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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, November 28, 2014
'KPFK' BradCast: Maine Mystery, Ferguson Fury and Thanks for Something
'My thanks to all of you this Thanksgiving which, as a few callers reminded me, isn't nearly as terrible as it seemed before this week's show'...
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in Town of Long Island, reverse results of very close state contest, leaving officials baffled...
'Green News Report' 11/25/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Gov. Cuomo blames meteorologists for his Buffalo storm fail; Canada protests another tar sands pipeline, lead's world in deforestation; PLUS: World Bank issue's dire warning...
Previous GNRs: 11/20/14 - 11/18/14 - Archives...
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting of Michael Brown
A few early thoughts on the St. Louis County Prosecutor's extraordinary spectacle and miscarriage of justice on the night of his announcement...
'Recount' Ahead for Oregon's GMO Labeling Measure
Fewer than 900 votes separate 'Yes' from 'No' on 'Right to Know' Measure 92, out of more than 1.5 million paper ballots tallied by computers statewide in Nov. 4 election...
GOP House Intel Committee Findings Debunk GOP BENGHAZI! 'Scandal'
Final report released quietly before holiday weekend and before eighth Republican BENGHAZI! committee set to convene...
Monster Energy Drink Not Just Crappy, Also the Work of Satan!
The indisputable video proof is now here!...
'Green News Report' 11/20/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record-breaking storm breaks Buffalo; October 2014 hottest October on record; Sorry, Repubs: China to cap coal use by 2020; PLUS: Obama doubles down on climate foreign policy...
Previous GNRs: 11/18/14 - 11/13/14 - Archives...
Extreme Weather? What Extreme Weather?
Yes, scientists have been warning us about this for years. And, yes, the record breaking storm in Buffalo is tied to global warming...
We're #26! Harvard 'Electoral Integrity' Report Dings U.S.
'World's Greatest Democracy' rated worst among Western nations; Ranked just below Micronesia, just above Mexico in overall list...
Gag Order Won't Ensure Impartial Jury in Trial of 'Dark Lord of Coal Country'
WV's criminally indicted coal boss and U.S. Chamber of Comm. director Don Blankeship presents challenge for federal prosecutors...
Oxford English Dictionary's 2014 Word of the Year: 'Vape'
That small point likely underscores some very encouraging news for the health of the world...
'Green News Report' 11/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
US Senate fails to approve Keystone XL; Can Congress override the Prez next year?; Native Americans: KXL is 'an act of war'; PLUS: Accountability for 'The Dark Lord of Coal'...
Previous GNRs: 11/13/14 - 11/11/14 - Archives...
Sanders on Colbert: Midterms a Vote Against Both Parties
For those mad at us for asserting 'not voting IS a vote', look who just said the same thing...
Exclusive: St. Louis County Was Warned Before Election Paper Ballots Would Run Out
Email obtained by BRAD BLOG reveals County's top election official ignored warnings from election experts, leading to shortages...
Not Voting IS a Vote
Stop blaming those who didn't turn out. Americans did vote. By not turning out, they voted against the two major parties and against the system as a whole. It may have been a dumb vote, but it was a landslide...
Stephen Colbert is Really REALLY Funny
This segment makes clear once again that it's very very sad The Colbert Report is soon going away...
'Green News Report' 11/13/14
Historic US-China agreement that GOP said couldn't be done; New hope for int'l treaty; Repub freak out; Scientists say deal not enough, but good start...
Crucial Moment for FCC & 'Net Neutrality'
Will the Democratic majority commissioners support the President's clarion call and thwart GOP opposition to an open Internet?...
Brad on Hartmann TV: Election 2014 Mess
On thousands of 'missing' votes in Wisconsin, on Nate Silver and polls vs. 'results', on Rightwing 'True the Vote' voter fraud fraudsters, and on much more...
'Green News Report' 11/11/14
'Science has spoken': Final UN report - bad, good & room for hope; PLUS: Margaret Thatcher's historic climate change speech - when conservatives accepted science ...
IN MEMORIAM: Tomas Young, 1979-2014
On Veterans Day, America added another casualty from the War on Iraq -- one who, after first meeting and interviewing him in 2005, we will never forget...
Early Data Suggests TX GOP Photo ID Restrictions 'Worked'
Provisional ballots doubled, turnout down by more 1/4 million votes, despite larger population, contested gov's race and increased voter registration...
WI Scanner Fails To Tally Thousands of Votes in 'Citizens United' Referendum
'Programming error' blamed for paper ballot tabulator recording just 16 of 5,350 votes in city of Stoughton, WI...
The Results Were Skewed Toward Republicans: A Response to Nate Silver
The statistics guru unhelpfully explains away mid-term's surprising outcome by presuming pre-election polling was wrong and unverified election results were all correct...
'True the Vote' Group Fails to Find 'Voter Fraud' (Again)
Laughingstock RW org's 'army' of monitors and smart phone app uncover just 18 benign 'irregularities', 0 cases of polling place impersonation...
'Green News Report' 11/6/14
Election 2014-pocalypse: Republican hegemonic hellscape!; Climate deniers now in charge; PLUS: At least one note of very good environmental election news...
About Last Night: KPFK 'BradCast'
Guest Matthew Segal of OurTime.org joins Brad to discuss whether young voters are to blame for Tuesday's election results and, if not them, then who...or what...
Reuters: Voting Probs Around Nation, 2,000 Missing Election Judges in Chicago
Wire service summarizes machine probs, Photo ID vote suppression and a really strange story out of Chicago...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

Calls on state officials for changes to electoral system to 'improve compliance with basic election procedures'...
By Brad Friedman on 5/31/2011 7:06pm PT  

[6/1/11 Ed Note: Kloppenburg was my guest today on my KPFK/Pacifica radio show here in Los Angeles. It was her first interview since conceding yesterday. The audio archive is now here. - BF]

Citing a "cascade of irregularities," thousands of tabulation errors discovered during the statewide "recount," and tens of thousands of ballots found to be unverifiable or otherwise having been in violation of the secure chain of custody, Wisconsin's independent Asst. AG JoAnne Kloppenburg conceded the Wisconsin Supreme Court Election for a 10-year term on the bench to Republican incumbent Justice David Prosser this afternoon at a press conference held in Madison.

"Votes were found to be miscounted in every county in the State," Kloppenburg said in her prepared remarks. [Her complete remarks are posted at the end of this article.].

"Over 150 ballot bags containing tens of thousands of votes were found open, unsealed or torn. Waukesha County had twice as many torn, open or unsealed bags as every other county in the state combined. In many cases, municipal clerks in Waukesha testified the bags weren’t torn when they left cities, towns and villages so the security breaches occurred sometime when the bags were in Waukesha County’s custody."

She continued: "Most every county and most every reporting unit statewide had discrepancies in reconciling poll books in which the number of voters and the number of absentee voters is recorded. In several counties, including Dane, Milwaukee, Marquette and Jackson, missing or uncounted ballots were found in unexpected places during the recount, such as a clerk’s office or left in machines."

Despite the widespread irregularities --- and despite the fact that state officials at the Government Accountability (G.A.B.), the state's top election authority, failed to review thousands of pages of minutes, including hundreds of exhibits recorded during the "recount" documenting the irregularities, as The BRAD BLOG reported exclusively last night --- Kloppenburg announced she would not file for a judicial review of the certified results.

"This recount should serve as a wake-up call to improve Wisconsin’s election processes," the Asst. AG explained to the gathered media...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/31/2011 1:58pm PT  


TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport
VIA SMART PHONE: Stitcher Radio!

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Facing the aftermath of disaster in Joplin; Typhoon Songda hits Japan (Fukushima spared); Germany to dump all nukes; Rise of the emissions - now the highest on record; PLUS: Saudi Arabia really wants you to have lower gas prices ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): US won't protect threatened bluefin tuna; G8 calls for stricter nuke standards; IEA: Renewable elec. generation key to climate change; WA dismantles dams; African land grab could lead to water wars; Electrical "Micro-grids" could revolutionize US electricity production; Cate Blanchett defends 'vain' pro-carbon tax campaign; NJ: Polluters rewriting rules for site cleanup; Groundwater depletion detected from space; Food safety advocates decry GOP cuts to FDA; Germany: 15 Dead from food poisoning; Libya: Water Emerges As A Hidden Weapon; France's dry spring could lead to power blackouts ... PLUS: A Brief History of Plastic's Conquest of the World ...

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Mountains of irregularities, more than 800 official exhibits, and objections by candidate's attorneys never examined by top state election authority before razor-thin results for 10-year seat on state's high court certified as 'correct'…
By Brad Friedman on 5/30/2011 8:54pm PT  

Last Monday, May 23rd, Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.), the state's top election agency, officially certified [PDF] the controversial results of the extraordinarily close April 5th statewide Supreme Court election and its subsequent "recount."

However, as The BRAD BLOG has learned, the agency certified those results without reviewing hundreds of official exhibits documenting wholesale ballot irregularities, on-the-record objections from the attorneys of the candidate who filed for the "recount," and thousands of pages of official transcripts and minutes documenting the entire "recount" process from the election's most controversial county.

Even more alarming, the agency doesn't even yet have a copy of the hundreds, if not thousands, of pages which make up the official minutes documenting the nearly month-long "recount" from Waukesha County --- the last of the state's 72 counties to complete its count, and by far the most controversial county following the late discovery there of some 14,000 votes not included in the county's original Election Night results.

Indeed, the G.A.B. admits, they may not even have those minutes for another two weeks, despite the already-issued certification of the election results, and despite the fact that the statutory deadline for a candidate to file a challenge to those certified results in court is tomorrow (Tuesday).

The official minutes from most of the other 71 counties, as documented during the "recount" of the razor-thin, highly contentious election for a 10-year term on the state's high court between incumbent Republican Justice David Prosser and his independent challenger Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, have been posted on the G.A.B.'s website for some time, with the 71st, Milwaukee County, finally posted late last week.

With Kloppenburg set to announce her decision on whether to seek a judicial review tomorrow, Waukesha's lengthy and detailed minutes are not posted for public review with all of the others, despite massive and alarming irregularities discovered during the "recount" process there over the past month (see here, here, and here for just a few of many examples), because the G.A.B. has not been given them by the county, as state officials conceded during phone conversations late last week...

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Vetoed in MN while significant legal challenges likely elsewhere...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/30/2011 2:21pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Republicans in state after state across the country today, Memorial Day 2011, are remembering those who fought and died to protect our democracy by celebrating recent victories in their renewed effort to remove the right to vote for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of legal American voters.

It's been just days since we filed "GOP Voter Suppression Shifts Into High Gear in State After State as 'Tea Party' Shell Game Exposed" on May 23, detailing new GOP-passed polling place Photo ID restrictions in states like SC and FL, but since then we can report that Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed a bill legalizing polling place photo ID restrictions in TX and Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed a photo ID restriction bill in WI.

Both of them, as opponents have documented over and over again, will serve to do little more than to disenfranchise far more legal (largely Democratic-leaning) voters than those who will be kept from fraudulently impersonating other voters at the polling place, which, as even most proponents admit when forced, happens almost never --- if it all.

Thankfully in at least one instance since our last report, Gov. Mark Dayton (D) of MN vetoed a photo ID measure passed by Republicans in his state. So there is one case, at least, where the memories of our fallen soldiers might be appropriately honored this weekend, as one governor has remembered to protect the very thing that so many of them died for.

Despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the enactment of Indiana's photo ID law in Crawford vs. Marion County Election Bd. (2008), both the new WI photo ID law, which may cost WI taxpayers $7 million to implement, and both the SC and TX photo ID laws, which do not even recognize student photo IDs, may be subject to significant legal challenges...

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By Brad Friedman on 5/29/2011 11:19am PT  

From Maggie Mahar at Health Beat...

You may have seen the  headline: “DIRE FORECAST SPARKS NEW MEDICARE DEBATE TRUSTEES' REPORT USED AS FODDER FOR POLITICAL SALVOS BY BOTH SIDES,” but the date may come as a surprise:  June 6, 1996.

At the time, the Chicago Tribune warned its readers: “Medicare trustees reported Wednesday that the program's financial outlook is getting worse, touching off a new round of debate over the future of the federal health insurance system for the elderly and disabled. According to the trustees, who give the program a fiscal checkup every year, the fund that pays Medicare hospital bills dipped into the red last year and will go broke in early 2001. That's a year earlier than they predicted in 1995.”

Sound familiar? How about these warnings:

Chicago Tribune July 2, 1969: “The Medicare hospital trust fund faces bankruptcy by 1976 and taxes must either be raised or benefits reduced the senate finance committee was told today.”

Washington Post, April 1, 1986: “The Medicare hospital insurance program faces bankruptcy by 1996, two years earlier than projected last year.”

New York Times, January 20, 1985: In the last few years, when it appeared that the Medicare trust fund would run out of money in 1987-89... But the need seemed less urgent after the Congressional Budget Office issued new estimates last September indicating that the Medicare trust fund would not go bankrupt until 1994.

(Hat tip to Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn who culled eighteen stories from the Tribune, the Washington Post and the New York Times over a period of four decades, each predicting that the Medicare Hospital Insurance Fund was teetering on the brink of disaster.)

But of course Medicare didn’t “run out of money” in 1994, and it won’t go belly-up now, in large part thanks to health care reform legislation.  According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Affordable Care Act (ACA) raises and saves over $950 billion. (Below, I spell out how the legislation generates those dollars). In the process, as the Medicare Trustees’ Report 2011 points out, the ACA reduces Medicare spending “by 25 percent”—without cutting health benefits, or shifting costs to seniors.

Our thanks to Digby for pointing us to the above in her article this afternoon describing today's as usual right-leaning Meet the Press roundtable as "vapid" and "braindead" featuring just one of six panelists who "might not be called [conservative]," in a discussion "about the immediate deficit catastrophe" which, she believes, would likely cause "all elderly people [to be] extremely worried that they will be barred from going to the hospital next week because Medicare has gone belly up."

She goes on to quote samples of the "verbal compost" of today's roundtable discussion on NBC, adding "I don't think I've ever had the misfortune to see a bigger load of pompous Villager pap and GOP propaganda in one place."

If it's Sunday...

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By Brad Friedman on 5/27/2011 4:13pm PT  

Rightwing activists and propagandists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, employees of con-artist and propagandist Andrew Breitbart, may not use the First Amendment as an excuse for breaking the law in California, according to a federal judge's ruling this week.

Judge M. James Lorenz rejected the defendants' argument and motion for summary judgment in federal court, as part of the civil lawsuit filed against them by former San Diego ACORN worker Juan Carlos Vera.

Giles had previously thrown O'Keefe under a bus by arguing that she should not be held accountable at all for violating California's Invasion of Privacy Act [CA Penal Code § 632], since he, not she, was actually wearing the hidden video camera used to secretly tape their conversations with Vera, even after they had asked if their meeting would be kept confidential.

For his part, O'Keefe, a convicted federal criminal, argued that he was allowed to violate the law because the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment protected him as a "journalist". The judge ruled against the defendants on all points...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/26/2011 1:13pm PT  


TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport
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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Another day, another deadly outbreak of tornadoes in a record season; Japan admits three meltdowns and turns to solar; Electric cars for the federal fleet; PLUS: House Republicans hold disaster aid hostage ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Suing the FDA over antibiotics in livestock feed; New US mpg labels now include emissions; Switzerland to phase out nuclear power; Norway plans billion-dollar clean energy fund for poor; What does a great sustainable city look like?; World Bank's coal electricity headache; Water scarcity impacts energy options in West; Will 10 Billion people use up the planet's resources?; Swine flu likely came from China; Cancer now leading cause of death in polluted China; Curious: AEI's budget proposal includes a carbon tax; GM recycles BP spill booms for ChevyVolt; Very cool liquid-cooled LED bulb introduced; A dark day for Brazil's Amazon jungle ... PLUS: Oil speculators charged with price manipulation. How does oil speculation raise gas prices? ...

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By Brad Friedman on 5/25/2011 12:18pm PT  

Via TPM:

By way of reminder, George W. Bush inherited a federal budget surplus from Bill Clinton in 2000, when the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had forecast that, at that rate, the debt would be entirely wiped out by 2012.

Any questions?

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By Brad Friedman on 5/24/2011 11:08pm PT  

The nation has seen more than 1,000 tornadoes so far this year. In Alabama and elsewhere on April 27, there were some 290 deaths when twisters ripped through Tuscaloosa. Nearly 125 are now dead in Joplin, MO, with some 1,500 still missing, and at least 5 are dead in Oklahoma tonight as the result of still more deadly tornadoes in the past few hours. There have been other deaths from this outbreak as well, as far north as Minneapolis this week, making 2011's death toll from tornadoes, to date, the worst since 1953, (long before the advanced weather forecasting and warning systems we now have in place.)

[Update 11:44pm PT: And this just in, the National Weather Service reports tonight that Denning, Arkansas, a town with 100 homes in Franklin County, has been destroyed. "Spotters reported that this large tornado was up to a mile wide at one point just before it struck Denning."]

But that's just the tip of the melting iceberg.

We rarely --- almost never --- run complete articles from elsewhere here. However, the following piece from Bill McKibben of 350.org, as published last night by the Washington Post, cannot and should not be truncated. It should be read in full by everyone in this disastrously disinformed nation...

A link between climate change and Joplin tornadoes? Never!
By Bill McKibben, Published May 23, 2011

Caution: It is vitally important not to make connections. When you see pictures of rubble like this week’s shots from Joplin, Mo., you should not wonder: Is this somehow related to the tornado outbreak three weeks ago in Tuscaloosa, Ala., or the enormous outbreak a couple of weeks before that (which, together, comprised the most active April for tornadoes in U.S. history). No, that doesn’t mean a thing.

It is far better to think of these as isolated, unpredictable, discrete events. It is not advisable to try to connect them in your mind with, say, the fires burning across Texas — fires that have burned more of America at this point this year than any wildfires have in previous years. Texas, and adjoining parts of Oklahoma and New Mexico, are drier than they’ve ever been — the drought is worse than that of the Dust Bowl. But do not wonder if they’re somehow connected.

If you did wonder, you see, you would also have to wonder about whether this year’s record snowfalls and rainfalls across the Midwest — resulting in record flooding along the Mississippi — could somehow be related. And then you might find your thoughts wandering to, oh, global warming, and to the fact that climatologists have been predicting for years that as we flood the atmosphere with carbon we will also start both drying and flooding the planet, since warm air holds more water vapor than cold air...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/24/2011 1:54pm PT  


TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport
VIA SMART PHONE: Stitcher Radio!

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Tornado terror and devastation in Joplin, MO; Extreme weather and the costs of the 'new normal'; Iceland erupts again; PLUS: The EPA on the hot seat --- again ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Obama Admin to transition US fleet to alternative vehicles; TX drinking water pipes & plumbing radioactive; Farm runoff in MS fuels dead zone in Gulf; Teaching kids about recycling, one candy bribe at a time; Behavior changes could save 3 coal plants worth of power; Gulf disaster leads to safety gear innovations; Federal Arctic drilling impact statement falls short; Vitter blocks raise for DOI Secretary; Lawsuit against California’s climate law is misguided; Judge's ruling won't halt CA global warming law; Billionaire Koch Brothers to benefit from controversial Keystone XL pipeline?; TX files challenge to EPA "endangerment finding"; Lessons from the ‘Rapture’ that didn’t happen; Norway's billion-dollar clean energy initiative for the poor; Stink bug spread threatens crops ... PLUS: "The Battle for Patagonia Has Just Begun" in Chile ...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 5/23/2011 6:43pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"I don’t want everybody to vote," Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the billionaire-funded Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority, said while addressing a right-wing Christian audience in 1980. "[O]ur leverage in the elections goes up as the voting populace goes down," he added after he denigrated those who seek "good government" through maximum, informed voter participation as people who suffer from the "goo goo syndrome."

Voter suppression has long been a staple of American politics, but the tsunami of new restrictions on the polling place now being rammed through by newly-elected Republican majorities in state after state is unprecedented, certainly since the era of Jim Crow was supposed to have been ended by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

While most Americans may think of the poll tax and literacy tests as forms of voter suppression associated the Jim Crow South, the confirmation hearings of the late U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Renquist included sworn testimony from former U.S. Attorney James Brosnahan and others reflecting that, as an early 60's GOP activist, Renquist intimidated African-American and Hispanic voters in AZ by challenging their ability to read.

1965's Voting Rights Act outlawed both the poll tax and literacy tests. In more recent times, pursuant to a 1987 federal court consent decree, and a subsequent provision of the National Voting Rights Act of 1993, another GOP suppression tactic, "caging lists," was banned, though as documented by the BBC's Greg Palast, the Bush administration-led Plutocrats didn't let a little matter like illegality get in the way of their use.

21st Century voter suppression operates under cover. Or it had, until the new wave of legislation being passed by GOP legislatures across the country began hitting its stride. Until FL's then-governor Charlie Crist overturned it, for example, the state banned convicted felons from voting even years after they'd been released from prison. In Armed Madhouse, Palast asserts that prior to the 2000 Presidential election, FL's then Sec. of State Katherine Harris, appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush, the brother of candidate George W. Bush, purged 94,000 "felons" from the state's computerized voter rolls, though the only "crime" at least 91,000 were guilty of was "being Black, Democrat or both."

Over much of the past decade, voter suppression efforts have been bolstered by bogus "voter fraud" claims leveled at groups like ACORN, who aided in the registration of those who might be likely to vote against the GOP (minorities and the working class); "non-partisan" GOP astroturf groups like the phony American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) created after the 2004 election solely to create and spread false propaganda about a Democratic "voter fraud" epidemic; laws meant to increase the legal risk to real non-partisan organizations for assisting in registration; draconian polling place "photo ID" restriction laws, and in a reduction of opportunities for early voting.

With the tide of GOP victories at the ballot box last November, those efforts have now been ramped up and are now front and center in some 30 state legislatures across the country...

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By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2011 3:31pm PT  

[Courtesy one of the finest "follows" on the Twitters, John Fugelsang.]

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As the count nears its end, more irregularities emerge, including mis-dated poll tapes, unprinted 'paper trails,' duct taped bags and the state's unwavering faith in the machine...
By Brad Friedman on 5/20/2011 6:53am PT  

For weeks, we've been reporting on the mess seen in the statewide "recount" of Wisconsin's very close and very contentious April 5th Supreme Court election between Republican incumbent Justice David Prosser and his challenger, Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg.

As The BRAD BLOG obtained evidence of new irregularities this week --- to add to previously reported revelations of, among other irregularities, ballot bags discovered "wide open" with mismatched or missing serial numbers as well as ballots discovered completely unsecured, all in violation of the secure chain of custody, and other similar messes and mistallies across the state --- we wanted to find out if the state's chief election agency, the Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.), was able to confirm that the ballots counted during the "recount" were actually the ones cast on Election Day. And, if so, how they could confirm that.

To date, with about 25,000 "recounted" votes still to be canvassed from the now infamous Waukesha County, some 2,690 votes have been discovered during the "recount" to have been originally mistallied. That's according to the G.A.B.'s own figures, and includes hundreds of thousands of ballots which were simply re-tallied rather than counted by hand during the "recount," on the same computers which tallied them --- either correctly or incorrectly --- on Election Night.

31 out of the state's 72 counties counted some or most of their ballots by hand for the first time during the "recount" (including several of the largest counties). But, given the fact that supposedly "secured" ballot bags were discovered during the "recount" to have been "wide open" and not secured at all, with little or no explanation from officials, after being accessible for weeks by the same untrustworthy and partisan election officials, such as Waukesha's County's activist GOP County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, who screwed up the tabulation in the first place, how is it that anybody knows if the ballots finally counted by human beings are actually genuine?

We've been trying, with no small amount of frustration, to get a definitive answer from the G.A.B. on that question for the past week, as well as from the campaigns of both candidates in the race.

The G.A.B. generally agrees with the campaign of the election's current leader, incumbent Justice David Prosser, that broken security seals, opened ballot bags --- even some that are torn open and taped back shut with duct tape, as seen in Waukesha County this week (photos below) --- and other violations of chain of custody are of little concern. So long as the newly tabulated results largely match the results printed on the poll tapes by the computer tabulators at the end of Election Night on April 5th, that is, essentially, close enough for government work.

The G.A.B. and the Prosser campaign, as we confirmed with each directly, and as the G.A.B. indicated on a recent post to their website published in the wake of the specific questions we've been asking them --- are placing their faith largely in the accuracy of the state's oft-failed, easily-manipulated, privately-manufactured electronic voting systems made by companies like Diebold, ES&S, and Sequoia. They are also placing faith in their election official colleagues around the state.

All of which begs the question: What's the point of having a "recount," or of using security procedures and physical seals for the ballots after the election, if violations of those procedures and seals are of little concern to the state's top election agency?

Worse, if the results printed on the poll tapes are the ultimate proof of the accuracy of results, what happens when --- as discovered among poll tapes from the City of Pewaukee in Waukesha County late last week --- the "recount" uncovers "Official Results Report" poll tapes dated a full seven days before the actual election was held?

Or, worse still, what happens when poll tapes failed to print at all on Election Day, as has been seen in a number of towns across the state?...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
Final 'Green News Report' Ever?
By Desi Doyen on 5/19/2011 1:18pm PT  


TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport
VIA SMART PHONE: Stitcher Radio!

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Big Oil's big subsidies survive the Senate; Federal investigators find "deviant practices" by Massey Energy; Faulty equipment at Japanese nuke plant also installed at US nuke plants; PLUS: It's the End of the World as we know it! So drive safely! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): NOAA scientists see 'unprecedented' ocean changes; US weather disasters are the 'new normal'; Are environmental regulations really 'job killers'?; 100% solar plane makes another successful flight; Hauling icebergs to deserts; CA hybrid owners to lose carpool lane privileges; Exposing babies to carcinogenic flame-retardants; Big fines for PA 'fracking' violations; Deforestation in Brazil escalates; Where has MT's water gone?; TX drinking water shows radioactive contamination; MS River flood making Gulf Dead Zone much worse; Bringing solar to the masses at Lowe's; Climate denier's retracted report exposes workings of the Denial Industry; Climate change deniers now like birthers ... PLUS: Is climate sanity the kiss of death for Republican presidential candidates? ...

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Narrow margin, 10,000 still-to-be-tallied absentee ballots to test L.A. County's Bowen-approved op-scan system, again
UPDATE 5/20: BOWEN CONCEDES...
By Brad Friedman on 5/18/2011 1:33pm PT  

[See UPDATES at bottom for Bowen statement, final reported results...]

Yesterday, California's Republican-supported Prop 14 --- which voters approved last June, changing the state's separate party primary system to a single primary for all candidates, with the top two vote-getters going on to a run-off election if none receives more than 50% of the vote --- had its first official try-out in the Special Election to replace the resigning Blue Dog Democrat and unrepentant war supporter Rep. Jane Harman in the state's 36th Congressional District.

While similarly "Blue Dog" Democratic candidate and L.A. City Councilwoman Janice Hahn was in the lead last night as results were reported throughout the evening, it was the battle for second place, and therefore the right to participate in the run-off, that presented a real late-night nail-biter twist as unofficial precinct results were completed in the wee hours.

With Democratic CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen running second and seemingly headed for the run-off with Hahn for most of the night, according to L.A. County's running totals, the final unverified results inched self-financed Republican Craig Huey into the second place spot by just 206 votes at evening's end, after all 261 precincts in the very Democratic-leaning CA-36 were tallied.

With nearly 10,000 mail-in, provisional and other votes still to be tallied on the county's optical-scan system, however --- a system which was decertified and then conditionally re-certified, in part, by Bowen herself in 2008 --- the result of the cliff-hanger is likely to ensure "busy days ahead" at the L.A. County Registrar Recorder/County Clerk's office as Dean Logan, L.A. County's Registrar Recorder/County Clerk, noted last night on his personal Twitter account...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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