Is Anything about Romney Real??

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

by: Elaine in Roanoke

Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 18:00:34 PM EDT

When Willard "Mitt" Romney and his campaign made a decision to turn a partisan event on Tuesday in Ohio into a "storm relief effort," all was not as portrayed by the op ed photos released to the press. As reported on Buzzfeed, a political rally in Dayton was quickly turned into a "storm relief effort" that was meant to portray Romney as caring and a leader during a crisis."The plan was for supporters to bring hurricane relief supplies to the event and then deliver the bags of canned goods, packages of diapers, and cases of water bottles to the candidate, who would be perched behind a table...To complete the project and photo op, Romney would lead his crew in carrying the goods out of the gymnasium and into the Penske rental truck parked outside."
Campaign aides became worried that donations wouldn't be large enough to fill up the truck. So, the night before the event Romney campaign workers took $5,000 to a Dayton Walmart and bought bottled water, canned goods, etc. When people showed up without donations, they were told to "just grab something" from the purchased pile.
It's bad enough that a "storm relief" event used bogus donations, but let's not forget that the Red Cross expressly asks people NOT to donate goods. Donated money can be used to buy what's needed at the site of a disaster. Donated goods simply use up resources transporting and distributing them. If Romney wants to help, I would suggest he pull out his checkbook and write a multi-million-dollar donation to the Red Cross, earning himself yet another tax deduction.
This scam ranks right up there with Paul Ryan showing up long after dinner at a shelter, but insisting on washing already clean dishes in order to get his photo taken. There's no way Americans can trust those guys.

Gallup: Unemployment Down to 7.1%, Economic Confidence Highest Since 2008

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'm not sure what to make of Gallup's polling on the presidential race (I definitely think they're off base in their likely voter model), but generally speaking their economic survey numbers have been reasonable (see the graph at the right, compare to BLS numbers, and decide for yourself). Certainly, if nothing else, the trend lines have been consistent - down, from about 9.1% in January 2011 to under 8.0% (seasonally adjusted) in September 2012.Now, with one more BLS report scheduled for release prior to next Tuesday's election, Gallup's showing a 7.1% unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted), the lowest since Gallup started daily tracking of unemployment in January 2011. Comparing apples to apples, Gallup's non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment percentage was at  7.9% at the end of September. As of yesterday, again, it was at 7.1%, a drop of 0.8 percentage points in just a few weeks. If - and it's a big if - the BLS numbers track the Gallup numbers, the implication is that there could be a significant drop in the official unemployment rate (although of course BLS seasonally adjusts its numbers, so that complicates matters). Anyway, we'll see, and I hate to get hopes up, but if Gallup's at all on target, then the trend in the unemployment rate over the past month has been downwards - and not by an insignificant amount, either!
Meanwhile, as if that's not good enough news, Gallup is reporting this morning that their economic confidence index is now at its "highest level...since Gallup began Daily tracking of economic confidence in 2008."
Finally, one last piece of good economic news: U.S. home prices rose "in August in nearly all U.S. cities, and many of the markets hit hardest during the crisis are starting to show sustained gains. The increases are the latest evidence of a steady housing recovery."
So remind me, with all this positive economic news (note: I haven't even mentioned the fact that the stock markets have approximately doubled since they crashed starting in late 2008), why on earth would we switch from President Obama's leadership and go back to the irresponsible policies that helped get us into the mess in the first place?!?
P.S. Just to put the unemployment numbers in perspective, according to BLS, the rate was 7.8% in January 2009, when President Obama took over (late in the month). Given that it takes a few months AT BEST for a new president's policies to be passed and start kicking in, and given that we were shedding jobs fast as the economy melted down starting in late 2008 (when Bush was still president), I think it's fair to start counting Obama's record with regard to unemployment in mid 2009 (9.5% rate in June-July of that year).

The Pathological Liar Ends as He Began, A Serial Liar (Who Won't Stop)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

by KathyinBlacksburg

It's a really sad day when what used to be run-of-the-mill resume enhancement (pols bragging or exaggerating about their accomplishments), which was bad enough, has turned into pathological fiction spinning of the worse-than-G-W-Bush Willard Mitt Romney. Believe me, it gets old having to point out even more of Mitt Romney's lies. Note that hundreds more previously have been chronicled hereWorse than sad. Disgraceful. He casts himself as a religious man, but, where morality and truth-telling intersect, is a complete fraud. Bill Scher has an article listing and refuting the lies in Mitten's closing argument. Here are a few of Romney's false claims (asterisked in the blockquote) with Scher's counterpoint/correction immediately below the lie.
There's more below the fold...
KathyinBlacksburg :: The Pathological Liar Ends as He Began, A Serial Liar (Who Won't Stop)
* He promised to cut the deficit in half, but he doubled it.If by doubled you mean, long-term deficit cut of $4 trillion, if Republicans will just accept tax increases on people like me.
* He said he would reform Medicare and Social Security and save them from pending insolvency, but he shrunk from proposing any solution at all.
...except for that whole ObamaCare thing, which extends the solvency of the Medicare trust fund, costs savings which I pledged to junk. And except for proposing to raise the Social Security payroll tax cap so the wealthy contribute more to that trust fund's long-term solvency.
* Where are the 9 million more jobs that President Obama promised his stimulus would have created by now?
...or maybe I should say, where is that 9 million jobs promise? Oh that's right. Nowhere. It was President-elect Obama who promised a plan to create "2.5 million more jobs by January 2011." It was President Obama's stimulus which met that goal, and then some, ahead of schedule.
* They are in China, Mexico, and Canada and in countries that have made themselves more attractive for entrepreneurs and business and investment.
... Thanks to the wave of outsourcing which I pioneered at Bain Capital and tax incentives which I benefit from yet claim not to know exist. 
That fact that this race is even somewhat close (the extent of the horse race is most likely greatly exaggerated) is a sad commentary on a number of levels:
a) the success of the "reality" inventors (e.g., Karl Rove and Frank Luntz);
b) the ignorance of some voters, who get their "information" from the ads of Karl Rove with the word-smithing of Frank Luntz;
c) the racism of others (see the new study on 51% of Americans' racist attitudes), which predisposes the bigots to believe anything negative;
d) the media enablers who refuse to tell Americans the truth instead of he said/he said "coverage";
e) the pathology of candidates like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's extensive repertoire of fabrications and their shameless propensity to speak them.
We already knew the following about Willard Mitt Romney:
* Mitt did not save the Olympics, the taxpayers did with a massive bailout.
* He was not a job creator, but rather a debt merchant and leveraged buyout predator.
* His entire professed record in MA is fiction. he wasn't a governor who worked relentlessly across the aisle, but rather one who used his veto more than 800 times.
*Mitt is not the model citizen he purports, but rather one of our nation's biggest tax avoiders/evaders.  With millions parked in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Switzerland (and other countries), Mitt himself is a major cause of the federal budget deficit. But he thinks we should throw more money at him.
*Mitt has lied repeatedly about his "plan" for American's fiscal futures.  
* He has misrepresented the President's record hundreds of times.
* He has no respect for 99% of Americans and won't even look out for nearly half of them should he win.
Isn't a president supposed to be the leader of all of America? Mitt has already declared he won't consider nearly half at all. And that isn't even the half of what is wrong with Mitt Romney's candidacy.  There are hundreds (more than five hundred) more as we have chronicled in previous posts.

Here Comes "Frankenstorm" Sandy

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A detour from politics - although this hurricane/frankenstorm certainly could have an impact on the upcoming elections if we lose power for days, etc. - to provide an update on Sandy. Please click on the images, including ones on the "flip," to "embiggen." Also, I'd point out that although any given specific weather event can't be attributed to climate change,  of course, this bizarre storm is totally consistent with the types of craziness we'd expect from a warming/weirding world. Just something to keep in mind when you hear Republicans deny overwhelming science indicating that mankind's emissions of greenhouse gases are dramatically changing the planet's climate.P.S. Also check out the Capital Weather Gang, which says that Monday "is looking pretty ugly for most of the area," with "strengthening winds, eventually sustained as high as tropical storm force (39+ mph) in addition to considerably higher gusts." We're also talking about "High likelihood DC area sees at least 3-6" of rain, and wind gusts over 50 mph." Can we say power outages? Get prepared now!
P.P.S. Other links: National Weather ServiceNational Hurricane Center; and Dominion Power.

U.S. Economy Continues to Rebound Under President Obama; Republicans So Sad :(

Friday, October 26, 2012

See here for more:
U.S. economic growth picked up in the third quarter, boosted by stronger consumer spending, an improving housing sector and increased defense spending.Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the nation's economic health, grew at an annual rate of 2% from July to September, the Commerce Department said Friday, faster than the 1.3% in the second quarter.
So, let's review: with Republicans hell bent on making Obama "fail," unemployment is down, 5 million private sector jobs have been created in the last 30+ months, the auto industry's alive and well, the housing market's bouncing back, Al Qaeda is decimated/bin Laden is dead, health care coverage has been expanded for tens of millions of Americans, "Don't Ask Don't Tell" has been ended (good riddance!), the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act for Women has been signed, Great Depression II has been averted, Wall Street reforms have been put in place/the financial sector has been saved from ruin, cancer has been cured... Oh wait, the last one isn't true, so definitely don't vote for Obama. Ha. :)

The Boss Rallies the Vote in C'Ville; We Need To Rally For the President

Thursday, October 25, 2012

by Aznew

I'm pretty sure everyone knows that the Boss did an appearance last week in Ohio with the Big Dog (or did the Big Dog do an appearance with the Boss? That's a tough call determining who was topping that bill!).In any event, since Bruce was going to be here in Charlottesville for a concert Tuesday night at the JPJ (a concert that, unfortunately, I was unable to attend), there was hope we might see a similar rally here. Hey, the Boss was here, and we are a swing state, so...
And sure enough, the Obama campaign put out word this weekend that Bruce would do a free concert/get-out-the-vote rally at the Pavilion on the Downtown Mall.
Getting tickets on Sunday was easy enough, and on Tuesday, a beautiful Central Virginia autumn afternoon, me, Mrs. aznew, and Jonah, the most junior aznew (he's 12) headed down to the Mall. Sure, we had to pull him out of school early to get there in time, but we have our priorities straight.
I didn't have a great vantage point to judge crowd size, but based on other gatherings I've seen at the Pavilion, it looked like at least 3,000 to 4,000. The crowd was enthusiastic, but not necessarily political. Many people were clearly there just to see Springsteen, which of course was the idea behind the rally, namely, to deliver the "get out and vote" message to people who otherwise would not attend a political event.
Virginia doesn't offer early voting in the same way as Ohio - here in the Commonwealth, you need to have a reason for needing to vote early, you can't just do it as a matter of right - but volunteers were on hand to help people vote early if they needed to once the rally was over.
But, in truth, just planting the idea in people's minds will get some of them out to the polls on Election Day who otherwise might not go.
Much more on the flip, including video of the Boss
aznew :: The Boss Rallies the Vote in C'Ville; We Need To Rally For the President
There were a number of speakers and videos before the Boss came on aimed at getting people to vote for President Obama, but finally, Gov. Tim Kaine came on to introduce Bruce. Before doing so, of course, he made short speech."I am here today to support the reelection of Barack Obama," Gov. Kaine said. "We're not just gonna make it happen. We're gonna make sure it happens not in spite of Virginia, but because of Virginia."
Folks, if President Obama wins Virginia, it is game, set and match. Simple as that. There is simply no path for Romney to win this election if he doesn't win Virginia. We may not be  part of the President's so-called "firewall" in the mid-West, but we could have the privilege of perhaps being the state that seals Romney's defeat. 
How great would that feel on Nov. 7?
But I digress.
I won't go into detail about the Boss' show, except to say that it was great. The set was basically the same one he did in Ohio with Clinton (if you saw that), except he seemed to have added a few more verses to the Obama campaign song he's been writing, and he substituted The River for Youngstown, for obvious reasons. So, the set was as follows:
No Surrender
Promised Land
Obama Campaign Song
The River
We Take Care Of Our Own
Thunder Road

My words couldn't do the show justice, but, Hell, they don't have to. Judge for yourself. Here is a video of the show, well worth a half-hour of your time if you can spare it - just some really beautiful, quintessentially American music here, courtesy of Obama For America:

Seriously, the fact that we have artists like the Boss who care so deeply for social and economic justice, and express it so profoundly, is one of the things that make me proud to be an American.
I am thankful to the Boss not just for writing and performing such beautiful music, but more importantly for caring enough about his country to put in the time and effort to appear at a rally only a few hours before he has to perform at a concert -- not a small or easy thing - to help President Obama get re-elected.
Here's how I see it. If Bruce can do this for us, the least we can do is take a small amount of time on Nov. 6  to make sure we all get out and vote. 
But, in reality, that's not enough. Look, if you're reading Blue Virginia, I assume you're going to vote.
What we all need to do is to make sure all of our family members vote. We need to talk to our neighbors, and make sure that they vote. Talk to our friends, and make sure they vote. Talk to our kids teachers and make sure they go out and vote. E-mail people we have not e-mailed in years and say, "Hi. Hey, go vote, will-ya?"
Remember, if the President wins Virginia, he wins the election. It is as simple as that.
Ask yourself, do you really want to be referring to "President Romney" for the next four years? Do you?
Think about it.

Jim Moran Campaign, (Former) Field Director Issue Short Statements Following O'Keefe Video

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

As we all know, James O'Keefe is the worst of the worst in politics, a right-wing political hit man who, among other things, was arrested "in January 2010 during an attempt to make recordings at the office of United States Senator Mary Landrieu." Ultimately, O'Keefe "was sentenced to three years' probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine" for that little escapade. Then there's the whole ACORN episode, reminiscent of McCarthyism in its viciousness, sleaziness and dishonesty. Given all this, my initial reaction toO'Keefe's latest video, this one involving Jim Moran for Congress Field Director Patrick Moran (Jim's son), was that it most likely lived down to the extremely low standards of the guy putting it together, the usual bunch of statements taken out of context, selective editing, entrapment, the whole 9 yards.In the end, that could turn out to be the case, at least in part. But if you watch the video, which I have, it sure doesn't look good for Patrick Moran (nor can I think of any plausible explanation for his behavior here, even if he was "set up" by scumbag O'Keefe). In short, what we see and hear in the video is absolutely unacceptable - morally, of course, and maybe also legally - behavior by anyone, let alone by a Democratic campaign official, let alone by the son of a sitting Congressman, let alone by...well, you get the picture.
First and foremost, Patrick Moran needed to be removed from the campaign. I would have preferred that he be fired, but instead he resigned:
lowkell :: Jim Moran Campaign, (Former) Field Director Issue Short Statements Following O'Keefe Video
Statement from Patrick Moran: "Effective immediately, I have resigned from the Moran for Congress campaign."
Then, the Moran campaign needed to provide a full explanation of what happened here. Instead, several hours after this story first broke, the Moran campaign has been almost completely silent, refusing requests by multiple journalists for substantive comment. So far, other than the Patrick Moran resignation, the only thing they've put out, at least to my knowledge, is the following, a few minutes ago:
Patrick is well liked and was a well-respected member of the campaign team. This incident, however, was clearly an error in judgment.  The campaign has accepted Patrick's resignation, effective immediately.
Well then, that clears it all up. Not! I mean, can you say any less than that in a statement about a major news story? It would be difficult, that's for sure. I mean, c'mon, "an error in judgment," a "well liked and...well-respected member of the campaign team?" Seriously?!? Ugh.A few minutes after the latter Moran campaign statement, the Arlington County Democratic Committee, whose office Patrick Moran is seen walking into towards the end of the video, issued the following statement:
Arlington Democrats condemn any form of voter fraud. Any allegations that such conduct has been condoned - especially in Arlington - is something we take very seriously. We are concerned by the apparent remarks of Pat Moran in the hidden-camera video arranged by Mr. O'Keefe. While we do yet not know Pat Moran's response to the video and Mr. O'Keefe's allegations, we understand that Pat Moran has resigned from the Moran campaign, and we have asked him not to return to our offices. The Arlington Democrats are committed to making sure that all voters have a full and fair ability to cast their votes in accordance with applicable laws, and that commitment will not change.
That's definitely a lot better than the Moran campaign's almost complete lack of communication on this story. Good for ACDC Chair Mike Lieberman for moving quickly on this. Still, there are a gazillion questions that need to be answered here (e.g., was this a completely isolated incident? how long has behavior like this been going on by Patrick Moran?), and I certainly hope the Moran campaign is far more forthcoming in the next few days than they've been so far today.Of course, it could very well be that they're keeping their mouths shut for legal purposes, as it certainly appears, in watching this video, that Patrick Moran may have committed a crime and/or crimes here. The problem is that the legal and political imperatives facing the Moran campaign are potentially in direct conflict with each other. Saying as little as possible may be smart legally, but politically it would seem to me that the exact opposite approach - openness, a strong statement from Rep. Moran condemning this in no uncertain terms, possibly even requesting an outside investigation, etc. - makes a lot more sense. So far, though, that's not what we've gotten. At all.
Anyway, it will be fascinating to see how this plays out in coming days. Sadly, though, at this point, it's hard for me to envision a happy ending to this sordid little story.
P.S. I didn't enjoy writing this one bit. However, I strongly believe that Democrats, and certainly Progressives like myself, must stand strongly for the highest ethics and standards in government, even/especially when it's one of our "own" not living up to those ethics and standards.
UPDATE 7:05 pm: The Patrick Murray for Congress campaign has issued a statement. The problem, of course, is that Murray's a right-wing nutjob with zero credibility, and with zero chance of winning the 8th CD. So whatever...

For Immediate Release
October 24, 2012
Phone: 703-548-4977Murray response to video of Moran campaign apparently conspiring to commit voter fraud in Virginia
Alexandria, VA - In light of breaking news and the release of a video showing Pat Moran, son and campaign staffer of Congressman Jim Moran, apparently instructing a person on how to commit voter fraud in Virginia, Moran's opponent in the 8th Congressional District, Colonel Patrick Murray issued the following comment:
After seeing this video on several news sites, I am very concerned about the campaign activities of my opponent.  While it is not clear whether or not there was any wrongdoing, I hope that local, state and federal election officials will look into this matter immediately.
The integrity of our nation is at stake, and it appears that my opponent's campaign seems prepared to undermine free and fair elections right here in Virginia.
Sadly, anyone who is familiar with Jim Moran will not be surprised by this.  The truth is that Moran has a long track record of hyper partisan behavior, racially charged comments and an infamous anger management problem.  So this is more of the same embarrassing behavior that we've come to expect from Jim Moran and his campaign.
Patrick Murray is the Republican Candidate for Congress in Virginia's 8th District.  Murray is a retired Army Colonel who served overseas in Iraq, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia during his 24-year Army career.  He has worked in the U.S. State Department and at the United Nations.  In 2007, Patrick deployed to Baghdad, Iraq during the "surge."  
For more information, visit
Honor and Courage,

UPDATE Thursday morning: Patrick Moran has issued the following statement:
In reference to the "O'Keefe" video, at no point have I, or will I ever endorse any sort of illegal or unethical behavior. At no point did I take this person seriously. He struck me as being unstable and joking, and for only that reason did I humor him.In hindsight, I should have immediately walked away, making it clear that there is no place in the electoral process for even the suggestion of illegal behavior: joking or not.
In regards to my position on the campaign, I have stepped down because I do not want to be a distraction during this year's critical election.

Climate Scientist Fights Back, Sues Right Wing Reality Deniers

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

by: TheGreenMiles

Tue Oct 23, 2012 at 12:38:13 PM EDT

The Republican war on science faces a new counterattack - a libel lawsuit filed by climate scientist Michael Mann against the National Review and Competitive Enterprise Institute. From Mann's Facebook page:
Dr. Mann, a Professor and Director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, has instituted this lawsuit against the two organizations, along with two of their authors, based upon their false and defamatory statements accusing him of academic fraud and comparing him to a convicted child molester, Jerry Sandusky. [...]In response to these types of accusations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation and seven other organizations have conducted investigations into Dr. Mann's work, finding any and all allegations of academic fraud to be baseless. Every investigation-and every replication of Mann's work-has concluded that his research and conclusions were properly conducted and fairly presented.
Despite their knowledge of the results of these many investigations, the defendants have nevertheless accused Dr. Mann of academic fraud and have maliciously attacked his personal reputation with the knowingly false comparison to a child molester. The conduct of the defendants is outrageous, and Dr. Mann will be seeking judgment for both compensatory and punitive damages.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli clumsy attempt at "investigating" Dr. Mann's work was laughed out of court. Mann has been contemplating a lawsuit for months and is now moving forward, so he must feel he has a much stronger legal case than science's hapless enemies.

Final Obama-Willard Debate: Open Thread

Monday, October 22, 2012

I probably won't do a full live blog on this one, but will chime in with some thoughts. Feel free to use this as an open thread.So where does the race stand right now? According to 538, Obama has a 69.3% of being reelected, versus 30.7% for Romney. Virginia's rated as a 50/50 tossup for GOTV!
By the way, is anyone ever going to talk about the most important issue facing humanity, which is by FAR climate change? As in, nothing else is even close? Yet so far, dead silence? WTF?
UPDATE 11:08 pm: @ppppolls tweets: "Swing state voters say Obama won the debate 53-42, and are planning to vote for him 51-45". Also, Obama dominated in the CBS poll, 53%-23%.
UPDATE 10:34 pm: Total domination by Obama, that one wasn't even close - even more so than debate #2 if you ask me, just a pummeling of Romney by Obama. I just hope Americans were watching this!
UPDATE 10:32 pm: Romney, after badmouthing America the past year, says he's "optimistic" about our future. Huh? We're heading towards Greece? Wow, Romney REALLY has a low opinion of America. What ever happened to Reagan's optimism in the Republican Party? So sad. Oh yeah, Romney's going to work across the aisle by referring to "Democrat" Congressmen, etc. The guy's just utterly clueless. Something about holding a torch. Whatever. And PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE elect me president! Hahaha.
UPDATE 10:30 pm: Obama closing statement. Debates, way too many TV commercials, now you have a choice. Romney wants to take us back to reckless/wrong economic and foreign policies. I've got a different vision - build on our strengths. Bring jobs back to our shores. Best education system in world. Control our own energy, develop energy sources of future. Reduce deficit in balanced way, invest in America. Maintain strongest military in world, go after those who would do us harm, but also do some nation building here at home. We always bounce back from tough times. I will always listen to your voices, fight for your families, work to make sure America's the greatest nation on earth.
UPDATE 10:28 pm: Romney goes back to his litany of how America's economy sucks, how it's all Obama's fault, blah blah blah. Romney says "I love teachers." Schieffer - "I think we all love teachers." LOLLaden.
lowkell :: Final Obama-Willard Debate: Open Thread
UPDATE 10:22 pm: Obama - You are familiar with companies shipping jobs overseas, because you invested in companies that shipped jobs overseas. I put my faith in American workers. If we took your advice, we'd be buying cars from overseas, we'd be sending jobs to China, we'd be losing our lead in clean energy technology. U.S. exports to China have doubled since I took office. We're going to keep on pressing. We've pivoted to Asia-Pacific region with our military after we ended the Iraq War. We've sent a clear signal that we're a Pacific power. Putting pressure on China to meet international standards. Romney claims he's a "son of Detroit," so WHY did he say let Detroit go bankrupt?!? Romney criticizes President Bush for saving the U.S. auto industry?!? Obama calls Romney on his Big Lie about the auto industry. Romney just keeps spewing out his bull, flailing all over the place, rambling incoherently. Obama -Anybody out there can check the record, you keep trying to airbrush history. In order for us to be competitive, we have to make smart choices, can't cut R&D, education, adding $7 trillion to our deficit, having a tax code that ships jobs overseas, none of that is going to make us more competitive. We can't go back to same policies that got us into such difficulty in the first place.UPDATE 10:15 pm: Finally, off the Middle East...onto China. Or not. Back to terrorism again? Does Bob Schieffer have any interest in anything besides the Middle East and terrorism? Apparently not. Obama, to his credit, brings it back to China. Obama - We've brought more trade cases against China than previous administration brought in 2 terms. We saved jobs throughout America for this. Romney criticized me for being too tough on China (ZING!), but the workers whose jobs were saved sure don't feel that way (ZING ZING!). Romney goes back to right-wing pablum, "it's not government...blah blah blah." Romney says we can be a partner to China (wait, isn't that too weak or something? shouldn't we be bombing them like John Bolton probably wants?). Romney talks about companies shutting down and people losing their jobs? Is that a really, really bad joke from the pioneer of outsourcing to jobs, the investor in China, etc? Romney apparently believes starting a trade war with China's a big joke or something. It's also a flip flop on his previous position on this issue. Ack.
UPDATE 10:14 pm: Obama - We are engaging countries in building capacity, we've stood on the side of democracy, women's rights. In Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, we stood on the side of democracy. Al Qaeda is much weaker than when I came into office.
UPDATE 10:09 pm: Romney rambling again, lots of factoids but no vision, no unifying theme except "I WANT TO BE PRESIDENT!" Romney says what Obama did in Pakistan was the "right thing to do." Is Romney making the case for Obama's reelection tonight? He sure seems to be. Romney also agrees with Obama's use of drones, president was right. By the way, how on earth is the use of drones by the president an "apology tour?" LOL. Ha, Romney talking about Israel-Palestinian peace, when in that 47% video he denigrated the Palestinians and said peace was hopeless! My god...
UPDATE 10:04 pm: Good for Bob Schieffer, standing up to Romney, who gives his weird snicker/chuckle. Question on Afghanistan. Romney's rambling...zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Did Romney answer the question? Not as far as I can tell. Obama - We ended war in Iraq, refocused attention on Afghanistan. Bingo! We have met many of the objectives that had gotten us into Afghanistan in the first place. We decimated Al Qaeda's core leadership, are building up Afghan forces and are in position to transition out responsibly. Obama talks about taking care of veterans, putting them back to work.
UPDATE 10:00 pm: Is this entire debate going to be on Iran-Israel? This is ridiculous; are there ANY other issues in the world? Africa? Asia? Latin America? Europe? Global warming? A million other things? This debate is getting boring, and it's largely Bob Schieffer's fault for not raising other topics. Blech. Romney - "Democrat Senators". Juvenile, unpresidential and repulsive. Obama says Romney's been all over the map on everything. Obama pummeling Romney on his many, many flip flops, on saying we shouldn't move heaven and earth to get bin Laden, that we should ask Pakistan for permission - we wouldn't have gotten bin Laden if we had asked permission. Obama talking about the importance of getting bin
UPDATE 9:55 pm: Obama - Nothing Gov. Romney just said is true. This "apology" thing is the biggest whopper told during this campaign, every fact checker who's looked at it has said it is NOT TRUE. You're invested in Chinese company doing business with Iranian oil sector! (Ouch) We've mobilized the world against Iran, we're going to continue to keep the pressure on. Another big lie by Romney that we're "four years closer to a nuclear Iran." Wow, Romney keeps going with "apology tour" Big Lie, says Obama "skipped Israel," blah blah blah. Obama - First trip I took was to visit our troops, went to Israel but didn't take donors, went to the Holocaust Museum there, went to border towns where Hamas missiles had reined down. We funded the Iron Dome system in Israel. That's how I've used my travels. We've stood on the right side of history.
UPDATE 9:51 pm: Obama - The goal is for Iran to give up its nuclear program. We would welcome Iran returning to community of nations. Glad Gov. Romney agrees with steps we're taking. "You'd do the same things we did, but you'd say 'em louder!" Great line by Obama! :) Obama says "The clock is ticking" on Iran, not going to let them drag this out indefinitely. Romney says it's "weak" to say you'd meet with foreign leaders. Repeats the "apology tour" Big Lie that's been debunked by every independent fact checker who's looked at it. Romney's just flailing right now, he knows he's getting his a** kicked and is throwing stuff at the wall hoping SOMETHING sticks.
UPDATE 9:46 pm: Obama - If Israel is attacked, we will stand with Israel. We have strongest military and intelligence cooperation in history. Largest military exercise in Israel this very week with Israel. Iran will NOT get a nuclear weapon as long as I'm president. Their economy is being crippled. We can't afford nuclear arms race in Middle East. Iran's a state sponsor of terrorism. Iran has a choice. Disagreement with Romney is that he's talked like we should take PREMATURE action. Sending people into harm's way should be last, not first, resort.  Romney - If I'm president (whoops) WHEN I'm president. LOL. So far, no disagreement with Obama on Iran policy, admits that Obama's crippling sanctions are working! Wow. Again, Romney talks about military option as last resort, but his foreign policy team is totally trigger happy. Major contradiction.
UPDATE 9:44 pm: Romney rolls out the absurd "the Navy's smaller than 1917" line. Uh...ever hear of technological advances? One ship today can do what dozens (hundreds?) did in 1917. Again, is this guy a moron? Obama - The sequester is something CONGRESS proposed. Obama - We also have fewer horses and bayonets today, we have things called "nuclear submarines" and "aircraft carriers." This isn't a game of Battleship. Hahaha, Obama's absolutely pummeling Romney. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Hahahahahaha. I'm LOVING this debate so far! :)
UPDATE 9:40 pm: Romney says he's going to raise military spending by cutting discretionary spending. Ee gads, that's insane. He'd get rid of "Obamacare," which the CBO says would REDUCE THE DEFICIT. Is this guy a moron? Basically, no answer here. #FAIL once again. Obama points out that Romney didn't answer the question. Nails Romney on the math not adding up, asking for $2 trillion in military spending that they don't even want! We spend more on military than next 10 nations combined. Obama nails Romney on the hollowness of his economic non-plan, how it completely doesn't add up. People, are you listening to this? This election shouldn't even be close.
UPDATE 9:38 pm: Romney claims he's proud of his record as governor of Massachusetts, which is why he's avoided like the plague talking about it during this campaign. Makes a great deal of sense...if you've got "Romnesia."
UPDATE 9:35 pm: Apparently, Romney's giving up on debating foreign policy, goes back to his Big Lies and trickle-down pablum (e.g., that we're on a "spending binge," which is categorically not true) on the economy. #FAIL  Obama nails Romney on his pitiful small business record in Massachusetts. Obama says education policy is crucial to our competitiveness in the world. Obama hits Romney on not believing we need to hire more teachers, on his budget proposals that would slash support for education, that undermines our long-term competitiveness.
UPDATE 9:32 pm: Obama says our alliances have never been stronger all over the world, including the unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation with Israel. We've also positioned ourselves to rebuild America, bring manufacturing back to our shores, not rewarding companies that offshore; do everything to cut our energy imports. Need to reduce our deficit, unfortunately Romney's plan wouldn't do that. Romney has praised George Bush as good economic steward, Dick Cheney as someone who shows great judgment. Romney has proposed wrong and reckless policies. All true.
UPDATE 9:29 pm: Romney says, "When there are elections, people tend to vote for peace." What on earth does that mean? I have no idea.
UPDATE 9:25 pm: Obama says America has to stand with democracy, no regrets about saying Mubarak had to go. We're now putting pressure on Egypt's government to respect women's rights, treaty with Israel, counter-terrorism, etc. Romney agrees we shouldn't have stuck with Mubarak (so...once again, Romney thinks Obama's doing a great job on foreign policy, glad we got that cleared up. LOL). Romney says he wants a peaceful planet, but again, he's surrounded himself with a bunch of warmongers and chickenhawks. What's THAT all about? Now the debt is our biggest national security threat? I thought Romney said that was Russia. What. Ever. Oh, and as far as allies are concerned, Romney's already insulted many of the most important ones.
UPDATE 9:21 pm: Obama nails Romney on suggesting we shouldn't make sure we finished the job against Qaddafi. Romney claims he doesn't support our military being involved in Syria, but his crazy Bush/Cheney neocon foreign policy advisers sure do! Obama - Romney doesn't have different ideas because we're doing exactly what we should be doing in Syria.
UPDATE 9:17 pm: The topic is Syria. Obama - we have to be VERY careful about getting more entangled militarily in Syria. Romney - Syria is Iran's route to the sea? Uh, last I checked, Iran had a long coastline on...the sea. Oh, Romney meant a DIFFERENT sea! Heh. No idea what Romney's saying we should do different, except more arms to insurgents, many of whom are the "Islamist radicals" or whatever Romney says he doesn't like in Libya, Egypt, etc. Again, my head hurts.
UPDATE 9:15 pm: Romney just keeps talking and talking...and just saying absolutely nothing, except contradicting other things he's said. God, this guy makes my head hurt, my blood boil, and my stomach churn. Barf.
UPDATE 9:09 pm: Obama nails Romney for being "all over the map." I really hope Obama points out that Romney is Bush/Cheney Part Deux. This is total #Romnesia. Obama nails Romney on calling Russia, not Al Qaeda the #1 threat. The Cold War's been over for 20 years, Obama NAILS Romney saying he wants to adopt social policies of 1950s, economic policies of 1920s, foreign policy of 1980s...hahahaha. :) Obama to Romney - Every time you've offered an opinion, you've been wrong. Troops in Iraq to this day! Shouldn't have nuclear treaties with Russia. Shouldn't have a timeline in Afghanistan, then said we should, then said maybe...mixed messages to troops, allies. Reckless leadership, all over the map, that's not a recipe for American strength. SO TRUE!!! (Romney claims what Obama said is not "accurate," but what's not accurate exactly? Uhhhhh.)
UPDATE 9:06 pm: Romney says "We can't kill our way out of this mess." That's unintentionally hilariously, as he's surrounded himself with a bunch of warmongering, chickenhawk, neoconservative foreign policy advisers - the same people who brought you the Bush/Cheney foreign policy. UGH!
UPDATE 9:02 pm: Random thought - "Boca Raton" means the "Mouth of the rat," right? Well, that's perfect for pathological liar Willard "Mitt" Romney.
UPDATE 9:01 pm: Bob Schieffer makes me really nervous, I really don't trust him at all, and as we've seen from previous debates, moderators can make a huge difference. We'll see.

Video: At GMU, Obama Explains the Symptoms of Severe Medical Condition Called "Romnesia"

Friday, October 19, 2012

Transcript after the "flip." Gotta love it.
But now that we’re 18 days out from the election, Mr. “Severely Conservative” wants you to think he was “severely kidding” about everything he’s said over the last year. He told folks he was “the ideal candidate” for the Tea Party, now suddenly he’s saying, “what, who, me?” He’s forgetting what his own positions are, and he’s betting that you will too. I mean he’s changing up so much – backtracking and sidestepping. We’ve gotta name this condition that he’s going through.. I think it’s called “Romnesia.” That’s what it’s called. I think that’s what he’s going through. Now, I’m not a medical doctor but I do want to go over some of the symptoms with you because I want to make sure nobody else catches it. If you say you’re for equal pay for equal work, but you keep refusing to say whether or not you’d sign a bill that protects equal pay for equal work – you might have Romnesia. If you say women should have access to contraceptive care, but you support legislation that would let your employer deny you contraceptive care – you might have a case of Romnesia. If you say you’ll protect a woman’s right to choose, but you stand up at a primary debate and said that you’d be “delighted” to sign a law outlawing that right to choose in all cases – man, you’ve definitely got Romnesia. Now, this extends to other issues. If you say earlier in the year I’m going to give a tax cut to the top 1 percent and then in a debate you say, I don’t know anything about giving tax cuts to rich folks – you need to get a thermometer, take your temperature, because you’ve probably got Romnesia. If you say that you’re a champion of the coal industry when while you were Governor you stood in front of a coal plant and said, this plant will kill you – that’s some Romnesia. So – I think you’re beginning to be able to identify these symptoms. And if you come down with a case of Romnesia, and you can’t seem to remember the policies that are still on your website, or the promises you’ve made over the six years you’ve been running for President, here’s the good news: Obamacare covers pre-existing conditions. We can fix you up. We’ve got a cure. We can make you well, Virginia. This is a curable disease. Women, men, all of you. These are family issues. These are economic issues. I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as anybody’s sons. I believe America does better, the economy grows more, we create more when everybody participates, when everyone’s getting a fair shot, everybody’s getting a fair shake, everybody’s playing by the same rules, everybody’s doing their fair share. That’s why I’m asking you for another term as President of the United States. I need you to help me finish the job.

Two Must-Read Stories on Appalachian Coal's Bleak Future

Thursday, October 18, 2012

by: TheGreenMiles

Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 10:44:38 AM EDT

Roaring Fork Headwaters, Wise County, Va.- Photo by Matt Wasson, Appalachian VoicesOver at Coal Tattoo, Ken Ward Jr. flags some real talk from a coal industry analyst:
Calling the uncertain future of Central Appalachian coal mining the "elephant in the room," industry consultant Alan Stagg said he expects mining in the high-cost region to cease in the next 10 to 20 years. Speaking at Platts Coal Marketing Days on Sept. 21, Stagg said producers in Central Appalachia need to accept that difficult physical mining conditions, combined with inescapable regulatory restrictions, will soon erase profitability."This is the elephant in the room. No one wants to acknowledge that reserve depletion is profound," said Stagg, president and CEO of Stagg Resource Consultants Inc. "Mining conditions are difficult, and the cost to produce is high. That is a physical fact. It's not pleasant. Nobody wants to acknowledge it. That is a fact, and companies that ignore that fact will not do so well." [...]
"Are recent regulatory pressures a straw man in addressing problems facing the coal industry?" he asked. "Even if U.S. coal companies got all of their permits, what would they do with them? You cannot sell that coal at $40, $45 or even $50 per ton."
Blaming treehuggers is way easier than admitting to your investors, consumers & policy-makers that you picked all the low-hanging fruit decades ago & every remaining ton of coal (or barrel of oil) will be increasingly expensive to extract.Meanwhile Reuters reports, "Asian economies, hungry for coal, stand to gain from a U.S. program meant to keep domestic power cheap and abundant." How much is at stake? "One analyst concludes that the federal government missed out on nearly $30 billion in revenue over the last three decades through poor management of the coal lease program." Talk about picking winners & losers! How much better off would we be right now if the government had let the free market decide our power sources & just cut $30 billion in checks directly to help Americans pay their power bills? Eliminating coal subsidies now would be a small step towards making things right - but right now, it sounds like coal companies need all the government welfare they can get.

Video: At Virginia Tech, Kaine Demolishes Allen in Final Debate

The final Kaine-Allen debate - this one at Virginia Tech - airs at 7 pm on CSPAN and on these additional outlets/streams. I'll definitely be checking it out; how about you? I'm looking forward to Tim Kaine once again outclassing and out-everything'ing George Allen, as he's done in previous debates. If you're following the debate on Twitter, check out @timkaine, @moelleithee, @brandihoffine, @adamslily, and the hash tag #VASEN.
P.S. I can't wait to hear George Allen's version of Willard's "5-point plan": 1) tax breaks to the richest Americans; 2) corporate welfare, particularly to Big Oil; 3) repeat the same disastrous economic policies of the Bush years; 4) neoconservative foreign policy; and 5) lots of partisanship, divisiveness, and shoving Democrats "soft teeth down their whiny throats."  Heh.
UPDATE 7:54 pm: Closing statements. Allen lists his endorsements, claims he can help give us a better future, after failing to lay out any plan to do that, and after 6 years of getting us into a mess/driving the country into the ditch. Again, how can anyone support this loser?
Kaine - We're all Americans, we're all Virginians. How wonderful when brothers dwell together in unity. One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Virginia Tech pulled together after tragedy. Our people knows what unity is, but our Congress doesn't, we need people in Congress who can work together, like John Warner and "Gang of 14" (which Allen ridiculed). Now, Mark Warner is leading Gang of 6, I've pledged to join that group. Use of words like "hostage," "not a Virginia Senator," we need less of that. (SO TRUE!)
UPDATE 7:49 pm: Question on Al Qaeda. Kaine says it remains a significant concern. Need to take the fight to Al Qaeda wherever they are. Libya incident was very troubling, we need to get to the bottom of it, find out everything that happened and everything we can fix. We need to all work together, just as we did after Virginia Tech tragedy. Points out that Ryan budget cut embassy security funding, that's not good.
Allen - Goes back to sequestration deal again. Huh?!? Any country that doesn't protect our embassies shouldn't get a penny from us? My god, this guy's an imbecile: thousands of Libyans protested against the extremists who attacked our consulate, even drove the extremists out of their headquarters, but now we're supposed to tell Libya as a whole to go screw themselves? That's nuts. Hotheaded idiot. Also, why the heck is he rambling about the Soviet Gulag? Strange, strange dude.
UPDATE 7:39 pm: Question about Bush tax cuts. (Note: I'm a bit distracted right now because of this story. Wow.) Meanwhile, every other word out of Allen's mouth is "taxes, taxes, taxes." It's brain dead right-wing pablum. I'm zoning out, as this guy's got NOTHING - no ideas, no clue.
Kaine - This is personal to me, I've got a son in the military, I am NOT going to do anything to hurt military or veterans. Says Allen's only plan is to repeal Affordable Care Act, which would increase the deficit and result in MORE cuts to the military.
Allen - Uses word "hostage." Kaine says we're not talking about "hostages." Allen denies he said "hostage." Audience laughs at him. I mean, seriously, Allen is just a buffoon, why does anyone listen to him for 2 seconds?
Kaine - This is exactly the kind of rhetoric we need LESS of not MORE of in Washington. Points out that the sequestration deal was supported by Bob McDonnell, most Republicans, Chamber of Commerce, etc. that Allen was one of very few who was willing to "play chicken with America's finances." They've already tried 34 times to repeal Affordable Care Act, it was litigated in Supreme Court, it's not going to work.
Allen - Now he's attacking the Senate for not passing a budget, which once again is largely his OWN PARTY's fault! LOL, what a fool! Also note that Allen NEVER gives a straight answer to any question?!?
UPDATE 7:34 pm: Allen asks Kaine about cap-and-trade, Obamacare, sequestration, misstates all of them of course as "job killing" (FALSE!). Kaine says Allen's a climate science denier, we need to do something about it. Kaine says he likes many aspects of Affordable Care Act (e.g., closing donut hole for seniors, not allowing denial for pre-existing conditions, etc.).
Allen - Will stop regulations of CO2 which will "outlaw coal." Kaine thanks Allen for praising Wise County coal-fired power plant (blech). Allen proceeds to lie and lie and lie about cap and trade. Does he have any clue, or is he just a paid hack of fossil fuel interests? Yes, that was a rhetorical question. :)
UPDATE 7:31 pm: Kaine asks Allen about Social Security privatization. Allen says he wouldn't "force" people out of Social Security, but we should increase eligibility age, means test it. Kaine - We should NEVER privatize Social Security.

UPDATE 7:24 pm: Question on Bowles-Simpson, deficit, would you support? Allen attacks President Obama, doesn't specifically answer the question, goes back to talking points about the evil "Obamacare," blah blah blah (broken record). Allen's big answer to the deficit? Cut taxes, which of course would INCREASE the deficit, unless he's got some magic unicorns or whatever in his pocket.Kaine - Allen STILL didn't answer the question. You can't get to balance from imbalance. Allen would increase the gap by extending all the Bush tax cuts, then balance ALL through cuts. Kaine would compromise, start to close the deficit, find targeted savings. I know how to make cuts, but an all-cuts approach, allegiance to Grover Norquist, would hurt our economy and hurt Virginia.
Allen - Says we should reform entire tax code (again, that doesn't make the math add up; this guy's as bad as Lyin' Ryan). Basically, Allen just keeps attacking Kaine as a tax raiser, it's incredibly tedious and not on point. So much for having positive, constructive idea. Allen also refuses to directly answer question about Simpson-Bowles. Kaine says he doesn't like certain aspects of Simpson-Bowles. Neither candidate would support it as is.
UPDATE 7:19 pm: Question about Medicare. Kaine says Medicare critically important safety net, but budget is growing fast (in part for a good reason, we're living longer). We have to get Medicare costs under control (discusses his plan to do so, says government should be able to negotiate drug prices, shouldn't have put Medicare expansion on the credit card, as Allen voted for.)
Allen - I wish somebody would call him out on the Ryan plan to voucherize (and decimate) Medicare. Does Allen support that? Now Allen's repeating the "Obama raiding Medicare" Big Lie, which has been Fact Checked and debunked repeatedly. Lying liar.
Kaine - Why are we giving away $25 billion a year to pharmaceuticals. $700 billion in Affordable Care Act was taken from insurance companies, Allen wants to give it back to them (and away from seniors).
UPDATE 7:18 pm: Allen tries to defend his indefensible record in the U.S. Senate. Is he nuts? Seriously? Give. Me. A. Freakin'. Break. The Bush administration was a disaster, and Allen was very much part of that - enabling it, encouraging it, etc. #FAIL
UPDATE 7:14 pm: Question for Allen about voting in lockstep with Bush, being highly partisan. Allen says losing last election was "humbling experience," he's "learned" and "reflected" since then. Uh huh. Claims he worked across party lines when he was governor (perhaps, but that's ancient history; how about when you were in the U.S. Senate?!? note that Allen's dodging the question? back to attacking Tim Kaine. Yawn.)  Hahaha, Kaine calls him out big time for dodging the question, says Allen's record in the Senate was a disaster - turned surpluses into deficits, declared two wars but didn't pay for them, made massive tax cuts for wealthy but didn't pay for them either...
UPDATE 7:09 pm: Question about Kaine's relationship with Obama, Warner. Kaine says he doesn't think it's anti-Virginian to support the president, commander in chief, worked closely with Bush on rail to Dulles, response to tragic shooting at VA Tech, etc. In contrast, Allen has said he would NOT consider President Obama a partner, when in the Senate he voted with Bush 96% of the time, but of course he was still a Virginia Senator. Kaine reviews his record as LG, Governor, worked across the aisle. Allen goes back to false attacks, says Kaine spent his time "demonizing Republicans," being partisan, advocating for "harmful" policies. I mean, is this guy serious? He voted for the Bush policies that got us into a horrible mess, and he's claiming the policies that are helping us get OUT of the mess are "harmful?!?" Claims Kaine wasn't paying attention, shut down rest stops, blah blah blah. Also, Allen doesn't mention his own hyper-partisan roles in the past. Kaine lists his accomplishments - best for business, banned smoking in restaurants, recruited big companies to come to Virginia. In toughest times since 1930s, we got results.
UPDATE 7:08 pm: CSPAN's back up, MUCH better quality than the Ustream feed.
UPDATE 7:06 pm: Feed back up, although the audio's awful. Also, CSPAN's entire site is down. WTF?  Anyway, Kaine's giving his opening statement, most of which I just missed. Now Allen...bashing Kaine with lie after lie on energy, "Obamacare," sequestration (which his party supported and mostly was responsible for), etc. What a moron.
UPDATE 7:02 pm: The debate begins, and the Ustream feed promptly dies. Great, huh?  

BREAKING: Republican Party Vendor, Operative Arrested in Voter Registration Trashing Case

Wow, check this out.
The Rockingham County Sheriff's office has arrested a Pennsylvania man and charged him with attempting to throw away filled out voter registration forms.Colin Small, 31 year old male from Phoenixville, PA has been charged with 8 felonies and 5 misdemeanors in connection with the controversy. He is employed by Pinpoint, a company that was hired by the Republican Party of Virginia to help with voter registration.
Not Larry Sabato adds: "Sheriff's office said he was a vendor through Republican Party of Virginia, his linkedin profile says he works for the Republican National Committee." NLS also provides this screenshot of Colin Small's LinkedIn profile (I've posted the image on the "flip" of this article as well), where he lists himself as "Grassroots Field Director at Republican National Committee." Wow!P.S. Great job by the Rockingham County Sheriff, a Republican, who did a professional, thorough, and QUICK job on this!
P.P.S. This has been a fast-moving story. For a bit more background, see yesterday's Blue Virginia story here, including video from NBC29 and photos of the Sheriff with Paul Ryan, Bob Goodlatte, etc. Also see NLS' original story from yesterday.

RPS Wars: The Empire Nips Back

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

by: ivymain

Wed Oct 17, 2012 at 08:36:38 AM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

For much of the past year, critics have been assailing Dominion Power for its "$76 million rip-off": a bonus the company claimed for meeting Virginia's renewable energy goals using old dams, trash and wood, much of it out of state. Environmental groups say Dominion should get a bonus only if the company invests in new wind and solar projects in Virginia. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says utilities shouldn't get bonuses for renewable energy at all.This month the company finally piped up, appearing to deny all charges.  Ratepayers haven't had to pay anything, said the carefully-worded response to a media inquiry. Base rates are frozen until December 1, 2013, and its compliance with the renewable energy goal will "be only one of a large number of factors that affect the SCC setting our rates going forward."
Reporters were left scratching their heads. A year ago the State Corporation Commission, which regulates Virginia utilities, determined that the company has "earned" the $76 million bonus by meeting the absurdly lax terms of the state's renewable energy law. (See SCC case PUE-2011-00027.)  So if customers aren't paying, how is Dominion collecting?
But of course, customers are paying, and you can bet Dominion intends to get every dime. To understand how this can happen, imagine that you hire a contractor for a long-term project. You agree to pay her a set amount every month. Out of your payments, the contractor will take her expenses and profit, and when she meets a particular goal, she can take out a bonus as well. At the end of two years, you will recalculate your monthly payments to ensure the contractor recoups anything still owed to her, as well as to cover what she is entitled to going forward-expenses, profit and bonuses-and the work will continue.
ivymain :: RPS Wars: The Empire Nips Back
This is roughly how electric rates are determined in Virginia (although utility customers' payments also depend on how much electricity they use). Regulators set the rates, and Dominion takes its expenses and profit, including any bonus, out of the payments it receives from customers. If there is money left over at the end of the rate period, Dominion has to refund 60 percent of the excess to ratepayers. (Why doesn't the company have to refund the entire overcharge, you ask? Sorry, that's a different rip-off, and I can handle only one at a time.)
On the other hand, if the rates don't bring in enough revenue to cover expenses and profit, they will be reset at a higher level for the next rate period. One way or another, the utility get its money.
So Dominion's lawyerly response to critics turns out to be both correct, and irrelevant.  Utility rates are currently frozen, but that tells us nothing about whether the company is collecting its bonus. And if Dominion does not collect the full $76 million before the end of 2013, it will be one of the "factors that affect the SCC setting our rates going forward." That is, rates will be set to ensure Dominion collects the full amount.
Sorry, ratepayers. The rip-off continues.

Debate #2 Live Blog (UPDATE: Obama DEMOLISHES Romney)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

As we head into Debate #2, where does the race stand? According to Nate Silver, it's too close for comfort: President Obama with 285.6 electoral votes and a 63.8% chance of winning in the 538 model, Lying Liar Willard "Mitt" Romney with 252.4 electoral votes and a 36.2% chance of becoming "President Romney" (I know, shuddderrrrrrr).Now, I realize there are many people - including academics who study this stuff - who say "debates don't matter," but given that President Obama fell from an 86% chance of reelection before the first debate to about 64% now, that's a bit hard for me to believe. And no, don't ask me what Obama was thinking at Debate #1, because for the life of me, I have no idea.
Fortunately, Debate #2 gives Obama a chance to get back on the horse, to mount a vigorous case for his record the past 4 years, and also for another 4 years in office. Personally, I think he has a strong case to make, especially given the continuing signs of an improving economy. If there's any justice in the world, then saving us from Great Depression II, keeping Detroit from going bankrupt, relentlessly pounding the you-know-what out of Al Qaeda (sayonara Bin Laden), and much more, expanding health care coverage, ending "Don't Ask Don't Tell," investing more in clean energy than any other administration ever has, etc., should be more than sufficient for Americans to give President Obama four more years. Of course, President Obama needs to brag about his excellent record, while also reminding people that Republicans - including people like Paul Ryan - drove us into the ditch in the first place (they have refused to help pull the car OUT of the ditch for good measure). And it would be nice if the media would actually do its job, instead of just pushing their own agendas and emphasizing style 99% and substance 1% (if that). But I'm certainly NOT holding my breath on that one.
Anyway, feel free to use this diary to discuss the debate, or whatever else is on your mind related to the presidential race. I'll weigh in with some thoughts as the night progresses, I'm sure.
P.S. With regard to the "lamestream media" and its fine punditocracy, check this out: Five things to look for in articles about five things to look for in tonight's debate.
UPDATE 11:02 pmAndrew Sullivan, who was apoplectic with President Obama after Debate #1, now says:
Obama dominated Romney tonight in every single way: in substance, manner, style, and personal appeal. He came back like a lethal, but restrained predator. He was able to defend his own record, think swiftly on his feet, and his Benghazi answer was superb. He behaved luke a president. He owned the presidency. And Romney? Well, he has no answers on the math question and was exposed. He was vulnerable on every social issue, especially immigration. And he had no real answer to the question of how he'd be different than George W Bush.
UPDATE 10:40 pm: I realize I'm biased, but Obama KICKED ASS in this debate, totally different from last debate. David Brooks - Obama won. Mark Shields - Ditto. Totally different President Obama this time around. Libya question - room went silent, then applause. Obama MUCH more aggressive, had Romney on defensive all night. By the way, I thought Candy Crowley did an excellent job overall, and I liked the Town Hall forum - better questions than the moderators have asked, generally speaking.

UPDATE 10:35 pm: Biggest misperception about you as a man and a candidate?  Romney - "That's an opportunity for me." LOL Claims Obama's campaign has described him as someone he isn't, says he cares about 100% of Americans, blah blah. Passion flows from believing in god, served as missionary for my church, helped get Olympics on track, got 100% of people in Massachusetts insured (yeah, by ROMNEYCARE)). Again, talks down the American economy...negative, negative, negative. Segues into closing statement, which this wasn't supposed to be.
UPDATE 10:37 pm: I don't believe government creates jobs. I believe in free enterprise system, self reliance, individual initiative, everyone should have a fair shot/play by same rules. Fundamentally different vision from Gov. Romney. He's a good man, but he when he said 47% of country considered themselves victims, he was talking about folks on Soc. Security, veterans who sacrificed for this country, students trying to advance their dreams, soldiers fighting for us right now, people working hard every day, I want to fight for them. If they succeed, country succeeds. When my grandfather fought in WWII, came back to GI Bill, that wasn't a handout, that advanced entire country.
UPDATE 10:33 pm: Question about bringing manufacturing back to America. Romney - As long as playing field is level, we can compete with anyone. Obama - There are some jobs that are not going to come back because they're low-wage/low-skill, I want high-wage/high-skill jobs. Don't add to deficit for tax cuts to those who don't need them. We need to create innovations here, invest in our economy, our people. Romney starts chanting, "government does not create jobs!"
UPDATE 10:27 pm: Question on outsourcing. Romney - The king of outsourcing to China is talking about this issue? Hahahahahaha. Whatever, I can't take anything he says on this subject seriously. "Trickle down government" - what on earth IS that?  Bashes China, even though he's been a BFF with China for years. This is utterly laughable. "Will label China a currency manipulator" (note: business community opposes that). Regulations quadrupled under this President? WTF?!?!? That's not true at all. Obamcare has been "deterrent to..hiring people." WTF?!? Also a Big Lie. My god, STFU.
Obama - We need to create jobs here. Should lower corporate tax rate. I'd do it by closing loopholes that allow companies to profit from moving jobs to China, offshore. Different than Romney, he wants to EXPAND those tax breaks for outsourcing jobs overseas. Romney will create 800,000 new China, Germany, etc. We are on pace to double our exports, creating tens of thousands of jobs across the country. Trade deals that make sure American workers and businesses getting a good deal. Gov. Romney's company was called "pioneers of outsourcing." China's currency has appreciated because we've pushed them hard.
UPDATE 10:18 pm: Obama says we need to enforce gun laws we've already got, keep guns out of hands of criminals and mentally ill. Share believe that weapons designed for soldiers in war theaters don't belong on our streets. Need broader conversation about how to reduce violence generally. Get assault weapons ban introduced. Give young people opportunity. Work with faith groups, law enforcement to catch violence before it gets out of control. Get into communities, catch violent impulses before they occur.
Romney - Don't favor new legislation on guns. Of course don't want to have automatic weapons. Enforce gun laws we have, change culture of violence. Totally agree with Obama on good schools. Two parents in home, before you have babies you should get married to someone. Hmmmm. Change our culture. Oh no, here we go - the "Fast and Furious" Republican fever dream/paranoid conspiracy theory. This guy is nuts. Yes, it's been investigated, and NOTHING has been found. Romney goes to the lunatic fringe.  Crowley - Romney signed assault weapons ban in Massachusetts, why don't you still support that? Romney says pro-gun and "anti-gun" (love the formulation) folks came together.
Obama - Romney as for assault weapons ban before he was against it. He said he changed his mind because he was seeking NRA endorsement. We agree on importance of parents and schools. Everyone needs a chance to succeed. Education reforms we've put in place are seeing the toughest schools start to succeed. We're retraining workers for jobs that exist right now. Matching up employers with skilled workers. This is part of choice in this election. When Gov. Romney was asked whether hiring more teachers was important, he said that doesn't grow economy.
UPDATE 10:09 pm: Question about Libya (I thought this was the domestic debate). Obama - Our diplomats serve all around world, do incredible job. They are representatives of United States and my representatives, NOBODY is more concerned with their safety and security than I am. I told them, beef up security, investigate what happened, make sure folks held accountable and it doesn't happen again. We're going to find these people and hunt them down. Romney put out a press release trying to make political points while we were still dealing with this. That is NOT how a commander in chief operates. When it comes to our national security, I mean what I say. Iraq - check. Bin Laden - check. Afghanistan - check. I mean what I say.
Romney - Says buck does stop at President Obama's desk. Says it took several days to know what happened, completely glossing over his politicization of the tragedy IN THE MIDDLE OF IT. Also hits Obama for going to a fundraiser (oh give me a f***ing break, this guy is utterly shameless). Somehow he knows this was not a demonstration. Blah blah blah Israel...Iran...blah blah blah. Gets in Big Lies about supposed "apology tour," "leading from behind."
Obama - Secretary Clinton has done an extraordinary job, but I'm the president. The day after the attack, I stood in the Rose Garden and told America we'd find out who did it, this was an act of terror. A few days later, I was grieving with the families. The suggestion that anybody in my team would play politics or mislead, lost four of our own, is offensive.
Romney - Crowley says Obama DID call it an act of terror. Romney keeps attacking, won't let up on this bull****. Just disgraceful.
UPDATE 9:59 pm: Question on immigration. Romney says this is a nation of immigrants. Wants to encourage legal immigration. Have to stop illegal immigration. Will not "grant amnesty." Employer verification system. No drivers licenses for those who've come here "illegally." Kids should have pathway to become permanent resident (Note: Romney opposes DREAM Act).  Calls it a "Democrat House" and "Democrat Senate." What a juvenile jerk.
Obama - We are a nation of immigrants, a few miles away from Ellis Island. Talent from all over world wants to come here. We're also a nation of laws. Need to fix broken immigration system. We've streamlined legal immigration system. We've put more border patrol agents on border than anytime in history, flow of undocumented immigrants lowest in 40 years. We shouldn't go after students, but after criminals. That's what we've done. For young people brought here, gone to school here, think of this as their country, we should make sure they have a pathway to citizenship. Romney said he would veto DREAM Act. His main strategy was to say we're going to encourage "self deportation," make life so miserable for people that they'd leave, called Arizona law model for nation. Need comprehensive immigration reform. I sat down with Republicans and Democrats, but it's hard for Republicans to support comprehensive immigration reform if their standard bearer doesn't support it.
Romney - Claims he did NOT say Arizona law was model for the nation in that respect. HUH?!?  Claims Obama should have honored his promise, completely ignoring Republican obstructionism once again. Claims he was not the "standard bearer." Claims he's not in favor of rounding up people. Says his investments have been managed by blind trust. Obama - My pension is not as big as yours. We're a little off topic here.
Obama - Gov. Romney says he wasn't referring to Arizona as a model, his top adviser on immigration designed it! There are folks all around the world who see America as land of promise. We want to encourage that in a smart, comprehensive way. We should not make this a divisive political issue. This used to be a bipartisan issue.
UPDATE 9:52 pm: Obama - I cut taxes for middle class families, small business, ended war in Iraq, went after Al Qaeada/Osama bin Laden is dead, reined in excesses of Wall Street, created 5 million jobs, we are making progress. Saved auto industry on brink of collapse. Still, a lot of Americans are struggling. That's why my plan makes sense. Use savings from ending wars to rebuild America. Control our own energy, both of today and the future. I've kept my commitments. Pay attention to this campaign. Romney's committed to not raise a dime in taxes on millionaires and billionaires, he said "me too." Cut Planned Parenthood funding, he said "me too." Romneycare same as Obamacare, but he said he'd repeal Obamacare. Whose promises will be most likely to help you in your life.
Romney - "I think you know better." Romney keeps talking down economy. Claims Obama lied, but of course HE is the one who's lying. Romney's good at that, at least. "The middle class is getting crushed" (Romney's favorite line) Unemployment has not been reduced. Romney just keeps repeating himself, things are horrible and WE ARE ALL DOOMED!!!! What a downer. Negative, negative, negative. Ugh. Goes back to Reagan, somehow that's making a point. Obama's a great speaker, his plans hasn't worked (according to RobMe).
UPDATE 9:45 pm: Question about Bush economics. What's the difference between you and Bush? Romney - Claims every woman in America should have access to contraceptives. Bush and I are different people and these are different times. Claims his five-point plan is totally different than what Bush would have done. HUH!?!? Romney doubles down on Bush-o-nomics! Claims Bush didn't crack down on China. LOL. Says Bush didn't get us to balanced budget, but Obama did even worse. In other words, everyone's an idiot except for Romney. Hahahaha. Claims he's a small businessman, yeah right!!! This guy's a riot. Goes on rant about "Obamacare," even though it's almost identical to Romneycare. Whatever.
Obama - We did come in during tough times, losing 800k jobs  per month. Digging our way out of misplaced policies. We've now had 31 consecutive months of job growth, 5.2 million jobs created. Romney claims his plan is different, but that's not true. Centerpiece of his plan is tax cuts. Getting tough on China? He invested in companies that were pioneers in outsourcing to China. Governor, you're the LAST person who's going to get tough on China. We've won every unfair trade case against China. Romney said I was being protectionist when China was flooding our market with cheap tires. Romney's different than Bush - Bush didn't propose turning Medicare into voucher, didn't call for self deportation, didn't suggest cutting funding for Planned Parenthood. Romney's gone to a more extreme place when it comes to social policy.
UPDATE 9:37 pm: Question on inequalities in workplace for women. Obama - I was raised by a single mom. She worked hard every day, made a lot of sacrifices. Grandmother hit the glass ceiling, trained people who would become her bosses. One of the first bills I signed was the Lily Ledbetter Act. That's the kind of advocacy we need. Women are increasingly the breadwinners of the family. This is a family issue. We've expanded Pell Grants for millions of young women across the country. We cut out the middle man - the banks. We've got to enforce the laws, make sure we do not tolerate discrimination in every walk of life.
Romney - Claims he learned a lot about this as governor of Massachusetts. He says he "took a concerted effort" to find women for his cabinet. Why does Romney sound like he speaks English as a second language? More flexibility for women in workplace. Employers will be anxious to hire women under his administration, supposedly. Again, talks about how bad things are in America. Why does Romney keep talking down our country?
Obama - Romney said he'd get back to us about Lily Ledbetter Act. Health care is also crucial to women in workplace. Romney feels comfortable having politicians in Washington make health care decisions for women. Contraceptive coverage for everyone who's ensured - it's a health care AND an economic issue. Romney opposed it, said employers should make the decision. That's not the kind of advocacy women need. Romney says eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, that's a pocketbook issue for women and families across the country. Child care credits, that makes a difference. These are not just women's issues, these are family issues and economic issues. When everyone participates, has same opportunities, our economy grows.
UPDATE 9:24 pm: Romney lies again, claims he is NOT against wind jobs in Colorado and Iowa. Unbelievable. Question about Romney's tax plans, mortgage interest deduction, education credits, etc., what would be your position? Romney - Claims he wants to get middle income taxpayers to have lower taxes, that's a complete lie, NOT what independent studies have shown. Also not true that middle class has been "buried" or "crushed" the past 4 years. Still hasn't answered question. Claims he'll limit deductions for high end. Still no answer to a specific question...cue Jeopardy music...blah blah blah. Will not under any circumstances reduce share paid by highest tax payers (that completely contradicts what Romney's said over and over again). Now he's lying about Obama raising taxes, in fact he's lowered taxes (look it up!).
Obama - I want to give middle class families relief, they've been hit hard over last 15-20 years. I've cut taxes by $3600 per family, cut taxes 18 times for small businesses. If we're serious about reducing deficit, we need tough spending cuts AND make sure wealthy do a little bit more. Below $250k per year, no change. I'd sign that bill right now, but Gov. Romney's allies in Congress have held 98% hostage to top 2%.  Above $250k, we can go back to Clinton era, when the economy boomed. Gov. Romney has different philosophy. Just 2 weeks ago, he said it's fair for him to pay lower tax rate than someone making $50k per year. He even said he thought that's what grows the economy. I fundamentally disagree with that. We just have a different theory. During Republican primary he said he'd cut everybody including top 1%. You should believe him, that's exactly the kind of top-down economics that will not work.
Romney - Lies again about his plan. Claims he wants to get America's economy "going again," but guess what? It IS "going again!" Just look at the statistics. Keeps talking down U.S. economy, negative negative negative. Woe is me, doom and gloom. Blech. Rattles off his b.s. 5-point plan. Utter nonsense.
Obama - Cost of lowering rates for everybody across the board along with eliminating estate tax, along with corporate changes, will cost $5 trillion. He also wants to spend $2 trillion more on military. Also wants to push another $1 trillion in tax cuts to wealthiest Americans. That's $8 trillion. He also claims it won't increase the deficit. He can't name specific deductions he'd eliminate. No specifics whatsoever beyond Big Bird and Planned Parenthood funding. Turns to Romney, says "you wouldn't have taken such a sketchy deal!" He'd blow up the deficit OR alternatively force YOU to pay for it. Don't buy the "sale pitch." Nobody serious who's looked at this believes it would add up.
Romney - "Of course they add up!" Huh?!? Claims Obama's characterization of his "plan" is "completely foreign". Attack, attack, attack. Keeps talking about the debt, we'll be on "the road to Greece." Yep, just keep talking down America.
UPDATE 9:11 pm: Question on gas prices. Obama - The most important thing we can do is to control our own energy. We've increased oil production to highest level in 16 years, gas to highest in decades. We have seen increases in coal employment and production. We also have to look to future. We've doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars. We've doubled wind and solar. We've lowered our oil imports to lowest levels in 16 years. I want to build on that. We have potentially 100 years of energy with natural gas, we can do it in environmentally sound way. Efficient energy is the key to keeping gas prices lower. Romney's plan is to let the oil companies write the energy policies. He doesn't have the clean energy part, only the oil and gas part. We won't control our own economic future if we follow Romney's path.
Romney - Again starts attacking President Obama, gives no credit to Obama for oil and gas production increases. What a jerk. If Obama cured cancer, Romney would complain that Obama didn't cure it sooner. Now blabbering about birds being killed. Claims he believes in wind and solar, after dissing it the past year. "This has not been Mr. Oil or Mr. Gas or Mr. Coal." Uh, Romney said coal "kills people." That was in a past life, though, or a different iteration of Romneybot. Drill baby drill! Keystone tar sands pipeline! Oh joy!
Obama - No doubt that world demand has gone up, but our production's gone up. Very little of what Romney just said is true. We've opened up public lands. Previous president was an oil man, and we're doing more. Calls out Romney for "this plant kills people comment!" Hahahahaha. Producing coal cleaner and smarter, same with oil and gas. More efficient cars=more jobs, saves money in your pocketbook. All of the above strategy.
Romney - Again, lies about Obama's record. Obama interrupts, says that's not true. We said to oil companies, you can't just sit on leases and not drill, these are public lands, so either use it or lose it. Wow, Romney just keeps lying, Obama calling him out. Nice! Romney claims that Obama will not push for oil and gas and coal. Proof is price at pump, according to Romney. That's just a complete lack of understanding of how world oil markets work. What an imbecile. Keystone pipeline - that also has NOTHING to do with bringing oil prices down. Another big lie by Romney.
Obama - Correctly points out that economy was collapsing when he took office, that's why gasoline prices were low. Romney would bring down gas prices, because with his policies, we'd be in same mess. We need an economy that's strong. I'm all for pipelines, I'm all for oil production, I'm not for ignoring other half of equation. Romney would kill wind power jobs in Iowa, Colorado. That is NOT an energy strategy for the future.
UPDATE 9:09 pm: Romney keeps talking down America, bad mouthing our economy, uses weird math to claim unemployment rate is really higher than it is. What a bunch of crap. "That's right" I said "take Detroit bankrupt." Huh? "The president took Detroit bankrupt." Huh? Romney's also talking to President Obama, not to the audience. #FAIL  Obama - What Romney said is just not true, he wanted to take Detroit into bankruptcy, we would have lost 1 million jobs, take words of GM, Chrysler, etc. Romney doesn't have a 5-point plan, he has a 1-point plan, make sure folks at top play by different set of rules, that's been his philosophy. Make a lot of money pay lower rates, ship jobs overseas and get tax breaks for it, take over company and lay off workers but make money for yourself. We've fought for 4 years to get out of that mess. (GREAT ANSWER!)
UPDATE 9:02 pm: Obama and Romney enter. Obama looks better already, if you ask me - smiling, looks confident. First question by 20-year-old college student about his future. Romney - Says we have to make it easier for kids to afford college, but wasn't he the guy who said BORROW MONEY FROM YOUR PARENTS?!? Claims last 4 years have been rough, totally ignores the previous 4 years, which is when the economy collapsed - under Bush/Cheney. No, the middle class has NOT been "crushed" over the past 4 years. Lie, lie, lie.  Obama - Your future is bright, investment in higher education is crucial. Need to create good-paying jobs in this country. Build on 5 millions jobs we've created. Manufacturing jobs. Romney said "let Detroit go bankrupt." Make sure we have best education system in the world, student loans, community colleges. Third, we need to build energy sources of the future - solar, wind, biofuels, energy efficient cars. Reduce deficit in a balanced way so we can invest in education like yours. Take money we've been spending on war to rebuild America. (GREAT answer!)
UPDATE 9:00 pm: About to start. Go Obama!!!