Wednesday Morning Open Thread: ‘Beauty Pageant’ Update

Now I’m glad Senator Warren drew the Wednesday card:

The podium placements were based on each of the candidates’ qualifying public polling through Wednesday, June 12. The placements started with top polling candidates beginning at the center positions, with lower polling contenders being placed closer to the edges of the stage. Candidates who were tied in the polls were ranked based on the overall number of qualifying polls.

Landing on the outskirts of the debate stage for Night One are New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney. Self-help author Marianne Williamson and California Rep. Eric Swalwell are on the edges for Night Two….

Night One will feature, from left to right: de Blasio; Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio; former Housing Secretary Julián Castro; Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey; Warren; O’Rourke; Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii; Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington; and Delaney.

Night Two will have, from left to right: Williamson; Hickenlooper; Yang; Buttigieg; Biden; Sanders; Sen. Kamala Harris of California; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York; Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado; and Swalwell.

The event is hosted by NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo, and will air live across all three from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET both nights. The debate will stream online for free on NBC News’ digital platforms, including,, the NBC News Mobile App and OTT apps, in addition to Telemundo’s digital platforms.

Kinda looking forward to seeing how Warren and Beto interact at such close quarters — not to mention whether Booker and/or Klobuchar will be able to draw the cameras’ attention. Betting the video takeaway from Thursday night will be Vermont’s Most Independent Senator wagging his finger at Senator Harris, because I’m a cynic.

Meanwhile, Tom Perez remains the Democrat’s live-action Joe Btfsplk, much to the delight of the Republican party and their Media Village Idiot enablers…

211 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Josh is an idiot. The rules were announced well in advance, and if a red state governor didn’t make the cut, only he is to blame. But, hey, the lie that Dems corruptly manipulate the rules is one that helped Trump get elected in the first place, so expect more of the same.

  2. 2
    Kay says:


    Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is the biggest loser under the current formula, and he’s complained loudly about missing the first debate. His lone congressional endorsee, however, wasn’t as worked up.
    “I’d love him to be on the debate stage, but if in fact he didn’t meet the criteria that the DNC set up, that’s that,” said Montana Sen. Jon Tester, adding that it would be “crazy” for the party to tweak the rules in response to grumbling.

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    No surprise here.

    When Sanders talks about Medicare for All, he isn’t talking about replicating the current program. Instead, he is talking about a government program that eliminates private insurance, as well as copays and deductibles. In other words, a truly single-payer system.

    Liz Hamel, the director of public opinion and survey research for the Kaiser Foundation, pointed out how their recent polling demonstrates that this conflation of Medicare and single payer has confused people.

  4. 4
    satby says:

    Yeah, still blech.

    @Baud: and when what Sanders really means becomes clearer it will hurt him with key demographics he would need to win. Our health delivery system is a disaster in a lot of levels, but people want improvement, not really the chaos of complete replacement.

  5. 5
    Baud says:


    Tester is right. I agree that Bullock should be on there instead of some other clowns (including some high polling clowns). But he’s wrong to blame anyone else for his failure to make the cut.

  6. 6
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: Yep.I guess being white, male, and relatively (to other DEMs running) conservative, just ain’t the winning ticket it used to be.

  7. 7
    rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone 😄 😄😄

  8. 8
    rikyrah says:

    I miss Ozark, but will take your blech😚

  9. 9

    @Kay: The bar is set so low that Marilyn Williamson made the cut, and I’m supposed to feel aggrieved on Bullock’s behalf that he didn’t? His griping tells me more about him than seeing him on that stage would anyway.

  10. 10
    rikyrah says:

    The rules are the rules. He didn’t qualify 😒

  11. 11
    MattF says:

    There’s at least a dozen wannabe candidates whose strategy is to just hang on for another six to eight months. Sigh.

  12. 12
    Jerzy Russian says:

    @Baud: Maybe he (the governor) thought the process was like a golf tournament, and he was going for the lowest score. That has happened to me a few times.

  13. 13
    rikyrah says:

    Which is the point from Wilmer😒😒

  14. 14
    satby says:

    @rikyrah: 😆 Good morning!

  15. 15
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: To which I have replied in the past, than it ain’t Medicare. Calling it Medicare was a mistake all along, unless of course confusing people was the plan from the gitgo.

    @satby: Indeed again.

  16. 16
    Chyron HR says:


  17. 17
    satby says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: exactly! In fact the bar should have been much higher and more shouldn’t have made the cut.

  18. 18
    Kay says:


    I agree. I’m really done with people insisting they don’t have to follow rules. The whole “red state governor” special exception bugs me. This standard would never, ever be applied to Republicans, where they would have some duty to promote a blue state governor.

  19. 19
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jerzy Russian: It occurred to me that he thought the debates would be seeded like a tennis tournament, placement made on the basis of past political performance.

  20. 20
    debbie says:


    Wikipedia says he didn’t declare his candidacy until May 14, 2019, so seriously, he thinks he should be in the debates? He has no one to blame but himself.

  21. 21
    Baud says:


    I guess you don’t get to be a red state governor without false grievances against Democrats.

  22. 22
    syphonblue says:

    How the fuck is it Perez’s fault that one person is polling well enough to get into the debate and another isn’t?

  23. 23
    Kay says:


    It isn’t. They took a quote from Dick Durbin and chopped it to make it sound bad for Perez.

  24. 24
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: he thought he’d get more traction and he didn’t; now his only hope is to grasp at the straw of a single poll he did ok in. At least the other two who failed to make the cut seem to be better losers about it.
    And the entire debacle courtesy of a shouty old narcissist whose followers will still scream rigged when he’s eliminated fair and square.

  25. 25
    germy says:

    Everybody loves their employer-provided health insurance.

    Until layoffs are announced.

  26. 26
    germy says:

    Wow! When This Woman Couldn’t Afford Her Insulin, Her Whole Town Chipped in for Her Funeral:— Reductress (@Reductress) June 18, 2019

  27. 27
    Baud says:


    I think it’s more that people hate and fear change.

  28. 28
    Another Scott says:

    @Baud: +1

    Plus, giving clicks to stories like these guarantees that we’ll see more of them. Remember, Big Internet is always watching, analyzing what we click on, etc., etc.

    Don’t feed stupid memes!

    Good morning, everyone.


  29. 29
    Kay says:


    I think they’re afraid they’ll get something worse. IMO the status quo remains entrenched in health care not because it’s a good or even broadly functioning system but because people are afraid they’ll be left with nothing. It’s all loss avoidance.

    I’m fine with a Medicare buy-in. I would be fine with a Medicaid buy-in, even, which might cut health care costs. I’m not opposed to cutting health care costs.

  30. 30
    rikyrah says:

    Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) Tweeted:
    ! The U.S. women’s soccer team is now generating more revenue than the men’s team.

    The U.S. Soccer Federation has used revenue generation as its defense of paying female players less, denying them equal playing time + promoting their games less.

  31. 31
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @germy: Not everybody. My wife hated her crappy getting ever worse employer provided insurance that she paid more and more for every year while they paid for less and less.

  32. 32
    rikyrah says:

    I am very much a pro Medicaid for All buy-in person.

  33. 33
    JMG says:

    1. Debates don’t matter even when people watch them.
    2. People will not watch these two. Late June is not TV watching time.
    3. All that will come from this is that there might be one or two soundbites catchy enough to get repeated air time after the events.
    4. The format hurts all the candidates, but mostly it hurts the ones that need to make a first impression, because there’s no time to do it. Hell, there’s barely time to try and say your name a few times.
    5. My advice to the no-hopers on stage is to reach for that sound bite. Call Trump the most vituperative, colorful names you can think of. Because TV news doesn’t care about issues, just conflict.

  34. 34
    satby says:

    @germy: and that’s where the ACA improved things and now is loved too. People are risk averse, they want expansion of coverage and costs cut. They don’t want to upend the entire system, throw millions of people out of work, and be afraid of having no coverage when they need it. Too much risk.
    Any movement to a universal system will still include private insurance and will have to be incremental, and it’s dishonest in the extreme to pretend that a magic wand can be waved and it all can be fixed without some pain.

  35. 35
    rikyrah says:

    san (@sanosbo1) Tweeted:
    Why is #Trump only interested in deporting Black and Brown People?.. What about the millions of undocumented immigrants from European and Asian countries-who conveniently overstay their visas……What about them? Will ICE deport them?Hmmm🤔 #Resist #TrumpIsADisgrace #NeverTrump

  36. 36
    germy says:


    My wife hated her crappy getting ever worse employer provided insurance that she paid more and more for every year while they paid for less and less.

    That’s been my experience.

    My last employer, every six months they’d sit us all down and say “Okay, we’re switching insurance companies again. And it’s going to cost you more.”

    The deductible kept going up, as well as employee contributions. I hate and fear change as much as the next person, but change was regularly thrust upon me. (or “forced down my throat” as republicans like to say)

  37. 37
    eclare says:

    @rikyrah: And the women actually make the World Cup.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    Chief Oshkosh says:


    Everybody WHO HAS NEVER BEEN SICK A DAY IN THEIR LIVES loves their employer-provided health insurance.


  40. 40
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Bullock Woulda Won

  41. 41
    OzarkHillbilly says:


    I think they’re afraid they’ll get something worse.

    Their employers are incentivized to give them worse.

  42. 42
    Kay says:


    Just let employers buy in to Medicare. They buy enough they can get a volume rate. Puts more and younger people in, who will be paying in but not taking out as much as older people do. It’s win/win for everyone. Plenty of employers would be thrilled to take that off their plate and forget about it. Then they can still have “employer insurance” as part of compensation.

  43. 43
    Kay says:


    I agree. I’ve see absolutely horrible plans. Plans that guarantee that using it means thousands of dollars out of pocket, so why, again, are they paying for health insurance every week?

  44. 44
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Anecdotal evidence suggests that particular curve may be increasing, and I’m wondering if it’s an unanticipated consequence of tht ACA.

    To that end I’m wondering if/when we’ll see a company offer part payment on an [edit] employee [/edit] selected ACA plan instead of a part paid company plan.

  45. 45
    germy says:

    @Kay: During one of my employer’s meetings, when we were all told we were switching plans again, they brought in their insurance rep who subtly suggested that we should focus on finding ways to limit the amount of healthcare we use. Less “unnecessary” doctor visits, etc.

    And I sat there thinking about the time my son needed asthma medication, and the insurance co. refused to pay for it, until the pediatrician wrote a personal letter to them.

    If a new system causes the insurance rep who tried to deny my son’s medication to lose his/her job… well, gee. Time to retrain. I’ve been laid off lots of times over the past 30 years. I had to retrain and find new work. Nobody worried about me, or wrote legislation to keep my old, obsolete jobs going.

    (Jobs I did in the 1970s and ’80s literally don’t exist anymore. New technology erased them.)

  46. 46
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kirk Spencer: I’ve been saying for a while that I fully expect that to be the end result of the ACA and in fact encourage it. It would be a hell of a lot more honest to say, “We will contribute X% towards a sliver plan premium” than it is to say “health care coverage provided” wherein they are only willing to buy the “exclusive No Claim Coverage” where one is covered as long as one doesn’t make a claim.

    ETA an added benefit being people would actually get to choose their insurance and isn’t ‘choice’ a big deal for conservatives?


  47. 47
    Gin & Tonic says:

    The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team on the MH-17 downing is holding a press conference laying out clear and unambiguous evidence that Russian military forces are to blame for that. They are calling it what it was, the murder of 298 people.

  48. 48
    Immanentize says:

    Good Morning, All.

  49. 49
    Baud says:

    Had we given Obama eight years with a Democratic Congress, the ACA could have been improved twice over by now based on experience.

  50. 50
  51. 51
    rikyrah says:

    Morning Imma. What is Little Imma doing this Summer?

  52. 52
    Another Scott says:

    @JMG: All generalizations are false.


    That said, a press release from a TV conglomerate about an upcoming show should not be taken at face value. Their objective is different from ours.

    Take the good, throw away the bad, and keep working to elect Democrats. That’s the way to victory.

    (Not picking on you, just giving my $0.02.)


  53. 53
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:


    Jobs I did in the 1970s and ’80s literally don’t exist anymore.

    Yup. the Designated Hitter rule devastated the Pinch Hitter market.

  54. 54
    Immanentize says:


    [Bullock] didn’t declare his candidacy until May 14, 2019….

    DiBlasio waited until May 26 — and he made it. Color me surprised, but he made it, so Bullock could have done it. But failed.

  55. 55
    Betty Cracker says:

    @germy: Oh, but won’t someone think of the portfolios laden with insurance stocks? 🙄

  56. 56

    @germy: That headline reads like a really dark version of The Onion.

  57. 57

    @satby: I noticed that in that Stephanopoulos interview Trump claimed people hate Obamacare. I thought the polling the changed. So either he’s just lying or FOX hasn’t told him of the current status.

  58. 58
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: It’s satire.

  59. 59
    tobie says:

    @germy: That’s the beauty of DeLauro/Schakowsky’s Medicare for America proposal. Medicare is the default option for anyone who doesn’t have employer provided insurance; and yes, your employer can offer new-improved Medicare as one of the insurance options for employees. DeLauro/Schakowsky have thought this through. Private insurers will now have to come up with a plan at least as good as the revised Medicare or employers simply won’t bother getting a group plan with them. Meanwhile no one falls through the cracks.

  60. 60
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: C) Both.

  61. 61
    Immanentize says:

    @rikyrah: He is doing a very little work for the company he worked for last summer (debugging code) and is mostly getting all sorts of tune ups like his wisdom teeth out, doctor appts, etc. AND we are taking a father/son trip for a couple of weeks mid-July from Berlin to Prague through Germany. Excited!

  62. 62
    Immanentize says:

    Oops “May 26” should have been “May 16”

  63. 63
    Baud says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    So either he’s just lying

    I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed in you before now.

  64. 64
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Not satire: Alabama man accused of feeding caged ‘attack squirrel’ meth

    Alabama investigators say a man kept a caged “attack squirrel” in his apartment and fed it methamphetamine to ensure it stayed aggressive. The News Courier reports authorities are seeking 35-year-old Mickey Paulk on multiple charges including possession of a controlled substance. Law enforcement was warned of the animal prior to executing a search warrant of the Athens home Monday.

    It’s illegal in Alabama to have a pet squirrel. Officials from the state’s Department of Conservation recommended releasing the animal, which deputies did successfully. A spokesman for the Limestone county sheriff’s office says there was no safe way to test the squirrel for meth.

    So now there is an enraged squirrel out there hunting meth dealers for his next rock. What can go wrong?

  65. 65
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Baud: both true, I think the ACA was intended to be the gradual incremental change to a universal system that employers could contribute to, but the Republicans began to try to destroy it as soon as it was passed. So we have a kludge where we should have a greatly expanded system instead.
    And like germy, I paid more and had less coverage every year. So I wasn’t fond of mine either. But if the proverbial truck hit me, I at least had something. That’s the calculation most employees make.

  66. 66
    Kay says:


    I’m not talking about “rationing”. I think they could cut costs on health care by making it less high-end, which people would hate. Not people who don’t get it at all- they wouldn’t hate it. So you would make more prescriptions available without a prescription and let allied health care workers do more- make the physician the head of a health care “team”- you see the physician only if it gets complicated. I went to a community health center for a pregnancy once and I was a big fan.I had a really “good” pregnancy that time so I only saw the doctor herself every other visit, but I got a nurse and a group of women who all had the same due date month and they harangued us about gaining weight, etc. They basically nagged us for 6 months. Nagging works. It was good care! I’ve had high end and in some ways it was better than the “private physician” route. It was also affordable. Pegged to income. I owed 800 dollars at the end of it- they gave me a little payment book :)

    Less expensive. Not worse. And no denials.

  67. 67
    Betty Cracker says:

    Joe Biden sure can read a room! [Bloomberg]

    Former Vice President Joe Biden told affluent donors Tuesday that he wanted their support and — perhaps unlike some other Democratic presidential candidates — wouldn’t be making them political targets because of their wealth.

    “Remember, I got in trouble with some of the people on my team, on the Democratic side, because I said, you know, what I’ve found is rich people are just as patriotic as poor people. Not a joke. I mean, we may not want to demonize anybody who’s made money,” Biden told about 100 well-dressed donors at the Carlyle Hotel on New York’s Upper East Side, where the hors d’oeuvres included lobster, chicken satay and crudites.

    “Truth of the matter is, you all know, you all know in your gut what has to be done,” Biden said. “We can disagree in the margins. But the truth of the matter is, it’s all within our wheelhouse and nobody has to be punished. No one’s standard of living would change. Nothing would fundamentally change,” he said.


  68. 68
  69. 69

    In theory, employer provided health insurance should give the patient more leverage. On time, Deere changed dental insurers, and the new one denied every claim the first time the dentist submitted it. Employees complained and Deere pressured the insurance company into not doing that. When the medical insurer pre-approved our shingles shots and then denied our claim, Deere stepped in with that too. Also, frankly, since our coverage was pretty good, I liked not having a choice. Life was simple. I didn’t have to think about it. It’s more annoying now that I’m on Medicare and have to make choices each year.

    It seems to me the issue in the US healthcare market is too many people grabbing for too much of the money. You have to regulate and chip away at that. There are probably multiple ways to do it. I’m one of the lucky ones at the moment, so I feel like people in a less happy position should get to say what’s wrong and what they want changed, and then it’s my job to support them.

  70. 70
    Kay says:


    If I had done health care I would have based it on community health centers and then an add-on policy for extended or specialized care. I also would have been a one-term President, but it would be worth it! :)

  71. 71
    gene108 says:


    How the fuck is it Perez’s fault that one person is polling well enough to get into the debate and another isn’t?

    What I learned in 2016 is that the DNC is the single most powerful entity in the universe. They can rig elections, cherry pick the winners, and bend space-time to their will causing the fabric of reality to go for a toss, and leave us in our current time line.

  72. 72
    Kay says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    He’s…not responsive. It’s like if you asked him if it was raining out and he told you his car got great mileage.

    Also, the sappy sentimentality about the “good old days”- yuck. Just not my thing. Nostalgia will be the death of us all.

  73. 73
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Dorothy A. Winsor: yes, both. Fox hates Obamacare. And we all know Rupert Murdoch is our real President.

  74. 74
    Soprano2 says:

    I’m done with people whining that they didn’t make the debate because they didn’t meet the criteria. You knew the rules going in, buster. Being a “red state governor” doesn’t mean you automatically qualify. Plus, doesn’t that “red” state also have a Democratic senator? Perhaps Montana isn’t as “red” as advertised.

    I don’t agree that these debates won’t matter, or that people won’t watch them. People will watch them, and the soundbites will get on social media and cable TV, and if any are particularly good (or bad) they’ll be played and shared over and over again. It’s an opportunity for the lower-polling candidates to get some attention.

  75. 75
    Baud says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Again, not a Biden fan, but this message will resonate with non-rich people too IMHO.

    ETA: forgot to quote.

    “But the truth of the matter is, it’s all within our wheelhouse and nobody has to be punished. No one’s standard of living would change. Nothing would fundamentally change,” he said.”

  76. 76
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: poor squirrel. I’m glad they were able to release it, I thought they would have to euthanize it.

  77. 77
    gvg says:

    @Chief Oshkosh: It apparently depends on the employer and the insurance. I was very healthy for years and paid premiums on an insurance with a good reputation, Avmed. I wondered all along if it would actually be any good. Then I had surprise cancer, a fairly serious one. I had no insurance problems and my total costs were too low to bother deducting instead of standard tax deduction, even though I had had some high dental out of pocket before the cancer the same year. My surgery that started it off was $200 and I had a LOT of specialist copays of $40, but it still didn’t add up to a serious amount.
    As for change being risky, my employer no longer offers Avmed and that bothers me. The alternative I picked has a rep just slightly less good, still far above average. I am lucky. Everyone should have the same chances I did. At an earlier time of my life, I think I would have died instead.

  78. 78
    MomSense says:


    Sanders didn’t and still doesn’t know WTF he is talking bad about on all his major policy ideas. Back in 2016 he used Medicare for all and single payer almost interchangeably. He described it as everything would be covered with no co-pays or out of pocket costs. At the time I used to ask why he wasn’t calling for Medicaid for all which would be a much simpler construct and easier to expand. Here’s the thing that has been completely overlooked by the media. Sanders has always appealed to a more affluent base of Democratic voters. Medicaid sounds like poor people insurance. Free college for all was appealing to that group, too. Hey what about all the young people who still wouldn’t be enrolled in college if it were free? Most of the kids I talked to didn’t get that their private college or university wouldn’t be free. It really meant free public university. The issues are more complicated than he can sell. He benefits from confusion about the details among his supporters.

    I’m just sick of it. At this point I don’t even care what we end up with as long as I have a little predictability. I changed jobs for health care and now my employee provides insurance costs much more than my ACA insurance. The deductible is lower than the later ACA after GOP Fuckery but the same as the first two years of ACA at about 2.5 times the monthly premium cost of early ACA. My contribution is more than $1,000 a month and I do not earn more now. I have less money for other expenses now. I did it so I could count on health insurance without the constant stress of worrying if the GOP or the court’s would take it away. Did I make a good decision? I don’t know.

    I’m pissed in general about the way the primaries are being covered. I’m very frustrated that there is so little discussion of the actual job description of President. If we are going to continue to ignore the Senate then we shouldn’t bother asking any of the candidates about domestic policy preferences. Just ask them about foreign policy and what they are looking for in a Fed chairperson, judicial nominees and cabinet posts. The only candidate who routinely talks about making the Senate as big a priority as president is Harris. It doesn’t benefit some of the candidates to even hint at a world where McConnell is still majority leader because that removes any credibility their plans and candidacy may have.

    I’m a good soldier. I’ll make my calls for our nominee but I’m pretty fucking sick of the dishonesty at the heart of this ridiculous primary.

  79. 79
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Baud: I’m sure it will. “Keep America Great” too.

  80. 80
    Michael Cain says:

    A sitting governor stays home to deal with his state’s legislative session, including getting a budget done. Several (seven?) sitting US Senators have sufficient time to travel the country making dozens/hundreds of appearances, while the Senate has yet to approve even a budget resolution for the fiscal year that starts in 3.5 months. And we’re going to punish the governor?

    Myself, I would like to see Congress confined to Washington each year, and banned from television, from January until such time as they pass a budget.

  81. 81
    OzarkHillbilly says:


    That’s the calculation most employees make.

    Because they have no choice. Take a job, any job, as long as it provides health care. My wife had to make that calculation in accepting her new job. Less pay but closer to home and not only with health care but the company pays all of it. The ACA made it possible for her to be a little more choosy than she would have been w/o any insurance at all but in the end she took a position with a lot less pay.

  82. 82
    Baud says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Yeah. At least 40 percent. Probably a bit more.

  83. 83
    Baud says:

    @Michael Cain:

    We ain’t punishing jack shit.

  84. 84

    @Baud: My very thought (without the jack shit part).

  85. 85
    satby says:

    @Kay: there are lots of things that could reduce health care costs that are used in other countries. Starting with not letting the AMA dictate who can be a health provider laws.

  86. 86
    Ken says:

    @Michael Cain:

    I would like to see Congress confined

    Could have stopped there. However, since we’re thinking along those lines, can the room be one of the ones where the walls slowly close in?

  87. 87
    OzarkHillbilly says:


    make the physician the head of a health care “team”

    The only time I have seen “my doctor” in years has been when she came into my hospital room to tell me they wanted to transfer me to STL because they weren’t really equipped to keep me alive. I have seen a nurse/practitioner for all my health care (except when referred by her to a specialist) and been quite happy. I ripped my arm open on Monday and they worked me in for the stitches so I could avoid the ER costs.

    A whole office of people living in the real world who understand the real world needs of their patients and will go above and beyond to meet those needs.

    Eta started one comment and switched in mid stream, sorry Kay.

  88. 88
    Immanentize says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:
    Bad language is out, but public shaming of poor old Baud…?
    Tsk tsk. ;-)

  89. 89
    zhena gogolia says:


    David Leonhardt has a piece today arguing that Biden is doing the right thing politically.

  90. 90

    @Immanentize: I’m kind of prissy about bad language. I’m working on rehabilitating myself.

  91. 91
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: and my (fairly obscure, I realized) point is that we shouldn’t have to make these choices, but the current system forces us. And as long as it’s virtually the only thing available people will keep a vise-like grip on it, because the alternative is life threatening. Massive improvements are possible within the system now while moving to a saner, more fair one in the future; and incremental changes for the better help build the consensus to continue the change.

  92. 92
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    And our beloved 90-something Prime Minister, who not long ago disparaged the investigation for no apparent reason, will pretend that this press conference never happened, and that the years worth of investigative findings it lays out were pulled out of their asses by the Europeans on the team.

  93. 93
    kindness says:

    Perez was good on The Daily Show last night. He projected the party really well.

  94. 94
    Baud says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    I don’t know whether it is or not. I have just stopped assuming that my feelings are representative of the general public or even the general Democratic polity.

  95. 95
    Immanentize says:

    I chose a high deductible employer insurance this year from a very good and professional provider (Harvard/Pilgrim). But I only did that because my employer pays half my deductible into an HFA. This year, unforseen extras like Immp’s teeth have me already hitting the deductible for us both. Now, the insurance is paying for pretty much everything — very low co pays, especially on drugs, and a really good trusted system. Was it worth it dollar-wise? Who knows….

    The insurance was betting we wouldn’t meet the high deductible, we I guess were betting we would.

  96. 96
    Immanentize says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:
    I remember you saying that before, that’s why I gave you the virtual ribbing.

  97. 97
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gvg: When my youngest got a MRSA osteomyotis (infection of his femur) I had United Healthcare. I think everything cost me less than $1000, including the $60,000 worth of antibiotic of last resort. My wife’s last HC policy with her old employer was also UHC. A far far far cry from 20 years ago.

  98. 98
    MomSense says:


    I hear you on that.

  99. 99
    Betty Cracker says:

    @satby: I used to believe that about incremental change in healthcare. I don’t anymore. Perhaps it would be possible if 30-40% of our fellow citizens weren’t spiteful lunatics, but here we are. I think we’ll be stuck with the same failing system until a tipping point is reached and people who have the shitty, expensive coverage currently on offer for “lucky duckies” who have employer-based health insurance say fuck it, I’m ready to gamble on something better. I’m there now.

  100. 100
    JGabriel says:

    Josh Kraushaar via Anne Laurie @ Top:

    Oof: “The Democratic National Committee chairman is the face of presidential debate rules that will allow a meditation guru to take the stage next week while a red state Western governor watches on TV.”

    New Rule Suggestion for Democratic Debates: Candidates who have not held political office, a governmental job, or been in the military, will either not be allowed to participate in debates for the Presidency – as those prerequisites also serve as a minimal standard for the job itself, (cf. Donald Trump, who doesn’t meet any of them) – or should have to meet much higher polling, petition, and financial requirements than the rest of the candidates.

  101. 101
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @satby: It wasn’t at all obscure to me, I was just reaffirming it. :-)

  102. 102
    Immanentize says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    I think most employees are ready for something new — more stable — fewer complex choices, right now!

    But people are not ready to give up even the expensive stuff we now get for a wing and a prayer. Like MomSense said — until the public health Care is stable and accepted, people will take jobs they may not want for less pay (Ozark’s wife) or stay in jobs they would like to leave because of their health care.

  103. 103
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Immanentize: Everything is a gamble.

  104. 104
    Immanentize says:

    @Baud: @MomSense: me three

  105. 105
    Immanentize says:

    As rikyrah would say:
    No lie told.

  106. 106
    MomSense says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I’m with you on the frustration but the reason I stick with my preference for incremental change is because the Republicans will never ever ever ever stop trying to take away the rights and equities we win. If we do end up with single payer you can bet it all that the GOP will fight with everything they have to keep Hyde, to fight contraceptive coverage, to fight everything to do with transitioning, and abortion. The only reason they haven’t been able to completely destroy the ACA is because it was the most conservative way to achieve near universal access to health care. David Anderson did a post way back when that showed that with full expansion of Medicaid we would have been in the range of 5% of the population going without insurance which is apparently the non participation rate in countries with single payer.

  107. 107

    @JGabriel: what’s so damn special about the military?

  108. 108
  109. 109
    Kay says:


    We have dental insurance (which we use way more than health insurance) and I just switched dentists after 25 years with one because he kept raising prices. It’s a wildly successful practice and he is now charging twice what I consider the going rate.

    They’re good but they’re not that good. I’m going over to a Michigan dentist. I don’t need a gold-plated dentist who is constantly trying to sell me things- straightening, whitening, all kinds of shit. They’re spending 5 minutes out of every 40 selling me things. I don’t know what this is, but it isn’t “health care”.

  110. 110

    @Major Major Major Major: Its a profession that bestows an automatic cloak of nobility on you.

  111. 111

    I’m trying not to beat on Biden because he may be our nominee, but apparently he told his audience of big donors that his tax plan wouldn’t pain them too much and said “No one’s standard of living would change.”

    If you’re talking about people with incomes in the multiple millions per year, you’re not talking about a standard of living. They don’t use that money to live.

  112. 112
    raven says:

    @Major Major Major Major: What’s so dam special about any of those requirements?

  113. 113
    raven says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Oh bullshit, come down off your high horse for a minute.

  114. 114

    @raven: What high horse. Everyone speaks in hushed tones and with respect about anyone who has served in the military. I am not saying its right or wrong. It just is.
    We are not that different from the Roman Empire or any other militaristic society, it would seem.
    I will give you one example. Dan Crenshaw (R) spouts gibberish all the time but is treated with kid gloves by the media because he is a veteran.

  115. 115
    Amir Khalid says:


    Candidates who have not held political office, a governmental job, or been in the military, will either not be allowed to participate in debates for the Presidency – as those prerequisites also serve as a minimal standard for the job itself, (cf. Donald Trump, who doesn’t meet any of them) – or should have to meet much higher polling, petition, and financial requirements than the rest of the candidates.

    None of your suggested criteria is a Constitutional requirement to run for president. A person could meet one or more of them and still prove to be a poor candidate. Or meet none of them and (in theory, at least) still be a good candidate. It could be argued that you are proposing discrimination against perfectly eligible candidates.

  116. 116
    germy says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    That headline reads like a really dark version of The Onion.

    Reductress is a very sharp satire site created and written by women.

    So many male comedians in the ’70s and ’80s always yelled “Women just aren’t funny!”
    And they were wrong.

  117. 117
    MomSense says:


    Far more veterans are suffering, committing suicide, and living with pain. Republicans all spout nonsense and get treated far better than they deserve.

  118. 118
    Betty Cracker says:


    But people are not ready to give up even the expensive stuff we now get for a wing and a prayer.

    True for some, and true for me until fairly recently, but no more. This is what I mean by a tipping point. We’re not there collectively yet, but I think we’re moving in that direction as employer-based insurance gets shittier and more expensive and the entire system breaks down on critical issues like access to insulin. Maybe I’m wrong. We’ll see.

  119. 119
    MomSense says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    Biden was basically the ambassador for Obama with all of the persuadable one true identity (White males and never ever to be confused with identity politics!1!1!1!1!!) that Obama was ok.

  120. 120
    Kathleen says:

    @satby: GM Satby! I want to marry your comment. In a platonic way of course

  121. 121

    @MomSense: True. The general worship of all things military including military service doesn’t transfer to the welfare of the individual soldier or veteran.
    ETA: FWIW I think its a way to dodge the guilt of not serving in the endless wars.

  122. 122
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    It could be argued that you are proposing discrimination against perfectly eligible candidates.

    We already do, that is the source of that whole discussion. We can’t agree where to draw the line.

  123. 123
    Kay says:


    Biden has to go up. Like Bernie. They can’t go down, they have to go up. They can’t start at 30 and go to 15. Bernie’s campaign knows it’s a problem, IMO. The idea is “more support” as people make comparisons and listen to them. Less is a problem because what changes the trajectory? Not more campaigning- more campaigning led to a loss of support. Bernie is now waiting for Warren to go down, which is not a good place to be.

    I’d rather be Harris or Beto than Biden or Bernie. They’re all potential.

  124. 124
    Kay says:


    The funniest part of Bernie is Bernie actually benefited from the “Clinton clears the field” phenom that they bitched so much about. Bernie is harmed by competition. They should change the DNC rules again. They benefited under the old scheme.

  125. 125
    satby says:

    @JGabriel: the only requirement should be that they meet the Constitutional requirements and be a member of the party prior to running.
    Non-members can go their independent, mavericky ways their own self.

  126. 126
    plato says:

    At least, brits drama of electing their leader lasts just over a month unlike the murkans’ eternal soap opera.

  127. 127

    @Kay: Agreed. Biden is better than BS but not by much. I don’t think he is the right man for this moment.
    Biden and the Dixiecrats who helped his career.

  128. 128
    Baud says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I have no idea what constitutes incremental change vs. something better.

  129. 129
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: Click the link & read the article. That’s exactly what it is: “No way we could raise the $400K for a lifetime of insulin, but we could crowdfund a really fabulous funeral for her!”

  130. 130
    plato says:

    Totus thug’s best pal.

    There is credible evidence that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other high-level officials are individually liable for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a UN expert says.

    A report by special rapporteur Agnes Callamard says the evidence merits further investigation by an independent and impartial international inquiry.

    Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by Saudi agents.

    Saudi authorities insist they were not acting on Prince Mohammed’s orders.

    The Gulf kingdom has put 11 unidentified people on trial behind closed doors for Khashoggi’s murder and is seeking the death penalty for five of them.

    However, Ms Callamard said the trial failed to meet international procedural and substantive standards, and called for it to be suspended.

  131. 131
    Immanentize says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    Balloon Juice doesn’t offer health insurance?

  132. 132
    satby says:

    @Betty Cracker: the risk in saying fuck it, tear it up and start over is that people are guaranteed to fall through the cracks. Guaranteed, and they’ll very likely to be people who had insurance before. The blowback on that would be deadly to liberal policies and not just in health care. Not to mention that whole potentially life threatening thing.
    Not an apologist for the current system at all, since about 1/2 of my adult life was spent without any health insurance, and therefore very little health care. We desperately need a better system, but we can’t start by making people feel less safe.

  133. 133
    rikyrah says:

    Another Trump W.H. vetting failure ends in scandal, resignation
    Rachel Maddow reports on the resignation of Donald Trump’s acting secretary of defense, Patrick Shanahan, and the disturbing trend of domestic violence-related scandals in the Trump White House as apparently no vetting is done of nominees to high level positions.

  134. 134

    @MomSense: You are totally right. The he-is-a-veteran halo only seems to help R politicians in the media. See the treatment of Kerry vs. McCain.

  135. 135
    satby says:

    @Kathleen: Good morning 🙋

  136. 136
    Wapiti says:

    @Amir Khalid: I think that some background and knowledge of public service – a government job, whether as a government employee, a member of the military, or an elected official, is a totally reasonable expectation of someone seeking to be President. We don’t need amateurs.

    The DNC isn’t limited to the Constitutional requirements; they can use poll numbers, or donor numbers to limit participation in their debates.

    In the end, I think the image-puffing amateurs will be out before the end of the year. But they confuse the process for their own ends here.

  137. 137
    rikyrah says:

    Trump vetting carelessness missed high level security risk
    Aaron Davis, investigative reporter for the Washington Post, talks with Rachel Maddow about the tragic family story that now-former Donald Trump acting secretary of defense, Patrick Shanahan had hoped to keep secret but still became public even as the White House failed to do vetting that would have discovered it.

  138. 138
    rikyrah says:

    Orlando Sentinel newspaper makes ‘not Trump’ anti-endorsement
    Rachel Maddow reads highlights from a scathing editorial in the Orlando Sentinel in which the paper explains that while it is not yet ready to make a 2020 presidential endorsement, it is more than ready to make an anti-endorsement: not Donald Trump.

  139. 139
    rikyrah says:

    ‘We have to do better’: Florida paper rejects Trump reelection
    Mike Lafferty, editorial page editor for the Orlando Sentinel, talks with Rachel Maddow about the paper’s decision to announce its opposition to Donald Trump’s reelection on the day Trump is holding a campaign “relaunch” rally in Orlando.

  140. 140
    rikyrah says:

    Trump leaves US weak with inability to fill administration spots
    Senator Chris Murphy talks with Rachel Maddow about his concerns about the Trump administration’s inability to permanently fill high level positions, including secretary of defense, which Trump now hopes to fill with a military industry lobbyist.

  141. 141
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Baud: Good point. Everyone would define “something better” differently, and incrementalism is inescapable to some degree to avoid complete chaos. Allowing people to buy into Medicare or Medicaid would be a species of incrementalism that could lead to something better, IMO. But maybe it has to start with a consensus that our current system is unsustainable and can’t be made sustainable by tinkering on the margins. I don’t know if we’re there yet.

  142. 142
    Wapiti says:

    @rikyrah: I wonder if Shanahan disclosed this matter in his background investigation or if he lied on his security clearance application.

    I wonder how many of the acting positions remain that way because the people filling them are tainted.

  143. 143
    laura says:

    @rikyrah: who’s crying, I’m Not Crying (I’m crying).

  144. 144
    Betty Cracker says:

    @satby: You’ve identified the rub. As you know from experience, there are already tens of millions of “losers” under the current system, and people are literally dying right now. But as long as this shitty kludge operates in at least a half-assed way for people with the type of jobs that provide benefits, we’ll limp along, paying twice as much for healthcare as any industrialized country and getting worse outcomes so the CEO of Aetna can have a yacht. The gig economy might finally knock the crutch out from under the whole rotten system. We’ll see.

  145. 145
    Immanentize says:


    I think that some background and knowledge of public service – a government job, whether as a government employee, a member of the military, or an elected official, is a totally reasonable expectation of someone seeking to be President. We don’t need amateurs.

    This doesn’t pass the scratch and sniff test….
    So, a professor at a State University but not at a private one?
    A parking violation officer but not a hydroelectric engineer working for a private utility?
    A one tour military enlistee but not a 10 years AIDs social worker in an inner city working for a non profit?

    None of those things you mention suggest on their own a better candidate.

  146. 146
    Immanentize says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    The ACA is working for millions of co-citizens. As is Medicaid expansion. And Medicare. Employer insurance is not the only game out there, thankfully.

  147. 147
  148. 148

    @Betty Cracker:

    the CEO of Aetna can have a yacht

    I believe the approved Balloon Juice phrase is “so the CEO of Aetna can have his hookers and blow”.

  149. 149
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Are you stuck on what to give poor poor Paulie for Xmas? I have the perfect gift for any person doing time:How to make salad dressing in prison: the hit survival guide written by an inmate

    When Carl Cattermole was released from prison, after serving a year of a two-and-a-half-year sentence for criminal damage, he was “confused and angry, but ready to turn everything I’d seen into a positive”. What he’d seen, inside London’s HMP Wormwood Scrubs and HMP Pentonville, was eye-opening. Prison was not the bloodbath that Hollywood had promised, nor the “Butlins for murderers and paedophiles” that the tabloid press had raged about. But it wasn’t as rehabilitative as earnest politicians had promised either. Instead, Cattermole found a system that was simultaneously underfunded and hugely expensive, that prioritised punishment over reform, and often doled this out through instances of banal cruelty – bad food, bad bureaucracy and incentive systems that pitted prisoners against each other.

    Upon his release in 2011, Cattermole wrote the guide he had needed inside. Advice such as: how to make salad dressing from tinned tuna and brown sauce. That the best paid job in prison is “biohazard” (cleaning up your fellow prisoners’ puke and blood). A reminder to cancel your standing orders for your phone or TV, so you don’t come out to debt. That claiming to be a bedwetter won’t get you a single cell as it once did – but hearing voices might. How to make “jail velcro”, a device made from a coat-hanger and a drawstring bag used to move objects between cells. That no one trades in cigarettes any more; it’s all toiletries and tinned fish now. The right forms to fill in to make a complaint against an officer. Or that, if you land the right Albanian cellmates, they might make you yoghurt from prison-issue milk. (“Google says this isn’t even possible,” says Cattermole, “but I saw it live and kicking.”)

    He called it Prison: A Survival Guide. Once written, Cattermole enlisted a cleaner friend to make 1,000 copies of the book (illegally) using a photocopier in a Canary Wharf bank while on the nightshift. After a while, emails began coming in, from people who had been given a copy, thanking him for helping them access services they hadn’t known existed, for making them feel less alone. Tory MP Priti Patel raged that the book made “a mockery of our criminal justice system and proves the government must reform our prisons and make them tough and unpleasant places”.

    Yeah, you just knew a conservative would come to the most idiotic possible conclusion.

  150. 150
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Immanentize: Good point, especially about current Medicare recipients. Whenever there’s talk about changing the system, the focus always seems to be on Medicare recipients who fear expanding the program will mean cutting their benefits and people who allegedly love their employer-based coverage and don’t want it to change.

  151. 151
    rikyrah says:


    More than $1bn worth of cocaine seized from ship at Philadelphia port

    Yeah, that wall woulda stopped it.

  152. 152
    Immanentize says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    The thing that torques me about the current system as a whole is that Medicare, Medicaid (and the ACA somewhat) have greatly reduced the risk pool for employer based insurance. The old, sick, disabled, poor, etc. Are at high health risk and the employer based companies don’t have to give a moment’s thought to how they will provide for that riskiest of risk pools. And still their product sucks!

  153. 153
    satby says:

    @Betty Cracker: @Immanentize: yeah, one of the kludges making this system better is the ACA, which has covered me since the year it went live. That plus employer based is keeping things going, and helping to break down the resistance to a broader fix. And that’s incremental improvement we can build on, as it was originally designed.
    So full circle to what @OzarkHillbilly: said 100 comments ago.

  154. 154
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Goes back way further. George McGovern was a genuine war hero, awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service during WWII.

  155. 155
    rikyrah says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I used to believe that about incremental change in healthcare. I don’t anymore. Perhaps it would be possible if 30-40% of our fellow citizens weren’t spiteful lunatics, but here we are.

    I definitely see where you’re coming from.

  156. 156
    Amir Khalid says:

    Now that you mention it, has Elizabeth Warren ever taught at a state university?

  157. 157
    Immanentize says:

    I still cannot believe the Trump administration wants war with Iran because of non-fatal ship criminal mischief regarding non-US property and non-US citizens.

    So much for not being the World’s (petty crimes) police force.

  158. 158
    Immanentize says:

    @Amir Khalid: Yes, University of Texas. But she also did that Senator thing🤠

  159. 159
    rikyrah says:


    David Anderson did a post way back when that showed that with full expansion of Medicaid we would have been in the range of 5% of the population going without insurance which is apparently the non participation rate in countries with single payer

    Obamacare was the first expansion of the American Social Safety Net that DID NOT HAVE IN ITS DESIGN, the exclusion of huge swaths of the American populace.

    It took the John Roberts Court to do that.

  160. 160
    Immanentize says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    So was Yusarian!

  161. 161
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Immanentize: BTW, on an earlier topic, Prague is a lovely city that, in summer, is tragically overrun with loud, drunk Brits. If you haven’t been there in a decade or two, prepare to be disappointed.

  162. 162
    Immanentize says:

    Just saying out loud what I think most days —
    I really like the comments and commenters here.* Thank you, folks for the thoughtful thinking.

    *Mostly. On most days.

  163. 163
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Immanentize: While cozying up to other regimes that murder our citizens.

  164. 164
    Amir Khalid says:

    That Senator thing? … Oh yeah, now I remember.

  165. 165
    rikyrah says:


    @rikyrah: I wonder if Shanahan disclosed this matter in his background investigation or if he lied on his security clearance application.

    some were slamming Maddow for being so specific about what the problems were with Shanahan.
    Her WHY would we ever have a SECRETARY OF DEFENSE that could be blackmailable!
    I was like, THANK YOU RACHEL for asking the damn question.

    These people have all this ridiculousness in their lives, and STILL think that they’re ‘ ENTITLED’ to a high government position.
    No, you’re not.
    I wanna know how the muthaphucka GOT A SECURITY CLEARANCE, because he wouldn’t have made it through the process in any previous Administration.
    And, then, marinate on that. I’m asking how the ACTING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE GOT A SECURITY CLEARANCE!

  166. 166
    Amir Khalid says:

    Thoughtful thinking is one of the better kinds of thinkng.

  167. 167
    Immanentize says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    I haven’t been there in two decades! Oh no!

    Can one still go off the beaten path and find a local Hostinec for a pivo? And I assume the nino is still adequately guarded by the nuns?

  168. 168
    Betty Cracker says:

    @satby: Glad it worked out for you. We’ll have to agree to disagree on the rest.

  169. 169
    OzarkHillbilly says:


    Thank you, folks for the thoughtful thinking.

    I will redouble my efforts to disabuse you of that notion.

  170. 170
    Amir Khalid says:


    I wanna know how the muthaphucka GOT A SECURITY CLEARANCE

    By order of POTUS, after the muthaphucka failed the vetting process — per Trump Administration SOP.

  171. 171
    ThresherK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I want to know, in England when he applies for an ordinary job, does he have to check a box saying whether he’s committed a felony?

    Because for regular people in the USA (especially over-policed poor Americans and PoC), that’s a thing.

  172. 172
    J R in WV says:


    (Jobs I did in the 1970s and ’80s literally don’t exist anymore. New technology erased them.)

    Former hot-type linotype operator here… only in printing museums can you even find a real linotype. They’re so complicated even a small print shop needed a real mechanic trained to work on a linotype. 700+ cam shafts control the V. complex machine. Imagine the timing issues if a cam slips!!

    The molten metal the cast the lines of type from was mostly lead, kept molten 24/7 — imagine the fumes! I only did it for a couple of years… wacky enough. Printers had a reputation for being crazy or drunk, the alcohol was self-treatment for the lead poisoning.

  173. 173
    The Moar You Know says:

    I think we’ll be stuck with the same failing system until a tipping point is reached and people who have the shitty, expensive coverage currently on offer for “lucky duckies” who have employer-based health insurance say fuck it, I’m ready to gamble on something better. I’m there now.

    @Betty Cracker: I’m there as well. I have UHC Gold insurance, PPO, and they refused to cover the ultrasound to determine if I had a blood clot in my leg. Which, it turns out, I had. That was $1400 right there. At an in-network provider, I might add. They refused to cover any of it. I’ve appealed it; I’m sure that’s going to do nothing.

    There is no point in me having health insurance if all they can do is knock down the cost of my $15/month in prescriptions down to $4. I can swing the $15.

  174. 174
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Immanentize: If you get on the metro and head out a bit you’ll be OK, even if you only go as far as Smichov. Stare Mesto is pretty awful, though.

  175. 175
    Immanentize says:

    Oh, I think you are working hard enough. :-)

    PS. Sorry about the arm. I’m so confused — was that the fault of the wired attack squirrel?

  176. 176
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @ThresherK: I have no idea about the UK but anyone who has ever applied for a job in the US knows that question.

  177. 177
    Immanentize says:

    @Gin & Tonic: last time I was there, I stayed in South Nusle. It was still fairly undeveloped. I want to go check it out now….

  178. 178
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Immanentize: I haven’t been to Alabama in a few years, so no squirrels involved. Just mud and a cattle panel I use for bean trellises.

  179. 179
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Top Trump Immigration Official May Not Have Been Legal Pick, Dems Say

    As TPM reported last week, the FVRA governs the vacancy-filling process at the top of executive branch agencies. While other rules govern the process in more detail from agency-to-agency, the FVRA lists three categories of people who can become “acting,” or temporary, agency heads when vacancies occur: the “first assistant,” a Senate-confirmed person in the executive branch or another agency official who’s served 90 days in the year prior to the vacancy.

    Cuccinelli fit none of those descriptions. But the current USCIS deputy director, Mark Koumans, was not asked to fill the vacancy in an acting capacity. Instead, USCIS’ parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, appears to have created a new title — “principal deputy director” — for Cuccinelli to fill, which would then qualify him as the “first assistant” to take control of the agency.

    The Democrats wrote Tuesday: “The creation of this new position appears to have had no purpose other than to facilitate the appointment of Mr. Cuccinelli over any of the individuals who were eligible under the law.”

    The move is “particularly troubling,” they said, given that it came after several Senate Republicans made clear that they would not vote to confirm Cuccinelli, a far-right flame-thrower unpopular in some establishment Republican circles.


    ETA I’m OK with summary execution too.

  180. 180
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Immanentize: I prefer the other side of the river, personally.

  181. 181
    Ruckus says:

    But, but taxes!
    Couldn’t pay for the insulin but could pay for her funeral.
    Them’s some fucked up priorities.

  182. 182
    Another Scott says:

    @Michael Cain: As you know, there’s a process for doing things in the Congress.

    Funding bills start in the House.

    GovExec from yesterday:

    The House this week moved closer to passing a sweeping collection of appropriations bills to fund federal agencies in fiscal 2020, the first such packages to set spending levels past September and measures that include an array of provisions affecting the federal workforce.

    The first “minibus” bill would set line-by-line appropriations for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Defense, State and Energy, as well as an array of other agencies and the legislative branch. Lawmakers have yet to reach an agreement to set overall spending levels by raising budget caps, something both parties are negotiating in consultation with the White House. Absent such an agreement, which is expected to include an increase to the nation’s borrowing limit, both defense and non-defense agencies would face a drastic cut of $125 billion combined.

    The bill received resistance from Republicans, as it reflected Democratic priorities. The House is expected to pass the spending measure this week. While it is likely to change after top-line spending levels are set and before receiving the support of a Republican-controlled Senate, the measure in its current form contains several provisions to boost hiring across federal agencies.


    Congressional Democrats said they have faced difficulties in negotiating a budget deal with the White House, accusing the administration of delaying progress to maximize its leverage. Trump has threatened to veto Democrats’ spending package, calling it full of unnecessary spending at domestic agencies. Democrats are intent on ensuring a near equal increase in the spending caps for defense and non-defense agencies, a goal the White House rejects despite acquiescing to the demand in a two-year budget deal Trump signed in 2017.

    Congressional leaders and the White House are slated to resume negotiations for a spending caps deal this week, with the administration tapping Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to head up the talks. The administration and congressional Republicans have yet to agree on their strategy going forward.


    The House is set to begin consideration of the second spending package on Wednesday. House Republicans have slowed progress on the appropriations bills to a crawl by demanding a roll call vote on each amendment, of which there are hundreds.

    There’s no need for every Senator to sit in DC while these things are going on.

    My $0.02.


  183. 183
    J R in WV says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    George McGovern was a genuine war hero, awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service during WWII.

    Jack Kennedy may have been a party animal in some ways — but anyone who took a plywood boat with aircraft engines — PT 109 — out against the Imperial Japanese Navy and its destroyer screen had all the bravery any war hero ever needed.

  184. 184
    J R in WV says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Now that you mention it, has Elizabeth Warren ever taught at a state university?

    Yes, UT Austin, then also elected to the US Senate!

  185. 185
    Another Scott says:

    @germy: Mrs. Betty Bowers, also too.


  186. 186
    M31 says:


    if that rage meth attack squirrel gets bitten by a radioactive spider, we’re in big trouble

  187. 187
    Another Scott says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Republicans play Calvinball. They don’t have any principles, except doing anything they can get away with to win elections and increase their power. Everything else is flexible. That’s the bottom line.

    Regarding their treatment of veterans, see Max Cleland.


  188. 188
    The Moar You Know says:

    Republicans play Calvinball. They don’t have any principles, except doing anything they can get away with to win elections and increase their power. Everything else is flexible. That’s the bottom line.

    What we’ve got in the US these days is a political party who has unilaterally decided that the rules – any rules – do not and will not apply to them, and every institution that should check such a decision, from the judiciary, to voters, to the media, basically saying “OK, that’s fine.” And that’s not a recent state of affairs, it harks back to the days of George HW Bush’s term. The only thing that’s changed since then is that they’ve gotten bolder, as voters continue to give them not only a pass but full support.

    Dems never pushed back when they could and now the time for that is over. It’s too fucking late. Either the voters fix this with a presidential AND Senate flip in 2020 or it doesn’t get fixed.

  189. 189
    Gravenstone says:

    @germy: A trifle late there guys. But hey, I’m sure they appreciated the thoughts and prayers after she passed.

  190. 190
    rikyrah says:


    Couldn’t pay for the insulin but could pay for her funeral.
    Them’s some fucked up priorities.

    Absolutely disgusting.

  191. 191
    Immanentize says:

    @Gin & Tonic: We will check it out! Thanks

  192. 192
    rikyrah says:


    Of course, it’s not legal.

  193. 193
    JR says:

    @Ruckus: I mean, it’s parody but we are rapidly approaching Poe’s law in all things

  194. 194
    Kelly says:


    I would be fine with a Medicaid buy-in

    In Oregon Medicaid, called the Oregon Health Plan is good insurance especially in rural areas where almost all providers accept it.

  195. 195
    VOR says:

    @eclare: US Women’s team scored more goals in the single game vs. Thailand than the Men’s team did in their last 3 World Cup appearances, combined for all games.

  196. 196
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Wapiti: If you don’t think that someone without the types of experience that you mention is qualified to be president, then vote accordingly. I can say that a lot of people who have the experiences you desire would be terrible presidents.

  197. 197
    SenyorDave says:

    @VOR: Strawman alert!
    Well than they must be better than the men’s team. And therefore the U15 Dallas boys team, which defeated the USWNT, must be the best team in the US.

  198. 198
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Gin & Tonic: @Immanentize:

    I take it U kocoura is a no-go zone these days. In 1975 it was paradise.

  199. 199
    japa21 says:

    @Another Scott:

    Regarding their treatment of veterans, see Max Cleland.

    Up to the mid 90’s, the GOP at least pretended to be a sane party. They kept the really far out people way back at the fringes. Like the weird uncle or aunt in the family, the radical right was kept hidden from the public while still being fed by the party itself.

    In 2000 that all changed, first with the campaign against McCain, particularly in South Carolina, then the SC decision, then after 9/11. At that time, the radical wing became the party. Yes the treatment of Cleland was despicable, but that could be looked at as an isolated case. What convinced me that the entire party was bonkers was the 2004 GOP convention with the band-aids mocking Kerry’s Purple Heart. That would have been unforgivable even 4 years earlier. But in 2004 not a single Republican spoke out against that not only juvenile but also disrespectful to all veterans behavior.

  200. 200
    japa21 says:

    @SenyorDave: Yeah, that was somewhat of a silly argument.

  201. 201
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @zhena gogolia: Mala Strana isn’t as bad, in terms of the tourists, as Stare Mesto. Wouldn’t call anything there a “no go zone,” just that heading a bit more off the beaten track might be better. That said, Baráčnická rychta in the next block over (uphill from the US Embassy) was still pretty authentic-seeming when I was there a few years ago.

  202. 202
    mrmoshpotato says:

    So the 2016 Presidential debates were 90 minutes between 2 candidates, 10 candidates means *mashes keypad* 450 minutes or 7 and a half hours.

    Wilmer’s wagging finger is going to get real tired.

  203. 203
  204. 204
    BlueGirlFromWyo says:

    @Kay: Before he retired, my father did this with Obamacare. He gave his staff a subsidy and they bought from the exchanges. He got to give them the benefit without a lot of hassle and employees got the choices oh so treasured by the GOP. Worked for everyone. Luckily, Dad retired before Trump became president*

  205. 205
    tokyokie says:

    @J R in WV: Linotype operators also tended to be nomadic, working at a place for a year or two, then moving elsewhere. I worked at the Daily Oklahoman back in 1977, as it was transitioning to cold type. (Live pages hot metal, advance pages cold type.) I believe by then the Oklahoman was the last big metro paper using hot metal, meaning it was the end of the line for all those guys. Something I thought about every time I went back there to request a change in a story on 1A. But those guys’ proficiency on those complicated machines left me awestruck. I could type about 60 words a minute, and those guys, working on a keyboard with like three times as many keys, could set type at least twice as fast as that, and without any errors.

  206. 206
    John fremont says:

    @Wapiti: I agree with your opinion on this. While the Constitution sets eligibility requirements for who can apply to be President , it also lays the duties of the office :Public works administration, federal law enforcement, diplomacy, commander in chief of the armed forces and associated intelligence agencies, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect candidates to have experience and expertise in some of these areas to show they are qualified to serve in the office and get my vote.

  207. 207
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    On a December 20 mission against the Škoda Works at Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, McGovern’s plane had one engine out and another in flames after being hit by flak. Unable to return to Italy, McGovern flew to a British airfield on Vis, a small island in the Adriatic Sea off the Yugoslav coast that was controlled by Josip Broz Tito’s Partisans. The short field, normally used by small fighter planes, was so unforgiving to four-engined aircraft that many of the bomber crews who tried to make emergency landings there perished. But McGovern successfully landed, saving his crew, a feat for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

    Distinguished, even inspired flying, indeed. Thrashed by Tricky Dick, who flew a desk during the war & (as I used to put it in those days) was the kind of Quaker who cheats at poker.

  208. 208
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Immanentize: I get there once or twice a year – friends (honest-to-Bog Czechs) in the ‘burbs. Just came back 15 May. Ask one of the FPers for my e-mail addy & I’d be happy to advise & answer any questions.

  209. 209
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Cheap RT flights from the UK on Cryin Air or Sleazy Jet will do that to a city famous for the brew. I could steer you to a microbrewery a short walk from the penultimate northern stop on Metro line C where both the suds & the grub are good & the place probably saw its first native English speaker when I walked through the door. Or a small resto just off the Lucena pasaz just off Vaclavske namesti where the Brits never seem to hit.

  210. 210
    JGabriel says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    what’s so damn special about the military?

    Nothing in particular, but it represents service to the country in the same way as any other gov’t job. And, as far as I know, it’s the only experience in gov’t that Washington, Grant, and Eisenhower had before becoming president.

    Amir Khalid:

    None of your suggested criteria is a Constitutional requirement to run for president.

    I never said they were. I’m saying that experience in gov’t should be a minimal criteria for the Democratic Party to use in selecting it’s nominees for the highest governmental office in the country.

    Amir Khalid:

    It could be argued that you are proposing discrimination against perfectly eligible candidates.

    I am. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the Democratic Party to insist that the people debating each other to assume the job of governing the entire country in the Democratic Presidential Debates should at least have some experience in, y’know, government.

    I’m saying that having some experience working for the gov’t is, and/or should be, just as important a criteria as fundraising and polling to get into the official debates for the highest governmental job in the country. I’m shocked that anyone would think that’s unreasonable.


    the only requirement should be that they meet the Constitutional requirements and be a member of the party prior to running.

    You can’t be serious. The Democratic Party and debate sponsors already use polling and financial criteria to limit the number of debate participants. By the standard you’re proposing any and every registered Democrat in the country should be allowed on the debate stage, if they choose, whether or not they’ve even qualified for the ballot in a single state. That’s ridiculous.

    Just as it’s ridiculous that Marianne Wilson and Andrew Yang are permitted to participate as nominees in the Democratic Presidential Debates, despite neither of them having any experience in government at all.

    I’m not saying they can’t run for president, I’m just saying they shouldn’t be given a platform for a job interview for the most important political job in the country at the Democratic Debates – any more than I should or Joe Blow ranting at the corner bar.

  211. 211
    NotMax says:


    A different breed of purity pony. So noted.

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