Sunday, October 26, 2014

Last Call For Big Endorsements

As they did in 2010 with Jack Conway, both the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader have endorsed the Democrat for US Senate. Alison Grimes has earned the praise of both papers, and in a race this tight, it may make a difference.

The Courier-Journal:

Grimes, to her credit, was willing to appear before this newspaper’s editorial board, fielding an hour’s worth of questions in an interview that was streamed live online and remains archived on the C-J website. She did this fully aware that Mr. McConnell’s campaign could-- and did-- seize on snippets to use in political attacks. 
Mr. McConnell, in turn, never accepted a similar invitation dating back to early September to appear before the C-J editorial board, thus shielding himself from scrutiny as well as any potential for attack ads based on his responses. Kentuckians should take measure of that: Thirty years in the Senate, and no comment.
More discouraging-- and most important to voters-- is that he appears lacking a vision for Kentucky or the country as a whole. Rather, his decades-long drive to increase his power and political standing has resulted in this campaign based on his boast that if he is re-elected and Republicans win a Senate majority, he would become Senate majority leader. Some voters believe Kentucky will benefit from keeping Mr. McConnell in such a national leadership position, but we believe that alone is not a reason for giving him another term. 
Both candidates have failed the voters through limited access, rote talking points, slickly packaged appearances and a barrage of attack ads that at best are misleading and at worst, outright false. 
But Ms. Grimes has laid out positions on a number of issues that matter to voters, ones that separate her from her opponent.

The Herald-Leader:

McConnell has sabotaged jobs and transportation bills, even as Kentucky's unemployment exceeds the nation's and an Interstate 75 bridge crumbles over the Ohio River. He blocked tax credits for companies that move jobs back to this country while preserving breaks for those that move jobs overseas. He opposed extending unemployment benefits, while bemoaning the "jobless" recovery. He brags about resolving crises that he helped create
The Senate may never recover from the bitter paralysis McConnell has inflicted through record filibusters that allow his minority to rule by obstruction. 
Even before Barack Obama was sworn in, McConnell told his fellow Republicans that their strategy was to deny the new president any big wins. The country was in two wars and at deep risk of sliding into a depression, but making an adversary look bad was McConnell's main mission
His signature cause-- flooding elections with ever more money-- corrupts. He poses as a champion of the right to criticize the government, but it's really his rich buddies' right to buy the government that he champions. 
If McConnell had a better record, he would not have to argue for six more years by obsessively linking Grimes to Obama, who will be gone in two years no matter what.

It's good to see these papers tell the truth about McConnell.  His time is passed and he's just embarrassing now.

Christie, Cuomo, And Ebola

It's not often you see Democrats and Republicans work together on things, but when it comes to stabbing President Obama in the back, that's something that everyone can get behind.

The Obama administration has been pushing the governors of New York and New Jersey to reverse their decision ordering all medical workers returning from West Africa who had contact with Ebola patients to be quarantined, an administration official said. 
But on Sunday both governors, Andrew M. Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New Jersey, stood by their decision, saying that the federal guidelines did not go far enough.

At the same time, the first person to be forced into isolation under the new protocols, Kaci Hickox, a nurse returning from Sierra Leone, planned to mount a legal challenge to the quarantine order. Despite having no symptoms, she has been kept under quarantine at a hospital in New Jersey, where she has been confined to a tent equipped with a portable toilet and no shower. On Sunday, she spoke to CNN about the way she has been treated, describing it as “inhumane.”

The rapidly escalating events played out both privately, in intense negotiations and phone calls between federal and state officials, as well as publicly in the nurse’s pointed criticism of the New Jersey governor. 
Ever since Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, and Mr. Christie, a Republican, announced the plan at a hastily called news conference on Friday evening, top administration officials have been speaking with Mr. Cuomo daily and have also been in touch with Mr. Christie, trying to get them to rescind the order. 
But in that time, two more states – Illinois and Florida – announced that they were instituting similar policies.

Nobody wants to be the next Rick Perry with election day around the corner.  Certainly not Pat Quinn or Andrew Cuomo, bother up for re-election, or Rick Scott, also facing voters.  Christie at least has passed his re-election trial, but of course he has 2016 to worry about.

So everyone has a reason to score points on Obama, it seems, Democrat and Republican alike.

Will voters care or even remember?

Things Also Bigger In Texas: Pollution

One of Texas's top environmental officials (and really, can you think of a more depressing job?) is making the argument that ozone and smog in Texas doesn't matter, because we're all going to be inside anyway.

Texas’ chief toxicologist is arguing that the EPA shouldn’t tighten ground-level ozone, or smog, rules because there will be little to no public health benefit. Dr. Michael Honeycutt heads the toxicology division of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the state agency tasked with protecting Texans from pollution.

“Ozone is an outdoor air pollutant because systems such as air conditioning remove it from indoor air,” he argues on a blog post on the TCEQ website. “Since most people spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors, we are rarely exposed to significant levels of ozone.” He adds that those who are “near death” and thus more vulnerable to ozone spend even more time inside.

Dude actually has earned the title of doctor and he's saying "pollution levels are irrelevant outside, because if it's bad, you'll be inside with A/C".

That's a bit like saying "Well we don't need more traffic regulations because cars are outside and people are inside.  Cars are an outside problem."

Scientist by the way say we really do need to tighten up smog rules.  Texas refuses, because, well, energy industry.

Dr. Honeycutt has taken it upon his shoulders to dispute this determination. He joins Texas Republicans and others nationwide who staunchly oppose efforts to reduce harmful ozone pollution. In September, a group of Texas Republicans proposed legislation that would require Congress to pass a federal statute every time the EPA wants to implement a National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) such as the one proposed for ozone pollution. They argue that this is a matter of accountability, but it is within the EPA’s mandate to determine air quality standards. In a statement, Congressman Randy Weber (R-TX), cites a study from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) that the regulation would increase energy costs for Texas families and reduce family incomes in an amount equal to 182,000 lost jobs.

NAM is a trade group which lobbies for the likes of ExxonMobil and the American Petroleum Institute. NYU’s Michael Livermore, a senior advisor at New York University’s Institute for Policy Integrity told Media Matters that the report “calculated costs in an insane way.” Frank Ackerman, a lecturer in climate and energy policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told Media Matters that the job-loss estimates are “fraudulent.”

Of course it's fraudulent.  We can't possibly make the energy industry pay to clean up after itself, despite literally being the most profitable companies on Earth.

Just don't go outside, Texas.

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