Sep
30
2014
1

‘The Wild Rover.’

The Wild Rover, Dropkick Murphys

Really, a lot of this kind of music only makes full sense if you’re half drunk and not disinclined to mix it up with people, if necessary.  Two conditions that are not unknown among my ancestral people.

Sep
30
2014
9

The Northeast is dying on the vine.

That is… a remarkable shift.

Deep in a recent report, for example, the American Legislative Exchange Council tabulated how the drop in population relative to the rest of the nation cut the region’s power in Washington. While the states from Pennsylvania to Maine had 141 House members in 1950, they are down to 85 today, a drop of some 40 percent.

And I fully expect that in eight years I’ll be hearing more about how the 2020 Census is going to shift power away from the Northeast even further. Which is going to tick off a lot of Northeasterners, but not as much as it will the Californians when they find out that they’re going to lose a seat for the first time. (more…)

Sep
30
2014
--

Pruitt v. Burwell gets decided against government, starting up the #Obamacare subsidy rodeo again.

Here is the state of play:

Today’s ruling was in Pruitt v. Burwell, a case brought by Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt.

These cases saw two appellate-court rulings on the same day, July 22. In Halbig v. Burwella three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered the administration to stop. (The full D.C. Circuit has agreed to review the case en banc on December 17, a move that automatically vacates the panel ruling. In King v. Burwell, the Fourth Circuit implausibly gave the IRS the thumbs-up. (The plaintiffs have appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court.) A fourth case, Indiana v. IRS, brought by Indiana attorney general Greg Zoeller, goes to oral arguments in federal district court on October 9.

Today, federal judge Ronald A. White issued a ruling in Pruitt that sided with Halbig against King, and eviscerated the arguments made by the (more senior) judges who sided with the government in those cases.

(more…)

Sep
30
2014
10

Book of the Week: Lord of Light (We hit a Patreon goal!).

Patreon link here: they need buttons, frankly.  Anyway: time to bring back Book of the Week as a regular feature.  I’ll do it every Sunday, so that I can remember it easily, but we’ll begin with one for the rest of the week: Lord of Light.  I mentioned it, like, five years ago, but it really is one of the best science fiction novels of the 1960s, and maybe the best one that Roger Zelazny ever wrote. It’s kind of about Hinduism (explicitly), kind of about Buddhism (explicitly), and kind of about how Enlightenment can take you over even when you don’t want it too; but it’s mostly just good. It’s so good, in fact, that I don’t know if anybody’s ever really tried to top it.

(more…)

Sep
30
2014
5

Roland Burris (D) tried to cash in* while still a US Senator.

Ah, Roland Burris lived up** to the finest traditions of his beloved Chicago Democrats:

[Roland Burris’s] name came up during a pre-trial hearing on Sept. 26 in a bizarre case against a businessman accused of illegally lobbying to overturn U.S. sanctions on the regime of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Defense attorneys questioned Burris’ credibility as a witness because of allegations he was involved in a shakedown scheme during his time in the Senate.

Then-Sen. Burris offered to promote a business to the U.S. military in exchange for a $250,000 a year job when he left office, court documents allege. An FBI informant made the claim in 2012 during grand jury testimony, according to a transcript of the sidebar conversation between the judge and attorneys that was shared by the Chicago Sun-Times.

(more…)

Sep
30
2014
2

‘Emails from the DCCC.’

Thank God someone’s doing this, so that I don’t have to.

Sep
30
2014
6

A rare open thread.

What do you folks want me to pontificate about? The Ebola thing is sucking out all the conversational oxygen in the room, honestly. I welcome suggestions.

Sep
30
2014
6

Our Healthcare situation, in two tweets.

Yikes…

…and yikes.

Although there certainly should be no panic about the latter point. The case is definitely problematical, but there’s no indication that there’s a respiratory form of the disease, which is the scenario that really scares everybody. What we have here is a nasty disease that can be fought.

Written by in: Politics | Tags: ,
Sep
29
2014
1

‘Rose Tattoo.’

Rose TattooDropkick Murphys

As I said, getting deep into the Celtic stuff this week.

Sep
29
2014
--

There’s a reason for gerrymandering (Spoiler: it’s called the Voting Rights Act of 1965).

Oh, God, this is rich:

[Ruy] Teixeira stresses that the main structural obstacles facing the Democrats— the legacy of GOP statehouse gerrymandering and the tendency of Democratic voters to be overrepresented in dense urban districts—mean that it’s all but impossible for the party to gain ground in this year’s midterms.

…as if the two conditions were not two sides of the same coin. That ‘gerrymandering’ exists because of those dense urban districts; those ‘dense urban districts’ are heavily minority, and the legislators that represent them are Democrats who are happy to work with Republican legislators to make sure that, frankly, white Democratic legislators take it on the chin.  The problem is, of course, that nobody official can actually come out and say Look, the GOP actually wants as many minority Democratic legislators as possible, given that white Democrats refuse to vote for minority ones and minority Democrats only vote for white ones when they don’t have a choice*.  That would imply that there’s been a Devil’s bargain, signed by multiple fiends… and God forbid that any of us should suggest that. (more…)

Sep
29
2014
--

Immortality.

I backed Potato Salad.

 

And now, the hat.

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