Monthly Archives: August 2013

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Miley Cyrus and the issues of slut-shaming and racial condescension

Clinton Yates over at the Washington Post:

Her bawdy performance, that featured Miley and other dancers twerking on stage, drew criticism as lewd, grotesque and shameful. MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski went so far as to say Cyrus “is obviously deeply troubled, deeply disturbed, clearly has confidence issues, probably eating disorder,” on Morning Joe Monday. But what exactly is so disturbing about Miley Cyrus?

It seems that we still can’t handle what it’s like for a young woman to be able to perform, as she chooses, without layering in a heavy helping of insults as well.

Screw people for telling a 20-year-old that she can’t be who she wants to be. Who in the world wouldn’t like to go out on the edge of what their current life and existence is, and play around?

Miley has the guts and the privilege to do whatever she wants and be whomever she wants. She doesn’t tell you how to live your life, she sings and dances. And of all the crap going on in the world, you’re going to get pissed at her for it?

Here are a few quotes I tweeted that I find relevant:

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.E. E. Cummings

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.T. S. Eliot

If you are not afraid of the voices inside of you, you will not fear the critics outside of you.Natalie Goldberg

I did yesterday what they wouldn’t, so today I can accomplish what they can’t.The Rock


The myths of deficit hawks

What does “overspending” mean? Is spending the cause of every deficit?

Short answers: nothing and no.

Overspending is empty rhetoric that plays well at political rallies but is harmful to informed discussions about the fiscal problems of the federal government. It’s used too often as a drop-in replacement for “too much spending” or “out of control spending” but often employed when people are trying to appear as if they are making serious arguments about fiscal policy when they aren’t.

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Exploiting murders for political gain

Adam Serwer made some good points yesterday about the differences between the Trayvon Martin killing and the murder of Christopher Lane. Politics aside, some heavily trafficked conservative websites are publishing false information and not retracting or correcting it, so it’s good to get the facts out there.

That’s one story. Here’s another. People were upset by what happened to Trayvon Martin because they believed he was killed for being black. I’m not talking about a hate crime or a lynching and this has already been discussed, it’s about a culture where it’s OK to profile people based on who they are rather than what they’ve done.

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A GOP wave that could win the House for Democrats

I remember a lot of Republicans predicting in 2009 that Obamacare would be the end of the Democratic Party, which I dismissed as posturing. Democrats kept the White House in 2012 and the Senate in 2010 and 2012 and even expanded their majority last year. The House was lost in 2010 but that had more to do with Republicans controlling most state legislatures right after the 2010 census required them to redraw their districts.

Now I’m wondering if the opposite is true, if Republicans will end up Moby Dicking themselves with Obamacare.

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80 House Republicans want Obamacare defunded because of the IRS scandal

Greg Sargent finds the House GOP using debunked scandals and other nonsense as a new excuse to try to defund the Affordable Care Act:

While that’s certainly noteworthy, the rationale offered in the letter for pursuing this course is also interesting:

More and more Americans are now feeling its impact – from job losses and part-time downgrades, to insurance policy changes and violations of religious liberties, to state budget strains caused by Medicaid expansions. Americans don’t like these impacts. Most Americans still believe that health care should be controlled by patients and doctors, not by the government.

Moreover, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS, an agency now publicly known to have deliberately discriminated against conservative entities, pro-Israel groups, and other organizations, is charged by law with enforcing significant portions of ObamaCare. IRS enforcement of a law Americans do not like in the first place is a double-whammy that is totally unacceptable.

Nearly everything in this letter is wrong. We don’t have job loss, we have job growth. 1.2 million new jobs have been created this year on pace for 2.4 million in 2013, and the economy has created 5.3 million new jobs since the end of the recession.

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Where we stand on 2014 mid-term election

One of the questions in yesterday’s Ask Me Anything (AMA) was what were my thoughts on the 2014 mid-term election. Because I’m sure the answer is of great import to many people, I’m reposting my answer here.

A quick note: I’ve only looked at one or two polls for 2014, haven’t read any significant analysis from other people, and haven’t done the job necessary to make this stick. So take it for what it is, just my view of how things might play out.

United States Senate

Kay Hagan (D-NC) should win reelection unless things change substantially.

Mark Begich (D-AK) has a decent shot at retaining his seat if Joe Miller is his general election opponent. Miller is the very model of a Tea Party conservative, which means he ended up being too conservative even for Alaska last time around. (He beat Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary only to lose to her in the general when she ran as a write-in.) Begich is a lock if the GOP nominee is Sarah Palin, and Palin is a lock if she runs in the GOP primary.

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The era of Big Spending and plummeting deficits

Via Newsvine, Texasguy01 unintentionally shines some light on some deficit obsessives still getting everything wrong. Terence Jeffrey picked up on revised figures from the Congressional Budget Office for spending and revenue between 1973 and 2012, and noted that budget deficits have exceeded $1 trillion in all four years of President Obama’s first term.

Technically that’s true, but that has everything to do with the Great Recession and little to do with politicians in either party. And that’s not “the story”. The story now is plummeting budget deficits.

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Destroying the legacy of Art Bell with murderers and bigots

I listen to Coast to Coast AM because it’s silly and often entertaining, but sometimes it’s frustrating and annoying, and can be like listening to Alex Jones. And not just because Jones is a frequent guest treated as a normal, rational human being, instead of being civilly confined before he snaps and kills someone.

Do you think I’m joking, or exaggerating?

I’m not. Such a thing wouldn’t be the first time that a Coast to Coast AM guest has gone on a killing spree.

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Today’s biggest deficit problem: A Clueless America

Paul Krugman wondered what a poll would look like asking people what has happened to the federal budget deficit over the past three years or so, while writing about Rand Paul either lying or being unforgivably ignorant about this issue.

He linked to a poll from 1996 showing the public wrongly “knowing” that the budget deficit had increased during the Clinton years when it had plummeted and then turned into a surplus.

Google jumped in and ran a survey which showed similar results: a plurality of Americans believe that the budget deficit has “increased a lot” since 2010, when in fact it has fallen from $1.3 trillion in late 2009 to an estimated $700 billion by the end of this year. Only 11.8% of Americans correctly know that the deficit is plummeting.

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