Mission elapsed time: T + 27 and counting*
"Coffee's for closers only." --David Mamet, Glengarry Glen Ross
CA. Unions: "CA voters are being asked to starve unions of the tens of millions of dollars they use to finance campaigns and political organizing, as the nation's largest state wades into the national debate over labor clout. The battle over Proposition 32 on the November ballot follows conflicts in WI, OH, IN and elsewhere where efforts to dilute the strength of organized labor have produced political tumult, a flood of TV ads and widespread demonstrations."
CO. Fracking: "In an unprecedented move last month, D Gov. John Hickenlooper's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission took the extraordinary step of suing Longmont, CO in an attempt to overturn that city's ordinances regulating drilling in residential neighborhoods and mandating water-quality monitoring at fracking sites" (good explainer; MR).
CT. Charters: "Rolling one's eyes at a teacher will get a freshman sent to the school's Reorientation Room, where [a] Dean of School Culture said 'they get the extra culture they need.'" No doubt. It's always hard to know when to file charter links under Tinpot Tyrants. Or Corruption.
FL. Voting: "Nathan Sproul was hardly unknown when his firm, Strategic Allied Consulting, was hired over the summer to register voters for the Republican Party. In 2004, employees with his previous firms were accused of a wide assortment of infractions: destroying voter registration forms of Ds, duping college students into registering as Rs, refusing to register Ds or Is. NV, OR and AZ opened investigations but closed them without charging anyone." … Voting: "The FL Department of Law Enforcement announced Wednesday that it is launching a criminal investigation into voter registration forms filed by a GOP vendor, Strategic Allied Consulting."
GA. Libertarians: "Also working to the [Libertarian's] advantage is the likelihood that GOP nominee Mitt Romney will easily prevail in GA's presidential voting. That frees up Rs and Ds with libertarian leanings to vote their preference without fear that doing so will help a candidate they don't want to win." Greens, too. … Charters: "In Calhoun County, where Pataula Charter is located, just 2 percent of the student body in the local school system is white. In Clay County, it's a mere 1 percent. Yet in Pataula Charter, 75 percent of the student body is white."
IL. Outsourcing: "'They would like to get us out sooner if they can," said [Sensata employee Tom Gaulrapp]. "Right now we're in day 21 of our encampment. It's not like we weren't productive or we were making bad parts. We just want people to understand that we don't deserve this. I don't want to work for minimum wage with no benefits, but that's my future.' Sensata workers have been camped out at 'Bainport' since Sept. 12 to protest the loss of 170 jobs that are due to be eliminated and outsourced to China" (meanwhile).
LA. Legalization: "New Orleans assistant city attorney Jason Cantrell, 43, allegedly dropped a marijuana joint out of his pocket while he was talking to a group of New Orleans Police Department officers in a New Orleans magistrate court." Jeebus, Darwin award. Who carries their joints around loose?
NC. Tinpot tyrants: "It all started last week when eighth-grader Parker Jackson was picked up by an ambulance after having a seizure in school. He returned to school the next day and was greeted with lots of hugs. He said at lunch, the assistant principal told them hugging wasn't allowed. That night, Jackson and his friends made a Facebook group, and came to school the next day ready to hug in protest. Jackson said the same day, the principal met with the eighth-graders. 'She was like, 'y'all have no rights to that, even though y'all think you do,' it was very inappropriate, and that if any teachers catch us hugging that we would get (in-school suspension),' Jackson said." … Class war: "42 percent of Americans born into the bottom fifth of the income distribution remain there as adults. This means that one's financial standing as an adult is largely dependent upon their parents' financial standing. This is certainly problematic considering 1 in 4 of North Carolina's children live in poverty."
NY. Fracking: "[In Jeffrey v City of Binghamton:] While [Judge] Lebous struck down the ban due to circumstances and context unique to the Binghamton case, he affirmed the state's ruling in favor of bans in two other controversial cases that collectively represent a key bit of case law in the larger home rule debate, supporting bans in the towns of Dryden and Middlefield." … Food: "In the run up to the Cuomonian Booze Summit and just in time to be toasted at Friday's grand opening of the Albany Distillery, the governor announced he had signed a bill that makes it easier for farm distillers to market their goods." Awesome!
PA. Voting: "[In the photo ID ruling,] the court refused to enjoin tax-payer funded $5 million ad campaign, as written into the statute for the purposes of 'educating' the public about the Photo ID requirement (even though it no longer practically applies for this election.) Given that, and given that poll workers may still ask for ID this November, and given that the Photo ID requirements, barring more legal challenges, will be allowed to take effect next year, it is almost guaranteed that confusion will reign in parts of PA this year."
TX. Climate: "A whopping 301 million trees have died across state forestlands as a result of the 2011 drought, the Texas A&M Forest Service reported Tuesday."
VA. Panhandling: "From a First Amendment point of view, a panhandler with a sign asking for money is no different from a high-school band member with a sign advertising a car-wash fundraiser. A homeless person asking a passerby on the sidewalk for cash is no different from a tourist asking a passerby on the sidewalk for directions."
VT. Landfills: "Residents' major public safety concern, besides the noise from the blasting and odors from the sewage sludge and attending chemical neutralizers, is water quality. The Agency of Natural Resources may reclassify the groundwater underneath the landfill from potable (drinkable) to non-potable because heavy metals like arsenic have been found in water samples."
WI. Fracking: "More than 50 people gathered Monday to protest frac sand mining outside a conference [by the newly formed industry association, the Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association] on the silica sand resources of MN and WI." … Data mining: "A trio of high-profile UW-Madison professors went public Wednesday with concerns about Obama's planned Thursday campaign rally, saying students who want to attend are unfairly being required to supply a phone number and email address to the campaign, even having to click 'I'm In' to get a free ticket at the campaign's website."
Outside baseball. Education studies: "''The Peutêtre findings rest on the long-disproven axiom that you can only learn subject matter through a transmission model,' said Lorraine Caulk, professor of educational neurobehavior at Instructors College in Iowa City. 'In fact, research has shown that when we empower children as self-initiating scholars, they start to exhibit strategic thought behaviors without the hierarchical modeling of traditional task performance.'" Teh awesome! … Billionaires: "Who's the most influential billionaire business figure in national politics? If you answered one of the Koch brothers (Charles or David) or George Soros, you're wearing your partisan blinders. The former are known for their devotion to conservative causes, the latter to liberal. In either case, you're wrong. The most influential billionaire in America is Peter G. Peterson." … History note: "The modern American police blotter was born in 1833, when George W. Wisner, a pioneering New York crime reporter, began regaling readers of the Sun with pithy one-liners from the city's 4 a.m. hearings." … Marijuana: "As marijuana legalization efforts in CO and WA pick up steam, a similar push in OR seems to be going up in smoke. Marijuana activists who have ploughed big bucks into campaigns in the other two states complain the OR measure is poorly written and doesn't poll well."
The trail. Twitter: "In 2008, a total of 1.6 million tweets were sent on Election Day. Now, that many tweets are dispatched every six minutes." … Drüdgerdämmerung: "Matt Drudge is famous for his ability to stir up controversy by just posting something on the Drudge Report. But Tuesday night's much-hyped release of a 2007 speech by then-Sen. Barack Obama fell flat." (Josh Marshall puts the boot in.) … Voting: "'It is a remarkable development that courts across the country have almost uniformly rejected every single law passed making it harder for eligible citizens to vote,' says Wendy Weiser, director of the democracy program at the Brennan Center.'" ... Lying: "Compared with the Obama campaign's, the Romney operation's misstatements are frequently more brazen. But sometimes the most effective lie is the one that is closest to the truth, and Obama's team has often outdone Romney's in the dark art of subtle distortion. On both sides, the dishonesty is 'about as bad as I've seen,' says Brooks Jackson of FactCheck.org."
Green Party. Jill Stein: "She indicated that she believed special treatment for amounts paid to clergy was a violation of separation of church and state principles. So if you want the Justice Department to pull the plug on defending Section 107, as it did with DOMA, you might want to vote for Jill Stein" (from a series of videos interviews to come).
The debates. The winnah: "A CNN poll of registered voters who watched the debate found that 67 per cent declared Romney the winner. Only 25 per cent picked Mr. Obama." … Polls: "These data suggest that the norm is for very little swing in candidate support following debates. Across all 16 presidential debates the average absolute change in candidate support was just less than 1 percentage point." … Andrew Sullivan: "I can see the logic of some of Obama's meandering, weak, professorial arguments. Obama looked tired, even bored; he kept looking down; he had no crisp statements of passion or argument; he wasn't there. How is Obama's closing statement so fucking sad, confused and lame? He choked. He lost." Wrong on Obama sounding like a professor. He sounds like a college administrator. And not from a top-tier school. … Dan Froomkin: " You know what Obama's problem is? He's gotten used to filibustering press conferences. Doesn't work so great in this format. " … Nicholas Kristof: "I hope Obama is looking distracted because a team of Navy Seals is taking out Zawahiri right now. #Debate." Ha ha, teh funny. Morally and intellectually bankrupt political class, anyone? … Greg Sargent: "Romney won, but in so doing, he confirmed yet again that his campaign thinks he can win the election without presenting any credible policy agenda of his own." … Charles Pierce: "I'll tell you what, I wouldn't vote for Chris Christie against the incumbent for Prince of Hell, but if he wants to take me to the track sometime, I'm there. He called it all over the Sunday shows [here]." … Taegan Goddard: "[Romney's] performance should calm many Rs who have doubted him in recent weeks." … Peter Daou: "Romney won because he articulated a philosophy undergirding his ideas. POTUS did not. Doesn't even matter whether Romney believes it." … I agree. And as a former policy debater, when I hear Romney come out of the box with a five-point plan, my heart goes pit-a-pat. Throughout, Romney was, tactically, the better debater. More engaged, more concise, more on point, "pulling through" arguments, and with a better command of the (putative) "issues."* And why did Obama raise "economic patriotism" only to drop it? Sloppy! Also, the slightly husky timbre of Romney's voice reminded me of [ominous music] Ronald Reagan. Did anybody else feel that? (Yes; Sullivan). [* Given the narrow range of 'issues' permitted in the discourse, of course. I have nothing to say about either debater's command of the facts, if any (see The Times live blog)]. Finally, "comfortable in his own skin." They actually say it! … P.S., my exploding head: "[OBAMA: ] The fact of the matter is, we used the same advisers, and they say it's the same plan." I will never understand "Vote for Obama, he passed RomneyCare!" It's like that's not even wrong. It's surreal.
The Romney. Sleep: "But Romney got virtually no sleep Monday night, an aide said, blaming a freight train that passed through a grade crossing near the hotel and blew its horn roughly every hour all through the night. The candidate's sleep deprivation so worried his staff that the campaign looked into switching hotels. The logistics were ultimately too tough, the aide said, and there was concern about how it would look" (Politico on a train.)
The Obama. Air war: "The Jewish Council for Education & Research (JCER) tops the WSJ Presidential Ads Chart this week with a new ad starring Samuel L. Jackson titled Wake the F@#k Up."
* Slogan of the day: Take The Romney as the key link, for a leap forward in all fields!