Friday, June 15, 2012
Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado (R)
In an interview with NPR's Michel Martin, Regaldo dismissed Scott's notion that Florida is any kind of haven for wide-spread voter fraud:
REGALADO: I think that in Florida – and especially here in South Florida – we walk a very thin line in terms of communities. I mean, we are a real melting pot. And I think it's not fair just to use one brush and paint everybody, because the perception that we're getting throughout the country is that a bunch of Latino people just go out and vote right after getting off the plane or the raft when they come here. And that's not the case. Problem are, the laws. I mean, you can go and get your voter ID with your driver's license, and no questions asked. Well, the law has to be changed. But, you know, I doubt that we have a massive fraud going on here in Florida…
MARTIN: Have you expressed that to the governor, who shares your political party?
REGALADO: I have not spoken to the governor. And, you know, and I understand the governor is trying to cater to the conservatives, but that's not the way to do it. I mean, I don't see thousands of people not citizens voting here in South Florida. I mean, throughout the years, we have seen in the United States – remember Chicago many years ago – people that were dead voting and all that.But other than that, those are unique cases. I don't think that there is, like, this massive fraud. What we should do is encourage people to register and vote if you are citizens, because the problem is that all these controversies about voters and investigators and Justice Department and police after the voters is scaring people to vote. The people are going to say, well, it's too much trouble. So I might as well don't even bother to vote. And that's wrong because…
With the school year coming to an end, now comes the all-too-familiar moment when certain public school doors are shuttered. This is the case in Oakland where five public schools are being closed, with children being sent to charter schools (some as far as 10 miles away) with no guarantee of transportation. Parents and teachers, however, are fighting back with a sit-in today.
This paragraph from today's New York Times editorial isn't opinion, it's fact...
Mr. Romney's entire campaign rests on a foundation of short, utterly false sound bites. The stimulus failed. (Three million employed people beg to differ.) The auto bailout was a mistake. (Another million jobs.) Spending is out of control. (Spending growth is actually lower than under all modern Republican presidents.) He says these kinds of things so often that millions of Americans believe them to be the truth....and it's okay for journalists to report on Romney's lies as if they were news.
Because they are."
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Public Understanding Of Climate Science Rebounds, 72% of Independents Say There Is ‘Solid Evidence’ Of Global Warming #p2 #tcot
Brookings has released a new survey that confirms other recent polls: Public understanding of climate science is rebounding, and the recent record-smashing extreme weather events are playing a key role.
As you can see, the biggest jump is from independents, demonstrating once again that global warming has become a major wedge issue. Many other recent polls have made that clear (see "Gallup poll: Public understanding of global warming gains" and "Independents, Other Republicans Split With Tea-Party Extremists on Global Warming"). Now if progressive politicians would only seize on this winning issue.
Perhaps even more remarkable than this rebound in understanding is the record rise in the public's confidence in their accurate understanding of climate science that the National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change [NSAPOCC] found:
Just under two thirds of those who believe global warming is occurring stated that they were very confident of this position. This 63 percent confidence level is 14 percentage points higher than in the fall of 2011 and marks the highest level since the NSAPOCC began in 2008.
Why would confidence be growing, especially when the media and key opinion-makers have all but stoppedtalking about climate change?
Brookings had previously found that Americans' Understanding of Climate Change Is Increasing With More Extreme Weather, Warmer Temperatures. Certainly the American public is seeing for themselves the off-the-chart heat waves and other extreme weather that climate scientists have long said would become more common as we pour more heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (see NOAA Chief: U.S. Record of a Dozen Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters in One Year Is "a Harbinger of Things to Come"). That was especially true in March (see "March Came In Like A Lamb, Went Out Like A Globally Warmed Lion On Steroids Who Smashed 15,000 Heat Records").
The new survey added further evidence that "the growth in the percentage of Americans who see evidence of global warming appears to be related to individual perceptions of weather conditions and events.":
@barackobama Earth to the President: Voters and Donors You Need Are Checking Out of the Process #p2 #tcot
Disillusioned voters are checking out on Obama
Wake the F up, people. Do you really want Romney as President?! Obama won North Carolina by a sliver in 2008 (with a kick-@ss ground game and record turnout). And now Mittens for the first time holds a lead here.
"The presidential race in NC continues to be very close," Public Policy Polling Director Tom Jensen says. "This month we find Mitt Romney leading Obama 48-46. It's a small lead but it's still significant because it's the first we've found Romney leading Barrack Obama in our monthly polling since October.
Romney's gained seven points on Obama over the past two months alone. Jensen says Romney's small lead is probably heavily influenced by independent voters. "Romney's up to 20 percent of the democratic vote after being at 15 percent a few months ago," he says. "For a republican to win in North Carolina really requires winning over a lot of conservative democrats and that 20 percent of the democratic vote suggests Romney's doing a little bit better on that front."
Americans have such a short attention span; yeah, this President didn't give us all of the hopey-changey goodness he promised on the campaign trail, and I've been highly critical of his foot-dragging leadership on several fronts (yes, people, read my back catalog), but really — do people want Romney and his adviser Robert Bork packing the U.S. Supreme Court?
Considering the economic mess/slow recovery, the President has finally decided to cry uncle and declare the obvious — he needs more time, and the Romney alternative would be worse.
According to the study, "We have identified a human-induced fingerprint in observed estimates of upper-ocean warming on multidecadal timescales."
The international team of researchers used for this study attributed only archrival computer models and assumed simulations and compared them to the supposed effects of fossil fuel emissions during the last century.
The report states that "When the global mean changes are included" the "anthropogenic fingerprint" is of 1% which is an insignificant level. Yet, this statistic is being blown out of proportion to create frenzy over the earth's victimization at the hands of humans.
Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who helped prop up House speaker Newt Gingrich's primary campaign for months, is now using his millions to help former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
According to two sources familiar with the donation, Adelson is giving $10 million to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future.
Romney is already catching up with President Obama in fundraising; this donation is yet another boost.
The Justice Department is reportedly engaged in an anti-trust investigation into many areas where the cable TV industry might be acting inappropriately to try and quell competition from online video. Many consumers want to pick and choose what they watch, using services like Hulu and Netflix, whereas cable companies would like them to continue to pay for bundles of TV channels, even some they might not watch.
According to sources cited by the Wall Street Journal, the Justice Department has already spoken to online video peddlers and has questioned Comcast, Time Warner Cable and other cable companies.
They're trying to figure out if cable providers have been setting data caps to limit the amount of data a subscriber can download each month in an attempt to keep consumers from viewing content that is outside of the cable companies' offerings.
Since many cable companies provide the high-speed Internet access needed for many consumers to stream video, some pay-TV companies are not too happy about their TV channels being bypassed for online video because of all the cash they've already invested in their current networks.
The TV industry has been tightly regulated for decades, and decisions that are made now could have a huge impact on how video services spread in the future. The probes are examining data caps that Comcast and AT&T use to deal with the uptick in video traffic on the Internet. Cable companies say those limits are necessary to keep the heaviest users from overwhelming the networks.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Barack Obama won 52.9 percent of the popular vote in 2008 and 365 electoral votes, 95 more than he needed. Many naturally concluded that prejudice was not a major factor against a black presidential candidate in modern America. My research, a comparison of Americans' Google searches and their voting patterns, found otherwise. If my results are correct, racial animus cost Mr. Obama many more votes than we may have realized.
Quantifying the effects of racial prejudice on voting is notoriously problematic. Few people admit bias in surveys. So I used a new tool, Google Insights, which tells researchers how often words are searched in different parts of the United States.
Can we really quantify racial prejudice in different parts of the country based solely on how often certain words are used on Google? Not perfectly, but remarkably well.Google, aggregating information from billions of searches, has an uncanny ability to reveal meaningful social patterns. "God" is Googled more often in the Bible Belt, "Lakers" in Los Angeles.
The conditions under which people use Google — online, most likely alone, not participating in an official survey — are ideal for capturing what they are really thinking and feeling. You may have typed things into Google that you would hesitate to admit in polite company. I certainly have. The majority of Americans have as well: we Google the word "porn" more often than the word "weather.""
@speakerboehner Boehner Aide Received Bonus From Medical Device Lobby Group Before Overseeing Tax Repeal of Industry #p2 #tcot @gop
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Recent campaign filings show Governor Scott Walker raising over $30 million to defend himself against recall versus $3.9 million raised by his challenger Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Barrett is being outspent 12:1, but even these numbers do not account for the full amount of spending in the race. Since the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case, an array of outside groups are playing a major role in elections and Wisconsin is no exception.
Wisconsin's historic recall battle may be seen as a test of grassroots gumption (30,000 volunteers collected close to one million recall signatures) against big outside money in a post-Citizen's United world. With less than a week before the election, spending numbers regarding these outside interest groups are changing by the hour. The nonpartisan Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (WDC) is working hard to track the money and illuminate exactly how high the spending outside of the candidates will go. Right now, WDC pegs total spending in the race at $62 million, including at least $21.4 million in disclosed spending by outside groups in addition to an estimated $7.5 million in undisclosed spending on so-called "issue ads" designed to influence the election.
Here is a brief look at the five biggest outside interest groups spending in Wisconsin's 2012 recall.
Republican Governors Association Claims "Just the Facts"
The Republican Governors Association (RGA)'s Political Action Committee "Right Direction Wisconsin" (RGA-RDW) has been the biggest outside spender in this year's recall election. WDC reports that the group has spent $8.6 million since January 2012 with almost all of their spending going towards TV ads. RGA-RDW considers these ads to be "issue ads" and so does not file any disclosure about the donors whose funds make the ad buys possible. The RGA also operates a "527" group, which does disclose its donors to the IRS, and this may eventually provide some insight into the money behind RGA's messages.
In late March, RGA-RDW ran three ads, one attacking Barrett, one attacking his main primary challengerKathleen Falk, and one attacking both Barrett and Falk for their records as Milwaukee Mayor and Dane County Executive, respectively. Two weeks before the primary, the group sponsored another ad against Barrett, and after the May 8 primary, it ran three ads (here, here, and here) criticizing Barrett and praising Walker. One of RGA-RDW's most widely circulated ads, embedded above, claims to be all about the facts, but it omits key facts, such as the fact that unemployment rose 34 percent under Scott Walker during his term as Milwaukee County Executive, and it omits information about Wisconsin being ranked 50th out of 50 states in the nation on jobs.
Koch money is the RGA's top source for contributions in the 2012 election cycle, with the corporation's co-owner David Koch donating at least $2 million and the company itself giving $25,000. In 2010, the RGA spent $3.4 million to help get Walker elected, with $1 million in help from David Koch and another $50,000 from Koch Industries for RGA to spend among the gubernatorial candidates it was backing, including Walker. In addition, Koch Industries PAC was one of the largest contributors to Walker's campaign for office in 2010.
In contrast, the Democratic Governors Association is not directly running ads in Wisconsin, but is reportedly funding the Greater Wisconsin Committee, spending $1 million.
After a 16-month long fight, an astonishing $63.5 million spent, and a people's uprising that attracted international attention and laid the groundwork for a movement that will last for years to come, Governor Scott Walker will keep his seat after Tuesday's recall election, winning 53-46 over challenger Tom Barrett. Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch also survived her recall challenge.
In the early hours of the morning, word came from Southeastern Wisconsin that former state Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine, beat incumbent Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard, with 36,255 votes to Wanggaard's 35,476 votes, according to unofficial results with all precincts reporting. Combined with two other successful Senate recalls in August of 2011, this win means Democrats flipped the Senate from Republican control and put a halt to the Walker agenda.
A Historic Struggle Over Tremendous Odds
Walker was voted into office in 2010 with a promise to create 250,000 jobs in his first term -- which was appealing to a residents of a state suffering from an economic downturn caused by Wall Street gambling. During the campaign, Walker indicated that he would ask public sector unions to pay more into their health care and pensions, but never suggested that he would attack their right to collectively bargain, which public workers in Wisconsin have had for fifty years.
Walker first announced his plans to roll back collective bargaining rights on February 11, 2011 and anticipated the fight would be over in less than a week. Walker announced his "Budget Repair Bill" (Act 10) on a Friday and planned a vote the following Wednesday, leaving almost no time for public debate or deliberation. He even scheduled a bill signing at the end of the week.
Things did not go according to plan. Students, firefighters, and many others occupied the capitol for 18 days. Hundreds of thousands of people marched on the Capitol after 14 Senate Democrats delayed the vote by exiting the state. When the vote was eventually lost in March of 2011, many protesters vowed to recall Walker.
The task was not a small one. Wisconsin's recall law, which had never been used in a statewide election since its creation in 1926, first required that protesters wait a year before initiating a recall. Next, it required that advocates gather signatures equivalent to 25 percent of ballots cast in the last election -- one of the highest recall thresholds in the nation, much greater than the 12 percent required in California. Volunteers were tasked with gathering 540,000 signatures in 60 days a very high hurdle. But starting in November 2011, 30,000 volunteers braved a cold Wisconsin winter to greatly exceed that number, collecting over 930,000 signatures and triggering the recall election.
At that point, another problem with the recall process quickly emerged. A campaign finance loophole allowed a politician facing recall to accept unlimited campaign donations. This allowed Walker to accept checks for $100,000, $250,000, and $500,000 -- for a total of $30.5 million -- while his opponents engaged in a Democratic primary had to abide by a $10,000 contribution cap. No opponent could overcome this astonishing financial advantage. Finally, because of the Democratic primary on May 8, there was only four weeks for the winner to raise money, cut ads and campaign around the state.
Democrats Unable to Match Avalanche of Outside Money
Around $63.5 million was spent in the election. $45 million of that $63.5 million -- more than 70 percent -- came from Walker's campaign and supporters. Because of the loophole in Wisconsin campaign finance law, Walker out-raised Barrett 7.5 to 1 ($30.5 million to $4 million at last count). Two-thirds of Walker's money came from out-of-state, versus only one-fourth of Barrett's money coming from outside Wisconsin.
According to Mike McCabe of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, which tracks money in politics, "Money doesn't talk, it screams. And that is what we saw in this election."
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CNN On Solyndra Loan: Bush Started It, There’s No Evidence of Wrongdoing, And Romney’s Attacks Are Made Up #p2 #tcot @MittRomney
The first one, by Steve Hargreaves of CNN Money, ends:
It's one thing to spin something to one's advantage. It's another to simply make things up to make the other guy look bad. Romney's Solyndra speech was an example of the latter. Disgraceful.
Hargreaves shows that Mitt Romney's key claim — "An independent inspector general looked at this investment and concluded that the Administration had steered money to friends and family and campaign contributors" — has no basis in fact.
The second piece, also by Hargreaves, lists 7 key facts:
1. It was started by Bush: The DOE loan program that funded Solyndra was actually started by President Bush in 2005. It was intended to provide government support for "innovative technologies"….
In fact, as Climate Progress reported back in September, the "Bush Administration advanced the Solyndra loan guarantee for two years" before Obama became President.
2. Congress thought there would be more failures: Two companies have declared bankruptcy under the loan program so far, out of the 33 projects funded. Congress was expecting more….
Congress appropriated money to cover expected losses, and multiple independent reviews have confirmed that the actual losses will likely be less than Congress expected.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Head Of Romney Transition Team Issued Hundreds of ‘Job-Killing’ EPA Regulations #p2 #tcot @MittRomney
Mike Leavitt and Mitt Romney (credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
Romney's official campaign website has a prominent section on government regulations entitled "Obama's Failure," which blasts the EPA for "endless new regulations touching on countless other forms of economic activity—regulations that drive up costs, hinder investment, and destroy jobs. Romney has added that "there are other people who would like to put in place a cap-and-trade program and dramatically increase the cost of energy. That's their view. And by the way, that would kill a lot of jobs."
Leavitt has a rather opposite record. In his introductory address to his EPA employees, enthusiastically endorsed a cap-and-trade, telling them:
We need to take the giant step toward national market-based solutions; to do that we need only look to our own experience. That is exactly what we're doing with cap and trade. The cap and trade strategy was key to the breakthrough against acid rain. It is central to Clear Skies. The cap and trade approach shows us again and again that people do more and they do it faster when they have an incentive to do what's in the public's interest.
And, a ThinkProgress analysis of Regulations.gov data reveals that between Leavitt's first day as administrator to his last, the agency promulgated or amended 232 regulatory rules. These
included tougher standards for ozone, diesel fuels, and other air pollutants. Among these were things likeNational Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Asbestos, and Protection of Stratospheric Ozone; Refrigerant Recycling; Substitute Refrigerants— the sorts of regulations Romney says "drive up costs, hinder investment, and destroy jobs."
Given their opposite views on these issues and Leavitt's strong support of ObamaCare, he seems a surprising choice to lead Romney's transition.
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