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Election Countdown 2012: Eight Tree-Sitters Block Keystone XL Pipeline in Texas, and More

This week in the Election Countdown, eight people scaled 80-feet into trees to block Kthe southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline; A virus transmitted by biting flies has killed at least 4,217 deer in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula; Governor Scott Walker has changed course on plans to remove fire-safety requirements from the state electrical code; … Continued

This week in the Election Countdown, eight people scaled 80-feet into trees to block Kthe southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline; A virus transmitted by biting flies has killed at least 4,217 deer in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula; Governor Scott Walker has changed course on plans to remove fire-safety requirements from the state electrical code; and more.

“Of course it’s a set up.” –Vladimir Putin

Montreal. Charbonneau Commission: “Does the link between New York and Montreal mob families still exist, #ceic lawyer asks Pistone. Yes, he says, to the best of his knowledge.” Not just bagels, I guess.

AL. Trope watch: ” What those in positions of power fail to realize is we are all in the boat together. If one end of the boat is clean and bright and the other end of the boat is dirty and full of holes, guess what…the whole damn boat is going to sink.” … Tactics: “None of us have the money of Karl Rove or the Kochs — but we have something else. Brains. Creativity. The ability to find issues that the ‘big boys’ and the pundits overlook. And the ability to work in ‘small spaces– sometimes the action turns into a news story and gives us publicity that we couldn’t buy.

CA. Voting: “On September 24, CA Gov Jerry Brown signed AB 1436, to let voters register at the polls on election day. The bill won’t take effect until either 2014 or 2015.”

CO. Fracking: “The fact is that the solar industry, the wind industry and all other construction-related industries are regulated by municipalities and local governments. Yet we don’t have ‘chaos.’ The industries deal with it. I would like to know why the oil and gas industry seems to be exempt from everything that other industries are not exempt from. If we can regulate construction activities locally, then we can regulate the oil and gas industry locally as well.”

FL. The economy: “The latest statewide poll by The Miami Herald and its media partners shows a virtual tie in the presidential race in Florida. And it came as a shock to liberals and Democrats. In short, it’s the economy, stupid. Plus a little immigration, foreign policy and healthcare.” But The Obama is thoughtful also tax returns and what about Ann Romney’s horse? … Grayson: “Grayson seemed hesitant to give any specific examples on just how much a taxpayer should be required to pay each year to the government in taxes. ‘I can’t give you a number because it’s a concept, not a number. The answer is that it should be high enough to balance the budget when the economy is healthy.’” Some MMTer should camp out in front of Grayson’s office. … Burkean conservatives: “When Justin Lamar Sternad met Ana Sol Alliegro, he didn’t know the political consultant would help lead his campaign into the FBI’s crosshairs or that she had prior legal run-ins — including the time she shot at her ex-husband while naked. Authorities believe Rivera and Alliegro, both Rs, helped the D Sternad undermine a political rival in his recent congressional primary race.” … Burkean conservatives: “State Rep. Mike Horner of Kissimmee, a leading Osceola County R and a rising star in state GOP circles, abruptly ended his re-election campaign Monday after he was named as a client in a prostitution and racketeering case.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

GA. Code for America: “Before Code for America, Macon Transit’s maps didn’t show stop times and didn’t even show all of the bus stops. A new online map for the agency shows expected arrival times and every bus route, including a bus to Robins Air Force Base.”

IN. Charters: “But the plan well on its way would transfer authority over [Indianapolis Public School System] from an elected school board to a board appointed by the mayor and city-county council. Under Indy’s UniGov system of government, such a plan would give voters in Pike, Warren, Washington and other Marion County school districts a voice in IPS operations, further diluting the political strength of poor and minority residents within the IPS boundaries.” That’s not a bug. It’s a feature. … Corruption: “IN’s top child-protection official resigned Monday amid questions of whether he violated his agency’s code of conduct through his involvement in a child neglect case involving his grandchildren.”

MA. Elizabeth Warren: “[Warren’s] going to have to explain, patiently, that [Brown] is ambition, shot straight through, and that there’s a straight line from the campaign he’s running to the Jesus-on-a-dinosaur campaigns elsewhere in the country” (Charles Pierce). If Warren says “Jesus-on-a-dinosaur” on the teebee I’ll be a lot nicer to her. … Elizabeth Warren: “‘If there’s something a physician can prescribe that can help someone who is suffering, I am in favor,’ Warren said when asked about the medical marijuana ballot question, adding that there have to be the ‘right restrictions.’” Baby steps. Somebody should ask Warren why Obama throws people who want to reduce suffering — legally, under state law — in jail, and whether she’s OK with it.

MI. Climate: “A virus transmitted by biting flies has killed at least 4,217 deer in MI’s Lower Peninsula, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.”

MO. Akin: “The Senate Conservatives Fund, which has raised more than $11 million for other Republican Senate candidates, could provide a much-needed financial boost for Akin, who is facing a Tuesday deadline on whether to stay in the race. Akin vowed again Monday to remain in the contest.”

MT. Privatization: “Last spring MT contracted with a private company, Spectrum, to take a division of their Health and Human Resource Department, the Home and Community Service division funded by Medicaid. Some of the Area Agencies are being negatively impacted by this change. Supposedly part of Flathead County is being served by this company.”

OH. Voting: “The [VoteVets] brief also alleges that the Republicans’ new restrictions could also arbitrarily deprive many active members of the armed forces of their right to cast an early in-person absentee ballot as well. This can occur, says the group, because Husted left the decision whether ‘to open those three days for in-person voting by [active military] voters…[to] the discretion of the individual county boards of elections.’” But this is precisely the “arbitrary and disparate treatment to voters in its different counties” on which Bush v. Gore was (putatively) decided. Are they trying to throw the election into the courts? … The Obama: “Polly Germer, a Kent resident volunteering with the Obama campaign, said she was glad the president was visiting a city where the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or stimulus package, made a difference. ‘We’re going to be excited to show him where his dollars are,’ Germer said.” Ms. Germer? They’re your dollars. The people are sovereign.

SC. Corruption: “SC House Speaker Bobby Harrell has reimbursed himself more than $325,000 from his campaign war chest since 2008 but has produced no receipts or itemized invoices accounting for the spending as required by state law.”

TX. Police state: “A police officer shot and killed a one-armed, one-legged man in a wheelchair Saturday inside a group home after police say the double amputee threatened the officer and aggressively waved a metal object that turned out to be a pen.” Houston PD Public Affairs Department: 713 308-3200. … Pipeline: “This morning eight people climbed 80 feet into trees in the path of Keystone XL construction, and pledged not to come down until the pipeline is stopped for good. The blockade is carefully organized to ensure that everyone sitting in the trees can remain safe as long as TransCanada does not attempt to continue clear-cutting the trees. [The tree-sitters] have the safety equipment and food supplies to last indefinitely.”

VA. UVA: “[New BoV member Bobbie] Kilberg also told [reinstated President Kathleen] Sullivan she should stop answering questions about what happened. She said the board had agreed at its retreat in August not to talk to the press.” Lot of angst here for a process UVA told its accrediting body did not involve “outside forces exercis[ing]undue influence on the board.”

WA. Subsidies: “After a round robin of councilmanic backslapping, the Seattle City Council today formally approved a revised Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to build a new NBA arena in the Sodo neighborhood. After months of skepticism and hedging the authorizing legislation passed by 6-2 vote.” … Police state: “I feel there could have been other methods. They could have tased him. He was an older man and he was a sick man. It’s just wrong how they went in and did that to him.” People keep calling 911 and getting shot.

WI. Code enforcement: “Gov. Scott Walker has changed course on plans to remove fire-safety requirements from the state electrical code. Walker is now directing state officials to leave in place rules designed to detect fire-causing conditions and stop electric shocks, and to keep children from sticking foreign objects into electrical outlets.”

Outside baseball. Big data: “Knowledge is not a set of theories, but instead just data, and lots of data, and the machine is a better place to store them than the human mind.” … Burkean conservatives: “[T]oday’s conservative is in fact conservative. She hasn’t betrayed the traditions of Burke, Disraeli, Hayek, Oakeshott, Buckley, and Reagan: she has fulfilled them. Burke called for total war, of Sein oder Nichtstein, against not a country or a people but ‘an armed doctrine.’ That doctrine had to be exterminated, for ‘if it can at all exist, it must finally prevail.’” And Obama is, of course, a conservative. … Media critique: “So the next time you read comments by ‘a White House aide’ or a ‘campaign strategist,’ feel free to mentally rewrite the sentence so that it reads: ‘An aide said today, in comments that he was allowed to edit and revise in advance of publication, after demanding that the reporter e-mail him the original quotes…’” (Dick Polman) … Pearl clutching: Michael Gerson on Romney’s 47% gaffe: “Politics is reduced to class warfare on behalf of the upper class.” Well, at least Romney’s honest about it, eh? … Mass incarceration: “Then the [Corrections Corporation of America] dangled $250 million in front of officials in other states agonizing over how to squeeze dollars from dirt in a down economy. In return for sacks of cash, the company wants 20- to 30-year contracts for housing criminals. And the already controversial full privatization also requires states to grind out convictions and sentences for two or three decades at today’s pace and severity, maintaining a guaranteed 90 percent occupancy rate–calibrating the wheels of justice to fit a profit-margin spreadsheet.” Slavery, in other words. … Christianism: “‘The Earth is not 6,000 or 10,000 years old,’ [Bill Nye the Science Guy] said. ‘It’s not. And if that conflicts with your beliefs, I strongly feel you should question your beliefs.’” …. Legacy parties: “A party is a coalition. Just as finding the ‘real Romney’ is a fool’s errand, so is insisting that the personality at the top of the ticket be the most importand thing you care about. You have a choice in November between two broad coalitions. One is left-leaning and will pay some attention to progressives but will also bring in moderates of various stripes. The other is right-leaning and will be responsive to the Tea Party and to moderate Rs.”

Grand Bargain™-Brand Cat Food Watch. Bafflegab: “[AXELROVE:] [T]he approach has to be a balanced one. We’ve had discussions in the past. And the question is, can you raise the cap some? And do you adjust the growth of [cut] the program? That’s a discussion worth having [indeed]. But again, we have to approach it in a balanced [for whom?] way. We’re not going to cut our way to prosperity. We’re not going to cut our way to more secure entitlement programs — Social Security and Medicare. We have to have a balance.” Balance of what?

Robama vs. Obomney watch. Exceptionalism: ” Never have American voters re-elected a president whose work they disapprove of as much as Obama’s. Not that Mitt Romney can take much comfort — they’ve never elected a challenger they view so negatively, either.” Can’t they both lose?

The trail. Polls: “Based on the way that our forecast model calculates it, a candidate ahead by two percentage points at this stage would be about a two-to-one favorite to win. But a candidate ahead by six points would have around a 90 percent chance of victory” (Nate Silver). … Yawner: “This race has begun to resemble an over-sized and over-written novel that you’re stuck in the middle of. You’re bored with the characters and the plot, but you’re stubbornly determined to see it through because of all the time you’ve already invested. But boy is it a long, hard slog.” … Yawner: “The two campaigns insist that voters are about to make a momentous decision between sharply divergent visions for American life. But the candidates have largely failed to provide specifics about those visions, leaving voters to guess about the consequences of their choice” (Pravda). Tee up the debates!

Green Party. Jill Stein: “There’s not much fear in Jill Stein. I have mixed views on her positions: Replacing unemployment compensation with work seems right to me — we still use the buildings the WPA built. What will future generations have to show for today’s extended unemployment checks? And I’m happy to repeal the Patriot Act, since I was against it to begin with.” (interview with Glenn Reynolds, of all people).

The Romney. Airplane windows: “If it were my spouse who had had an emergency landing on a charter my campaign was using (and presumably would use for the next six weeks), I’d want [k]now if the subcontractors my contracted service was using were fulfilling my needs. But not Mitt.” (emptywheel). … Airplane windows: “[Romney] is (I have heard) not a happy or comfortable flyer, and one who can always imagine things going wrong. [H]e has no choice but to fly, white-knuckled, from one stop to the next. Someone with this outlook would naturally be all the more rattled by an emergency landing. So cut him all the more slack.” (James Fallows, explainer). … Foreign Policy: “Obama’s foreign policy is vulnerable to all sorts of accurate attacks. But Mitt Romney, the Rs, and the conservative movement are totally unable to exploit them. This is partly because the last four years have been spent advancing critiques so self-evidently implausible to anyone outside the movement that calling attention to them seems impolite.”

The Obama. Black vote: “[MICHELLE OBAMA:] And make no mistake about it, this is the march of our time, marching door to door registering people to vote. Marching everyone you know to the polls every single election. See, this is the sit-in of our day.” Well, no. No. … I approved this message: “[OBAMA: ] Do we see sometimes us going overboard in our campaign? Are there mistakes that are made, are there areas where there’s no doubt that somebody could dispute how we are presenting things? You know, that happens in politics” [shrug, shrug, shrug].

* Slogan of the day: Closely follow great leader The Obama and forge ahead courageously amid great storms and waves!

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