If you're looking for evidence the Tea Party is a fake movement funded by polluters like the Koch brothers to distract voters into freaking out about fake threats while overlooking real ones, look no further than fracking.
As Mother Jones reports, Tea Partiers in Kansas and Arizona are losing their minds not just about current made-up anti-sustainability and Islamophobic conspiracies, but the possibility of future residents deciding to solve aforementioned made-up problems.
But what about the very real threat posed by the natural gas drilling technique known as fracking? While it creates huge profits for corporate drillers, nearby residents see few benefits and face potential health threats:
The report, based on three years of monitoring, found a number of potentially toxic petroleum hydrocarbons in the air near the wells including benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene. Benzene has been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a known carcinogen. Other chemicals included heptane, octane and diethylbenzene but information on their toxicity is limited.Much more data is needed on the threats posed by fracking to our air, water and public health. To learn more about fracking, tune in to NPR's series this week, The Fracking Boom: Missing Answers.
"Our results show that the non-cancer health impacts from air emissions due to natural gas development is greater for residents living closer to wells," the report said. "The greatest health impact corresponds to the relatively short-term, but high emission, well completion period."
That's due to exposure to trimethylbenzenes, aliaphatic hydrocarbons, and xylenes, all of which have neurological and/or respiratory effects, the study said. Those effects could include eye irritation, headaches, sore throat and difficulty breathing.
"We also calculated higher cancer risks for residents living nearer to the wells as compared to those residing further [away]," the report said. "Benzene is the major contributor to lifetime excess cancer risk from both scenarios."
An overwhelming majority of Americans, 60 percent, say that President Obama's support for same-sex marriage will make no difference in how they plan to vote this November according to Gallup.[...]
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Aw, gee whiz, where will I ever find an incredibly boring white guy in the Republican Party? (Jim Young/Reuters)
Remember how the whole world laughed and laughed (and laughed and then laughed some more) at just how bad John McCain's pick for vice president was? Like, if Saturday Night Live had created the character of Sarah Palin The Running MateTM, people would have switched off their TVs, saying, "Come on, now, that's just over the top."
Well, here's some excellent news for John McCain: Mitt Romney is going to try like H-E-double-hockey-sticks to avoid making that historically (and comically, if you're a Democrat) bad decision. In fact, not choosing Dan Quayle in a skirt is one of the major keys to Romney's strategy, according to Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei at Politico:
One Republican official familiar with the campaign?s thinking said it will be designed to produce a pick who is safe and, by design, unexciting ? a deliberate anti-Palin. The prized pick, said this official: an ?incredibly boring white guy.?It's too bad Mitt Romney can't put himself on the ticket, because he sure fits the bill perfectly. Oh well. They'll just have to find another incredibly boring white guy; in the Republican Party, this should be about as hard as shooting fish in a barrel. Some ideas so far:
?If not [Sen. Rob] Portman [R-Ohio], [former Minnesota governor Tim] Pawlenty, [Indiana governor Mitch] Daniels ? some other incredibly boring white guy,? the official said. ?If there was a fourth name on the list, it?s [Virginia Gov.] Bob McDonnell.?But you lady Republicans need not apply, no matter how boring and white you are, because if there's one thing Republicans learned from the McCain debacle, it's that damn broads ruin everything. They tried the Republican Grrl Power thing once, and boy was that a disaster, so from now on, no ovaries allowed.
Here's some more excellent news for John McCain. Team Mitt didn't just learn to avoid making McCain's mistakes when it comes to picking a vice president:
Mitt Romney and his top aides are building a strategy, partly by design and partly because of circumstance, around what they consider John McCain?s disastrously run campaign in 2008.Congratulations, John, you're now the the official poster child for how to fuck up a shit sandwich in the Republican Party. Romney?the guy you beat for the nomination in 2008 because he was even worse than you as a candidate?is studying you for how not to run for president. You were that bad, and Romney will be sure to be absolutely nothing like you in this election. Not that he won't gladly take your endorsement and your willingness to campaign for him, despite your quite noted disdain of him in 2008. He's not that dumb.
The strategy: whatever McCain did, do the opposite.
Of course, Team Mitt can try hard to not be like McCain in every way: be boring where he was spontaneous; raise a gazillion dollars, where he sucked at fundraising; try not to look like a flaming moron about the economy; try not to put a flaming moron on the ticket. But given that Mitt Romney's team is already a constant disaster machine, it seems there's one fate Romney is destined to share with McCain: losing the election to Barack Obama.
The Tea Party?s power may have waned with the public writ large, but as The New York Times shows, the brand still has plenty of currency with Republican primary voters:
In Arizona, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas, Republican Senate candidates are vying for the mantle of Tea Party outsider. A number of them say that they would seek to press an agenda that is generally to the right of the minority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and that they would demand a deeper policy role for the Senate?s growing circle of staunch conservatives.
Some say they have not decided whether they would support Mr. McConnell, who could find himself contending with the type of fractious rank and file that has vexed the House speaker, John A. Boehner of Ohio.
Remember, these primary challenges don?t have to succeed to be effective. If they can force establishment Republicans to work hard for reelection, and move further to the right, then they will have met their main objective. That the Tea Party has a history of defeating incumbent senators?Indiana Senator Richard Lugar is the most recent trophy?only increases odds that Republicans will bend to right-wing pressure.
Keep this in mind when thinking about Mitt Romney?s supposed moderation. If the Republican nominee beats Obama for the presidency, he?ll likely come to the White House with a Republican Senate and an emboldened conservative movement. For those who believe in Romney?s moderation, how exactly does he use that scenario to his advantage, and pass centrist legislation? Far from moderation, the most likely outcome is an intensely right-wing agenda, driven by the Republican coalition as it currently exists, and not the (assumed) policy preferences of President Romney.
Scott Brown and Mitt Romney, homophobic peas in a pod. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)Here's another thing Mitt Romney and Sen. Scott Brown have in common: an apparent problem with the gays. In 2006, in his capacity as governor, Romney attempted to disband the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, a commission set up in 1992 by then-Gov. William Weld, also a Republican.
The state legislature, determined to preserve the commission, passed legislation to make the group independent of the governor's office. Romney vetoed that legislation. One state senator, only one, voted to uphold Romney's veto. That state senator was Scott Brown, something Brown apparently doesn't want to talk about now.
Brown's campaign did not return a request for comment about why he supported Romney's veto. [...]In the state legislature, Brown apparently didn't find bullying of gay kids a problem, and he apparently still doesn't. Remember this, when all of the Massachusetts congressional delegation got together to make a joint "It Gets Better" spot?
Although Romney and Brown are running in two of the most high-profile races of the 2012 election cycle, they have largely kept their distance from one another. In 2010, Brown broke with his party and supported the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
?It?s no wonder they?re staying away from each other. ... Romney?s message is, ?I really am a conservative.? Scott Brown?s is, ?I am a Massachusetts Republican, I am more moderate,?" Chip Felkel, a Republican strategist based in South Carolina, told theBoston Herald. ?They?re conflicting.?
Politico nabbed an incredibly unsurprising scoop this morning: Mitt Romney will probably select an "incredibly boring white guy" as his running mate. That's the description attributed to one unnamed Republican official, stating the obvious. Much of the VP speculation has centered on the exciting young politicians from the class of 2010. Perhaps Romney would select Suzanna Martinez or Marco Rubio in the hopes of peeling away some of the Hispanic vote. Or South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley in an effort to rebut charges that Republicans are waging a war on women. Who knows, maybe Romney could even tap Senator Rand Paul if he wants to make sure the elder Paul doesn't use his delegates to cause a ruckus at the Tampa convention.
None of those choices would fit Romney's standard modus operandi. He's the cold calculating consultant, disinclined to any flashy decisions, tending toward the safe bet. The VP selection typically has only a minimal impact on boosting the overall ticket's performance, but a poor choice can sink a campaign (think Sarah Palin in '08 or Thomas Eagleton in '72). As long as Romney continues to run roughly even with Obama in the polls it is unfathomable that the Republican nominee would select anyone who has not been vetted at a national level.
The anonymous Republican operative in the Politico story lists Rob Portman, Tim Pawlenty, and Mitch Daniels as the favorites with Bob McDonnell as a fourth option. While Portman has become the darling of the chattering class, I've been surprised by the lack of attention devoted to Pawlenty. He is, after all, a former two-term governor who is accustomed to the national spotlight. Sure, he failed to measure up to the rigors of running his own presidential campaign, but that's not necessarily a negative in a VP selection, especially when you don't want to upstage a candidate at the top of the ticket who is rarely described as dynamic. And while Pawlenty has enough governing experience to pass the competency test, he also has the evangelical bona fides to shore up Romney's right flank. It's a boring selection that would garner few gushing headlines, perfect for the philosophy of the Romney campaign.
I don't know about you, but when I have to make a large consumer decision ? pretty much anything over $100 ? I put way too much thought into it. This is partly the curse of the internet, where there is a near-infinite amount of information available about everything. So I read a million reviews, obsessing over every detail, trying in vain to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of every conceivable feature, eventually reaching a point where every option seems like the wrong one and I'm sure I'll be disappointed no matter what I choose. The last time I bought a smartphone it took me about six months.
I suspect that Mitt Romney is going through something similar right about now. Romney is a famously methodical thinker, and I picture him with a ten-page pro/con list for every possible vice-presidential candidate, going over and over them all until none of them looks like a winner. All his options have weaknesses, and none of them seems to have the ability to do anything but make Romney look bad for having chosen them. Marco Rubio? There he goes, in a bumbling and inevitably failed attempt to pander to Latinos by picking an inexperienced flavor-of-the-month. Rob Portman? Great, the guy who helped George W. Bush run up huge deficits as head of the Office of Management and Budget?way to show you've got innovative new economic ideas. Mike Huckabee? Yep, the predictable attempt to pander to the party's right wing that still doesn't like him.
In other words, Mitt seems kind of damned no matter whom he picks. That may be why Politico is reporting that the campaign is leaning toward one or another "incredibly boring white guy," in the words of an unnamed Republican official familiar with their process.
One of the things I find interesting about this is how different it seems from Barack Obama's choice of Joe Biden four years ago. Although I'm sure Biden was thoroughly vetted, it didn't seem like a decision born of much careful campaign calibration. Obama seemed to genuinely like Biden, and as a longtime senator he seemed like a reassuring presence of experience alongside a largely untested presidential candidate. But Biden didn't secure any particular constituency, nor did he raise the chances of winning a particular swing state. And if you look back over the Democratic VP choices in recent history, you see that while they all had their rationales, none of them was chosen with an eye toward securing a particular constituency, which might be what you'd expect, given that the Democrats are supposed to be a party full of interest groups and factions who demand tribute. Instead, the Democratic choices for the last few decades have been candidates about whom the average Democrat, or the average voter for that matter, would have said, "Yeah, OK, I guess he'd be fine."
It's the Republicans who have either swung for the fences, trying to shake up the race and do something dramatic, or used the VP pick to try to knit together a potentially fraying party. Dick Cheney is the exception, but Sarah Palin, Dan Quayle, and even Jack Kemp were supposed to be charismatic surprises who would inject energy and excitement into the campaign (I know it seems hard to believe, but at the time the Bush camp thought Quayle was going to be dynamite). The last time a Democratic candidate tried something similar was 1984, when Walter Mondale, facing a severely uphill battle, decided to make history by picking Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman on a major-party ticket.
If Romney were farther behind in the polls, he might try something similar. But I suspect that after he goes over all his pro/con lists for the thousandth time, he's going to stop and one name and say, "Well, I guess we'll go with him." The pick won't set anyone's heart aflutter, or suck up too much attention from the top of the ticket the way Palin did. And in the end, the race will turn out just the way it would have if someone else had been chosen.
Mitt Romney helped create more jobs in his private sector experience and more jobs as governor of Massachusetts than President Obama has for the entire nation.But while we can establish Romney's job creation record as governor (lackluster: jobs grew at one-quarter the national rate in Massachusetts under Romney), there's never been an authoritative accounting of his private sector record, largely because Bain fails to fully disclose all of its investments. But with Romney staking his presidential ambitions on the claim that he was a job creator at Bain, that needs to change. As Joe Conason suggests, "Let's audit that." (Mitt Romney may not welcome this audit, as he's offered wildly inconsistent estimates for the number of jobs he's created.)
You could argue that the number of jobs created by Bain Capital isn't relevant to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. After all, Bain exists not to create jobs but to create profit. And that would be a valid point to make, but it's Mitt Romney himself who has pitched his Bain record as proof that he's a job creator. Romney hasn't staked his claim to the presidency on his record in Massachusetts: he's staked it on his record at Bain. So it's fair to hold Bain to a higher level of scrutiny than a typical company.
But this isn't just about Mitt Romney, and as much as he wants us to forget this fact, you can't really assess President Obama's economic track record without taking into account that he took office in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The economy was literally falling off a cliff, but we're now growing again. Since unemployment peaked at 10 percent, we've added more than 4 million private sector jobs. We've lost a half million public sector jobs during that time, but that's primarily a result of Republican obstruction of aid to state and local governments. Still, that's 3.5 million total jobs compared with less than 50,000 created in Massachusetts under Romney during a period of economic expansion.
The bottom-line is that where numbers are available, Romney's pushback doesn't hold up. His claims about Bain are just that: claims. And we haven't even talked about the single worst aspect of Mitt Romney's economic plan: the fact that he represents a return to Bush's economic philosophy and the very same Republican trickle-down ideas that created our problems in the first place.
ALL DEMOCRATS OF GEORGETOWN COUNTY
Your party needs your support to elect democrats and spread the true meaning of all issues that move America Forward.
Our own Michael Martinez will be joined by Jonathan Sweeney, SCDP Regional Director to get us "Fired Up and Ready To Go!!"
Look forward to seeing everyone at 6PM sharp to begin this journey!
GEORGETOWN COUNTY EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AND DEMOCRATIC
Monday, May 14 6PM at the Steel Workers Union Hall 1515 Butts Street GeorgetownElection of GCDP Secretary
Michael Martinez, GCDP County Field Director will roll out the plan for phone banking, canvassing, and GOTV plan. Don't miss his presentation; it can lead us to Victory in November!
Questions or comments- Call 240-3396
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