Link Roundup, 2/11/2016

If the political turmoil in the US isn’t enough to leave you queasy, signs of trouble in the banking sector are starting to emerge.

Analysts have speculated for months when (whether) the collapse in commodities prices would trigger ripple effects in the investment world. This week, for the first time since the financial collapse, the public was introduced to a new, innovative financial instrument: the CoCo bond. Differences of opinion on how to value Deutsche Bank’s hard-to-value Contingent Convertible bonds in light of recent losses led to wild stock fluctuations. Expect more of the same.

So, let’s chance the subject. How about some lighter material for a change.

From Mental Floss: What ever happened to the waterbed?

From the Guardian: How Siri may be killing off accents

From Fader: An evaluation of the cultural impact of Beyonce’s Formation

From Gizmodo: How to harness the placebo effect as a treatment method

From LiveScience: Laser scans are uncovering ‘lost’ Roman Roads in Britain

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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92 comments on “Link Roundup, 2/11/2016
  1. 1mime says:

    Justice Scalia found dead at TX ranch!

    • flypusher says:

      And that great lover of the Constitution Ted Cruz is openly calling to deny Obama to chance to fill the vacancy.

      Just when I think Teddy has maxxed out on assholery, he raises the bar.

      • johngalt says:

        And he was quickly joined by the other little dwarfs. Only Jeb! said Obama should be able to nominate a successor. Notably, he did not address whether this nominee should be given a hearing or vote in the Senate.

      • 1mime says:

        Such bravery from Jeb! Duh, the U.S. Constitution that conservatives pray to every day gives the President the right and responsibility to make the appointment.

        This is BS. Pure and simple.

        So, let’s take this scenario a little further. Say Ginsburg or Kennedy dies next week. We gonna still make the President wait because he’s a lame duck? I wonder how many of these leaders – McConnell being one – would wait to make a critical appointment to chair a major committee in the Senate because he was in his last year?

  2. Rob Ambrose says:

    Hadn’t realized the mess Loisiana is in. Read this speech by the gov, a month into his administration.

    Is there even ONE success story of Conservative fiscal policies? How is the GOP able to say they’re the paty of “fiscal responsibility” with a straight face?

    Does the GOP stand for anything other then representing the interests of the obscenely wealthy? Even the other main planks in the platform (all the social Conservative stuff) are just talking points in order to get the southern rubes to vote for them.

    All they care about is cutting taxes on the rich and corporations. Full stop.

    It says something about the sad state of affairs of the current GOP that Bobby Jindal could literally destroy a state financially to enrich his corporate buddies and still think that a serious presidential run was a worthwhile initiative.

    • 1mime says:

      As I have mentioned more than once, three of my siblings are Republicans, two are Democrats. They all live in LA. To a one – they believe that Bobby Jindal has been an unmitigated disaster for LA. This is one of the reasons a Democrat was elected Governor. The Legislature still hews to the conservative moniker….even though most are probably born again Republicans. What difference does it make if governing is irresponsible? LA is now up against the cold, hard reality of dealing with declining oil and gas revenue, a population that “says” it doesn’t want to pay higher taxes but also “wants” to continue the current largesse, and a new Democratic Governor that says: it ain’t possible. Something’s got to give.

      As my brother told me some time ago (he’s one of the Democrats) – Things will have to get so bad that there simply isn’t any other choice but to raise taxes and cut benefits that the people of LA want. Isn’t that pretty much what is happening throughout America? Cutting taxes for those who are revenue producers is a nice short-term reward; however, long-term, there are real consequences to taxpayers who are generally unwilling to pay for basic services and those benefits that the majority demand.

      It’s a sad reality in LA and at least the new governor is being honest with the states’ people. That’s a start.

  3. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Pundits and others have noted that Nevada is notoriously difficult to poll, so when one like this comes out and says that Clinton and Sanders are effectively tied in the state, I take it with a grain of salt.

    Here are just a few gems that I found interesting:

    >] “While Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, the Clinton Foundation received millions in foreign donations and did not disclose them, despite her promising President Obama that she would do so. Does this make you more or less likely to support her?”

    >] “Bernie Sanders has proposed trillions in new government spending, including $15 trillion dollars more for a government-run healthcare program. Does this make you more or less likely to support him?”

    >] “Recently several news organizations have reported that the FBI could indict Hillary Clinton over her handling of her email server. How concerned are you that she could face such an indictment?”

    Now, to be fair, I don’t venture often into polls’ specific questions, but what the frack is this? Is this supposed to be a poll on candidates or media sensationalism?

    • johngalt says:

      The poll was sponsored by the Washington Free Beacon. If the Washington Post is CNN and the Washington Times is FoxNews, the Free Beacon is Breitbart. Or maybe worse.

    • Griffin says:

      Bahaha are they still using that $15 trillion number? Goes to show no matter how many times it’s debunked it will never get through the right-wing echo chamber.

  4. flypusher says:

    jeb. is trotting out his secret weapon:

    Seriously W is “highly popular” among Republicans? Which subset are we talking about here? And if the military still loves him, damn!

  5. Rob Ambrose says:

    Missed the debate last night, but is this Hillarys strategy to douse The Bern? Oppose single payer flat out because “people would be worse off”?

    I think 2008 and this cycle shows there is strong hunger for big progressive ideas, and single payer is one of the holy grail of big progressive ideas.

    For a candidate with no clear message and who is often criticized for the peeception that she is too beholden to corporate dollars, this doesn’t seem smart at all. There MAY be a case for criticizing SP as too expensive or too unrealistic (although if I were her, I would just leave it alone). But to make the case that ” people would be worse off” is frankly a joke. If she’s including corporations in her group of “people” then sure. She sounds like a Republican here.

    Interested to see her poll numbers after this debate.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      With all respect, Rob, you seem to be trying to have your cake and eat it too. First you call SP the “holy grail of big progressive ideas,” and then you say, well, there “MAY” be a case for criticizing it.

      If nothing else, this primary has brought on, IMO, a sincere and honest criticism of it. It was tried in Sanders’ Vermont and abandoned because it was too expensive. Health care experts have examined Sanders’ national “plan” – and I use that term lightly, mind you – and a significant amount have come out saying that his cost savings estimates are far too optimistic (which should be more than a bit reminiscent of Republicans’ talk about overly optimistic tax cuts), that there’s a lot of questions regarding its implementation – – and other issues.

      Lifer has made the case that markets alone can’t tackle health care. Frankly, I don’t think that leaving it all to the federal government is the right way to go either. I think there should be a way, as Lifer has argued, to get a hybrid plan going where we make the best of both worlds. And that requires, hold your breath, Republicans and Democrats actually coming together on health care.

      Now before you throw your hands up in the air and walk off, just hear me out on this last thing. If the ACA really is a system intentionally designed to force a solution to our broader health care concerns, then there may yet be reason to hope. No one’s saying it’s going to be pretty, but keep in mind that if we get universal health care done, that opens the doors to a federal minimum income. It’s worth seeing this out until the end.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Im only passingly familiar with Vermont’s attempt, so I can’t comment specifically. But I DO tend to be skeptical of economists projections and models saying one thing when there are several real world examples that say another.

        Don’t get me wrong, I think models and economist projections have enourmous value, especially when there are no real world comparable. The models for climate change could be flawed, of course, bit since we have no real world examples to use as a yardstick, and since they all more or less say the same thing, I out a lot of stock in that.

        But in this case where you have models saying one thing, and Canada, UK, Japan, most of Europe etc all have actual similar systems that unanimously have both a much better insured rate AND much lower health care costs per capita, I’m inclined to think there’s either something wrong with the model or something wrong with the conclusion.

        Single payer works better, for cheaper, in every other modern developed country in the world. The model is well proven. So Vermont CAN afford it. There is a difference between being ABLE to afford something or be WILLING too.

        With health care specifically there are so many factors, some that may not make it into projections. Are they factoring in the less sick time/higher productivity of a better insured populace? The lack of medical related bankruptcies? The savings to companies who no longer need to provide health care? The abolishment of multi million dollar CEO and executive pays that the health insurers take out of the market?

        What Vermont is ACTUALLY saying is, the cost of single payer is too expensive to be politically feasible.

        At the end of the day, single payer is a proven model, and it will improve health care in America at a lower cost. If it is deemed “unaffordable” its because the multi billions the for profit health industry pours into politics. It is unaffordable politically, not financially, which are two completely different things, and what single payer supporters are fighting to change. And that’s why they get excited about someone like Sanders.

        As for the holy grail comment, I would consider the fact that over 80% of Dems support this specific policy, despite the almost impossible perception of it, gives it “holy grail” status, and for Hillary to flat out say “people will be worse off” smells really bad.

        Had she said “we can’t afford it” or “its impossible” or “yes single payer is a great goal, but i think *insert issue here* is a bigger issue right now” ppl could agree or not, but that’s a defensible position. To say “ppl would be worse off” is simply wrong. And it’s demonstrably wrong. And it sounds like the kind of disingenuous comment that belongs on the Republican side, and I thinks if she keeps on this particular strategy, lots of Dems are going to be turned off and feel like she’s insulting their intelligence.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        For the sake of fair and balanced platform critique, Bernie really needs to stop attacking Obama. Hes pretty popular among Democrats. And also the revolutionary rhetoric. Not everything needs a “revolution”. Just pass common sense laws that are proven models from other countries. No revolution necessary.

      • Creigh says:

        Something like 55 million Americans are under a single payer system today. It saves money compared to commercially available products (although its covered lives are older and generally more expensive). People seem to like it. I’ll be signing up on my next birthday.

      • johngalt says:

        “Single payer works better, for cheaper, in every other modern developed country in the world. The model is well proven.”

        Well, no, actually. Relatively few countries have a bona fide single payer system like the UK’s PHS. In much of Europe there is a hybrid system that combines some form of compulsory insurance with add-ons (for the wealthy if they choose it) and social insurance (for the poor). These are often run by private companies or non-profits. These systems seem to work better than the strict single payers or, at least, I don’t hear as much griping from the French about their medical system than the British.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        If we’re going to get into a debate about the efficacy of single-payer health care, and it looks like we are, then let’s make some things clear first. I think it obvious that we both want universal health care coverage; no argument there, the debate is the best way to go about it.

        Is single-payer the best way to do that? True, many other countries have adopted the model and made their respective spending on health care much less per person than what the US spends. However, the crux of all this comes down to the actual coverage with respect to citizens. Are they getting the biggest bang for their buck?

        Contrary to a hybrid plan, like I think we should go for, the answer’s no. With SP, inevitably the government has to decide what services should be focused on and what should be scaled back on. With that kind of centralized bureaucracy, it makes changes – which are inevitable when you’re dealing with health care – harder to implement, and that’s after you’ve gone through all the governmental red tape. And when you’re dealing with people’s lives, that kind of time-consuming process can literally be fatal.

        In addition to that, in the much-vaunted Canadian SP system, critics will often points out that their waiting lines can be so long that patients will come to the United States or other countries so that they can receive the care they need. That’s not an indictment against SP or Canada in particular, but it does reinforce my broader point about a streamlined, competitive system that makes the best use of both worlds, not forcing the whole load onto any one institution.

        >] “As for the holy grail comment, I would consider the fact that over 80% of Dems support this specific policy, despite the almost impossible perception of it, gives it “holy grail” status, and for Hillary to flat out say “people will be worse off” smells really bad.”

        Let’s be frank and get it out there that the overwhelming majority of those Democrats likely aren’t experts in the ridiculously complex world that is health care, so when someone like Bernie Sanders comes along and makes it sound oh so simple, we should take that 80% endorsement with a grain of salt, to put it politely.

        And as for Hillary’s “people will be worse off” comment, let’s parse that out. Worse off in what way, specifically? Will some people receive potentially fewer benefits under a SP system? That gets back to my point about the government deciding what procedures and benefits will take precedent. Maybe some will be worse off, others may be better off.

        Hillary would need to explain this comment in greater detail, no doubt, but the devil here is in the details and I don’t believe we should reject it out of hand.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Sorry, I’m not too up to date on the specific strict definition of “single payer”.

        When I say single payer, I’m referring to universal coverage, a system where pretty much everyone is insured. Whether that’s a model that looks more like the UK’s or more France’s is a debate I’d like to hear.

        But either one is light years better then the current system.

      • Crogged says:

        Next time you go to the doctor just make some idle talk along the lines of ‘you know, Medicare for everybody may not be such a bad idea’. If you have a procedure scheduled, don’t do it.

        I would of done it except after i turned 21 the first time I went back to a doctor was when I was 33.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Crogged: If you’ve a specific article to reference, then please link me to it. I’m not going to search through an entire site and play a guessing game.

      • Crogged says:

        If you think a single article explains delivery of medical care in the modern world, ignore the site.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Crogged: We were, I assumed, debating the prospects of single-payer health care, not running through a litany of all the ins and outs of medical care in their entirety. We can summarize our points in order to get a basic argument across without having to delve into terribly long and boring specifics, hence why I asked if you had a specific article you could reference me to.

        If not, then that’s that. If so, then I’d like to see it so we can move on with the debate.

      • Griffin says:

        It’s not fair to compare vermont’s single payer healthcare to a national one. Vermont’s main issue was that it didn’t have the power to negotiate drug prices, so the government was paying the same rates as everyone else. A national system has bargaining power and lower costs. Also a national economy can handle possible temporary deficits far better than a state economy can.

        The problem with saying “everyone who wants single-payer isn’t choosing the optimal option” is that no one is offering a better alternative right now. It’s a Nirvana fallacy. If my choices are between: Republican “Plan” (return to messy free market), the Obamacare plan (slightly reformed market plan), and single-payer, than I’d practically have to choose single-payer. Even if there’s a better plan somewhere out there it’s not being offered right now, so I’d have to choose the best of those being offered right now.

      • goplifer says:

        This comes down to the difference between conservatism and liberalism.

        You are never going to get the opportunity to live under the kind of health care system that exists in Holland, Germany, Norway, or France if me make the leap to single payer. That step will instantly kill off all of the mediating institutions (smaller, but still powerful and capable, players sitting between you and the Federal government) that make the most successful systems work.

        Centralization sucks. Period. French and German hospitals are some of the best in the world because they exist inside a system that was allowed to evolve without being torn to pieces by the ambitions of revolutionaries. They preserve artifacts from 150 years of social evolution that grant those systems remarkable capacity to adapt to the needs of the people who live under them. The best continental systems for delivering universal health care share the fact that they are inherently conservative in their orientation (the German system was designed by Bismark, of all people).

        American conservatives bear special scorn for the growing danger of single payer health care. If conservatives here had been less pig-headed, less racist, and just a little less dumb, we would have hijacked the fight over Obamacare seven years ago and used it to incorporate private providers more deeply into a decentralized, yet far more truly universal health care system.

        We come to this miserable point as a consequence of liberal impatience and conservative intransigence. As is so often the case in American politics, where deadlock is built into the structure of our system, change only comes via earthquakes and earthquakes are not exactly ‘surgical’ in their outcomes.

      • 1mime says:

        I’m going to attempt to summarize one of the more interesting articles I’ve read on how America’s health care system could be fixed: (From Scott Burns, syndicated financial columnist, 11/25/15, Houston Chronicle.) If you want more detail, his website is:

        12 step plan:
        1. Admit health care is a problem and that fixing it will be a big fight. It’s worth it!
        2. Study health care systems that weren’t invented here. (especially the ones with better outcomes for less cost.)
        3. End old habits – liberate workers to change jobs without fear of losing insurance.
        4. Restore the insurance principle of pooled risk.
        5. End the tax break for employer-sponsored health insurance. Put everyone on equal footing. Use increased tax revenue to fund other health productive programs.
        6. Support a shift to free medical education for general practitioner doctors and nurses.
        7. Create price competition in pharmaceuticals. Take big pharm off corporate welfare (YES)
        8. Create compensation claw-backs for hospital execs who force understaffing – think – civil penalities for accidental deaths related to staffing policy.
        9. Insist on hospital price menus for procedures. Promote price visibility & competition.
        10.End phony price moves for pharmaceuticals (i.e. coming off patent, generics, etc)
        11.Increase end-of-life/palliative care counseling support. (Yeah, the old “death panels” work)
        12.Treat addiction as a health issue not a character fault.

        This is not easy, but universal health care is the right thing for its people. There are many ways to get there. I don’t care how as long as it’s quality, affordable, and available to all. Call it whatever you want, but People are dying and people are going without because they can’t afford coverage. Let’s talk about health care for all as opposed to Muslims. And walls. And PP. Let’s talk about something that is necessary and important to all people – everywhere. Then, let’s get it done.

        What Hillary meant when she said single payer would leave people worse off is she knows the fight that this issue has engendered. What she’s suggesting, as a veteran of health care combat, is that we build upon what we have and make it better. That we work together as a nation to get it done.

        What is it about “getting it done” do any of us not understand?

    • MassDem says:

      Just when you think the right wing’s hit peak crazy…

      This one’s for you, Bern. Vintage like you.

      Sad that so little has changed; this song is from 1989.

      • Crogged says:

        Always loved fightin’ songs and both are timely……….

      • Crogged says:

        I went to see “Do The Right Thing” when it was released. Out in the suburbs of Houston, during a weekday. The theater was practically empty but when the Public Enemy song started blasting my hair stood on end, my skin crawled and I was mesmerized. Great song, great movie, great memory.

      • MassDem says:

        “Do the Right Thing” is an amazing movie, and still rings so true. It was released at a time of great racial tensions in NYC, and was very controversial up here in the North.

        Did Mookie do the right thing? I’m convinced he saved the pizza guy’s life.

        Isley Bros–“Who’s that Lady?”–another great trip down memory lane!

      • MassDem says:

        Oh man, what I wouldn’t give to dance like Rosie Perez 🙂

  6. Rob Ambrose says:

    Obamas GOP trolling game is on point as usual.

    Rubio was drowning and Obama threw him an anvil.

    • flypusher says:

      All he needs now is to get within hugging range for the coup de grace.

    • 1mime says:

      Obama is finally having a little fun in his last year in office. Good.for.him.

      If we could only wind this story backwards….have the wiser, more cynical, more politically experienced Obama begin in ’09….

  7. MassDem says:

    Looking for that perfect gift for your favorite Texan or Texas ex-pat?
    San Antonio has got you covered!

    I’m actually a little jealous. Okay, a lot jealous.

  8. MassDem says:

    I found the link on conditioning the immune response fascinating. It’s been known for a while now that being overwhelmed by stress or depression can have deleterious effects on the immune system; good to see that the converse is true, and that there are ways to train one’s mind to boost the immune system. The brain is a mysterious thing.

    • Doug says:

      There are at least three people in my extended family who take homeopathic “drugs” for various ailments and swear they work better than conventional drugs without the side effects. “The brain is a mysterious thing” indeed.

      • MassDem says:

        If they’re into the pre-germ theory of disease, then they would be better off treating themselves with leeches–at least there’s some actual evidence of efficacy.

  9. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Also, Sanders’ supporters still aren’t making his efforts to try and reach out to African-Americans any easier. Just sayin’

  10. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Just finished watching the DemDebate. Pretty subdued and boring tbh, but how were Clinton and Sanders on race issues? Neither really stood out IMO, though that may be more to HRC’s advantage more than Sanders. All she needs to do is keep the status quo. Sanders is the one who needs to make inroads, and if he can’t… well, you can do the math.

    One point of interest though. Sanders started making inroads in NH polls around December and just kept on climbing. So, how do the polls in SC look right now? It’s been about two weeks since the last one, but if they’re to be believed, Clinton is still crushing it, almost doubling Sanders’ support in the state.

    Those numbers will narrow as we get closer of course, but it’s gonna be interesting to see how these weeks play out. 🙂

    • Griffin says:

      Looking at the numbers it’s obvious (as it’s usually been) that Sanders will not win. But then again he was never running to win, at least not originally. He just wanted to remind people how powerful of a force progressivism is in the Democratic Party, forcing the DNC to pay more lip service to it, and to pull Clinton left and pressure her towards political reform. He has gone above and beyond in his original goals, so even when he loses I’ll still consider Uncle Bernie a winner.

      I’ll even vote for him in the primary, not because I think he should be the nominee, but just to remind the Party I’m to the “left” (not sure that’s the right word for it but whatever) of Clinton, which is the same reason alot of people I know are voting for him in the primary. As I’ve said before though if it looks like he somehow has a chance (he doesn’t) I’ll vote for Clinton instead.

      If Sanders was the nominee it would backfire massively on the progressive movement. I think he would win the general against the current GOP, but then what? He’d be stuck in the White House with a House GOP that will not work with him, so he and the progressives in general will be associated every bit of gridlock and failure in Washington, without any actual legislation to show for it, so the liberal/progressive movement will peak when it is in a position to do nothing. They’ll have everything to lose and nothing to gain, except maybe on foreign policy. Better to let the Establishment Democrats slug it out with the GOP on the national level, they have more resources to throw at them anyways, while progressives can run for the state and local level and have more possible candidates and movement behind them in 2024 when the Dems have a chance to retake Congress as well. Also maybe they can become more tach savvy in the meantime.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        The road to hell is paved with good intentions, isn’t that what they say?

        If that was Sanders’ intention from the very beginning, and it may well have been, then that is a noteworthy cause and more power to him. However, particularly to those of us who have been following Lifer’s blog for many months now, it’s safe to argue that Sanders also may well have underestimated the circumstances underpinning America right now; that his message has resounded so strongly and so loudly as to actually begin to backfire.

        Maybe The Politics of Crazy will consume the Democratic Party as they have the Republicans and Sanders’ good intentions have only accelerated that process. Maybe they won’t. I am still of the strong opinion that the crazy only truly began to consume the GOP when they lost the presidency, first to Bill Clinton and then to Barack Obama, with no coalescing force or leadership to rein them in. From this POV, perhaps where we ended up was ultimately inevitable from the moment this this farce began.

        That being the case however, we still have time, time enough while the Democrats maintain a hopeful lock on the presidency in order for Republicans to get their collective shit together and for our politics to hopefully, finally, begin to heal. That, I think, would go a long ways towards stemming this tide and rolling it back to the far reaches of our collective political parties where it belongs.

      • Griffin says:

        The problem is that there is no single reason the GOP went nuts, even though everyone is looking for it. For Lifer the primary reason is the breakdown of social institutions is the expansion of power in hands of individuals due to technological advances but that’s only part of it. That might make the bases desires more readily heard but one desire is not as crazy as another. Sanders has flaws but if he’s a personifaction of the base even he’s not nearly as bad as the current GOP, and is at least policy-oriented.

        I think it took a very specific set of circumstances to radicalize the GOP to the extent it’s gotten today, and it’s taken decades of effort on the part of the radical right. The rise of religious fundamentalists who will believe nearly anything that reinforces their ideas, the rise of massive right-wing propoganda that is well-funded by crackpot donors, activists such as Phyllis Schafly and Sarah Palin radicalizing the base, the GOP leadership trying to harness the anger of the base to its advantage… it’s much more than just “tech shock” that’s shaken up the GOP. It will take more than a coupe years for the base the Party to recover after we’ve left this phrase. The Democrats may be going through a “phase” (and all things considered the phase is not that bad considering Sanders is still 100x saner than, say, Ron “GOOOOLD” Paul, and more viable as a national leader than the GOP candidates), the Republicans are going through the beginning of a long nightmare.

      • MassDem says:

        I don’t think Sanders supporters are crazy. I think they are well aware of the problems that face us, in contrast to right-wing crazy, which is no longer reality-based. I also think that Sanders supporters greatly underestimate how difficult it is to change course with the way our government was designed to work (or in these times, not work). It’s like trying to steer a Titanic away from the iceberg while half of the crew denies the existence of said iceberg.

        Cue “My heart will go on.”

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        There’s a pretty good chance that the energy and excitement a Sanders campaign would necessarily need to win would also give House Dems a majority no?

        Or are they too far behind?

      • MassDem says:

        Dream on! Dream on! Dream on! Dream until your dreams come true!

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Rob Ambrose: Rob, contrary to the near unanimous opinion of pundits others, I don’t think it’s impossible for Democrats to win back the House; it’s just really, REALLY difficult and requires very specific circumstances.

        Frankly, Sanders can’t hope to do by virtue of the simple fact that Republicans would LOVE to run against him. I think they’d be energized and ready to do everything they could to storm back to the White House. They may not win, but against a backdrop like that, there’s no way Sanders, if the numbers he’s showing in Iowa and New Hampshire hold steady – could even hope to take back the House.

        The only way is with a double-pronged assault, both with HRC and a strong Democratic electorate at the top and Republicans cutting their own proverbial legs off with a batshit crazy nominee like Trump or Cruz, depressing Republican turnout and probably even bringing some moderate-minded Republicans to hold their nose and vote for the other side (looking at you, Lifer).

        To be clear, I’m not saying that that automatically means a Democratic sweep and retaking the House, but I think that that’s the best chance they’ve got right now.

      • Creigh says:

        I’m listening hard to the folks who say Sanders won’t get anything accomplished, and has electability problems because “the attack ads write themselves.” But I keep coming back to the fact that nobody will get anything accomplished without big changes in Congress, and there isn’t anyone in the race I couldn’t write attack ads against in my sleep.

        It looks like Cruz, the great debater, is toast. His formidable debating skills were completely useless against Trump, who just refuses to debate “losers.” They would be similarly useless against Sanders, who would be no more inclined to debate a Cruz than Trump is.

        Sanders has already accomplished far more than I thought possible. His issues – principally “the government is ignoring what people want and doing exclusively what corporations want” – are going to be the central issues of the Democratic Party going forward.

        Scarily, in a like manner I see Trump as the future of the Republican party. His message is startlingly similar: “the government is ignoring what people want and doing exclusively what corporations want.”

        Sanders thinks we need a revolution. I think we’re going to get one. It might not be Sanders’. I hope it’s not Trump’s.

  11. 1mime says:

    Lifer, Did you get to attend the Prez’ address to the IL General Assembly yesterday?

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      It was a really, really good speech Mime. Although I doubt most Republicans agree

      • 1mime says:

        Thanks for taking time to view it, Rob. I wish more would. It depicts O relaxed, confident, poised and having such a good time while still offering important ideas to improve the political process.

  12. Griffin says:

    If we get economically hurt right before an election people will associate it with the Democrats and “overregulation”, not realizing it’s mostly underregulation causing these issues. Could this be a viable path for the GOP to get into the White House, if their timing is lucky?

    • Griffin says:

      On a side note David Brin has documated the amazing successes of the Obama administration ( and how he outperforms the Bush administration in virtually everyway. He should be held up by the Democrats as a success yet he isn’t. He should be held up by pragmatic Burkean Conservatives as basically being a successful follower of their ideas and yet he isn’t. What a bizarre world we live in.

    • goplifer says:

      It’s a path toward disruption and surprise. Who benefits is a wildcard.

      • 1mime says:

        Aw, come on, Lifer! Bad economic news always hurts the party in power….question is, is that Obama? The party that controls both houses of Congress? Isn’t the question of “who” real important in assignment of responsibility?

        Personally, this could break along party lines – Repubs blame the profligate Obama; Dems blame the obstructionist Repubs….or, some might give it some really deep thought and blame it on GWB? The Fed? Wall Street? The Banking industry?

        Com’on – play ball here!

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Ah…the President always gets blamed.

        Rightly or wrongly, when your name is on the door, you get the heat (and hopefully some of the credit).

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      There’s two huge wildcards I can foresee that could bust open any current analysis.

      One of them is a major financial crisis like you say here, and the other is one (or more) major terrorist attacks against a western nation.

      I wouldn’t call either one as more likely then not to happen. but the odds of neither one? That’s not a bet I’d wager much money on.

  13. Rob Ambrose says:

    Thinking about this Bernie/Hillary thing.

    Does Hillary not have a massive weakness in her flank re: Bill’s signing of one of the major legislative causes of mass incarceration?

    Mass incarceration is probably the SINGLE biggest (although by no means only) tool of oppression over the black community, and what’s more, the current crop of young influential black voices (I.e. Coates, King etc) knows it.

    Seems like sooner or later Sanders will start hammering on this, and its going to be pretty tough to defend.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Except that Hillary, rather than Bill, is the candidate.

      Hillary made some stupid quotes during that time period, but I’m not sure this is the thing that will stick to her. If, for no other reason, Hillary talks about race more meaningfully than Bernie does at this point.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        True, but If you trot out your husband on the trail, and using his history to campaign on, I think that comes with the good AND the bad.

        Fair or not, I think most ppl connect the two.

    • johngalt says:

      Given the last 15 years of acrimony, recession, Middle Eastern wars and terrorism, and political impasse, I think the majority of voters would consider a return to economic health, budget surpluses, and talk of a peace dividend, as happened in the late ’90s, to be a massive step up. Imagine the biggest political problem of the day being whether the president’s zipper was down and with whom? Hillary should run on Bill’s record 8 days to Sunday.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        That’s a good point. I didn’t make clear, I was referring specifically to the assumption that Hillarys got the so called black vote (which is obviously not a monolithic voting block, of course) over Sanders no question.

        I agree with the overall point that the good of Bills administration outweighs the bad and thus campaigning using Bill is a good strategy.

      • 1mime says:

        Do you really think most will remember the good times were under Bill? Voters memories seem to limited these days to what they want to have happened vs what actually happened. They probably will recall the zipper incident but maybe not all the good stuff.

    • Crogged says:

      I believe it is time for Mr. Obama to pull the fat out of the fire for the Dems one last time and endorse Ms. Clinton. Mr. Clinton did a solid for him 2012, return the favor.

    • johngalt says:

      There is also the opportunity for HRC to come out specifically against some things – like the sentencing bill – from Bill’s record. She does not want to appear to be Bill’s Medvedev and that is the perfect way to do it.

  14. MassDem says:

    Here’s some video on the gravitational wave finding (mentioned in previous post).

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      This is a pretty significant discovery, although it’s not very sexy.

      Man, what an intellectual Giant Einstein was. He discovered all these fascinating, totally counter intuitive concepts (gravity waves, time dilation, space-time) merely by THINKING about them.

      It took up to and including present day before we actually had the technological ability to actually CONFIRM his theories. But he’s been astonishingly right.

      Even when he’s been wrong, hes been right in the end (the cosmological constant issue)

      • 1mime says:

        Rob – One of my husband’s most exciting visits to NYC occurred when he “believes” he crossed paths with A. Einstein while walking in the city. He was a young Army soldier at the time (1953-55), stationed at West Point to train cadets and had a weekend pass to NYC. He couldn’t believe it was him but so many people were stopped and staring that he believes that he saw the real deal. I asked him today how he could be sure, and he said: “Everyone knew what Einstein looked like and unless he had a double, this had to be him.” It was quite exciting for him.

        Here’s a little trivia about Einstein that might make Bernie smile: “In 1939, Einstein and fellow physicist Leo Szilard wrote to President Franklin D. Roosevelt to alert him of the possibility of a Nazi bomb and to galvanize the United States to create its own nuclear weapons. The U.S. would eventually initiate the Manhattan Project, though Einstein would not take direct part in its implementation due to his pacifist and socialist affiliations. Einstein was also the recipient of much scrutiny and major distrust from FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.”

      • flypusher says:

        “Einstein was also the recipient of much scrutiny and major distrust from FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.”

        You could extract quite the who’s who list from the people that paranoid dirtbag Hoover was harrassing.

    • johngalt says:

      “The scientists detected their cataclysmic event using an instrument so sensitive it could detect a change in the distance between the solar system and the nearest star four light years away to the thickness of a human hair.”

      Marvel for a minute at everything that has to be done perfectly – the theory, the design, the construction, the analysis – for an instrument of that precision to be created, and be proud of what the human mind can accomplish.

  15. flypusher says:

    I’m finding all the reaction and counter reaction to “Formation” to be quite fascinating.

    I watched the video. There were definitely lots of things that went right over my head, because that’s not my cultural background. So here is an opportunity to learn a few things in watching the various reactions. One no-brainer, whatever you may think of Beyoncé’s politics, she’s a damn saavy marketer.

    • Crogged says:

      I read the lyrics and sales at Red Lobster have gone up. Post fitty years of age I generally have to find the lyrics to ‘hear’ all the words in popular music.

      • 1mime says:

        Me, too, Crogged! I could not hear what was being sung by any of them! Thought it was just me….

      • flypusher says:

        I know what you mean- lots of singers don’t bother to enunciate these days. Although I did understand all the lyrics with this one.

      • Crogged says:

        Nah, it’s 90 percent me. Did Beyonce sing that line in the Super Bowl? Janet Jackson would have paid her big bucks to do it………..

    • flypusher says:

      So as for some of the politics surrounding this, there is the expected knee-jerk reaction from the right wing, upset over criticism of the police. From what I’ve heard, their take can be summed up as “police work is dangerous, therefore it’s not right to criticize them.” I call bullshit on that. Nobody, no person or organization, has the right to be free from criticism. In the case of the police, there are some very valid and necessary criticisms to be leveled. Whining about justified outcrys over police misconduct somehow hurting legit police work is just another variation on the monumentally stupid theme of shooting the messenger. That response has never solved any problems. Rudy G and his law and order group ought to get mad and do something about the misconduct, not the people who shine a light on it.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Fly, I think their position is more of, “I’m a white dude who has never really been treated unfairly by the police, so all you other people probably did something to deserve what you got”.

      • flypusher says:

        Oh that’s most definitely at the foundation of their attitude. I was opening up with calling out the spoken portion of the bullshiat. You just dealt with the unspoken portion.

      • Crogged says:

        I’m getting messages regarding human costs from low energy prices and don’t recall seeing many from the same people about the harm some suffered from 100 dollar a barrel oil………(other than ‘boycott oil companies!!!!!’ from my economically challenged fellow travelers)……….

      • 1mime says:

        Anybody White says anything about police criticism aspect, send ’em the email with the bill to Tamir Rice’ family for his care after being killed by the police….Especially as he lay on the ground forever…

        I think there’s a good, better and best way to do most things, but, if I were Black, I’d be pretty tired of settling for the least I could get. It’s high time that more Black stars, sports heroes, successful businessmen and women speak out for their people. They lose nothing of their own but they help legitimize and encourage those in the shadows. Good for Beyonce.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      And a good dancer.

  16. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    I had a girlfriend in graduate school who had a waterbed.

    I typed the above sentence with fond memories and a big smile on my face.

    • Creigh says:

      I had a waterbed 25 years or so ago. I had the frame (nice clear 6/4 pine) stashed in my garage for several years, and then when I replaced the windows in my house I cut down the wood for window sills. So that’s what happened to my waterbed.

    • 1mime says:

      We have to assume one of two things Homer: (1) it was your current wife’s waterbed; or, (2) your wife doesn’t have your password to this blog (-:

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        When I saw the the comments about gravitational waves, I assumed we were still talking about waterbeds.

        I did not meet my wife until well, well after graduate school, and my wife cares not one bit about politics so I’m in pretty safe territory here.

        But just in case, Hey honey, you are brilliant and beautiful!

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