Daily Archive: 11/07/2012

Nov 07 2012

Insult to Injury: Nor’easter hits NY, NJ & CT

11/7/12 NortheasterWith thousands still without electricity or even homes, the east coast from  is being hammered with a northeaster that is bring rain, sleet, snow, plummeting temperatures, high winds and warnings of coastal flooding.

This was a storm with no name but another huge, impossible-to-miss footprint on the weather maps. Its white swirl was smaller than the hurricane’s but still looked ferocious, and it promised to be tenacious, with a chilly brew of rain and wet snow. Road crews feared it would bring annoying slush and, later on, treacherous ice to hard-luck places where debris from the hurricane was still being cleared away. [..]

Gov. Chris Christie warned that the northeaster could set back the recovery effort. He said that many people could lose electricity again.

“I can see us actually moving backwards,” Mr. Christie said at a news conference at a firehouse on Long Beach Island, the barrier island that suffered some of the heaviest damage in last week’s storm. Long Beach Island had been reopened to residents, but the governor said he was cutting off access again.

Mr. Christie said that 369,000 homes in the state were still without power, down from a peak of 2.76 million. Consolidated Edison said early Wednesday that about 79,000 customers were still in the dark, including 15,000 in Brooklyn, 13,000 in Queens and 41,000 in Westchester County.

Staten Island still has 3,205 “customers” without power and high winds are expected to take down more overhead lines. As with Sandy, coastal flooding is expected:

As happened with the Halloween hurricane, this nor’easter will begin doing its work here just as today’s afternoon tide comes in on Staten Island. High tide in The Narrows, measured at Fort Wadsworth, is at 1:24 p.m. That could mean wind-driven tidal surges 3 to 4 feet above normal high-tide levels in some areas – plenty to further damage already compromised low-lying coastal areas.

On Staten Island, those storm surges are expected to be around 2 feet above normal. [..]

According to (Brian) Edwards, (a meteorologist with AccuWeather), “A north to northeasterly wind means that the most significant coastal flooding will occur along the coast of Delaware, central to northern New Jersey, the western end of the north shore of Long Island, N.Y. and eastern Massachusetts.”

He said the worst of the coastal flooding and strongest winds are expected during two phases on Wednesday. The two times that are of utmost concern across the region are during high tide Wednesday afternoon and a second high tide late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning.

Evacuations have been ordered in New York and New Jersey:

After Sandy killed 40 people in New York City, Bloomberg ordered evacuations of low-lying, hard-hit areas such as the Rockaways section of Queens and the south shore of Staten Island. Residents of at least two coastal New Jersey towns were also told to leave.

While FEMA said it was working with state and local authorities and was “ready to deploy additional resources if needed to respond to the Nor’easter,” the [FEMA centers were closed today “due to the weather”]:

They fly into disaster areas, but flee from raindrops.

FEMA disaster recovery centers in Hurricane Sandy-ravaged sections of the city that were supposed to provide assistance to hurricane victims went MIA Wednesday morning, posting signs saying that they were closed due to the approaching Nor’easter.

The temporary shuttering of the facilities, which help victims register for disaster relief, as well as city food distribution centers come even as many of those still reeling from the monster storm were not told that they had to leave the battered areas.

Nov 07 2012

Obama Reelected: Now What?

Now that Barack Obama has been given a second chance by the electorate, the question becomes what happens next. The “fiscal cliff” still looms, although it isn’t really a “cliff,” more like a slope. The government remains divided with the House still in the hands of fiscal conservatives and the Senate will remain crippled by a recalcitrant minority determined to block any reasonable effort at “compromise” by the Democratic majority and the White House to end the Bush/Obama tax cuts for the wealthiest.

The US markets reacted to the election this afternoon by plummeting to below 13,000 for the first time since August.

Stocks were sharply lower in afternoon trading in New York, with both the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index and the Dow Jones industrial average down 2.3 percent, as European shares sank and Asian stocks were mixed. While many executives on Wall Street and in other industries favored Mitt Romney, many had already factored in the likelihood of Mr. Obama winning a second term.

Still, continued divided government in Washington and little prospect for compromise unnerved traders. [..]

Companies in some sectors, like hospitals and technology, could see a short-term pop, said Tobias Levkovich, chief United States equity strategist with Citi. Other areas, like financial services as well as coal and mining, could be hurt as investors contemplate a tougher regulatory environment.

Fears of the fiscal impasse and the continued euro crisis were just some of the reasons but more than anything it was the failure of the GOP to take back the White House and Senate to secure the fraudsters fiefdom. It was fairly obvious from some headlines that Elizabeth Warren’s election to the Senate has Wall St. very upset: Wall Street Scourge Warren Entering U.S. Senate.

Democrat Elizabeth Warren, whose attacks on Wall Street propelled her ascent, will become the first female U.S. senator from Massachusetts, entering a divided chamber that had spurned her appointment as the nation’s consumer-protection chief.

I doubt they will be able to get rid of her as easily as they got rid of the “Sheriff of Wall St.,” former New York governor Elliot Spitzer.

I highly doubt that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and extremist Tea Party members are going to be any more cooperative with the White House and the Democratic majority in the Senate. In fact, it was already looking like they were digging immediately after the President’s victory speech with Mr. Boehner stating that the GOP’s retaining of the House majority meant that there was no mandate to raise taxes. Sen. McConnell echoed those sentiments telling the President that he shouldn’t consider the Democratic Senate wins as too much of a mandate.

To break at least the Senate deadlock, it is well past time to do something about the filibuster, which the Republicans have used in record numbers, over the last four years to block any progress for economic recovery the Democratic wins as too much of a mandate. During the campaign, Gov. Mitt Romney tried to revise history saying that Pres. Obama got everything he wanted and still failed

The argument obscures the important policy-making role Republicans had in the first two years of Obama’s presidency, when they used a record number of filibusters in the Senate to weaken – and in some cases thwart – large pieces of his agenda.

The $787 billion stimulus package in 2009, which was ultimately too small to fully reverse the economic downturn, had to be scaled down because a GOP filibuster required Democrats to win over 60 Senate votes for final passage. Repeated filibusters on health care reform ate up nearly a year of the Democrats’ legislative time, and Obama’s subsequent efforts to boost the economy were met with the same wall of Republican opposition – one that became insurmountable after the GOP’s congressional victories in 2010.

Progressives argue that the economy continues to struggle in part because Republicans have blocked Obama’s efforts, and advanced an agenda in 2011 and 2012 that effectively – if not intentionally – sabotaged the recovery.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), who will likely remain majority leader, has vowed once again to address the problem of the filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pledged on Wednesday to change the rules of the Senate so that the minority party has fewer tools to obstruct legislative business.

In his first post-election press conference, the Nevada Democrat said he wouldn’t go so far as to eliminate the filibuster, which requires 60 votes for the chamber to enter and exit the amendment and debate process. But in remarks meant to preview a more combative approach during the next session, he warned Republicans that obstructionism as a tactic won’t be tolerated — or as technically feasible.

The problem is what Sen. Reid, who has stated that he supports filibuster, proposes does not go far enough:

“The first thing is the most important thing,” Reid said the interview. “Do away with motion to proceed. Just do away with it. I favor the filibuster. There’s a reason for the filibuster. I understand it. It’s to protect the rights of the minority. The Senate was set up to protect the rights of the minority … so that’s the no. 1 issue, and the rest of the stuff we can deal with if there’s a filibuster conducted. Those are the kind of things — if we get the motion to proceed out of the way, we can debate it, one, to cloture. That’s good. So that’s the no. 1 biggie.”

Even with Democrats set to control the Senate — indeed, even set to expand their current majority — the avenues for Reid to pursue rules reform aren’t entirely clear.

There has historically been some debate over whether the majority can change the Senate rules at the beginning of each term, or whether two-thirds support is needed, per the Senate rules. The question hinges on whether the Senate is a “continuing legislative body” or whether each new term marks a new Senate. Those who want to change the rules using a majority vote argue that past Senates cannot bind the hands of future legislative bodies.

Whatever the historical record, the basic fight comes down to numbers. No matter what the Senate chair rules, a majority can overrule the chair. However, that will likely be unnecessary, as Vice President Joe Biden is known to be a supporter of filibuster reform, and a believer that the constitution allows the majority to write new rules at the start of a term.

While some of the Republicans say they will reflect on their inability to achieve their goal, perhaps it’s time for the Democrats to do the same in the Senate and replace Harry Reid with someone who will stand up to Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and the Tea Party bullies.


Nov 07 2012

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Anis Shivani; What Progressives Expect from Obama

Dear President Obama,

You would have lost the election but for your progressive base. For the second time in a row, we saved you. You gained traction in the long campaign only when you changed your tone to appeal to progressives.

The first time you secured a large electoral victory, you wasted it by turning against your own base, acting as if you’d never need us again. We came to your help a second time because we realized the much greater threat from Mitt Romney who would have set the clock back more than would have been tolerable.

Now that we-minorities, immigrants, Latinos, gays, women, the educated, the young, the unionized-have handed you this second big victory in a row, what will you do with it?

Will you squander it like the last time?

John Nichols: For Obama, a Bigger Win Than for Kennedy, Nixon, Carter or Bush

It wasn’t even close. That’s the unexpected result of the November 6 election. And President Obama and his supporters must wrap their heads around this new reality-just as their Republican rivals are going to have to adjust to it.

After a very long, very hard campaign that began the night of the 2010 “Republican wave” election, a campaign defined by unprecedented spending and take-no-prisoners debate strategies, Barack Obama was reelected president. And he did so with an ease that allowed him to claim what even his supporters dared not imagine until a little after 11 p.m. on the night of his last election: a credible, national win. [..]

As he embarks upon the second term that not all presidents are given, Obama would do well to take the counsel of National Nurses United executive direector Rose Ann DeMoro, who said after the election, “The President and Congress should stand with the people who elected them and reject any cuts in Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid, strengthen Medicare by expanding it to cover everyone, and insist that Wall Street begin to repay our nation for the damage it caused our economy with a small tax on Wall Street speculation, the Robin Hood tax.”

Michelangelo Signorile: Gay Mega History in the Making: The Landslide Victory on LGBT Rights

The re-election of Barack Obama, as well as the wins in states wherever gay marriage was on ballot — in Maine, Minnesota, Maryland and Washington — is a massive watershed for LGBT rights. No longer will politicians — or anyone — be able to credibly claim to be supportive of gays, and to love and honor their supposed gay friends and family, while still being opposed to basic and fundamental rights like marriage.

The very ads pushed by  the enemies of gay rights, like the mastermind behind the antigay ballot measures, Frank Schubert, which claim you can support gay equality but be against gay marriage, no longer hold water. From now on, you’re no friend to gays if you don’t support full equality, and you’re a bigot if you try to defend that position, as Mitt Romney did.

Bryce Covert: Thank You, Republican Misogynists, for Handing Democrats Crucial Victories Last Night

Liberals had a lot to celebrate last night. President Obama was handed a second term while Democrats held the Senate-both feats that seemed far from certain earlier this year. When we look for people to thank for these victories, we have to give blatant Republican misogyny a big round of applause.

Two Senate seats that were at one time safe bets for the GOP rested in Democratic hands at the end of the night thanks in large part to Republicans trying to define rape. Claire McCaskill defeated her challenger Todd Akin-women voters had a way of shutting that whole thing down after he made some outrageous comments about birth from rape. Richard Mourdock, who also brought up rape in a bizarre fashion, had to concede last night, another race the GOP expected to win. While Joe Donnelly, who defeated Mourdock, is no pro-choice treasure-he signed onto the GOP House bill that made reference to “forcible” rape, for instance-women at least sent Mourdock packing.

Rebecca Solnit: The Name of the Hurricane Is Climate Change

The first horseman was named Al Qaeda in Manhattan, and it came as a message on September 11, 2001: that our meddling in the Middle East had sown rage and funded madness. We had meddled because of imperial ambition and because of oil, the black gold that fueled most of our machines and our largest corporations and too many of our politicians. The second horseman came not quite four years later. It was named Katrina, and this one too delivered a warning. [..]

The third horseman came in October of 2008: it was named Wall Street, and when that horseman stumbled and collapsed, we were reminded that it had always been a predator, and all that had changed was the scale-of deregulation, of greed, of recklessness, of amorality about homes and lives being casually trashed to profit the already wealthy. And the fourth horseman has arrived on schedule.

We called it Sandy, and it came to tell us we should have listened harder when the first, second, and third disasters showed up. This storm’s name shouldn’t be Sandy-though that means we’ve run through the alphabet all the way up to S this hurricane season, way past brutal Isaac in August-it should be Climate Change.  If each catastrophe came with a message, then this one’s was that global warming’s here, that the old rules don’t apply, and that not doing anything about it for the past 30 years is going to prove far, far more expensive than doing something would have been.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: FDR and the Fight to Defend Our Freedom

On January 6, 1941, as Nazi Germany tightened its cruel grip on Europe, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his annual State of the Union address. He acknowledged the terrible costs of war and argued that the sacrifice would be accepted by future generations only if it led to a newer, better world for all people everywhere, a world based on the four human freedoms central to democracy-freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.

They were, in his view, fundamental American values, and an antidote to the poison of growing tyranny. Three years later, in his 1944 State of the Union address, Roosevelt translated those values into what became known as the “Economic Bill of Rights”- an uncompromising articulation of economic security as a condition of individual freedom.

Nov 07 2012

Quote of the Day

Wow, it’s hard to post anything interesting today. Everything – not just in America, but around the world – hinges on what happens tomorrow.

Hey, if Atrios can get away with it so should I.

Nov 07 2012

On This Day In History November 7

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

November 7 is the 311th day of the year (312th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 54 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this dayin 1940, Only four months after its completion, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State suffers a spectacular collapse.

When it opened in 1940, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge was the third-longest suspension bridge in the world. Built to replace the ferry system that took commuters from Tacoma across the Tacoma Narrows to the Gig Harbor Peninsula, the bridge spanned 2,800 feet and took three years to build. To save cost, the principle engineer, Leon Moisseiff, designed the bridge with an unusually slender frame that measured 39 feet and accommodated just two vehicular lanes.

The Tacoma Narrows Bridge opened with great fanfare on July 1, 1940. Human traffic across the waters of the Tacoma Narrows increased dramatically, but many drivers were drawn to the toll bridge not by convenience but by an unusual characteristic of the structure. When moderate to high winds blew, as they invariably do in the Tacoma Narrows, the bridge roadway would sway from side to side and sometimes suffer excessive vertical undulations. Some drivers reported that vehicles ahead of them would disappear and reappear several times as they crossed the bridge. On a windy day, tourists treated the bridge toll as the fee paid to ride a roller-coaster ride, and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge earned the nickname “Galloping Gertie.

Nov 07 2012

Live Steam: Election 2012

If you can’t stand the pitiful coverage by networks and cable, there is always the alternative to shut off the TV. On the other hand if you’re addicted to finding out who won, there are alternatives. There is Al Jezeera English and Current that are carried by some cable providers. Then there is the Internet. Again Al Jazeera English and Russia Today are both live streaming. RT is embeddable.

Nov 07 2012

2012 Election Open Thread

This is your space to share your thoughts and reactions.

My prediction?  Boring Barack Blowout.  It really isn’t even as close as all that.

Poll Closings

  • 6 pm– Parts of Indiana and Kentucky (no results yet)
  • 7 pm– Parts of New Hampshire and Florida (no results yet), Vermont, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, all of Indiana and Kentucky (results)
  • 7:30 pm– Ohio, West Virginia, North Carolina (results)
  • 8 pm– Parts of Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Texas (no results yet), Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, D.C., Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, all of New Hampshire and Florida (results)
  • 8:30 pm– Arkansas (results)
  • 9 pm– New York, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Louisianna, all of North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan, Kansas, Texas (results)
  • 10 pm– Parts of Oregon, Idaho (no results yet), Iowa, Montana, Utah, Nevada (results)
  • 11 pm– Washington, California, all of Oregon, Idaho (results)

Alaska and Hawaii close much later, but the election will be well over by then.

It’s not really about the race at the top of the ticket though, it’s how badly Romney and the Tea Party Partisans have damaged the Republican brand for the under ticket.  I’m predicting +2 D in the Senate and +23 D in the House (just short of a Pelosi Speakership).

TheMomCat and I will be trying to follow the under ticket as best we can, the final results will probably not be known until the end of the week on those races.

If you’re just sick of it and want to talk about that?

It’s an Open Thread, no subject off topic.  If I wasn’t running this myself I’d be sorely tempted to watch The Looney Toons premier, the Chopped marathon or American Pickers (anyone know what I can get for my McCain/Palin ‘Wet Start’ bumper sticker?).