Contributors

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Not So Known Reason Why Trump Will Be Decimated

Hillary Clinton is pivoting to the general election and solidifying her operations in battleground states. It make sense because she is the likely nominee. But why isn't Donald Trump doing this? It has some folks perplexed.

"The sooner you can get up and running the better," said Dan Pfeiffer, who advised President Barack Obama. "On the Republican side, Trump has not built anything resembling the sort of field operation it takes to win."

If he doesn't have an y field operation in battleground states, he's going to lose even more badly than I thought. Meanwhile, Clinton campaign employees are heading to battleground states across the country, among them Ohio, Florida and Colorado. Democrats are also eyeing the possibility of making a run at traditionally Republican-leaning states such as Georgia, North Carolina and Arizona, calculating that Trump's penchant for controversy could put minority and female voters in play.

Georgia is in play? Wow.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Get Ready For An Ass Kicking

Insiders: Clinton would crush Trump in November

From the Republican insiders...

“There is positively no way for Trump to win in Pennsylvania,” said a Republican from that state. 

“Trump cannot and will not carry Ohio,” a Republican from that state insisted. “He will do well in Appalachia and in the Mahoning Valley but he will get killed in the rest of the state. The danger for the GOP is losing Rob Portman which is a very real possibility under this match-up.” 

Added a Florida Republican, who like all participants was granted anonymity in order to speak freely, “Trump is grinding the GOP to a stub. He couldn't find enough xenophobic, angry white Floridians to beat Hillary in Florida if he tried.” 

Wow. Here's my map of what it will all look like.


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com


And I'm actually being generous to Trump because he's polling behind her in Utah for fuck's sake!

The GOP is finally getting exactly what they deserve. When you spend the better part of two decades training their constituents to believe wacky, ideological nonsense (see also: lies), you get Donald Trump as your front runner.

Ah, The Bubble...

Pentagon rips Benghazi Committee over 'speculation'  

The Pentagon is pushing back against the House Benghazi Committee, saying its repeated requests for documents and interviews are straining the department's resources — and, to make matters worse, many of the queries are speculative or hypothetical.

Hedger also complained that Defense Department interviewees “have been asked repeatedly to speculate or engage in discussing on the record hypotheticals.”

Sort of like a right wing blog commenting section, maybe? Man, those people live in their own fucking reality.

And now they are purposefully undermining the resources of our military.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Up Close with a Member of the Gun Cult

My daughter has been taking her driver's ed classes so she can get her permit and then (sigh, gasp) be a legal driver in the state of Minnesota. She's been going to the local driver's ed school a few short blocks from our house.

After the first class, she came home to inform us that the teacher, who also owns the school, took every opportunity he had to tell the class how he was very conservative, owned many guns, and didn't like people who weren't white. My wife and I decided long ago that our children should be exposed to people like this as often as possible so it will help them later in life. Sheltering is invariably a bad thing as the world can be a pretty awful place and young people need to know how to deal with folks like this.

But last night, she came home and told us that the instructor was bragging about their conceal carry permit. When another student said that she thought all guns should be outlawed, the instructor pulled out a knife and said, "Here's a way you can threaten someone without a gun." He then proceeded to point it at her.

Needless to say, I notified the police and hopefully this asshat will be put in his place. What is it exactly about the Gun Cult that they feel the need to threaten people all the time? Are they that insecure about life?

It's tempting to take this as just an isolated incident but this example is the direct result of a culture that cock rides guns. People like this jag off are part of the every growing pile off fallout in a society where guns are worshiped as objects of empowerment.

It has to stop.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Trump V Clinton

I think we have to say that it's likely to be Trump v Clinton at this point. The GOP has to be shitting themselves.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Charles Koch: Clinton Might Make Better President

In a sign that this election has really gone off the rails, Charles Koch recently said that Hillary Clinton might make a better president than the eventual GOP nominee. It makes sense if you think about it. None of the current GOP candidates meet the Koch standard. Kasich is too liberal. Trump is too aristocratic and authoritarian. Ted Cruz is giant asshole.

The Hilz response?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Playing A Role?

Is Donald Trump playing a role? Multiple reports suggest that he is, according to his campaign manager Paul Manafort. As soon as the general election begins, he will shift to more palatable stances to attract moderate voters. Take a listen


I wonder how all this will work out...y'know, the whole Mexicans as rapists, banning Muslims thing:)

Friday, April 22, 2016

Heart=Broken

All of Minnesota is mourning our state treasure...


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Turning the Lens on the Gun Culture

I have noticed a trend occurring of late that I find most heartening. Researchers are turning their lens towards gun violence and gun culture. There are many reasons why they are doing this but the recent news that UT researcher Haril Shapira is going to examine gun culture and the future of American democracy is extremely interesting.

Shapira’s work investigates what drives people to join gun-owning communities and what this means for democracy. The communities, Shapira observes, not only shape and transform individuals drawn to gun culture but also society at large. 

“We are seeing individuals taking on the roles of government when it comes to self-defense and issues of enforcement of the law,” Shapira said. “What might this mean for democracy and democratic institutions? What does an armed society hold for the future of America’s democracy?”

Indeed.

I'm not sure what his research questions will be or even what form his research will take but I'm hoping he gets into the issue of empowerment. I've been asking friends of mine who are gun owners why exactly they own them and one thing I've noticed about nearly all of them is they have something in their lives that makes them feel insecure and weak. Whether they have some sort of long term health issue or have been bullied in their lives, having a gun makes them feel better.

I can't wait for Professor Shapira's book to be released.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

UnitedHealth Can't Compete

Obamacare is back in the news today, after UnitedHealth Group announced that it's getting out of insurance exchanges in many states.

Opponents of the health care exchange will point to this as a major failure. However, this isn't a failure of Obamacare, it's a failure of UnitedHealth's business model.

UnitedHealth is not a health care provider. It's a useless, money-sucking middleman. It grew to be the country's biggest health insurance provider with a very inefficient business model. This consists of insurance company A taking money from employer B to pay health care provider C to provide health care for employee D who works for employer B.

This is inherently inefficient. There are four parties involved in a transaction that should be conducted solely between health care provider C and patient D. Every time you add another party to a transaction the costs go up: everyone has to take their cut.

UnitedHealth doesn't make money by providing health care, it makes money by denying it. They are gambling that they'll be able to charge corporations for more health care than their employees will use.

They can do this because their customer is the employer, and not the employee actually receiving the health care. That means they can provide a much lower level of service than they can for customers who directly pay for their health care. They do this by denying coverage.

That's how health insurance companies make money: they insure healthy people, then they make using health care a hassle, hoping that patients will just cave when coverage is denied and pay for it themselves, or not bother to see the doctor at all.

UnitedHealth is a very profitable company, but it is a leech on the system. It can only be profitable by charging people for health care they don't use. Since they do not provide health care, they are incapable of effecting changes in the system itself to make it more efficient: all they can do is demand providers charge less, but since providers have a monopoly on health care, middlemen insurance companies have no real leverage.

But UnitedHealth has found that its business model can't stand up to competition on the exchanges. They're too inefficient. Companies that actually provide health care -- not the middlemen -- are the only ones that can really bring down the price of health care.

The American model for health care makes no sense. Health care is as essential to modern American life as food, clothing and shelter. Employers don't feed, or clothe or house us. Why should they pay for our health care?

Every American should pay for their own health care and employers should get out of the health insurance business altogether. They should give their employees raises equal to what they spend on health care.

This would level the playing field for American companies, who have to compete with foreign companies who aren't saddled with that burden. The same thing goes for cities, counties, states and the federal government.

The incentives in the health care system are completely skewed. Until the people who actually use it are the ones paying for it, and the people making money from it are the ones who provide it, the cost cost of health care in America will continue to spiral out of control.

Calling His Shot


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Empire State Predictions

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will win their respective primaries today but the question is by how much.

For the Republicans, 95 are at stake. I think Trump will win at least 50 of them with Kasich getting around 30 and Cruz 15. Cruz didn't do himself any favors with his "New York values" comment. For the Democrats, 247 are at stake and I think Hillary will get just over half of them plus most of the superdelegates. Bernie will come away with a pretty good share of the delegates even though he will lose.

Monday, April 18, 2016

April Come She Will

April is usually a time of hope as Spring is about to arrive. People around the country are welcoming the warmer weather and the chance to sit outside in shirt sleeves watching a baseball game. But for many teachers, it's a really crappy time of the year as school districts decide who to cut and who to displace.

Of course, it's not entirely the district's fault. Teachers's unions make contracts that protect the most senior of staff regardless of how good or bad their performance. The reasoning behind this is solid given market economics. If the districts were allowed to cut whomever they wanted, all of the higher salaried staff would go every ten years or so to save money. Newer and inexperienced staff would flood the schools all in the name of penny pinching. Quality of education would severely drop as these new staff members would be challenged with a whole host of issues like classroom management, lesson planning, and relationship building.

Yet the issue of poor performance by veteran teachers persists and there needs to be significant changes to the way they are evaluated. First, they should not be evaluated as they are now by their fellow teachers who take a couple of years off to do Q-Comp (teacher observations). Outside and unbiased evaluators should be hired by each district to carry out these observations. Second, poor performers should not be passed along simply because they are senior. There should be significant consequences if they are not doing their jobs effectively including termination. Third, teachers that have been in the game for twenty years should shift out of the classroom and into a mentoring role for new teachers. With massive numbers retiring in the next ten years due to the baby boomer generation heading off to pasture, there will be a teacher shortage in this country. Many states, like Hawaii for example, are already experiencing this. New teachers need the guidance of their elders.

Take it from someone who has sadly experienced this too many times. Experience doesn't always mean quality.  This does not mean that we should jump on the right wing douche bag bandwagon and vilify all unions for ever and ever amen. But we do have to change the way the system currently works because it protects too many poor quality teachers.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Speaking Is Difficult



The filmmaker promises to keep adding his work. He will certainly have plenty of material with which to work.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Art of the Squeal


Thursday, April 14, 2016

The County Needs To Hear From You.

This is why I heart the Hilz...

“You are the mothers of the children who are dying in the streets,” Mrs. Clinton told the group, Ms. McBath recalled. “You have a lot of power individually,” she said. “But collectively, you need to come together. The country needs to hear from you.”



Wednesday, April 13, 2016

What's Behind the Revolt Against Global Integration?

Here's a great piece from the post on globalization and why, despite the evidence, people are revolting against it. The evidence?

This broad program of global integration has been more successful than could reasonably have been hoped. We have not had a war between major powers. Global standards of living have risen faster than at any point in history. And material progress has coincided with even more rapid progress in combating hunger, empowering women, promoting literacy and extending life. A world that will have more smartphones than adults within a few years is a world in which more is possible for more people than ever before.

Sadly, far too many people on my side of the aisle can't accept this.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Subway Reader

Monday, April 11, 2016

Punt!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Hearting Thomas Perez (and the federal government)

The video below is a shining example of many things, primarily the reason why I heart the federal government. Thomas Perez is our Secretary of Labor and, boy oh boy, is he a character. His ruminations on the Republicans, our economy, and the people of this nation are illuminating, hilarious and insightful.

Take it away, Thomas. It's mic dropping time!!

 

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Trump and Sanders: the Carpetbaggers

It turns out that Donald Trump's campaign may fall apart because he's a political novice, hired bad consultants, and doesn't know how the caucus and delegate systems work.

Trump will whine that this is unfair, that it's insider politics conducted in smoke-filled rooms. Hey, Donny boy: politics ain't bean bag.

But it raises a bigger question: who controls a political party? The voters who show up at the polls? The elected officials who serve? Or the political operatives and "hacks" who invest their time, sweat and tears, spending thousands of hours a year, year in and year out, working to advance the party and its members? This last group makes up a lot of the delegates who go to conventions. They care about more than just one presidential race.

After contributing zero time, money or effort to Republicans for sixty-eight years, Donald Trump decided that he could stage a hostile takeover of the Republican Party. Understandably, Republican party operatives who have dedicated their entire lives to the party want nothing to do with Trump.

It's not just because his ideas are stupid, he's a selfish boor, he's insulted party icons, he's ripped the bandaid of Republican lies off the Iraq war, and he's reinforced the idea that Republicans are racist, women-hating dicks.

No, a huge part of it is that Trump hasn't paid his dues, put in the time, or supported Republican candidates in any serious manner. Unlike Romney, who contributed millions to local Republican office holders in the 2012 cycle, Trump has done nothing for other Republicans, focusing solely on himself (big surprise).

Donald Trump is a New York carpetbagger come to steal the Republican Party away from the people who built it.

Bernie Sanders is doing the same thing: he's not a Democrat, he just plays one in the Senate. Unlike Clinton, who has helped raise millions of dollars for Democrats on the local, state and national levels, Sanders has done absolutely nothing to help Democrats.

And without electing several dozen more Democrats to the House and Senate, Sanders would be completely incapable of accomplishing any of his grandiose goals if he were elected. If the composition of the House and Senate remain unchanged, Sanders would be a lame duck president for his entire term.

The Bernie Bros and Trumpists want to destroy the party establishments and get rid of the deadwood "insiders." But someone has to do all the work: raise campaign cash, coddle donors, recruit new candidates to run for office so that voters have someone to vote for, organize caucuses and primaries so that people can actually vote, and keep the lights on. Without insiders political parties collapse.

A lot of people who voted for Obama are angry that he didn't accomplish everything he set out to do. Many are Sanders supporters now. But the reason Obama's momentum collapsed was that Ted Kennedy died, leaving Obama vulnerable to never-ending Republican filibusters in the Senate. Then those people didn't show up at the polls in 2010 and 2014 to elect Democrats.

That allowed Republicans to gain control of the Senate and the House, and a lot of statehouses, which allowed them to control redistricting and impose hundreds of new restrictions on voting across the country to suppress Democratic turnout. Republicans in Congress decided they would just run out the clock on Obama's term, and block everything they could.

Voters can't just show up every four years and expect to get what they want. They need to vote in every primary and general election, without fail. That's why cranky old white men run everything -- they volunteer for the grunt work of running the party and they get their peeps to show up to vote in every damned election, no matter how "insignificant."

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Dog Whistle?
























I wonder if this one was on of the reasons he lost Wisconsin last night.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Wisconsin Predictions

They haven't called Wisconsin yet so I am predicting a Cruz and Sanders victory.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Watching His South Fall

Issac J. Bailey's recent piece over at Politico is both stunning and gut wrenching. He most astutely identifies why Donald Trump is so popular in the South.

The Republican South so far has rallied behind Donald Trump, a northerner without any of the grassroots evangelical credibility that is supposed to bind conservatives here—a candidate whose main appeal, in fact, has been coded appeals to the same hatred that drove Roof to pick up a gun. 

The exact same hatred.

Make no mistake, Trump’s embrace by millions of people in my region isn’t solely about economic angst. It is also about the kind of pent-up fear—made up of barely submerged racism and profound ignorance—that a reader in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, expressed to me shortly after Barack Obama’s election: “I think he’s gonna enslave us,” he said. “Look what we done to ya’ll.” 

Fear, indeed.

Read the whole piece. It's most illuminating.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Whites Still Not Getting It

Nicholas Kristof has returned to his "White's Not Getting It" series and it's a corker. He begins with a simple quiz.

A) Whites and blacks were hired at similar rates. B) Blacks had a modest edge because of affirmative action. C) Whites were twice as likely to get callbacks.

Much of the conservative base would like choose B or even A. But the answer is C.

Worse, a black applicant with a clean criminal record did no better than a white applicant who was said to have just been released from 18 months in prison. There's more.

In one study, researchers sent thousands of résumés to employers with openings, randomly using some stereotypically black names (like Jamal) and others that were more likely to belong to whites (like Brendan). A white name increased the likelihood of a callback by 50 percent. Likewise, in Canada researchers found that emails from stereotypically black names seeking apartments are less likely to get responses from landlords. And in U.S. experiments, when blacks and whites go in person to rent or buy properties, blacks are shown fewer options.

Until we reconcile the fact that the fallout from the institution of slavery is still having a massively detrimental effect on the fabric of our society, we can't even begin to address the issues that black people face every day.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

The Hoo Hoo Inspector


Friday, April 01, 2016

Why Hillary Won't Be Indicted and Shouldn't Be

Richard O. Lempert offers an excellent summation of the faux scandal that is the Hillary Clinton email kerfuffle. It's the most honest and objective piece I have seen out there thus far. Here are some key points.

It is unclear whether classified information conveyed in an email message would be considered a document or materials subject to removal. Moreover, with respect to information in messages sent to Clinton, it would be hard to see her as having “knowingly” removed anything, and the same is arguably true of information in messages that she originated. If, however, she were sent attachments that were classified and kept them on her server, this law might apply.

And if they did?

But even if this section did apply, a prosecutor would face difficulties. Heads of agencies have considerable authority with respect to classified information, including authority to approve some exceptions to rules regarding how classified information should be handled and authority to declassify material their agency has classified. It would also be hard to show that Clinton intended to retain any information sent to her if her usual response was to forward the information to another, and if she then deleted the material from her inbox, whether or not it was deleted from her computer.

Some of that classified information includes information that was published in the New York Times and then retroactively classified recently.

This is a very thorough article that addresses the fact of the law. This is in direct opposition to what the media is reporting on a daily basis. I wonder why...