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Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 02:49 PM PDT

Shutdown costs $24 billion, so far

by oythegoy

According to Standard & Poor's, the Teabagger shutdown has so far cost us $24 billion:

 1:55 PM – Today
Government Shutdown Cost $24 Billion: S&P

Standard and Poors estimated that the government shutdown has taken $24 billion out of the United States economy and shaved at least 0.6 percent off fourth-quarter growth, the ratings agency said in a news release Wednesday.

The agency said that the short-term nature of the emerging Senate agreement would likely hurt the economy:

    "The short turnaround for politicians to negotiate some sort of lasting deal will likely weigh on consumer confidence, especially among government workers that were furloughed. If people are afraid that the government policy brinkmanship will resurface again, and with it the risk of another shutdown or worse, they'll remain afraid to open up their checkbooks."

To put that in perspective, the total amount we spend on the entire WIC program every year comes to about $6.8 billion. (http://www.fns.usda.gov/....)  Federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is less than half a billion.  (http://www-tc.pbs.org/....)  The cuts in the SNAP (food stamp) program proposed by Eric Cantor last month amounted to $40 billion over ten years, or four billion per year. (http://www.nytimes.com/....)

So next time some knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing bagger comes along and starts whining about Sesame Street or the devastating costs to the public fisc of infant formula, remind them what their little temper tantrum just cost us.

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Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 01:06 PM PST

Onion nails Rubio

by oythegoy

A short but worthwhile take on Marco Rubio's rebuttal last night:

Rich White People Get Latino Guy To Do Some Work For Them

WASHINGTON—Faced with a menial and unappealing task they had no desire to perform themselves, a group of wealthy white people brought in a Latino man to complete the thankless labor for them Tuesday, sources confirmed. “This opportunity—to make it to the middle class or beyond no matter where you start out in life—it isn’t bestowed on us from Washington,” said the Hispanic guy, who was given explicit instructions and was warned by the privileged, affluent Caucasians to make sure he completed the unrewarding chore to their exact specifications. “It comes from a vibrant free economy where people can risk their own money to open a business. More government isn’t going to create new opportunities. It’s going to limit them.” Following the completion of his tedious labor, the man was reportedly asked if he had any Latino friends who might also be willing to take on some work for the white millionaires for modest compensation.

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Last week about a dozen GOP governors announced they would not go forward with the construction of insurance exchanges in their states, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act, and since then another governor has joined them, while several others are thinking things over.  Instead, these governors are leaving it to the feds to come up with a plan for insurance exchanges in these states.

Prominent among the refuseniks are Scott Walker (WI), Bobby Jindal (LA), John Kasich (OH), and Rick Perry (TX).  They have just been joined by Mary Fallin (OK). Still debating the idea are Chris Christie (NJ), Rick Scott (FL), and Terry Branstad (IA).  The refusenik governors are generally contending that the ACA does not give them sufficient flexibility in devising the exchanges or that exchanges are inappropriate for their states.  Some are just flat pouting over the fact that with Obama's victory the ACA is now here to stay, while others are seeking political cover from challenges from their right if they appear to tea partiers to be cooperating with Obama, or capitulating to a law they, however irrationally, despise.  They also want to be able to say, when any glitches arise with the start-up exchanges, that they had nothing to do with it and that it is all Obama's fault.

However, the upshot of all this is that the Obama administration now has a golden opportunity to devise a public option model and cram it down the throats of the GOP heel-draggers.  If they don't want to do their jobs and create the insurance exchanges the law calls for, then lets take this opportunity to crush the private insurance monopolies in some of these states and replace them with a robust public option that cuts out the profit currently being gobbled up by insurance middle-men and provides better coverage.

More beneath the orange hernia scar.

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Yesterday, the International Energy Agency released its annual report, World Energy Outlook.  The report's release has been covered in most major media outlets, but the headlines have generally focused on the report's conclusion that the United States is undergoing a sea change in production of hydrocarbons and will soon be among the world's largest oil exporting nations, likely achieving energy self-sufficiency by 2035.

What the major media are not reporting, however, or are burying at the end of the articles, is the report's conclusion that if we are going to remain below two degrees of global warming-- the level generally accepted by science and the Copenhagen Accord as "safe"-- we have to leave at least two-thirds of the known reserves of hydrocarbons in the ground.  In short, while there are differences in the details, the report effectively endorses the position taken by Bill McKibben and 350.org on the "Do The Math" tour, which either has been or will be coming to a town near you in the near future.

More below the orange cloud of coal dust.

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This is not a diary, but urgent info.  Huffington Post is reporting that Harry Reid's motorcade was involved in a chain-reaction collision in Sahara, Nevada, and that Reid was taken to the hospital.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

Let's hope it's precautionary.

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Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 11:57 AM PST

Perry's Latest Gaffe. Sigh.

by oythegoy

Rick Perry has made so many goofs and gaffes during his 15 minutes of "Not-Mitt-Romney" fame that it almost feels like kicking a man when he's down to point out that he's still making stupid, ill-considered proposals on the campaign trail.  Today's howler is his proposal to impose term limits on federal judges.  According to Business Week and several other sites, while campaigning in Iowa today"Perry said term limits for federal judges are needed because too many are legislating from the bench. He said future appointees wouldn’t receive lifetime positions under his plan."

I will leave untouched his unsupported assertion that judges are "legislating from the bench," recognizing that it is an article of faith among the conservative voters to whom he is making his appeal.  However, someone really ought to suggest to Mr. Perry that he take a moment to read the Constitution before he proposes judicial term limits.  

Article III of the Constitution states that federal judges "shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office."  This provision guarantees that federal judges will be appointed for life, or for as long as they want to serve, and can be removed only by impeachment.  The founding fathers created lifetime appointments precisely because they wanted to insulate the judicial branch from political pressure so that judges would be free to do what the law, not the majority, requires.  Indeed, Article III's lifetime appointment requirement was seen by the founders as a central element of the system of checks and balances they sought to create.  It was this provision that ensured that one of the three branches would be above the political fray and immune from what the founders feared might otherwise become a nation susceptible to mob-rule.  

The requirement of lifetime appointments, like the provision that prevents Congress or the president from reducing the salaries of federal judges, protects the judicial branch and guarantees that this nation will be ruled by laws, not men.  For more on this, Mr. Perry might like to read Federalist Paper No. 78, where Alexander Hamilton explained some of the basic principles of constitutional government with which Mr. Perry is unfamiliar.

If Mr. Perry wants to accomplish something positive for the judicial branch, he would do greater service by finding a way to attract and retain well-qualified candidates for the judiciary.  He might begin by announcing a plan to raise judicial salaries to prevent the exodus of experienced judges from the federal bench.  Federal judges have not had a raise in so long that most of them now earn less than a junior associate in a large law firm, and many, many times less than a lawyer with comparable experience.  In addition to asking some of our finest legal minds to work for these entry-level wages, we also subject judicial nominees to a gantlet of investigation, mistrust, and abuse as they navigate the Congressional approval process.  Unless something is done to reverse this trend, our judicial branch-- the most important check in the system of checks and balances-- is in serious trouble.

Mr. Perry's star is fading, and before too many primaries are done, its brief flickering light will be extinguished, probably for all time.  But in the mean time someone needs to explain to conservatives that the judicial branch is in dire straits, and that in perpetuating a mythology of liberal judges legislating from the bench, they are undermining a central element of the constitutional system they claim to defend.

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Mon Nov 01, 2010 at 09:24 PM PDT

God has spoken

by oythegoy

I'm sorry if this seems like unseemly gloating, but as a lifelong Democrat, a 48-year Giants fan, a chartered seat license owner, and a 13-year season-ticket holder, I would like to point out that the Giants' victory over the Texas Rangers in the World Series is obviously God's punishment against Texas for:

  1.  Hating gay people;
  1.  The Texas Board of Education (particularly its textbooks);
  1.  Executing 447 of its citizens since 1982; and
  1.  Giving us all George W. Bush.
Poll

The San Francisco Giants' defeat of George W. Bush's team was:

49%45 votes
9%9 votes
23%21 votes
15%14 votes
2%2 votes

| 91 votes | Vote | Results

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When I first heard that Sarah Palin believes creationism should be taught in the public schools right alongside evolution, I was horrified. It was bad enough to learn during the primaries that Mike Huckabee, a prominent candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, believes in creationism, but it was at least comforting that even the Republicans rejected his candidacy.  However, we now have a prospective, and soon-to-be-confirmed, major party vice-presidential nominee who actually believes this ridiculous, superstitious nonsense, who wants school children's minds polluted with this tripe, and who may come to lurk one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency. Palin needs to be challenged on these dangerously wrong-headed beliefs, and so does McCain.

Nevertheless, I'm willing to let Sarah Palin teach creationism in the public schools if she's willing to let me teach the story of the creation of the Bible.  It's a lot more interesting, and has solid science to back it up.  More after the break:

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Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 11:12 AM PDT

Barr may tilt a few states to Obama

by oythegoy

A quick note, since I have to get back to work, but there is some emerging evidence that Libertarian Bob Barr's candidacy may hurt McCain by several percentage points-- enough to potentially tip a couple of states to Obama.

The following is from today's Washington Times:

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Earlier today I posted a diary that complained about the way the Obama campaign treated its prospective California delegates, by arbitrarily cutting as many as three-fourths of those who signed up only days before the vote was to have taken place.  There is now breaking news on this.

The Obama campaign has just reversed itself and announced it will reinstate all the prospective delegates it cut, per the AP.  Thanks to all those who went to bat for us:

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After working precincts in Alameda County for Obama during the last couple of weeks, I was surprised by the size of Hillary's margin in California.  She really had no presence here in Alameda, and the Obama presence and momentum was palpable.  Today I saw a 72-year-old woman waving a home-made "Honk for Obama" sign at College and Ashby-- not that major an intersection-- and the honking was deafening. On a six block dog-walk in Berkeley I saw Obama signs in about one-fourth of the houses and not a single Hillary sign.  So seeing Hillary doing so well in Alameda initially had me puzzled.

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