Mission elapsed time: T + 37 and counting*
"ESTRAGON: I can't go on like this. VLADIMIR: That's what you think." -- Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
This Week with George Stephanopolous as told to The Bobblespeak Translations: "TAPPER: also audience please clap for badass moderator Martha Raddatz Audience: yaaaay"
Walmart. Management memos: "Legal experts said the confidential memo shows an unprecedented level of caution from a company that has taken harsh stances towards employee attempts to organize in the past. According to [Cornel's Lance] Compa, the memo reflects Walmart's concern over the 20-some charges of unfair labor practices that Walmart workers filed with the NLRB over the past 8 weeks in concurrence with the strikes. The charges include dozens of allegations from employees who claim they were subjected to harassment, cut hours and other disciplinary actions when Walmart higher-ups learned that they supported OUR Walmart." … Solidarity: "'A lot of associates, we have to use somewhat of a buddy system,' Dallas worker Colby Harris said last night. 'We loan each other money during non-paycheck weeks just to make it through to the next week when we get paid. Because we don't have enough money after paying bills to even eat lunch.' Harris, who's now on strike, said that after three years at Walmart, he makes $8.90 an hour in the produce department, and workers at his store have faced 'constant retaliation' for speaking up." … Class warfare: "The forces these workers are pushing against are daunting. The six top heirs to the fortune of Walmart founder Sam Walton alone have a combined fortune that's greater than the total worth of the entire bottom 30% of all Americans, and after the US and Chinese militaries it's the biggest employer on earth." … Wage theft: "On the list of complaints, asking workers at a lower pay grade to fill in, in a department with a higher pay grade, without paying them the difference. 'We're not sure what's going to happen when we go back, but you know, we're tired, and we want to have our voices heard out here,' said [Jeff Landry]." That "we're tired" keeps cropping up. Walmart's corporate motto seems to be: "Tighten until it cracks, back off 1/2 turn."
AK. Corruption: "[Daily News reporter Rich Mauer] wrote that Bell did not report the offer of a bribe to law enforcement authorities. Told that the offer of an engineering contract in return for his support of the prison as an assemblyman could be a crime, [aspiring state senator Bob Bell] replied: 'It is?'"
CA. Legalization: "Battered by competition from indoor cultivators around the state and industrial-size operations that have invaded the North Coast counties, many of the small-time pot farmers who created the Emerald Triangle fear that their way of life of the last 40 years is coming to an end." Legalization may, alas, mean corporatization.
FL. Privatization: "More than 4,000 emails among staff at the Florida Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obtained by The Palm Beach Post, show how a disease outbreak became secondary as Florida Gov. Rick Scott's staff advanced his political priorities to downsize and privatize much of the department." An important story, and not for partisan reasons. …. Voting: "Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher told WLRN's Rick Stone that each of those [misprinted absentee] 60,000 ballots 'will have to be examined, the intent of each voter discerned, and the vote transferred to a properly printed ballot so it can be read by a tabulation scanner.'" So the value by introducing two new sources of error is what? … Water: "The spring-fed [Wekiva River] is tainted with pollution from fertilizer and sewage that has caused a smothering growth of harmful algae. At the same time, utilities are pumping significant amounts of Floridan Aquifer water that would otherwise flow from springs into the Wekiva, leaving what many fear is a river too shriveled for wildlife and plants."
LA. Fracking: "The [Assumption Parish] sinkhole has grown about four acres since it started at the beginning of August. Jeff Dubinsky flew over the sinkhole yesterday and noted the intense petroleum fumes and odors: [T]he heaviest and strongest I have ever experienced in all my time in LA. Perhaps even worse still was that the odor was hovering directly over the community" (photos).
MD. Walmart: "Walmart will not enter into written agreements pledging to address specific concerns raised in the community where a new store is planned south of Bel Air."
MT. Police state: "A 12-year-old girl suffered burns to one side of her body when a flash grenade went off next to her as a police SWAT team raided a West End home Tuesday morning."
NC. Charters: "The voucher plan proposed would have allowed corporations to donate their tax share to a scholarship granting organization, which would then provide a scholarship for a low-income child to go to a private school, even a private religious institution. This would not have been a tax credit or a write-off, it would have been a dollar-for-dollar tax break; the corporations would have completed their tax responsibility to the state. This means money that could go to essential government functions, including schools, would be used instead to send students to a private institution." Wow.
NY. Charters: "Parent groups in New York are trying to block the release of [confidential] student data to an entity that includes Wireless Generation, a technology company owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, in collaboration with the Gates Foundation." What could go wrong? … Corruption: "'Frackademia:' [O]ne of the lesser-known offshoots of the Scaife family foundations, key bankrollers of the climate change denial machine, may potentially soothe SUNY Buffalo's budget woes with funding for the university-connected Shale Resources and Society Institute." It's a win-win!
OH. Voting: "Clearing the way for the Supreme Court to act swiftly, state officials in OH on Saturday night filed their reply brief, completing briefing on whether the Court will allow the state to restrict early voting in advance of election day, November 6. The state renewed its plea to block lower court orders that required that all voters be allowed to cast votes on the final weekend before November 6."' … Voting: "Since the Supreme Court reasonably could rule either way on the stay application, one might think it naïve to expect all nine Justices--from Ginsburg to Scalia, who disagree about so much else--to end up taking the same position in this case. Nonetheless, I think it important that they do so." 5-4, here we come… Fracking: "The ODNR has permitted a horizontal fracking well inside the Meander Reservoir in H's Mahoning Valley without consulting the Ohio EPA or the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District. Today, activists with Frackfree Mahoning Valley formed a blockade at the entrance of the site. When asked what elected officials are doing, Allison Monroe from Ohio, replied, 'State and federal government isn't protecting us, so we have to protect ourselves.'" … Voting: "In a super-close Ohio race like Carter's in 1976, southeast Ohio coal counties can help nudge someone across the finish line. In southeast Ohio, a few votes here, a few votes there, and a Democrat could lose a tight statewide race. So, when the polls close and attention turns to election central in Columbus (the SoS's office), Obama and Romney aides surely will keep one eye on Ohio's coal-county election boards." You have been warned.
PA. Fracking: "A new analysis from the USGS of two counties in PA found that natural gas extraction creates 'potentially serious patterns of disturbance on the landscape.' Wellpads, roads, pipelines and waste pits are clearcuts in forests. Cumulatively they are very destructive to the natural ecosystem. [USGS:] 'Agricultural and forested areas are being converted to natural gas extraction disturbance' and the effect is 'substantial.'"
VT. Legalization: "The magazine has identified Shumlin as one of the top 10 'Best Politicians on Pot Reform.' It cites Shumlin's participation in a petition asking the DEA to classify marijuana as a 'Schedule 2' drug rather than a 'Schedule 1' one. ('Schedule 1' drugs are illegal; 'Schedule 2' refers to prescription drugs.)"
WA. Legalization: "A 22-year-old man with severe food allergies died in the Snohomish County jail after a pot bust, and now his mother says she wants to know why he died."
WI. Corruption: "Kevin Kavanaugh's felony [theft] conviction brings the total number of Walker associates and aides who've been convicted of felonies to three, with former Walker deputy chief of staff Tim Russell still to stand trial on his felony theft charges." That does seem like rather a lot. … Food: "[F]or 41 percent of the households that rely on the Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin food bank, the coming cold can mean a difficult a choice between putting food on the table or heating the house." … Unions: "Act 10 functionally ended collective bargaining for public employees, including about UW-Madison staff members, academic staff, teaching and research assistants and faculty. Act 32 ended civil service protections for UW employees and required the Madison campus to create a personnel system separate from the UW System. The personnel plan released last month abolishes job security by seniority in the event of a layoff, preference in hiring for new jobs or transfers to a new shift, and the right to a hearing before an impartial arbitrator in the event of a dispute. Rather than discussing pay and insurance benefits before a decision is made, the plan says that it will ask for the staff's opinion after the plan has been developed by management." When it's the sucking leeches in the administrations who should be fired, en masse, so universities can return to their missions of teaching and scholarship.
Outside baseball. Walmart: "The Bluebird card [Wal-Mart and American Express] unveiled on Monday targets Americans lacking access to many banking services. It may also tempt other customers with a model that's neither credit nor typical debit. But with deposits uninsured [!!], regulators will have to watch closely." Which I'm sure they will. Not.
The trail. Political science: "[Drake political scientist Dennis Goldford: [T]he 2016 caucuses start Nov. 7, so [Obama's] basically a lame duck. We're really in for a rotten time. We really are on pretty much any issues you want to talk about." … Redistricting: "[T]he best approach incorporates both district partisanship and incumbency, and uses past election results as a guide for how important each is likely to be. When we ran those numbers, we found redistricting was a wash. The structural advantage for Republicans this year stems from incumbency, not redistricting." … Cell phones: "Pew Research notes that approximately 10 percent of cellphone respondents live in a different state than their area code implies. Even a pollster willing to pay a premium to call cellphones would miss these people in a geographically targeted survey. The 2011 data indicate that 5.2% of all 18 to 24 year-olds and 4.0% of all 25 to 34 year-olds moved across state lines in the prior year. [S]tates like CO, NV, NH, and VA have seen above-average levels of domestic migration in recent years." …. Swing states: "Two-thirds of battleground state maps have changed over the past month, yielding 10 different maps across 12 different media outlets. Overall, an average of nine states and 116.5 Electoral College votes populate the dozen battleground state maps - down slightly from an average of 119.6 votes one month ago. Three states currently appear as toss-ups on the maps of all 12 news outlets under analysis: CO, FL, and VA. A month ago five states were universally considered battlegrounds: CO, FL, IA, OH, and VA." … Sheeple: "Strategists affiliated with the Obama and Romney campaigns say they have access to information about the personal lives of voters at a scale never before imagined. And they are using that data to try to influence voting habits -- in effect, to train voters to go to the polls through subtle cues, rewards and threats in a manner akin to the marketing efforts of credit card companies and big-box retailers." Uber-creepy. And bipartisan!
The Obama. Early voting: "Obama leads Romney by 59% to 31% among early voters, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling data compiled in recent weeks." … The Boss and The Big Dog: "But Springsteen will not be alone [campaigning for Obama] in OH. He will be appearing alongside former president Bill Clinton, who has been hitting the campaign trail for Obama with increasingly frequent speeches and rallies."
* Slogan of the day: Completely Smash The Romney Counter-Revolutionary Line!