Link Roundup, 3/29/2016

From the NY Times: California’s big experiment with the minimum wage.

From The Week: Why we are so hostile to one of our best friends: Doubt.

From The New Yorker: Dexter Filkins explores disappearing glaciers.

From Wired: Look on the bright side. Climate change is opening up new luxury cruise routes.

From Quartz: We’re about to discover whether Tesla will last.

From Aeon: Time for a more nuanced, evolutionary understanding of our immune systems.

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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144 comments on “Link Roundup, 3/29/2016
  1. 1mime says:

    Here’s a look back at the official 2013 GOPe missive which identifies fundamental weaknesses of the 2012 Republican election and recommendations to make Republicans more competitive in future years. To the GOPe credit, they spent time and money to develop this report. I leave it to your review to see what changes you feel they have implemented. There is something apparent, and that is that winning without learning from one’s errors greatly increases the likelihood that a party will ignore the warning signs and continue business as usual. Why would they commit to the hard work of change outlined in their own report when their base is rewarding poor behavior? For all the supposed business acumen within the Republican Party, their business plan of risk vs reward has put them on a dangerous path.

    Click to access rnc_growth_opportunity_book_2013.pdf

    After you have read through this report, consider this prediction by Larry Sabato, of the U of VA Center for Politics and see how this inaction has made the bed that Republicans currently occupy.

    (Sorry for double links but they “fit” so well when read in tandem.)

  2. Rob Ambrose says:

    Call me crazy, but I think we’ve seen Peak Trump.

    He’ll either lose a close one to Cruz or stumble to the nomination, but I think his popularity has peaked.

    Just call it a gut feeling, but I think he’s going to start coming to Earth soon. And given his obvious inability to deal with with adversity the way a healthy, well adjusted adult can, I think there’s a possibility he falls quickly.

    • Griffin says:

      You’re crazy. He will take the nomination in one of two ways, both of which will aid him. One is that he wins an outright majority, which makes him seem like he has more widespread appeal and strength than he does. The other is that the GOP chooses him after he gets a plurality of delegates, which will make him more appealing to “mainstream” Republicans and have the Establishment be more willing to back him since they already put their stamp of approval on him at that point.

      From there he will shift to the economic centre and take up the mantle of populist anti-Establishmentalism, and perhaps shift away from his furthest right social views. Yes, he can do this, he’s flexible enough to and has zero moral scruples about doing so. He won’t win but he will perform better than expected and leave his, er, “mark” on the GOP for awhile after 2016, as scary as that thought is.

      Just my guess though. And these are guesses, this election cycle is unpredictable beyond the Democrats almost certainly winning the presidency and Senate.

      • 1mime says:

        I fully expect a Trump pivot to whatever “sells”. When one speaks in gobbledygook, takes no definitive positions, he is free to adopt whatever new positions he finds opportune. I still think the GOP have thought this through and have mileposts for determining their course of action. If Trump weakens as Rob projects, they go with Cruz and gamble that the Trump base will be fickle once they see their hero falter; or, Trump continues to win and the GOPe reluctantly get in bed with him. They’ve had worse partners in crime.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Newest polls are showing the Peak Trump trend.

        I mean…..the only voters for Trump so far have been not o ly Republicans, but primary voting Republicans. Typically, primary voters are among the most active in a party, and in a situation where the GOP has become dysfunctional and rotten to the core, doesn’t it stand to reason that the most active and political members ofna rotten party would vote for a rotten candidate? And even among this dysfunctional group, hes only got 35% of the vote. Hes got a plurality of a national minority (poor, angry, working class whites). That’s not a recipe for anything but general election disaster.

        I’m not saying the average GOP voter is comparable to a KKK member, but hypothetically, if you ran a primary election using just members of the KKK/white supremacist groups, David Duke would probably win the primary easily. That doesn’t mean he’d be a general threat. Its garbage in/garbage out.

        When you’ve got a broken party built on denying science and inventing your own facts, a Donald Trump isnt just possible, but inevitable. And none of these means he’s a general election threat.

        Trumpism ISNT sweeping the nation. And once this fact becomes obvious to Trump and penetrates through his army of sycophants and yes men, the cognitive dissonance he’ll feel is going to cause him to act in ways that will turn off voters even more. His whole schtick of attacking everyone because ppl on defense won’t attack back is unsustainable. Hillary is going to crush him.

    • 1mime says:

      And, when Trump falls, we have Cruz. I find little to celebrate about the default nominee.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Cruz is in his own way incredibly unelectable.

        Frankly, I think the country needs Cruz to win the nom, so he can be crushed in the general, and that will convince the GOP that finally, the gig is up.

        A Trump nom win followed by a general defeat wouldn’t change much for the GOP. Theyd figure Teumpnwas a black swan event that couldn’t have been predicted, and come to the conclusion that America just wants someone who is “sufficiently Conservative”. They’ll point to Trumps embrace of planned parenthood or whatever as the reason he lost (sure guys…..THATS the reason). And nothing will change. And Cruz will almost certainly become the nominee in 2020.

        No, I think the best thing to happen would be Cruz win the nomination. Time to finally end this thing, this whole weird idea the GOP has that America is truly a conservative nation that is just waiting for the right Conservative to come out. Its about as wrong a political calculation as I can think of, and the country needs the GOP to nominate a “true conservative” for them to finally realize how wrong it really is.

        I think Cruz would lose even worse to HRC, and I think Trump would lose in a landslide.

      • 1mime says:

        Read the Sabato analysis I linked in a comment Rob. Don’t underestimate Cruz or the GOPe. As much as I hope you are correct, I have been surprised and disappointed before.

  3. Funny, it didn’t seem like the Wired piece was looking on the bright side…

  4. MassDem says:

    Wow, the GOP actually found a candidate even less well-informed on foreign policy than Sarah Palin.

  5. Pseudoperson Randomian says:

    Unsurprisingly, the Apple vs FBI thing wasn’t limited to the phone of one terrorist.

    • 1mime says:

      1789, now that’s what I call “precedent”! I have mixed feelings about this, Pseudo. On the one hand, I respect private companies’ rights, on the other hand, assuming the requests are legitimately targeted to critically important situations where national security is involved, I would want the company to help….if they won’t willingly, not sure that that’s reasonable, but government should have to prove that to a judge to get authorization.

      • Creigh says:

        It looks to me that the Government’s position is that you shouldn’t be able to own a device that they can’t get into through a back door. They have fought for years to prevent access to encryption they can’t break. I’m not a privacy freak, but that’s a little much for me.

      • 1mime says:

        Didn’t the article you linked state that there had been like 60-70 situations where the Government invoked this Writs law? Over how many years? How many aggregate incidents? I’d have to know more before I would criticize the government for using the law when they felt national security was at risk. Now, if the government abuses the process, that’s a whole other situation. I would not be in favor of that. But, in times of crisis, or in times when one has very strong reason to need to access phone data, that seems consistent with government’s responsibility to defend our nation.

        We’ve all seen abuses of government authority and business authority for that matter. Key is to use such requests sparingly and with great cause.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        I’ll be frank. I’m very much on the side of tech companies on this one.

        And not because I’m uncomfortable that some government official will get to know more about me than I know about me. And that’s not an exaggeration. The patterns of your internet and device use can, in some circumstances, tell more about you than you could. And that’s already here today and there’s no use trying to Luddite our way into the past.

        However, weakening encryption like this is such a massive security risk. Technology is global. It does not care for national boundaries. Weakening encryption or other security protocols for the American Govt means you’ve weakened it for the Chinese, and the Russians and any number of state or non-state actors. I might mention here that the Clinton email scandal, from my perspective, is unique among all her alleged scandals, in that the stupidity and incompetence required for the Secretary of state and her entire staff to think that having sensitive information passing through a private server – a sort of low tech man-in-the-middle attack against your own team, if you will – is acceptable is utterly mind boggling.

        The weaken the security approach is such a blisteringly stupid approach that even the NSA isn’t completely on board. If the US Govt wants to have access, it should gain that access using methods that no one other than a massively resourced Govt organization can use.

      • 1mime says:

        I respect your position, Pseudo.My only concern is that grey line in which a legitimate situation emerges in which information can be used to avert or resolve national security matters.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        How do you choose between “What if someone’s trying to plan a terrorist attack we need information?” vs “What if someone’s trying to figure out what all of our troop movements (or something similar) are, and we need to protect our information?”. And mind you information can range from nudie pictures all the way to bank details, corporate secrets, military secrets and so on.

        It’s a hard question, but from my perspective getting secured information needs to be something only a large, well funded organization should be able to do.

        For example – a spy network is something only a Govt can make work. Hell, even an average sized country govt will struggle to have a worldwide spy network. A ginormous NSA facility in the middle of Utah to do who knows what (even possibly to brute force weak encryption…) is something only a Govt can make work.

        An exploit in a tech, OTOH is something anyone can do. For example, there is a particular protocol for WiFi security called WEP, which was very popular only a few years ago – except that it had an exploit. The word got out and now literally anyone with the most basic of tech skills and with zero idea of how the exploit works can break into one of those networks and steal everything that passes over that network. One unintended and unfortunate vulnerability put tens of millions of WiFi networks at risk. We don’t use that type of protocol anymore, but this sort of thing happens all the time, and that’s why the FBI trying to get Apple to get a backdoor is a complete non-starter with most tech people.

        It doesn’t have to be about customer privacy, nor does it have to about big government. It’s a national security issue, and trying to weaken encryption or related security measures, IMHO, is damaging to American national security.

      • 1mime says:

        We agree, Pseudo. Personal privacy is a cornerstone of democracy and it should only be abridged under critically important situations. Getting a court order or subpoena for something like this should be difficult. I assume the government has people within its security network who have the skill and knowledge to do the kind of thing we’re discussing. I think we’re in basic agreement but your knowledge of technology is far greater than mine. We live in very difficult times where many new tests of our freedom will occur. Hopefully, there is a proactive plan for dealing with these things in a logical, careful manner rather than making it up on the fly.

    • And therein lies the rub…

  6. Rob Ambrose says:

    Lol is this guy for real? Not only does he want to ban abortion (a policy supported by only 19% of the population) he thinks women should be RETROACTIVELY punished for getting an entirely legal medical procedure?

    I’m really beginning to doubt what we all thought were Trumps brilliant political insight for being the first to see and exploit this growing cauldren of working class white anger. It’d starting to look like maybe he was just lucky. He was being his blowhard self at a time when being a blowhard is appealing politically.

    I think we maybhave been all severely overestimating his political instincts.

    • 1mime says:

      Count me as one who was never impressed with Trump’s brilliance, merely his gut-sense of political opportunism.

      As for women being punished for having abortions, the GOP has been promoting that for a very long time in both subtle and direct ways. Not sure where T going with that statement unless he’s trying to cleave some of Cruz’ crazies.

      • vikinghou says:

        I think you’re giving him too much credit, 1mime. I truly think he makes it up on the fly and there is little forethought.

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t agree with that blanket assessment, Viking. The man is so despicable that it’s hard to give him credit for decency much less intelligence, but he obviously is smart enough to coordinate a national campaign. That requires some planning, or at least the capacity to select people smart enough to get the job done. His off the cuff, off the top of his head speaking style is bombastic and crude. But the man survives each interview encounter. One thing you can be assured of, the GOPe is going to test his ability and resolve to stay in control.

      • Wouldn’t it be refreshing if both parties could somehow learn to leave us (and our wallets) the hell alone?

        No, I don’t hold with abortion, and I sure as heck don’t want my tax dollars paying for it, but I just as strongly believe that abortion (in most situations) should be legal.
        The tools I choose to protect myself and my loved ones are my own dang business.
        Whether or not I choose to purchase health insurance (or any other product under the sun), and what it covers, is my own dang business.
        If gays want to get married and raise kids, it’s no skin off my nose. And if a business or individual doesn’t want to provide a personal service at a private function based on religious conviction, I’ve got no problem with that. If they don’t want to serve ice cream or take pictures at so-and-so’s gay whatever, who cares? You can bet somebody wants that business. And so on.

        Live and let live. What an odd concept. And you won’t be getting that from Hillary, or Bernie, or Donald, or Cruz, or *anybody* else with a shot at the oval office. Sad, really.

      • Turtles Run says:

        TTHOR wrote: Whether or not I choose to purchase health insurance (or any other product under the sun), and what it covers, is my own dang business.

        The problem is that many of those personal choices affect other people and their pocketbooks – Don’t insure your car and cause an accident it is the other person that must bare the brunt of the cost of your decision.

        You version of freedom sounds a lot like an excuse to not exercise personal responsibility. The public should not foot the cost of your desire to be irresponsible.

      • 1mime says:

        Tracy, sorry if this doesn’t post directly under your comment, but I do have a question for you. You stated (generally) that you should be able to purchase health insurance or not – your choice. How do you feel about people who are electing to not purchase health insurance and use community centers and hospital ERs for illness and injury? These costs are borne by taxpayers. The law of the land, whether one likes it or not, requires hospitals to care for people regardless of their ability to pay for the services, and you and I are picking up the tab. I personally prefer that all people have at least basic coverage and pay something towards it so as to reduce much higher costs. We should all shoulder some responsibility for our health cost. Of course, if more employers offered affordable coverage to their workers and America’s system provided health care at reasonable rates with good outcomes, health care wouldn’t lead our nation as the chief cause of personal bankruptcy. It is being done by industrialized nations in the world for less cost and quality outcomes. We are not getting our money’s worth in the U.S. system. Insurance companies are making out like bandits and people are struggling to pay for their medication much less treatment.

        The ACA is far from ideal but it is all we have. The real tragedy is that our politics has kept our nation from coming together to resolve this important, fundamental need of our citizens.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        See, the problem with healthcare is that I can’t, in good conscience, say “If you didn’t bother to ensure healthcare for yourself, you’ve failed at taking personal responsibility for yourself, and good luck to you”.

        If I was able to, then my stance would be “get the govt out of healthcare except to ensure some basic standards so that patients don’t have to die before doctors discover that the pill they’ve been prescribing is dangerous”.

        But I can’t make that argument, and “emergency only” healthcare is such a horribly inefficient way doing things as patients come in when whatever they’ve got has advanced to a later stage of some description and generally needs a lot more time, money, and effort to help them.

        So…Yeah. I’m right back to some sort of universal coverage.

      • 1mime says:

        Being healthy is a combination of good choices, luck and good genetics. There are so many reasons why our country should make health care access routine rather than so complicated and costly. Other countries have found ways to remove this concern for its population, America should and can if it makes it a priority. A healthy population is a productive population. Illness and accidents happen and they should not bankrupt people or cause job loss, yet they do. Beyond the many economic benefits to make health care readily available to all people, it is humane. It’s one worry we can remove from people’s lives so that they can focus on the rest which is challenging enough.

      • texan5142 says:

        “Whether or not I choose to purchase health insurance (or any other product under the sun), and what it covers, is my own dang business.”

        It becomes the tax payers business the day you step foot in a hospital without insurance and my cost go up to cover your iresposible ass, would you not agree?

      • 1mime says:

        Tex, I fundamentally agree with your statement, but, health care is complicated. In America, health care is so expensive that poor and those with average income find it very difficult to pay for a decent health care plan. The ACA was designed to address this problem, and, imperfect as it is, the ACA would have done so had SCOTUS not made medicaid optional for states. That knocked out the very people we see using our system without paying for services which then are passed along to taxpayers. Many of these people can’t pay, but those who can and don’t, should pay according to their ability. The bottom line is that health care in America is a burden for people and our political leadership refuses to confront the insurance, pharmaceutical and physician lobbies (as well as others) to bring costs down while still achieving quality outcomes. It can be done, is being done in other countries for less cost and good outcomes. Are these countries’ plans perfect? No. But in a civilized nation such as America is, I submit that health care should be universal and it should be affordable.

        My point to Tracy’s remark was to acknowledge that the system is broken and only those who can afford quality care have access to it. Most people who can afford health insurance have it; those who can afford it but elect not to pay for it are gaming the system and we taxpayers are picking up the tab for their decisions. The poor have little choice, but those who do have choices should exercise them responsibly. Most people who end up in ER and community centers have nowhere else to go for help. We should make health care a non-issue for all Americans so we can all get on with the business of earning a living, raising our families and being productive citizens. I believe most people want that.

      • Creigh says:

        “Wouldn’t it be refreshing if both parties could somehow learn to leave us (and our wallets) the hell alone?”

        No problem, go live in a cabin in the wilderness and eliminate all contact with society. On the other hand, if you prefer to live in close contact with a million or so of your fellow men and women, expect to make some accommodation. Not always accommodation of your choice.

    • johngalt says:

      Your problem, Rob, is that you seem like a reasonable, intelligent guy with some rational sense of how the world works. In other words, you are the polar opposite of the average Trump supporter.

    • vikinghou says:

      And now the FDA has revised the protocol concerning the abortion pill. This is certain to cause the fundies’ heads to spin.

      I can already hear the cries to not only abolish the EPA but also to zap the FDA.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        The sleazy thing about this is that over time, doctors have realized the same efficacy can be had at a much lower dose, which tends to ease the side effects (vomiting, nausea) which are apparently so bad that some women won’t take it (which of course is the point).

        So the position of these Conservatives is that are fighting tooth and nail to ensure that doctors can’t prescribe LESS of a medicine in order to cut down on the nasty side effects. They’re basically fighting to keep doctors from earlier ng their patients pain and discomfot.

        But sure…..I’m sure it just the “woman’s health” these ppl are worried about it.

        How f’n sick and twisted.

      • 1mime says:

        As I stated earlier, Rob, the GOP has been “hurting” women for their “choices” regarding their bodies for a very long time. Punishment can be physical or emotional, and they have worked both ends. 75 years have lapsed since the appearance of the first approved drug for contraception. For a long time, this was a good thing. Now, with religious extremists in charge, even contraception is a life-destroying act. It’s senseless, it’s mean, it’s stupid. It has to change. Maybe women should simply focus all the birth control on mens’ shoulders. Abstinence anyone? Having an I.U.D. implanted in one’s appendage? Taking a male contraceptive? You get the picture. It doesn’t have to be that way and women shouldn’t be shamed for making responsible choices.

      • 1mime says:

        Vox had an abortion update from two perspectives – Trump’s dump, and the FDA action. It bears reading to see just how far Republicans will go. As the editors noted, the conundrum for SCOTUS is: “At what point is limiting abortion tantamount to prohibiting it?” As we all know, the end game is total prohibition.

      • Crogged says:

        The FDA’s announcement is huge, but causes no heads to spin or fundies to explode. It’s not sexy, because there aren’t any ‘principles’ involved and no microscopic people to protect. These announcements regarding new medical protocols and advances in science which don’t involve any invasive medical procedure will continue to happen. In as little as five years the furor over ‘abortion’ will slink away into history books.

    • 1mime says:

      Don’t worry, Rob. Andy Borowitz has got Trump all figured out:

  7. vikinghou says:

    Here is the toughest piece I’ve read about the Republican vs. Republican debacle.

    After courting the blue collar whites for so long and delivering nothing, mainstream Republicans are now excoriating these people for being losers. The author posits that, if Trump does not get the nomination, these people will just stay home during the general election.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      While I think some portion likely would stay at home, there is a visceral hatred of Hillary by some of these folks, and that may be enough to motivate them to vote.

      Plus, Cruz’s positions are really, really, really, conservative, so he’ll be tossing enough red meat to that base that he’ll have some appeal.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I’m not worried about Trump. That said, I hope HRC is and she doesn’t take him lightly. I just think he’s an incredibly flawed candidate. I think it’s likely he loses one of the worst defeats in American history.

        Think about how thin skinned he is. How small and petty he comes off whenever he feels ANY pushback.

        The blogosphere today is abuzz about how bad he came off last night. Last night was also AC and the media fi ally doing their job and not letting Trump get away with his absurd and obvious deflections.

        I don’t think these two things are coincidences. Its not coincidence that Trump looks as bad as he ever has on the same night the media decides to stop giving away free passess.

        And remember, hes never been outside the #1 spot in the national polls (of Republicans, of course). This guy is obsessed with his poll numbers. He gets strength from them when they’re high and he turns to despair and childishness when they are low.

        The moment he clinches the nom, he goes from “the front runner” in the polls (because while hes in the GOP primary hes only really being judged against other Republicans) into a huge underdog overnight (national polls show HRC soundly beating him everywhere).

        I don’t think his fragile psyche willbe able to handle that, and I think when he can’t “force” his way to the top of the polls in the general the waybhes done in the primary, I think he’s going to get really unappealing really quickly with his behavior. Hes going to come off as a spoiled, petulant child, and his poll numbers will go even worse. Which will cause him to act like more of an idiot, etc.

        I truly believe if Trump wins the nom, his behavior will be such that 2016 could be the most anticlimactic election ever. That is, Trump will start far behind, and continue to fall back until election day.

      • 1mime says:

        My fear is that the media, who is FInally doing their jobs, will still be so consumed with Trump that they will not bear down on Cruz, who I believe is the worst of the two men….in a different, more dangerous way. I really believe Cruz will be the nominee…there is too much momentum and support coming his way. It appears the GOPe has made their decision to take their chances with angering Trump and his base in favor of going with Cruz who they feel will have a better chance of defeating H.

      • vikinghou says:

        One of my favorite moments was when Cruz was whining about all the free media Trump receives. Cooper reminded Cruz that he had been invited many times to appear on his program and Cruz had refused. Excellent comeback.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I’m glad to see the adults are regaining their composure and taking control of the situation.

      • 1mime says:

        Your hypothesis assumes Trump will stay on the sidelines and play “nice” if the GOP takes his nomination away from him. Trump yesterday disavowed his pledge to support the GOP nominee unless it is he. It’s not looking like he will go quietly into the good night. If he decides to be spiteful, he would probably have great influence over his most fervent supporters. These people already feel abused by the system, after all.

      • Creigh says:

        Yes, when you think about it, Cruz’s position is tripling down on the same old Republican positions – even more tax cuts for the rich and even more social hardlines for the base.

      • So, 1mime, out of morbid curiosity, what are your beefs with Cruz?

      • 1mime says:

        Ted Cruz is a narcissist and promotes his issues above those of our country and has jeopardized the country’s economic security through singular action. He is unable to work with his Senate colleagues and they do not like him. He is narrow and rigid in his views, many of which are polar to my own. I do not think he has the humility or capability to serve as President of the United States.

      • Fair enough, 1mime. Although my political views are far more consonant with Cruz than you, I share some of your reservations.

    • 1mime says:

      It’s about time the Republicans reaped what they’ve sown. Although I don’t feel that Trump will address the concerns/needs of the working class who are supporting him, neither has the Republican Party. They may have more to gain by making a statement by staying home. I haven’t seen numbers that substantiate what percentage of the Trump base are regular voters or new voters, but surely a conservative pundit somewhere is trying to figure this out in advance of election day. However, the GOPe has made such a mess of this entire process that who knows what is happening.

      • vikinghou says:

        I’m convinced that the behavior of the Christian fundamentalists has been a major contributor to the decline of religion in the United States. They only have themselves to blame.

      • 1mime says:

        There aren’t many Billy Grahams left in religion, Viking.

  8. 1mime says:

    Wow, a glowing endorsement by the dean of law in America, Laurence Tribe, for Merrick Garland for SCOTUS, who he has taught and known for over 40 years.

    “A brilliant legal mind. A strong sense of fairness. A generous spirit of service. These are among the many reasons why Merrick Garland should serve our nation on its highest court, and why the Senate must fulfill its obligation to hold hearings and vote on his nomination. A Justice Garland would be a splendid addition to the court — but that can only happen if the Senate does its job.”

    • What a curious state of affairs we’ve come to. A basic, fundamental, natural (not to mention constitutional) right hangs balanced on the edge of a knife, and yet somehow a man who has *demonstrated* he will not defend that right for all Americans is considered by a magnate of the law to be *qualified* to sit on the highest court in the land…

      • 1mime says:

        Maybe he sees Justice Garland differently. Out of morbid curiosity, what are your beefs with Justice Garland AND the probably the single most respected legal scholar in the United States, Laurence Tribe?

      • 1mime, the writings and actions of the Founders and Framers, together with our nation’s early history, make it *abundantly* clear that the intent of the 2nd Amendment is to affirm (not grant, mind you) the preexisting natural right of self defense for every individual, and further, to provide a bulwark against tyranny. There is no other legitimate interpretation, and in this the textual and historical formalist analysis of Heller is spot on.

        Furthermore, regardless of whether a SCOTUS justice agrees with a particular law, his/her job is *solely* to address its legality within the context of the constitution, not to usurp the legislature, and most emphatically not to rewrite the constitution itself. Garland’s judicial record evinces a proclivity to do *both*, and he is thus categorically *unfit* to serve on the highest court in the land. (And BTW, as far as I’m concerned, that same judgement applies to five other sitting justices. IMHO, SCOTUS is a disaster zone.)

      • 1mime says:

        Well, if that is your view, you must have hated Justice Scalia. He will go down in history as one of the most partisan justices ever on the SCOTUS. I understand there is some animus by the NRA with Justice Garland. (It’s a long line, the NRA has.) Would you clarify what Justice Garland did that is so abusive of the second amendment? Please be specific as I am trying to understand how this man has been so egregious.

      • goplifer says:

        The “Founders and Framers” would not be amused by your interpretation of their intent. When rebels in Pennsylvania took up arms as a “bulwark against tyranny,” President George Washington led an army into the field to disabuse them of their misunderstanding. The same scenario played out in New York, Rhode Island and elsewhere in the new Republic. Your interpretation of the 2nd Amend. is an innovation of the post-Civil War era South. Even in towns in the unsettled West people had to turn in their guns when they visited.

        We have no personalized 2nd Amendment right to anything. No Court decision ever in our history found one until Heller. And that aberration won’t last another decade.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Tracy Thorleifson:

        What a complete load of self-affirming bullshit. In 1876, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Cruikshank that, and I quote: “”The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence.”

        And no, playing word games with words like “affirm” and “grant” does not magically exclude your interpretation from generations’ worth of rulings by the Supreme Court. And speaking of rulings, there was also another little nugget in 1939 called United States vs Miller that ruled that the federal government and the states could limit ANY weapon types not having, “reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.”

        It was only in 2008 that the Supreme Court decided it had an ideological itch to scratch and scrapped pretty much the entire history of what had been an otherwise clear interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. And like Lifer said, that mistake will be corrected soon enough.

        The 2nd Amendment was created as a means of protecting the State, hence why it specifically calls for the presence of a “well regulated Militia.” It is not, nor has it ever been for paranoids who felt that they needed to protect themselves from their own government.

      • 1mime says:

        Good response Ryan, to which I add: strict constitutional adherence appears important only when it fits one’s personal beliefs. I admit that I do not hold to this philosophy; rather, I believe that the Constitution is a living document that was designed as an important guide for future generations. It is fundamentally hypocritical to claim one is a strict constructionist then bend the law when it doesn’t achieve one’s end goal. Scalia was very good at that and that is why we have the Heller decision.

      • Chris, the Whisky Rebellion is apropos of the 2nd Amendment…how?

        Gentlefolk, I could barrage the blog with reference after reference, but have neither the time, nor inclination. For those of you who are not completely close-minded, you might want to start your exploration with “The Embarrassing Second Amendment,” written in 1990 by Sanford Levinson of UT Law (well before Heller):

        Sanford Levinson is a constitutional scholar of the first water, much like Tribe. He is not (to my knowledge) a gun owner, and is a well known supporter of the ACLU. Certainly very few would regard him a champion of gun rights; nonetheless, I find his take on the matter interesting. You may, as well.

        Levinson presents six rhetorical approaches to evaluating the 2nd Amendment and includes in the doctrinal section a discussion (for Ryan) of Cruikshank and (for Chris) the prudentialist approach. Enjoy.

  9. MassDem says:

    Interesting take on Massachusetts & the innovation economy. Also an indictment of “innovation liberalism”, for what it’s worth. Interestingly, a decade ago Lowell was in the same boat as Fall River, but is now on a more upward trajectory. What changed for Lowell? Sympathetic politicians with local ties (Paul Tsongas, Marty Meehan) used their connections to encourage more regional development, plus the expansion of UMass Lowell (Meehan served as its president and was its biggest booster) brought research dollars and industry contracts to the area. In other words, saved by the innovation economy. Join or die.

    • MassDem says:

      I’d forgotten that Deval Patrick ended up at Bain Capital. He is supposedly in charge of “social impact investing”, a new line of business for them since the 2012 election.

      • 1mime says:

        Sorry, I don’t trust Bain Capital’s purity of commitment to social impact investing. That 47% mentality probably doesn’t fall far from the tree. Your thoughts on Deval Patrick in this role, MassDem?

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        I didn’t know that. Down he goes in my estimation.

      • 1mime says:

        Well, Bobo, let’s be generous. Patrick is going to be limited in what kind of work he can do. He seemed to be well liked when he left his elected position. It’s possible that this would be a good “fit” for him…..even if it’s Bain Capital. Since he’s been on the job for 3+ years, he should have a track record to analyze…..Frankly, I’m not interested enough to do the research.

    • 1mime says:

      Depressed areas which have links to important people have a much better shot at revival. The resources typically can be found because the principles know how to work the system. In poor depressed areas, Cleveland, Flint, primarily inner city Black communities, there is no one who has these connections and they are left on their own with terrible outcomes.

  10. Griffin says:

    About doubt the church I grew up in, the United Methodist Church, is going to reconsider it’s somewhat conservative (if not increasingly reactionary) position on homosexuality this year (

    I’m not much of a believer (and definitely not a literalist) but I still participate in Church activities from time to time. But it gets harder to do that every year they keep this hardline position, and the comments section in the above link makes it harder to ever self-identify as culturally being a Methodist (I grew up in Sunday school believe it nor not).

    If the fundamentalists and literalists want to become an increasingly tiny, loud, ultra-authoritarian group that turns off young people from ALL Christianity just so they can try to claim a trademark on the Bible (forgetting Jesus is a public domain figure) than they can do that, but I want nothing to do with it. The UMC should be willing to split with these people if they threaten exactly that after the church moves to soften its stance. Even from a pragmatic point of view ripping the bandages off now may hurt in the short term but it’s going to be alot worse if they do nothing and wait for a deadly infection. If they keep the same stance than they are going to see their membership fall pretty quickly in first-world countries as older members die off and younger ones are turned off from ever joining. The most hardline homophobia mainly comes from churches in third-world countries and the American South (which is mainly who they’re trying to appease) and when those areas start developing and secularizing they are going to lose that crowd pretty quickly too, and have no one left to fall back on.

    • goplifer says:

      Our UMC Church embraced the ‘reconciling’movement several years ago, pressing the denomination to change. When I moved here we had a pastor who had been chased out of Alabama in the sixties for serving communion to black attendees. We hit it off. His influence made the church’s position on this issue a no brainer. We also have a retired pastor who went to seminary with MLK. The guy has amazing stories.

      • vikinghou says:

        I belong to a UMC reconciling church here in Houston. We have a somewhat tenuous relationship with the other UMC congregations in town. For many years our pastors have refused to perform any marriage ceremony in the church sanctuary until the church allows same-sex marriages to take place.

      • 1mime says:

        I hope you’ll find the proper post to share some of the retired pastor’s stories.

    • 1mime says:

      I’m sure Jesus would agree with you, Griffin. What has always bothered me, personally and intellectually, is how someone can call themselves a Christian and still hold the narrow homophobic views so many claim. I long ago made the decision to forgo institutionalized religion because of the hypocrisy between the tenets of faith and their application to life. I am quite comfortable with where I am. No regrets. Sometimes one simply has to leave others to their choices so you can live with your own.

      • Well, 1mime, as one suspects you haven’t spent an abundance of time with the Bible, both the Old Testament and the Pauline epistles are pretty clear (in a negative way) on the topic of homosexual conduct and relations. (The Gospels, however, are silent on the matter.) So it’s not hard to understand how homophobic views came to be the norm for Christians. Balanced against those texts is Jesus’ Second Great Commandment, which, for all its beauty, is remarkably nonspecific, viz. implementation details are left to the user. So it’s equally unsurprising that different Christian sects have come to different conclusions on the subject, and continue to struggle with it in general.

        My (sadly deceased and much missed) pastor (who was about as far to the left as you on most matters, BTW) once put it to me this way: The Old Testament called us into a relationship with God that is similar in many ways to that between a parent and a child. God provides a very prescriptive list of do’s and do not’s, and as long as you follow it, you are square with your Maker. It doesn’t require a great deal of critical thinking on the part of the believer, which is a great comfort to a certain type of person. The only problem with this simple arrangement is that, given our sinful nature, it’s *impossible* to faithfully adhere to the list.

        Jesus, on the other hand, calls us into a very different sort of relationship with God; it’s more like a consenting relationship between adults. Jesus’ 2nd commandment is entirely non-prescriptive; it requires a proactive approach to one’s relationship with God and others. In this setting critical thinking is not just a good idea, it’s a *requirement*. You can’t truly grok how to love your neighbor if you can’t put yourself in his/her shoes. Figuring out how to do that, and do it, to borrow a term, religiously, is both the beauty and the challenge of true Christianity.

        “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”” – Matthew 22:37-39

        Notwithstanding Paul’s admonishments in Corinthians and 1 Timothy, he gets it, too:

        “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Galatians 5:13-14

      • 1mime says:

        It appears that your faith is important and comforting to you, Tracy. That’s a good thing and I am happy for you. If I had to pick God’s way (how very presumptuous of me, right?) or Jesus’ way, I would choose Jesus, who, btw, I believe lived and did great things in his short life. My knowledge of the Bible is very limited but not a total loss. I try my best to live simply by the golden rule, i.e., doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. That seems to cover it quite well for me. I don’t disparage anyone their personal religious beliefs until they seek to impose them on me, or unless their beliefs are used in a hurtful manner to those I love and respect – which in many cases, extends much further than my immediate family. Then, we’ve got a problem. In short, I respect everyone’s right to their own beliefs and expect the same for own.

      • Nicely put, 1mime. BTW, my faith is most often discomforting, as it forcefully reminds me all too often of my many shortcomings.

    • MassDem says:

      UCC (my former denomination) has had the “open and affirming” option for its congregations since the mid-80s. They’re still losing membership like all the other mainline Prostestant Churches. I don’t know whether it’s a lack-of-time issue, people being turned off by the small numbers of extremely vocal fundamentalists, or whether we’re all slowly becoming secular humanists, but mainline Prostestants are on a definite downward slide.

      • 1mime says:

        Most people make time for people and projects they believe in. Religion has to be relevant, genuine, and provide personal service to its parishioners. I have seen elderly, life-long church members who needed outreach services when they could no longer drive be ignored by religious institutions they supported for years. Something as simple as providing transportation so they can get to a church service is a perfect example. Ministering to others should be a fundamental part of one’s faith and Churches can teach this by example.

      • MassDem says:

        I agree with everything you said. Churches do need to be mindful and reach out to their members to meet their needs, especially since many will not always ask for help. I personally believe that the benefits of organized religion (or a community of worship for us Unitarians) are real, but like all social capital networks, the benefits can take a while to accrue. Maybe too slowly for our fast-paced world.

  11. Rob Ambrose says:

    Looks like maybe the media has remembered they’re not just passive participants, but they have a role to play in moderating the tone and challenging all candidates on bullshit non answers.

    And all it took was the President to say something about it. BTW, speaking of, Obamas approval ratings are at 54%, his highest in years. All of a sudden,hes looking pretty damn good to the moderate Conservatives I’ll bet.

  12. 1mime says:

    By now most of you have read that the tied SC has had to default to the lower courts on public unions. What you may have missed (I did) is the punt by the SC on the Zubik v. Burwell contraception appeal. Here’s a little more detail for those who are interested. Note that a final decision has not been reached. Isn’t it absolutely amazing that 76 years after the first birth control pill was approved for public use that we are still having discussions about this important and necessary tool for family planning!

  13. Rob Ambrose says:

    Great news re: California.

    At the end of the day, we’ve been debating this stuff for decades. About time a state finally made the plunge.

    Kansas has value, if only as a cautionary tale of what NOT to do. California will have value too, whether it act as a model or a warning.

    It feels like politics has been at a standstill for decades and is only now getting unstuck. I expect a deluge of changes in the coming years, which is another reason this election is so important.

    • johngalt says:

      I think the California minimum wage is a mixed blessing. We all think of Silicon Valley and Hollywood and certainly $15 is more than reasonable in those places. But have you ever been to Fresno? Merced? These are pretty depressed places and the cost of living is low. Other than agriculture, they compete for industries based on low costs and if that is reduced by jacking up the wage bill, then what is the point in locating in these places (which are the places that most need investment). The best argument against a significantly higher federal minimum is that there is such variability in cost of living that a minimum that makes a difference in NYC is ridiculous in Mississippi and one that makes sense in MS is meaningless in NYC.

      • 1mime says:

        I am firmly in the camp that believes hourly wages need to be increased, but equally clear that COL should factor into those increases. COL should not be an excuse for raising minimum wages, and that is the danger. The problem is that wages have been stagnant for so long for all the “wrong” reasons (because big business ‘could’ due to a large pool of applicants and high productivity), that the enacted solution appears disproportional, and, in some locales, I think it is. This truly should be a local decision, not a state decision as long as the minimum wage floor is fair and proportional to local costs of living. I do support the increased federal wage mandates because the projects to which they apply are large and the bid process (when they are bid) builds wages equally into competing proposals.

      • 1mime says:

        Darn, cost of living should not be an excuse for “not” raising minimum wages “at all”, and that is the danger. My fingers getting ahead of my brain again …

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Any job that is not sustainable unless you pay subsistence, sub living wages, is a job that shouldn’t exist in the first place and just exists now because it’s been subsidized by a low min wage.

        I see no reason to prop up shitty, low paying, go nowhere jobs for fear of losing them. The same can be said for failing towns too.

        Look, the future is in cities and population density. If somebody wants to live in rural areas, that’s their right. But if these communities couldn’t survive without paying citizens subsistence wages, then maybe they should be allowed to fail.

        Its just a race to the bottom otherwise.

        If a community is so far out of the way that jobs can’t exist unless they’re paying $6 or $7/hr…..why would we WANT that?

        And in any case, this is why we need to actually DO it, instead of arguing about it, as we’ve been doing for decades. There are so many variables that go into it that not even the smartest economists actually k ow what’s going to happen . yes, businesses will spend more on labor. What about the increase in demand when more locals have more money?

        I personally don’t think for a minute most jobs would cease to exist. If those jobs were that easily discarded, they would have been discarded already. All it will mean is business owners will make less profit, and they’ll have to be more efficient in other ways. Super low wages just makes businesses inefficient, because they don’t NEED to be efficient with their supply chain, or marketing, or HR, if they have so much wiggle room thanks to artificially low wages.

        Time for action, and kudos on California for doing what needs to be done.

      • 1mime says:

        Good points, Rob, but I disagree with you about a couple of things. When a whole city fails without analysis of what could be done to help it become viable again, that is wrong. Could re-training for displaced workers, targeted financial assistance through creation of enterprise zones to lure new business (or retain existing ones), local public school improvement, support of basic necessary services (such as transit so people can get to work or to the store or doctor, a grocery store, etc) become tools that a combined effort of local people, state authorities, and business could change? In too many instances, there is a basic political lack of will or interest on the part of state authority to do more than send in short-term city managers who lack any personal, local commitment to help the city succeed when mills, plants, bases, etc. relocate or close. Major problems need time and sustained assistance to make them work again. If, despite best efforts the problems are too great to overcome, then at least someone tried to help. Too often these areas/cities are simply abandoned.

        Now, to your other point about some jobs not being worth saving if they pay $6/hr. I don’t disagree that any person’s labor should be worth more than that, but that doesn’t mean the job is not valid, it may be the employer who is taking advantage. There are entry level positions that young people fill who lack experience that should be paid accordingly, at a fair and adequate minimum wage that is tied to progress over time. I still maintain that COL should be a factor in determining local minimum wages. It should not be taken advantage of, or be an excuse for not raising wages that are inadequate, but a blanket minimum wage is going to be very difficult for many small businesses to absorb. These are the employers whose profit margins are very small.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Rob, I agree with you. If a business plan depends upon paying minimum wages, you need a new plan.

      • johngalt says:

        The point is that “subsistence” wages differ based on the cost-of-living. At $10 (California’s current minimum wage) a full-time minimum wage worker would spend 45% of their income on an average 1BR apartment in Fresno ( says the average 1BR is $732/month). At $15/hour, the average San Francisco worker would pay 129% of their income on that same apartment. Which one is better off?

        The article also pointed out that in high cost areas wages are a far smaller percentage of a business’s overall costs (since land is so expensive) than they are in lower cost areas. The overall impact on an employer’s costs in Fresno will be much greater than in SF and so the motivation to reduce employment will be stronger. That could have an unfortunate unintended consequence of actually increasing the disparities between high and low cost cities.

        Saying that people shouldn’t want to live in out-of-the-way places (which doesn’t really describe Fresno) comes pretty close to patronizing.

    • 1mime says:

      Speaking (fuzzily) of a paradigm shift in politics, how about a “League of Men’s Voters”? Read this fun and accurate piece on the subject of the poor, white male voter and how mistreated he is….

      “The United States is projected to look quite different, demographically, 30 or 50 years from now. That means white men may be a smaller segment of the voting public, and we’ll need a new name for this niche that future political campaigns will have to sell their message to with their own clumsy ad campaigns.”

      Might I suggest that issues that are truly important to and for women – equal pay for equal work, paid maternity leave, glass ceilings in work, proportional representation on corporate boards, in Congress, and other elected positions, choice….will finally have a shot at becoming mainstream. All it will take is the power of the ballot.

      • MassDem says:

        But what about the NASCAR Dads? They were the next Big Thing, once upon a time. From Urban dictionary (my go-to reference these days):

        “The most wanted demographic of national political candidates during the 2004 election cycle; comprised of Southern and Midwestern white males age 25 and older who usually vote Republican, but can be swayed to vote Democratic if the candidate better addresses the issues they care about; for comparison, see also soccer mom or Bubba”

      • 1mime says:

        There are so many contradictions MassDem, one doesn’t have to look far. I think women are awesome managers, and the men who appreciate women will be happy campers. Let’s just go for a little more egalitarianism in our relationships and in our politics.

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s a wonderful training program to teach women skills for jobs that have largely been off limits to them, in effect, relegating them to lower paying positions. A new 10-week program in southern California, “WINTER” is paving the way, getting women off generations of welfare and into better jobs. This is how you change lives and this is what government and business should be doing to help men and women who want to work and become independent of government assistance. Why is this not being replicated?

        “When necessary, WINTER also facilitates everything from child care to financial training and housing assistance, granting students the skills and foundation they need to change their entire lives, not just their jobs.”

    • Stephen says:

      Orange County Florida was to have an local ordinance on the ballot for mandatory paid-sick-time measures in 2014. The Republican state legislation and Governor passed and signed a bill to stop that. So much for local control. Mainly the GOP has been about protecting monopolies and well connected special interest. If the sky had fallen down the County residents who passed the ordinance would of paid the price. But I suspect that would not of happen and the plutocrats (mainly big companies like Disney World and Darden) supporting the block did not want that to be known. As usual small business owners and workers were not welcome at the table. The rules are more to block competition rather than promote new enterprise formation. If the current party had it’s way we would regress back to Feudalism.

      • 1mime says:

        Stephen, after following your comments for a while now, I don’t see how you can still hew to the Republican moniker.

      • Stephen says:


        I vote independently. But have been registered Democrat and Republican since my state is a closed primary state. Lately I have been voting more Democrat than Republican. I recently changed back to Democrat so I could vote in our primary for Hillary. I am fiscal conservative but socially moderate. Right now I am not happy with either major party. The Republican party is way too far right on social issues and completely not fiscal conservative. The Democratic party plays way too much to class warfare politics. Rich folks like working folks come in all stripes. Mostly good but always a few bad apples. People look after their own interest and nothing evil about that. But in our country economic bargaining power has gotten too lopsided for those with the most wealth. We need to shift more bargaining power to labour and degrade power for capital. Only government can do that. I rather our government do that and not increase redistributed of wealth and income between groups of people to solve the problem. The Democrats lean towards the redistribution. But so do the Republicans as their policies have shift wealth and income from workers to owners of capital.The government should help take care of our poor and least powerful citizens. I am a Christian and know the Bible is full of scriptures saying that. So I break with the GOP on wanting to radically cut social spending. I do think that our butter and guns ratio is very skewed the wrong way.The right is correct that for labour redistribution makes you more dependent on government. But having all of the rules slanted so you do not face competition and have most of the barter power makes capital just as dependent. I don’t know really where I fit into the political spectrum.

      • 1mime says:

        You fit right where you need to on issues that are most important to you, as you should. When one’s core values are weighted in favor of fairness and equality, helping those in need, respecting the rights of each individual, I’d say party labels are unnecessary. You’re doing just fine.

        The one area we may have minor disagreement (and we agree substantively on everything else) is your statement that Democrats focus too much on class warfare politics. If there were more fairness and commitment to work for the general good of the people of our country, I don’t think you’d see as much focus on class warfare. The issue descends into class warfare because people feel so grossly abused. The poor and the elderly don’t have a union, a PAC, a billionaire donor, a party. They survive in the shadows of our country. Minorities and others who seek equality of opportunity and respectful treatment are more visible but continue to struggle. The battle continues because narrow-minded people are still making the rules.

        I saw this quote which speaks to the contradiction in our awareness of the consequences of our actions. ““I’m amused when I watch Republicans claim that Trump’s language is unacceptable, and ask, ‘How did we get here?’” President Obama. Starting with “you lie”, his entire seven plus years as President have led to the fiasco that is Donald Trump. That’s why class warfare is still around and until the people of our country demand better of our politicians, it’s only going to get worse.

  14. MassDem says:

    “On Point” had a great discussion this morning about the different candidate’s tax plans. It isn’t posted yet, but is worth checking out.

    And if all of my mysteriously-disappeared posts show up at some point, I apologize for cluttering up the thread.

    • 1mime says:

      MassDem, I had a similar problem and found out that somehow ? the authorization for WordPress to view comments and posts was not enabled, even though I was shown as “following” certain blogs of choice. Instead, all were going to spam (as Lifer suggested), which showed me “where” they were but not “how” to change the reporting process. Here’s how I finally corrected the problem. Go to WordPress to your personal list of followed blogs. Assuming GOPlifer is shown in the list with a “following” confirmation, immediately to the left of the name of the blog, there is a pale blue horizontal “v” that when activated, links you to personal options for the blog. For whatever reason, my instructions had been disabled and thus I was blocked from receiving posts and comments.

      This solved my problem although this may not be your problem. I think WP needs to do a better job of instructing participants on rudimentary “fixes” to specific problems so that if/when you have a problem, you can resolve your problem easily. I had to figure this out on my own and I admit it was challenging due to my personal limitations in navigating technology. It’s fortunate (for me) that I am more stubborn than most people and I didn’t want to have to go through WP to participate in Goplifer. I am still uncertain how my previously functioning instructions were disabled…Lifer said he didn’t do it (-: The WP goblin did it!

      Good luck and hope this works for you. I was wondering if you had given up Goplifer for lent! I’ve missed your posts.

      • MassDem says:

        Thank you so much for the top! Not sure what the exact problem is, but at least I can take comfort that I wasn’t banned.

        It may explain some of the disappeared previous posters–word press goes psycho on you.

        I was incommunicado last week because I was studying very hard for my HS Math teacher’s test. So many math problems–I had left brushing up on Calculus for last, which in retrospect wasn’t the best plan.

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      Also, if you put more than one link, it is delayed and must be OKed by Lifer.

    • 1mime says:

      Not to diminish the importance of candidates’ tax plans, but I am much more concerned about social and national policy changes than their tax plans. Everyone knows what they are so I won’t repeat them. If Republicans make a clean sweep of POTUS, SCOTUS, and CONGRESS, none of my concerns will make any difference anyway. The 2016 election is so important.

      • MassDem says:

        Revenue, or the lack thereof, is pretty everything when it comes to what programs get funded, what initiatives the government can undertake. And that depends in large part on tax policy. Social and national policy changes almost always require $$$ to be carried out. I’m very worried about what will happen if Cruz or Trump gets elected with their massive give-aways to the wealthy, and the wholesale cutting of services as the deficit explodes. You think George W Bush was bad? You ain’t seen nothing yet….

      • 1mime says:

        Yeah, it takes money to fund social programs, but if there is no interest in keeping the social safety net, that drives where the budget cuts are applied. If you have any doubt, pull up Paul Ryan’s budget FY 2016 for detail. Don’t want a department to function? Cut their budget. Don’t want welfare? Cut their budget. Don’t want Medicare and Social Security? Now, that’s a little harder…gotta be reeeal sneaky because old people vote and even old white, republican people like Medicare and SS (-:

        So, look at what their over-arching goals are and then follow the money. It is indelibly linked, but money follows, it doesn’t lead except when it is from a major industry….pharma, oil, NRA, defense.)

  15. 1mime says:

    The link on immune systems was cleverly presented and very interesting especially as I have R.A. (rheumatoid arthritis) I am fortunate that my condition is relatively stable, although anyone with R.A. is vulnerable to ancillary conditions that are attendant to underlying compromised immune systems. The work of scientists to find better controls with fewer side affects and an ultimate cure is ongoing and encouraging. As in so many areas of medical research, thinking and researching “outside the box” will make a difference. I am confident of that.

    To that point, in the early 90s, my husband and I attended an elderhostel event in NC which opened my eyes to the deep divide on HIV-AIDS treatment at that time. Scientists from Duke Medical School were presenting a seminar on current treatment modalities which fundamentally worked by destroying the immune system then re-building (if the patient survived the treatment). AZT was the drug of choice at the time and it was a tough, tough treatment. Imagine my surprise during a Q & A when a young man seated directly behind me jumped up to challenge the panel on why current medical research did not include building up the immune system vs destroying it. He explained that he and a group of HIV-AIDS infected people had foregone the AZT model and were instead strengthening their immune systems through controlled, carefully documented methods. They had been pursuing this process for over one year with great success, had kept rigorous notes which they had offered to Duke researchers with no interest from anyone there. A rigorous discussion ensued and I learned more about immunotherapy and AIDS in one evening than most lay people do in a lifetime. Fast forward to today where immunotherapy is becoming more routine in cancer treatment and for diseases of many origins, including HIV-AIDS.

    I am not trained in medical research but this field offers tremendous hope for new, more effective, less harmful treatment modalities for chronic and currently fatal diseases that impact immune systems. It’s nice to know that an “army” is out there working on a problem that has so much potential to help all who share this problem. I will share it with my rheumatologist and others.

    • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

      Just a quick point to add to what you were saying.

      Everything in medicine is a tradeoff. Everything has side effects.

      It’s not exactly “Do no harm”. It’s more like “Do more good than harm”.

      I’ll give the example of surgery. Take the example of a C-section. It’s possibly the most commonly performed procedure in the world. Yet, I will tell you that it is a violent procedure that inflicts immense trauma on the patient’s body. It’s not as simple as a nice slice for the incision and you’re done. You are damaging many many layers of tissue, opening up the interior of the body to contamination which could lead to infections, risking several very severe side effects ranging from embolism to hemorrhage. Even the spinal anesthesia has several possible complications.

      So, why do we do it? It’s just that the science shows that properly performed C-sections in properly selected patients improves outcomes for both mother and child. The good outweighs the bad. (I will note that C-sections are performed far too often, and unnecessarily in many countries, including, apparently, the US for various reasons…but that’s a discussion for another time)

      It’s the same principle with drugs with immunosuppressant effects. Yes, we actively go out of our way to suppress the immune system for AIDS, transplants, asthma, etc. but that’s because the treatment produces better outcomes than the lack of treatment. It’s not a stupid option – it is (or was) the best possible option. Same principle with chemo and radiotherapy for various malignancies (though there is some debate about whether the goal really should be life-at-all-costs or patient comfort priority, …and as usual, religion doesn’t help)

  16. MassDem says:

    Testing 1 2 3 4…testing

  17. Stephen says:

    Orlando Utilities Commission. We are a power and water company. I worked both sides during my career.

    • Stephen says:

      For 1mime

      • 1mime says:

        Thanks, Stephen. I am interested in learning more about this forward-thinking utility. If it is publicly traded, I will consider it for investment.

    • 1mime says:

      A quick research on your Orlando Utility Commission tells me it is not publicly traded and, further, it beats most of the investor owned utilities in FL in reliability and diversification. If this is correct, it is a fine example of how a public entity can function extremely well and compete handily with private enterprise.

  18. I know I’m new to commenting around here, but I take it that these link roundup’s fuction as a sort-of open thread? Please tell me if I’m wrong.

    Anyway, I recently wrote a piece for Left Wing Nation about the caucus format, and why it should be abolished. I thought y’all might like to take a look:

    • johngalt says:

      I’m not sure what Chris has in mind for the link roundups but it’s basically an open thread.

      You’re exactly right about the caucuses. A social media friend in Oregon commented that he basically couldn’t participate because the time required was incompatible with taking care of his kids on a Saturday. They are terribly distorting – the participants are the most diehard and passionate of the electorate, which tends to make them the most extreme on both ends. Fivethirtyeight had a piece on the benefits to Sanders of caucuses (he has generally done well in these states and much less well in primary states) and points out that there are only two caucuses left, which might hurt him going forward.

      • 1mime says:

        That is consistent with what I have read and heard from knowledgeable political consultants as well, JG. The political campaign structure is obtuse and complicated and only a few insiders understand how it works. Obviously, our friend Cruz and his team are working the state delegate process to shift delegates currently affiliated with Trump…..just as was foretold by GOP political counsel Ginsberg at a Super Tuesday discussion.

        Here’s an interesting thought in this regard. “What if” a contested convention winds up with a Cruz nomination, a Trump rebellion, and there is a “G.W.B. re-dux” of a tied electoral college with Clinton (who is facing a similar challenge from Sanders). With the current 4-4 tie in SCOTUS, the decision then defaults to the Speaker of the House as the tie breaker…..that would be Paul Ryan. So many consequences to an archaic, politically bankrupt process. Caucuses should be abandoned. The party leadership should at least take this one housecleaning step.

      • Turtles Run says:

        I read that article yesterday. You and Nate Silver are correct the caucus system simply distorts the appeal of a candidate by appealing to the most die-hard supporters.

      • johngalt says:

        If there is a Cruz nomination and Trump rebellion, then the electoral college will not be tied. Think Reagan-Mondale landslide.

      • MassDem says:

        So why have caucuses? Because they’re cheaper–states are on the hook for the costs of an election, whereas the party picks up the costs of caucuses.

      • 1mime says:

        Then eliminate the convention and spend the money on expanding primaries!

    • 1mime says:

      Fine post, Taliesin. The current primary/caucus and convention system to me are gigantic ego events designed to market the establishment message and candidate(s) and a waste of time and money. I am all in for streamlining the primary process, vote by mail, computer, and whatever other secure, simplified method that will empower “more” people to participate in the election process. Imagine the money that could be saved by scrapping the conventions! If the parties really want to improve voter interest and participation, use a small part of that convention budget to set up a process that will simplify voter access and invest the rest in voter education in our schools and communities.

      Of course, we all know that “not all voters are equal in importance”, if ever there was a doubt. The 2016 election will offer stunning visuals of how voter manipulation creates a cesspool of the Democratic process. Both parties need to go back to the drawing board to make voting easier and more meaningful. It is no wonder that so many people are losing interest and confidence in the election process and in government, generally. That’s the greater problem.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Pretty much every post is an open thread. Usually the first posts are on topic with the blog post in question, but eventually it all gets a little fuzzy after that.

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      Well done post. I especially liked the part about the Fillet-O-Fish. I was just saying to my wife yesterday, I could go for one of them things. Not sure why I like them, the bun seems more like a sugary puff, I’m sure the cheese isn’t real cheese and doubtful about the fish. But when I take that first bite and the sauce (whatever it is) drops in a big glob onto the front of my shirt, man, that’s livin’.

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      Talieson – Hope you know I was trying for humor there. I am on a diet and most of my thoughts, even attempts at humor, go to food.

  19. Turtles Run says:

    “It’s the Model 3, a $35,000 sedan that will go at least 200 miles on a single charge.”

    For that price I would buy one in a minute. That is the perfect commuter car for me. I wanted a Nissan Leaf but the limited range and simply scared me. I can do 200 miles.

    Musk with this car should hit a home run but at $2.00 a gallon gas the market may not be interested. $4 – 5 is the ballpark Tesla needs to become a viable choice for the overall public.

    • Stephen says:

      The company I retired from (municipal power company) is banking on electric cars becoming big. The load on the grid is a fraction at night what it is during the day. So the infrastructure to charge electric cars are already in place as people will mainly charged their cars at night while they sleep. Solar and wind power has become very economically competitive. The cost for electricity will continue to drop making it more attractive than fossil fuels. Battery storage is getting cheaper and more compact. I can see eventually having a electric car for communing around town and renting say a natural gas power car for long range trips. Some one may eventual figure out a way to get around the charging time for batteries. The future is bright.

      • 1mime says:

        Stephen, Your former job sounds incredibly interesting and fulfilling. Even though you must be enjoying your retirement, it sounds like your municipal power company made work extremely worthwhile. It certainly is embracing and planning for a different future which is a great deal more than many other businesses are doing. Would you mind sharing the name of your former employer? I’d be interested in following their operation.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      I dunno. Lots of ppl are realizibg the import of weaning ourselves off oil, and buying an electric car is a major, tangible way for ppl to do that, using a large purchase that most ppl make at some point.

      My point is, I think the car will have a lot of appeal to a consumer regardless of the price of oil. And remember, even at $2/gallon, most ppl are still spending significant money every year. The average American uses 441 gallons/yr. That’s still a savings of $800-$900/yr. Tgats a significant chunk of your car payment. And that’s with gas at extremely low prices. What’re the odds it stays that low? Not good. If the price doesn’t go up on its own, I’m sure there will be moves to add more tax on gas in the coming years, both to raise revenue and also to subsidize the electric car market.

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