IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Sec. John Kerry slams climate change deniers in government; More whistleblowers corroborate a Florida ban on 'climate change'; Solar energy is booming, in the good, non-explosive, jobs-creating kind of way; PLUS: Great news for the oil industry! Thanks to the oil industry, Arctic sea ice heads to a record low....All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): World record-breaking 8 ft of snow in 18 hours hits Italy; Scientists near breakthrough on artificial photosynthesis; Leaked emails reveal who' who list of climate denialists; India to hide pollution data from the public; Math and myth clash in Senate hearing on Clean Power Plan; The Hydraulic Hypothesis and the 'ends' of civilization; Plastic runs through everything; Farmers take up no-till agriculture ... PLUS: Unlike temperatures, climate change deniers falling fast... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Another day, another two oil train explosions; In Florida, the first rule of global warming is don't talk about global warming; Fukushima Nuclear Disaster still a disaster, four years later; PLUS: The world's first solar-powered plane soars into aviation history....All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Rate of climate change predicted to soar in 2020s; 10 myths about fossil fuel divestment; EPA failed to warn residents about contaminated water; The promise of energy storage; Time to worry about exploding Siberian craters?; Houston Ship Channel closed after collision and MTBE spill; Millions of songbirds slaughtered in Cyprus ... PLUS: How the Merchants of Doubt push global warming denial on your television... and much, MUCH more! ...
[Remarks prepared for event with comedian Lee Camp, Charlottesville, Va., February 21, 2015, event postponed by snow storm. When it's rescheduled I'll say something completely unrelated. - DS]
This is the serious part of tonight's event, except that Lee often deals with very serious topics. So what I mean is: this is the unfunny part of tonight's event, except that I'm going to talk about the United States government. One of my favorite things that Mark Twain didn't really say but definitely should have said was "Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it." He left out the possibility of imbeciles who are putting us on.
On Thursday, Comcast Internet was not working at my house, just as Comcast's hired Congress members were introducing a bill to create a closed Internet with fast lanes for the corporate crap we didn't need the Internet for. And a good Internet media outlet called TheRealNews.com wanted to do a video interview with me, which I didn't want to do in Java Java because I try not to be quite that rude. So I sat out on the Downtown Mall and did the interview. It was about 12 degrees out, and I think you can see me shaking. And what did they want to talk about? War? Peace? The climate?
They wanted to talk about Jeb Bush. Clearly he is an imbecile who is putting us on. He'd been talking on foreign policy, and of course he agreed with Obama on most everything but claimed not to. On NSA spying, for example, he disagreed basically with the fact that there has been public criticism of Obama's abuses. How he would eliminate criticism he didn't say. He didn't bring up Ukraine or Afghanistan or drone wars, because what would he disagree with? He did bring up the Korean War in order to claim it was a success and not the stupid pointless draw that everyone called it for decades, but of course the innovator in popularizing that ridiculous claim was ... President Obama...
"Honest statement," "Karl Rove" and "Fox News" are three phrases that usually do not belong in the same sentence (unless it's the one I'm writing now!), but George W. Bush's aide-de-camp actually told the truth on the January 6 edition of Fox's "America's Newsroom."
Karl Rove says Jeb Bush's support for Common Core education standards will be the biggest obstacle he faces as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination.
"Common Core is, I think, the biggest challenge he faces," Rove said Tuesday on the Fox News show "America's Newsroom." "The question is, how can he defend high academic standards, which he believes in, when it has been conflated with the Obama administration."
Rove, formerly the top adviser to Bush's brother, President George W. Bush, said Common Core was originally a Republican idea put forth by Bill Bennett, the secretary of Education under President Reagan who was later appointed to a post in the administration of President George H.W. Bush.
But Rove said President Obama has since grasped onto it, making it toxic to Republican voters.
Now how about that! Common Core --- a national state standards initiative for k-12 education --- was a GOP concept until a Democrat found merit in the idea, at which point it became radical-left tyranny.
The same, of course, is now true for the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare"), a scheme first proposed by the rightwing Heritage Foundation before it was later embraced by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, before Obama embraced it, so Republicans decided to pretend it was a precursor to full apocalypse.
But I can think of yet another major policy initiative that Republicans used to love until Democrats said they thought it was a good idea, too...
When asked over the weekend, after a round of golf, to comment on court rulings that will lead to same-sex marriage becoming legal across the Sunshine State on Tuesday (and already today in Miami-Dade County), Bush muttered to the Miami Herald:
"It ought be a local decision. I mean, a state decision," the former governor said Sunday in a brief interview. "The state decided. The people of the state decided. But it's been overturned by the courts, I guess."
After the comment was met with criticism from advocates of the Constitution as well as Miami-Dade's Republican mayor who said he "believes adults should be free to marry whomever they desire" and that he "respects anyone's right to marry, gay or straight," Jeb attempted a mulligan and offered the following, almost impossibly non-committal, have-it-all-ways official statement...
A few weeks ago, Francis Barry, whose bio identifies him as having "previously served as Director of Public Affairs and Chief Speechwriter for New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg," had a piece published by Bloomberg View (the op-ed arm of the Bloomberg News outlet), portending to examine whether Photo ID voting laws had an adverse effect on turnout this year.
Specifically, as the very first paragraph of his piece explained, Barry claims to have been looking at whether "voter identification laws suppress turnout" since, as he opined in the same graf, "Liberals" argue "not all citizens have the type of ID that many states now require at the polls."
The piece, headlined "Quit Blaming Low Turnout on Voter ID", went out of its way to make the case that such laws had nothing to do with turnout this year, as some states with such laws even saw higher turnout than others without them. While one could attempt to make such an argument, in this case, unfortunately, Barry used extraordinarily deceptive data and moving goal posts in order to do so, as detailed in the emails (posted below) between me, him and one of his editors.
The main trick he employed was an apples to oranges comparison of turnout rates in "21 states that had a competitive gubernatorial or Senate race", where, he misleadingly claimed, "Fourteen of the 21 states had a voter ID requirement in place, while seven didn't".
But here's the thing. Barry deceptively swapped the type of very specific Photo ID laws cited in his first paragraph, with very non-restrictive ID laws that are in use without objection in many states.
When I explained all of this in detail to him and his editors via email (all posted below), the response I received back was, as I noted, "mind-boggling, to be frank"...
Incredibly enough, it's been ten years this month since we broke the story about vote-rigging software whistleblower Clint Curtis. It was certainly the biggest story we'd broken up until that time, in December of 2004, and, for some, it is still the story we may be best known for.
That's not surprising as it involves election fraud, touch-screen voting systems, Florida, a powerful Congressman, the Bush family, Chinese spies and several disturbing deaths.
For those not familiar with it, you can find a quick summary here. The index of most of the key articles in our years-long series, beginning with our 12/6/2004 exclusive on Curtis' sworn affidavit can be found at BradBlog.com/ClintCurtis. (And, yes, if you're looking for the horrifying NSFW "crime scene photos" of the main death involved in this case, those are here.)
In short, Curtis was a software programmer from Oviedo, FL who claimed in a sworn 2004 affidavit and then sworn testimony before members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, that he was asked to create a vote-rigging software prototype for touch-screen voting systems back in 2000 by then Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL), a very powerful Republican in the Sunshine State and a close friend of the Bush family. At the time, Curtis worked for a company named Yang Enterprises, Inc., which had many contracts with NASA and the state of Florida. In 2000, when he says Feeney asked him to create the vote-rigging software, Feeney was both the Speaker of the FL House, as well as a registered lobbyist for Yang. Feeney would also go on to great ignominy due to his dealings with Republican uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
There is much much more to this story, much of which was also eventually told in Murder, Spies and Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story, an award-winning documentary film by Patty Sharaf. It includes spying for China and at least two deaths in addition to the vote-rigging allegations, but I'll let you explore it all via the links above and/or in my all-new interview with Curtis from this week's KPFK/Pacifica RadioBradCast
As it's been 10 years since we broke the initial story, it seemed a good time to get caught up with Curtis, reminisce a bit about the original story (and his eventual, gutsy, and at times hilarious campaign to run against Feeney for the U.S. House), as well as find out what he (and Feeney) have been up to since then --- even as we've been almost-continuously reporting on new developments in the case over the years since we originally broke the story in late 2004.
I gotta say I enjoyed this interview with Clint --- it was great to catch up with him --- and I hope you will too.
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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Germany's biggest utility spins off its fossil fuel assets; Are fossil fuel companies running scared? Florida punishes homeowners for not polluting; PLUS: MSNBC's big infomercial for Big Coal... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries; See what your city will look like with rising sea levels; NASA: rate of Antarctic ice melt triples in a decade; CO2 emissions produce maximum warming in 10 years; India considers emissions peak 2035-50; Russia's proposed pipeline falls victim to low prices; MIT: no health impacts from wind turbine noise ... PLUS: The Way We Weren’t: Inhofe Singles out Streisand as Global Warming Hoaxer in Chief... and much, MUCH more! ...
It's been happening for years now. On the day after elections like last Tuesday's, media figures begin navel gazing to figure out how pre-election polls, created by dozens of independent pollsters using dozens of different methodologies, could all find the same thing but turn out to be so wrong once the election results are in.
The presumption is that the results are always right, and if they don't match the pre-election polling, its the polling that must be wrong, as opposed to the election results.
On Wednesday morning, after Tuesday's mid-term election surprise in which Republicans reportedly won handily in race after race despite pre-election polls almost unanimously predicting much closer races or outright Democratic victories, FiveThirtyEight statistics guru Nate Silver declared "The Polls Were Skewed Toward Democrats".
His analysis of aggregated averages from dozens of different pollsters and polls this year found that the performance of Democrats was overestimated by approximately 4 percentage points in Senate races and 3.4 points in gubernatorial contests. Silver's assessment relies on a "simple average of all polls released in the final three weeks of the campaign," as compared to the (unofficial and almost entirely unverified) election results reported on Tuesday night. He doesn't suggest there was anything nefarious in the polling bias towards Dems this year, simply that the pollsters got it wrong for a number of speculative reasons.
Citing the fact that nearly all of the polls suggested Democrats would do much better than they ultimately did, when compared to the reported election results, Silver asserts it wasn't that the polls were more wrong that usual, per se, but that almost all of them were wrong in a way that appears to have overestimated Democratic performance on Election Day.
"This year's polls were not especially inaccurate," he explains. "Between gubernatorial and Senate races, the average poll missed the final result by an average of about 5 percentage points --- well in line with the recent average. The problem is that almost all of the misses were in the same direction."
Silver is much smarter than I when it comes to numbers; I'm happy to presume he has the basic math right. But he seems to have a blind spot in his presumption that the pre-election polls were wrong and the election results were right. That, despite the lack of verification of virtually any of the results from Tuesday night, despite myriad and widespread if almost completely ignored problems and failures at polls across the country that day, and despite systematic voter suppression and dirty tricks that almost certainly resulted in election results (verified or otherwise) that were skewed toward Republicans...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Election 2014 Environmental Democalypse Now: get ready for the Republican hegemonic hellscape; Climate denier caucus now in charge; PLUS: At least one note of very good environmental election news... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Energy storage breakthrough revealed; Fracking frenzy brings fears of boom-bust cycle; Peak water in U.S.; New Koch Industries video: "we rearrange your polar bears"; End the GMO madness: try mandatory labeling; GOP wins deal blow to US climate change leadership internationally; Maine's shrimp season cancelled for lack of shrimp ... PLUS: The biggest loser in this election is the climate - and the children of 2100 ... and much, MUCH more! ...
While we've been covering multiple cases of on-screen vote flipping by the 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) systems, another electronic vote-related system failure, relating to the state's Electronic Voter ID (EVID) system, has also emerged in the state of Florida.
The state Democratic Party filed an emergency Motion for Ex Parte Relief [PDF] earlier this evening seeking to compel Broward County election officials to keep polls open until 9:00 p.m. They alleged, among other issues, that an "EVID system throughout the day has prevented voters from being able to update their address on the day of the election, as they are permitted to do by law."
Instead of being allowed to vote, voters were "asked to present themselves at the Supervisor of Elections office in order to update their address and return to the polling place at a later time to vote a regular ballot." That and other issues may have prevented the lawful casting of ballots in an extraordinarily close Governor's race...
On the stump this week for Republican candidates, NJ's Gov. Chris Christie said GOP governors need to win this year, so they can be in control of the "voting mechanisms" during what he believes might be his own run for President in 2016. He cited three races in particular, in three states that would be crucial to him as the GOP nominee, as reported by New Jersey's The Record...
Governor Christie pushed further into the contentious debate over voting rights than ever before, saying Tuesday that Republicans need to win gubernatorial races this year so that they're the ones controlling "voting mechanisms" going into the next presidential election.
Republican governors are facing intense fights in the courts over laws they pushed that require specific identification in order to vote and that reduce early voting opportunities. Critics say those laws sharply curtail the numbers of poor and minority voters, who would likely vote for Democrats. Christie - who vetoed a bill to extend early voting in New Jersey - is campaigning for many of those governors now as he considers a run for president in 2016.
Christie stressed the need to keep Republicans in charge of states - and overseeing state-level voting regulations - ahead of the next presidential election.
"Would you rather have Rick Scott in Florida overseeing the voting mechanism, or Charlie Crist? Would you rather have Scott Walker in Wisconsin overseeing the voting mechanism, or would you rather have Mary Burke? Who would you rather have in Ohio, John Kasich or Ed FitzGerald?" he asked.
Great questions, Governor Christie! Let's take a crack at offering some answers for ya...
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Well, this is an interesting turn of events. It includes a bizarre twist that even we would not have foreseen, involving a Republican operative who is now threatening legal action against us for reporting (accurately) on his companies' relationship to voter registration fraud and deceptive voter registration practices during the 2012 election and in previous cycles.
The firm at the center of the RNC scandal was named Strategic Allied Consulting. It was created and run by Nathan Sproul, a notorious Arizona-based Republican operative with a checkered past, who ran Republican voter registration drives and other on-the-ground GOP activist campaigns. Sproul's name was not used in the legal filings which created Strategic Allied Consulting in advance of the 2012 election, due to his various companies facing voter registration fraud allegations and criminal investigations in a number of states going back as far as the 2004 Presidential election. Because of that unfairly tarnished background, Sproul claimed when the 2012 scandal first surfaced, the RNC didn't want his fingerprints on the operation. The RNC was dodgy about the issue, but fired Sproul and his firm in several states once the scandal came to light, despite having paid millions of dollars for the effort.
In the same series of articles, we also exposed the deceptive (and perhaps illegal) registration scheme employed by Sproul's firms in states where they operated. The scheme involved registration workers trained to pretend to be pollsters asking voters who they planned to support in the Presidential election. If they answered the question correctly (Romney) Sproul's workers would help them register to vote. If the unsuspecting citizen answered the "survey" question incorrectly (Obama), the workers would wish them a nice day, and then move on to the next target.
Now, a two-year Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigation has finally wrapped up into the 2012 allegations in that state. It has led to yet another arrest of one of Sproul's workers, found no evidence of conspiracy by the company in that state, confirmed The BRAD BLOG's reporting on their deceptive registration technique, and sent Sproul scurrying to threaten us via email (posted below) with a lawsuit...for something...