Prosecute the torture.

November 29, 2012

ANNOUNCEMENT

I got an interesting email last night.

Looks like I've been invited by the Pittsburgh branch of the Center for Inquiry to give a talk as part of their monthly lecture series.

I've been asked to give an informal talk on politics and religion in Western Pennsylvania.

Keep this date and time open: December 13th at 7pm - it'll be at the Carnegie Science Center.

As luck would have it, Peduto's got something going on at exactly the same time.


November 28, 2012

Not Sure They Understand What They Just Did

Scaife's braintrust, I mean. Take a look at this editorial from today's Tribune-Review:
Nothing better reveals the true agenda of environmental extremists than the fact that even an immediate, total U.S. carbon-emissions halt wouldn’t affect climate change significantly — but would cripple America’s economy and way of life.

Writing for The Examiner of Washington, Ron Arnold, executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, highlights that key conclusion of a new Science and Public Policy Institute report (scienceandpublicpolicy.org).

If America eliminated all carbon emissions today, says report author Paul Knappenberger, global temperatures would rise just 0.08 degrees Celsius less by 2050, 0.17 degrees Celsius less by 2100 — “amounts that are ... negligible.” That’s because the rest of the world would replace U.S. carbon emissions in less than seven years; China alone would do so in less than 11 years.
Do you see the problem the braintrust just made for itself?

For years the braintrust's been telling you, their faithful readers, that climate science is a perversion of genuine science and that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is simply "garbage."

Now look at what they're saying: that even if the US were to eliminate all carbon emissions today, the temperature, due to the rest of the world's carbon emissions, would still rise.  And they're basing this on the Ron Arnold piece in The Examiner that's paraphrasing this report from SPPI that states right away that it's:
Using assumptions based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Reports*, if the U.S. as a whole stopped emitting all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions immediately, the ultimate impact on projected global temperature rise would be a reduction, or a “savings,” of approximately 0.08°C by the year 2050 and 0.17°C by the year 2100—amounts that are, for all intents and purposes, negligible. [Emphasis added.]
But if the genuine science has been perverted by the faith-based conclusions of the Church of Climatology whose "research" from the IPCC lacks any credibility, then doesn't that make all of Ron Arnold's points simply moot?

November 27, 2012

Clark and Gilman Both Officially Running for Peduto's City Council Seat (District 8) - UPDATED

While Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto may not have formally announced that he's running for Mayor, he's definitely not running for Council again:

On Sunday, activist, feminist and PennFuture Director of Communications Jeanne Clark announced on the Run, Jeanne. Run Facebook page that she was, indeed, running. And, this morning, Dan Gilman, chief-of-staff to Councilman Peduto, announced that he was running (via press release).

So how do they stack up?

Jeanne Clark has appeared on the pages of this blog many times -- much of them in connection with her criticism of Lil Mayor Luke for promoting police officers who had been accused of domestic violence. Here's what the City Paper has to say about her:
Clark, of Shadyside, has been an activist on behalf of feminist and LGBT causes for more than three decades; she currently works as director of communications for environmental group Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (better known as PennFuture).

[snip]

District 8 includes some of the city's most prosperous East End neighborhoods. But Clark says she "also wants to see what I can do about the wide disparity between rich and poor, and the disparity in the services they get." And as befits someone whose current day job is with an environmental group, Clark says she'll be particularly focused on environmental issues like the overhaul of the city's stormwater system. Like many green-minded observers, Clark argues, "We need to be sure there's a green-infrastructure component" to preventing sewage overflow from contaminating local waterways.

Although this would be Clark's first time holding public office, she doesn't lack for political bona fides. She's the chair of the city Democrats' Seventh Ward committee, and a close ally of county executive Rich Fitzgerald. And through her work with groups like the National Organization for Women, she can boast "of a national reputation, and a national network" that can help support her campaign financially.

She also may pick up some tailwinds from a national climate that has become increasingly favorable to female candidates. There are three women currently on council, two of whom -- Natalia Rudiak and Theresa Kail Smith -- are up for re-election this year. (The third female councilor, of course, is President Darlene Harris.) If Rudiak and Smith win their races, and Clark is elected, four of council's nine members would be women. That would be, I believe, the highest percentage of women on council in Pittsburgh history.
So, what's not to like?

Dan Gilman is Chief-of-Staff in Peduto's office for Council District 8. He's worked there for the past eight years. Peduto served in that same position to former City Councilman Dan Cohen. It's a great way to learn a district -- its needs, its problems and its people. From the Post-Gazette:
"For the past eight years, I have counted on the advice, vision and experience of Dan Gilman," Mr. Peduto said in a statement. "He has been my partner in improving our neighborhoods and our city. I know that you can count on him too."

In a statement, Mr. Gilman said his experience working on neighborhood issues, such as flooding and overzealous towing practices, and legislative issues, such as campaign finance reform and lobbyist registration, have prepared him for the council seat. He also cited his work on East End economic development initiatives and his service as a board member with Pittsburgh Cares, Community Technical Assistance Center and other groups.
Additionally, from today's press release:
Dan was an early volunteer with Senator Al Gore’s presidential campaign, interned for American Civil Liberties Union, and as a Pittsburgh Foundation Fulton Fellow for Congressman Mike Doyle on Capitol Hill. He also served as a Presidential Fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress in Washington DC.
So, again, what's not to like?


This is going to be a tough one for me, folks. At this point, I'm just going to say that District 8 is facing an embarrassment of riches in terms of candidates.

UPDATE: OK. When I first read the P-G article I linked to above, it was just about Gilman, then apparently they added Clark (copied from Facebook):

post-gazette.com
A Pittsburgh City Council staffer and a Squirrel Hill activist said today they will seek the Democratic nomination for the seat currently held by Bill peduto."
 
And, now the headline is "Three say they will seek Peduto's Pittsburgh City Council seat":
 
"Sam Hens-Greco, 56, an attorney from Squirrel Hill and 14th ward Democratic chairman, said he also is planning to run for the seat but was not sure when he might make a formal announcement. He is married to Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Kathryn Hens-Greco."

Anyone else wanna jump in today?

The election is over (Prez), the election is just beginning (Mayor)

Chances are if you're a Democrat in the City of Pittsburgh, you saw this in the past couple of days:
Either you got a mailing, you got an email, you went to the website, or you saw a tweet about it.
While no one has yet formally declared they are running for Mayor of Pittsburgh, City Councilman Bill Peduto filed the paperwork necessary to run back in September; current Mayor, Luke Ravenstahl, said he was seeking reelection earlier this month; and Controller Michael Lamb said he will be running yesterday. There will also be dueling parties in NYC next month during Pennsylvania Society weekend for Bill and Luke.
As a longtime Peduto supporter, I of course urge you all to go to billpeduto.com and hit those 'Donate' and 'Volunteer' buttons!
We're a 5 to 1 Democratic city -- can we please also be a progressive one?!
 
*** Obligatory Disclaimer: As everyone should know by now, I've been working part-time for People For Peduto since 2010.

November 26, 2012

Getting The Facts Wrong. Again.

The Tribune-Review, again, is showing us all how little work they actually do when they write their editorials.  One or maybe two rightwing "sources" are all they seem to need to extend a faulty narrative.

Take today, for example.  In an editorial that begins with:
President Obama wants to reduce America’s nuclear arsenal. That much is clear from his remarks in a May speech in Seoul, South Korea, when he said, “(W)e have more nuclear weapons than we need.”

How much he wants to reduce the country’s nuclear weapons remains unclear, as his Nuclear Posture Review implementation study is months overdue, according to Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.

“No president has ever before held up a nuclear review for an election,” Rep. Turner writes for The Examiner of Washington.
Here's that article in the Washington Examiner and here's the quotation:
While Congress and the American people have been told to be content and wait, the president announced during a speech in Seoul, South Korea, in May 2012 that "[t]hat study is still underway. But even as we have more work to do, we can already say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need."
Um, do I need to point out that the speech that both Rep. Turner and Scaife's braintrust quote was from March and not May?  From Whitehouse.gov dated March 26, 2012:
My administration’s nuclear posture recognizes that the massive nuclear arsenal we inherited from the Cold War is poorly suited to today’s threats, including nuclear terrorism. So last summer, I directed my national security team to conduct a comprehensive study of our nuclear forces. That study is still underway. But even as we have more work to do, we can already say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need. Even after New START, the United States will still have more than 1,500 deployed nuclear weapons, and some 5,000 warheads.
I realize that's a tiny point, but if you're a news source (as the Trib presents itself to be) then such easily tracked down things as dates should always be accurate, doncha think?

The braintrust then references some Scaife-funded cousins:
The U.S. remains the only nuclear power without a weapons-modernization program. Meanwhile China and Russia are updating their nuke arsenals, reminds The Heritage Foundation. And never mind the continuing threat from North Korea, which now boasts of having ballistic missiles that can reach the United States.
Here's the source for Heritage's claim.

Alas, the Federation of American Scientists has already offered up some facts to dispute this allegation:
The Heritage blog also mischaracterizes the United States as “the only country without a substantial nuclear weapons modernization program.” That’s quite a stretch given that the U.S. has recently converted four SSBNs to carry the Trident II D5 SLBM, has just finished modernizing its Minuteman III ICBM force and replacing the W62 warhead with the more powerful W87, has full-scale production underway of the W76-1 warhead, is preparing full-scaled production of the new B61-12 bomb, is producing a nuclear-capable F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, is studying a new common warhead for ICBMs and SLBMs, is designing a new class of 12 SSBNs, is designing a new long-range bomber, is studying a replacement for the Minuteman III ICBM, and is building new or modernized nuclear weapons production facilities.

That looks like a pretty busy modernization effort to me.
And then there's this:
No nation has ever turned back foreign aggression by weakening itself. The safety and security long guaranteed by America’s nuclear arsenal must not be diluted by the empty premise that if the U.S. disarms, so, too, will other nations with adversarial intentions.
They really gotta do better than this.  UPI from 2001:
President Bush took the first step in a historic reduction of strategic nuclear weapons Tuesday, slashing the U.S. stockpile by two-thirds and winning a commitment from Russian President Vladimir Putin to "try to respond in kind."
To my friends on Scaife's braintrust: You really have to do better than this. This is embarrassing for you, doncha think?

November 25, 2012

Ann Coulter, Fordham, And The Trib

Amazing how far they'll can stretch a false comparison.

From today's Tribune-Review:
And from the august halls of academia comes a report that Fordham University effectively barred conservative columnist Ann Coulter from speaking on campus but welcomed Princeton bioethics professor Peter Singer, who “has long lamented the societal stigma against having sex with animals,” The Daily Caller reports. In Fordham’s defense, Georgetown University Jesuit and senior government professor James Schall says the church isn’t afraid of any idea — so long as it has a fair chance to explain its own position. Evidently Ms. Coulter’s conservatism must be pretty scary stuff for those deep-thinking Jesuits at Fordham.
Ah, the need to fact check the braintrust is ever present.  Let's begin.

Looks their one and only source for this blurb is the Daily Caller article mentioned.  Had they done their homework and dug into the, you know, facts, they'd have found that the premise of first half of that first sentence is simply untrue.

Fordham University did not "bar" (effectively or otherwise) Coulter from speaking.  Indeed Fordham never invited her.  The university's College Republicans did.

And they're the ones who disinvited her.

And CR President Theodore Conrad said he reached this decision before University President Father Joseph McShane issued this statement - a statement that began with:
The College Republicans, a student club at Fordham University, has invited Ann Coulter to speak on campus on November 29. The event is funded through student activity fees and is not open to the public nor the media. Student groups are allowed, and encouraged, to invite speakers who represent diverse, and sometimes unpopular, points of view, in keeping with the canons of academic freedom. Accordingly, the University will not block the College Republicans from hosting their speaker of choice on campus. [emphasis added.]
The reason why the Conrad disinvited Coulter? From the Fordham Observer:
The decision was arrived at by Conrad early this morning, well before Father Joseph M. McShane, S.J. and president of Fordham, sent an email upholding her scheduled appearance.

“I do take responsibility in not doing the proper research,” Conrad said. “We did not properly vet a potential speaker for Fordham University.”

“The things that she said are not things our club stands for or anything at Fordham stands for and I feel we would be doing a lot of people a diservice in bringing a speaker like that to Fordham. The bad outweighs the good in this.”
Turns out that doing the proper research can lead to embarrassment - first for the Fordham CR and then for Scaife's braintrust.

But that's all beside the point, to be honest.  The braintrust was looking to establish a false comparison: (Conservative Coulter gets bounced by the same university that invites infanticide/bestiality fan Peter Singer!)

Except that what the wingnuts accuse Singer of, he's not guilty of.  Here's Kathryn Jean Lopez of the National Review Online:
Once an Ivy League professor is known to be a proponent of infanticide, perhaps nothing he says or writes should thereafter raise eyebrows. Still, Peter Singer’s latest writing is worth noting — if only so someone at Princeton University takes notice.

In the online magazine nerve.com, Peter Singer writes an opinion piece, “Heavy Petting” — part a review of Dearest Pet: On Bestiality by Midas Dekker, “a Dutch biologist and popular naturalist,” but really more of a statement about the last sexual taboo — sex with animals.
And then:
Much of Singer’s review is simply not fit to be reprinted on NRO, but rest assured that he gets graphically specific at times, trying to demonstrate just how widespread the sex-with-animals scene is — and has long been.

And while Singer explains that a human male who has sex with hens ultimately kills the hen, he wonders if it is any “worse than what egg producers do to their hens all the time.”
Of course she wants you to think that Singer's in favor of both. But let's look at what he actually says.  Here's that opinion piece she mentions.  It's a 12 year old piece discussing the taboo against bestiality and its limits - no where is he advocating such conduct.  For example on that hen sex, he wrote:
Almost a century ago, when Freud had just published his groundbreaking Three Essays on Sexuality, the Viennese writer Otto Soyka published a fiery little volume called Beyond the Boundary of Morals. Never widely known, and now entirely forgotten, it was a polemic directed against the prohibition of "unnatural" sex like bestiality, homosexuality, fetishism and other non-reproductive acts. Soyka saw these prohibitions as futile and misguided attempts to limit the inexhaustible variety of human sexual desire. Only bestiality, he argued, should be illegal, and even then, only in so far as it shows cruelty towards an animal. Soyka's suggestion indicates one good reason why some of the acts described in Dekkers book are clearly wrong, and should remain crimes. Some men use hens as a sexual object, inserting their penis into the cloaca, an all-purpose channel for wastes and for the passage of the egg. This is usually fatal to the hen, and in some cases she will be deliberately decapitated just before ejaculation in order to intensify the convulsions of its sphincter. This is cruelty, clear and simple. (But is it worse for the hen than living for a year or more crowded with four or five other hens in barren wire cage so small that they can never stretch their wings, and then being stuffed into crates to be taken to the slaughterhouse, strung upside down on a conveyor belt and killed? If not, then it is no worse than what egg producers do to their hens all the time.) [Emphasis added.]
So where is he in favor of it?

Now, onto that false "infantide" charge.  This is from Singer's own FAQ:
Q. You have been quoted as saying: "Killing a defective infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Sometimes it is not wrong at all." Is that quote accurate?

A. It is accurate, but can be misleading if read without an understanding of what I mean by the term “person” (which is discussed in Practical Ethics, from which that quotation is taken). I use the term "person" to refer to a being who is capable of anticipating the future, of having wants and desires for the future. As I have said in answer to the previous question, I think that it is generally a greater wrong to kill such a being than it is to kill a being that has no sense of existing over time. Newborn human babies have no sense of their own existence over time. So killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living. That doesn’t mean that it is not almost always a terrible thing to do. It is, but that is because most infants are loved and cherished by their parents, and to kill an infant is usually to do a great wrong to its parents. Sometimes, perhaps because the baby has a serious disability, parents think it better that their newborn infant should die. Many doctors will accept their wishes, to the extent of not giving the baby life-supporting medical treatment. That will often ensure that the baby dies. My view is different from this, only to the extent that if a decision is taken, by the parents and doctors, that it is better that a baby should die, I believe it should be possible to carry out that decision, not only by withholding or withdrawing life-support – which can lead to the baby dying slowly from dehydration or from an infection - but also by taking active steps to end the baby’s life swiftly and humanely.

Q. What about a normal baby? Doesn’t your theory of personhood imply that parents can kill a healthy, normal baby that they do not want, because it has no sense of the future?

A. Most parents, fortunately, love their children and would be horrified by the idea of killing it. And that’s a good thing, of course. We want to encourage parents to care for their children, and help them to do so. Moreover, although a normal newborn baby has no sense of the future, and therefore is not a person, that does not mean that it is all right to kill such a baby. It only means that the wrong done to the infant is not as great as the wrong that would be done to a person who was killed. But in our society there are many couples who would be very happy to love and care for that child. Hence even if the parents do not want their own child, it would be wrong to kill it. [Emphases added.]
Tell me again how he favors infanticide?

Coulter embarrassed herself by calling the president a "retard."  Agree or disagree with Singer's nuanced argument, but putting them on the same intellectual plane is simply absurd.

And not checking the facts in order to make that false comparison is ridiculous.

November 24, 2012

Walmart Vs. Small Business Saturday

Yesterday, was Black Friday and in 100 cities in 46 states Walmart shoppers were met with protesters:
At the Walmart in Paramount, Calif., near Los Angeles, about 600 protesters, including an estimated 100 Walmart workers, turned out Friday morning. In Hanover, Md., 400 store employees, union workers, activists and other supporters showed up at a Walmart Supercenter Friday.
In Pittsburgh, about 130 protesters showed up at the Walmart store at the Waterworks Mall. One Pittsburgh, helped to organize the protest here. From their press release:
In October, over 100 Walmart workers went on strike at 12 different stores in 10 separate states, including Walmart warehouse workers in CA and IL. They were protesting intimidation and retaliation from Walmart managers as the workers sought to organize for a fair wage. Walmart intensified its retaliation in order to silence the workers. Rather than cow to the bullying tactics, Walmart associates across the nation are standing up and walking out. Walmart workers on both coasts have already walked out on strike as of November 19thand 20th, in protest over Walmart's scramble to scare associates into not taking action on Black Friday. One Pittsburgh, community organizations and concerned shoppers will join with the workers on Black Friday, taking a stand against Walmart’s bullying and a stand for fair wages and workers’ rights.  
Regular folks throughout the country are wising up to the tactics used by big corporations to keep profits and CEO salaries high and keep working families down. Walmart is one of the richest corporations in the world, and the Walton Family has a combined wealth that equals 40% of the rest of America combined. Yet many of their workers cannot afford to take care of their own families, and are forced to use state funded healthcare and food stamps. Workers, taxpayers and shoppers are tired of Walmart’s greed and on Black Friday they’ll be taking a stand,
Here are some photos from that protest (courtesy of Joy Sabl):





Today, is Small Business Saturday. If you don't like the economics and social ramifications of big box stores like Walmart, you can support locally-owned businesses by shopping there today (and the rest of the year as well). To make your shopping easier in the city of Pittsburgh, Councilman Bill Peduto sponsored legislation in City Council that will suspend meter enforcement citywide today for "Small Business Saturday."

One new store you may want to check out is the East End Book Exchange -- a "bookstore committed to maintaining an active enthusiasm for books and print culture. We offer a well-curated selection of used titles, along with new works by your favorite local authors." They're located at 4754 Liberty Avenue -- right in the middle of Bloomfield. (This is an unpaid plug, folks.)


So, check out some local stores and keep your money in town!

November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

When I was a boy in New England (where you can find the best pizza on the planet) every year on Thanksgiving day it was a tradition for at least one New York radio station to play one particular 18 minute piece of music - some time around noon.

This piece of music.

Lyrics are here.

You can buy a copy here.
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving, Saint Paul, and Harry S Truman

Our good friends on the Tribune-Review's editorial board, even with a "feel good" Thanksgiving editorial, can't resist invoking "religious freedom" to assert their wish to authorize of one faith (presumably theirs) over all.

They could have quoted one somewhat recent president declaring to a congregation that:
We in the United States, above all, must remember that lesson, for we were founded as a nation of openness to people of all beliefs. And so we must remain. Our very unity has been strengthened by our pluralism. We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate. All are free to believe or not believe, all are free to practice a faith or not, and those who believe are free, and should be free, to speak of and act on their belief.
By the way, this was Ronald Reagan (yes RONALD REAGAN) speaking before the Temple Hillel and Community Leaders in Valley Stream, NY in 1984.

Instead, Scaife's braintrust quotes a less recent president speaking before a different congregation:
“In Thanksgiving,” President Truman said, “we have a purely American holiday — fashioned out of our own history and testifying to the religious background of our national life. That day expresses what we mean when we say that our form of government rests on a spiritual foundation.

“It is from a strong and vital church — from the strength and vitality of all our churches — that government must draw its vision,” he continued. “In the teachings of our Savior, there is no room for bigotry, for discrimination, for the embittered struggle of class against class, or for the hostilities of nation against nation.

“St. Paul, in writing to the early church at Colossae, said, ‘Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.’”
Before I go further, let me point out that there's a bit of a cheat here. Because if you look at the original speech of Truman's to the Westminster Presbyterian Church in 1952, there's a whole lot of stuff between the quoted first and second paragraphs - stuff Scaife's braintrust opted you didn't need to see - with no indication that there's been an omission.

What did they decide that you didn't need to see?  Apart from the expected "only faith is what will save us from godless communism" we find passages extolling the need to wage a "ceaseless war against injustice in our society" and that "we are all our brothers' keepers"  and finally touting the need for something called the "Point 4" program - which turns out to be a government plan to spread American scientific know-how to impoverished countries around the world.  Gee, I wonder why the arch-conservatives at the Trib decided you didn't need to read any of that.

But all that's beside the point.  Instead of Reagan's assertion that State and Church must remain separate and that "we command no worship", we get from the braintrust Truman quoting Paul's Letter to the Colossians asserting cultural and religious unity - but only through Christ.

Yea, that's freedom.

Finally, with all due respect to President Truman, I am not sure Colossians 3 is really the place to find much support for a contemporary "war on injustice" or a "fight for brotherhood."  Why?

Colossians 3:18-24:
18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Yea, that's freedom.

November 21, 2012

Their Latest Excuse

Teh Crazies have another excuse:
It's not fair!  A thirty-year old consent decree is keeping them from fighting VOTER FRAUD.
This is what's coming out of crazie central: World Net Daily:
...a race-based consent decree negotiated by Democrats against the Republican National Committee a generation ago still has tied the RNC’s hands, and GOP officials could be cited for contempt – or worse – if they try to make sure American elections are clean.

Impossible?

No. Fact.

The case is the Democratic National Committee vs. the Republican National Committee, originally from 1982.

Democrats alleged Republicans were trying intimidate minority voters in New Jersey and brought the legal action. The RNC, inexplicably, decided to agree to a consent decree before a Democrat-appointed judge rather than fight the claims.
And they ("inexplicably") agreed to it, of course, because Reagan trounced Carter only two years before.  So of course they were politically powerless.  Of course.

When we look at a recent challenge to this consent decree, we find that in 1987 (still during the Reagan years) that the decree was modified. It pointed out some really dirty tricks from the RNC (Note: this is still two years BEFORE Lee Atwater took over):
In Louisiana during the 1986 Congressional elections, the RNC allegedly created a voter challenge list by mailing letters to African-American voters and, then, including individuals whose letters were returned as undeliverable on a list of voters to challenge. A number of voters on the challenge list brought a suit against the RNC in Louisiana state court. In response to a discovery request made in that suit, the RNC produced a memorandum in which its Midwest Political Director stated to its Southern Political Director that “this program will eliminate at least 60,000–80,000 folks from the rolls . . . If it’s a close race . . . which I’m assuming it is, this could keep the black vote down considerably.”
There was a lawsuit and then:
The RNC and the DNC settled the lawsuit, this time by modifying the Consent Decree, which remained “in full force and effect.” (App. at 404.) In the 1982 Decree, the RNC had agreed to specific restrictions regarding its ability to engage in “ballot security activities,” but that Decree did not define the term “ballot security activities.” (App. at 401.) As modified in 1987, the Decree defined “ballot security activities” to mean “ballot integrity, ballot security or other efforts to prevent or remedy vote fraud.” The modifications clarified that the RNC “may deploy persons on election day to perform normal poll watch[ing] functions so long as such persons do not use or implement the results of any other ballot security effort, unless the other ballot security effort complies with the provisions of the Consent Order and applicable law and has been so determined by this Court.” (App. at 405.) The modifications also added a preclearance provision that prohibits the RNC from assisting or engaging in ballot security activities unless the RNC submits the program to the Court and to the DNC with 20 days’ notice and the Court determines that the program complies with the Consent Decree and applicable law. [Emphasis added.]
Wait, wait. So the Republicans CAN do normal poll watching??  Since 1987?

But I thought that the WND said they were barred from trying to make sure the elections are clean?

Someone's bullshitting you, my friends.  How much you wanna bet it's the World Net Daily?

November 19, 2012

More On Senator Marco Rubio's Geological Knowledge

He's been called one of the rising stars of the GOP and one of the symbols of the future.

He's also got a lot to learn about science.

Take a look at this from GQ (h/t to ThinkProgress). When asked how old he thought the earth was, he responded:
I'm not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that's a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I'm not a scientist. I don't think I'm qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that. It's one of the great mysteries.
Yes, there are "multiple theories" about how the universe was created (some of them actual science, most of the others are not), but that's not what he was asked.  He was asked about the age of the earth - and to that question he said he wasn't sure "we'll ever be able to answer that."

But he's wrong.  It's not much of a mystery and  - that age isn't much in dispute.  It's about 4.54 billion years old (give or take 50 million).

The funny thing about Rubio is that he's not even being consistent with his own church.  He told Christianity today that:
I'm a Roman Catholic. I'm theologically in line with the Roman Catholic Church.
Ok, so what does the Roman Catholic Church say about the age of the earth? Let's take a look at this document from the Vatican website:
According to the widely accepted scientific account, the universe erupted 15 billion years ago in an explosion called the “Big Bang” and has been expanding and cooling ever since. Later there gradually emerged the conditions necessary for the formation of atoms, still later the condensation of galaxies and stars, and about 10 billion years later the formation of planets. In our own solar system and on earth (formed about 4.5 billion years ago)...[Emphasis added.]
So Rubio disagrees with his own church?

More anti-science from the GOP - the future of the GOP.

November 18, 2012

On That Carbon Tax: The Trib, The AEI And The Truth

From today's op-ed page at the Tribune-Review:
A new federal carbon tax being advocated by leftists and environmentalists would not curb man-made emissions enough to possibly affect climate. But it would hinder commerce and America’s drive for energy independence enough to drag down the economy.

Steve Milloy, the publisher of JunkScience.com , writing for Investor’s Business Daily, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Christopher C. Horner, writing in California’s Orange County Register, point out that a carbon tax...
Before we go any further, we should look at what Milloy and Horner actually wrote about this.  From Horner we learn a little more:
Recently, a leaked agenda laid bare a strategy session among a virtual Who's Who of left-leaning big-government activist groups, hosted by a generally conservative policy group, the American Enterprise Institute. By the agenda's title, this fifth in a series was part of a "Lame Duck Initiative" to strategize enactment of a "carbon" tax, or federal energy tax on oil, coal and gas, in the post-election session of Congress that began this week.

AEI thereby joined former Republican politicians and advisers seeking to rebrand, as a conservative idea, the latest incarnation of what the political Left has long pined for, only to be told it was a dead letter given the political debacle of the Clinton administration's 1993 "BTU tax."
It's from the American Enterprise Institute?  Funny how that part (you know about how it's coming from the Scaife-Funded AEI) never made it into Scaife's paper.  Not sure how they can ignore $8.7 million dollars ($7.8 from Sarah Scaife and $900K from Carthage) worth of support over the last few decades.

That's kinda embarrassing, isn't it?

November 16, 2012

..And They Keep Doing It

Back in August, I posted some observations/criticisms about some of the political news coverage I found at Richard Mellon Scaife's Tribune-Review.

I wrote then that Brill's Content, a now defunct political news site, asserted in 2001 that the political coverage over at the Trib was skewed and it's " information laundered" to suit Scaife's viewpoints.  Financial connections between the paper's owner and its sources were routinely omitted and its readers were being mislead about a story's credibility.  I added that that practice still seems to be taking place.

And now there's this piece by Selena Zito in Today's paper about Senator Pat Toomey.  Where Brad Bumstead ignored his boss's financial connections to the Club For Growth and Senator Toomey, Zito just simply omits any connection between Toomey and the Scaife-funded Club For Growth.

If you don't think this is a big deal, then ask yourself: How would my opinion of the piece change had Zito chosen to tell me that her boss had both donated to the campaign of the Senator she was interviewing AND to the conservative think tank he once headed?

Now do you see?

November 15, 2012

Looking For Reasons Why The GOP Lost?

Here's a few.

Representative Paul Ryan:
Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin on Monday blamed Democratic turnout in “urban areas” for the loss by the Republican presidential ticket last week, saying he was surprised that he and Mitt Romney did not do better in the nation’s big cities.
And don't you think "urban areas" is code for something? And if so, what?

He goes on:
In the interview with the television station, Mr. Ryan said he did not think that the nation’s voters had rejected his long-standing ideas for how to restructure the nation’s budget and cut spending.

“I don’t think we lost it on those budget issues, especially on Medicare — we clearly didn’t lose it on those issues,” he said.
So he thinks they won on ideas - and they'd have won if only those pesky voters in those pesky "urban areas" didn't vote the way he wanted them to!

And here's why they thought so - here's Governor Mitt Romney:
Mitt Romney said Wednesday that his loss to President Obama was due in large part to his rival's strategy of giving "gifts" during his first term to three groups that were pivotal in the results of last week's election: African Americans, Latinos and young voters.

"The Obama campaign was following the old playbook of giving a lot of stuff to groups that they hoped they could get to vote for them and be motivated to go out to the polls, specifically the African American community, the Hispanic community and young people," Romney told hundreds of donors during a telephone town hall Wednesday. "In each case they were very generous in what they gave to those groups."
And then there's this guy from Maine:
Outgoing Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster plans to investigate claims that “dozens of black people” who were unfamiliar to municipal officials voted Nov. 6 in rural Maine towns.
Dozens.

Given that Obama won Maine by about 107,000 votes, I am thinking that "dozens" of votes were not going to change the results in either direction (unless we're talking 9000 dozen) - even if it was true.  But considering the source, it probably isn't.

Tells you alot about the groupthink over at the GOP.

Three things to remember during the debate about the Fiscal Cliff Fiscal Curb

1) Ronald Reagan: "Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit."



2) A nonpartisan tax report which found no correlation between top tax rates and economic growth was withdrawn after G.O.P. protest.

3) Nobody actually cares about the deficit like they say they do:




(h/t to Digby for items 1 and 3)

Young male punk who got his job straight out of college via nepotism tells first female Speaker to get out of the way for a younger model

(h/t to Wonkette)

Call it a human sacrifice

Savita Halappanavar
"Human sacrifice is the act of killing one or more human beings as part of a religious ritual (ritual killing). Its typology closely parallels the various practices of ritual slaughter of animals and of religious sacrifice in general. Human sacrifice has been practised in various cultures throughout history. Victims were typically ritually killed in a manner that was supposed to please or appease gods, spirits or the deceased, for example as a propitiatory offering, or as a retainer sacrifice when the King's servants are killed in order for them to continue to serve their master in the next life. "

- Wikipedia

Savita Halappanavar's life was sacrificed to comply with Catholic religious doctrine which demands that termination of a pregnancy never be permitted -- including to save the life of the woman. Via The Irish Times:
Savita Halappanavar (31), a dentist, presented with back pain at the hospital on October 21st, was found to be miscarrying, and died of septicaemia a week later.

Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar (34), an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, says she asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated. He says that, having been told she was miscarrying, and after one day in severe pain, Ms Halappanavar asked for a medical termination.

This was refused, he says, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country”.

She spent a further 2½ days “in agony” until the foetal heartbeat stopped.
Savita was neither Catholic or Irish. Think it can't happen here? Think again. This same view was espoused by the Republican Party Platform which offered no exceptions for abortions. Now, Ohio wants to put it into practice. Via Think Progress:
During this year’s lame duck session, Ohio legislators are planning to revive HB 125, a so-called “heartbeat” bill that would ban abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected — which can first occur as early as five or six weeks, before many women may even know they’re pregnant. The proposed legislation represents the most restrictive abortion ban in the United States. If HB 125 is passed, it would criminalize all abortions after the emergence of a fetal heartbeat without allowing even the narrowest exceptions in potential cases of rape, incest, or the mental health of the woman.

Even if Ohio’s bill includes some kind of provision that would allow women to seek abortions in life-threatening situations, Halappanavar’s death points to the fact that health risks aren’t always immediately apparent. A 1992 Supreme Court ruling in Ireland amended the country’s abortion ban to include an exception in cases where the woman’s life is in danger, but Irish hospitals don’t always know how far that medical exception can stretch. They are often reluctant to provide women with abortion services unless the situation is very clearly life-threatening — and for women like Halappanavar, that can already be too late.

And in cases where the fetus is not expected to survive — when women like Halappanavar are undergoing a miscarriage, or when doctors discover fatal fetal defects — anti-abortion legislation is often murky, even in this country. In Arizona, where a stringent abortion ban outlaws the procedure after just 20 weeks, women who discover fatal defects that will not allow their fetus to survive are forced to carry the fetus to term anyway.
In other words, a doctor would have to wait until a woman is literally dying before intervening. Has she lost enough blood? Is the infection so pervasive that she may not recover? Because . . . because . . . of a religious concept of a soul which presents itself at conception but is stained by sin because a woman talked to an evil serpent? Because . . . because . . . How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

This is what happens when religion is allowed to be the state. An intelligent, beautiful, young woman's life is sacrificed for the fetus who is already dying inside her.

Both are dead.
"With modern technology and science, you can't find one instance," Walsh said. "There is no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as health of the mother, same thing."

- Republican Rep. Joe Walsh (Ill.)

November 14, 2012

GOP: The Stupid Party

Governor Jindal in Politico:
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Monday called on Republicans to “stop being the stupid party” and make a concerted effort to reach a broader swath of voters with an inclusive economic message that pre-empts efforts to caricature the GOP as the party of the rich.

In his first interview since his party’s electoral thumping last week, Jindal urged Republicans to both reject anti-intellectualism and embrace a populist-tinged reform approach that he said would mitigate what exit polls show was one of President Barack Obama’s most effective lines of attack against Mitt Romney. [Emphasis added.]
While the interview is about much more (he talks about banking reform, immigration, and how "merely being the anti-Obama party didn't work" for example) he did say:
“It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments — enough of that,” Jindal said. “It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.”
Ok, then.  Perhaps if Governor Jindal wants the GOP to cease being "the stupid party" he can start with the majority of Republicans (58%, according to Gallup) who believe that "God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years" even though the science dates the first "modern" humans evolved about 200,000 years ago.

Or perhaps Governor Jindal could address the 57% of Republicans who don't believe there's solid evidence for Global Warming (when asked by Pew only 43% said there was solid evidence for it) if he wants the GOP to stop being "the stupid party."

Perhaps had Governor Jindal vetoed the "Louisiana Science Education Act" instead of signing it, I'd have a little more faith in his words. And what did the LSEA do? From Slate:
The act allows “supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials” to be brought into classrooms to support the “open and objective discussion” of certain “scientific theories,” including, of course, evolution. As educators who have heard such coded language before quickly realized, the act was intended to promote creationism as science.
Good going, Bobby.

Karl Rove in Pittsburgh Today


Karl "The Architect" Rove on The Colbert Report

George W. Bush's favorite turd blossom, Karl Rove, will be in Pittsburgh today at the DUG East Convention. The theme of the convention is "Unleashing the Utica, Monetizing the Marcellus." Rove is being advertised as the "Special Luncheon Speaker." The description of his speech is as follows:
A Post-Election Luncheon with Karl Rove

In an encore appearance at DUG East, the former deputy chief of staff and senior advisor to President George W. Bush shares his view of the ballot results and their implications for better U.S. government policy.
Hmm..."shares his view of the ballot results and their implications for better U.S. government policy." Think that was written before the election? And before his utter embarrassment on FOX News on election night? Well, it was. You'd think someone would want to update that a bit.

Or maybe Karl will continue to thumb his nose at reality...


Also, for you fracktivists out there, there is a planned protest tomorrow at this convention. Via Facebook:
Protest Michael Krancer at Frackers' Convention

Public Event · By Marcellus Protest
Thursday 11:00am

Info: info@marcellusprotest.org 

In honor of its two year anniversary, Marcellus Protest is organizing a spur of the moment, DIY protest at the 'Developing Un-natural Gas' [DUG} convention. This year's convention features PA DEP's Michael Krancer, who speaks at 11:15 on Nov. 15.

Well, we've got a few things to tell the frackers too. Bring your own signs. ...

STUDENTS: "Say NO To Campus Drilling! Join us on November 15 at 11:00am outside the David Lawrence Convention Center to protest the natural gas industry's plan to frack and install related infrastructure on private and state university lands in Pennsylvania. We will be joined by Marcellus Protest Coalition, the grassroots organizers who successfully banned drilling through Pittsburgh City Council.

Afterward, we will visit newly re-elected Senator Bob Casey Jr's field office and deliver our message to his staff.
You may recall that PA's DEP is under fire over their water test reports:
Testimony by a high-ranking state Department of Environmental Protection official reveals the agency may have intentionally left out part of the results of water testing in relation to Marcellus shale drilling.

According to a press release from the office of state Rep. Jesse White, D-47, Cecil Township, the sworn testimony of DEP Bureau of Laboratories Technical Director Taru Upadhyay revealed the DEP used a computer code system that intentionally left out a portion of test results for residents who were concerned their water had been contaminated by nearby drilling.

“This is beyond outrageous,” White said. “Anyone who relied on the DEP for the truth about whether their water has been impacted by drilling activities has apparently been intentionally deprived of critical health and safety information by their own government.”

November 12, 2012

The GOP Debacle 2012 - Two Views

We all know how the election ended. President Obama was reelected with 332 Electoral and 62,085,892 Popular votes (51%), beating Challenger Mitt Romney who won 206 Electoral and 58,777,012 Popular votes (48%).

The big story, as told by CBS, is how the Romney Campaign got it so wrong.  They really did think they were going to win:
Romney and his campaign had gone into the evening confident they had a good path to victory, for emotional and intellectual reasons. The huge and enthusiastic crowds in swing state after swing state in recent weeks - not only for Romney but also for Paul Ryan - bolstered what they believed intellectually: that Obama would not get the kind of turnout he had in 2008.

They thought intensity and enthusiasm were on their side this time - poll after poll showed Republicans were more motivated to vote than Democrats - and that would translate into votes for Romney.
Didn't happen, of course. But why not?

Politico has some answers:
Across the [GOP]’s campaigns, committees and super PACs, internal polling gave an overly optimistic read on the electorate. The Romney campaign entered the last week of the election convinced that Colorado, Florida and Virginia were all but won, that the race in Ohio was neck and neck and that the Republican nominee had a legitimate shot in Pennsylvania.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee consistently had a more upbeat assessment of races in North Dakota and Montana, among others, than their Democratic counterparts. One GOP poll even showed Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock holding even with his opponent, even as public polls showed the embattled Republican hemorrhaging support. A Republican poll taken by Susquehanna Polling and Research showed Pennsylvania Senate candidate Tom Smith leading Democratic Sen. Bob Casey by 2 points a few weeks before the election; Casey won by 9 points.
Back to CBS. The piece lists the miscalculations the GOP made regarding their poll data:
1. They misread turnout. They expected it to be between 2004 and 2008 levels, with a plus-2 or plus-3 Democratic electorate, instead of plus-7 as it was in 2008. Their assumptions were wrong on both sides: The president's base turned out and Romney's did not. More African-Americans voted in Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida than in 2008. And fewer Republicans did: Romney got just over 2 million fewer votes than John McCain.

2. Independents. State polls showed Romney winning big among independents. Historically, any candidate polling that well among independents wins. But as it turned out, many of those independents were former Republicans who now self-identify as independents. The state polls weren't oversampling Democrats and undersampling Republicans - there just weren't as many Republicans this time because they were calling themselves independents.

3. Undecided voters. The perception is they always break for the challenger, since people know the incumbent and would have decided already if they were backing him. Romney was counting on that trend to continue. Instead, exit polls show Mr. Obama won among people who made up their minds on Election Day and in the few days before the election. So maybe Romney, after running for six years, was in the same position as the incumbent.
That's one view - reasonable, logical and supported by, you know evidence.

But never mind all that, Joseph Farah over at World Net Daily has the real reason why Romney ended up 116 Electoral and 3,309,000 Actual votes down.  It was VOTER FRAUD:
I also know that the reigning ethos of this movement represented so ably today by Obama is this: “By any means necessary …” It was first articulated by Jean Paul Sartre in his play, “Dirty Hands.” But it became popularized as a slogan of the revolutionary left by Malcolm X.

What it means, in short, is that the ends justify the means. It means violence is fine in achieving a worthwhile objective. It means lying, stealing, cheating and all those other bourgeoisie “sins” are appropriate means of furthering the cause.

Is there any doubt in your mind today that this is now the reigning ethos of the Democratic Party and its various tentacles and allies?

There is no doubt in my mind.

And that’s why stealing the vote is not only an acceptable practice by these people, it is a moral imperative in their twisted worldview.

Am I suggesting that the recent presidential election was stolen through voter fraud and manipulation?

Without a doubt.
While he writes that he has "plenty of anecdotal evidence" to support his view that 5% of the Democrat's support is attributed to fraud, he only offers us 4 examples.

None of which actually make much sense as evidence.  Let's take them one by one:

1) In Ohio, the voter rolls are "bloated" meaning that in some counties there are more people registered to vote than there are actual voters.  This, to Farah, is evidence of voter fraud.  What he leaves out of his quotation from his source material is these paragraphs:
The research found: more than 1.8 million dead people listed as voters; about 2.75 million with voter registrations in more than one state; and about 12 million voter records with incorrect addresses, meaning either the voters moved or errors in the information make it unlikely any mailings can reach them.

The latter category is where you’ll find most of Ohio’s 1.6 million inactive voters.

“For the most part, these are individuals who have already had mail returned to the board of elections or have filed a change of address with the U.S. post office,” said Husted spokeswoman Maggie Ostrowski.

Yet they are still officially registered to vote in Ohio and can cast a ballot if they provide a valid form of identification and their signature matches the one on file.
Bloated voter rolls in Ohio? Doesn't matter.

2) Michigan.  Farah wonders who Obama won so handily when the polls showed the two candidates in a virtual tie." Because they didn't. Take a look at Nate Silver's listing of the Michigan Poll data. Or Real Clear Politics. Nowhere in there is there any indication of a "virtual tie."

3) James O'Keefe and Project Veritas.  This doesn't even require a response.

4) WND's investigation that "demonstrated conclusively" that the Obama Campaign was taking illegal contributions via its website.  While I have no idea how this proves Voter Fraud, it did show that WND itself committed fraud by donating to a political campaign in someone else's name.

No limit of teh crazie over at World Net Daily.

November 11, 2012

Veterans Day Repost - From 2011 and 2006

Today is a very important day.

It's Veteran's Day.

It's the day we should all remember the sacrifices every veteran has made to protect the freedoms outlined in the Constitution. Were it not for the millions of men and women who've served in the Armed Forces, that piece of paper would just be, well, just a piece of paper long since consigned into the dustbin of history.

But where did the day come from?  Why is it so important?  Something from Kurt Vonnegut - a writer far far more talented than I will ever be - keeps echoing in my head whenever I think of November eleventh. Here's what he wrote in Breakfast of Champions (by the way "Dwayne Hoover" is a character from the book - go read it):
I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.
Armistice Day was the end of The Great War. It was called The War to End All Wars, and obviously they got the name wrong. But the day speaks to us as a symbol of hope in recognition of the folly of calling any war "The War to End All Wars."

The lesson learned is that there will always be conflict and we should be eternally grateful to those who've sacrificed some part of themselves to protect us and our freedom.

Thank you.

November 9, 2012

More On Faith Based Politics

From Capitol Hill Blue:
Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was so confident of victory against President Barack Obama that he spent $25,000 for victory fireworks, had already drawn up a list of White House appointments and took it easy on election day when his opponents were still working hard to get out the vote.

Political insiders tell Capitol Hill Blue that Romney didn’t think he could lose and was genuinely “shell shocked” when he lost the Presidential race in an electoral vote landslide to Obama.
And:
The GOP nominee’s campaign advisers convinced themselves that the polls showing a close race were flawed and that the “true electorate” would give give Romney at least 330 electoral votes.
As they say, faith is believing is true even though you have no evidence to support it.

NON-POLITICAL Announcement

Well, mostly non-political...

The election is over.  Obama won.  Facts won.  Arithmetic won.

Now it's time for a giggle or two.

My friend Dr. Goddess is putting on a show - this Saturday night.

Who's Dr. Goddess?  From her website:
Kimberly C. Ellis, Ph.D., is affectionately known as "Dr. Goddess,” and a true Renaissance Woman. She is a writer, an entertainer, an entrepreneur, a scholar (of American and Africana Studies), and an activist. Dr. Goddess engages social media to promote a new age liberation ideology undergirded by revolutionary love and uses art, humor, scholarship and politics to do it.
About the show, she says it's the first time she's incorporated stand up into a performance and she pictures it as a conversation of sorts between herself and the audience, full of improv and poetry.  She told me:
Everything about this election and what's happened in the last four years, especially, is up for grabs! We're going to laugh at Democrats, Republicans, Independents, the Media and ourselves. No one is safe.
Uh-oh.

November 8, 2012

Facts Matter

From Rachel Maddow:
Ohio really did go to the president last night.

And he really did win.
And he really was born in Hawaii.
And he really is -legitimately- President of the United States.

Again.

And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make-up a fake unemployment rate last month.
And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy.

And the polls were not skewed to over-sample Democrats.
And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad.

He was doing math.

And climate change is real.
And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes.
And evolution is a thing.
And Benghazi was an attack on us.

It was not a scandal by us.

And no one is taking away anyone's guns.
And taxes haven't gone up.
And the deficit is dropping, actually.
And Saddam Hussein didn't have weapons of mass destruction.

And the moon landing was real.
And FEMA isn't building concentration camps.
And UN election observers aren't taking over Texas.
And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry are not the same thing as communism.
Facts matter.

From George Will...

From the pages of the Tribune-Review, we have this from the man who predicted 321 electoral votes for Mitt Romney:
The electoral vote system, so incessantly and simple-mindedly criticized, has again performed the invaluable service of enabling federalism — presidents elected by the decisions of the states’ electorates — to deliver a constitutional decisiveness that the popular vote often disguises.

Republicans can take some solace from the popular vote. But unless they respond to accelerating demographic changes — and Obama, by pressing immigration reform, can give Republicans a reef on which they can wreck themselves — the 58th presidential election may be like the 57th, only more so.
He's already making a prediction about the next presidential election.

Now, about that popular vote.  According to CNN, Obama received 60,662,601 votes to Romney's 57,821,399.  This is not counting Florida - where they haven't made results official.  If we add the known votes (4,143,362 for Obama, 4,096,346 for Romney) to the above totals we get 64,805,963 votes for Obama and 61,917,715 for Romney for a total of 126,723,708 votes for the two candidates.

That's 51.14% to Obama and 48.86% to Romney.  That's just over 2.25 percentage point difference - hardly something to cheer about given the state of the economy, unemployment and the the millions in rightwing PAC money (thanks to Citizens United) poured into the race.

But you can't expect much from someone who got the electoral math that wrong.

A Tale of Two Elections

As with everything in our Two Americas, your voting experience varied radically depending on how much money you have.

In an African American neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, the scene was long lines and long waits as extended hours early voting only really extended to the white, Republican suburbs:


Meanwhile, voters in Bel Air, California were met with free valet parking, lattes and finger food in the luxe version of democracy:


USA! USA! USA!

November 7, 2012

Riot Grrrls!

  • New Hampshire Governor, House and Senate delegations: all women  
  • Kathleen Kane will become the first woman — as well as the first Democrat — to win the seat for PA Attorney General 
  • Tammy Baldwin from WI becomes the first openly gay US Senator ever
  • Elizabeth Warren wins US Senate race and restores that seat to liberals  
  • Tammy Duckworth defeats freshman Republican U.S. Rep. (and deadbeat dad) Joe Walsh in Illinois
  • Claire McCaskill legitimately shuts down Todd Akin in Missouri Senate race  
  • In a gift from God, Richard Mourdock loses IN Senate race

  • Now, On That Romney Landslide

    A few days ago, The Blaze posted a piece called:
    ROMNEY LANDSLIDE: HERE ARE THE BIGGEST NAMES PREDICTING IT & HOW IT WILL HAPPEN
    By the way as of this writing, the electoral college stands at 303-206 (Florida and its 29 electoral votes still unassigned) with President Obama winning.  No Romney victory.  No Romney "landslide."

    It's one thing to promote your party's candidate by "predicting" a win - but a landslide?  Who are these people?

    From The Blaze:
    • CNBC's Larry Kudlow predicted 330 electoral votes for Romney
    • George Will predicted 321 electoral votes for Romney
    • Dick Morris predicted a landslide, though I can't find a specific electoral college count
    • Michael Barone predicted 315 electoral votes for Romney
    • Glenn Beck predicted 321 electoral votes for Romeny
    I do have a question.  If, as these gentlemen have asserted, electoral vote totals of between 315 and 330 constitute a "landslide" and if Florida's 29 electoral votes go to Obama (at this writing he's ahead with 97% of the precincts reporting) what should we then say of President Obama's 332 (303 + 29) electoral votes?

    Could we then call it a landslide?

    I'm just asking.

    Win


    Congratulations, Mr. President!

    The freak out on FOX

    Via TPM:
    We’re going to have a piece on this shortly. But in case you weren’t watching Fox News over the last 45 minutes or so, something for the ages just happened. Shortly after Fox and everyone else called Ohio and the election for President Obama, Rove staged a live TV mutiny. He insisted that the Ohio call had been premature and then forced Fox’s Megan Kelly to make an SNL like walk through the Fox building and confront the network’s official number counters with Rove’s objections.
    They have the video too.

    Too damn funny!

    Trump completely loses it

    Donald Trump loses it, calls for “revolution”

    YES!




    November 6, 2012

    The latest in voter suppression in Pennsylvania today

    1) Judge orders partisans to stop asking voters for ID outside Homestead polls

    2) Watchdog: Evidence of Unlawful Voter Purge in Pennsylvania

    3) Video of 2012 Voting Machines Altering Votes in PA:

    Vote like your lady parts depend on it!


    Announcement!

    I'll be on the Lynn Cullen Show this morning at 10:30.

    It's my understanding that we'll be discussing such profound topics as:
    • Cato vs Rand - Given the seemingly endless conflicts between the Cato Institute and the Ayn Rand Institute, we'll be looking into the most irritating conflict of them all: Who spends more on high priced hookers (male AND female)?  Cato says Rand, Rand says Cato.  We report, you decide.
    • Kirk or Picard - Given that Shatner wore a toupee when he commanded the USS Enterprise and Stewart did not, who's gazpacho would be zestier?  The RAND Corporation (NOTE: NOT the "Rand Institute" from the above) did a study in the mid-90s and discovered that in fact Stewart's would be zestier, though in a head-to-head cook-off between Nimoy and Frakes, Nimoy's chili would win.  Go figure.
    • Ginger or Mary Ann - this one is obvious, don't you think?
    Or maybe we'll just talk politics.  Did you know there's an election today??? GO VOTE!

    Again, 10:30 this morning.

    Evidence Suggests PA GOP Poll Watchers Targeting African American Precincts

    Via an email from SEIU:
    Evidence Suggests PA GOP Poll Watchers Systematically Targeting African American Precincts

    WASHINGTON, DC – After receiving information indicating that the Pennsylvania Republican Party and the Pittsburgh Tea Party may be systematically sending poll watchers to predominantly African American precincts in Pittsburgh, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Common Cause, The Advancement Project, The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the ACLU, together with a number of local community groups, sent a letter to Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez, who is responsible for enforcing the Voting Rights Act, asking that the Justice Department “make every effort to ensure that voters at these targeted locations are able to cast their ballots freely and fairly” and also to ask the Pennsylvania Republican Party about the source of its lists and the basis of its targeting.

    “We have seen their list and it strongly suggests that the Pennsylvania Republican Party is coordinating with the Pittsburgh Tea Party to target African American voters for intimidation at the polls,” said Nicole Berner, SEIU Associate General Counsel. “The Pennsylvania Republican Party has serious questions to answer about where they are putting their poll watchers and why.”
    Full text of the letter after the fold.