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Friday, April 18, 2014

Global Warming Idiocy: Blaming Everest Avalanche on Climate Change

Well that didn't take long.  Even before all the bodies have been recovered Live Science is blaming the tragic avalanche at Mount Everest on Climate Change:
The icy slopes of Mount Everest have seen hundreds of deaths in the years since 1922, when seven people perished during the British Mount Everest Expedition.

An avalanche today (April 18) claimed at least 12 lives, in what may be the single deadliest climbing event in the history of the world's tallest mountain (29,029 feet, or 8,848 meters). The death toll may rise, because other climbers are still missing, according to the BBC.

All of the deceased were guides from the ethnic Sherpa community, who were securing ropes for the start of the spring climbing season. And many Sherpas insist that Mount Everest and other mountains in the area have become more dangerous because of climate change. [Ice World: Gallery of Awe-Inspiring Glaciers]
Not only doesn't Live Science offer any proof that Sherpas insist mountains become more dangerous because of climate changes, but it doesn't explain if the avalanche was related to global warming, why it didn't happen a long time ago. After all,  as of this writing the Earth hasn't warmed in 17 years and 8 months.

Breaking: Obama Delaying Keystone Decision Till After Election

The U.S. State Department will on Friday extend the government comment period on the Keystone XL pipeline, said sources familiar with the plans, likely postponing a final decision on the controversial project until after the November 4 midterm elections.

President Barack Obama has said he will make a final decision on whether to allow the pipeline connecting Canada's oil sands region to Texas refiners but several government agencies were expected to weigh-in by the end of May. A dispute over the proposed route of the pipeline has stalled the project in Nebraska, though, and officials will cite that uncertainty in its announcement on Friday justifying the delay.

Politico adds:
This postpones the decision until after the November election, it would spare President Barack Obama a politically wrenching decision on whether to approve the pipeline, angering his green base and environmentally minded campaign donors - or reject it, endangering pro-pipeline Democrats such as Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu.
But it will also inspire renewed complaints from Republicans that Obama is politicizing and dragging out an energy project that has already waited more than five years for approval. 

Perhaps the reason for the delay can be found in this poll:
The poll, conducted by Hickman Analytics on behalf of Consumer Energy Alliance, found that more than three-quarters of likely voters in four states — Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, and North Carolina — “said they will consider a candidate’s position on energy issues, such as the Keystone XL Pipeline, before deciding whom they will support.”

More than two-thirds of likely voters in these four states support building the Keystone XL pipeline. Sens. Mark Pryor (D-AR), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Kay Hagan (D-NC) support construction of the oil pipeline. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), however, does not.

Whether or not these Senate Democrats support Keystone XL may prove irrelevant depending on what action President Obama takes. The poll found that voters in these four states would be less likely to support a Democratic incumbent if the White House rejects the proposed oil pipeline.

Republicans Are Winning The 2014 Battle For Territory

Mid-term elections are all about the control of territory.  The more districts one party can put real pressure on, the more the other party has to spread out its money and spend where it didn't intend. Right now it looks as if the GOP is winning the territory war for both the House and the Senate.

Politico is reporting Friday that pressure on incumbents who normally would not need as much support is forcing the DCCC, concentrating their money on incumbents and leave out some party newcomers who may have had a chance to make their races competitive if they had support. 
House Democrats, battered by Koch brothers ads and facing a grim outlook for the midterms, are providing the clearest indication yet of how they plan to respond: By shoring up imperiled incumbents and only the most promising challengers, but most likely leaving some of the party’s upstart hopefuls to fend for themselves.

The aim of the strategy, detailed in nearly two dozen interviews with party officials and strategists, is a tacit acknowledgement of the ominous political environment Democrats are up against this year. The goal is to stop Republicans from padding their 17-seat edge and keep the party within striking distance of the majority in 2016, a presidential election year that could well be more favorable to Democrats.
The money shift away from attacks on GOP incumbents will allow the NRCC to become even more aggressive in attacking the Democratic Party incumbents.

A similar process is happening in the Senate races.  The GOP needs to win at least six seats to wrest control from the Democrats. But the GOP is becoming competitive in more states every week.  Why they won't necessarily win all those competitive seats, they are forcing the Democrats to spread out their money and spend to support incumbents that a few weeks ago they didn't expect to need aggressive support.

Last month the Cook Political Report moved four Democratic Party-held states in our direction. New Hampshire went from Likely D to Lean D, and North Carolina, Alaska, and Louisiana are now considered Toss Ups (joining Arkansas and Michigan in that column). This brings the total number of seats held by Democrats that are rated as Toss Up, Lean R, or Likely R to eight.  But the pressure goes beyond those eight

Seats which are open because of a Democrat retirement:

South Dakota (,Cook – Likely R): Former Governor Mike Rounds has consistently polled at over 50% in this race. Most recently he garnered 51% in February 2014 (Rasmussen), and before that he got 52% in September ’13 (Harper) and 52% in March ’13 (PPP). South Dakota is missing from the list of states in which the DSCC claimed they will spend $60million dollars to win .

West Virginia ( Cook – Lean R): Supposed Democratic rising-star Natalie Tennant has failed to make any headway against Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito in this race. Capito has consistently led in the polls from both the left (PPP, +14%) and the right (Rasmussen, +14%). Capito has a four-to-one cash advantage ($4.2m-to-$1m) that nicely compliments her double-digit polling advantage.

( Cook – Lean R): Congressman Steve Daines continues to hold the reins in this race against Montana’s newest (appointed) Democratic Senator, John Walsh. Democrats had thought they scored a major coup with their “Big Sky Buyoff” (appointing Walsh to the open Senate seat on Baucus’ ambassadorial appointment), but it does not seem to have paid off.  Before this whole backroom deal came together, Daines was scoring 52% against Walsh (PPP), after he scores 51% (Rasmussen) - that’s a whole lot of effort from DEMs for no movement in the race.

Michigan (Cook – Toss Up): Michigan has long been rated a toss-up by Charlie Cook (since December ’13 to be exact). The Republican, Former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land has held consistent leads over Democratic Congressman Gary Peters in five out of the seven public polls conducted in 2014 (conducted since race earned Toss Up rating). And, Land has outraised Peters in every quarter since joining the race. This quarter, Land brought in $1.5million.

This may be why the DSCC felt the need to send their Director of Campaigns from the DC office out to Michigan to take over the campaign. Or it may be this devastating ad from AFP highlighting ObamaCare’s real world impact on Michigan families. Either way, Michigan is looking up for the GOP, which was very unexpected.

Iowa (Cook – Lean D): If you haven’t yet had the chance, take a moment to watch this video of Rep. Bruce Braley express his true feelings about Iowa farmers and his perception of their inferiority to trial lawyers. For context, approximately 90% the entire land area in Iowa is farmland. There are more than 90,000 farms in the state that employ nearly 350,000 Iowans according to Iowa State University.Polling in the race has consistently shown a majority of voters disapproving of the job Obama is doing as President. And, while Braley is far better known in the state than any of the GOP challengers (for now), he captures a maximum of 38% of the vote… it’s almost as if voters are looking for an alternative.  This too is a race that is much more competitive than anticipated.

Incumbent Democrats:

(Cook – Toss Up): Senator Pryor has long been considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents of the cycle, and both Democrats and Republicans have taken to the air to try to influence this race early. There has been nearly $6million of TV advertising so far from eighteen different outside groups on both sides of the aisle. And, Pryor’s campaign has gambled a lot of their resources early, putting up nearly twice the amount of TV ($1.25million) as Cotton’s campaign ($650k). Through all of this, Cotton has either led by outside the margin of error, or been in a statistical tie with Pryor. Cotton is probably the most qualified GOP candidate battling an incumbent.

Louisiana (Cook – Toss Up): Cook Political recently moved Louisiana from Lean D to Toss Up, citing poor polling which portray Landrieu’s position as being similar to Pryor “who has been in the Toss Up column for months.” Landrieu and Obamacare are very unpopular in Louisiana.

The polling on Landrieu has shown her stuck between 39% and 45%, suggesting that this race will go to a December runoff. And, in head-to-head polling with Congressman Bill Cassidy, she does not fare so well, trailing the Congressman and Doctor by four according to the most recent numbers.

North Carolina (Cook – Toss Up): Same story, different state. Cook Political also moved North Carolina from Lean D to Toss Up.  When even the liberal PPP, based in North Carolina, finds their own incumbent Senator Kay Hagen trailing Republican candidates on the ballot it is time for Democrats to start worrying.  Doubly worrying for DEMs is the Thom Tillis fundraising potential for this race. Tillis nearly doubled his fundraising output this quarter, bringing in $1.3million in Q1. Senator Hagan will certainly be well-funded thanks to the help of her liberal friends around the country ($2.8million), but it is unlikely to be enough since she is already working from a ballot deficit.

Alaska (Cook – Toss Up):  Alaska also moves into the Toss Up column. At the end of the quarter, Rasmussen found that Begich trailed one GOP challenger and tied the second, Obama is inverted on his job approval by double digits, and six-in-ten have an unfavorable view of ObamaCare.  Remember Begich barely beat Republican Ted Stevens six years ago.  Stevens would have won if he hadn't been accused of a scandal of which he was later cleared. RepublicanDan Sullivan is no flash in the pan. Sullivan brought in an impressive $1.3million for the quarter, closing the filing period with nearly $2million cash on hand.  This total eclipsed incumbent Senator Begich’s haul ($1million). Begich has $2.8million cash on hand, and will likely use every cent to deceive Alaska voters about his record, but he can’t hide from his near-universal support for Obama and his policies (not too popular in Alaska).

Other States Facing GOP Pressure:

Colorado: The entrance of Rep. Cory Gardner into the race immediately throws Colorado into contention. Senator Udall’s numbers have been weak for a long time now (Quinnipiac: 45% or less on all ballots, 42% re-elect, 59% disapprove of Obama’s job performance), and Gardner is a strong candidate poised to capitalize on this opportunity.  Since Gardner’s entry into the race, three polls from across the political spectrum (Rasmussen, Harper, PPP) have shown this race as a tie.

New Hampshire:  Although there is still a primary to get through Scott Brown's entrance into the race has made it a GOP possibility. Like Colorado above the Democrats will have to spend money where they didn't anticipate. According to one poll, Brown has a lead in the race which is outside the margin of error (49% Brown – 44% Shaheen). In a state where President Obama has only one-third of voters approving of his job performance while 57% disapprove, that has to be a concern for DEMs.

Former GOP Chairman Ed Gillespie’s decision to challenge Senator Mark Warner has moved this race from a "no way" to a "maybe.". Upon jumping into the race, Ed raised over $300k in the first week, and prompted the UVA Center for Politics to downgrade their prediction of Warner’s chances.  Polling does currently give Democratic Senator Warner a lead, but more importantly, this is the type of environment that could leave him high and dry as Virginians get to know Gillespie. A majority of Virginia’s voters disapprove of Obama and disapprove of ObamaCare. Moreover, Warner is unable to break the 50% mark on the ballot.

Oregon:  Another state where the GOP selection hasn't been chosen.  Harper Polling took a recent look at Oregon, and found Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley to be incredibly vulnerable, far more so than most suspected. Merkley is well below 50% on the ballot, his favorables are only at 39%, and a majority disapproves of the job Obama has been doing as President.

Minnesota: Incumbent Al Franken is waiting for the GOP primary to pick his opponent but recent polls have shown that President Obama’s approval rating in this state is in the mid-thirties, yet Al Franken, has voted with him 100% of the time. Perhaps that is a reason why polling has shown that Franken is indeed vulnerable.  Here too is a race where the Democrats may need to spend more than planned and may even lose.

It's all about the territory.  Republican strength and the weakness of the incumbent Democrats and President Obama is forcing the Democrats to spend their money against incumbents who they thought would win in a cake walk. In both the 2014 House and Senate races, it seems that the GOP are on offense, and the Democrats are trying to defend what they have.

Newsbusted: Now That Tax Day Is Over, IRS Will Go Back To Attacking Tea Party

Leading up to April 15th Americans across the country were busily filling out their forms and sending in their money.  And in IRS offices across the nation, agents were answering questions and collecting money. Now that tax day has passed and things are slowing down, what does the IRS do?  According to Newsbusted Anchor Jodie Miller (see video below) we learn that the IRS is now shifting staff responsibility back to screwing Tea Party related 501(c)(3) groups.

Other news items covered in the latest installment of Newsbusted the weekly  faux news feature from (embedded below) include; Jane Pauly goes to CBS; the death of Mickey Rooney, Morning Joe and Hillary Clinton;  and much, much, more.

Please make sure you watch the video below because something bad always happens to the people who don't. Last week John Kerry forgot to press play and not his Ukraine deal lasted lest than a day. So if you don't want your hard work to fall apart in less than 24 hours, yo better press play.

Oh and if you cannot see the video player below please click here

Ukraine Deal Falling Apart Already?

 Well that didn't last very long, just a few hours  after the U.S., European Union, Russia, and Ukraine agreed preliminary de-escalation deal in Geneva, Switzerland, it's it looks as if it is about to collapse.

The pro-Russian rebels who have been occupying buildings in 10 eastern Ukrainian cities were supposed to leave as part of the deal but they are refusing to leave those buildings, saying they won't do so until the interim government in Ukraine resigns. Denis Pushilin, a spokesman of the self-appointed Donetsk People's Republic, told reporters Friday the agreement is "reasonable" — as long as it also applies to the government in Kiev.  In other words, they want the Ukrainian government to abandon any buildings it uses. That is not going to happen.
One of the key tenets in the de-escalation deal is the provision that "all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners" — and there's a fundamental disagreement among the parties in Ukraine over what's illegal and who's legitimate.

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. But during a press conference on Thursday, President Barack Obama said he was not optimistic about Russia holding up its end of the bargain, and he hinted that more sanctions could be on their way.

"My hope is that we actually do see follow-through over the next several days," Obama said. "But I don’t think given past performance that we can count on that, and we have to be prepared to potentially respond to what continue to be efforts of interference by the Russians in Eastern and Southern Ukraine."

The deal also calls for all illegal groups to disarm, all illegally occupied streets and squares to be vacated, and for amnesty to all protesters who have surrendered their weapons. But according to the AP, none of the government buildings have been vacated, and there are no reports of any of the pro-Russian separatists disarming.
Perhaps Kerry should grab that reset button, because it looks as if Putin has out-maneuvered the U.S. again.