Open Thread: The Grift Dream Will Never Die!

It says something about the sheer inanity of this year’s Repub field that Little Prince Rand can’t even get point-and-mock traction with stuff like this. Not to mention (via) Audit the Ted, because “the Ted Crus” receives funds from “the Goldmaine Sox”:

“I even like his hair!”

Good news everybody – a punchable face may get punched

Open Thread: Would That It Were So Easy

Aaaand the Libertarian viewpoint, from Mr. Megan McArgleBargle…

…. because whatever happens among the wild things, he expects to come home to his comfy bed and find his supper waiting — still warm! (Between this & Cruz misunderstanding Green Eggs & Ham, maybe we should just keep Repubs away from the childens’ section entirely.)

Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

I Am No Better, and Neither Are You

The sad, sad talking points after the GOP voted to allow people on the no-fly zone to continue to buy guns, because freedumb:

The Wisconsin Republican said part of the discussion surrounding mental health legislation is who should and shouldn’t have access to guns, but he signaled that barring gun purchases by people on no-fly terror lists — as President Obama urged Wednesday — is not an option.

Ryan said government officials put people on such lists without any due legal process and so denying those listed the right to bear arms would violate their rights.

“People have due process rights in this country,” he said.

Rubio too:

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) says a majority of the people on the federal “no-fly list” do not belong there and therefore should not have their right to purchase firearms taken away.

“These are everyday Americans that have nothing to do with terrorism, they wind up on the no-fly list, there’s no due process or any way to get your name removed from it in a timely fashion, and now they’re having their Second Amendment rights being impeded upon,” Rubio said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

The GOP presidential hopeful said the lists are far from perfect and a poor measure of who should and should not have access to a gun.

“The majority of the people on the no-fly list are often times people that just basically have the same name as somebody else who doesn’t belong on the no-fly list,” he said. “Former Senator Ted Kennedy once said he was on a no-fly list. There are journalists on the no-fly list. There are others involved in the no-fly list that wind up there.”

My response:

THEN GET THEM OFF THE FUCKING LIST. Fer fuck’s sake, your ok with them staying on the list as long as it just fucks with their travel, but when it keeps them from buying a gun, well god damn, that can’t happen.

Fucking assholes.

I wish we had a constitutional right to not be gunned down by some sociopath with a gun. On the other hand, maybe this might finally motivate them to finally fix the damned list.

Correlation Is Apparently In The Opposite Galactic Quadrant From Causation

I’m relatively sure that a Five Thirty Eight piece on how Democrats are suppressing the vote by having off-year elections with the “advantage” of low turnout is the actual definition of peak data journalism.

Why do Democrats and Democratic-aligned groups prefer off-cycle elections? When school boards and other municipal offices are up for election at odd times, few run-of-the-mill voters show up at the polls, but voters with a particular interest in these elections — like city workers themselves — show up in full force. The low-turnout election allows their policy goals to dominate.

Anzia shows that off-cycle elections lead to higher salaries and better health and retirement benefits for teachers and public employees. Anzia studies these effects in many different ways. The simplest way is by looking at eight states that allow local governments to set their own election dates. She compares school districts that hold school board elections on-cycle and off-cycle within the same state. Controlling for factors that might make districts different from one another — like their population size, income, racial composition, partisan leanings and how urban or rural they are — Anzia found that the maximum base teacher salary is over 4 percent higher in districts with off-cycle elections.

Higher salaries and better benefits for municipal employees can be a good outcome. What is interesting is that this outcome is the result of a deliberate move to hold municipal elections at times when few voters are participating.

Proponents of the off-cycle strategy argue that local issues get drowned out when local elections are held concurrent with presidential or congressional elections. People who show up to vote in those big elections may not be equipped to weigh in on the local issues. Anzia quotes a Texas school official who defends off-cycle elections because they bring out “an educated voter … people who really care about the issues and who are passionate about their district.” In off-cycle elections, proponents claim, the electorate is a concentrated set of voters who are engaged in the local issues, which yields better results for the community.

For readers who are sympathetic to the perspective of the off-cycle election proponents (typically Democrats), it is worth noting that these are very much the same arguments that Republicans might make in favor of voting restrictions that make voting a little bit harder for the average American. Just like voter ID or voter-registration requirements, off-cycle elections impose a cost on political participation. The cost is evidently high, since very few people participate in local elections when they are held in odd-numbered years. Maybe the cost leads to a more enlightened electorate. Or maybe it is Democratic-sponsored voter suppression.

Even if you buy Eitan Hersh’s “gosh this is counter-intuitive!” Freakonomics argument here that low-turnout off-year local races favor Democrats (and not something far more reasonable like “larger urban centers tend to have more Democrats”), the act of comparing what Republicans are doing with actual voter suppression tactics now and over the last several decades to states that allow cities to vote in off-year races as equivalent to the point of making Democrats hypocrites over voter access is complete and utter nonsense.

This is because:

1) Democrats don’t pass laws specifically making it more difficult for people to vote by adding additional hurdles to make it more expensive for the voter to vote by imposing a photo ID requirement and then closing a bunch of DMV offices so those photo IDs are far more difficult to get.

2) “Having an election in an odd-numbered year” is not suppression. at most it’s an additional cost to a county elections board that is shared by all taxpayers and not just Republicans.

3) The Republican argument as to why photo ID voter laws are needed are based on junk science and are terrible because photo ID requirements wouldn’t have prevented the voter fraud Republicans keep complaining about that fuel these laws and…

4) Low-turnout elections favor Republicans and there’s reams and reams of data supporting that, which is why Republicans are trying to actively suppress urban Democratic party voters in the first goddamn place.

This whole idea is stupid on its face and serves only as High Broderism that hides the very real issue of Republican efforts to disenfranchise voters across the country.

Jesus hell, what an asshole.

PS, GO VOTE.  Frowny Bee wants you to vote.


Lying Until The Very End

Tomorrow Kentuckians hit the polls to see whether or not Matt Bevin will kick 400,000 plus people off Medicaid.

Bevin has lied the entire campaign about wanting to get rid of Medicaid expansion. It’s right here in his “Bevin Blueprint” for Kentucky. right there at the top of page 10.

I mean, I don’t know what else you can say about it.  He flat out says it “should be repealed”.  There’s nothing in there about any transition, any help for the 450,000 added to Medicaid under the expansion and the thousands more getting insurance through Kynect, he just closes Kynect and puts Kentucky on the federal health insurance exchange.  That’s his plan.

Nearly half a million people would lose their health insurance, point blank.  It’s in Bevin’s own position paper, guys.  It’s his stated policy, right there, verbatim.

Oh, and the rest of the Bevin Blueprint is a disaster: ending unions in the state, cutting thousands of state employee jobs, ending state pensions, shifting education dollars to private, charter and home schools and ending state education standards, and massive tax cuts for the rich and for businesses and expecting Laffer Curve unicorns to make up the lost revenue, just like in Kansas.

Oh, and he ends with refusing to enforce federal laws and regulations he doesn’t agree with. Nullification uber alles!

Time to vote, Kentuckians.  You’ve got a choice to make: Conway, or this recipe for economic and austerity disaster that will burn the state to the ground.

But don’t take my word for it.  Let John Oliver explain with the help of a pangolin.

Kynect Versus The Purple People Eaters

Speaking of state exchanges and the color purple (prose or otherwise) heading into the final weekend before Tuesday’s gubernatorial election here in Kentucky, just a gentle reminder of what’s at stake here should Republican Matt Bevin win over Democratic AG Jack Conway and Kynect and Medicaid expansion goes away for 450,000 Kentuckians.

Two years into Obamacare, clear regional patterns are emerging about who has health insurance in America and who still doesn’t.

The remaining uninsured are primarily in the South and the Southwest. They tend to be poor. They tend to live in Republican-leaning states. The rates of people without insurance in the Northeast and the upper Midwest have fallen into the single digits since the Affordable Care Act’s main provisions kicked in. But in many parts of the country, obtaining health insurance is still a problem for many Americans.

These trends emerged in an analysis we undertook with the help of two organizations that are closely monitoring the progress of the health law. Last year, we used similar data to show the the substantial effects Obamacare had on reducing the number of Americans without health insurance. This year, the same groups updated their estimates of where America’s uninsured live, and the change is a lot less drastic. States that were late to expand Medicaid, including Pennsylvania and Indiana, showed substantial reductions in their uninsured residents compared with last year. In other places, the changes have been more modest. In a few — like Mississippi — things appear to have gotten worse, with fewer people having health insurance this year than last.

A county-by-county map makes this even more clear:

Now that Indiana and Pennsylvania are on board with Medicaid expansion, it’s very clear that the red states in the South  (and Missouri) that are under GOP rule are in real trouble. Arkansas is the lone holdout as GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson hasn’t been able to kill it yet after inheriting it from his Democratic predecessor.

But you’d better believe that Matt Bevin will put Kentucky back into the nearly solid purple of the South if he wins in a few days.  He’s gone from wanting to scrap it totally to considering the same block grant expansion/private insurance hybrid mess that Hutchinson wants in Arkansas, but that would still kick hundreds of thousands of people off Medicaid onto private plans, and he still wants to scrap Kynect completely and force Kentucky to go to a federal exchange (again wasting millions of taxpayer dollars in the process) in order to get those plans, and at a far more expensive monthly premium level.

It’s a pretty clear choice on Tuesday, folks.