In today's Election Countdown: Unemployment rates rose in July from June in almost all US states; the Obama and Romney campaigns are expected to spend $2 billion to try to sway a tiny share of the electorate - Independents; Christine O'Donnell plans to host a debate between panelists from the Tea Party and Occupy movements; and more.
D ‚Äď 22 and counting*
CAPTAIN I am never known to quail / At the fury of a gale / And I‚Äôm never, never sick at sea! CHORUS What, never? CAPTAIN No, never! CHORUS What, never? CAPTAIN Hardly ever! CHORUS He‚Äôs hardly ever sick at sea! Then give three cheers, and one cheer more‚Ä¶ ‚Äď Gilbert & Sullivan, HMS Pinafore
Montreal. Carr√© rouge: ‚ÄúWhile some red squares will likely return to class, they have not suffered a defeat, at least not in the strict military sense of the term. On the contrary, they have won on many fronts. And contrary to some, I think it‚Äôs not over. In fact, it‚Äôs just the beginning‚Ä¶the next step.‚ÄĚ Good piece. ‚Ä¶ Carr√© rouge: ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a rule of thumb for contract negotiations that just because you didn‚Äôt get your initial offer doesn‚Äôt mean you lost. Leverage is everything.‚ÄĚ
Occupy. OccupyHomes: ‚ÄúOccupy Our Homes launched a national ad campaign this week aimed at inspiring beleaguered homeowners to battle foreclosure and eviction. The organization has created a foreclosure-resistance template and support network that it hopes borrowers will use to fight off repossession of their homes.‚ÄĚ ‚Ä¶ OccupyTampa: ‚ÄúOccupy Tampa protesters will likely remain in place through the RNC. Code enforcement officials told council they have had to move slowly due to private property and First Amendment issues.Having cited Occupy Tampa on August 14, code enforcement gave the group 21 days to comply with the citation. That date is long after the RNC leaves town. ‚ÄĚ
CO. Fracking: ‚ÄúLongmont residents this November will vote on whether or not to ban within city limits the oil and gas drilling technique known as fracking. Longmont is one of Colorado‚Äôs many home rule cities, where greater local authority is prized by residents and protected by the state constitution. ‚ÄĚ (MR) ‚Ä¶ Fracking: ‚Äú[GOV HICKENLOOPER:] We want to get to the point that we can convince Longmont there is sufficient flexibility in state rules in meeting the needs of local communities. [T]his is one case where there has to be a limit.‚ÄĚ ‚Ä¶ More guns, please: ‚ÄúThe University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs are amending their student housing contracts, segregating students who possess a valid concealed-weapons carry permit.‚ÄĚ
CT. Zoning: ‚ÄúOfficials in a CT town have settled a zoning dispute over a local girl‚Äôs 20-pound pet bunny after receiving calls and e-mails from across the country demanding that the rabbit be allowed to stay.‚ÄĚ
IN. Dog whistling: ‚ÄúThe billboard, reading ‚ÄėThe Navy SEALs removed one threat to America‚Ä¶ The voters must remove the other,‚Äô has generated support from many. Others, though, don‚Äôt like it, and about 25 of the critics, converged Monday afternoon to protest. The demonstrators ‚ÄĒ who organized via Facebook and word of mouth ‚ÄĒ included Elkhart County Democrats, Occupy Elkhart activists and a candidate for a seat in the Indiana Senate, Democrat Jim Ball.‚ÄĚ
LA. Home-grown: ‚ÄúA grainy picture is starting to emerge of the suspects involved in the shootings Thursday morning that claimed the lives of two St. John Parish sheriff‚Äôs deputies and injured two others. Authorities believe that [one] suspect, Kyle Joekel, 29 may have ties to a loose organization known as Posse Comitatus that generally doesn‚Äôt recognize authority above the level of county sheriff. ‚ÄĚ
ME. Ron Paul: ‚ÄúLeading Maine Rs, including a national party committeewoman and the chair of Romney‚Äôs campaign in ME, filed a complaint with the party‚Äôs national committee asking it to disqualify the Ron Paul delegates and prohibit them from taking their seats at the national convention. [Paul] delegates filed a request for an injunction with Belfast Superior Court [to quash the complaint]. Other prominent RE Rs, including Gov. Paul LePage, have said the Paul delegates deserve to be seated.‚ÄĚ
MI. Voting: ‚ÄúElection officials in Genessee County, MI have acknowledged failures by the county‚Äôs M-100 model optical-scan system, made by Election Systems and Software, Inc. (ES&S), during its Aug. 7 primary.‚ÄĚ
MN. Voting: ‚ÄúSecuring Voter ID would require a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which is no easy feat for the disabled.‚ÄĚ
NJ. Police state: ‚ÄúA Bayonne man who called 911 because his car was on fire charges in a lawsuit that he was pepper-sprayed, knocked out cold, and arrested by police for no reason. And Jason Rios says he has the videotape to prove it.‚ÄĚ
NY. Fracking: ‚Äú‚ÄėThe political blowback on [Cuomo's fracking plan] has been immense,‚Äô said state Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, a D from Ithaca. ‚ÄėI‚Äôve never seen anything like it in my 10 years in the state Assembly and 14 years as legislative chief of staff.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
TN. Social Darwinism: ‚ÄúDavid Fowler, president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee [here], worries that too many people are on food stamps, and they are becoming dependent on government handouts. His solution, posted on his personal Facebook page, is to follow the advice of the National Park Service: ‚ÄėDo not feed the animals.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
OH. Romney: ‚ÄúThe counties that moved from President George W. Bush in 2004 to Obama in 2008, and the margin by which the [anti-ObamaCare] Health Care Freedom Amendment passed, include Hamilton (65 percent), Ottawa (66 percent), Sandusky (70 percent), Tuscarawas (67 percent), Wood (61 percent) and Lake, which is considered a Buckeye State bellwether. In Lake County, adjacent to Cleveland, Issue 3 passed with 70 percent of the vote.‚ÄĚ
WI. Mass incarceration: ‚ÄúIn 2011, for the first time,] the state budgeted more taxpayer dollars for prisons and correctional facilities than for the University of Wisconsin System.‚ÄĚ ‚Ä¶.Water: ‚ÄúThe summer drought was good for one thing: It reduced the amount of manure and other phosphorus-laden material washing into area lakes.
WY. Extractive economy: ‚ÄúUR-Energy plans to use a process called in-situ mining in which a chemical solution is injected into underground uranium formations to yield a uranium-bearing solution that is pumped to the surface through hundreds of wells.‚ÄĚ
Grand Bargain‚ĄĘ-brand catfood. Bowles-Simpson: ‚ÄúRyan was a pivotal figure in killing the 2010 Bowles-Simpson agreement, which R Romney now points to as a model for putting America‚Äôs fiscal house in order. The 18-member panel needed 14 votes to send a 10-year plan for trimming the debt to the U.S. Congress for a vote. As his party‚Äôs top member on the House Budget Committee, Ryan led a bloc of three House Rs who denied the additional votes needed. ‚ÄĚ ‚Ä¶ Medicare: ‚ÄúBut the ACA bars insurers who sell Medigap policies plans F and C from covering all of a seniors‚Äô expenses that remain after Medicare pays the bills. Those two plans are the most popular Medigap policies precisely because they do cover almost all remaining expenses. Politicians on both sides supported this provision in the ACA, so there‚Äôs been little talk about it and therefore little press coverage. Millions of seniors will be surprised come 2015, when they learn their Medigap policies won‚Äôt cover as much. The rationale: Some health policy analysts believe consumers use too many medical services, and paying more out of pocket‚Äďhaving ‚Äúmore skin in the game‚ÄĚ‚Äďwill cause them to seek less healthcare.‚ÄĚ That is, both legacy parties have already agreed in cuts. And will again.
Outside baseball. The empire: ‚ÄúThe US military faces at least three existential threats.The first is that rising powers will devise ways to monkeywrench the baroque complexity of the US military machine. The second is that an ongoing revolution in military affairs will leave the entire massive arsenal of the US military as beside the point as all those British battleships were once the Second World War rolled around.The third is that the decline in fossil fuel supplies will make it impossible for the United States to maintain a way of war that consists of burning more petroleum than the other guy.‚ÄĚ ‚Ä¶ Police state: ‚ÄúThe [International Association of Chiefs of Police] ‚Äėstrongly discouraged‚Äô agencies from equipping drones with weapons, saying the effectiveness of weapons is doubtful and would likely cause a public backlash against the technology.‚ÄĚ ‚Ä¶ Medicare: ‚ÄúThe key difference between Ds and Rs on Medicare is that Ds want to make Medicare less expensive by reducing health care prices on the provider side, and Republicans want to make Medicare less expensive by cutting off access to guaranteed benefits for people under 55 ‚ÄĒ by reducing access to health care.‚ÄĚ But see above at Grand Bargain. ‚Ä¶ Public good: ‚ÄúAfter examining voluminous evidence from hearing transcripts, email correspondence, confidential memos, and reports from outside consultants, as well as many interviews, [the Times'] Abelson and Creswell concluded ‚Äėunnecessary‚Äďeven dangerous‚Äďprocedures were taking place at some HCA hospitals, driving up costs and increasing profits.‚Äô‚ÄĚ Bain is an HCA investor. ‚Ä¶.
Jobs. Lucky duckies: ‚ÄúUnemployment rates rose in July from June in almost all U.S. states, including those where the presidential election fight is expected to be fiercest, according to data released on Friday by the Labor Department.‚ÄĚ
The trail. Conventions: ‚ÄúUnlike in 2008, when counter-DNC antiwar demonstrations numbering in the hundreds were dwarfed by anti-RNC crowds over 10,000-strong in Saint Paul, Minn., this year much of the planned protest takes aim at both parties and their corporate underpinnings. Much of the ‚ÄėHope‚Äô from four years ago has long cleared up and the DNC and RNC protests look likely to share tone, relative size ‚ÄĒ anywhere between 2,000 to 15,000 protesters in each city ‚ÄĒ and even many participants. Protesters and legal observers expect to see the Miami Model [here] in full effect in both convention cities.‚ÄĚ ‚Ä¶ Independents: ‚Äú[T]he actual share of voters nationally who are up for grabs is probably between just 3 percent and 5 percent in this election, polling experts say. The Obama and Romney campaigns are expected to spend on the order of $2 billion, in part to try to sway this tiny share of the electorate.‚ÄĚ ‚Ä¶ Medicare: ‚Äú[T]wo FL polls conducted since Ryan‚Äôs selection suggest that voters who are 65 and older support Ryan and his budget plan more than younger voters do. A third FL poll released this week doesn‚Äôt include an age breakdown, but finds the state‚Äôs voters agreeing more with Ryan‚Äôs description of his budget and Medicare plan than with D criticisms that it would ‚Äėend Medicare as we know it.‚Äô‚ÄĚ Well, the Rs are for ‚Äútwo tier,‚ÄĚ playing into a vicious ‚ÄúI‚Äôve got mine‚ÄĚ dynamic. But the Ds can‚Äôt counter with ‚Äúwe‚Äôre all in this together‚ÄĚ because Obama‚Äôs for cuts, too. So why would the polls move? ‚Ä¶
DNCon. Corruption: ‚Äú[Greenpeace field organizer Monica Embrey ] noted that Duke had given an in-kind donation of $1 million worth of donated office space for the DNC in advance of the convention. ‚ÄėHow is the DNC in the Duke building, and this isn‚Äôt lobbying?‚Äô Embrey asked.‚ÄĚ
RNCon. Extremes meet: ‚Äú[Christine O'Donnell] plans to host a debate between panelists from the Tea Party and Occupy movements.‚ÄĚ
Green Party. Cynthia McKinney : ‚ÄúFormer congresswoman Cynthia McKinney won‚Äôt be on the ballot as a Green Party candidate for the 4th District congressional seat. Neither McKinney nor the Green Party presented any petititons to the Georgia Secretary of State‚Äôs (SOS) office that could have put her on the ballot.‚ÄĚ
Libertarian Party. Gary Johnson: ‚ÄúI‚Äôm the only candidate that doesn‚Äôt want to bomb Iran, the only candidate that wants to get out of Afghanistan tomorrow and bring the troops home. I‚Äôm the only candidate advocating marriage equality as a constitutionally guaranteed right. I want to end the drug wars. ‚Ä¶ I‚Äôd like to repeal the Patriot Act. I‚Äôm the only candidate that is advocating a balanced budget now. And I‚Äôm the only candidate promising to advocate throwing out the entire federal tax system.‚ÄĚ
Romney. Crony capitalism: ‚ÄúRepublican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan decried ‚Äėcrony capitalism‚Äô Friday, telling supporters Friday that connected Washington insiders would benefit if Obama is re-elected.‚ÄĚ Which has the merit of being true, if not unique to Obama. ‚Ä¶ Ryan: ‚ÄúPaul Ryan is headed to a FL retirement community with his mother on Saturday to make his argument about the need to change Medicare for future generations. Ryan‚Äôs mother is in her late 70s. He‚Äôll appear at The Villages [NC 2012-07-13].‚ÄĚ ‚Ä¶ Ryan: ‚ÄúIn the 24 hours after the news first broke Friday night, Google trends showed that the second most-popular shirt term associated with Paul Ryan was ‚Äėshirtless.‚Äô‚ÄĚ Hmmm ‚Ä¶ Crowds: ‚ÄúTwice, local politicians who introduced Mr. Ryan at rallies this week drew foot-stomping applause when they told crowds to circle Oct. 11 on their calenders, the date of the only vice-presidential debate.‚ÄĚ Hmm. ‚Ä¶ Hispanics: ‚ÄúRomney was already polling at historically low numbers among Hispanic voters before his decision to name Ryan as his running mate. Now, Romney risks a total debacle among Hispanic voters that could cost him the election. Ryan strongly opposes a path to legal residence for the estimated 11-million undocumented U.S. residents.‚ÄĚ ‚Ä¶ Social media: ‚ÄúTwitter users who followed Romney over that July weekend were probably fake, although it‚Äôs impossible to know who‚Äôs behind the spike.‚ÄĚ Stupid (Romney) or evil (Obama dirty trick)? ‚Ä¶ Altercation: ‚ÄúDuring Darling‚Äôs remarks, the protester, Mary Hoglund, 83, of Appleton, interrupted the event to ask about Republican opposition to Planned Parenthood. A local Romney supporter began arguing with Hoglund, who then spit in her face. Hoglund was escorted out, and received medical attention for a scratch she received on her neck. Hoglund was taken away in an ambulance with what appeared to be minor injuries, including the scratch.‚ÄĚ
Obama. Media: ‚ÄúThe decision to grant interviews to People and ‚ÄėEntertainment Tonight‚Äô after eight weeks without a news conference is proving to be a slight even the most high-profile, fair-minded White House reporters are not willing to suffer privately.‚ÄĚ ‚Ä¶ Tax returns: ‚ÄúObama campaign manager Jim Messina earlier on Friday said the Obama campaign would quit calling for Romney to release more of his tax records if the R released five years of his returns.‚ÄĚ So the notional buried body is less than five years old? Romney refuses. ‚Ä¶ Community organizer: ‚ÄúHe still walks the same streets here as his old acquaintance Barack Obama once did. That is about all they have in common anymore. At 50, Chicago activist Mark Allen lives with his parents, barely able to pay his bills. The head of a small, community-assistance organization[,] Allen shares his frustrations with other activists, including a young firebrand named Mark Carter who, within the past year, has formed a new political party, dubbed the Broke Party, part of a protest against the Obama administration and mainstream politics in general.‚ÄĚ The Rs have never tackled Obama‚Äôs ‚Äúcommunity organizer‚ÄĚ schtick. Not in 2008, not now. Point-shaving? ‚Ä¶ Medicare, AARP: ‚ÄúThe nonpartisan AARP says Obamacare cracks down on Medicare fraud, waste and abuse, and strengthens guaranteed benefits,‚ÄĚ the narrator says. ‚ÄúAnd the Ryan Plan? AARP says it would undermine the market power of Medicare and could lead to higher costs for seniors.‚ÄĚ‚Ä¶ AARP: ‚ÄúWe were not aware of nor have any involvement with this campaign ad. AARP is a nonpartisan organization and we do not endorse political candidates.‚ÄĚ Not really a rebuke. AARP is really in the insurance business, so I wonder what the deal is? ‚Ä¶ Sycophancy: ‚Äú[BIDEN:] I‚Äôve watched my friend [Obama] make the most difficult decisions almost any president, other than probably Roosevelt and Lincoln, have ever made, and I watched him never [what, never?] once put his political fortune ahead of what he thought was right for the country.‚ÄĚ Probably?