Kylie’s Having a Baby! What’s a Porto Rico?

Not news, but Americans are pretty ignorant of geography and American history.  I’m pretty sure that almost nobody outside of people on the continent of Puerto Rican descent and American history professors know that Puerto Rico is an American territory and Puerto Ricans are American citizens.

That makes them just another unfortunate group of island saps that got run over by a hurricane.  What a pity for them. Shame, shame!  Price you pay for all that tropical goodness 90% of the time (and speaking non-English).

Still, with all of that recognized, the lack of concern at the highest levels of government (Trump’s Katrina?) and media is quite shocking.

Seems like this is just another instance of if conservatives are indifferent it’s not really a thing.  Quite an odd phenomena for a liberal media.

21 States Notified That They Were Hacked

AP reporting that the US government, ostensibly headed by the guy who was benefited by hacking, has informed 21 states that they were messed about under their election bedclothes.

  • The federal government told 21 states that hackers targeted their election systems last year.
  • In most cases, the systems weren’t breached.
  • Most states weren’t notified of the attempted hacking until Friday.

Eight months ago everybody was confident there was no hacking at all.  What are they going to say a few months from now?

“Okay, a few states were breached by Russian hackers, but they totally wanted it.”

“New Hampshire was all hanging out and acting vulnerable, what were we supposed to do?”

“We were drunk, the states were drunk!  Who knows who hacked who?”

Odd Coming Out Party for Back Bench Senator Cassidy (R-LAME)

Nobody knew who Senator Bill Cassidy was.  He decided to come out as a Senator (and we all know how awkward coming out can be) by saying something sympathetic about Jimmy Kimmel’s kid and then Kimmel put the lug on TV to lie about his dishonorable intentions towards healthcare.  Funny story, after going on TV and sounding as if he was a human being, Cassidy voted for that bill that seemed so bad at the time.  After that Cassidy probably should have chosen to go back into the obscurity closet like Ken Bone or the Mooch, but Cassidy got the hot lights bug and had to stay out and proud.

For his next foray into the public he maybe should have waited for some natural disaster to devastate his state (just wait a few minutes, the hurricanes are coming fast and furious) and then he could have looked sympathetic, but he decided to follow up his Kimmel adventure by putting his name on an ACA repeal bill that is even worse than the one that Kimmel was originally telling his son’s story in order to sink.

Cassidy Doubles Down on Healthcare Dishonesty.

It’s always a bad idea to lie right in the face of a guy with a nightly TV show and millions of viewers.

Cassidy is an unfortunate messenger for defending the destruction of healthcare as he looks like a funeral director that actually embalmed himself and he’s a terrible, terrible liar like a child with their hand in the cookie jar, a cookie in their mouth and cookie crumbs all over their romper.

Kimmel:  “He said he would only support a healthcare bill that made sure a child like mine would get the health coverage he needs no matter how much money his parents make and that did not have annual or lifetime caps. […]

So last week Bill Cassidy and Sen. Lindsey Graham proposed a new bill, the Graham-Cassidy bill, and this new bill actually does pass the Jimmy Kimmel test, but a different Jimmy Kimmel test. With this one, if your child has a pre-existing condition he will get the care he needs, but if and only if his father is Jimmy Kimmel. Otherwise, you might be screwed. Now, I don’t know what happened to Bill Cassidy, but when he was on this publicity tour, he listed his demands for a healthcare bill very clearly. These were his words. He said he wants coverage for all, no discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, lower premiums for middle-class families, and no lifetime caps. And guess what. The new bill does none of those things. […]

Not only did Bill Cassidy fail the Jimmy Kimmel test, he failed the Bill Cassidy test. He failed his own test. And you don’t see that happen very much. This bill he came up with is actually worse than the one that, thank God, Republicans like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and John McCain torpedoed over the summer. And I hope they have the courage and good sense to do that again with this one […]

Most of the congresspeople who vote on this bill probably won’t even read it, and they want us to do the same thing—they want us to treat it like an iTunes service agreement. And this guy, Bill Cassidy, just lied right to my face.

On with the Morning Joe chain gang he kept saying that “nobody likes change, even when it’s from worse to better.”  A novel way of saying that your change makes things better but people just can’t accept it.  People actually love change that makes things better.  Everyone shopping for a new TV is excited about change.  What people hate is when it’s really obvious to analysts that you are lying about what a piece of legislation does that would not make healthcare coverage better for people.

As Nate Cohn says:  It’s certainly possible to defend the Graham-Cassidy bill honestly ― by arguing, for example, that cutting federal spending is more important than improving access to health care. Cassidy has frequently said lower federal spending is a big priority for him.

And later in the “Morning Joe” interview, when Cassidy noted that coverage is already unaffordable for many Americans, even with the Affordable Care Act in place, he was absolutely right.

The reality is that, by requiring insurers to sell coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions, the 2010 health care law has raised premiums. Subsidies insulate the majority of buyers from those higher prices, but still leave millions paying full price ― and paying much more than they did previously.

But multiple studies have shown that the net effect of the Affordable Care Act has been better access to care and less financial hardship because of medical bills. Cassidy’s repeal bill would reverse that progress, as Avalere and other analysts have pointed out ― helping some people, for sure, but overall making access and affordability worse.

The klaxxons have been sounded about this sneak attack bill that is now only under consideration, by the way, because of Chuck and Nancy’s deal with Trump to free up Senate time that would have been spent working on averting a debt ceiling disaster.

The troops must be mustered, no doubt, but this bill is so bad that it’s hard to see anybody who voted against the last bill changing their vote.  Even Rand Paul is looking like he’ll vote against this one.  Hope I’m right.



The Fix is In On Some Things Just From Our Language or How the 19th Century Frank Luntzes Already Twisted How We Think About the Civil War

It’s language stupid!  Of course the language we use about something shapes how we feel about it, how it’s viewed, confers legtimacy, etc. and this article from the Smithsonian, by a Director of the African American History Program at the Smithsinian is like a smack in the forehead.  Of course!!

We Legitimize the So-Called Confederacy With Our Vocabulary, and That’s a Problem

To begin with why do we call it the Confederacy? That’s what they wanted to be called. They were a rebel  insurgency unrecognized as legitimate by any other country in the world.

“General” Robert E. Lee only achieved the rank of colonel in the United States Army.  He was a general only for an illegitmate insurgent force.

Historian Michael Landis suggests professional scholars should seek to change the language we use in interpreting and teaching history. He agrees with people like legal scholar Paul Finkelman and historian Edward Baptist when they suggest the Compromise of 1850 be more accurately referred to as an Appeasement. The latter word precisely reflects the sway that Southern slaveholders held in the bargain. Landis goes on to suggest that we call plantations what they really were—slave labor camps; and drop the use of the term, “the Union.” A common usage in the 19th century to be sure, but now one we only use “the Union” in reference to the Civil War and on the day of the State of the Union address. A better way to speak of the nation during the war, he argues, is to use its name, the United States.

Think about that.  We call the United States of that era “the Union” in a way that can separate the reality of our own country in our minds.  It wasn’t the Union that the rebels broke away from it was the United States of America.

we set up a parallel dichotomy in which the United States is cast as equal to the Confederate States of America. But was the Confederacy really a nation and should we refer to it as such?

And plantation is certainly a lovely bucolic name for what were slave labor camps.  The Nazis called their nightmare death camps “work camps” but we’ve never accepted their coloring of that genocide.  Why have we accepted so much of the South’s lipstick on the pig of slavery and rebellion?

Where else do we use language that actually gives breath to a false narrative?


Trump Dealing With Chuck and Nancy Because Following His Caucus Makes People Hate Him

I still say don’t listen to what he says, only follow what he does.  Which goes for the GOP controlled Congress as well.  So all “deals” or “agreements” reached on legislation have to be taken with a grain of salt until actual bills are written, voted on and signed.  That said, there’s quite a tumult over the new Donald, Chuck and Nancy triumverate.

Last week they got together and “blindsided” the GOP “brain trust” by making a deal on a 3 month budget extension to forestall a looming fight over hitting the debt ceiling.

This was bad enough because obviously any deals with Democrats leaving out his own party makes Republicans go nuts.  They had all these big plans to hold the full faith and credit of the country hostage for a host of conservative fave raves.  Trump negotiated that away to Nancy Pelosi, the communist witch from San Gaycisco who eats babies.  This alone turns GOP election plans for 2018 upside down because their big argument to get out their base and save their majorities is to say “sure, your GOP representative is an idiot, but voting for the Dem gives you Speaker Pelosi, evil baby eater even worse than Hillary!!!

This post by a Dem. candidate for a local seat in Virginia on Daily Kos details the high hurdle Dems have to leap in large swaths of this country because voting for them means supporting Nancy Pelosi, which they can…not…do.

But Trump needs love and the ideas that come out of the Democratic caucus are the most popularly supported ones.  People may hate Nancy Pelosi because of the horror tales Fox News has told about her for a decade, but what she fights for is pretty damn popular. Trump wants to be popular more than he wants oxygen.

So since the budget deal was “so well received” in Trump-speak, he had a dinner with Chuck and Nancy to talk DACA.  90% of the country likes DACA.  Only the people who elected Trump don’t. And damn if they didn’t come up with another “deal” or “agreement” or something that absolutely roiled Trump’s base like an unwanted prostate exam.  These people call a DACA agreement amnesty.  That’s how far gone they are.  And maybe, just maybe Trump is realizing that doing their bidding, like when he defended racists in Charlottesville, means he’s going to be popularly lambasted.  So he has no choice but to run into Chuck and Nancy’s arms.

Still, Bartletta and other conservative Republicans defended Trump’s actions, saying their own ineffective Republican leaders were to blame for driving the president into “Chuck and Nancy’s” arms.

“This president doesn’t have any choice but to turn and listen to the Democrats to try to get something done. He came here to get something done, and if the Republicans aren’t going to get things done, he has no choice,” he insisted. “Let’s not criticize that.”

Whatever actually comes out of the dinner, if anything, is important, but the upending of the GOP’s talking points about Nancy Pelosi (and to a lesser extent dealing with Dems in general), is absolutely shattering for the GOP.

Alex Jones and Roger Stone already floated the idea that somebody is drugging Trump. What now?

Hey Climate Denier – Put Down that Snickers!

As blinkered thinking goes there’s no issue more inexplicably muddleheaded and just plain weird than those defiant souls who just won’t accept the scientific (and empirical ) reality of climate change.  It’s not like angels or spaghetti monsters, go ahead and believe or not believe in mythical creatures.  But 98% of climate scientists see a problem, the Pentagon sees a problem, hell even Exxon Mobile recognizes climate change, they put their best scientists on it and then covered it up for 40 years.

A lot of big businesses have been addressing climate change because nothing hurts business like flooded facilities, supply chain collapse or dead consumers.  Our idiot overlords in the GOP may try to ignore reality so that liberals will cry, and pump up (literally) finite energy sources but they’re just killing themselves and their own precious snowflakes.  See Texas, bitches!

“Big Chocolate”, represented by Mars, makers of failing M&Ms, loser Snickers and small handed Twix is trying to save their failing business by making a $1 Billion investment in renewable energy to run its facilities.  They’re building a huge windfarm in Texas, which will offset their operations elsewhere!

“Mars has been in business for four generations and intends to be for the next four generations,” Grant F. Reid, the food company’s chief, said on Wednesday.

“The only way that will happen is if we do things differently to ensure that the planet is healthy and all people in our extended supply chains have the opportunity to thrive,” he added.

If the supply of cocoa is threatened Mars is done.  Back in 2015 the Guardian noted how some of our favorite things like beer, coffee and chocolate are threatened by climate change.

The world is running out of chocolate. That’s because climate change and crippling poverty are driving Africa’s cocoa farmers to produce other crops. Which is a bit rubbish because your date’s chocolate mousse is set to get a lot pricier.

In four decades, the amount of land available for growing cocoa has dropped 40%. In the next 40 years, the temperature in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, where 70% of cocoa is grown, is set to rise by 2C. That’s going to make it too hot and dry for cocoa trees.

So put down the Snickers, the Coors and the Dunkin’ until you wake up and smell the mold.



Hey Amazon – How’s About Newark?

They want to build a second distribution center headquarters campus and have some requirements.

HQ2 could be, but does not have to be:

  • An urban or downtown campus
  • A similar layout to Amazon’s Seattle campus
  • A development-prepped site. We want to encourage states/provinces and communities to think creatively for viable real estate options, while not negatively affecting our preferred timeline

Site Requirements:

  • Proximity to population center: 30 Miles
  • Proximity to International airport: Within approx. 45 Minutes
  • Proximity to major highways and arterial roads: Not more than 1-2 Miles
  • Close to major arterial roads to provide optimal access
  • Access to mass transit: At site
  • Direct access to rail, train, subway/metro, bus routes

Hm, sounds like Newark to me.  Airport, workers, easy access to all means of transport, highways, the entire Northeast, hell everywhere.




Repeat After Me: There is NO North Korea Crisis

North Korea does what it does, what it’s always done.  The Hermit Kingdom develops weapons to ensure it isn’t attacked by the outside world.  It’s RATIONAL!  They’re completely isolated in a shrinking world with no real friends – like a bi-polar, schizophrenic, street person they seem dangerous and scary but if you leave them the hell alone (which is what they want) they’re no danger to anybody but themselves.

In that context, like other nations that don’t want to be fucked with, their desire for nuclear weapons is completely rational.  They’re not attacking anybody themselves because that would mean complete annihilation for them, they get that.  China and Russia deal with them but wouldn’t actually go to war to save them if they did something offensive – what? China wants to sacrifice their future to side with a wacko country?  No. North Korea has but one hand to play, no bluffing or some other bullshit: leave us the hell alone or we’ll go crazy on you.

For decades the international community has worked to slow them down by making deals to give them goods they need.  The martial mutants among us call that appeasement and always want to take physical action against nascent threats the way Rudi Giuliani-types thought the best way to stop crime was by hassling young black and brown men.  It’s intervention for the sake of intervention that achieves more alienation and makes more enemies than it alleviates (for other examples, see Bush administration anti-terrorist policy for well meaning fat head fail).

So there’s no North Korea crisis here, except that which our equally crazy president and his excessively macho administration makes with the help of an alarmist media.

If we just went along our business and pooh poohed their tests we’d be no less safe, without the market rattling language.  Saying that “all options are on the table” (Trump) or threatening a “massive military response” (Mattis), or asserting that they’re “begging for war” (Haley) are ALL self-defeating rhetoric.  All of that talk gets to the North Koreans and puts their backs against the wall, which is why they want the nuclear weapons in the first place.

Like with our friend the wildly angry street psycho, the best policy is to say nothing directly to them, do not make eye contact, and stay far enough away that they can’t pee on you or swing at you.  They are not rational actors, except for that shiv they keep in their sweatpants waistband, and getting in their way is equally irrational and completely unnecessary.  Probably true for Trump too, just exchange shiv for Twitter.