Mission elapsed time: T + 13 and counting*
When I sally forth to seek my pray I help myself in a royal way / I sink a few more ships, it's true, than a well-bred monarch ought to do. --Gilbert & Sullivan, The Pirates of Penzance
Chicago teacher's strike. Solidarity: "KAREN LEWIS: [T]here’s something to be said when people are bootlegging your T-shirts, you know? AMY GOODMAN: You’re talking about the red T-shirts. KAREN LEWIS: Oh, yes. AMY GOODMAN: And they’re going to wear them back in the schools today. KAREN LEWIS: Oh, yes. We told everybody, walk together. Meet each other in the parking lot and walk together as a union back into the buildings." ... The contract: "Guaranteed textbooks in the first day of class." Hurting the kids, oh yeah (Corey Robin). ... The contract: "[O]ne of the signs carried by striking teachers told it all. It said 'Our working conditions are your child's learning conditions.'" ... The contract: "Why read the contract? Two words: Parking meters" (heh). ... Privatization: "[T]he biggest threat that lies ahead for the teachers is that Rahm Emanuel will continue closing schools and opening non-union charters. Given that he controls the school board, and given that he has a low opinion of public education, watch for continued privatization in Chicago" (Diane Ravitch).
Occupy. Public relations: "[Occupy Redlands] discovered that if they wanted to hear Malcolm Harris talk about anarchism and the 99%, they’d have to pay him a $5,000 speaking fee. Not including travel and hotel expenses. They also must have been surprised to learn that Malcolm Harris has 'earned the reputation of being the Naomi Klein of the 21st Century'." I thought Naomi Klein was the Naomi Klein of the 21st Century. Oldthink, I guess.
AK. Public goods: "'Happy Socialist Money Grab Day, Alaska! ' It’s $878, if you’ve been wondering.[W]e’re really just good ol’ socialists. It’s called the “owner state” concept, which means the resources of the state are owned by the commons, and the Constitution of AK requires that they be developed in the best interest of the people."
CA. Corruption: "Emails show that Oakland's city administrator sought to redact portions of the Frazier Report that included strong criticisms of the police department and its handling of Occupy Oakland." ... Voting: "CA this week became the 11th US state to offer online voting registration. The website went live on Wednesday, and within its first 12 hours, saw more than 3,000 new registrations. ... Mass incarceration: "Sixty inmates were involved in a riot at New Folsom Prison today that left one inmate with a gunshot wound from a correctional officer's rifle and 12 more inmates with injuries."
CT. Voting: "A recount was held, which ended up as a tie. Then it was discovered that one absentee ballot had never been counted because, while the ballot was still sealed, someone wrote “deceased” on the outer envelope. But, it turns out that voter is not dead. She is a 91-year-old woman living in a nursing home. Her ballot, which still hasn’t been opened, will presumably decide the race, unless possibly she voted for the third candidate on the ballot, or possibly she left that office blank."
FL. Air war: "Every single ad spot in key markets (like Orlando, for example) has been bought up-- TV, radio, even Google!" Saturation bombing. Worked in Vietnam! Oh, wait…. Disemployment: "When reporters questioned Scott about the unemployment rate Tuesday, the governor became elusive and dismissive. The labor-participation rate has fallen to 60 percent, the lowest since 1986." ... Incomes: "Figures released today by the U.S. Census Bureau show three Central FL counties fared worse than the state's overall 14.6 percent decline in median household income. In Osceola County, Central FL's hardest-hit, median income plunged 22% from 2007 to 2011. Orange County came next, falling nearly 19%, followed by Volusia County with a 16% drop."
GA. Immigration: "Nearly 600 city and county government agencies across GA face losing access to tens of millions of dollars in state loans and grants for not using E-Verify to confirm newly hired employees are eligible to work in the United States."
IA. Energy: "Siemens has notified Fort Madison that it will lay off 407 of the 660 workers at [its] blade manufacturing plant Siemens said the layoff is in response to uncertainties surrounding the wind industry with the pending expiration of the production tax credit Dec. 31. No action is expected by congress until after the November election." Hey, who needs wind when we've got fracking?
MI. Snark watch: "This is the ‘Party of Lincoln’ the same way the Honda Odyssey is the ‘Car of Homer’." Ouch!
NC. Disemployment: "With her car broken down and two children at home, Kimberly White, 39, made a 26-mile trip recently on her daughter’s mountain bike to pass in an application when a job opening popped up several miles from town. Her unemployment insurance ran out two weeks ago."
NY. Fracking: "In the suit [Environmental Working Group] contends that the Cuomo administration failed to honor EWG’s request under the state’s Freedom of Information Law for full disclosure of public records showing communications between the governor and six other senior officials and about two-dozen representatives of the oil and natural gas industry. These contacts occurred during the critical period between Jan. 1, 2011 and March 6 of this year, when industry representatives were striving to influence environmental regulators charged with drafting a 1,500-page plan that would govern future drilling."
OH. Foreclosure: "More than 400,000 OH homeowners have been foreclosed on since 2007, with the state’s eight urban cores being hit hardest. The spike in foreclosures has led to massive neighborhood blight, vacant properties and community disinvestment. Those maintaining their homes have seen a huge decline in value, leaving 529,834 Ohio homeowners underwater on their mortgages. That figure is roughly one quarter of all homeowners in the state." Awesome post. ... Fracking: "Youngstown Mayor Chuck Sammarone said vacant home demolition is the number one problem he hears from the public. However, it takes money to tear down houses, money the city doesn't have. So, the city administration wants to generate more revenue by leasing city-owned land to the oil and gas companies. Many don’t agree with the mayor, and some of them showed up at the city council. One person was dragged out by security and charged with disorderly conduct. Several years ago, OHd took the authority to issue or reject drilling permits away from local municipalities, Sammarone said. Nothing stops the state from letting oil and gas companies drill on city-owned land right now."
OR. Coal: "Portland's City Council voted 3-0 Wednesday to oppose coal trains running through town until the Army Corps of Engineers fully evaluates the impacts of exporting coal to Asia through the Northwest."
PA. Mass incarceration: "Philadelphia spends more on prisons - $231 million last fiscal year - than it does on libraries, parks, Council, the District Attorney's Office, the Board of Ethics and Licenses & Inspections. Combined."
SC. Mass incarceration: "Inmates at a maximum security prison in SC used illegal cell phones to guide rescuers to a guard who was being held hostage in the facility."
VA. Wretched excess: "It happened last week at Patriot High School in Nokesville, a suburb of Washington, D.C. As part of an invitation to a fall dance, a student arranged for a Customs pilot to fly over the school and drop a stuffed teddy bear onto the football field." Huh? How did the student "arrange" that?
Unions. Sickout and work-to-rule? "American Airlines and American Eagle say they will cancel 300 flights this week to cope with a high number of pilots reporting sick and an increase in maintenance reports filed by crews."
The trail. Polls: "A new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of Swing States, completed Monday night, shows Romney lagging President Obama by only 2 percentage points, 48%-46%, well within the survey's margin of error and a point closer than their contest last month. The survey also finds more voters open to changing their minds than the conventional wisdom holds — and a surge in enthusiasm by Democrats."
Grand Bargain™-brand Cat Food watch. Bankruptcy: "Social security is only bankrupt to the extent that our political leaders lose the will to invest in a decent retirement for American workers." Lord Eschaton in USA Today (!!).
Tbe trail. Debates: "Free & Equal announced that Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, and Virgil Goode have each agreed to participate in a presidential debate on October 23, Tuesday, at 8 p.m. central time." ... Debates: "The [Commission on Presidential Debates] said that the six 15-minute topic segments for the first debate [Oct 3] are: The Economy – I, II, III; Health Care; The Role of Government; Governing. The topics were selected by PBS’s Jim Lehrer." ... Fast and Furious: "The DOJ's internal watchdog faulted 14 federal agents and prosecutors on Wednesday for the botched anti-gun-trafficking effort known as "Operation Fast and Furious" but cleared Attorney General Eric Holder of any wrongdoing. The highest-ranking person criticized, Lanny Breuer, the assistant AG in charge of criminal prosecutions, has been 'admonished,' said a department official." Well done, Lanny!
Democrats. Voting: "Why do you think there isn't more public outrage about the Rs attempting to crush democracy? Greg Palast: Because Ds are in on it, too. In NM, a solid D state where Latinos are half the citizenry, Bush carried the state and the GOP has the governor's mansion. Why? Because the Hispanic D elite of that state don't want no poor folk voting. When I called the SoS, Becky Vigil-Giron, to ask why, in one poor Hispanic precinct, there was not a single vote for president recorded, she told me that, 'Those people can't make up their minds.'"
The Romney. That secret video: Date discrepancy? (Note: This is a stone D blog. Kudos to Electablog for raising an issue potentially against party interest.) ... The Kerry parallel: "Romney isn’t as far behind now as Kerry was at this same point. Kerry did end up erasing his deficit, or at least most of it. The key moment for him came when he and Bush met for their first debate. Almost overnight, it was a race again." … Lettterman: "Letterman says he doesn't hate Romney for going on Leno's NBC show. Says Letterman: 'I mean, why hate a guy who's suffered through that?'"
The Obama. Letterman: "Obama, who was the only guest on Tuesday’s 'Late Show With David Letterman,' received a standing ovation as he walked onto the stage."
* Slogan of the day: The twenty-first century will be the century of The Obama!