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  • @MaryRobinette Giving Obama the Nobel Prize for Not Being George Bush is one of the biggest pieces of pwnage in history.
  • @whump: Shorter Obama Nobel Rationale: the World is watching you and hope you listen to reason, instead of the neocons.
  • @DaveHolmes So, wait: YAY Chicago lost the Olympics, BOO our president won the Nobel, and it's the OTHER SIDE that hates America?
  • @randomfacebookcommenter: Think of it as the "Welcome back to sanity!" prize.
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I watched John McCain's town hall meeting while at the gym.

He kept on talking about "free market incentives" being the solution to our health care problems.

I am looking for answers on the following questions:

Is there a "free market incentive" in for-profit healthcare greater than the profit motive?

Is there a "free market incentive" for for-profit health insurance companies that is more attractive than rationing denying coverage to maximize profits?

Is there a "free market incentive" for hospitals and clinics to not increase rates for services to make up for losses on unpaid ER visits by uninsured people?

These are very narrow questions. Comments that stray beyond answers to these three questions will be frozen or deleted.

#obamafail

Jun. 12th, 2009 06:02 pm
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(OK, I know this isn't twitter, but I like this hashtag-fail construct)

So, if you haven't heard yet, the DOJ has filed its brief defending DOMA in Smelt v the United States of America.

There's been a lot of screaming about it, and for good reason. It's a horrible brief.

The Justice Department claims it has to defend the law, but that's overstatement at best.

Andrew Sullivan points out that the brief was written and submitted by a Bush-administration hold-over recognized by Alberto Gonzalez for his defense of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act.

So, yeah.

I would have preferred the administration to decide that there were aspects of the law that were unconstitutional and choose to not defend it on those grounds.

I would have preferred the administration had already started on the legislative action to repeal DOMA that was promised during the campaign.

But, frankly, at the moment, I would have been satisfied if the Justice Department had maybe reviewed the brief before it was submitted, and not submitted such an inflammatory brief.

In the end, though, this may be a snow job on all of us: what if the Obama administration picked an attorney they knew would submit the most repugnant defense of the law possible to set up the defense to lose? It would be consistent with the Obama that the conservative pundits keep painting, and in some ways the meandering brief is practically a gift to the plaintiffs' attorney.
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Don't get me wrong. I don't like it, and I'm disappointed. I would have like to see it overturned on the arguments already made.

Still, it pops the lid off a can of worms created by Prop 8. It's a very narrow judgement, and there's only one question it really answers.

On the up-side, it maintains our position of strength (sadly entirely disregarded by the "No on 8" coalition and campaign) in working to re-ammend the constitution. We have roughly 18,000 married same-sex families living their lives, working, paying taxes, raising children. We are not destroying the fabric of society in California, we're strengthening it. We are not devaluing California's spiritual life, we're celebrating it. That's what the campaign has to be about, not mealy-mouthed inoffensive unchallenging pap.

There's also the bureaucratic and business madness of supporting three different marriage and marriage-like classes of service. The RNC wants to complain that same-sex marriage will be a financial burden on small business? It's nothing compared to the burden that this balkanized judgement will place on business and government. This will have to be addressed.

Finally, there's the meat of the amendment, "a man and a woman." Wait for a spate of lawsuits to prevent or dissolve marriages since November where "man" or "woman" is debatable. Savvy divorce lawyers are going to go wild with the non-existent legal definition.

The imp of the perverse sees chaos, confusion and unintended consequences coming out of this, ideally enough that the silent center will want to repeal the amendment in disgust.
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The "Tea Party" movement is a symbolic failure.

The original tea partiers engaged in criminal acts and risked arrest and imprisonment to destroy product from a company being propped up by unfair reduced taxes by the government, at the expense of what, at the time, amounted to "small business:" the domestic importers of tea who competed with the East India Company.

The current teabaggers are buying tea and throwing it around. That's it. When the DC teabag crew showed up with a truckload of tea bags (yes, I'm serious) to dump in Lafayette Square (because dumping in the Potomac is illegal, can't do that, after all) they were informed that they didn't have the correct permits to dump their load.

So they took it away. They're a bunch of pussies. "Civil disobedience" and "protest" are just words to them. They'll always cave in to authority rather than take a risk for their alleged principles. Samuel Adams would have dumped the tea right then and there.

If they wanted a real symbolic connection with the original Boston Tea Party they would be stealing Chrysler and GM cars and trucks from distribution centers and dumping them in the drink.

But they're not.

Pussies.

Just in...

Dec. 12th, 2008 06:47 pm
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And here people were saying that the McCain/Palin campaign wasn't technically savvy. People were going ape over Obama's BlackBerry.

Well, guess what...

The McCain/Palin campaign was using BlackBerries too!
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He's also the first Hawaiian President. What I just realized, though, is he's the first Midwestern President since Jerry Ford (who wasn't elected and didn't serve a full term) and the first Midwesterner elected President since Eisenhower.
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Hokay.

"Blacks lost us Prop 8!"

Yeah, right.

There was a groundswell of black voters in California this cycle, true. They're still only a large enough voting block to really make a difference in races with tight margins like the Prop 8 race.

It's slicing up the electorate in ways that don't really make sense. The bigger issue is churchgoing and evangelical voters. Here are the "yes" numbers from the exit polls:
  • weekly churchgoers: 84%
  • white evangelicals: 81%
  • white protestants: 65%
  • Catholics: 64%

All of those groups are larger than the black vote, and the first and last include many black voters. Still, that's even slicing up things too simply (well, except white evangelicals). There were faith groups campaigning against Prop 8.

A big bunch of the blame rests with the "No" campaign. The advertising was sucktacular. So much time was spent countering the lies of the "Yes" campaign that our message never got out.

I don't know, though, that the "No" campaign knew how to get our message out.

Where were the "A 'yes' vote is a vote to end our marriage" ads?

Where were the ads featuring interracial straight couples recalling when their marriages were illegal?

Where were the ads featuring supportive ministers of all faiths and denominations asking for the right to perform same-sex marriages?

Where were the ads showing that, while domestic partnerships in law confer all the rights and responsibilities of marriage, we continuously have to fight to get organizations and people to obey that law and grant us our rights?

Where was our narrative?

Oh, and where were the ads featuring Governor Arnie, who constantly walks a tightrope claiming one thing and doing the opposite?
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The original version:

The Berkeley version...

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...because I know there are a few Republicans who read this.

This is going to sound snarky, but it's not.

I would like to congratulate you on the trouncing that the Republican Party took earlier this week.

I'm serious.

Are you a Republican who believes his party has been stolen by the wingnuts and the tinfoil hat brigade? Are you a Republican sick of "Republicans in name only" who lead the party? Are you a Republican who isn't happy with minority factions driving the party platform and policy?

You've got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity here, an opportunity greater than the one that a McCain/Palin victory would have given you.

This loss has forced the Republican leadership to take al long hard look at the party and what it stands for. It's time for you to contact your Congressmen and the party leadership, and tell them what you think.

I'm not going to ask you to tell them they need to reject their conservative principles. I may disagree with some of those principles, but they're representing folks who agree with them.

I am going to ask you to tell them they need to look at their methods.

Is the Republican Party going to be an impotent and obstructionist opposition party, clinging to party loyalty and old grudges and embracing the fillibuster that they only 3 years ago tried to put an end to, or is it going to be a meaningful participant in the next session of Congress?

Is the Republican Party going to embrace victimhood or move forward?

Is the Republican party going to continue on the road of division and fear, the wedge issue campaigning of Lee Atwater, Roger Ailes and Karl Rove?

There's a good chance that, if you're a Republican and reading this, you don't have a Republican congressman to call your very own. Chances are your neighbors are hostile to Republicans.

Why?

Because we, city dwellers, are campaigned against as being unpatriotic and not being real Americans.

Because we, ordinary educated coastal California working folks who may make more than the average wage-earner elsewhere but probably still have the same amount of money left over at the end of the day, are campaigned against as chardonnay swilling latté sipping elitists.

Because we, queer Americans just working our way towards full equality, are campaigned against as the destroyers of civilization.

Because we, the folks who aren't in the Christian majority and just want to practice our religion or even no religion, are campaigned against as dangerous terrorists and threats to your children.

In spite of the passage of Proposition 8 here in California, the Presidential election showed us one thing: A hope-based campaign can defeat a fear-based campaign. Campaign for something, not against your opponent's supporters.

Let your Congressmen and the Republican Leadership know that.

Sorry...

Nov. 5th, 2008 10:30 pm
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Somehow I lost the video embed on the last post...

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Let the circular firing squad begin!

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I don't know which is more surprising.

Fox News going after Nader? He was a rather successful spoiler in 2000, but he's outlived his usefulness to the Republicans.

Fox News defending Obama? With Democrats in charge of the White House and Congress, they may feel a need to play nice for a little while.

Ralph Nader intimating that Obama might be an "Uncle Tom" for big corporations and dancing around the racial slur?

Fox reports, you decide:

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No, not the wait for mail-in ballots to be counted in the Prop 8 vote. If all the numbers are true (3,000,000 outstanding mail-in ballots, a 400,000 ballot deficit) we need a 15 point advantage against in the mail-in ballots. That's pretty unlikely. Of course, once we get a report from the Secretary of State on outstanding ballots (currently the report is blank) we'll find out if any of this is even possible, much less likely. I don't expect that for days; they just got their website back up and functioning fully.

The silver lining is the ACLU's suit that the amendment initiative exceeds the boundaries of an amendment, and instead is a "revision" to the constitution. Seeing that suit win would warm the cockles of my heart. Why?

Well, "Yes on 8" burned up $40million that could have been spent by evangelicals and Mormons on other races. That's nationally significant dollars. That's more than Republican campaigns went into debt this race. Sure, "No on 8" burned up money that could have been used in other progressive campaigns, but thanks to Obama's charm and fundraising skills it wasn't needed. I would love to see all that money wasted on an initiative that was struck down.

That's not what's going to make me dance a happy dance if the courts do strike the initiative down, though. What will make me dance a happy dance is that, if the courts strike down Prop 8 on the grounds that it's a "revision" rather than an "amendment" that pretty much kills any chances future initiatives on the subject have. It raises the bar to a level that other states haven't been able to defeat, and well above the current 52% that Prop 8 could muster.

Will it happen?

I'm not going to set myself up for disappointment. That said, the courts have struck down initiatives on just these grounds; there is legal precedent.
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Obama? Yay.

Democratic Senate gains? Yay.

Democratic house gains? Yay.

I'm going to send a letter, though, to my representative, my senators and the democratic leadership. Don't squander this chance. Don't make this into the first two years of the Carter administration. Don't make this into the first two years of the Clinton administration. Don't make this into the first two years of the second W administration (he had it his way in 2004-2006, or he should have). Come together. Work on reform. Work with the moderate Republicans; some of them have good ideas and might agree with you on some things. Drive legislation.

Prop 8? Not so yay. There's an estimated 3,000,000 uncounted mail-in and provisional ballots, though. There's still a slim chance that the proposition could be defeated if those ballots skew the right direction.

If you voted "yes" on Prop 8, you voted to end my marriage. I will not forgive that.

If you are crying in your beer about Prop 8's likely passage, and were eligible to vote in California but didn't vote against it, Prop 8's victory is your fault. I will not forgive that.
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...Obama has a commanding lead in the electoral vote race.

FiveThirtyEight.com, with its rigorous statistical methodology and analysis is currently at the "based on safe states and called races, Obama is over 270 already" stage. Yes, they're calling pretty early.

The AP (which I'm getting through the Yahoo! Election 08 Political Dashboard) isn't taking as big a risk. They've got Obama at 202 with called states (and they're being cautious about which states they call). Beyond that? Returns data from Florida looks very good, with a 3 point lead for Obama at the 66% reporting mark. Returns data from Virginia and North Carolina are looking distinctly possible for Obama with a scant lead in each with 80 and 70 percent of precincts reporting, respectively. McCain is squeaking by with the same sort of margin in Indiana. He's trouncing Obama in GA, but election-watchers there say that the Democratic-leaning urban counties are often the last returns in. I doubt that's enough to reverse a 20-point deficit, but stranger things have happened.

Senate and House numbers are also looking really good for Democratic candidates. Really good.
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The McCain/Palin campaign has been hurting the last few weeks, hurting from the sting of Republican and conservative stalwarts endorsing Obama.

McCain just got a major endorsement, though. If you haven't heard, al Qaeda endorsed the McCain/Palin ticket. Melissa Joyner-Sykes, associate director for Central Asia policy analysis coordination at the Institute for Asymmetrical Warfare and Global Confrontation Metrics weighs in on the endorsement:

Yes, there's sponsorship crap at the beginning, listen anyway.

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And I can't fathom a world where McCain & Palin are in charge. Or where Prop. 8 passes. No, I'm not threatening to move to another country -- the point is, this is my home & that's exactly why it bothers me that those people could be in charge & ruin it even further than Dubya has. If I didn't care about America, I'd have just up & left, I wouldn't follow politics, I wouldn't rant & rave. I believe in a free country, where civil rights are prized & protected, & I've seen all of this trampled.
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