November 8, 2012 archive

Nov 08

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Nov 08

“Truthiness”

Four More Years of Hopey Change

Even though Barack Obama lost in spacious red states, he is reelected due to a technicality called the Constitution.

Open Thread

Nov 08

Obama Reelected: Now What?

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Now that Barack Obama has been given a second chance by the electorate, the question becomes what happens next. The “fiscal cliff” still looms, although it isn’t really a “cliff,” more like a slope. The government remains divided with the House still in the hands of fiscal conservatives and the Senate will remain crippled by a recalcitrant minority determined to block any reasonable effort at “compromise” by the Democratic majority and the White House to end the Bush/Obama tax cuts for the wealthiest.

The US markets reacted to the election this afternoon by plummeting to below 13,000 for the first time since August.

Stocks were sharply lower in afternoon trading in New York, with both the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index and the Dow Jones industrial average down 2.3 percent, as European shares sank and Asian stocks were mixed. While many executives on Wall Street and in other industries favored Mitt Romney, many had already factored in the likelihood of Mr. Obama winning a second term.

Still, continued divided government in Washington and little prospect for compromise unnerved traders. [..]

Companies in some sectors, like hospitals and technology, could see a short-term pop, said Tobias Levkovich, chief United States equity strategist with Citi. Other areas, like financial services as well as coal and mining, could be hurt as investors contemplate a tougher regulatory environment.

Fears of the fiscal impasse and the continued euro crisis were just some of the reasons but more than anything it was the failure of the GOP to take back the White House and Senate to secure the fraudsters fiefdom. It was fairly obvious from some headlines that Elizabeth Warren’s election to the Senate has Wall St. very upset: Wall Street Scourge Warren Entering U.S. Senate.

Democrat Elizabeth Warren, whose attacks on Wall Street propelled her ascent, will become the first female U.S. senator from Massachusetts, entering a divided chamber that had spurned her appointment as the nation’s consumer-protection chief.

I doubt they will be able to get rid of her as easily as they got rid of the “Sheriff of Wall St.,” former New York governor Elliot Spitzer.

I highly doubt that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and extremist Tea Party members are going to be any more cooperative with the White House and the Democratic majority in the Senate. In fact, it was already looking like they were digging immediately after the President’s victory speech with Mr. Boehner stating that the GOP’s retaining of the House majority meant that there was no mandate to raise taxes. Sen. McConnell echoed those sentiments telling the President that he shouldn’t consider the Democratic Senate wins as too much of a mandate.

To break at least the Senate deadlock, it is well past time to do something about the filibuster, which the Republicans have used in record numbers, over the last four years to block any progress for economic recovery the Democratic wins as too much of a mandate. During the campaign, Gov. Mitt Romney tried to revise history saying that Pres. Obama got everything he wanted and still failed

The argument obscures the important policy-making role Republicans had in the first two years of Obama’s presidency, when they used a record number of filibusters in the Senate to weaken – and in some cases thwart – large pieces of his agenda.

The $787 billion stimulus package in 2009, which was ultimately too small to fully reverse the economic downturn, had to be scaled down because a GOP filibuster required Democrats to win over 60 Senate votes for final passage. Repeated filibusters on health care reform ate up nearly a year of the Democrats’ legislative time, and Obama’s subsequent efforts to boost the economy were met with the same wall of Republican opposition – one that became insurmountable after the GOP’s congressional victories in 2010.

Progressives argue that the economy continues to struggle in part because Republicans have blocked Obama’s efforts, and advanced an agenda in 2011 and 2012 that effectively – if not intentionally – sabotaged the recovery.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), who will likely remain majority leader, has vowed once again to address the problem of the filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pledged on Wednesday to change the rules of the Senate so that the minority party has fewer tools to obstruct legislative business.

In his first post-election press conference, the Nevada Democrat said he wouldn’t go so far as to eliminate the filibuster, which requires 60 votes for the chamber to enter and exit the amendment and debate process. But in remarks meant to preview a more combative approach during the next session, he warned Republicans that obstructionism as a tactic won’t be tolerated — or as technically feasible.

The problem is what Sen. Reid, who has stated that he supports filibuster, proposes does not go far enough:

“The first thing is the most important thing,” Reid said the interview. “Do away with motion to proceed. Just do away with it. I favor the filibuster. There’s a reason for the filibuster. I understand it. It’s to protect the rights of the minority. The Senate was set up to protect the rights of the minority … so that’s the no. 1 issue, and the rest of the stuff we can deal with if there’s a filibuster conducted. Those are the kind of things — if we get the motion to proceed out of the way, we can debate it, one, to cloture. That’s good. So that’s the no. 1 biggie.”

Even with Democrats set to control the Senate — indeed, even set to expand their current majority — the avenues for Reid to pursue rules reform aren’t entirely clear.

There has historically been some debate over whether the majority can change the Senate rules at the beginning of each term, or whether two-thirds support is needed, per the Senate rules. The question hinges on whether the Senate is a “continuing legislative body” or whether each new term marks a new Senate. Those who want to change the rules using a majority vote argue that past Senates cannot bind the hands of future legislative bodies.

Whatever the historical record, the basic fight comes down to numbers. No matter what the Senate chair rules, a majority can overrule the chair. However, that will likely be unnecessary, as Vice President Joe Biden is known to be a supporter of filibuster reform, and a believer that the constitution allows the majority to write new rules at the start of a term.

While some of the Republicans say they will reflect on their inability to achieve their goal, perhaps it’s time for the Democrats to do the same in the Senate and replace Harry Reid with someone who will stand up to Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and the Tea Party bullies.

 

Nov 08

Cartnoon

Beep beep.  Originally posted August 2, 2011.

Boulder Wham

Still no Wikipedia entry.

Nov 08

Insult to Injury: Nor’easter hits NY, NJ & CT

Cross posted from The stars Hollow Gazette

11/7/12 NortheasterWith thousands still without electricity or even homes, the east coast from  is being hammered with a northeaster that is bring rain, sleet, snow, plummeting temperatures, high winds and warnings of coastal flooding.

This was a storm with no name but another huge, impossible-to-miss footprint on the weather maps. Its white swirl was smaller than the hurricane’s but still looked ferocious, and it promised to be tenacious, with a chilly brew of rain and wet snow. Road crews feared it would bring annoying slush and, later on, treacherous ice to hard-luck places where debris from the hurricane was still being cleared away. [..]

Gov. Chris Christie warned that the northeaster could set back the recovery effort. He said that many people could lose electricity again.

“I can see us actually moving backwards,” Mr. Christie said at a news conference at a firehouse on Long Beach Island, the barrier island that suffered some of the heaviest damage in last week’s storm. Long Beach Island had been reopened to residents, but the governor said he was cutting off access again.

Mr. Christie said that 369,000 homes in the state were still without power, down from a peak of 2.76 million. Consolidated Edison said early Wednesday that about 79,000 customers were still in the dark, including 15,000 in Brooklyn, 13,000 in Queens and 41,000 in Westchester County.

Staten Island still has 3,205 “customers” without power and high winds are expected to take down more overhead lines. As with Sandy, coastal flooding is expected:

As happened with the Halloween hurricane, this nor’easter will begin doing its work here just as today’s afternoon tide comes in on Staten Island. High tide in The Narrows, measured at Fort Wadsworth, is at 1:24 p.m. That could mean wind-driven tidal surges 3 to 4 feet above normal high-tide levels in some areas – plenty to further damage already compromised low-lying coastal areas.

On Staten Island, those storm surges are expected to be around 2 feet above normal. [..]

According to (Brian) Edwards, (a meteorologist with AccuWeather), “A north to northeasterly wind means that the most significant coastal flooding will occur along the coast of Delaware, central to northern New Jersey, the western end of the north shore of Long Island, N.Y. and eastern Massachusetts.”

He said the worst of the coastal flooding and strongest winds are expected during two phases on Wednesday. The two times that are of utmost concern across the region are during high tide Wednesday afternoon and a second high tide late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning.

Evacuations have been ordered in New York and New Jersey:

After Sandy killed 40 people in New York City, Bloomberg ordered evacuations of low-lying, hard-hit areas such as the Rockaways section of Queens and the south shore of Staten Island. Residents of at least two coastal New Jersey towns were also told to leave.

While FEMA said it was working with state and local authorities and was “ready to deploy additional resources if needed to respond to the Nor’easter,” the [FEMA centers were closed today “due to the weather”]:

They fly into disaster areas, but flee from raindrops.

FEMA disaster recovery centers in Hurricane Sandy-ravaged sections of the city that were supposed to provide assistance to hurricane victims went MIA Wednesday morning, posting signs saying that they were closed due to the approaching Nor’easter.

The temporary shuttering of the facilities, which help victims register for disaster relief, as well as city food distribution centers come even as many of those still reeling from the monster storm were not told that they had to leave the battered areas.

Nov 08

On This Day In History November 8

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

November 8 is the 312th day of the year (313th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 53 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1793 the Louvre opens as a public museum. After more than two centuries as a royal palace, the Louvre is opened as a public museum in Paris by the French revolutionary government. Today, the Louvre’s collection is one of the richest in the world, with artwork and artifacts representative of 11,000 years of human civilization and culture.

The Musée du Louvre or officially Grand Louvre – in English the Louvre Museum or simply the Louvre – is one of the world’s largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. It is a central landmark of Paris and located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement (district). Nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 19th century are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square metres (652,300 square feet).

The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre) which began as a fortress built in the late 12th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are still visible. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of antique sculpture. In 1692, the building was occupied by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which in 1699 held the first of a series of salons. The Académie

remained at the Louvre for 100 years. During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum, to display the nation’s masterpieces.

The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being confiscated church and royal property. Because of structural problems with the building, the museum was closed in 1796 until 1801. The size of the collection increased under Napoleon when the museum was renamed the Musée Napoleon. After his defeat at Waterloo, many works seized by Napoleon’s armies were returned to their original owners. The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X, and during the Second French Empire the museum gained 20,000 pieces. Holdings have grown steadily through donations and gifts since the Third Republic, except during the two World Wars. As of 2008, the collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings.

Nov 08

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


Basket 7

Nov 08

Late Night Karaoke

Nov 08

My Little Town 20121107: Voting Then and Now

Those of you that read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile or so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River.  It was a rural sort of place that did not particularly appreciate education, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

This piece is divided into two parts:  the part that I wrote yesterday after getting back from voting and the part that I wrote this evening after what started as a nailbiting session for me watching the returns come in last night that ended in both relief and satisfaction.

I became eligible to vote in 1975, and my first opportunity to vote was in the primary in 1976 on 25 May.  Arkansas is an “open primary” state, meaning that you can vote in either the Democratic primary or the Republican primary as you wish, but not in both.  This is unlike Kentucky where you have to register as a Democrat (and can vote only in the Democratic primary), a Republican (and can vote only in the Republican primary), or as an Independent (and can vote in no primary).  I voted in the Democratic primary in 1976 because at the time the Republicans were very minor players in Arkansas.

I lived in the 3rd Congressional district, and no Democrat chose to run for the House of Representatives, so I did not vote for anyone for that.  It was also an off year for the Senate for Arkansas, so I did not vote for anyone for that, either.  Under the influence of my parents I made a mistake and voted for Orval Faubus in the primary!  

Nov 08

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Our regular featured content-

And these featured articles-

Write more and often.  This is an Open Thread.

The Stars Hollow Gazette