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Audit of BP claims facility results in $64 million in additional payments – from the New Orleans Tribune http://www.tribunetalk.com/?p=3343

The ever-corrupt Tom Coburn, who lives his life amid the lint of the deep pockets of big oil, big pharm and other big money spent on PAID-triots. It’s no secret who buys members of the House and Senate to do their bidding.

 

And it’s no secret that Coburn, leaving this year due to ill health, has NEVER really been against waste. He’s just a hatchet man for his buyers, a long term buy-to-lie guy.

 

 

On his way out the door, he’s done his donor’s bidding one last time, this time via the right wing propaganda machine over at Fox (not really)News. It’s good to use Fox to lie to the gullible conservatives; neither Fox, nor the Conservatives who consume their drivel, will ever fact check anything. They tend to be science illiterates on both sides of the television – the sending and the receiving, and they are consistently wilfully ignorant.

Let’s look at the recent Fox dishonest headline:

$10G to watch grass grow: Coburn report details worst examples of gov’t waste

As American taxpayers worried about the terror threat from the Islamic State, the crisis at the border and the economy, the U.S. government spent their money to give rabbits massages, to teach sea monkeys to synchronize swim and to literally watch grass grow.

These and other examples of wasteful government spending were detailed by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn in his annual “Wastebook,” his final edition since he is retiring early next year.

…Other examples vary from the serious, to the aggravating, to just plain bizarre. One that takes the cake is the $10,000 the government spent to watch grass grow — seriously.

That project is the brainchild of the Department of Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is paying for the growth of the smooth cordgrass to be observed on a Florida reserve. The money covers “the cost to monitor grasses, restore two acres as a demonstration and publish a guide on best practices for cultivating the cordgrass, known formally as Spartina alterniflora.”

So…….IS the government wasting money on Spartina alterniflora, just ‘watching grass grow’? OR is there a connection to Coburn trying to discourage funding something useful on behalf of big oil, again?

Guess.

Here is the actual study, INCLUDING the actual purpose, which is completely and totally different from the description of the research in Coburn’s ‘wastebook’. The biggest waste here is the wastebook itself.

Here is the link to the study and the information about this very special kind of grass, with some excerpts below of the pertinent parts:

Smooth cordgrass provides cover for waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds,
and muskrats; and habitat for commercially important fish and shellfish.
VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES :
Smooth cordgrass was direct-seeded successfully on damaged marshes found
on dredge spoils from Connecticut to Virginia. Lower littoral zones
were seeded in locations where heavy wave action caused by storms did
not erode away the often top-heavy plants before their root systems
developed sufficiently. Smooth cordgrass seeds and seedlings were also
planted successfully on dredge spoils produced in the maintenance of
navigational channels within sounds and estuaries

Smooth cordgrass is an important component of Gulf Coast salt marshes
which stabilize shorelines against erosion and filter heavy metals and
toxic materials from the water column [13].

The presence of smooth cordgrass indicates sites with high salinity,
which can be managed for shrimp ponds [20].

OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS :
Gulf Coast marshes, because they provide soil stabilization and enhance
water quality, receive the highest priority for protection in
comprehensive oil spill response plans for coastal areas [13]. Effects
of oil spills on salt marshes vary depending on oil type, plant
coverage, season, and marsh elevation [24]. Flushing with seas water is
the most effective clean-up method for oil-contaminated salt marshes at
present. However, once oil penetrates the sediment, not even flushing
will remove it. Flushing is also ineffective at reducing damage to
cordgrass and enhancing long-term plant recovery. If natural tidal
flushing occurs, no other clean-up measures are recommended because
impacts on the community cause more harm than good. Overall, clean-up
responses have limited effectiveness; therefore, primary emphasis should
be placed on contingency planning and protection of salt marsh habitat
from oil spills.

…READ MORE

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gadflyI ran across this cool website with this cool article, which is a must click and read if you’re interested in education policy at all. (There are four candidates for two-at-large seats: Rebecca Gagnon, Ira Jourdain, Don Samuels, and Iris Altamirano. Gagnon is an incumbent; she and Altamirano are DFL-endorsed. Samuels is very much preferred by the corporate “education deformer” movement.)
 

Now, a distinction must be drawn between this rigorously documented “hard money”, which campaigns raise and spend directly, and the “soft money” independent expenditures made by outside groups that have no limits or reporting requirements. How’s this working out for (Samuels)? Pretty nicely. I’ve written before about the influx of ideologically-driven, out-of-state money into our (formerly local) school board race; this is the post-Citizens United crap that we have to put up with, and it’s troubling that it doesn’t meet Samuels’ definition of “corrupt money”…
 
No one can be sure exactly how much money these plutocrats are spending in their bid to buy our local election, but Samuels seems to be saying he needs it because of all the money being spent on Altamirano’s behalf. There’s a big difference, though: while Samuels boosters are billionaires and their foundations who evidently view our city as a little terrarium for them to experiment on, Altamirano’s “soft” expenditures are coming from, well, us.
(Don’t Samuels!)

A lot of progressive bloggers, including some whose work I downright admire, tend to repeat the claim that there is no difference between the overall performance of traditional public schools and charters. They don’t seem to be doing their homework on that. For example, a new study shows that charters are substantially worse than public schools in Chicago. Another study has the same general result for the Twin Cities.
 

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MN-06: A little Tom Emmer history

by Dan Burns on October 21, 2014 · 1 comment

emmer2So this is what too many MN-06 voters may well have decided is fit to represent them in the United States Congress. The candidacy of Tom Emmer is really just another boulder on the gargantuan pile of evidence that conservatism has long since disintegrated into nothing but a massive con.
 

When I ran for State Representative in 2006 and again in 2008, my opponent was Tom Emmer. During that time several people approached me to tell me how he used his position as an attorney to sue them or bully them out of holding him accountable for paying debts incurred by him and members of his family. As the first major report was coming from a neighbor who happened to be a die-hard Republican, I could not dismiss the information as politically motivated. Whether it was paying for landscaping ordered by his wife, or trees planted on his property, or issues of fairness and equity in dealing with a business partner, the people wanted me to know what they experienced with Emmer.
(Chris Brazelton/Twin Cities Daily Planet)

You may recall that Emmer was a loud and proud opponent of anti-bullying legislation. It’s pretty obvious that that was at least partly personal; as a big, dumb, obnoxious blowhard, he fits the profile of a school bully (and a leader of right-wing conservatives), himself, and it’s not unlikely that he was one. And he’s not the type who would ever change, or even question, his repugnant ways of doing things.
 
Our candidate is Joe Perske.
 

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Unlike the poor citizens struggling under a Republican Governor and a Republican majority in their legislature, we have honest and well-run elections, without right wing voter suppression and racism ruining the foundational premise of a free nation — honest and open elections by citizens.

 

As Ruth Bader Ginsburg blisters Voter ID in her recent dissenting opinion on the Jim Crow-like legislation of backward and benighted Texas, it is worth a review not only of her comments, which are widely reviewed elsewhere, but also a couple of studies that directly reflect on this American tragedy of racist Voter ID/ Voter Suppression.

 

One of the more interesting academic studies that got the WI Voter ID tossed by the courts was this one:

Employment and Training Institute banner

Research Update

Voter Photo ID Law Court Cases Utilize ETI Research
A research report by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Employment and Training Institute on The Driver License Status of the Voting Age Population in Wisconsin has received renewed attention as public officials and the courts assess disparate impacts of state and local laws requiring photo IDs as a condition for voting and the Supreme Court examines challenges to the photo ID voter law.

In May 2014 federal Judge Lynn Adelman found Wisconsin’s state photo ID law unconstitutional given its adverse impact on many Wisconsin citizens. The 90-page decision is posted online. In it, in note 32 Adelman cites the ETI research that only 47% of black adults and 43% of Hispanic adults compared to 73% of white adults in Milwaukee County hold valid driver’s licenses as do 85% of white adults in the rest of Wisconsin compared to 53% of black adults and 52% of Hispanic adults. In October 2014 a three-judge federal appeals court panel found the law constitutional based on the Supreme Court Indiana decision. Here, in the court’s decision Judge Frank Easterbrook referenced the 2005 ETI data but suggested that it was evidence that fewer nonwhites without licenses have registered to vote (putting aside the “felon-disenfranchisement” issue). Subsequently, the full 10-member panel deadlocked 5-5 on rehearing the case. On October 9, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 6-3 to block the law’s implementation for the immediate Wisconsin elections scheduled in November.

The Employment and Training Institute study was the first research available that measured driver’s license disparities by race and age. The ETI was able to measure possession of driver’s licenses for subpopulations in Wisconsin, having reviewed the state license files for employment-related research, and particularly for lack of licenses among working age African Americans and Latinos in Milwaukee County.

And the quite excellent and exhaustive report goes on for many more pages of similar information.

Now of course, Conservatives BRISTLE with anger whenever they are called out on right wing racism, and they bitterly protest concerns about honest elections, and at most inadvertently insist that their restrictive voter laws, not just Voter ID, but reducing voting hours and polling places, and cutting early voting, are perhaps PARTISAN, but NO! NO! NEVER EVER Racist!

 

Bullpuckey!

 
Take a look at the ethnicity and racial make up of those who are disenfranchised under Wisconsin law.  Wisconsin law is pretty consistent with other right wing voter legislation (thank ALEC for that ‘coincidence’, since the right lets ALEC special interests write the legislation they sponsor), including the Texas law addressed by Justice Ginsburg, in which she specifically and in detail calls it racist.

NOW, take a look at this study from the University of Delaware, a study published shortly before the LAST election:
…READ MORE

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Lynn Schoen for Minnesota House 21A

by Dan Burns on October 21, 2014 · 1 comment

schoenThis is practically a toss-up district. Here’s Schoen’s website. What stands out immediately is that she is taking a righteous, gutsy, activist stand on a key environmental/economic issue.
 

As a city of Wabasha Councilmember I am very concerned about the negative impact the frac sand industry will have on my community.
 
This type of large scale intensive strip mining and the truck traffic and transportation issues that come with it are entirely new to Southeast Minnesota. So far this issue has been left primarily to local governments to deal with and towns like Wabasha are struggling. It is critical that our state Legislature act this year to establish some regional standards for this industry to protect the area’s water, air, roads and quality of life.
(Winona Daily News)

As for Rep. Tim Kelly’s position on this issue, it’s exactly as you’d expect.
 

How far in the bag for the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council is Representative Tim Kelly (R-Red Wing)?
 
Pretty far, judging by the contrast between the bill he’s introduced in the Minnesota House with the reality of a snarl of environmental review woes facing projects across Southern Minnesota.
(Bluestem Prairie)

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HD2B Steve Green dislikes both science and law

by Eric Ferguson on October 20, 2014 · 2 comments

State Rep. Steve Green, HD2B
State Rep. Steve Green, R-2B, has authored some interesting bills. By “authored”, I suspect I mean “stuck his name on some special interest’s bill, and who knows if he even read it”. But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume he really believes this stuff. Wait, that’s sort of worse. Anyway…
 
Let’s start with a bit of tentherism. Green is one of those who buys into that doctrine birthed in John C. Calhoun’s black-enslaving heart that states can ignore whatever federal laws they disagree with. That doctrine, originally intended for the defense of slavery, has never entirely died out on the extreme right, which extremity apparently includes Green, trying to apply it to modern issues with just as little understanding of how the law works.
 
Green coauthored a bill that calls for the arrest of federal officials enforcing federal gun laws. He seems to be fond of arresting federal officials for implementing laws he disagrees with. Green was one of the Republicans who said they would support arresting federal officials implementing Obamacare in Minnesota. No shock I suppose that there is considerable overlap between the Republicans who want to arrest federal officials for one and the other. Each list is like a handy guide to nutjobbery.
 
…READ MORE

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MN-02: Kline screwing veterans on student loans

by Dan Burns on October 20, 2014 · 1 comment

271_19344293946_1831_nFrom a guy who makes an awfully big deal of being a high-profile veteran, himself.
 

The Star Tribune article points out the problem, but again, John Kline is not mentioned. John Kline is not asked. John Kline is not held accountable.
 
And why should he be?
 
Because John Kline gaveled down a possible fix to this problem by adding GI loans to the 90/10 rule for college loan money. The 90/10 rule requires colleges and universities to not exceed 90% of their loan funding from government sources. Currently, GI loans are not counted and thus the For Profit Colleges target veterans into programs that often lead nowhere in regards to getting a job.
 
The fix was discussed – but John Kline did not EVEN ALLOW DEBATE on the proposal. As committee chair, he, and he alone, was able to gavel this down, at his discretion. A move that directly benefits his For Profit College donors.
(mnpACT!)

This is pretty good:
 

 

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millspartying2Because that’s how a guy like him best aggrandizes #1. Like many mildly to moderately stupid people who have nonetheless found themselves in extremely privileged places through sheer accidents of birth and circumstance (George W. Bush is the most prominent contemporary example), Stewart Mills III is probably just plain incapable of really comprehending the potential effects on others of the policies that he supports.
 
– Along with the warmongering, the general worsening of unequal access to opportunity and resources is the worst result of the absolute political, social, and economic disaster that has been “movement conservatism,” “Reaganism,” or whatever you want to call it. Mills supports more tax cut welfare for the super wealthy like himself.

 

You can count on Stewart III to ride along as congressional GOP leadership continues to often bluff, and probably sometimes follow through on, government shutdowns, threats to default on the national debt, and whatever other despicable bullsh*t those worthless losers can think of.

 
And that’s just for starters.
 
If he somehow squeaks out a fluky, one-term win, entirely due to extremely wrongheaded DFL voter apathy/laziness in the district, Mills will in some ways serve as MN-08’s own Crazy Michele Bachmann – not able to personally do anything like the damage Bachmann has done, because that time has passed, but as an essentially clownish figure. And he certainly won’t get anything more done for his district in Congress than Bachmann has for hers. Not sure why he’d show up, except that he’s a cocky little f*cker (just like W.), and would undoubtedly do plenty of struttin’. Let’s prevent that, shall we? And, let’s prevent the fulsome – indeed, downright sickening – adoration he’d continue to enjoy, from Minnesota, and national, corporate media.
 

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(We’re still having a problem with comments uploading correctly. I will manually upload any comments on this, so they will appear, sooner or later. – DB)
 
Sarah Lahm’s conspiracy piece about “billionaire and TFA” money flooding in to support Don Samuels in the Minneapolis School Board race went national last week. Washington Post columnist Valerie Strauss (a staunch opponent of ed reform) reprinted Lahm’s original piece from “In These Times.”

A few days later, some Minneapolis voters woke up to find Lahm’s article tucked inside their screen doors with this helpful note, “I noticed a Don Samuels lawn sign in your yard. This may be information you need to make a more informed decision.”

Key word here is “informed.”

Which is sort of funny because Lahm’s piece is so loaded with factual errors, omissions and conspiracy theories, I scarcely know where to begin. It mirrors the stuff we progressives roll our eyes about when we hear it coming from Fox News.

Here are four things wrong with her piece:

…READ MORE

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During Friday’s debate of secretary of state candidates on Almanac, Dan Severson repeated his idea of an express lane for voters showing photo ID. Such voters would get to go through a fast line, pretty much like now, while those without photo ID would have to have a long wait. What they would wait for is never hinted at. What is sure is that since we generally enjoy short waits now in Minnesota, he’s going to have to create some obstacles to extend the wait. Severson is entirely comfortable with inflicting discomfort on others. DFL candidate Rep. Steve Simon pointed out that Severson said he was fine with making people without photo IDs wait out in the cold for two hours. Simon said this at 43:45. Severson immediately denied it, and denied it again at 45:30. I won’t say Severson is lying because he could have forgotten he said it. And somehow no one in his campaign checked out Youtube, where they could have seen the video below from last April, just as Simon said. But lying or forgetful, Severson said it. h/t Bluestem Prairie. Severson says it starting st 53:40:
 

 
In the bit right before, Severson is denying that minorities are disenfranchised by requiring photo IDs, claiming that having photo IDs enfranchises them. He’ll enfranchise people by requiring them to produce something they can’t get, without which they won’t be allowed to vote. At least not without standing out in the cold for two hours. He seems not to get that yo can’t enfranchise people who already can vote, nor does he mind disenfranchising them. Maybe he’s just clueless about what “enfranchise” means?
 

When they’ve done studies on photo ID [no, he gave no indication of who "they" is], it actually empowers the minority communities to say you know what, I am a US citizen. I have the right to vote. This is my ticket to vote. And so in that process, I think we begin to enfranchise, to encourage those people, who meet the criteria, say you know what, you are a US citizen, we’re going to make it easy for you. Now if don’t want to do that, be my guest. You can go over to the side and wait in line, two hours, out in the cold. That’s fine.

Even our most bogged down polling places in 2012 didn’t have two hour waits. He’s going to have to deliberately create the conditions that cause two hour waits. I’d find that laughable, it it wasn’t that Republican election officials in some states have done just that in Democratic precincts.
 
BTW, if you watch the whole debate, it becomes apparent why Simon put the debate video on his web site.

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