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Thanks given, food coma dispensed with, and back into action.

  • Getting a little ticked off:
    Ticks are now more common in more parts of the country — and year-round. “This year’s mild winter and early spring were a bonanza for tick populations in the eastern United States,” the National Science Foundation reported in September. “Reports of tick-borne disease rose fast.” Moreover, “Identifying health risks in the face of changing climates will be critical in coming years.” Especially as disease-ridden ticks are active and reproducing year-round above 38 degrees. Basically, ticks love our warming planet.

    So don’t forget to tuck those pants into your hiking boots this weekend! And forever after!

    But global warming isn't an issue at all, right?
  • The Los Angeles Times has it right. If you want to fix voting across the nation, look at how we do it in California:
    A starting point could be found in California. Once the election results are certified here, in mid-December, the total number of voters will come close to 2008's high, although the turnout percentage will be lower.

    That's because California added to its voter rolls, which is the first "fix that" step. This year, California made it easier to join the electorate, passing a law permitting online voter registration. More than 1 million people took advantage of the new system, 61% of whom were under 35. This expansion of the eligible electorate in California was accomplished with minimal administrative cost and helped get millions of new voters to the polls.
    And plenty of Californians did vote this year — more than 12 million and counting. Remarkably, the demographic group known as millennials (voters 18 to 30 years old), who are often incorrectly accused of voting at far lower rates than older generations, participated in California at rates greater than their presence in the population. Millennials make up 24% of the adult population of California, but according to exit polling data, they made up 27% of those who voted. By contrast, nationally, millennials were about 19% of the electorate.

    Now, we all know that Republican states want to do everything they can to prevent people from voting, as opposed to fixing it. There's also a lot more that California could do, like same-day registration. But you'll never see any news about people waiting in line in California until 2 in the morning.
  • The Pope declares war on Christmas.
  • There's a stench coming from La Jolla, California. And no matter what Paul Ryan says, it's not because Mitt Romney has a home here:
    In beautiful La Jolla Cove, art galleries and coffee shops meet a stretch of unspoiled cliffs and Pacific Ocean. Home to former presidential candidates (Mitt Romney has been spotted pumping his own gas here in recent days) and seal colonies alike, the neighborhood provides one of this city’s primary tourist draws.

    But the smell, a pungent stench that emanates from the accumulation of bird feces on the rocks, has become a growing problem. And strict environmental regulations in the cove have stymied the city’s efforts to address the problem before it drives tourists and businesses away, effectively roping the rocks off with red tape.

  • The New York Times opines that if the Republican Party wants to stop being seen as so anti-woman, they should stop opposing the Violence Against Women Act.
    Speaker John Boehner and his Republican colleagues blame Democrats for the impasse, suggesting the Democrats inserted changes to invite opposition and score political points. But the provisions at issue respond to real humanitarian and law enforcement needs identified by experts working in the field.

    By refusing to accept the principle of protecting all victims of domestic violence, House Republican leaders are conveying a belief that rapes of gay people and immigrant women are not “legitimate” rapes, as Representative Todd Akin, the failed Republican candidate for the Senate from Missouri, put it so appallingly. Is that really what Republicans want to stand for?

    The Gray Lady perhaps doesn't understand that, yes, this is exactly what Republicans want to stand for. And then they say that the problem is how they sell their policies.
  • Apparently, Birther Donald's kids went to his office to beg him to stop attacking President Obama because he was ruining the family name, a task which Celebrity Apprentice had somehow not quite finished.
  • Five tea party Republicans who won't be in Congress in 2013.
  • In case you somehow haven't been looking at it, here is Dave Wasserman's handy spreadsheet with all the latest news about national vote percentages. When will Mitt Romney's number (currently at 47.503%) decline to below 47.5 so it rounds down to that magic 47? We shall see...

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