SotU Warmup Open Thread: Well-Aged Vegetables At the Ready


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I don’t intend to watch, but I’ll probably be scanning my favorite twitter feeds.

Let’s check in with a couple prominent professional ex-Repubs, shall we?

Jen Rubin, in the Washington Post, “Can we skip to the State of the Union response?”:

Trump’s State of the Union also suffers because he has become a bore — regurgitating the same points, incorporating no new ideas or information (for he is incapable of learning) and spouting the same know-nothingism. He is drearily predictable.

With near-certainty, Trump will utter repeatedly debunked lies, lots of them. He’ll talk about national unity but take no responsibility for the deep divisions he has caused nor for the racism and hatefulness he has exhibited. He’ll make a slew of unfounded foreign policy pronouncements attributing newfound (and nonexistent) respect in the world to his own brilliance. (He seems not to notice that he is the subject of international derision and an endless source of frustration to allies.)

At least with a teleprompter, he can avoid the kind of word salads — or as Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) calls them, “word vomit” — he tossed up in his interview with CBS’s Margaret Brennan….

Abrams can remind the country that we aren’t consigned in perpetuity to a president entirely lacking in intelligence, empathy and decency. About a year from now the presidential primary voting process begins. Voters will have a chance to find Trump’s replacement — someone new, interesting, grounded in reality, personally decent and inspirational. When we see the Trump vs. Abrams contrast on Tuesday, we’ll get a taste of what it might be like to have a president we can respect, maybe even admire. Abrams’s appearance should underscore that 2020 will be the ultimate change election.

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Expansive Target Open Thread: “… Executive Time!”


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It’s the Oval Office Occupancy version of “… The Aristocrats!”

Why it matters: This unusually voluminous leak gives us unprecedented visibility into how this president spends his days. The schedules, which cover nearly every working day since the midterms, show that Trump has spent around 60% of his scheduled time over the past 3 months in unstructured “Executive Time.”

– We’ve published every page of the leaked schedules in a piece that accompanies this item. To protect our source, we retyped the schedules in the same format that West Wing staff receives them….

Yeah, this is “news” only in the sense that the Very Serious Media Village Idiots have now decided it’s important to notice. I personally prefer Bess Levin’s take from back in October:

Back in January [2018], Axios obtained an inside look at Donald Trump’s schedule, revealing that the president of the United States was doing far less work than in the early days of his term, and demanding large blocks of “Executive Time,” a euphemism created by Chief of Staff John Kelly so that White House aides didn’t have to write dick around on Twitter and shout at the TV on official documents. Now, nine months later, Politico has revisited Trump’s schedule, and it turns out that the most powerful person in the world is somehow doing even less work every day than he was earlier this year. Moreover, when Trump does deign to do his job, it’s mostly in the form of signing ceremonies and shouting at aides to craft policy around something he saw on Fox & Friends
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Repub Stupidity Open Thread: ‘Policy Wonk’ Paul Ryan Exposed As Spineless Two-Bit Fraud

Everything Trump Touches Dies — including the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver’s totally undeserved reputation as a Bold Thinker with Leadership Credentials:



Monday Morning Open Thread: MLK Day



Pay Or Die

It turns out that some of the Sackler family were pressing hard to get more people addicted to the opioids Purdue Pharma was selling, even as they were trying to avoid media coverage for their drug connections and donating to museums, which should now be removing the Sackler name from their halls.

But that’s only secondarily what this post is about. It turns out that manufacturers of insulin, which many people need to stay alive, have been gaming the system to make things more profitable for them and much more inconvenient for patients and doctors. But what’s human suffering compared to profit, hey Ray Sackler?

The exorbitant prices confound patients and doctors alike since insulin is nearly a century old now. The pricing is all the more infuriating when one considers that the discoverers of insulin sold the patent for $1 each to ensure that the medication would be affordable. Today the three main manufacturers of insulin are facing a lawsuit accusing them of deceptive pricing schemes, but it could be years before this yields any changes.

There are several reasons that insulin is so expensive. It is a biologic drug, meaning that it’s produced in living cells, which is a difficult manufacturing process. The bigger issue, however, is that companies tweak their formulations so they can get new patents, instead of working to create cheaper generic versions. This keeps insulin firmly in brand-name territory, with prices to match.

This is why we need a different healthcare system. I’m not well enough informed to know whether it’s single payer or Medicare for All, or something else. But this profiting off human suffering has to end.

Open thread.