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Posted on on January 30th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

Sellouts: The Senate & the Keystone XL Pipeline

By Charles Pierce, Esquire
30 January 2015

Well, the Senate is now set to double-dog dare the president to veto a bill mandating the construction of our old friend the Keystone XL pipeline, the continent-spanning death funnel designed to bring the world’s dirtiest fossil-fuel down from the environmental hellspout of northern Alberta, through this country’s most valuable farmland, and down to the refineries on the coast, and thence to the world.

Instead of discussing (again) what a dreadful idea the pipeline is, let’s mention the nine (!) Democratic senators who voted to submarine the White House in favor of this catastrophe waiting to happen.

Nine Democrats joined a unanimous Republican caucus to support the bill: Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Tom Carper of Delaware, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana and Mark Warner of Virginia.

OK, Heidi Heitkamp is about one head-scarf short of being an oil sheikh at this point, and Joe Manchin is hopeless on any issue involving the extraction industries because of coal. But what the hell is up with Tom Carper? What’s Delaware’s dog in this fight? Shipping, I guess, and the same thing could be said for Bob Casey, Jr., who is following the family tradition of bailing on his party when it suits him. (The residents of Pennsylvania, with their land fracked half to death and their water capable of being used as lighter fluid, should be alerted to the fact that their junior senator voted with the industries that have done the damage.) Donnelly of Indiana voted for it so nobody would call him a tree-hugger on the radio, and I suspect Mark Warner wanted to burnish his “centrist” credentials as well. These are all very lame excuses, but Claire McCaskill has none. Of the nine poltroons, her state is closest to the proposed route of the death funnel, and it will be most affected by whatever happens when the pipeline breaks, because it will, because it is a pipeline and they break. That doesn’t mean she hasn’t tried to cobble one together.

“It’s going to be either moved by train, or it’s going to be moved by barge, or it’s going to be moved by pipeline. The safest way for it to be moved is by pipeline. It also has the benefit of more jobs,” said McCaskill when asked about her vote for a pipeline bill offered by Senate Democrats within weeks of losing their majority in last November’s mid-term elections.

Let it be moved in all those ways, but let Canadian oil be moved through Canada, which is a harder sell, because they take their environmental regulations — and their treaties with their indigenous peoples — a lot more serious than we do. So we serve as North America’s Louisiana, with our own Cancer Corridor. Which reminds me:

The vote is a big win for Louisiana lawmakers. Before December’s Senate runoff in that state, the two candidates, incumbent Democratic senator Mary Landrieu and her challenger, GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy, both pushed bills to approve the pipeline. The House approved Cassidy’s bill, but the Senate defeated Landrieu’s and he went on to take her Senate seat in the election.

And some of the comments:

+32 # fredboy 2015-01-30 15:46
If Warner doesn’t understand clean water, he shouldn’t be representing the Commonwealth of Virginia in the U.S. Senate.


For some time now, here in Colorado, I’ve been passing on my logo for a Dem. governor, Hickenlooper:


And now, since his vote in the egregious and gonna be so damaging and health destroying Keystone Pipeline, I’ve got a similar logo for Dem. Sen. Michael Bennet:


Yep, a political war it now is – bi-partisan effort to impeach this POTUS, Obama, should he not veto, as he said he would, this Keystone Pipeline, and a Dem. vote out of any and all obviously bought off Dem. Senators who are listed above, and who are very likely to vote to overcome a veto, should Pres. Obama keep his word and veto, as he’s said he would, the deadly Keystone Pipeline.

+32 # Luckyenough 2015-01-30 15:57
As a Pennsylvania resident, I am at a loss as to how in the name of heaven Casey could have supported this filthy oil traveling anywhere through the US. I wonder if the route had been through PA if he would have been so ready to suck up to the moneyed interests. My fingers are ready on the keyboard to send a letter telling him he is not representing MY interests, and I am one of a minority of dems in my rural very red county!

+30 # Blackjack 2015-01-30 16:05
What they all understand perfectly well is their political futures, which they think is tied to sucking up to the oil/gas industries. What they don’t give a fig about is the best interests of those of us who don’t benefit from oil/gas extraction in our back yards–you know those of us who actually voted for them so they could vote against us. And is anyone else sick of the lame-brained excuse that it will bring “jobs?” That’s the excuse that has been given forever by polluters of all stripes and what it has given us instead is ecological nightmares which we, the indentured servants, i.e., citizens, have had to pay for. . . sometimes after getting sick, and even dying, from whatever brand of poison they foisted upon us.

+3 # BillW72 2015-01-30 16:14
Does nine Democrat senators mean that Obama’s veto can be easily overridden?

+15 # Carol R 2015-01-30 16:16
“Donnelly of Indiana voted for it so nobody would call him a tree-hugger on the radio…”

BP Oil in NW Indiana (Whiting, IN) is already processing Tar Sands oil. Our air was 16th most polluted in the US, according to the American Lung Association. BP Oil puts 2 million tons of pet coke into our air every year.

Just who was Donnelly voting to help? Hoosiers or BP Oil?

AND # skylinefirepest 2015-01-30 16:39
Pipeline is the safest method of transportation for almost any product. Do you drive a car? Wear clothes? Eat food every day? If so, people, then oil put it there for you. We cannot survive without oil. Get over yourselves.

AND +25 # Blackjack 2015-01-30 17:05
It’s you who should get over yourself! You can make excuses all you want for the polluting excesses that make for part of the greed that has been a part of our country for far too many years. You can have some oil/gas for a time without being excessive and you can also look for greener alternatives and support them or you can be satisfied with excess and greed!

+13 # REDPILLED 2015-01-30 17:34
People once thought that way about whale oil. See this: James Hansen slams Keystone XL Canada-U.S. Pipeline: “Exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate…

-45 # brycenuc 2015-01-30 17:08
Skylinefirepest is absolutely right. Besides, oil cannot produce the erroneously maligned carbon dioxide until it is refined and burned. It will produce the same amount of harmless carbon dioxide in the atmosphere where ever it is refined and burned. Once that oil is produced, it will be refined and burned.

Of all the stupid things to blame for global warming pipelines are at the top of the list.

+19 # X Dane 2015-01-30 17:19
I wonder if you live close to a pipeline or processing plant?? if you did you would not be so flip, for it is the dirtiest most polluting oil on the planet. And it will ONLY bring destruction…. and disaster, when it breaks,

We are producing plenty of oil in our own country, we do not need Canada’s filthy crap. YOU need to inform yourself before you try to lecture us. You probably do not understand that it is also the most expensive to refine.

+16 # Cassandra2012 2015-01-30 17:49
Skyline PEST
Keystone will only benefit the Koch Bros. and Trans-Canada Oil. It will produce only 35 permanent jobs and threaten the Oglala aquifer and the farmland of eight states.

Filthy dangerous tar sands oil is NO answer to our energy needs. Time to actually develop green solutions as IS BEING DONE IN PLACES LIKE ICELAND and Scotland. We are rapidly becoming a third world country as we succumb to the machinations of the Koch/ALEC oligarchs.
Wise up!

+19 # Barbara K 2015-01-30 17:46
Not only is this crap coming from Canada, but it is not for us. It is going to the Gulf to be shipped to China. We are taking all the risks and getting none of the benefits. A foreign company is taking over farmland by eminent domain that belongs to American citizens. This should not be allowed. No foreign entity should be able to take away an American’s land. That is in the constitution. On top of all that, it is the Koch roaches who stand to gain $500Billion dollars on the deal. It is always, always, all about the money.

+6 # Laird999 2015-01-30 18:22
If this tar sands oil gets used it is GAME OVER – the climate will be ruined for humans – so for the Senator to say “this oil will be transported anyway” is idiotic. Anybody who says its ok to develop tar sands oil is essentially a traitor, a Benedict Arnold. Spills are bad, but spills are nothing compared to Game Over and Climate Ruin. The pipeline will speed up societal suicide. We used up our carbon budget, now we must make a stand and leave the vast majority of the carbon in the ground, or else we guarantee Climate Ruin.



Posted on on January 28th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

Obama’s Plan: Allow Drilling in Atlantic, but Limit It in Arctic.

By CORAL DAVENPORT for the New York Times – JAN. 27, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration moved Tuesday to open up a vast stretch of East Coast waters to oil and gas drilling, a decision that could have a profound impact on the economic and environmental future of states from Virginia to Georgia. The move also adds a new dimension to the legacy of President Obama.

In an announcement that outraged environmentalists and brought grudging cheers from the oil and gas industry, the Interior Department unveiled the latest part of its five-year plan for the government to sell leases for oil and gas development in federal waters from 2017 to 2022.

The plan would open up one lease sale area off the southeast stretch of the Atlantic Seaboard, an area the oil industry has long hungered to exploit. It would also open new portions of the Gulf of Mexico, which is already open to drilling. And in a move that appeased environmentalists but angered Alaskan Republicans, it will ban drilling in portions of the Arctic Ocean’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.

“This is a balanced proposal that would make available nearly 80 percent of the undiscovered technically recoverable resources, while protecting areas that are simply too special to develop,” the interior secretary, Sally Jewell, said in a statement.

Environmentalists said opening the Atlantic waters would put the coasts of Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia at risk for an environmental disaster like the BP spill that struck the Gulf Coast in 2010, when millions of barrels of oil washed ashore after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig. Advocacy groups in those states said that the drilling could harm tourism, fishing and other coastal industries that are already major drivers of the Southeastern economy.

But lawmakers from both parties in those coastal states have pushed for years to open their waters for drilling. The Interior Department estimates there are 3.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil on the Atlantic’s outer continental shelf and 31.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Continue reading the main story
Where Offshore Drilling Would Be Allowed

The Obama administration’s latest plan would open up the Eastern Seaboard to leasing for oil and gas drilling, but ban exploration in some Arctic waters off Alaska.

Areas in Alaska designated by President Obama in December and January as off limits for consideration for future oil and gas leasing.

The estimates are based on seismic surveys done in the early 1980s, and energy industry experts say the true reserves may be far higher. In opening up the waters to drilling, coastal states see the opportunity for billions of dollars in new revenue and royalties to flow from oil companies to state coffers, which would help pay for roads and schools and fill in budget shortfalls left by the recession.

For the president, the proposal is a new chapter in his complex and evolving environmental legacy. In announcing the drilling now, he is trying to achieve a balancing act on energy and the environment that he failed to achieve in his first term, in large part because of the BP disaster. Throughout his six years in office, he has tried to push a sweeping, aggressive and controversial plan to fight climate change while offering an appeasement to his opponents in the oil industry and the Republican Party.

“He giveth, and he taketh away,” said Kevin Book, an analyst at Clearview Energy Partners, a Washington analysis firm, of the president’s strategy. “The pairing of environmental policy with energy policy is something that, conceptually, this administration has done since the first term. Sometimes it looks like a balancing act, sometimes it’s serendipitous.”
Continue reading the main story

In early 2010, while trying to push a climate change bill through the Senate, Mr. Obama’s Interior Department put forth its first five-year plan for oil and gas development, which opened up the Atlantic coast for offshore drilling. The pairing of the two policies was done to ease opposition from Senate Republicans to the climate change bill. But after the deadly April 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, Mr. Obama withdrew the proposal for Atlantic drilling. A few months later the climate bill died in the Senate.

Five years later he is trying again, this time trying to force through a historic climate change policy by using his executive authority to push Environmental Protection Agency regulations on planet-warming emissions from coal-fired power plants. The regulations, if enacted, could force states to shutter hundreds of coal plants in a transition to clean and renewable energy, and they have prompted fierce opposition from Republican governors.

But the new offshore drilling plan won praise from some of them. Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina, a Republican who is a fiercely conservative opponent of Mr. Obama’s energy and climate change policies, said in a statement on Tuesday that Mr. Obama was “taking a step in the right direction to help North Carolina become a significant energy-producing state.”

Mr. McCrory added that oil and gas drilling would “create thousands of good paying jobs, spur activity in a host of associated industries, generate billions of dollars in tax revenue and move America closer to energy independence.”

Mr. McCrory and other Southeastern governors envision a future in which new offshore drilling stimulates job growth and new onshore industries that support it, aligning Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia with states like Texas and Louisiana as major offshore oil producers.

But local advocacy groups fear not only oil spills but also the destruction of a distinctive coastal economy.

“Risky drilling off our Southern coasts jeopardizes the communities, jobs and beloved beaches that are the very heart of our coastal states,” said Sierra Weaver, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “Our coastal economies are the backbone of hundreds of towns and cities along the Southern coast, providing thousands of jobs, multibillion-dollar tourism industries, multimillion-dollar fishing industries, and critical local tax revenues.”

Administration officials pointed out on Tuesday that the proposal would be subject to revision. Interior Department officials said that they expected to hold over 20 public hearings on the plan, but it does not require congressional approval. Ms. Weaver said environmental groups would gear up to fight the proposals.

Environmental advocates noted that since the 2010 BP spill, Congress has not passed any new law intended to tighten safety regulations on the offshore oil industry. But Interior Department officials said they were planning to put forth new regulations ahead of the new drilling.
Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story

“As a result of that incident, there were investigations to reduce the likelihood of problems in the future,” said Janice Schneider, the Interior Department’s assistant secretary for land and minerals management. Ms. Schneider said the agency was working with the industry to develop regulations on improved technology to prevent blowouts in offshore drilling rigs.

“We are working actively to get those proposed rules out on the street as soon as possible, and working with industry to ensure those rules reflect the best technology,” she said.

Interior Department officials said the drilling in the Atlantic would take place a minimum of 50 miles offshore so that it would not get in the way of the Navy’s military exercises, offshore wind turbines, and commercial and recreational fishing.

Ms. Jewell said that since so little was known about the proposed Atlantic lease sale areas, the coming years would be devoted to exploration of the area to determine the extent of its oil and gas resources and ecological sensitivity. She said that the government was unlikely to sell a drilling lease before 2021, meaning it could be a decade before new drilling begins.

“In the Atlantic, we know very little,” she said.

A version of this article appears in print on January 28, 2015, on page A1 of the New York editionn.

For illustrations look please at:…


Some of the comments:

10 hours ago

Excellent compromise. Let the spills and other “accidents” pollute the waterfront homes of the “movers and shakers” instead of wiping out a…

12 hours ago

Just two thoughts on the subject of leasing Americans land to private industry………The excuse of making us energy independent means,…
12 hours ago

“…lawmakers in Virginia and other Southeastern states have pushed to open up their waters to oil companies, lured by the prospect of new…


Posted on on May 13th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (

Bobby Jindal, raised Hindu, uses Christian conversion to woo GOP base for 2016 run.


Parker Michels-Boyce/AP – Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal delivers the keynote speech at the Liberty University commencement ceremony in Lynchburg, Va., on May 10, 2014.

By Published: May 12, 2014     


LYNCHBURG, Va. — A dozen politically active pastors came here for a private dinner Friday night to hear a conversion story unique in the context of presidential politics: how Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal traveled from Hinduism to Protestant Christianity and, ultimately, became what he calls an “evangelical Catholic.”Over two hours, Jindal, 42, recalled talking with a girl in high school who wanted to “save my soul,” reading the Bible in a closet so his parents would not see him and feeling a stir while watching a movie during his senior year that depicted Jesus on the cross.

“I was struck, and struck hard,” Jindal told the pastors. “This was the Son of God, and He had died for our sins.”

Jindal’s session with the Christian clergy, who lead congregations in the early presidential battleground states of Iowa and South Carolina, was part of a behind-the-scenes effort by the Louisiana governor to find a political base that could help propel him into the top tier of Republican candidates seeking to run for the White House in 2016.

Known in GOP circles mostly for his mastery of policy issues such as health care, Jindal, a Rhodes Scholar and graduate of the Ivy League’s Brown University, does not have an obvious pool of activist supporters to help drive excitement outside his home state. So he is harnessing his religious experience in a way that has begun to appeal to parts of the GOP’s influential core of religious conservatives, many of whom have yet to find a favorite among the Republicans eyeing the presidential race.

Other potential 2016 GOP candidates are wooing the evangelical base, including Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

But over the weekend in Lynchburg — a mecca of sorts for evangelicals as the home of Liberty University, founded in the 1970s by the Rev. Jerry Falwell — Jindal appeared to make progress.

In addition to his dinner with the pastors, he delivered a well-received “call to action” address to 40,000 Christian conservatives gathered for Liberty’s commencement ceremony, talking again about his faith while assailing what he said was President Obama’s record of attacking religious liberty.

The pastors who came to meet Jindal said his intimate descriptions of his experiences stood out.

“He has the convictions, and he has what it takes to communicate them,” said Brad Sherman of Solid Rock Christian Church in Coralville, Iowa. Sherman helped former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee in his winning 2008 campaign for delegates in Iowa.

Another Huckabee admirer, the Rev. C. Mitchell Brooks of Second Baptist Church in Belton, S.C., said Jindal’s commitment to Christian values and his compelling story put him “on a par” with Huckabee, who was a Baptist preacher before entering politics.

The visiting pastors flew to Lynchburg over the weekend at the invitation of the American Renewal Project, a well-funded nonprofit group that encourages evangelical Christians to engage in the civic arena with voter guides, get-out-the-vote drives and programs to train pastors in grass-roots activism. The group’s founder, David Lane, has built a pastor network in politically important states such as Iowa, Missouri, Ohio and South Carolina and has led trips to Israel with Paul and others seeking to make inroads with evangelical activists.

The group that Lane invited to Lynchburg included Donald Wild­mon, a retired minister and founder of the American Family Association, a prominent evangelical activist group that has influence through its network of more than 140 Christian radio stations.

Most of the pastors that Lane’s organization brought to Lynchburg had not met Jindal. But they said he captured their interest recently when he stepped forward to defend Phil Robertson, patriarch of the “Duck Dynasty” television-show family, amid a controversy over disparaging remarks he made about gays in an interview with GQ magazine.

Throughout his Lynchburg visit, Jindal presented himself as a willing culture warrior.

During his commencement address Saturday, he took up the cause of twin brothers whose HGTV reality series about renovating and reselling houses, “Flip It Forward,” was canceled last week after a Web site revealed that they had protested against same-sex marriage at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

The siblings, Jason and David Benham, both Liberty graduates, attended the graduation and a private lunch with Jindal, who called the action against them “another demonstration of intolerance from the entertainment industry.”

“If these guys had protested at the Republican Party convention, instead of canceling their show, HGTV would probably have given them a raise,” Jindal said as the Liberty crowd applauded.

He cited the Hobby Lobby craft store chain, which faced a legal challenge after refusing to provide employees with insurance coverage for contraceptives as required under the Affordable Care Act. Members of the family that owns Hobby Lobby, who have become heroes to many religious conservatives, have said that they are morally opposed to the use of certain types of birth control and that they considered the requirement a violation of their First Amendment right to religious freedom.

The family was “committed to honor the Lord by being generous employers, paying well above minimum wage and increasing salaries four years in a row even in the midst of the enduring recession,” Jindal told the Liberty graduates. “None of this matters to the Obama administration.”

But for the pastors who came to see Jindal in action, the governor’s own story was the highlight of the weekend. And in many ways, he was unlike any other aspiring president these activists had met.

Piyush (Bobby) Jindal was born in 1971, four months after his parents arrived in Baton Rouge, La., from their native India. He changed his name to Bobby as a young boy, adopting the name of a character on a favorite television show, “The Brady Bunch.”

His decision to become a Christian, he told the pastors, did not come in one moment of lightning epiphany. Instead, he said, it happened in phases, growing from small seeds planted over time.

Jindal recalled that his closest friend from grade school gave him a Bible with his name emblazoned in gold on the cover as a Christmas present. It struck him initially as an unimpressive gift, Jindal told the pastors.

“Who in the world would spend good money for a Bible when everyone knows you can get one free in any hotel?” he recalled thinking at the time. “And the gold lettering meant I couldn’t give it away or return it.”

His religious education reached a higher plane during his junior year in high school, he told his dinner audience. He wanted to ask a pretty girl on a date during a hallway conversation, and she started talking about her faith in God and her opposition to abortion. The girl invited him to visit her church.

Jindal said he was skeptical and set out to “investigate all these fanciful claims” made by the girl and other friends. He started reading the Bible in his closet at home. “I was unsure how my parents would react,” he said.

After the stirring moment when he saw Christ depicted on the cross during the religious movie,
the Bible and his very existence suddenly seemed clearer to him, Jindal told the pastors.

Jindal did not dwell on his subsequent conversion to Catholicism just a few years later in college, where he said he immersed himself in the traditions of the church.

He touched on it briefly during the commencement address, noting in passing that “I am best described as an evangelical Catholic.” Mostly, he sought to showcase the ways in which he shares values with other Christian conservatives.

“I read the words of Jesus Christ, and I realized that they were true,” Jindal told the graduates Saturday, offering a less detailed accounting of his conversion than he had done the night before with the pastors. “I used to think that I had found God, but I believe it is more accurate to say that He found me.”



Posted on on January 14th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (


If we refuse to understand environment – let us talk economics:

Rising Sea, Sinking Land.

Tide gauges along the East Coast show a long-term increase in relative sea levels, in part because the ocean is rising and in part because areas of the coast are sinking.

Each unit of those barrels signifies half an inch per decade. The line as function of time signifies the losses for Norfolk, Virginia, and Battery Park, New York City.


Posted on on November 6th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (



Politics, media and the politics of media.The

We all know that Bill de Blasio will win the New York City mayoral race by a landslide tomorrow—but the right is desperately hoping that maybe, just maybe, some last-minute explosive revelation about de Blasio will help his Republican opponent, Joe Lhota, “eke out” a victory, as Lhota told Chuck Todd this morning he would indeed do.

Crazy, huh? But in just the last few days, de Blasio has been hit with negative stories, from the minor to the self-inflicted to the ridiculous, that could ever so slightly knock a few points off his margin of victory, which polls have steadily put at around forty points. Let’s start with the ridiculous:

He’s still a commie! Really!

Having failed earlier in the season to red-bait de Blasio for supporting the Sandinistas in the late ’80s, the New York Post—remarkably, at this late date—is at it again, and with a laughably desperate Hail Mary. On today’s cover, they’ve smeared de Blasio in red ink, literally, showing de Blasio’s face next to a hammer and sickle. The headline: “Back in the USSR!: ‘Progressive’ Bill’s secret Cold War trip.”

It’s hard to say which makes the Post look more frozen in amber: the quotation marks around the word progressive (that’s just code for pinko, see?) or the word secret, a notion that’s belied by the unrevelatory story inside, “De Blasio visited Communist USSR in college.”

De Blasio didn’t try to hide the trip he took as a NYU student in 1983; as the Post itself writes: “De Blasio listed the trip on a résumé from the 1990s. Under ‘travel,’ he said he visited ‘West Africa, Europe, Israel, Puerto Rico, USSR.’?” These are the sort of places that college students, if they’re lucky, get to write home about. As a spokeswoman for the de Blasio campaign, said, “When he was a presidential scholar at NYU, Bill attended an annual trip that took him to Lithuania and Russia. In other years, he traveled—along with other presidential scholars—to Spain, Israel and Senegal.”

But the Post, forever trying to frame its foes, wants to make the trip sound subversive, if only because it went against the prevailing group-think of the time: “It was the same year,” the Murdoch paper reminds us, “that President Ronald Reagan referred to the country’s regime as ‘The Evil Empire.’?”

The Belafonte Bump

Introducing de Blasio at a Harlem church on Sunday, Harry Belafonte likened the Koch brothers—actually, their supporters—to the KKK. From the Politicker:

“Already, we have lost 14 states in this union to the most corrupt group of citizens I’ve ever known,” he said near the end of his speech. “They make up the heart and the thinking in the mind of those who would belong to the Ku Klux clan. They are white supremacists. They are men of evil. They have names. They are flooding our country with money. They’ve come into New York City.… The Koch brothers, that’s their name,” he said, adding, “They must be stopped.”

As Mr. de Blasio took to the stage, he greeted Mr. Belafonte with a big hug, before heaping praise on the singer and civil rights activist, who remained seated by his side.

Asked about Belafonte’s comments afterwards, de Blasio said, “I have great respect for Harry Belanfonte, but I think that was the wrong way to talk about them and I don’t think that’s fair.” He rightly reminded reporters what’s wrong with the Tea Party–supporting Koch empire: “I do think the Koch brothers have hurt the American Democratic process greatly. I think they have been amongst the most aggressive at trying to undermine campaign finance laws that keep money out of the political system.”

It’s too late for even the New York Post to turn Belafonte into de Blasio’s Rev. Wright. But Lhota’s campaign gave it a shot, releasing its own over-the-top statement, saying: “It’s reprehensible that a candidate for mayor of the city of New York would closely associate himself with an individual who has equated the American government to al Qaeda and the 9/11 hijackers and has a long history of hateful, racist remarks.”

David Koch gave big money to a pro-Lhota PAC before the general election kicked in, and just a few days ago, donated $200,000 to a second pro-Lhota PAC after it won a Citizens United–like court decision to lift New York State contribution limits.

Stop-and-Frisk Lives to See Another Day

At least for a while. Conservatives are hoping that another court decision will hurt de Blasio. On Thursday, a federal appeals court temporarily halted reforms of the city’s stop-and-frisk policy that de Blasio has fought hard against and that a judge had earlier determined was unconstitutional and racially discriminatory.

Former Mayor Giuliani campaigned in Staten Island with Lhota, who served as one of his deputy mayors, hailed the latest decision. “The court of appeals has just basically said to [de Blasio]: that is a bunch of malarkey,” he said. “I hope it had a dramatic effect on the race.” He later added, “I think [Lhota’s] gonna to win the election,” he said.

But de Blasio has said that, if elected mayor, he’d drop the city’s lawsuit, effectively stopping the worst of stop-and-frisk.

Sleep for Me but Not for Thee?

This was one of those self-inflicted wounds. De Blasio is known for being late. No huge deal, lots of pols are late (remember Bill Clinton and his “Elvis time”?). But on Saturday, de Blasio screwed up beyond the usual:

From The New York Times:

Even with a relatively light schedule for the final Saturday before the election, Mr. de Blasio was an hour late for his first rally, on the Upper West Side. “I am not a morning person,” he told reporters later, explaining that he had been awakened by a phone call at 5 a.m. and then had to rest for a few more hours. (A spokeswoman for Mr. de Blasio’s Republican opponent, Joseph J. Lhota, posted on Twitter that he wakes up at 5:15 a.m. every day—even on weekends.)

At a “Women for de Blasio” rally later that day

Mr. de Blasio encouraged his supporters to go without sleep in the final days of the campaign. “A combination of espresso and Red Bull will take you all the way through,” he said, “and people will admire you for it.”

None of these developments will derail de Blasio, as the right would wish. At most, they might cut into his margin a tiny bit, becoming footnotes to a historical victory.

Katrina vanden Heuvel throws her support behind Bill de Blasio on the Working Families Party line.



Democrat Terry McAuliffe has defeated Republican state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II in the race to become Virginia’s next governor, according to exit polls from Edison Media Research and vote returns with more than 90 percent counted. The race captured national attention, as voters decided between McAuliffe, a veteran Democratic fundraiser, and Cuccinelli, whose conservative views made him an icon of the tea party movement.



Mr. McAuliffe, 56, ran as a social liberal and an economic moderate focused on job creation. Mr. Cuccinelli, a Republican who was the first attorney general to sue over President Obama’s health care law, ran as a hard-line social conservative and aimed his campaign almost exclusively at the Tea Party wing of his party.

Still, despite substantially outraising Mr. Cuccinelli, $34.4 million to $19.7 million, Mr. McAuliffe won by a margin — just over two percentage points — that was smaller than some pre-election polls had suggested.

Mr. McAuliffe benefited from an electorate that was less white and less Republican than it was four years ago. He drew about as large a percentage of African-Americans as Mr. Obama did last year. Blacks accounted for one in five voters, according to exit polls conducted by Edison Research. Mr. Cuccinelli’s strong anti-abortion views also brought out opponents, with 20 percent of voters naming abortion as their top issue; Mr. McAuliffe overwhelmingly won their support. The top issue for voters was the economy, cited by 45 percent in exit polls.

In a victory speech here, Mr. McAuliffe thanked the “historic number of Republicans who crossed party lines to support me” and invoked a tradition of bipartisanship in Richmond, the capital. In a checklist of recent governors who had moved the economy forward, he included the incumbent, Bob McDonnell, a Republican.


But Chris Christie, a purple Republican, was Re-elected Governor of New Jersey pointing out that getting of the Koch Tea-fed trees in Liberal Republican fashion recreates a right of center potential Javits/Rockefeller ruling class that reaches out again to minorities, women and the young.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey won decisively, making impressive inroads among younger voters, blacks, Hispanics and women – all groups that Republicans nationally have struggled to attract.


Dan Balz
Dan Balz
The Take – The Washington Post analysis.

Virginia, New Jersey results highlight Republican Party’s divisions, problems.

Tuesday’s elections, which produced a resounding Republican victory in New Jersey and a dispiriting loss for the GOP in Virginia, highlighted the challenges ahead for a badly divided party — and will probably intensify an internal debate about how to win back the White House in 2016.

At a time when the party’s image has sunk to record lows nationally, the results of the gubernatorial elections will reverberate far beyond the borders of Virginia and New Jersey. Off-year elections are hardly foolproof in predicting the future, but as GOP leaders digest what happened Tuesday, the lessons they take away from the races after their autumn of discontent will shape the coming rounds.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie (R) rolled to reelection by a margin that will make him a leading contender for his party’s presidential nomination in 2016, should he decide to run. His victory in a solidly blue state will be touted as a model for a party that needs to expand its coalition in national campaigns. But will the formula Christie employed in New Jersey work in Republican primaries and caucuses or in a national election for president?

In Virginia, Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, a tea party favorite, came closer than many expected but fell short in his race against Democratic businessman and party fundraiser Terry McAuliffe. What Republicans will debate was whether Cuccinelli was personally too conservative — and his party too toxic after the recent government shutdown — for what is now a classic swing state.

The outcomes set up a battle for power between competing wings of the Republican Party. Call it the establishment vs. the tea party, or the gubernatorial wing against the congressional wing. This competition is less about ideology or policy — there is no disunity, for example, when it comes to the party’s dislike of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act — than about purity vs. pragmatism, tactics and strategy. Or, as Christie has put it, it is about winning an argument vs. winning elections.

Christie’s campaign will embolden the establishment wing and many of the GOP’s major fundraisers, who have been on the defensive as tea party conservatives flexed their muscles in Republican primaries and in the battle in Congress that led to the shutdown. Those establishment forces have vowed to become more active in opposing the insurgency that has moved Republicans to the right.

But Cuccinelli’s narrow loss will not necessarily change the underlying shape of the party or the attitudes of many grass-roots conservatives about the need to oppose Obama and the Democrats at every turn. Cuccinelli ran hard against Obama’s health-care law in the closing days of the campaign, and many Republicans might conclude that with another week or two, he would have prevailed. They will make opposition to the health-care law the first page of the playbook for 2014 races, and possibly for 2016 as well.

Nor will Christie’s victory necessarily translate easily into a winning strategy in a national election. His win was personal, not an endorsement of his party. What has worked for him in New Jersey may or may not be easily transported to states with very different electorates. One exit poll question pitted Christie against Hillary Rodham Clinton in a hypothetical presidential race. Even in New Jersey, Clinton prevails.

What sank Cuccinelli will be the topic of debate among Republicans as they consider the tea party’s culpability in the defeat. There is little doubt that Cuccinelli’s past policies and statements badly hurt him. McAuliffe’s campaign, which had a sizable financial edge, pounded Cuccinelli early, leaving him deeply wounded politically.

But factors beyond his control also contributed. One was an ethics scandal that engulfed Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) and that touched Cuccinelli. The other was the shutdown, though Cuccinelli compounded the problem by inviting an architect of the GOP strategy, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), to campaign for him.

Christie did not run from his party, noting throughout the campaign that he opposed abortion rights and same-sex marriage and favored the kind of tax cuts that are part of conservative orthodoxy. As one of many governors who criticized the shutdown, he also kept himself insulated from its damage.

His success was testament to his powerful personality, his authenticity and his governing strategy, which combined conservative principles with a willingness to work with Democrats. Most significantly, perhaps, was the leadership he showed after Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of his state a year ago.

What Christie pointed to throughout his campaign was winning a bigger share of traditionally Democratic constituencies. Early exit polls showed that he boosted his numbers over his 2009 election among Hispanics and blacks.

One glaring contrast with Cuccinelli was the women’s vote. Christie was winning a majority of the votes among men and women. Cuccinelli was losing among women, and he was losing among unmarried women, a key Democratic constituency, by better than 2 to 1.

Mike Murphy, a GOP strategist who sides with the establishment wing of the party, said the shorthand from Tuesday’s results was plain. “Christie’s a how-to manual and Virginia is a how-not-to manual.”

John Brabender, the chief strategist for the presidential campaign of former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), sought to throttle back those kinds of assessments. “I think you’ll see a lot of people try to read in that the moderate [Christie] did well and the conservative [Cuccinelli] struggled,” he said. “I think that’s a grand oversimplification.”

As they look to 2016, Republicans can anticipate a potentially brawling nomination contest. A GOP strategist who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid said many primary and caucus voters will not look favorably on Christie’s willingness to work with Democrats. “They want you pure,” he said.

That suggests that the debate about the way forward for the Republicans will continue to rage.




Bradley Byrne {a business Republican} wins Republican House primary in Alabama over tea-party-backed Dean Young.

Republican Bradley Byrne defeated his insurgent conservative opponent in an Alabama congressional primary runoff Tuesday, notching a hard-fought victory for the business wing of the GOP.

With 100 percent of votes tallied, Byrne topped Dean Young, a Christian conservative aligned with the tea party, 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent.

The campaign marked the first big electoral test for business-minded Republicans in their showdown with the GOP’s tea party wing. Riled by the recent government shutdown and standoff over the debt ceiling, the business wing of the party decided that it was time to fight back against the tea party insurgency. Byrne, a business lawyer and former state senator, said during the campaign that the shutdown was not good for the country, while Young said it “was not the end of the world.”

The result in Alabama was one of several blows to the most conservative wing of the GOP on Election Day. Conservative Ken Cuccinelli II’s loss in the Virginia governor’s race and centrist Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s resounding win in New Jersey are sure to stoke talk in GOP circles about the party’s need to get behind more moderate candidates.

Byrne is now in the driver’s seat to succeed Republican Jo Bonner, who vacated the 1st District seat this year to take a position in the University of Alabama system. Byrne and Young were the top two vote-getters in a September primary in which no candidate won a majority of the vote.

Bonner was part of a flurry of establishment GOP support that rallied to Byrne’s side during the runoff. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent at least $199,000 on his behalf, while big companies such AT&T and Home Depot donated thousands to Byrne’s campaign down the stretch.

Byrne often cast himself as a “workhorse” in an effort to contrast with Young, who he characterized as a “show horse.” He urged voters to send someone to Washington not just to fight but to be an effective voice for the district.

Despite being outspent and having almost no support from national conservative groups, Young made a race of it by rallying his base of evangelical Christians and tea party voters angry with the federal government and eager for the next fight. He sought to criticize Byrne as a politician beholden to establishment interests who would mean business as usual if elected to Congress. Young cast himself as a fresh voice ready to shake things up.

For business leaders, the victory in Alabama is a much-needed boost of momentum headed into 2014, when they will be looking to elect like-minded candidates to other seats across the map, including those currently represented by tea party Republicans. Two such seats are in Michigan, where tea-party-aligned congressmen Kerry Bentivolio and Justin Amash have already drawn primary challengers.

Another possible front is in Idaho, where business groups may opt to help Rep. Mike Simpson, who has drawn a primary challenger running to his right. The anti-tax Club for Growth has lined up behind that challenger, lawyer Bryan Smith.

Byrne will face Democrat Burton LeFlore in the Dec. 17 special general election to succeed Bonner. The Republican is expected to win easily. Mitt Romney won more than six in 10 votes there in 2012.



Posted on on January 26th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

If the Republican Governor of Virginia does not veto this stealth-State-law the courts ought to do it, and if the partisan courts don’t, a way must be found for the Federal Government to intervene.


Hubris in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Published: January 24, 2013

The dark art of statehouse gerrymandering reached a new low in Virginia this week. Senate Republicans in Richmond used the absence of a Democratic member, who traveled to the presidential inauguration, to ram through a surprise redistricting map patently designed to aid the G.O.P.’s grab for majority power in the next election.

The chamber is divided 20-20 between the parties. A redistricting plan had been adopted after the 2010 census. But no sooner had Senator Henry Marsh III, a black civil rights leader, left for the inauguration on Martin Luther King’s Birthday than the Republicans pounced like street thugs to limit debate to 30 minutes and pass their shabbily partisan ploy by a vote of 20 to 19.

Like most states, the Virginia commonwealth has a long history of political eye-gouging in the pursuit of voting maps that boost the careers of one party’s members while keeping voters in the dark. But the Republicans’ blitzkrieg was breathtaking as they dredged up an innocuous House bill, grafted their remapping scheme onto it, and rushed it to the floor without any notice to the public.

The Republican House is expected to approve the changes, which would make eight of the state’s 40 Senate districts — including six held by Democrats — more heavily Republican. At the same time, more Democrats would be packed into three solidly Democratic districts. Republicans laughably argued that the remapping was needed to meet civil rights laws for fairer minority representation — this despite the party’s statehouse history of blocking Congressional redistricting plans bolstering minorities.

The Senate maneuver created such instant scandal that even the Republican governor, Robert McDonnell, had to admit, “I certainly don’t think that’s a good way to do business.” He can best make his point by vetoing the remapping as a piratical exercise in legislative hubris.


Posted on on December 24th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

The Crapo Hypocrite on the Republican ticket – that is the Virginia police verified drunken driving on Sunday 1 a.m., near Washington DC, by Mormon Senator Michael Crapo from Utah, who swears at drinking only Tea and on other strict behavior as well. How does he lie on Gun Control is our question.

Tea Party and the Right – a Mormon Drunken Conservative Senator Who Drives The US Crazy. We know he has problems standing but now how is it when lying?

Conservative Mormon Senator Arrested for Drunk Driving

Despite breaking the religious prohibition of alcohol, he’s often toed the Mormon political line during his three terms as a U.S. senator.
December 24, 2012 |

A Republican Mormon Idaho senator was arrested for drunk driving early Sunday morning—despite the fact that he has often professed to abstain completely from alcohol in accordance with the teachings of his faith.

According to the Alexandria Police Department in Virginia, Michael Crapo, a three-term Republican senator, ran a red light at nearly 1 am on Sunday morning. When the police pulled him over, he registered a blood alcohol level of 0.11—well above the state’s strict 0.8 cut off. He was taken to the Alexandria jail, where he was later released on a $1,000 bail.

A Mormon bishop, Crapo has previously told the Associated Press that he doesn’t drink because alcohol—in addition to coffee and tea—is prohibited for followers of the Mormon faith.

Despite breaking this religious law, he’s often toed the Mormon religion’s political line during his three terms as a U.S. senator. His record on both abortion and marriage equality reflects his conservative, religious background. He’s voted to limit partial-birth abortions, to stop all federal funding to organizations that perform abortions and to limit abortion access to minors (although he conversely voted against legislation that would have provided education to reduce teenage pregnancy).

On the LGBTQ rights front, he has co-sponsored legislation to prevent states from legalizing marriage equality. As he writes on his website, “While I do not advocate amending the Constitution unless absolutely necessary, I have co-sponsored and supported efforts in the U.S. Senate to preserve marriage as we know it to be today—union between one man and one woman.  I will work with my colleagues in Congress to protect the sanctity of marriage and will continue to press for policies that safeguard traditional marriages.”

On Sunday night, Crapo issued a statement to his supporters. “I am deeply sorry for the actions that resulted in this circumstance. I made a mistake for which I apologize to my family, my Idaho constituents and any others who have put their trust in me. I accept total responsibility and will deal with whatever penalty comes my way in this matter.”

As a New Year’s Resolution, he also said he would make sure “this circumstance is never repeated.”

He has a court date on January 4.

Laura Gottesdiener is a freelance journalist and activist in New York City.


Posted on on November 10th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

Justices to Revisit Voting Act in View of a Changing South

The New York Times – Published: November 9, 2012

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it would take a fresh look at the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the signature legacies of the civil rights movement.


Related in Opinion  – Editorial: A Supreme Test on the Right to Vote (November 10, 2012)


Three years ago, the court signaled that part of the law may no longer be needed, and the law’s challengers said the re-election of the nation’s first black president is proof that the nation has moved beyond the racial divisions that gave rise to efforts to protect the integrity of elections in the South.

The law “is stuck in a Jim Crow-era time warp,” said Edward P. Blum, director of the Project on Fair Representation, a small legal foundation that helped organize the suit.

Civil rights leaders, on the other hand, pointed to the role the law played in the recent election, with courts relying on it to block voter identification requirements and cutbacks on early voting.

“In the midst of the recent assault on voter access, the Voting Rights Act is playing a pivotal role beating back discriminatory voting measures,” said Debo P. Adegbile, the acting president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

The Supreme Court’s ruling on the law, expected by June, could reshape how elections are conducted.

The case concerns Section 5 of the law, which requires many state and local governments, mostly in the South, to obtain permission, or “preclearance,” from the Justice Department or a federal court before making changes that affect voting. Critics of the law call the preclearance requirement a unique federal intrusion on state sovereignty and a badge of shame for the affected jurisdictions that is no longer justified.

The preclearance requirement, originally set to expire in five years, was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1966 as a rational response to the often flagrantly lawless conduct of some Southern officials then.

Congress has repeatedly extended the requirement: for 5 years in 1970, 7 years in 1975, and 25 years in 1982. Congress renewed the act in 2006 after holding extensive hearings on the persistence of racial discrimination at the polls, again extending the preclearance requirement for 25 years.

But it made no changes to the list of jurisdictions covered by Section 5, relying instead on a formula based on historical practices and voting data from elections held decades ago. It applies to nine states — Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia — and to scores of counties and municipalities in other states.

Should the court rule that Congress was not entitled to rely on outdated data to decide which jurisdictions should be covered, lawmakers could in theory go back to the drawing board and re-enact the law using fresher information. In practice, given the political realities, a decision striking down the coverage formula would probably amount to the end of Section 5.

In May, a divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected a challenge to the law filed by Shelby County, Ala. Judge David S. Tatel, writing for the majority, acknowledged that “the extraordinary federalism costs imposed by Section 5 raise substantial constitutional concerns,” and he added that the record compiled by Congress to justify the law’s renewal was “by no means unambiguous.”

“But Congress drew reasonable conclusions from the extensive evidence it gathered,” he went on. The constitutional amendments ratified after the Civil War, he said, “entrust Congress with ensuring that the right to vote — surely among the most important guarantees of political liberty in the Constitution — is not abridged on account of race. In this context, we owe much deference to the considered judgment of the people’s elected representatives.”

The dissenting member of the panel, Judge Stephen F. Williams, surveyed recent evidence concerning registration and turnout, the election of black officials, the use of federal election observers and suits under another part of the law.

Some of that evidence, he said, “suggests that the coverage formula completely lacks any rational connection to current levels of voter discrimination,” while other evidence indicates that the formula, “though not completely perverse, is a remarkably bad fit with Congress’s concerns.”

“Given the drastic remedy imposed on covered jurisdictions by Section 5,” he wrote, “I do not believe that such equivocal evidence can sustain the scheme.”

The Supreme Court has already once considered the constitutionality of the 2006 extension of the law in a 2009 decision, Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder. But it avoided answering the central question, and it seemed to give Congress an opportunity to make adjustments. Congress did not respond.

At the argument of the 2009 case, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy questioned whether the distinctions drawn in the 2006 law reflect contemporary realities.

“Congress has made a finding that the sovereignty of Georgia is less than the sovereign dignity of Ohio,” Justice Kennedy said. “The sovereignty of Alabama is less than the sovereign dignity of Michigan. And the governments in one are to be trusted less than the governments in the other.”

“No one questions the validity, the urgency, the essentiality of the Voting Rights Act,” he added. “The question is whether or not it should be continued with this differentiation between the states. And that is for Congress to show.”

In the end, the court, in an 8-to-1 decision, ducked the central question and ruled instead on a narrow statutory ground, saying the utility district in Austin, Tex., that had challenged the constitutionality of the law might be eligible to “bail out” from being covered by it. Still, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, was skeptical about the continued need for Section 5.

“The historic accomplishments of the Voting Rights Act are undeniable,” he wrote. But “things have changed in the South.

“Voter turnout and registration rates now approach parity,” he wrote. “Blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare. And minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels.

“The statute’s coverage formula is based on data that is now more than 35 years old,” he added,“and there is considerable evidence that it fails to account for current political conditions.”

Having said all of that, and acknowledging that the court’s alternative ruling had stretched the text of the statute, Chief Justice Roberts said the court should avoid deciding hard constitutional questions when it could. “Whether conditions continue to justify such legislation is a difficult constitutional question we do not answer today,” he wrote.

On Friday, in agreeing to hear the case, Shelby County v. Holder, No. 12-96, the court indicated that it is prepared to provide an answer to the question it left open three years ago.


The New York Times Editorial

A Supreme Test on the Right to Vote

Published: November 9, 2012

The Supreme Court decided on Friday to review Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which has been crucial in combating efforts to disenfranchise minority voters. The justices should uphold the validity of the section, which requires nine states and parts of several others with deep histories of racial discrimination to get permission from the Justice Department or a federal court before making any changes to their voting rules.

The case, Shelby County v. Holder, was brought by an Alabama county, which contends that Section 5 intrudes unconstitutionally on the sovereign authority of states and that federal review of proposed voting changes, once needed to end legal segregation, is no longer required.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Just this year, Republican efforts to block the votes of minorities and the poor — which were rejected again and again by federal judges relying on the Voting Rights Act, including Section 5 — have made that utterly clear.

Judge John Bates of Federal District Court in the District of Columbia, rejected Shelby County’s challenge last year, noting that Congress, in renewing the section in 2006, found that “40 years has not been a sufficient amount of time to eliminate the vestiges of discrimination.”

In May, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld his ruling, saying that discrimination in voting is “one of the gravest evils that Congress can seek to redress” and that Congress’s painstaking research in its renewal of Section 5 (22 hearings and 15,000 pages of evidence) “deserves judicial deference.”

In another voting rights case in 2009, the Supreme Court said there were “serious constitutional questions” about whether Section 5 meets a current need. That comment left some legal experts with the impression that the court came close to striking down the provision. But the justices did not do so in that case, and they have even less reason to in this case. Overt discrimination clearly persists and remains pernicious in places like Shelby County.


Posted on on October 29th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

Sitting at the computer with a hurricane howling in the background, and discovering an article that dares to predict an election trend, is a quite unusual experience. I guess Ernst Hemingway would have been a cogniscenti.

Five places where Hurricane Sandy could affect the election.

Posted by Aaron Blake in the Washington Post on October 29, 2012 

We’re still waiting for the full impact of Hurricane Sandy. But we’ve got at least a sense for what lies ahead in the next hours and days.

The National Weather Service has issued a series of warnings up and down the East Coast.

Below, we take a geographical look at the five most politically important areas in the path of the storm:

1. Philadelphia: This is where Democrats win elections in Pennsylvania, and it’s smack-dab in the middle of where the hurricane is supposed to make landfall. There is currently a flood warning in place for Philadelphia. The question is whether whatever happens over the next week hurts turnout in this vital area of the state. There is no early voting, so Democrats won’t be losing votes before Election Day, but they’ll need this area to come out strong on Nov. 6. If it doesn’t, that could give Republicans a better chance in a blue-leaning state (and a huge electoral vote prize).

2. Boston: This is where Romney’s campaign headquarters is, while Obama’s HQ appears safe in Chicago. If power goes out on Romney HQ, how can it run a real campaign? (No word from Romney camp on any backup plans/whether they have backup power in place.)

3. Southwest Virginia: The most conservative part of this very important swing state appears primed for a sizable snowstorm. Losing power is one thing, but not being able to get to the polls s another. There are winter storm warnings in place for significant portions of southwest Virginia and blizzard warnings in place in a couple counties (along with more blizzard warnings right across the border in West Virginia). Some counties in very conservative western North Carolina are also under a winter storm warning, which could lower early vote turnout there.

4. Western and coastal North Carolina: While western North Carolina faces a potential snowstorm, two counties in coastal North Carolina shut down their early voting operations on Monday with the hurricane approaching. If the storm hits hard enough in the western and eastern parts of the state and leaves the more urban middle parts of the state alone (Raleigh and Charlotte, for instance, are only under wind advisories), that probably hurts Republicans more. And the impact will be immediate, with in-person early voting in full swing.

(In-person early voting doesn’t exist in New Hampshire and isn’t as big a deal in Virginia, where it requires voters to have a valid excuse. About the only other state where a big early voting shutdown could occur is Ohio.)

5. Northern and eastern Ohio: Ohio is expected to feel the hurricane. At this point, northern and eastern Ohio are under high wind warnings, but more conservative western Ohio and southern Ohio are not. The vast majority of the counties Obama won in Ohio in 2008 were in northern and eastern Ohio, while he lost most of the territory to the south and west. It seems apparent this the storm could affect more Obama voters than Romney voters in Ohio. And again, early voting is in full swing here, so every day matters.


Posted on on October 27th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

Op-Ed Columnist

The Company Romney Keeps

Published in The New York Times October 26, 2012

Damon Winter/The New York Times

Charles M. Blow

Campaign Stops

Campaign Stops

Read more from Charles M. Blow on the 2012 election.

Related in Opinion:  Frank Bruni’s Blog: Sayonara, Sununu (October 26, 2012)

Readers’ Comments:  Read All Comments (52) »

The saying goes: A man is known by the company he keeps.If that is true, what does the company Mitt Romney keeps say about him?

This week Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama again, as he did in 2008. That apparently set John Sununu, a co-chairman of the Romney campaign, on edge. Powell’s endorsement couldn’t possibly be the product of purposeful deliberation over the candidates’ policies. In Sununu’s world of racial reductionism, Powell’s endorsement had a more base explanation: it was a black thing.

On Thursday, Sununu said on CNN:“When you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that’s an endorsement based on issues or whether he’s got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama.” He continued: “I think when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.”

Talk about damning with faint praise. In other words, Sununu was basically saying that he was applauding Powell’s inability to see past the color of his own eyelids.

Sununu is the same man who said that the president performed poorly in the first debate because “he’s lazy and disengaged.” He is also the same man who said of the president in July, “I wish this president would learn how to be an American.”

Could Sununu be unaware that many would register such comments as coded racism? Or was that the intent?

To understand Sununu, it is important to understand his political history.

For starters, he is no stranger to racism controversies. When George H.W. Bush selected him as chief of staff in 1988, The New York Times reported:

“Mr. Sununu’s selection was shadowed by concern among some key Jewish leaders. The 49-year-old New Hampshire Governor, whose father is Lebanese and who takes pride in his Arab ancestry, was the only governor to refuse to sign a June 1987 statement denouncing a 1975 United Nations resolution that equated Zionism with racism.”

But that wasn’t his undoing. It was his actions. In 1991, Sununu became enmeshed in a scandal over using government planes for personal trips.

After the embarrassment of the incident, Bush ordered Sununu to clear all future flights in advance. What happened later you must read for yourself, and it is best stated by Time Magazine in a July 1, 1991, article:

“If Sununu hadn’t exactly been grounded, he had certainly been sent to his room. But Bush underestimated the depth of Sununu’s ethical obtuseness and his zeal at finding a way around the rules. Like a rebellious adolescent, Sununu sneaked down the stairs, grabbed the car keys and slipped out of the White House. After all, the old man had only said, ‘Don’t take the plane.’ He didn’t say anything about the car.”

The piece continued:

“Overcome by a sudden urge two weeks ago to buy rare stamps, Sununu ordered the driver of his government-paid limousine to drive him 225 miles to New York City. He spent the day — and nearly $5,000 — at an auction room at Christie’s. Then he dismissed the driver, who motored back to Washington with no passengers. Sununu returned on a private jet owned by Beneficial Corp.”

By the end of 1991, amid sagging poll numbers, Bush began to see Sununu as a drag and unceremoniously relieved him of his post. As The Times reported then, Sununu was made to plead for his job before he was pushed out anyway:

“Mr. Sununu and the White House portrayed the departure as voluntary. But it followed meetings in which Mr. Bush listened to Mr. Sununu’s arguments that he should stay on and then decided to follow the advice of top-level Republicans who urged the removal of his chief of staff.”

R. W. Apple Jr. wrote in The Times after the move that Bush’s “indirectly soliciting and then promptly accepting” Sununu’s resignation had made it abundantly clear what actually happened.

Sununu has apologized, somewhat, for his racial attack on Powell’s motives. But what should we make of all this?

We have a very racially divided electorate. As The Washington Post reported Thursday, “Obama has a deficit of 23 percentage points, trailing Republican Mitt Romney 60 percent to 37 percent among whites, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News national tracking poll.”

The report pointed out that nearly 80 percent of nonwhites support Obama, while 91 percent of Romney’s supporters are white.

I worry that Sununu’s statements intentionally go beyond recognizing racial disparities and seek to exploit them.

What does that say about Romney, and what does it say about his campaign’s tactics?

Remember: A man is known by the company he keeps.


Posted on on October 24th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

The four debates between the two large US parties are over but then there are four parties that together could walk away with 5% of the vote and mess up the tables for the two big ones – to the point that they influence the results in some swing States. These little four have their own debate tonight in Chicago and the moderator is Larry King.

Previewing the third-party presidential candidates debate.

Posted by Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post, October 23, 2012 before the debate.


Third-party presidential candidates rail against Obama and Romney at debate (VIDEO)

Posted by Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post (THE FIX) on October 23, 2012after the debate.…

CHICAGO — Away from the bright lights and fanfare of the just-completed presidential debates, four third-party White House hopefuls debated Tuesday night, coming from starkly different political perspectives, but uniting in agreement that neither Mitt Romney nor President Obama can solve the nation’s biggest problems.

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A day after Obama and Romney debated for the final time, the long-shots took a turn. Here in a hotel ballroom just a block from Grant Park — where Obama delivered his victory speech in 2008 – they addressed many of the same issues the major party candidates have wrangled over — the economy, foreign policy, education — but also addressed matters, such as drugs, that have not been a focal points in the race between Obama and Romney.

Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee, earned the loudest applause during the debate’s opening moments. He railed against the domestic and foreign policy proposals both major party candidates have put forth, and called for the legalization of marijuana.

“In no category is marijuana more dangerous than alcohol,” said Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico who also wants to abolish the Internal Revenue Service and do away with income and corporate taxes in favor of an expenditure tax.

Johnson also railed against the length of the war in Afghanistan. “I thought initially that was totally warranted,” he said, before adding that we should “have gotten out of Afghanistan 11 years ago.”

The former governor saved perhaps his most memorable line of the night for the end of the debate, when he declared, “Wasting your vote is voting for somebody that you don’t believe in. That’s wasting your vote. I’m asking everybody here, I’m asking everybody watching this nationwide to waste your vote on me.”

Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode, a former Virginia congressman and hard-line anti-immigration candidate, proposed a moratorium on green card admissions into the United States until unemployment falls below five percent nationally. He earned only a smattering of cheers when he pitched his plan.

Green Party nominee Jill Stein and Justice Party nominee Rocky Anderson rounded out the lineup on stage. Stein, who ran for governor of Massachusetts against Romney in 2002, called for free public higher education. “Let’s bail out the students,” she declared.

The candidates largely kept things cordial with each other during the debate, but there were disagreements from time to time. Goode was at odds with Johnson’s call to legalize marijuana. Stein and Anderson disagreed with Johnson and Goode on education spending.

The debate was moderated by former CNN host Larry King and presented by the nonpartisan Free and Equal Elections Foundation. Individuals submitted the questions via social media. The issues ranged from drugs, to the economy, foreign policy, and civil rights.

Absent here were the pre-game formalities that colored the much higher-profile debates between the president and his Republican challenger. There were no cable network countdown shows and no well-known pols reporting for surrogate duty. While the debate was streamed live online, the TV networks didn’t air it.

Time and again, the candidates expressed their dissatisfaction with both Romney and Obama. Goode blasted both Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget plan and Obama’s. Stein said neither candidate offered an acceptable way forward on the issues that matter.

“Things are not working and there is not a single exit strategy on the table being offered by Mitt Romney or Barack Obama,” Stein said in an interview before the debate.

At best, the four candidates who appeared together Tuesday are each expected to compete for single-digit percentage shares of the vote in the states where they will appear on the ballot. Not one has made a dent on the national radar akin to the success Texas billionaire Ross Perot found in 1992, when he carried nearly 20 percent of the popular vote. Goode, Johnson, and Stein each claimed one percent support in an early September Gallup poll of national adults.

But even if they only attract nominal enthusiasm, these longest of long-shots could become entangled in the race between Romney and Obama. Johnson will appear on the ballot in 48 states, including some key battlegrounds with independent streaks, where his blend of fiscal conservatism and distinctly libertarian social views could make him a compelling alternative for conservative voters not wedded to voting for Romney.

In Colorado, New Hampshire, and Nevada, in particular, Johnson could be a thorn in Romney’s side if the election is close. Johnson received just two percent support in a recent Suffolk University/News 7 survey of those likeliest to vote in New Hampshire. But the poll also showed Johnson hurt Romney more than Obama.

“Politics is full of ironies. Gary Johnson voters are predisposed to voting against the incumbent president, but Johnson’s presence on the New Hampshire presidential ballot is actually helping Obama,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center.

If Virginia is exceptionally close, Goode, despite attracting just two percent support in a mid-September Washington Post poll of Virginia voters, could be an also-ran to remember, causing some discomfort for Romney supporters. The state Republican Party tried to keep Goode out of the mix altogether earlier this year, alleging issues with the signatures he submitted to the state Board of Elections to get on the ballot.

Goode survived the scrutiny. Now, the former Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent congressman — who could benefit from residual name identification in the southern part of the state — threatens to steal support from Romney at the margins, potentially costing the Republican big in a tight race.

When asked before the debate about the possibility that he might play the role of spoiler, Goode said he was focused on policy matters. “I am focusing on issues. I want to balance the budget now. Romney and Obama do not,” he said.

The biggest question at the end of Tuesday night’s debate may have been who won. A spokesperson with the Free and Equal Elections Foundation said that viewers will have a chance to vote for their favorite candidate during the next 24 hours, and the top two vote-getters will debate once more this election season in Washington next Tuesday.



CHICAGO — President Obama squared off against Mitt Romney for the final time Monday night, but debate season in the presidential campaign isn’t quite over.

Four third-party candidates will take their turn here Tuesday night in a debate that should be filled with policy and political positions as different as can be from one another.

Constitution Party nominee US Congressman Virgil Goode – now Independent – previously Democrat then Republican – (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, Green Party nominee Jill Stein, Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode, and Justice Party nominee Rocky Anderson will participate in a session moderated by former CNN host Larry King will moderate and hosted by the nonpartisan Free and Equal Elections Foundation.

None of the four candidates are strangers to politics. Johnson served two terms as governor of New Mexico and pursued the Republican presidential nomination in 2011 before opting for the Libertarian nod. Goode represented a central Virginia district in Congress as a Democrat, independent, and Republican. Anderson was the mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, while Stein ran against Romney in the 2002 Massachusetts governor’s race.

While each candidate has his or her share of loyal followers, polling shows they have barely registered a blip on the national radar. Goode, Johnson, and Stein each claimed one percent support in an early September Gallup poll of national adults. Johnson registered three percent support in an early September CNN/ORC survey of those likeliest to vote.

If the race between Obama and Romney is very close in some key swing states that have independent and libertarian streaks, Johnson’s presence on the ballot could affect the Obama-Romney matchup. In particular, Colorado, New Hampshire and Nevada are the battlegrounds where Johnson could prove a nuisance to his major party competition.

A survey of the Colorado race conducted last week by Democratic automated pollster Public Policy Polling showed Johnson pulling four percent support, while a recent Suffolk University survey showed the former New Mexico governor pulling 2 percent support in New Hampshire.

We’ll have a complete wrap of the debate — which begins at 9 p.m. ET – later tonight right here on The Fix.

You can also follow the debate in real time on Election 2012, where we’ll live blog it. We’ll also aim to bring you short dispatches throughout the day on Election 2012 and Twitter.


Posted on on October 15th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

With members of the media busy setting up for the Tuesday Presidential debate, I was the only media present at the students event though it was announced in the Campus Activities section of the Commission on Presidential Debates official booklet that all media received. We must say right here that with the elections being as close as they seem to be at this point, Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico, has the potential of being this year’s Ralph Nader of the Republicans – the candidate that might siphon off enough votes to sink the Republicans in critical States, and hand thus a clear electoral victory to President Obama. Media ought thus to pay attention to the Libertarian Party activities and note the way they feel about these elections as expressed in the statement that the debate is still one between Coke and Pepsi and not basic enough to their liking when it comes to economic matters and questions of Liberty of the individual.

The Libertarians at Hofstra meet every every Wednesday in room 141 in the Students’ Center, this week the obvious exception, and are listed as a club – “HOFSTRA STUDENTS FOR LIBERTY.”

The group was started by three students last year, and now, in its second year,  filled the Cultural Center Theater at the Axinn Library for the John Stossel lecture and large Q&A session – listed topic: “Debt, War, Recession, The Growth of the American Government,” in which the elections as such were not mentioned but the students were presented with arguments about the self-serving growing government that interferes with the well-being of the individual who left to his own crativity would have been doing much better. The implication thus that both parties did not act in the real interest of the individual.

Lavishly, free literature was distributed. It included:

the 280 page John A. Alison, President and CEO of the Cato Institute, Charles Koch, Chairman and CEO of Koch Industries backed publication – , “The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure – why Pure Capitalism is the World’s Only Hope” that explains how Destructive Banking Reform Is Killing the Economy;

“After the Welfare State” Students for Liberty volume edited by Tom G. Palmer and stating that Politicians stole your future – you can get it back” and from the same source – “The Morality of Capitalism – What Your Professors Won’t Tell You;”

The excellent Specially Abridged pocket book size “The Road to Serfdom” by Nobel Prize Winner Friedrich A. Hayek with an introduction by Edwin J. Feulner, President of The Heritage Foundation;

The United States Constitution and The Declaration of Independence with Foreward by Congressman Ron Pauk;

and to top it – a pocket version of The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.

The questions were all about economic issues like what do you think of a recovery? What about monopolies? And the answers were logical accepted helpful government but rejecting restricting legislation. The belief is in self correcting actions by the economy and a rejection of the dictum attributed to Tom Daschle who supposedly said – “What you can not professionalize – Federalize.”

As no mention was made directly of the debate and as one of the student organizers told me that the meeting was held in order to enlarge the some of the discussion on campus, I asked Mr. Stossel What he thinks of the debate – that is when he told me that he will vote for Gary Johnson but it is not important in new York State. Then he refused to speak any more substance to me because he wants to speak to the students – obvious voters and potential opinion builders as – do not forget – the debate this coming Tuesday will be in a Town Hall format and questions that were already vetted by moderator Candy Crowley, will come from the Nassau community including these students.

Further, at midnight – Sunday to Monday – Mr. Stossel was on Fox Business TV – in Manhattan this is Channel 44 – talking about the elections and how the form takes the place of substance. The program was impartial to the two parties in the running but critical of the system – so let’s say favorable to outsiders.


Coincidentally – This morning New York Times picked up the subject of the Libertarians – though obviously without having been at last nights meeting – Excerpts from this morning New York Times:

Mr. Gary Johnson said he had no problem being labeled a potential spoiler in an election that he views as “a debate between Coke and Pepsi.”
He said he viewed himself as Perrier.)

“Take the issue of Medicare,” he said. “Both parties are arguing over who is going to spend more money on Medicare when we should be having a raging debate in this country over how we’re going to cut Medicare.”

He admits he has only limited finances. The Federal Election Commission had denied his request for general election matching funds, ruling that he did not meet its requirements for third-party candidates. And his campaign filings show he had roughly $50,000 in the bank at the end of August, having burned through much of the more than $350,000 or so he raised in small donations that month.

He said that his campaign had found it hard to keep up with the offers of volunteer help, and that when it came to campaigning, “I think we’re going to stick with what we’ve been doing — stay flexible and take the most advantage out of media appearances.”

Democrats say Mr. Johnson could have the biggest effect on Mr. Romney in Nevada, where a Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll in September showed Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney effectively tied.

Mr. Roger Stone, a former long time Republican operative who has Nixon tatooed on his back,  said the campaign believed it had the potential to cut into support for Mr. Romney in three of his must-win states, Florida, Ohio and Virginia — where Republican challenges to the Libertarian candidate quickly failed — as well as in North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

There is very little polling on Mr. Johnson to bear all of this out, which his campaign points to as evidence that he is being unfairly ignored by the news media. However, The Miami Herald and The Tampa Bay Times have measured his support at about 1 percent — far more than the 537-vote margin that was ultimately deemed to have separated Mr. Bush from Mr. Gore in 2000.

“As we all learned in Florida, when something’s close enough, even small numbers can make a difference,” said Charlie Cook, the publisher of The Cook Political Report, which monitors electoral trends.

That appeared to be the thinking when Pennsylvania Republicans sought to go after Mr. Johnson’s petitions, which Mr. Gleason, the party chairman, suspected had been collected with help from Democrats. He noted that many of the signatures came from Democratic precincts of Philadelphia.

One petition gatherer, Tracey Norton of Germantown, said in an interview that she was a Democratic committeewoman, though she said she did not act in a partisan manner when being paid to collect petitions.

In court, the Republicans presented evidence that some petitions had been collected without the proper signatures. But some of that evidence was collected by the private detective, Reynold Selvaggio who, some of the petition workers said in interviews and testimony, flashed his F.B.I. badge “like he was law enforcement,” as one worker, Reynaldo Duncan, said in an interview.

In testimony, Mr. Selvaggio denied Libertarian lawyers’ suggestions that it was an intimidation tactic, saying his badge stated clearly that he was retired and that he said so in his interviews. The judge hearing the case, James Gardner Colins, a former president judge of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, seemed displeased.

“I have a badge that says I’m president judge,” he said, “but I don’t flash it to anyone, because I’m not president judge.”

His ruling in favor of the Libertarians came down on Wednesday.


Posted on on May 28th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (


Cleaner Energy.

Published: May 27, 2012 for the paper of March 28th – the 2012 MEMORIAL DAY.

Last week, President Obama visited a plant in Iowa that builds wind turbine blades to promote his campaign for green jobs and renewable energy — and to hammer the Republicans for not helping the cause. It was the right venue. Iowa is a leader in wind power, which provides about 20 percent of the state’s total electricity, as well as the thousands of jobs that go with it.

Renewable energy is faring well across the country, thanks partly to aggressive state governments and timely — but now imperiled — subsidies. Clean energy sources would do even better if the Republicans would end their hostility to any form of energy other than fossil fuels.

Here’s some of the good news:

THE STATES       Twenty-nine states have now adopted renewable energy standards requiring utilities to produce a percentage of their power from non-fossil-fuel sources. Iowa’s target is 30 percent by 2020; the state is two-thirds of the way there now because of wind power.

In 2011, there were 20 states producing more than 5 percent of their power from non-hydroelectric renewable sources, up from only five states in 2001. Bipartisan efforts by state leaders have helped. As governor, George W. Bush signed the renewable standard in Texas, which now gets more than 5 percent of its juice from wind.

PUBLIC LANDS    In 2005, Congress directed the Interior Department to approve enough wind, solar and other renewable energy projects on federal lands to heat, cool and light five million homes. For years, not much happened, with the Bush administration fixated on oil and gas exploration. But in the last two years, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has approved 29 large-scale solar, wind and geothermal projects.  Most are in the planning or construction stage.  Mr. Salazar has flipped the switch on only one, a small solar project south of Las Vegas.

Even more important, Interior has held extensive talks with the states, big utilities and the environmental community and has drawn up an admirable blueprint for development in carefully chosen solar “zones” in six Western states, where projects can proceed with minimal impact on wildlife.

THE MILITARY    The Defense Department, historically an incubator of energy technologies, has made efforts to “green” the military, allocating nearly $1.4 billion this fiscal year for energy efficiency, solar and wind power on military bases and development of advanced biofuels. The hope is to reduce the military’s fuel bills while curbing dependence on oil from unstable countries.

There’s also bad news, mostly emanating from Congress. When a range of important subsidies expire this year and next, federal support for renewables will plummet from $44 billion in 2009 to $11 billion in 2014.

Some of the Republican opposition to federal support reflects budgetary concerns, some an unwillingness to do anything that could challenge the dominance of fossil fuels. Some if it is inexplicable. When Ray Mabus, the Navy secretary, tried to explain the Pentagon’s embrace of alternative fuels to the House Armed Services Committee, Randy Forbes, a Virginia Republican, snapped, “You’re not the secretary of energy; you’re the secretary of the Navy.” And just last week the Senate Armed Services Committee blocked the Navy from building a biofuels plant, unless expressly authorized by Congress.

If the Republicans care about reducing dependency on foreign oil, this is not the way to do it.


Posted on on September 25th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

Mr. Herman Cain is the clear winner of this weekend’s Florida straw poll among the Republican Presidential contenders. We say that raising Mr. Cain was helped by the Friday Show at the UN General Assembly.

The political analysts have an opinion that we find incomplete. What they say is that:

Cain, an African American in a party with few major black figures, benefited because only he, former House speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum stayed in Florida to speak to the delegates right before the vote, while other candidates left the state early. But while Romney had a limited presence here, Perry competed hard.

Before leaving for a party event in Michigan, the Texas governor organized a 7 a.m breakfast Saturday morning for Florida Republican activists. He spent an hour there going table-by-table, meeting and taking pictures before giving a short speech.

But in interviews, the delegates at the straw poll said Perry had for now lost their votes after Thursday’s debate, in which he at times struggled to answer questions, raising doubts about his ability to compete with President Obama in a debate if he is the GOP nominee.

The straw poll completed three days of campaigning in Florida by the GOP hopefuls, including the debate. Party activists from across the state came to Orlando for the event, dubbed Presidency 5, as it was held for the fifth time.

While Florida voters did not hold a straw poll in 2007, the previous three winners (Ronald Reagan 1979; George H.W. Bush, 1987; and Robert J. Dole, 1995), all went on to the Republican nomination.

The Republicans here who backed Cain acknowledged he is not likely to repeat that history.

But we say something completely different:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign was dealt a worrying blow Saturday when he finished a distant second to businessman Herman Cain in a closely watched straw poll in Florida.
Cain won 37% of the 2,657 votes cast in the straw poll conducted at Presidency 5, a three-day convention sponsored by the Republican Party of Florida. Perry got just 410 votes, or 15.4%. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney finished third with 14%.
Perry was expected to win the straw poll as the week began, but his underwhelming performance at a GOP debate on Thursday night raised questions about his readiness for prime time.
We say that the Friday Show from the UN was part of the reason for raising Mr. Cain. He is a strong backer of Israel and this is a winning card in US politics.
The Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, was the site of a Republican presidential debate sponsored by Fox News and Google in conjunction with the Republican Party. In the debate participated all 9 contenders. This debate was then followed on the weekend by the straw poll. In between there was the UN Palestinian festival seen on TV and we bet that the result of the straw poll has to do with the fact that Herman Cain, a black Baptist from Georgia, is a strong backer of Israel. He was part of the preparations for the Glenn Beck crusade to Jerusalem – and we covered thisexactly one month ago from Israel at:…
Further, our archives show we started to look at Mr. Cain already before the 2008 elections. —
This time around we looked at him as he started early on to campaign in New Hampshire –

and then we found him on the entourage of pundit Glenn Beck in Israel as part of the effort to make backing Israel part of this year’s US electioneering. This did not evolve as planned, but nevertheless it made it even clearer then ever that much of the US is in Israel’s corner whatever may come. We think this last straw poll is just another evidence.


“GOP Presidential hopeful Herman Cain who traveled to Israel to attend Glenn’s Restoring Courage event and visited Judaism’s sacred Wailing Wall. He could not speak as planned originally, at the actual rally because the House Ethics Committee (obviously chaired now by a Republican) called on its members not to attend the Restoring Courage event because it appeared to have a political affiliation, prompting Glenn to blast House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican,  for “playing politics” with Israel “in their hour of need.”

Herman Cain

Cain is the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza and former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. He lost the Georgia Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat in 2004. He was recently the host of Atlanta-based radio show.


Date of Birth

  • December 13, 1945

Place of Birth

  • Republican

Political Party

  • Republican


  • Host of The New Voice Radio Show (currently on hiatus)


  • Baptist


  • 1967: Morehouse College, B.S.
  • 1971: Purdue University, M.A.


  • 1995-1996: Chairman at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City


Posted on on September 9th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

Quake Shook Virginia Nuclear Plant Twice as Hard as Design Allowed

By Roberta Rampton, Reuters

08 September 11

ast month’s record earthquake in the eastern United States may have shaken a Virginia nuclear plant twice as hard as it was designed to withstand, a spokesman for the nuclear safety regulator said on Thursday.

Dominion Resources told the regulator that the ground under the plant exceeded its “design basis” – the first time an operating US plant has experienced such a milestone – but said its seismic data from the site showed shaking at much lower levels than those reported by the US Geological Survey.

Both the company and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have not yet found any signs of serious damage to safety systems at the North Anna nuclear plant, and the company said it is eager to resume operations once inspections and repairs are complete.

The NRC has said it plans to order all US plants later this year to update their earthquake risk analyses, a complex exercise that could take two years for some plants to complete.

The North Anna quake shows the need for the nation’s 104 aging reactors to reevaluate earthquake risks using up-to-date geological information, said Majid Manzari, an engineer at George Washington University who studies quake impacts.

“The implications of exceedance could be disastrous,” Manzari said. “I would say these studies have to be done as soon as possible.”

Expensive “backfits” to North Anna or any other US plant are not a given from this exercise, Manjari said.

But a former chairman of the NRC said he expects the broad review ultimately will impact most nuclear plants along the US East Coast.

“I think what the East Coast earthquake demonstrated is the design parameters might be changing,” said Dale Klein, a mechanical engineer at the University of Texas.

Shaken, but Not Broken

Japan’s nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant – overwhelmed six months ago by an earthquake and tsunami – put quake risks at the forefront.

Then the historic August 23 earthquake hit the United States. Its epicenter was 12 miles from the North Anna plant, which shut down as it was designed to do.

The regulator’s preliminary analysis is based on USGS data, collected about 30 miles away. It continues to inspect the site and expects to issue a final report in mid-October.

“We are currently thinking that at the higher frequencies, the peak acceleration was around 0.26” g, which is a unit of gravity that measures the impact of shaking on buildings, said Scott Burnell, an NRC spokesman.

The plant was designed to withstand 0.12 g of horizontal ground force for parts that sit on rock, and 0.18 g for parts that sit on soil, Burnell said.

Dominion’s sensors recorded average horizontal ground force of 0.13 g in an east-west direction and 0.175 g in a north-south direction, officials said.

The levels were not high enough to be expected to cause significant damage, and inspections have borne that out thus far, Dominion said.

Dominion’s analysis will be considered as the NRC does its analysis of what the company will be required to do to restart operations, Burnell said.

Unclear What NRC Will Require

In an interview last week, NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko told Reuters it was unclear what the plant would need to show to resume operations because it is the first time an operating plant has sustained a beyond-design-basis quake.

There could be new requirements stemming from the incident or from the NRC’s broader review of earthquake risks, and plant operators will need to assess the costs to ensure they’re worth it, said Ed Batts, a partner at law firm DLA Piper.

“You shake something really hard, and it’s not designed to be shaken that hard – it doesn’t mean that it’s broken,” he said.

The incident helps make the case for new-generation nuclear plants, which have additional safety features, Batts argued.

“If you can have a car from 2011 vs. a car from 1978, what are you going to put your toddler in?” Batts said.


Posted on on September 9th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

Japan: Six Months On From March 11.

Author: Nick Rowlands for Reters, September 9, 2011.

– Japan is set to commemorate six months since the March 11th earthquake and tsunami, the nation’s worst disaster since World War Two.


Posted on on August 27th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

Irene, the first hurricane of this year’s Atlantic season.

As of Saturday morning – The National Weather Service says Hurricane Irene is currently about 480 miles south of the New York City area.

The storm leading edge arrived in the Washington area early Saturday with rain starting in the lower parts of the Chesapeake Bay and the beaches of Delaware after wind and rain battered the North Carolina coast.

The storm could be a Category 1 hurricane, or slightly weaker, when it arrives to New York City. But that depends on whether the storm loses steam as it moves up the East Coast.

Meteorologist David Stark says Irene could make landfall around 10 a.m. Sunday, causing winds of up to 80 miles per hour. New York City may be on the western edge, he says, but the system is so massive there could be winds of 75 miles per hour.

But Irene is going to pick up speed and head north, so conditions may improve as early as Sunday evening.

Read more:

Irene watch – NYC Evacuations Begin!

As Hurricane Irene nears, in an unprecedented decision, nearly 300,000 people who live in flood-prone areas of New York City were ordered to evacuate Friday as Hurricane Irene sets its sights on the nation’s largest city. New Yorkers, many of them without cars, don’t have much time to get out of the way before the city shutters its subways, buses and trains on Saturday.

Irene is expected to begin affecting the New York City region sometime early Sunday morning as a Category 1 storm, Mr. Bloomberg said. Such storms have winds of 74 mph or higher.

The mayor ordered all hospitals, nursing homes and senior homes in low-lying areas to be evacuated Friday, unless they receive a special waiver from both the city and state health commissioners.

Mr. Bloomberg said he has the power to force evacuations, but said he would order it only in the most dire circumstances. For residents who refused, he said, “the worst case, if they didn’t leave…they could die.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered an evacuation by 5 p.m.  Saturday for low-lying areas that house about 270,000 people. The areas include the Battery Park City complex on the southern end of Manhattan; Coney Island, famed for its boardwalk and amusement park; the beachfront community of the Rockaways and other neighborhoods around the city.


Meanwhile, shelters were set to open and other preparations continued as the New York City faced the likelihood of its first hurricane warning since 1985.  A hurricane watch was in effect Friday for New York City and Long Island for Sunday, with storm conditions possible Saturday night.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials have said they can’t run the transit system once sustained winds reach 39 mph, and they need an eight-hour lead time to shut it down. Officials have entreated residents to take it upon themselves to get out early, but it remained unclear how many would heed the warnings that subways and buses might not be there for them if they waited.

State Director of Operations Howard Glaser said the noon shutdown should provide “sufficient capacity” to get residents out of vulnerable areas. Cuomo said the decision would keep subways and buses “out of harm’s way” so service can return as soon as possible after the storm. “Waiting until the last minute is not a smart thing to do,” he added. This is life-threatening.”

While the evacuation was a first for New Yorkers, “I would think that the vast bulk will comply,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news conference. “Unfortunately, there’s a handful who will not comply until it’s too late. And at that point in time, you can really get stuck.”

Much of New York’s subway system and other infrastructure is underground and could be flooded, officials have noted.
With an estimated 55 million people in the path of a storm the size of California, the East Coast’s major cities must prepare for the worst. Hurricane watches were posted and states of emergency declared for North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and New England. Amtrak canceled train service for the weekend, and airlines began canceling flights, urging travelers to stay home.

Hurricane Irene is predicted to be the largest storm to hit the East Coast in more than 70 years, and threatens large coastal metropolitan centers from North Carolina to Quebec with mandatory evacuation orders issued in North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia.

As of now the large hurricane killed two people in Haiti and caused extensive damage in the southern Bahamas and Puerto Rico earlier in the week.

Organizations from the Pentagon to the American Red Cross were positioning mobile units and preparing shelters with food and water. The Defense Department amassed 18 helicopters to be ready with lifesaving equipment and put them on the Wasp, an aircraft carrier that was moved out to sea from Norfolk, Va., to get out of Irene’s way.

“All of us have to take this storm seriously,” said President Obama, who cut short his family vacation on Martha’s Vineyard Island of Massachusetts, headded back to Washington on Friday.  “All indications,” he said, “point to this being a historic hurricane.”

President Obama at first declared an emergency in North Carolina, where Irene is due to make landfall first, on Saturday afternoon. His move allows greater co-ordination between state and US federal disaster management authorities. It is to be assumed that similar cooperation will apply to the other States.
MLK Memorial (Martin Luther King): Though Hurricane Irene has already postponed the official opening ceremony, Maya Angelou has timely released her poem, written to commemorate the true historic nature of this memorial.


A  5.9 magnitude earthquake occurred in Virginia at 1:51 pm EDT., according to the USGS.

Shaking has been reported as far north as New York. Reports of shaking have also been coming in from the New England area. A magnitude 5.5 Eastern US earthquake can typically be felt as far as 300 miles away.

The USGS reported that epicenter of the quake was located in the Mineral – Louisa, Va. area – just southeast of Charlottesville and northwest of Richmond.

The U.S. Geological Survey said at first thatbthe earthquake origin was only half a mile deep. Shaking was felt at the White House and all over the East Coast, as far south as Chapel Hill, N.C. Parts of the Pentagon, White House and Capitol were evacuated. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

At the 555-foot Washington Monument, inspectors found several cracks in the “pyramidion” – the section at the top of the obelisk where it begins narrowing to a point. A 4-foot crack was discovered Tuesday during a visual inspection by helicopter. It cannot be seen from the ground. Late Wednesday, the National Park Service announced that structural engineers had found several additional cracks inside the top of the monument.
Carol Johnson, a park service spokeswoman, could not say how many cracks were found but said three or four of them were “significant.” Two structural engineering firms that specialize in assessing earthquake damage were being brought in to conduct a more thorough inspection on Thursday. The monument, by far the tallest structure in the nation’s capital, was to remain closed indefinitely, and Johnson said the additional cracks mean repairs are likely to take longer. It has never been damaged by a natural disaster, including earthquakes in Virginia in 1897 and New York in 1944.
Tourists arrived at the monument Wednesday morning only to find out they couldn’t get near it. A temporary fence was erected in a wide circle about 120 feet from the flags that surround its base. Walkways were blocked by metal barriers manned by security guards.
“Is it really closed?” a man asked the clerk at the site’s bookstore.
“It’s really closed,” said the clerk, Erin Nolan. Advance tickets were available for purchase, but she cautioned against buying them because it’s not clear when the monument will open.
“This is pretty much all I’m going to be doing today,” Nolan said.
there have been two updates by the USGS:

UPDATE 1: The USGS upgraded the magnitude of the earthquake to 5.9 from a first announcement of 5.8, and stated that it occurred at a depth of about 0.1 miles.

UPADTE 2: Upon further review, the USGS has adjusted the magnitude of the quake back to 5.8 and adjusted the estimated depth to 3.7 miles.

At the 555-foot Washington Monument, inspectors found several cracks in the “pyramidion” – the section at the top of the obelisk where it begins narrowing to a point. A 4-foot crack was discovered Tuesday during a visual inspection by helicopter. It cannot be seen from the ground. Late Wednesday, the National Park Service announced that structural engineers had found several additional cracks inside the top of the monument.Carol Johnson, a park service spokeswoman, could not say how many cracks were found but said three or four of them were “significant.” Two structural engineering firms that specialize in assessing earthquake damage were being brought in to conduct a more thorough inspection on Thursday. The monument, by far the tallest structure in the nation’s capital, was to remain closed indefinitely, and Johnson said the additional cracks mean repairs are likely to take longer. It has never been damaged by a natural disaster, including earthquakes in Virginia in 1897 and New York in 1944.Tourists arrived at the monument Wednesday morning only to find out they couldn’t get near it. A temporary fence was erected in a wide circle about 120 feet from the flags that surround its base. Walkways were blocked by metal barriers manned by security guards.”Is it really closed?” a man asked the clerk at the site’s bookstore.”It’s really closed,” said the clerk, Erin Nolan. Advance tickets were available for purchase, but she cautioned against buying them because it’s not clear when the monument will open.”This is pretty much all I’m going to be doing today,” Nolan said.

Considering the name of the location – MINERAL – we assume that a lot of mining is going on in that area – so, is it possible that the earthquake has been caused by human activity – past or present? What was the actual depth of the epicenter? Is there something to be learned about mining activities when analyzing this earthquake? Will we ever know what the geo-scientists will find out?

Hurricane Irene thrashed the Bahamas early Thursday, August 25, 2011, with widespread damage reported on at least two southern islands.
The storm is threatening to pummel the Eastern Seaboard over the next several days as far north as Maine.
It is a powerful Category 3 hurricane with winds at 115 miles an hour. Forecasters said the winds will ramp up quickly over the next day and Irene was expected to become a Category 4 storm with winds at least 131 mph. At 5 a.m. EDT, Irene was located about 80 miles east-southeast of Nassau, and some 735 miles south of Cape Hatteras, N.C.
Forecasters also said it was still unclear whether the major hurricane would score a direct hit on the U.S.—including possible landfall Saturday in North Carolina—or stay offshore as it races up the coast, lashing several states with dangerous surf,
powerful winds and heavy rain.
Whatever the outcome, we are on the record that the increased frequency of hurricanes, and their increased strength, might be products of human induced climate change.


Three years after Wall Street weathered a financial crisis often likened to a giant storm, the financial world was bracing for Hurricane Irene to deliver an unwanted dose of the real thing. {That is what the Wall Street Journal writes – we feel that not enough thought was put in these sentences!}

The storm’s approach prompted the New York Stock Exchange to take down the giant flag that normally hangs on the façade of its Broad Street headquarters and spurred J.P. Morgan Chase& Co. to extend Friday hours at its 376 New York City branches.

Google Earth

Gathering Clouds: Lower Manhattan, home to many large financial firms, lies in hurricane’s path

Irene also forced a flurry of weekend staffing decisions at big financial companies, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc.,Citigroup Inc. and American Express Co., all of which have major operations in the Lower Manhattan zone under the city’s evacuation order.

American Express, which is headquartered in the World Financial Center near Manhattan’s southern tip, told employees to “use your best judgment and inform your leader” if they needed to leave early to prepare for the storm, according to an internal memo. It wasn’t immediately known how many employees left work early.

Nomura Securities, which also has offices in the World Financial Center, told workers the hurricane could mean that “our ability to operate from our offices on Monday will be disrupted.” It set plans to operate out of a site north of New York City.

In the Hamptons, a popular upscale summer spot, deck chairs were being swept inside and a least one big weekend bash was being canceled.

Hedge-fund billionaire John Paulson and his wife, Jenny, had planned to host a fund-raiser for Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney at their estate in Southampton, N.Y., on Sunday.

Financiers from the New York region were expected to attend, but the event was canceled because of the storm, according to people familiar with the situation. One attributed the postponement to “an abundance of caution.”



new map,

[Image of 5-day forecast and coastal areas under a warning or a watch]


Posted on on August 12th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

We found among our REFERRERS a terrific blog and in turn we recommend it to you – our readers:

Wit’s End.

Their posting today is as follows and please go see:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This IS America

The blogger seems to be:

About Me

My Photo

New Jersey, United States
The summation of my motivation for starting this blog can be found at my WWF Witness Profile here:…. Beyond that, I post random thoughts and musings from Wit’s End, a little farm I share with a dog, 2 indoor cats and 2 barn cats, a flying squirrel (Whippersnapper), Sun Conure (Bird), African Grey (Simon), a dozen chickens, a pair of peafowl, sundry koi in the pond, and various wildlife visitors, most notoriously among them, a voracious fox.

View my complete profile

googletracker – It’s Over –

First I got worried about trees. They all looked sickly, or even dead – and that’s what led me, much to my detriment, to learn more about climate change than I had dreamed in my worst nightmares could possibly be happening, in my backyard, in the lifetime of myself and my children…and extreme weather, and peak oil, and collapse of the ocean food chain from acidification, and mass extinction, and everything happening much faster than predicted, and, and…See please and think –

“Technological Progress is Like an Axe in the Hands of a Pathological Criminal”

– So said Albert Einstein.
– – – – – = – – – – – – – – – – –

“Telling the Truth

If we climate activists don’t tell the truth as well as we know it—which we have been loathe to do because we ourselves are frightened to speak the words—the public will not respond, notwithstanding all our protestations of urgency.

And contrary to current mainstream climate-activist opinion, contrary to all the pointless “focus groups,” contrary to the endless speculation on “correct framing,” the only way to tell the truth is to tell it. All of it, no matter how terrifying it may be.

It is offensive and condescending for activists to assume that people can’t handle the truth without environmentalists finding a way to make it more palatable. The public is concerned, we vaguely know that something is desperately wrong, and we want to know more so we can try to figure out what to do. The response to An Inconvenient Truth, as tame as that film was in retrospect, should have made it clear that we want to know the truth.

And finally, denial requires a great deal of energy, is emotionally exhausting, fraught with conflict and confusion. Pretending we can save our current way of life derails us and sends us in directions that lead us astray. The sooner we embrace the truth, the sooner we can begin the real work.

Let’s just tell it.”


Posted on on June 27th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (


The Offshore Valuation is the first full economic valuation of Britain’s offshore renewable resource.

The report finds that using just one third of the UK’s wind, wave and tidal resource could:

  • unlock the electricity equivalent of 1 billion barrels of oil a year (matching North Sea oil and gas production).
  • give CO2 reductions of 1.1 billion tonnes by 2050
  • create 145,000 new UK jobs

The Offshore Valuation Group is an informal collaboration of government and industry organisations who have come together to address the question: what is the value of the UK’s offshore renewable energy resource?


The Offshore Valuation has been making waves in the media today:

on the Guardian

and BBC



Posted on on June 27th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

from: Citizens For Affordable Energy

The following quite amazed us and we had to do a little research:


Joseph-Beth Booksellers is an independent bookseller with stores in five major US cities: Lexington, Kentucky; Cincinnati, Ohio; Cleveland, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Charlotte, North Carolina and as well The Village At Spotsylvania Towne Centre, Spotsylvania, Virginia. Then looking up the area phone code 704 – this points at Charlotte, North Carolina. Ain’t this amazing? Why then Carleton University – or are there more then one Carleton University that compete for the charlatan?


John Hofmeister Charlotte Book Signing

Citizens for Affordable Energy

919 Milam, Suite 2070
Houston, TX