Posts Tagged November
Early voting’s pros and cons
By Ruth Marcus, Published: November 1
The neighbors gathered in Hurricane Sandy’s drizzly aftermath, surveying the damage: tree limbs crushing the roof of a car, telephone poles snapped in half, power lines strewn across the street. It was, for all the unpleasant circumstances, a nice communal moment.
It made me think, oddly enough, about what it is that bothers me about early voting.
More precisely, it reminded me about what I like about Election Day — the neighborly lines at the local elementary school, the sense of common purpose, the we’re-all-in-this-together ritual of the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. I like wearing my corny “I voted” sticker on Election Day. I like seeing yours.
Early voting is the civic manifestation of the modern age: fragmented, individualistic and solitary. Once we all saw the same television show at the same time; now, we watch “Modern Family” whenever it is most convenient. We withdraw our cash from a machine when we need it, rather than racing to the bank before it closes. We scan our groceries as we shop and check out on our own.
Like early voting, these are conveniences of modern life. And we are, on balance, better off for the advent of early voting as much as for the ATM and DVR. Not everyone can make it to the polls on Election Day. Not everyone can afford to be late to work in the event of long lines.
In what early voting expert Paul Gronke of Reed College has termed a “quiet revolution” in American politics, the country no longer has Election Day — we have Election Month.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 states and the District of Columbia now allow in-person early voting, beginning, on average, 22 days before the election.
In addition, and almost entirely overlapping, 27 states plus the District have no-excuse absentee voting. Two states — Washington and Oregon — conduct elections entirely by mail.
The result has been a surge in early voting — to 30 percent of voters in 2008. Michael McDonald of George Mason University predicts that this share could rise to 35 percent this year; several states, including Maryland, Louisiana, Iowa and Montana, have already exceeded their 2008 numbers. In battleground states where both parties have been pushing early voting, well over half the vote could come in early.
Initial studies raised questions about whether early voting increased turnout or simply shifted the time that voters cast their ballots. But given candidates’ emphasis on early voters in recent elections — the Obama campaign targeted them in 2008 and the Romney campaign is trying to catch up to Democrats this year — it seems likely that early voting is boosting turnout.
I would support early voting even if it didn’t, for the same reason that I support laws requiring restaurants to post calorie counts even without conclusive evidence that such information helps reduce obesity levels. Consumers should have access to nutrition information to consider as they wish. Voters should be able to turn up early if that is convenient for them.
Some states do begin their early voting disconcertingly early — up to 45 days before the election.
Does too-early voting matter, potentially depriving voters of information that could have affected their decision?
Probably not much this year, when so many voters were so settled on their choices. In addition, most early voters, even in truly early-bird states, wait until close to Election Day. The earliest among them are probably the most energized partisans, unlikely to be swayed by new information.
If it were up to me, I would condense the early voting time to perhaps two weeks out, and also rejigger the presidential debate calendar so that the debates take place before most early voting starts.
This year, by the time the final debate took place on Oct. 22, early voting had commenced in all but five of the states that permit it, although in some cases just barely. That’s unfortunate. Voting on the basis of more information is better than voting on the basis of less.
Early voting has begun in my state, Maryland, and I considered taking advantage of it — now, that is, that we have our power back. But I’ve decided to hold off until Election Day, lines and all. I can swap Sandy stories with my neighbors while I wait, and feel part of the quadrennial ritual, however anachronistic.
- Early voting turns Election Day into Election Month (oregonlive.com)
- Complaints crop up in Ohio of early voting machines marking Romney votes for Obama (conservativeread.com)
- Romney camp predicted early/absentee Fla lead by election day. So far Dems lead by 76k (tampabay.com)
- Friday is the deadline for early voting in Wisconsin (fox6now.com)
- Today is the last day for early voting in Texas (star-telegram.com)
- 34.8 percent vote early in Victoria County (victoriaadvocate.com)
- Crist to Scott: ‘Florida deserves better,’ extend early voting (tv.msnbc.com)
- Democrats crushing Republicans on sporadic Fla voters in early voting (tampabay.com)
- Saturday is your last chance to vote early (salisbury.wbtv.com)
- More than 1.4 million have voted early in Georgia – Atlanta Journal Constitution (ajc.com)
Liberal Berkeley May Fine Homeless $75 for Sitting Down
A new measure up for a vote in one of America’s liberal bastions would make it illegal for homeless people to sit or lie on the sidewalk.
October 30, 2012
Nearly half of America is poor or “near-poor,” government statistics show—below or near the poverty line, barely making ends meet. Anywhere from 1.5 million to 3.5 million Americans are homeless, and one in six children go hungry. Yet here in Berkeley, California, one of the country’s most famously liberal cities, business leaders aim to fine homeless people $75 for sitting on the sidewalk in commercial strips.
That’s right: The nationwide trend of scapegoating homeless people for business struggles and “blight” has found its way to Berkeley. With a “sit-lie” measure on this November’s ballot, Berkeley, home of the Free Speech Movement and national poster child for civil liberties, is poised to make it illegal to sit on a sidewalk in business zones. Equally startling, the proposal, Measure S—funded almost entirely by real estate and developer interests—has a chance of passing in this reputedly progressive enclave.
Think about this for a minute: in this liberal university town teeming with smart people, the “solution” devised for a chronic business recession is to outlaw sitting on a sidewalk—despite an in-depth report showing the same law in San Francisco has failed to deliver any benefits to merchants, shoppers, or homeless people.
How can such irrationality and scapegoating be possible in one of America’s most progressive cities?
In my work as communications director for the No on S campaign over the past few months, I’ve witnessed a distressing degree of anti-homeless stereotyping and a dedicated disregard for facts by sit-lie adherents who insist, above all else, that the city must “do something”—anything it seems—to remove “the homeless” from business corridors.
There are few groups left in America for whom blatant stereotyping and scapegoating is open season, year-round. A push poll by sit-lie advocates, for instance, referred to “menacing” and “marauding” homeless youth haunting city sidewalks. A pro-S article in the East Bay Express newsweekly referred to a homeless person’s belongings as “detritus,” and replayed the Reagan-era mantra of homelessness as a “lifestyle choice”—a deeply ignorant trope repeated at length in an op-ed titled, “Homeless by Choice” published by the influential UC Berkeley Daily Californian student newspaper.
How easy it then becomes to persuade voters of the need to remove scruffy “menacing” youth who are “homeless by choice,” allegedly destroying businesses and draining the budget coffers of even the most benevolent cities. Sit-lie might sound sensible when framed that way—but it’s a failed model built on a rickety edifice of inaccuracies.
Berkeley is hardly alone—some 33 municipalities across the country have enacted “sit-lie” laws, among a raft of “quality of life” measures that have made it virtually illegal to be homeless anywhere. Making homelessness illegal could be an admirable aim if focused on full employment and universal housing, but these laws instead make accessing services even harder by piling up citations and bench warrants on homeless people’s records.
A 2011 report by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP) found more than half of 234 American cities “prohibit begging in public places.” Another 40 percent prohibit sleeping in public places; 33 percent prohibit sitting/lying in public places; and 56 percent prohibit loitering in public places. Many cities have shut down public restrooms to remove the presence of homeless people. Increasingly, there is nowhere for a homeless person to go.
Such policies are not only heartless—they’re also ineffective and misguided. As the NLCHP report found, “Cost studies in 13 cities and states reveal that, on average, cities spend $87 per day to jail a person, compared to $28 per day for shelter.
In March 2011, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (made up of 19 federal agencies including the Departments of Justice, Veterans Affairs, and Housing and Urban Development) “issued a report warning that such measures can be costly, ineffective and lead to lawsuits,” according to the New York Times. The report found, “Criminalization policies further marginalize men and women who are experiencing homelessness, fuel inflammatory attitudes, and may even unduly restrict constitutionally protected liberties.”
Yet in Berkeley, and across America, criminalization measures are on the rise while shelter beds—emergency life rafts of last resort—fall victim to budget cuts. A 2012 Berkeley city manager’s report found 680 homeless people in Berkeley, with just 135 year-round emergency shelter beds to serve them; the city’s one youth shelter is only open in winter.
Against all evidence
Beyond the stereotyping and animosity toward homeless people, what is remarkable about the Berkeley sit-lie push is that it runs counter to nearly every empirical fact about business life and homelessness in Berkeley. Other than a poll showing that UC Berkeley students avoid business strips in part because of their fear of homeless people, there is not a single piece of evidence linking business struggles and street people—not one.
To the contrary, a 2010 Berkeley city manager’s report (ignored by nearly every media outlet covering Measure S) shows that business districts most frequented by homeless people declined the least during the recession. Between 2008 and 2010, the two city corridors with the greatest presence of homeless people suffered far lower business declines than other districts where few homeless people congregate, the city report found. “The retail downturn in Berkeley occurred from the same factors that affect the whole country,” the city manager’s report concluded: “People who are unemployed or underemployed have been forced to cut back their expenditures.”
Not once did the city report mention homeless people as a cause of business slowdown—instead it cited residents’ increased shopping on the Internet and in big box chains outside of Berkeley.
Just last week, a research report by UC Berkeley Law School’s Policy Advocacy Clinic, analyzing national and local economic data associated with sit-lie laws, concluded, “we find no meaningful evidence to support the arguments that Sit-Lie laws increase economic activity or improve services to homeless people.” The report added, “we find: (1) no evidence supporting a link between the enactment of Sit-Lie ordinances and economic activity in California cities, and (2) and no evidence that homeless people negatively
impact economic activity in selected commercial zones in Berkeley.”
Another key bit of evidence largely ignored by media here: an independent San Francisco City Hall Fellows report commissioned by the city controller’s office, which found that city’s sit-lie law failed to produce any benefits for merchants, public safety, or homeless people. The 2011 report concluded that sit-lie “has, on the whole, been unsuccessful at meeting its multi-faceted intentions to improve merchant corridors, serve as a useful tool for SFPD, connect services to those who violate the law, and positively contribute to public safety for the residents and tourists of San Francisco.”
Let’s replay this for a moment. Despite well-documented evidence that sit-lie doesn’t work (even on its own dubious terms), and that business declines have no relationship to homeless presence on the streets, Berkeley business leaders are spending more than one hundred thousand dollars to make sitting on a sidewalk illegal—evidence and reason be damned.
Follow the Money
While Measure S proponents have promoted a “grassroots” campaign sparked by small businesses, campaign records tell a different story. The sit-lie push is funded chiefly by real estate and developer interests. A handful of East Bay merchants have donated small amounts to the campaign—but the bulk of the $103,000 raised by sit-lie forces comes from real estate and developer interests, capital finance companies and landlords.
Among the top contributors to Measure S is Panoramic Interests, LLC (donor of $10,000)—a major infill developer and landlord which, according to its website, “was the largest private landlord of UC Berkeley students” from 2004 to 2007. Other big checks came in from First Shattuck, LLC, a commercial real estate company ($10,000), and $5000 from Constitution Square, a real estate management firm based in San Rafael. Another $3500 in pro-S money came from Townsend II, LLC, a capital management company in San Francisco.
A little sanity and humanity
In a sane and humane society, the sit-lie push goes against both heart and mind. Yet our culture has become fixated on separation from discomforting realities and “inconvenient truths.” We send drone planes to do “our” dirty work abroad (even some local police departments are seeking drones now). We fortify borders with fences and paramilitary outfits to stifle immigration, as if such armaments in any way address emigration’s roots in poverty and economic desperation. And cities across America, now even Berkeley, seek to disappear homeless people via legal fiat instead of by creating job opportunities and housing.
Berkeley may well pass Measure S, as liberal San Francisco did in 2010. And, facts being facts, homelessness and poverty will persist. Homeless people will continue to be just like everyone else, except without a roof over their heads. Some will be “aggressive” in their efforts to stay alive; others will hide and seek a quiet survival. “They” will smell bad, as logic would dictate, lacking showers or laundry money. Some will yell, others will cry, some will ask for money.
I ask you to ask yourself: what society is this that demonizes and disregards its poorest residents—the very ones who need the most help? How have we devolved to the point where making sitting on a sidewalk illegal is deemed a solution to anything—even when it’s been proven a failure?
It’s time to draw a line in the sand: No more crackdowns on homeless people. Housing and employment are cheaper—and far more humane and just—than harassing and incarcerating the poorest of the poor.
PS—please visit www.noonsberkeley.com to learn more about the Berkeley sit-lie fight.
- Berkeley Coalition Kicks Off Campaign to Defeat “Sit-Lie” Measure S (indybay.org)
- Forgotten Voters: D.C. Volunteers Work to Register the Homeless (pbs.org)
- NO on Measure S (dissidentvoice.org)
- Volunteers toil for first transitional home in Elk Grove for homeless people (sacbee.com)
- Arrest after homeless people struck, killed in LA (utsandiego.com)
- NYC’s Homeless (urbanmommies.net)
- What goes through your mind when you hear the word ‘homeless’? (eslschoolforenglish.wordpress.com)
- Begging ban anniversary: Fewer beggars, still plenty of homeless (tbo.com)
- St. Pete sees rise in homeless as weather changes (miamiherald.com)
Why the Obscenely Wealthy Whine When They Have It So Good
Romney’s 47% comments are exactly what wealthy conservatives think: that they are the true victims.
October 9, 2012
So, Mitt Romney now tells Sean Hannity he was “completely wrong” about the 47%. On the surface that looks like a typical etch-a-sketch campaign pivot. But I think there is more to it than a little clean up in aisle three.
My theory is that after careful research and analysis, the smartest guys at 1% World Headquarters reached a disturbing conclusion. They decided that the whole fiasco needs to be contained as much as possible because it has the potential for serious damage well beyond the November election.
How? Let’s see.
First, the setting. This is how they think and talk among themselves. It’s not just at fundraisers, but in their churches, country clubs and board rooms as well. Their servants hear them all the time. But they can’t tell for fear of being easily dismissed. Thanks to YouTube we now get to see and hear for ourselves.
Yes, they really do believe there is something wrong with the people. What is it? It’s that our default preference is to be lazy moochers. As employers this is definitely how they think about us as workers. This is why there are entire schools devoted to “management”. We also hear a lot about their true worldview any time we start to talk about forming a union.
The roots of this mindset run very deep. Did the job creator plantation owners ever want to consider there was anything wrong with the slavery system? Of course not. But they were very eager to talk about all the things that were wrong with the slaves.
That legacy is very much with us They still don’t want anyone to think there is anything wrong with the system.
For one thing, it matters greatly to their own sense of self-worth that they be seen as deserving of their riches and power. Most of them were born on third base. Real economic mobility in our society has been essentially frozen for decades. Nevertheless, the rich and the super-rich desperately want to believe that they hit a triple or a home run .
And even if they are genuinely “self-made,” in the Horatio Alger myth sense, their “achievements” occur within a system. The nature of that system is that for every LeBron James “success” there are dashed hopes and dreams for bazillions of others.
That aside, it’s even more important that we-the-people believe that the rich are “deserving” too. It is a critical component of the “legitimacy” of their rule. It’s all OK because they weren’t born into feudal era royalty. Theirs is a privilege of “merit.”
The entire edifice of capitalism is wrapped around the protestant work ethic which compels us to be loyal, grateful and subservient to employers and their power. If we are poor or unemployed or not employers ourselves, it must be because there is something wrong with us. That is as core as core belief gets. According to them, to even consider that an economy organized differently might produce more equitable outcomes is to wallow in envy, resentment or worse “socialism,” (aka: anything that isn’t the status quo.)
Confusion on issues of “dependence” is also central to the philosophical grip they maintain on our minds. The last thing they want is for ordinary citizens to be self-reliant. That would mean we wouldn’t need them. In particular it would mean we wouldn’t need their J.O.B. system as the means by which we work in order to live.
By portraying us as lazy moochers dependent on “government,” they deflect attention from the reality that we are utterly dependent on them. That dependence is just fine in their view. In language worthy of Orwell, they call our dependence (on “job creators”) “personal responsibility.”
The joke of course is that amongst themselves, the super-rich know that capitalism has never met the needs of all the people all the time. It never will. As capitalism evolves, it does so less and less.
Consequently, for various reasons, capitalists compel the government to pick up some of the slack. This includes direct government hiring (job creation which keeps the unemployment rate down), mass incarceration (reduces the size of the available workforce and creates jobs in the prison-industrial complex) and gigantic subsidies to profit making businesses (bailouts, defense contracts, tax incentives etc.).
Unemployment insurance, food stamps and other such programs also mask and offset the intrinsic inability of the private sector to meet the needs of tens of millions.
Not that we should pay attention to any of that. To the contrary, exercising their god given right to whine about the moochers is one of the privileges that comes with their wealth and power, like private jets and country club memberships.
As Steve Perlstein of the Washington Post put it recently in his brilliant column “Manifesto for the Entitled:”
I am the misunderstood superhero of American capitalism, single-handedly creating wealth and prosperity despite all the obstacles put in my way by employees, government and the media.
I am a job creator and I am entitled.
I am entitled to complain about the economy even when my stock price, my portfolio and my profits are at record levels.
I am entitled to a healthy and well-educated workforce, a modern and efficient transportation system and protection for my person and property, just as I am entitled to demonize the government workers who provide them.
And speaking of whiners, isn’t Mitt Romney an Ayn Rand Hall-of-Famer for honestly expressing the victimization of the rich at the hands of the moochers? Didn’t he basically say, “Isn’t it clear that they have rigged the election against us! And yet for only $50,000 from each of you my brothers and sisters I will soldier on against these moocher barbarians!”
(Note to my fellow 99 percenters. Surely we should repent. My God what is wrong with us that we have no compassion for the burden we are to the Mitt Romney’s of the world?)
All of which brings us to the number one reason Romney has to try to make it all go away.
Forty Seven percent are lazy moochers? Forty Seven percent!
That’s got to include a sizeable number of white people.
Now if Romney had said 100% of the people were lazy moochers, some whites would still insist that he wasn’t talking about them. The people who don’t want the government messing with their Medicare are but one example of this widespread capacity for willful ignorance.
But others are more reasonable. And indeed, you can almost see the light bulbs going on in the heads of white people all over the country. It shows up in letters to the editor, sound bites on the news and private conversations.
For example, the day after 47% went viral, the Detroit Free Press quoted a white voter as follows:
Daniel Pier, 54, of Warren caught the comments on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday. He had been undecided and was leaning toward Romney. Now, he’s moved toward Obama. Pier is on Social Security disability for a bad heart.
“I’m hearing him (Romney) talk about entitlements. … We’re depending on the government. I couldn’t live unless we collected that,” he said. “Every valve in my heart is bad.”
Mitt thinks white people are lazy moochers? Well then what’s the point of being a Romney Democrat? Isn’t the whole idea that our shared resentment over working hard and paying taxes to take care of them is our bond with you, Mr. Romney.
Being caught on tape implying that white people are lazy moochers too puts the whole Lee Atwater, Ronald Reagan, welfare queen, food stamp president, dog-whistle Republican Party franchise in jeopardy.
Do we owe Mitt our thanks and gratitude? I think so. He has given us a gift that will keep on giving long after the election is over. Thanks to this video more of us might stop apologizing for ourselves and start questioning the system. As if that weren’t enough, this video might also make it harder for them to use race to divide and conquer.
Surely even Sean Hannity could see that anything leading to either possibility, let alone both, would be “completely wrong.”
- Why the Obscenely Wealthy Whine When They Have It So Good (alternet.org)
- Forbes 400 List Reveals Why the Greedy Rich Fully Deserve Your Contempt – And Jesus’s | Alternet (mbcalyn.com)
- Not Just Big Bird: 6 Examples of the Right’s War on Beloved Children’s Characters | Alternet (mbcalyn.com)
- Romney’s “Charity” to the Church is Just More Corporate Greed and Tax Evasion | Alternet (mbcalyn.com)
- Beyond God and Guns: Why the GOP May Lose the White Working Class | Alternet (mbcalyn.com)
- Romney Says Typical Middle-Class Homes Earn $250,000 A Year | Alternet (mbcalyn.com)
- Revealed: Romney’s Bain Capital Invested in Grotesque Chinese Sweatshop, Detailed at Boca Raton Fundraiser | Alternet (mbcalyn.com)
- 10 Desperate and Depressed Conservative Reactions to Romney’s 47 Percent Moment | Alternet (mbcalyn.com)
- How Mitt Romney Got Rich Destroying American Jobs and Promoting Sweatshop Capitalism | Alternet (mbcalyn.com)
- 8 Falsehoods, Lies and Misstatements From Romney Fundraising Video | Alternet (mbcalyn.com)
The Billionaires Bill of Rights
California’s Proposition 32, on the ballot this November, would severely limit unions’ election spending while leaving corporations free to spend as much as they like.
August 26, 2012
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
Billionaire corporate interests and other well financed anti-labor forces are waging a major drive to stifle the political voice of workers and their unions in California that is certain to spread nationwide if not stopped – and stopped now.
At issue is a highly deceptive measure, Proposition 32, on the state’s November election ballot, that its anti-labor sponsors label as an even-handed attempt to limit campaign spending. But actually, it would limit – and severely – only the spending of unions while leaving corporations and other moneyed special interests free to spend as much as they like.
Unions would be prohibited from making political contributions with money collected from voluntary paycheck deductions authorized by their members, which is the main source of union political funds.
But there would be no limits on corporations, whose political funds come from their profits, their customers or suppliers and the contributions of corporate executives. Nor would there be any limit on the political spending of the executives or any other wealthy individuals. What’s more, corporate special interests and billionaires could still give unlimited millions to secretive “Super PACs” that can raise unlimited amounts of money anonymously to finance their political campaigns.
The proposition would have a “devastating impact” on unions, notes Professor John Logan, director of labor and employment studies at San Francisco State University. As he says, it would likely all but eliminate political spending by unions while greatly increasing political spending by business interests and wealthy individuals.
Anti-labor interests are already outspending unions nationwide by a ratio of more than $15 for every $1 spent by unions. Between 2000 and 2011, that amounted to $700 million spent by anti-labor forces, while unions spent just a little more than $284 million.
Proposition 32 would even restrict unions in their communications with their own members on political issues. That’s because money raised by payroll deductions pays for the preparation and mailing of communications to union members, including political materials.
Unfortunately, there’s even more – much more -to Proposition 32. It also would prohibit unions from making contributions to political parties and defines public employee unions as “government contractors” that would be forbidden from attempting to influence any government agency with whom they have a contract.
That restriction applies not only to unions. It also would cover political action committees established by any membership organization, “any agency or employee representation committee or plan,” such as those seeking stronger civil rights or environmental protections.
Proposition 32 seeks to weaken, that is, any membership group which might seek reforms opposed by wealthy individuals or corporations and their Republican allies. It’s no wonder the measure is actively opposed, not only by organized labor, but also by the country’s leading good-government groups, including Common Cause and the League of Women Voters.
Yet the proposition’s sponsors have the incredible gall to bill their measure as genuine campaign finance reform. They obviously hope that claim, which Common Cause accurately describes as a “laughable deception,” will win over the many voters who have been demanding reforms and who, in their eagerness, will fail to recognize the measure’s true nature.
“This is not genuine campaign finance reform,” as San Francisco State’s John Logan says, “but a bill of rights for billionaires.”
The losers would include teachers, nurses, police, firefighters and other union members and those who benefit from the essential services they provide – students, the elderly, and the ailing, the poverty stricken, those who work and live in unsafe conditions and other needy citizens, and consumers, environmentalists and others who also are neglected by the profit-chasing corporate interests that dominate political and economic life.
Make no mistake: Lots of money is being funneled into the Proposition 32 campaign by some of the same wealthy backers who bankrolled such anti-labor efforts as the campaign that blocked the massive attempt to recall virulently anti-labor GOP Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin this year.
Should the anti-union forces also prevail, it will undoubtedly lead to what Logan says “will promote a tsunami of ballot initiatives in 2013 at the local level and in 2014 at the state level designed to drive down working conditions in both the public and private sectors.”
Logan adds, “Lacking the ability to oppose these reactionary measures under the new election rules, California’s workers could soon face the weakest labor standards in the country”. But if the measure is rejected, it “may slow the momentum behind other attempts to increase the corrosive impact of money in politics.”
It’s true that some states already have laws and regulations seriously limiting labor’s influence. But it’s certain that victory by the anti-labor forces in California will slow any attempts at reform in other states and lead as well to attempts to impose anti-union measures elsewhere, as well as expanding those that already exist.
The stakes are huge. If the 1 percent have their way in California, the country’s largest state, other states are certain to follow.
- California Prop. 32: A Billionaires’ Bill of Rights (talkingunion.wordpress.com)
- California’s Prop 32: The next big, deceptive corporate attack on working families, by @DavidOAtkins (digbysblog.blogspot.com)
- California’s Prop 32 on political funding is a bill of rights for billionaires | John Logan (guardian.co.uk)
- Wisconsin Recall Post-Mortem: Implications for Labor (lawprofessors.typepad.com)
- California voters to have say on taxes, state budgeting process, crime and justice (mercurynews.com)
- California’s Proposition 32 would still allow corporations to buy politicians (deathandtaxesmag.com)
- Bernie Sanders Exposes the 26 Billionaires who are Buying the 2012 Election (diane-whitedove1.newsvine.com)
- Temp Worker Nation: If You Do Get Hired, It Might Not Be for Long | Alternet (mbcalyn.com)
- Prop 32 Is Citizens United on Steroids (eastbayexpress.com)
- California’s Prop. 32 would be Citizens United on steroids (thehill.com)
Ted Nugent: “I’m not crazy! I have One-Hit-Wonder-itis!”
“Rock star” Ted Nugent attempted to explain his recent inflammatory comments regarding President Obama yesterday, claiming he suffers from “One-Hit-Wonder-itis,” a relatively common disease afflicting those in the music industry.
“Look, when I said I would either be dead or in jail next November if Barack Obama was elected president again, I wasn’t threatening the life of the president or implying I would assassinate him. I was simply experiencing an episode of ‘One-Hit-Wonder-its’. That’s a real illness. You can look it up.”
Further investigation confirmed “One-Hit-Wonder-itis” does exist, and the leading expert, Dr. Oates, explained the sickness this way: “’One-Hit-Wonder-itis’ is a disease that strikes those in the music industry who have only had one major hit, or who have long since been considered relevant or important performers. Sadly, Mr. Nugent falls into the latter category. As a result, Mr. Nugent is driven to say outrageous or ridiculous statements in an effort to stay in the public eye. Much like a person with Tourette’s is compelled to blurt out inappropriate comments from time to time.”
While not officially diagnosed to until recently, Nugent is believed to have been suffering from the disease since the late 1980′s, right after his “super group” Damn Yankees scored the top ten hit “High Enough.” Since then, fewer and fewer Nugent albums have been sold, and Nugent himself has made more and more outrageous statements. Dr. Messina, colleague of Dr. Oates and another expert on the illness, said, “I think Ted has been battling this disease for over 20 years. When you consider he said about going to South Africa in 1990, ‘My being there isn’t going to affect any political structure. Besides, apartheid isn’t that cut-and-dry. All men are not created equal,’ clearly we’re dealing with a patient desperate for people to pay attention to him. So when he says things like voters should ‘chop Democrats heads off in November,’ he deserves our pity, not our outrage.”
While there is no cure for “One-Hit-Wonder-itis” yet, experts are hopeful there will be one soon. Dr. Oates explained, “Every year, more artists slip off the radar, and – wham! – they suddenly feel the uncontrollable need to ‘wake us up’ before they ‘go’. Hopefully this onslaught of afflicted artists will drive us to find a cure.” In fact, so many acts suffer from the disease, it’s now unofficial referred to as MJMS, or Mick Jagger/Madonna Syndrome.
- Ted Nugent to CBS News Team: I’ll Suck and F-ck You! (thehollywoodgossip.com)
- Sen. Inhofe: ‘Different interpretation’ of Ted Nugent comments (cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com)
- Ted Nugent’s Shocking Confession (socyberty.com)
- Ted Nugent Concert At Army Base Cancelled Following Nugent’s Obama Comments (mediaite.com)
- Ted Nugent fired up against Obama (myfoxphoenix.com)
- EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Ted Nugent Explains Violent Political Comments (armyofawesomepeople.com)
- Ted Nugent Tells CBS Reporter ‘I’ll Suck Your D**k’ in Bizarre Rant After Being Told He is ‘Not Moderate’: VIDEO (towleroad.com)
- Mitt Romney Sought Ted Nugent Endorsement…So Does Romney Endorse Nugent’s Views? (alan.com)
- The Secret Service Says They Are Investigating Ted Nugent’s Threatening Remarks Toward Obama (thinkprogress.org)
- Ted Nugent Spouts Off With Vulgar Rant (celebs.gather.com)
Americans Pool Together $945.23 To Counteract Corporate Money’s Influence In Politics | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source
Americans Pool Together $945.23 To Counteract Corporate Money’s Influence In Politics
WASHINGTON—Spurred into action by the surge of Super PAC donations ahead of November’s general election, the American people this week collectively managed to raise $945.23 to offset the influence of corporate spending on politics. “Today we take a stand against big money’s stranglehold on the U.S. electoral system and give a voice back to the voters,” said spokesman Danny Bader, an unemployed carpenter who scraped together $1.10 as part of the effort to counteract the unlimited number of undisclosed independent expenditures corporations are legally allowed to make. “With these funds, we will print some pamphlets and hopefully get a website up, and we will send a clear message that billions in shadowy spending will not buy this election.” At press time, the American people were struggling to raise an additional $65 for another dozen T-shirts.
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Reuters/Michigan Sentiment… Americans Caring Less & Less About Euro Woes
Posted: December 9, 2011 at 10:18 am
A reading of sentiment in America from the University of Michigan is out this Friday, and frankly it may be indicating that perhaps Americans are just starting to care less and less about the woes coming out of Europe. Maybe Americans even believe that the unemployment rate’s drop is more than just due to a lower rate of participation in the labor force.
The University of Michigan and Reuters have released the preliminary sentiment reading for December and the figure was presented as 67.7. Bloomberg was expecting a reading of 66.0 and the November final data was at 64.1%.
The current index portion is shown as 77.9, while the expectations component is 61.1. The 12-month inflation forecast was put at +3.1% and the 5-year inflation forecast was put at +2.7%.
Bloomberg notes, “Consumer sentiment is directly related to the strength of consumer spending. Consumer confidence and consumer sentiment are two ways of talking about consumer attitudes.” Keep in mind that the preliminary data is based upon surveys of 500 households each month and the preliminary data gets revised at the end of the month.
JON C. OGG
- Reuters/Michigan Sentiment… Americans Caring Less & Less About Euro Woes (247wallst.com)
- Consumer Sentiment Improves to Best Level Since June (blogs.wsj.com)
- UMich consumer sentiment at six-month high (marketwatch.com)
- Coming Up: December consumer sentiment (marketwatch.com)
- University of Michigan consumer sentiment index 67.7 (forexlive.com)
- Consumer Sentiment Climbs To 67.7, Beating Expectations (businessinsider.com)
- Consumer Sentiment in U.S. Climbs as Outlook Brightens: Economy (businessweek.com)
- Consumer Sentiment in U.S. Climbs as Outlook Brightens: Economy (businessweek.com)
- Italy votes on debt reduction measures; US consumers in recession (tradingfloor.com)
- Consumer Sentiment Improves (blogs.wsj.com)