It’s Friday ya Bastards

The media and GOP have engaged in what I can only describe as “Failure Porn” regarding the ACA, It’s just pile on everywhere with very little coverage of positive stories for the usual outlets. You have to go to the nighttime MSNBC shows to get any perspective at all. The 3-legged stool of this Failure Porn are the low signups to date, the well publicized website issues and the cancellations of the non-conforming policies.  The reality is that whatever they do to deal with the cancellations (and whether they should actually do anything), the first two issues will go away.

(1) the federal website is getting fixed while the state websites are working well, for those states that served their citizens and created them;

(2) while sign ups have been low, this is to be expected as the people who actually can get through (850,000 applications filed) don’t actually choose a plan until they have to, this is the pattern that all insurance mandates follow and especially Romneycare, which only signed up 123 people in its first month but now insures 98% of Massachusetts.

When those two legs of the stool go away the story goes away. The GOP is giddily jumping on this now while the iron is hot and the media is so keen to go along with this Failure Porn coverage. 

Of course the GOP never actually tries to do anything big for the American people (unless you count Iraq) so it’s easy for them to always criticize from the sidelines and hope to reap the benefits. Sadly, they often do. Sick, sick sick! 

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Heard that liberal talker Randi Rhodes show is being cancelled after her contract expires in January. The Flush Rush movement that has brought Limbaugh and his syndicators to their knees since his attacks on Sandra Fluke (ClearChannel posted a $200 million loss mostly because of loss of revenues for Rush’s show) has had collateral damage making some advertisers hinky about advertising on any potentially controversial talk shows. But Premiere (a Clear Channel company) and other syndicators have taken this opportunity to cut their liberal talkers rather than dump Rush. Figures.

I’be been listening to Randi since the first day of Air America – March 4, 2004 when she opened up by telling Ralph Nader that she “could not afford” his activism if it results in George Bush being elected.

The statistics on talk radio are literally insane as conservative voices dominate 90% of talk radio. Even in vastly liberal places like NY, Boston, Chicago and Washington D.C. you can find Rush, Hannity, Mark Levin and the gang everywhere but hardly any liberal talk. The companies and conservatives have the nerve to say that places that vote 75%-25% liberal want conservative voices 90%-10%. That’s just ridiculous horseshit. 

It’s just a shame that smart talkers who tell their audience to do their own research and not just accept whatever is spewed on the radio as fact, always get pushed around by the big corporations whether they’re profitable or not. Then the right wing will claim that there’s no interest in liberal talk and that’s why they failed.  

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Federal Reserve Chairman nominee Janet Yellen berated Senators at her confirmation hearings yesterday for their austerity fiscal policies forcing the Fed to keep their monetary policy expansionist. She called out the legislature for working at cross purposes with the Fed and keeping the recovery stalled. Awesome.

She just might be the right person for the job.

Red States, Green Power

OMG, I am still having conversations with people who tell me that solar and wind power are not feasible and we’re always going to burn carbon or… nuclear (eye roll). Why do I have to keep reminding people that there hasn’t been a new nuclear power plant built in the U.S. since the mid-70s? They’re insanely expensive to build and no insurance company wants to write a policy for the next Fukushima/Chernobyl.

They keep saying that renewables are limited in what they can ever achieve because “what if the wind isn’t blowing and it’s night?”  Well, bullshit! I bet we figure out the energy storage problem way before we come up with a solution to the spent nuclear materials problem.

And furthermore, while renewables are still a too small (but rapidly growing) fraction of our energy picture, there are more and more days where renewable energy is a sizable portions of an area’s power consumption and in surprising places. Wind energy is supplying up to 60% of power on some days in some places.

As the chart below from the American Wind Energy Association shows, wind energy is far from a bit player in states with significant installations of wind farms. The chart shows where and when wind energy production records were set. In Colorado, for instance, wind supplied 60.5 percent of the state’s electricity on May 24 of this year. In Texas, an epicenter of climate denialism, the payoff from its wind farm-building boom came on May 2, when greenhouse gas-free wind provided 28.1 percent of the state’s power.

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What Atrios Said

Atrios is succinct and spot on here. Certain Democrats can start running from the ACA like cowards but it won’t help them.

Whatever the merits of ACA, it is now something the Dems own. For decades I’ve watched Dems try to run away from things which have been surgically implanted on any politician with a D next to their name. It’s always bizarre and pointless. You’re the party of gay marriage, abortion, and Obamacare whether you like it or not, and it’s better to convince your constituents that you’re going to do good things for them than to try to convince them that you’re not a real Democrat.

They can already vote for someone who isn’t a real Democrat. He or she is called a Republican.

The right argument for them to make is that big fundamental changes are hard and almost always start out bumpy. There was a day when not one American had a Social Security number, now they all do. ACA is big like that.

Bill Clinton and the Harsh Difference between Politics and Policy

The Secretary of Explaining Things gave up. Instead of explaining why the policy is good and should stand and why the carping about “if you like your policy you can keep it” is just the usual political bullshit dressed up in the disguise of moral superiority, the former President went all 1990s style politics and triangulation on the ACA.

The GOP has a bone in their maw that is the POTUS’ inexact rhetoric and we know they will not let go. Hell, some of them are still trying to push Benghazi, a tragedy that they tried to turn into a scandal with absolutely no evidence of anything improper to point to. If anybody knows what kind of intellectual dishonesty the Republican party is capable of to attempt to gain political advantage, Bill Clinton should have a belly full of that first hand knowledge. The question for Democrats and the WH is do you stick with the policy, which will work and will work out better in the long run for the individuals who are being used now as pawns in the GOP’s anti-Obamacare game, OR go politics and try to do an end run around their single-minded cynical usage of an opportunity by using patented Clintonian triangulation mind-fu. Clinton chose classic Clinton.

I heard a caller on the radio this morning say to the effect that if anybody suffers from a policy change, then that’s a bad law. The problems with that are pretty obvious, no? There’s never been a policy promulgated by a government or agency that was absolutely a win for everyone, there’s always someone hurt by the policy. The goal isn’t perfection for all it’s THE GREATER GOOD. Helping the most people to the greatest extent possible with the fewest people negatively effected as possible. Nobody, or at least no adult, can possibly reasonably believe that no eggs get cracked in the making of an omelette.

But it seems to me that this is exactly the childish mindset that the GOP is trying to exploit. Never mind those helped, what about those hurt? And, of course, it fits their modus operandi of victimhood and high dudgeon on behalf of the questionably aggrieved. The rhetoric of “if you like your policy you can keep it” is the leverage, with a hint of truth to the accusation that it was a promise not kept, that they’re using as a fulcrum to lift the heavy weight of disingenuously decrying the rollout, the law and the presidency of Barack Obama.

In time the weight of those helped will way overwhelm those who may have to pay some more for similar (or better) coverage whose policies may well have been cancelled by their insurance provider with or without the ACA (are we holding the President to a promise that you could keep your insurance – even if the insurance company cancels it on you?). But right now it’s too easy for the people who have lied through their teeth for 3 years to make Democrats who supported the ACA squirm by the simplistic intonation that the President misled with his statements.

Completely defensible but complex Policy trumped by simple-minded politics once again.

Tuesday Wigouts

Is this my wigout or is it the media’s wigout? So much talk about 2016, Christie, Clinton and bears oh my! IT’S TOO EARLY! I would be in favor of an abridgment of the 1st amendment that made it illegal to talk about 2016 before 2014. In fact, executions would be okay with me. I guess it’s my wigout.

This article by Noam Scheiber speculating that Liz Warren could run in 2016 to push Clinton from the left gave Chris Matthews a tingle up his leg yesterday, but others have covered as well and jump to the wrong conclusions. A run to push Hillary leftward would be fine. If you want to start cat fight stories about Hillary and Liz you can go to hell. Warren signed a letter urging Hillary to run. The odds of Warren running at all, for any reason, are likely tiny. ALL SPEC-U-LATION.

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Richard Cohen is one of those craptacular opinion columnists that exemplify everything that’s wrong with the Beltway. His new name should be WTF, Richard Cohen?

  1. He writes for the Washington Post which elevates his every utterance way higher than it ought to be.
  2. He is considered a liberal voice which is so cringeworthy it’s painful. He’s not liberal, he’s not really even moderate. He’s just stupid and about 20 years past his expiration date.

No. 2 is exemplified by this incredibly sad passage from his column today:

Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all. (emphasis added)

Firstly, if you say today’s GOP is not racist, we can stop reading there, you’re an idiot. Secondly, a biracial couple makes “conventional people” “repress a gag reflex”? I think that makes them racist Richard.

Cohen’s editor says he should have edited that sentence “more carefully”. The WaPo’s publisher called the column “brilliant”.

The Washington Post is clearly the greatest problem here.

11/12/13

It’s ultimately meaningless, but today is one of those eerie straight flush dates that would be cool to have as a birthday. They’re actually rare as they only come at the beginning of each century like all the three of a kind dates – 12/12/12, etc.

Next year on 12/13/14 will be the last cool date of the century. Think about it. (Unless you consider multiplier dates like 12/24/48 cool, I guess they are.)

Of course in Europe this straight flush stuff falls on different dates because they flip the day and date – 11/12/13 (or Dec. 11th) will be next month there. And they can’t have a 12/13/14 there so the New World wins!

Conservatives Deny Problem with $$ in Politics – Until They’re Outspent

Funny. Ken Cuccinelli and other conservonuts are claiming that his loss was due to being outspent so thoroughly by McAuliffe. These same people consistently pooh pooh campaign finance limits, tout the freedom of “money is speech” and consistently deny that money can buy elections. They still don’t want to do anything about it but they sure like to whine like they were victimized.

While he and his conservative supporters now lament that money cost them the victory they felt they deserved, they have long been the defenders of the system of campaign finance non-regulation in Virginia and nationally. 

McAuliffe, who raised $32 million, has said he’s for limits and the conservatives called him a hypocrite for that.  

They refuse to learn.