Wisconsin polls closed at 9PM EST. Follow along here for the latest news and results.
Massive turnout in Milwaukee, some polling stations running out of ballots. | The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports: “Registration forms and ballots are running out at some City of Milwaukee polling sites…Reid Magney, a spokesman for the Government Accountability Board, said his office had heard of polling stations in Milwaukee running out of registration forms for new voters. According to state law, if a person is waiting in line to register and vote and it’s after 8 p.m., that person can still legally fill out the form and vote, Magney said.” High turnout in Milwaukee may benefit Democrat Tom Barrett, who is mayor of the city.
Ohio Governor Reverses Self, Grants 2 Week Reprieve To Death Row Inmate | Last week, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) denied clemency to Abdul Awkal, a severely mentally ill inmate scheduled to be executed tomorrow. According to Ngozi Ndulue, a member of Awkal’s legal team, Kasich partially reversed his decision today, granting Awkal a two week reprieve. At the very least, Kasich’s decision will give Awkal’s attorneys sufficient time to present their case to the courts that Awkal should not be executed because of his mental illness.
Romney’s official campaign website has a prominent section on government regulations entitled “Obama’s Failure,” which blasts the EPA for “endless new regulations touching on countless other forms of economic activity—regulations that drive up costs, hinder investment, and destroy jobs. Romney has added that “there are other people who would like to put in place a cap-and-trade program and dramatically increase the cost of energy. That’s their view. And by the way, that would kill a lot of jobs.”
Leavitt has a rather opposite record. In his introductory address to his EPA employees, enthusiastically endorsed a cap-and-trade, telling them:
We need to take the giant step toward national market-based solutions; to do that we need only look to our own experience. That is exactly what we’re doing with cap and trade. The cap and trade strategy was key to the breakthrough against acid rain. It is central to Clear Skies. The cap and trade approach shows us again and again that people do more and they do it faster when they have an incentive to do what’s in the public’s interest.
And, a ThinkProgress analysis of Regulations.gov data reveals that between Leavitt’s first day as administrator to his last, the agency promulgated or amended 232 regulatory rules. These
included tougher standards for ozone, diesel fuels, and other air pollutants. Among these were things like National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Asbestos, and Protection of Stratospheric Ozone; Refrigerant Recycling; Substitute Refrigerants — the sorts of regulations Romney says “drive up costs, hinder investment, and destroy jobs.”
Given their opposite views on these issues and Leavitt’s strong support of ObamaCare, he seems a surprising choice to lead Romney’s transition.
Madison City Clerk: Turnout Is On Pace To Reach 119% | A local reporter in Wisconsin is reporting record turnout in Madison:
Madison City Clerk tells me turnout is on pace to hit 119% in Madison, adding “That would be unprecedented.”
— Amy at WTDY(@AmyBarrilleaux) June 5, 2012
Turnout in excess of 100% is possible because Wisconsin allows same-day voter registration. The numbers suggest that many people are registering at the polls. Heavy turnout in Madison, a liberal stronghold, would likely benefit Democrat Tom Barrett.
A three-year summary of America’s first carbon trading program was released yesterday. The news is pretty good for anyone who cares about reducing carbon emissions; it’s inconvenient for anyone hell-bent on preventing America from implementing a carbon pricing plan.
According to the program administrator of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) — a nine-state cap-and-trade market established in the Northeast in 2008 — average annual CO2 emissions have fallen by 23 percent compared to emission levels before the start of the program:
Average annual CO2 emissions for the three-year period were 126 million short tons, a 23 percent reduction when compared to the preceding three-year period, 2006-2008. Three-year average electricity consumption across the ten-state region declined only moderately, by 2.4 percent, between the same periods, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
CO2 emissions were collectively reduced to 33 percent below the annual pollution cap of 188 million short tons.
And the predictions of economic collapse and suffering ratepayers? Not happening.
The progress report follows a study from the Analysis Group finding that RGGI added $1.6 billion in value to the economies of participating states, setting up ratepayers for more than $1.1 billion in savings through improved efficiency and development of renewable energy. All this activity created 16,000 jobs in the first three years of the program.
“Five years ago, critics were saying climate programs like RGGI couldn’t succeed in the U.S.,” said David Littell, Commissioner of the Maine Public Utilities Commission and Vice-Chair of RGGI, in a statement.
“Now, we are seeing significant emissions reductions in the context of economic recovery as we switch to cleaner fuels and learn to use energy smarter. In fact, RGGI has allowed companies to stay competitive and reduce their energy expenditures to weather the recession and come out stronger.”
In April, Environment New Jersey issued an analysis showing that states participating in RGGI reduced emissions 20 percent faster and grew GDP twice the rate of the rest of the U.S. through 2009. However, that report was not a completely accurate picture of the impact of RGGI, as it only took into consideration the first year of the program.
Unlike federal law, which does not explicitly protect against discrimination targeting gay men and lesbians, New Mexico law forbids “any person in any public accommodation to make a distinction, directly or indirectly, in offering or refusing to offer its services” because of their sexual orientation. Nevertheless, a New Mexico photography company refused to photograph a same-sex couple’s commitment ceremony, claiming that it is immune to the law because it’s owners are Christian conservatives. Last week, a New Mexico appeals court rejected this claim, tossing out several arguments including the suggestion that the Constitution’s guarantee of religious liberty includes the power to simply ignore anti-discrimination laws:
A state implicates the free exercise clause when it places burdens upon religious practitioners because of their affiliation or beliefs. But “the right of free exercise does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes).” . . . [T]he case at bar is generally applicable and neutral; it does not selectively burden any religion or religious belief. [New Mexico's anti-discrimination law] applies generally to all citizens transacting commerce and business through public accommodations that deal with the public at large, and any burden on religion or some religious beliefs is incidental and uniformly applied to all citizens.
The New Mexico court’s decision highlights exactly what is at stake if courts adopt some of the outlandish theories of “religious liberty” being advanced by Catholic bishops and by leading conservative lawmakers. Although this case dealt with anti-gay discrimination, if religious conservatives are permitted to ignore laws protecting gay people (or, quite possibly, laws ensuring that women will have access to birth control) than the same reasoning would exempt people with religious objections to laws forbidding discrimination against African-Americans or women.
I leave tomorrow morning for Netroots Nation in Providence, RI, so pending internet on the train up, blogging may be a tad slower than usual. But my being in Providence means two things.
1) I am doing a panel at 1:30 on Saturday afternoon, in Ballroom D at the convention center, in which Jezebel founder Anna Holmes, all-around comics guru Elana Levin, and video game designer and guest in these parts Alli Thresher and I will talk about the representation of women behind the scenes in media. I think it will be a lot of fun, and you should come. If you’re interested, but not registered for the conference, please let me know in comments or via email, and I’ll see if we can work something out.
2) Netroots drinking. Will enough people be there / in Providence in general / willing to come down from Boston for the afternoon to do a happy hour? Let me know in comments here, and if folks want to do something on Saturday afternoon or evening, we’ll make it happen.
Anti-Choice Argument Against Morning After Pill Is Based On Out-Dated Science | A primary argument used by anti-abortion activists against the morning after pill — that it flushes an already-fertilized egg from a woman’s body — is actually based on disproved science. The New York Times uncovered today that labels on the packaging of the pills are often incorrect, and reflect old science, saying that the pills prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. But morning after pills, or Plan B as they’re widely known, actually “delay ovulation, the release of eggs from ovaries that occurs before eggs are fertilized, and some pills also thicken cervical mucus so sperm have trouble swimming. …Because they block creation of fertilized eggs, they would not meet abortion opponents’ definition of abortion-inducing drugs.”
Walker spoke with Robles campaign manager Robert Davis, who cited Robles’s job as a state parole agent and seemingly dismissed any violent overtones of the machine gun message:
Mr. Robles is in law enforcement, if you’re not aware of that, so I think it’s his way of just kind of sending our message. We’re going after Linda Sanchez, not in the way that portrays it to be if you’re thinking like that. We’re very strongly against her policies, and her programs and people really need to understand what she’s about.
Robles states repeatedly in the video that Sanchez’s “record speaks for itself” (without discussing said record), and the Robles campaign superimposes the words “HOT MESS!!” on an appearance by Sanchez on MSNBC.
Robles is running against Sanchez in a new open primary system in California, where all candidates run and the top two vote-getters end up on the ballot in November.
As the Observer points out, violent imagery, particularly that involving guns, came to the fore last year with the shooting of Rep. Gabriella Giffords (D-AZ), who was targeted by gun sights on an electoral map put out by Sarah Palin’s political organization. The crosshairs on the political map drew widespread criticism, though that didn’t stop some politicians like Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) from making light of gun violence in a political context.