Fascism grows

In an empty belly. Keep an eye on Greece, because this is some scary shit:

The Golden Dawn office in downtown Athens is open three evenings a week. Most of the visitors are middle-aged women with dull eyes and sunken cheeks, faces too old for their bodies, hardened, tired expressions. More than 50 come in an hour. Quietly, they ask the bouncers, “Are they giving out food inside?” “Third floor,” the bouncers say; but most of the women come out empty-handed save for a mauve piece of paper with the Golden Dawn logo on it. There’s only enough today for voters from this ward; they’ll announce the next distribution on a poster, in the papers, if you phone.

Away from the door, Maria Kirimi tells me she’s been locked out of her flat with all her things inside since 29 July; the family are crowded at her mother’s now, seven people surviving on €400 a month. “We’re the living dead,” she says. Isn’t she troubled by Golden Dawn’s violence? “The boys in the black shirts are the only ones I’m not scared of. I feel they’ll protect me.” I ask her mother, old enough to remember the junta, what she thinks of their far-right views. “I heard Michaloliakos say on TV that their sign isn’t Hitler’s sign but a patriotic one,” she says, and then looks down at her feet. “It does upset me a bit. But I haven’t heard of anyone else giving out food.”

Five years ago

NASA scientists warned about hurricane danger to New York:

Even as we act immediately to curtail short term vulnerability, every exposed coastal city needs a risk assessment that takes global warming scenarios into account…Scientists at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York have been studying that city’s vulnerability to hurricane impacts in a changing world, and calculated that with 1.5 feet of sea level rise, a worst-case-scenario Category 3 hurricane could submerge “the Rockaways, Coney Island, much of southern Brooklyn and Queens, portions of Long Island City, Astoria, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, lower Manhattan, and eastern Staten Island from Great Kills Harbor north to the Verrazano Bridge.” (Pause and think about that for a second.)

While Sandy was a Category 1 for wind, it was a Category 3 for storm surge.


As we know, Republicans can’t win a national election unless they steal it. So as we count down to the presidential election, Republican election officials around the country are making all sorts of “mistakes” and accidentally “forgetting” all kinds of details:

WASHINGTON — Democratic activists in Riverside County, Calif., claim that a Republican voter outreach project may be illegally registering Democrats as Republicans to boost the GOP’s registration advantage, according to CaliforniaWatch.org, an investigative journalism outfit.

The website reports, “In a complaint filed last week with the county registrar of voters, the Democrats presented affidavits from 133 Democratic voters who said they had been re-registered as Republicans without their consent after they encountered petition circulators outside welfare offices and stores.

“A local Democratic Party spokesman told CaliforniaWatch.org that the registration project’s efforts may aid GOP fundraising efforts (by making local races seem more winnable) and impede Democrats’ ability to turn out their voters. A spokeswoman for the Golden State Voter Participation Project denied the allegations, saying, “Our canvassers are trained about the laws, the rules and how to conduct themselves.”

Here are some other election-related mishaps in the news:In Palm Beach County, Fla., election officials are red-faced about yet another printing error on absentee ballots. As HuffPost reported last week, the county must manually fill out copies of 27,000 absentee ballots that can’t be digitally scanned because of a design error. On Monday, elections supervisor Susan Bucher told the Palm Beach Post that she had to send new absentee ballots to another 500 voters because the flawed ballots they received didn’t contain one of 11 proposed amendments to the state’s constitution. The ballots also allow people to vote twice on three of those amendments because one of the ballot pages appears twice.

In Lakeland, Fla., an editorial in The Ledger warns that strict rules for counting absentee ballots may prevent some ballots from being counted. It points to a provision of Florida law that states, “After an absentee ballot is received by the supervisor, the ballot is deemed to have been cast, and changes or additions may not be made to the voter’s certificate.” The concern is that voters who don’t sign their absentee ballots before turning them in will have their ballots invalidated. In a swing state like Florida, every vote may make a difference: A mere 537 Florida votes separated George W. Bush from Al Gore 12 years ago.

In Oneida County, N.Y., officials say the cost of fixing a typo on 130,000 ballots will be about $75,000, according to the Utica Observer-Dispatch. The newspaper reports that the county had to print brand-new ballots because the “c” was missing from President Barack Obama’s first name. “I called the printer [Albany-based Fort Orange Press],” County Executive Anthony Picente told the paper. “She can cry poor me [in] this election and that election. They did it wrong and this is an embarrassment.”

‘Look over there, it’s the rape stork!’

If only we could actually get people (ahem, members of the media?) to snap out like this when right-wing fundie extremists start spouting crap we know isn’t true! But alas, this is only a parody:

During a live interview this morning with theSmithsonian Channel, the mild mannered science educator unloaded on U.S. Congressman Todd Akin, calling him “a f*cking idiot” for accusing Nye of personally provoking Hurricane Issac.

Last week Nye uploaded a video to Youtube urging parents not to teach their children creationism.

At a town hall campaign event yesterday, Akin used the video as an example of immoral behavior driving god to punish America through extreme weather.

Sure, that’s a lot easier than explaining how politicians sold out our future to oil lobbyists!

Although reporters reached out to Nye for a statement yesterday, his first discussion of the matter came this morning at Smithsonian’s Washington D.C. headquarters. The 56 year old star of the long-running “Bill Nye The Science Guy” was in the studio to promote his new documentary series focusing on the neuroscience of childhood development.

After briefly discussing his show, the Smithsonian anchors asked Nye about Akin’s recent accusation. The normally genial Nye wasted no time venting his rage about the comments:

“Look, these people, they’re f*cking retarded. Rape can’t cause pregnancy? Breast milk cures homosexuality? I caused a hurricane by challenging creationism? Who can possibly take these people seriously anymore?”

The slightly uncomfortable anchors then tried to change the subject, but Nye persisted:

“It used to be these Republicans didn’t believe in global warming or evolution. That was bad enough. Now they don’t even believe in egg + sperm = baby. Where does Todd Akin think babies come from? Does he think there are separate storks for people who were raped and people who weren’t? Hey look over there! It’s the rape stork. It drops its babies directly at the orphanage.”

“He’s a f*cking idiot. Just a plain f*cking idiot. I’m sorry – I don’t say that word very often – but it happens to fit in this case. He’s just a f*cking idiot.”

Then he challenged Akin to a debate. Go read the rest.

Romney’s hands-off style allowed meningitis pharmacy off the hook

From what I know of Big Pharma, I’m not really surprised. Companies are frequently given a mild slap on the hand and get off with a promise to report themselves for breaking any more regulations. And knowing Mitt Romney’s worship of the marketplace, of course he doesn’t want to regulate businesses, so that doesn’t surprise me, either. But you’d think that one or two of the mainstream media might want to point this out for the people who don’t already know:

The fatal meningitis epidemic sweeping the United States can now be traced to the failure of then-Gov. Mitt Romney to adequately regulate the Massachusetts pharmaceutical company that is being blamed for the deaths.

At least 344 people in 18 states have been infected by the growing public health crisis and 25 have died so far.

But the epidemic may also play a role in the presidential campaign, now that state records reveal that a Massachusetts regulatory agency found that the New England Compounding Co., the pharmaceutical company tied to the epidemic, repeatedly failed to meet accepted standards in 2004 — but a reprimand was withdrawn by the Romney administration in apparent deference to the company’s business interests.

“It goes all the way up to Mitt Romney,” said Alyson Oliver, a Michigan attorney representing victims of the outbreak. According to Oliver, on at least six occasions, NECC was cited by authorities for failure to meet regulatory standards and almost subjected to a three-year probation. “It goes directly to the heart of what Romney says about regulation, ‘Hands off. Let the companies do their thing.’”

“When the person who is supposed to be in charge of oversight does not believe oversight is necessary, this is what happens,” Oliver added.

“The philosophy of the Romney administration was to have lax regulations across the board,” Philip Johnston, a former secretary of health and human services in Massachusetts before the Romney administration, told Salon. “It speaks volumes about the tragic outcome of Romney’s view on regulatory issues. There are two dozen people who died needlessly. It was clearly the responsibility of the company to protect them, but it was also the responsibility of the government at various levels, and, as far as I’m concerned, they failed.”

On Oct. 28, Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., called for “a full investigation” into the regulatory issues that led to the epidemic. “There’s a regulatory black hole here,” he said, “but the full assessment of responsibility, state to federal, is ongoing. We need to know everything.”

The owners of NECC have made campaign donations both to Romney and to Massachusetts Republican senatorial candidate Scott Brown, Salon has learned.
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