Saturday, January 18, 2014

Last Call For Fahgeddabout The Bridge, This Is Worse

The GOP Gov. Chris Christie Trouble-O-Meter just kicked up another notch as MSNBC's Steve Kornacki leveled some brutal new accusations against the New Jersey governor.

Two senior members of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration warned a New Jersey mayor earlier this year that her town would be starved of hurricane relief money unless she approved a lucrative redevelopment plan favored by the governor, according to the mayor and emails and personal notes she shared with MSNBC. 
The mayor, Dawn Zimmer, hasn’t approved the project, but she did request $127 million in hurricane relief for her city of Hoboken – 80% of which was underwater after Sandy hit in October 2012. What she got was $142,000 to defray the cost of a single back-up generator plus an additional $200,000 in recovery grants. 
In an exclusive interview, Zimmer broke her silence and named Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Richard Constable, Christie’s community affairs commissioner, as the two officials who delivered messages on behalf of a governor she had long supported
The bottom line is, it’s not fair for the governor to hold Sandy funds hostage for the City of Hoboken because he wants me to give back to one private developer,” she said Saturday on UP w/ Steve Kornacki. “… I know it’s very complicated for the public to really understand all of this, but I have a legal obligation to follow the law, to bring balanced development to Hoboken.”

This is no longer just about the George Washington Bridge, but about a long pattern of Christie abusing the powers of his office for the last several years.  Now that Mayor Zimmer has broken her silence, who else will come forward?  Likewise, the bridge investigation is continuing as well, and there's news now that David Wildstein one of the Christie aides at the center of that mess, now wants to tell his story to New Jersey state lawmakers under oath if he's granted immunity.

An attorney for David Wildstein, one of the men at the center of the investigation into last September's lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, said his client has a "story to tell" if granted immunity from state and federal prosecution. Alan Zegas told the Wall Street Journal Friday that Wildstein wants to testify before one of the legislative committees investigating the closures.
"There is a story to tell," Zegas said. "He would be happy to talk about all he knows."

Christie is in a heap of real trouble now, and it's falling apart fast and gaining speed.

The Obvious Solution

Republicans in Missouri are concerned that lethal injection is a barbaric and sickening practice, akin to torturing a person to death, after Ohio's latest death penalty execution last week with a new combination of drugs led to the inmate gasping for air and dying slowly over 25 minutes. But instead of the logical progression of "perhaps we should re-examine the awful practice of the death penalty", Missouri Republicans' response is "hey, let's bring back firing squads!"

Missouri state Rep. Rick Brattin, a Republican representing Harrisonville, introduced legislation Friday that would add five-person firing squads as an alternative to the state's current method of capital punishment, lethal injection
Brattin cited the prolonged death Thursday of Dennis McGuire in Ohio as evidence that alternative methods were needed after manufacturers of pentobarbitol, the drug most commonly used in lethal injections, began withdrawing it from use in executions on ethical grounds. 
It took almost 25 minutes for McGuire, who was executed for raping and murdering a 22-year-old pregnant newlywed, to die gasping and choking Thursday from a new combination of drugs that had never before been used in a U.S. execution. McGuire's family said Friday it intends to sue Ohio prison officials for what they called McGuire's "torture." 
Missouri also allows execution by lethal gas, but its gas chamber hasn't been functional since 1965. With the state's next execution scheduled for Jan. 29, "we've been having all of these troubles getting the drugs to administer the lethal injection," Brattin told the statewide radio network Missourinet on Friday. 
"I was just looking at a second option, something we could do if we had to utilize the death penalty and we could not administer the lethal injection," Brattin said.

Besides being "quick and something we could do at a moment's notice," he said, an execution by firing squad would be more humane than McGuire's ordeal.

Sure.  Killing someone with a bunch of bullets is more humane than killing them with drugs.  Because ethics, and America!  It's what Jesus would have done, right?

Nerd Fights In The Land Of Epistemic Closure

Readers know I've had my problems with Ezra Klein from time to time on his analysis of everything from Dudebro Defector to Obamacare.  He's a good guy for the most part, but he thinks he's the second coming of Nate Silver or something, and it doesn't always work out that way for him and his Wonkblog crew at Washington Post.

Still, his skills are light-years beyond that of tired hacks like the WSJ's James Taranto or Daily Caller's Mickey Kaus, so when they decided to pick a fight with Ezra, hilarity ensued.  Taranto:

On Tuesday Klein himself proclaimed "The Death of ObamaCare's Death Spiral." He helpfully numbered his points, which go to 11 (lumbar puncture must be a mandated preventive procedure under ObamaCare). "The risk of a 'death spiral' is over," Klein proclaimed in point 4, citing the same Kaiser study. 
In his response, Kaus pointed out that in point 7 Klein had acknowledged Kaus's earlier point. Klein quotes a tweet from Kaiser's Larry Levitt: "The health mix of ACA enrollment is much more important than the age mix. Klein then elaborates: "So far, we're using age as a stand-in for health. But if all the young people signing up are sick, then the models break down." One might add that they don't all have to be sick. Nearly half of healthy young people are prone to a normal yet expensive medical condition, namely pregnancy.

That's Taranto's argument.  Obamacare will break down because all the ladies are gonna get knocked up and flood the system with expensive pre-natal and birthing procedures. Perhaps Obamacare should have something like, oh, I don't know, a contraception mandate to make birth control readily available to women so that doesn't happen.  Oh wait!  It does!  And conservatives are trying to do everything they can to destroy that mandate so that people covered under Obamacare plans don't have access to affordable birth control, thus causing the situation Taranto is concerned about!

There's an easy, built in solution to Taranto's concern, and he refuses to admit that the solution is already there.  But Ezra Klein is the hack?  Ho boy.

Although Wonkblog didn't respond to Kaus's argument, Levitt did, tweeting "that the 'shock absorbers' built into Obamacare--'risk corridors,' etc.--mean that the 'risk of a death spiral is overstated.' " Kaus conceded the point but noted that "those shock absorbers expire in three years," so that "insurers will start to raise rates in only two years if the risk pools are looking bad." To which Levitt replied that "I assume that enrollment will ramp up over the next 3 years.
Which, Kaus answers, begs the question: "If you assume success then the risk of a death spiral is over!" We would add that it wouldn't surprise us if defenders try to keep ObamaCare on life support in the coming months and years by shifting the definitions of "success" and "death spiral." Never underestimate the power of equivocation.

Says the WSJ columnist.  This is comedy at its best here.  All indications are that more people will sign up, significantly more.  It's an assumption, yes...but a pretty safe one.  One, it's a government program, two, the mandates, three, increased Medicare eligibility, four, the "Woodwork effect".

Taranto goes on in the same vein for some time, but he ends with this:

But the advent of ObamaCare, with its corporatist means to a socialist end, has turned the Wonkbloggers into complete sellouts. Klein, Kliff and the whole klique are now acting like corporate shills too.

Well, you'd know, James.  You'd know.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

Related Posts with Thumbnails