Posts Tagged ‘John Boehner’
* How the University Gets Laid Off: The University of Texas at Austin plans to drastically downsize its workforce, according to a draft of a plan obtained by the Texas State Employees Union that was confirmed by the university Friday afternoon.
* The House GOP’s Little Rule Change That Guaranteed A Shutdown. Why did Obama force Boehner to change the rules to guarantee a shutdown? The man’s a monster.
* National Cancer Institute director warns staff of increasingly dire effects of shutdown on science. Cancer research, classic big government bloat; I don’t even have cancer.
* Sobering reminder: What Democrats call victory.
* Stay safe Durham: What Is This Photo Of The Duke Basketball Team Handling Assault Rifles?
The arsenal of medicines in the Hayeses’ kitchen helps explain why. Pulmicort, a steroid inhaler, generally retails for over $175 in the United States, while pharmacists in Britain buy the identical product for about $20 and dispense it free of charge to asthma patients. Albuterol, one of the oldest asthma medicines, typically costs $50 to $100 per inhaler in the United States, but it was less than $15 a decade ago, before it was repatented.“The one that really blew my mind was the nasal spray,” said Robin Levi, Hannah and Abby’s mother, referring to her $80 co-payment for Rhinocort Aqua, a prescription drug that was selling for more than $250 a month in Oakland pharmacies last year but costs under $7 in Europe, where it is available over the counter.
Wait. Repatented? That’s a thing?
* Yet another take at getting to the bottom of Pale Fire: this one’s all about the gulags.
* And Alfonso Cuarón talks Gravity. Still haven’t seen it, alas…
* I’ve said this before: let’s have an academic decathlon. You choose a team based on whatever pedagogical criteria you want. You can choose students from public school or private, unionized teachers or not, parochial or secular, from charter or magnet, from Montessori or KIPP or whatever else you want. However, I choose the demographics of the students on your team. For my team, the situation is reversed: you choose the pedagogical factors for my students, but I choose the demographics. You stock your team kids from whatever educational backgrounds you think work, and mine with whatever educational systems you think don’t work. Meanwhile, I give you all children from the poverty-stricken, crime-ridden inner city and impoverished rural districts where we see the most failure. I stock mine with upper-class children of privilege. I would bet the house on my team, and I bet if you’re being honest, you would too. Yet to accept that is to deny the basic assumption of the education reform movement, which is that student outcomes are a direct result of teacher quality.
* If you are a low-income prospective college student hoping a degree will help you move up in the world, you probably should not attend a moderately selective four-year research institution. The cards are stacked against you.
Who among us can forget Malia’s first words to a rapidly-growing crowd in this historical meeting between present and future, “People of 2009, we come from–” words that were immediately interrupted by her younger self, surrounded by Secret Service, saying, “It’s 2013,” which led future Malia to punch future Sasha, saying, “I told you not to mess with the controls.” Malia then continued, “2013, seriously? What’s the friggin’ point?”
* Academic jobs watch: Specialist Professor, Homeland Security.
* California isn’t a state in which liberals have run wild; it’s a state where a liberal majority has been effectively hamstrung by a fanatical conservative minority that, thanks to supermajority rules, has been able to block effective policy-making. Krugman is optimistic that the Republicans’ stranglehold on the state seems to be abating; I’d note that in the arena of public education at least all the worst ideas are coming from the Democrats.
* That’s because these workers represent what’s happening to U.S. work in three critical ways. First, precarity: Workers lack job security, formal contracts, or guaranteed hours. Second, legal exclusion: Labeled as “independent contractors,” “domestic workers” or otherwise, they’re thrust beyond the reach of this country’s creaky, craven labor laws. And third, the mystification of employment: While a no-name contracted company signs your paycheck, your conditions are set by a major corporation with far away headquarters and legal impunity. Guest Workers as Bellweather.
* But if Emanuel brought Byrd-Bennett in to work the same kind of charter magic in Chicago that she did in Detroit, he may be dismayed to encounter one important difference: Chicago is now in a good position to fight back. The school closings hearings were packed with engaged, motivated citizens, and the teachers union is more organized than it’s been in three decades. During its popular and successful strike, the union’s approval rating climbed while the mayor’s fell—public opinion polls showed that taxpayers blamed Emanuel for the ugliness that took place during negotiations. The CTU’s current leadership has built relationships with community leaders and organizations, forming a coalition to fight the slash-and-burn privatization pushed by the Board of Education and its corporate sponsors, and has even hosted civil disobedience trainings open to the public. This afternoon’s protest will serve as further evidence that Emanuel is indeed up against a new opponent, one strong enough that not even the best “cleaner” may be able to defeat it.
* Nate Silver makes your Final Four book: Louisville Favored in Final Four, but Wichita State Could Become Unlikeliest Champion.
* Zero Dark Thirty is supposedly a film about freedom. A “freedom so threatening that there are those around the world willing to kill themselves and others to prevent us from enjoying it,” as the TV sound-bite in the background puts it. The odd thing is that this freedom is never once glimpsed within the film itself. Obviously, we are constantly reminded of the imprisonment and torture of the al Qaeda suspects, but it is never their freedom we are meant to be concerned with. More tellingly, it is the American spaces within the film that leave this freedom unseen. A strange becoming-prisoner takes hold of the spaces, and of the American body itself: not unfolding, in the end, either defeat or victory, but pulling together in a constricted space the impossibility of both.
* Grad student guide to interpreting advisor feedback. It’s supposedly keyed to the UK and Ireland, but it seems pretty universal to me.
Finally, what on earth happened with AMC’s Red Mars adaptation? I gather that some people are still working on it, but it’s no longer AMC – are you still involved in that?
Red Mars is not at AMC any more, but yes, there are people still working on it, led by my wonderful media agent Vince Gerardis, so eventually something may happen. I think it would be wise not to hold your breath on that one, unless you can hold your breath for years.
[DEEP BREATH IN]
* If only! Newt Gingrich, currently riding a cresting wave of fake Twitter followers all the way to the White House, declares the Obama administration the “Paul Krugman presidency.”
* How bad is the debt deal? Really bad.
The Obama-GOP plan cuts $917 billion in government spending over the next decade. Nearly $570 billion of that would come from what’s called “non-defense discretionary spending.” That’s budget-speak for the pile of money the government invests in the nation’s safety and future—education and job training, air traffic control, health research, border security, physical infrastructure, environmental and consumer protection, child care, nutrition, law enforcement, and more.
The White House’s plan would slash this type of spending nearly in half, from about 3.3 percent of America’s GDP to as low as 1.7 percent, the lowest in nearly half a century, says Ethan Pollack, a senior policy analyst at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.
* Former Reagan and Bush economist Bruce Bartlett has joined the Canavan caucus and called for the elimination of the debt ceiling.
* BREAKING: Neil Cavuto knows nothing about anything.
CAVUTO: I would welcome a downgrade. I really would. I think it would be the pain from which we have a gain.
STOSSEL: Maybe that would wake people up.
* Internal polls apparently show Wisconsin Democrats retaking the state senate after the recall fight—if the debt-ceiling debacle hasn’t blown the mission there as well.
* “If you’re younger than 26, you have never seen a month where the global mean was as cold as the 161 year average,” observes Robert Grumbine. In contrast, “there are no periods as long as even 20 years of continual below reference temperatures.” He finds that the period 1880-1940 seems to best represent a stable long-term average for global temperatures. If that’s the case, then the “last time the global mean was below the climate normal was March, 1976. If you’re 35 or younger, you have never seen a global mean below climate’s real normal.”
* But in good news: Spider-Man takes one giant leap closer to the Donald Glover era.
* Obama self-parody watch: hashtag #compromise.
* Also from Chait: Obama’s Incentive To Punt On the 14th Amendment.
The problem is that, even if we get through this crisis with little damage, the debt ceiling is still sitting there, a weapon that will one day explode. Indeed, if there’s one good reason to downgrade U.S. debt, it’s that House Republicans have discovered a kind of doomsday device that, if not used this time, will probably be used eventually. Any use of the debt ceiling to extort policy concessions will encourage subsequent uses.
The only way to actually defuse the long-term threat is to eliminate the debt ceiling vote, which is a completely unnecessary relic. Doing so would provide long-term benefits, while the political costs would be born entirely by Obama. That may explain his reticence. Or possibly his advisors’ legal judgment simply differs from Jeff’s. There is legitimate disagreement here. In any case, it’s worth keeping in mind that fact that Obama’s political incentive structure on this issue doesn’t fully line up with the national good.
The second perhaps more important point is that by the fall of 2009, the Obama Administration had already decided the recession was so yesterday that it was time to shift into deficit-reduction mode. Stimulus was out, austerity was in.
…Why is that important now? You can draw a straight line from the President’s decision in the fall of 2009 to the current default crisis. I don’t want to downplay the impact of the Republican Party taking over control of the House in the 2010 elections — obviously that was a pivotal moment — but the 2010 elections were contested on a battlefield of the GOP’s choosing: that spending was wildly out of control, deficits were threatening the stability of the economy, and long-term debt would strangle the country. The President basically agreed, ceding vast acreage of political, rhetorical and policy ground to the Republicans.
* Boehner’s next plan is even less viable. America!
* And today’s blogpost of the day: Reality as Failed State.
The point, for the climate denier, is not that the truth should be sought with open-minded sincerity – it is that he has declared the independence of his corner of reality from control by the overarching, techno-scientific consensus reality. He has withdrawn from the reality forced upon him and has retreated to a more comfortable, human-sized bubble.
In these terms, the denier’s retreat from consensus reality approximates the role of the cellular insurgents in Afghanistan vis-a-vis the American occupying force: this overarching behemoth I rebel against may well represent something larger, more free, more wealthy, more democratic, or more in touch with objective reality, but it has been imposed upon me (or I feel it has), so I am going to withdraw from it into illogic, emotion and superstition and from there I am going to declare war upon it…
Via that state of states, MeFi.
With Boehner unable to pass even his own debt-ceiling bill, much less a reasonable one, Jack Belkin is talking Plan Bs. In addition to the Fourteenth Amendment option I’ve been hammering for months, there’s also something else a lot of people have suddenly started talking up, platinum-coin seigniorage:
Sovereign governments such as the United States can print new money. However, there’s a statutory limit to the amount of paper currency that can be in circulation at any one time.
Ironically, there’s no similar limit on the amount of coinage. A little-known statute gives the secretary of the Treasury the authority to issue platinum coins in any denomination. So some commentators have suggested that the Treasury create two $1 trillion coins, deposit them in its account in the Federal Reserve and write checks on the proceeds.
In the meantime: NRO’s Douglas Holtz-Eakin loses it. So does Joe Klein. Five Reasons the House GOP Is to Blame. The end of John Boehner. Boehner’s Three-Legged Stool of Doom. And from the Dep’t of Very, Very, Obvious Observations:
If in fact the debt limit is not raised well beyond the August 2 target date, and the economy suffers the severe blow that experts, Democratic politicians, and most Republican politicians believe is likely to happen — the dissenting Republican politicians such as Michele Bachmann, Steve King, and Louie Gohmert (and other insiders) will not, in fact, admit that they were wrong about it. Instead, they will blame Barack Obama for implementing the debt limit badly. And they will do so no matter how he implemented it (I’d say that would include if he did it precisely how they had advised, which would be true, except that I believe their position is mathematically impossible, so it won’t be happening).
What’s more, and this is only slightly less obvious and slightly less certain, they will almost certainly not be penalized within the GOP for being wrong. Indeed, what’s far more likely is that if, as virtually all economists and budget experts currently insist, failure to raise the debt limit causes economic disaster, the likely effect within the GOP will be to enhance the prospects of those who claim that the experts don’t know what they’re talking about — and any post-limit disaster will be considered yet another sign that the experts don’t know what they’re talking about.