Posters For Your March For Our Lives Event

If you, like me, can’t think up a witty slogan for March for Our Lives, here are 89 of them that can be printed out directly or subjected to your own artistic treatment. Thanks to Action Together Zurich and Crooked Timber.

Here’s a link to find an event near you.

Update: Betty sent me a message from a reader:

A friend of mine is working to help create materials for the March 24th march for our lives and I was hoping you could post a link to the materials – It’s a price tag of $1.05 to represent the amount of money Marco Rubio think a Florida student’s life is worth, based on how much he has collected from the NRA and the number of students in Florida. They are trying to get kids around the country to wear these price tags to the march. Here’s the link to the tweet and materials. Thanks so much!

Are you going? For the more creative among us, what would you put on a sign? And open thread.

As the Stomach Churns Open Thread: Budget Drama Update

Politics: the science of who eats… and who gets eaten.

Given what Paul Ryan and his fellow Trump enablers have been shoveling out to the rest of us, they’re all gonna spend their next million or so reincarnations as dung beetles…

[C]ongressional Republicans were jolted Wednesday morning by phone calls from White House officials, who confided that President Trump was unhappy with the party’s nearly finalized spending deal.

Trump had been up since dawn, keeping an eye on cable-television programs and venting to friends and aides as snow blanketed the executive residence…

Allies of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) were alarmed, the people said, once again realizing that only Trump speaks for Trump.

They had been hammering out the details of the spending package with the White House’s legislative staff for weeks and were planning to give a brief update to the president in the afternoon, followed by final votes in both chambers later this week. The people familiar with the discussions were not authorized to speak publicly.

But as senior aides tried to sell Trump on the deal all week, he had hesitated to embrace it. In recent days, he has insisted to associates that congressional Republicans “owe” him more money for the wall since he has raised them millions for their reelection bids and signed the GOP-authored tax bill into law, according to one person close to Trump…

A White House official, meanwhile, said Trump loyalists who dislike Ryan and McConnell, such as Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), have only stoked Trump’s gut feeling that the spending deal is lacking. They also have told Trump that he will be criticized for such a large sum of spending…

Ryan arrived at the White House around lunchtime in his caravan of SUVs. Vice President Pence attended the meeting, as did senior aides to the attendees. McConnell joined by speakerphone.

Over the next 45 minutes, gathered together in the residence, they all made their pitch to Trump in support of the spending agreement, the people said. They argued that he was getting money for the border wall at a level the White House had been signaling was acceptable. They told him that he was also getting infrastructure funding — one of his priorities. They told him the significant tick up in funding for the military was included and politically popular. These were all arguments he had heard before, from his own senior aides…

Eventually, Trump sighed and said he’s fine with the bill — and the meeting soon ended, with Ryan ducking out into the snow. A reporter for NBC News snapped a blurry picture of the speaker being whisked off in the snow.

White House officials and congressional Republicans quickly moved to issue statements affirming Trump’s support, almost “wishing it into reality,” as one official said late Wednesday afternoon. In private conversations at the Capitol, aides shook their heads at another dramatic encounter with Trump, another time when he had nearly brought his party to the brink of a shutdown…

“Our” hero, the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver of Janesville. I’ve been working on this post for a good half-hour — has Donny Dollhands refudiated Pauly Blue Eyes yet?

CSRs are dead

The 2,200 page omnibus spending bill came out last night.

Cost Sharing Reduction subsidies are not in the bill.

I want to indulge in a little bit of unseemly bragging as this was the logical end result of terminating CSR after insurers had enough time to load the cost of CSR into the Silver premiums.

From May 2017:

This is a time limited threat. It is obviously a time limited threat for insurers have been stating that they are usually filing with the assumption that CSR will be paid for 2018, they reserve the right to refile under a variety of assumptions and attribution methods if CSR goes for 2018….Well capitalized insurers could survive longer and jack up their rates for 2018 with state support.

The CSR threat loses its ability to blow up the market by sometime in the fall.

From last August:

model of leverage is wrong.

Democrats have no reason to trade CSR funding for policies that they don’t prefer. Inaction gives them an incredible policy victory. Conservatives are the ones who need to make concessions to fully fun…
That is an incredible improvement over the ACA as plans will become more affordable to many more people as premiums and deductibles will decrease and the risk pool will get healthier as the value proposition gets better.

Since it is an incredible policy victory that will be cemented into place by inaction, giving it up for short term funding of a secondary set of subsidies would be counterproductive. …

And once the CSR funding was terminated last October, we looked at the new Best Alternative To No Agreement (BATNA) for CSR:

No agreement involving CSR is an acceptable outcome for Democrats. They could agree to outreach funding, catastrophic plans, waiver modifications and employer mandate changes and still be better off with that agreement than no agreement. Re-funding CSR is not a critical component of Democratic policy or political objectives over the long run.

The Democratic BATNA of doing nothing to CSR is an acceptable alternative. And since one party has an acceptable outcome of no deal, they have the leverage to restrict the changes in the deal.

And there was no deal on CSR.

On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

This weekday feature is for Juicers who are are on the road, traveling, or just want to share a little bit of their world via stories and pictures. So many of us rise each morning, eager for something beautiful, inspiring, amazing, subtle, of note, and our community delivers – a view into their world, whether they’re far away or close to home – pictures with a story, with context, with meaning, sometimes just beauty. By concentrating travel updates and tips here, it’s easier for all of us to keep up or find them later.

So please, speak up and share some of your adventures and travel news here, and submit your pictures using our speedy, secure form. You can submit up to 7 pictures at a time, with an overall description and one for each picture.

You can, of course, send an email with pictures if the form gives you trouble, or if you are trying to submit something special, like a zipped archive or a movie. If your pictures are already hosted online, then please email the links with your descriptions.

For each picture, it’s best to provide your commenter screenname, description, where it was taken, and date. It’s tough to keep everyone’s email address and screenname straight, so don’t assume that I remember it “from last time”. More and more, the first photo before the fold will be from a commenter, so making it easy to locate the screenname when I’ve found a compelling photo is crucial.

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!

Surprise – it’s not Friday, and yet….

Read more

Thursday Morning Open Thread: You Get Back What You Give

Yeah, after last night’s post, I pretty much hadda. Murphy the Trickster God is mighty and manifold, but ‘subtle’ is not among His primary characteristics.

But to keep it positive, here’s Robin Givhan, in the Washington Post, “Michelle Obama wanted to gain the public’s trust. So she started with a garden”:

The occasion was the opening evening of Leading Women Defined, a private gathering of supremely accomplished black women organized by Debra Lee and BET aimed at networking and uplift. The former first lady has made a number of appearances since last spring — mostly to audiences on the lucrative convention speaking circuit, with attendees numbering in the thousands. This was a far more intimate crowd, perhaps a hundred women. And as Obama spoke, they responded with knowing nods and understanding smiles and the occasional exhortation of support…

During the wide-ranging conversation, Mrs. Obama, wearing the Gucci map-print dress that was such a hit when she wore it on “Ellen” in 2016, looked back on her 2008 campaign learning curve and how she came to realize that her enthusiasm and passion could easily be turned into angry, scolding sound bites. “I couldn’t count on my husband’s campaign to protect me; I had to protect myself,” she said. “They were using me like I was a candidate and supporting me like I was a spouse.”

“I had to learn how to deliver a message,” she added, noting that often meant not being so passionate and speaking with an ever-present smile. And here the audience murmured understandingly, because they all knew what it means to be called angry when really you’re just emphatic…

Once in the East Wing, she spent a year sussing out the lay of the land, strategizing and readying herself to roll out her “Let’s Move” healthy living initiative. She also grappled with the public’s expectations and with her new role as “the spouse.” With two Ivy League degrees and a résumé that included executive positions in hospital and city management, she was dismayed that people seemed to question whether she could handle being first lady. “You’re shocked that I could do this job?” she said with a wry chuckle…

“The garden was a subversive act,” she said. “It was the carrot. You can’t go in with guns blazing until people trust you.” And there could be no reprimanding. No finger-wagging. Because she knew that her finger-wagging, a black woman’s finger-wagging, would be both amplified and resented.

So she gave herself a bit of advice: Put down your finger and pick up the garden hoe. “What’s more innocent than a garden?” Mrs. Obama said.

She spent a lot of time visiting D.C. public schools during her White House tenure, then followed up by inviting the students she had met to the White House. “The second touch or third touch is when they start believing it’s real,” she said. It’s when kids start to believe that what you’ve said matters and that they, in fact, matter.

Recently, her days have been taken up with her memoir, which will be published in the fall. “Becoming” aims to explore how her ordinary childhood prepared her to do extraordinary things — the power of the ordinary. It’s about her parents, Fraser and Marian Robinson, about growing into her role as first lady and continuing to evolve — and about refusing to place herself last, which is not just an act of self-love but is also a public, civic, political obligation…

Late Evening Open Thread: Floriduh! Man Hates Chickens

Where there bombs involved? Of course there were bombs involved!

TCPalm take it away:

FORT PIERCE — A man who crafted a bomb inside a whiskey bottle and blew it up in another man’s backyard was charged with a crime Wednesday, investigators said.

Scott Frederick Wegener, 55, of the 500 block of Wendell Road, was charged with possession or discharge of a destructive device.

An anonymous caller Wednesday warned Wegener had detonated an improvised explosive device and was threatening it again, according to Wegener’s arrest affidavit.

The caller said Wegener, nicknamed “Spider,” was in a dispute with someone over the theft of a BB gun and had offered to pay a friend to crawl under the man’s home to plant an IED.

Investigators from the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Pierce Police Department, FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, all responded to Wegener’s home Wednesday.

They didn’t find any bomb-making equipment there, only two empty Canadian Mist bottles in a red golf cart.

At a home in the 800 block of South Sixth Street, they found evidence of an explosion in the backyard. The homeowner, Wegener’s friend, said the incident happened Saturday.

“Wegener pulled up to (the) house on the golf cart. They began to hang out. Wegener said he was going to kill the chickens in (the) yard. Wegener went to his golf cart and retrieved a Canadian Mist bottle filled with black powder, sand and a green fuse,” according to the affidavit.

Investigators said Wegener lit the fuse and threw the IED into the backyard, where it exploded.

They recovered a 1-pound bag of explosive black powder, 8 feet of “cannon fuse” and a coffee cup filled with sand, which Wegener had left at the Sixth Street home, the affidavit said.

Wegener was charged by the Sheriff’s Office. He remained late Friday in the Indian River County Jail, with bail set at $30,000.

Stay frosty!

Open thread.

RWNJ “American Priveledge” Open Thread — Everybody JUMP!

Another reminder: We Democrats just have to work harder at organizing, because we lack that lemming instinct which makes astroturfing the GOP so easy and profitable. Political scientist David A. Hopkins, “Why The “Liberal Tea Party” Doesn’t Exist (And Why Some People Think It Does)”:

Matt Grossmann and I explained in Asymmetric Politics why the Democrats are much less vulnerable to ideological purification campaigns than Republicans are, and we summarized our argument in this piece for Vox Polyarchy. Part of the story is that the American left simply lacks much of the institutional infrastructure that promoted and sustained the Tea Party rebellion on the right, such as powerful ideologically-driven media sources, interest groups, and financial donors. (The number of politically active leftist billionaires is….not large.) But it’s also true that many Democratic voters simply don’t think of politics in ideological terms or prize doctrinal fidelity over other qualities—such as perceived electability, group identity, or ability to deliver concrete policy achievements—when making their choice of candidate.

So if there isn’t much evidence of a “liberal Tea Party,” why is anybody talking about it? One reason is that the assumption of party symmetry is deeply entrenched in the minds of many political observers, who expect any trends on one partisan side to inevitably appear in comparable form on the other. Another is the well-documented tendency of media coverage to frame stories in ways that emphasize conflict, or at least the possibility of conflict (“if it bleeds, it leads”)… A third is that Republicans, facing a poor electoral climate this year, have adopted the talking point that their fortunes will be salvaged by a raft of extremist opponents nominated by far-left Democratic primary electorates.

But there’s something else at work here as well. Purist leftism, to the extent it exists in America, is especially concentrated in the circles—metropolitan, professional, well-educated, highly internet-active—in which many media members themselves travel…

Put simply, the online left is not representative of the Democratic Party. Visitors to local Democratic caucus or committee meetings in most parts of America will find that the public employees, union officials, trial lawyers, nonprofit association administrators, and African-American church ladies who actually constitute the party’s activist backbone are, by and large, neither preoccupied with ideological purity nor in a state of rebellion against its current leadership. And though the election of Donald Trump has surely angered and energized the Democratic base, there’s no particular reason to think that anti-Trump sentiment will lead to an internal ideological transformation….

Which, again: This has been true of the Democratic Party, and its GOP counterpart, at least back to the days of Finley Peter Dunne ragging on the McKinley administration’s kleptocrats. Dems are better at compromising than at enforcing ‘party discipline’… which is why, among so many other reasons, we’re not Republicans!

Russiagate Racist Open Thread: Such A Joker, That Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III


“Lack of candor”, it’s a term of art… and he’s an artistic little bigot!

Nearly a year before Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired senior FBI official Andrew McCabe for what Sessions called a “lack of candor,” McCabe oversaw a federal criminal investigation into whether Sessions lacked candor when testifying before Congress about contacts with Russian operatives, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly accused Sessions of misleading them in congressional testimony and called on federal authorities to investigate, but McCabe’s previously-unreported decision to actually put the attorney general in the crosshairs of an FBI probe was an exceptional move.

One source told ABC News that Sessions was not aware of the investigation when he decided to fire McCabe last Friday less than 48 hours before McCabe, a former FBI deputy director, was due to retire from government and obtain a full pension, but an attorney representing Sessions declined to confirm that…

Two months ago, Sessions was interviewed by Mueller’s team, and the federal inquiry related to his candor during his confirmation process has since been shuttered, according to a lawyer representing Sessions.

“The Special Counsel’s office has informed me that after interviewing the attorney general and conducting additional investigation, the attorney general is not under investigation for false statements or perjury in his confirmation hearing testimony and related written submissions to Congress,” attorney Chuck Cooper told ABC News on Wednesday…

Always remember, children: It’s not a lie if you actually believe it…

Little Pocket Man

Is anyone even surprised?

If The Intercept’s reporting is accurate — and it sure seems to fit the Kushner-Trump propensity for blabbing intel and trying to curry favor with deep-pocketed authoritarians — we have just got to hose these odious grift-mavens out of the goddamned West Wing with all possible speed.

Exhibit A for Closed Primaries

I understand the arguments for and against open primaries. On the pro side, they allegedly bring new voters into the process, who could theoretically expand the base. Independents make up a growing portion of the electorate, and the parties need to appeal to them.

On the con side, why should parties allow non-members to pick their standard bearers? And don’t open primaries expose parties to ratfucks?

Well, the energized Democrats had a chance to shit-can a bad rep in Illinois yesterday: anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ, nepotism DINO Dan Lipinski. But thanks to Trump supporters voting in the Democratic primary, Lipinski will continue to not represent his Democratic constituents.

The punchline? The Trump supporters felt free to flock to the Democratic primary because a literal Nazi was running unopposed in the Republican primary. It’s a pretty convincing argument for closed primaries.

Such a Surprise

The Austin serial bomber was:

had outspoken conservative viewpoints on social issues

About the only thing missing is a problem with women or history of abusive behavior towards women, which will probably show up soon enough.

It’s almost like there is a pattern for these kinds of guys.

Begging Down Upon His Bended Knee

So, now it’s Sir Ringo. Do you think John would have relented in his republicanism and knelt for a knighthood? I think he might have kept the faith, but he was a pretty flaky dude.

I can think of some 200 odd princelings who need to be stripped of their title. And this here fund that’s split between all eventual Democratic nominees in House districts currently held by Republicans is just the man for the job.

Goal Thermometer

Soo-weeeeee Generous (Open Thread)

The Trump White House is as leaky as a rowboat constructed of colanders, window screen and Scotch tape. That’s entirely on the recalcitrant man-baby at the top, who delights in pitting aides and advisers against one another. Trump is like a sadistic child who fills a glass jar with dung beetles, wingless flies and fire ants and giggles maniacally while shaking the jar to encourage mortal combat.

So it’s not surprising that when Trump does something particularly bone-headed, like calling the Kremlin to squee over Putin’s sham reelection and failing to mention the recent use of a deadly nerve agent on the soil of our closest ally or the attack on our own elections, the disgruntled palace guard goes straight to their reporter pals — via The Post:

President Trump did not follow specific warnings from his national security advisers Tuesday when he congratulated Russian President Vladi­mir Putin on his reelection — including a section in his briefing materials in all-capital letters stating “DO NOT CONGRATULATE,” according to officials familiar with the call.

Trump also chose not to heed talking points from aides instructing him to condemn the recent poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain with a powerful nerve agent, a case that both the British and U.S. governments have blamed on Moscow.

The president’s conversation with Putin, which Trump described as a “very good call,” prompted fresh criticism of his muted tone toward one of the United States’ biggest geopolitical rivals amid the special counsel investigation into Russia’s election interference and the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russian officials.

Leave it to Lil’ Marco to identify the true outrage, though:

Other Republican tut-tutters fret that the “duplicity” Rubio decries will become the new normal, and how will you libturds like that, huh? Huh?!?

Of the many thousands of ways the Trump presidency is undermining American democracy and warping established norms, the prospect of future West Wing staff undermining future presidents through leaks on a Trumpian scale is close to the bottom of my list of worries, to be honest. Leaking to advance competing agendas has been an issue in every White House to some extent. But in this one unique instance, I expect norms to reassert themselves once the herd of possessed swine currently inhabiting the White House departs.

A quibble on Alexander-Collins

Jonathan Cohn at the Huffington Post has a good piece going over the bleached bones of the Alexander-Collins ACA bill. I agree with most of it and he does a really nice job of de-geeking the Silver Load work-around with CSR. But I have one major quibble and it is not a quibble with Jonathan, it is a quibble with the underlying analysis:

Many Republicans still aren’t willing to vote for any proposal that might appear to prop up Obamacare, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act, which they and many of their supporters would rather just repeal.

Objectively speaking, Alexander-Collins pulls money out of the ACA and decreases enrollment. Neither outcome is stabilizing.

Funding CSR and reinsurance makes non-subsidized buyers much better off at the cost of making subsidized buyers significantly worse off. The CBO estimates on net that more people will be uncovered if Alexander-Collins passed than under current policy and law.

I think that one of the big challenges to any stabilization bill that needed to be voted on after the CSRs were terminated last October and there was no mass exodus from the marketplaces by the insurers is that the reality on the ground changed. As I noted last August:

Democrats have no reason to trade CSR funding for policies that they don’t prefer. Inaction gives them an incredible policy victory. Conservatives are the ones who need to make concessions to fully fund CSR.

The Congressional Budget Office projects that most states will allow insurers over the long run to load the cost of their obligated but not reimbursed CSR obligations to only their Silver plans….
it is an incredible policy victory that will be cemented into place by inaction, giving it up for short term funding of a secondary set of subsidies would be counterproductive.

That is the reality that we are living in today. Silver loading was common for 2018 and will be even more common in 2019 as one of the few states that had no CSR response, Vermont, officially adopted Silver Switching going forward.

Anything that can get 60 votes in the Senate has to acknowledge the reality on the ground that Silver Loading and Silver Switching has changed the dynamic and added significant enrollment support to the law despite significant other headwinds.

Austin Update

The 24 year-old white man who is believed responsible for all the bombs in Austin blew himself up this morning as the police closed in. The link goes to the Austin Statesman’s coverage, which is quite good.