In today's Election Countdown Noam Chomsky speaks on the impact of the #Occupy Movement; California park official use disasters to create fake overtime for managers; Paul Ryan admits to taking stimulus cash after criticizing the program; Obama's visit to the State Fair causes a beer vendor to loose $25,000; and more
D – 23 and counting*
"On the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom." –Michel de Montaigne
Montreal. Carré rouge: "They have already taken down two education ministers, and seem likely to be able to claim credit for taking down a premier, and perhaps even his entire government. As the strike winds down students have much to feel proud about, not least their ability to mobilize global sentiment around the now universally relevant issue of austerity and neo-liberalism." ... Legacy parties: "[PQ leader] Pauline Marois'– refusal to take part in a leaders' debate in English [is] a reminder to our beloved Anglos that French is the only official language here and if they want to understand what's going on all they have to do is to learn the language. And if they don't like it, we'll close McGill and English hospitals. Stop your whining, pampered minority."
Occupy. Noam Chomksy: "What do you think has Occupy achieved so far? "It achieved a lot, in two aspects.  It very significantly affected public sensibility and public discourse. The imagery of the one percent versus the 99 percent, that's now standard discourse. And that's not insignificant.  The Occupy movement spontaneously created communities of mutual support, mutual aid. The common kitchen, the libraries. These are maybe even more important." ... Occupy Charlotte: "The new ordinance defined camping on city property as a nuisance, and forbid tents and living accommodations being used for sleeping. 'Camping' was defined as sleeping or making preparations to sleep, or storing belongings. But after the ordinance passed, Occupy members had removed bedding from many of the tents. Police officers testified that they didn't observe any bedding in the tent. They did say they saw art supplies, which prosecutors argued constituted storing personal belongings in the tent. But [Occupier] Brooks said the art supplies were donated and communally held." And therefore not "personal belongings." Interesting point.
CA. Corruption: "CA parks officials apparently used obscure payroll codes intended for wildfires and disasters such as Hurricane Katrina to turn vacation time into overtime pay for managers." ... Oakland: "[B]ecause for 2 years leading up to the Occupy Movement, folks from various ethnic backgrounds, and political persuasions and stripes found ways to work together and at the very least co-exist, as everyone pushed hard to get justice for Oscar Grant." Takedown of horrible Times piece.
DC. Paging George Tiller: "[Family Research Council President Tony Perkins] I'm not saying that the Southern Poverty Law Center is responsible for the shooting — Mr. Corkins is responsible for the shooting – they are responsible for creating an environment that led to yesterday's shooting."
FL. Lisa Epstein: "The final results show that Epstein garnered 27,001 votes, but ended up falling to incumbent Sharon Bock, 76%-24%." ... Lisa Epstein: "Epstein, 46, helped bring foreclosures to a halt in the fall of 2010 as a researcher and blogger uncovering so-called [??] 'robo-signed' documents." ... Teebee: "Three men in dark business suits fall to their hands and knees, grunting as they elbow pigs away from a filthy trough and literally sling mud in a frenzied, funny television spot [here] that a tea party-backed newcomer [Ted Yoho] used in the biggest political upset of this week's FL primaries."
GA. Public good: "Earlier this week, State School Superintendent John Barge came out against a proposed constitutional amendment for charter schools. If approved, the amendment would allow for the creation of a state body to approve charter schools over the objection of local school districts."
MI. Ballot access fraud: "A review of the nominating petitions turned in for [disgraced U.S. Rep. Thaddeus] McCotter's elections from 2002 through 2012 shows he did not have enough signatures to qualify to run in at least the 2008, 2010 and 2012 elections."
LA. Corruption: "[Kenner businessman Bill] Mack pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, admitting he gave [Parish President Aaron] Broussard $66,000 over a four-year period in exchange for Broussard's help in sending parish contracts to Mack's telecommunications company. In return, Mack's company received contracts collectively worth $40,000 from Jefferson Parish."
NY. Negotiable affection: "[Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan] said that would keep a tight leash on prosecutors [on the Anna Gristina case], prohibiting them from introducing evidence about any bawdy acts and vowing to keep the trial focused on a single charge of promoting prostitution." Translation: No black book. ... Corruption: "[State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli] says Apple had an unfair advantage in the bidding process for the [Grand Central store] space thanks to help from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. According an audit by DiNapoli, the MTA worked with Apple for a year before issuing an RFP for the bidding on the space."
OR. Great headlines of our time: "Hanna wants to put visit to topless bar behind him." (Pay attention, Tampa conventioneers!)
PA. Public good: "The city council was alerted to [Angela] Prattis's free lunches and ruled that if she continues to give away food next summer, she will need a variance or be fined $600 a day. The council says she needs a variance because she's giving away meals in a residential area, which is a zoning violation. However, if Prattis gets a variance to distribute the food, the administrative fees would cost up to $1,000." ... Fracking: "A group of residents of Dimock PA have agreed to a settlement with Cabot Oil & Gas related to polluted water supplies blamed on nearby Marcellus Shale drilling operations. Terms of the deal were sparse because residents and the company were bound to a clause that prevents them from discussing details. My conversations reflected a group of plaintiffs who were conflicted, battle weary, and resigned to accept the deal on their attorney's advice. The new offer did not include systems to restore their well water, which was a point of regret for some of them."
TX. Pipelines: "[Tar Sands Blockade], a coalition of Texas landowners and activists will attempt to physically halt [Keystone XL's] construction. Led by veteran climate justice organizers, participants ranging from environmentalists to Tea Partiers are preparing to lock arms for a sustained nonviolent civil disobedience campaign, beginning perhaps as early as this week." I've seen the same environmentalist/Tea Partier alliance here in ME on East-West Corridor issues. ... Public good: "[Carthage High School] Bulldog Stadium will have the largest Jumbotron screen of any high school in TX." Cost: $750,000. Size: a small house. ... Public good: "in its 2011 session, the Texas Legislature cut the state's family planning program by two-thirds. Lawmakers were quite clear about their motivation: They hoped to drive abortion providers out of business. In fact, of the more than 60 clinics that have closed across Texas, only 12 were run by Planned Parenthood. Dozens of other clinics unconnected to Planned Parenthood nonetheless lost state funds and have closed. The number of organizations that help poor women plan pregnancy has shrunk by almost half. The defunct providers cluster primarily in remote areas, where communities are too poor to share costs with clinics."
VA. UVa: "In the background [at the BOV retreat] was the summer's crisis when President Teresa A. Sullivan was ousted, then reinstated amid a public uproar. But the topic wasn't directly addressed." And we still don't know the story. ... UVa: "[President Kathleen] Sullivan said [at the BoV retreat] that, at some point, the university will have to find a way to concretely show the benefits of its immersive, residential experience over other models of education. "I believe all those [benefits] are true, but as a social scientist I have to tell you, I haven't seen it quantified." Exactly what the VCs say. ... Constitution Party: "[Virgil] Goode is pulling fully 9% of VA's vote, according to a mid-July Public Policy Polling survey, leaving Obama ahead of Romney 49% to 35%."... Money: "[Virginian Public Access Project] has taken Open Secrets's data and made it simple to search for VA-specific information."
WA. Ballot access: "On August 15, the WA state Libertarian Party filed a lawsuitarguing that the SoS is illegally treating the R Party as a qualified party."
WI. Corruption: "A secret ["John Doe"] probe into those around Gov. Scott Walker has continued after the June 5 recall election and expanded beyond Milwaukee County and into state government, new records show." ... The left: "A little-noticed liberal group made a big impact in Tuesday's D legislative primaries in Milwaukee, ousting two longtime incumbents with attacks on their left and likely ensuring that no strongly anti-abortion Democrats will remain in the Legislature when it returns next year."
Outside baseball. Class warfare: "[W]hen both are taken into account, income is a far stronger determinant of influence over policy outcomes than is education ." Media critique: "Since 2002, every news outlet's believability rating has suffered a double-digit drop, except for local daily newspapers and local TV news." ... Media critique: "First reader to prove to me that WSJ is genuinely interested in Bill Clinton's thoughts on [Medicare] vouchers [q.v.] gets a complete set of Whitewater: From the Editorial Pages of the Wall Street Journal Vols. 1-5." ... Privatization: "Spoiler alert: The charters do not enroll the same students; do not on average have higher scores than nearby district schools; and typically spend more money than district schools." ... Fracking: "The Obama administration issued proposed rules in May that would require reporting on fracking chemicals, but only after drilling is complete." ... Fracking: "[T]he amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years. Government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal." ... Water: "While the USDA predicts a 3 to 5 percent increase on everything from cereal to steak, some economists believe [drought-related] price hikes will come closer to 10 percent."
Robama vs. Obomney watch. Media critique: "Both candidates 'are using their direct messaging mainly as a way to push their message out' rather than interact. Rarely did either candidate reply to, comment or 'retweet' something from a citizen or anyone else outside the campaign." ... Blowback, Ezra Klein: "Paul Ryan being named to the R ticket [is] all part of Barack Obama's campaign plan — a plan that's working better than his strategists could have hoped. It could also backfire more disastrously than they have ever imagined. [I]f Obama loses, Rs will have won the presidency with a mandate to enact a deeply conservative agenda." Feh. IBGYBG. Silly Ezra believes the legacy parties are responsive to the electorate.
RNCon. WWF-ness: "Convention speakers [include] former D Rep. Artur Davis, a co-chairman of President Obama's 2008 presidential campaign." ... Police state: "After the 2008 RNC in St. Paul, Minn., many residents said they were surprised their city looked like a 'police state.'" But now they wouldn't be! ... Camping: "Protesters who have set up a camp dubbed 'Romneyville' in a restricted area near the site where the Republican National Convention will be held later this month in Tampa can stop worrying about being evicted."
The trail. Point-shaving scandal: "I don't really get the sense that Ds are taking these assaults on voting seriously; if they did, they would have gotten off their rears after the 2000 election and demanded some uniform standards and real changes, like voting on the weekends instead of on a Tuesday, or same-day voter registration, or universal voter registration, or paper ballots." .... Lesser evilism: "A D friend of mine heard me say some true but unpleasant things about the ACA.She said she agreed, but that we should be careful NOT to report any of those things until after November 6, because it would give ammunition to the other side. Think hard.If you have to lie to others or yourself to support a party, there's a problem." .... Unlikely voters: "Two-thirds of the unlikely voters say they voted four years ago, backing Obama by more than 2-1″ (USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll). ... Registration drive: "'We have largely preserved the huge gains we built in 2007 and 2008 and increased our advantage in some areas, while Rs have failed to make significant gains despite having the primary to themselves this year,' [Obama] campaign spokesman Adam Fetcher said." ... Oppo, in real time: "Teams of transcribers and researchers on the Romney and Obama teams — for the actual campaigns and the SuperPACs supporting them — live for a verbal slip, an awkward phrase, a sentence that can be parsed, facts that can be distorted or tortured."
Romney. Budget: "'I'm not sure of that [when the Romney budget would balance] myself, actually,' [Ed Gillespie] told CNN. 'I'm sure it's on our website.'" Ouch. ... Bain: [Bain's] fundamental flaw, at least according to the math, is that they took lots of risk, use immense leverage, and charged enormous fees, for performance that was more or less the same as indexing."Ouch. ... Ryan: "After repeated denials, Paul Ryan has admitted he requested stimulus cash even after sharply criticizing the program." Ouch. ... Ryan: "While being vetted by Romney's campaign, Ryan amended two years of his financial disclosure statements to add an income-producing trust worth between $1 million and $5 million that he previously neglected to report." Ouch. ... Union busting: "Bain's management team at Key recognised that a union would be a problem – particularly because Bain was ready to sell Key. There followed an unlawful attempt by Mr Andrews and Key management, in the words of District Court judge Roger Foley, "to stamp out any cockpit crew members' union before it could come into being." Ouch.
Obama. Michelle: "My father worked at the city water plant his entire life; that was pretty much the only job he had." Also a Daley precinct captain. Is handling the walking around money a job? ... Ticked off small businesspeople: "Obama's State Fair visit on Monday night took him to the Bud Tent which is operated by a Republican, too. The beer vendor has complained that he lost $25,000 because his venue had been in a zone cordoned off by the Secret Service for the president's visit, preventing new customers from getting in to buy beer." This keeps happening. .... Tinpot tyrants: "Aides tried to edit media pool reports [!!] for any potential landmines even hovered at close range to eavesdrop on journalists' conversations with attendees at Biden rallies" (compare). .... Snark watch: "TAPPER: The president the other day made three allusions to Mitt Romney putting his dog on his roof. Is that part of this 'important policy debate'?" Romney a Pink Floyd fan?
* 23 days until the Democratic National Convention ends with tomatoes and mozzarella for everybody on the floor of the Bank of America Panther Stadium, Charlotte, NC. 23 is a number sacred to Eris, goddess of discord.