August 23, 2013 at 12:11 am #95292
President Obama Speaks on College Affordability
As you make it through the day, don’t forget JJP at TWIB.
Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.
And always, have a peaceful day.August 23, 2013 at 12:12 am #95293
Good Morning, EveryoneAugust 23, 2013 at 12:13 am #95294August 23, 2013 at 8:49 am #95295
Suggestions for Videos
Rachel Maddow was in Elizabeth City, NC last night and did her entire show pretty much on the GOP Voter Suppression down there and why Elizabeth City is Ground Zero for the GOP Voter Suppression Efforts:
This video shows how the local Election Board closed the polling place on the college campus, made a precinct of 9000 people, and moved all of them to a facility with 35 parking spots. Maddow showed the dangerous road that the students would have to walk to in order to vote.
This one is a background piece of how North Carolina’s voter participation has changed.
The background of the student case at the center of the GOP Voter Suppression.
Explaining why the college town has been targeted.
How the DOJ is on the Voter Suppression…….and an interview with Congressman Butterfield, who used to be on the NC Supreme Court.August 23, 2013 at 8:51 am #95296
BET To Air 50th Anniversary March Coverage Live
Aug 22, 2013
By Tonya Pendleton, BlackAmericaWeb.com
To celebrate and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, BET will cover the events live from the anniversary March on the Washington Mall on Saturday to the “Let Freedom Ring” event on the actual anniversary date of the March next Wednesday, August 28th.
“50 – The March and the Movement” airs live on BET on Saturday, August 24 at 11 a.m. and covers the history of the March with some of its organizers and participants.
It’s very exciting,” Debra Lee, CEO of BET Networks told The Tom Joyner Morning Show. “BET will be there covering it live. 50 years is an amazing milestone and with all we have going on in our community – the George Zimmerman verdict, gun violence, all the issues that we still have to resolve it’s a great time for us to march.”
BET.com users will have the chance to ask questions from a distinguished panel of guest including Eleanor Holmes Norton, who attended the 1963 March as a volunteer, Representative John Lewis, who is the last of the March’s 10 speakers who is still alive, Bernice King and Andrew Young. A Twitter hashtag #MarchDC50 has already been established.August 23, 2013 at 8:52 am #95297
Rev. Al’s POLITICSNATION will be 2 hours tonight for the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary on the March on Washington.August 23, 2013 at 8:54 am #95298
Where is the white liberal outrage on stop-and-frisk?
by James Braxton Peterson | August 21, 2013 at 5:05 PM
Growing up as a teenager in Newark, N.J., the summers were often correlated with the dread of enhanced police presence in the city brought on by the infiltration of New Jersey State Troopers.
This practice of state police support in Newark continues to this day. Much like the entire nation, the citizens of Newark accept the appearance of enhanced security without much discussion about privacy and/or civil liberties especially significant given the state’s long history of racial profiling and the plethora of police stops casually justified as “driving while black.”
What we refer to now as “stop and frisk” has been tactical practice for urban police departments for nearly all of my life. That it has been formalized and institutionalized in the 21st century only serves to strengthen law enforcement’s reliance on it and faulty justifications for it.
Maybe if you’ve never been profiled; if you’ve never been stopped for no apparent reason, questioned about your destination, tousled and frisked, searched and put up against a wall or a car; maybe if you’re not painfully aware of how many of these kinds of encounters (between police and innocent citizens) have ended in the deaths of too many innocent victims to tally here; maybe if you have no connection to the utter humiliation of being publicly detained by police for no reason, then it might be difficult to comprehend the underpinnings of privilege in the recent discourses on the NSA, Manning, Snowden, and the unchecked access to our digital lives.
The left’s outrage directed at the Obama administration in the wake of Edward Snowden’s leaking of classified information has been palpable and well documented in both print and television media
Yet how can we have a discussion about civil liberties and security, privacy and safety without connecting it to the physical surveillance to which black and brown Americans have been historically subject? In short, why aren’t the champions of Snowden, Manning, and others saying anything at all about stop-and-frisk and Stand Your Ground laws/policies. They have been and remain silent on the historical and perpetual encroachment upon the civil liberties – the freedom to walk the streets without being detained or shot – of black and brown citizens of the United States.August 23, 2013 at 8:59 am #95299
Syria and Snowden’s Shared Protectorate: A Question of Conscience
Thursday, August 22, 2013 | Posted by Spandan C at 5:41 PM
What’s the “civil libertarian” response when one of the movement’s contemporary ‘heroes’ evades the reach of American law shares his protectorate with governments that use chemical weapons on their own people? Evidently, silence. With the Syrian government blocking UN investigators from finding the truth about their apparent chemical weapon use with assistance from Russia, the deafening silence from the self-appointed defenders of civil liberties like Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras should tell you all you need to know about their real intentions and priorities.
Why the silence? I suppose you don’t want to start something up with the power that is now protecting the holder of the classified information that you hope will catapult you to fame and fortune. After all, you wouldn’t want to force Russia to decide between protecting Edward Snowden and protecting the Syrian regime, would you?
And where is the great hero Edward Snowden in all of this? Is the courageous defender of liberties too much of a coward to speak out against his and Syria’s common protectorate? Just what form of civil libertarian conscience allows one to stay silent in the face of mass murder protected by the government of the country they take refuge in just so that they don’t have to face a legal trial at home? Under what definition of civil liberty does avoidance of a criminal trial under full and complete due process of law outweigh wholesale slaughter of thousands by their government?
For all the moral force claimed by the Greenwald and Snowden Left, where is the call for them to stand up and denounce Russia’s open backing of Syria? For that matter, where is the call for Ed Snowden to leave Russia’s protection in protest?
You won’t see any of it – not from Greenwald and not from Snowden. You won’t see any of it because if they truly cared about civil liberties and government tyranny, Snowden would be on a plane out of Russia tonight, even if that means he has to stand trial here at home. If they cared even the slightest bit about civil liberties and state sponsored tyranny, Glenn Greenwald’s Guardian page would be lighting up in condemnation against Russia.
Yet, none of that. Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden don’t want their hero status to be damaged by such pesky things as mass chemical attacks against middle easterners. No, they’re too important for that.August 23, 2013 at 9:11 am #95300
Rick Perry’s Dilemma and The Real Reason Why Republicans Want to Defund Obamacare
Thursday, August 22, 2013 | Posted by Spandan C at 2:16 PM
Irony, thy name is Republican. The President of the Sovereign Republic of Texas, I mean Texas governor Rick Perry – who has beat his chest and stomped his feet against Obamacare to no end – is now putting his tail between his legs and his hat in hand begging the Obama administration for $100 million of that Obamcare pie – to improve and expand Medicaid services for the elderly and the disabled in the state. As Politico reported yesterday,
Gov. Rick Perry wants to kill Obamacare dead, but Texas health officials are in talks with the Obama administration about accepting an estimated $100 million available through the health law to care for the elderly and disabled, POLITICO has learned.
Perry health aides are negotiating with the Obama administration on the terms of an optional Obamacare program that would allow Texas to claim stepped-up Medicaid funding for the care of people with disabilities.
So, Rick Perry doesn’t want to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, but he wants $100 million of it anyway to improve Medicaid services in a different way.
This is the danger the Republican party has created in describing Affordable Care Act in its entirety as the devil’s spawn. They have succeeded somewhat, preventing the overall idea from becoming popular (although that is about to change in 2014), but by the same token they have convinced their own idiot base that touching Obamacare in any form at all is anathema for their party. Their leaders are not allowed to accept 100% federal funding for Medicaid expansion (hence Jan Brewer is now persona non grata), to form marketplaces (exchanges) – handing it over to the federal government instead, or even to seek any funding under any program that is touched by Obamacare.
Rick Perry’s struggle with this issue highlights the broader Republican dilemma with Obamacare and the reason some are desperate to defund it at the eleventh hour: the Republicans in positions of power know that the Affordable Care Act will work. They know that when it comes into full effect next year, it will show the differences in uncompensated medical costs for hospitals in states that accept the Medicaid expansion vs. the ones that refuse it. They know that people will be galvanized over this issue, and this time, they will be aided by the hospital industry that does not want to have to provide uncompensated care. They know that their ideological interests (the Tea Party) will be aligned against their financial interests (the health care industry).
They know that if they continue to wholesale reject health reform while it begins to work – and work better in states that fully accept and implement it – on a large scale, they will be scorned by people who are being denied benefits they could otherwise get, forced to fund uncompensated care from state coffers, and be abandoned by their financial benefactors in the health care industry who are looking for a piece of the pie of Obamacare’s funding. If they drop their opposition, they will be seen as weak, unprincipled and compromised by their own base. Either way, it would threaten their ability to stay in power.August 23, 2013 at 9:14 am #95301
Scott Walker’s Sand Grab: Wisconsin Wants a Piece of the Fracking Boom, No Matter Who Gets Hurt
BY MOLLY REDDEN
On the night that he was elected governor of Wisconsin in 2010, a beaming Scott Walker told the hundreds of supporters sandwiched into Waukesha’s little Country Springs Hotel ballroom that his state was “open for business.” It was shorthand for his promise to slash taxes and lay waste to state regulations, all to create a quarter of a million new jobs by the end of his fourth year in office. But halfway through Walker’s term, Wisconsin had added only a quarter of the promised jobs, it ranked 44th in private-sector job creation, and private-sector wages were falling at twice the average rate nationally. A non-partisan audit of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., a job-creation agency Walker started, found it repeatedly broke state laws in its first year. Still, among the detritus of the Republican governor’s job creation efforts, one sector of Wisconsin’s economy has been roaring: the sand-mining industry.
The hydraulic fracturing boom that has transformed the plains of North Dakota into an industrial mecca observable from space is fueled by tiny grains of silica sand from southwestern Wisconsin’s hillsides. In fracking, “frac sand” is used to prop open fissures in the earth, creating an escape route for natural gas. A single well can require 2,000 tons of sand over its lifetime. As fracking sites have proliferated across the nation, silica sand mines and processing facilities have too, with Wisconsin far and away the leading provider of frac sand. Just five years ago, there were fewer than 10 sites in the state; today, the state has greenlit a little more than 100, most of which are operational. Rich Budinger, the president of the Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association, estimates that the industry has brought 2,000 jobs to the state so far.
Republicans, who control the state Senate and House, want the boom to be even bigger. Their 2013 budget set aside $6.4 billion for freight rail and roadway improvements, which Walker said would allow companies to export frac sand in even greater quantities. At an event in Sparta, a small city in west-central Wisconsin, he said that improving rail transport makes the shipping of frac sand “a lot more environmentally sound … because you can connect it right there and not put as much burden on county and town roads and things of that nature.”August 23, 2013 at 9:16 am #95302
Key House Republican asks Holder to back off in Texas
By Steve Benen
Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:44 AM EDT.
As we discussed yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder is challenging new voting restrictions imposed by Texas Republicans, hoping to use the remaining provisions of the Voting Rights Act to protect Texans’ access to the ballot box. GOP officials, not surprisingly, weren’t pleased with the move, but there was one reaction in particular that I found interesting.
But Mr. Holder’s moves this week could endanger that effort, said Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican, who led the latest reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act in 2006.
“The lawsuit would make it much more difficult to pass a bipartisan fix to restore the heart of the VRA that the Supreme Court struck down earlier this year,” Mr. Sensenbrenner said.
He said he had spoken with Mr. Holder and asked him to withdraw the lawsuit.
It’s worth noting for context that Sensenbrenner may be a conservative Republican, but he’s also earned a reputation as a long-time supporter of the Voting Rights Act. Indeed, among GOP lawmakers, it’s probably fair to say the Wisconsin Republican is the VRA’s most reliable ally. When Sensenbrenner says he’s working on a legislative fix in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling, I’m inclined to believe him.
That said, for Holder to back off now would be crazy.
Look, I don’t blame Sensenbrenner for this, but literally every indication suggests congressional Republicans intend to block efforts to pass a new-and-improved Voting Rights Act. The Attorney General has a simple calculation to make: protect Americans against discriminatory voter-suppression tactics or wait for the House GOP to work in a bipartisan fashion on voting rights.
Can anyone seriously blame Holder for preferring the former to the latter? It seems far more realistic for the A.G. turn Sensenbrenner’s request around and say, “When Congress passes the Voting Rights Act, I’ll stop filing these lawsuits, not the other way around.”August 23, 2013 at 9:24 am #95303
GOP ‘getting perilously close’ to impeachment madness
By Steve Benen
Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:00 AM EDT.
When fringe figures like Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.) talk about impeaching President Obama without cause, it’s a mild curiosity. When U.S. senators push the same idea, it’s more alarming.
“I think those are serious things, but we’re in serious times,” said Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn during a town hall in his home state. “And I don’t have the legal background to know if that rises to ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ but I think you’re getting perilously close.”
The remark came after an attendee called the Obama administration “lawless” and asked, “who is responsible for enforcing [Obama's] constitutional responsibilities?”
Coburn apparently has given this a fair amount of thought, telling constituents, “What you have to do is you have to establish the criteria that would qualify for proceedings against the president, and that’s called impeachment. That’s not something you take lightly, and you have to use a historical precedent of what that means.” He added that he believes “there’s some intended violation of the law in this administration.”
And what, pray tell, has the president done that Coburn perceives as possible “high crimes”? In keeping with the recent trend, the Oklahoma Republican never got around to explaining what the grounds for impeachment would be. Coburn mentioned that he’d heard a rumor about the Department of Homeland Security choosing to “ignore” background checks for immigrants, but he did not elaborate.August 23, 2013 at 9:40 am #95304
National Politics|By Amy Walter, August 21, 2013
There’ll Be A Democratic Primary. With Or Without Hillary
When people find out what I do for a living, the first question they inevitably ask is “Is Hillary running?” When I answer that I think she will, the follow up is almost always: “Will anyone run against her?” My answer is, of course. Why wouldn’t they?
My view is not necessarily conventional wisdom in DC. Talk among the chattering class here is that she’ll have a glide path to the nomination. It’s hers for the taking. She’ll have the money. She’ll have the political infrastructure. And, more important, she will have gobs of goodwill among a Democratic base eager to put the first woman in the White House.
All true. But, it was also true in 2008. More important, being a frontrunner – especially this far out from 2016 – is a very dangerous and precarious spot to be. Long before the first bumper stickers are printed or the first volunteers start their door-knocking, Hillary Clinton has already been dragged into a veritable A-B-C of controversies: Anthony Weiner, Benghazi, and the Clinton Foundation. News organizations have already designated “Hillary” beats for enterprising reporters to rack up scoops (and dig for scandal) for the next three years. GOP organizations from the RNC to the opposition research group American Rising have already been filling my inbox with negative and/or unflattering stories about the former Secretary of State.
This scrutiny was going to come no matter what – but it’s just coming a lot earlier than expected. A stagnant second term for Obama plus Capitol Hill gridlock equals a bored and restless press corps. And everyone knows a bored press is a dangerous press. Moreover, these aggressive political reporters are under more pressure than ever to serve new and juicy political morsels to their anxious editors every day. Plus, as my friends at NBC’s First Read have pointed out, Hillary herself is just as responsible for the frenzied coverage. Her speech to the American Bar Association criticizing changes to the Voting Rights Act was an overtly political move. And, there will be more speeches like this in the near future.
This isn’t to suggest that Hillary Clinton is going to be intimidated out of the race. However, it should serve as a reminder to any and all potential Democratic White House wannabes that there’s no telling what will happen to a frontrunner over the course of three long years.
This is why there is no real downside for Vice President Joe Biden or Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley to run in 2016, regardless of whether or not Hillary Clinton is in the race.August 23, 2013 at 9:40 am #95305
Karl Rove Is Half-Right About Republicans and Health Care
BY JONATHAN COHN
Karl Rove is feeling a little defensive today. President Obama recently suggested that Republicans have no serious ideas for health care reform. Writers like Ezra Klein and Paul Krugman (and, yes, me) have written similar things many times. Rove thinks that’s nonsense. “Republicans,” he writes today in the Wall Street Journal, “have plenty of sensible ideas to make health coverage more accessible and more affordable.”
Actually Rove is at least half-right. Republicans do have plenty of ideas. But they are not the kind of ideas that would come anywhere close to achieving universal coverage, at least in the way most people understand it. At best, Republican proposals would make insurance a bit cheaper, mostly for people who are healthy and need coverage the least. At worst, these ideas would make coverage less accessible for people with pre-existing conditions—and leave more of the insured exposed to crippling medical bills.
The reforms that Rove describes in his op-ed fall into two categories, more or less. One category consists of reforms that most experts would support and, in many cases, are already part of Obamacare. An example of this would be efforts to curb defensive medicine. Even most liberals would admit that the existing malpractice system encourages physicians to provide tests or procedures that might not be necessary—and that these extra services make health care more expensive at the margins. Obamacare attempts to address this problem, by funding pilot programs in alternative ways of settling malpractice claims. These ideas include creating no-fault systems that would compensate all victims of medical errors, creating special health courts to hear cases before they go to lay juries, as well as the “sorry works” scheme (in which providers admit mistakes upfront and negotiate settlements) that the University of Michigan Medical System developed.August 23, 2013 at 9:41 am #95306
August 22, 2013, 11:26 am 109 Comments
Karl Rove Shouldn’t Pretend He Understands Health Policy
by Paul Krugman
Austin Frakt Austin Powers Aaron Carroll points me to Karl Rove claiming that Republicans do too have health care ideas. Not surprisingly, what Rove actually does is demonstrate his party’s intellectual bankruptcy.
It’s always helpful here to keep your eye on the problem of Americans with preexisting conditions. That’s the best starting point for understanding why Obamacare has to look the way it does; it’s also often the best way to see what’s wrong with alleged Republican solutions.
So, ask the following question: how is it that many Americans with preexisting conditions have health insurance now? The immediate answer is, they get it from their employers. But why do employers do that? Well, employment-based health insurance is tax-advantaged: it’s a benefit employers can provide that isn’t counted as taxable income, which makes it better, in some cases, than offering higher wages instead.
But for company health plans to receive this tax-advantaged status, they have to obey ERISA rules, which essentially require that the same benefits be made available to all full-time employees — no discrimination based on health history, and you can’t provide benefits only to your highest-paid workers. So employer-based insurance is, when you come down to it, a lot like Obamacare, with enforced non-discrimination and a fair bit of subsidization of less-well-paid workers.
Now comes Rove, and his big idea is to make the tax break on health coverage available to everyone, not just beneficiaries of employer plans. Great! Now employers can say “Here, we’ll eliminate your coverage, but we’ll pay you more, and you can use the money to buy tax-deductible insurance on your own!” Except that employees with preexisting conditions won’t find insurers willing to offer them affordable coverage — oh, and lower-paid workers won’t be able to afford coverage even if they’re healthy.
So Rove’s “solution” would actually have a devastating effect on millions of Americans who currently have decent coverage.
It goes on from there — the interstate competition zombie shambles on — but you get the point. Rove has nothing but the usual catchphrases, and obviously hasn’t thought for a moment about the actual issues.
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