Tinted windows (a pre-debate rant)

What goes on in there, Mittens?

The Odd Man is down but not out, despite an ongoing reversal of fortune that has left him uninsured and in debt. Just thought I’d let you know, in case you wondered why I post so infrequently these days.

In a nutshell, I’m a writer who no longer gets paid to write. I’m one of millions of workers sidelined by corporate bean counters who know that cutting jobs — through outsourcing, attrition, and making each remaining employee do the work of three — is the quickest route to higher profits for the one-percenters, and so what if the long-term consequences of a permanently downsized workforce are disastrous for the economy.

To make ends meet, I work a job that’s the 21st century equivalent of selling apples in the Great Depression. The other day a passer-by wearing a STUD MUFFIN shirt told me to get a real job. “Have a nice day,” I replied. My restraint was something to feel proud of, like not spitting on the car with tinted windows that rolled past me later that same day. I can’t abide tinted windows…

More here.

Scalia gets nailed by Philly Parking Authority

Love! This!

The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land, but no justice, even Antonin Scalia, is apparently safe on the streets of Philadelphia when it comes to its Parking Authority.


The Philadelphia Parking Authority is nationally known because of its starring role for five years in “Parking Wars,” the popular cable TV show that depicts everyday life for PPA workers and the citizens of Philly.


And on Monday, one of the citizens who will interact with the PPA in the near future appears to be Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.


Scalia was in Philadelphia at the Union League of Philadelphia, the private club best known outside the city for its role in the Eddie Murphy film Trading Places.


Dean Picciotti sent us a picture of Scalia’s official car, parked at the League, with a brand-new PPA ticket on its windshield placed by an attentive parking enforcement officer at lunchtime.


Scalia’s car was ticketed despite the presence of a Philadelphia official police business placard on its dashboard.


Ironically, the Parking Authority is one of the few GOP-dominated institutions in Philadelphia, a city long controlled by Democrats.


Scalia is one of the most conservative Supreme Court justices. He frequently votes on issues that find favor with Republicans.


But in this case, the PPA was definitely nonpartisan.

Oops

Turns out the Paul Ryan Medicare plan would be a real problem for Florida seniors:

The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation said Monday that a year-long study has found that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to turn Medicare into a privatized “premium support” coupon program will result in higher costs for six out of every 10 beneficiaries just to maintain their current levels of service.


Kaiser’s study (PDF) found that his plan to partially privatize Medicare would result in wild variations in policy costs across the country, with some states set to be hit much worse than others, confirming in greater detail earlier studies that found Ryan’s plan would result in significantly higher costs for most seniors.


In particular, Kaiser notes that the crucial swing state of Florida — where former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney currently enjoys a slight lead in the polls over President Barack Obama — would see the worst fallout, with about 77 percent of Medicare beneficiaries expected to pay $200 or more per month under the Republican’s coupon program.


It would be especially expensive in areas with the highest concentration of Medicare enrollees, like Miami-Dade County, where nearly all seniors face paying nearly $500 more per month, or Palm Beach County, where 99 percent of plans would go up by more than $370 a month. Kaiser added that Los Angeles County and Orange County in California also face some of the worst price hikes under the Ryan coupon plan, where 99 percent of seniors face paying an additional $$216-$260 more per month.

Both campaigns complain about Candy Crowley

Oh, boo hoo. My concern is not that Candy Crowley will be unfair to the candidates, but to the viewers. I’m concerned that she will either work to soften the questions (because when have you ever seen her conduct a truly interesting interview?) — or that she will simply spit out the same fact-free conventional wisdom as Martha Raddatz did re: Social Security and Medicare, or Iran:.

In a rare show of unity, both the Obama and Romney campaigns have complained to the Commission on Presidential Debates about CNN’s Candy Crowley, who will moderate Tuesday’s town hall forum.


The reason, according to Time’s Mark Halperin, is that Crowley has publicly said that she intends to play an active role in the debate, rather than just let the audience at the town hall ask questions.


Time’s Halperin got his hands on the secret debate contract — or “Memorandum of Understanding” — hammered out by the two campaigns for every debate. Many groups have long demanded for these contracts to be made public as a matter of routine, but the Commission and the campaigns have resisted.


According to Halperin, the MOU, which he said Crowley is “not party to,” calls for the moderator to play a relatively limited role in the town-hall debate:

“In managing the two-minute comment periods, the moderator will not rephrase the question or open a new topic … The moderator will not ask follow-up questions or comment on either the questions asked by the audience or the answers of the candidates during the debate or otherwise intervene in the debate except to acknowledge the questioners from the audience or enforce the time limits, and invite candidate comments during the two-minute response period.”


This does not dovetail in the least with Crowley’s public statements about her intentions. She discussed what she feels her role will be in detail with The Huffington Post last week:

I want to hear less from the moderator than I do from the candidate. I think that, in some ways, people go into it expecting that you’re going to mix it up with the candidates. And I’m not saying that at some point that won’t happen or that that doesn’t happen. I’m just saying that the idea is to get the candidates to mix it up with each other.


Huffington Post: So you see your ultimate role as being there to facilitate their conversation with each other?


Crowley: I think that’s one of the roles. The expectations are enormous from people. My inbox is filled with questions from people. You’re going to disappoint people, so I think the idea is to try to add to the body of knowledge that is out there in whatever way you can. I think it’s always best when these guys engage with each other, but that doesn’t mean I won’t engage with them if that gets us closer to what we need.

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