions. We are now entering a foggy period in the polling."
Robama vs. Obomney watch. Film at 11: "Both campaigns kick today off by accusing the other of lying." ... Guess who: "He demonizes some. He panders to others. His campaign strategy is to smash America apart and then cobble together 51 percent of the pieces. If an American president wins that way, we all lose."
Romney. Ryan pick: Hot or not. ... Ryan pick: ""There are people in his district shocked to find out he was a big player on budget stuff. He has been able to define his own story. He didn't really spend any time in state politics and right out of college he went right into interning. While he is a WI congressman, he is not somebody who came up through the state ranks." .... Ryan pick: "I spoke to many people at the [IA State Fair] and found two reactions over and over – 'He's awesome!' and: 'Paul who?' A lot of people, even here in neighboring Iowa, have no idea who Paul Ryan is."
Obama. Retooled stump speech: "OBAMA: Now, let me just see a show of hands. How many folks are making more than $3 million a year? (Laughter.) Okay, this guy back here. (Laughter.) I'm looking for a campaign contribution. (Laughter and applause.)" Making them love the con; see Stoller here. ... Needler-in-chief: "[Obama criticized Romney's] assertion that 'You can't drive a car with a windmill on it.' [saying] 'I don't know if he's actually tried that. I know he's had other things on his car," drawing laughter from a crowd at a farm here." Try the veal. ... Vote for Obama because RomneyCare: "[OBAMA:] I really think he had a great health care plan when he was in Massachusetts. Seems to be working really well [BWA-HA-HA-HA!]– One of the reasons why we set up the same kind of plan nationally and we're implementing it right now." ... The pitch: "[OBAMA: ] If you put in the effort and you are responsible, then you can find a job that pays the bills. You can have a home that you call your own." Well, you could have a home that you call your own if the banksters hadn't destroyed the land title system, committed umpteen frauds on the court when foreclosing, and been given a Get Out of Jail Free card by the administration. Other than that...
* 25 days until the Democratic National Convention ends with a deep-fried dry water for everybody on the floor of the Bank of America Panther Stadium, Charlotte, NC. 25 is the minimum age of candidates for election to the United States House of Representatives.