Weekend open thread: Ups and downs

What’s on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers?

Yesterday’s employment report was so awful (1 on a scale of 1 to 10) that a double-dip recession seems more likely than ever. At the Naked Capitalism blog, Edward Harrison reposted a piece from November 2009 on why Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and economic adviser Larry Summers would be President Barack Obama’s Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. It’s worth a read. At the Bonddad blog, New Deal Democrat went over lots of weekly indicators and found more evidence of an economic “stall” than a contraction (so far).

I’m still surprised by some of the bills that didn’t get through the Iowa legislature during this year’s extra-long session. I learned this week that Iowa wasn’t the only state where pro-nuclear legislation faltered. The nuclear industry failed to persuade lawmakers in five other state legislatures to advance favored bills. After the jump I’ve posted a press release from Nuclear Bailout, a project of Physicians for Social Responsibility. The Iowa chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility lobbied hard against the bill written exclusively for the benefit of MidAmerican Energy.

In case you missed it, Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and Minority Leader Paul McKinley reflected on the 2011 session during the July 1 edition of Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program. Click the link to read the transcript or watch the video. Both of them expect some progress on property tax reform next year, though they may get a crack at that sooner if Governor Terry Branstad calls a special legislative session later this year.

I’ll post Bleeding Heartland’s final news roundup on what passed and didn’t pass during the 2011 session after Branstad signs or vetoes the bills that reached his desk during the last week of June.

This is an open thread.

UPDATE: Best slip of the tongue I’ve heard this year: while phone-banking for Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, State Senator Brad Zaun says he’s calling on behalf of “Congressman Boswell.” Democrat Leonard Boswell beat Zaun during the 2010 Congressional race in Iowa’s third district.

MORE BAD NEWS FOR EMBATTLED NUCLEAR POWER INDUSTRY:

REACTOR PROPONENTS ARE BATTING 0-6 IN STATE LEGISLATURES IN 2011

First Major State Legislative Defeat for “Small Modular Reactors” in Iowa; Dismal Industry Showing in 2011 Follows Dismal 0-14 Combined Record for 2009 and 2010.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 6, 2011 – Deep-pocketed nuclear power lobbyists may pack a big punch in Washington, D.C., but they are getting knocked out altogether at the state legislative level. So far in 2011, the nuclear power industry has a record of zero wins and six losses in Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

The nuclear power industry’s dismal track record is in keeping with its history of state legislative failures in 2010 (when it went 0-8) and 2009 (0-6).

Sara Barczak, High Risk Energy Choices program director, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said: “Though many utilities, lawmakers and regulatory commissioners in the Southeastern U.S. continue to blindly support building new nuclear reactors that put ratepayers at risk, the public is growing ever more skeptical of nuclear power. Given the victories to stop these anti-consumer agendas nationally, including the temporary pull back in North Carolina, the tide may be turning. The fallout from Fukushima is yet to be fully known and likely will further erode the public’s acceptance of this high cost, high risk energy option.”

Ed Smith, safe energy coordinator, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, said: “Even before the ongoing Fukushima catastrophe, the nuclear power industry was failing in state legislatures across America. The reason is simple: Sensible people do not want to pay upfront for multi-billion dollar nuclear projects that will leave ratepayers and taxpayers as captive investors for an industry where construction delays and cost overruns are the norm.”

Christina Mills, staff scientist and policy analyst, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, said: “By working with our coalition partners both in and out of the legislature, we again successfully defended Minnesota’s 17 year old moratorium on new nuclear reactors. This law was originally enacted to protect Minnesotans from the high costs of building new reactors and the lack of a solution for radioactive waste – both issues which continue to persist today. We are also thankful to have a Governor who is standing firm with Minnesotans who want to preserve the nuclear moratorium and get on with building a renewable, efficient energy system in the state.”

The nuclear power industry’s many 2011 state legislative failures included:

* Minnesota – A heavily lobbied bill to overturn the state’s moratorium on additional reactors died in conference committee.

* Wisconsin – A push to reintroduce a bill to overturn the Badger State’s moratorium on new reactors failed.  

* Kentucky – A bill to overturn the state’s moratorium on new reactors died in the House.

* Missouri – Despite a major industry push, a bill to charge utility customers in advance to pay for an “Early Site Permit” for the proposed new Callaway reactor died.

* North Carolina – A “Super Construction Work in Progress (CWIP)” bill to eliminate prudence review of CWIP expenses was proposed but never introduced due to strong on-the-ground opposition.

* Iowa – A bill pushed by MidAmerican to charge utility customers in advance for “small modular reactors” as well as potentially larger reactors stalled in the state Senate and cannot be taken up again until 2012.

In 2010, nuclear power lobbyists failed in legislative pushes in Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Vermont and West Virginia and Wisconsin. In 2009, the industry enjoyed no success whatsoever in its lobbying efforts in Kentucky, Minnesota, Hawaii, Illinois, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

  • Pearson and Massie

    It looks like these two endorsed Ron Paul for President, can’t wait to get rid of these two.  Is there any chance that Pearson gets beat in a primary?  I don’t know if Massie will run again.  I know I obsess about these two, but the Ron Paul loyalists tend to upset me more than others.  Polk County Democrats should already have a candidate lined up against Pearson.  

    • that's interesting

      because as much as I disagree with Ron Paul, I have more respect for some of his supporters than some others.

      I have a post in progress about Pearson. She and I don’t agree on much, but she does think for herself, which is not common enough at the capitol. I give her credit for that.

      I haven’t heard about any Democrat running against Pearson, but I am sure she won’t get a free pass. There aren’t a lot of competitive races in Polk County, so there’s bound to be a lot of volunteer activity on both sides in that race.

  • True

    I certainly have no problem with centrist, independent thought.  Pearson and Ron Paul use dogma as a reason to say no to everything.  Let’s be frank as well Paul and Pearson’s rigid views of the Constitution and hard line views are what inspire primaries on the right.  These primaries scare the daylights out of a Dick Lugar type Republican and make them say and do things that are bad for America.

    You’ve got a Democratic registration advantage in Pearson’s district, how ever so slightly.  If independents there are truly independent they should be turned off by Pearson’s views.  You would have to be talking about some extremely right wing independents for her to survive a truly spirited campaign where people know the facts.

    I am sure she will get help from the Ron Paul people money wise if she needs help.    

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