Today is my last day at Rolling Stone. As of this week, I’m leaving to work for First Look Media, the new organization that’s already home to reporters like Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras.
It seems appropriate that Kevin Drum would ask what seems like an obvious question about the strange inability of Republican Affordable Care Act horror stories to hold water. If the GOP cannot find anyone who was actually hurt by the law, it does suggest that the law did not inconvenience very many people at all. Kevin is the guy who proposed Drum’s law, which holds that any argument relying on internet commenters to show how widespread a viewpoint is actually proves the reverse, and coined (well, blegged) the term ‘nutpicking’ to describe it.
Like Kevin I have to assume that Obamacare has some victims out there. Heck, a few of you have told stories about falling through the cracks. I guess that none of those people are talking to the GOP.
Kevin Drum has a good run-down of Scott Walker’s little scandal, where Walker’s staff people installed a separate router in his official office in Milwaukee when he was County Executive so they could exchange campaign email. Walker denied knowledge of this, but some recently released emails show he knew about it. He’s also had staff members go to jail for transferring money from a widows and orphans fund to the zoo, and a special prosecutor is looking into coordination between his recall campaign and big-money conservative groups.
What’s interesting about this lower-key version of the Christie scandal is that most of it didn’t need to happen. Walker could have separated his campaign staff from his County Exec staff. He didn’t need to hire a criminal slimeball–there are plenty of the non-criminal variety around. But he did, and in the end, even if he could overcome all of his other faults, this kind of Tricky Dick shit won’t fly in a national campaign. Scratch another one off the 2016 roster, because he just can’t suppress the little Nixon inside.
Dave Weigel, at Slate, with news of life among the Big Swinging Cons:
The run-up to CPAC, the annual conference of conservatives, is traditionally marked by a few weeks of what-it-means coverage… Story No. 2, from Beth Reinhard, is that the conference has reversed its policy on inviting gay Republican groups, after two years of sore feelings. CPAC will include “GOProud, the gay-rights group that was banned for the past few years amid noisy boycotts from critics and supporters,” after its new bosses cut a deal with the American Conservative Union.
Two former GOProud summer interns, Ross Hemminger and Matt Bechstein, took over last summer and sought to repair the bitterly frayed relationship. Under a compromise reached last week, they will attend the March 6-8 gathering as guests, without sponsorship or a booth. GOProud sees the lower-profile role as an important first step.
Hang on—as guests? This is an event that allows the John Birch Society to set up a booth, and GOProud still can’t?…
As Mr. Charles P. Pierce would say, I despair of the Rebranding.
Sad for the workers in Tennessee, but kind of a hilarious FU to a certain meddling pol:
Volkswagen’s top labor representative threatened on Wednesday to try to block further investments by the German carmaker in the southern United States if its workers there are not unionized.
Workers at VW’s factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, last Friday voted against representation by the United Auto Workers union (UAW), rejecting efforts by VW representatives to set up a German-style works council at the plant.
German workers enjoy considerable influence over company decisions under the legally enshrined “co-determination” principle which is anathema to many politicians in the U.S. who see organized labor as a threat to profits and job growth.
Chattanooga is VW’s only factory in the U.S. and one of the company’s few in the world without a works council.
“I can imagine fairly well that another VW factory in the United States, provided that one more should still be set up there, does not necessarily have to be assigned to the south again,” said Bernd Osterloh, head of VW’s works council.
“If co-determination isn’t guaranteed in the first place, we as workers will hardly be able to vote in favor” of potentially building another plant in the U.S. south, Osterloh, who is also on VW’s supervisory board, said.
Oops. Sorry guys. Senator Corker didn’t intentionally mislead you, I am sure.
The Arkansas Times reports that the Arkansas House of Representatives has failed to vote to accept federal funding for Medicaid expansion via the private option for Fiscal 2015.
The Arkansas House of Representatives voted 70-27 with one present to approve an appropriation bill to continue for a second year the private option version of Medicaid expansion provided by the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
That was five votes short of the number needed. It will be brought up again.
28% of the chamber did not vote to accept free money. They decided to throw 95,000 people off of Medicaid.
I’ll split the no block to an equal split of special crazification factor and general crazification factors.
(Drew Sheneman via GoComics.com)
Some potential midweek entertainment, per Robert Costa:
After weeks of tightly managed public appearances, embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will revive his extemporaneous side on Thursday, holding a town hall meeting in Middletown, N.J. But the public forum, Christie’s first such event since several of his advisers were implicated in a bridge-closing scandal, will probably be a low-key affair, with less of the swagger and made-for-YouTube confrontations that were once his political trademark.
The videos touting Christie’s accomplishments and Garden State grit, which have opened past town hall meetings, have been shelved by his advance team. So have the banners advertising the Republican governor’s slogans of the week. Happily tangling with teachers and Democratic critics, a favorite pastime for him during his first term, also isn’t part of the plan.
Instead, the thrust of the meeting will focus on the state’s recovery from Hurricane Sandy, the 2012 storm that severely damaged the state’s coastline. Christie will open his presentation by discussing the latest $1.4 billion installment of federal rebuilding funds, surrounded by members of his Cabinet who will manage those dollars…
You can’t buy love, according to the polls, but maybe Christie can negotiate some affection by pointing out how much he’s done for Jersey voters, those ingrates…
And here’s another story about Tom Steyer, this time from the Washington Post:
Climate activist and billionaire Tom Steyer, who hopes to funnel as much as $100 million into the 2014 elections, will tell Senate Democrats on Wednesday night that they can use opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline to bring voters over to their side this fall, according to one of his advisers.
Steyer is hosting a “Blue Green Council Dinner” fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee at his San Francisco home Wednesday.
He will share data from a poll he commissioned that shows Americans care whether the oil shipped through the pipeline will remain in the United States and the extent to which Chinese investors stand to gain from the project’s construction…
A slew of influential Senate Democrats will attend the session, including Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.) and Benjamin L. Cardin (Md.), according to a copy of the invitation obtained by The Washington Post. Three others who are up for reelection this year — Mark Udall (Colo.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.) — will also be there, the invitation says…
What else is on the agenda for the day?