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zuul's Journal
zuul's Journal
November 3, 2012

How is Lyin' Ryan doing in Wisconsin, in his other race?

Any chance he will lose that one too?

November 2, 2012

The Young Turks

I recently started watching Cenk Uygur's show, The Young Turks, on Current TV. I love this show!

In my area, it's aired at the same time as the Hardball re-broadcast. Tweety gets on my nerves sometimes. I hate it when he talks over all his guests.

Cenk is my new refuge! And he's pretty cute!

November 2, 2012

Your sanctimonious bullshit is wearing a little thin

I’m getting a little tired of certain people on DU shitting on the efforts of those of us who reside in red states. Sometimes (not always), when a red state DUer relates a story of an attempt to convert a republican or independent, some of you on DU just HAVE to take a dump on our efforts. More often than not, our progress is dismissed.

Yes, one vote for Obama in a red state won’t make much difference today, but there are other, long-term, exponential factors to consider. If one of us can convince one republican or independent NOT to forward an anti-Obama email or tweet to half the world, isn’t that a win for our side? I think it is well worth the effort. And sometimes, that also results in one of our friends or family members having a conversation with a repuke in an effort to dissuade them for voting for the rightwing. Isn’t that a good thing?

I've been working to convince my mother to vote FOR Obama recently and finally succeeded. She has been working to convince my sister NOT to vote for rMoney (my sister won’t commit to Obama, but she absolutely WON’T vote for Robme). My mother has also pledged to DELETE any nasty anti-Democrat emails that she receives.

Yes, both my sister and mother are in red states, as am I, but isn’t their rejection of rightwing propaganda a good thing for us in the short term, as well as the long term?

So many conservative people that I know are tired of the rhetoric. They may not necessarily be Democrats today, but they are sick of the antics of the republicans. Doesn’t it mean something if we can convince people NOT to spread anti-Obama memes and bullshit rumors, and maybe even to write in ‘Jesus’, or ‘Shiva’, or whatever deity, on their ballots, as opposed to voting for rMoney? Voting for Obama would, of course, be preferable, but I’m thinking long-term strategy here.

I believe we are well positioned to win the presidential election next week and retain a Senate majority. Shouldn’t we be working to keep both of those, and retake the House in 2014?

I’m getting a little annoyed with the dismissal of the efforts of those of us who happen to reside in red states. Our efforts are no less significant than those of you who happen to live in blue or swing states, maybe even more significant!

It is no easy thing to be a Democrat living in a red state! Your sanctimonious bullshit is wearing a little thin. I’m not going to call out anyone out in particular . . . you know who you are!

Thanks for your attention . . . End of my ‘Red State’ Rant.

October 31, 2012

Biden: 'When your insurance rates go down, then you'll vote for me in 2016'

By Michael O'Brien, NBC News, Oct. 31, 2012, psoted on NBCNews.com

Vice President Joe Biden made a reference to possible future political ambitions at a stop Wednesday at a restaurant in Florida.

A short while after an earlier rally -- where the vice president boasted of "being a good Biden" today -- Biden slipped into a characteristic moment, to the delight of DC's chattering class.

NBC's Carrie Dann, who is traveling with the vice president, describes the scene:

At an off-the-record stop at a restaurant called "400 station" in Sarasota, Joe Biden spoke on the phone with the brother of a voter who wanted him to chat with her Republican relative.

After chatting about the health insurance law, he concluded, "Well look, I'm not trying to talk you into voting for me, I just wanted to say hi to you, okay? And after it's all over when your insurance rates go down, then you'll vote for me in 2016. I'll talk to you later."

Biden is among the handful of Democrats included in early speculative lists of possible presidential candidates in 2016, at which point the former Delaware senator would be 73-years-old.

His viability as a candidate, though, might well hinge on the outcome of the 2012 election next Tuesday, when a second term for President Barack Obama is far from certain.

October 30, 2012

Atlantic City mayor on Gov. Christie's rebuke: 'Misinformed and ill-advised'

By Eun Kyung Kim, TODAY contributor, posted on NBCnews.com

Atlantic City mayor Lorenzo Langford escalated tensions with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie after the mayor said Tuesday he would welcome the chance “to confront the governor mano y mano” over how he handled the city’s evacuation during Hurricane Sandy.

A day earlier, Christie had criticized Langford as a “rogue mayor” for supposedly encouraging residents to ride out the storm in designated shelters rather than leave the area entirely.

He told TODAY’s Matt Lauer on Tuesday that Atlantic City residents received mixed messages from his executive order requiring everyone to evacuate and Langford’s encouragement to take cover instead.

“I feel badly for the folks in Atlantic City who listened to him and sheltered in Atlantic City, and I guess my anger has turned to sympathy for those folks, and we’re in the midst now of trying to go in and save them,” Christie said.

Langford strongly denied the characterization of what happened, saying the governor was “either misinformed and ill-advised, or simply just deciding to prevaricate.”

“I’m telling you that is absolutely false and the governor needs to be challenged,” he said. “Where did he get that information? He is dead wrong.”

New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie talks to TODAY's Matt Lauer about his disappointment with Mayor Lorenzo Langford's "mixed messages," saying "I feel badly for the folks in Atlantic City who listened to him."

Officials estimate that as much as 80 percent of Atlantic City was under water at high tide Monday during the brunt of the storm. Water as much as eight feet deep surged through the streets. Christie said both state and federal search and rescue teams arrived on site early Tuesday morning to help those stranded in their homes or at shelter sites.

Langford accused Christie of turning the situation into a political battle.

“Here we are in throes of a major catastrophe and the governor has chosen a time such as this to play politics. I think it’s reprehensible that he would stoop to the level to try and make a political situation out of something that is so serious as this situation,” he said.

During a news conference Monday, Christie said Langford encouraged residents to take shelter at designated sites because he “didn’t want his people leaving the city.”

“I don’t have a feud with the guy, but I wish he’d do his job," he said at the time. He also tweeted, “I am very disappointed in those who did not listen to my order to evacuate.”

Langford refuted the charge, saying most Atlantic City residents did evacuate, as ordered.

"Unfortunately, there will always be those who did not heed that warning," he said. "We had a plan in place for those few residents who would decide at the last minute that they would not try to heed our warning and vacate the city but would try to hunker down, tough it out, only to find at some other time that they wanted to flee. We had that contingency plan in place."

October 30, 2012

The 9 Most Anti-Science Candidates in America

Wow . . . I'm shocked to see that Liebelson included 2 Dems on her list . . . oh, West Virginia and Georgia . . . never mind.

By Dana Liebelson, Tue Oct. 30, 2012, posted on MotherJones.com

In 2012, America landed an adorable robot on Mars, found oxygen around one of Saturn's icy moons, and discovered a headless ladybug in Montana, among countless other achievements. A great year for science, right? That depends on whether you're watching the 2012 election. This year, candidates for Congress are actively denying climate change, slashing science funding, and even disputing basic facts of human anatomy. Here are nine of the worst offenders:


The race: Republican candidate for US Senate in Montana

The issues: Climate change, environment, health

Why he makes the list: Rehberg has been making Montana scientists cower in their cowboy boots since 2001. He calls climate change mitigation policies "unnecessary and economically destructive." He's voted twice against science and technology funding and also against stem cell research, according to Project Vote Smart. He also opposed AIDS funding in 1994, because, according to him, "The problem with AIDS is, you get it, you die, so why are we spending any money on people that get it[?]" He inexplicably doesn't want to ban human cloning.


The race: Republican candidate for US Representative of Georgia's 10th congressional district (incumbent)

The issues: Evolution, astronomy, geology

Why he makes the list: It's pretty easy to figure out where Broun stands on the whole evolution issue. He said recently that "all that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, Big Bang Theory—all that is lies straight from the pit of hell." Broun also thinks there is a scientific plot to hide the true age of Earth, which he believes is "9,000 years old." He serves on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, but even Bill Nye "the Science Guy" says Broun is "unqualified to make decisions about science, space and technology."


The race: Democrat candidate for US Senate in West Virginia (incumbent)

The issue: Climate change

Why he makes the list: Manchin sort of believes in global warming: He told the Register Herald that "I don't think all the evidence is in it—that it's conclusive. That being said, there's 6 billion people on this planet earth and we're going to emit and we're going to use more and we're going to have an effect. Anyone that doesn't believe that, I think would be disillusioned."


The race: Republican candidate for US Senate in Indiana

The issues: Climate change, reproductive health

Why he makes the list: Mourdock made the "most anti-science lawmakers" list long before he said that conception from rape is God's will. Although the tea-party-backed candidate holds a master's degree in geology from Ball State University in Indiana, he calls climate change "the greatest hoax of all time" and says basing energy policy off of it "is a threat to our national security." At a news conference last week, he also told reporters, "I believe God controls the universe…I don't believe biology works in an uncontrolled fashion."


The race: Republican candidate for US Senate in Nevada (incumbent)

The issues: Climate Change, environment

Why he makes the list: Apparently environmental issues don't exist in Nevada: The "issues" section of Heller's website makes no mention of them. But Heller's voting record speaks louder than words: He's voted against cap and trade, voted to bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gasses, and voted against tax credits for renewable energy, energy production, and renewable electricity. He does, however, support stem cell research.


The race: Republican candidate running for US Senate in Oklahoma (incumbent)

The issues: Scientific research

Why he makes the list: Don't be fooled by the "M.D." after Coburn's name: He authored a report last year attacking the National Science Foundation for funding "wasteful and controversial projects." The diverse projects listed in the report seem only to have one thing in common: Coburn doesn't like them. The studies include a well-known nature vs. nurture experiment, a citizen science program for urban youth to study birds, and the impact of YouTube on the 2008 election.


The race: Democrat candidate running for US Representative of Georgia's 4th congressional district (incumbent)

The issue: Geography, Environment

Why he makes the list: Johnson seems to have confused islands with sailboats. But at least he shows some concern about climate change.


The race: Republican candidate running for US Representative of Minnesota's 6th congressional district (incumbent)

The issues: Climate change, environment

Why she makes the list: Bachmann is on the League of Conservation Voters' list of the worst environmental offenders in Congress. She calls global warming "all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax" and dismisses climate change by saying "Carbon dioxide is natural. It occurs in Earth. It is a part of the regular lifecycle of Earth. In fact, life on planet Earth can't even exist without carbon dioxide." This of course, goes against the scientific consensus that higher atmospheric CO2 levels caused by human activity are causing climate change.


The race: Republican candidate running for US Senate in Missouri

The issues: Reproductive health, climate change

Why he makes the list: Akin is famous for popularizing the term "legitimate rape." In August, he said that women who are raped won't get pregnant because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." (Akin also wants to ban the morning-after pill because he mistakenly believes it causes abortions.) Akin also has an unusual perspective on climate change. "In Missouri when we go from winter to spring, that's a good climate change," he said in 2009. "I don't want to stop that climate change you know." Despite confusing the change of seasons in Missouri with global climate change, Akin serves on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology with Broun.

October 30, 2012

FEMA has plenty of money this time

FEMA can tap several billion dollars in additional funds without turning to Congress.
By SEUNG MIN KIM, 10/29/12, posted on Politico.com

Hurricane relief has been a nasty political football on Capitol Hill in the past.

But this time around – thanks to a confluence of several factors – the federal government has plenty of money to cover the costs in the short run as Hurricane Sandy barrels her way up the East Coast.

Nearly $7.8 billion is available for storm response through FEMA’s disaster relief fund, congressional aides said Monday. That includes more than $7 billion set aside in the stopgap spending bill that funds the federal government through March, as well as money designated for disaster relief carried over from last year that was not spent. On top of that — thanks to the debt limit deal last year — FEMA can tap a several billion dollars in additional emergency funds without turning to Congress for extra money.

And regardless of the ideology regarding how to pay for disaster aid, the hurricane is serving as a great equalizer, hitting states represented by a wide range of prominent politicians — with Eric Cantor in Virginia, Chris Christie in New Jersey, and Andrew Cuomo in New York.

“We have plenty of cash in the short term … but we will watch very closely,” said a Senate Democratic aide. “We will not want to end the 112th Congress without making sure the disaster relief fund is sound for fiscal year 2013.”

FEMA administrator Craig Fugate was also confident that his agency was sufficiently equipped.

“We have the funds to respond,” Fugate told reporters on a conference call Monday. “We have the funds to continue response to recovery of previous disasters and we’ll assess the impacts to determine any additional funding needs based on the impacts of Hurricane Sandy.”

A shored-up disaster relief fund and changes to the way that disaster aid is administered could help Capitol Hill avoid a replay of a bitter political fight that exploded last year over the response to Hurricane Irene. In September 2011, Republicans insisted that money allocated for hurricane relief be offset, and proposed paying for aid by slashing funds to an auto-industry loan program – infuriating Hill Democrats. The discussion over offsetting disaster aid also came up after the devastating tornadoes last year in Joplin, Mo. In 2005 with Hurricane Katrina, conservative members of Congress questioned the huge sums going to disaster relief without cutting the government elsewhere to pay for it.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/83030.html#ixzz2AnV67ZYQ
October 30, 2012

Mitt flips on FEMA, now would keep it

OMG . . . MittWit reversed his position! Is anyone surprised?

Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012, By Alex Seitz-Wald, posted on Salon.com

Yesterday, we noted that even as a massive super storm was bearing down on the East Coast, Mitt Romney’s campaign was standing by his suggestion in a GOP debate last year that he would end FEMA and make the states handle disaster relief on their own. But how much has changed in 24 hours. As we wake up to see the disaster Hurricane Sandy had wrought, we also find a new position for Romney, who now says he wants to keep FEMA.

In a GOP primary debate in June of last year, moderator John King asked Romney if he would let states take on the responsibilities of FEMA, which was “about to run out of money.” “Absolutely,” Romney replied. “And every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better… We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things,” he added.

After the Huffington Post highlighted the quote Sunday under the headline, “Mitt Romney In GOP Debate: Shut Down Federal Disaster Agency, Send Responsibility To The States,” a spokesperson for the Romney campaign followed up with editor Ryan Grim. Did the spokesperson say Grim’s characterization of Romney’s comments was wrong? Nope. “Gov. Romney wants to ensure states, who are the first responders and are in the best position to aid impacted individuals and communities, have the resources and assistance they need to cope with natural disasters,” was all the unnamed Romney official said.

As we noted yesterday, eliminating the federal component of disaster relief is a terrible idea. And after Hurricane Sandy left millions suffering, the Romney campaign seems to have come around. “Gov. Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions. As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities, and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most. This includes help from the federal government and FEMA,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement to Politico’s Andrew Restuccia.

It’s worth noting that what Williams describes is basically exactly the way emergency management functions now, though he curiously left out any mention of local and municipal responders, who are really in the best position to affect aid. When locals get overwhelmed, they bring in state resources. When state resources get overwhelmed, they bring in federal resources. As FEMA explains about the National Incident Management System (NIMS), the national standardized process that various tiers of government used to work together in emergencies: “NIMS does not take command away from state and local authorities… The intention of the federal government in these situations is not to command the response but, rather, to support the affected local, tribal, and/or state governments.”

There is a valid, though wonky, critique to be made of the current system of cost allocation between states and Washington. When the president declares a federal disaster area, the federal government commits to paying for 75 percent of the recovery effort. A report from the Government Accountability Office this year found that the formula used to determine whether states can handle the financial burdens of disasters on their own has not adequately kept up with inflation and increases in household incomes. So the federal government ends up taking on financial obligation that states could and should afford on their own.

Changing the way the threshold is calculated would save the federal government lots of money, but that’s not at all what Mitt Romney was talking about. He was making an ideological argument, not an accounting one. And by coming back around to support basically the status quo, it’s hard to see his position on FEMA as anything but another flip flop.

October 30, 2012

Storm aftermath not likely to delay election

For all you bed-wetters and hand-wringers . . .

By NBC's Pete Williams, 10-30-12, posted on NBCNews.com

The answer is, yes, it could undoubtedly be delayed. But it almost certainly won't be.

The Constitution gives Congress the authority to establish the day for presidential elections, and since 1845, a federal law has set the date as "the Tuesday after the first Monday in November." Congress could change the date, just as it could change any federal statute. But it would have to act quickly.

And of course, it's the states, not the federal government, that run elections in America. Many states in areas not affected by Sandy's wrath would be likely to oppose a delay and its attendant costs. They could choose to go ahead with their elections for all but president and have a separate election for president later. But such a move would undoubtedly suppress the turnout.

Past disasters, including weather emergencies, have forced postponement of state and local elections. New York state suspended its primary election in 2001 -- on September 11th, the day of the suicide hijack attacks. But few states have a regular procedure for doing it. Florida, with its long experience in dealing with hurricanes, is one of the few with specific procedures in place, allowing the governor to suspend or delay elections.

John Fortier, a nationally respected expert on presidential elections, points out additional problems, writing on a blog sponsored by the Moritz School of Law at Ohio State University.

"If voting were disrupted and postponed in one state," Fortier says, "then we will likely know the results in all the other states before voting can resume in the affected state. If the affected state or states are determinative of the electoral college outcome, the pressure and focus on that one state would be enormous."

Among other questions, he says, are what to do with votes already cast.

Finally, consider the fact that never before the U.S. history has a presidential election been postponed or canceled, not even during the Civil War.


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