Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
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Number of posts: 41,257
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"Unlike the Reagan administration, the first Bush administration and the Clinton administration, the George W. Bush presidency elevated precisely no one to the ranks of national leadership who wasn’t there before. The 2008 Republican presidential primaries were like some odd eight-year cicada hatch in which the candidates went underground in 2000 and then birthed themselves after Bush and Cheney were gone, as if the intervening years had never happened."
The unpopular presidency of George W. Bush has proved to be a blackball on the résumés of a generation of Republican leaders. Maybe Cheney’s daughter Liz will break the pattern next year with a successful Senate bid in Wyoming, but if you made it through that sentence without spitting coffee out your nose, you’re in rare company.
The fascinating turmoil in the Republican Party since 2008 is not just a personnel problem — it’s also ideological. If you were putting together a legacy to inspire the next generation of conservatives, you wouldn’t pick the Bush administration’s trailing ends of land wars, budget deficits, torture, a crusade against gay rights and a financial collapse to rival the Great Depression. The isolationism and libertarian iconography of the Ron Paul wing of the party really does appeal to young people more than Bush-Cheney Republicanism. Social conservatives really do feel backed into a corner and ready to fight against a country that is turning against them faster than most pollsters can keep up. There really is something ripe for renewal in Republicans’ self-conception as fiscal conservatives, when the clear pattern is that budget deficits grow under Republicans and shrink under Democrats. The Republican Party is a churning swirl of conflicting ideological currents, and that’s going to take some time to work out.
The collapse of national leadership prospects for the Republican Party is one of the greatest political failures and most important legacies of George W. Bush. Barack Obama looks less likely to repeat that fate, but it depends on a strong grove of nationally viable Democrats starting to grow now. The crescendo of attention to Sen. Elizabeth Warren is a healthy part of that process, as is the growing national interest in such diverse Democrats as Sherrod Brown, Claire McCaskill, Cory Booker, Wendy Davis, Martin O’Malley, Deval Patrick, Andrew Cuomo and Amy Klobuchar.
Posted by kpete | Wed Dec 11, 2013, 06:08 PM (7 replies)
posted from my FB
Posted by kpete | Wed Dec 11, 2013, 05:36 PM (9 replies)
Just about 1.2 million people have gained health coverage through Obamacare, according to new federal data released Wednesday morning. Approximately 365,000 of those people have purchased private insurance and 803,000 have been determined to be eligible for the public Medicaid program. These numbers count data from both October and November, and show an especially quick growth in HealthCare.gov enrollment.
My best guess is that signups for private insurance through the federally-run Affordable Care Act exchanges are rising very sharply: About 69,000 during the week ending Dec. 2, up from only about 2,000 in the program's first week, ending Oct. 7.
That means the signup pace is nearly doubling, week-to-week.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-obamacare-enrollment-numbers-november-2013-12#ixzz2nCxxzSVX
Posted by kpete | Wed Dec 11, 2013, 05:30 PM (0 replies)
Do Americans know their country's wealth distribution?
(From: Wealth, Income, and Power
by G. William Domhoff)
A remarkable study (Norton & Ariely, 2010) reveals that Americans have no idea that the wealth distribution (defined for them in terms of "net worth") is as concentrated as it is. When shown three pie charts representing possible wealth distributions, 90% or more of the 5,522 respondents -- whatever their gender, age, income level, or party affiliation -- thought that the American wealth distribution most resembled one in which the top 20% has about 60% of the wealth. In fact, of course, the top 20% control about 85% of the wealth (refer back to Table 2 and Figure 1 in this document for a more detailed breakdown of the numbers).
Even more striking, they did not come close on the amount of wealth held by the bottom 40% of the population. It's a number I haven't even mentioned so far, and it's shocking: the lowest two quintiles hold just 0.3% of the wealth in the United States. Most people in the survey guessed the figure to be between 8% and 10%, and two dozen academic economists got it wrong too, by guessing about 2% -- seven times too high. Those surveyed did have it about right for what the 20% in the middle have; it's at the top and the bottom that they don't have any idea of what's going on.
Americans from all walks of life were also united in their vision of what the "ideal" wealth distribution would be, which may come as an even bigger surprise than their shared misinformation on the actual wealth distribution. They said that the ideal wealth distribution would be one in which the top 20% owned between 30 and 40 percent of the privately held wealth, which is a far cry from the 85 percent that the top 20% actually own. They also said that the bottom 40% -- that's 120 million Americans -- should have between 25% and 30%, not the mere 8% to 10% they thought this group had, and far above the 0.3% they actually had. In fact, there's no country in the world that has a wealth distribution close to what Americans think is ideal when it comes to fairness. So maybe Americans are much more egalitarian than most of them realize about each other, at least in principle and before the rat race begins.
(Figure 4, reproduced with permission from Norton & Ariely's article in Perspectives on Psychological Science, shows the actual wealth distribution, along with the survey respondents' estimated and ideal distributions, in graphic form.)
Figure 4: The actual United States wealth distribution plotted against the estimated and ideal distributions
Much more, lots of amazing graphs, wish I could post ALL:
Posted by kpete | Wed Dec 11, 2013, 04:39 PM (4 replies)
Teen Who Killed Four People Got Off On Probation Because He's Rich
A 16-year-old boy who drunkenly killed four people got probation this week because the judge — with no apparent irony — agreed with the boy's defense that he was a victim of "affluenza," whose parents taught him wealth and privilege shield consequences. The teen had faced up to twenty years in prison.
Sixteen-year-old Ethan Couch admitted to four counts of manslaughter after he and seven other boys stole alcohol from Walmart, piled into his car and struck and killed four pedestrians while going 70 miles per hour in a 40 zone. One of his passengers remains in the hospital with severe brain damage, and nine other bystanders were also injured.
Couch's BAC was a .24 and he also had Valium in his system. According to reports, he was belligerent at the scene, at one point saying, "I'm outta here." Prosecutors were hoping to get up to 20 years.
Couch's defense was that he was a victim of his parents' wealth and privilege; in that he never had to face consequences, which an expert summarized prior to sentencing.
He said Couch got whatever he wanted. As an example, Miller said Couch's parents gave no punishment after police ticketed the then-15-year-old when he was found in a parked pickup with a passed out, undressed 14-year-old girl.
Miller also pointed out that Couch was allowed to drive at 13. He said the teen was emotionally flat and needed years of therapy. At the time of the fatal wreck, Couch had a blood alcohol content of .24, said Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson. It is illegal for a minor to drive with any amount of alcohol in his or her system.
Posted by kpete | Wed Dec 11, 2013, 03:52 PM (11 replies)
Millennials are the leftiest generation since FDR
There are a lot of interesting nuggets in the Pew breakdown of generational voting patterns above, but the one that’s most striking to me is the sharp division between Nixon-era Boomers and Ford/Carter-era Boomers. The former are more Democratic-leaning than the public average, whereas the younger cohort leaned right, 2006 excepted. But the finding of most significance going forward is that both Millennials and younger Gen X-ers are turning out to be pretty reliable Democrats, the most reliable since the “Greatest Generation” that came of age under FDR. If that sticks, it could have big ramifications going forward.
Posted by kpete | Wed Dec 11, 2013, 03:47 PM (42 replies)
The "Murdoch Is Evil" word search in the Sunday Telegraph. (Screenshot via Twitter)
Dec. 10 (UPI) -- A message hidden in a word search in Sydney's Sunday Telegraph seemed to indicate the puzzle-maker wasn’t a big fan of the man signing their checks.
Harry the Dog’s weekly kids’ word search contained the message LIVESIHCODRUM, which, when read backwards, could be interpreted as Murdoch Is Evil.
Media magnate Rupert Murdoch owns the Telegraph.
The 'Murdoch Is Evil' puzzle barb is even better with Harry The Newshound completely missing the big story
Read more: http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/Blog/2013/12/10/Puzzle-maker-slips-Murdoch-Is-Evil-into-Rupert-Murdochs-Sunday-Telegraph/6711386685821/#ixzz2nBSJfU1G
Posted by kpete | Wed Dec 11, 2013, 11:20 AM (1 replies)
If you haven’t been in a hen plant, you don’t know what hell is,” he says. My late father was a veteran of both theaters in WWII and a butcher for decades before he became a business rep and organizer for the Meat Cutters Union. When he returned from an organizing trip to chicken processing plants in SW Va while I was in HS he was literally pale and just shook his head in disbelief... wouldn't describe it in anything but the vaguest terms./blockquote]
Posted by kpete | Wed Dec 11, 2013, 10:48 AM (32 replies)
Nothing to see here, folks.
Posted by kpete | Wed Dec 11, 2013, 10:22 AM (24 replies)
America has become a RINO: rich in name only. By every measure-we look like a broken banana republic
Look at the stats: America resembles a poor country
We're number one, sure, but in things like early onset diabetes and per capita incarceration
America has become a RINO: rich in name only. By every measure, we look like a broken banana republic. Not a single U.S. city is included in the world’s top 10 most livable cities. Only one U.S. airport makes the list of the top 100 in the world. Our roads, schools and bridges are falling apart, and our trains—none of them high-speed—are running off their tracks. Our high school students are rated 30th in math, and some 30 countries have longer life expectancy and lower rates of infant mortality. The only things America is number one in these days are the number of incarcerated citizens per capita and adult onset diabetes.
Not only is the middle-class fast becoming the working poor, but upward mobility is becoming almost impossible to attain. At a time when America should be investing in its own future, it is dealing with a sequestration that was never meant to have happened. It happened because the GOP congress would rather destroy the economy than see a black president succeed. Also, raising revenues runs against the GOP’s fundamental pro-corporate strategy of “starving the beast” i.e. starving the federal government of the revenues it needs so it can use deficits as an excuse to cut programs like Social Security and Medicare and replace them with for-profit alternatives.
America is in urgent need of significant investment. We need to, as Obama said, “not be stuck in a stale debate from two years ago or three years ago. A relentlessly growing deficit of opportunity is a bigger threat to our future than our rapidly shrinking fiscal deficit.”
That’s one part of the solution. The other part is a rejection of the Republican Party business model. A higher minimum wage; higher taxes on corporations and the rich; and a greater percentage of the labor force protected by collective bargaining will help restore the America whose middle-class was once the envy of the world, and whose people were among the happiest and healthiest on the planet.
Posted by kpete | Wed Dec 11, 2013, 09:57 AM (0 replies)