Sports-Adjacent Open Thread: Has the Fourth Horseman Just Shown Up in Rio?

There will never be an Olympic Games that doesn’t involve some kind of unseemly political tradeoffs (like Russia’s anti-LGTB terrorism pre-Sochi) and unfortunate aftereffects (“Bombshell Report Details Elaborate State-Run Russian Doping Program During Sochi Olympics”). But the upcoming Summer Games in Rio have scored an especially depressing hat trick, as described in Foreign Policy:

Imagine trying to throw a giant party while going through an ugly divorce — and as disease-bearing mosquitoes swarm around your badly damaged house. That, essentially, is what Brazil is trying to do as it barrels toward this summer’s Olympic Games during an impeachment crisis and an as-yet uncontrolled Zika outbreak.

On Wednesday night, the Brazilian Senate voted to impeach President Dilma Rousseff. The political crisis that has rocked the country since Rousseff was first accused of manipulating government funds during her 2014 reelection campaign has only worsened the public health crisis caused by the explosive spread of a particularly dangerous strain of Zika virus…

And now, the Olympics could help a dangerous strain of Zika go global. [Amir] Attaran, who has served as an advisor to Brazil’s Ministry of Health, argued in the Harvard Public Health Review that Zika in Brazil is much more serious than previously acknowledged, and that allowing Rio to host the 2016 Olympics will speed up a global health crisis.

Rio has the highest number of probable Zika cases in the country, and the virus is more dangerous than previously thought — and not just for pregnant women, Attaran said.

“The effects on the adult nervous system are only beginning to be studied, but the preliminary findings are not good, and suggest that exposure to the virus is linked to Guillain-Barré disease, increasing the odds 60-fold,” he wrote.

In addition, new evidence seems to demonstrate both that Zika is clearly a cause of microcephaly, which shrinks babies’ brains, and that the virus can spread through sexual contact…
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Point And Laugh

Yes, the Democratic primary has entered its manic and ugly phase.  Yes, I’d dearly love to see Bernie show some sign he truly cares about getting either Democrat into the White House before any other ambition.  And damn-straight I’m ready to just make it all stop.

But it could be worse.  We could have to face this from one of our own candidates:

“It’s a wonderful, wonderful holiday for our friends in the Jewish community – the Passover,” Kasich told reporters after emerging from the matzah bakery, a box of the fresh-baked stuff in hand.

Yes, Jews are known to love The Passover, almost as much they love The Pre-Election Drop-By from vote-seeking politicians.

…Kasich then launched into a brief appraisal of the links between Passover and, um, the blood of Jesus Christ.

“The great link between the blood that was put above the lampposts” – er, you mean doorposts, governor — “the blood of the lamb, because Jesus Christ is known as the lamb of God. It’s his blood, we believe …” [forwarded by a valued BJ reader]

Putz doesn’t even begin to describe the schmendrick who would say such a thing.  Putz is too grand a word, to expansive.  Kasich is a schmeckel, a schtickl, a petseleh, someone of so little use as to be barely worth noticing.

'A_Fool's_Fool'_by_Thomas_Shields_Clarke

But oy gevalt, is this dumb!  I got two words for Kasich’s advance team:  blood libel.  There’s no bottom to the evil that comes from associating Jewish rituals with the blood of Jesus — and no limit to the stupid it takes to wander into such a thicket.  Ignorance is a pathetic excuse — to the point of being disqualifying (at least for any Jewish voter I know) in a would-be president.

It gets better, which is to say not so much worse as more bathetic.  Before hitting the matzoh bakery, Kasich tried to hang with some yeshiva bochers at a bookstore who told him that they were studying Talmud, specifically, the laws of the Sabbath.  Kasich’s comeback?

“You know who I like?” Kasich finally said. “Joseph. You guys like Joseph?”

Yeah, John.  Just like we enjoy the top ten commandments.

It is to laugh.  And to mutter a little blessing:

Thank the FSM this guy is their problem, not ours.

Image:  Thomas Shields, A Fool’s Foolc. 1887.



Not even hiding your disdain

The governor of Wyoming wants to expand Medicaid. Governor Mead (R-WY) has wanted to do that for a couple of years. The basic reason is that it is a combination of the right thing to do and it solves a lot of budgetary problems without any hard trade-offs. The Republican Legislature is opposed to Medicaid Expansion.  Instead they want to spend money on a study for Medicaid expansion alternatives.  This study is supposed to be fairly comprehensive:

Senate File 86 …. bill would require the Legislature’s Management Council to direct the design of a program providing medical assistance to people who cannot afford adequate health care.

That program would seek to …“shall seek to provide greater health status improvements than those provided by the Medicaid program,” according to the bill’s text.

The program also would coordinate with other public assistance programs with the aim of providing “incentive (for participants) to improve their earnings and economic status,” and would include a work requirement for those able to work.

SF 86 also stipulates the program shall consider the use of health savings accounts or similar accounts, and seek to “avoid spending monies that Wyoming does not have and … avoid the creation of any uncontrolled entitlement.”

The bill also stipulates Wyoming shall not seek approval from the federal government of any Medicaid expansion until the medical assistance program has been designed and reviewed by the Legislature.

It is a bill that freezes everything in place while a study is conducted.

This study is supposed to be looking at a lot of things.  It requires significant knowledge of the Wyoming legislative history, Wyoming social welfare policies, employment training policies, economic development policies and the Wyoming budgetary process.  This is a big scope of work.

And $20,000 is being provided for the entire study.

$20,000 is not even enough money to pay one graduate student a research stipend for a year.  $20,000 pays for a single policy analyst for a month or two of their time.  $20,000 pays for a single consultant for a month.  $20,000 is nothing.

The only way a “study” could be conducted for that amount of money is to give the money to a “research” group where their interns and junior fellows copy and paste articles into a Word document, a senior writer puts in the appropriate ideological language and hopefully has someone look at subject-verb agreement before sending it out the door.

This is pure disdain for the entire idea of society taking care of the working poor.



Procreating mischiefs for Cheney

The entire Cheney family should be kept out of any and all positions of power above that of Home Owners Association busybody.

Wyoming will not elect a Democratic representative, so the question is if and then how does a liberal blog play there to further the commonweal?

I am thinking of a Balloon Juice Super-PAC designed to troll the Republican primary base in Wyomoning. It would run ads saying that Liberal Boogeyman with San Fransisco or New York or Detroit values really looks forward to working with Ms. Cheney as she represents DC Values very well….

My wife has said that I can’t start that Super-PAC, but is anyone interested in a large scale trolling operation with an actual budget?



Open Thread: “The Common Clay of the New West…”

“…. you know — morons!”

Adam, bless the man, is doing serious, constructive updates on the Great Malheur Bird Sanctuary Loon Invasion. Which leaves me free to do what I’m best at — aggregating the bathos, cheap shots and snark. Has anyone else made note that “Malheur” is French for “misfortune”?…

Amanda Peacher’s a local reporter:

The prospect of hundreds of out-of-towners who openly carry firearms concerns some residents in Burns.

Fliers with the message “Militia go home” hang on signposts downtown.

Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward said he received death threat emails from people in other states after he told militia organizers he would not create a safe haven for the Hammonds to stay in Harney County.

“I haven’t slept a full night in close to two months now. I have a lot of anxiety,” he said. But Sheriff Ward wants to protect his county.

“What we’ve been threatened with here is civil unrest and the insinuations of armed rebellion,” said Sheriff Ward…

Even Bundy is unsure whether the protest is a good idea, and whether it’s proper for his family’s supporters to get involved. “I don’t quite understand how much they’re going to accomplish,” Bundy said. “I think of it this way: what business does the Bundy family have in Harney County, Oregon?”…

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Open Thread: Even Politico Is Beginning to Worry…

… because the Repubs are sailing On Beyond Crazy. Michael Grunwald, “senior staff writer for Politico Magazine and editor-at-large of the Agenda”:

After five Republican debates, most Americans know about Donald Trump’s provocative beliefs, like his desires to end birthright citizenship, stop Muslim immigration and kill families of suspected terrorists. Much less attention has been paid to Carly Fiorina’s conclusion that the minimum wage is unconstitutional, Mike Huckabee’s pledge to defy Supreme Court rulings he deems incompatible with God’s law, Rick Santorum’s claim that Islam is not protected by the First Amendment or Chris Christie’s threat to shoot down Russian planes and launch cyberattacks on Chinese leaders.

Those provocative beliefs, believe it or not, were also expressed during the five Republican debates. They were just overshadowed by the furor over Trump. It might be natural for an opposition party to sound bombastic during primary season, especially when its front-runner is blessed with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of bombast, but the debate transcripts read like a Democratic opposition researcher’s dream…

… I’ve watched all the debates as well as the undercards live, but when I reviewed the transcripts, I was amazed how many radical statements had slipped under my radar. Ted Cruz called for putting the United States back on the gold standard. Marco Rubio accused President Barack Obama of destroying the U.S. military. Huckabee said Bernie Madoff’s rip-offs weren’t as bad as what the government has done to people on Social Security and Medicare. Lindsey Graham said his administration would monitor all “Islamic websites,” not just jihadist ones. I had even forgotten Trump’s claim that vaccines caused autism in a 2-year-old girl he knew.

Vaccines do not cause autism. Goldbuggery is crackpot economics. The U.S. military is still by far the strongest in the world. And what the government has done to people on Social Security and Medicare is give them pensions and health care. But none of those statements drew any pushback from the other Republican candidates, or, for that matter, the media moderators. Neither did Ben Carson’s assertion that if the United States had set a goal of oil independence within a decade, moderate Arab states would have “turned over Osama bin Laden and anybody else you wanted on a silver platter within two weeks,” which is wackadoodle on multiple levels…

Democratic leaders have expressed glee about these nationally televised festivals of right-wing me-too-ism, but another way of thinking about them is as highly rated, mostly unrebutted advertisements for the notion that Obama is a disaster and America is in peril. So far, the Republicans have had more than 20 hours to tell the public that “the idea of America is slipping away,” that “we’re on a path to socialism,” that “America has been betrayed.” Nobody on the debate stage disagreed when, for example, Christie declared that Obama doesn’t respect the military or the police, or that Americans believed in a more prosperous future in January 2009 (when the economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month) until Obama “stole” that belief. You might not take Christie at his word that Obama is a “feckless weakling,” but when you hear it over and over, you might assume he must be missing at least some feck…

Ah yes, the cult of BothSides — all the GOP candidates are spinning lies and nutcase fantasies as loudly as they can, but it’s President Obama’s fault for not, I dunno, arranging to have the debate stage struck by a bolt of lightning. Grunwald ties up his jerimiad by complaining that “the Democrats are acting like they’ve lost their feck”, unlike the “confident… perhaps overconfident” Republicans. If our proud nation is destroyed at the hands of feral revanchists, at least the Politico lads will have their savvy takes to hug.



Open Thread: 80s Nostalgia Is the Absolute Worst

That would be like subscribing to one of those overpriced rent-your-own-cops “security services” to protect your house against termites.

Assuming that the security service was taking your money and giving it to a bunch of credentialed nitwits who were thisclose to perfecting nuclear-powered robocops with laser beams on their foreheads — which still wouldn’t protect you against termites, but hey, so kewl! Pewpewpew!!!

Somebody needs to tell George this isn’t the new “Star Wars” his teenage grandkids keep talking about, ‘mkay?
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Apart from Repub candidates being malign idiots, what’s on the agenda for the evening?