Thursday Open Thread

Filed in National by on August 4, 2011

Welcome to your Thursday open thread. I say it’s Thursday of the longest week ever. At least it feels that way to me. OTOH, I am enjoying the lower temperatures, so there’s that.

Finally, a taste of justice:

In 2010, the right-wing group Susan B. Anthony List campaigned against anti-choice Democrats who voted for the health care law. To gin voters up against the sitting members, SBA List peddled the fully debunked myth that the health care law included federal funding for abortions — a policy already prohibited by law. After losing his re-election bid, former Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH) filed a complaint against SBA List with the Ohio Elections Commission as Ohio law prohibits false campaign statements. Faith in Public Life reports that yesterday, a federal judge ruled against the SBA List’s attempt to have the case dismissed, finding “significant evidence that [SBA’s] statements are false.” SBA Lists’s response to the ruling is that the group “researched Obamacare themselves” and “also read the opinions of other groups” — a defense that, incidentally, calls the group’s own research skills into question.

I remember that the Susan B. Anthony list was one of the first big organizations to endorse Christine O’Donnell in 2010. Now, can we get someone in Ohio to sue Sarah Palin for her “death panels” lie? Also, why don’t we have a national law like this?

Food for thought:

Now, the next part of this item will get Republicans’ noses out of joint and will no doubt start Democrats thumping their chests. What Gilligan found was that suicides and homicides started climbing to epidemic levels following the election of a Republican president. If that isn’t annoying enough to the Grand Old Party, he also discovered that the rates remained around epidemic levels throughout the time Republicans occupied the White House. “The increase began during their first year or years in office, and peaked in their last year or years,” Gilligan writes.

And what happened when a Democratic president toodled up to the White House gate in a moving van? Those epidemic levels of violence, according to Gilligan, began to reverse direction in the first year or two of a Democratic administration and the rates reached their lowest point in the last year or years of the Democratic term.

Pure happenstance, right? Gilligan won’t hear of it — his analysis, he says, proves otherwise. The changes in the rates of violence occur “with a magnitude and consistency that could not be attributed to chance alone.”

The researcher says it’s not a correlation/causation error that this is actually real. He hypothesizes that Republicans administrations cut social safety nets and that leads to more crime.


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Opinionated chemist, troublemaker, blogger on national and Delaware politics.

Comments (22)

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  1. puck says:

    Nancy Pelosi has a secret plan to end the war:

    Without disclosing details, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says she has a plan for dealing with the Republicans’ legislative hostage-taking strategy […]

    “Suffice to say that you won’t see a repetition of what happened last week…”

    It seems House Dems were unhappy about the debt vote:

    “Our members were very unhappy about that vote the other day. Very unhappy.”

    But not unhappy enough to vote “No.”

    …in a revealing moment, Pelosi hinted Democrats may have reached their breaking point.

    To which John Carney replied “Breaking point? Me?”

    “[W]e wouldn’t let our country default,” Pelosi said. “But I’ll say it this way to you. A default is a much more serious consequence than a shutdown of government for a few days.”

    I wanted Obama to fight on past Aug. 2. I think that is what Nancy is getting at. At a bare minimum, I expected more No votes from House Dems to force more Repubs to vote Yes.

    Nancy I do so want to believe you.

  2. Zafo Jones says:

    There is quite a bit of psychological dysfunction going on among Tea Party activists. Most, if not all, of these individuals come from a family and culture based around keeping up the appearance of normality and stability. “Embarassing” realities like teen pregnancy and STIs threaten this facade of perfection and, thus, are swept under the rug and hidden from the judgmental eye of neighbors and fellow churchgoers.

    When the government (and, by proxy, its political activists and leaders) acknowledges the need for organizations such as Planned Parenthood, this violates the Tea Partier’s “cover-up” culture. The result is a diversionary arguement about funding for abortions, which is really just a cover (as usual) for the fact that Tea Partiers cannot allow themselves to admit that sexual health and family planning problems exist. Don’t get sucked in by this fallacious talking point! This is not about abortion. If it

    When you find yourself in an argument with a Tea Partier or Right Winger about public funding for women’s health, family planning, or STI testing, expect that the discussion will quickly devolve into one focused solely on the evils of abortion. Also, understand that you are not having a conversation with a mature peer. You are having an argument with someone who has probably never overcome childhood trauma related to shame-based parenting and/or adolescent hang-ups about anything remotely related to sex.

  3. mediawatch says:

    “Delaware is likely to turn into the Cayman Islands of political fundraising”

    Hopefully this will turn our state economy around.

    Good thought, but not likely. Hard to sell this one as “jobs, jobs, jobs.”

  4. puck says:

    I was wondering what would replace usury as our state industry. Who knew it would be bribery?

  5. 2004 MoJo story on Grover Norquist

    It will probably take the double dip recession to wake everyone up on how corrupt this mofuker and his Koch-sucker tea party politics really are. But then again…

  6. puck says:

    No… it will be seen as Obama’s fault. Republicans wrecked the economy so they could turn Obama into Jimmy Carter. It’ll probably work. Too bad Obama went along with it.

    Voters won’t turn on Republicans on account of the 2012 recession. That will have to wait until the 2014 Depression.

  7. puck says:

    Carter crashed and burned because he couldn’t get the Democratic Congress to pass any of his agenda. Ironically, Obama will crash and burn because Democrats in Congress can’t stop passing his agenda.

  8. Geezer says:

    To revisit one of DL’s ongoing controversies, some of the commenters here aren’t the only ones who read Obama in a way that would distress a certain DL author. From David Sirota at Salon:

    “In this mythology, he is “President Pushover,” as the New York Times columnist Paul Krugman recently labeled him.

    “This story line is a logical fallacy. Most agree that today’s imperial presidency almost singularly determines the course of national politics. Additionally, most agree that Obama is a brilliant, Harvard-trained lawyer who understands how to wield political power.

    “Considering this, and further considering Obama’s early congressional majorities, it is silly to insist that the national political events during Obama’s term represent a lack of presidential strength or will. And it’s more than just silly — it’s a narcissistic form of wishful thinking coming primarily from liberals who desperately want to believe “their” president is with them.

    “Obama is not a flaccid Jimmy Carter, as some of his critics insist. He is instead a Franklin Delano Roosevelt — but a bizarro FDR. He has mustered the legislative strength of his New Deal predecessor — but he has channeled that strength into propping up the very forces of “organized money” that FDR once challenged.”

    But what right does he have to these opinions? I mean, what has he ever done for the cause?

  9. puck says:

    Obama the enigma:

    As I see it the endless debate over Obama’s leadership skills breaks down to three theories: 1) Obama’s a weak President, 2) Obama’s getting the conservative policies he’s wanted all along, or 3) Obama is getting the best results possible considering the circumstances.

    h/t dKos

  10. liberalgeek says:

    Yes, that is a valid way to pose the various factions. I personally go with option 3. The circumstances have been pretty shitty. Even with a super majority in both houses until Scott Brown, that group included Joe ‘I love me some John McCain’ Lieberman and Tom Carper. It also featured an unprecedented number of filibusters. So I suspect that Obama’s policies have reflected that dysfunction.

  11. puck says:

    I’m sticking with “enigma.”

    Somebody needs to write an insider tell-all book, and soon.

  12. Geezer says:

    No they haven’t. There are many issues on which he has made no effort whatever to break from Bush policies. Sirota again:

    “On healthcare, Obama passed a Heritage Foundation-inspired bailout of the private health insurance industry, all while undermining other more-progressive proposals.
    “On foreign policy, he escalated old wars and initiated new ones. On civil liberties, he not only continued the Patriot Act and indefinite detention of terrorism suspects but also claimed the right to assassinate American citizens without charge.
    “On financial issues, he fought off every serious proposal to reregulate banks following the economic meltdown; he preserved ongoing bank bailouts; and he resisted pressure to prosecute Wall Street thieves.
    “On fiscal matters, after extending the Bush tax cuts at a time of massive deficits, he has used the debt ceiling negotiations to set the stage for potentially massive cuts to Social Security and Medicare — cuts that would be far bigger than any of his proposed revenue increases.

    “As hideous and destructive as it is, this record is anything but weak. It is, on the contrary, demonstrable proof of Obama’s impressive political muscle, especially because polls show he has achieved these goals despite the large majority of Americans who oppose them.

    “…Obama himself has not suffered from equally negative polling numbers. … He is relatively popular despite advocating wildly unpopular policies. Thanks to that reality, every one of his stunning legislative triumphs now has the previously unprecedented imprimatur of rank-and-file Democratic support.”

  13. liberalgeek says:

    So does that make you a number 1 or a number 2, Geezer?

  14. anonone says:

    Liberal Geek: Option 3 may be a comforting rationalization, but it ignores all of horrible actions and inactions that Obama has done solely on his own including the neoliberals that he hired for his economic team and his politicized and paid-off Department of Justice.

    The deliberate institutionalizing of a two-tiered system of justice, one for the rich and politically connected and another for everyone else, may be the most damaging legacy of Obama’s administration.

    And that is ALL his doing.

  15. puck says:

    All this never would have happened if Howard Dean was still alive.

  16. liberalgeek says:

    A1 – I have joined the Jason330 school of A1 comment analysis. I simply check to see who commented, and skip to the next.

  17. anonone says:

    I am glad that there is a school now for the analysis of my comments.

  18. Geezer says:

    LG: That depends on the meaning of “weak.” If “weak” means unwilling to ever draw a line in the sand, I might be willing to go that way. But it’s looking much more like #2 to me at this point. As David Sirota noted, having a Democrat accept conservative frames and solutions for our problems sets back liberal goals, possibly for many years to come.

    I thought during the HCR debate he was selling Democrats down the river to boost his own standing, and he’s since done that on other issues as well. I will not be voting for him under any circumstances.

  19. puck says:

    I predict the next massive relief program will be implemented by a Republican government, after having declared a national economic emergency.

  20. Obama was challenged with the 2008 financial crisis but he watered down his stimulus deal with tax cuts. Recent news says the US grossly under reported the extent of Bush era economic failure. So we needed much, much greater stimulus spending.

    And Obama has kept an unholy trinity alive of bad banking law, bad trade law and an unsustainable ongoing war policy.

    Here’s a comment I left after some of Charlie Copeland’s recent chest thumping:

    “I like Dylan Ratigan’s “only the US has the luxury of inventing a financial crisis” take on the GDP. We have to restructure trade, tax and banking.
    GDP measures flow not production. Extraction, Creation and Investment are treated equally. The flow of money out of the US was increased dramatically during the Clinton-Rubin years from bad banking and trade deals that set a false economic stability in motion Ratigan calls it an 8 yearbubble of fraud rigging). Bush then spent (off budget) on wars, drug company give-aways, tax cuts etc. and Obama just added to the costs while leaving undisturbed the horrendous Clinton-era banking and trade policies.
    Ratigan says we are spending fake money on real costs and to fix it we have to have bank regulation adding a capital requirement to credit default swaps and fix our scandalously unfair trade arrangements. We need a global debt restructuring.”

  21. puck says:


    News out of Washington, D.C. is that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have reached a compromise to end the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration. The shutdown did affect some Delaware airports.

    In a statement Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did not provide specific details of the deal, but other officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, say they expect the Senate to accept a House-passed deal as early as Friday. Two sticking points — air service to rural communities and union organizing.

    Un-oh. Harry’s negotiating again.

    Today – Whaaaa??

    The temporary FAA spending measure was swiftly passed using a procedure that did not require lawmakers to be present to cast individual votes. Congress is in the midst of its August recess.

    I can’t wait to read the details of this deal.