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Solar Roadways: The Amtrak Commission and Other News

7:33 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

The Solar Roadways project keeps chugging along. One of the many commissions it’s set to undertake in the next year will involve taking part in the renovation of the local Amtrak depot in Sandpoint, Idaho. From the Bonner County Daily Bee:

Brusaw said the solar panels, protected by industrial-strength glass and equipped with LED lights, could be programmed to warn nearby individuals about incoming trains. The heating elements in the panels would also keep the platform clear of snow and ice.

According to Brusaw, the platform could be installed as early as next spring.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This could be what saves us.

Meanwhile, some interesting information has come to light about the infamous “Thunderf00t” video troller. It seem that Mister Video troll set out to attack a feminist videogame industry critic, Anita Sarkeesian, using the same sleazy methods as he used to attack Solar Roadways — and with conclusions that were just as easily debunked.

Say Anything: Words Matt Entenza Lives By, Apparently

1:22 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Poor Matt Entenza. He thought he could run yet another sleazy and expensive backstabbing of a campaign against a fellow DFLer, only to be tripped up by the fact that many politically-minded Minnesota Democrats have a) long and accurate memories, and b) an ability to find the proofs that confirm the accuracy of those memories.

Matt Entenza, you see, is running against the perfectly suitable two-term DFL incumbent Rebecca Otto for the position of State Auditor. And, following the pattern he set in his two most recent previous runs for statewide office (those for attorney general and governor), he’s doing it in his typically sleazy and self-entitled “Say Anything” manner (h/t Bluestem Prairie):

Yesterday’s decision by the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) panel to dismiss Matt Entenza’s complaint about a comment Rebecca Otto made on her personal Facebook page is ably reported by Abby Simons in Panel rejects Entenza’s voter ID claim in state auditor race:

A state Office of Administrative Hearings panel rejected claims by Matt Entenza that Minnesota State Auditor Rebecca Otto lied when she said she had not voted for legislation requiring voter identification.

In an 11-page order issued Thursday, the three-judge panel rejected the official campaign complaint filed by Entenza, who is challenging Otto in a DFL primary Aug. 12.  Entenza, a former House minority leader, filed for the office in the last moments before deadline, surprising Otto, a former House colleague, and many DFLers.  . . .

In a statement issued by the DFL, Otto’s attorney, Charlie Nauen, called the ruling “a complete victory for Rebecca Otto over Matt Entenza’s misleading claims and distortion of the facts.”

“I have never voted for Voter ID,” Otto said in the statement. “In fact, I campaigned against it.”

“Rebecca Otto had it right,” DFL Party Chair Ken Martin said. “Matt Entenza will say anything to get himself elected.”

Here’s the ruling, wherein the judges dismissed the complaint’s “cramped reading” of campaign law: Entenza Order

Of course, we’re talking about Mister Say Anything Entenza, the California native who’s trying to parlay a few high school years plus summer visits to Grandma’s place into a full-blown Greater Minnesota childhood, as a part of a place-baiting effort to position himself as the Most Rural Candidate Ever.

The pity is that he is doing pretty good work with his Minnesota 2020 outfit. If he’d just stick to that instead of trying for statewide elected office, he might actually he remembered fondly in the end.

Judith Miller, Operative and Proud of It

10:39 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Too bad for Judy that some of us have memories as well as search engines.

So that deservedly disgraced dingbat, Judith Miller, is rising up yet again (with assistance from her respectable-media allies who don’t want to admit they screwed up when they backed the worst US action of the past twenty years) from the neocon fever swamps in the hopes of doing yet more violence to the historical record.

Too bad for her that some of us have memories as well as search engines.

Back in March of 2007, when she was trying to claim journalistic privilege in order to shield her fellow neocons like Scooter Libby, I wrote a piece for FDL that ripped her claims, and her hypocrisies, to shreds:
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Are Cooter’s Fingerprints On Eric Cantor’s Political Corpse?

6:55 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Former Congressman (D-GA) Ben “Cooter” Jones

By now you’ve all probably heard that Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader, lost what should have been a cakewalk of a primary last night. He outspent his opponent, a Tea Party candidate named Dave Brat, by forty to one, and he still lost. Even better: The Tea Party guy will now go on to face Jack Trammell, the Democratic nominee, in the general election in November — and Trammell may well stand a chance.

Why do I say this? Well…

There is evidence that Ben “Cooter” Jones’ efforts to get Virginia Democrats to cross over for Brat may have worked very well, indeed. If you compare the election results with a map of the Seventh Congressional District of Virginia, you’ll notice that the most conservative areas — the areas with the fewest Democrats — voted for Cantor, but as you look at the counties surrounding the City of Richmond (a city of which Cantor only has a teeny-tiny chunk in his CD, as it has far too many Democrats — ironically enough, that chunk was one of the few places he won tonight), you’ll see that Brat took those counties, often by wide margins.

Note, also, the very small overall vote totals. Only 65,008 voted in the Republican primary today, and Brat’s victory was with a margin of around 7300 votes. I can well imagine at least 7300 Democrats in Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, New Kent and Chesterfield Counties being sufficiently motivated to punish Cantor and avenge his defeat of Cooter Jones back in 2002. (Quick correction: While the vote totals are still only around 15% of the voting-age population — the total number of residents of any age being 757,917 as of 2010 — it turns out they’re considerably higher than the 47,037 of 2012 — but Cantor ran against a much weaker foe, AND there wasn’t a groundswell for Democratic voters to cross over for Cantor’s primary foe as there was this year.)

Will Cantor’s base rally around Brat sufficiently to sweep him to power? Will a number of them just do what they obviously did tonight, and stay home — except this time out of disgust as opposed to hubris? Will a number of them decide to vote for Trammell instead come November?

Stay tuned.

Crossposted to Mercury Rising.

Another GOP Talking Point in #Bergdahlghazi Undermined

2:56 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

2009 photo of Bowe Berghdahl in uniform

One of the heavily-polished Richard Grenell talking points that’s been unleashed on an unsuspecting public is the “six men died because of Bowe Bergdahl” trope.

As with pretty much all of the Grenell-polished tropes in #Bergdahlghazi, its factual basis is questionable at best, and flat-out balderdash at worst.

The New York Times has already shot a few holes in the claim. But a more interesting undermining may well be this comment left on Fark:

Alright, first of all, I’d like to say thank you to all the farkwits for making my bad morning worse. I was already in a foul mood, and after slogging through the horror these men had to face, and the absolute bullshiat of people trying to use their deaths to score political points, I’m even more annoyed. Anyway, here we go.

Clayton was killed in action on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2009, in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.
He was providing security for Afghanistan’s presidential election. “They were trying to keep the peace,” said his mother.

Pfc. Walker was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska; died Aug. 18, 2009 in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Also killed was Staff Sgt. Clayton P. Bowen.

So two of the six died providing security at the election. Were they expecting Bergdahl to turn up to vote or something?

Army Staff Sgt. Kurt Curtiss, 27, of Murray was fatally shot Aug. 25 in a firefight as his unit tried to clear a group of insurgents out of a hospital in Paktika province, Army spokesman Nathan Banks said.

Wait, maybe he was with the insurgents in the hospital?

There. 3 of the 6 most definitely DID NOT DIE SEARCHING FOR BERGDAHL. The other 3, I can’t find much more than “they were on patrol.” While that doesn’t rule out that they weren’t searching for Bergdahl, it doesn’t mean they were either. You may be shocked to find this out, but I’m pretty sure they went on all sorts of patrols.

I have a special sort of hate for those politicizing Darryn Andrew’s death.

While on his second tour in Afghanistan, instead of remaining safe at Army Headquarters, Darryn requested to have his own platoon. While on patrol with his unit, his vehicle was hit by an IED and he was placed on restricted duty. When he learned his men were going back out, he took himself off restricted duty and returned to active duty. During a patrol on September 4, the vehicle in front of his was hit by an IED. Instead of remaining safely in his vehicle, Darryn got out to assist in recovering the damaged vehicle. He looked up and saw a Taliban fire an RPG at them. He pushed his fellow soldiers out of the way and took the direct hit himself.

Pfc. Matthew M. Martinek, 20, of DeKalb, Ill., died Sept. 11 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, of wounds suffered in Paktika province, Afghanistan, Sept. 4 when enemy attacked his vehicle with an improvised-explosive device followed by a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska

And lastly, Michael C. Murphrey.

Killed September 6, 2009, in Sharana, Afghanistan while on patrol when he stepped on a pressurized plate that set off an IED.

EABOD and DIAF, assholes saying they died searching for Bergdahl. Take your political hackery elsewhere. You disgust me.

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Anyone Feel Like Doing Alaska a Solid?

6:44 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Former(?) oil company executive Sean Parnell, Sarah Palin’s replacement as Alaska’s governor, got this big oil tax giveaway bill through the legislature last year and passed into law, a law that in essence gives up a big chunk of revenue from Alaska’s oil to the oil companies. (How bad is it? Even Sarah Palin hates it.)

Basically, the oil companies get to keep a lot more money than before from the people’s oil, with no promises of doing anything for Alaskans in return. It’s a straight-up gift from Sean Parnell to his real employers, the oil companies.

Some Alaskans organized a referendum last year to repeal his tax giveaway. It’s the Alaska Oil Tax Cuts Veto Referendum, aka Ballot Measure 1, and it’s on the August 19th primary ballot. As you can imagine, they’re getting slammed on the airwaves. The oil companies are spending over 10 million dollars (and it will be much more than that when it’s all over) to make sure that Alaskans vote “No” on the referendum this August.

However, here’s the good news: As of a PPP poll done last month, the “Yes” side, despite being horrifically outspent, is winning, 45% to 34%.

Another thing: The tax giveaway is Sean Parnell’s signature achievement from his first term. If the Alaskan people repeal that giveaway 2.5 months before the general election in November, then they will also take away a bunch of the wind out of his sails as he seeks re-election in November.
This will be good for Parnell’s Democratic rival, Byron Mallott, if Alaskans can win this.

The catch: They need help to raise money so they can have at least a small presence on the airwaves before the primary.

If a few tens of thousands of people each gave $5 or $10, the “Yes” folks’d have enough money to buy some radio and TV time and run some very hard-hitting ads attacking the oil companies and their misinformation.

Check it out, and pass it along if you feel so moved. Even if you can’t donate, just spreading the word is very helpful. The website is: http://www.itsouroilalaska.com/

Thanks!

Michael Hastings’ Bowe Bergdahl Article That the GOP Doesn’t Want You to Read

11:35 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Michael Hastings in a crowd at Election Night 2012

A look back at Michael Hastings’ prophetic article on POW Bowe Bergdahl

When the Republicans scream that they were caught totally by surprise by the prisoner exchange that in all likelihood marks the winding down of the US war on Afghanistan, they are of course lying.

For one thing, GOP strategists were shopping around interviews with cherry-picked members of Bergdahl’s unit even as Obama was in the Rose Garden with Bergdahl’s parents heralding the exchange as the return of America’s last POW.

For another, House and Senate Republicans had known about the negotiations to free America’s last POW since January of 2012.

For yet another, the GOP strategists probably didn’t vet the military histories of the persons they’re shoving in front of every microphone they can find, as it turns out that the unit in question was a problem unit, and a badly led one, well before it reached Afghanistan.

Rolling Stone just reprinted “America’s Last Prisoner of War,” the 2012 Bergdahl article by the late journalist Michael Hastings:

The discipline problems that had plagued Bowe’s unit back home only got worse when immersed in the fog of war. From the start, everything seemed to go wrong. In April, Lt. Fancey was removed from his post for clashing with a superior officer. He was replaced by Sgt. 1st Class Larry Hein, who had never held such a command – a move that left the remote outpost with no officers. According to four soldiers in the battalion, the removal of Fancey was quickly followed by a collapse in unit morale and an almost complete breakdown of authority.

The unruly situation was captured by Sean Smith, a British documentary filmmaker with The Guardian who spent a month embedded with Bowe’s unit. His footage shows a bunch of soldiers who no longer give a shit: breaking even the most basic rules of combat, like wearing baseball caps on patrol instead of helmets. In footage from a raid on a family compound, an old Afghan woman screams at the unit, ‘Look at these cruel people!’ One soldier bitches about what he sees as the cowardice of the Afghan villagers he is supposed to be protecting: ‘They say like, the Taliban comes down and aggravated­ their town and harasses them… Why don’t you kill those motherfuckers? All of you have AKs. If someone is going into my hometown, I know my town wouldn’t stand for that shit. I’d be like, “Fuck you, you’re dead.”‘ Another soldier laments, ‘These people just want to be left alone.’ A third agrees: ‘They got dicked with by the Russians for 17 years, and now we’re here.’

Crossposted to Mercury Rising.

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Get Away with Theft and Terrorism: Be a White Male Conservative!

12:04 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Unless you live in Nevada or read certain websites, your chances of hearing about this (hat tip to TeamSarah4Choice) approximate zero:

Metro Police officers who were on the front lines of a recent showdown near the Bundy ranch in Bunkerville say they feared for their lives.

At least some of the militia members who pointed weapons at police officers during the confrontation may have wanted a violent outcome and tried to incite one.

In exclusive interviews with the 8 News NOW I-Team, officers who were on the scene shared their thoughts and fears, and they say it is not over.

It’s not just the cops who are under attack — the news media folk have been targeted as well:

They were equally hostile to journalists covering the story. Pistol-packing militia men have blocked 8 News NOW’s access to public roads. Some poured lighter fluid around our news vehicle while others got physical.

These hotheaded paranoid dipwads have got sucked so far into their own paranoia that, as FDL alumnus David Neiwert notes for the SPLC, they are starting to turn on each other:

The situation at the ranch, where armed militiamen and “Patriots” are camped out, has deteriorated so badly that competing factions apparently drew weapons on one another during heated arguments.

We wrote on Wednesday about how tensions flared when a paranoid rumor of an imminent drone strike on the encampment began circulating. The team that primarily circulated the drone-strike rumor – Stewart Rhodes’ Oath Keepers – also began advising people to pull out, which sparked the wrath of militiamen.

Those militiamen voted to oust the Oath Keepers, and a couple even spoke of shooting Rhodes and his men in the back, which they deemed the proper battlefield treatment of “deserters”.

Now Rhodes has replied to their accusations in a video in which he teamed up with fellow Oath Keepers Steve Homan, Robert Casillas and Brandon Ropolla (the latter of whom are also affiliated with Mike Vanderboegh’s so-called “III Percent” movement) to attack the “nutcases” that Rhodes said have assumed control of the militia camp at the Bundy Ranch.

TeamSarah4Choice has a bit more on the wingnut-on-wingnut conflicts at the Bundy compound:

Oath Keepers Founder Stewart Rhodes put out a “Debriefing” video [PW notes: featured above; the pertinent parts are at 14:32, 20:49, and 37:28] where they claim that the Bundy Militia put their hands on their guns and said “I’m gonna kill you.”

[...]

Keep in mind, the Bundy militia who are physically assaulting and drawing ARs and other weapons on the Oath Keepers are the same Bundy militia who Nevada Congressman, Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV), was talking about when he contacted law enforcement saying supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy have set up checkpoints for drivers’ “residency” before letting them pass.

If these people were Black Panthers or white Occupy protesters, this situation wouldn’t have lasted this long and they wouldn’t have got away with a tenth of this nonsense. Of course, it helps that the national media apparently has some sort of phobia against telling the rest of the nation what Nevadans already know about these threat-and-lighter-fluid-spewing jerks, which means that when these tinhorn terrorists finally get their comeuppance (and enough of them have been captured on video doing stupid things as to make this an eventual certainty), the average American may never know why such comeuppance was not only justified but overdue.

A Tale of Two Scandals: Leland Yee and Bill Kramer

8:18 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

This is a tale of two scandals currently playing out in America. Both involve state-level politicians.

One of these scandals, the corruption one concerning California state senator Leland Yee, has penetrated the awareness of the national media, resulting in stories in Huffington Post, Forbes, and the New York Times. It will probably be prominently featured on FOX by the middle of next week, and on the other networks soon thereafter.

The other scandal, the sexual molestation one concerning Bill Kramer, the Majority Leader of Wisconsin’s State Assembly, has drawn sitting US Senator Ron Johnson into its vortex, and could shake up the corridors of power in that state. But aside from mentions in Daily Kos and Politico, there has been nothing to date in any non-Wisconsin media on this scandal.

Nothing.

Now, what was that again about a “liberal” media?

(Crossposted at Mercury Rising.)

Koch Fib Files: The Apolitical Cancer Patient

2:19 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

The “apolitical” Julie Boonstra

Remember the anti-Obamacare ad created by Karl Rove’s Koch-funded group “Americans for Prosperity” that featured a lady cancer patient who tried to make it sound like her health care costs were going up?

Well, it turns out that she’s actually going to save over $1000 a year because of Obamacare:

Before her plan was canceled, [Julie] Boonstra was paying a $1,100 monthly premium. That’s $13,200 a year, without adding out-of-pocket expenses like co-pays and prescription drugs. But under her new plan, the Blue Cross Premier Gold, Boonstra’s premiums are down to $571 a month, and out-of-pocket costs are capped at $5,100. That’s a maximum annual expense of $11,952 a year.

Oh, and here’s something else that won’t surprise anyone at all who’s been paying attention over the last four decades:

Boonstra told The Detroit News she had never been politically active before joining the anti-Obamacare campaign. The newspaper reported her ex-husband, Mark Boonstra, had served as chair of the Washtenaw County GOP, and was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder (R) to the Michigan Court of Appeals in 2012.

What was that about being apolitical again, Ma’am?

(Crossposted to Mercury Rising.) Read the rest of this entry →