Injury of the week

I was painting a piece of furniture in my bedroom while sitting on a stepladder. I kind of slid off the ladder, it folded and I landed on my butt. Result? What appears to be a minor tear in the ligament under my kneecap. So between that and the broken toe, I’m still hobbling around.

My sister said she has accidents like this all the time, and reminded me that our mother did, as well. Apparently we’re a cohort of klutzes! (In other news, it turns out that completely independent of each other, my sister and I purchased the exact same bedroom curtains. We really are turning into our mother.)

Blowing hard

NJ Gov. Chris Christie:

As ThinkProgress has reported, several states took their share of the $25 billion foreclosure fraud settlement and used it to balance their budgetsinstead of providing help to homeowners. New Jersey is one of those states, where Gov. Chris Christieplunked the money into the state’s general fund, not specifically earmarking it for foreclosure prevention.

And that isn’t the only way in which Christie is keeping aid from getting to homeowners who need it. According to a report by WABC’s Jim Hoffer, another pot of federal money delivered to the Garden State to prevent foreclosure has gone largely unused:

Two years ago, New Jersey received $300 million from the federal government to help the unemployed from losing their homes.

The state used that money to create the “Homekeeper Loan” program. […]

Data Eyewitness News obtained show since 2010, Homekeeper has only approved 498 families for foreclosure assistance, but nearly 2,000 homeowners have been denied help.

In fact, less than $4-million of the $300-million has been spent ranking New Jersey last among 18 recipient states in giving out these emergency foreclosure funds.

Christie blew off Hoffer’s question about the program during a press conference, telling Hoffer “don’t show up once in a blue moon and think you’re going to dominate my press conference.”

NJ ranks No. 2 in the nation with seriously delinquent mortgages. Tra la!

Voter ID hearing again

The PA Supreme Court kicked the actual decision back to the lower court, but they also ordered the judge to block the law unless he finds voters aren’t going to be disenfranchised. Today, that case will be made before the Commonwealth Court:

The state of Pennsylvania’s ability to get every would-be voter a government-issued photo ID by Election Day will literally be on trial Tuesday.

The hearing before Commonwealth Judge Robert Simpson comes after the state Supreme Court last week instructed him to block a new law requiring ID at the polls unless he determines “that there will be no voter disenfranchisement” arising from its implementation.

Opponents of the law have said the state can’t possibly prove that case, as the law’s entire reason for existence is precisely to make it harder for the poor, members of minority groups, students, and the elderly to cast their ballots, and in that way suppress the Democratic vote.

Republican backers of the law have said it was intended to fight voter fraud. But in-person voter fraud — the only kind voter ID would reduce — is almost nonexistent.

Back in August, Simpson upheld the law — one of the strictest among similar bills recently passed by GOP legislatures around the country — ruling that it wasn’t unconstitutional in theory.

But now the question is one of implementation, and whether the state is fulfilling its promise to educate voters about what they’ll need at the polls this year and get them the IDs they need if they don’t have them. Signs are that it isn’t.

The main provider of photo IDs is the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation — PennDOT. PennDOT has only issued a fraction of the IDs estimated to be necessary.

News articles abound about how hard it’s been for would-be voters who lack ID — say, a 91-year-old World War II veteran or a Philadelphia homeowner who rides the bus — to deal with PennDOT.

It also turns out the state is actually blocking attempts by various Democratic officials who have come up with ways to get IDs to those who need them more effectively.

State Sen. Wayne Fontana, a Democrat who represents the Pittsburgh area, recently took to his local website to complain that top Pennsylvania officials denied his request to create neighborhood centers by using state offices — including legislators’ district offices — to distribute photo ID.

Here’s your climate change, pal

Hope you enjoyed that bacon while it lasted!

Might want to get your fill of ham this year, because “a world shortage of pork and bacon next year is now unavoidable,” according to an industry trade group.

Blame the drought conditions that blazed through the corn and soybean crop this year. Less feed led to herds declining across the European Union “at a significant rate,” according to the National Pig Assn. in Britain.

And the trend “is being mirrored around the world,” according to a release (hat tip to the Financial Times).

In the second half of next year, the number of slaughtered pigs could fall 10%, doubling the price of European pork, according to the release.

Way to go

Way to go, professor! If Scott Brown is dumb enough to bring this up, way to throw it back in his teeth!

Elizabeth Warren fires back at Scott Brown’s attack on her claims of Native American ancestry, in a new TV ad in the Massachusetts Senate race. Earlier Monday, the Brown campaign released an ad that questioned Warren’s honesty, and whether she would have gotten any job based on the claim.

“As a kid, I never asked my mom for documentation when she talked about our Native American heritage. What kid would?” Warren says to the camera. “But I knew my father’s family didn’t like that she was part Cherokee and part Delaware — so my parents had to elope.”

“Let me be clear, I never asked for, never got any benefit, because of my heritage. The people who hired me have all said they didn’t even know about it. I’m Elizabeth Warren, I approve this message. Scott Brown can continue attacking my family — but I”m gonna keep fighting for yours.”

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