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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Black and White? One Font? Four More Question Marks????

Posted by Alex Falcone on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 10:14 AM

The upcoming off-year election is still two months out, but I have an early favorite for best political billboard.

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This series of incredulous monochromic advertisements are paid for by Seneca, the logging company outside Eugene famous for its controversial garbage fire. They're angry about something, but it's hard to know exactly what since they're not using good communication skills. Obviously they're angry that Trimet didn't name their new bridge the Forest Dragons, and they were frustrated trying to buy iPhone 6s because the website was slow, but what did Bhutan do wrong? Perhaps this isn't about any state elections but is a holdover from the 2013 Assembly elections in Bhutan when the People's Democratic Party won 32 seats. Or maybe they hate hiking and don't know how to express themselves in English.

And what did Four More Years, the 2012 album by Teen Dazedo to them? And if they didn't mean that, why did they capitalize More and Years?

But the most fun part is the huge pile of question marks that makes it seem like the writer is a frustrated child losing at a game of hide-and-seek against local hot-button issues.

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I'm trying to pull together the money now for my own set of billboards about political issues I don't understand.

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Whoever or whatever the tree burners are trying to stop (or start), I just want to thank them for making my commute more fun. Keep up? The good? Work???

Friday, August 29, 2014

Hillary Clinton Issues Statement on Ferguson

Posted by Paul Constant on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 9:44 AM

"Imagine what we would feel and what we would do if white drivers were three times as likely to be searched by police during a traffic stop as black drivers, instead of the other way around," Hillary Clinton said at a (presumably very white) tech conference in San Francisco yesterday. Clinton, who has been under fire for ducking the issue of Ferguson, made a statement against the militarization of police and the institutional racism of America's criminal justice system. She also strongly supported President Obama's decision to send Attorney General Eric Holder to Ferguson. The phrasing of race in the speech was unfortunate—she kept referring to "us" and "we" when talking about white people, which sucks—but the words were said with passion. I can't speak for how the citizens of Ferguson will receive this speech, obviously, but as a political move, this feels like a fairly strong albeit typically cautious, statement from Clinton.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Republicans Know They Have a Woman Problem, but They Can't Stop Saying Sexist Things

Posted by Paul Constant on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 3:29 PM

A Republican-sponsored poll has confirmed what everyone knows: The Republican Party has a serious woman problem.

A detailed report commissioned by two major Republican groups — including one backed by Karl Rove — paints a dismal picture for Republicans, concluding female voters view the party as “intolerant,” “lacking in compassion” and “stuck in the past.”

Women are “barely receptive” to Republicans’ policies, and the party does “especially poorly” with women in the Northeast and Midwest, according to an internal Crossroads GPS and American Action Network report obtained by POLITICO.

Just before Politico broke this story, a July interview with Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett surfaced in which Corbett said he wanted to amend his state's liquor laws in order to make it easier for women to cook dinner:

And you know who's leading the Republican presidential polls in Iowa and New Hampshire these days? Good ol' Mitt "Binders Full of Women" Romney. After giving an interview in which he stated that he was not actively running for president but that "circumstances can change," Romney now leads in Iowa at 35 percent, leaving every other potential presidential candidate with less than 10 percent of the remaining vote. This sure doesn't sound like a party that's trying to shake off its past to me.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hillary Clinton Ignores Questions About Ferguson

Posted by Paul Constant on Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 1:44 PM

CNN says Hillary Clinton was asked to comment on Ferguson after a book signing on Sunday.

After signing more than 700 books at Books & Books in Westhampton Beach, Clinton was asked by two reporters for her reaction to the controversy.

Clinton ignored both questions and left the bookstore.

Clinton has yet to make any sort of a statement on Ferguson. CNN has posted a Vine of Clinton ignoring a Ferguson question, because apparently Vines are something that CNN is doing now.

But Clinton's not officially running for president yet. Why, you might ask, should she have to make a statement on Ferguson? Because Ferguson matters. Because Hillary Clinton has more influence over the media than just about anybody in America right now. All eyes are on her, and everything she says—hell, everything she doesn't say—gets repeated in news stories for weeks afterward. What's more, the fact that Clinton isn't currently holding office means that she can say things that, for instance, President Obama can't say about an ongoing investigation. A statement of support from Clinton would mean a lot to people in Ferguson, but Clinton, apparently, can't be bothered.

Some people agree with Clinton's decision. Here's one person who wants Clinton to remain silent:

As a general rule, we really do not need to hear from absolutely everybody in the political class each and every time that something dramatic happens. If Hillary Clinton wishes to pronounce upon the topic, I’m sure she will. If she doesn’t, then she doesn’t have to. Either way, there’s no particular reason we need to hear her take. She’s not an elected official. She has no authority over Ferguson, Missouri. She has no more information than anybody else. She is, for now at least, a citizen of the United States. Nothing more, nothing less.

Who's urging Clinton to be silent in the above quote? That's Charles C. W. Cooke, of the conservative National Review. As a rule, I find that if National Review agrees with you on something, you should immediately investigate your decisions, because you're probably being an asshole.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Twenty Palestinians Killed for Every One Israeli

Posted by Dominic Holden on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Some recent media coverage has treated the latest flare-up between Israelis and Palestinians as a tit-for-tat battle: a kidnapping for a kidnapping, an air strike for a rocket. This piece cites the conflict and rockets fired by Palestinians as the reason for shutting down a local airport. But as more and more news agencies report, this is a lopsided bloodbath. I'm hardly going to unpack this entire conflict in a blog post—and I don't suggest for a second that these numbers are the end-all narrative about a very complicated issue. But it's worth noting, as NPR reported yesterday, that 649 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza during the recent conflict, while only 31 Israelis, 29 of whom were soldiers, have been killed. This Vox chart, despite being a couple days old, is telling:

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More after the jump...

Continue reading »

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hard Evidence that the US's Economy is Kept Alive by Immigrants

Posted by Charles Mudede on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 9:46 AM

NYT yesterday:

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas on Monday ordered 1,000 National Guard troops to the border with Mexico, seizing on a get-tough immigration message that foreshadows the approach to the current crisis by his party in Congress and that could position him in another bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Mr. Perry announced the move at the Texas Capitol, but many of the intended recipients were far away from here: members of Congress in Washington, including those who are fighting with President Obama; potential migrants in Central America who are contemplating a dangerous journey to the United States; and presidential caucus voters in Iowa, where Mr. Perry visited again over the weekend.

But let's get real and return to a story, "For Medicare, Immigrants Offer Surplus, Study Finds," that appeared in the NYT a year ago:

The study, led by researchers at Harvard Medical School, measured immigrants’ contributions to the part of Medicare that pays for hospital care, a trust fund that accounts for nearly half of the federal program’s revenue. It found that immigrants generated surpluses totaling $115 billion from 2002 to 2009. In comparison, the American-born population incurred a deficit of $28 billion over the same period.

The reason for this is simply immigrants are younger and so do not take more out of the health system than they put in to it. The median age of Hispanics, the largest immigrant group in the US, is 27. The median age for standard white Americans is 42. In short: Deporting those kids in Texas is actually an act of national madness. And those who are holding long-term Treasury bonds need to assess the real future value of those assets against the current rate of deportations. Each young person who is deported equals a person who is not around in the future to pay the ballooning medical expenses of an aging and retiring white population that spent a hella time doing nothing but sitting in cars.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Rick Perry Is About to Send the Texas National Guard to the US Border

Posted by Paul Constant on Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Right about now, Rick Perry is hosting a press conference. What's he going to announce? Is he launching his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential campaign? Well, kind of. The Washington Post reports:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) reportedly plans to dispatch the Texas National Guard to the U.S. border with Mexico, according to news reports.

Perry will announce his plans Monday to mobilize some 1,000 guardsmen to the Rio Grande Valley to increase security at the border, according to the Monitor, a south Texas newspaper. The newspaper quoted a state senator and an internal memo it obtained from a state official’s office.

Here's a link to the Monitor's coverage of the memo. Politico quotes Democratic Texas Representative Joaquin Castro on this matter:

Texas Rep. Joaquín Castro on Monday said Gov. Rick Perry’s is “militarizing our border” with his reported decision to deploy state National Guard troops there.

“We should be sending the Red Cross to the border not the National Guard to deal with this humanitarian crisis,” the Democratic congressman said in an email. “The children fleeing violence in Central America are seeking out border patrol agents. They are not trying to evade them. Why send soldiers to confront these kids?

This news causes so many questions to volley around in my head: Does Rick Perry know it's not legal for a governor to declare war? And what will the National Guard do if they catch a bunch of children trying to sneak over the border? Just send them back where they came from? Take them into custody? Can this really be considered anything other than a political move? And do small-government Texans really want to pay the estimated $5 million a week this military escalation will cost them?

RIP James Garner: Actor/Political Activist/Object of SWOON!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Besides being a low-key, jovial and talented actor, James Garner (who died this weekend, if you haven't heard) was also a life-long staunch Democrat who walked the walk, and talked the talk. Here he is at the 1963 March on Washington...

James-Garner-Civil-Rights-March-665x385.jpg
  • via Inquisitr

SWOON!!! A bit more on that from the Inquisitr:

On August 28, 1963, Garner was photographed by the New York Daily News walking hand-in-hand with black actress Diahann Carroll during the March on Washington — a peaceful demonstration that was a watershed moment in the Civil Rights Movement. At the time, the very act of a white man holding hands with a black woman would have been outrageous. But that did not matter to James Garner; throughout his career, he stuck to his strongly democratic principles, even incorporating his beliefs into his acting career.

However, he apparently knew his personal boundaries when it came to politics:

He was again approached about running for office, this time for Governor of California in 1990, and again turned the opportunity down.

“There’s one difference between me and [Schwarzenegger and Reagan]: I know I’m not qualified.”

Ha! And SWOOON!! And I would be remiss if I didn't post the awesome theme from his most awesome TV series, The Rockford Files... because... JAMES GARNER! SWOOOOON!!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Anti-Immigration Candidate for AZ Governor Says He "Stood Up to the Gay Lobby"

Posted by Paul Constant on Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 9:44 AM

I like to imagine the Gay Lobby as being represented by an attractive man in a seersucker suit. He arrives in Andrew Thomas's office holding two large cloth bags with "$$$" printed on the front. He sets the bags down on Thomas's desk, sits in the chair facing Thomas, and smirks, "Looks like Arizona is about to get a whole lot...gayer."

Andrew Thomas stands up and shoves the bags of money off his desk. "NEVER," Thomas shouts. "You can tell your damn lobby I don't want any part of their game! They can all go to hell! Especially the Mexican ones!" Shocked, the Gay Lobby representative stands up and collects his bags of money. "You tell your people that I'm not for sale! Andrew Thomas doesn't need any of your goddamned money!"

SMASH CUT TO: Two months later, Thomas is standing on the crappy patio where filming for his gubernatorial election ad is taking place. The commercial is being filmed with a Nokia phone from the early 2000s, and the extras were carted in from a local nursing home. "Goddamnit," Thomas mutters to himself, looking around at his penny-ante operation. "I really should've taken that fucking money."

(Via Gawker.)

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Israel Invades Gaza

Posted by Ansel Herz on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 2:29 PM


Disgracefully, award-winning correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin will not be on the ground to cover it. When Israel invaded Gaza in 2008, Al Jazeera's Mohedin and Sherine Tadros were the only English-language correspondents on the ground.
Mohedin later moved to NBC News. Yesterday, he was playing soccer with some kids on a beach near his hotel in Gaza, when out of nowhere, the Israeli military shelled the area, killing four of them.

NBC executive David Verdi, according to The Intercept, ordered "Mohyeldin to leave Gaza immediately" for "security reasons"—a laughable notion given his experience reporting from warzones for years—angering a number of NBC journalists inside the newsroom. Moheyldin has been replaced by reporter Richard Engel, who is based in Tel Aviv. You can see Mohyeldin briefly in Engel's heart-wrenching report from last night:

Meanwhile, the New York Times apparently changed its headline about the deaths of the children from something that conveys the news, "Four Young Boys Killed Playing on Gaza Beach," to the vague and unclear "Boys Drawn to Gaza Beach, and Into Center of Mideast Strife."

Here's the paper of record's latest update on the invasion of Gaza.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Clinton and Warren Supporters Declare Their Readiness

Posted by Paul Constant on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 2:29 PM

1. Hillary Clinton appeared on the Daily Show last night, and Jon Stewart repeatedly heckled her about running for president in 2016. The closest they came to a confirmation was when Stewart, under the guise of an employment test, asked Clinton what shape she would like her future office to be. Clinton replied, "I think that the world is so complicated, the fewer corners that you can have, the better." The audience ate it up:

2. Meanwhile, the Ready for [Elizabeth] Warren website went live yesterday, and it makes no secret about Warren's appeal:

It’s time that the American people had a lobbyist of our own, and that lobbyist is Elizabeth Warren. By standing up to Wall Street to defend Main Street, Warren has proven herself to be the spine that the Democratic Party forgot it had.

3. The above two stories aren't really connected, but they kind of are.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

President Obama Jokes with Gay Cashier, Conservatives Lose Their Minds

Posted by Paul Constant on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 9:44 AM


The Austin Chronicle's Nina Hernandez reports on President Obama's interaction with Austin comedian/cashier Daniel Rugg Webb:

As the president approached, Webb threw his hand down and slapped the counter dramatically.
"Equal rights for gay people!"

"Are you gay?" the president asked.

"Only when I have sex."

"That's when he laughed and said, 'Bump me,'" Webb says.

They then fist-bumped, and the internet went crazy. And National Review commenters, as they're known to do, interpreted the event as nothing less than the end of civilization:

You know, I think this may actually be the end. I'm genuinely not sure the office of president can be cheapened any more than this.

The president is back to using. It's the most likely explanation for the tone of voice, the inappropriate conduct, the sheer stupidity.

They say it takes one to know one.

Perhaps in this case it is true. I strongly suspect as much.

This man holds the same office once held by George Washington…. Why am I crying?

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Republican Party Has No Idea What to Do About Gay Marriage Anymore

Posted by Paul Constant on Mon, Jul 14, 2014 at 1:29 PM

First, there's this:

Marriage equality arrived in New Jersey last October when Gov. Chris Christie (R) decided not to appeal a decision overturning the state’s ban. Speaking at the National Governors Association over the weekend, however, the possible 2016 presidential contender said that he believes the Republican Party should continue to fight against same-sex marriage.

But then:

Inside the offices of Republican gay-rights groups, a strategy is forming to convince party leaders to strip opposition to gay marriage from the GOP platform.

However:

For Govs. Chris Christie, R-N.J., and Scott Walker, R-Wis., two chief executives of blue-hued states who have largely declined to engage in the culture wars, they would rather not reiterate their opposition [to gay marriage] as the courts deal with the cases. But for others, like Govs. Rick Perry, R-Texas, Bobby Jindal, R-La., and Mike Pence, R-Ind. – who are each looking to build a more conservative national constituency – the fight has only begun.

And yet:

Many of the largest Christian publishers are coming out with books supporting same-sex relationships. More are on the way. These books have spurred praise from pro-gay Christians and strong resistance from the movement's right flank. All of this indicates that Christian publishing may be the next battleground in America's explosive debates about gay marriage.

In conclusion, no conservative in America knows what the fuck to do, now that the battle over gay marriage is ending and they've obviously lost.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

What About the Other "Top Two" Primary Initiative?

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Thu, Jul 10, 2014 at 12:59 PM

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  • illustration by Mark Markovich

Initiative Petition 55, the business-funded ballot measure looking to bring so-called "top-two" primary elections to Oregon, is pretty firmly on track for the fall ballot—thanks to nearly half a million dollars in spending and some 140,000 submitted petition signatures.

The idea goes something like this: Primary ballots in Oregon would become free-for-alls, featuring candidates from every party all at the same time. And the two top vote-getters, regardless of party, would advance to a fall runoff. In a perfect world (and our world decidedly is not), turnout would increase and gridlock would ease.

But if reformers had their way several months ago, IP 55 (written up in this week's paper) would have remained the understudy to a measure even more ambitious: Initiative Petition 54, a measure that not only would have championed a top-two primary system, but also would have let Oregonians cast votes for as many candidates as they liked.

That extra wrinkle is known as "approval voting." It was seen as an antidote to some of the potential side effects of a top-two system: vote-splitting and political chicanery. But much to the chagrin of its most vociferous backer, the people who would have been called on to fund IP 54 couldn't get past the notion that it was a step too far for most voters.

"I went to the folks who funded open primaries before," says Frohnmayer, the businessman son of a former Oregon attorney general. "They were supportive."

Some of them still are, at least privately. But the sales pitch just got to be a bit too hard.

"There was some calculus that went on," says Frohnmayer.

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Why Are Conservatives Fighting Contraception?

Posted by Dan Savage on Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Well, what do you know? If a state makes contraception available to more women—particularly young and poor women—that state's teen birth rate, abortion rate, and welfare caseload all plummet:

A program that provides contraceptives to low-income women contributed to a 40-percent drop in Colorado's teen birth rate over five years, according to state officials. The program, known as the Colorado Family Planning Initiative, provides intrauterine devices (IUDs) or implants at little to no cost for low-income women at 68 family planning clinics in Colorado. The teen abortion rate dropped by 35 percent from 2009 to 2012 in counties served by the program, according to the state's estimates. Young women served by the family planning clinics also accounted for about three-fourths of the overall decline in Colorado's teen birth rate during the same time period. And the infant caseload for Colorado WIC, a nutrition program for low-income women and their babies, fell by 23 percent from 2008 to 2013.

Conservatives insist that women who can't afford birth control should simply go without sex. But faced with a choice between immediate deprivation (going without sex) and abstract risk (chancing a pregnancy), most women (and men) will take their chances. And when women who take their chances get pregnant, conservatives rush in to condemn them for being "irresponsible." But give poor and working women access to effective birth control—free IUDs and implants—and they will use it. So the lesson in Colorado is that most women want to be "responsible," it's just that too many can't afford to be. The cost of an IUD, as Ruth Bader Ginsberg pointed out in her blistering Hobby Lobby dissent, "is nearly equivalent to a month's full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage."

The lesson in Colorado for conservatives ought to be this: You can be against abortion or you can be against contraception but you can't be against abortion and against contraception. Making contraception harder for women to get—looking at you, Hobby Lobbyists—means more unplanned pregnancies and more unplanned pregnancies mean more abortions.

So why are conservatives fighting so hard to make contraception harder for women to obtain? Because they don't think people—young people, poor people, unmarried people, gay people—should be able to enjoy "consequence-free sex." Because it's sex that they hate—it's sex for pleasure that they hate—and they hate that kind of sex more than they hate abortion, teen moms, and welfare spending combined. Knowing that some people are having sex for pleasure without having their futures disrupted by an unplanned pregnancy or having their health compromised by a sexually transmitted infection or having to run a traumatizing gauntlet of shrieking "sidewalk counselors" to get to an abortion clinic keeps them up at night.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

I Wish Every Voter in America Would Read This One Paragraph Before the Midterm Elections

Posted by Paul Constant on Thu, Jul 3, 2014 at 9:44 AM

And it's even a short paragraph, from Dana Milbank's Washington Post column:

Congress has passed just 56 public laws this year, for a total of 121 since the beginning of 2013. This virtually guarantees the current Congress will be the least productive in history, well behind the “do nothing” Congress of 1948, which passed more than 900 bills. And many of the 121 bills are not exactly weighty (H.R. 1071: “To specify the size of the precious-metal blanks that will be used in the production of the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins.”)

The goal of Teabaggy Republicans is to strip the government down to its most basic parts (except for the military, and the parts of government that enforce and protect evangelical Christianity). If they can't accomplish those goals with a Democratic Senate and a Democrat in the White House, they'll do nothing, instead, and let the nation argue itself to death until they can seize all three branches of government and really get to work. As far as plans go, it's a solid one. It's working. And the midterm elections are only going to reward their behavior.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Top Model: Julian Assange

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 10:59 AM

You have to be a little bit jealous of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's mounting resume, to which he has already recently added opening up for MIA and giving informal life coaching, and now: modeling. Word broke today that Ben Westwood (son of Vivienne) is carrying on the family tradition for provocation (not to mention courting controversy to draw attention to his collection) by announcing that he's cast Assange to model in the London Fashion Week presentation, given that the clothing is "influenced by costumes worn by Clint Eastwood’s western films and also Assange’s combat-beret look." There's also at least one garment Westwood says features "a Julian Assange print." We'll have to wait until September to see what exactly a Julian Assange print is, but... it sounds kind of awesome?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Republicans Discover the High Price of Tea

Posted by Paul Constant on Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Is it fair to say that there's a civil war between Republicans and Teabaggers going on right now? Because this article makes it sound like a civil war:

Establishment-aligned [Republican] groups have already spent some $23 million on independent expenditures propping up favored House and Senate candidates in contentious primaries [against tea party opponents], according to a POLITICO review of Federal Election Commission records. By comparison, Republican nominees raised and spent that amount in the 2012 North Dakota, Indiana and Nevada Senate races combined — three of the most competitive campaigns fought that year.

They're paying over twenty million dollars in a desperate attempt to kill the monster they created. Politics at its best!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Expect a Santorum Re-Run in 2016

Posted by Paul Constant on Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Rick Santorum is telling anyone who'll listen that he's running for president in two years, and that he's running because conservative politicians aren't conservative enough on social issues. Right Wing Watch brings your daily dose of Santorum:

That’s the problem, is that we have a bunch of people who run the Republican Party from the financial point of view who don’t believe in the party platform and have been trying to cow us into walking away from it.

But the most important question facing Santorum is not "is he conservative enough?" It's "is he pretty enough?" Quin Hillyer at National Review's The Corner blog wrote an entire post gushing over how attractive Republican candidates are this year. I'm not sure what a plastic surgeon could do for Santorum's enormous, shiny forehead, but he might want to look into getting a consultation if the Republican Party is trending toward pretty.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Under Bush: 8 Million Lost Health Insurance; Under Obama: 15 Million Have Already Gained Health Insurance

Posted by Charles Mudede on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 3:14 PM

Eclectablog:

Of George W. Bush’s myriad of failures that continue to wreck havoc at home and abroad, 7.9 million Americans losing their health insurance rarely gets mentioned.

“When [former president Bill] Clinton left office, the number of uninsured Americans stood at 38.4 million,” Ron Brownstein wrote in 2009. “By the time [former president George W.] Bush left office that number had grown to just over 46.3 million, an increase of nearly 8 million or 20.6 percent.”

And as Bush left office, the percentage of those without insurance continued to grow as millions continued to lose their jobs in the recession President Obama inherited. But in 2011 the percentage of uninsured began to shrink slightly as the Affordable Care Act went into effect. That shrinkage leveled out over the next two years but 2014 will likely offer the biggest reduction in the uninsured population at least in decades.

The Incidental Economist‘s Aaron Carroll — who hosts a great YouTube series called Healthcare Triage — looked at a new survey from Gallup and found that it suggests “more than 15 million Americans are newly insured this year. Almost 9 million of them received private insurance through the exchanges.”

And there is more bad news for the GOP. Forbes is reporting that nearly 60 percent of those who signed up for an insurance policy under Obamacare had no coverage previously. This figure, which is based on reliable data, pretty much puts an end to the argument that nearly all who are enrolling already had a policy.

Kaiser Family Foundation is out with a report today that harshly puts the lie to one of the anti-Obamacare troops loudest and most effective rallying cries—“Obamacare is only signing up people who already had insurance!”

And all of this from a president who is not even anything like a socialist.

Fun with Hollywood and Politics :D

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Hey, lets talk for a minute. You arent recording this, right?
  • "Hey, let's talk for a minute. You... uh... you aren't recording this, right?"

"So this interview has gone very badly," Gary Oldman said while talking to Playboy, in an interview that has yet to go online but has everybody clutching their pearls in terror as one of their favorite actors defends Mel Gibson, calls Nancy Pelosi a "fucking useless cunt," and does that thing old people do where they whine about political correctness. Above is a picture of Gary Oldman talking to RoboCop, presumably about how Alec Baldwin isn't such a bad guy after all.

Celebrities saying stupid shit is hardly new—it's part of what makes them celebrities!—but in Oldman's case, it's kind of a bummer, just because... well, I'm not sure why, actually. When I respect somebody's work (and Oldman's work is pretty impossible not to respect), I tend to assume I'd respect them as a person as well—even though we've all been repeatedly shown how absurd that assumption is. Still, hearing Oldman go off like this seems more unexpected than it should, either due to the image we've collectively made up for him, or because Hollywood's conservatives rarely speak out, at least compared to their bleeding-heart brethren. This should make watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes interesting, though, so long as you assume Caesar & Co. are launching a war against mankind because they didn't care for Oldman's Playboy interview.

IN RELATED NEWS, yesterday's Marketplace featured an interview with Citizen Hollywood author Timothy Stanley about the intersection of "how Hollywood has always played a big role in politics"—particularly in terms of campaign financing and image-crafting. It's well worth a listen if you care for either movies or politics, even if it's not quite as lurid as listening to Commissioner Gordon vent his furious rage against the house minority leader and talk about how Hollywood is run by Jews.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Return of the Brewhaha! The Battle for Open Primaries in Oregon!

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 2:44 PM

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After a very long time (so long I don't actually remember how long) the fine folks at the Bus Project and Mercury are teaming up and bringing back our old series of semi-monthly politics and policy salons better known as ye olde Brewhaha.

It's always been simple. You show up at an adult place. You drink adult drinks. You chat with fellow civically minded citizens while learning something about your government. And when you show up next Tuesday at the NW Lucky Lab (1945 NW Quimby) you'll find that precious little in that proven formula will have changed.

We'll be taking on something you'll likely be hearing A LOT more about by the fall: a ballot campaign to bring so-called "open primaries" to Oregon, AKA an end to Democrats only voting for Democrats, Republicans only voting for Republicans, Greens for Greens, and so on and so on.

Advocates have sold the idea in Washington and California as a means of moderating the political extremes we tend to blame for gridlock—even as third-party candidates raise fears, not illegitimately, about marginalization and mainstream party diehards wring their hands over the potential loss of their traditional power.

So which is it? And what else can we do to increase political participation and get more young voters actually voting? We'll leave that to our panelists to help hash out (with help from lovely ol' me, your moderator for the evening). And they are:

Vic GIlliam, state representative

• Ben Cannon, executive director of the Higher Education Coordination Commission and a former state representative

• Jeremy Rogers, Every Oregon Vote Counts

Doors open at 5, so show up early and mingle and meet people who presumably care as much about politics and good governance as you do. And then pull up a chair, or stand in the back as unobtrusively as you can, before the main event starts at 6. Click here for details!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Glenn Beck Reflects on Invading Iraq

Posted by Ansel Herz on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 10:29 AM

"Liberals, you were right. We shouldn’t have."

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Republicans Say Capture of Benghazi Suspect Is a Clever Ruse to Distract from the Republican Investigation of Benghazi

Posted by Paul Constant on Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 2:29 PM

This morning saw some actual Benghazi news, as opposed to the typical Republican outrage over Benghazi:

U.S. Special Operations forces captured one of the suspected ringleaders of the terrorist attacks in Benghazi in a secret raid in Libya over the weekend, the first time one of the accused perpetrators of the 2012 assaults has been apprehended, according to U.S. officials.

But as Asawin Suebsaeng at Mother Jones notes, Republicans are responding to this Benghazi news with, well, typical Republican outrage. Here's ousted Teabagger Joe Walsh:


And here's ousted Teabagger Allen West, with a choice reply:


Yes, because nothing will obfuscate the truth about Benghazi like the capture and interrogation of a suspected Benghazi ringleader. Commenters at the National Review agree:

They have known for over a year where this guy was. This "capture" is about only one thing: the upcoming Benghazi hearings. Eager to see how this plays out.

And so do commenters at Breitbart:

what convenient timing! just in time for an embattled Hillary and Obama. nothing is a coincidence with this administration!

I'll close on this one, which is so perfect is has to be parody:

This is an obvious attempt by the usurper Obama to distract attention from Benghazi

Monday, June 16, 2014

Wealthy Republicans Want Mitt Romney to Run for President in 2016

Posted by Paul Constant on Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 2:14 PM

So this happened over the weekend:

PARK CITY, Utah — Mitt Romney’s ideas summit here was intended to be a passing of the torch to the Republican Party’s would-be saviors, with five potential 2016 presidential candidates jetting in to schmooze with many of the GOP’s biggest donors and present their agendas for the country’s future.

Instead, the scene at a luxury resort in the Rocky Mountains quickly became a Romney revival. Minutes after the 2012 Republican presidential nominee welcomed his 300 guests, Joe Scarborough, the MSNBC host and former GOP congressman, urged them to begin a “Draft Romney” movement in 2016.

Romney swears he's not running, but he also has some ideas about how to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. Why Republicans would want to take advice on winning 2016 from the losing 2012 presidential candidate remains to be seen. But with polling results like this...


...maybe Romney 2016 isn't such a bad idea for Republicans after all.

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