This week in the Election Countdown: Printing errors on Florida ballots might eclipse that of the 2000 election; New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg vows to spend $10 million of his own money to endorse moderate candidates including Syracuse-area congressional candidate Dan Maffei; Michelle Obama defends her husband on economic issues: "He didn't place blame;" and More.
Mission elapsed time: T + 41 and counting*
I won't be active in the day-to-day operations of the ball club at all. –George Steinbrenner, on taking ownership of the New York Yankees
FL. Voting: "The printing error that sullied the first batch of 60,000 Palm Beach County absentee ballots is more complex and potentially more problematic than the infamous butterfly ballot that put the county in the national spotlight in 2000."
MA. Warren/Brown: Warren now leads by 9% according to PPP (a D shop).
ME. Greens: "[Asher Platt's] decision to take on [state Sen. Justin Alfond] was more practical than personal: 'At the time I was moving from sublet to sublet and I didn't known where I would be living.' Senate districts are bigger than House districts, so he figured that he had a better chance of meeting the residency requirement if he ran for the Senate."
MN. Water: "It took longer for the drought to be felt in MN than other states. But updated data from the U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday showed that nearly half the state is now in a severe or extreme drought, while the rest of the state is in at least a moderate drought."
NY. Money: "Bloomberg will spend at least $10 million of his personal fortune promoting moderate candidates, including Syracuse-area congressional candidate Dan Maffei" (and a reach-around for the D Maffei against G Rozum). ... Class warfare: " Affluent new moms are getting a suite deal at Lenox Hill Hospital: Posh $1,700-a-night, full-service "Beyoncé" rooms. The executive suites receive nearly one-on-one nursing care. Two floors above, up to 18 newborns are sometimes tended by a single nurse. The ratio, according to the nurses, is putting the babies' lives at risk in the prestigious Manhattan hospital. By contract, nurses are only supposed to work with eight newborns at a time." ... Legalization: "Cuomo vowed Tuesday to block any salary increase until "the people's agenda" is resolved. Included in that agenda, he said, are a minimum wage hike and Cuomo's proposal to decriminalize small-scale marijuana possession."
PA. Charters: "Rs backed away from Gov. Corbett's charter 'reform' legislation. The bill would have allowed the Governor and the State Education Department to override local school boards and open charters where the local board rejected them. This is a priority for Governor Tom Corbett and for ALEC, which values privatization over local control. Apparently, some Rs had trouble following the attack on public schools and local school boards, which are important and traditional institutions in the communities they represent." ... Legalization: "'[NJWeedman FTW!] I expected to get one juror, but I got 12. I didn't expect it, and I am very grateful. I think the jury sent a huge message to the state, the governor and the Prosecutor's Office. People don't want marijuana users hauled into court and locked up in jail'" (PT). ... Fracking: "The state AG sought the dismissal of a lawsuit against her that claims a medical 'gag rule' in new natural gas legislation violates a Dallas doctor's constitutional right to communicate with his patients. [Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez, who filed the civil suit,] a kidney specialist, treats patients in the oil and gas industry, including one from Luzerne County who experienced issues including renal failure after being exposed to fracking fluid in a natural gas well blowout." ... Fracking: "State attorneys were contesting the Commonwealth Court's July decision to overturn a portion of the law that limited what local zoning rules can and cannot address regarding drilling activity. A majority panel of that court sided with a set of municipal officials, who argued that the new law was unconstitutional because it would require them to allow well pads and compressor stations in areas where the activity would otherwise be prohibited by their local development plans."
WI. Corruption: "'I would suggest that the more clear and concise direction you can give to any economic development agencies the better,' [outgoing WEDC head Paul] Jadin told members of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee." Public-private partnership #FAIL.
WV. Coal: "And most fundamentally, in Central Appalachia, a century of mining has left thin seams of coal in small blocks that cost more to mine than other coal." Let's frack it!
Outside baseball. Labor history: "[T]he new world of work in Walmart's warehouses today bears a strong resemblance to the "shape-up" system used on the docks in the early 20th century. Then, longshore workers would line up every morning to see who would be lucky enough to get picked to work the ships that day. It wasn't legal compulsion that brought the shipping magnates to the bargaining table; it was the disruptive threat to their bottom line that the workers' risky [strike] gamble represented that did the trick." ... Cost of living: "From 2000 to 2010, the researchers found that the expenses for housing and transportation rose by $1.75 for each dollar gained in household income, meaning many families are worse off now than at the beginning of the decade." ... Demographics: "[I]n the last analysis, political parties exist solely and exclusively to seek political power. Given that this is the case, why would we expect the Rs to quietly accept their [demographic] inevitable eclipse? Why wouldn't they try to rig the rules in their favor?" ... Fracking: "[A]n EPA review [is] now underway on the impact of hydraulic fracturing on groundwater. The study, commissioned by Congress in 2010, is reassessing a finding by the George W. Bush administration that high volume hydraulic fracturing is harmless. The timing is critical. A preliminary report has been promised for 'late 2012,' but there is little reason to expect it — and its potentially boat-rocking ramifications – prior to election day." ... Police state: "[P]olice have discretion to use any opportunity–even a speeding ticket–to recruit new informants, even when the offense is minor or has nothing to do with the crimes the police want to investigate." ... Voting: "The widespread use of early voting in this year's election means that voters are not voting based on the same information. The traditional Election Day ensured that all Americans went to the polls having followed the same race, having heard the same debates, and having had the opportunity to weigh the same facts. The elected candidate therefore shared a broad mandate, and all Americans owned the outcome of the election equally, for good or ill. If there was buyer's remorse after the election, at least we knew we had all made the same choice based on the same information." I never thought I'd agree with the Weekly Standard about anything. ... Voting: "[T]he good news is that widespread technological upgrades have largely eliminated the voting-machine problems that were so evident when FL's disputed recount determined the 2000 presidential election [I doubt this very much]. The bad news is that improvements in accuracy could be undermined by increases in early voting through the mail, which is turning out to be a relatively low-accuracy method of voting, according to a new research report released by MIT and the California Institute of Technology." A low-accuracy method that Ds, shamefully, are advocating.
Grand Bargain™-brand Catfood Watch. "Tweaks": "In the recent presidential debate, the president reiterated his determination to reduce retirement, survivor, and disability benefits for millions of Americans. This admission came in the form of an acknowledgement that his position did not differ materially from that of Mitt Romney. This alleged agreement is that the system is not in fundamental difficulty, but it needs to be 'tweaked'" (excellent explainer). ... Kabuki: "Freed from the political and economic constraints that have tied his hands in the past, Obama is ready to play hardball with Rs, who have so far successfully resisted a deal to tame the debt that includes higher taxes, Obama's allies say." Oh, please. Both parties will happily implement austerity even if Obama gets a fig leaf on taxes that turn out to be boondoggle for accountants. [Adding, to be fair, Dayen disagrees, saying Obama "has decided to take the advice of a lot of folks [!!] on the left" on fiscal cliff tactics. Young Ezra says Obama even has a secret plan! Come on. Since when did the White House ever take the advice of f*cking retards who should be drug tested? These floated stories read to me like a desperate sop to the left. Not that there's anything wrong with being pandered to, but 11-dimensional secret plans don't float my boat the way seeing Jamie Dimon in zip tie cuffs would. Let's see some skin in the game, Ds!]
Obama vs. Romney II. The Romney: "Throughout the debate, Mr. Romney lied brazenly, without hesitation or compunction. He lied in big ways and small, lied cleverly and foolishly, lied as if he couldn't help himself. Debating this man must feel like wrestling with a greased seal." (Kevin Baker) ... The Obama: "Yet the president still wandered off into weird digressions at times, and spoke in annoyingly halting and uncertain sentences" (Kevin Baker again). ... From The Department of I've Got Mine: "[The questions were, for the most part, depressingly vague, superficial, and self-interested: How can I get a job when I get out of school?" (Kevin Baker yet again) Silly average American citizens!
Supply chain. Retail: "Employees of Abercrombie & Fitch, Best Buy and other retailers protested Wednesday along New York City's posh Fifth Avenue shopping district against what they call 'abusive' work scheduling." ... Walmart: "The flurry of union-organizing activity in the Inland Empire has extended to warehouse and distribution hubs in other parts of the country."
Legacy parties. Money: "In a single day, the $1.5 million gift traveled from the D.C.-based [Republican Governors Association] to the RGA WI PAC, to the RGA PA PAC and finally to Corbett's campaign account. By the time the donation reached Corbett, it was impossible to identify the original source of the cash or whether the donation was permissible under state law. Corbett's boosters crushed the competition from the D.C.-based Democratic Governors Association, which mustered $1.9 million for Corbett's opponent, using a series of similar funding maneuvers."
The trail. Polls: "Mr. Romney's advantage grew further, to seven points, when Gallup updated its numbers on Thursday afternoon. Usually, when a poll is an outlier relative to the consensus, its results turn out badly. You do not need to look any further than Gallup's track record over the past two election cycles to find a demonstration of this" (Nate Silver). Ouch! ... Media critique: "Walmart Moms" post-date instapoll sponsored by Walmart (which ABC does not note). ... Nightmare scenarios: "1. An Electoral College tie; 2. A faithless elector; 3. The winner loses the popular vote; 4. A recount in a key state; 5. A long legal battle" (explainer with links).
Green Party. Police state: "Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein was shackled to a chair in a nearby New York police facility, along with her running mate, Green Party vice president nominee Cheri Honkala. Their crime: attempting to get to the debate so Stein could participate in it." "This is what a feminist looks like." ... Endorsement: "But what I do know right now is that rank-and-file Ds seem to be sleepwalking their way to the gas ovens behind Obama's leadership, and I don't like it."
The Obama. Mr. Warmth: "When four Americans get killed, it's not optimal." ... Michelle Obama on the economy: "See, but your president, he didn't point fingers. He didn't place blame." ... Barack Obama on the economy: "But we have been digging our way out of policies that were misplaced and focused on the top doing very well and middle-class folks not doing well." Presumably Obama's talking about Bush's policies and not the bipartisan neoliberal consensus that's run the country since the mid-70s.
* Slogan of the day: Loud Songs of Triumph are Pouring Back With The Obama!