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  1. #1891

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    There's an new book out about Reagan's infamous welfare queen.

    Ronald Reagan, the former star of “Bedtime for Bonzo,” was having trouble gaining traction in the presidential race he hoped to upend. It was 1976, and as the new candidate shook hands in diners, gymnasiums and town fairs, he hit upon a crowd-pleaser, a riff that caught the crowd’s attention by playing to its fears — call it a 1970s version of “Build That Wall.”

    “In Chicago, they found a woman who holds the record,” Reagan said in his folksy baritone during a luncheon in Asheville, N.C. “She used 80 names, 30 addresses, 15 telephone numbers to collect food stamps, Social Security, veterans’ benefits for four nonexistent deceased veteran husbands, as well as welfare. … Her tax-free cash income alone has been running $150,000 a year.”

    On audio recordings from the time, you can hear the audience gasp.

    Reagan didn’t use the phrase “welfare queen” — he left that to the headline writers. His euphemism was “the woman in Chicago,” but the message was clear.

    “The audience knew what this welfare-swiping villain looked like,” Josh Levin writes in his new book, “The Queen.” “She was a lazy, black con artist, unashamed about cadging the money that honest folks worked so hard to earn.”

    A new political trope was born, and the specter of the “welfare queen” has been with us ever since, a cudgel hauled out by right-wing candidates and cable news hosts to demonize the poor and justify limiting public benefits.

    But there’s a wrinkle to the story: Reagan’s “woman in Chicago” was a real person, a mother named Linda Taylor, who had indeed been in the headlines for welfare-related “irregularities,” let’s call them. Taylor’s story has long been forgotten, if it was ever widely known, and many have long assumed that the “welfare queen” was an urban myth. With “The Queen,” Levin, the national editor at Slate, attempts to excavate the gritty, smudgy truth beneath the political rhetoric.

    I settled in, expecting to read a story that punctured Reagan’s indelible stereotype. Surely, the “woman in Chicago” would turn out to be an honorable, hard worker who had been unfairly maligned and chewed up in the maw of presidential politics.

    Nope. Levin’s book is much stranger than that because here’s the thing: Linda Taylor actually was a scam artist who cheated the system quite prolifically and without the slightest compunction. She turns out to have been a scammer of historic proportions, a woman so protean that she had gone by at least eight different names by the time she was 22. She was, apparently, a kidnapper. Levin even suggests that she committed murder.

    This presents an interesting conundrum. Reagan’s stereotype was sweeping and offensive, but the woman at the center of it did drive a Cadillac and wear fur coats and take advantage of state programs intended to help the poor. What’s a writer to do? Levin makes no excuses for Taylor and instead rushes in, magnifying glass in hand, to the tornado that was her life.
    In the New York Times upshot, Emily Badger considers the electoral consequences of the rural-urban divide. This gives a natural benefit to Republicans even before anyone's in a position to gerrymander.

    Democrats have blamed the Senate, the Electoral College and gerrymandering for their disadvantage. But the problem runs deeper, according to Jonathan Rodden, a Stanford political scientist: The American form of government is uniquely structured to exacerbate the urban-rural divide — and to translate it into enduring bias against the Democratic voters, clustered at the left of the accompanying chart.

    Yes, the Senate gives rural areas (and small states) disproportionate strength. “That’s an obvious problem for Democrats,” Mr. Rodden said. “This other problem is a lot less obvious.”

    In a new book, “Why Cities Lose,” he describes the problem as endemic, affecting Congress but also state legislatures; red states but blue ones, too. As the Democratic Party is tugged between its progressive and moderate wings heading into the next election, Mr. Rodden’s analysis also suggests that if Democrats move too far to the left, geography will punish them.

    In the United States, where a party’s voters live matters immensely. That’s because most representatives are elected from single-member districts where the candidate with the most votes wins, as opposed to a system of proportional representation, as some democracies have.

    Democrats tend to be concentrated in cities and Republicans to be more spread out across suburbs and rural areas. The distribution of all of the precincts in the 2016 election shows that while many tilt heavily Democratic, fewer lean as far in the other direction.

    As a result, Democrats have overwhelming power to elect representatives in a relatively small number of districts — whether for state house seats, the State Senate or Congress — while Republicans have at least enough power to elect representatives in a larger number of districts.

    Republicans, in short, are more efficiently distributed in a system that rewards spreading voters across space.
    “You have this great strategy available to you as a Republican: Just talk about A.O.C. all the time,” Mr. Rodden said, referring to the progressive representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “Talk about Nancy Pelosi. They say, ‘This is what it means to have a ‘D’ next to your name, you’re signing up for that team.’ That makes it so hard to be a suburban Salt Lake City, suburban Oklahoma City Democrat.”

    The median congressional district in America looks ideologically more Republican, Mr. Rodden finds (the median precinct in the chart also voted slightly Republican). And so Democrats have to find a way to win in those places, even as the progressive wing of the party is ascendant and lobbying for control of the party’s message.

  2. #1892
    Old school comic book fan WestPhillyPunisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mogwen View Post
    Tomorrow: War with Iran!
    Wag the dog, yo! I could see that happening. Hell, since Trump rattled sabers with Teheran last week, he might even have known the bank reveal was coming, or that he’d lose that appeal, so he started cranking up his distraction early.
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  3. #1893
    "Comic Book Reviewer" InformationGeek's Avatar
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    That we know of. It keeps getting worse.

    BREAKING: CBS News has learned that a sixth migrant child died after crossing the U.S. border, an HHS official confirmed Wednesday.

    The 10-year-old girl's death had not been previously reported

  4. #1894
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    Quote Originally Posted by InformationGeek View Post
    A few decades from now, someone is going to find a hole in the desert filled with bodies, and absolutely nobody is going to be surprised.

  5. #1895
    Old school comic book fan WestPhillyPunisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by InformationGeek View Post
    And, as usual, not so much as a peep out of Republicans in Congress, never mind anything even remotely resembling outrage at this needless and terrible loss of life.
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  6. #1896

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    Quote Originally Posted by WestPhillyPunisher View Post
    And, as usual, not so much as a peep out of Republicans in Congress, never mind anything even remotely resembling outrage at this needless and terrible loss of life.
    At this point we don't know which deaths were the result of the mistakes of the federal government, or what the best alternative would be.

    The following is from a Vox article...

    But it’s becoming increasingly clear that the government is in the midst of a broader public health crisis regarding migrants, especially children, in its care. The processing center in the Rio Grande Valley where Hernandez Vazquez had been held is in the midst of an apparent flu outbreak; on Tuesday night, the government announced it would stop sending migrants there, essentially quarantining it. In recent weeks, pictures of children being held outside — having to sleep on the ground — have raised alarms, as temperatures climb into summer.

    The health crisis isn’t just the children who are dying, but those who are being taken to hospitals and treated successfully, and those who are in custody without needing medical care.

    Children are dying in CBP custody because more children are in CBP custody, for longer, than ever before. No one believes that’s a good or safe place for them to be. But no one can agree on what the alternative is.
    The deaths are unprecedented — but so are the number of children coming
    For the past several months, tens of thousands of children a month — most of them traveling with a parent — have been coming to the US from Mexico, getting apprehended, and spending time in Border Patrol custody.

    The number of children and families coming to the US without papers (most of them Central Americans from the “Northern Triangle” of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador) is to all appearances higher than it was even in the early 2000s, when unauthorized immigration overall was much higher.

    It’s also possible, though it’s difficult to measure for sure, that the people coming now are more likely to have medical issues than those coming in the past. The rise of quick bus smuggling routes through Mexico allows people to be brought to the US more quickly and comfortably than before — potentially making it possible for someone to leave who might have been too sick to risk a dangerous journey on foot.

    The US immigration enforcement system isn’t built to care for these people; it isn’t built to deal with anyone who can’t be quickly deported. One consequence of the system being overwhelmed is that migrants may not be quickly picked up by ICE for transfer to a detention center or to an ORR unaccompanied-child shelter; instead, they remain in Border Patrol custody, perhaps for longer than the 72 hours the government is supposed to use as a guideline.

    Those resources are crunched even further by caring for the medical needs of migrants. It takes people, vehicles, and time to take people to the hospital. From December through February, agents spent a combined 57,000 hours at hospitals; at one point, a Border Patrol official said that half of all agents were on duty at hospitals with migrants seeking care. That results in fewer people checking on the migrants staying behind, and less ability to quickly respond if someone else is showing signs of illness as well.

    This doesn’t mean agents acted blamelessly or that none of the children could have been saved. It’s entirely possible that in some cases — for example, the ones where migrants spent little time in CBP facilities and were sent to the hospital shortly after their arrival in the US — agents acted appropriately, while in others, more could have been done.

    Ongoing congressional and Office of the Inspector General investigations into the December deaths aim to answer these questions. But investigations into individual deaths may not be asking the right question: whether more children will die, and what — if anything — can be done to prevent it.

  7. #1897
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kusanagi View Post
    In depressing news.

    Study finds climate change now more politically polarizing than abortion in US

    We went pages going over why the abortion arguments never going to be resolved because it's more philosophical than objective, yet here we're divided something that should be objective.
    The irony of this is that it would be in the Republican's benefit to jump on it. Seriously, with renewable energy sources you can produce locally and so you don't have to import nearly as much oil. Modifying cities and towns as well as upgrading gas stations and creating new locations would introduce much needed jobs. You introduce a tax incentive to the auto industry to introduce electric power into cars to eventually phase out oil so long as production is kept in the US. Therefore you can introduce jobs to the country and keep them there. As well as you can shut up the climate crowd and be hailed as heroes in the process. Phasing out oil wouldn't happen over night so you're looking at a decade or more of praise and job growth for that decision possibly keeping politicians in office.

    It's baffling they don't at least consider the monetary benefit of this because that oil money is only as good as the source of it.
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  8. #1898
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperiorIronman View Post
    The irony of this is that it would be in the Republican's benefit to jump on it. Seriously, with renewable energy sources you can produce locally and so you don't have to import nearly as much oil. Modifying cities and towns as well as upgrading gas stations and creating new locations would introduce much needed jobs. You introduce a tax incentive to the auto industry to introduce electric power into cars to eventually phase out oil so long as production is kept in the US. Therefore you can introduce jobs to the country and keep them there. As well as you can shut up the climate crowd and be hailed as heroes in the process. Phasing out oil wouldn't happen over night so you're looking at a decade or more of praise and job growth for that decision possibly keeping politicians in office.

    It's baffling they don't at least consider the monetary benefit of this because that oil money is only as good as the source of it.
    This has all been known for decades, the fossil fuel companies just have been doing whatever they can to stifle the development of renewable energy because they don't want the competition. The Republicans have hitched their wagon to oil and coal, even if they do flip flop on it now we should keep hammering them on this in perpetuity, fuck them.

  9. #1899
    Old school comic book fan WestPhillyPunisher's Avatar
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    Pentagon Considers Plan To Send Up To 10,000 Troops to Middle East

    The Pentagon will propose to the White House to send thousands of American soldiers overseas to defend against potential Iranian threats, officials said. And, more importantly, to distract the American public from news about Trump having lost his bid to block Deutsche Bank and Capital One Financial Corp from providing his financial records to Congress.

    **********

    Nancy Pelosi: Trump ‘Had A Temper Tantrum For Us All To See’ In The Rose Garden

    The House speaker sent a letter to her congressional colleagues Wednesday night to comment on the president’s Rose Garden meltdown. Yep, the Toddler-in-Chief certainly showed his stripes yesterday. All that was missing was a blanket and a binky. Meanwhile....

    Nicolle Wallace Reveals Trump’s ‘Lie To End All Lies’ In Rose Garden Meltdown

    “You’ve been indicted, basically, for one,” Wallace replied. “This is the president whose signature is on checks to Michael Cohen who paid hush money to a porn star.”
    Meanwhile....

    **********

    GOP Lawmakers To Trump: We Can Still Work With Democrats

    Sen. Lindsey Graham urged the president to “rise above” Democratic calls for impeachment and work to find common ground. HAHAHAHAHAHA! Good luck with that pipe dream, Linds.

    **********

    Abortion Providers Fear For Their Safety As Rhetoric Ratchets Up

    Abortion clinics and their staff are on high alert as the anti-choice movement steps into high gear. Definitely a sad and sorry state of affairs. At this point, I fear it's no longer a question of IF a clinic and/or abortion providers are attacked, but WHEN.

    **********

    Steve Mnuchin Says Treasury Will Miss Deadline To Put Harriet Tubman On $20 Bill

    Mnuchin said he’s too focused on counterfeiting to celebrate an African American woman’s contributions to the country. That argument doesn’t make sense. Of course it's bullshit. This is all about the racist attitude of this president whom everyone knows would NEVER sign off on putting a black face on the nation's currency.
    Last edited by WestPhillyPunisher; 05-23-2019 at 01:17 AM.
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  10. #1900
    Horrific Experiment JCAll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    At this point we don't know which deaths were the result of the mistakes of the federal government, or what the best alternative would be.

    The following is from a Vox article...
    Imagine what would happen if someone went to court and argued: "Yes, they might have run over a kid while driving drunk, and maybe they could have done more to prevent that, but it's really the kid's fault for trying to cross the street while they were driving. There are just too many kids crossing streets these days to miss them all."

    I just don't buy it. Any system that involves using deliberate mistreatment as a deterrent is going to to have deaths at some point. The deaths aren't anomalous , they are the point.

  11. #1901
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCAll View Post
    Imagine what would happen if someone went to court and argued: "Yes, they might have run over a kid while driving drunk, and maybe they could have done more to prevent that, but it's really the kid's fault for trying to cross the street while they were driving. There are just too many kids crossing streets these days to miss them all."

    I just don't buy it. Any system that involves using deliberate mistreatment as a deterrent is going to to have deaths at some point. The deaths aren't anomalous , they are the point.
    That's kind of the Republican MO these days, their blatantly evil policies and their opponents' inability to do anything to hold them accountable for that is as potent a demonstration of their power as anything else.

  12. #1902
    Horrific Experiment JCAll's Avatar
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    Ha ha, it's funny because while everyone was laughing at Ben Carson not understanding how cookies work he was busy cutting transgender protections at homeless shelters. That lovable scamp. He also lied to Congress about it, but that's apparently not even a crime anymore.

  13. #1903
    Old school comic book fan WestPhillyPunisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCAll View Post
    Imagine what would happen if someone went to court and argued: "Yes, they might have run over a kid while driving drunk, and maybe they could have done more to prevent that, but it's really the kid's fault for trying to cross the street while they were driving. There are just too many kids crossing streets these days to miss them all."

    I just don't buy it. Any system that involves using deliberate mistreatment as a deterrent is going to to have deaths at some point. The deaths aren't anomalous , they are the point.
    Quote Originally Posted by PwrdOn View Post
    That's kind of the Republican MO these days, their blatantly evil policies and their opponents' inability to do anything to hold them accountable for that is as potent a demonstration of their power as anything else.
    Well, since those kids are Latino, and therefore considered less than human in the eyes of Congressional Republicans, so it's no big deal to them. That's their rationale behind all this madness, makes me wonder why they even bother hiding their motives.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCAll View Post
    Ha ha, it's funny because while everyone was laughing at Ben Carson not understanding how cookies work he was busy cutting transgender protections at homeless shelters. That lovable scamp. He also lied to Congress about it, but that's apparently not even a crime anymore.
    Golly gee whillickers! Why am I not shocked by this revelation? I wonder what those Log Cabin Republicans who supported Caramel Caligula back in 2016 think of him now that his administration has thrown the LGBTQ community under the bus?
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  14. #1904
    Horrific Experiment JCAll's Avatar
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    Multiple tornadoes touched down here in MO last night, including in the capital. There are reports of some injuries and deaths, and massive damage naturally, but nobody seems to have a clear report yet. Just, damn.

  15. #1905

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    In 2015, 2016, 2017, and as well as 2018, "Crazy/Stupid Republican of the Day" published profiles of Tennessee State Senator Todd Gardenhire, who we noted for his reaching office in 2012 by winning a GOP primary in a conservative-leaning district by a mere 40 votes, and since, his utter dedication to mendacity regarding discussions of healthcare. Gardenhire, after voting to block the Medicaid Expansion in Tennessee, lied and said he wasn't being a hypocrite because he wasn't on government insurance himself (he was). He also lied about the Affordable Care Act, claiming it hadn't also, by extension, allowed him to keep his son covered through his own government medical insurance until he was 27 (it did). When confronted on camera by a constituent who demanded he pull himself from his own insurance plans if he was going to deny coverage to a quarter million Tennesseeans, Todd Gardenhire's reasonable response was, "Why don't you give it up, asshole?" But back to the lying... Gardenhire falsely claimed in a hearing on abortion that there were more restrictions on men seeking vasectomies these days than women seeking abortions (WHAT?). Gardenhire also voted for Tennessee's attempts to bring back the electric chair, because they're having a hard time getting phenobarbital to perform lethal injections. He has voted to try and block Tennessee from resettling Syrian refugees. Gardenhire called those who wrote protests on the sidewalk outside his office in chalk “Nazis”, which seems pretty hyperbolic given that we’re pretty sure that actual Nazis used far more heinous tactics. Oh, and in 2017 he became the sponsor of an honest-to-goodness “Blue Lives Matter” bill in the Tennessee state legislature.

    Gardenhire, now 71, is not up for re-election until 2020. Hopefully, he’ll choose to retire rather than try and run for a third term.
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