The LA Times is running a live Election Returns Map which will be ongoing until the voting is over nationwide.
To keep track of it, Bookmark this page:
It will be a long while before a lot is up there (right now there is only a teeny bit of New Hampshire), but this will be a helpful track keeper.
- How To Watch Tonight’s Election Results Online (readwrite.com)
- Foursquare’s ‘I Voted’ map delivers your real-time election day fix (digitaltrends.com)
- Ways to Engage: Election Night (learning.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Bookmark our poll closing times map & key races list for Tuesday (dailykos.com)
Due to a medical emergency (the discovery of a potential brain tumor… aint that a kick in the head?) I’m going to be going in for several days of testing, etc., but I’ll try to keep up with you folks. I want you to know how much I appreciate the readers of Under The LobsterScope, and your e-mail to me is always welcome, as well as your likes and comments.
DON’T FORGET TO VOTE THIS MORNING IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY.
I don’t want to wake up in a hospital and find that Mitt the Twit is president.
I’m glad that Nate Silver in the NY Times, 538 column, is still got his usually very accurate poll predictions on Obama carrying most of the swing states… and his prediction that our president will be re-elected.
Your e-mail is always appreciated… Bill.
- NATE SILVER: Obama’s Odds Of Winning Have Now Hit An Overwhelming 86% (businessinsider.com)
- Your New Internet Boyfriend: Nate Silver (thegloss.com)
- Why Conservatives and Pundits Are Petrified of Math Wiz Nate Silver (alternet.org)
- New Evidence that Cellphones Cause Brain Tumors — And How To Minimize Your Risk (forbes.com)
- Brain Cancer Grading (cancercenter.com)
- Understanding a Brain Tumor Prognosis (everydayhealth.com)
This morning’s NY Times had this article which I found both disgusting and horrifying. After talking about the anti-woman proclivities of Republican candidates today, seeing what attitudes against women can turn into can be mortifying. If you can’t stomach anything as bad as the title suggests, avoid reading it now.
Officer Held in Plot to Cook Women and Eat Them
The police officer referred to the woman as Victim-1, recording details like her date of birth, height, weight and bra size. He made note of certain materials, like chloroform and rope.
In one of the most disturbing and unusual arrests involving a police officer, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation took Officer Valle into custody on Wednesday after they uncovered several plots to kidnap, rape, cook and eat women.
“I was thinking of tying her body onto some kind of apparatus,” he wrote to a co-conspirator in one electronic communication intercepted by law enforcement authorities. “Cook her over a low heat, keep her alive as long as possible.”
When the co-conspirator asked how big the officer’s oven was, Officer Valle replied, “Big enough to fit one of these girls if I folded their legs.”
Two law enforcement officials familiar with the inquiry said the officer’s estranged wife recently contacted the F.B.I. to report that Officer Valle, 28, viewed and kept disturbing items on his computer. The couple has a daughter, age 1.
The criminal complaint suggests that Officer Valle, who worked in the 26th Precinct in Manhattan and lives in Forest Hills, Queens, never followed through on any of the acts he is accused of discussing.
His lawyer, Julia L. Gatto, said the officer committed no crime. “At worst, this is someone who has sexual fantasies,” Ms. Gatto said at a hearing on Thursday in Federal District Court in Manhattan.
“There is no actual crossing the line from fantasy to reality,” she added.
But a federal prosecutor, Hadassa Waxman, said Mr. Valle had communicated with three co-conspirators about his plans to commit a crime, and at one point used a police car while dressed in uniform to conduct surveillance of a woman, approaching her in “an intimidating fashion.”
Magistrate Judge Henry B. Pitman ordered Officer Valle to be held without bail on charges of federal kidnapping conspiracy.
The evidence consists largely of e-mails and instant messages in which Officer Valle was “discussing plans to kidnap, rape, torture, kill, cook and eat body parts of a number of women,” according to the complaint, which describes two episodes in which Officer Valle discussed abducting women. In each case, it appears that the women knew the officer vaguely. And in at least one case, the officer used the National Crime Information Center to get information about a third woman.
In a search of the officer’s computer, federal investigators discovered “files pertaining to at least 100 women,” according to the complaint. Some of them were his classmates from high school, a law enforcement official said.
“The F.B.I. has identified and interviewed 10 of these women, each of whom has confirmed to the F.B.I. that Valle is known to her,” the complaint said.
A law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said investigators feared that Officer Valle might soon carry out one of his plots.
In February, Officer Valle offered to kidnap a woman on an unnamed person’s behalf for a price: “$5,000 and she is all yours,” the officer wrote to that person, according to the complaint.
Officer Valle appeared to be under the impression that the person he was communicating with intended to rape the woman, according to the complaint.
“She will be alive,” he wrote. “I think I would rather not get involved in the rape. You paid for her. She is all yours, and I don’t want to be tempted the next time I abduct a girl.”
While the complaint does not identify the woman in question, F.B.I. agents later learned that cellphone tracking devices indicated that Officer Valle had made or received calls on the block in Manhattan where the woman lived.
On July 19, Officer Valle sent an instant message to the co-conspirator, indicating that he was meeting with Victim-1 three days later, according to the complaint. The victim, who was interviewed in October by the F.B.I., said she had met the officer that day “at a restaurant for lunch,” according to the complaint. What happened during or after the lunch was not disclosed.
A dating profile, which a law enforcement official confirmed belonged to Officer Valle, suggested an engaging and gregarious young man. He wrote that he had attended Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens and the University of Maryland, College Park. (At the court hearing on Thursday, the officer wore a red T-shirt affiliated with the university.)
“I can find the humor in any situation,” he had written, adding that he had “an endless supply of hilarious short stories from work that can’t be made up.”
- Officer plotted to kidnap women and cook them (ndtv.com)
- NYPD Officer Allegedly Intended To Rape, Cook and Eat Women (dreamindemon.com)
- New York Police Officer Arrested For Plotting To Eat Women (fox2now.com)
- NYPD Cop Allegedly Planned To Kidnap Women For Cannibalism And/Or Other Rapists (thegloss.com)
- The Strange Case of N.Y.P.D. Officer Gilberto Valle, Alleged Wannabe Cannibal (observer.com)
- NYC Cop Allegedly Plotted to Cook and Eat Women. Really. (jezebel.com)
- Prosecutors: NYPD officer conspired to kidnap, cook, eat women (cnn.com)
- Conspiracy to cannibalize women? (wptv.com)
Bob Cesca published Nate Silver‘s graphic projecting the election winner which appeared in the NY Times. I’d like to reproduce it as well since it seems to show the start of a legitimate bounce for Obama after the last debate.
Here is Nate Silver’s most recent projection:
Monday’s debate (the last one) may give another push to Obama if he pulls of a victory as he did in the second round. And remember, the election is only 18 days away. Focus on both campaigns will become very tight in the next few days.
- NATE SILVER: Obama’s Odds Of Winning Have Climbed Back To 66% (businessinsider.com)
- NATE SILVER: Here’s The Truth About That Gallup Poll Showing Mitt Romney Miles Ahead Of Obama (businessinsider.com)
- Nate Silver, Jon Stewart And The Power Of Polling (pinkbananaworld.com)
- About that Gallup poll: Is Romney really up by 7? And will Obama win the election anyway? (washingtonpost.com)
The whole video is below:
Feel free to post your comments.
- Who won last night’s debate? The national papers say… (theblaze.com)
- Winners and losers from the second presidential debate (washingtonpost.com)
- Obama and Romney Both Face Challenges in Second Presidential Debate (forextv.com)
- In debates, listening is as important as talking (newsvine.com)
Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, known to his colleagues as “Punch“, the fourth publisher of the New York Times, is famous for his decision to publish the Pentagon Papers and to promote a radical redesign that set a new standard for newspapers in the last quarter of the 20th century, has died at age 86, after a long illness.
Sulzberger was publisher of the Times from 1963 to 1992 and chairman and chief executive of the parent company from 1973 to 1997. These titles were passed on to his son, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., the fourth generation of his family to head the paper.
Publishing the Pentagon Papers were the defining moment of three decades of transformation at the Times under Sulzberger. He also automated the Times’ production, unified the Sunday and daily news operations under one editor and divided the paper into four brightly written sections.
Hampered by dyslexia, he was an indifferent student who daydreamed in class. His grades were so poor that he repeated the first year of high school. In 1943, the 17-year-old joined the Marines. His desire to prove himself on the battlefield was thwarted by his father, who arranged a transfer to Gen. Douglas MacArthur‘s staff as driver and jack of all trades. After World War II, Sulzberger earned a degree at Columbia University in 1951. He served in the Korean War as a public information officer.
- Ex-NY Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger dies (thestar.com)
- Ex-NY Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger dies (newsobserver.com)
- Ex-NY Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger dies (wtvm.com)
- Arthur O. Sulzberger Dead: Former New York Times Publisher Dies At 86 (huffingtonpost.com)
- Former New York Times Publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Dead At 86 (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Ex-NY Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger dies (miamiherald.com)
- Former NY Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger dies at 86 (mercurynews.com)
- Ex-NY Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger dies (usnews.nbcnews.com)
- Ex-NY Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger dies (thenewstribune.com)
It was said that she had the most recognizable female voice in the country. She was the “weather girl” on the long-running NBC radio show “Monitor” in the late 1950s and early ’60s. Tedi Thurman came on and in soft, sexy tones she lured us into rapture with “Cleveland, 34, snow; Boston, 41, cloudy; Phoenix, 62, fair; New York City, 43, sunny; Paris, 38, cloudy.”
She always led her weather report with Atlanta because Georgia was her home state, according to Dennis Hart, author of “Monitor: The Last Great Radio Show” (2002). Monitor was created by Pat Weaver (father of Sigourney Weaver), then president of NBC, in 1955. I remember it well. It filled my weekends from 8 a.m Saturdays until midnight on Sundays.
Ms. Thurman, who died on Monday at 89, made the forecasts “sound like an irresistible invitation to an unforgettable evening,” according to Jack Gould in The New York Times right after the show’s premiere.
Monitor became a hit with hosts like Dave Garroway, Hugh Downs, Frank Blair, Gene Rayburn, Henry Morgan and Bill Cullen, and offeried an array of news, sports, comedy, variety, music and live remote pickups from around the nation and the world. For the first six of the show’s 20 years, Ms. Thurman was featured as the so-called Miss Monitor, updating the weather hour after hour.
Decades after she’d left the show, people at parties and gatherings would still ask her to do the weather in the sexy Miss Monitor voice.
“Running for president in the YouTube era, you realize you have to be very judicious in what you say. You have to be careful with your humor. You have to recognize that anytime you’re running for the presidency of the United States, you’re on.”
Of course, when you have secret fundraisers with the wealthy you may not consider yourself “on.” It’s when you are put there against your knowledge that you should realize that there is no time when you aren’t “on.”
As to being judicious in what he says, we haven’t seen that level of control yet. What this portends for the debates is anyone’s guess.
- Full transcript from leaked video of Mitt Romney fund-raiser – @NBCNews (firstread.nbcnews.com)
- Secretly filmed video of Mitt Romney, apparently at fundraiser, reveals unguarded views (boston.com)
- Carter grandson arranged Romney video’s release (onlineathens.com)
- Clint Eastwood Blames Romney for Being Dumb Enough to Let Him on Stage (politicususa.com)
- Romney Denigrates Obama Voters, Talks Candidly with Millionaires at Private Fundraiser: VIDEOS (towleroad.com)
- The Secret Romney Video, in full. Watch it now…. (redgreenandblue.org)
- What Mitt Romney and Kate Middleton Have in Common (nymag.com)
- If These Secret Videos Are Real, They Look Brutal For Mitt Romney (businessinsider.com)
- Twitter Tuesday: Every time a Romney shambles… (velociriot.org)
How this will change over the next two months is the question.
The state by state probabilities as of today are certainly in Obama‘s favor:
Needless to say, the heavy vote states are right there in Obama’s pocket. Let’s see it it lasts.
- Nate Silver: Obama’s chances for re-election now 80 percent (americablog.com)
- Nate Silver On The DNC Bounce (joemygod.blogspot.com)
- Obama Pulls Ahead (newser.com)
- Nate Silver makes case that Romney may have already reached his peak (dailykos.com)
- Obama Expands Lead in Three Tracking Polls (politicalwire.com)
In a better America, Mitt Romney would be running for president on the strength of his major achievement as governor of Massachusetts: a health reform that was identical in all important respects to the health reform enacted by President Obama. By the way, the Massachusetts reform is working pretty well and has overwhelming popular support.
In reality, however, Mr. Romney is doing no such thing, bitterly denouncing the Supreme Court for upholding the constitutionality of his own health care plan. His case for becoming president relies, instead, on his claim that, having been a successful businessman, he knows how to create jobs.
This, in turn, means that however much the Romney campaign may wish otherwise, the nature of that business career is fair game. How did Mr. Romney make all that money? Was it in ways suggesting that what was good for Bain Capital, the private equity firm that made him rich, would also be good for America?
And the answer is no.
(read the rest HERE.)
- Paul Krugman: Dear Mitt Romney, A Country Is Not A Company (huffingtonpost.com)
- Paul Krugman: Off and Out With Mitt Romney (economistsview.typepad.com)
- A Fairy Tale from Paul Krugman… (underthelobsterscope.wordpress.com)
- The Hoover factor (prairieweather.typepad.com)
- If Paul Krugman Is Right and It’s 1931, What Happens Next? (washingtonmonthly.com)
- Paul Krugman’s Book “End This Depression Now” is available… (underthelobsterscope.wordpress.com)
… and I bought a copy yesterday at my favorite bookstore (The Four Seasons, in Shepherdstown WV). I have to admit I received a discount since I had a $5.00 certificate which I won playing a riddle quiz on WSHC on Thursday morning, but I would have bought it anyway.
Krugman thinks the country’s economic problems are solvable, and he uses his book to lead us to the solutions.
“We didn’t have a plague of locusts, we were not hit by a tsunami, there wasn’t some act of God that created this terrible situation. It was acts of man.”
“The New York Times Book Review is run by Sam Tanenhaus, who is very much a neocon, and makes a point whenever a progressive comes out with a book to find someone who will attack it. It’s not really an attack, but the reviewer is shocked at the lack of respect I show for ‘highly respected people,’ I think he uses that phrase.”
Another thing Krugman said, which may show up on my Quotes of the Decade series:
“If you don’t know multiple people who are suffering, then you must be living in a very rarefied environment… you must be maybe a member of the Romney clan, or something.”
- Ben Bernanke’s Office Phone Number Given Out at Netroots Nation Keynote (news.firedoglake.com)
- President of Estonia Goes Ballistic on Paul Krugman (economicpolicyjournal.com)
- Estonian President Explains His Twitter Tiff With Paul Krugman (politicker.com)
- Paul Krugman: Reagan Was a Keynesian (economistsview.typepad.com)
- Paul Krugman on why austerity is a recipe for ten more years of a Depression. (americablog.com)
- Paul Krugman Demolishes Conservatives At Night, Too (polentical.com)
- Brittan on Krugman on Keynesianism (cafehayek.com)
- Krugman and Stiglitz: Our Most Widely Ignored Public Intellectuals (economistsview.typepad.com)
William Hanley, who received critical acclaim as a Broadway and Off Broadway playwright in the 1960s and who later won Emmys for television scripts, died on May 25 at his home in Ridgefield, Conn. He was 80.
The cause was complications of a fall, his daughter Nell Hanley said.
Mr. Taubman was reviewing two Off Broadway one-act plays by the playwright: “Whisper Into My Good Ear,” a portrait of two old men who share their loneliness living in a fleabag hotel and plan to commit suicide together; and “Mrs. Dally Has a Lover,” about a married woman and her romance with a teenager.
“His style is lean and laconic, shading almost shyly and unexpectedly into tenderness and poetry,” Mr. Taubman wrote. “His perception of character is fresh and individual.”
Those plays would earn a Drama Desk Award for Mr. Hanley in 1963. A year later his “Slow Dance on the Killing Ground” opened on Broadway. Set in a shabby luncheonette in a desolate factory district in Brooklyn, “Slow Dance” tells of three strangers who bare their wounds over several hours: the storekeeper, who is a non-Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany; a schizophrenic black youth, who has an I.Q. of 187; and a teenage girl, who is searching for an abortionist.
“Slow Dance on the Killing Ground,” The New York Journal-American wrote in a profile of Mr. Hanley, “has been received by critics with the enthusiasm usually reserved for a Mary Martin musical.” But the accolades, and a Tony nomination, did not provide commercial success. “Slow Dance” ran for 88 performances; the Off Broadway plays had closed within a month.
– NY Times
Settle down kiddies and listen to this, before you nod off to passive sleep and let those Republicans walk all over us…
Once upon a time, …America was a land of lazy managers and slacker workers. Productivity languished, and American industry was fading away in the face of foreign competition.
Then square-jawed, tough-minded buyout kings like Mitt Romney and the fictional Gordon Gekko came to the rescue, imposing financial and work discipline. Sure, some people didn’t like it, and, sure, they made a lot of money for themselves along the way. But the result was a great economic revival, whose benefits trickled down to everyone.
You can see why Wall Street likes this story. But none of it — except the bit about the Gekkos and the Romneys making lots of money — is true.
– Paul Krugman, NY Times
North Carolina Pastor: Pen In ‘All The Lesbians And Queers’ With An Electrified Fence, Wait For Them To ‘Die Out’
North Carolinians voted to alter the state’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage… why? They were largely moved by fear-tactics fueled by far right religious groups bent on punishing lesbians and gay men. The vote also makes North Carolina, as The New York Times notes, the last state in the South to marginalize gay people with a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
“I figured a way out — a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers. But I couldn’t get it passed through Congress. Build a great big large fence, 150 or 100 miles long. Put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals. Have that fence electrified so they can’t get out. Feed ‘em, and– And you know what? In a few years they’ll die out. You know why? They can’t reproduce.”
Don’t you just admire the logic of that? You KNOW the Bible‘s “agin’ it”… here’s Worley’s speech:
Victoria Lamb Hatch, who I have quoted in this blog before, made a fine summary statement on Worley’s little diatribe:
Does this mentally arthritic idiot know that the vast majority of gay people are born to straight people? Does he know that penning up gay people and waiting for them to die out won’t solve his “problem” because straight people will just continue birthing gay babies? Does he know that anyone who “can’t reproduce” would die out anyway, penned up or not?
Does he know that he’s a hateful, evil person who isn’t earning God‘s favor with comments like these?
I guess Victoria doesn’t realize it, but torturing the gay/lesbian community is where all the FUN is. Right?
- North Carolina Pastor: Trap Gays and Lesbians Behind Electrified Fences (theatlanticwire.com)
- North Carolina Pastor: Pen In ‘All The Lesbians And Queers’ With An Electrified Fence, Wait For Them To ‘Die Out’ (thinkprogress.org)
- Pastor Worley has plan to get rid of ‘lesbians and queers’ (piedtype.com)
- Pastor: Let’s Put ‘Queers’ in Pens Until They Die (ktrh.com)
- American Taliban: Pastor Worley and How To Solve The “Homosexual Problem” (jonathanturley.org)
- Hating For Jesus: NC Pastor Charles Worley (scotteriology.wordpress.com)
- NC Pastor Wants To Build Electrified Fence To Contain, Starve And Ultimately Kill Gays: VIDEO (towleroad.com)
- Pastor Who Called For Gays And Lesbians To Be Put In Electrified Pen And Killed Off Faces Backlash (huffingtonpost.com)
- Outrage Brews Over Pastor’s Sermon on Homosexuals and Electrified Fences (fox8.com)
- HATE SPEECH: North Carolina Pastor Offers Final Solution to Homosexual Problem: Electrified Concentration Camps (alexprocesso.wordpress.com)
Mitt Romney supports Meg Whitman in the California gubernatorial race against Jerry Brown. Unfortunately for him it comes at a really bad time when he is trying to convince voters that he is a “job creator” – something he has never really been.
From Stephen D. Foster, Jr. at AddictingInfo.org:
In an interview with the National Review published on Thursday, Mitt Romney said he wished Whitman were the Governor of California instead of Jerry Brown, whom Romney insisted was doing things wrong. Romney praised Whitman as an economic guru, telling the Review, “I wish Californians had elected Meg Whitman. She would have been more successful and explained to Californians the need to cut back on spending and eliminate unnecessary programs.”
Romney’s praise for Whitman couldn’t have come at more inopportune time, as The New York Times reported on the same day that Whitman intends to eliminate 30,000 American jobs mostly through layoffs and forcing workers into early retirement. Even though Hewlett-Packard made a staggering $7.1 billion profit in 2011, Whitman is cutting these jobs in America while leaving Hewlett-Packard jobs intact in China and elsewhere.
If spending is eliminated on average workers who helped H.P. make a whopping profit this past year, then it is hard to imagine that the issue on economic cuts is a primarily false one.
Romney is praising Whitman as an economic miracle worker at the same time she is destroying jobs at her company… but not cutting the export of these American jobs to China.Why is he not criticizing Whitman rather than supporting her?
- Mitt Romney praises Meg Whitman as she prepares to lay off 30,000 workers (dailykos.com)
- Whitman’s lesson for Romney – Unemployment – Salon.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Hewlett-Packard to Layoff 30,000 Workers (doctoramarthacastro.wordpress.com)
- Meg Whitman’s Big Hewlett Packard Move: Firing 30,000 Workers (inquisitr.com)
- HP to axe 30k jobs (boingboing.net)
- Meg Whitman To Host Romney Fundraiser In Redwood City (sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com)
Here’s the Partisan Report on Thomas Friedman:
I don’t think he views himself the same way he views others:
“I left my last page of the speech, does anyone have my last page? Did I leave it with you?”
It probably would have been easier if he used a teleprompter.
“14 million is a minimum estimate of the number of Americans who would lose health insurance under Mr. Ryan’s proposed cuts in Medicaid; estimates by the Urban Institute actually put the number at between 14 million and 27 million.
So the proposal is exactly as President Obama described it: a proposal to deny health care (and many other essentials) to millions of Americans, while lavishing tax cuts on corporations and the wealthy — all while failing to reduce the budget deficit, unless you believe in Mr. Ryan’s secret revenue sauce. So why are centrists rising to Mr. Ryan’s defense?”
Krugman calls it the “Gullible Center”, and I would agree. Why people who would suffer the most from Ryan’s budget accept the anti-Obama rhetoric coming from the right as their health needs are pushed into the economic toilet in order to favor tax cuts for the wealthy is beyond me.
An overall accomplished and hard working president is constantly attacked by Republicans, by lying Super Pacs and by corporations that benefit most from increased health care costs. The center must become educated so it won’t be “gullible.”
And what is the best way to do that? You tell me.
I just saw this announcement in the New York Times that a playwright whose work I admired died last week (March 28).
John Arden was the author of”Sergeant Musgrave’s Dance”, “Live Like Pigs“, and “Armstrong’s Last Goodnight” among others and helped make the career of such actors as Albert Finney. Arden was strongly influenced by Bertold Brecht and his work had the same kind of working class political motivation.
During my college years, Arden was one of those playwrights that every drama student wanted to be involved with… his plays were considered equal to John Osborne’s and other members of the “Angry Young Men” movement.
During his career he came into conflict with the theatre establishment – with his wife and co-writer Margaretta D’Arcy, he picketed the RSC premiere of his Arthurian play The Island of the Mighty; and together they wrote several plays highly critical of British presence in Ireland, where he and D’Arcy lived from 1971.
- John Arden obituary (guardian.co.uk)
I received this e-mail today from Josh Fox at Gasland. I hope you will read it and follow his suggestions.:
I want to call your attention to some critical news and ask you to quickly take action:
FIRST: USDA GATE!!!
BREAKING NEWS: USDA Reverses Itself and Exempts Rural Properties with Gas Drilling Leases from NEPA
ACTION: Call President Obama and tell him:
“Please do not allow the USDA to exempt housing loans from a full NEPA review.”
White House Phone numbers: 202-456-1111 and 202-456-1414
Here’s the background and the reasons why you should call:
In a move that has angered hydrofracking opponents, the USDA did an about-face and reneged on earlier statements that its popular rural housing loans on properties with gas drilling leases would have to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and today authorized an Administrative Notice stating that rural housing loans would be excluded from NEPA. On Monday, The New York Times had reported the USDA was planning on issuing an Administrative Notice to the opposite effect, telling staff that loans on properties with gas leases must undergo a full environmental review as required by NEPA before mortgage loans are made or guaranteed by the agency.
“The proposal by the Agriculture Department, which has signaled its intention in e-mails to Congress and landowners, reflects a growing concern that lending to owners of properties with drilling leases might violate the National Environmental Policy Act, known as NEPA, which requires environmental reviews before federal money is spent,” the Times wrote. The article quoted the program director for rural loans in the Agriculture Department’s New York office saying that, “We will no longer be financing homes with gas leases.” “Approval of such leases would allow for a number of potential impacts to possibly occur which would need to be analyzed in a NEPA document that would be reviewed by the public for sufficiency,” another USDA official was quoted as saying.
See the full New York Times article HERE.
But in an email statement yesterday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reversed those positions and said, “USDA will not make any policy changes related to rural housing loans…The information provided to Congressional offices on March 8, 2012 was premature and does not reflect past, current or future practices of the department. Tomorrow, I will authorize an Administrative Notice reaffirming that rural housing loans are categorically excluded under the National Environmental Policy Act.”
Friends, this is a very important development and one that we need to speak up about. A full NEPA review, like the type the agency was talking about affirming, would have been more transparent, more rigorous and comprehensive. USDA staff experts in the NY office as well as in DC made clear in emails that the law and the science require that mortgages with drilling leases shouldn’t be exempt from NEPA. This 180-degress turn by Secretary Vilsack contradicts both science and law.
Excluding NEPA review of fracking’s environmental impacts is a significant move. It means that environmental review of rural housing loans would be limited to the EPA‘s far less comprehensive national study of fracking, which is focused exclusively on drinking water and does not admit public comment. Doing a NEPA analysis would have ensured that federal agencies issuing loans are complying with the law. In fact, officials expressed concern the agency would be vulnerable to lawsuits if they didn’t conduct the NEPA reviews thoroughly enough. But exempting rural housing loans from NEPA means that gas drilling leases will also be exempt from legal recourse and other basic public interest protections the law was meant to provide. It also means that when property values drop precipitously due to contamination from gas drilling, sometimes to as low as 10% of their original value as we’ve seen in Pennsylvania, the American Taxpayer is going to be left holding the bag.
Not only is this is unlawful, it’s just not right.
Call President Obama and tell him:
“Please do not allow the USDA to exempt housing loans from a full NEPA review.”
White House Phone numbers: 202-456-1111 and 202-456-1414
SECOND: EPA VINDICATES DIMOCK FAMILIES!!!
BREAKING NEWS: EPA confirms Dimock water is unsafe. The Gasland team and I provided Pro-Publica with the unreleased water tests. The families in Dimock, PA have high to explosive levels of methane as well as chemicals known to cause cancer and heavy metals that exceed the agency’s “trigger level” in their water wells. The families have been vindicated. Science triumphs over spin.
Please read the full Pro-Publica story HERE.
Thanks for taking action and being a part of a profound movement to stop fracking!
The USDA seems to be in the pocket of the gas companies. It should be the representative organization of the American rural citizenship.
As Josh says: “Science triumphs over spin.”
The New York Times has pointed out that…
…when Americans feel better about their finances, they are more likely to eat at restaurants with full service, including bringing the food to the table, rather than at restaurants with limited service. At the moment, both the restaurant sales and the falling unemployment rate indicate the economy is doing better than the Gross Domestic Product figures would seem to show.
Here are the stats:
So where have you been eating lately? I’ve been going over our cc receipts for the last month or so and discovered that my wife and I fit right in with this recovery crowd… we don’t eat at fast food joints at all and our sit-down restaurant visits have been predominant.
Where have you been eating?
From Broadway to films to television, Harry Potter was the Pete to Gladys, The Bill Gannon to Sergeant Friday and, most remembered of all, M.A.S.H.’s Colonel Potter for eight years. The part bought him an Emmy in 1980.
From the NY Times:
Harry Morgan was born Harry Bratsburg on April 10, 1915, in Detroit. His parents were Norwegian immigrants. After graduating from Muskegon High School, where he played varsity football and was senior class president, he intended to become a lawyer, but debating classes in his pre-law major at the University of Chicago stimulated his interest in the theater.
He made his professional acting debut in a summer stock production of “At Mrs. Beam’s” in Mount Kisco, N.Y., and his Broadway debut in 1937 in the original production of “Golden Boy,” starring Luther Adler, in a cast that also included Karl Malden and Lee J. Cobb.
Mr. Morgan’s television credits were prodigious. He once estimated that in one show or another, he was seen in prime time for 35 straight years.
He was one of the best. Death was apparently due to Pneumonia.
- Harry Morgan, Colonel Potter of ‘M*A*S*H,’ Dies at 96 (inquisitr.com)
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- Harry Morgan, Colonel Potter on ‘MASH,’ dies at 96 (ctv.ca)
- Rest in Peace Harry Morgan (dreadcentral.com)
- RIP: Harry Morgan, at 96 (thedailywh.at)
- Seven great Colonel Potter moments – msnbc.com (entertainment.msnbc.msn.com)
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“Every single poll shows that the American public overwhelmingly supports higher taxes on the wealthy as part of a package to cut the deficit. The margins are staggering: the NYT poll shows a majority of 74 – 21; even Rasmussen shows a majority of 56 – 34. What the president proposed this morning is simply where the American people are at. If he keeps at it, if he turns his administration into a permanent campaign for structural fiscal reform, I don’t see how he loses the argument.”
– Andrew Sullivan