Thanks to increasingly indispensable blogger Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who pops up every week or so over at Charlie Pierce’s joint, I just watched this:
Because I am a kind and generous soul, now you can too.
Jabber about whatever.
This post is in: Open Threads
Thanks to increasingly indispensable blogger Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who pops up every week or so over at Charlie Pierce’s joint, I just watched this:
Comments are closed.
I first came across Robert Bateman when he was guest-blogging at Eric Alterman’s site Altercation. As I recall, Bateman was just a Captain then.
That was generous. Very enjoyable; thanks.
Saw it yesterday. Fun. I only wish there was a small year number in one of the corners so you could peg the clothes to the dates.
I have heard that there are a few persons knowledgeable about cats on this here blog (nyuck nyuck), and have a cat problem. The senior feline in our household is Eric the Magnificent, seen here in the depths of a serious catnip frenzy. The other cat is Zoey the Menace who is, as far as Eric is concerned, a fur-covered limb of Satan.
The problem is that Zoey is supposed to be on a diet due to serious weight gain after she moved in courtesy of Mrs X, who i discovered had been gifting Zoey with portions of breakfast while working at home in the office (including blueberry muffins, for which Zoey has a great fondness – long story). Eric, on the other hand, is almost eighteen years old, getting a mite gaunt, and is fed pretty much what he wants, quantity wise. He is accustomed to grazing – eat a little, take a nap, come back, eat a little more, nap a while….kind of like Thanksgiving every day. Zoey on the other hand eats everything in her bowl, everything Eric has left in his bowl, and acts totally deprived and starved no matter how much she snarfs down. When Eric comes back, there’s nothing in his bowl – he gets pissed, starts howling for cat fodder, Zoey hears him and shows up forthwith because she knows he’ll get something, has to be fed something lest she try to shove him away from his bowl and so forth and so on. Eric is not and never has been equipped to be an alpha cat, but pushing him away from his food usually produces cat skirmishes at the least.
Don’t want to deprive Eric, he’s entitled to whatever he wants whenever he wants it. They’re fed in the kitchen and separate eating times and places are not practicable. Suggestions, advice, etc?
There is no end to the awesome in that clip.
Wow, I LOVE that clip. Awesome! Thanks for sharing, Tom!
@danielx: Cats are a mystery to me, but we’ve got a similar dynamic between our two dogs: Alpha Dog is a bully and will wolf down her food, push Beta Dog aside and wolf down her food too. The only solution we’ve hit upon is supervised meal times, which is antithetical to grazing. Since EtM is skinny, maybe devise a box to house the food with an EtM-sized hole that ZtM can’t get her fat arse through? Other than that, I’m flummoxed.
@Betty Cracker: You are brilliant!
Bill E Pilgrim
It’s still so weird to think of “London” and “fashion” in the same breath. Not that it’s not a fashion-focused place or even a trend setter, it’s both, I just can’t get used to the idea. Bette Midler famously said “The time difference is easy: when it’s three o’clock in New York, it’s still 1938 in London ”
In other news, as TPM notes the report by the Senate Benghazi investigation “debunked all of the right wing conspiracies” about it. It also laid blame across the board on not having done more to prevent it, including Stevens himself who refused offers of security help.
On NPR, as I was driving for two hours yesterday, I heard only the second part, not a word about debunking or disproving anything. The report blamed the State dept and others, they said, with no mention of Ambassador Stevens himself since that wouldn’t fit the Republican narrative. This was over hours of news and discussion about it. No mention of how for example Dianne Feinstein, head of the committee, said that she “hoped the report would put to rest conspiracy theories about the attacks.”
The tradition of Nice Polite Republicans lives on.
@danielx: Supervised meal times+writing everything they eat. You have to be the Kitteh Weight Watcher. Ignore the protests of the fat cat. BTW what are you feeding them?
@danielx: I have four cats: a 17 1/2 year old, a six year old who almost starved to death, a four 1/2 year old who almost died from digestive issues, and a three year old who is high energy.
We leave out canned food most of the time, and have grain-free dry on the side because two of them care passionately about it, and my soft-hearted husband can’t white-knuckle his way through their withdrawal symptoms. (Also, to be fair, he’s got a chronic illness and is home with them all the time.)
None of my cats are fat. In fact, the vet exclaimed over the elderly fellow, saying he would never have believed the cat was as old as he is. (Had him since a kitten.)
GRAINS is the food ingredient the cat needs removed from their diet, and then they will magically stabilize at a good weight for them. (I’m sure you have already nixed the muffins. We have a pastry fiend, too.)
Cats simply do not have the enzymes to digest carbohydrates of any kind. They just get dumped into the bloodstream as blood glucose, which then gets turned into fat.
I discuss this extensively on my blog because Our Corporate Overlords have loaded down all pets foods with cheap grains instead of expensive protein. This is a good place to start:
Why it’s not their fault, or your fault, that the cat is fat
@Bill E Pilgrim: When I hear “London” and “fashion,” I think of Swinging London, Mary Quant, Carnaby Street and so on. It was all before my time, and I do realize London has ever been and always will be a fashion center. But the ’60s seem to have been the apex of Londinium couture fame, at least in recent years.
Believe it or not, I considered that option, but discarded it. Eric won’t even use a covered litter box. He regards all such cat-sized enclosures as cat carriers and knows full well that entering a cat carrier leads to various unpleasantries, such as shots and having a thermometer shoved up his ass….no thank you.
Seriously, if anybody has any thoughts…I caught Zoey trying to claw her way through or under the pantry door where the dry food is kept the other night, and this whole deal is getting to be a pain. Aside from obesity she’s in good shape according to the vet, but she does need to lose weight yet we don’t want to deprive himself himself.
@schrodinger’s cat: Part of the problem is that his older cat grazes, which is the one he’s trying not to change.
@danielx: We had a somewhat similar issue with my dogs. Our solution was that we found a dogfood that really is bland enough that the dogs only want to eat it when they are hungry. It’s a dry dog food, and I don’t know if a dry cat food would work for you.
Bill E Pilgrim
@shortstop: That was actually the first, in a sense. I don’t know when Midler made that statement, plus she was talking I assume about things other than fashion, the old telephones and so on. For fashion, in the sense of clothes, people in the UK themselves talk about that “swinging London” period you mention as being a weirdly new experience, London being hot and so on. It was a big change. I’m old enough to remember it, though barely.
Sort of comes and goes since then, but the last decade or so London was trendy again, young people in Paris for instance having stars in their eyes about it, thinking France is old and stodgy and London is cool. Kind of appalling since I think it’s the other way around, but then I’m probably old and stodgy also.
@danielx: Can the fat cat jump? You can try to leave food for the senior kitteh that is out of reach of the Tunchesque kitty.
BTW I tried this, until my tubbeh tabbeh figured out how to get to the food on the top of the chest of drawers. So this plan had to be eventually discarded.
@Bill E Pilgrim: Does it help if one thinks of style as multiple waves and not a monolith? One chooses which of the set to surf according to abilities, personal taste and whim, and there’s no way of manaing them all without looking silly.
i was going to recommend one of these (i’ve never used one but like the idea), but if your cat doesn’t like boxes it likely won’t help, although it being clear may help.
or, if you are able to cut a hole in a door to one of your rooms, put an electronic flap just for the older cat.
Pope Francis fired almost all of the cardinals on the Vatican Bank, undoing the appointments made by Benedict. They were 11 months into a supposedly guaranteed five year term. He did this to battle corruption in the bank.
@Bill E Pilgrim: When I moved to London I was shocked by how much people cared about shoes. First thing the guy at the door of any place you wanted to get into looked at. Made sure I had a pair that were a couple hundred more than what I’d bother with normally, just for the lack of hassle.
@Belafon: Here’s an interesting article on Francis taking on some of the conservatives in the Church.
She can jump somewhat, albeit with serious grunts and a certain amount of clawing to make her way onto a bed or couch for example. Unfortunately Eric’s jumping ability is even more limited at this point – he’s got arthritis and is pretty gimpy even with daily Cosequin*.
I like it, but all our doors are solid wood doors and I’d really hate to do a six panel door that way. We do have a cat door through to the garage, which is where Eric’s box is, but 1) he doesn’t go out except to use his box, hey, it’s cold out there, and 2) Zoey can get through that door, although watching her do it is like watching toothpaste being squeezed out of the tube.
*Edit – that shit is expensive. You have to ask for it at petco, kind of like buying Sudafed or whatever. Evidently there’s a black market in kitty diet supplements and it’s a frequently shoplifted item.
@danielx: I realize cats can be pretty flexible, but could you put some strips on the sides of the cat door to make it narrower?
Bill E Pilgrim
@scav: Oh sure. I wore Doc Martens for years, probably the biggest influence straight out of the UK. And black jeans. On the other hand in what my female friends wear, I’ve always vastly preferred the way the French ones dress compared to the ones in the UK.
I don’t think I’m getting what it might “help” with, but I agree with what you said entirely.
I’m not a cat expert or even a cat parent, however from what I see on the kitten cams I watch, the main thing is the food that the cats eat. And it seems that the shelters and foster parents buy cat food without grain. They all leave the dry food out all day and put out the wet food at specific times. But they use high protein brands of food.
So now I know British fashion is as bad as British food.
@WereBear: I will second what werebea said. My kitties were slim early on and then ballooned out into fat little pigs. I changed them to grain free food and then to half grain free dry food and half grain free wet food, and then they slimmed right down.
Rule #1, though, was that I measured their dry food. 1/8 cup at a meal.
Now I can give them the occasional cream or a bit of some bread I am eating and they are still slim.
Will love Betty’s clever idea, though, in conjunction with the food change, though!
@danielx: For arthritis I mix dry gelatin into their canned food. Got my elderly guy showing off, jumping from the bureau to the bed.
And it’s cheap. For that matter, I take it for MY arthritis, does wonders.
Villago Delenda Est
@Bill E Pilgrim:
Please, DiFi. Did the release of the “long form” birth certificate end birtherism? I mean, literally within minutes of the release, birthers were claiming it was a fake because the PDF didn’t have a “raised seal” on it.
@Bill E Pilgrim: The Parisian frogs temporarily thinking the wave is larger on the other side of la Manche? That doesn’t happen much for the rosbif. Makes for a change.
Bill E Pilgrim
@MikeJ: I hear that. As I commented above, strong shoe influence on me also. Now I just wear canvas shoes, like Converse All Stars, can’t imagine wearing those big clunky things anymore.
Bill E Pilgrim
@scav: Not very rare and not very temporary actually. Been strongly the case since I moved to Paris, which was pre-Clinton impeachment.
Villago Delenda Est
Yes. They get some canned kitty food in the morning on a regular schedule and dry food in the afternoon or evening now that the fat one is dieting. But leaving dry food out means that Zoey scarfs it all; she’s is an absolute pig. And don’t get me started on her routine when somebody is fixing bacon; she’d swap her own kittens (if she had any) for a slice of bacon.
Bill E Pilgrim
@Villago Delenda Est: True enough. But you didn’t hear debunking or conspiracy or anything about it on NPR, not even a mention that anyone had brought it up,
@scav: Part II afterthought: Oddly enough, thing I picked up (never bothered much myself before) from my French cohorts was how important it was for style to be individual and not mass-produced. Perhaps I was in a Yvelines bubble or something . . .
ETA: definitely a bubble, my frogs showed no UK envy.
This morning I LOL’d at “Sustainable Kidnapping”: http://youtu.be/1rUvww2YKNo
The Sustainable Kidnapping project promises to always return victims in better condition than when they were captured, for a kinder, gentler kidnapping experience.
Bill E Pilgrim
@scav: Yep. Also simplicity, that’s something people get wrong. I saw an article in the Guardian by a UK woman praising French street fashion and her conclusion was that the difference was that they just wore one added thing, a scarf, etc. Not going overboard.
@Villago Delenda Est: Sloan Rangers? That’s just BCBG Yuppie sub-species. International blotch.
Milwaukee voucher school disappears after getting $2 million in taxpayer money
LifeSkills Academy closes ‘in the dead of the night’
Only 1 student attending the school scored proficient in reading in 2012-’13
By Erin Richards of the Journal Sentinel
Jan. 14, 2014
A small private school participating in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program abruptly closed in the middle of December, but not before collecting more than $200,000 from taxpayers this academic year to educate students who now attend other schools, state officials confirmed.
LifeSkills Academy, a K-8 school that had dwindled to 66 students, appears to have closed around Dec. 12, according to a letter sent to the school from the Department of Public Instruction.
All Saints Catholic Church owns the building that LifeSkills rented at 3434 N. 38th St.
“They moved out, as people say, in the dead of the night,” Father Carl Diederichs of All Saints said.
The school’s leader listed in DPI documents is Taron Monroe. Diederichs said she appeared to work with her husband, Rodney Monroe.
LifeSkills received $202,278 in taxpayer-funded voucher payments from the state this year, and more than $633,248 in voucher payments in 2012-’13, according to the DPI.
The school joined the voucher program in 2008-’09 and collected more than $2 million in total public payments to educate children.
No students attending LifeSkills were proficient in reading or math in 2012-’13, except for a single fourth-grade student, according to the most recent state achievement test score results.
The title of the youtube clip, nor anything else in the video, makes any claim for London/East End being fashion forward or setting trends. To me it’s a pretty silly, but well done, historical look at middle brow/class fashion. Again, no claims are being advanced as far as I can see.
@danielx: Perhaps you could replace the catdoor to the garage with one of these and put Eric’s food out there, perhaps on a heated mat. But that’s not ideal either if it’s cold.
Come to think of it, we use tall baby gates on some of our interior doors to keep the cats out of certain rooms (our cats aren’t good jumpers, lol). It might be possible to install one of these electronic cat doors on one of those gates. In fact, some of those gates have a built in cat door where you could install the electronic cat door. It’s a bit more complicated, but it’s doable and keeps you from putting a hole in a wooden door.
There’s probably an easier way, hopefully someone mentions one.
@Bill E Pilgrim: Well, I have lived in London and found it far from stodgy in almost every respect! I was just thinking about the clothing end of things in my comment above.
Thanks for the video. In my opinion the 70s were the worst fashion decade. Its like everyone’s fashion sense took a decade long vacation.
Thanks and thanks for advice from all others. It does sound like the only solution is to become a food nazi. Their dry food is Science Diet for adult cats, which one would think would be healthy enough. The vet recommended some hideously expensive prescription-only dry food, which may also be worth a shot.
How much dry gelatin are we talking about, per meal of canned food?
Villago Delenda Est
“The con is about to end, boys. Time to shut down the betting parlor.”
Might operant conditioning work to crate-train Zoey?
Feed her in a large crate/carrier, making sure to put a special treat in her food, so she associates being in a crate with good things. Make the crate hospitable for spending large parts of the day: toys, a comfy bed (maybe with a heating pad under it), water dish, a litter pan. Train her to not mind spending a lot time there, then keep her in it for, say, 3- or 4-hour blocks of time in the morning and afternoon. Cats spend most of the day sleeping anyway, right? That would leave Eric the same block of time to graze.
My cats just won’t eat grain-free food. In fact, they dislike all the high-end, ultra healthy stuff. I’ve joked for years about how all they want to eat is junk food: Friskies and Sheba canned, Purina Cat Chow and Fancy Feast dry.
I talked to their doctor about it. He said not to worry; that the problem with the Chinese-made food that killed so many cats and dogs a few years ago was the melamine, not the gluten. “If they like it, and they’re healthy, let them eat what they like.” (Mind you, my guys are indoor-outdoor, and supplement what I give them with birds, rats, and FSM knows what else.)
Here is Hill’s Science Diet Indoor Dry Cat Food:
Chicken, Whole Grain Wheat, Corn Gluten Meal, Pork Fat, Powdered Cellulose, Pea Bran Meal, Dried Egg Product, Wheat Gluten, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Liver Flavor, Lactic Acid, Soybean Oil, Calcium Sulfate, Potassium Chloride, Fish Oil, Choline Chloride, Iodized Salt, Taurine, (stopped it when we got to the vitamins…)
Sadly, it is not healthy at all. THERE’S your problem!
Grab the can or bag you are feeding your cat from.
Use my Cat Food Calculator to discover what is really in your cat food!
Mind you, the fact that Science Diet didn’t post their ingredients on their website for all the world to see… that made me realize they were hiding something. Got the info from Amazon.
In pet food, and often in people food, First Five is a good rule… the first five ingredients is going to make up the bulk of what is in there.
When powdered cellulose: that is, sawdust, is part of your First Five… you are getting ripped off.
Black Nannies/White Children: Photo Series Reveals the
Racial Divide in Child Care
Photographer Ellen Jacob created a photo series that delves into the lives of New York City nannies.
The series highlights something we already knew: there is an extreme racial divide that characterizes the home child care industry.
After spending four years scouring the streets for willing subjects she discovered the majority of caregivers, aged 23 to 60, were immigrants living on the minimum wage with no sick pay, holidays or health benefits.
The photographer noted the disparity between the women’s value to the families they care for and the compensation they receive, “Mothers talk about who much they love these women and they’re part of the family yet when it comes to money they tend to be much more tight.”
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
@danielx: Check the ingredients. Personally, Hill’s is one of several brands that went on my shit list after the melamine poisoning recalls, but even without that, the ingredients list for most of their formulations would have me tossing it pretty quickly.
Ours seem to generally agree on the palatability of Blue Buffalo Wilderness Weight Control. I occasionally try other grain-free foods, but I get a lot of “You want me to eat THAT!!??” looks.
The worst wet food is better than the best dry, but even there, there’s a lot of wet foods with corn or wheat as the second ingredient. We switched to Fancy Feast Classic canned after an ingredient analysis in a diabetic pet group years ago.
@WereBear: My daughter has similar issues with her 2 cats. Xioia, the elder by many years, had become quite portly while their younger cat, Zap Rowsdower, was a bit on the too lean side. They were advised by the vet to switch to grain free food & over the last 6-9 months they have balanced out nicely. They feed them Blue Buffalo Wilderness Diet which is pricey but the cats seem more satisfied with smaller portions. I’ve also switched my dog, who had severe skin allergies, to grain free with excellent results.
Reporter cries over brother’s Oscar nom
CNN Newsroom|Added on January 16, 2014CNN’s Zain Asher gets emotional while reporting on her brother Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Best Actor Oscar nomination.
January 16, 2014, 08:46 am
Civil rights, Tea Party activist enters race against Horsford
By Alexandra Jaffe
A black civil rights advocate and former Tea Party activist jumped into the Republican primary to take on Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.).
Niger Innis, a spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality and former strategist for TheTeaParty.net, launched his bid on Wednesday, pledging to “shake things up in this district.”
“We cannot afford go-along, get-along, soft, establishment Republicans or big-government, trickle-down Democrats,” he said, according to the Las Vegas Sun. “We must be willing to elect leaders who will advance private-sector innovation, entrepreneurialism and help liberate Main Street.
Innis framed himself as a grassroots candidate and brought substantial local support to his kickoff, with former Nevada Republican Party chairs Amy Tarkanian and Dave Gibbs and former North Las Vegas Mayor Shari Buck alongside him on Wednesday.
He’s also nabbed the endorsement of former GOP presidential contender Herman Cain, who has previously headlined a fundraiser for him.
Having moved to the state in 2007, he may need those local endorsements to compete in the primary, where he’s facing Cresent Hardy, a Mesquite assemblyman who is the favorite of local Republicans.
Horsford, who becamse the first African-American the state had sent to Congress after his 2012 win, has been targeted by national Republicans but is not considered particularly vulnerable heading into reelection.
Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/house-races/195642-civil-rights-tea-party-activist-enters-race-against-horsford#ixzz2qaCBJVrr
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook
OMG, I love that name! And I have an inkling of just what kind of cat he is :)
It can be sticker shock checking out the healthier brands, but the cats will eat less when it’s real food.
I also figure I cut down on vet visits with the healthier food… a couple of hundred dollars buys a LOT of cans.
@WereBear: What are the best brands for cat food according to you?
@schrodinger’s cat: I don’t go by brands so much as I go by ingredients.
In our house, we feed canned Wellness, Fancy Feast, and human tuna, cheap shrimp, simmered chicken livers, scrambled eggs. For dry, we feed Wellness grain free (though it does have starch) mixed with Wysong Epigen (which they seem to love.)
But Fancy Feast is from Purina, which makes terrible dry food. Any dry food you get in the supermarket is ripping you off and giving your cats diabetes, at least in the groceries around here.
As always, with cats, you also have to feed them what they will eat!
EVO used to be a great dry food, but then they got sold… and I started getting emails about how people’s cats were throwing up out of the blue… sure sign of grains, in my experience.
Science Diet has grains in it — they use wheat and corn gluten. I third the recommendation for a good grain-free food. I use Blue Buffalo Wilderness, but Wellness and Lotus also seem to be good brands. You can easily get them at Petco and other chain pet stores.
ETA: For grain-free wet food, I usually buy Soulistic (a Petco store brand), BFF, or Weruva.
Doesn’t that basically ensure ZtM will get stuck in the EtM-sized opening? Such is the drive of food-obsessed doggies.
Also, too, this is why your beagle is fat.
Study: Light-skinned black men perceived as better educated
by Kunbi Tinuoye | January 16, 2014 at 10:13 AM
uccessful and educated black people are remembered as lighter in skin tone, according to the controversial findings of a new study.
Research spearheaded by a team of academics at San Francisco State University claims a black man described as educated is remembered as lighter than he actually is, a phenomenon the authors refer to as “skin tone memory bias.”
The findings published this week on the open access journal SAGE Open determines this subconscious bias is based on the ingrained belief an educated black person is an “exception to their race” rather than an example of what is capable with hard work.
Lead author Dr. Avi Ben-Zeev and his colleagues conducted a two-part experiment, titled When an ‘Educated’ Black Man Becomes Lighter in the Mind’s Eye, with a total of 160 university students.
In the first experiment, participants were subliminally exposed to either the word ‘ignorant’ or the word ‘educated’. This was followed immediately by a photograph of a black man’s face.
The same participants were later shown seven photos that depicted the same face. The original image was shown in the center alongside three images with varying levels of darker skin, and three with lighter tones.
The researchers found that participants who were primed subliminally with the word “educated” demonstrated significantly more memory errors attached to lighter skin tones, identifying even the lightest photo as being identical to the original.
There were fewer errors among participants who had been subliminally shown the word ‘ignorant.’ The experiment was repeated with a separate set of participants, yet researchers noted the same racial bias.
“When a black stereotypic expectancy is violated – herein, encountering an educated black male – this culturally incompatible information is resolved by distorting this person’s skin tone to be lighter in memory and therefore to be perceived as ‘whiter’,” said Dr. Ben-Zeev.
I usually try to avoid calling women bimbos, as a woman I find it offensive, but I really do think it applies in this case. Blonde supermodel wife of Miami Dolphins QB forgets her AR-15 in a rental car for TWO WHOLE DAYS, it gets found by the car’s next drive, who happened to be a mom and her daughter from New York.
Ah well, it happens! She wasn’t a teensy weensy bit worried about losing an military style assault rifle for two days? Even a little bit?
@danielx: Do you have a small guest bathroom or other room with a door? Unfortunately you do need to consider feeding them in physically separated places. The younger one will eventually get used to it and stop whining. I would also suggest a feliway collar for the younger one.
@rikyrah: Interesting and sad. Did they mention any difference within the student demographics (may have been too few to tell). One extremely striking moment for me was when I saw a series of presentations of gender bias in science, and it showed that both men and women were equally biased against women scientists. I was floored at first, but it got me to examine my own behaviors and attitudes much more critically.
To be fair, it’s only ONE. Ever known anybody to just own one AR15? I think they get them in 3-packs, like at Costco.
@danielx: Listen to Werebear about the grain in your cat’s diet – it is HUGE. We spent 2 years trying to get our cat to drop some weight, which was torture for all concerned because the more “diet-y” the cat food, the more desperate she was for more to eat. We switched her to Blue Buffalo Weight Control because all she was doing on Science Diet was getting fatter and more desperate. It was like turning off a switch; she moderated her eating, lost weight, and is happier and more active.
My understanding is that the carbs from grains just make cats fat, and make them want to eat more. Switching for both your cats will probably get the weight off the one, and help be more supportive of your senior cat’s needs. It is certainly worth a try; I know I would never again even consider buying a cat food with grains in it, period, and I feel bad for making our prior cat live on Science Diet Weight Control – it was a complete mistake and I bet she would have lived even longer and happier if we knew then what we know now.
I do a 1/2 teaspoon per large can. However, my old guy likes it, so I have been known to add a whole teaspoon to his half can portion, and he gobbles it right down.
Not a lot of flavor to it, which helps.
Boehner Says ‘It’s Time To Move On’ From Christie’s Scandal
Caitlin MacNeal – January 16, 2014, 11:57 AM EST1826
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Thursday said that lawmakers and the media should move past the controversy surrounding New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge last year, noting that the governor has “held people accountable.”
“It’s time to move on,” he said during a Thursday press conference. “I think the governor made clear that mistakes were made.”
Boehner would not address whether Christie should campaign for House Republicans now that the state legislature is investigating potential political motives behind the lane closures.
The federal government is running a separate probe into Christie’s use of Sandy relief funds.
Lawmakers To Unveil Bipartisan Bill To Fix Voting Rights Act
Sahil Kapur – January 16, 2014, 12:52 PM EST1574
Members of Congress will introduce bipartisan legislation on Thursday to patch the Voting Rights Act, according to a top Senate Democratic aide.
The sponsors will be Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), a senior Judiciary member and former chairman of the panel. They’re expected to release the bill in the afternoon.
The move comes after months of negotiations on how to resurrect a key portion of the landmark law that the Supreme Court struck down last summer, which requires certain states and localities with a history of racial discrimination to receive federal pre-approval before making any changes to their voting laws.
The prospects of success for the bill are highly uncertain. Sensenbrenner, who has led efforts to renew the law in the past, is among very few Republicans who have demonstrated any interest in patching up the “preclearance” formula after the Supreme Court invalidated it.
I have this issue with my cats. It helped when I found what the old cat really went nuts for, then he would eat a big portion right away, leaving him with less need to snack. Then I put out little enough “snacking” food that the fat one can’t do too much damage to himself inbetween times.
Yet another Obamacare lawsuit fails
01/15/14 03:00 PM—Updated 01/16/14 02:19 AM
By Steve Benen
There are some lawsuits pending against the Affordable Care Act – most notably involving the provisions related to contraception access – but they tend to deal with peripheral issues. The core question about the law’s constitutionality was resolved two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court.
But there’s one lawsuit still pending, which argues that there’s one out-of-context phrase in the law that’s so problematic, it should derail the entire federal health care system. It gets a little complicated, but the ultimate point of the suit is to say consumers in state exchanges aren’t eligible for subsidies, which in turn would make coverage unaffordable for most of the country.
So far, this odd approach hasn’t gone especially well for ACA opponents. Brian Beutler reports that a federal court “has looked at this argument, and concluded that it’s total nonsense,” and though it’s just one court, the outcome is “actually pretty embarrassing for the challengers.”
Far-right activist groups, out in the cold
01/16/14 08:02 AM—Updated 01/16/14
By Steve Benen
For all the predictable drama in Washington, the recent progress on the budget and appropriations has been a pleasant surprise. Just three months after House Republicans forced a two-week government shutdown for reasons that are still unclear, the process through which Congress spends money has worked with surprising ease.
Lawmakers approved a bipartisan budget deal a month ago without much fuss, and last night, the House followed up by approving a spending package of about $1.1 trillion, funding the government through the end of the fiscal year. The final tally wasn’t close – the bill passed 359 to 67 – and the Senate is expected to approve the same package by a similar margin.
The process may not have been dramatic, but there are some larger takeaways to keep in mind. For example, Jonathan Weisman noted far-right activist groups’ opposition to the spending bill, which turned out to be irrelevant.
How not to appeal to women voters
01/16/14 09:19 AM—Updated 01/16/14 09:20 AM
By Steve Benen
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 26: National Organization of Women President Terry O’Neill (C) participates in a rally in support of the Violence Against Women Act …
The Republican Party has struggled in recent election cycles with a growing gender gap – the Democratic advantage with women voters has made a critical electoral difference in races nationwide. On this, GOP officials do not have their heads in the sand, and they’re eager to improve their standing with women.
The efforts will not, however, include changing the Republican policy agenda in any way. Rather, party leaders are convinced that if they simply change the way they talk about their agenda, women voters en masse will be persuaded. The difference between success and failure, the GOP believes, is appropriate word-choice.
There’s ample reason to believe rhetorical wisdom won’t trump substantive disagreements over issues like reproductive health, but there’s a more immediate problem for the party: a few too many Republicans still haven’t mastered the part about avoiding stupid comments.
Take Ken Buck, for example. Buck’s extremism on women’s issues contributed heavily to his failed U.S. Senate candidacy in Colorado in 2010, but he’s back in 2014, apparently having learned very little.
The slow transition to healthcare normalcy
01/16/14 09:56 AM—Updated 01/16/14 10:27 AM
By Steve Benen
To hear Republicans tell it, the imminent collapse of the Affordable Care Act is upon us. It’s imploding. The failure is catastrophic. It’s a fiasco for the ages. It’ll all become clear, any minute now. Just wait.
It’s such a foregone conclusion that National Journal reports today that congressional Republican leaders will likely blow off the presentation of a GOP health care alterative. House Speaker John Boehner’s office, the piece says, “appears content to sit back and bet on Obamacare collapsing under its own weight.”
And while I don’t doubt that epistemic closure helps turn hopes into facts – Republican are only talking to each other, and they’re all certain that the ACA is in the midst of an epic crash and burn – and that everyone within the far-right bubble has successfully blocked out inconvenient facts, for the rest of us, it’s becoming clearer that the law has successfully taken root.
Sarah Kliff talked to some insurers who were optimistic about the future prospects of the system, even if they lose money in 2014. If an implosion is due any minute now, it’s apparently been kept a secret from the insurance executives whose job it is to know.
OK, so the insurance industry, whose existence is largely on the line, doesn’t perceive an imminent collapse of the Affordable Care Act. What about business leaders?
They don’t share Republicans’ assumptions, either. Robert Schlesinger reported yesterday that Randall Stephenson, the CEO of AT&T and the chairman of the Business Roundtable, a powerhouse lobbying group, is wholly unconcerned with the health care law. Indeed, he sees the ACA as a national program comparable to Social Security and Medicare. Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has given up on opposing the reform law.
Maybe we’re reaching the point at which “Obamacare” is just a normal part of the American landscape?
What the GOP calls a ‘jobs bill’
01/16/14 11:08 AM—Updated 01/16/14 11:47 AM
By Steve Benen
House Judiciary Committee hearing last week spoke volumes about what Americans have come to expect out of Congress. While Senate Democrats worked on extending unemployment benefits, 12 Republican men championed a bill called the “No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion,” which seeks to prevent middle-class consumers from receiving health care subsidies if their plans include abortion coverage.
It seemed like another pointless culture-war fight on a proposal that won’t become law anytime soon. After all, shouldn’t GOP lawmakers at least pretend to be focused on jobs instead of one more anti-abortion push that will inevitably fail?
By Republicans’ reasoning, they are. Yesterday, the men on the House Judiciary Committee readied the “No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion” for floor action, and Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said this is a jobs bill.
It is “very, very true,” the congressman said, “that having a growing population and having new children brought into the world is not harmful to job creation. It very much promotes job creation for all the care and services and so on that need to be provided by a lot of people to raise children.”
Tara Culp-Ressler made the opposite case.
In reality, denying women autonomy over their reproductive lives is not a wise economic policy. Without access to affordable family planning services, women are less likely to be able to finish their education, advance their career, or achieve financial independence. The low-income women who end up carrying unwanted pregnancies to term end up slipping deeper into poverty and struggling with long-term mental health issues. That ends up impacting the social safety net, putting a greater strain on the Medicaid program. In fact, the Guttmacher Institute estimates that every $1 invested into family planning programs yields more than $5 in savings for the U.S. government.
Stepping back, though, Goodlatte’s assertion that his latest anti-abortion bill “promotes job creation” raises a larger question: when congressional Republicans talk about their support for “jobs bills,” what exactly do they mean?