In today's Election Countdown 2012 news: The Florida Board of Governors finally settles on tuition increases for the state’s eleven universities, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) plans to put 750 full-time political workers in battleground states this year, 63 percent of Republican respondents still believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the US invaded in 2003, and more.
D – 78 and counting*
“[A] great Empire, like a great Cake, is most easily diminished at the Edges.” –Benjamin Franklin
Montreal. Zen at the Charbonneau Commission on corruption: “[DUCHESNEAU:] I pointed my finger at collusion and you are looking at my finger instead of the collusion.” Corruption: “Investigators raided four south shore municipalities Thursday morning arresting 11 … alleging they participated in an extensive bid-rigging scheme involving $20 million in contracts.” Fine, but on the island? Red squares everywhere: “With Premier Jean Charest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, CLASSE managed to team up with a Brazilian student organization to hold a demonstration there. Around 200 people showed up to protest yesterday outside the Copacabana hotel where Charest is staying.” “Quebec students seek alliances with B.C. students: “If you’re seeing what’s going on in the province of Quebec, and you think it’s not going to get to you, be prepared.” Legacy parties, student: “The only reason [PQ's Marois] was opposing the tuition fee increase was because the Liberals were doing it. For me, there’s not a lot of difference between the Parti Quebecois and the Liberal party.” Summer schedule: A big march has been scheduled in Place du Canada, June 22 (today).
CA. Top two primary: “Under the new CA system, the general election will now be just a runoff between the top two candidates, regardless of party. That is, at most, two parties will be represented on the general-election ballot, but it is possible for both candidates to be from the same party, or no party (if both of the top two in the first round were non-partisan).” “It’s hard to draw any other conclusion than that CA’s elections have not only been rigged, but rigged so spectacularly thoughtlessly that they’re highly unlikely to bring about the artificial state of affairs that the ‘riggers’ envisioned. ”
CO. Fracking supply chain: “[Erie] last week doubled its commercial water rate — from $5.73 per 1,000 gallons to $11.46 per 1,000 gallons — for oil and gas developers only.”
FL. “The FL Board of Governors finally settled on tuition increases for the state’s 11 universities after more two hours brokering. The process wasn’t pretty, seeming arbitrary and auction-like.”
LA. Gulf: “One group of NOAA-supported scientists suggests the Gulf dead zone will be 1,197 square miles — the second-smallest Gulf dead zone on record. But another group, also supported by NOAA, predicts the 2012 dead zone will be 6,213 square miles.”
MI. “In 2008, [Lesia Liss] ran as a pro-choice Democrat. But Liss, 45, says became a “pro-life” convert … since she took women’s studies courses in college at the University of Michigan Dearborn.”
MT. Fracking: “[Fracked] Bakken oil is a major reason MT’s unemployment rate has consistently been lower than the national average. The flood of migrants moving to Montana to fill those jobs may alter the state’s political balance, perhaps arresting or even reversing the loss of population on Montana’s eastern plains.”
NM. Transparency: “After a week of taking heat following the disclosure that Gov. Susana Martinez and top officials in her administration used personal emails to conduct state business, on Monday she ordered all state employees in agencies under her authority to use official state email for state business.”
NV. Voting: “[T]wo Republican nominees for presidential elector from Nevada filed a federal lawsuit, asking that ‘None of the Above’ be removed” from the ballot. The lawsuit argues that because a vote for ‘None of the above’ has no legal effect, the voters who vote for ‘None of the above’ are being harmed.” Enshrine “lesser of two evils” in state law?
NY. Fracking: “[A] recent study [here] by Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Safe Energy shows that even drilling in deep shale (such as the areas that the Cuomo Administration is reportedly considering) can contaminate the water supply.”
OH. Victory! “Chillicothe Municipal Judge John Street ruled on Monday that the 32-year-old woman’s [1-finger salute] was constitutionally protected free speech.” And to the police chief who cut her off, driving an unmarked car!
PA. Sandusky: “Sandusky’s late parents were well-known and well-liked in the community. It’s where he met his future wife, Dottie. Many of his childhood friends still live in the area. But even to them, those connections don’t mean he’s innocent.”
TX. “Consideration of a $5-per-head fee on customers of strip clubs to pay for reducing the city’s backlog of untested rape kits has been delayed for a week.” HCR: “A new study found no evidence that health care costs in Texas dipped after a 2003 constitutional amendment limited payouts in medical malpractice lawsuits, despite claims made to voters by some backers of tort reform.” Transportation: “Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, has managed to insert language into a $51.6 billion spending package that could block federal funding to expand the light rail system along Richmond and Post Oak.”
VA. UVA putsch: “The board announced today it will meet at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the Rotunda, ‘to discuss possible changes in the terms of employment of the president’” (i.e., Sullivan). Faculty Senate chair: “I think we’re very excited by the presumption that President Sullivan would be reinstated.” Head counting: “The Board [of Visitors] will need a minimum of eight votes to reinstate Sullivan, or a majority of its 15 voting members. A Board coalition seeking to re-instate Sullivan held eight votes at one point during its Monday evening meeting, WaPo reported, but the Board eventually voted 12-1 to appoint McIntire School of Commerce Dean Carl Zeithaml as the future interim president.” “A source who has been conferring with a member of the BoV says that the resignation of Kington proved instrumental, that the board had been firmly deadlocked on reinstatement until Kington dismissed himself. The source says that the Board member can’t guarantee a majority on Tuesday, that some members have gone ‘hiding,’ but that whatever vote is taken will need to be in open session forcing the attendees to abstain or reveal their stance to the public for the first time.” The Deans throw putschster Rector Dragas under the bus: “We, the deans of the Colleges of the University of Virginia, respectfully request that the Board of Visitors (BOV) reconsider their decision of June 8, 2012 and restore Teresa A. Sullivan to the position of President of the University of Virginia.” Because: “As reported by WaPo, Sullivan has indicated that she would be willing to remain in the presidency if Rector Helen Dragas were to resign.” New Dragas statement: “However, as much as our action to effect a change in leadership has created a wave of controversy, it was motivated by an understanding of the very stiff headwinds we face as a University, and our resolve to push through them to forge a future that is even brighter than imaginable today.” (“Headwinds,” like “pivot,” and “racing to ______”, is one tell of a bullshit narrative.) Governance: “The UVA BoV includes a real estate developer, a coal company magnate, a Wall Street professional, a top lawyer for General Electric, a nursing home executive, a beer distribution entrepreneur and other business elites. Only four have professional experience in higher education.” Governance: “Vice Rector Kington, who resigned several days ago, served a previous term on the board after donating tens of thousands of dollars to Governor Mark Warner. Then he backed the opponent of Warner’s successor, Tim Kaine, and was kicked off. Then he donated over $100,000 to current Governor Bob McDonnell, and was reinstated.” Governance: “The AAUP has authorized an investigation into the situation at the University of Virginia, where the board of visitors abruptly sought the resignation of president Teresa Sullivan earlier this month.” Should help with recruiting! Siva Vaidhyanathan: “Virginia is for Incrementalists. #UVA” Heh. Snark watch, of Cavalier’s FOIA-ed email trove:” On the bright side, let me complement [sic] you on your font choice and the formatting of your emails. Further, they feature some unusual words, and a spirit of verve throughout.”
And lest we canonize anyone… See at “minimum wage.” Or demonize… See at “homelesss.” And lest we reduce principles to personalities, the policy issues remain whether Sullivan is reinstated or not. MOOCs, Larry Sabato: “Wise person said to me: “Online college education is what its advocates want for other people’s children.” Neo-liberalism in a nutshell! And neoliberalism itself: “Enduring acts of civility are not bought and sold.” Or not only bought and sold?
WI. Austerity: “A teenage boy has died after crews pulled him from the water at Quarry Lake Park in Racine County. Lifeguards were eliminated this year due to budget cuts.” Water, DNR water use section chief: “[O]ne problem with Milwaukee’s push for limiting water distribution to Waukesha is the likelihood that property owners outside of that city will encounter well contamination problems and need to hook up to Waukesha’s municipal supply.”
Grand Bargain™-brand catfood watch. Senators reminisce before bailing: “At its best moments, the Senate is a place where people can come together. I have been part of Bowles-Simpson, been part of the Group of Six, spent in the last two years hundreds of hours in small rooms with Rs and Ds, and in both of those cases we were able to come together.”
Outside Baseball. Executive powers: “President Barack Obama is starting to channel his inner Cheney.” Zeitgeist alert: This is sober, non-Beltway McClatchy speaking. New media: “With the new platforms, we don’t have to repeat the backstory every time because the Web and mobile devices provide us easier and more creative ways to bring people up to date.” Not sure about that. Composition and invention cannot be separated. Walter Shapiro on campaign hagiography: “Maybe I have read too many breathless sentences like, ‘James Carville was nervous.’ As Carville would be the first to admit, it’s the candidate, stupid.” Life’s little ironies, and off topic, but I love it that lots of Imagine: How Creativity Works is, er, recycled.
Policy. HCR: The Supreme Court did not rule on President Obama’s healthcare law Thursday. The next possible day for a decision is Monday, but justices will add more days to the schedule later next week. Ad budgets on ObamaCare: Attacking: $235 million. Defending: $69 million. The Obama campaign: $700,000. “None of its ads mentioning the law are currently being broadcast.” They’re backing ObamaCare just like they backed Barrett. Just enough to lose and blame the other guy? Fracking: “The U.S. should declare a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in populated areas until the health effects are better understood, doctors said at a conference on the drilling process.” “Over the past several decades, U.S. industries have injected more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth, using broad expanses of the nation’s geology as an invisible dumping ground. Records from disparate corners of the United States show that wells drilled to bury this waste deep beneath the ground have repeatedly leaked, sending dangerous chemicals and waste gurgling to the surface or, on occasion, seeping into shallow aquifers that store a significant portion of the nation’s drinking water.” From Scientific American, so yikes!
Immigration. “[ROMNEY:] For two years, this president had huge majorities in the House and Senate – he was free to pursue any policy he pleased. But he did nothing to advance a permanent fix for our broken immigration system. Instead, he failed to act until facing a tough re-election and trying to secure your vote.” True, but that won’t help Romney. State rep D: “You’ve got to look at the last year. Would [Romney] be saying these same things in IA to a bunch of white faces? No, he wouldn’t. You can’t go from a year’s worth of anti-immigration bashing to an about face here and expect everybody to believe you.” But apparently you can go from three years worth of record deportations to a temporary fix by executive fiat and everything’s jake.
Jawbs!. “What a waste of gas. It was a part-time job in a telemarketing boiler room.” WalMart supply chain blues: “They charge us $45 a week to live in crowded trailers next to the plant. They’re very old, the air conditioning doesn’t work, and there’s rats in the trailers. They’ll come and wake us up early in the morning and say, ‘Well you guys have to work tomorrow, so don’t go out.’ Even on Saturdays.” “We feel like we are slaves.”
The trail. GOTV: “The Service Employees International Union announced plans today to put 750 full-time political workers in PA and seven other battleground states this year.” Court ruling: “Under current law, public sector workers who do not join unions still pay some union dues, because of the benefits they receive from collective bargaining. … But under a ruling by the high court on Thursday, non-unionised workers would have to actively agree to allow the union to use a portion of the dues for political activity.” “[Obama] and his campaign have cleverly recognised that Mr Romney’s slow-footedness and lack of imagination presents an opportunity for them to shine in contrast. They have reversed the usual dynamic of reelection campaigns, highlighting the challenger’s stodginess while making Mr Obama’s into a nimble incumbent. These stratagems show every sign of paying off. Mr Obama’s positions convey a Reaganesque sense of optimism about social change, while associating Mr Romney’s views with fear and the past.”
Republicans, bless their hearts. Froomkin: “Fully 63 percent of Republican respondents still believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded in 2003.” “[ROVE:] You know, she sounds a little bit like Inspector Clouseau and a little bit [like] the Mad Red Queen, but Speaker Pelosi was dead wrong in her assertion today and I’m sure she had a good laugh and it’s nice to know that she dreams of slapping me in her own personal jail. But she didn’t have any authority to do it.” Back at ya, Leader Nance.
The Democrats, bless their hearts. Executive privilege claim in Fast & Furious: “[White House spokeshole CARNEY:] This is entirely about principle.” Oh, come on.
Libertarians. Jesse Ventura: “Don’t vote for a D or R, I have never voted for one in my life and I never will.” Ventura is the author of DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans: No More Gangs in Government. “Heather Fazio, membership coordinator of the Libertarian Party of Texas, warns delegates and others who gave contributions or personal information to officials at the convention that their donations have been stolen and their personal information, including credit card numbers, compromised following a break-in of her car.”
Robama vs Obomney watch. BAR: “One thing that seems never to change, as long as our choices are restricted to the two corporate parties, is that while you can squint hard enough to make distinctions between Republicans and Democrats, there are few important differences.” Tuneout: “[Pew] is out with a meaty new survey that confirms that voter engagement with the 2012 election is down compared to the campaign of 2008. One in six registered voters have tuned DOWN their interest in the presidential battle compared to four years ago. The percentage saying they’re following the election very closely has also dropped, from 46% in June 1008 to just 37% now. These numbers [are] a clear indication that the steady rise in voter engagement that began in 2000 has not just leveled off, it’s dipping.” Tuneout: “SeekingArrangement.com, which dubs itself ‘the elite sugar daddy dating site for those seeking mutually beneficial relationships,’ surveyed more than 30,000 of its female members on which White House contender … they would pick.” Obama: 34%. Romney: 12%. Neither: 43%. That’s gotta sting.
Romney. Polling: “Mitt Romney functions as a generic Republican. Certainly on the economy, voters are accepting that his credentials seem to be sufficient.” National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials: “[ROMNEY:] Tomorrow, President Obama will speak here, for the first time since his last campaign.” Ouch! Toxicology report: “In my 38 years of practice, I have never come across a drug screen such as this where the horse has been administered so many different medications at the same time.” Horse’s name? Superhit (!). Horse’s owner? Ann Romney.
Obama. Obama campaign rolls out keen new “dashboard.” “Enter your address below to connect with the campaign in your neighborhood.” But you’ve got to give them your email address, not just your physical address, even though geolocation should be enough for the site’s putative function. Sorry, I want to know who’s in my neighborhood first. I already get enough spam. Burn rate: “President Barack Obama’s campaign spent more than it took in over the month of May despite his frenetic fundraising schedule, leaving the massive operation with just shy of $110 million dollars cash on hand against $115 million one month earlier.” Money: “But still largely missing are the liberal philanthropists and executives who showered $396 million in unrestricted contributions on 527s in the 2004 elections, according to the CRP data. Most importantly, big liberal donors have strategically shifted their focus away from high-dollar PACs, which line the pockets of political consultants, in favor of investing in grass-roots groups organized around issues, many Democrats say.” Politics isn’t the same as electoral politics? Who knew?