CNN Debate Open Thread

I’ve done you all the courtesy of installing a camera in my living room so you can watch my reaction to the debates live.

Against my better judgment, I’ll probably be tweeting during this shitshow.



Just a reminder for Medicare

As the Democratic primary season actually starts to heat up anywhere other than in the households and computer screens of political junkies of the Democratic Party, here is a public service announcement:

Medicare is decent insurance but not great insurance. It’s actuarial value is roughly 84% on average, and there is no limit on total exposure of individual costs if a person runs up a million dollar claim. There are some odd limitations on benefits and services, and there are significant barriers to integrating non-medical services into the payment schema to reduce total medical spending while also improving quality of life.  Medicare is vastly superior to the next best alternative for a 77 year old but it is not an optimal insurance plan.

And now that I’ve thrown that hand grenade into the discussion, let’s also have a civil conversation of Mac vs. PC.

Open Thread








Hey- We Like to Eat Our Own, Too

Not helpful.

This was apparently a long event about social security and medicare. Sigh.



Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ

I got nothing:

A police officer in Alabama proposed murdering a black resident and creating bogus evidence to suggest the killing was in self-defence, the Guardian has learned.

Officer Troy Middlebrooks kept his job and continues to patrol Alexander City after authorities there paid the man $35,000 to avoid being publicly sued over the incident. Middlebrooks, a veteran of the US marines, said the man “needs a god damn bullet” and allegedly referred to him as “that nigger”, after becoming frustrated that the man was not punished more harshly over a prior run-in.

The payment was made to the black resident, Vincent Bias, after a secret recording of Middlebrooks’s remarks was played to the city’s police chiefs and the mayor. Elected city councillors said they were not consulted. A copy of the recording was obtained by the Guardian.

“This town is ridiculous,” Bias, 49, said in an interview. “The police here feel they can do what they want, and often they do.” Alexander City police chief Willie Robinson defended Middlebrooks. “He was just talking. He didn’t really mean that,” he said in an interview.

Bloody fucking hell.



Whitewashing And Lee University

While we’re all waiting on SCOTUS to gay marry all of us to various inanimate objects, here’s David Brooks pretzelicious defense of General Robert E. Lee, who yeah owned a bunch of slaves but you guys, it made him sad.

Like Lincoln he did not believe African-Americans were yet capable of equality. Unlike Lincoln he accepted the bondage of other human beings with bland complaisance. His wife inherited 196 slaves from her father. Her father’s will (somewhat impractically) said they were to be freed, but Lee didn’t free them.

Lee didn’t enjoy owning slaves, but he was considered a hard taskmaster and he did sell some, breaking up families. Moreover, he supported the institution of slavery as a pillar of Confederate life. He defended the right of Southerners to take their slaves to the Western territories. He fundamentally believed the existence of slavery was, at least for a time, God’s will.

Every generation has a duty to root out the stubborn weed of prejudice from the culture. We do that, in part, through expressions of admiration and disdain. Given our history, it seems right to aggressively go the extra mile to show that prejudice is simply unacceptable, no matter how fine a person might otherwise be.

My own view is that we should preserve most Confederate memorials out of respect for the common soldiers. We should keep Lee’s name on institutions that reflect postwar service, like Washington and Lee University, where he was president. But we should remove Lee’s name from most schools, roads and other institutions, where the name could be seen as acceptance of what he did and stood for during the war.

This is not about rewriting history. It’s about shaping the culture going forward.

So yes, he was a terrible awful traitor and fought to preserve slavery and stuff but he was a family man, so that’s probably okay.  There, I’m as solomonic as Bobo the wonder invertebrate here.  Robert E. Lee is just an historic version of Raymond “Red” Reddington fro The Blacklist, right?

I mean as far as Bobo columns go, this one is bordering on the coherent. But why in Jeebus’s name would you want to split hairs over this guy in particular as your “both sides did it” deep thought on the Civil War?

Somebody’s been watching Ken Burns to help his insomnia.



Highway to Hell

Kinda surprising this number was allowed to slip past the DOT millennialists: 

 
The highway casts travelers into a paradise rather than a lake of fire: 

 
But once the sun rises over the yardarm, it’s every bit as hot as hell.

Open thread!



Fast Track To Hell

The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is getting brutal on the left, and Out Of Damns To Give Mode(tm) President Obama is standing firm on getting fast track authority for it against his critics in the party.

“When people say that this trade deal is bad for working families, they don’t know what they’re talking about,” Obama said Thursday. “So I take that personally. My entire presidency has been about helping working families.”

“Some of these folks are friends of mine. I love them to death. But in the same way that when I was arguing for health care reform I asked people to look at the facts – somebody comes up with a slogan like ‘death panel,’ doesn’t mean it’s true. Look at the facts. The same thing is true on this. Look at the facts. Don’t just throw a bunch of stuff out there and see if it sticks,” the president added.

And on Friday, Obama made a surprise appearance on a conference call with reporters and Labor Secretary Tom Perez. Obama took what seemed to be a shot at liberal lawmakers like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and progressive groups for “send[ing] e-mails out to their fundraising base that they’re working to stop a secret deal.” There’s “nothing secret” about the treaty, he said.

But his critics aren’t backing down either, in fact they are truly pissed off over this.

“Belittling progressives who represent the overwhelming majority of Americans in opposition to a trade deal written by corporations in secret is a return to the worst days of this White House,” said Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder Adam Green. “They are back to caving to corporate interests, forfeiting opportunities for greatness, and, in this case, costing millions of peoples their jobs and economic well being if successful.”

The most frustrating thing, as some liberals see it, is that the White House is spending huge political capital to pass a trade deal the base does not support, while not doing enough in their mind to support liberal priorities.

Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown called president’s priorities “maddening.” “I think if you could get my colleagues to be honest, on the Democratic side, with you – and I think you can mostly – they will say they’ve been talked to, approached, lobbied and maybe cajoled by more cabinet members on this issue than any issue since Barack Obama’s been president,” Brown told reporters Thursday. “That’s just sad.”

Dan Cantor, national director of the progressive group Working Families, said Obama is “wrong” on trade. “If Democrats ever wonder why some people think both parties are in the pocket of Wall Street, secretive trade deals like this are one are a big reason why,” he said.

And David Segal, who runs the Internet freedom group Demand Progress, which also opposed TPP, turned Obama’s comments on their head. ”It’s clearly Obama who doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to trade – just look at his disastrous Korea Free Trade Agreement, which he claimed would create 200,000-plus new American jobs but in just a few years has already cost us 60,000 and increased our trade deficit by billions,” Segal said.

All I see is a large, generally-round shaped arrangement of liberals opening fire towards the center and wondering why Republicans control the Senate,  31 Governor’s mansions, the largest House margin since the Gilded Age, and a bunch of state legislatures.

You know what, maybe this trade deal does suck, and maybe we learned nothing from NAFTA, and maybe it’s going to be terrible.  But after six years of being in the White House and actually getting us out of the black hole the Republicans put us in, I’m kind of willing to give the man the benefit of the doubt.  I mean if you’re a liberal, and you’re still having trust issues with him, to the point that you’re making comments about how “sad” he is, you might want to take a step back and ask yourself why you feel that way, and what that sounds like to other people.

Also if Sen. Brown’s comments are correct, that Democrats “will say they’ve been talked to, approached, lobbied and maybe cajoled by more cabinet members on this issue than any issue since Barack Obama’s been president” what happened to “we don’t know what’s in this trade deal because it’s a secret!” and stuff?

Whatever, fight it out downstairs in the comments.

[UPDATE] Well you certainly are doing that.  Quite a few of you are taking the notion that I would give Obama the benefit of the doubt very, very fucking personally, by the way.

I find that interesting.