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Hometown: Xenia, OH
Member since: Tue Sep 19, 2006, 04:46 PM
Number of posts: 17,802
Hometown: Xenia, OH
Member since: Tue Sep 19, 2006, 04:46 PM
Number of posts: 17,802
- 2014 (95)
- 2013 (109)
- 2012 (74)
- 2011 (3)
- December (3)
Obamacare Geographic Implementation Overview
A new data set provides a clearer picture of which people gained health insurance under the Affordable Care Act:
1. Having a state government that expands Medicaid is, of course, overwhelmingly the most important factor: look at Kentucky-WV vs. Tennessee-Virginia, or Arkansas-Missouri.
2. A state government that tries to hide the existence of the exchange-marketplaces from people can (largely) do so, and can cause a huge amount of damage in implementation: look at Wisconsin, Kansas, or Montana.
3. Even in states that did not expand Medicaid and where the state government did not lift a finger to inform people of the exchange-marketplaces, Hispanics have been signing up for insurance in numbers significantly greater than I had expected–look at the Texas-Mexico border.
6. “The effects of John Roberts re-writing the ACA’s Medicaid expansion are felt in Mississippi…. ‘”We work hard at being last”, said Roy Mitchell, the beleaguered executive director of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program, when we met in Jackson. “Even a dog knows the difference between being tripped over and being kicked”‘. This reflects an infliction of pain and suffering and death than was eminently avoidable. If you’ll forgive me for reiterating, it’s nearly impossible to overstate how terrible this decision was.
Who remains uninsured in 2014:
There are great interactive maps of who has gained coverage under the ACA and who remains uninsured but I couldn't get them to show here.
Posted by pampango | Thu Oct 30, 2014, 08:35 AM (0 replies)
From the Federal Reserve:
From The Economist magazine:
Do you contend that US manufacturing employment has not been declining for the past 60-70 years? If so, please provide a link that backs up your contention.
Posted by pampango | Wed Oct 29, 2014, 01:21 PM (1 replies)
Pew poll: ACA - 88% of republicans disapprove, 74% of Democrats approve, 84% of liberal Democrats approve
Views of the Affordable Care Act remain generally unchanged over the past year. More continue to disapprove (51%) than approve (43%) of the law.
Republicans remain more unified in their opposition to the law than Democrats are in support of it. Nearly nine-in-ten Republicans (88%) disapprove of the law and just 10% approve of it; among Democrats, 74% approve and 20% disapprove.
Liberal Democrats are especially supportive of the ACA (84% approve and 12% disapprove). Moderate and conservative Democrats approve of the law by a somewhat smaller margin (66% to 28%).
More college graduates approve of the law (51%) than those with only some college experience (43%) or no college (38%).
The overwhelming republican opposition raises the overall percentage who disapprove to 51%.
Posted by pampango | Tue Oct 28, 2014, 11:08 AM (13 replies)
This Graph Explains Why Immigration Reform Is Not "Amnesty"
Posted by pampango | Wed Oct 15, 2014, 03:04 PM (1 replies)
Nationalism is resurgent, says Gideon Rachman in a recent column for the Financial Times. This is surprising, he argues. Not long ago we were contemplating a new age of globalization: "In a borderless world of bits and bytes the traditional concerns of nations -- territory, identity and sovereignty -- looked as anachronistic as swords and shields."
Quite the opposite, it turns out. As Rachman says, consider the separatist drive in Scotland, or Catalonia; the growing strength of right-wing populism in England, France and elsewhere in the European Union; Russia's moves to reclaim its empire; the electoral success of Hindu nationalism in India; the mutually antagonistic strands of chauvinism in China and Japan. Almost wherever you look, those supposedly anachronistic concerns are driving politics.
I said "a judicious measure of the right kind of nationalism." What does that mean? Each democracy needs enough nationalism -- call it patriotism if you like -- to bind its people together but not so much as to set them at odds with outsiders. Nationalism turns toxic, and patriotism becomes chauvinism, when it's belligerent and sets foreigners up as the enemy. That's true, no doubt, of many of the cases Rachman highlights -- but it would be wrong to assume this goes with the territory (as it were). Toxic nationalism isn't the typical case.
Note too that nationalism comes in different flavors as well as different intensities. A useful distinction is between civic nationalism and ethnic nationalism. The U.S. exemplifies civic nationalism -- its idea of nationhood defined by a constitutional design and shared political culture, open (in principle) to newcomers without regard to race or creed. Ethnic nationalism sees nationhood as a matter of tribe or religion or language. It's exclusionary by nature. That makes it far more prone to perversion into forms that see neighbors as rivals or enemies.
It makes sense that some degree of nationalism is useful for a functioning democracy. An important distinction between 'civic nationalism' - based on a shared history and political culture - and 'ethnic nationalism' based on race, ethnicity, religion, etc. is more exclusionary and prone to viewing foreigners as evil.
Posted by pampango | Wed Oct 15, 2014, 02:45 PM (0 replies)
New study: Europe's far right - anti-EU, pro-Putin, anti-globalization, anti-immigrant, nationalists
Yet despite the extreme Right’s much-vaunted irredentism, it has also mounted strong critiques of the very modern phenomenon of globalization. The internationalization of capitalism, its unprecedented ability to cross the boundaries of national political and legal jurisdictions, has led to a sea-change in the way fascists respond to the vital question ‘where does the national interest lie’. Today, fascist and nationalist movements don’t just wave the flag of the nation-state. Despising the liberal values of Europe, deploring the subservient actions of European governments in the face of the EU’s hegemonizing tendencies, extreme-right leaders gaze admiringly across the EU border to authoritarian leaders abroad, longing for the day when they too can govern illiberally.
But for many of the up-and-coming demagogues of the populist and anti-Communist extreme Right, ranging from UKIP’s Nigel Farage to the FN’s Marine Le Pen, from Gábor Vona of Jobbik to Nikos Michaloliakos of Golden Dawn, it is the autocratic leadership of Russian president Vladimir Putin that is most admired and emulated.
HRF suggests that eight European far-Right parties – the Austrian Freedom Party (FPO), Vlaams Belang of Belgium, the FN in France, the German National Democratic Party, Golden Dawn, Jobbik, Lega Nord in Italy and the Lithuanian Order and Justice party (TT) – have aligned themselves with Russian interests and hints that Russia is funding some or all of these parties. In the context of the ‘Trojan Horse’ theory, the modest gains for the extreme Right in the European parliamentary elections could be seen as ‘a victory for Moscow’.
Despite this analytical weakness, there are solid accounts of the roots of Golden Dawn in its support for past military dictatorships, new information on anti-immigration violence and a welcome critique of the government’s failure to allow non-Greeks the benefits of witness protection schemes (which would have allowed immigrants to give evidence against Golden Dawn), as well as intimations that GD’s ability to maintain seventy offices and distribute food to the poor could be due to the financial backing of major ship owners and businessmen. Rather oddly, though, there is no mention of the mass racial profiling, Operation Zeus, under which, between April 2012 and June 2013, more than 120,000 foreign nationals were subjected to identity checks and countless were exposed to racism, brutality and other abuses of their human rights.
Posted by pampango | Mon Oct 13, 2014, 01:14 PM (0 replies)
When it comes to Barack Obama, I've always been out of sync. Back in 2008, when many liberals were wildly enthusiastic about his candidacy and his press was strongly favorable, I was skeptical. I worried that he was naive, that his talk about transcending the political divide was a dangerous illusion given the unyielding extremism of the modern American right.
But now the shoe is on the other foot: Obama faces trash talk left, right and center – literally – and doesn't deserve it. Despite bitter opposition, despite having come close to self-inflicted disaster, Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history. His health reform is imperfect but still a huge step forward – and it's working better than anyone expected. Financial reform fell far short of what should have happened, but it's much more effective than you'd think. Economic management has been half-crippled by Republican obstruction, but has nonetheless been much better than in other advanced countries. And environmental policy is starting to look like it could be a major legacy.
I'll go through those achievements shortly. First, however, let's take a moment to talk about the current wave of Obama-bashing. All Obama-bashing can be divided into three types. One, a constant of his time in office, is the onslaught from the right, which has never stopped portraying him as an Islamic atheist Marxist Kenyan. Nothing has changed on that front, and nothing will.
There's a different story on the left, where you now find a significant number of critics decrying Obama as, to quote Cornel West, someone who ''posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit.'' They're outraged that Wall Street hasn't been punished, that income inequality remains so high, that ''neoliberal'' economic policies are still in place. All of this seems to rest on the belief that if only Obama had put his eloquence behind a radical economic agenda, he could somehow have gotten that agenda past all the political barriers that have con- strained even his much more modest efforts. It's hard to take such claims seriously.
Posted by pampango | Mon Oct 13, 2014, 12:53 PM (0 replies)
"Count the number of people killed in war, plot the trend over time. That’s how you get a picture of whether the world has become more, or less, violent. It’s the only way to get such a picture.”
During World War II, the human population lost 300 of every 100,000 people each year to war. During the Korean War it was in the 20s, before dropping into the teens during the Vietnam era. In the 1980s and 1990s, it fell into the single digits. For most of the 21st century it’s been below one war death per 100,000 people per year.
There has been an uptick globally as a result of the civil war in Syria, doubling from 0.5 per 100,000 to 1. But Pinker says “you can’t compare 1 with 15 or 25 or 300.” Everywhere else in the world, the stats are still trending downward. The same is true for homicides.
“If you get your view of the world from the news, you’re always going to think that we’re living in violent times,” Pinker says. “Because if anything blows up, if there’s any shooting anywhere in the world, it instantly gets beamed across the globe. News is about stuff that happens. It’s not about stuff that doesn’t happen. And as long as violence hasn’t gone down to zero, there will always be enough incidents to fill the news.”
“Look at all the places that aren’t blowing up,” he adds. “That is not going to be on the news. You never see a reporter standing on the streets in Mozambique or Colombia saying there’s no war this year. But there were wars in past years, and we forget about them because they are not news.”
As a psychologist, Pinker suggests a couple of explanations as to why people believe the world is falling apart. “Cognitive psychologists speak about the "availability bias" — a term invented by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky — according to which we judge risk by how easy it is to remember examples. Now, of course you take a course in intro stats and you realize that’s not a good way to estimate probability. But that’s the way the human mind works without statistical training.”
In addition to this cognitive bias, Pinker says = psychologically there can also often be a moralistic bias.
“If you have some sort of cause, if you’re trying to rally supporters behind a movement, people think the most effective way to do it is to give people an impression that things are getting worse, and that they have to act now, otherwise things will get worse still. Personally, I’m not convinced that’s the best way to mobilize people for a cause because it’s easy to throw up your hands and say that part of the world is a hell-hole; they’ve always hated each other; they always will hate each other; it’s intractable; there’s nothing we can do," he explains. "When you start to see that intractable conflicts are not, that is, people can seemingly hate each other for a long time and then lay down their arms and not pick them up again, it kind of emboldens you to say, well, maybe we can do that again.”
It is amazing to see exactly how violent WWII actually was and how much of the world it affected. The Korean and Vietnam wars were also violent but more localized so that rate of war deaths dropped by more than 9/10s. The recent deaths in the Syrian civil war and in Iraq have caused a blip up in the rate of war deaths from 1/2 per 100,000 to 1 per 100,000.
Posted by pampango | Wed Oct 1, 2014, 12:39 PM (2 replies)
Marchers were protected by strong security lines as anti-gay activists protested before event
It was a rare sight for Serbia, one of the most conservative countries in Europe, to witness a march akin to those found in the more cosmopolitan cities of London and Berlin. Albeit on a smaller scale and with far more security.
After a march in 2010, pride events were banned for three years because of clashes between police and extreme right-wing groups, which saw more than 100 people injured. This year there appears to have been little violence, despite threats made by ultra-nationalists.
Pressure from the EU is thought to be the main reason Serbian officials allowed Sunday’s event to take place after the three year ban. The country is keen to join the organisation and wants to burnish its human rights credentials.
There is some way to go before members of the LGBT community can enjoy full acceptance in Serbia however, as thousands of anti-gay campaigners protested against the march on Saturday and the head of the country’s Orthodox Church denounced the march.
Serbia obviously has a long way to go before gays are accepted by society but this is a first step. Serbia's desire to join the EU is motivating it to become less homophobic, though it is still a very conservative society with a long way to go.
Posted by pampango | Mon Sep 29, 2014, 03:05 PM (0 replies)
The Syrian Front: Waiting to Die in Aleppo
Eastern Aleppo has been virtually abandoned, as have most residential districts located away from the front. Those left in the city prefer to crowd into housing right up against the battle lines, which have remained virtually static in the last two years. Paradoxically, people feel safest living within range of enemy tank and sniper fire. Such are the rules of Aleppo.
The reasons are pragmatic. For one, the lower floors of the buildings along the front still offer some protection from artillery shells. More important, however, is the fact that no "baramil" fall here, those half-ton barrel bombs dropped from helicopters flying high overhead. The bombs are murderously effective, but they are so imprecise that the Syrian Air Force refrains from using them too close to its own troops.
The rest of eastern Aleppo, though, is fair game. Filled with explosives and shrapnel, the bombs can destroy entire buildings and the Syrian army has tried out various designs in the city. Some even have tanks of gasoline attached so as to start fires when they detonate; others are so heavy that they are rolled out of the helicopters on small gun carriages.
The helicopters appear in the mornings and late afternoons, usually at the same times each day, and circle for a while at altitudes of 4,000 to 5,000 meters (13,000-16,000 feet), little more than tiny dots in the sky, before dropping their payloads. The sound of the bombs falling can only be heard seconds before impact -- enough time to know that you are about to die, but not enough time to flee.
If the US and others want to bomb ISIS in Raqqa and other urban areas - and do not care about civilian casualties - they should just let Assad do the bombing. There is nothing 'precision' about the bombing his troops do, but it may be 'effective' in killing opposition fighters - if you ignore the 'collateral damage'.
Posted by pampango | Thu Sep 25, 2014, 08:02 AM (2 replies)