The Catastrophes That a GOP-Controlled Congress Would Bring

Katrina vanden Heuvel, Washington Post

Katrina vanden Heuvel

With two weeks to go until the midterms, and with polls pointing to the prospect that Republicans could take control of the Senate, the stakes are high — not just for the Obama administration and congressional Democrats, but for the United States. The consequences of Republican control of both the House and Senate could be catastrophic for the environment, workers, women and minorities.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has promised a gathering of donors hosted by the Koch brothers that “We’re not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals . . . things like raising the minimum wage . . . extending unemployment . . . the student loan package.”

And it won’t just be progressive proposals that are stymied. Consider the judges who will never make it to the bench, including the highest, when it is Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and not Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who is in charge of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Consider the destabilizing political circus Republicans will create for the Obama administration and the nation when Rep. Darrell Issa’s hyper-partisan investigations into fake scandals spread from the House to the Senate.

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Study Results:


Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

Member Exchange: College Credits

A new study, by the University of Minnesota, indicates that fear of contracting the Ebola virus is highest among Americans who did not pay attention during math and science classes.

According to the study, those whose minds were elsewhere while being taught certain concepts, like what a virus is and numbers, are at a significantly greater risk of being afraid of catching Ebola than people who were paying even scant attention.

Interviews conducted with people who spent math and science classes focusing on what they would be having for dinner or what the student in front of them was wearing revealed the difficulty they are currently having grasping basic facts about Ebola.

For example, when a participant of the study was told that he had a one-in-thirteen-million chance of contracting the virus, his response was, “Whoa. Thirteen million is a really big number. That is totally scary.”

Davis Logsdon, who conducted the study for the University of Minnesota, puts the number of Americans who did not pay attention during math and science classes at seventy-two per cent, but adds, “I seriously doubt most people will know what that means.”

The Colorado Pot Experiment

Tampa Bay Times

Colorado Pot

DENVER — Drive around here for a few days and you can’t shake it: Is the smell real or in my head?

Get within 20 yards of one of the hundreds of marijuana dispensaries or warehouses where the stuff is grown and there’s nothing imaginary. Heady vapors are sweeping through the Mile High City.

Inside the shops, which outnumber Starbucks, comically named varieties are lined up in glass jars. Green Crack. Super Skunk. AK-47. Golden Goat. Trainwreck. But the action is with cannabis-infused “edibles” — chocolate bars, cookies, sodas and gummy bears that pack a longer, all-over-body buzz.

Baklava, anyone?

Retail stores are popping up everywhere, filling vacant spaces, creating jobs and work for general contractors. Warehouses are nearly impossible to rent. Tourism is up, crime is not. And 10 tons — tons — of weed is being consumed per month.

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Political makeover can’t hide the facts about Blaise Ingoglia

Dan DeWitt,  Hernando Times

Blaise Ingoglia

If you’ve seen his mailed-out advertisements, you’ve seen the new Blaise Ingoglia.

This Blaise, the Republican candidate for the District 35 seat in the Florida House of Representatives, usually wears unassuming polo shirts or respectable, pressed button-downs.

One exception is his appearance in outdoor gear, shotgun in hand, palling around with hunters whose right to bear arms he pledges to protect.

He’s got some other friends, too: members of an unnamed, wholesome-looking family apparently recruited to look grateful for his promises to support law enforcement and improve schools.

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Gov. Scott skips deposition for fundraiser

Miami Herald

Rick Scott

Gov. Rick Scott is planning not to appear Friday for a deposition in a lawsuit he filed in California to block the release of information about Google email accounts used by him and his executive staff.

Attorney Steven R. Andrews was prepared to put the governor under oath in Tallahassee, but Scott’s communications director, Frank Collins, said Thursday “there is not going to be a deposition tomorrow.” Scott’s lawyers asked the judge to quash the deposition but, as of late Thursday, they hadn’t received an answer.

Scott is instead expected to attend a Friday fundraiser at the Biltmore in Coral Gables, featuring former Gov. Jeb Bush, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Lieutenant Gov. Carlos Lopez Cantera.

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Times recommends: Charlie Crist for governor

Tampa Bay Times

Charlie Crist

For all of its challenges, Florida remains a place of promise and possibility, great resilience and untapped potential, entrepreneurial spirit and remarkable diversity. Charlie Crist understands this state and cares about its people and their aspirations, their struggles to make ends meet and their dreams for the future. His return to the Governor’s Mansion would advance Florida’s best interests and send a message that the concerns of average Floridians are more important than big money and rigid ideology.


Church and State: Still Separate?

Bob Franken

Bob Franken

I have always agreed that the two subjects that should be avoided in polite conversation are religion and politics. Well, since I’m forever talking politics, one can easily figure out what I think about polite conversation — obviously not much.

But if there is any doubt, let’s discuss religion today. We can start with this question: Who are you going to believe, Antonin Scalia or Thomas Jefferson? Justice Scalia recently made a speech at Colorado Christian University in which he declared that there is nothing in the Constitution stating that “the government cannot favor religion over nonreligion.”

It’s interesting that someone who is described as an “Originalist” would apply his own reasoning to the First Amendment, which specifically prohibits “an establishment of religion.” The author, Thomas Jefferson, made it clear what he meant. In an 1802 letter, he wrote that he intended a “wall of separation between church and state.”

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Florida goes down the drain

Gail Collins, New York Times

On Miami Beach, rising sea levels have interesting consequences. The ocean periodically starts bubbling up through local drainpipes. By the time it’s over, the concept of “going down to the water” has extended to stepping off the front porch.

It’s becoming a seasonal event, like swallows at Capistrano or the return of the buzzards to Hinckley, Ohio.

“At the spring and fall high tides, we get flooding of coastal areas,” said Leonard Berry, the director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies. “You’ve got saltwater coming up through the drains, into the garages and sidewalks and so on, damaging the Ferraris and the Lexuses.”

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Lodato, Oliver are best for Hernando Commission

Hernando Times

The Hernando County Commission needs new leadership. The reckless majority has gutted county reserves, slashed public services, gotten even cozier with special interests and dumped the cost of servicing growth onto existing taxpayers.

Two seats are up for grabs in November and the electorate should pick candidates motivated to tackle a broad spectrum of concerns instead of focusing exclusively on cutting spending. Commissioners must reside in their district, but they are elected by voters countywide.

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