Colorado: We may win a national political contest only to lose multiple ballot questions that will eviscerate all pretext of progressive advancement

Oh, we will still be able to smoke recreational pot for now at least, but by any indication, the GOP will trounce any and all proposed November 8 initiatives that will roll back the systematic elimination or contraction of social, economic, and environmental progress we have fought for in the past 20 years. The Koch brothers and others are pouring money into Super PACs that are producing really slick TV and print ads that; (1 oppose restoring school funding to pre-2008 levels (Taxes!), (2 advancements in state-wide health care (Big Government! Taxes!), (3 removing indentured servitude in the state penal system (Law & Order!), (4 Assisted Suicide (Don’t make the Baby Jesus Cry!), (5 hamstringing the ability for ballot initiatives to be brought to a vote in state election (Fscking Socialists! This ain’t the People’s Republic of Colorado! edit Oil companies can frack anywhere we damn well want to, who do you think runs things around here?/edit), (6 $12 state minimum wage (Bad for business! Not a market solution! Will kill the ‘recovery’!), (7 Denver Area Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (Socialism! Not a Market Solution! Taxes!), and (8 Increase in taxes on a pack of Cigarettes and other tobacco products (Taxes!).

These ads are good, slickly produced, sound reasonable, and stand in ‘reasonable and measured’ opposition to the increasingly oppressive, government overreach that is threatening to destroy the very fabric of life in Colorado we’ve been able to salvage after the common-sense restrictions imposed after the Liberals Recession following Obama’s election.

Arguments are presented in a way that seems sensible to low-information voters and just ‘the right thing to do’. Local and state level Democratic candidates are presented as ‘Tax and spend liberals!’ (yes, we’re back to those tropes) and non-partisan offices are nevertheless populated with reasonable candidates that are opposed by those that would take your rights away and give them to people who do not deserve them. No, really. Schools Board elections, District Attorneys, and other races feature ads that are likewise polarized and low information.

As far as I can tell, the Democratic Party in Colorado is having a had time organizing the GOTV efforts for the election, much less doing any outreach. I fear for the outcome for a majority of the races and questions below our contentious Presidential election.

VOTE 411 is a great resource provided by The League of Women Voters.

Also, don’t forget to register AND vote on November 8.

New Law Banning Use of Cell Phones While Driving Goes into Effect Oct. 1

Hey, Las Vegas tweeps! Don’t forget about this… [from the press release]

Starting Saturday, Oct. 1, Nevada becomes the 10th state in the nation to ban hand-held cell phones while driving.

The new law is designed to reduce accidents caused by distracted driving. If a police officer sees you using a hand-held phone, you can be pulled over and cited. Fines are set for $50 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense and $250 for third and subsequent offenses. Second and third offenses are can result in points off your license.

Local police plan to issue warnings, not citations, to drivers through Dec. 31. Motorists can use hand-free options while driving, which include wired headsets, Bluetooth devices and wireless systems built into newer automobiles.

Drivers talking on cell phones are four times as likely to crash as someone who is not on their phone, the risk climbs to a whopping 23 times as likely to be in a crash when texting behind the wheel, according to a Virginia Tech study. More than 50 percent of adults (58 percent) and 66 percent of teens admit they send and receive text messages, at least in part, while driving.

Capitalism: It Makes You Feel Like a Battered Spouse

Not Moore’s movie Capitalism: A Love Story, Capitalism itself makes you feel like a battered spouse.

This movies documents the rampant ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ that has ensued since just after WWII. The director moves from as much street theater to fairly straight forward facts. I attended (Friday 2:30 pm) with a crowd (~50) of roughly retirement age people. They talked back to the screen and it felt, at times, like a Pentecostal meeting. I was very surprised, pleasantly so.

It may be preaching to the choir, but some may not be aware that our real obstacles lie, not from political parties, but corporate interests roiling the waters (cf. Fox, Limbaugh, Beck, et. al.) to obscure the real enemy — multi-national corporations granted the rights of ‘persons’ in a questionable recording of a SCOTUS ruling that drug the 14th amendment in places it did not belong.

So really, this is not about being part of “a nation of shopkeepers”, rather it is being chattel in a corporate system that takes out life insurance on its line employees hoping they will die young. Google ‘Dead Peasants‘ for more info about this delightful practice.

And really, the choir needs to be preached to, otherwise they might stop singing.

Go and see it, perhaps you too will feel like singing…

Senator Bernie Sanders on Harry Reid’s Hormone Deficiency

Apropos to my letter to Harry Reid — over at Thom Hartmann, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to the difficulty of blocking the Republican filibuster thanks to Harry Reid’s hormone deficiency.

Scroll down to ‘THP090702 Brunch with Bernie.’ I am confident this will link rot like a big dog.

Rotted, dog removed…

Danish Arctic Research Dates End of Ice Age to 11,711 Years Ago

Well cool! Urm, pun not intended. Archaeologists seldom need quite that precision, but just to know that we’re closer to 12KYA than 11 is useful. Now on to that whole “Younger Dryas” event.

Danish Arctic research dates Ice Age

The result of a Danish ice drilling project has become the international standard for the termination of the last glacial period. It ended precisely 11,711 years ago.

Jørgen Peder Steffensen of the Niels Bohr Institute showing the exact point in the ice cap where the last Ice Age ended – 11,711 years ago. – Foto: Niels Bohr Instituttet

A Danish ice drilling project has conclusively ended the discussion on the exact date of the end of the last ice age.

The extensive scientific study shows that it was precisely 11,711 years ago – and not the indeterminate figure of ‘some’ 11,000 years ago – that the ice withdrew, allowing humans and animals free reign.

According to the Niels Bohr Institute (NBI) in Copenhagen, the very precise dating of the end of the last Ice Age has made Denmark the owner of the “Greenwich Mean Time” of the end of the last glacial period and beginning of the present climate – the so-called International Standard Reference.

Kilometres of ice
It took several thousand years to warm up the earth and melt the kilometre thick ice caps that covered large parts of the northern hemisphere during the last glacial period and as a result the transition from Ice Age to the current period has lacked a clearly defined point in time.

The answer has now been found in the NordGrip drilling project in Greenland.

“Our new, extremely detailed data from the examination of the ice cores shows that in the transition from the ice age to our current warm, interglacial period the climate shift is so sudden that it is as if a button was pressed”, explains ice core researcher Jørgen Peder Steffensen, Centre for Ice and Climate at NBI at the University of Copenhagen.

Ice core reference
When ice cores, that are formed by annual snowfall that is compressed into ice, are drilled out and analysed, the three kilometre ice cap in Greenland has acted like a filing cabinet of the climate detail of past geological periods.

“It is the first time an ice core has been used as an international standard reference for a geological period and it is a great recognition of our extremely detailed scientific data”, Jørgen Peder Steffensen said.

Time for Some Audacity?

Could be, definitely could be. I’m currently reading Jonathan Alter’s The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope, so this is more grist for the mill.
[Krugman via Kevin Drum]

Franklin Delano Obama? [NY Times]
Suddenly, everything old is New Deal again. Reagan is out; F.D.R. is in. Still, how much guidance does the Roosevelt era really offer for today’s world?

The answer is, a lot. But Barack Obama should learn from F.D.R.’s failures as well as from his achievements: the truth is that the New Deal wasn’t as successful in the short run as it was in the long run. And the reason for F.D.R.’s limited short-run success, which almost undid his whole program, was the fact that his economic policies were too cautious. (…)

What saved the economy, and the New Deal, was the enormous public works project known as World War II, which finally provided a fiscal stimulus adequate to the economy’s needs.

This history offers important lessons for the incoming administration.

The political lesson is that economic missteps can quickly undermine an electoral mandate. Democrats won big last week — but they won even bigger in 1936, only to see their gains evaporate after the recession of 1937-38. Americans don’t expect instant economic results from the incoming administration, but they do expect results, and Democrats’ euphoria will be short-lived if they don’t deliver an economic recovery.

The economic lesson is the importance of doing enough. F.D.R. thought he was being prudent by reining in his spending plans; in reality, he was taking big risks with the economy and with his legacy. My advice to the Obama people is to figure out how much help they think the economy needs, then add 50 percent. It’s much better, in a depressed economy, to err on the side of too much stimulus than on the side of too little.

In short, Mr. Obama’s chances of leading a new New Deal depend largely on whether his short-run economic plans are sufficiently bold. Progressives can only hope that he has the necessary audacity.

So, some audacity, please. Perhaps a 10-year commitment (AKA, “Apollo project”) to energy self sufficiency and single-payer health care. Gear up that manufacturing sector and the educational system. We’re not going to crack the nut on affordable active solar, reliable affordable battery tech for vehicles and the various other things that populate my little fantasy.

We have to gear up education for research and design (hard sciences and engineering), fabrication and installation (workers idled by the burst housing bubble and auto industry lethargy), distribution, etc., to meet these goals.

Single payer health care will finally allow people to create more small, independent start-ups than we can currently imagine. Once free to abandon unfulfilling and underemployed positions because they, “can’t lose the benefits.” The health care necessity has been a shackle on American workers — regardless of the color of their collars — for far too long. If everyone has coverage, there goes one more obstacle to finding your own part of the American Dream, however your image of that may be.

This is a little ragged and for that I apologize. Rageboy used to write writes, “We blog when we should be sleeping, and it shows.” I will leave the applicability of that statement as an exercise for the reader.