ONTD Political

If you're not entirely satisfied with your choices on Tuesday's ballot, there's another Ann Arbor City Council candidate fishing for your vote.

A 20-pound carp pulled from a pond in West Park and released into the Huron River last November is waging a quixotic write-in campaign.

The self-described bottom feeder is making his platform known via social media, tweeting about plans to "bring back the tanneries," launch "high-rise developer reeducation camps," and, of course, add more bike lanes.

He says he's focusing his campaign efforts on the 4th Ward, where Democrat Jack Eaton is the only candidate on the ballot, but he can't help it if his supporters stray across borders and write in "Twenty Pound Carp" in other wards.

He considers himself an at-large candidate.

Workers from the city's Natural Areas Preservation program removed the large fish from the small pond in West Park last year because it was destroying the ecosystem, a reputation the slippery candidate is still trying to overcome.

Twenty-pound carp vows to lobby for continuous public commentary at meetings, even during council deliberations and after council adjourns.

He's also casting a line to critics of the Downtown Development Authority.

Twenty-pound carp also isn't hesitant to admit he's interested in turning back the clock to simpler times.

"Developers have been allowed to run amok," says the 20-pound carp. "I will aggressively return Ann Arbor to its Golden Age, viz. 1837.

"Main Street will be lined with shanties and low doggeries, the tanneries and sawmills on the river will thrum once more."

Eaton said he welcomes the competition from the 20-pound carp in Tuesday's election.

"I'm amused," he said. "I have a sense of humor and I think it's funny. I consider a 20-pound carp to be a substantial opponent and I wish him the best."

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source: Michigan Live has lots of screenshots of 20 pound Carp's campaign tweets

Twenty Pound Carp's Twitter account
‘Personhood’ Measure Defining Fertilized Eggs As People Will Be On Colorado’s Next Ballot

Far-right abortion opponents in Colorado have successfully collected enough signatures to put a “personhood” measure on the next state ballot. The initiative, which would redefine “person” and “child” in the state’s criminal code to include unborn fetuses, will be up for voters’ consideration in November of 2014.

Colorado is somewhat of ground zero for the “personhood” movement, which ultimately seeks to outlaw abortion by endowing fertilized eggs with all the same rights as U.S. citizens. Personhood proponents have repeatedly attempted to amend Colorado’s constitution to redefine life, but they haven’t been successful so far. Similar ballot initiatives have failed twice, both by large margins. The issue tends to divide even the anti-choice Republican lawmakers in the state.

“What part of No don’t they understand? The third time isn’t a charm and this same small group of proponents, who don’t represent the majority of Coloradans, needs to stop wasting our time and money,” Karen Middleton, the executive director for NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, noted in a statement.

This year’s amendment is worded a bit differently than previous ballot initiatives. It doesn’t actually mention “abortion,” and may not seem like a personhood measure at first glance. Instead, it’s structured around crimes committed against pregnant women, and seeks to expand the Colorado Criminal Code and Wrongful Death Act to include “unborn human beings.” Proponents of the measure claim that it will simply ensure that pregnant women will receive justice if any crimes committed against them cause them to miscarry.

But women’s health advocates say that’s misleading — and point out there’s no loophole in Colorado’s current law that currently allows people to get away with those types of crimes against pregnant women. In fact, earlier this year, Planned Parenthood worked closely with state lawmakers to pass a new law that strengthens the legal penalties for crimes that “result in the loss of a wanted pregnancy.” That initiative was carefully worded to avoid an inadvertent threat to abortion rights.

Efforts to ensure that crimes against pregnant women are properly prosecuted typically create murky situations for reproductive rights. Women’s health advocates contend that abortion opponents often use this area as a foothold to insert their anti-choice agenda, and warn that defining embryos as people in criminal codes represents a “slippery slope.

“The 2014 ballot initiative, again, has slightly different language, than years past in an effort to deceive the voters,” Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado said in a press release this week. “But it has the same dangerous outcomes which would lead to more government intrusion in our personal lives, including getting into our medical records to investigate miscarriages, dictating the kinds of birth control we use, and interfering with medical decisions made by women with their doctors in treating fertility problems.”

Over the past several years, personhood initiatives have failed in states acros the country, including deeply red states like Mississippi. Nevertheless, far-right abortion opponents keep trying. Personhood advocates are attempting to get similar measures up for consideration in states like Wisconsin, Iowa, and Ohio.
Ken Cuccinelli speaks at Ted Cruz event

RICHMOND, Va, (WJLA) – Fresh from his efforts to shutdown the federal government, the mercurial Sen. Ted Cruz stepped into Virginia’s 2013 gubernatorial race Saturday night at the downtown Richmond Convention Center.

The title of the high-dollar donor event, sponsored by the ultra-conservative Family Foundation of Virginia, was “Senator Ted Cruz – This American Moment.”

His remarks were preceded by those of GOP candidate Ken Cuccinelli, greeted by a rousing standing ovation, and he wasted little time before expressing his displeasure about so-called Obamacare.

Of Cruz, Virginia’s attorney general said, well, nothing.

Not once did the name of the keynote speaker cross Cuccinelli lips. Instead, he presented what more or less is his stump speech and took a couple of jabs at his Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe.

"We're under a regulatory onslaught," Cuccinelli says.

After a couple of filler speakers, it was Cruz’ turn.

He made couple of jokes about his faux filibuster, took some shots at President Obama and at Washington in general, and talked about how “Obamacare is hands-down, the No. 1 job killer in this country.”

Cruz soon left the lectern and paced across the stage while making his various points. Aside from frequent applause, rapt attention and silence came from the crowd.

Of Cuccinelli, he said, among other things: “How proud I am of my friend, Ken Cuccinelli. Ken is smart, he’s principled and he’s fierce. . .He loves liberty and the constitution.”

Cruz then kept the bulk of his remarks about the health-care act, Obama and various Democrats on Capitol Hill who he repeatedly blamed for the government shutdown.

In a Saturday editorial, the Washington Post editorial wrote the following about the gathering: “If the event serves as a sort of homecoming for Virginia conservatives, Mr. Cruz is this year’s homecoming king. That has left Mr. Cuccinelli. . .squirming.”

Cuccinelli was not made available for questions after his comments.

The large crowd inside the main ballroom was 99 percent white and mostly missing the 30-and-younger set.

Outside the gala, on East Broad Street, a couple of hundred anti-Cruz and anti-Cuccinelli protesters mostly wearing t-shirts and shorts or jeans gathered at the corner of the convention center with signs and chants of “Stop Ken, Stop Ken!, and “Ted go home, Ted go home!”

“Animals,” an elegantly dressed elderly woman remarked on her way inside, and then declined an opportunity to explain.

And so it went on a hot Saturday night in downtown Richmond.


Virginians expect to see ads this week tying Cuccinelli to Cruz. Non-Virginians, expect to hear about Virginia cause you guys are watching us for some reason or another. Worst time ever to BFF yourself with a Tea Party senator in a purple-ish state
also do we not have a gubenartorial elections tag? am I missing it?
Partial results give Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives a big lead in national elections. The fate of their junior coalition partners looks less secure, and polls suggest Merkel will need to find at least one ally.

According to the public ARD broadcaster's figures, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats comfortably secured more votes than any other bloc, at a projected 41.7 percent. This would be a larger share even than most polls predicted, but it was not immediately clear how Merkel would set up a coalition government.

The current junior coalition partners, the Free Democrats, were put at 4.8 percent by ARD's poll - right on the cusp of the 5-percent support required to guarantee parliamentary representation.

"We will do everything we can in the next four years to make them successful ones for Germany," Merkel said in a speech at party headquarters, adding that it was too early to consider coalitions. "We will talk about this tomorrow when we know the final results - but we can surely celebrate tonight, as we have done a great job."

The preliminary results suggested that Merkel's conservatives were close to securing enough seats to rule without a coalition partner, with Germany's first post-war chancellor Konrad Adenauer (also CDU) the only precedent for single-party leadership at the national level. However, the major pollsters concurred that the Christian Democrats were likely to fall around six seats short of an outright majority and would need to seek at least one parliamentary ally.

Slight improvement for Social Democrats

The Social Democrats were set to score 25.6 percent according to the initial figures, comfortably in second but well adrift of Merkel's Christian Democrats.

"The situation is unclear, so the SPD would be well advised not to speculate about how the government might look," Social Democrat challenger Peer Steinbrück said of any future coalition negotiations. "That ball is in Mrs. Merkel's court."

Both the Greens and the Left party cleared the 5-percent hurdle; the Greens were placed at around 8.4 percent and the Left at 8.5 percent.

The preliminary results suggested that the euroskeptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) party scored an unexpectedly high 4.8 percent in its first ever national election, albeit still falling just short of securing parliamentary representation.

Major gain for Merkel, at allies' expense

If accurate, the partial results point to a gain of almost 9 percent for Merkel's Christian Democrats - and to a loss of almost exactly 10 percent for the Free Democrats after their bumper election year in 2009. The Social Democrats made modest gains over their all-time low of 23 percent at the last general election, while the Greens and the Left both lost some support.

FDP lead candidate Rainer Brüderle told disappointed supporters on Sunday not to lose hope, with the chance that the Free Democrats could reach 5 percent once the final tally is in.

"It is clear that this is the worst result we have ever scored. It's a difficult hour for the FDP and as top candidate, I take responsiblity for this," Brüderle said. Irrespective of the final result, however, Brüderle said "this is not the end of the party - our work will get more difficult, but it will continue." The FDP has cleared the 5-percent hurdle in every German national election since the Second World War.

Polls closed in Germany at 6 p.m. local time (1600 UTC) on Sunday, with initial predictions compiled by national broadcasters and released soon after the end of voting.

More than 60 million people were eligible to vote, turnout was estimated at 72 percent. At the last national vote in 2009 turnout was just over 70 percent - a record low.

Complicated Yet Fair: Germany's Voting System Explained
From Black to Orange: SPIEGEL ONLINE's Guide to German Political Parties

The numbers quoted in the article aren't the final ones, but they seem to have somewhat solidified. There are theoretical scenarios in which Merkel would end up not being Chancellor even though her party has almost half the parliament seats; the other three parties could form a majority together, but statements were made beforehand that the Social Democrats would not go together with the Left. Right now a coalition between CDU and SPD seems most likely. Not mentioned: the Pirate Party is at 2.2 percent.
Filed By John M. Becker | September 13, 2013 2:30 PM

Controversy has erupted in Dallas after the city's police department warned participants in this year's Dallas Pride parade that anyone with a visible erection could be charged with a misdemeanor, and if children are anywhere in the vicinity, a felony.

According to the Dallas Voice, Michael Doughman, whose Dallas Tavern Guild puts on the parade, said the DPD's warning first came during a meeting last month of representatives from all the parade entrants. Doughman noted that the guidelines are not new -- nudity and public lewdness have long been prohibited under state and local law -- and that the authorities have simply looked the other way for many years. But apparently, the boners and pasties just got out of control.

As an example of behavior that has crossed the line in past years, Doughman said a dancer on a parade float had an erection and his underwear was wet so spectators could see through it...

Doughman said parade entries featuring dancers have been told they should wear swimsuits instead of underwear this year. Also gone from parade entries this year will be women with bare breasts and only "pasties" or tape covering their nipples, according to Jeremy Liebbe, co-commander of security for the event.

Liebbe said that participants who are in violation of the indecency policy will receive a warning before the parade starts, but if they fail to comply, they will be removed from the parade and possibly face charges of indecent exposure, a class B misdemeanor. But, "If there's an [exposed] erection and a child is present that could see it, it is a felony."

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This is a comedic goldmine. Are they going to have boner inspectors on hand? "False alarm! He's just a shower, not a grower."
As political dark arts go they don't come any darker than this.

A vote-rigging row has erupted in the Maldives ahead of Saturday's presidential election amid suspicions that one party is using cursed coconuts imbued with black magic spells to sway voters’ political allegiances.

The claims came after a coconut, described as "young", was placed near a polling booth in an alleged bid to disrupt the upcoming elections.

The fruit had been inscribed with verse from the Koran and placed near the booth at a school on the remote Kaafu atoll - Guraidhoo, one of the islands that make up the Indian Ocean archipelago state.

Black magic is often used to prevent people from voting or influence them on the islands.

Following the discovery of the 'cursed' coconut police brought in a 'ruqyah' practitioner (white magician) to examine the coconut.

The expert found the black magic element of the coconut was fake, Maldives channel Minivan News reported. "Because it's a fake the police are not worried," the source said.

Minivan said a source told them the 4inch coconut had "a [Koranic verse] written in Arabic [on it] and was lying on the ground near the school, easy for the public to see.

It seems like it was a joke, just a prank, so that people will become aware."

According to reports residents had previously complained about the ballot box being placed near a school given the possibility that such spells could be cast, CNM news reported. The elections commission sought to allay fears saying they would take responsibility should any students fall ill.

In a further development, reported by Minivan News, it was claimed that the discovery of the coconut was being used by President Mohamed Waheed’s Gaumee Ihthihad Party (GIP) to "redirect attention away from the other political parties to gain votes".

The election in the Maldives has been bitterly contested with Mohammed Nasheed, the former president, hoping to win outright and avoid a run-off second election.

source: The Independent UK

Bill de Blasio is under attack in New York City’s mayoral race, and not just because his broad, towering frame makes for an easy target, that gray, conservatively-manicured block of hair rising above voters and the press at every campaign stop. A self-styled movement progressive with a biracial family from Park Slope, Brooklyn, de Blasio has seized the mantle of change in a city where many residents appear to crave it after a decade under billionaire incumbent Michael Bloomberg’s cold vision of financial capitalist technocracy. With just a few days left before the September 10 Democratic primary, de Blasio is way out in front of his rivals; in the latest Quinnipiac poll, he crossed the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a run-off and advance directly to the November general election.

Now de Blasio finds himself on the cusp of tremendous power over a city at a crossroads, facing existential questions over everything from expired municipal employees' union contracts and how heavily to tax financial elites to whether to continue expanding NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly’s global anti-terrorism apparatus, which includes systematic spying on Muslim residents. His signature campaign pledge is to raise taxes on those earning more than $500,000 annually to fund universal pre-K and expanded after-school programs for middle schoolers, which the latest research suggests is one of the best ways to reduce income stratification. When it comes to Kelly’s loathed stop and frisk program that disproportionately hits blacks and Latinos, de Blasio has benefited from being the only candidate who has called for a new police commissioner and who supported both of the police-reform bills that recently overrode the Mayor’s veto—one creating an inspector general’s office to monitor the NYPD, and the other formally banning racial profiling at the local level. He has been less specific in detailing how he might rein in spying on Muslims, promising a “full review” of the department’s intelligence program and not ruling out the possibility that David Cohen, the 35-year CIA veteran who oversaw its construction, might go on the chopping block (though in an interview with the Daily News editorial board, de Blasio suggested he would seek Cohen’s advice once in office).

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The American Prospect

while we're doling out new tags, can we please get a "new york city" or nyc one?
Nate Silver, the statistician who attained national fame for his accurate projections about the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, is parting ways with The New York Times and moving his FiveThirtyEight franchise to ESPN, the sports empire controlled by the Walt Disney Company, according to ESPN employees with direct knowledge of his plans.

At ESPN, Mr. Silver is expected to have a wide-ranging portfolio. Along with his writing and number-crunching, he will most likely be a regular contributor to “Olbermann,” the late-night ESPN2 talk show hosted by Keith Olbermann that will have its debut at the end of August. In political years, he will also have a role at ABC News, which is owned by Disney.

An ESPN spokeswoman declined to comment on Friday night. Mr. Silver declined to comment. The employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Mr. Silver’s deal could be announced as soon as Monday.

Before creating statistical models for elections, Mr. Silver was a baseball sabermetrician who built a highly effective system for projecting how players would perform in the future. For a time he was a managing partner of Baseball Prospectus.

At public events recently, he has expressed interest in covering sports more frequently, so the ESPN deal is a logical next step.

Mr. Silver’s three-year contract with The Times is set to expire in late August and his departure will most likely be interpreted as a blow to the company, which has promoted Mr. Silver and his brand of poll-based projections.

He gained such prominence in 2012 that President Obama joked that Mr. Silver had accurately predicted which turkeys the president would pardon that Thanksgiving. “Nate Silver completely nailed it,” he said. “The guy’s amazing.”

Speculation about the future of Mr. Silver and FiveThirtyEight heated up shortly after last November’s election, and he was wooed by no small number of other news organizations. Jill Abramson, the newspaper’s executive editor, and Mark Thompson, the chief executive of The New York Times Company, said earlier this year that they would try hard to sign Mr. Silver to a new contract.

NBC News and its cable news channel MSNBC was another interested party.

In an e-mail several weeks ago, Mr. Silver said negotiations were continuing with The Times “and I’m still trying to make a decision.” He informed The Times on Friday of his plan to leave.

He occasionally hinted in interviews and public appearances that his relationship with The Times had moments of tension. But it was mutually beneficial. The news organization gained Web traffic and prestige by hosting his work, and he received a salary, a wider audience and editorial support.

The same will most likely be true at ESPN.


The Public Editor of the NY Times also discusses some the issues that may have contributed to Nate deciding to leave here.  I would be willing to bet money that one of the columnists he pissed off was David Brooks.
Rick Perry, Texas Governor, Will Not Seek Reelection In 2014

Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) announced Monday that he will not seek reelection in 2014.

"The time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership," Perry said of his decision.

"It's been an improbable journey that has taken me from a farm in this place called Paint Creek, Texas to the governor's office," Perry said of his time in office. "Each day has been an honor."

Perry's announcement came during a news conference in San Antonio, Texas.

First elected as the Lone Star State's lieutenant governor in 1998, Perry became governor in 2000 after then-governor George W. Bush resigned to become U.S. president. He was reelected in 2002, 2006 and 2010. He unsuccessfully ran for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, leaving the race ahead of the South Carolina primary.

During an appearance on this week's "Fox News Sunday," Perry said another presidential bid was "an option."

"Well, certainly, that's an option out there, but again, we got a lot of work to do in [Texas] over the course of the next couple of weeks that have my focus substantially more than even 2014 or 2016," Perry said.

On Monday, Perry remained coy about his plans beyond 2014.

"Any future considerations, I will announce in due time and I will arrive on that decision appropriately," he said.

Source at HuffPo

OP: Sorry if this isn't the first, mods--I'm betting there will be a few in the queue.

Now let's just hope any future Presidential plans implode.
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