IT’S ALREADY known around here that I’m a huge fan of the brilliant Lena Dunham and an avid viewer of HBO’s GIRLS. So, I’m sure you’re not shocked that I love this Obama ad.Young women vote in much smaller numbers. If that[...]
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"It really is a worst-case scenario," one of the Weather Channel anchors said late last night. The forecast scared me enough to go out and buy a few items I normally wouldn't have: A windup radio/battery/charger, an electric lantern and a single-burner unit for a propane tank. I wish I had the money to buy a propane heater, because the storm is going to bring cold weather in its wake, and I'm not happy about the possibility of sitting in the cold and the dark.
This morning's update includes the European model forecast, which still sees a direct hit on the Delaware Bay. Since I live about a half-mile from the Delaware River, I'm worried about the potential for storm surge and flooding. There's no good way to predict what will happen, because no one's ever seen a storm like this before.
In the meantime, a friend of a friend who works in emergency services said in a call with the feds yesterday, they were told to prepare for two-week power outages along the East Coast -- which means no phone, no computer, and no heat. And that's the best case scenario. (As I've written before, power companies are chronically understaffed to keep stock prices up, and hire inexperienced temp workers to clean up after disasters.)
Maybe now that this puts Election Day at risk, we can start talking about global warming:
Hurricane Sandy, having blown through Haiti and Cuba on Thursday, continues to barrel north. A wintry storm is chugging across from the West. And frigid air is streaming south from Canada.
And if they meet Tuesday morning around New York or New Jersey, as forecasters predict, they could create a big wet mess that settles over the nation's most heavily populated corridor and reaches as far inland as Ohio.
With experts expecting at least $1 billion in damage, the people who will have to clean it up aren't waiting.
Utilities are lining up out-of-state work crews and canceling employees' days off to deal with the power outages. From county disaster chiefs to the federal government, emergency officials are warning the public to be prepared. And President Barack Obama was briefed aboard Air Force One.
"It's looking like a very serious storm that could be historic," said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the forecasting service Weather Underground. "Mother Nature is not saying `trick-or-treat.' It's just going to give tricks."
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecaster Jim Cisco, who coined the nickname Frankenstorm, said: "We don't have many modern precedents for what the models are suggesting."
Government forecasters said there is a 90 percent chance - up from 60 percent two days earlier - that the East will get pounded starting Sunday and stretching past Halloween on Wednesday. Things are expected to get messier once Sandy, a very late hurricane in what has been a remarkably quiet season, comes ashore, probably in New Jersey.
Coastal areas from Florida to Maine will feel some effects, but the storm is expected to vent the worst of its fury on New Jersey and the New York City area, which could see around 5 inches of rain and gale-force winds close to 40 mph. Eastern Ohio, southwestern Pennsylvania, western Virginia and the Shenandoah Mountains could get snow.
And the storm will take its time leaving. The weather may not start clearing in the mid-Atlantic until the day after Halloween and Nov. 2 in the upper Northeast, Cisco said.
"It's almost a weeklong, five-day, six-day event," he said from a NOAA forecast center in College Park, Md. "It's going to be a widespread, serious storm."
It is likely to hit during a full moon, when tides are near their highest, increasing the risk of coastal flooding. And because many trees still have their leaves, they are more likely to topple in the event of wind and snow, meaning there could be widespread power outages lasting to Election Day.
Eastern states that saw blackouts that lasted for days after last year's freak Halloween snowstorm and Hurricane Irene in late August 2011 are already pressuring power companies to be more ready this time.
Asked if he expected utilities to be more prepared, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick responded: "They'd better be."
Jersey Central Power & Light, which was criticized for its response to Irene, notified employees to be ready for extended shifts. In Pennsylvania, PPL Corp. spokesman Michael Wood said, "We're in a much better place this year."
Some have compared the tempest to the so-called Perfect Storm that struck off the coast of New England in 1991, but that one didn't hit as populated an area. Nor is this one like last year's Halloween storm, which was merely an early snowfall.
"The Perfect Storm only did $200 million of damage and I'm thinking a billion," Masters said. "Yeah, it will be worse."
A new report notes that this year’s Medicaid spending growth slowed to 2 percent, in what health policy analysts are praising as a sign that national Medicaid costs are coming under control as the economy continues to stabilize. In 2011, Medicaid spending rose to 10 percent. The current drop is partially driven by the past [...]
Campaigners unable yet to make Chevron
pay for the damages it creates.Chevron, the eighth largest oil company in the world, has contributed $2.5 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Super PAC seeking the election of Republicans to the House of Representatives. That, says campaignmoney.org, is the single largest contribution to a so-called Super PAC since the Supreme Court's Citizen United decision in 2010 allowed these organizations to advocate for candidates with money raised from corporations, unions and individuals in unlimited amounts.
Paul Blumenthal reports that the Chevron contribution is part of a shift on the part of oil and gas companies that gave 62 percent of their political contributions to Republicans in 1990 and 90 percent so far this election cycle. Total 2012 contributions from the industry reported, according to the Center for Responsible Politics Open Secrets project: $49 million. As of June, Republicans had received $38 million of the industry's political contributions, four times as much as Democrats had received.
Adam Smith, communications director for the campaign finance watchdog Public Campaign, drew a link between Chevron's contribution and the Republican Party's voting record. He said, "$2.5 million to a party who has repeatedly voted to maintain their subsidies is a worthy investment for them."Chevron is the third largest contributor to political campaigns among the Fortune 500.
Rebecca Leber points out that the Republican-dominated House has voted 109 times this session to keep the oil and gas industry rolling in dough, including 38 votes to prevent clean-energy deployments and 12 times to expedite approval of the Keystone XL pipeline that will transport highly polluting tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Despite its forays into geothermal and solar projects, Chevron has an appalling environmental record, especially in the Amazon, Western Australia and the Niger Delta of Africa.
It faces a $19 billion liability in lawsuit brought by advocates of indigenous peoples in Ecuador over the impact of billions of gallons of toxins associated with oil production that the corporation dumped there. It is claimed the toxins have produced more cancer in the area than would have otherwise occurred. As a consequence of the lawsuit, Chevron has been backing the Senate candidacy of Connie Mack, a Florida Republican challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, via its contributions to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
According to the advocacy website, the Chevron Pit, Mack from his House seat has sought to nullify trade preferences with Ecuador unless the lawsuit against Chevron is dismissed. If that were to happen, it would cost hundreds of thousands of Ecuadoreans their jobs.
A television ad for Nelson was run the second week of October. It is called "Hedge Fund Honcho":
Nelson: I'm Bill Nelson and I approved this message.A Chevron lobbyist told Newsweek in 2008: "We can't let little countries screw around with big companies like this?companies that have made big investments around the world." Company officials may not be so bold as to say so, but that is exactly how they view things in their home base. As always, they are willing to spend a few millions to keep raking in their billions.
Announcer: Out-of-state billionaires and special interests have spent over $20 million to buy Connie Mack IV a Senate seat.
Is it any wonder? In Congress, Mack is protecting Chevron Oil from a multi-billion dollar lawsuit over pollution of rivers and rain forests. And Mack filed a bill worth $2 billion for a Wall Street hedge fund speculator who happens to be one of Mack's biggest donors.
Connie Mack. Deep in debt to the special interests.
No matter where you live, sign up to help get Democratic voters to the polls in swing states with our partners at Workers? Voice, a new political action committee from our friends in the labor movement.
Thursday's polls served to clarify that Barack Obama maintains a narrow lead in states that would get him to 270 electoral votes.
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Amos Yadlin, a former high-level Israeli military intelligence official, said in a paper he co-wrote and published yesterday that bilateral negotiations between the United States and Iran would be ?a positive development? for Israel. Yadlin’s report comes on the heals of a New York Times report that Iran and the U.S. had agreed to bilateral [...]
With Hurricane Sandy moving over the Atlantic, this is the time where we all become amateur hurricane experts, talking about wind speed and storm surges. But because Sandy is on a path to hit an area not normally affected by storms, it could create more[...]
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Yesterday morning Mitt Romney refused to answer three separate questions from reporters about Richard Mourdock's comments about rape and abortion:
Politicians face this kind of political pickle all the time, but let's be clear: If Mitt Romney weren't beholden to the radical right, there's no way he'd be going silent right now. And it only takes about 30 seconds of searching through YouTube to figure out how Mitt Romney would govern if he gets elected. Remember, Romney was stridently pro-choice when he ran for U.S. Senate and when he ran for Massachusetts governor. But when he was actually elected, he flip-flopped. He governed as a pro-life Republican even though he ran as a pro-choice moderate.
Nowadays, Mitt Romney claims that he supports exceptions for rape and incest. But we already know that he lied once about choice in order to win an election. And his silence about Richard Mourdock is a pretty clear sign that he's lying once again.
Please chip in $5 to help President Obama finish this campaign strong and protect the right to choose.
This is ... some nerve. Mitt Romney is lying about one set of American jobs going to China in order to scare people into thinking that electing him is the way to keep those jobs here. All the while, he's profiting from another set of jobs actually being sent to China, and claiming he has nothing to do with it.
Let's untangle the levels of nerve here. Romney is claiming that the way to keep Chrysler from moving Jeep production to China is to elect Mitt Romney. In fact, not only is Chrysler not moving Jeep production to China, it's expanding Jeep production in Michigan and Ohio. But don't worry, if you vote for Romney, he'll fight for every one of those jobs to be kept right here in America.
Meanwhile, Sensata Technologies is closing an American plant and sending 170 jobs to China. That's happening right now. People are losing their jobs. Sensata is controlled by Bain Capital, the company Romney founded and ran. Romney has large personal investments in Sensata and has already reaped significant tax breaks by giving Sensata stock to his own charitable foundation, the one he uses to support things like "pray away the gay" groups. When it comes to this thing that's actually happening, that he's profiting from, Romney has a million excuses for how he's not responsible, has nothing to do with it, can't even speak out against it, and oh, by the way, did you know that President Barack Obama has as much as $11 of a pension he doesn't control that's related to Sensata?
This is Mitt Romney in a nutshell: lying, promising to fight job losses (that aren't happening) if he can pin them on Obama, refusing to talk about job losses (that are happening) if he's profiting from them.
This is why it's so important to get the word out about who Romney really is. Sign up to get out the vote among swing state Democratic voters with our partners at Workers' Voice.