The Watering Hole, Monday, October 21st, 2013: Mixed Nuts

First, Foreign Policy Magazine got a little ‘spacy’ towards the end of the shutdown, with author Michael Peck penning a pair of fantasy articles titled “The Empire Shuts Down” and “One Starship to Rule Them All”

Next, this piece from moneynews.com, features the always-wild-looking “economist” Jim Cramer prognosticating – and perhaps precipitating, if anyone pays attention to him – the shakiness of the dollar. An excerpt:

As the world laughs at Washington’s antics, CNBC’s Jim Cramer says smart money should look for any possible means to flee the dollar.

The United States is “a laughing stock around the world, maybe worse than Italy in some ways when I look at benchmarks,” he said on Squawk Box. “We have obviously lost the faith of a lot of countries.”

If there is a way to take your money out of this country, Cramer suggests putting it in Germany. If he were in the shoes of China, Kuwait, Brazil or Japan, “I would do it immediately,” he claimed.

Third, from Newsmax.com, Amy Woods has a piece on another peanut gallery member: “Sen. Coburn: ‘We’re Drunk’ on Government Spending.” Here’s a bit:

“Special-interest groups, and not the tea party, caused the 17-day government shutdown, Sen. Tom Coburn said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“We didn’t do anything except create a big mess in Washington, and I’m not so inclined to think it was the tea party as much as it was outside interest groups and a few individuals within our party that took advantage of that situation,” Coburn said. All the bickering about the Affordable Care Act distracted Americans from the fact the government spends too much, he added.

Next, an October 19th article from Alternet brings us “Right-Wing Lunacy Never Sleeps: 10 Nutty, Vile and Absurd Utterances From the Fringe This Week.” In this round-up, Justice Antonin Scalia reaffirms his racism, Tony Perkins babbles some nonsense about Democrats wanting a theocracy, Glenn Beck and Pat Buchanan continue to howl in the wilderness, and more.

Finally, also courtesy of Newsmax, the other gum-flapping self-important Limbaugh, David, proves that he is just as delusional as his louder brother in “GOP Poised for Post-Shutdown Comeback”:

“Obamacare represented not only one of many policy setbacks under Obama but also the ever-acquisitive government’s consumption of another one-sixth of the formerly capitalist and robust American economy.”

[That’s a load of horseshit, David, enough with the fake “government takeover of healthcare” bogeyman. Last I looked, the U.S. is still a capitalist nation, and the last time we had a “robust American economy” was under a Democrat, President Bill Clinton.]

“Then Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee ratcheted it up a notch, going to the Senate to call Obama out on his destructive agenda and promising to do everything they can to defund and derail Obamacare. Cruz’s 20-plus-hour floor speech was a seminar in the eloquent communication of conservative principles.”

[“…eloquent communication of conservative principles”? ‘Green Eggs and Ham‘? I don’t think that David Limbaugh (or his louder brother, for that matter) watched the entirety of Cruz’s rambling and sometimes incoherent “seminar.”]

“Just as my brother, Rush, gave millions of conservatives hope through his radio show by validating the legitimacy of their beliefs, Cruz, Paul, and Lee let us know that we have people in office fighting for us, as well.

“I reject the conventional wisdom that Cruz and his warriors hurt our cause by increasing the likelihood of our defeat in 2014. To the contrary, they enhanced our cause by energizing the base and fighting. And they laid serious gloves on Obama; his approval rating has never been lower. They also gave him an opportunity, which he fully embraced, to demonstrate his mean-spiritedness, his pettiness, and his dishonesty for all to see.

“The shutdown was not the disaster he promised any more than sequestration has been; he was hyper-partisan and gratuitously punitive during the ordeal; and his egregious misrepresentations about Obamacare were manifesting themselves throughout.”

[Sorry, but to Rush Limbaugh, the word “hope” is part of a punchline, certainly not something that Rush ever gave to his Rushbots. You can “reject conventional wisdom” all you want, but that doesn’t mean that conventional wisdom, in this case, is wrong. Obama’s approval rating is currently around 50%, according to a recent Rasmussen poll; on the other hand, according to the Gainesville Times, a new poll puts Congress’s approval rating at an all-time low at 5%. I’m not sure exactly what planet David Limbaugh, along with the other mixed nuts listed above, inhabits, but it must be a particularly miserable place to dwell.]

This is our Open Thread. Go ahead, get cracking!

70 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Monday, October 21st, 2013: Mixed Nuts

  1. The only thing encouraging ‘smart money’ to flee the dollar will do is increase the interest the US pays on new debt. In a way, just saying that on major media is a form of treason.

    How do we know part of the extreme traffic clogging the healthcare.gov website isn’t teabaggers trying to log on repeatedly just to create an undeclared DDOS attack? I still haven’t even tried to look at the site yet. I don’t know whether I can afford to buy the insurance the staffing service I’m working for has available, or if I’m eligible for Obamacare. Then there’s the possibility the company I’m working at may hire me directly and I’d be on their insurance later. They can’t really afford to lose me right after they spend so much money to train me to run this machine I’m supposed to learn, so I can go to night shift and follow the guy who is to train me. Keeping me on, but only as a contractor, isn’t as likely to keep me from leaving as being a direct employee.

      • In general, employees who are offered insurance through work are not eligible for subsidized exchange coverage, so long as their insurance meets specified requirements. You would only be eligible for subsidized exchange coverage if your income is between 1 and 4 times the federal poverty level and you would have to pay more than 9.5% of your household income for your own coverage through the insurance offered by your employer.

        I have no idea whether the plan offered ‘meets specified requirements’, nor do I know how much it will cost next year, so I don’t know if I can use the exchange or not, do I?

        • anyone can use the exchange IF:

          your employer has less than 50 employees,…if this is the case, you aren’t subject to take their insurance.

          your employer has more than 50 employees, but doesn’t offer it to part time or contract workers, and you fall into either category.

          you may not qualify for a subsidy, but you can still get pricing to compare to an “off exchange” plan.

          things to consider: the annual out-of-pocket max per member, and co-insurance.

          my present coverage has an annual out of pocket max of $2500 as opposed to the exchange which has a $6350 OOP max. so i’m keeping my current coverage as long as possible

  2. John Stewart called shenanigans on Jim Kramer years ago and completely discredited him.
    John handed him his ass and Kramer kept spewing the wall street casino party line.
    Kramer is a tool.

  3. Looks like Chris Christie is out as a GOP candidate in 2016:

    New Jersey Governor Christie said he advised Acting Attorney General John Hoffman to withdraw the state’s appeal of a ruling allowing gay marriage.

  4. China smog emergency shuts city of 11 million people

    Choking smog all but shut down one of northeastern China’s largest cities on Monday, forcing schools to suspended classes, snarling traffic and closing the airport, in the country’s first major air pollution crisis of the winter.

    Photo gallery: China air pollution dense as high-smog season starts

    An index measuring PM2.5, or particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers, reached a reading of 1,000 in some parts of Harbin, the gritty capital of northeastern Heilongjiang province and home to some 11 million people.

    A level above 300 is considered hazardous, while the World Health Organisation recommends a daily level of no more than 20.

    The smog not only forced all primary and middle schools to suspend classes, but shut the airport and some public bus routes, the official Xinhua news agency reported, blaming the emergency on the first day of the heating being turned on in the city for winter. Visibility was reportedly reduced to 10 meters.

    http://news.msn.com/world/china-smog-emergency-shuts-city-of-11-million-people?ocid=ansnews11

    • That is some scary. My wife’s workmate is from Harbin.

      It’s a clear beautiful day in NYC. No smog problems at all. Day 1 one of vacation. Joining us later today will be my brother and sister with spouses. Should be a fun time showing them what we know of the the city.

    • 11 million people in a Chinese city I’ve never heard of. Guess when a country’s population of Hominids is roughly a billion more than that of today’s US (and spread over close to the same sq mile land mass), shit can happen.

      And imagine it: China’s not even Christian, AND they allow abortions, AND birth control, AND hominids STILL reproduce like there’s no tomorrow . . . Ho Lee Fuk. Is Sum Ting Wong there? Here? Answer(s): Yep. Yep.

      Nineteen years till that asteroid wipes us all out. The Lord works in strange ways, somebody said once, but still, as somebody else once noted, any port in a storm will suffice, I guess.

  5. Funny, I don’t hear the right-wing noise machine extolling the virtues of private outsourcing when it comes to this project.

    Meet CGI Federal, the company behind the botched launch of HealthCare.gov

    Over the past few weeks, if you’ve been paying attention at all to the unfolding disaster of people trying and failing to sign up for Obamacare online, one name keeps coming up: CGI Federal, the IT contractor that has orchestrated most of the Healthcare.gov Web site. By most accounts, it’s been a complete train wreck, for reasons both technical and bureaucratic. Here’s what you need to know about the company at the center of it all.

  6. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on Sunday that he opposed President Barack Obama’s health care law because a “friend” would have to pay more to insure the employees at his 52 Wendy’s restaurants — but the South Carolina Republican did not offer another solution to provide heath care for the 60 percent of those workers that did not currently have insurance.

    IOW, nothing counts in this world other than money and the POWER it can purchase. Fuck the people, esp. “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” The Republican/Fascist mantra defined. Thanks, Lindsey. You’re so fucking cool.

    http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/david/graham-opposes-obamacare-because-his-friend-

  7. 2 dead, 2 boys hurt in Nevada school shooting

    SPARKS, Nev. — Police say two people are dead and two more are injured in a shooting at Sparks Middle School in northern Nevada Monday morning.

    Washoe County School District Police didn’t immediately offer details of the identities of the dead. Spokeswoman Angela Rambo of Renown Regional Medical Center says two boys are in critical condition.

    Police said the school is “all clear” and the suspect is “down,” but offered no further details. The shooting happened on the school’s campus, but outside the school building itself, according to police.

    http://news.msn.com/crime-justice/shooting-reported-at-nevada-middle-school

    • Can’t talk about guns now. Too soon.

      But I have to wonder. The right often claims that a rock can be used to kill people so we should outlaw rocks. If a suspect goes into a middle school with as many rocks as he would have had bullets:

      1) Would he even be able to walk, given the weight of the rocks.
      2) How many people can you kill by throwing rocks before you could be overtake, or people simply run out of your throwing range.

  8. GAWD BLESS MONSANTO!

    ~”Today, all of Argentina’s soy and nearly all its corn, wheat and cotton are genetically modified. Soy farming tripled to 47 million acres, and just like in the U.S., cattle are now fattened in feedlots on corn and soy.”~

    Doctors are warning that uncontrolled pesticide use could be the cause of growing health problems among the 12 million people who live in Argentina’s farm belt.

    BASAVILBASO, Argentina — Argentine farmworker Fabian Tomasi wasn’t trained to use protective gear as he pumped pesticides into crop dusters. Now at 47, he’s a living skeleton.

    Schoolteacher Andrea Druetta lives in a town where it’s illegal to spray agrochemicals within 550 yards of homes, and yet soy is planted just 33 yards from her back door. Recently, her boys were showered in chemicals while swimming in their backyard pool.

    Sofia Gatica’s search for answers after losing her newborn to kidney failure led to Argentina’s first criminal convictions for illegal spraying last year. But 80 percent of her neighbors’ children surveyed carry pesticides in their blood.

    American biotechnology has turned Argentina into the world’s third-largest soy producer, but the chemicals powering the boom aren’t confined to soy and cotton and corn fields.

    http://news.msn.com/world/argentines-link-health-problems-to-agrochemicals

  9. Ezra Klein reports that the White House was blindsided by the Healthcare.gov problems:

    “The problem here isn’t just technological. It’s managerial. The White House’s senior staff — up to and including the president — was blindsided. Staffers deep in the process knew that HealthCare.gov wasn’t ready for primetime. But those frustrations were hidden from top-level managers. Somewhere along the chain the information was spun, softened, or just plain buried.

    The result was that the White House didn’t know the truth about its own top initiative — and so they were unprepared for the disastrous launch. They didn’t even know they needed to be lowering expectations. In any normal corporation, heads would roll over a managerial failure of such magnitude and consequence.

    And perhaps heads will roll. But for now, the White House is focused on trying to make HealthCare.gov work.”

    How did the Democrats NOT see this disaster coming? It boggles the mind that such a huge, signature program that will be your legacy, is botched so spectacularly. Don’t give me the “give it time” excuse. They had 3 years to get the site working. Does this administration know anyone in the IT biz? Anyone?

    Obama needs to get ahead of this, and stop being as defensive as he was this morning. And Secretary Shefailedus is the person most obviously responsible for the managerial – not technical – problems that have plagued this new program’s rollout.

    • I think it bears looking at the private contractor that was actually doing the work. Did they manage this correctly, or did they (as many contractors do) tell the money givers what they wanted to hear?

      • Had to be a private corp. Somebody made lots of $$ for pretending to do it right. But hey, that process pretty much defines Wingnut USA, no? I mean, hey: IT’S THE FUCKING MONEY!!!!! Damn Socialists. They never git it!

  10. Jesus weren’t no Republican. In an interview with the novelist and essayist Marilynne Robinson, Robert Long asked her about the too-frequent identification of Christianity with the religious right in America. She doesn’t hold back:

    “Well, what is a Christian, after all? Can we say that most of us are defined by the belief that Jesus Christ made the most gracious gift of his life and death for our redemption? Then what does he deserve from us? He said we are to love our enemies, to turn the other cheek. Granted, these are difficult teachings. But does our most gracious Lord deserve to have his name associated with concealed weapons and stand-your-ground laws, things that fly in the face of his teaching and example? Does he say anywhere that we exist primarily to drive an economy and flourish in it? He says precisely the opposite. Surely we all know this. I suspect that the association of Christianity with positions that would not survive a glance at the Gospels or the Epistles is opportunistic, and that if the actual Christians raised these questions those whose real commitments are to money and hostility and potential violence would drop the pretense and walk away.”

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/christian-not-conservative/

    • My dad, himself a confessed nontheist, was a totally non-religious man who attended church only because he knew my mom felt better when he’d go with her. He told me once, a long, long time ago, what the ‘difference’ was between atheists like himself and those self-proclaimed “Christians” who didn’t/wouldn’t/couldn’t tolerate his viewpoint (this was in the late fifties, well before things went really wacko). His words . . . “I’m not sure why it is, but I do know one thing: I’m guessing that I’m a lot better ‘Christian’ in the classical sense of the word than any of those goddamn loudmouth ‘believers’ out there are or could ever be.” And he indeed was. Because he actually cared. He never cheated anyone out of a red cent; instead he helped people who needed help. Always, no questions ever asked. And he never, ever, demanded or even requested anything at all in return.

      He’d have a hard time with ‘today’. As do I.

    • One way we can emulate Jesus godly actions would be to enter a bank and knock the crap out of the moneychanging middle managers we find helping themselves to their customer’s money.
      Course, Herod might have us whipped and scourged for such outrageous actions.

  11. Some light, interesting reading to gnash your teeth by:

    PETER BAKER, chief White House correspondent for the N.Y. Times, is out Tuesday with his tour de force, “Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House” (Doubleday; 816 pages – 650 pages of text, plus footnotes, etc.). Here are a few notes from early readers: By the time they left office, Bush and Cheney were on opposite sides of almost every major issue, including North Korea, Syria, Lebanon, Russia, Middle East peace talks, gun rights, gay rights, climate change, surveillance, detention and the auto bailout. And that was all before the Scooter Libby pardon. … There were more doubts about invading Iraq inside the Bush team than were publicly known at the time. Karen Hughes, one of the president’s closest confidantes, worried that it would be a mistake to go to war and brought up her concerns with Bush. The president sent her to Condoleezza Rice for reassurance, but she was never fully convinced and at several points tried to keep Bush from feeling trapped into going to war. As one senior official who came to rue his involvement in Iraq put it, “The only reason we went into Iraq, I tell people now, is we were looking for somebody’s ass to kick. Afghanistan was too easy.”

    –MORE PETER NUGGETS: Iraq took more of a toll on Bush than he was willing to let on. As violence worsened in his second term, one adviser said Bush was discouraged “almost to the point of despondence” and at some briefings “it was almost as if he was pleading with us not to give him any more bad news.” It got to the point that Bush was grinding his teeth so hard they hurt. Laura Bush took to inviting his brother, Marvin, to the White House on weekends to distract the president from his troubles. … What really sank the Harriet Miers nomination to the Supreme Court was not opposition among conservatives but secret murder boards by administration lawyers who discovered how little she understood about constitutional issues like Fourth Amendment search and seizure rules or the Fifth Amendment bar on self-incrimination. “She literally knew nothing about it at all, nothing,” said one official. Cheney could only shake his head. “I tried to tell him,” he confided to an aide. … When Bush first met Vladimir Putin and declared that he had “a sense of his soul,” Cheney’s staff was “rolling our eyes.” Cheney told people that when he looked into Putin’s soul, he saw: “KGB, KGB, KGB.”

    • Yes. Dubya was, truly and in all respects, a Saint; he was each and every flake of the gold dust that was in the WH toilet bowl when Cheney hit the ‘flush’ lever. Sewage plant now enriched. Sort of.

      Believe that, and I’ll send you a gold pan. Find the outflow stream, then explore at your own risk (don’t blame me if you get sick). Etc.

    • Dubya is and was an incurious fratboycheerleading wimp.
      Cheney’s administration jerked and twisted his strings to get whatever Halliburton wanted.
      Cowardly, draft dodging assholes, both.

      • Well, they turned Think Progress into a site I wouldn’t piss on if it was on fire. I can’t even tell which stories are the newest ones there any more.

        Crooks and Liars says they are making ‘the next version of Crooks and Liars become a reality’. If the front page looks like TP, TPM, or Raw Story I’m done with them too.

    • Now that’s FUNNY!
      I particularly like the Jesus in the boardroom, advising the business cheat on how to best screw the client.

  12. In honor of Tigers manager Jim Leyland’s retirement today, here is a classic moment of Leyland giving it to Barry Bonds (NSFW). Leyland must have been trying to keep him from getting a big head. Nice try, Jimmy.

  13. More from Ezra Klein assessing the efforts to fix the ACA website:

    “HealthCare.gov is monstrously complex. The Times reports that there’s more than 500 million lines of code — of which more than 5 million lines may need to be rewritten. And that code is interfacing with computer systems (and computer code) at the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, state Medicaid systems, insurers like Aetna, and more. Even the best programmers would have trouble figuring out what’s going on — much less what’s going wrong — quickly.

    The truth is that the Obama administration is, to a much greater extent than it would like, dependent on the very people who built HealthCare.gov to fix it. They’re the only people who know what’s going on inside the system.”

    Uh oh.

    • Hmmmm. Maybe the “evil gubmint” should have created an agency, like the Pentagon, to design the web sites instead of farming the job out to the lowest bidder?

    • HealthCare.gov is monstrously complex. . . .

      Bullshit. It’s complex ONLY when profit is involved. Disease is, in the bio-medical sense, either curable or incurable; if incurable, the descriptive word is ‘deadly’. OTOH, disease in the money-power sense is, apparently, forever incurable. It’s automatically . . . ‘deadly.’

    • FOX News version:

      “Woman terrified by Obamacare Death Panel; Faints during mandatory euthanasia pre-screening assembly.”

    • I must disagree. The Shrub never seemed to notice anything that wasn’t aimed at his head. She would have fallen and then FAUX”News” would have spent a couple months claiming Obama tried to kill her. It wasn’t Bush’s fault.

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