Political Buzz August 9, 2011: Wisconsin Recall Election Results, Republicans Retain 4 Senate Seats, Lose 2 to Democrats

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

WISCONSIN RECALL ELECTION RESULTS

Scott Walker speaks at a press conference. | AP Photo
Placing Walker on the ballot in 2012 would require gathering 500,000 signatures. | AP Photo

STATE & LOCAL POLITICS

4 Wisconsin Republicans survive recall elections, GOP maintains control of state Senate: Four Republican state senators in Wisconsin survived recall challenges Tuesday, allowing the GOP to maintain its control of both houses of the state legislature as well as the governor’s mansion, the Associated Press projected. Two other Republican senators were recalled, losing to their challengers. The recall elections, orchestrated by labor leaders and their Democratic allies, followed Gov. Scott Walker’s move to strip public employee unions of most collective bargaining rights.

“I think setting aside me, if you went around and talk to the average voter, the best thing they like about today is the ads are gone. at least outside of these two remaining Senate districts,” Walker said. I’ve heard repeatedly from people who are just disgusted at all the ads, disgusted at all the money. They’re tired of seemingly year-round campaigning, and whether it’s a gubernatorial recall, any other recall, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of enthusiasm for having a whole ‘nother wave of ads and money come into the state of Wisconsin….. I think setting aside me, if you went around and talk to the average voter, the best thing they like about today is the ads are gone. at least outside of these two remaining Senate districts. I’ve heard repeatedly from people who are just disgusted at all the ads, disgusted at all the money. They’re tired of seemingly year-round campaigning, and whether it’s a gubernatorial recall, any other recall, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of enthusiasm for having a whole ‘nother wave of ads and money come into the state of Wisconsin.” — Gov. Scott Walker

“How can that be a win for Scott Walker when he loses two Republican seats?” — Mike Tate, chairman of the state Democratic Party.

    • Wis. GOP holds off Democrats in recall elections: Republicans held onto control of the Wisconsin Senate on Tuesday, beating back four Democratic challengers in a recall election despite an intense political backlash against GOP support for Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to curb public employees’ union rights.
      Fueled by millions of dollars from national labor groups, the attempt to remove GOP incumbents served as both a referendum on Walker’s conservative revolution and could provide a new gauge of the public mood less than a year after Republicans made sweeping gains in this state and many others…. – AP, 8-9-11

Wisconsin Recall: GOP Retains Senate Control ABC News, 8-10-11

  • In Wisconsin, a Big Recall Push Comes Up Short: Two Republican senators lost their jobs, but the party still controls the legislature and the governor’s office…. – NYT, 8-10-11
  • Walker recall expected to proceed: Democrats are forging ahead with efforts to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker next year, one day after losing four of six recall elections to oust GOP state senators.
    The Tuesday night losses left Democrats a single seat short of overturning GOP control of the state’s upper chamber, though Democratic officials and operatives on the ground insisted Wednesday that their two wins in Republican-leaning areas exposed Walker’s weaknesses…. – Politico, 8-10-11
  • Wisconsin Democrats Vow Walker Recall Drive in 2012 After Ballot Failure: Wisconsin Democrats will extend their recall battle into next year with an effort to oust Republican Governor Scott Walker, possibly on Election Day 2012, the state’s party chairman said … – Blomberg, 8-10-11
  • Wisconsin recall vote: What does it mean?: A victory for Republicans? Kinda. A plus for Democrats? Sorta. DCDecoder says that The Wisconsin elections offered neither a massive backlash to GOP policy nor strong support for those same policies…. – CS Monitor, 8-10-11
  • Wisconsin recall: Conservatives win, liberals gain: There will be no magic potion, no instant formula for Democrats and progressives struggling to come back from their disastrous 2010 election losses…. – WaPo, 8-10-11
  • Wisconsin Recall: Republican Win Seen as Coup Heading into 2012 Elections: As a result of the recent Wisconsin recall elections, quite possibly the most contentious in state history, Republicans managed to fend off the Democrats and hold onto their majority. … – International Business Times, 8-10-11
  • The Day After Wisconsin: Will Democrats Still Target Walker?: Dashing Democrats’ hopes of flipping Wisconsin’s state senate and overturning Gov. Scott Walker’s austerity measures, on Tuesday night Republicans retained four out of the six state senate seats that were up for recall…. – ABC News, 8-10-11
  • Wisconsin recall election 2011: Democrats fail to take Senate majority by one seat: Voters in Wisconsin recalled two of the six Republican State Senators in Tuesday’s recall elections, which left the Democrats one seat short of a majority in the Senate…. – WaPo, 8-10-11
  • Walker: Election Results Show Voters Want Bipartisanship: Gov. Scott Walker said he thinks Tuesday night’s recall elections show voters want more bipartisanship from their elected leaders. Walker said believes no matter which party is in control, voters want lawmakers to work together on jobs … – WISC Madison, 8-10-11
  • Recall results show voters want parties to work together, Walker says: Madison — Gov. Scott Walker said results from Tuesday’s recall elections show voters are on board with Republican efforts but that they want the two parties to work together…. – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8-10-11
  • Recall elections once again show Wisconsin’s purple pedigree: Democrats can take solace in the fact that Walker’s agenda is apparently only popular among conservatives. “The people have spoken.” That’s what both sides are saying about the recall elections. Democrats and Republicans will both claim vindication…. – Isthmus Daily Page, 8-10-11
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Political Buzz US Economy in Crisis August 9, 2011: Dow Rebounds 429 Points After Federal Reserve Pledges to Keep Interest Rates Low Through 2013

POLITICAL BUZZ

US ECONOMY IN CRISIS

THE HEADLINES….

Markets close higher after a volatile day of trading: U.S. stock markets closed sharply higher after a volatile day of trading in which stocks swung wildly after the Federal Reserve said that it would keep interest rates low until mid-2013. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 4 percent, or 430 points, while the S&P 500, a broader measure of stocks, rose 4.8 percent, or 53 points.

Federal Reserve to keep interest rates unchanged; pledges to keep rates exceptionally low through mid-2013: The Federal Reserve pledged to keep its target for interest rates very low through at least mid-2013 following a policy meeting Tuesday, in an effort to support a faltering U.S. economy. This was the first time the Fed set a specific date for maintaining the low interest rates.
Three members of the Fed’s policymaking committee dissented from the decision to establish a date.

“To promote the ongoing economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at levels consistent with its mandate, the Committee decided today to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent. The Committee currently anticipates that economic conditions–including low rates of resource utilization and a subdued outlook for inflation over the medium run–are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through mid-2013. The Committee also will maintain its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its securities holdings. The Committee will regularly review the size and composition of its securities holdings and is prepared to adjust those holdings as appropriate.”… — Federal Reserve Statement on Low Interest Rates

  • Dow Closes 429 Points Up: After a series of roller-coaster swings, the Dow closed up 429 points Tuesday after the Federal Reserve vowed to keep interest rates low for the next two years. The Dow climbed nearly 4%, biting a chunk out of Monday’s slide of more than 600 points… – New York Daily News. 8-9-11
  • US Stocks Move Higher In Final Hour Of Whipsawed Trading: US stocks rose after zigzagging in volatile trading Tuesday afternoon as investors digested the Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep interest rates near zero for at least two more years… – WSJ, 8-10-11
  • The Fed Splits: There is more than meets the eye to the split at the Federal Reserve. There must be. The Fed’s statement Tuesday afternoon says that the majority “currently anticipates that economic conditions — including low rates of resource … – NYT, 8-9-11
  • Fed promises to keep rates low for at least 2 yrs: The Federal Reserve said on Tuesday it will keep interest rates near zero for at least another two years in a move that disappointed markets hoping for more direct action…. – Reuters, 8-9-11
  • Guided By The Fed, Funds Futures See Mid-2013 Rate Hike Very Unlikely: The Federal Reserve’s downbeat view on the economy caused fed-funds futures traders to see no chance for an initial funds rate increase until the middle part of 2013. … – WSJ, 8-9-11
  • Fed: Low rates to stay through at least mid-2013: The Federal Reserve on Tuesday expressed much more concern about the economic outlook and said it would hold interest rates at ultra-low levels “at least” through mid-2013…. – CBS MarketWatch, 8-9-11
  • US Stocks Climb Higher In Morning Trade As Fed Statement Looms WSJ. 8-9-11
  • US Stock Futures Bounce Sharply As Investors Await Fed WSJ, 8-9-11

Full Text August 9, 2011: President Obama Announces First Ever Fuel Economy Standards for Commercial Vehicles

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

President Obama Announces First Ever Fuel Economy Standards for Commercial Vehicles

Source: WH, 8-9-11

President Obama today will announce new fuel efficiency standards that will save American businesses that operate and own commercial vehicles approximately $50 billion in fuel costs over the life of the program. These work trucks, buses, and other medium- and heavy duty vehicleswill be required to meet fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission standards for the first time ever beginning in 2014.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the standards in close coordination with the companies that met with the President today as well as other stakeholders, following requests from companies to develop this program.

“While we were working to improve the efficiency of cars and light-duty trucks, something interesting happened,” said President Obama.  “We started getting letters asking that we do the same for medium and heavy-duty trucks.  They were from the people who build, buy, and drive these trucks.  And today, I’m proud to have the support of these companies as we announce the first-ever national policy to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas pollution from medium-and heavy-duty trucks.”

Under the comprehensive new national program, trucks and buses built in 2014 through 2018 will reduce oil consumption by a projected 530 million barrels and greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution by approximately 270 million metric tons. Like the Administration’s historic car standards, this program – which relies heavily on off-the-shelf technologies – was developed in coordination with truck and engine manufacturers, fleet owners, the State of California, environmental groups and other stakeholders.

The joint DOT/EPA program will include a range of targets which are specific to the vehicle types and purposes.  Vehicles are divided into three major categories: combination tractors (semi-trucks), heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, and vocational vehicles (like transit buses and refuse trucks).  Within each of those categories, even more specific targets are laid out based on the design and purpose of the vehicle. This flexible structure allows serious but achievable fuel efficiency improvement goals charted for each year and for each vehicle category and type.

The standards are expected to result in significant long-terms savings for vehicle owners and operators.  A semi-truck operator could pay for the technology upgrades in under a year and realize net savings of $73,000 through reduced fuel costs over the truck’s useful life.  These cost saving standards will also reduce emissions of harmful air pollutants that can lead to asthma, heart attacks and premature death.

Beyond the direct benefits to businesses that own and operate these vehicles, the program will also benefit consumers and businesses by reducing costs for transporting goods, and spur growth in the clean energy sector by fostering innovative technologies and providing regulatory certainty for manufacturers.

Read more about the new standards on EPA’s web site  and on NHTSA’s web site

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