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Gender: Male
Current location: Potlandia
Member since: Fri Sep 28, 2007, 04:39 PM
Number of posts: 15,322

Journal Archives

WTF? People From 5 States Will Soon Need Passports to Fly Within the U.S.A.

New York, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, American Samoa, and New Hampshire.

People From These 5 States Will Soon Need Passports to Fly Within the U.S.
No reason was given for why these states and regions were singled out.
By Zaid Jilani * AlterNet * September 22, 2015

Thanks to provisions in the little-known Real ID Act – passed in 2005 – five states will soon require a passport to fly even within the continental United States.

The Department of Homeland Security has named New York, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, American Samoa, and New Hampshire as locations where the residents will be required to use their passports to fly on commercial airplanes. Although there is no reason given for why these states and regions were singled out, it could possibly be because driver's licenses – the traditional form of identification used at airports – have to be compatible with Real ID requirements, and it's possible that the licenses in these states are not.

As an alternative, the Transportation Security Agency will accept Enhanced Driver's Licenses, which are used in some border states to allow travel to Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean, but few Americans have them.


Warning: TTIP Aims to Defang Local Rules Against Hazardous Chemicals

New report finds that the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership poses a threat to state regulations against hazardous pesticides, products, and fracking chemicals
by Sarah Lazare * Tuesday, September 22, 2015 * by Common Dreams

The mammoth Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) under secret negotiation between the United States and European Union is poised to slash the power of local governments to regulate toxins—from pesticides to fracking chemicals—the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) warned in a report released Tuesday.

Preempting the Public Interest: How TTIP Will Limit US States’ Public Health and Environmental Protections (pdf) is based on an analysis of the European Commission's proposed chapter on regulatory cooperation from the April 20 round of negotiations. The report follows other analyses of the text which conclude that the TTIP poses a threat to human rights, environmental protections, and democracy on both sides of the Atlantic.

Beyond the regulatory cooperation chapter, little else is known about the content of the closed-door negotiations over what is set to be the largest bilateral "trade" deal in history.

The chapter's contents, warns CIEL, highlight the direct threat the TTIP poses to public health and environmental protections on the U.S. state level. This is especially troublesome, the report argues, because federal regulations under the Toxic Substance Control Act have proven "egregiously ineffective"—and could be even further eroded, thanks to the influence of the chemical industry in Congress.

In contrast, some state governments have taken the lead in responding to the dangers posed by fracking chemicals, pesticides, and hazardous products by adopting "more than 250 laws and regulations protecting humans and the environment from exposure to toxic chemicals," the report says.

However, so-called "harmonization provisions" in the EU's proposal could force states to conform to the lowest common denominator—in this case weaker federal guidelines.


Is this new? "How CNN Doctored up a 'Hillary Bounce' and Got Away with it"

How CNN Doctored up a “Hillary Bounce” and Got Away with it
September 22, 2015 * Accidental Socialist

Like many firm supporters of Bernie Sanders these days,one of my first activities after rolling out of bed is to Google Bernie’s name and click the “news” tab. I woke up today to the top story from CNN titled “Poll: Hillary Clinton’s lead over Bernie Sanders Grows.” Having become used to this type of treatment of Bernie from the corporate media, I clicked it to read and examine whether the headline actually matches the content. My first impression was that this “lead growth” isn’t really very conclusive. Then I looked more closely at the data, and I realized something I could hardly believe – they skewed the results.

The gist of the story was that Clinton’s lead over Sanders, which had been 37% to 27% in this poll, had grown to 42% to 24%. However, the story went on, when Biden is not included on the ballot, that lead balloons to a whopping 57% to 28%. Initially I was willing to take these figures at face value because they comported with the facts that I believe to be true at the moment. The CNN poll has a margin of +/- 5% for this particular question, and both Hillary’s and Bernie’s numbers were within those margin. Secondly, other polls had demonstrated that Joe Biden’s support has significant overlap with Hillary Clinton’s and that his candidacy siphons far more votes away from Clinton than Sanders.

However, something just didn’t sit right with me. Since the previous CNN poll had been taken, Bernie Sanders didn’t have a noteworthy gaffe, and Hillary Clinton didn’t leave a particularly positive impression either at an interview or at a town hall meeting. In fact, most of the news coverage has been on the Republicans because, thanks to our illustrious DNC Chair, the Democrats are receiving a fraction of the media attention due to a limited number of debates. That’s why I decided to delve into the details of the poll, the numbers behind the numbers, and compare the old poll released September 10th and this new one with Clinton’s allegedly increased lead.

Like any respected poll, CNN lays out its methodology to tell you who they interviewed, how many of each group (Democrats, Republicans, independents and so on) and the margins of error. Both polls are prefaced by this statement. Read this one carefully because it contains the key to understanding what CNN did here.

“Crosstabs on the following pages only include results for subgroups with enough unweighted cases to produce a sampling error of +/- 8.5 percentage points or less. Some subgroups represent too small a share of the national population to produce crosstabs with an acceptable sampling error. Interviews were conducted among these subgroups, but results for groups with a sampling error larger than +/-8.5 percentage points are not displayed and instead are denoted with “N/A”.


The Intercept debunks a Yahoo "study" that claims "big donors don't matter"

The Intercept article lists "four reasons" Yahoo's study is bogus on it's face, and I'll add another:
* Big donors typically 'hedge their bets', giving to candidates on BOTH sides of the isle to insure that they buy the support they are seeking for their particular corporate special interest.

Yahoo Finance Drops in From Mars to Explain Big Money Hasn’t Bought U.S. Politics

A recent New York Times/CBS poll found that 84 percent of Americans think money has too much influence in U.S. politics, and 85 percent want the campaign financing system completely rebuilt or at least fundamentally changed. Even politicians themselves will tell you that big money controls most of what they do.

Yahoo Finance, however, has done a study on money in politics, and determined that everyone else in America is wrong:

With so much concern about democracy for sale, Yahoo Finance set out to ask a basic question: Are rich donors buying election results? We scrutinized thousands of federal records on campaign donations in presidential and congressional campaigns in 2012 and 2014, and came up with this simple answer: no.

What Yahoo did was simple and straightforward: Look at the top 10 individual donors to campaigns and Super PACs, as well as the top 10 biggest Super PACs, and then check to see how often the candidates the donors and Super PACs supported won.

And it turned out that big money’s candidates didn’t win every time! For instance, the candidates of the top individual donor, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, won only 56 percent of the time. The candidates of the biggest-spending Super PAC, Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, only won 51 percent of their races.

So case closed, according to Yahoo: “The return on investment to big donors appears to be less than the fretting over the health of democracy suggests.”

Of course, the flaws in Yahoo’s study are as painfully glaring as the lens flare in a J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot. Here are the top four, from least important to most:
• Yahoo doesn’t know who the top individual donors were and how much they gave — because nobody does.
• Giving lots of your money to losers isn’t a sign of failure.
• There’s a political spectrum beyond the one between corporate Republicans and corporate Democrats.
• There’s much, much more to money and politics than elections.

All in all, Yahoo clearly fell victim to what scientists call the “streetlight effect”: that is, drawing conclusions just from what’s easy to measure, rather than everything about reality. The streetlight effect is named after this old joke.

Late at night a policeman finds a drunk man crawling around on his hands and knees under a streetlight. The drunk man tells the policeman he’s looking for his wallet. When the officer asks if he’s sure this is where he dropped the wallet, the man replies that he thinks he probably dropped it across the street. The confused policeman asks, “Then why are you looking over here?” The drunk man explains: “Because this is where the light is.”

Yahoo is the drunk guy.


Toon visual of 2016 Election

Pelosi: 'We should have more debates'

How can Clinton Democrats continue supporting this DNC mockery of democracy?

Can I get an a-men from any Clintonistas for more debates, for the sake of the party,
regardless of who wins primary?

Pelosi: 'We should have more debates'
By Mark Hensch * September 18, 2015 * The Hill

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Friday the Democratic National Committee (DNC) should increase its number of 2016 presidential debates.

“I would,” she said when asked if she would appreciate a larger number of contests this election cycle, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Hillary does well — I think they all do well on them — and we should have more debates,” Pelosi added, referring to Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), the DNC chairwoman, has repeatedly vowed her organization is not conducting more than six presidential debates in the 2016 cycle.

Her stance has drawn criticism from White House hopefuls worried they won’t receive as much attention as Clinton will before primary elections begin next year.

Both Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-Md.) have argued that the current calendar of events is slanted in Clinton’s favor.


Does an OP about Trump & his post-debate bump in the polls, go in GD-P or GD?

Is GD-P only about Dem Primary, or both?

I haven't posted before about GOP much at all, so want to make sure to get it right first time.

Is Hillary doubling down on Keystone pipeline?

Clinton says Obama administration decision on Keystone pipeline overdue
Thursday, September 17, 2015 * Reuters

Video here: http://www.reuters.com/video/2015/09/18/clinton-says-obama-administration-decisi?videoId=365636799&videoChannel=1003

'Justice Is Not For Sale': Sanders Leads Charge Against For-Profit Prisons

'Justice Is Not For Sale': Sanders Leads Charge Against For-Profit Prisons
'It is morally repugnant and a natcommonional tragedy that we have privatized prisons all over America.'
by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer * Common Dreams * September 17, 2015

With a call to "end the private prison racket in America," a group of progressive lawmakers on Thursday introduced a bill that seeks to subvert the reigning "pro-incarceration agenda" by banning private prisons, reinstating the federal parole system, and eliminating quotas for the number of immigrants held in detention.

"We cannot fix our criminal justice system if corporations are allowed to profit from mass incarceration."
—Senator Bernie Sanders

"It is morally repugnant and a national tragedy that we have privatized prisons all over America," said Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, one of the legislation's lead sponsors along with Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), and Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.). "We cannot fix our criminal justice system if corporations are allowed to profit from mass incarceration. Keeping human beings in jail for long periods of time must no longer be an acceptable business model in America."

With the ultimate goal of reducing the inmate population in federal, state, and local facilities, the Justice Is Not For Sale Act would, according to a fact sheet:

* Bar federal, state, and local governments from contracting with private companies starting two years after the bill is passed;
* Reinstate the federal parole system to allow "individualized, risk-based determinations regarding each prisoner and restore fairness in the system;"
* Increase oversight to prevent companies from overcharging inmates and their families for services like banking and telephone calls;
* End the requirement that Immigration and Customs Enforcement maintain a level of 34,000 detention beds; and
* End immigrant family detention.


Could this be related to Bernie starting to draw larger crowds in southern states?

Am I the only one who thinks this bodes well for Bernie's chances in Southern states?

Winds Of Change Blow Through South As Democrats Are Winning Special Elections On GOP Turf
By Keith Brekhus * Thursday, September, 10th, 2015 * Politicus

For the second time in less than a month, a Democrat has pulled off a stunning victory over a Republican candidate, by flipping a State House race in an almost hopelessly red legislative district. On Tuesday night, Democrat Cyndi Munson scored an improbable 54-46 victory in Oklahoma’s House District 85, a suburban district Northwest of Oklahoma City. Since 1965, when the district was first created, it had never been won by a Democrat. That changed on Tuesday night.

The 85th District went 61-39 for Mitt Romney in the 2012 election. Yet, on Tuesday night, in a traditionally low turnout special election, the district turned a surprisingly solid shade of blue. Speaking to supporters after she’d won, Munson acknowledged the magnitude of her achievement, proclaiming:

"Each time I heard it was an uphill battle I got more strength. This is amazing!"

Munson lost her race for the same seat in 2014 by 13 points, but she battled back and emerged on Tuesday night a winner. She ran on a platform supporting education and women’s health, while opposing income tax cuts for top earners. In a deep red district her message resonated with voters, weary of the GOP’s extremist stranglehold on Oklahoma politics.

As astonishing as Munson’s victory was, it was not the first Democratic upset of its kind this summer. In August, Democrat Taylor Bennett pulled off a similar surprise in Georgia’s 80th House District. Despite being outspent 2 to 1 in a district Mitt Romney carried by a 56-43 margin over Barack Obama in 2012, Bennett coasted to a 55-45 surprise victory over his Republican opponent, Max Davis.

More: http://www.politicususa.com/2015/09/10/winds-change-blow-south-democrats-winning-special-elections-gop-turf.html
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