Skip to main content

Welcome! "What's Happenin'?" is a casual community diary (a daily series, 8:30 AM Eastern on weekdays, 10 AM on weekends and holidays) where we hang out and talk about the goings on here and everywhere.  

We welcome links to your writings here on dkos or elsewhere, posts of pictures, music, news, etc.  

Just about anything goes, but attacks and pie fights are not welcome here.  This is a community diary and a friendly, peaceful, supportive place for people to interact.  

Everyone who wants to join in peaceful interaction is very welcome here.



Good Morning!



IMG_5746
Rose garden at Longwood Gardens. (Photo by joanneleon. October, 2012)
The reason that minorities and women don't have a better shot at getting elected to the Senate or to statewide office is because the campaign finance rules are so skewed as to make it very difficult for non-traditional candidates to raise the money necessary to get elected.

-- Carol Moseley Braun
AL2id.99





Cream - Politician (Oakland, California, October 4th 1968) Drop in
any time
day or night
to say hello.


News and Opinion



In New York's Rockaways, despair sets in as new storm hits

Now, as another storm began hammering through on Wednesday, dropping temperatures to freezing, they see the new reality getting only grimmer as they shiver in the Stygian dark with no heat.

"All my neighbors are still living here, old people, too, and it's getting cold," said marble-installer Eddie Romanoff, 33. "But we have nowhere else to go."

Just a week after the worst storm in many years to slam the Eastern Seaboard trashed thousands of houses and left nearly 1 million people without electricity, local and federal government officials have said that tens of thousands of people in New York and New Jersey are likely to need temporary housing. Either their houses have been demolished or they are unfit to live in because of severe damage and the absence of power, heat and water.

And now they all need a place to live in a region with some of the lowest apartment vacancy rates, and most expensive hotel and rental rates, in the world.

Neil Barofsky does not think that a pecking order lack of seniority will keep Elizabeth Warren down as is the tradition in the Senate.  I remember when Hillary Clinton was the new kid on the block as the junior Senator from New York.  Pecking orders did not seem to matter to her either, so I think (and hope) Barofsky is right.
The 100th Most Important Senator? I Don’t Think So

But, as skeptics have already pointed out, the Senate’s emphasis on seniority will place Warren at or near the very bottom of its pecking order.  Does this mean that she will be ineffective?  Constrained to abysmal committee assignments and expected to be seen and not heard?  That she will be compelled to follow Senate protocols and maintain a low profile while she builds the necessary relationships?  That she will follow party leadership, even when it might be at odds with her own beliefs?

 Nope.  I had the opportunity to work with Warren in our respective roles in providing oversight of the bank bailouts, and she never struck me as someone who would keep her head down and mouth shut in the name of serving institutional concerns.  Instead, she seemed to be guided by doing what she believed to be the right thing, even if it was not always in her personal interest to do so.  One anecdote I recount in Bailout occurred in 2010, just weeks before the enactment of Dodd-Frank and the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau[...]

So, who bought (or attempted to buy) our elected representatives?  Look at all the SuperPAC money that came from individuals.  The 1% loves Citizens United. Will there ever be a way to find out the identity of the sources of the dark money for SuperPACs that don't disclose the identities of their donors?  Why did some of the 1% choose to disclose their identities and some not?  What do they have to hide?  Or is it the candidates who prefer to hide the identities of some of their donors?
ELECTION SPENDING 2012: A PRE-ELECTION ANALYSIS OF FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION DATA

[...] new waves of “outside spending” have been fueled by dark money and unlimited fundraising from a small number of wealthy donors.

“While the results of next week’s contests are up in the air, one thing is clear: big donors and secret spenders have been drowning out the rest of our voices for months,” said U.S. PIRG Democracy Advocate Blair Bowie.

Outside spending organizations reported $1.11 billion in spending to the FEC through the final reporting deadline in the 2012 cycle. That’s already a 200% increase over total 2008 outside spending.

[...]

Almost half of all reported outside spending comes from Super PACs, the independent expenditure-only committees created in the wake of Citizens United, and Super PACs continue to receive the bulk of their funds from a small set of wealthy donors making very large contibutions.

http://www.demos.org/publication/election-spending-2012-pre-election-analysis-federal-election-commission-data

House Speaker calls for 'down payment' on 'fiscal cliff'

Leaders on both sides of the Capitol moved swiftly to stake out their positions on the fiscal cliff, with Boehner calling for a “down payment” that would lead to a farther-reaching pact in 2013 and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) saying he did not want to see a short-term fix.

“I’m not for kicking the can down the road; I think we’ve done that far too much,” Reid told reporters in the Capitol. “I think we should just roll up our sleeves and get it done.”
[...]
Boehner said any new revenue must be coupled with significant spending cuts and entitlement reforms.

ACLU Leader Calls on President to Uphold Constitutional Principles in Second Term

“We congratulate President Obama on his re-election. This is his opportunity to reaffirm our constitutional principles and the fundamental American values of due process, respect for the rule of law and individual freedom. It is a time to once again be a nation where we can be both safe and free. We urge President Obama to end warrantless surveillance, extra-judicial killings by drones, indefinite detention and other un-American practices that have become official government policy.

Now is the time to make good the promise he made four years ago to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Closer to home, the president needs to end his administration’s discriminatory deportation policies, which foster racial profiling and do nothing to improve public safety, and remove the many dangerous abortion restrictions from the federal budget so that the right to a safe and legal abortion remains accessible to all women. With four more years in front of him and the history of his presidency yet to be written, President Obama has the opportunity to put us back on the right track.”

The infamous Scott Shane "kill list" article went to great lengths to assert that the president reviews every target of the drone strikes, labors over every decision, and that John Brennan is his "priest-like" accomplice. But this article suggests something different and it is not the first time we've heard that Brennan is the one who makes the decisions on the killings.  So which is it?
What Obama’s Re-Election Means for US Counter-Terrorism Strategy

The real risk during Obama’s second term is mission creep, over delegation, and over tasking of Special Operations units.
Mission creep can occur in many ways, and in many places. This can involve taking a Counter-Terrorist mission and gradually expanding it into area significantly beyond anything have to do with terrorism. With billions of dollars to play with, it is easy for DOD to start overstepping its bounds and exceeding its mandate.

Over-delegation happens when the Obama White House seeks to kick the can (to use an Obama expression) down the road to other agencies or individuals in order to absolve the President from having to make difficult decisions. This happened during the Maersk Alabama hostage rescue for instance where the Obama White House stopped making decisions so they could not be held liable if the operation went wrong. It should be noted that SOFREP has no evidence at this time that this performance was repeated in Benghazi, despite it being widely reported in the media.

It appears that the bulk of Counter-Terrorist decisions are being turned over to Obama’s National Security Council, the ring leader of these operations being John Brennan.

[ Emphasis added. ]

Jeremy Scahill and Dennis Kucinich: In Obama’s 2nd Term, Will Dems Challenge U.S. Drones, Killings?
House panel to hold closed hearing on deadly Libya attack

The head of the CIA, David Petraeus, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Matthew Olson, are expected to testify at the Nov. 15 hearing, sources tell The Hill.

The Day After the Election, Mike Rogers Finally Decides To Do His Job

On October 2, 26 days ago and over a month before the election, I asked why Darrell Issa, rather than House Intelligence Chair Mike Rogers, was leading an investigation into the Benghazi attack.
[...]
Finally! A serious investigation rather than a transparent effort to trump up an October Surprise.

This is the kind of thing that scares TPTB to death, and not just in Egypt.  Here in the U.S. they'd probably be under surveillance as dissidents.   The idea that we in the U.
S. might be able to get an unfiltered view of our neighbors in other parts of the world is a bad thing in the eyes of the propaganda machine.  We're only supposed to get old video footage of angry Muslims burning American flags, and North Korean troops marching down the street.
Crowdfunding Citizen Journalism in Cairo

Mosireen, a media collective in downtown Cairo that offers equipment and training to citizen journalists, was born out of the effort by activists to document the Egyptian revolution online. As the group’s mission statement says, that was vital during the street protests that drove Hosni Mubarak from the presidential palace 21 months ago, when “armed with mobile phones and cameras, thousands upon thousands of citizens kept the balance of truth in their country by recording events as they happened in front of them, wrong-footing censorship and empowering the voice of a street-level perspective.”

In hurricane’s wake, questions about animal facilities

Scientists estimate that some researchers have lost about a decade’s worth of work, including 40 strains of mice genetically engineered to study neural circuits in the cortex. Up to 70 percent of NYU’s neuroscience labs are housed in that facility, including many engaged in work relevant to autism.

“Some of the smaller labs are done,” says an employee who is familiar with the situation, but asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitive nature of the information.

The damage follows a major blow to autism research in May, when a freezer malfunction at Harvard University destroyed a large number of brain tissue samples.

Nor is this the first storm-related loss of research animals and samples. Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 flooded basement storage facilities at universities in Houston and New Orleans, respectively, destroying animal facilities and other resources, and setting back research for years.





Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest


Two diaries by joe shikspack.  The drone diary should not be missed:
Drones Don't Kill People - Presidents Do

The Evening Blues - 11-7-12

Two diaries by divineorder (the photo in the Scott Brown diary is wonderful divineorder!):
Scott Brown Concedes, Gets 1% Offers Out The Wazzoo So No Biggie

Urgent Help Needed #OWS, 350.org

The tireless rserven:
Jeff Johnston, Focus on the Family's elimination portal

david mizner:
Businesses All Over the Country Staying Closed to Help Employees Vote

Two important diaries by jpmassar, doing great work on this topic of foreclosure:
Update on #DefendJodie, The Woman Undergoing Cancer Treatments About to Be Evicted From Her House.

#DefendJodie. Day 3: The Realtor Arrives. The Realtor Threatens. Jodie Stays.







John Prine - The Great Compromise





Debate

Remember when progressive debate was about our values and not about a "progressive" candidate? Remember when progressive websites championed progressive values and didn't tell progressives to shut up about values so that "progressive" candidates can get elected?

Come to where the debate is not constrained by oaths of fealty to persons or parties.

Come to where the pie is served in a variety of flavors.

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."  ~ Noam Chomsky

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site