Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Talking Points Memo

Late Night Tuesday

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* Duke’s Jedediah Purdy: Why I Got Arrested in Raleigh: The States Are the New Front Line.

* Authoritarianism from the inside. More from Corey Robin. The Vain Media Cynics of the NSA Story.

Under the provisions of his Tax-Free NY scheme, most of the 64 campuses of the State University of New York (SUNY), some private colleges, and zones adjacent to SUNY campuses would be thrown open to private businesses — businesses that would be exempted from state taxes on sales, property, the income of their owners, and the income of their employees for a period of ten years. According to the governor, this creation of tax havens for private, profit-making companies is designed to create economic development and jobs, especially in upstate New York. It gets worse:

Accompanied by businessmen, politicians, and top SUNY administrators on a tour of the state, Cuomo has embarked on a full court press for his plan. “There are winners and there are losers,” he declared. “And the point of this is to be a winner.” Tax-Free NY, he announced, was “a game-changing initiative that will transform SUNY campuses and university communities across the state.” Conceding that these tax-free zones wouldn’t work without a dramatic “culture shift” in the SUNY system, Cuomo argued that faculty would have to “get interested and participate in entrepreneurial activities.” As he declared in mid-May, the situation was “delicate, because academics are academics. … But you can be a great academic and you can be entrepreneurial, and I would argue you’d be a better academic if you were actually entrepreneurial.”

* It turns out Booz Allen is also big into disruption in higher ed.

* By 2050, Nearly A Million New Yorkers Will Live In A Floodplain.

* And science proves LEGO faces are getting angrier. Hey, they’re just like us!

Monday Morning Links

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* …when Priorities informed a focus group that Romney supported the Ryan budget plan — and thus championed “ending Medicare as we know it” — while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing.

* …according to this New York Times piece, working conditions have gotten so bad that advertisers can now depict utopia as… taking a lunch break. But of course it’d never work in practice. Be realistic.

* In the sciences, Ph.D. ≠ job.

* America’s Billionaires: Are They Crazy Enough?

* Finding out Talking Points Memo pays bonuses for traffic is like finding out Santa Claus is as crooked as everybody else. Terrible.

* At least I can still trust SCOTUSblog, which explains how they got it right when everyone else blew the mission.

* South Korea may start hunting whales again, for ‘science’.

* NFL concussion update from MetaFilter.

* SMBC presents a superhero for our times: the Iron Sociopath.

* Larry Tye’s brief history of Superman.

* Fraggle Rock‘s Dozers will get their own TV show. Yes, please.

* And RIP, Sir Ernest Borgnine.

A Few Links from the Week

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Health Insurance Monopolies vs. the Public Option

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Health insurance monopolies vs. the public option, at TPM (now hiring!).

The report, released by Health Care for America Now (HCAN), uses data compiled by the American Medical Association to show that 94 percent of the country’s insurance markets are defined as “highly concentrated,” according to Justice Department guidelines. Predictably, that’s led to skyrocketing costs for patients, and monster profits for the big health insurers. Premiums have gone up over the past six years by more than 87 percent, on average, while profits at ten of the largest publicly traded health insurance companies rose 428 percent from 2000 to 2007.

Far from healthy market competition, HCAN describes the situation as “a market failure where a small number of large companies use their concentrated power to control premium levels, benefit packages, and provider payments in the markets they dominate.”

So extreme is the level of consolidation, in fact, that one former top Federal Trade Commission official working with HCAN has sent a letter to the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, asking for an investigation into the health insurance marketplace.

The problem is most acute in small rural states, according to the report. In Shelby’s own state of Alabama, the biggest insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield, controls 83 percent of the statewide market. There, and in nine other states — Hawaii, Rhode Island, Alaska, Vermont, Maine, Montana, Wyoming, Arkansas and Iowa — the two largest health insurers control at least 80 percent of the market. So much for Shelby’s “marketplace for health care.”

Written by gerrycanavan

June 29, 2009 at 6:42 pm

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How TPM Became TPM

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Josh Marshall tells the story of how TPM became TPM.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 8, 2008 at 4:53 am

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Obligatory McCain/Palin Posting: It’s the Lying, Stupid

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Obligatory McCain/Palin posting: Team Maverick™ has lost even the AP, whose Washington Bureau is famously staffed by a man MoveOn has been trying to get fired for bias and conflict of interest. It’s the lying, stupid:

The “Straight Talk Express” has detoured into doublespeak.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain, a self-proclaimed tell-it-like-it-is maverick, keeps saying his running mate, Sarah Palin, killed the federally funded Bridge to Nowhere when, in fact, she pulled her support only after the project became a political embarrassment. He accuses Democrat Barack Obama of calling Palin a pig, which did not happen. He says Obama would raise nearly everyone’s taxes, when independent groups say 80 percent of families would get tax cuts instead.

Even in a political culture accustomed to truth-stretching, McCain’s skirting of facts has stood out this week. It has infuriated and flustered Obama’s campaign, and campaign pros are watching to see how much voters disregard news reports noting factual holes in the claims.

Krugman, too, is outraged, and Josh Marshall (to his credit) has basically been having a week-long freakout. Here’s Krugman:

But I can’t think of any precedent, at least in America, for the blizzard of lies since the Republican convention. The Bush campaign’s lies in 2000 were artful — you needed some grasp of arithmetic to realize that you were being conned. This year, however, the McCain campaign keeps making assertions that anyone with an Internet connection can disprove in a minute, and repeating these assertions over and over again.

They’re not the only ones. ThinkProgress has a growing list of McCain’s ever-shifting positions. (Steve Benen has another one.) Basically every post on the respected and independent factcheck.org from the last week has about McCain’s lies. And on The View, just today, he falsely claimed that Sarah Palin had never requested an earmark as governor—a flagrant, wild lie.

It’s a farcical situation that turns tragic with the media’s refusal to properly report any of it. The cost for lying must be public approbation—otherwise politicians will lie constantly. The failure of the news media since the Republican convention to substantively report on basic, easily provable distortions is as great a betrayal of the public trust as any other over the last ten years. And as we all know well, all too well, that is saying a lot.

Obama, too, hasn’t yet done enough. But that may soon change: a spokesperson today claimed that McCain “would rather lose his integrity than lose an election,” presumably the first salvo in their new aggressive approach. I’ve got a lot of faith in Obama and his team; as I’ve mentioned before, whenever I’ve disagreed with their decisions they’ve turned out to be (more or less) right. Obama is cautious, perhaps too cautious, when it comes to hitting back—but it’s gotten him this far.

I agree, that is to say, with Noam Scheiber: I really think Obama’s been playing rope-a-dope, letting McCain embarrass himself with nonsense 50-days-and-change out from November 4—and now that McCain has completely overreached, Obama’s free to hit back as hard as he wants. Let’s hope the gloves really are coming off, finally and at last.