Friday Morning Open Thread: Keep Insisting on the Truth

Apart from keeping all that in mind, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the week?



Late Evening Open Thread

To take us into the wee hours, and in memory of Senator Glenn’s passing, here’s CBS’s original footage of his launch from February 20, 1962.








Open Thread: No Bread for the Mobs, But Plenty of Circus

All together now: YOU DID THIS, REPUBLICANS!

Look at it this way: The B-roll when President-Asterisk is informed of the latest successful terrorist act on American soil will be much more eyeball-grabbing than that crappy ‘My Pet Goat’ footage…



We Have Appliances

The kitchen appliances were delivered today:

fridge

oven

The pictures were taken by dad, so don’t crap all over the photography.

We have a custom built hood that goes over the stove, and the counters come next week. It’s kind of nice seeing everything come together a little bit. I feel as if there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

If you look in the fridge photo, the box with the stop sign is my dishwasher. I’m 46 and I have never owned a gas oven or a dishwasher (one rental where I lived for three years had a dishwasher, but we never used it because there were three of us there and when we cooked we had so many dishes we had to do them by hand anyway), so I am feeling very bourgeois. I’m told a dishwasher is a game changer.

At any rate, I am excited about a lot of little things. For example, the fridge has a water dispenser (something else I have never had), so now I no longer need to have a big Brita taking up half the top shelf. We’re going to go ahead and put an inline filter in the line to the fridge in the basement to save money on replacement filters. Also, the freezer is on the bottom, which means that no longer will I have food stuffs stored ankle high in the fridge that I forget about and pull out three weeks later looking like a biology project.

I’m also excited about the fact that my shower is going to have a door. No more shower curtains. No more mildew, no more getting in the shower in a hurry and not noticing that the liner is on the outside, showering, and looking out to find you have flooded the bathroom. No more treacherous steps OUT of the tub.

And a gas stove!!!!!!!

Oh, and walking around the house naked. I’m excited about that. Sorry for the visual.



Roger, Zero G, And I Feel Fine

174537main_glenn_john_hr

Oh, that view is tremendous!

Safe travels to the heavens, Senator Glenn:

The first American to orbit the Earth has died. John Glenn was the last surviving member of the original Mercury astronauts. He would later have a long political career as a U.S. senator, but that didn’t stop his pioneering ways.

Sigh.

Update to include this sweet photo h/t napolean:








Fuck You and Your “Democrats Have to End Identity Politics to Win” Bullshit

via GIPHY

If I read one fucking more thinkpiece, blog post, semi-literate tweet, or facebook forward blaming whatever the fuck “identity politics” is for Democrats losing the election I am going to lose completely and totally lose my shit and climb a fucking bell tower. I don’t even know what people mean when they say identity politics anymore. So let me ask you:

Is it identity politics when you cater to white supremacists, the Klan, and neo-nazis to win an election?

Is it identity politics when you say white lives matter or blue lives matter?

Is it identity politics when you cheer building a wall to keep out rapey Mexicans?

Is it identity politics when you intentionally close voting districts in minority areas to suppress the vote?

Is it identity politics when you pass bills saying you can legally discriminate against the LGBT community?

Is it identity politics when you threaten a cop for wearing a hijab or try to rip the hijab off people in public?

Is it identity politics when you call for a ban on Muslims and claim that a government list of Muslims is a good idea?

Is it identity politics when your healthcare bills do nothing for women’s health but hand out Viagra like skittles?

Is it identity politics when children of color are disciplined more frequently and severely than white schoolchildren?

Is it identity politics when your #1 priority is passing bills telling what women can and can’t do regarding their reproductive health decisions?

Is it identity politics when the justice system systematically incarcerates minorities or when cities set up nuisance policing policies in minority communities?

Is it identity politics to insist that everyone say Merry Christmas?

Is it identity politics when you cheer stop and frisk in minority communities?

Is it identity politics when you claim “coastal elites” aren’t real Americans and that the heartland is where the “real people” live?

Is it identity politics to pay women less than men (and women of color even less)?

Is it identity politics to totally lose your fucking shit over a black Santa Claus or a black Jedi or boycott Rogue One because WHO FUCKING KNOWS THESE PEOPLE ARE FUCKING NUTS?

***

No. Of course not. What you mean when you say “identity politics” is you mean all those groups you want to systematically oppress try to stand up and defend themselves and it hurts your feelings because you can’t have your way. In politics, it’s called COALITION BUILDING.

I left the GOP because of their identity politics. I couldn’t sleep at night being aligned with warmongerers, homophobes, christianists, climate deniers, flat earthers, racists, xenophobes, and every garden variety bigot under the sun. The Republicans are the real party of identity politics- it’s all about stroking the few, the white, the privileged, and that’s all they have. They don’t actually have policy proposals or ideas, unless “Fuck ’em let them starve,” “Fuck ’em they don’t need health care,” “Fuck it, let’s bomb them,” “Fuck it, let’s put them in jail,” “Fuck it, the bible says so,” or “Fuck it, let’s burn it all down” count as policies and ideas.

There’s also a fundamental difference in the reason for these two differing versions of “identity politics.” The Republican version is artificial, designed to maintain supremacy and the status quo and to keep the stranglehold of dominance over the evil “other.” Democratic identity politics is an organic emergence of the downtrodden and abused, gathering together to gain a voice and to stop the depredation, degradation, abuse, indignity, and physical, social, and economic violence being inflicted on them every single day. One identity serves to create and maintain injustice. The other identities are fighting the former. I know which group I am in.

So no. Democrats don’t need to massage the feelings of a bunch of racist dolts in Kansas who suffer from “economic anxiety” (pro-tip, morons- stop fucking voting for Brownback). Democrats need to embrace their identity politics, and they don’t need to cower, they need to be louder, and inyour face, and out there every single day fighting for what is right.

The end, motherfuckers.



Rest in Peace, Greg Lake

Rock-and-roll lost another one in this terrible year. Via the Beeb:

Greg Lake, who fronted both King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, has died aged 69.

One of the founding fathers of progressive rock, the British musician is known for songs including In the Court of the Crimson King and his solo hit I Believe in Father Christmas.

He died on Wednesday after “a long and stubborn battle with cancer”, said his manager.

The news comes nine months after Lake’s band-mate Keith Emerson died.

Keyboardist Emerson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, coroners in the US said.

Here’s a view of the audience attending Thanksgiving concert featuring King Crimson in 1969:

thanksgiving-1969

At the risk of triggering flashbacks for a certain attendee, here’s a soundtrack to go along with that photo:

Circle of life and all that, but 2016 is shaping up to be a banner year in Suck for all kinds of reasons.








Excellent Read: “On the Subject of Listening to the People of the Land”

I whole-heartedly endorse foundational progressive blogger Driftglass‘s response to the self-styled ‘Jacobins’ and their BothSides media enablers noisily calling for a return to the mythical utopia of the WWC Democrat:

In a former life, my span of responsibility was so weirdly far-flung that when people asked me what I did for a living, I would tell them that I was in charge of saving Illinois manufacturing. And while that’s a wee bit of an exaggeration, it is entirely fair to say that working on every aspect of saving Illinois manufacturing took up most of my time and energy and the time, energy and budget of my tiny staff.

So believe me when I tell that even though I was involuntarily retired from the field of battle, my antennae is still highly attuned to items in the news about the struggles of the Rust Belt economy: outsourcing, manufacturing, skills training, the need to retool high schools and community colleges and the various federal, state and local policies and initiatives designed to get at these large and complex problems.

This is why I can tell you that this idea that “better messaging” to the white working class is somehow the royal road back to political majorities for the Democratic party is nonsense. Sure, Democrats always need to work on speaking like mortal human beings… But messaging itself is not the problem. The media is the problem. And since, as the man said, the medium is the message, until we start taking on the media as Public Enemy #1, we’re going to go right on losing…

1) For a variety if reasons, white working class Americans have been taking a pounding since the late 1970s. And for a different variety of reasons, a disturbingly high number number of white working class Americans keep voting for the people that fuck them over.

2) Judging by policy statements made, resources allocated, attention paid and political capitol spent, it’s quite likely that history will judge the Obama Administration to have been the most consistently pro-manufacturing administration since Eisenhower. In fact, outside of health care (and turkey pardons), I would wager a penny and a fiddle of gold that in the last eight years the Obama administration put more effort into promoting American manufacturing than into any other domestic policy priority.

3) If you are a member of the general public, unless you made an extra special effort to inform yourself, you are blissfully unaware of any of this.

4) If you are blissfully unaware of any of this, it is not because the Obama Administration failed to talk it up at every single opportunity, but because over the last eight years the American political media collectively decided that instead of boring-ass stories about what the Democratic party has been trying to do to improve the lives and futures of the working class Americans, what you needed to hear were lively fairy tales about Birth Certificates and Death Panels. Email servers and Benghaaaazi. A Republican rebranding scam called the “Tea Party”. Instead of stories about the Caucus Room Conspiracy and Republican sabotage and sedition, you needed to hear endlessly, plaintive cries from all the usual Beltway hacks about how Barack Obama was refusing to lead!

…[A]sk an “undecided” or an “independent” or an “I just hadda vote for Trump because…” friend if they remember any of this, and I guarantee you will get a squinty, faraway look as if they’re trying to recollect some obscure fact about the Wendish Crusade of 1147, which had been imparted to them by a forgettable history teacher 40 years ago. Sure, some of this might ring a tiny bell, but inside their heads what will be ringing a much louder bell — an iron bell the size of fucking Ceres which drowns out all your little, Liberal tintinnabulations — are years and year and years of the Very Serious People in Americas finest newspapers and cable teevee shows telling them over and over and over and over again that all of this shit is the fault of Both Sides, so by God why not vote for an “outsider” who will disrupt the Corrupt Duopoly!..

Go read the whole thing, and remember: Sharing is Caring!



So How’s That Trump Vote Working Out for You, Coal Miners?

No one could have predicted:

The Miners Protection Act to address health and pension benefits for coal miners and their families will not be included in a continuing resolution bill, according to a Tuesday announcement.

Congress said the bill, which would continue to fund the federal government, only has four months of funding for those retired miners and their widows.

Cecil Roberts, international president of the United Mine Workers of America, called the announcement “a slap in the face to all 22,000 of them who desperately need their health care next month, next year and for the rest of their lives.”

In a statement released Tuesday night, Roberts went on to say:

“The notion that Congress needs more time to consider this matter is absurd. This legislation has been before Congress for four years, has been through regular order in the Senate as was requested by the Majority Leader, and was passed by the Senate Finance Committee by an overwhelming margin in September. The time to pass the full Miners Protection Act is now,” Robert said.

I’m sure this will be a top priority under the regime of the carrot colored Caligula. ***EYEROLL***








Are You NorCal Folks Okay?

Just got a news alert saying there was a 6.8 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Northern California. Y’all okay?

Open thread.








Scenes from an Italian restaurant

There was a very interesting note in the excellent Washington Post piece about the Comet Ping Pong gunman:

An oddly disproportionate share of the tweets about Pizzagate appear to have come from, of all places, the Czech Republic, Cyprus and Vietnam, said Jonathan Albright, an assistant professor of media analytics at Elon University in North Carolina. In some cases, the most avid retweeters appeared to be bots, programs designed to amplify certain news and information.

“What bots are doing is really getting this thing trending on Twitter,” Albright said. “These bots are providing the online crowds that are providing legitimacy.”

Online, the more something is retweeted or otherwise shared, the more prominently it appears in social media and on sites that track “trending” news. As the bots joined ordinary Twitter users in pushing out Pizzagate-related rumors, the notion spread like wildfire. Who programmed the bots to focus on that topic remains unknown.

What a strange coalition of reg’lar folks and twitter bots the right-wing has become.








Thursday Morning Open Thread: Fight On

Most shared US tweet of 2016, per Buzzfeed.

If she can do it, so can we. Besides, what other option is there?

What’s on the agenda for the day?

***********

Remember Cole’s favorite candidate?

Useful reminders, from genuine reporters…

From ground zero of #Pizzagate:



Death spirals all around

We’re going to see how the Republican Party can create a death spiral in the individual market in sixty days or less. They have a few choices:

US Individual Market Policies

First Philip Klein in the Washington Examiner wants to create one the old fashion way:

In contrast, Republicans could immediately freeze enrollment — allowing those who already have insurance through Obamacare to continue receiving subsidies, but preventing new enrollees from receiving any (though they’d still be free to purchase insurance on their own if they aren’t seeking subsidies). The current open enrollment period for privately-administered insurance ends on Jan. 31, so that would be a natural cutoff point.

Do you know who is extremely likely to buy community rated, guaranteed issue insurance with a subsidy? People who are very sick.
Do you know who is extremely unlikely to buy community rated, guaranteed issue insurance without a subsidy? People who have reason to believe they are very healthy.

This proposal will get the individual insurance market to look like the individual markets from the mid-90s in the non-subsidized, non-mandated guarantee issue states. Super high premiums and very sick risk pools. And since insurers set their 2017 rates with the assumption that subsidies are available for Special Enrollment Members, they will lose a lot of money.

Means #2 is just pulling the Cost Sharing Reduction subsidies. Insurers will flee the market. The American Academy of Actuaries have their hair on fire as they look at the impact of Congress not funding Cost Sharing Reduction subsidies after January 20th.

Eliminating CSR reimbursements could also cause insurers to withdraw from the market Premiums for 2017 have been finalized, and they assume that CSR reimbursements will be made. Without those reimbursements, premiums would have been higher for all individual market enrollees. Regardless of whether CSR reimbursements are made to insurers, the ACA requires insurers to provide cost-sharing subsidies. If those reimbursements are not made, premiums will be too low to cover the costs of care. This creates the potential for insurer losses and solvency concerns. Due to contract provisions, insurers would be permitted to withdraw from the market if CSR reimbursements are not made.

Splitting the a Replacement Bill into discrete and seperate chunks will also death spiral the market:

The issue is the popular stuff (guarantee issue, no pre-existing conditions, community rating etc) will get 85 votes in the Senate and 400 in the House. The unpopular stuff (participation enforcement mechanism, definitions, subsidy attachment formulas) won’t get a majority as no one really wants to vote for either a mandate tax OR continuous enrollment criteria without being able to point to a lot of other good stuff enabled by the bad stuff.

So again we’ll get the mid-90s markets of guarantee issue, community rating for only very sick people.

The Urban Institute models out the impact of Repeal without immediate replacmement and it is ugly:

It is mostly a cost shift with massive extraneous suffering.

And that is where I think we’re heading.

So if you have an Exchange plan, I would try to get any problems that I was putting off on taking care of taken care of by January 31, 2017. After that the insurance markets will most likely be extremely chaotic and volatile with a decent tail risk of all carriers pulling all products in a number of states by early spring.



Early Morning Open Thread: Man-Baby Symbol of the Year

But you can’t say Time‘s choice is “not normal” — the magazine has always had a predilection for showy authoritarians…



Plutocrat Sics Thugs on Union Man

Just our future president, putting the “bully” in the bully pulpit:

img_1020

Jones’ offense was correctly pointing out that Cheeto Benito’s Carrier deal was less than advertised. So now Jones is getting death threats from unhinged Trump super fans. This asshole may get someone killed before he’s even sworn in.