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The CBO report for the AHCA reflects the wit & wisdom of Speaker Paul Ryan

[ 19 ] May 24, 2017 |

The latest CBO score on the latest version of the AHCA is out. Here are some very quick comparisons between the three CBO reports.

10 year federal deficit reduction.

  • March 13 – $337 billion.
  • March 23 – $150 billion.
  • May 24 – $119 billion.

Increase in number of uninsured under AHCA compared to Obamacare, in 2018.

  • March 13 – 14 million.
  • March 23 – 14 million.
  • May 24 – 14 million.

2020

  • March 13 – 21 million.
  • March 23 – 21 million.
  • May 24 – 19 million.

2026

  • March 13 – 24 million.
  • March 23 – 24 million.
  • May 24 – 23 million.

I can see why the Rs rushed off for a drink after they rammed this thing through Congress.

Here’s the March 23 CBO score for the previous version of the bill.

The March 13 score.

Net effects of HR 1628 on the budget deficit

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Americans – too embarrassed to go abroad. Everyone else – too afraid to come to America.

[ 134 ] May 24, 2017 |

I can’t speak for other parts of America, but fewer tourism dollars would certainly increase local cases of Winning Fatigue Syndrome.

The US tourism business is in trouble — and President Trump may be to blame.

America’s share of international tourism has dropped 16% in March, compared to the same month in 2016, according to Foursquare data released Wednesday.

The decline began in October 2016, the month before the presidential election. From October to March, tourism-related traffic has fallen an average of 11% in the US, compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, tourism in the rest of the world has increased 6% year-over-year during the same period.

Foursquare a location intelligence company best known for its app that tracks user visits to restaurants, bars, hotels, and other sites, as well as the company’s work in analytics, advertising and developer solutions.

Foursquare analysts connected the drop to President Trump’s America first rhetoric and policies that have made some international tourists wary of visiting the US. Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck notes that residents from the Middle East and Central/South America — regions for which Trump has encouraged stricter immigration and travel policies — have been avoiding the US more than residents of Asia, Europe, and other regions.

Really, this is just the best news for people who live in the DMV (D.C./Md./Va.) or any place else that relies on tourists’ cash. And at least around here large scale protests might make up for some of the lost revenue.

Of course, correlation /= causation, and this is data from one company. It would be irresponsible to say that the Orange Horror is definitely frightening tourists way.

It could be that people are staying away out of fear they’ll be harassed or harmed by red-faced thug in a MAGA hat.

What’s worse than a drink called the Pill Cosby?

[ 156 ] May 23, 2017 |

Some background – A local restaurant/bar/clothing store briefly had a drink called the Pill Cosby. One of the business’ owners claimed that it was meant in part to raise awareness. And boy did it ever! Possibly not in the way they wanted. However, trolling on the subject of rape in exchange for a great deal of attention could well have been the goal. At any rate, the owners took it off the menu and apologized.

The whole thing was obnoxious and it was hard to imagine who or what could make it worse.

The answer of course is Nick Gillespie at Reason, with a sock full of False Equivalencies.

Making things worse : libertarians :: bouncing : Tiggers.

In questionable taste? Certainly. But is offering the drink actually participating in “rape culture,” as various Twitter folks aver, or is it something else altogether, as the operators of the business suggest? Or maybe it’s neither—maybe it’s just tasteless joke that is neither particularly offensive nor edifying. Does everything need to have a higher value in order to justify its existence? I hope not.

Because he’d be fucked if higher value were the standard for existence.

Libertarian follow-up question:

JFC.

Is this an example of disciplining via market forces and/or voice (as opposed to exit or loyalty, in the parlance of Albert O. Hirschman)? Or is it simply the latest sign of political correctness and identity politics stamping out anything that anyone can find objectionable?

OK, already that’s two questions. But it was a lot to load into one rhetorical designed to help people who think Gillespie is clever figure out that potential consumers objecting to a menu item that makes light of rape can’t be a legitimate use of the Free Market because Reason.

He could have stopped there. But he hadn’t yet displayed the gibbertarian’s full range of idiocy with a final False Equivalency x Gotcha hybrid.

And will the next casualty be “the Marvin Gaye,” a drink whose name is at the bottom of the menu in the picture of the drink above and to the right? Gaye came to an ugly and sad end, shot to death by his own father even as his career was reviving in the mid-1980s.

Because there’s no difference between a punny drink that makes reference to a man accused of doing bad things to other people – complete with pill capsule garnish in case a Reason fan needs help getting the joke – and a drink that bears the name a man who had a bad thing done to him. Touché, M. Gillespie!

This administration is starting to embarrass the hell out of me [Update]

[ 67 ] May 22, 2017 |

I’ve always voted straight line Democratic. I’ve protested against Republican administrations including Napoleorange’s. I give money to liberal causes. I think I can say that tRump and his goons have nothing to do with me. So why does the fact that the White House is stocked – no – CRAMMED with total fucking morons make me cringe with vicarious embarrassment?

I know it doesn’t make any sense. No, this isn’t the dumbest thing he’s done today. Yes, being embarrassed by it is a weakness on my part. But goddammit, can the current leader of this nation and his lackeys not find one teeny little thing to leave unfucked? This is about Israel, a country the Republicans keep trying to leg hump to death. Yet Tromp’s first Big Statement on U.S.-Israeli relations appears to have been thrown together at the last minute and possibly under the influence by someone afflicted with a variation of the Grocer’s Apostrophe.

SAD!

[Update – I appreciate the comments to the effect that there’s nothing wrong with being embarrassed by the Orange Clown.]

In happier and unrelated news, it is Morrissey’s birthday. If I were capable of picking a favorite Smiths song, this might be it.

Hate speech, hate crimes and the illusion of plausible deniability

[ 214 ] May 22, 2017 |

On Saturday Richard Collins, III, came to the University of Maryland to visit friends and celebrate being commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. He was going to graduate from Bowie State on Tuesday.

Early Sunday morning he was stabbed to death by Sean Urbanski, a UMD student and member of a Facebook group called Alt Reich Nation.

Court documents obtained by News4 say Collins was waiting for the university’s shuttle bus with his friends when they realized the shuttle bus had stopped running for the night. The three decided to call an Uber and were waiting for one to arrive when they heard Urbanski screaming nearby, the documents said.

Collins and his friends watched Urbanski has he approached them. According to court documents, “Urbanski said, ‘Step left, step left if you know what’s best for you.’

“Collins said ‘No’ as Urbanski continue to approach,” the documents said.

One of Collins’ friends noticed Urbanski was holding a knife with a 3- to 4-inch silver blade as the suspect stabbed Collins once in the chest area, documents said. The friend ran toward Baltimore Avenue as she called 911 and asked the Uber driver to call 911. Other witnesses stayed with Collins and tried to help him until police and medics arrived.

Two Prince George’s County police officers found Urbanski sitting on a bench at a bus stop about 50 feet from where Collins had collapsed. Witnesses identified him as the suspect and he was taken into custody at the university’s police department, documents said.

Urbanski faces a number of charges including 1st and 2nd degree murder. The FBI is investigating to determine whether it was a hate crime.

The the chief of UMD’s police department noted that he wasn’t aware of any increase in threats on campus. I’ll take his word for it, but note there has been an increase in threatening activity.

Soon after tRump was elected white supremacist flyers started appearing on the campus and in nearby neighborhoods. A couple of weeks ago someone  placed a noose in the kitchen of one of the frats.

Is there a direct connection between the flyers or the noose or the Facebook group and Urbanski stabbing Collins in the chest? Unless Urbanski says so, that will remain an unknown known. Even if he says he was influenced by one or more of these things, it would fit the pattern that assists the spread of supremacist terror.

Marginalized groups know that soon or late the fire of violence will follow the smoke of hate speech. No matter how many people or organizations speak about the criminal brown savage or the Sharia spreading Muslim, slut and their non-stop abortions, or the gay man who wants to assault kids, the act of violence against marginalized people is always attributed solely to the individual. Where was he radicalized? people ask semi-ironically. Not here! And don’t try to take our guns! screams every human septic tank that’s been spewing filth everywhere.

Meanwhile the speech continues and keeps the potential victims nervous and miserable.

This ill-defined space between the speech acts and violent acts is also the headquarters of The Grand Brotherhood of Pundits and Tut-tutters who are deeply saddened when people protest the on-campus appearance of people like Charles Murray or Anne Coulter or Milo Y-didtheycancelmybook, because anything that hinders the Free and Open Exchange of Ideas is Bad.

I think inviting someone like Murray to take a nap in the path of a steam roller is a fine example of the free and open exchange of ideas, but that doesn’t count for some reason.

More importantly, these protest recognize that no matter how much someone might like to pretend, the interplay between speech and violence exists. Protesting the speech is one of the few ways people can prevent violence without resorting to violence themselves.

It’s time to play Guess Who’s Been Accused of Plagiarism?

[ 70 ] May 20, 2017 |

Hello and welcome back to Guess Who’s Been Accused of Plagiarism? the game where you, the player at home, try guess which person associated with POTUS, LLC has been accused of plagiarism, this week. You know the rules, so let’s get on with the game. Is it:

Kellyanne Alt-Facts Conway?

Sean Bush League Spicer?

Or

Sheriff David Mic Drop Clarke?

You’ve got .05 seconds starting … now!

 

BREAKING: Reporter asks Americans who did not vote for tRump about tRump!!

[ 23 ] May 20, 2017 |

Hustings Courthouse, Petersburg, Va. – Library of Congress

Will this unpresidented approach to journalism catch on?

A struggling post-industrial town. A Christian factory worker praying “constantly” for Donald Trump. Ernarda Davis, 65, is the kind of person Trump vowed to help, living in the kind of place Trump vowed to heal, and she wants badly for her president to succeed.

You’ve heard this kind of story before. Except people who look like Davis don’t usually qualify for 2017 articles about how voters are feeling about Trump.

She is black.

And when she was asked in Petersburg, Va., last weekend how Trump is doing so far, she curved her fingers into a rigid circle.

Zero.

“He needs to get hate out of his heart and open his eyes. And that might help,” she said. “Get hate out of his heart, open his eyes, and see what’s going on.”

Hey Joe. Where you going with that foot in your mouth?

[ 62 ] May 19, 2017 |

Well dig! I’m going down to SkyBridge Alternatives, to make people wonder if I know what I’m talking about.

Speaking at the SALT hedge fun conference in Las Vegas, Biden told attendees that he believed he could have done a better job taking on President Trump on the campaign trail, CNN reported.

“I never thought she was a great candidate. I thought I was a great candidate,” Biden remarked.

Perhaps the man who twice failed to clinch a nomination for Democratic president is not the best judge of these things?

Q: Does Obamacare have a curse on it that turns all who try to overturn it into bumbling dimwits who can’t tell their ass from their elbow?

[ 93 ] May 18, 2017 |

A: Of course not. They were already Republicans to begin with.

House Republicans barely managed to pass their Obamacare repeal bill earlier this month, and they now face the possibility of having to vote again on their controversial health measure.

House Speaker Paul Ryan hasn’t yet sent the bill to the Senate because there’s a chance that parts of it may need to be redone, depending on how the Congressional Budget Office estimates its effects. House leaders want to make sure the bill conforms with Senate rules for reconciliation, a mechanism that allows Senate Republicans to pass the bill with a simple majority.

Republicans had rushed to vote on the health bill so the Senate could get a quick start on it, even before the CBO had finished analyzing a series of last-minute changes. The CBO is expected to release an updated estimate next week.

The score for this part of the post should be the sound of Paul Ryan stepping on rakes, walking around with a metal bucket on one foot, falling down stairs and so on.

“Unaware,” said Representative Jeff Denham of California, with noticeable surprise Thursday, when advised that his party leaders still hadn’t sent the bill over to the Senate. Denham was one of the House Republicans who ended up voting for the measure, after earlier in the week opposing it.

“I am on the whip team and we have a lot of conversations, but we have not had that one. So I am going to look into it,” said Denham, a member of the party’s vote-counting team.

This part of the post should be scored to the sound of Ryan insisting he sent it ages ago while making that face that he thinks is sincere, but really makes him look like a bloodhound that’s planning to go for your neck.

According to several aides and other procedural experts, if Republicans send the bill to the Senate now and the CBO later concludes it doesn’t save at least $2 billion, it would doom the bill and Republicans would have to start their repeal effort all over with a new budget resolution. Congressional rules would likely prevent Republicans from fixing the bill after it’s in the Senate, the aides said.

If Republican leaders hold onto the bill until the CBO report is released, then Ryan and his team could still redo it if necessary. That would require at least one more House vote of some sort.

I think it safe to say that if Lyin’ Ryan has to tell his party they have to vote on the AHCA again, House Republicans will hold a raffle. The grand prize will be the ability to chuck him in the Potomac with a dozen life-sized bronze busts of Reagan tied to his feet. Second prize winner gets to unleash the snakeheads.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland said Thursday that the delay is further proof that Republicans voted for this bill “before they knew what was in it.”

The speaker and other Republicans urgently pushed their May 4 floor vote, despite a polarized Republican conference, using the frantic final hours to win over holdouts. Even so, 20 Republicans still voted against the bill. After the bill squeaked through, Ryan and other senior Republicans dashed to the White House for an unusual celebration of a one-chamber vote.

Grotesque and stupid is not spelled u-n-u-s-u-a-l.

That 217-213 tally appeared to be a rare legislative victory for them and President Donald Trump, even if the vote was a difficult one for some rank-and-file House Republicans, who had qualms. Some have since been hit with protests in their districts and anger from constituents.

Now, two weeks later, the American Health Care Act, H.R. 1628, hasn’t been transmitted from the House to the Senate, according to Senate Bill Clerk Sara Schwartzman.

Apparently the Senate is experiencing a dearth of fucks about this bill and has not asked for it.

Like a well oiled machine

[ 65 ] May 18, 2017 |

Balloon Juice provides the context that the cunning planners at WL left out.

Dave Clarke Jive

[ 47 ] May 17, 2017 |

Napoleorange’s plan to cram as many civil rights disasters into one administration continues, bigly.

Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wis., said Wednesday he has accepted a job in the Department of Homeland Security.

Clarke told conservative radio host Vicki McKenna during an interview on 1130 WISN that he will leave his post as sheriff to serve as a deputy secretary of Homeland Security.

The Teller of Totally Convincing Anecdotes is being sued for the neglect, abuse and deaths of several prisoners and the new born baby of an inmate who gave birth in the prison.

Clarke has faced two federal lawsuits since December, in the wake of four deaths that occurred last year in the Milwaukee County Jail. In mid-March, the family of a man who died of dehydration in April 2016 sued Clarke and the county, alleging that jail staff subjected the man to “torture” by denying him water as he pleaded for it over 10 days. County prosecutors are considering bringing felony charges against jail staff for neglect. Another lawsuit, filed last December, seeks damages for the death of a newborn in the jail last July, after jail staff ignored the infant’s mother as she went into labor and for more than six hours thereafter, according to the suit.

A lawsuit filed earlier this month also alleges mistreatment of pregnant inmates. In that suit, a woman alleges that, during a seven-month stint at the jail in 2013, she was forcibly shackled with a “belly-chain” that tied her wrists and legs to her stomach during her hospitalization for pre-natal care, while she was in labor, and while she received treatment for post-partum depression after she gave birth. The restraints made giving birth more painful for the woman, left marks on her body, and made it more difficult for doctors—who insisted she be freed—to give her an epidural, the lawsuit says. The jail has a policy that inmates be shackled while receiving medical care that makes no exceptions for pregnancy, according to the lawsuit, which also states that more than 40 women were subjected to the same treatment.

Really, just the best people, terrific.

A plan so cunning you could stamp MAGA on it and leak it to the Russians

[ 72 ] May 16, 2017 |
Turnips - an essential ingredient of cunning plans

Turnips – an essential ingredient of cunning plans

According to Erick Erickson, the latest White House doo-doo douche is all part of a cunning plan. (Thanks to Cleek for the heads up.)

“I know one of the sources,” Erickson writes. “And the source is solidly supportive of President Trump, or at least has been and was during Campaign 2016.”

So why would a Trump supporter leak a damaging story about the president to multiple news organizations? According to Erickson, it’s the only way to get Trump to change his behavior.

Change his behavior from what? Burning shit down in order to whine that he has the right to burn shit down if he wants? #UNFAIR.

But only after his lackeys vehemently deny that he burned shit down.

“The President will not take any internal criticism, no matter how politely it is given,” Erickson explains. “He does not want advice, cannot be corrected, and is too insecure to see any constructive feedback as anything other than an attack.

These traits are glaringly evident and inappropriate for a president. However, this is what Republicans wanted in the White House.

And how was leaking the leak to the press supposed the work? Brace yourself for the cunning bit:

So some of the sources are left with no other option but to go to the media, leak the story, and hope that the intense blowback gives the President a swift kick in the butt.”

Intense blowback in the form of: What he calls #FakeNews, his staff trying to cover for him, Republicans in Congress again confirming He can do anything he wants and a day ending in Y.

Frankly, a leak to expose wrong-doing makes sense. A leak as a stealth intervention does not. But if the jackasses around tRump want to hurt him with love, they should have at it.

Related: Israel is the answer to the question Whose classified information was it anyway?

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