Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ousted Florida Republicans, including ex-Gov. Crist, say voter suppression was state GOP's goal

From Daily Kos: Ousted Florida Republicans, including ex-Gov. Crist, say voter suppression was state GOP's goal
The former chairman of the Florida Republican Party and former Gov. Charlie Crist, along with two of the party's consultants, say the Grand Old Party curtailed early voting in the state for the express purpose of reducing turnout by Democrats. Although citizen advocates have been saying for more than a year that such efforts in Florida and elsewhere were intended to hurt Democrats at the polls, these insider comments are the strongest evidence yet of the GOP's unAmerican shenanigans directed at curtailing the vote. Not just of Democrats, but of African American voters.

Dara Kam and John Lantigua at the Palm Beach Post quoted Jim Greer, the former state Republican chairman:

“The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates,” Greer told The Post. “It’s done for one reason and one reason only. … ‘We’ve got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us,’ ” Greer said he was told by those staffers and consultants. [...]

“They never came in to see me and tell me we had a (voter) fraud issue,” Greer said. “It’s all a marketing ploy.” ...

“The sad thing about that is yes, there is prejudice and racism in the party but the real prevailing thought is that they don’t think minorities will ever vote Republican,” he said. “It’s not really a broad-based racist issue. It’s simply that the Republican Party gave up a long time ago ever believing that anything they did would get minorities to vote for them.”

The law that was passed in 2011 with supermajorities of Republicans in the Florida legislature cut early voting days from 14 to eight, placed restrictions on voter registration efforts that were so onerous the League of Women Voters stopped its efforts in the state and made it more difficult for voters who changed counties between elections to vote, a move that affected minority citizens more than whites.

Greer is under indictment for a campaign fundraising scheme that allegedly put $200,000 into his pocket. He claims party officials knew what he was doing and didn't object and he has sued them for money he says they owe him. The party's current chairman says anything Greer says should be viewed in light of the indictment. In fact, Greer made similar allegations last July during a court hearing on his lawsuit.

The problem with the current chairman's line of defense is that Crist backs up what Greer says. And so do two current GOP consultants, one of whom didn't want his name used:

Wayne Bertsch, who handles local and legislative races for Republicans, said he knew targeting Democrats was the goal.

“In the races I was involved in in 2008, when we started seeing the increase of turnout and the turnout operations that the Democrats were doing in early voting, it certainly sent a chill down our spines. And in 2008, it didn’t have the impact that we were afraid of. It got close, but it wasn’t the impact that they had this election cycle,” Bertsch said, referring to the fact that Democrats picked up seven legislative seats in Florida in 2012 despite the early voting limitations.

Crist said that after he extended early voting hours by executive decree in 2008, some Republicans told him, "You just gave the election to Barack Obama.”

Sunday, November 25, 2012

2012 Holiday Season TV Specials

2012 Christmas and Holiday Season TV Specials Schedule
Date, day Time Special Broadcast network Cable network Year
Nov. 21, Wed. 8:00 p.m. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving ABC 1973
Nov. 22, Thu. 9:00 a.m. Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade NBC live
Nov. 22, Thu. 8:00 p.m. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving ABC 1973
Nov. 23, Fri. 8:00 p.m. Frosty the Snowman CBS 1969
Nov. 23, Fri. 8:00 p.m. Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown FOX 2011
Nov. 28, Wed. 8:00 p.m. A Charlie Brown Christmas ABC 1965
Nov. 28, Wed. 9:00 p.m. SNL Christmas NBC 1977 - 2012
Nov. 29, Thu. 8:00 p.m. Mickey's Christmas Carol ABC FAM 1983
Dec. 1, Sat. 8:00 p.m. It's a Wonderful Life NBC 1946
Dec. 1, Sat. 8:00 p.m. Elf ABC FAM 2003
Dec. 2, Sun. 5:00 p.m. Elf ABC FAM 2003
Dec. 2, Sun. 7:00 p.m. How the Grinch Stole Christmas ABC FAM 1966
Dec. 4, Tue. 7:30 p.m. Frosty's Winter Wonderland ABC FAM 1976
Dec. 4, Tue. 8:00 p.m. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer CBS 1964
Dec. 4, Tue. 8:00 p.m. Elf ABC FAM 2003
Dec. 11, Tue. 8:00 p.m. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town ABC 1970
Dec. 17, Mon. 9:00 p.m. Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown FOX 2011
Dec. 18, Sun. 8:00 p.m. How the Grinch Stole Christmas ABC 1966
Dec. 20, Thu. 8:00 p.m. A Charlie Brown Christmas ABC 1965
Dec. 21, Fri. 8:00 p.m. I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown ABC 2003
Dec. 23, Sun. 7:00 p.m. The Sound of Music ABC 1965
Dec. 24, Mon. 8:00 p.m. (24 hr. marathon) A Christmas Story TBS 1983
Dec. 25, Tue. 8:00 p.m. How the Grinch Stole Christmas ABC 1966

Other classic Christmas films:
Holiday Inn (1942), Christmas in Connecticut (1945), Miracle on 34th Street (1947), The Bishop's Wife (1947), Holiday Affair (1949), Scrooge (1951), A Christmas Story (1983), Scrooged! (1988), Home Alone (1990)

Friday, November 23, 2012

WalMart Black Friday Strikes, Protests - Walton Heiress Issues Support

Mid-day, WalMart Black Friday Strikes, Walkouts, Protests update, November 23, 2012:
1:51 pm, from Salon.com: "1,000 Walmart protests across the US: An update on nationwide strikes and solidarity demonstrations" Protests began in 46 states on Thursday, Thanksgiving night.
(Los Angeles County Sheriff officers arrest clergyman at WalMart protest)
Picket in Duarte, Los Angeles County, California

Salon reported:
* Dozens of protesters supported strikers in Miami when they walked off the job last night.
* 500 workers and supporters marched on a Walmart in Landover, MD.
* Striking Chicago workers and their supporters marched on several Walmart stores in Illinois beginning at 5:30 a.m. Friday morning.
* Striking workers in Duarte, Calif. formed a picket lined up in front of their store.
* In Florida, U.S. Rep.-elect Alan Grayson walked a worker off her job Thursday night and then joined workers on the picket line Friday morning.
* Dozens protested with striking workers in San Leandro, Calif.
* Workers in Clovis and Albuquerque in New Mexico, walked off the job.
* In Lancaster, Texas, Dallas police ushered strikers off of Walmart property, but they continued their protest nearby.
* The walkout in Kenosha, Wisc. was amplified by a light show last night. And workers are now on strike in Milwaukee, Wisc.
* In Quincy, Mass. supporters projected a 30-foot “Stand Up, Live Better” message on facade of a Walmart supercenter. They distributed 650 flyers, 500 sets of handwarmers, and 300 “I support Walmart workers’ rights!” stickers to customers waiting in line, along with thank you cards for Associates.

1:14 pm, from America Blog: Billionaire Walmart heiress Alice Walton supports Black Friday strike

Alice Walton closed her art museum for Friday, November 23, out of respect for the strikers, and her Crystal Bridges Museum issued this statement:
The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will close on Friday, November 23, out of respect for the Walmart workers engaging in Black Friday strikes, walkouts, and pickets. Alice Walton, Chair of the Board of Directors, also asks all Americans to stay home with their family rather than shop on Thanksgiving, so that Walmart workers do not have to report to work in the middle their Thanksgiving meals on this national holiday. The Museum will reopen on Saturday, November 24.

As Ms. Walton explained, “Since Black Friday is the unofficial start of the Christmas season, and this is the season of giving, I and the staff of Crystal Bridges have decided to stand with the workers of Walmart, the source of my family’s fortune, in their Black Friday strikes, walkouts, and pickets. I recognize this may come as a surprise to both Walmart workers and the American public. I have always assumed these hard-working men and women were being treated well, paid well, and being compensated with proper health benefits and vacation time. On this holiday, I give thanks for the fortune I inherited and for all the workers who earned it for me. They deserve to share its benefits. I was shocked to the point of disbelief when I first learned of the working conditions these decent Americans endure at the company that bears our family’s name. As a Walton, I cannot stomach the thought of our employees working for poverty wages, without sufficient healthcare, on a permanent part-time basis, or under threat of harassment, retaliation, or termination for organizing in their workplace. The workers of Walmart deserve better.”

“However, Walmart’s hostile battle against its own workers and their attempts to organize their workplace, improve working conditions, and earn a living wage, is not the only reason to stay home on Thanksgiving and on Black Friday. In the race to profit from cash-strapped deal-seekers desperate to save a buck, Walmart is now asking its employees to report to work in the middle of the Thanksgiving holiday in order to open stores that evening. This poor treatment of workers and crass commercialization of the holiday stamps ‘Black Friday’ with a whole new meaning: the black mark of shame.”

“Let us all stand in solidarity with these decent working Americans. Let us respect their struggle and their strike and not shop at Walmart on Black Friday, let alone on Thanksgiving day. In fact, let us not shop anywhere this holiday. I wish the entire nation a Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas.”
12:30 pm: The Nation: protest photos and video from Hanover, MD, outside Baltimore, Maryland: "Black Friday Live Blog: 400 picket, leaflet, mic check, and sing in Maryland" (Updated 2:15 PM)
400-some activists, union members, and striking Walmart workers marched down streets and through a shopping center parking lot this morning before being met by a Walmart manager, and police, across from Hanover, Maryland’s Capital Plaza Walmart at 10 AM . . . .
The Nation also posted a mic check video (posted at right) from the WalMart, one of the few in the metropolitan Washington, DC area:
The Capital Plaza Walmart is the closest of six stores in the Washington, DC suburbs; labor and progressives have so far been successful at keeping the store out of the city itself. Organizers said that 100 workers at those six stores have struck at least once this week; they said at least a dozen are on strike today, but some workers involved in unloading goods decided to participate in Monday's strike instead to have more of an impact.
11:18 am, from Huffington Post:

Never imagine you'd see Walmart workers striking against their employer? Now you can, using the Twitter hashtag "#walmartstrikers," a phrase accompanying many photos tweeted out by the protesters during the Black Friday protests.
Walmart doesn't appear overly concerned. In a Friday morning press release, the retail giant said planned protests haven't affected the company's Black Friday plans so far: "Only 26 protests occurred at stores last night and many of them did not include any Walmart associates,” Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and chief executive officer said in the release. “We estimate that less than 50 associates participated in the protest nationwide. In fact, this year, roughly the same number of associates missed their scheduled shift as last year."
The strikes are being organized by OUR Walmart, a labor group backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. Check out some photos from Twitter below:
In Chicago, IL
In Boynton Beach, FL
In Lakewood, CO

Danbury, CT, 1:22 pm: "At Walmart, Black Friday gains, union protests"District 1199 health care workers arrived at southwest Connecticut WalMart locations to demand improved wages and benefits for WalMart employees.

Detroit Free Press: Scattered Walmart strikes don't dent Black Friday bottom line Despite protests across nine states, WalMart undented, undanuted.

7:43 am, Los Angeles Times: metropolitan Los Angeles, CA: "Unhappy Wal-Mart workers plan Black Friday rally in Paramount"

MOULTRIE, Ga, 1:44 pm. -- Walmart says no one was injured in a frenzy over a Black Friday deal at one of its stores in south Georgia.
One commenter:
I'm told there is no talk of strikes or protests among employees at all. Very sad. The working conditions are terrible. Everyone understands the unfairness. But the culture is such that there is no solidarity among among workers and a fundamental anti-unionism in the overall community of Northern Alabama. People are convinced here that unions are Socialist, even while they are being exploited by low wages, few hours, no benefits, and abusive managers. They won't speak up in Alabama, as far as I know.
In Kalamazoo, MI: Informational protests in southern Michigan city: The 11:47 am Michigan Live article, "Black Friday Walmart protest in Kalamazoo: OUR group says workers need better wages, benefits," opened:
A nationwide informational protest outside Walmart stores included about a dozen people carrying signs on Black Friday morning outside the Walmart store on 9th Street near West Main Street in Oshtemo Township.
“We’re protesting the unfair labor practices of Walmart,” explained Lee Holdridge, of Kalamazoo.
He said the mammoth retailer fails to pay its workers insurance benefits and that leaves them in need.
“Why should we subsidize Walmart with Food Stamps and welfare programs because its people can’t afford insurance?” he asked.
He said the local protesters represented OUR Walmart. The “OUR” stands for Organization United for Respect at Walmart.
According to its website, OUR Walmart “works to ensure that every associate (worker), regardless of his or her title, age, race, or sex, is respected at Walmart. We join together to offer strength and support in addressing the challenges that arise in our stores and our company every day.”
FoxNews: NLRB Evaluates WalMart complaint against protesters: "NLRB still evaluating Walmart complaint against protesters, as retailer calls Black Friday a success" MISCELLANEOUS BLACK FRIDAY MAYHEM: "Black Friday Shoppers Hit By Suspected Drunk Driver In Walmart Parking Lot" (VIDEO) (Covington, suburb of Seattle, Washington) ABC TV News: "Black Friday Walmart Protest for Concerned Pet Owners

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wal-Mart Strike Set to Go on Black Friday, 2012

First, CORE in the Chicago Teachers Union; now, organizing in Wal-Mart, the United States' largest retailer. Is this the new dawn of union activism?
THANKSGIVING, November 22, 2012 update: The strike is still on: WPTV, West Palm Beach, FL ABC affiliate: Walmart Black Friday 2012 strike, protest, walkout update: Workers get ready for massive protest"

From Josh Eidelson, The Nation, November 20, 2012: "Worker Group Alleges Walmart 'Told Store-Level Management to Threaten Workers' About Strikes"

From Nick Copeland and Christine Labuski, Daily Kos, November 20, 2012:

"Behind OUR Walmart’s Black Friday Strike" bynick copelandFollow 72
People curious about what is behind the Wal-Mart Black Friday strikes planned by the members of Organization United for Respect at Wal-Mart, (OUR Walmart) consider the story of Cayt Lawley.

We interviewed Cayt today to share her story about life as an OUR Walmart associate. This diary was co-written by Nick Copeland and Christine Labuski

People curious about what is behind the Wal-Mart Black Friday strikes planned by the members of Organization United for Respect at Wal-Mart, (OUR Walmart) http://forrespect.org/... consider the story of Cayt Lawley. Cayt, who is 22 and has a high school education, worked for three separate Walmart stores over a total of almost three years; the most recent was in Searcy, Arkansas. Although her wages never broke $9/hour, and she believes that a manager’s refusal of her request for light duty led to a miscarried pregnancy, she loved the family vibe at Walmart almost as much as she loved serving its customers. Ironically, it was only after hearing negative things about OUR Walmart during a store training session that she researched them online. And she liked what she saw: demands for an across the board raise to $13/hour, more affordable health insurance, full-time hours, and predictable scheduling—in a word, respect.

After being an underground member for months and educating herself online about her rights as a worker, Cayt eventually “came out” to her manager, a necessary step to gain support from the organization. At first, Cayt questioned whether the $5 monthly dues was really worth it, her suspicion fueled by managers’ aggressive portrayals of unions as “greedy” organizations from whom her “money and signature” needed to be protected. Later, when angry about having been passed over for a 40-cent raise after a questionable performance evaluation, she turned to OUR Walmart for advice, which they provided. Afterwards, she trusted OUR Walmart as an extra support group in the Walmart family.

But she discovered that membership in OUR Walmart was not without risks. She began to notice extra attention from managers, who scrutinized her work for small mistakes. She was eventually fired two weeks after attending an OUR Walmart demonstration at the company’s headquarters in Bentonville this past October. Managers cite performance issues, but Cayt is certain she was retaliated against. She is now fighting to be reinstated in her previous position, and joining OUR Walmart’s call to stop retaliation against their members. http://makingchangeatwalmart.org

Wal-Mart claims that they provide good jobs, and paint Cayt and other members of OUR Walmart as a disgruntled minority, propped up by self-interested unions. But OUR Walmart members insist that their demands are widely shared by co-workers, many of whom are afraid to speak out for fear of losing their jobs; Cayt herself knows several silent OUR Walmart sympathizers who remain too frightened to talk. Both presidential candidates in our most recent election promised “good jobs.” But at $7.95 per hour, the wage she was paid when she was fired, Cayt’s annual salary (assuming a 40 hour work week, a schedule that Walmart often promises but seldom delivers) amounted to $16,500—hardly a route to the middle class.

Stories like Cayt’s, not union manipulation, are behind OUR Walmart. Walmart workers belong to a society that promises its members inclusion in the middle class and social mobility through hard work. Hard-working Walmart associates find that the ladder to success is broken, and that the vast majority of Americans are stuck at the bottom rungs. These are the faces of America, the hundreds of millions of low-wage workers who feel themselves locked out of the American Dream, in an era when the wealthiest Americans are doing better than ever. OUR Walmart associates are joined by warehouse workers, hyper-exploited but invisible components of the supply chain who are also organizing for better conditions. http://www.warehouseworker.org/

If, as many have suggested, Walmart owes their remarkable success to society’s failure to fully deliver on the American Dream, then OUR Walmart owes its success to the hollowness of Walmart’s promise to make that same dream available to all of their associates. The Black Friday protests do not only concern Walmart workers; they speak to the concerns of everyone struggling to earn a living on hourly wages in an increasingly unforgiving and unequal economic system, one conspicuously marked by a decline in union power, on the one hand, and the skyrocketing of CEO salaries, on the other. Labor rights issues affect not only American workers, but manufacturers throughout Walmart’s global supply chain, who are squeezed by Walmart’s extraordinary buying power to produce goods at extremely low costs. As you shop for the holidays, please remember millions of employees like Cayt, whose meager earnings and uncertain futures may make our Thanksgiving dinners and gifts less expensive, but undermine the spirit of the season.

Nick Copeland and Christine Labuski are anthropologists working in the Department of Sociology at Virginia Tech University. They are also the authors of The World of Wal-Mart: Discounting the American Dream
Black FridayLaborOUR WalmartWalmart

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rev. Jackson: ‘Fiscal cliff’ scare just a fake crisis

From Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. of Rainbow PUSH Coalition:
‘Fiscal cliff’ scare just a fake crisis

November 19, 2012

Why do imaginary phantoms terrify, while real-life horrors seem normal? Why do our elected representatives act in ways that trample the values of those who elected them?

Consider the current debate in Washington. The city is in full uproar about the so-called “fiscal cliff,” the deep cuts in spending and hikes in taxes scheduled to take place at the end of the year. To listen to this debate, you would think the end of the world will come if Congress and the president don’t reach an agreement to cut Medicare and possibly Social Security and increase taxes over the next 10 years to avoid going over the cliff.

Don’t fall for the hype.

The fiscal cliff is not a product of nature. It is rather a dangerously foolish austerity bomb created by Congress in the debt-ceiling negotiations 18 months ago. Essentially, Congress is threatening to blow up the economy unless Congress agrees not to blow up the economy. The threat is used to extort agreements that would otherwise simply be unacceptable — such as cutting Medicare and Social Security, the basic pillars of family security.

And the supposed underlying threat of out-of-control deficits is equally imaginary. Deficits are down, as a percentage of the economy, by 25 percent since the depths of the Great Recession in 2009. They will continue to come down if the economy continues to grow. That is endangered not by homemade bombs, but by a world economy that is headed back toward recession. And growth is also endangered if Congress cuts deficits too rapidly by slashing spending and raising taxes — kneecaping an already-faltering recovery. Interest rates on U.S. Treasury notes are at near-record lows. Markets — investors — are telling us that the threat isn’t out-of-control deficits and inflation; the threat is slow growth or worse.

While everyone is in hysteria about phantoms, the real horrors are ignored. Record numbers of Americans have already gone over the cliff with no help in sight. More than 20 million people are in need of full-time work, and Washington is focused on cutting deficits, not creating jobs. Poverty is at near-record levels and inequality at new extremes, and Washington is talking about cutting programs for the vulnerable. Racial and gender inequity still throws hurdles in front of a majority of the country, but isn’t on the agenda. Violence still haunts our streets, but receives no attention.

These things are real, not imaginary. They exist now, not as phantom fears. And they cost big-time.

Poverty costs in dreams crushed, hopes stunted, lives lost. It costs more to live in poverty. Food is more expensive, transportation is harder, illness is unaffordable. The loss of a job, the theft of a paycheck, the illness of a child can sink a family struggling to stay afloat.

Poverty, violence, and racial and gender inequities also cost the country big-time. We won’t put up with mass starvation. The unemployed collect food stamps; the employed pay taxes. This country will pay big-time for a generation raised in poverty on mean streets.

We need action on jobs, a plan to put people to work. We need action on inequality, a plan to ensure that workers share in the profits they help to create. We need action on racial and gender discrimination, so that equal opportunity is more than a slogan. We need action on poverty and hunger, so that every child has the opportunity to soar.

These are real-world challenges that cannot be ignored because of congressionally invented phantoms.

Keep up with Rev. Jackson and the work of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition at www.rainbowpush.org.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bernie Sanders in a Fiery Speech: Do Not Cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid | Alternet

Bernie Sanders in a Fiery Speech: Do Not Cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid | By Alternet staff
Bernie Sanders in a Fiery Speech: Do Not Cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid The progressive stalwart says we can't balance the budget on the backs of the poor. November 16, 2012

A coalition of lawmakers led by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders joined yesterday to demand there be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid made during deficit reduction deals.

Sanders said:
Deficit reduction is a serious issue, but it must be done in a way that is fair. We must not balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the sick, the children or the poor.
Sanders also explained why Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit, as it is independently funded by payroll tax.
Click to video at right for Sen. Sanders' defense of social programs in the face of budget talk threats.

The National Memo » 5 CEOs Who Are Punishing Employees For Obama’s Re-Election

The National Memo » 5 CEOs Who Are Punishing Employees For Obama’s Re-Election

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Uncounted Absentee Ballots Prevent Determining Partisan Control of NY Senate

Highlights from a November 7, 2012 blogpost at All Over Albany after the November 6 general election:
Obama wins second term, NY Senate control in question, Amadore & Tkacyzk both claim victory in 46th, Gillibrand wins 1st full term, confusion at UAlbany polling place posted Nov 7, 2012 Morning Blend

Barack Obama has won a second term. [TU]

Here are election result highlights for Capital Region races. [AOA]

It's not clear which party will control the state Senate because of a handful of close races. In the new state Senate 46th -- which includes the southwest part of the Capital Region -- both George Amadore and Cecelia Tkacyzk have declared victory (they're separated by a little more than a hundred votes). And in the Hudson Valley, Poughkeepsie Republican Steve Saland -- one of four Republicans to break ranks and vote for the Marriage Equality Act -- appears to have lost by a small margin to Democrat Terry Gipson. It could be weeks -- and lots of absentee ballot counting -- before it's clear which party will control the Senate. [YNN] [NYT] [Saratogian]

It appears that Democrats have picked up at least two US House seats in New York State. [NYT]
Return to All Over Albany post for the article's other links. Other news: voters in the New York City borough of Queens elected Grace Meng (Dem.), the first Asian congressperson from New York, let alone the east coast of the United States.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NJ Levee Breaks: Affecting Little Ferry in Bergen County

This morning, October 30, 2012, comes the news that a levee has broken in North Bergen, Hudson County, New Jersey.

This levee breach affects Little Ferry and Moonachie. Little Ferry is adjacent to the Hackensack River.

The Tappan Zee bridge over the Hudson River has reopened.

Some New York City bridges, including the East River bridges, have reopened.

Monday, October 29, 2012

11 am 10/29 update: LATEST Hurricane Sandy maps, evacuation, other details

Track the Hurricane Sandy storm live with maps.


The projected path of Hurricane Sandy, as projected at 11:00 am EDT, Monday, October 29, 2012.

Storm tracking details at Reuters, Tracking Storm Sandy, as of 11:00 am Monday, October 29, 2012: Latest information on Hurricane Sandy (as of 11 am EDT):
• LOCATION: 37.5N 71.5W (205 miles southeast of Atlantic City, NJ and 260 miles South/Southeast of NYC)
• WIND: Max sustained winds at 90 miles per hour (150 km/h)
• MOVING: North/Northwest at 18 MPH (30km/h)
• BULLETIN: Click to read the full National Hurricane Center bulletin

[Source: National Hurricane Center, as of 11:00 A.M. ET Monnday]
Resources: Track Hurricane Sandy with our targeted Twitter List
NYC evacuation zones, ordered per mayor Michael Bloomberg
by matthew.keys edited by anthony.derosa 11:51 AM, 10/28/12

Thanks to WNYC for map of the Zone A, zone B, zone C New York City evacuation map. It includes evacuation centers.

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg declares mandatory emergency evacuation zones; orders New York City schools to close, in 11:30 am Sunday news conference.
Zone A areas mandatory to be evacuated to include City Island, the coast of the Lower East Side, the Battery, South Street section, parts of Long Island City and Greenpoint surrounding Newtown Creek, Red Hook, the western, southern and eastern shores of Staten Island, all of Coney Island, all of the Rockaway Peninisula of Queens. Click on the map to get a closer view of zones.

*NATIONAL: VISIT READY.GOV for making a plan and packing a go kit.

*DELAWARE: Governor Markell declares a 'Level 2 Driving Restriction' provides that no person shall operate a motor vehicle on Delaware roadways other than essential personnel. 'Essential personnel' includes those employees necessary to maintain the core functions of government and maintain health and safety by providing utility services, healthcare services, and food and fuel deliveries.

Click to this site at North Fork Patch site.


Baltimore Sun: Ocean City mandatory evacuation of city's southernmost blockas, but some choose to remain.


*PENNSYLVANIA: SEPTA suspends services. Flights in, out of Philadelphia Int'l Airport cancelled for Monday. Pres. Obama approves governor's state of emergency.

AFL-CIO Community Services blog with FEMA and American Red Cross links

AlterNet: Combining weather conditions make Hurricane Sandy a Frankenstorm.

From Democracy Now: Hurricane Sandy kills 21 in the Caribbean

AFTER THE MAPS, Cultural impacts of Hurricane Sandy

As of 9:20 AM, Saturday, October 27, 2012, Hurricane Sandy remains a Category 1 storm. The northern tip of the storm is off Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and the southern end is off the coast of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. It is currently making landfall from Kitty Hawk, down to Hilton Head, South Carolina. Much of the eastern interior of the Carolinas is affected by the rain.

Weather Underground's (wunderground.com) Wundermap

The Weather Channel's Weather.com's classic map

The Weather Channel's Weather.com's interactive map

Wunderground Maps using NOAA'S SLOSH (Sea, Lake, and Overland Surge from Hurricanes) storm surge projection models

Weather Underground Georgia, Carolinas Storm Surge Model Maps, for the four Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scales

Weather Underground Middle Atlantic (VA, MD, DE, NJ, NY) Storm Surge Model Maps

Weather Underground New England (CT, RI, MA, NH, ME) Storm Surge Model Maps

First major property casualties:
Downtown Atlantic City, New Jersey flooded: (Twitter.com/hoeboma)
Eastern pier, off Ocean City, MD boardwalk is lost. (WGMD radio, Rehoboth Beach, DE)
Cultural impacts of Hurricane Sandy
It is projected to hit New England and New York State on Halloween or the day before. The storm will have resolved prior to the final weekend before the 2012 presidential and general election.

In this writer's eyes, the Huffington Post is being unnecessarily alarmist with its Reuters story headlined, "Hurricane Sandy Threatens U.S. Presidential Campaign." Voters in the swing states of Virginia, North Carolina and Florida will have had their fill of campaign attention by this weekend. Additionally, the storm has skipped the Florida coast, so the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns can safely campaign there without fear of paltry crowds.

The storm could benefit Democrats as the storm moves the global warming discussion from theory to actual illustration. Additionally, all the cleanup and emergency assistance would be illustrations of positive government in action. However, there are the significant numbers of voters that cognitively fail to connect these actions to discussions of the worth of the role of government investment and spending.

More acutely, observers in Maryland are considering whether the storm will affect early voting in that state, Pikesville Patch reports.

Updated Frankenstorm or Hurricane Sandy images

A satellite tracking image of Hurricane Sandy or Frankenstorm, 10 pm, EDT, 10/28/12.
Storm tracking map of Sandy, from Wunderground.com, 10:59 AM, 10/29/12.
From Weather Underground.com, Wunderground.com, 10/28/12.

Fixed over the North Atlantic Ocean, poised to strike New Jersey in hours. West Virginia forecast to get two FEET, yes, that's feet of SNOW.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Amy Goodman's Democracy Now Expands Presidential Debate to Include 2 Third Party Candidates

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now did the great service of expanding the presidential debate to include two third party candidates, Rocky Anderson (Justice Party) and Jill Stein (Green Party). Video is posted at the right on this page.
As President Obama and Mitt Romney squared off for the first time on Wednesday night, Democracy Now! broke the sound barrier by pausing after Obama’s and Romney’s answers to get real-time responses from candidates Jill Stein of the Green Party and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party. Stein and Anderson joined Democracy Now! for a live special just miles away from the Obama-Romney contest at the University of Denver. Many Obama supporters have expressed surprise that Romney was able to put the president on the defensive, while Obama failed to mention several of Romney’s potential weak spots, including including his record at the private equity firm Bain Capital, his vast personal wealth and offshore investments, and his recent remark that 47 percent of Americans are government dependents. Today, highlights from our "Expanding the Debate" special with the voices of all four candidates, showcasing the broadened perspectives on the critical issues beyond the Democratic-Republican political spectrum. [includes rush transcript]
Filed under Election 2012, Mitt Romney, Obama, Dr. Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson, Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama
Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for president.
Rocky Anderson, Justice Party candidate for president.
Mitt Romney, Republican candidate for president.
President Barack Obama, president of the United States campaigning for re-election.
.Go to this site for a full transcript of the expanded debate, as broadcast at Goodman's Democracy Now.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Presidential candidates in NYS -including third party candidates; Last voter registration day for NYS, 2012



The main and third party or minor party presidential candidates on the New York state ballot include:
Virgil Goode, Constitution Party
Barack Obama, Democratic Party*
Jill Stein, Green Party*
Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party*
Mitt Romney, Republican Party*
Peta Lindsay, Socialism and Liberation Party (actually, too young to qualify)

Other candidates, unable to qualify for NY ballot; and running as write-in candidates:
(See this article on how to write-in candidates in New York state) Stewart Alexander (Socialist),
Rocky Anderson (Justice),
Roseanne Barr (Peace and Freedom)

* = Party has a candidate for U.S. senate, in the New York State ballot.


As you see at the New York City Board of Elections site, the final day for voter registration for the 2012 elections is October 12, 2012.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 General Election Deadlines

MAIL REGISTRATION (N.Y. Election Law Section 5-210(3))
Applications must be postmarked no later than October 12th and received by a board of elections no later than October 17th to be eligible to vote in the General Election.

IN PERSON REGISTRATION (N.Y. Election Law Sections 5-210, 5-211, 5-212)
You may register at your local board of elections or any state agency participating in the National Voter Registration Act, on any business day throughout the year but, to be eligible to vote in the November General Election, your application must be received no later than October 12th except, if you have been honorably discharged from the military or have become a naturalized citizen since October 12th, you may register in person at the board of elections up until October 26th.

CHANGE OF ADDRESS (N.Y. Election Law Section 5-208(3))
Notices of change of address from registered voters received by October 17th by a county board of elections must be processed and entered in the records in time for the General Election.

2012 Voting by Absentee Ballot Deadline
Last day to mail an application for an absentee ballot: October 30
Last day to postmark a ballot: November 5

Other essential information for the NYC Board of Elections:
32 Broadway, 7th Fl, New York, NY 10004
TEL (212) 487-5300 - FAX (212) 487-5349

Sunday, September 23, 2012

2012 U.S. Presidential and Vice-Presidential Debates Schedule

2012 U.S. Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates schedule.
(And no, don't expect to find the Constitution, Green, Justice, Libertarian or Socialist or other minor party presidential candidates on the debate stage)
Debate date, day Time (EDT) Debate theme Br'dcast networks City SiteTicket
Oct. 3, Wed. 9:00 - 10:30 p.m. Domestic policy ABC, CBS, FOX, PBS Denver, CO Univ. of DenverTicket
Oct. 11, Thu. 9:00 - 10:30 p.m. VP: foreign and domestic policy ABC, CBS, FOX, PBS Dan-ville, KY Centre CollegeTicket
Oct. 16, Tue. 9:00 - 10:30 p.m. Town meeting: including foreign & domestic policy ABC, CBS, FOX, PBS Hemp-stead, NY Hofstra Univ.Ticket
Oct. 22, Thu. 9:00 - 10:30 p.m. Foreign policy ABC, CBS, FOX, PBS Boca Raton, FL Lynn Univ.Ticket

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Powerhouse Mother Jones site with Romney's 47% comments

Here's the powerhouse lode of Mitt Romney videos slamming the 47 percent

by David Corn at Mother Jones:
SECRET VIDEO: Romney Tells Millionaire Donors What He REALLY Thinks of Obama Voters
When he doesn't know a camera's rolling, the GOP candidate shows his disdain for half of America.
—By David Corn | Mon Sep. 17, 2012 1:00 PM PDT 3149

During a private fundraiser earlier this year, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a small group of wealthy contributors what he truly thinks of all the voters who support President Barack Obama. He dismissed these Americans as freeloaders who pay no taxes, who don't assume responsibility for their lives, and who think government should take care of them. Fielding a question from a donor about how he could triumph in November, Romney replied:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. 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. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.
Romney went on: "[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

Mother Jones has obtained video of Romney at this intimate fundraiser—where he candidly discussed his campaign strategy and foreign policy ideas in stark terms he does not use in public—and has confirmed its authenticity. To protect the confidential source who provided the video, we have blurred some of the image, and we will not identify the date or location of the event, which occurred after Romney had clinched the Republican presidential nomination. [UPDATE: We can now report that this fundraiser was held at the Boca Raton home of controversial private equity manager Marc Leder on May 17 and we've removed the blurring from the video. See the original blurred videos here.]

Here is Romney expressing his disdain for Americans who back the president:

At the dinner, Romney often stuck to familiar talking points. But there were moments when he went beyond the familiar campaign lines. Describing his family background, he quipped about his father, "Had he been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot of winning this." Contending that he is a self-made millionaire who earned his own fortune, Romney insisted, "I have inherited nothing." He remarked, "There is a perception, 'Oh, we were born with a silver spoon, he never had to earn anything and so forth.' Frankly, I was born with a silver spoon, which is the greatest gift you can have: which is to get born in America."

More MoJo coverage of Mitt Romney:

The Mystery of Romney's Exit From Bain
Exclusive Audio: Inside the Koch Brothers' Secret Seminar
Documents: Romney Invested in Medical-Waste Firm That Disposed of Aborted Fetuses
Romney Invested Millions in Firms That Pioneered High-Tech Outsourcing
6 Things Mitt Romney Is Hiding
Romney told the contributors that "women are open to supporting me," but that "we are having a much harder time with Hispanic voters, and if the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African American voting block has in the past, why, we're in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation." When one attendee asked how this group could help Romney sell himself to others, he answered, "Frankly, what I need you to do is to raise millions of dollars." He added, "The fact that I'm either tied or close to the president…that's very interesting."

Asked why he wouldn't go full-throttle and assail Obama as corrupt, Romney explained the internal thinking of his campaign and revealed that he and his aides, in response to focus-group studies conducted by his consultants, were hesitant to hammer the president too hard out of fear of alienating independents who voted for Obama in 2008:

We speak with voters across the country about their perceptions. Those people I told you—the 5 to 6 or 7 percent that we have to bring onto our side—they all voted for Barack Obama four years ago. So, and by the way, when you say to them, "Do you think Barack Obama is a failure?" they overwhelmingly say no. They like him. But when you say, "Are you disappointed that his policies haven't worked?" they say yes. And because they voted for him, they don't want to be told that they were wrong, that he's a bad guy, that he did bad things, that he's corrupt. Those people that we have to get, they want to believe they did the right thing, but he just wasn't up to the task. They love the phrase that he's "over his head." But if we're—but we, but you see, you and I, we spend our day with Republicans. We spend our days with people who agree with us. And these people are people who voted for him and don't agree with us. And so the things that animate us are not the things that animate them. And the best success I have at speaking with those people is saying, you know, the president has been a disappointment. He told you he'd keep unemployment below 8 percent. Hasn't been below eight percent since. Fifty percent of kids coming out of school can't get a job. Fifty percent. Fifty percent of the kids in high school in our 50 largest cities won't graduate from high school. What're they gonna do? These are the kinds of things that I can say to that audience that they nod their head and say, "Yeah, I think you're right." What he's going to do, by the way, is try and vilify me as someone who's been successful, or who's, you know, closed businesses or laid people off, and is an evil bad guy. And that may work.

(Note: Obama did not promise his policies would keep unemployment under 8 percent, and 50 percent of college graduates are not unemployed.)

To assure the donors that he and his campaign knew what they were doing, Romney boasted about the consultants he had retained, emphasizing that several had worked for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

I have a very good team of extraordinarily experienced, highly successful consultants, a couple of people in particular who have done races around the world. I didn't realize it. These guys in the US—the Karl Rove equivalents—they do races all over the world: in Armenia, in Africa, in Israel. I mean, they work for Bibi Netanyahu in his race. So they do these races and they see which ads work, and which processes work best, and we have ideas about what we do over the course of the campaign. I'd tell them to you, but I'd have to shoot you.

When one donor said he was disappointed that Romney wasn't attacking Obama with sufficient intellectual firepower, Romney groused that the campaign trail was no place for high-minded and detail-oriented arguments:

Well, I wrote a book that lays out my view for what has to happen in the country, and people who are fascinated by policy will read the book. We have a website that lays out white papers on a whole series of issues that I care about. I have to tell you, I don't think this will have a significant impact on my electability. I wish it did. I think our ads will have a much bigger impact. I think the debates will have a big impact…My dad used to say, "Being right early is not good in politics." And in a setting like this, a highly intellectual subject—discussion on a whole series of important topics typically doesn't win elections. And there are, there are, there are—for instance, this president won because of "hope and change."

Romney, who spoke confidently throughout the event and seemed quite at ease with the well-heeled group, insisted that his election in and of itself would lead to economic growth and that the markets would react favorably if his chances seemed good in the fall:

They'll probably be looking at what the polls are saying. If it looks like I'm going to win, the markets will be happy. If it looks like the president's going to win, the markets should not be terribly happy. It depends of course which markets you're talking about, which types of commodities and so forth, but my own view is that if we win on November 6th, there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We'll see capital come back and we'll see—without actually doing anything—we'll actually get a boost in the economy. If the president gets reelected, I don't know what will happen. I can—I can never predict what the markets will do. Sometimes it does the exact opposite of what I would have expected. But my own view is that if we get a "Taxageddon," as they call it, January 1st, with this president, and with a Congress that can't work together, it's—it really is frightening.

Advertise on MotherJones.com At the dinner, Romney also said that the campaign purposefully was using Ann Romney "sparingly…so that people don't get tired of her." And he noted that he had turned down an invitation from Saturday Night Live because such an appearance "has the potential of looking slapstick and not presidential."

Here was Romney raw and unplugged—sort of unscripted. With this crowd of fellow millionaires, he apparently felt free to utter what he really believes and would never dare say out in the open. He displayed a high degree of disgust for nearly half of his fellow citizens, lumping all Obama voters into a mass of shiftless moochers who don't contribute much, if anything, to society, and he indicated that he viewed the election as a battle between strivers (such as himself and the donors before him) and parasitic free-riders who lack character, fortitude, and initiative. Yet Romney explained to his patrons that he could not speak such harsh words about Obama in public, lest he insult those independent voters who sided with Obama in 2008 and whom he desperately needs in this election. These were sentiments not to be shared with the voters; it was inside information, available only to the select few who had paid for the privilege of experiencing the real Romney.

COMING SOON: More from the secret Romney video. (Romney tells his donors he doesn't believe in a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that resolving this conflict is "almost unthinkable," and that he would merely "kick the ball down the field.")

Video production: James West, Adam Serwer, Dana Liebelson, and Erika Eichelberger

Research assistance: James Carter

This story originally contained versions of the videos that were blurred out. You can find those videos, in the order they appear in this post, here, here, here, here, and here.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

March on Wall Street South to Begin in Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention

As of 12:30 PM, September 2, 2012, marchers will soon begin marching in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the March on Wall Street South. The march is scheduled to begin at 1:00 PM EST.

This is only the third Democratic National Convention to be in the Right-to-Work South since 1932.

Thousands Expected to March in Charlotte, NC in March on Wall Street South to Raise People’s Agenda for Jobs and Justice to the Banks and the DNC

Live Streaming of the March on Wall St South!

NPR, September 2, 2012Occupy Plans Resurgence At Democratic Convention, by COREY DADE

Charlotte, Huffington Post tells us in the last 24 hours, was the site of another ejection of an Occupy Wall Street encampment: "Finally, by late January, the city passed an ordinance banning camping on public property, and police razed the camp."

Note that the mayor and the city council, by an 8 to 3 majority, are Democratic.

The Secret of the Sauce: What Democrats Need to Know About North Carolina's Kick-Ass Populism: A native explains how the people of North Carolina have been giving hell to fatcats for over 300 years. Lynn Parramore, August 27, 2012

NY Times: Charlotte's Plans for Democratic Convention Security Draw Criticism, August 9, 2012

Students to monitor protesters, police when Democrats gather in Charlotte
The National Law JournalAugust 30, 2012

Hands Off Occupy Charlotte
The Coalition to March on Wall Street South stands in solidarity with Occupy Charlotte and the occupation of Marshall Park and supports Occupy Charlotte’s statement, which follows:

“Occupy Charlotte, NC, is calling for support of our peaceful Occupation of Marshall Park in the Wall Street of the South. During the Democratic National Convention our voices will be heard. Hundreds from across the country are already here. Thousands are on their way. Come and join us! This is the hour! This is the moment!

Any repression of this Occupation would be a black eye on the City of Charlotte and the Democratic National Convention at a national and international level. This would be a greater embarrassment to the City and the DNC than an inconvenience to us. The whole world is watching.


Tom Smith, Speaker of Misogynist Nonsense, Pennsylvania's Verbal Cousin of Todd Akin

Just when you thought Missouri Congressman and Senatorial candidate Todd Akin takes the cake,
meet Tom Smith, Republican Senatorial nominee from Pennsylvania who talks about women like it's 1952. From Daily Kos:
Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 08:25 AM PDT
Pennsylvania Senate candidate Tom Smith, courting the lady vote
by Joan McCarter

Why, oh why, aren't Republicans doing better with women? I mean, they've got guys like this:
[ Then there's a link to this 48 second Youtube video of dumb utterances by Tom Smith: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1MhN8F7L7FI ]

That's Tom Smith, anachronistic Republican Senate candidate from Pennsylvania, the guy who said earlier this week that "having a baby out of wedlock" was pretty much like rape. That's a guy with six daughters, so he's got great insight to women.

He's generous, he "allowed" his wife to get a new dress for the event he was speaking at. He's relatable, making a point of talking to the little ladies.

A video released Thursday by the Pennsylvania Democrats shows Smith, who introduced Ryan at an event last week, greeting two women in the crowd and asking them what they're talking about.

"We're talking about the power of petite women," one of the women says.

"Oh," Smith responds. "My guess would have been you were talking about shoes."
"Hahahaha! You women and your shoes. See how well I know your concerns?!"

And he also understands the problems of the economy, and can express it in terms everyone can understand.
"Perhaps where we're making our mistake is that we are asking President Obama and Senator Bob Casey to do something they have no knowledge of. They've never been in business, they've never ran [sic] businesses, they don't have that knowledge," Smith said. "It would be like, your wife wrecks your car. You're gonna take it to the beauty salon to get fixed? No."
"You women and your bad driving and beauty salons. Aren't you precious!"

Ladies, and gentlemen too, that's your 2012 Republican Party. It's hardly a wonder that they don't think we're capable of making our own decisions about our health care and our bodies. We're too busy wrecking cars and thinking about shoes.
Pennsylvania Senate candidate Tom Smith, courting the lady vote

August 28, 2012, Philadelphia Inquirer: No abortions for rape victims, says GOP Senate candidate http://articles.philly.com/2012-08-28/news/33425906_1_abortion-missouri-candidate-gop-senate-candidate
Plus, it looks like he's trying to compaign for the Todd Akin voter in his own state, as columnist Karen Heller wrote on August 30, 2012 in Philly.com:
Specifically, his daughter's unintended pregnancy to rape, after a Harrisburg press luncheon in front of a group of reporters.

Mark Scolforo of the Associated Press asked Smith, "How would you tell a daughter or a granddaughter who, God forbid, would be the victim of a rape, to keep the child against her own will?"

Smith answered, "I lived something similar to that with my own family. She chose life, and I commend her for that. She knew my views. But fortunately for me, I didn't have to. . . . She chose the way I thought. Don't get me wrong; it wasn't rape."

Scolforo: "Similar how?"

Smith: "Having a baby out of wedlock.

Scolforo: "That is similar to rape?"

Smith: "No, no, no. Well, put yourself in a father's position. Yes, I mean it is similar."

Smith, incidentally and like Akin, is not attending the national Republican confab in Tampa, joining the Romney campaign's ever-expanding list of untouchables, ne'er-do-wells, foot-in-mouthers, and don't-even-think-about-its.

Let's give Smith his due. He's a self-financed, wholly inexperienced candidate who isn't particularly savvy with the press.

Then again, he's a self-financed, inexperienced candidate who, because he's a multimillionaire, hasn't bothered learning the ropes while attempting to launch his elective career in the U.S. Senate, the Augusta National of politics. No baby steps, if you'll pardon the expression, for this guy.

The reason Smith was asked such an indelicate question is because he and his fellow conservatives are on a crusade to outlaw a procedure that's been legal for four decades. They would prohibit abortion even in the cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is in danger, because that's how much they care about women.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sharia Law and Fundamentalist Christianity

Sharia Law and Fundamentalist Christianity

An intriguing look at similarities between Muslim Sharia Law and Fundamentalist Christianity.

Given the loony and deeply offensive statements by Missouri Congressman Todd Akin (Republican) about "legitimate rape," [sic] I thought it would be interesting to look into the heartless ways of rationales for vindictive attitudes versus women.

 And for anyone that had not yet looked into it, no, Congressman Todd Akin did not drop out of the 2012 race for senate against incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill (Democrat) by the 5:00 PM August 21 deadline.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tues PM: Todd Akin reaffirms decision to stay in the Senate race

From Democratic Underground.com: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014201941

Todd Akin reaffirms decision to stay in the Senate race

Source: Washington Post

Rep. Todd Akin, the embattled Senate candidate who used the phrase “legitimate rape” in talking about abortion and pregnancy, said Tuesday afternoon that he would stick to his decision to remain in the race.

In an interview with Mike Huckabee, who was an early endorser of the Missouri Republican, Akin said that his supporters have asked him to keep campaigning.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/gop-eye-tuesday-deadline-for-akin/2012/08/21/fcf695a2-eb8c-11e1-9ddc-340d5efb1e9c_story.html

Rep. Steve King Echoes Todd Akin: I’ve Never Heard Of A Girl Getting Pregnant From Statutory Rape Or Incest

From Democratic Underground.com: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014201819

Rep. Steve King: I’ve Never Heard Of A Girl Getting Pregnant From Statutory Rape Or Incest

Source: TPM

Rep. Steve King, one of the most staunchly conservative members of the House, was one of the few Republicans who did not strongly condemn Rep. Todd Akin Monday for his remarks regarding pregnancy and rape. King also signaled why — he might agree with parts of Akin’s assertion.

King told an Iowa reporter he’s never heard of a child getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest.

“Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way,” King told KMEG-TV Monday, “and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter.”

A Democratic source flagged King’s praise of Akin in the KMEG interview to TPM. But potentially more controversial for King is his suggestion that pregnancies from statutory rape or incest don’t exist or happen rarely. A 1996 review by the Guttmacher Institute found “at least half of all babies born to minor women are fathered by adult men.”

Read more: http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/steve-king-statutory-rape.php?ref=fpb

Thursday, August 16, 2012

BREAKING: Ecuador Offers Assange Asylum; UK Interferes

Breaking News in the last half hour, today, August 16, 2012: Ecuador has offered Wikileaks founder Julien Assange asylum,
Britain will not guarantee Assange's safe passage.
Coverage from the Guardian of Manchester, UK:
"Ecuador grants WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange political asylum Foreign Office 'disappointed' at announcement from Quito"
Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has been granted political asylum by Ecuador after taking refuge in the country's embassy in London.

The announcement will increase tensions between the UK and the South American country, which has been warned that the situation could have "serious implications" for diplomatic relations.

Assange sought sanctuary in the embassy in Knightsbridge in an effort to avoid deportation to Sweden, where he faces sexual assault charges.

Ecuadorian ministers have accused the UK of threatening to attack the embassy to seize Assange after it emerged that a 1987 law could allow the revocation of a building's diplomatic status if the foreign power occupying it "ceases to use land for the purposes of its mission or exclusively for the purposes of a consular post".

Under international law, diplomatic posts are considered the territory of the foreign nation.

The Foreign Office has said the decision on Assange's application for political asylum would not affect the UK's legal obligation to extradite him to Sweden.

The asylum decision was announced by the foreign affairs minister, Ricardo Patino, in the Ecuadorian capital Quito.

The news was seen live by Assange and embassy staff in a link to a press conference from Quito.

Patino said the Ecuadorian government had conducted lengthy diplomatic talks with the UK, Swedish and US governments.

None could give the guarantees about Assange's future that the South American country was seeking and had shown "no willingness" to negotiate on the issue.

US authorities were specifically asked if they had any intention to seek Mr Assange's extradition so they could start legal proceedings against him and what maximum penalty he could face.

"The response from the United States has been that it cannot offer any guarantees. With these precedents in mind the Ecuadorian government, loyal to its tradition to protect those who seek refuge with us and in our diplomatic mission, have decided to grant diplomatic asylum to Mr Assange."

Patino called for Assange to be guaranteed safe passage to leave the embassy but the Foreign Office insisted this would not be offered.

The minister said: "We trust that the United Kingdom will offer, as soon as possible, the guarantee for the safe passage for this asylum of Mr Assange and that they would respect those international agreements that they have signed in the past and that they have always respected."

He hoped the "friendship" with the UK would "remain intact".

"We share the respect for the same values of human rights, democracy and peace which are only possible once fundamental human rights are respected," he added.

A Foreign Office spokesman said the Government was "disappointed" by Patino's statement and stressed that the UK had a "binding obligation" to extradite Assange.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Veep Pick Ryan Makes Plutocratic Ticket; Ryan's Wealth Sources

Paul Begala: With Ryan, Romney Has the Plutocrat Ticket [scroll down: Ryan and his wife's wealth, includes a trust fund] by Paul Begala Aug 11, 2012 8:47 AM EDT By choosing Paul Ryan—the guy who wants to slash taxes on the rich and gut the government—Romney shows he’s decided to go nuclear in the class war.
In selecting Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has doubled-down on the one thing he has never flip-flopped on: economic elitism. Romney, born to wealth, has selected Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, who was also born to wealth. As the former University of Oklahoma football coach, Barry Switzer, once said of someone else: both these guys were born on third and thought they hit a triple. There's nothing wrong with inherited wealth. Lord knows great presidents from FDR to JFK came into their fortunes through the luck of birth. But there is something wrong with winners of the lineage lottery who want to hammer those who did not have the foresight to select wealthy sperm and egg. Finally, we have peered into Mitt Romney's core. It is neither pro-choice nor pro-life; neither pro-NRA nor pro-gun control; neither pro-equality nor antigay. But it is pro-wealth and very anti–middle class. Mitt Romney has decided to go nuclear in the class war. Paul Ryan, the darling of the New York–Washington media elite, is almost certainly not the most qualified person Romney could have picked. Unlike governors like Chris Christie or Tim Pawlenty, or a former high-ranking White House official like Rob Portman, Ryan has never run anything larger than his congressional office or the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile. The elite love Ryan because he speaks for more cowardly members of their class; his stridently anti–middle class policies are music to their ears. You will often hear people who ought to know better dress up Ryan's savage economic priorities with euphemisms. Ryan wants to "fix" Medicare. No, he doesn't. He wants to kill it. Saying Paul Ryan wants to "fix" Medicare is like saying the vet wanted to "fix" my dog Major; that which used to work very well no longer works at all—and Major is none too happy with the procedure. Think about that. As my buddy James Carville has said, what would all the Best People say if Nancy Pelosi made her staffers read, say, Margaret Sanger? Or if Barack Obama made interns study Das Kapital? Sure, a few months ago, facing Catholic protestors at Georgetown University, Ryan said he renounced Rand. But as the national Catholic weekly, America, wrote, he did not change the substance of a single policy. Some renunciation. It seems to me Ryan has renounced Rand's politically incorrect atheism, not her morally bankrupt philosophy of Screw Thy Neighbor. Politically, the choice does the one thing Romney needed least of all: it shifts the focus of the 2012 presidential election away from the soft economy and onto the Ryan—now, Romney-Ryan—budget. The most radical governing document in a generation, the Romney-Ryan budget would dramatically alter America's basic social compact. No less an expert than Newt Gingrich called it "right-wing social engineering". Don't be fooled. Ryan is no deficit hawk. He voted for all the policies that created the current ocean of red ink: the Bush tax cuts for the rich; the war in Iraq; the Bush Medicare prescription-drug plan, the first entitlement without a dedicated revenue source. Ryan cloaks his brutal budget in the urgent rhetoric of fiscal responsibility, but that's a Trojan Horse. As the Center for American Progress has noted, under the Romney-Ryan budget, "the national debt, measured as a share of GDP, would never decline, surpassing 80 percent by 2014, and 90 percent by 2022." Ryan's real goal is to destroy the ladder of opportunity for the poor and the middle class. Look at his budget: Medicare would be shattered and replaced with a voucher system wherein seniors would be given a stipend and told to negotiate with the health insurance goliaths. According to the Congressional Budget Office, ten years after the Ryan plan was enacted, seniors would pay $6,400 per year more for the same health care, as the stipend would fail to keep up with projected cost increases. And that's just for starters. One out of every four dollars spent on transportation—which is already underfunded—would be cut. Veterans' benefits would be cut 13 percent from what President Obama says is needed. Young men Paul Ryan voted to send into combat would suffer once more on the home front. Education would be cut, food safety, air traffic control, environmental protection—almost everything that makes us safer, smarter or stronger—would get hammered. How can a budget so brutal not make a dent in the debt? If you have to ask you have not been paying attention. What is the holy grail for princelings like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan? Of course: tax cuts for the rich. The Tax Policy Center crunched the numbers and found that under Romney's proposal, 95 percent of Americans would see their taxes go up by an average of $500, but millionaires would receive an extra $87,000 tax cut. The net result: an $86 billion annual shift in the tax burden away from those making over $200,000 a year and onto those making less. And so Romney Hood has his Friar Tuck. And somewhere in hell, Ayn Rand is cackling with glee. Like The Daily Beast on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates all day long. Paul Begala is a Newsweek/Daily Beast columnist, a CNN contributor, an affiliated professor of public policy at Georgetown, and a senior adviser to Priorities USA Action, a progressive PAC. For inquiries, please contact The Daily Beast at editorial@thedailybeast.com. Ryan's budget is the fiscal embodiment of the deeply evil, wholeheartedly selfish so-called philosophy of Ayn Rand. In fact, Ryan has described Rand as "the reason I got involved in public service," and reportedly makes staffers read her works.
Ryan has family business connection to earth moving industry. A mini-Dick Cheney II in some senses: In recent years, he has significant investments in Oklahoma mineral industries. Read on in Politico.
Unlike Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan’s personal wealth is no mystery Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0812/79611.html#ixzz23KjyOcVT By DAVE LEVINTHAL | 8/11/12 11:46 AM EDT The details of Paul Ryan’s personal wealth are no mystery — unlike those of Mitt Romney. And while Ryan is nowhere close to the nine-figure wealth Romney boasts, he isn’t exactly hurting, either. Latest on POLITICO Hirono, Lingle prevail in Hawaii Meet Janna Ryan Ryan is liked by friends and foes Is Ryan just Mitt squared? 8 Dem slams against the Ryan budget Mitt hugs Ryan, not budget Ryan’s overall net worth falls between $927,100 and $3.20 million, making him the 124th wealthiest member of the House, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics of the new Republican vice presidential candidate’s 2010 personal financial filings. (PHOTOS: Scenes from Romney's running-mate announcement) Additional personal financial disclosures by Ryan, who by law has each year filed such reports since entering Congress in 1999, indicate that the Wisconsin congressman has maintained well-above-average wealth for the duration of his congressional tenure. Ultra-wealthy Romney, in contrast, has largely occluded his recent personal financial history. He’s refused to release his recent tax returns before 2010, and unlike Ryan, is under no obligation to release annual personal financial disclosure reports. While running for president in 2007, Romney did file a federal public financial disclosure report that listed hundreds of assets across numerous financial categories. Ryan, meanwhile, has to date been under no significant pressure or obligation to release his personal Internal Revenue Service filings, although calls to do so will likely begin immediately. “It’ll be very, very interesting to see if Ryan releases his tax returns,” said Kathy Kiely, managing editor for the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation, which tracks political money. Ryan’s latest personal financial disclosure report, which covers calendar year 2011, lists several dozen stocks and mutual funds he or his wife, Janna, own. Ryan’s individual investments are generally modest, ranging in value from $1,001 to $15,000. (Federal law only requires lawmakers to report their assets and liabilities in broad ranges.) These include stock in well-known companies that run the gamut from tobacco and oil interests to fast food and athletic wear. Among them: Amazon.com, Air Products Chemicals, Accenture, Berkshire Hathaway, Estée Lauder, McDonald’s, Kraft Foods, Nike, Praixair, Ralph Lauren, Starbucks, Priceline.com, Mastercard, Google, Wells Fargo, Procter & Gamble, IBM, United Technologies, Visa, General Electric, ExxonMobil, Apple, Bristol Myers Squibb, Citrix Systems and tobacco companies Altria and Phillip Morris. Ryan also reported a holding in the Ryan Limited Partnership worth up to $250,000. He reported no financial liabilities. (PHOTOS: Paul Ryan through the years) Janna Ryan also individually reported a living trust fund worth $1 million to $5 million, that ranks as the largest asset they collectively reported for last year. She also individually reported up to $250,000 in assets tied to gravel rights with Blondie & Brownie LLC, $100,000 in mineral rights holdings, as well as up to $100,000 worth of holdings in the Little Land Co. All are located in Oklahoma. Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0812/79611.html#ixzz23Kk7jtXC

Friday, August 3, 2012

Oklahoma So Hot, Streetlamps Melting in Over 110 Degree Heat

Oklahoma is so hot that street lamps are melting"
By Tecca | Today in Tech, Yahoo News | August 2, 2012
Highs of 115 degrees are taking its toll on the nation's heartland

It's hard to not be concerned with global warming when its effects are right in front of your eyes. Sure, it's one thing when the ocean begins to reclaim islands, but when you can see the effects in your home town, well, that's another story altogether. Case in point: KFOR TV in Stillwater, Oklahoma is reporting that temperatures are so high that the street lamps have begun melting.

To be sure, Stillwater is suffering from one heck of a heatwave. It's expected to reach 115 there today, 108 on Friday, and 109 on Saturday. And warmer temperatures are nothing new: July represented the 23rd month out of the last 28 that came in warmer than average.

It's possible the heat itself isn't responsible for the event — it's being reported on Facebook that a nearby dumpster fire may have been the cause of the melting plastic light housings. Still, that dumpster fire was caused and aggravated by the record heat and dryness. And if dangerous, spontaneous fires aren't reason enough to go green, we don't know what is.

[Image credit: Patrick Hunter via Facebook]

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Tecca

Fortunately, despite 15 straight days of 100 degree + temperatures, there have been no heat-related deaths.
"This July, EMSA [Emergency Medical Service Authority] responded to 127 heat-related emergencies and took 82 people to the hospital . . . .
This year, Grandfield has had 41 days of triple-digit heat, and Oklahoma City has had 20 days. No official heat-related deaths had been reported in 2012 going into Wednesday, according to the medical examiner’s office."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

ACA Section: New Women's Healthcare Coverage Expands Today

"New health insurance plans for women now include services without co-pays" [Scroll down for birth-control coverage story from Julie Rovner of NPR.]
* Affordable Care Act
* August 1, 2012, By: Elizabeth SanFilippo

From Examiner.com:
* Affordable Care Act
* Women's Health
* August 1
* contraception

President Obama's Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, but it wasn't until today, August 1, that women on new insurance plans gained access to new health benefits, many of them related to preventative services, without having to owe a co-pay.

Of the new health insurance offerings, Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland said:

"Women will be able to have access to essential preventive services that will provide early detection and screening for those situations where they're most at risk, and also provide opportunities to care and services that they need as wives and mothers."

The new services offered include breastfeeding supplies and counseling, gestational diabetes screenings, STD screenings, contraceptives, prenatal tests, pap smears, as well as annual wellness exams. Prior to August 1, many insurance companies were charging women extremely high co-payments, which can incredibly discourage women from seeking services that prevent diseases and health issues later in life.

One foundation, Raising Women's Voices for the Health Care We Need, is touting the enormous benefits to so many women.

"These are services that women need across the lifespan and that many women postpone or just don't get because of the high cost. Women of all ages and races stand to benefit tremendously from this provision of the health care law," said Raising Women's Voices co-founder Lois Uttley.

Unfortunately this huge movement forward for women's rights and women's health still isn't completely set in stone. Republicans continue to vote against the new health care law and vow to get rid of all funding for these provisions in the 2013 budget.
Not only that, but insurance plans that existed prior to the health care reform law may have "grandfathered" status and are not be required to offer these free services until the plan is renewed. VP of health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, Gary Claxton, explained: "You may or may not have them offered to you, and if they're offered, you may have to pay cost sharing. In other words, you may have to pay a portion of the costs."
Even so, August 1, 2012 is a huge step forward for women's health. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 47 million women in the U.S. stand to benefit from these new policies.
© Elizabeth SanFilippo 2012
From Examiner.com "Under Health Law, 'No-Cost' Birth Control Starts Today" -Julie Rovner of NPR, August 1, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sen. Sanders (VT) Outs 26 Billionaires Buying 2012 Election

Jason Easley reported in Politicususa, in "Bernie Sanders Exposes the 26 Billionaires who are Buying the 2012 Election" that Senator Bernie Sanders (VT, Ind.) exposed the 26 billionaires in a report before a Senate panel yesterday, July 24, 2012.
In his new report, America For Sale: A Report on Billionaires Buying the 2012 Election, Sen. Bernie Sanders named names and called out the billionaires who using Citizens United to buy our democracy.

In front of a Senate panel today, Sen. Bernie Sanders outed the 26 billionaires who are members of 23 billionaire families that are using Citizens United to buy elections. Sen. Sanders estimated that these 26 billionaires are the tip of the iceberg. “My guess is that number is really much greater because many of these contributions are made in secret. In other words, not content to own our economy, the 1 percent want to own our government as well.”

Sanders explained how the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision put the government up for sale, “What the Supreme Court did in Citizens United is to say to these same billionaires and the corporations they control: ‘You own and control the economy, you own Wall Street, you own the coal companies, you own the oil companies. Now, for a very small percentage of your wealth, we’re going to give you the opportunity to own the United States government.’”

Sen. Sanders also did the last thing the billionaires wanted. He called them out by name.

According to the report, America for Sale: A Report on Billionaires Buying the 2012 Election, here are the 26 billionaires who are trying to buy your government:

1). Sheldon Adelson, owner of the Las Vegas Sands Casino, is worth nearly $25 billion, making him the 14th wealthiest person in the world and the 7th richest person in America. While median family income plummeted by nearly 40% from 2007-2010, Mr. Adelson has experienced a nearly eightfold increase in his wealth over the past three years (from $3.4 billion to $24.9 billion). Forbes recently reported that Adelson is willing to spend a “limitless” amount of money or more than $100 million to help defeat President Obama in November.

2. The Kochs (David, Charles, and William) are worth a combined $103 billion, according to Forbes. They have pledged to spend about $400 million during the 2012 election season. The Kochs own more wealth than the bottom 41.7 percent of American households or more than 49 million Americans.

3. Jim Walton is worth $23.7 billion. He has donated $300,000 to super PACs in 2012.

4. Harold Simmons is worth $9 billion. He has donated $15.2 million to super PACs this year.

5. Peter Thiel is worth $1.5 billion. He has donated $6.7 million to Super PACs this year.

6. Jerrold Perenchio is worth $2.3 billion. He has donated $2.6 million to super PACs this year.

7. Kenneth Griffin is worth $3 billion and he has given $2.08 million to super PACs in 2012.

8. James Simons is worth $10.7 billion and he has given $1.5 million to super Pacs this year.

9. Julian Robertson is worth $2.5 billion and he has given $1.25 million to super PACs this year.

10. Robert Rowling is worth $4.8 billion and he has given $1.1 million to super PACs.

11. John Paulson, the hedge fund manager who made his fortune betting that the sub-prime mortgage market would collapse, is worth $12.5 billion. He has donated $1 million to super PACs.

12. Richard and J.W. Marriott are worth a combined $3.1 billion and they have donated $2 million to super PACs this year.

13. James Davis is worth $1.9 billion and he has given $1 million to super PACs this year.

14. Harold Hamm is worth $11 billion and he has given $985,000 to super PACs this year.

15. Kenny Trout is worth more than $1.2 billion and he has given $900,000 to super PACs this year.

16. Louis Bacon is worth $1.4 billion and he has given $500,000 to super PACs this year.

17. Bruce Kovner is worth $4.5 billion and he has given $500,000 to super PACs this year.

18. Warren Stephens is worth $2.7 billion and he has given $500,000 to super PACs this year.

19. David Tepper is worth $5.1 billion and he has given $375,000 to super PACs this year.

20. Samuel Zell is worth $4.9 billion and he has given $270,000 to super PACs this year.

21. Leslie Wexner is worth $4.3 billion and he has given $250,000 to super PACs this year.

22. Charles Schwab is worth $3.5 billion and he has given $250,000 to super PACs this year.

23. Kelcy Warren is worth $2.3 billion and he has given $250,000 to super PACs this year.

The thing that these billionaires love most about Citizens United it is that it allows them to operate in total darkness. The American people couldn’t fight back because the billionaires were giving their money anonymously. This same cloak of invisibility is what made ALEC so effective for years. The conservative billionaire cabal works best in private, behind closed doors, far away from curious eyes.

With his report today, Sen. Sanders has made it more difficult for thieves of liberty to keep operating in the night. We now have a list of names and we know what they are trying to do to our government. Sen. Sanders is one of the few federally elected officials who has the courage to talk about these people in public.

Most of the members of the House and Senate are too afraid to speak of, much less take on, the billionaires. Even those decent members of Congress who might speak out against them have been terrified into silence by threats of multimillion dollar negative ad buys that will run against the incumbent back home.

Bernie Sanders is displaying a brand of political courage that is sorely lacking in American politics today, and he needs you to stand with him to protect our liberties, our freedoms, and to battle to return the government back to the American people.