Is Cruz a Brainy Reactionary or Just ‘Right’ for Evangelical GOP? Or Both?

March 29, 2015 by  
Filed under Videos

2014-05-05-BothSides_WebsiteBanner_728x90_041421.jpg

LISTEN HERE:

By Mark Green

Remember that post-2012 RNC “autopsy” that was supposed to expand the party? Now comes contender Cruz who wants the base to vote, not grow. Ron Christie and Gara LaMarche debate whether he’s the party’s RX or poison. And has Baker’s break with Bibi created a problem for “Bush45″?

On Cruz and Conservatives. John Lennon Cruz listed a series of right-wing “Imagines” at Liberty University — like abolishing the IRS and ACA — and likens himself to Reagan, who was as welcoming and experienced a persona as Cruz is not. Ted’s prospects?

Ron thinks it’s liberal condescension to disparage Cruz as a backward-looking neanderthal when “he’s a brilliant and cheerful conservative.” Gara sees him as making lots of enemies, unlike the sainted Reagan, “but is trying to corner the hard-right religious market along with Huckabee, Santorum, Carson.” We all agree that could be significant in a Primary sequence where Evangelicals are a majority of the GOP vote in the first and third primaries (Iowa and South Carolina), while New Hampshire is only a week after Iowa and could this time succumb to the momentum of an Iowa winner.

Host: whatever happened to that RNC autopsy after the 2012 debacle? The first announced candidate basically stated that he wants to the base to turn out rather than expand. With fewer debates mostly run by Fox cheerleaders and with SuperPacs allowing more fringe candidates to stay around longer, it appears that the GOP may reprise a long-running and self-wounding primary season of who can out-con the other. Will they again “self-deport” out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

GOP insider Ron adds two opinions: a) with Jeb burdened by his last name and un-freshness, look for the other Sunshine-Stater, Marco Rubio — who also has foreign policy chops that Jeb doesn’t — to emerge; b) and if Gov. Kasich runs, he could be a formidable general election candidate because of his support for Medicaid expansion and ability to economically turn around OHIO.

Which leads the Host to look ahead a mere 478 days before the Republican Convention’s floor vote the third week of July 2016 in OHIO. Is a Rubio-Kasich ticket the party’s strongest application to the Electoral College?

On Bibi, Baker, Bush. Given the exploding Middle East and nearly unprecedented chill between American and Israeli heads of state (worst since Ike forced Israel out of the Sinai in ’56?), a question: what’s the impact now that former Secretary of State James Baker, who helped Reagan, Bush41 and Bush43 get elected, told the liberal Jewish group J Street that Netanyahu had gone too far…forcing Jeb to distance himself from the family’s influential retainer and friend?

Christie sees the Baker break as “remarkable, momentous, sending shock waves across the Republican establishment… even though it’s true, as Bibi said, that there can’t be a Palestinian State as long as Palestinians are intent on killing Israelis and Khameini in Iran this week said death to America,’ citing the fraught negotiations with Iran as well. So you’re against the Iranian deal before you know what’s in it? “Absolutely,” he says, listing the bad things Iran has said and done.

Gara thinks that Baker’s move is gutsy and creates more space for Hillary when she finally speaks about it. But at the least, Netanyahu’s pandering, racializing, partisan-izing campaign “has further isolated Israel and eroded the country bi-partisan support in the US.”

On CFPB: Good- or Over-Regulation? The panel discusses the first four years of he Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, created as part of the Dodd-Frank Law of 2011.

Ron thinks it a bad law procedurally because only Democrats supported it, its funding is tied to the FED and largely unreviewable, and it’s headed by an illegal recess appointment. But has it worked to help consumers get obtain fairer mortgages, pay day loans and student debt? Pamela Banks of Consumer Reports says yes, citing the $4 billion returned to consumers and better rules like making sure that borrowers have the capacity to afford mortgages, unlike what happened in the crash of 2008.

Gara thinks the law and Bureau are working and that they could inspire a reprise of the 1978 government-wide Consumer Protection Agency proposal that failed at the start of the Reagan anti-regulatory revolution. We three agree that, a) if there’s a Republican President and Congress in 2017, there will be a push to eliminate or weaken the popular agency (which will likely to fail – Host) and that b) if and when there’s a Democratic President and Congress, there could be a renewed push for a CPA.

Mark Green is the creator and host of Both Sides Now.

You can follow him on Twitter @markjgreen

Send all comments to Bothsidesradio.com, where you can also listen to prior shows.

2013-04-22-PREMIERElogo.png

Both Sides Now is available Sat. 5-6 PM EST From Lifestyle TalkRadio Network & Sun. 8-9 AM EST from Business RadioTalk Network.

2014-03-03-BizTalk_Logo1.jpg

2014-10-19-ConsumerReports.png
Watch

Afghan Court Sentences Anja Niedringhaus’s Killer To 20 Years

March 28, 2015 by  
Filed under Videos

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan’s highest court has ruled that the police officer convicted of murdering Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding AP correspondent Kathy Gannon almost one year ago should serve 20 years in prison, according to documents sent to the country’s attorney general on Saturday.

The final sentence for former Afghan police unit commander Naqibullah was reduced from the death penalty recommended by a primary court last year. Twenty years in prison is the maximum jail sentence in Afghanistan, said Zahid Safi, a lawyer for The Associated Press who had been briefed on the decision by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruling upholds an intermediate court’s decision, which was opposed by the Military Attorney General’s office. Naqibullah, who uses only one name, opened fire on Niedringhaus and Gannon without warning on April 4 as the two were covering the first round of the country’s presidential election outside the city of Khost in southeastern Afghanistan.

An award-winning German photographer, Niedringhaus was renowned for her humane depictions of ordinary life as well as for her coverage of conflict zones from the Balkans to Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan. She died instantly of her wounds at the age of 48. Gannon, a senior correspondent for Afghanistan and Pakistan with decades of experience in the region, was hit with six bullets that ripped through her left arm, right hand and left shoulder, shattering her shoulder blade. She is recovering from her injuries while undergoing physical therapy in her native Canada.

Both Niedringhaus and Gannon have been honored by numerous institutions and organizations. The International Women’s Media Foundation and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation recently created the Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award in Niedringhaus’s memory. Gannon in December received the Tara Singh Hayer Memorial Award from Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and last month was named winner of the McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage at the University of Georgia.

“It is almost exactly a year since Anja was murdered and Kathy wounded while reporting in the country they both loved,” said Kathleen Carroll, AP’s executive editor. “We are glad the judicial system in Afghanistan has completed the case against their attacker and trust the sentence will be carried out in full. And as the sad anniversary approaches, our thoughts and care are with Anja’s family and with Kathy.”

“Neither Anja nor I believe in the death penalty,” said Gannon on Saturday after learning of the ruling. “I know I speak for Anja, as well as for myself, when I say one crazy gunman neither defines a nation nor a people, and covering Afghanistan and Afghans was a joy for both of us and is what I will return to once the surgeries and healing is completed. I will return for both of us.”

According to witnesses and court testimony, Gannon and Niedringhaus were seated in the back seat of a car parked in a crowd of police and election officials at a police station when Naqibullah walked up to the vehicle, shouted “Allahu Akbar,” and fired on them with a Kalashnikov assault rifle. He surrendered immediately. Witness and official accounts suggested the shooting was not planned.

Naqibullah, believed to be 26, was convicted of murder and treason. During his trial, Naqibullah did not offer a reason for why he opened fire but said at one point he was “not a normal person.” He denied judges’ claims that he once traveled to Pakistan to be trained by extremists, saying he only received medical care while there.

Judges in the original trial also sentenced Naqibullah to four years in prison for wounding Gannon in the attack. It was not clear whether that sentence would be served concurrently with the 20-year term.

Court documents showed that Naqibullah was sentenced to death by Afghanistan’s Primary Court on July 22. He appealed the sentence to the Appeals Court, which decided on Jan. 6 to commute the punishment to 20 years in prison. Naqibullah then appealed that reduced sentence to the country’s Supreme Court, while the military attorney general’s office also appealed and asked for the death penalty. The Supreme Court sentence of 20 years in prison is final, although under Afghan law the time in prison can be reduced if a prisoner shows evidence of “social rehabilitation.”

The German foreign ministry said its embassy in Afghanistan has been following the court proceedings. It said Germany respects the independence of the Afghan judiciary but also regularly expresses its rejection of the death penalty as a matter of government policy. Niedringhaus’s family in Germany also said it opposed the death penalty, but urged that Naqibullah not be “spared from life in prison,” according to a letter provided by Niedringhaus’s sister, Elke Niedringhaus-Haasper.
Watch

Bill Maher Slams Liberals For Slamming Liberals

March 28, 2015 by  
Filed under Humor

“Don’t throw the synthetic baby out with the bathwater,” said Bill Maher on Friday.

During his “New Rules” segment on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” …

Read more: Video, Funny Videos, Political Humor, Bill Maher, Liberals, Political Correctness, Bill Maher Slams Liberals, Comedy News

Read original article here

Meet Our First "Grow Your Value" Finalists

March 28, 2015 by  
Filed under Videos

I know it is not an easy task to put yourself out there, but I assure you that the exercise is one that will help you grow your confidence from the inside out.

Today we announced the three AMAZING finalists for the first “Grow Your Value” bonus competition. These women — who put themselves out there in a one minute pitch — will attend the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute in Orlando, FL and train with coaches, receiving tools and resources for professional and personal transformations. On April 10, they will showcase their newfound skills and confidence onstage and under the lights to compete for a $10,000 bonus. The “Grow Your Value” bonus competition drives home the message that it is important for women to both learn their value and communicate it effectively. This will be a profound journey that we will take with our finalists, learning from them along the way.

Meet the finalists:

It was tough to choose three finalists among dozens of submissions from strong and impressive women, but I was especially moved by Joanna, Ashton and Denise. A counselor with a big heart, an ambitious small business owner and an HR professional who wants to improve the lives of veterans are our finalists competing for the $10,000 bonus!

Joanna Schwartz, 36, of Passyunk Square, PA is a holistic family counselor and founder of “Toolbox for Teachers” — a program created to offer educators strategies in mindfulness and stress relief to combat the mental rigors of teaching. Her 60-second submission video struck me as incredibly sincere. “I could really use your help with my self-confidence,” she told me. Let’s face it: Joanna is not alone. We could ALL use a similar boost in how we see and present ourselves.

Just weeks after graduating college, Ashton Sweitzer, 25, of Lancaster County, PA opened Glitz, a boutique in Lititz, PA that sells a variety of women’s accessories. Ashton is determined to contribute in a meaningful way to her community — but as a small business owner, she faces a growing mountain of challenges. As a “Grow Your Value” finalist, she will hone her leadership skills as well as compete for that bonus to further invest in her business.

A human resources professional of 12 years, Denise Uzzelle of Lancaster, Texas launched her own company, Starting Point Human Capital Advisors, with the mission of helping our veterans retain their jobs. As the wife of a disabled veteran, Denise sees a growing need for us to invest in the professional futures of those who serve. She’s competing so she can make a difference in veterans’ lives.

I’m beyond inspired by these wonderful women, and I am excited to see the transformations they will make.

Know Your Value on April 10:

I can’t wait to see the finalists again on April 10 — after their exciting transformations at the Human Performance Institute. You won’t want to miss the kickoff Know Your Value event, featuring interactive panels, individual coaching sessions, and inspiring discussions with many people I admire. Keynote speakers include Co-Host of “Today” and “Dateline” correspondent Hoda Kotb and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

We will also have actress Brooke Shields; André Leon Talley, former editor-at-large of Vogue; Joe Scarborough, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and NBC News Senior Political Analyst; Thomas Roberts, host of “MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts”; Denice Torres, President of McNeil Consumer Health; Amy Cuddy, Social Psychologist and Professor, Harvard Business School; Katty Kay, lead anchor for “BBC World News America”; TV Personality Donny Deutsch; and Renee Chenault-Fattah, NBC10 news anchor.

If you’re interested in attending this event in Philadelphia or any of the other four events, you can snag tickets online at msnbc.com/knowyourvalue. Philadelphia tickets are on sale through April 9th. Also, keep submitting your one minute pitches for a chance to be picked as one of three finalists in DC, Chicago, Orlando, or Boston. Let’s embark on this journey with Joanna, Ashton and Denise, and learn to know — and grow — our value together!
Watch

Amanda McCall: Cookie Doughprah Winfrey and S’moria Steinem: 10 Solutions to Ben & Jerry’s Women Problem

March 27, 2015 by  
Filed under Humor

There are currently no female flavors of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (even Tina Fey would agree that, while “Greek frozen yogurt” is certainly a healthy ice cream alternative, it is not the same as ice cream).

Read more: Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, Beyonce, Sonya Sotomayor, Ellen Degeneres, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Sheryl Sandberg, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Gloria Steinem, Feminism, Ben & Jerry's, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Glenn Beck, Ice Cream, Women, Womens Rights, Womens History Month, The Tonight Show, 30 Rock, Alec Baldwin, Phish, Stephen Colbert, Dave Matthews, Elton John, Queen, Will Ferrell, Anchorman 2, Monty Python, Schweddy Balls, Jerry Garcia, Cherry Garcia, Dessert, Progress, Activism, Political Humor, Political Activism, Ice Cream Flavors, Celebrities, Food, Frozen Yogurt, Haagen Dazs, Ice-Cream-Breyers, Vermont, Grateful Dead, Delicious, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, Funny, Sexism, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Late Night Shows, The Late Show With David Letterman, The Colbert Report, Colbert Report, Gender Equality, Gender, Justice, Fairness, Fair Trade, Chocolate, Vanilla, Caramel, Raspberries, The Mindy Project, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Oprah Winfrey Network, Women News

Read original article here

What’s a Good Journalist to Do?

March 27, 2015 by  
Filed under Videos

There is some welcome introspection going on in the journalism profession about how to deal with political candidates who deny that human-induced global climate change is real. How for example should reporters and news outlets deal with candidates who want to be President of the United States but take ridiculous or irrational positions on “the biggest story in the world,” as The Guardian calls it?

2015-03-26-1427410118-1079485-ChipGeller.jpg

Print and broadcast reporters, as well as editorial writers and editors, should take a look at the recent posts by Jay Rosen of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University and Grist blogger David Roberts.

Rosen points out that political candidates who deny anthropogenic global warming are saying in effect “the evidence doesn’t matter.” That’s saying a lot, because the scientific examination of global warming has been underway since the 19th century. In the last 20 years, climate change has been the subject of the biggest scientific exercise in human history — the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It has involved thousands of experts and reviewers from as many as 130 countries. They have reached very straightforward conclusions, including these in the IPCC’s latest findings:

  • “Human interference with the climate system is occurring, and climate change poses risks for human and natural systems.”
  • “In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans.”
  • “Impacts from recent climate-related extremes, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones, and wildfires, reveal significant vulnerability and exposure of some ecosystems and many human systems to current climate variability.”

So, what’s should a journalist to do when he or she is trying to be respectful of the candidates for the world’s most powerful job in the world’s most advanced nation, even when they dismiss all this evidence as a hoax, or refuse to talk about it at all?

The question has taken on greater urgency now that Sen. Ted Cruz has kicked off the 2016 presidential race as the first to announce he’ll compete to be the Republican Party’s nominee. Cruz is a card-carrying climate denier, as are all but one of the GOP’s several other prospective candidates.

Within days of making that announcement, Cruz tried to turn the tables on those who want the government to do something about climate change, telling an audience that “Today, the global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-Earthers… who don’t like to look at the actual facts and the data.” Cruz went on to compare himself with Galileo. As far as I can tell from the news reports, he said this with a straight face.

In the 2012 presidential election, the candidates all remained mum about climate change. Neither the reporters who followed them nor the moderators of the official presidential debates called them out on the issue. Responsible journalists simply cannot let that be the case this time.

So what are they to do? It is nearly impossible to appear nonpartisan when virtually all the Republican hopefuls are members of the denial industry, the likely Democrat nominee is not, and public opinion research shows the American people agree with the science? Summing up his two decades of research on the American public’s attitudes, Stanford University political science professor Jon Krosnick reported this week that:

On this particular issue, America is remarkably one-sided. What we’ve found is between two thirds and three quarters of Americans have endorsed the idea that the planet has been warming over the last hundred years, that it’s due at least partly to human activity, that it poses a threat to future generations, and that the federal government in particular should take actions to reduce the amount of warming that occurs in the future and to support preparation for the effects.

In addition to the presidential contest, most members of Congress will be running for reelection next year. An analysis by ThinkProgress found that 56 percent of incumbent Republicans in Congress deny or question the conclusion of the 97 percent of climate scientists that greenhouse gases are causing big changes in the biosphere and very unpleasant changes for us humans.

Reporters and editors have been grappling with irrational climate denial for some time. First came the controversy about how to define balanced news coverage – in other words, whether “balance” means giving equal time and column inches to both sides of the climate debate, even though 97 percent of scientist agree that climate change is real. Giving 50 percent of airtime and column inches to the dissenting three percent not only does not seem to reflect reality; it also gives audiences the impression that there is much more disagreement about the science than there really is.

In 2013, the letters editor at the Los Angeles Times decided he would no longer print missives from people who argue that there is no credible evidence of climate change. The editor, Paul Thornton, explained, “When deciding which letters should run among hundreds on such weighty matters as climate change, I must rely on the experts – in other words, those scientists with advanced degrees who undertake tedious research and rigorous peer review. And those scientists have provided ample evidence that human activity is indeed linked to climate change… Saying ‘there’s no sign humans have caused climate change’ is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.”

It must be hard for reporters to remain objective, too, about politicians who boast about their fealty to the Constitution, but try to suppress free speech when it comes to global warming. That has been the case in Florida where public employees under the administration of Republican Gov. Rick Scott say have been instructed not to use the words “climate change”, “global warming”, or even “sustainable development”.

Then there are those who not only reject climate science, which is their right I guess, but also want to suppress it, which isn’t. Earlier this month, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a budget resolution that accuses the Department of Defense and the CIA for wasting, abusing and misusing taxpayer dollars by studying the national security impacts of global warming. The same document concludes with unintentional irony that “Washington has been unable or unwilling to tackle big challenges with positive solutions” and notes that “When politicians focus on short-term political considerations, they let rhetoric take the place of real results.”

A few weeks ago, U.S. Rep. David McKinley, a Republican from coal country introduced an amendment to forbid the Science Advisory Board at the Environmental Protection Agency from taking several climate-related reports into consideration, including the work of the IPCC and the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s National Climate Assessment.

But back to Jay Rosen. He offers several optional questions that journalists could ask during the upcoming presidential race. In my view, this one is the best:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in 1990, ‘Emissions resulting from human activities are substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases,’ leading to global warming. They said it again in 1995. They said it again, but more strongly in 2001. They were even more emphatic in 2007. And in 2014 they said they were 95 percent certain that human action was the primary cause of global warming. The World Bank has come to similar conclusions. The position you have taken on this seems to suggest that you have better evidence than they do. Will you be making that evidence public? And may we have the names of your science advisors so we can ask them where they are getting their information?

On follow-up, reporters might also ask the candidates this question:

Whether or not you agree that climate change is real, can a responsible public leader ignore the risk that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists are correct in concluding that global warming is not only real but also dangerous and already underway? Do you believe that part of the job of the President and Congress is to help protect the American people from risks this large? If so, what is your risk management plan?

The point is, calling the candidates out on climate change while remaining objective will be a challenge these next 20 months, but that is a good journalist’s job. For the rest of us, the results are likely to be very entertaining.

Bill Becker is a former print journalist who served as a combat correspondent in Vietnam, a staff reporter for the Associated Press, and the editor of his own weekly newspaper. His next post will address how some media today are contributing to political polarity in the United States.
Watch

Heather Kasdan: Hashtag Angry Elephants

March 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Humor

To further this exploration of human emotion, I am going to follow up with Hashtag Angry Elephants, the story of a girl and her discussion of anger. It will have nothing to do with Twitter and even less to do with angry elephants.

Read more: Anger, Comedy, Comedy Central, Satire, Humor and Satire, Comedy News

Read original article here

What Does ‘The Jinx’ Mean For The Future Of True Crime?

March 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Videos

Middlebrow is a recap of the week in entertainment, celebrity and television news that provides a comprehensive look at the state of pop culture. From the rock bottom to highfalutin, Middlebrow is your accessible guidebook to the world of entertainment. Sign up to receive it in your inbox here.

mid

“What did I do? Killed them all, of course,” Robert Durst says in the final moments of “The Jinx.” His voice — with a cadence that is an an eerie mix of Heath Ledger’s Joker and Woody Allen — bumps over his hot mic between burps and flushes in the restroom. That chilling last episode of the HBO docu-series aired hours after Durst’s arrest for the murder of Susan Berman (one of three alleged Durst murders “The Jinx” depicts). With his subject’s arrest, director Andrew Jarecki’s years of research came to fruition in real time as the ultimate anxiety-based voyeurism: scandal at just the right distance, combined with the reassurance that the bad guys will get caught.

Sources close to the Los Angeles Police Department told the L.A. Times that “The Jinx” “played a role” in Durst’s arrest. And it’s not the first time a documentary has had such tangible real-life ramifications. In a follow-up piece, the paper pointed to Errol Morris’ “Thin Blue Line,” which led to the exoneration of Randall Adams in 1989. In 2011, Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s “Paradise Lost” aided in the release of the three Arkansas men known as the West Memphis Three.

jinx

The documentary genre has the potential to impact cases in this way because of its inherent and presumed journalistic ethics. And yet, as entertainment, the form falls under the danger of breaching that code of conduct in the push for sensationalization. When the content is working to convict a suspect rather than free the wrongfully accused, that inherent possibility is much more problematic.

With “The Jinx,” Jarecki has ushered the typically pulpy tonality of true crime into the realm of prestige television. True crime has typically fallen into the category of guilty pleasure. (Consider that cop shows like “America’s Most Wanted” were the first transition of the documentary into the reality TV.) The HBO mini-series marks a move back to the respectability of the documentary format with true crime content. Its resulting interest and popularity will likely change the future of sub-genre. But what does that shift mean for its subjects?

Problems with “The Jinx” emerged almost as quickly as its rise. Once the news of Durst pulsed into virality, “The Jinx” timeline grew murky. Jarecki failed to answer simple questions about how things proceeded with The New York Times and canceled all future media appearances. Now, it is speculated that Jarecki held on to evidence for several years before handing it over to the police. “The way these events are presented on the show, it looks like Durst’s arrest gave Jarecki leverage in his quest to get more time with his subject,” Leon Neyfakh and Jay Deshpande wrote in one potential explanation at Slate. “In reality, it seems like the arrest may have happened more than a year after he conducted his explosive second interview with Durst.”

jinx

This does not alter Durst’s potential guilt. It does call Jarecki’s motives into question. As Kate Aurthur wrote at BuzzFeed, “It’s unfortunate that Jarecki’s on-camera statement that its No. 1 goal is to ‘get justice’ might end up being another of its fictional re-enactments.” It’s useless to speculate over whether Jarecki deliberately muddled things or why, though it’s inarguable that altering the timeline could not align with his priority to “get justice.” Really, a film’s No. 1 goal can never be to “get justice.” A film’s No. 1 goal is to entertain. Regardless of good intentions, its impossible for that not to interfere with the ethical obligations inherent in journalism and the justice system.

And where does that leave us? We have a man muttering a possible murder confession to himself while peeing. It might be inadmissible in a court of law, but all that really matters for “The Jinx” is that it’s good TV.

Follow Lauren Duca on Twitter: @laurenduca
Watch

Important Fact-Check: 108,000,000,000 ÷ 12,000,000 = 9,000

March 25, 2015 by  
Filed under Videos

The Washington Post’s resident fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, has a pretty important corrective to mete out to an unsuspecting congressman today. Specifically this: 108 billion divided by 12 million equals 9,000, and not — as some believe — 5 million. Can’t stress this enough. All of which raises an important question: Where was Kessler when I desperately needed a trigonometry tutor?

The backstory on this stems from a statement made by Rep. Pete Session (R-Texas) on March 24 on the floor of the House. Sessions, who was at the time apparently sleepwalking his way through another rote attack on Obamacare, said the following:

If you just do simple multiplication, 12 million [insured individuals] into $108 billion, we are talking literally every single [Obamacare] recipient would be costing this government more than $5 million per person for their insurance. It’s staggering … $108 billion for 12 million people is immoral. It’s unconscionable.

It certainly would be unconscionable if numbers worked like that — and maybe they do in an upside-down world where you describe a plain act of long division as “simple multiplication.” But as Kessler points out, Sessions’ math gets weirder still:

None of Sessions’ numbers make much sense, however. The Congressional Budget Office, in a March report, said that the cost of coverage in fiscal 2016 for Obamacare (in the exchanges and Medicaid expansion) would be $95 billion, after penalty payments and other revenue. But the reduction in the number of uninsured Americans would be 23 million people.

So if you do the math correctly, that’s a cost of $4,130 per uninsured individual in 2016. So that’s less than half the figure that would have resulted from properly dividing Sessions’ numbers.

It’s always nice to find a journalist who’s not afraid to be servicey. But I’d take issue with one part of Kessler’s work here — where he places the blame for this incident. “Sometimes a lawmaker will wander on the floor of the House or Senate and begin speaking without any notes,” Kessler writes, adding, “That’s a big mistake.”

Perhaps. But I don’t think that the failure to bring notes to the floor of the House is at issue here. When Kessler contacted Sessions’ office, he was told that the representative “had gotten his numbers mixed up” and what Sessions had wanted to convey was that the Affordable Care Act “had cost $1.2 trillion over the past three years, and yet had only covered 20 million people.” Therefore, the “unconscionable” number at which Sessions had intended to arrive was $50,000. Mixing up 50,000 with 5 million is still a bit of a howler, but in a narrow sense, the “should have brought some notes” advice seems solid.

However, Kessler surmised that this contention had the faint aroma of a nonsensical story that originated in the Daily Mail, which had already been fatally perforated by fact-checkers for its amateurish level of innumeracy. Per Kessler: “The problem with the Daily Mail calculation is that the newspaper took a ten-year budget number and divided by the number of insured individuals in a single year. No serious budget or health expert would use that kind of calculation.”

But what if you are Pete Sessions, wholly unmoored from any requirement to be “serious”? You just say whatever you like, without concern that the source you’re citing is a newspaper that routinely plays fast and loose with the facts. So this is not a problem that any number of notecards would have solved. Maybe there was a brief, mad moment as Sessions began to form the words “5 million” when he thought, “Wait a minute, that doesn’t sound right.” But he went for it, and he’s not sorry, and this Kessler column represents the totality of the political consequences that Sessions will have to face. Next time, 10 million? Sure, ok, this isn’t rocket science.

Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not?
Watch

Renee Fisher: Why Older Men Should Date Younger Women

March 25, 2015 by  
Filed under Humor

Younger women are universally hot and know all the latest clothing styles, but prefer men who wear shorts, black socks and Crocs.

Read more: Older Men and Younger Women, Humor, Satire, Baby Boomers, Love, Sex, Fifty News

Read original article here

Next Page »