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An acquaintance who is a fanatical Ron Paul fan told me that "The economy is the only thing Obama's good on"!  Let that sink in a minute.  This is someone who a couple years ago was warning that we were headed for hyperinflation, Greek-style default, etc.

When a guy like that is saying something grudging like this about the issue American voters generally find the most important, it's a bad, bad, bad sign for the GOP. And they didn't need any more bad signs.

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Thanks to a nasty primary battle in my area between a semi-moderate GOP incumbent and his cray-cray Tea Party opponent, I get daily mailers from these two slinging mud at each other in sometimes risible ways.  But this seemingly more toned down, issue-checklist style mailer might upon further inspection contain the most bizarre conflation of all:

Amazing to me that neither the candidate nor anyone in his campaign thought that not only do "life" and "guns" deserve separate categories, if he was going to combine anything for space reasons, it probably should not be these two issues in particular.  Sheesh.
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I was a stalwart all through the past four years plus, never wavering when others jumped on and off the bandwagon.  But this NYT article just crushed me like a grape:

The Obama administration adopted a strict definition of affordable health insurance on Wednesday that will deny federal financial assistance to millions of Americans with modest incomes who cannot afford family coverage offered by employers.

In deciding whether an employer’s health plan is affordable, the Internal Revenue Service said it would look at the cost of coverage only for an individual employee, not for a family. Family coverage might be prohibitively expensive, but federal subsidies would not be available to help buy insurance for children in the family.

The policy decision came in a final regulation interpreting ambiguous language in the 2010 health care law.

I have been without health coverage since the 1990s.  (Continued below the fold...)
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For seven years, it looked like a bad prediction, but hey--better late than never (especially when it's the most important case that's come along the pike, by far, in those seven years).

Here's the comment I made at Booman Tribune lo these seven years ago:

I don't think Roberts is going to be all that bad.  He isn't anyone I'd want a Democratic president to nominate, mind you, but given that it's Dubya doing the nominatin', I think we actually dodged a bullet here.  I don't believe he is going to be any more right wing than Sandra Day O'Connor, in fact, and may very well take over her role as a swing vote.
Where do I get this?  Well, to start with I posted yesterday that I saw a "ray of hope":
Unlike judges like Scalia, Rehnquist, or Bork, Roberts doesn't strike me as a judge who sinks his teeth into right wing ideology with gusto for its own sake.  Clearly this guy has been the ultimate Washington insider attorney slash corporate whore.  But once he's got a lifetime SCOTUS appointment, there's no more ladders to climb, no one to whore himself out to, really.    
So what if he gets in, and then turns into another David Souter when he no longer has the leash of his right wing masters around his neck?  One can hope...
And a few minutes ago, I heard a story on NPR's Morning Edition that bolstered that hope.  It's the first long story of the program, after the news roundup--listen, if you get a chance this morning, to the exchange between Roberts and Rehnquist (whom I despise).  The way Roberts quickly responded to Rehnquist's question about "mental torture" of prisoners gives me a lot more hope about the guy.
Even if Roberts never joins the liberals again, I will always be thankful for this vote.  And I mean that not just in a political sense, because I am, and have been for years, one of the millions of uninsured who will benefit hugely from this law.  I have been nervous about this ruling for months, and today I am beyond ecstatic!
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So I was watching Chuck Todd's segment near the end of MTP, talking about the electoral college map, and thought "hmm...his numbers don't seem right".  So I found a cool site where you can play around and make your own map (sounds like I'm spamming for them, but I'm really not--hopefully my microscopic UID entitles me to the benefit of the doubt on that).  And I discovered, indeed, that his numbers were in fact screwy; but that's not the point of this diary.  (If you're curious about Todd's numbers, ask me in the comments and I'll explain.)

What was fascinating, though, was to go through and find where the "pivot point" would be in a close election; or to put it another way, what states are Obama's firewall to squeak past 270 if this race becomes a real struggle?  And to my surprise, they were Iowa and New Hampshire, as if those states don't get enough political attention already!  See below the fold for the explanation:

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Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 04:32 AM PST

Romney's "Uncanny Valley"

by SlackerInc

(I suppose it's really more of a reverse valley, which could make it a peak; or you could call it a sweet spot.  But given that it's the RomneyTron 9000 we're talking about here, it's hard not to think of "Uncanny Valley", heh.)

So here's my thesis.  Romney had all kinds of trouble throughout 2011 trying to get atop the polls.  One GOP insurgent after another surged ahead of him, and each time they fell back into the pack, another took their place.  Then in late December and early January, he actually managed to get up top himself, and--other than a hiccup in South Carolina--seemed to have consolidated his position after the first four contests once he took Florida down.  But as we know, since then he has once again struggled mightily.  What happened?

My hunch is based on the widely held idea that most Republicans don't really like or trust Romney, so his raison d'etre as a candidate is as the "electable" one, the guy who can beat Obama.  Back in summer and fall 2011 that was a weak argument because Republicans were confident (cocky, even) that Obama was toast.  Any nominee could beat Obama, they reasoned; so why not nominate a true believer?  (Michele Bachmann, you may recall, made this exact pitch explicitly.)

Then, on December 2, out came that sweet, sweet jobs report.  Just as we Democrats cheered the good news, that same report made GOP blood run cold.  "Uh oh", they thought, "we could lose this thing".  All of a sudden going for a pragmatic nominee that could eke out a victory on a tough playing field began to look more attractive, and if you look at the RCP graph, that was the precise moment Romney started climbing back up in the polls.

The last part of it is what made me think of it in similar terms to the "uncanny valley" concept, albeit in reverse.  This new dynamic favoured Romney, as long as it looked like Obama was neither easy to beat nor impossible to beat.  But there has more recently been a steady drumbeat in the media, from TV pundits, and just in the zeitgeist, that Obama is increasingly looking like a shoo-in to win in the fall.  (I'm aware of the danger of our being overconfident; I'm just describing the CW that is likely weighing on GOP voters' minds.)  Once that idea sinks in, I think a lot of GOP voters return to a kind of Bizarro-world version of the mentality they had last fall: "Screw it, if we can't beat Obama anyway, we may as well nominate someone we like, who really represents us, instead of some prissy Northeastern milquetoast who only pretends to be conservative to get our votes."

Which of course is fine by me.  Who knows what "October surprise" could come our way; and should something happen, I'll feel much more comfortable if the GOP nominee is someone that moderates and especially women find absolutely unacceptable.

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This graph shows what the generation of Americans born in the 1980s might look like if Roe v. Wade had never happened.  This generation has already been termed the "baby boom echo" because their parents were mostly born at the height of the baby boom in the late '50s and early '60s, and thus by sheer numbers made their children's generation pretty large even though the birth rate was a lot lower in the "echo" years.  But if we factor in the roughly 13 million abortions that occurred in the 1980s, we see that the '80s would have witnessed a boom in births that actually significantly surpassed the size of their parents' boom (at least in absolute size, though perhaps not in percentage of the population).  And that makes sense, because in the pre-Roe era, each generation of Americans tended to replace itself with a larger cohort of offspring.  So my thought experiment is: what would our voting population look like with all those extra twentysomethings in it?  See below the fold for the answer...

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Mon Nov 21, 2011 at 03:05 PM PST

Newt Gingrich is a radical socialist

by SlackerInc

Gingrich's comments at the faux-Thanksgiving forum for the religious right this weekend have gotten a fair amount of attention here and elsewhere.  But what everyone seems to focus on is his standard-issue hippie bashing:

All of the Occupy movement starts with the premise that we all owe them everything. They take over a public park they didn’t pay for, to go near by to use bathrooms they didn’t pay for, to beg for food from places they they don’t want to pay for[...] Now, that is a pretty good symptom of how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country and why you need to reassert something as simple as saying to them, ‘Go get a job right after you take a bath.’

What I find far more interesting, though, and which has been mostly overlooked, is the way he prefaced those comments:

Captain John Smith said in 1607, in the first English speaking permanent colony, to the aristocrats who paid their way and didn’t want to work: ‘If you don’t work, you won’t eat.’

Think about that for a second and mull how radical it is.  More below the fold.

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Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 05:52 PM PDT

Let's hear from the loyal Democrats

by SlackerInc

I can't be the only one left, even though it sometimes feels that way, especially lately.  So it would be a shot in the arm for me personally to hear from some others.

I define myself as a "loyal Democrat" because:

(1) I have supported Democrats all my adult life: voting for them in my late teens and twenties, and then starting in my thirties (I'm 42 now), donating to them and volunteering for them.  

(2) I stand by them now.  Specifically, I believe that Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama, as well as other members of their leadership teams, are the right people for the job and are doing about as well as they can with the cards they have been dealt.

If you are with me on both those points (no one I know IRL is, including my own mother, which kind of sucks), let me know by recommending this diary and donating to the tip jar.  Comments of support are also welcome.  :)

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Republicans played chicken with a brick on the accelerator, the brakes disconnected, and a steely, macho resolve to hold the steering wheel straight.  (Never mind the nation's children in the back seat.)

Many on the left are understandably not only outraged at the GOP for being amoral sociopaths, but at Democrats for "backing down".  But let's remember: this is a game of chicken, and we on the left are not supposed to buy into a heteronormative, atavistic model of what a president is supposed to act like.

  It may have been great PR for Obama when he got OBL, but do we really want him to engage the presidency as though he were an '80s action hero?  In the metaphorical game of chicken with the GOP, do we want him to adopt their reckless abandon and refuse to turn the wheel as well, to hell with the chlidren in the back seat?  Do we want him to be all NRA and pack a concealed weapon to fire at the other side?  Or do we as progressives want to avert ourselves from the head on collision with the madmen, and look to civilised institutions to deal with those who refuse to live peacefully in the community?

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And a compromise is all we are going to get unless and until we take back Congress.  

A commonly cited (and ever so slightly snarky) definition of a compromise is when both sides are dissatisfied.  Consider the following two blog comments, which were posted earlier this evening--one from here on DKos and the other from NRO, with only the party labels removed (along with one derogatory adjective that would be a giveaway):

A bunch of _____ _____ backslapping and praising each other after being taken to the cleaners by the ____.  Anyone who votes for this abomination should be primaried.
Once again, the _____ have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.  _____ fell for it (again) and folded like cheap suits (again) and now will try to sell us another bag of shit (again) of the same miserable 'this is the best we could do' (again) bullshit.  I have had enough.

Can you tell which comment is from which site?  (No fair if you saw the DKos comment.)

Poll

How do you explain the similar reactions from left and right?

26%5 votes
47%9 votes
21%4 votes
5%1 votes

| 19 votes | Vote | Results

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The following is from the livid email I just dashed off to Hy-Vee HQ:

I was shocked and outraged to find a piece of blatant political propaganda featured prominently in the checkout aisle, next to the tabloids and cooking magazines.  It was called "Take Back America--the Tea Party Leads the Way" and featured on its cover a bunch of well-known conservatives, along with a close-up of an eagle.

(more after the jump)

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