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Wed Nov 12, 2014 at 11:11 AM PST

The House's dirty little secret

by dark11star

There is a dirty little secret about John Boehner's House that the American people don't understand...yet.  For all of the show votes repealing Obamacare, setting up Benghazi panels, and proposing tea party pipe dream legislation that will never become law, only a few important, relevant votes have been taken in John Boehner's House.  But every once in a while the House had to act in order avert catastrophe.  These instances include the debt ceiling votes, continuing resolutions, the farm bill, the transportation bill, ect.  These are routine, mundane votes that most Americans don't care about, but they are the fundamental reason we have a congress.  

The dirty little secret is that in order to pass these critical bills, John Boehner had to rely on the help of one person ... Nancy Pelosi.  Look at the congressional record and you will find that all of the votes for legislation that actually had a snowballs chance in hell of becoming law, the vast majority of the aye votes came from Democrats. Follow below the fold for why this is important and how the calculus has changed...

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We all know how wrong the right is on, well, just about everything.  And many of us have witnessed the cognitive dissonance of a conservative crashing into the reality their ideology has created.  But there are times, when a loved one or friend is involved, that a ray of sunlight can momentarily break through and shine a light on the effects of misguided ideology.  

A friend of mine has recently experienced one of life's most horrible pains, a 2nd trimester miscarriage.  I know personally how painful it is, as my wife has suffered through 3 miscarriages, at 10, 16, and 28 weeks.  Despite the pain, we were lucky to have access to an excellent health care system which included many of the kindest, most understanding nurses and doctors we could have hoped for.

Our friend, on the other hand, lives in Georgia.  Follow me bellow the orange squiggly acid flashback for a glimpse into her personal hell, courtesy of right wing conservatives ...

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As the NJ bridge scandal develops, it is tempting to get sucked into the political ramifications for Christie 2016 (tm).  Sure he's an ass.  Sure he's a bully.  But what we have to drive home over and over is this:  This is yet another example of how little the Republican party actually cares about governing.  This is why it will be damaging to Christie in the long term.  Christie is seen by many as a roll your sleeves up and get stuff done gov.  Bridgegate shatters that image.  We have to make sure that everyone knows that Christie is nothing but another Republican who could give a shit about his constituents.

Sure, Democrats have some unsavory characters, but I can't think of any who would even consider purposely harming his/her constituents to exact political revenge or make an ideological point.  Yet time and time again, Republicans do just that.  Republicans refuse to expand Medicaid, denying health insurance to 5 million people to prove a political point (although I'm not sure I remember what that point is).  Republicans believe that to solve a fake long term debt problem we need to make shot term cuts to the social safety net.  Unconscionable until you realize that THEY JUST DONT CARE.

Republicans DONT CARE.  They don't believe in government and when put into power they prove it.  They appoint Arabian horse experts to run FEMA.  They appoint people with no experience in transportation to the Port Authority.  The Chair of the House Energy committee thinks wind turbines worsen global warming for Christ's sake!!  

More below the fold ...

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Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 12:50 PM PST

I Need Your Help

by dark11star

On this morning's "roundtable" discussion on WAMC radio (NPR affiliate in upstate NY, VT and Western Mass), one of the panelists argued that President Obama has never tried to reach out to Republicans and if he had they would have been more likely to work with him (not against him).  She seemed peeved, as most conservatives do, that Obama didn't invite Rethugs to dinner more often or schedule more playdates for the kids or something.  When one of the other panelists attempted to challenge her view, she exclaimed "Where is the evidence ?!?!."  Getting no answer in return she continued to trot out the "both sides are to blame" BS until the segment mercifully ended.

I obtained her email address and promised I would send her the evidence she seeks as well as evidence of Republican plans to obstruct Obama at all costs beginning with the Inauguration day meeting in 2009.

As I have a dissertation to write, I thought I would crowdsource this one and see if anyone can help with some links to evidence of Obama's attempts at bipartisanship.  I can remember a meeting with the entire Republican House conference in 2010, as well as passing their entire god-damned Healthcare bill, extending the Bush tax-cuts, ect.  There's also the Gingrich admission about the 2009 meeting and McConnell's famous "one term president" line.

Lets try to keep this civil. I don't want any links about how they are obstructing him because he is the black antichrist.

Thanks everyone!!


Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 09:06 AM PDT

Catch-22 (the stock market paradox)

by dark11star

An interesting aspect of the congressional talks is developing, and I believe it is the reason we are heading toward default.  Its a catch-22, and it goes like this:

1.  The only thing that will push our "friends" on the right to cave is the reaction of the markets.  As the markets plunge today and especially tomorrow (when the bond market opens) Republicans will be desperate to deal.

2.  When a deal seems eminent, the markets recover, reducing the incentive for republicans to vote for said deal.  Witness the 400 pt rise in the Dow on Thurs-Fri last week as talks began between Obama and Boehner.

3.  See # 1

So the incentive for them to deal only exists when they is no hope for a deal.  The incentive evaporates as negotiations progress.  The market opened down 100 pts today, and has recovered somewhat after Manchin announced they are 85% done.  My prediction is that the market will fall later today when they announce no deal has been made near the end of the trading session.  This will freak out Senate R's, who will quickly cave.  Word of the deal will send stocks higher in the morning, allowing House R's to claim that the market agrees with them that this is no big deal, and they will vote it down.  This pattern will continue until well past Thursday (when the market will crater, leaving no doubt what must be done, even for the house majority).

Follow me over the squiggle for a few more thoughts

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I Know, I know, too early in the morning for a math lesson. But this one is important. Vuzvilla and others have posted diaries about the brilliant republican plan to drug-test welfare recipients (but not members of congress).  "Experiments" with this fail-proof idea have yielded several conclusions.  

#1 Welfare recipients generally are too poor to afford drugs!
#2 State Governments are so flush with cash that they can afford to spend upwards of $1000 per positive test
#3 That 4th amendment thingy is so 2011!!

In addition to being idiotic, ineffective,  expensive, unconstitutional, and stupid, it is also guaranteed to deny benefits to people who are NOT USING DRUGS!!!!!  Plus, It gives us a wonderful opportunity to talk about Bayesian Math (for those of us living in a reality-based world this is a good thing).  

Follow me through the rabbit hole ...

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Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 05:11 AM PDT

ObamaCare is a Republican Disaster

by dark11star

I was hoping you could help out by giving comments on my father's letter to the editor (Lancaster , PA).  Feel free to use it yourself if you like it:

Dear Editor,

Rep. Pitts has made broad assertions that the Affordable Care Act ( ACA, aka ObamaCare) will be a disaster.  However, as ObamaCare is being implemented, it is clear these predictions are grossly exaggerated.  Health care premiums are going down, jobs are being created, and our health care system is getting stronger, more efficient, and covering more Americans.

I have already received two rebate checks from my private health insurance company because the ACA requires insurance companies to spend at least 80% of premiums on health care.  In October I will be able to get a lower cost insurance policy from the ACA exchanges because of preexisting conditions that have kept me locked into my old insurance company for many years.

My son’s experience in New York is even more impressive.  He was paying $4800 a year in health care premiums for himself, his wife, and child.  His new policy costs just $2500.  Even more important, the end of caps on prescription drugs (required by the ACA for all new policies) saves him $6,300 per year in out-of-pocket expenses.  He saves another $1500 in other out-of-pocket expenses because of ACA regulations.  My son and his family now get excellent coverage and excellent care at a much reduced cost because of ObamaCare.

Rep. Pitts and every other house Republican has voted 40 times to take these new benefits away from us.  Worse, the Republicans have not put up even one bill to replace ObamaCare.  

There is a reason for this lack of any positive alternative.  Almost every health care reform the Republicans endorse is already in the ACA.  The ACA includes changes in tax policies that end discrimination against those who buy private health care on their own rather than through their employer.  The ACA gives people increased choice in health care policies.  State by state health insurance marketplaces are already resulting in reduced premiums.  Most of the elements of ObamaCare were once proposed by Republicans.

As more elements of the ACA are rolled out, more Americans will have positive experiences with the new health care system and more will embrace ObamaCare as they have embraced Medicare.  That may be the disaster Rep. Pitts and the Republicans really fear.

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Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 04:47 AM PDT

Health Insurance is Socialism

by dark11star

This is the dirty little secret that we are not supposed to talk about.  Health Insurance is nothing but a wasteful, inefficient form of socialism.  Republicans are trying to convince young healthy people that insurance is a bad deal, that in the aggregate, they will pay more in premiums than they will receive in benefits.  And they are right!!  In order for the insurance industry to turn a profit, they must rake in more in premiums than they pay out in claims.  These repubs don't seem to understand how insurance works, or at least they are playing dumb.  An insurance plan is a social contract.  The members of the society (those paying premiums) have agreed to pay to protect everyone in the society from future misfortune.  Without a government-run "socialist" health system, we rely on private insurers to administer our socialized medicine, adding cost in the form of profit and administrative costs.

In order for this profit to be anything but a horrendous waste of money, insurance companies must provide a cost saving benefit greater than the profit it extracts.  Prior to the ACA, the practice of denying coverage and deciding which procedures were medically necessary did technically reduce costs (A long as you don't count death, suffering, and personal bankruptcies as costs).  Even still, these cost saving methods were horribly inefficient, driving millions of people away from insurance and into the emergency room for the most expensive type of care.  

When I was a "young healthy", I waited until I had a 103 degree fever and literally dragged my ass 1 mile to the nearest hospital.  Extremely dehydrated and suffering from a severe case of strep throat, I was admitted, hooked up to IVs, and spent 3 days in the most expensive "hotel" in Pittsburgh (Shadyside Hospital).  The bill was $18,500 (And this was 1997.  I shudder to think what the damage would be today).  The taxpayers of Pittsburgh and insurance policy holders split the bill. Socialism.

Follow me through the rabbit hole ...

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Wed May 15, 2013 at 08:49 PM PDT

Social Welfare?!? Really?!?

by dark11star

OK.  Ive had it.  The stupid hurts.  I don't know how much more of this I can take.  I haven't seen this point made yet, but maybe I'm just not paying enough attention.  So here goes.  Who else finds it offensive that Tea Party groups are actually allowed to call themselves "social welfare" organizations.  Really?  These are people who are genetically opposed to every single example of social welfare that actually exists.  Really?  Groups that if they had their way (and actually read the damn thing) would remove the words "and general welfare" from you know where.

More ranting below the whatever the hell it is

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No, really.  Lets do it.  Let's bring Intelligent Design (e.g. Creationism) into the science classroom.  I know, I know, its not "science", ID is not a scientific theory.  It's not testable ...   Trust me, I know, I'm a scientist.

But the fact is, scientists (myself included) are really bad at making arguments in the popular press and in school board meetings where ID's soundbites dominate.  Its better to argue in the bright lights of the science classroom.  Follow me over the orange squiggly to find out why this could be the end of ID and creationism as we know it.


Which of these sequences is random?

66%198 votes
33%99 votes

| 297 votes | Vote | Results

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Sun Aug 17, 2008 at 05:38 AM PDT

The truth about McCain's "Tax Cuts"

by dark11star

When asked about taxes last night McCain said the following:

"Lets give families a $7000 tax credit for every child they have, and lets give a $5000 tax credit to help them pay for health insurance."

Sounds pretty good, huh?

Yes, except that he is not actually proposing either of these "credits"

More below the fold

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I'm not sure if this has been diaried already, but this was too funny to pass up.  The Clinton campaign has launched this website to "set the facts straight" regarding pledged delegates / superdelegates / Florichigan.

Some of the jems:

As more voters make their choice for the Democratic nomination, there is growing interest in the facts and myths about the race to reach 2208 delegate votes - the number required for a candidate to secure the nomination with Florida and Michigan included.

Notice the number needed is now 2208 with Florichigan included.  Moving the goalposts anyone?

More Below...

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