Monday, November 05, 2012



Morning Notes:

A voting debacle in Doral causes chaos and confusion: "On the surface, officials blamed technical equipment and a lack of staff for the shutdown. But behind the scenes, there was another issue: Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. The Republican had never signed off on the additional in-person absentee voting hours in the first place... Early voting the Sunday before Election Day used to be allowed. But it was eliminated by the GOP-controlled state Legislature and Republican Gov. Rick Scott last year after Barack Obama used early voting to help him win Florida in 2008 — and therefore the presidency. Gimenez said his initial reaction was to stop the last-minute Sunday voting."

Voters Asked to Make Up Local Revenues States Stopped Providing: "Local governments in Ohio have taken tremendous fiscal hits in recent years and now many are resorting to the ballot box to close their budget gaps. Next week Ohio voters will be voting on 194 school levies, including 123 for additional funding. According to the Columbus Dispatch this is “the highest percentage of new tax issues in a general election in at least the past decade.” Recently, the state cut aid to local governments from by more than a billion dollars and then eliminated the state’s estate tax, a key revenue source for cities and towns which brought in $230 million to local government coffers in 2010, for example."

Did Hurricane Sandy Blow Romney Off Course? : "When the hurricane made landfall in New Jersey on Oct. 29, Mr. Obama’s chances of winning re-election were 73 percent in the FiveThirtyEight forecast. Since then, his chances have risen to 86 percent, close to his highs on the year. But, while the storm and the response to it may account for some of Mr. Obama’s gains, it assuredly does not reflect the whole of the story. Mr. Obama had already been rebounding in the polls, slowly but steadily, from his lows in early October — in contrast to a common narrative in the news media that contended, without much evidence, that Mr. Romney still had the momentum in the race."

Sandy Versus Katrina: "The fact is that if Mr. Romney had been president these past four years the federal response to disasters of all kinds would have been far weaker than it was. There would have been no auto bailout, because Mr. Romney opposed the federal financing that was crucial to the rescue. And FEMA would have remained mired in Bush-era incompetence."

DOE SETS UP TEAM TO DEAL WITH GAS STATION LINES: With miles-long lines creeping toward gas stations in Sandy-hit areas still flooding news channels, the Energy Department has created a team "to assist local authorities in their efforts to get help get gas stations back online," according to DOE. Gas station operators along the East Coast can call 1-866-402-3775 to report on their condition, and DOE will coordinate with FEMA on backup generators and fuel inventory.

Conservatives Conspire to Keep Carbon Economy of 1896: "This time, the emerging economy is built on knowledge-based innovation, and Obama and his wing of the Democratic Party are its torchbearers. The old economy, on the defensive, is centralized and reliant on banks, commodities and fossil fuels. Romney and the Republicans are its rear guard."

Big Coal in big trouble as coal production costs rise: "What is driving the decline of the U.S. coal industry? Most of the blame has gone either to Obama’s “war on coal” (EPA regulations) or to cheap natural gas. But there’s a third factor at work, which has gotten much less press: Coal is getting more expensive to produce. Why? First, the easiest-to-reach coal has been mined, which means coal companies have to dig deeper and go after thinner seams and smaller deposits. That costs more, in both energy and money. And second, transportation costs, mainly the cost of the diesel fuel that runs the trains that carry the coal, are rising."

Can a ‘post-truth’ candidate be elected president?: "And let’s throw Romney’s “47 percent” comments into the mix. Within 48 hours, we may find out whether it’s possible to get elected president after advancing a set of policy proposals that amount to a sham; after openly refusing to share basic governing intentions until after the election; after shifting positions relentlessly on virtually every issue the campaign has touched upon, including the one (health care) that once was seen as central to his case for national office; after refusing to share the most basic info about his own massive fortune and about the mega-bundlers that are fueling his enormous campaign expenditures; and after writing off nearly half the nation as freeloaders."

What We Already Know: The Truth: "If Romney wins Ohio, every campaign in future elections is going to give much more serious consideration to lying and to open defiance of media rebuttals as a legitimate campaign expedient.

The Democrats look highly unlikely to retake the House: ”Nancy Pelosi has spent much of the past two years proclaiming that Democrats had a great shot at reclaiming the House and returning the speaker's gavel to her hands. But her drive to regain the majority for Democrats is on the verge of a complete collapse. Democrats are expected to pick up five seats at best -- a fraction of the 25 they need. On the eve of the election, some party officials are privately worried that Democrats might even lose ground and drop one or two seats to the Republican majority."

Facing an Election Night Clamor: "The same precautions that were put in place after 2000 will be in place again this Tuesday. At NBC, for instance, the statisticians at the “decision desk” that makes projections “are literally sealed off from the rest of us,” said Mark Lukasiewicz, the senior vice president of specials for NBC News. Different this time will be the level of noise on the Web, where armchair and professional pundits alike will react to the election results in real time. On election night in 2008, a few Web sites, including Slate and, stated the obvious — that Barack Obama was going to win the presidency — well before the TV networks and major newspapers said so. In large part that’s because the networks and newspapers were waiting for the polls to close on the West Coast."