Election Countdown 2012: Midwest Occupiers Converge for a Conference in Detroit This Weekend, and More

Election-storyThis week in the election countdown: Occupy protesters from across the Midwest are in Detroit this weekend for a regional conference aimed at thinking of practical ways to help urban areas; North Carolina is home to one of [Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity’s] busiest state chapters with nearly 140,000 activists; Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is asking the EPA to suspend the federal requirement to add ethanol to gasoline because of the price of corn; and more.

D — 16 and counting*

“Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.” –Ludwig Wittgenstein

Montreal. Strike: “The student movement’s focus will be on the [UQAM] on Monday, after two of its largest faculties decided to continue their boycotts and teachers voted Thursday to cancel classes in cases where they deem conditions won’t allow them to teach.”

RNCon. Hurricane, Weather Underground watch: “I put the odds of a mass evacuation being ordered for Tampa during the convention at 1%.” (Yesterday: 3%.) … Hurricanes, snark watch: “So if Obama’s FEMA arrives, politely say, ‘No, I am waiting for a free-enterprise market solution to my gaping head wound.’” … Biden: “Due to disaster preparedness and local security concerns, Biden’s trip to Tampa on Monday has been postponed.” … Drones: “This will mark the first time unmanned aerial vehicles will patrol the skies over a national convention, according to [Curt Winter, an engineer with United Drones in Naples] that builds and will operate the drones. United Drones will operate several unmanned ground vehicles, called Wraiths, [which] can travel up to 65 mph ‘and climb just about anything.’” Anything? (“All RNC Delegates Get In Free!“) … Drones: “Seventy-five protesters gathered outside the local production plant of Raytheon on Thursday, denouncing the defense contractor for its role in drone warfare.” … Surveillance: “I’d really hate if any of you war-mongers subsequently had your careers ruined because of out-of-control surveillance capturing you while you’re partying.” (just me) Might I suggest masking? … Ron Paul: “Using a mix of charm and procedural hardball, Romney and the RNC have ensured that the TX congressman will neither speak nor be formally nominated at next week’s convention.” …. Ron Paul: Paul will, however, get a non-prime time video tribute. … Marching: “In 2010, Forbes ranked Tampa dead last out of 60 metro areas for commuting. Transportation for America declared it the second most-dangerous city for pedestrians. And a 2007 survey of 30 metropolitan areas found exactly one with no walkable destinations: Tampa, FL.” … Protests: “The demonstrations constitute one of the largest protest actions FL has seen in years.”

DNCcon. Police state: “Hundreds of NC National Guardsmen will be sent to Charlotte to provide security at several ‘critical infrastructure’ sites around venues for the Democratic National Convention.”

CO. Extractive economy: “The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) moved for a ‘voluntary remand’ of three oil and gas drilling projects in Garfield County CO. The three projects represent only a few examples of a broader practice in which BLM has approved at least 33 drilling projects–involving thousands of wells–with no air pollution analysis.”

FL. Legacy parties: “Rivera [R] still hasn’t answered, in any language, how he got access to Sternad’s [D] amended financial reports before they became public record. Nor has he said why his lady friend Ana Alliegro, a self-described ‘R political guru’ just happened to be the campaign manager for Sternad the D. ”

GA. Drought: “Gov. Nathan Deal is asking the EPA to suspend the federal requirement to add ethanol to gasoline, joining livestock and poultry farmers and several other governors who’ve made similar requests because of the price of corn.”

LA. Corruption: “Businessman Aaron Bennett pleaded guilty last fall to bribery and is helping the government in the case against the former mayor. But just a week before he was charged he took $600,000 from his construction company — money that came from the Corps of Engineers to pay for storm-proofing work on three New Orleans pump stations — and gave it to his fourth wife’s film production company.”

MD. Mass incarceration: “We have a school-to-prison pipeline operating in Baltimore and other cities across the nation where young people believe, with some good reason, that their destiny lies behind bars and they too will become members of the under caste.”

ME. Public goods: “New federal data show more ME parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children. [As] students prepare to go back to school, ME has recorded 411 cases of whooping cough this year, nearly five times the number of cases reported at this time in 2011.”

MI. Occupy Detroit: “Occupy protesters from across the Midwest are in Detroit this weekend for a regional conference aimed at thinking of practical ways to help urban areas. Workshops include sessions on urban farming, solar panels, housing, political protests, and banks. Today, Occupy members protested against Fannie Mae over housing issues and against the state’s emergency manager law.”

MN. Police state: “After breaking down doors and shooting the family dog, a drug task force forced handcuffed children ‘to sit next to the carcass of their dead and bloody pet for more than an hour,’ and kept searching even after they knew they were raiding the wrong house, the family claims in Federal Court.”

MT. Land: “What [Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Jay Kolbe] and others find so alarming isn’t that Plum Creek is selling its land. It’s that the latest crop of sales appear larger than anything the company has executed in the past, and they worry that such sales could open the way to subdivisions that may not be compatible with wildlife.”

NC. Money: “NC — one of nine states won by President George W. Bush in 2004 that shifted to Obama four years later — is home to one of [Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity’s] busiest state chapters with nearly 140,000 activists.”

NY. Corruption: “Brooklyn Assemblyman and county D power broker Vito Lopez is being roundly punished by Assembly Majority Speaker Sheldon Silver over some blatant instances of sexual harassment.” … Homelessness: “Rats are coming through the walls and worms infest the bathrooms at city’s homeless shelters. But Mayor Bloomberg says they’re so pleasurable that no one wants to leave” (that’s a Daily News headine). … Homelessness: “The city requires newly homeless people to solicit at least three bids from storage companies, which can be an onerous process for someone in crisis.”

PA. Charters, Will Bunch: “But activists said that last Friday’s surprise announcement that Gov. Corbett had named the Rev. Joe Watkins – an MSNBC pundit who headed the Students First PAC, the pro-voucher group that’s dumped millions of campaign dollars on Corbett and other pols – as chief recovery officer to run the Chester Upland schools in Delaware County marks a tipping point.” … Fracking: “In late July, hoping to keep drillers at bay, Fujiko Miller placed bags filled with her ancestor’s ashes on fence posts [where Chevron needed to come through]. The Millers were given 48 hours. The bags came down and they were compensated for giving access.” … Fracking: “State shale gas production during the first six months of 2012 more than doubled compared to the same period last year despite drillers’ efforts to curtail the rapid growth because the abundance of gas has depressed prices.” … Fracking: “From July 2009 to June 2012, over $8 billion worth of natural gas was extracted from PA’s share of the Marcellus Shale. The Commonwealth would have collected more than $500 million had we had WV’s natural gas tax in place. Instead, we got $0.”

TX. Corruption: “Close observers of how powerful interests control policy in TX will perhaps not be surprised by the [Texas Public Policy Foundation’s inadvertantly published] funding sources.”

VA. UVa: “[Houston beer distributor John L. Nau III] of the University of Virginia board of visitors paid [Hill+Knowlton Strategies’s] bill [for handling] the backlash from the board’s attempt to fire the president.” … UVa: “The UVa has declined a request from Obama’s re-election campaign to hold an event on Grounds next week due to the ‘extraordinary disruption’ it would present early in the school year, UVa announced Friday.” On the second day of class? What was Team Obama thinking? … Power: “[T]his new enthusiasm [for renewables] has run headlong into the immovable force known as Dominion Power. Dominion blocked a [Power Purchase Agreement] at Washington & Lee University last fall, and its threat of legal action has kept other non-profits from moving forward with plans for solar installations.”

Outside baseball. Roediger’s Wages of Whiteness: “The Communists subsequently gained a wide degree of acceptance and indeed cooptation within the New Deal coalition, Roosevelt’s famous ‘troika,’ — big city political machines, the labor movement, and the avowedly white-supremacists in the ‘Solid South.’ The price paid, unfortunately, was the abandonment of the centrality of the struggle against white supremacism within the working class.” … Legacy parties: “The two parties, at least in VA, literally swapped philosophies when it came to the issue of race. And if pandering to racists was the path — after all, Ds had done it for years — then, by golly, why not? Winning is, after all, the most important thing.” … Legacy parties: “[Politify (here) has] produced a killer site which actually ‘visualizes’ [via ‘Net Change to Income] how both [sic] candidates would affect American voters – individually, by region and by state — using what they say is ‘one of the most advanced models of the U.S. economy ever made public.’” There’s an app for “you’ve got no place to go.” … Legacy parties: “[USA Today/Gallup:] For the first time at this point in at least six elections, voters are inclined to see both the Republican and Democratic parties unfavorably.” … Charters: “If unions were ‘the problem,’ we would expect to find high performance in right to work states. But we don’t.” … Provenance: “A very popular and well known porn star was able to escape under the radar by being allowed to show a director a copy of their test scores on their cell and not on paper or through digital copy.” Like e-voting, eh? … Normalizing disemployment: “[CBO: ] Unemployment would stand at an unhealthy 8% or so when 2013 comes to a close.”

The trail. Swing states, First Draft: “1. NC 2. IA 3. FL 4. CO 5. VA 6. NV 7. OH 8. WI 9. NH.” Nice knowin’ ya, PA. … Tea party: “Though the Akin controversy shows experience is no guarantee of success, the fact that more elected officials are running under the Tea Party banner is evidence of the movement’s growing influence. The Tea Party is quickly moving toward the power center of the Republican Party.” … Charlie Cook: “[T]his race shouldn’t be as tight as it is. Incumbents generally don’t get reelected with numbers like we are seeing today. Romney may still win this election. It’s awfully close. But if he doesn’t, the knives will be long, sharp, and unforgiving.”

Romney. Nooners: “Obama can’t stand to be made fun of [but see this essential post from Stoller]. His pride won’t allow it, his amour propre cannot countenance a joke at his own expense. If Mr. Romney lands a few very funny lines about the president’s leadership, Mr. Obama will freak out. That would be fun, wouldn’t it?” … Birtherism: “Romney made a joke that relies on a debunked conspiracy theory about the president–a theory especially popular with people who don’t like blacks and foreigners. Romney’s crowd cheered.” … Birtherism: “Somewhere, Orly Taitz is smiling.” … Birtherirsm: “Ironic post-birtherism.” … Birtherism: Romney walks it back. Shorter: “Hey, where’s your sense of humor?” … Stenography: “It’s the sort of statement that leaves journalists slack-jawed: ‘The one stipulation to the interview was that I not ask him about abortion or Todd Akin.’” …. Ryan: Brown-noser? That’s not the half of it (Monkey Cage). … Data: “[Romney’s Buxton project] combines marketing data with psychographic data analysis. An early test analyzed details of more than 2 million households near San Francisco and elsewhere on the West Coast and identified thousands of people who would be comfortably able and inclined to give Romney at least $2,500 or more.”

Obama. Razor-thin margin: “[Obama’s] pointillist approach has been on sharp display in recent weeks, as he has alternately tailored his campaign speeches and his ad campaigns to women, older voters and, most recently, new young voters who may not have been old enough to cast a ballot four years ago.” Visionary minimalism.

Akin flap. “Backward”: “[Via Nicholas Culpeper’s 17th century midwife manual:] If both husband and wife were not properly in love and enjoying sex, conception would fail because ‘the woman, being averse, does not produce sufficient quantities of the spirits with which her genitals should normally swell.’” Shades of Dr. Slop, the man-midwife…

* 16 days until the Democratic National Convention ends with shark fin soup for everyone on the floor of the Bank of America Panther Stadium, Charlotte, NC. Louis XVI was the last Bourbon king of France.