Looks like they started earlier today. It’s the day that Republican Senators tie themselves to Donald Trump’s corruption for the rest of time.
— Eleven Films (@Eleven_Films) February 5, 2020
I didn’t have the strength, so commentor Zhena Gogolia generously bricolaged this tribute:
As recounted by Maxwell King in his biography of Mister Rogers (The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers, Abrams, 2018), when Rogers was young and saw upsetting things happening in the world, his mother would tell him, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
We are all too prone to easy cynicism: “The Republican majority in the Senate will never convict and remove Trump, so why should I pay any attention to the impeachment hearings or trial?” Well, I did pay attention, and what I saw was deeply inspiring and hopeful. Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, and their Democratic colleagues, as well as the counsel for the Democrats on the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, Daniel Goldman and Barry Berke, did not get cynical, they did not give up or phone it in. They went to BATTLE for this country, day after day, and used everything in their arsenal: intelligence, hard work, and most of all, that unfashionable thing, patriotism. Despite the obstruction of the president and his allies, the Democrats proved Trump’s guilt so decisively that even the Republicans had to admit it. They were left with no fig leaf other than, “Yeah, he did it, but he’s giving us tax cuts so it’s okay.” They were left with no defense.
But although it was a team effort, it was Adam Schiff who carried the biggest burden, especially during the trial. He spoke for hours on end, often without looking at notes. (Compare Pam Bondi.)
Every time I tuned in, I expected to see him tired, or hoarse, or fuzzy. It never happened. Here are some highlights:
‘Give America a fair trial. She’s worth it,’ Schiff urges senators
Jefferson once said:
“I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its Constitution.”
Remove that anchor, and we are adrift.
But if we hold fast, if we put our faith in the truth,
This storm will pass. pic.twitter.com/mh0Ju6ZHZK
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) January 31, 2020
Jennifer Rubin has summarized:
…Along the way, House managers stripped the bark off phony Republican hawks who could find nothing wrong with extorting an ally in a hot war with Russia; decapitated “constitutional conservatives” who have become defenders of autocracy; and showed off some of their brightest stars, including Democratic Reps. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), Jason Crow (Colo.), Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) and Val Demings (Fla.).
History will treat them all well and take note that when truth and constitutional government were on the line they did their jobs in exemplary fashion. That is “winning” by any legitimate measure. And for that we can say, well done.
And I’ll let Jon Zal have the last word:
Excuse me, Mr. Schiff? You dropped this.
Goddamn American hero. pic.twitter.com/zFJvYaX4VL
— Jon Zal (@OfficialJonZal) January 30, 2020
Rep. Adam Schiff’s Closing Argument
On Monday, Boris Johnson’s communications people tried to exclude a few reporters from an official briefing. The rest of the reporters boycotted it.
Yesterday, Trump had an “off the record” pre-SOTU lunch reporters and anchors from the major news networks. CNN was excluded, though they’re normally invited. Of course, everyone else showed up.
Add yesterday’s lunch to reporters still traveling with Pompeo after he kicked an NPR reporter off his plane last week, and you’ll see that our press is even worse than Sky News, the Telegraph and the Sun, all of whom boycotted that London briefing. That’s a pretty damn low bar, but they’ve managed to crawl right under it.
Health Affairs has a new article by Griffith et al that looks at health insurance coverage changes from 2015-2017. It is what many expected:
Nationally, we estimated that uninsurance rates fell by 7.1 percentage points from 2013 to 2016 but rose by 1.2 points during 2017. Thus, roughly 17 percent of the adjusted change in coverage from the ACA’s early years had been reversed by the end of 2017.
Paul Shafer and I had estimated that the actions of the first ten days of the Trump Administration led to a loss of 24% to 30% of the expected last week enrollments on Healthcare.gov. Other research has shown a continual drop in the coverage rates since 2017. There is a large and growing literature on administrative burdens and frictions in both the Exchange space and the Medicaid space where people have to jump through more hoops to remain covered. The Exchanges have stabilized for subsidized enrollment but the non-subsidized enrollment has fallen off the cliff.
I wish I could find something else to write about, but I’m stuck on the Iowa fiasco. Even my usually even-tempered brother texted me last night, angry about how terrible Democrats look. So just look the other way if you are sick of it, because here goes.
Why the FUCK are we at 71% on a Wednesday morning? You realize that we’re counting fewer than 1,700 ballots in the end – the precincts do the tally there, certify it, and send it to the state party. The only artifact caucuses produce is this one piece of paper. Is somebody riding a greased pig to the party HQ carrying the last 30 precincts in a saddlebag?
Why the FUCK did they choose to release partial tallies? This will just encourage shit stirring between the pissed off campaign people. If you’re screwing the pooch, pulling out half way doesn’t make it less of a mistake.
When all this settles down, I think that the natural tendency is going to be something like “OK, Iowa, you shit the bed, but we’ll let you keep first in the nation if you do a primary.” I know some of you think that’s the wrong take, and I hope to hell you’re right, but there are a lot of very influential insiders who sell their “how to win in Iowa” knowledge, and they have a huge stake in the process. We can’t let a lot of hangers on defending their cushy Iowa sinecures run our nominating process.
There’s always going to be a horserace, but the Democrats need to be riding the ponies, not getting trampled by a stampede. Smart media would love a change up in the Presidential race, say, a half dozen “first in the nation” spots that rotate every four years. What an opportunity to have a fresh alternative for new eyeballs who are turned off by the the stale, repetitive insiders-only coverage that Iowa tends to generate. Unfortunately, smart media is not running political coverage at the big networks and papers. The political beat at those places is dominated by Cillizza-level intellects who, like a lot of stupid people, venerate dumb customs like fried Snickers bars and bacon-wrapped corn dogs at the Polk County pig judging contest.
In conclusion, fuck Trump and his pro wrestling SOTU, fuck the gutless Republicans in the Senate, and let’s go knock on doors and give til it hurts for our candidates. Open thread.
Note from a partisan: I’m gonna treat any votes Elizabeth Warren gets in New Hampshire like I would finding a forgotten twenty in a coat pocket — nice, but not something to base my budget on. There are pundits who should now better talking about a ‘favorite neighbor’ vote, but New Hampshire’s neighborly intentions towards Massachusetts resemble those of Rand Paul’s neighbor towards the Senator’s yardwork habits. The smart money in the Granite State primary has always been on Bernie Sanders, because he appeals to the Free State Project anarcholibertarians and the resentful MA expats who commute to their jobs in the ‘Peoples’ Republic’ (and complain about the sky-high NH property taxes that replace the state income tax). My real curiosity regarding the primary is whether Deval Patrick — who only got lured into the national race to kneecap any tiny chance Warren might have in NH — drops out after the votes are counted Wednesday, or if his pride will keep him limping along until Super Tuesday, where he can be embarrassed on his old stomping grounds.
Overheard at Warren’s town hall after she finished speaking, a voter on the phone: “I just feel so responsible,” she said, “I feel so responsible for my vote.”
A sentiment I’ve heard from a lot of voters in early states the past few weeks, especially
— Deepa Shivaram (@deepa_shivaram) February 4, 2020
About last night…
Welp, Pelosi just reached out to shake Trump's hand and he turned away. Pelosi visibly winced.
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) February 5, 2020
NANCY TORE UP HIS SPEECH pic.twitter.com/HCKq3D9waR
— Meena Harris (@meenaharris) February 5, 2020
Speaker Nancy Pelosi on why she ripped up President Trump’s speech: “Because it was the courteous thing to do considering the alternatives.” pic.twitter.com/nYTjAZAwGo
— Jason Donner (@jason_donner) February 5, 2020
Seems to me like Pelosi took a page out of Trump’s playbook and stole the spotlight away. No one’s talking about the speech now.
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) February 5, 2020
Honestly, Pelosi would have been justified in scrawling THIS IS BULLSHIT in Sharpie on the back of her copy of the speech and sticking it into the camera frame for the entirety of the speech.
— David Waldman-1, of Yorktown LLC™ (@KagroX) February 5, 2020
"They don't think we're real Americans, say as much every day, and work everywhere to make things worse for the voters who depend upon us to stop them from doing that. And guess what? We honor their passion and respect their opinion." https://t.co/UdkP7HUV2V
— David Roth (@david_j_roth) February 5, 2020
#2019nCoV: Latest numbers out from China.
Total cases 24, 324, up nearly 3900 from yesterday.
Deaths now 490, up another 65.
Globally there are another … 150? 200? cases in about 2 dozen countries. 2 deaths outside of mainland China. pic.twitter.com/BzH3x3R2vz
— Helen Branswell (@HelenBranswell) February 5, 2020
Notes from a couple of commentors in Asia:
Ninedragonspot – February 4, 2020 at 2:47 am
Coronavirus Update from the past couple of hours:
2800 medical workers in Hong Kong go on strike, demanding the government close the border with Mainland China.
Taizhou and parts of Hangzhou (c 9 million people) join Wenzhou and Ningbo on lockdown. Each family can send one member out every two days to collect supplies, everyone else has to stay home. These four cities have about 20 million people and are located in Zhejiang province, not Hubei. Will this happen to Shanghai?
Macau is closing its casinos for half a month.
Taiwan is refusing entry to all foreigners who have been in China for the past 14 days, except under special circumstances.
Raralex — February 4, 2020 at 4:34
@Ninedragonspot: Singapore-based commenter and long-time lurker here. Singapore was probably ahead of Taiwan, but yes, similar. They barred entry to mainland travelers last week with a 14-day quarantine. 18 cases here so far, all people who had been in Wuhan or Hubei province. All quarantined and recovering.
As you might expect, in a place where memories of SARS are very fresh and with a fully competent, well resourced, and empowered government, the response has been aggressive and efficient. At the same time, clear and frequent communication and thoughtful messaging from the PM down on treating people with decency and kindness, and avoiding misinformation. Other than proximity, which probably means less and less, I’d rather be here than almost anywhere (including the US, where Trump can be guaranteed to screw it up).
WHO has released its Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan for 2019 Novel Coronavirus. It gives some nuance to a number of issues like quarantines, travel restrictions, the IHR and pathways for addressing gaps like information & vaccines. https://t.co/CxcfahYLRq
— Dr Alexandra Phelan (@alexandraphelan) February 4, 2020
Remember we have 4 human coronaviruses already circulating in the population that cause colds (and occasionally serious infections). This one seems to be between those and SARS in severity, to put things in perspective. /2
— Dr. Tara C. Smith (@aetiology) February 4, 2020
The Wuhan coronavirus is thought to spread through respiratory droplets emitted by coughing or sneezing. There's also a possibility the virus can spread through contaminated fecal matter. There's currently no evidence that it's airborne. https://t.co/A1fMLycIzr
— CNN (@CNN) February 5, 2020
There’s been a lot of chatter about whether masks protect against #nCoV2019. Difficult fact: If you can’t get them, it doesn’t matter. Most of the world’s masks are made in China, and that could disrupt healthcare worldwide. https://t.co/FEnZY3eeb7
— Maryn McKenna (@marynmck) February 4, 2020
i for one love to pivot from calling the DNC an incompetent and fumbling org to accusing it of successfully orchestrating a national-scale conspiracy against the candidates that i like
— Jared Holt (@jaredlholt) February 4, 2020
How quickly Bend The Knee turned to petulant attempts at taking the party hostage.
— Iowasca Tripper (@agraybee) February 5, 2020
We are not a joke, people! (Well, not a *deliberate* joke… )
Oh shit, better not mess with these guys. https://t.co/YhchfAs9wK
— Iowasca Tripper (@agraybee) February 5, 2020
We devout Cynics were told not to badmouth the Bernistas’ proclivity to attack Democrats instead of the greater enemy, Trump. When the voting finally started, we were told, Senator Sanders and his closest aides would quickly pull his supporters into line, for the greater good. Because they were mature adults, not hobbyists nursing their adolescent fantasies of exclusion and revenge.
Yeah, well, Iowa — and the Iowa caucus structure the Sanders campaign fought so hard to preserve — certainly provided some valuable lessons, yes it did!
Shows the futility of the endeavor, lol. I'd like to think indulging self-grievance and conspiracy theories backfires because it's the ugliest side of his campaign and one that just has nothing to do with anyone's real life. https://t.co/hGPO4Sqm1m
— Gustave Le Fromage (@davidabenner) February 4, 2020
Bernie Twitter is full of nastiness and venom (and conspiracies and lies) about Pete Buttigieg.
Pete Twitter is full of joy and hope (and substance and belonging).
The day the sun comes up after Donald Trump, what kind of President do we want to pick up the pieces? https://t.co/VWIGI2SMPG
— Brian Goldsmith (@GoldsmithB) February 4, 2020
I will say this… Thank you Warren supporters for not going headlong into conspiracy theories from the Bernie camp.
— Caucus Error Reporter. (@CascadianSolo) February 4, 2020
Not trying to give any advice but like:
Sanders fans have one super good argument (he's leading /will probably win both versions of the popular vote!—that should matter!) and one pretty bad argument (how dare Iowa release partial results!) and they should focus on the good one.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) February 5, 2020
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivers Democratic response to Trump #SOTU: “I need a lot more than 10 minutes to respond to what the president just said. So instead of talking about what he is saying, I’m going to highlight what Democrats are doing.” https://t.co/bulmjJOCUb pic.twitter.com/H9yVx7buel
— ABC News (@ABC) February 5, 2020
Gretchen Whitmer: “As we witness the impeachment process … there are some things each of us – no matter our party – should demand. The truth matters. Facts matter. And no one should be above the law. It’s not what those Senators say – tomorrow, it’s what they do that matters.”
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 5, 2020
WATCH LIVE: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivers the Democratic response to the State of the Union https://t.co/r7Vs6c6WAu
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) February 5, 2020
NPR’s transcription — with notes — here.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer targets President Trump’s attempts to dismantle Obamacare: “It’s pretty simple — Democrats are trying to make your health care better, Republicans in Washington are trying to take it away.” #SOTU https://t.co/C3Wm2ERpwP pic.twitter.com/3uJcKaPHcv
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 5, 2020
In the Democratic #SOTU response, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hit back against Trump’s talking points that the economy is booming.
— QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake) February 5, 2020
Haven’t found a transcription of Rep. Escobar’s speech, but I’ll add a link if you put one in the comments:
Rep. Veronica Escobar said it was critical for her to deliver the Democrats’ Spanish-language rebuttal to President Trump’s #SOTU address from her hometown of El Paso, Texas.
“This is a place that has responded in the face of hate with love.” https://t.co/Yet8kNdpuF
— NPR (@NPR) February 4, 2020
— Veronica Escobar (@vgescobar) February 5, 2020
The mood of the union is this: pic.twitter.com/dqDuiz2WhH
— Abraham Gutman 🔥 (@abgutman) February 5, 2020
Nancy Pelosi on manners and propriety: https://t.co/SkDhZxw2CS
— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) February 5, 2020
I have not read or seen what the village idiot said tonight, so what did the imbecile say.
Buttigieg with a 74 percent chance to win the most SDEs, according to our estimates
The returns so far are fundamentally representative, but Sanders has some credible pockets of remaining strength and there's uncertainty around the satelliteshttps://t.co/qXwEnK4sYH
— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) February 5, 2020
CNN airing this graphic right now, lol pic.twitter.com/rnFSZ0uIkM
— Populism Updates (@PopulismUpdates) February 4, 2020
BECAUSE I CAN. Look, this particular brand of social-media response to the ongoing political fustercluck is absolutely catnip for my particular brand of ADD/OCD Short Attention Span Theatre.
Also, as far as I’m concerned, any oxygen stolen from tonight’s TV turn by the Squatter-in-Chief is unequivocally good. I read that AoC has officially bowed out from attending, which is also good, because (NYC represent!) she probably wouldn’t have been able to resist popping off at the bs firehose on camera. It’s better to have the media thumbsuckers focused on the lies from the podium rather than giving them an excuse to clutch their pearls over a You Lie! moment. Even (especially) if President Obama was *not* lying, back in the day, while the current Disgrace will be.
PREVIOUSLY ON THE IOWA CAUCUSES
— Jake Anbinder (@JakeAnbinder) February 4, 2020
It’s 2AM and we have supporters for Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders, and Warren at Polk HQ going through every precinct box to send the results we have to the state party so we can finally go to bed.
— Sean Bagniewski (@bagniewski) February 4, 2020
on earth two DNC chair Pete Buttigieg is scrambling to figure out this caucus data situation
— Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley) February 4, 2020
Read: this was a predictable shitshow in execution but you probably shouldn't assume that the state represents some bellwether. It might! But look at the GOP side of winners in the last twenty years with big fields. Not an awesome batting average.
— The Mall Krampus (@cakotz) February 4, 2020
Maybe Vox should write a piece on it? https://t.co/quF1crDJvQ
— Mangy Jay (@magi_jay) February 4, 2020
— Tucker Higgins (@tuckerhiggins) February 4, 2020
I feel like turnout being rather low in Iowa is a theme of underrated importance.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) February 4, 2020
Here you go!
I’m not watching, I am going to be playing World of Warcraft Classic with a bunch of people I first played with 16 years ago and we all stayed in touch. I don’t give a shit with what that loathesome coked up turd has to say.
Early returns (24 hours late) have Buttigieg with the delegate lead but losing the popular vote.
Pete Buttigieg took a narrow early lead over Bernie Sanders in the first wave of partial results from the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday, as the state party released results from 62 percent of precincts.
The partial results showed Mr. Buttigieg with 26.9 percent of the state’s delegate equivalents, Mr. Sanders with 25.1 percent, Elizabeth Warren with 18.3 percent, and Joseph R. Biden Jr. with 15.6 percent. Amy Klobuchar had 12.6 percent of the delegate equivalents followed by Andrew Yang at 1.1 percent and Tom Steyer with 0.3 percent.
It is not clear when the rest of the caucus results would be released, or if the full results would alter the current standings of the candidates. The 62 percent of precincts counted so far are relatively representative of the state, but the margin between Mr. Buttigieg and Mr. Sanders is unusually slim.
The major upside to this is that this will ENRAGE Sanders supporters if Sanders wins the popular vote but does not get the delegate lead, and they will burn the caucuses to the fucking ground. And we should support them.
If the DNC had any power, the primaries would be 10+ states a month, starting in January, ending in May, on the same day, with ranked choice voting. That’s enough on the same day that you could do a wide variety of regions every month, people would be forced to campaign everywhere, etc.
Nobody’s posted on Rush Limbaugh’s lung cancer diagnosis. Someone who denied the ill effects of smoking being diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer pretty much speaks for itself. It’s a rotten, horrible disease and I wouldn’t even wish it on him.
Anyway, I have a prediction: he will be dead very soon. I base my poorly informed guess on two things: he smoked for a long time, and therefore his lungs were already damaged prior to the cancer, and stage IV is really, really bad (both lungs involved, plus metastases, 10% five-year survival).
Let’s drill in on the damage smoking does, for a moment. A lot of society treats it like a trip to the casino: Some people smoke. The losers get lung cancer, heart disease, COPD, etc. The winners don’t.
But that’s not how it works. My uncle, a great guy, was a heavy smoker. He died a miserable fucking death not from cancer, heart disease, COPD or anything like it. It started with back surgery that just wouldn’t give him relief. It continued on to this odd disease called normal pressure hydrocephalus, which is where the normal pressure of the fluid around the brain crushes it. I discussed his health with my dad, a doctor, and Dad pointed out that the continued smoking was causing his problem with healing – nicotine constricts the blood vessels, which of course prevents tissue from healing. Dad felt from his clinical experience that chronic nicotine use has a lasting effect on circulation, even with heavy smokers who quit. (I don’t know if there’s research on that.) He also guessed the hydrocephalus was caused by smoking, but wasn’t sure.
Since there are so many obviously bad things about smoking, they don’t get around to telling you that even if you “win” by not getting cancer, COPD, etc., you still lose because your general health is fucked.
Rush, unfortunately, will find out just how bad smoking was for his general health when he can’t breathe with his damaged remaining lung capacity. My mom was diagnosed with stage 2/3 lung cancer (single lobe involvement, probable lymph node involvement) over two years ago, at 81. She had never smoked in her life, was active and maintained a healthy weight, and doesn’t even need high blood pressure medication. She’s still alive, after tolerating two rounds of chemo, and radiation for bone metastases. Why? Because she’s tough, but also because she’s still able to breathe fine with the remaining 3 lobes of her still-healthy lungs.
When I see her next, I’ll tell her about Rush’s demise, and I’m sure she’ll say, “that poor man.” And I will agree.