Late Night Cheap Entertainment Open Thread: Southern Shade Is Thrown

Well, that was… counterproductive, would be my judgement. In case the comparison is as opaque for you as it was for me, the Washington Post explains “Tim Robbins’ Very Bad Take”:

… “After the Southern primaries,” he said, “you had called the election” — apparently referring to the media. “And who’s fooling who? Winning South Carolina in the Democratic primary is about as significant as winning Guam. No Democrat is going to win in the general election. Why do these victories have so much significance?”

This is a not-uncommon argument among supporters of Sanders. Yes, Hillary Clinton is winning. But she’s winning largely because she ran up big margins in Southern states. That, the argument goes, bodes poorly for the general, since those Southern states usually vote Republican.

This is a bad argument that borders on insulting.

First of all, South Carolina has a lot more people than Guam. Among the other bits of data one can point out about the 2016 Democratic primary is that Clinton has received far more votes than Sanders — 2.5 million more. Among those is a margin of about 175,000 more votes in the state of South Carolina, a margin that by itself is larger than the population of Guam…

As for the general election: Those of us who were paying attention in 2008 will remember that the same red-state critique was leveled at Barack Obama then. He was only really winning Southern states, Clinton’s supporters noted, which spelled doom for the general election… Read more



NC GOP “Bathroom Bill” Is A Steaming Load Of Crap

So North Carolina state Republican lawmakers called a special session of the General Assembly yesterday to stop Charlotte’s LGBTQ anti-discrimination law from going into effect on April 1, and it turns out it’s not just Charlotte’s ordinance they want to outlaw, but any real progressive change sought by cities and counties in the Tarheel State.

WBTV obtained a copy of the proposed bill, entitled “An Act to Provide for Single Sex Multiple Occupancy Bathroom and Changing Facilities in Schools and Public Agencies and to Create Statewide Consistency in Regulation of Employment and Public Accommodations,” Tuesday night.

The legislation requires that multi-occupancy bathrooms be limited to just one gender, using anatomy and birth certificates as a guide and applies to executive branch agencies controlled by the Governor as well as Council of State members and the UNC System.

A provision in the five-page bill allows school districts to use single occupancy bathrooms to make accommodations for students in special circumstances.

DOCUMENT: Click here to read the full bill

In addition to the provisions of the bill seeking to repeal the bathroom-related portions of Charlotte’s non discrimination ordinance, the bill also addresses several workplace issues.

The second part of the bill is referred to as the Wage and Hour Act. Under the act, local governments would be prohibited from setting their own local minimum wage.

The next section of the bill seeks to declare that the regulation of discriminatory practices in employment is an issue of statewide concern and, as such, must be left to the General Assembly.

Finally, the last section of the bill is referred to as the Equal Access to Public Accommodations Act, which places issues of public accommodation in the jurisdiction of the General Assembly.

So in addition to killing Charlotte’s anti-discrimination law, with this stupid bigoted bathroom bill, the NC GOP is looking to undo all local anti-discrimination, minimum wage, labor protection and equal physical access laws. because smaller, more responsive government, right?

Which just proves again that Republicans don’t care about government that works, they care about government that punishes those people whenever possible so that they become somebody else’s problem.  The best part?  It’s a combination of “bathroom bill”, home rule elimination, and “workplace protection” bill all rolled into one steaming pile of toxic GOP diarrhea.

By the way, the bill passed the NC General Assembly overwhelmingly, 83-24, the NC Senate 32-0 (as all NC Senate Democrats walked out) and GOP Gov. Pat McCrory signed this travesty into law last night.  Total time on this legislation from start to finish: about 10 hours.

They had this ready to go, in order to steamroll any opposition to it and to prevent the kind of boycott backlash from building that Georgia is facing now over similar legislation.  Blindside the opposition and dare them to react.

It’ll be up to the courts now to get the ball rolling on this.

One big hurdle, which reportedly killed South Dakota’s bathroom bill: Banning trans students from using the school bathroom that comports to their gender identity could violate federal law, particularly Title IX. The Justice Department and Department of Education interpret the law not just to ban sex discrimination in federally funded schools, but also ban anti-trans discrimination. So by passing an anti-trans bathroom law, North Carolina could risk big federal funds for public schools.

And my home state is well on its way to a complete disaster.



Three ways in the House

Reading the Huffington Post, I saw this political bodice ripper and I still can’t figure out how to make the mechanics of the piece actually work in our shared reality:

Suddenly they realize, “holy shit, what if we could stop Donald Trump and keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House?”

So they run a moderate establishment Republican as a third-party candidate — 100 percent as a spoiler candidate. Worst case scenario oh, they prevent Donald Trump from winning the White House. Best case scenario they pull enough votes away from Hillary Clinton to prevent her from securing the necessary majority of 270 electoral votes.

Then the election goes to a House of Representatives ballot presided over Speaker Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s former running mate in 2012.

If neither candidate gets 270 electoral college votes, Congress picks the president. And he will be called President Mitt, the one who is laying the groundwork for this doomsday electoral scenario.

The basic theory is that a third party candidate who is Generic Republican Establishment (no not Pawlenty) would be able to do three things at the same time:

  • Insure that Trump does not get 270 electoral votes
  • win at least one electoral vote
  • Insure that Hillary Clinton does not get 270 electoral votes

In an alternative universe, that could work, but in this universe, I am having a hard time seeing how to actually make it work with a generic Republican running as a non-Trump alternative.

I think the first part is achievable.  However, the third party Republican spoiler is not needed.  Continual video playback of Trump’s speeches to non-Trump fans will isnure that.  If the Republican establishment decided it needed at least one electoral vote, it’s sock pocket could probably win Utah or a Congressional district in Nebraska.  Worse comes to worse, an elector could be a faithless elector.  I’ll concede the mechanics on this one.

The problem with this pre-emptive pants shitting is the third part.

Read more



And Now for Something Completely Different: Syrian Refugees Welcomed by Canadian Furries

Yes, you read that headline right. Given all the insanity we’ve been covering this weekend, I thought it would be good to post about something nice for a change. When the Vancouver, BC hotel that was hosting the annual VancouFur convention turned out to also be one of the temporary housing sites for Syrian refugees that have been admitted to Canada something really wonderful happened. The anthropomorphic animal reenactors reached out to the refugee children to welcome them to Canada.

CdC1r9RXEAA6IWY*

To quote one of the participants:

Mike Schmidt, who attended VancouFur wrote on Vancity Buzz: “One of the many highlights for me was when the new group of Syrian refugee children came in and got to interact with us. To them we were cartoons to come to life, to us [it] was a means to display our acting performance to a very appreciative audience.

CdADgviWEAAvDVg**

Click on over and see the videos and more pictures of the refugee children having a great time interacting with the furries (the first one is autoplay).

 

* Image found here.

** Image found here.



What’s the 1,000th worse case

Nate Silver is arguing on Twitter that the current Republican primary and the probably Trump nomination is the GOP party elite’s 997th worse case. He offers the 998th (Watergate Part Deux) and 999th(Aliens)…

what is the 1000th worse case scenario for the Republican elites?



Late Night Low-Hanging Fruit Open Thread

Blog-specific…

(In reference to one strand of conspiracy theory about Scalia’s death, of course.)

For old-persons-mocking-the-youths…

It’s nice they’ll have something to keep their hands busy, she said sweetly.



Sanders and the McArdle rules

One of McMegan’s famous fuck-ups was adding verifiable numbers to an argument and getting called on it:

Last week, during a Washington Post online chat, this exchange took place:

Anonymous: You said that medical innovation will be wiped out if we have a type of national health care, because European drug companies get 80% of their revenue from Americans. Where did you get this statistic?

Megan McArdle: It wasn’t a statistic–it was a hypothetical.

A number is not trusted if proffered by McMegan until it has been independently verified twice.  This is the McArdle Rule.

The Bernie Sanders campaign proposals are veering into McCardle Rule territory. In my one area of particular expertise, the healthcare plan by the Sanders’ campaign had an initial WTF mistake (via Vox)

Sanders assumes $324 billion more per year in prescription drug savings than Thorpe does. Thorpe argues that this is wildly implausible. “In 2014 private health plans paid a TOTAL of $132 billion on prescription drugs and nationally we spent $305 billion,” he writes in an email. “With their savings drug spending nationally would be negative.” (Emphasis mine.) The Sanders camp revised the number down to $241 billion when I pointed this out.

Then initial number to be saved from a sector was more than the entire sector.  The revised number after being called on the bullshit is only 79% of the entire sector’s current spending.  Is that a reasonable assumption?

On emptying out the prisons, Mark Kleiman a criminologist who is an expert on the inefficiencies of incarceration  looks at the promise and the mechanics:

Consider, for example, this from Bernie Sanders:

… at the end of my first term, we will not have more people in jail than any other country.

That’s a very specific promise, with a timeline attached. And it is a promise that no President has the power to fulfill…. (emphasis mine)

But of the 2.3 million people behind bars in this country, fewer than 10% are Federal prisoners. The rest are in state prisons and local jails. If the President were to release all of the Federal prisoners, we would still, as a country, have more prisoners than any other country. So Sen. Sanders was very specifically making a promise he has no way of keeping. Either he knows that or he does not.

And finally, the macro-econonomic impact of his plans will produce a growth rate that the US has not consistently seen since we introduced three massive new pools of labor to our economy (Boomers in general, women and minorities in particular) and benefited from a one time massive deepening of the human capital pool via the GI Bill:

We rightly mocked the Republican plans to declare a goal of 4% economic growth as Green Lanternism. 5.3% growth is also Green Lanternism.

These are three distinct policy areas.  The commonality is that goals expressed are very popular within the Democratic primary base or the general electorate and the numbers backing them are sloppy, slipshod and tilted so far that the “analysts” responsible for them are clinging to the edges hoping that they won’t fall off the ledge.

Once is a mistake, twice is a coincidence, but three times is deliberate policy.  As this point, I am assuming that any number excluding donation numbers are solely acting as priority signals and shields against the claim that the Sanders campaign has not done an analysis on their proposals.  It is a number that is doing numbery things, therefore it is a defense that the campaign has no numbers to put on their proposals.

And when the campaign is getting called on it by left/liberal wonks, their defense is to either go after the critic who is a usual ally or claim the number is a hypothetical and not a statistic.