While shooting pictures for our new book on lions (www.africanlions.co.za) at Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve (www.tswalu.com) we found some lions patrolling the fence line. We placed our GoPro action camera in their path hoping to catch a glimpse of them as they came past. Little did we know that one lioness would take a liking to the camera and cart it off into the bush!
The emergence of Medicare reform as an issue in the New York special election "changed the climate," presenting Democrats with an opportunity to capture the heavily Republican district, according to Rep. Steve Israel (N.Y.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.It's one of NY's most conservative congressional districts:
Two months ago, the Democrat, Kathy Hochul, was considered an all-but-certain loser. But Ms. Hochul seized on her Republican rival?s embrace of the proposal from Representative Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, to overhaul Medicare, and she never let up.Could Steny Hoyer have been more clueless.
Wow, was the orchestra supposed to be a soundtrack for Obama's toast, or are they playing him off like an overextended Oscar speech?[...]
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Republican U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia says that any federal assistance for the Joplin, Missouri tornadoes will have to be offset by others cuts in the federal budget. (Above—Picture of Joplin damage as taken by macahanC6R.) From the Washington Times— “House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Monday that if [...]
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A few final thoughts as we chew this one over. First off, Siena's final poll had 13% of Republicans and 10% of Democrats voting for Jack Davis; PPP had it 16R, 8D. Regardless of which numbers you might think were more accurate, it's fallacious to assume that you can add Davis's election night totals to Corwin's and find something resembling a GOP majority. It just didn't happen that way.
Another thing: The GOP spent an absolute fortune on this race. Not counting outside money, Corwin alone spent about $2.6 million of her own money to get about 40,000 votes. That comes out to $68/vote. By contrast, Meg Whitman spent approximately $144 million out of her own pocket ? a record ? to net about 4 million votes in last year's gubernatorial race in California. That comes out to roughly $35/vote. Kathy Hochul raised very well, but she was most certainly outspent.
As for outside money, the main spenders for Corwin were $700K by Karl Rove's American Crossroads, $100K by the American Action Network, and $425K by the NRCC (totaling about $1.2 million). For Hochul, it wound up as $371K from the House Majority PAC, $111K from the Communications Workers of America, $75K from 1199 SEIU 1199, and $267K from the DCCC (totalling $824K). Hochul herself raised around a million bucks.
I don't want to sound cocky. Jack Davis certainly did have some effect on this race, and we're not likely to ever see anyone like him again ? and certainly not in 2012. But the Medicare message definitely resonated. If you don't think it did, then why did Scott Brown twist himself into contortions about the Ryan budget over the last couple of weeks, until finally coming down against it? Why have other Republicans like Olympia Snowe (who's up for re-election this year) also said they'd vote no? Because they're belatedly realizing how wretched Ryan's Curse is for them. Tonight's result is only going to further that realization.
But even if you believe none of this, even if you think that this was a truly sui generis race that must stand on its own, there's still one fact that cannot be disputed: Democrats are now one seat closer to re-taking the House. No matter what lessons you want to draw from NY-26, that is cold, hard reality. And right now, tonight, that's what matters.
Governor Brian Sandoval broke ranks with the his party today and signed into law a bill that prohibits discriminating against transgender workers.The bill will go into effect October 1. Employers in Nevada will be prohibited from discriminating[...]
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Famed science deniers Willie Soon and Paul Driessen, both of whom have worked for groups that accept cash from Exxon Mobil to pretend global warming isn't happening, have a new crusade: Mercury denial!
That's right: They have an op-ed in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal claiming that breathing toxic mercury isn't bad for you.
Willie Soon, astronomer. And Paul Driessen, lobbyist with a degree in geology. Expertise in public health? Limited. Willingness to take cash from the coal polluters that pump tons of mercury into our air every year? Extensive.
What's that? You want to know what actual medical researchers have to say about the subject? Fine, have it your way:
For fetuses, infants, and children, the primary health effect of methylmercury is impaired neurological development. Methylmercury exposure in the womb, which can result from a mother's consumption of fish and shellfish that contain methylmercury, can adversely affect a baby's growing brain and nervous system. Impacts on cognitive thinking, memory, attention, language, and fine motor and visual spatial skills have been seen in children exposed to methylmercury in the womb. Recent human biological monitoring by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1999 and 2000 shows that most people have blood mercury levels below a level associated with possible health effects. More recent data from the CDC support this general finding.The Environmental Protection Agency is acting right now to limit mercury pollution. Please take a moment to tell the EPA you support its efforts.
Outbreaks of methylmercury poisonings have made it clear that adults, children, and developing fetuses are at risk from ingestion exposure to methylmercury. During these poisoning outbreaks some mothers with no symptoms of nervous system damage gave birth to infants with severe disabilities, it became clear that the developing nervous system of the fetus may be more vulnerable to methylmercury than is the adult nervous system. [...]
In addition to the subtle impairments noted above, symptoms of methylmercury poisoning may include; impairment of the peripheral vision; disturbances in sensations ("pins and needles" feelings, usually in the hands, feet, and around the mouth); lack of coordination of movements; impairment of speech, hearing, walking; and muscle weakness.
Here is something to cry about for real, Orange Man (and congratulations to U.S. House Representative-Elect, Democrat Kathy Hochul from NY-26)...
?and I?ll be honest; I was going to go ?all in? and work on some enormous post about Bob Dylan in honor of his 70th birthday, but I thought what he said recently about folk music, calling it ?music for fat people,? as well as totally ignoring human rights issues in China when he recently performed there, were both pretty crappy (as noted in this fine column by Maureen Dowd; I couldn?t think of anything to say about it last month when it appeared, but better late than never I guess).
There were a lot of performers who gave up a lot in the way of commercial success and even risked harm to themselves by standing up and performing songs about what they believed in (Pete Seeger, for example). However, I suppose Dylan really doesn?t believe in much of anything when you get down to it (I?ve mentioned the book ?John Lennon: The Life? by Philip Norman a few times in the past, and the former Beatle more or less dismissed Dylan?s supposed religious conversion in the late ?70s in a fairly snide manner, for the record).
So, for now, happy birthday, Bob. Congratulations on achieving iconic status as one of the most famous artists of easily the last 50 years.
But as far as I?m concerned, you?re still a real jerk.
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laid out criteria for peace in an address before[...]
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Fox Business is running a week-long attack on the social safety net, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, labeling beneficiaries of these programs "takers." This messaging comes on the heels of a National Bureau of Economic Research study that concluded that these programs are highly effective at keeping people out of poverty.
CBPP: "The PovertyRate Would Double Without" Public Assistance Programs. From a blog post by theCenter on Budget and Policy Priorities, commenting on a National Bureau ofEconomic Research study on social safety net programs:
With anti-poverty programs under serious attack in Washington, here's something to keep in mind: a major new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) finds that public programs keep one in six Americans out of poverty -- primarily the elderly, disabled, and working poor -- and that the poverty rate would double without these programs.
Without the cash and non-cash income provided by programs such as Social Security, SNAP (formerly food stamps), and the Earned Income Tax Credit:
- The share ofAmericans below the poverty line in 2004 ($19,307 for a family of four) wouldhave more than doubled, from 13.5 percent to 29 percent. That is, 45million more Americans would have been poor.
- The share of Americans in"deep poverty," with incomes below half the poverty line, would have more thantripled, to 21 percent.
- The share ofAmericans who are poor or near-poor, with incomes below one-and-a-half-timesthe poverty line, would have risen to about 40 percent.
[Center on Budgetand Policy Priorities, 5/18/11]
Fox BusinessUnveils "Entitlement Nation: Makers Vs. Takers." Fox Business' website introduced the network's "week-longtheme of Entitlement Nation: Makers vs. Takers" on May 20, featuring thefollowing graphic:
Dobbs And Barnes: "Most" People On The "GovernmentHandouts" Social Security And Medicare Are "Takers." From Lou Dobbs' Fox Business show:
LOUDOBBS: All week this week, FoxBusiness presenting a special series called "Entitlement Nation, Makers VersusTakers," on the nation's growing dependence on government handouts. PeterBarnes and Ashley Webster here with two reports tonight. Peter, let's beginwith you.
PETER BARNES: Well Lou, according to a report by the Urban Institute, mostcurrent Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries are takers, getting a lotmore in benefits than they pay in payroll taxes. [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight,5/23/11]
Napolitano: "Dependency Is Turning This Country From ANation Of Makers ... Into A Nation Of Takers." From Andrew Napolitano's Fox Business show:
ANDREW NAPOLITANO: But first,we turn to the welfare state in America. It's entitlement nation week here onFox Business. Too many Americans, nearly half, get money from the federalgovernment, and nearly half Americans -- of Americans pay no taxes. And thefeds give away more money than they collect in taxes.The money is doled out primarily in the form of entitlements like SocialSecurity, Medicare, and Medicaid. Not only are these problems unconst -- or,these programs unconstitutional, as the federal government is not authorized totake money from one group and give it to another, but they make Americansdependent upon big government. And dependency is turning this country from anation of makers who come up with new ideas, who employ new people, who risktheir wealth and create wealth, into a nation of takers who primarily consumeother people's wealth. [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 5/23/11]
Asman: "Makers And Takers ... Embodies The Great DivideIn This Country." Fox Business hostDavid Asman said, "Kicking off tonight, for several weeks now, Scoreboardhas been featuring a segment called 'Makers and Takers,' which we thinkembodies the great divide in this country between the folks who actually makethings, and those who actually take what others make." Asman added that "mostof the takers are in the government." [Fox Business, America's NightlyScoreboard, 5/23/11]