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Art by Panhandle Slim…


Panhandle Slim…

This is something I think we knew intuitively — not that the wingnuts will care:

(via Planetsave)

Researchers who study poverty have long-recognized that those who live in poverty frequently behave in less capable ways and engage in risky behaviors that both produce additional problems and also exacerbate their poverty status. Previous research…

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Possible deal today


President Obama summoned top congressional leaders to the White House for a midafternoon meeting Monday that could prove critical to acclerating efforts to end the crisis that has paralyzed Washington and avoid an unprecedented default on the nation’s debt.

As talks intensified over ending the government shutdown and lifting the debt ceiling, the president warned that if the standoff is not resolved by Thursday’s debt-ceiling deadline, “we stand a good chance of defaulting.” The White House said in a statement that Obama would tell congressional leaders at the 3 p.m. session that Republicans must “act to pay our bills and reopen the government.’’

The White House meeting between Obama and the top congressional leadership of both parties comes amid a variety of negotiations on Capitol Hill seeking an end to the crisis. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) held the latest 40-minute session in McConnell’s office late Monday morning, and Reid said afterward that the two were making progress but did not yet have a deal.

“We are working on everything,” he said. “We talked yesterday as everyone knows . . . and we’re continuing to work on it. It’s not done yet.”

Asked if he hoped to have a proposal to take to the White House at 3 p.m., Reid said, “Sure hope so.”

The Tea Party radicals

Michael Lind on their origins and goals:

It is perfectly rational for the white local notables of the South and their allies in other regions to oppose universal, federal social programs, if they expect to lose control of the federal government to a new, largely-nonwhite national electoral majority.

Turning over federal programs to the states allows Southern states controlled by local conservative elites to make those programs less generous—thereby attracting investment to their states by national and global corporations seeking low wages.

Privatizing other federal programs allows affluent whites in the South and elsewhere to turn the welfare state into a private country club for those who can afford to pay the fees, with underfunded public clinics and emergency rooms for the lower orders. In the words of Mitt Romney: “We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.”

When the election of Lincoln seemed to foreshadow a future national political majority based outside of the South, the local notables of the South tried to create a smaller system they could dominate by seceding from the U.S. That effort failed, after having killed more Americans than have been killed in all our foreign wars combined. However, during Reconstruction the Southern elite snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and succeeded in turning the South into a nation-within-a-nation within U.S. borders until the 1950s and 1960s.

Today the white notables of the South increasingly live in states like Texas, which already have nonwhite majorities. They fear that Obama’s election, like Lincoln’s, foreshadows the emergence of a new national majority coalition that excludes them and will act against their interest. Having been reduced to the status of members of a minority race, they fear they will next lose their status as members of the dominant local class.

While each of the Newest Right’s proposals and policies might be defended by libertarians or conservatives on other grounds, the package as a whole—from privatizing Social Security and Medicare to disenfranchising likely Democratic voters to opposing voting rights and citizenship for illegal immigrants to chopping federal programs into 50 state programs that can be controlled by right-wing state legislatures—represents a coherent and rational strategy for maximizing the relative power of provincial white elites at a time when their numbers are in decline and history has turned against them. They are not ignoramuses, any more than Jacksonian, Confederate and Dixiecrat elites were idiots. They know what they want and they have a plan to get it—which may be more than can be said for their opponents.

In other words, they want to return to the days of plantations. And slaves.

Thanks to whitecollar defense attorney Jennifer Mayer.

Ha ha

This is pretty funny.

The Obamacare site is so fucked up

And I’m not going near it until the last minute, because I suspect it’s going to fuck up all the information I input. I’d advise you to do the same. Here’s Riverdaughter with her own observations:

Um, money is not the problem.  After all, the social security system, IRS and Medicare don’t have these problems.  Those of us who have seen modern IT initiatives at work in these modern times have a completely different take on this.  It’s a tale about private companies seeking big contracts, using a lot of money to wine and dine the purchasing managers, executives with big bonuses and lots and lots of subcontractors here and in India that have to do the grunt work.  As I wrote earlier this year when the first signs of unreadiness were posted:

The official line is that employers and their reporting systems are not ready yet.  Also not surprised.  The idiots in charge hired Accenture to run their technology.  The hiring managers should have come to former Pharma people for a performance evaluation of Accenture first but you know, workers are never asked to critique decisions like whether hiring Accenture to design information systems was a good idea.

Here’s how it works.  Accenture breezes into a company with their sharp suits and flashy presentations and completely bamboozles the management with promises of slick vaporware. Then they subcontract out to a couple of companies, who subcontract to India.  The Indian subcontractors do the best they can with limited information and the template code into which every business model must fit.  That gets passed back to the poor guy stateside who has to debug and rewrite everything.  The final result is, well, never final.  I’ve never known an Accenture job that actually completed on time, under budget and with all the bells and whistles that were initially promised.  The Pharma landscape is littered with systems that don’t work very well but have pushed aside the in-house programs they outbid to replace.  Meanwhile, the Accenture guys just move to another company.  Commence the parties and golf outings!

And why should we be surprised?  This health care policy was all about campaigning and the worst kind of politics.  It was not about well crafted public policy. It was about letting the private sector make a profit off of healthcare for the uninsured and those of us already paying astronomical rates for individual policies.  In fact, almost from the start, the Obama administration made it perfectly clear that the dirty f^&*ing hippies could be safely ignored and no one had to pay attention to public options or single payer.  They were not invited to the meetings where “everything is on the table” because the Obama crew and their law and biz school pedigrees already knew what was best for Obama.  Best for us?  What did that matter? Highjacking those Democratic activists who thought so highly of their intellectual capabilities was incredibly easy and after that, they didn’t need to answer to anyone.

Vaporware isn’t specific to Accenture, as anyone who’s worked in IT can tell you. But this description is how it usually goes. (I used to have to deal with the customers who were furious over their shitty systems.)

And I’m still not convinced Obama could have sold Medicare for all in this political cesspool. What I do know is that he didn’t even try. Integrating everyone into the Medicare system would have been a lot easier (after all, how do you attack such a popular program?), and would have given Republican many fewer moving targets.

All those people who mansplained to me why it was important to choose Obama because of the “executive ability” he displayed running his campaign (you know, the one David Plouffe and Axelrod actually ran?) can step up now and explain to me how Mr. Executive Ability bungled this one. They would have been better off turning it over to telemarketers.

Patriots at the White House

If you have any doubt that we’re reliving the Civil War, read this.

These people are like the southerners during the Civil War: seditious, and traitorous. What the hell are we going to do about it?

GOP Rep. Jim Jordan: ‘The sequester has been one of the good things’ (via Raw Story )

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) on Sunday said that House Republicans would refuse any deal to raise the debt ceiling and re-open the government if it included backtracking on the austerity fiscal policy known as sequestration. Over the weekend, Senate Democrats…

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NPR is one of the worse offenders:

Unfortunately, this is the “press” the country has to deal with:

Speaking a couple hours before congressional Republican leaders were due at the White House for a meeting on the matter, Carney said it remained to be seen whether the opposition would “put the matches and gasoline aside when it comes to threatening default.”

He also said the proposed short-term extension of the debt ceiling, which would the government would hit next week without congressional action, was a way for Republicans to keep the “nuclear weapon” of undermining the economy in their “back pocket.”

But it was “ransom” — a word Obama has used repeatedly to describe Republican negotiating tactics — that struck the last press corps nerve. The usual briefing room decorum, such as it is, broke down entirely when Carney said finally that Obama would sign a debt-ceiling extension but not if it meant “paying a ransom” to Republicans.

“The president will not pay ransom for … ” Carney began.

“You see it as a ransom, but it’s a metaphor that doesn’t serve our purposes … ” NPR correspondent Ari Shapiro shouted back with broad support from other confused reporters.

“You guys are just too literal then, right?” Carney said.

“We just want to accurately report,” Shapiro began before Carney interjected. “We’re trying to be accurate in our description of what’s going on.”

Ari Shapiro of the “liberal” NPR doesn’t think the ransom metaphor “serves his purposes.” Apparently the gaggle of reporters agrees.

Guess what? Bread and eggs are metaphors. Neighbors and lawsuits are metaphors. “Ransom” isn’t a metaphor. It’s an on-its-face accurate description of what is going on. Keep in mind that this wasn’t a GOP operative declaring that the ransom “metaphor” didn’t “serve his purposes.” It was a reporter, from a supposedly left-leaning outlet.

What purposes do the assembled press have in not telling the truth? No one would need to resort to the metaphors if the press would simply accurately relate the situation. Is it really so necessary to lie in the interest of “balance”?

Let that sink in. It’s become clearer than ever that our Beltway “journalists” don’t consider it their job to check facts. And then we wonder why so many people are so stupidly misinformed:

CNN host calls out Politico reporter who says fact checking isn’t her job: ‘You ignore that?’ (via Raw Story )

Politico reporter Ginger Gibson shocked CNN guest media critic Frank Sesno on Sunday when she said that she didn’t bother to check facts if she was told that her sources were not telling the truth. During a segment about the increasing role of fact…

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