Sunday, November 13, 2011

Random Shots: 11/13/11

Leaf in Sunrise. This is actually being illuminated from behind.

The last of the leaves are falling now, hope you got a chance to enjoy the color this year. It was beautiful as always.

Some stories of note, national stuff this time:

  • Oh my, Mittens. Watching the internets explode with today's story in the NY Times of how Romney and his cronies at Bain Capital borrowed a bunch of money, swooped in on a company called Dade International, proceeded to push them to bankruptcy, and laid off over 1,700 employees in the process. But what did you expect from a guy who would have let Detroit go bankrupt, and also has urged against foreclosure relief so the housing market "hits bottom"?

  • Romney is on record as supporting the anti-choice "personhood" amendment too, so radical that even Mississippi wouldn't vote for it. He also would roll back anti-pollution measures on the environment and embrace fossil fuels for his energy plan. The more you know about Mitt...

  • Watch last night's debate? I didn't. And I'm glad. Heard about cheering for waterboarding and Bachmann suggesting we follow the economic model of communist China. After last Wednesday's painful experience, after seeing the stories from last night, that's enough crazy for me. Another NY Times article this week pointed out how these debates are similar to "reality television", which we all know is not reality at all. If we could vote them off the island, maybe it would be more interesting.

  • Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone learns to love Occupy Wall Street in one of the best essays I've read on the movement. This week, we are seeing the authorities take strong measures to remove camps in Portland, Denver, Salt Lake City, Oakland and beyond. By far the most disturbing video though came out of Occupy Cal at Berkeley, where cops with batons just started wailing on kids because they were blocking the police from removing tents at a fledgling camp on campus. Scary stuff.

  • Go vote to make "The 99%" Time Magazine's Person of the Year. Quick before they give it to Paul Ryan.

  • The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out that a US balanced budget amendment is a very, very bad idea. "If the 2012 budget were balanced through spending cuts, those cuts would total about $1.5 trillion in 2012 alone, the analysis estimates. Those cuts would throw about 15 million more people out of work, double the unemployment rate from 9 percent to approximately 18 percent, and cause the economy to shrink by about 17 percent instead of growing by an expected 2 percent." In other words, a total collapse of the American economy.

  • Digby and the Texas Observer brings us the story of Grandfather Koch of Koch brothers fame, a man who came to America, benefited from government spending on the railroads, used the media and false propaganda to manipulate people and make even more money, and then campaigned against the New Deal and poverty relief after he had enriched himself off the backs of others. This is where the family tradition started.

  • And on the subject of false advertising, Karl Rove's Crossroads PAC has one pulled off the air for accusing Sen. Jon Tester of "supporting tougher rules for farm dust". Hope to see more challenges on these types of ads from the Dems; go down to the local level if you have to.

  • Despite all the attacks on Solyndra and other green energy/environmental issues coming from the Republicans, Dean Baker points out that a new poll cited in a negative, "sky is falling" article at WaPo actually shows that "a large majority (68 percent) of those asked favored federal support for the development of alternative energy. It found that even 53 percent of Republicans supported funding for alternative energy." But that is starting to drop now, more attack ads are on the way, and if Democrats don't get out in front of this issue...

  • Rumors abound that there may be a shake-up at the Department of Energy. Not sure if it's a case of Secretary Chu being a bad (or, more likely, inexperienced) bureaucrat, or if he just got caught up in the rush of funding from the Recovery Act which overwhelmed the DOE with applications and decisions. Now, they have to deal pricing collapse of the global solar market, which has put some companies under and has caused others, like Dow and Uni-Solar, to pull back on production until the glut of product has cleared the market. Tough break, but it doesn't mean we quit on the industry... does it?

  • Did you know law enforcement is following thousands of Americans through the GPS on their cellphones with "little judicial oversight"? Not tinfoil hat - it's real. The Wall Street Journal says so.

  • Best news of the week: A NBC/WSJ poll shows Obama leading all GOP contenders by healthy margins - and that was BEFORE the nuttiness on display in the last two debates. I'm curious as to what the numbers are now. Still very early, of course, but if this keeps up...

    Back to my very good Stephen King book. Have a great week.