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Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
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The electoral college is a relic. It's time to let the people choose the president

The electoral college is a relic. It's time to let the people choose the president
A move to elect the US president by popular vote and to sideline the electoral college is gaining momentum – and it's making some lawmakers very angry indeed

Jason Farago
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 22 December 2011

It's nearly 2012, and the national horse-race polls that the media adore during primary season will soon recede. Instead it will be time, once more, for colored maps that divide the United States into red states, blue states, and swing states. Only the last category gets much attention, of course. The Washington Post cuttingly titles its own 13 states that matter." Sorry if you live in one of the other, irrelevant 37.

We all know what's to blame for the writing off of most Americans in the presidential election. The fault lies with the electoral college, that relic that means contests are decided state by state. It's ungainly, it's unpopular, it has a dirty, slavery-inflected history, and it's manifestly unfair. But attempts to reform it haven't made much headway since the passage of the 12th amendment two centuries ago. At least until recently.

As a quadrennial reminder, you and I will not be voting for president next November. We vote instead for a slate of electors, known collectively as the electoral college. They, not we, then go on to cast ballots for president and vice-president some time in December. But the actual election is so underpublicized that until 2000 I naively thought that the college was a real meeting, a kind of one-day estates-general in which all the electors fly to Washington and cast their ballots with pomp and circumstance before adjourning to the Dupont Circle Fuddruckers. It's not that fun, I was disappointed to learn. In practice the electors just go to their state capitals to vote, the governors each sign a certificate stating the result, and then Congress counts up the total.

Mostly the electors can be trusted to do what they're told, but sometimes they screw it up. Two elections back, some elector in Minnesota voted for John Edwards for president instead of John Kerry – and he or she didn't even spell his name right, voting for one John Ewards. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/dec/22/us-presidential-election-popular-vote

Eric Alterman: Governor Cuomo Is Still Governor One Percent

from The Nation:

Governor Cuomo Is Still Governor One Percent

Eric Alterman
December 21, 2011

As 2011 slips into history, it appears a safe bet that despite tough competition, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has walked away with this year’s coveted award for “stupidest and most offensive analogy made by a non-Republican candidate or a journalist not covering said candidate.” Asked why, when he was being forced to lay off thousands of city and state workers, cut the pensions of countless others, and reduce aid to mass transit and education, he insisted on fighting tooth and nail to kill the so-called millionaire’s tax on the state’s highest earners—a tax, by the way, that would have ensured an additional $4 billion for such needs, and that was favored by 72 percent of respondents in an October poll—Cuomo replied, “The fact that everybody wants it, that doesn’t mean all that much.” Cuomo then recalled that his father, Mario Cuomo, famously opposed the death penalty despite strong majority support. “Reporters would say, ‘Well, people want it,’” Cuomo added. “And the point was, you know, we don’t elect—you can’t just have as a governor a big poll-taking machine, right?” So Andrew Cuomo’s willingness to thwart the will of the majority and stick a thumb in the eye of his own party on behalf of the interests of multimillionaires and billionaires—literally, the “1 percent”—is somehow analogous to the lonely, brave and extremely costly political stand his father took on behalf of condemned prisoners on death row.

Such myopic self-regard should have sunk Cuomo with liberals and progressives, but to the contrary, all appears hunky-dory in these precincts. Part of the explanation lies in the fact that many liberals have jettisoned the politics of economic equality and prefer to focus on the far less expensive practice of lifestyle liberalism. Andrew Cuomo was the hero of the gay marriage struggle this past summer and hence is beloved in Hollywood and at the Huffington Post. But no less important has been his ability to conduct a mind-meld operation with many in the MSM to communicate the nonsensical message that, while the governor may insist, on principle, on killing the special surtax, he did not oppose forcing the well-off to pay their fair share to meet the state’s burgeoning obligations.

In early December, Cuomo persuaded New York’s famously dysfunctional state legislature to pass a new tax plan, which somehow managed to confuse the media sufficiently to satisfy his 
1 percent funders and progressive backers simultaneously. Cuomo was immediately lauded as potential presidential timber for this accomplishment. As a New York Observer report explained, “The plan was hailed as a political masterstroke. The millionaire’s tax will be allowed to expire, as Mr. Cuomo had promised. Almost everyone’s taxes will be cut.” Headlines concurred: “New York to raise taxes on the rich,” explained the Christian Science Monitor. “Albany Tax Deal to Raise Rate for Highest Earners,” added the New York Times. Its reporter Thomas Kaplan went so far as to name “Democrats, Labor Unions and Occupy Wall Street Protesters,” together with other “advocates for extending the state’s so-called millionaires’ tax,” as the winners in the struggle. And Newsweek’s “Conventional Wisdom” column cheered him on above the caption: “N.Y. gov wows ‘em again with proposed tax on wealthy.”

As if… ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thenation.com/article/165305/governor-cuomo-still-governor-one-percent

Freeper reax to CNN story "Why the winds are shifting toward Obama": FR threads MUST include racism

[font size="4"]The stupid party of RINOS delivers a big fat Kwanzaa gift to Hussein and the 'Rats.
1 posted on Thursday, December 22, 2011 5:49:13 PM by jimbo123
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To: jimbo123

The RINOS stand for nothing, except to bend over backwards and kiss the butts of their democratic masters.

2 posted on Thursday, December 22, 2011 5:51:47 PM by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like it)
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To: jimbo123

Sad but true. God knows what he’ll do when he doesn’t have to face re-election.

3 posted on Thursday, December 22, 2011 5:51:55 PM by madprof98 ("moritur et ridet" - salvianus)
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To: jimbo123

Gergen is pimping for his masters.

4 posted on Thursday, December 22, 2011 5:51:58 PM by WashingtonSource
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To: jimbo123

Unfortunately we’re all downwind....

5 posted on Thursday, December 22, 2011 5:54:02 PM by clintonh8r (Living well is no longer the best revenge. Revenge is now the best revenge.)
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To: jimbo123

And you believe anything that David Rodham Gergen has to say about GOP politics? Can you point to any previous time when this guy was ever right on anything?[/font]

More, if you can stomach it, at: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2823996/posts

Crushed by your retreat on the payroll tax Repugs? ..... Here's a peace offering:

NY Times: Signs Point to Economy’s Rise, but Experts See a False Dawn

WASHINGTON — As the fourth quarter draws to a close, a spate of unexpectedly good economic data suggests that it will have some of the fastest and strongest economic growth since the recovery started in 2009, causing a surge in the stock market and cheering economists, investors and policy makers.

In recent weeks, a broad range of data — like reports on new residential construction and small business confidence — have beaten analysts’ expectations. Initial claims for jobless benefits, often an early indicator of where the labor market is headed, have dropped to their lowest level since May 2008. And prominent economics groups say the economy is growing three to four times as quickly as it was early in the year, at an annual pace of about 3.7 percent.

But the good news also comes with a significant caveat. Many forecasters say the recent uptick probably does not represent the long-awaited start to a strong, sustainable recovery. Much of the current strength is caused by temporary factors. And economists expect growth to slow in the first half of 2012 to an annual pace of about 1.5 to 2 percent.


“Unfortunately, I think we’re going to see a slowdown over the course of next year,” Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, told reporters last week. “Not only do we have the European crisis spilling over and hurting U.S. trade and confidence,” he said, but the United States economy also faces “homegrown shocks.” ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/22/business/signs-point-to-economys-rise-but-experts-see-a-false-dawn.html?_r=1&ref=business

Indiana's GOP Secretary of State Removed By Court For Falsifying Candidate Papers

Indiana's GOP Secretary of State Removed By Court For Falsifying Candidate Papers
The state's top election official used an address where he was not a legal resident.

Charlie White, Indiana's Republican Secretary of State, has been removed from office by an Indiana Court that ruled White falsified his address when registering as a candidate for the constitutional post overseeing Indiana elections.

"His change of registration for purposes of voting was timely. For purposes of being a candidate, however, his change of registration was not timely," wrote Louise Rosenberg, Marion County Circuit Court Judge in her December 21st decision. "The fact that Mr. White knowingly registered in the wrong precinct is sufficient to render him ineligible for the office of Secretary of State."

The court set aside the results of a 2010 recount by another state commission and ordered the candidate with the second-highest votes, Democrat Vop Osili, an architect and chair of the Indianapolis Board of Zoning Appeals, seated. The court also did not dismiss separate voter fraud charges against White.

The case was brought by Indiana's Democratic Party, which has not exactly had a winning streak when it comes to election cases. Indiana has some of the toughest voter ID laws in the country, as a result of Republican activists claiming that floods of people (Democrats, of course) were falsifying voter registration forms in order to vote more than once. The voter ID law was upheld by the Supreme Court, mostly because lawyers challenging it sued before it took effect. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/752457/indiana%27s_gop_secretary_of_state_removed_by_court_for_falsifying_candidate_papers/

Japan Times: Nuclear crisis far from resolved

Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011

Nuclear crisis far from resolved

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Dec. 16 declared that the stricken reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant have entered the state of "cold shutdown" and that it has been confirmed that the nuclear crisis has "been resolved" (Shusoku ni itatta.) As far as Tepco and the goverment are concerned, "Step 2" of their "road map" to bring the nuclear crisis under control has been accomplished one month earlier than originally scheduled. After the completion of Step 2, work that will eventually lead to removal of molten nuclear fuel and decommissioning of the stricken reactors is supposed to start. But the prime minister's declaration that the crisis has been resolved will not be accepted by many people, especially those in Fukushima Prefecture.

Workers who have struggled continuously since March 11 to stabilize the stricken reactors deserve the nation's praise. But Mr. Noda's announcement is political grandstanding designed to give an impression that the plant's four crippled reactors -- three of which suffered meltdowns -- have been completely brought under control. Apparently he wanted to make the announcement before year's end.


The term "cold shutdown" is traditionally used to describe a reactor in normal working order that has reached a state of sub-criticality. If the nuclear fission process is stopped in such a reactor, the temperature inside the reactor falls below 100 C and the nuclear fuel is cooled by the reactor's own internal cooling system in a stable manner, then a reactor can be said to be in the state of cold shutdown. In this state, no amount of radioactive substances is released from a reactor. In addition, a reactor in a true state of cold shutdown can be easily restarted.

The conditions of the stricken reactors at Fukushima No. 1 are completely different from a reactor that is in a true state of cold shutdown. An external cooling system that has been cobbled together uses about 4 km of rubber hosing and was not built to earthquake safety standards so it cannot be considered to be a stable system. Furthermore, while the containment vessels of reactors in true states of cold shutdown can be opened and their fuel rods removed, the melted nuclear fuel in the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 reactors cannot be removed and must be continually kept cool by the external makeshift cooling system. Finally, the reactors could easily suffer additional damage if another strong earthquake strikes, and the pools containing spent nuclear fuel remain in a vulnerable state. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/ed20111220a1.html

Occupy hecklers drown out Bachmann at Iowa diner


IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Hamburg Inn in Iowa City has long been a popular stop for presidential candidates, but it probably won't be high on Rep. Michele Bachmann's list anymore.

About two dozen activists with Occupy Iowa City packed the diner before Bachmann arrived there Thursday, then loudly chanted in unison as she tried to mingle with supporters. Their chant blasted the Minnesota congresswoman's position on gay rights, health care and taxes and ended with: "You're not wanted here. So go, just go."

The restaurant blared Christmas songs over the loudspeaker to drown out the protesters. Police arrived as tensions rose, but no one was arrested.

Inequality in Ancient Rome and Modern America

via truthdig:

Inequality in Ancient Rome and Modern America
Posted on Dec 21, 2011

Historians used the Gini coefficient, a modern measure of wealth inequality, to compare disparities between the classes in the Roman Empire 150 years after the death of Christ and those in the United States today. The ancients, with their ranks of plebeians, patricians and senators, scored slightly better than we did.

To become a ruling Roman, would-be senators had to be worth at least 1 million Roman sesterces. Most were far wealthier, with the average worth well over 5 million sesterces.

Today, the Center for Responsive Politics calculates a U.S. senator’s average estimated wealth was $13.2 million in 2010, and a U.S. House member’s was $5.9 million. The median American household pulls in about $54,000 per year. —ARK

Per Square Mile:

To determine the size of the Roman economy and the distribution of income, historians Walter Schiedel and Steven Friesen pored over papyri ledgers, previous scholarly estimates, imperial edicts, and Biblical passages. Their target was the state of the economy when the empire was at its population zenith, around 150 C.E. Schiedel and Friesen estimate that the top 1 percent of Roman society controlled 16 percent of the wealth, less than half of what America’s top 1 percent control. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://persquaremile.com/2011/12/16/income-inequality-in-the-roman-empire/


Cops mock Seattle jogger nearly killed by a truck

from Grist:

Cops mock Seattle jogger nearly killed by a truck

by Sarah Laskow
21 Dec 2011 10:45 AM

In Seattle, a semi truck hit a jogger, nearly killing him. While the jogger lay almost dying, the police officers who responded to the accident were busy sneering at his decision not to drive a car. This being 2011, their comments were caught on video:

Here's the most relevant excerpt, from the local TV station that obtained the video:

"That's why you drive a car!" the first one remarks.
"Yeah, don't try to jog to work, you dumb (expletive)," said the other.

Now, bikers are often subjected to such 'tude, but joggers? Isn't it a god-given right in this country to get your jog on? ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.grist.org/list/2011-12-21-cops-mock-seattle-jogger-nearly-killed-by-a-truck