Paul Krugman observes the ever-changing predictions of the Affordable Care Act’s imminent demise.

First nobody but the sick would sign up, so we’d have a death spiral. Then it was “OK, a lot of people have signed up, but they won’t pay — and anyway, even more people have lost coverage.”

As uninsured rates take a nosedive, naysayers are going to have to line up some more reasons the act is failing, Krugman suggests.

And no, it’s not just an improving economy. An improving economy doesn’t explain the differences in state that implemented the exchanges and those that didn’t.

What he doesn’t mention is that signups are only one, slim metric of success. Gallup reports that few report that the law has helped them so far and the the law remains fairly unpopular (both polls late May) even as Americans are generally satisfied with the health system in the country.

Go figure.


Categories : Health Care, National
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Jul
13

Sunday Morning Music

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Jul
12

Land Ho

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(Cross-posted with permission from chickflix.net)

Land Ho

land-ho-movie-posterLand Ho is a road movie, in which a couple of 60ish ex-brothers-in-law named Colin and Mitch head to Iceland to, as Mitch puts it, “Get their groove back.” That includes getting stoned and watching the young crowd in Reykjavík dance, driving their Hummer through the wilderness to take a plunge in the hot springs, and lots of buddy repartee about aging and loss replete with Mitch’s constant teeneage boy style sexual joking. The film ultimately feels more like a bunch of scenes than a full fledged story, so it works mostly as a travelogue that makes you wish you could go to Iceland and, groove or no groove, just see the place.

As it begins, Mitch is visiting Colin, who has just gone through a divorce from his second wife, and Mitch, to cheer him up has booked them a trip to Iceland, whether Colin likes it or not. The two characters are polar opposites; Mitch is all bravado and jokes and Colin is quiet and self-contained. And you wonder that they could have ever been really close, but Colin needs a pick-me-up, and it is a cool gift he’s being given, though at a certain point you can see he needs a break from Mitch.13929-1

Land Ho is what I’d call a pleasant film. You can see places that it could have been very funny, but it feels forced. Part of the problem for me was the casting of Mitch. I don’t think the actor was up to the part. A lot of his lines felt like he’d just learn them. The actor playing Colin was much better and in a buddy film, where they need to play off each other, having the more boisterous one weaker than the straight man is a problem. The biggest problem for me was that script-wise, the story really doesn’t go anywhere. There is “a secret” that when revealed is not all that surprising and doesn’t really change anything. There are indeed some funny scenes and the travelogue quality makes it engaging on the visual end, but it is slow even at just over 90 minutes. Wait for it on a plane, preferably one to somewhere beautiful.


Categories : Popular Culture
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Jul
11

Friday Open Thread

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Judge strikes down GOP-drawn Florida congressional lines

Breitbart on border security – NOT.

What else is news?


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Jul
10

Fashion Tips From Forbes

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Just what does the fashion-conscious, America-hating, “liberal fascist” wear to impress comrades when the left gathers to plot world conquest and the destruction of capitalism? Forbes has your answer, just not in those terms. Jonah Goldberg probably would not approve of What To Wear: Netroots Nation ’14:

Here are two inspirational style guides for Netroots Nation ’14. I chose to highlight a simple dress and trouser pants in neutral color palettes, because each take comfort as well as style into consideration and you, likely, already have something similar in your closet (no shopping necessary), plus both pieces are versatile and can easily be styled to convey ‘working’ elegance or ‘sleeves rolled up’ casual wear. It is about dressing to feel and appear accessible to whomever you are speaking to or conversing with, and making it easy. 

Yes, you read right.

Two weeks from now, we’ll let you know how many of the almost “3,000 political organizers, activists, and progressive thinkers” in Detroit took Forbes’ advice.

Okay, maybe Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Vice-president Biden? Probably not.


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Before becoming Ronald Reagan’s vice-president, George H.W. Bush called trickle down theory voodoo economics. He was wrong about that. Zombie economics is more accurate. Trickle down won’t die and stay dead.

“Private wealth creation requires huge investments in commonwealth,” David Cay Johnston told Chris Hayes last night on “All In.” Tax cut after tax cut — primarily favoring the entrepreneurial class — were sold on the premise that they would spur investment and hiring by the entrepreneurial class and lift all boats, as it were. Those tax cuts have instead cut into public investments over the last decade-plus, costing the average family a lot of money, says Johnston.

Read More→


Categories : Economy, Labor
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Jul
09

We Are Amused

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Makes you want to jump up and shout, “I’m Spartacus!” doesn’t it?

James Protzman (of BlueNC) posts this at Daily Kos. Worth repeating in its entirety:


I am now a corporation

by James Protzman


UPDATE: All of this is absolutely true.

Yesterday, July 6, 2014, We were reborn as a Limited Liability Corporation called James Alexander Protzman, Inc. (DBA, James, Inc.). It’s very exciting and We are giddy with glee about the possibilities.

The process was simple, though not inexpensive. For less than $200 using an online filing, We were able to purchase this sacred status in only five minutes. Now We have all the rights of other corporations, which as We all know, is the fastest growing front for freedom in America. In any case, We now have many more rights than “regular” people, even though We are also still a regular person, too. We think of it as dual citizenship with benefits. And We get to use the royal “we”!

Our corporate agenda is a work in progress, and We would appreciate any input and guidance you may have. One thing We are considering, for example, is filing for office here in North Carolina, perhaps for governor. We already have one unincorporated corporation in that top spot, Pat McCrory (Duke Energy), so the precedent is well on its way to being cemented in stone.

One established part of Our corporate agenda is the promotion of world peace. We object to the burden of paying taxes to fund the US war machine, which violate Our religious beliefs. We will be filing suit shortly, based on the Hobby Lobby ruling.

Corporate welfare also goes against Our religion, which is ironic since We are a corporation. More litigation to come here.

We have been a corporation for only one day, but We can already feel that change is in the air. And please be advised that our corporation has already lawyered up. We are in a position to take you to the cleaners for any perceived threat to our religious freedom.

Of course, We have not yet chosen a religion, having not yet completed our scenario modeling and crisis simulation planning. But We will in due course. As soon as We understand which denominations confer the greatest competitive advantage, We will be making an announcement. Early evidence suggests that something in the poly-theistic domain could be promising. We are especially interested in the maximum number of paid holidays.

Speaking of pay, We believe that working for our corporation is a privilege. Pay and benefits are out of the question.

If you have other suggestions to help shape Our corporate agenda, please share them. For those who wish to invest, an IPO is in the works. We are also looking to establish a board of directors with special experience in frivolous litigation and off-shore investing.

These are exciting times, no?

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/07/07/1312228/-I-am-now-a-corporation


Categories : National, Satire
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Found on Facebook. Remarkable.

[h/t Jill Boniske]


Categories : History, Popular Culture
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Jul
06

Feeling Violated?

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They see London.
They see France.
Baby pics you sent your aunt.

The Washington Post reports today,

Ordinary Internet users, American and non-American alike, far outnumber legally targeted foreigners in the communications intercepted by theNational Security Agency from U.S. digital networks, according to a four-month investigation by The Washington Post.

Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided in full to The Post, were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else.

Love letters and baby pictures of innocent bystanders, Edward Snowden told the Post, of no intelligence value today, continue to be stored by the NSA. As late as May, the NSA had denied Snowden had access to FISA content.

Many other files, described as useless by the analysts but nonetheless retained, have a startlingly intimate, even voyeuristic quality. They tell stories of love and heartbreak, illicit sexual liaisons, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial anxieties and disappointed hopes. The daily lives of more than 10,000 account holders who were not targeted are catalogued and recorded nevertheless.

As a piping engineer, work searches including terms such as nipple (threaded pipe nipple), diaphragm (valve type), or just “pipe” can get your account flagged by an overzealous corporate “nanny watch” program scanning for drug- or sex-related searches. Joking about anything terrorist-related in an airport can get you hauled aside and questioned. Heaven help you if you comment on any Middle East-related news in an email to the wrong person.

Ah, freedom.


Categories : International, Privacy
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Jul
06

Sunday Morning Music

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In case you missed Junior Brown in Asheville on July 4…

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