Category Archives: J.D. Rhoades

An Open Letter to Mr. Obama

By JD Rhoades
Pilot Newspaper: Opinion

Dear Mr. President:

I heard recently that you plan to delay any executive action on immigration, such as delaying deportation of child refugees, until after the November elections — this in spite of your stated intention earlier to do something by the “end of the summer.”

I’m sure your advisers told you that this would be a smart political move. You may even believe it yourself. Well, they’re wrong, and so are you if you buy into that.
Oh, sure, it’s true that some of the more hotly contested races that could determine control of the Senate are in so-called “red” states. I know it looks like a bad idea to rile up the Republican “base” of xenophobes, bigots, Fox News-addicted outrage junkies, and various other angry, frightened old white dudes. My stars, taking executive action might even upset them enough to get to the polls to vote against Democrats.
But here’s the thing, Mr. President: They’re going to get riled up no matter what you do or don’t do. Riled up is their default state. They’ve been in a state of apoplectic rage since Nov. 4, 2008, when you sent the poster child for angry old white dudes and his empty-headed snowbilly running mate packing.
It only got worse four years later, when their supposed savior, Lord Mitt Romney, couldn’t get out of the way of his own feet and stumbled to a humiliating loss that everyone except them could see coming. All you have to do to upset the Republican base and get them to the polls is be a black Democrat in the White House.
You don’t believe me when I say that trying not to upset the Raging Right is a sucker’s game? Check out Newt Gingrich, who went on CNN’s “State of the Union” to call you “cowardly” and “indecisive” for delaying taking action on immigration.
Of course, no one on the program bothered to point out that on Aug. 3, Newt called such action “unconstitutional” and an example of “the Venezuelan-style, anything-I-want-is-legal presidency.
Look at the House, where the speaker, John Boehner, urged you to act on immigration “without the need for congressional action,” the day after his caucus voted to sue you for acting without congressional action — to delay implementation of a law that they repeatedly voted to repeal.
You cannot placate these people. You cannot calm them down, especially since there’s a billion-dollar industry dedicated to keeping them angry and so afraid of everything that they’re convinced that they’ll be robbed, raped or killed if they don’t have a gun on them every time they leave the house.
Instead of trying to soothe the Republican base, why don’t you pay some attention to your own? You seem so worried at the prospect of right-wingers going to the polls that you’re forgetting the people you need to go there.
Latinos, of course, are the fastest growing demographic in the nation. You also need to get young people fired up. But what I’m hearing from them is a growing sense of frustration, complaints that “politicians are all the same,” and a general apathy about voting.
Dems will probably still get a goodly portion of the female vote, but that’s mainly because several Republicans will inevitably say something incredibly stupid, misogynistic, or patronizing toward women before it’s over. But we need the rest of the constituency, too. So now is not the time for half-measures.
I know, Mr. President, that you’re called “No Drama Obama.” But maybe it’s time for something dramatic. For starters, use the power you have as the executive to delay or defer the deportation of refugee children.
For all the caterwauling about “tyranny” (which, remember, they’re going to do anyway), that power falls squarely within the scope of what’s called “prosecutorial discretion”: the recognition that you simply don’t have unlimited resources to prosecute every law, all the time, so the executive branch can allocate those resources as it sees fit. Prosecutorial discretion has long been recognized by the courts as a legitimate use of executive power.
The Teahadists have threatened impeachment if you try that? Let ’em bring it. Lawsuits? Bring those on, too.
Iowa Rep. Steve King has raised the idea of another government shutdown in protest if you take executive action. Tell him, “Please proceed, Congressman.” Because if there’s one thing that will get wavering Democrats and independents off the couch and into the voting booths, it’ll be the spectacle of the wingnuts once again waving their torches and pitchforks and threatening to destroy the country in order to save it.

So do the right thing, Mr. President, and dare the Republicans to do something about it. Thank you, and God bless.

Via: J.D. Rhoades


Less to the Perry Indictment Than Meets the Eye

By JD Rhoades
The Pilot Newspaper: Opinion

There was certainly a lot of liberal schadenfreude at the news that Texas Gov. Rick (“Oops”) Perry had been indicted by a grand jury in Austin on two felony counts.
Schadenfreude, as you may remember, is a German word meaning “pleasure at another’s misfortune.” (I love how those Germans have a word for every emotion.) But, as so often happens when it comes to legal matters in the news, there may be less to this supposed “crime” than meets the eye.
I’ll admit, there was a certain amusement value to seeing Perry’s mug shot plastered all over the news and to learn that he’d lost his concealed carry permit while the charges are pending. Heavens! How will he fight off the coyotes on his morning jog, the way he once bragged of doing to The Associated Press? It was even more amusing to watch Perry defenders twist and turn trying to spin this charge.
For example, The Wall Street Journal’s Wingnut Laureate Peggy Noonan appeared on ABC’s “This Week” (or as I like to call it, “David Brinkley Spins in His Grave”) and blasted the indictment as “local Democratic overreach.” When host George Stephanopoulos pointed out that the prosecutor who brought the case was a Republican, Noonan simply handwaved that away: “That may be. But when you look at this case, it just looks crazy.”
In fact, Michael McCrum, the prosecutor in question, worked in the Bush/Quayle White House and was appointed by a Republican judge. Democratic officials in Travis County recused themselves from the case. But Peggy Noonan, like any good conduit for right-wing persecution fantasy, isn’t going to let something like facts turn her aside.
All that said, Rick Perry deserves the same presumption of innocence as anyone else, and he shouldn’t be convicted of a crime unless a crime was actually committed. So let’s look at the case.
It seems there’s this district attorney, a Democrat as it turns out, named Rosemary Lehmberg. Lehmberg was the head of what was called the Public Integrity Unit (PIU), which investigates wrongdoing by public officials.
One fine night in April 2013, Madame DA not only got arrested for drunk driving, but also made a grade-A, world-class ass of herself while doing it. On video. Lehmberg pleaded guilty to the charges, which is about all one can do when the cops find a bottle of vodka in your passenger seat and have video of you raving like lunatic down at the station.
Perry demanded that Lehmberg resign her position. Lehmberg refused, claiming that just because she was convicted of breaking the law, it didn’t mean she couldn’t go on being a DA. (Say what you like about Texans, you have to admire ’em for pure chutzpah.)
Perry threatened to veto the funding for the PIU, then did so when Lehmberg remained defiant. So Special Prosecutor McCrum got a grand jury to indict Perry for “abuse of official capacity” (on the theory that vetoing funding to compel or punish behavior was using said public funds for an improper purpose) and “coercion of a public servant.”
It probably didn’t help that the Public Integrity Unit was, at the time, investigating misuse of public funds in a grant to a major Perry donor. It also didn’t help that Perry didn’t demand the resignations of two other Texas DAs, both Republicans, who’d also been involved in drunk driving arrests.
And let’s be honest: Had Barack Obama pulled a stunt like this, Republicans would be screaming about “tyranny” and “Chicago Thug Politics” and adding it to their long list of impeachable offenses (right after “mentioning that he has things in common with other black people” and right before “inappropriate golfing.”)
However, “failure to do right,” as an old DA in this district once used to put it, isn’t a crime. You have to have violated some actual law, and several legal scholars have pointed out that interpreting the law the way McCrum wants to might very well be unconstitutional.
The Executive Branch, state and federal, uses the veto and/or the threat of the veto all the time to bargain or to get its way. It’s the way checks and balances and separation of powers work. There’s also what’s called the “political question” doctrine, which states that if the question is “fundamentally political and not legal,” the courts should stay out of it.

In other words, hardball politics may be distasteful, even unfair, but they’re not necessarily criminal. If you don’t like the way an executive uses executive power, don’t vote for him. Which is exactly what I suggest when it comes to Rick Perry.

Via: J.D. Rhoades


Message From Ferguson

By JD Rhoades

The Pilot Newspaper: Opinion

I’ve been hearing it all week: “You’re going to write about Ferguson, aren’t you?” … “What are you going to write about Ferguson?”
To be honest, I’ve hesitated. The unrest following the shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., raises a lot of highly charged issues, issues guaranteed to provoke an outpouring of vitriol, whatever you say.
It’s also one in which new “information” comes out every day from a variety of outlets, only to be contradicted the next day. There are a few things, however, that come loud and clear through the noise:
Dear Ferguson Police: Using a loudspeaker to order reporters to “turn off your cameras” just looks bad, especially when you do it on camera. It looks even worse when one of your officers tells reporters, again on camera, that “I’ll bust your head” and that he’ll get away with it because he’ll “confiscate the tape as evidence.”
When a police officer doesn’t want a record of what goes on in a public place, that officer is not to be trusted. And when an entire department, armed to the teeth, doesn’t want a record of what its members do in a public place with unarmed protestors, then that is exactly the kind of department you’ve got to watch. ‬‬‬
If you want to talk about racial disparity in this country, look at the difference in the way the authorities handled the unarmed Ferguson protesters and the way the nut cases at the Cliven Bundy ranch were treated.
Bundy and his militia supporters got off scot-free after pointing rifles at federal agents and claiming they would kill any federal agent who tried to arrest Bundy for flouting multiple court orders and grazing his cattle on public land without paying for it.
Those people didn’t so much as smell a whiff of tear gas.
If the Bundy ranch crazies pointing their guns at the feds had been African-American, they’d have been tear-gassed at least, and the right would be calling Obama racist because the feds weren’t using napalm.
But wait! Isn’t this disparity the perfect argument for those “Second Amendment remedies”? After all, aren’t our guns our last line of defense against overbearing and tyrannical authority? Well, maybe, but only for white people. Don’t believe me? Every right-wing nightmare of oppression is coming true right now in Ferguson, and we don’t hear a word from the NRA.
While we’re at it, how many African-American faces do you see in the Open Carry movement? A white man walking into Chipotle with an assault rifle can claim he’s exercising his Second Amendment rights. Let a black man do it, and he’ll be lucky not to get his head blown off by a SWAT sniper before he gets to the hostess stand.
Heck, black people don’t even have to be armed. Apparently, the justification Officer Darren Wilson used for shooting Michael Brown (who, let us not forget, was completely unarmed) is that Brown attacked Wilson.
It should be noted that: This version of events is denied by every eyewitness to the event; no ambulance was called for Officer Wilson; no first aid was administered; and video taken immediately after the shooting shows Wilson walking around calmly with no apparent injury.
Even if true, this “defense” raises the question of how the Ferguson Police Department can afford all those fancy military-style vehicles and sniper rifles we saw pointed at protesters on TV, but can’t seem to provide them with Tasers, which is the usual police weapon deployed against a rowdy subject.
Even though Michael Brown supposedly stole some cigars from a store not long before being killed, the Ferguson PD has admitted that Officer Wilson had no knowledge of the alleged robbery. No witness (and there were several) supports the story that Brown was struggling with the officer for his gun.
Which means the revelation of an alleged robbery is offered more as a smear of the deceased than a justification for the shooting. Officer Darren Wilson wasn’t scared of a strong-arm bandit; he was just scared.
Which brings us to our last point. The latest report from the Ferguson PD is that Wilson isn’t really a bad guy. He’s not a “cold-blooded killer,” as some have described him. And you know what? He may not be. The evidence we’ve heard could also support a theory that he’s a young, frightened, poorly trained officer in a police department ruled by arrogance, mistrust, and outright fear of a large part of the community they’re supposed to be protecting.

It’s the same fear that’s corroding American society from the inside. Ferguson is just the latest symptom.

Via: J.D. Rhoades


Twitrage Strikes Again

By JD Rhoades
The Pilot Newspaper: Opinion

The online reaction to couple of recent news items illustrates once again the dangers of what I’ve come to call “Twitrage.”

Twitrage happens when someone sees an item in print or on the Internet, gets offended, then immediately takes to Twitter or other sites on the Web to trumpet their outrage, all before taking a closer look to see if there’s really anything to be offended about.
For our first example, we turn to Amanda Carpenter, whose Twitter feed describes her as a “Speechwriter/senior communications adviser to Ted Cruz.” Sen. Cruz’s designated mouthpiece was mightily incensed over the idea that in these troubled times, President Obama would be frivolous enough to host a concert by teen idol Katy Perry at the White House.
“Do they even care about optics anymore?” she tweeted, before comparing all the important things her boss had been allegedly working on: “Israel, border crisis, Internet taxes, NSA, FAA. Iran. Not Katy Perry concerts.”
Only problem was, Ms. Carpenter had missed the fact that, not only was the president certainly working on all those things as well, but that the concert was a benefit for the Special Olympics. As one of Cruz’s fellow Republicans once famously said, “Oops.”
After this was pointed out to her, with a few questions as to what, exactly, Cruz’s office had against benefit shows for disabled children, she deleted the tweets in question and apologized — not to the president, the person she’d actually insulted, but to her Twitter followers. Obama Derangement Syndrome means never have to say you’re sorry –to the president.
Then there’s the liberal outrage directed against State Sen. Richard Ross of Massachusetts, after The Boston Globe’s website reported the Republican senator was sponsoring a bill to require divorcing couples to get court permission before dating.
It’s pretty much standard language in a custody order that neither party can have “unrelated overnight guests of the opposite sex while the children are in their custody.” The theory, and it’s not an unreasonable one, is that it would be upsetting to children to have someone who’s not Mom or Dad stumble out of the former parental bedroom yawning while the kids are eating their morning Froot Loops.
This bill, however, went even farther than that. It says that in a divorce proceeding “the party remaining in the home shall not conduct a dating or sexual relationship within the home until a divorce is final and all financial and custody issues are resolved, unless the express permission is granted by the courts.”
Got that? For divorcing couples in Massachusetts, the bill as written would require judicial permission to even date until the case is settled.
We should all be pretty outraged about this, right? Sen. Ross is pushing a major invasion of personal privacy and liberty, right? Certainly there’s been much headshaking and finger-wagging on Twitter, as well as on liberal blogs such as and ThinkProgress.
“Hard to believe a small-government Republican would want to make you check with the government before having sex,” tut-tutted Alan Colmes’ blog Liberaland.
But, as so often happens with Twitrage, there’s less to this story than meets the eye. As reported by Boston Magazine, “the bill has no legislative sponsors, no support, and is in no way under consideration by anybody.”
It seems there’s an old tradition in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts called “the right of free petition,” which allows private citizens to submit just about any bill they want to the legislature for consideration. You want to propose legislation to make putting pineapple on pizza a capital felony in the Commonwealth, you could do it. The only requirement is you’ve got to find an actual member to file the paperwork.
According to Boston Daily reporter David S. Bernstein, “many legislators aren’t even aware that they are allowed to deny a citizen petition request.” Just because a proposed bill gets filed doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, or even that the person who signed off on the petition cares enough about it to bring it to the floor.
As it turns out, this same bill has been proposed by the same guy, an 83-year-old codger named Robert LeClair, for years, and it never gets anywhere. LeClair clearly has an ax to grind, but nobody in the legislature is turning the grindstone for him. So everybody just calm the heck down.
In these times of instantaneous worldwide communication, false or incomplete information can, in the words of the old saying, “be halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on.” So can the indignation from the kind of stories that cause both liberals and conservatives to say “isn’t that just like those [insert your favorite bogeyman here]” before they have all the facts.

So let’s be careful out there.

Via: J.D. Rhoades



By JD Rhoades
The Pilot Newspaper: Opinion

Will the Republicans in the House actually impeach President Obama? I don’t know, but the recent furor over the question has provided us with the hilarious spectacle of one-half of the party trying desperately to keep people from noticing what the other half is doing.
Some Republicans, of course, have been muttering the “I” word since Mr. Obama’s election. The carping got louder when they found, to their shock, that they couldn’t beat him in 2012. Recently, the issue burst back onto the national conversation as the Queen of Wingnuttia herself, failed vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, wrote an inflammatory op-ed for the current flagship for right-wing lunacy, the website
“It’s time to impeach,” the Quitta From Wasilla said flatly. “Enough is enough of the years of abuse from this president. His unsecured border crisis is the last straw that makes the battered wife say, ‘No mas.’”
Well, I guess comparing not getting your political way to being an abused spouse is more classy than their usual complaint of being just like chattel slaves or Holocaust victims, but not by much.
Conservative pundit Smilin’ Bill Kristol, usually a Palin cheerleader, was unequivocal in his rejection of the whole idea of impeachment. He directly responded to Palin’s call on ABC’s “This Week” by flatly declaring, “No responsible elected official has called for impeachment.”
That one had to sting, because Kristol has always pushed Palin’s seriousness as a political voice. Of course, this means that impeachment is inevitable, because, as we all know, Bill Kristol is always, always wrong.
Orange John Boehner was even firmer in his denial, claiming that the “whole talk about impeachment” was a “scam” started by Democratic fundraisers to try to drum up contributions for the upcoming election. It’s all “coming from the president’s own staff and Democrats on Capitol Hill.”
This should come as a surprise to:
— Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who told Breitbart News Saturday, “From my standpoint, if the president [enacts more executive actions], we need to bring impeachment hearings immediately before the House of Representatives. That’s my position, and that’s my prediction.”
— Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who told a radio interviewer: “Not a day goes by when people don’t talk to us about impeachment. I don’t know what rises to that level yet, but I know that there’s a mounting frustration that a lot of people are getting to, and I think Congress is going to start looking at it very seriously.”
— Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), who, according to another story on, “told colleagues that the House should pass legislation with new steps to secure the border, and tell Obama if he didn’t implement it, they would impeach him.”
— Rep. Marilinda Garcia (R-N.H.), who said she’d vote for impeachment because, according to her, the president “has many, many impeachable offenses, it seems to me, in terms of his disregard for our Constitution alone.”
And of course, no parade of wingnuts would be complete without its grand marshal, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Bedlam), who stopped short of calling for immediate impeachment, then immediately claimed it’s “what the people want.”
“There isn’t a weekend that hasn’t gone by,” she said, “that someone says to me, ‘Michele, what in the world are you all waiting for in Congress? Why aren’t you impeaching the president?”
While it is highly likely that the “someone” she refers to is one of the voices buzzing in her head, she and her pals in the Teahadist Caucus seem awfully fixated on something that their alleged leader says is a Democratic idea.
Did all of these people (and a half-dozen other House Republicans who have either outright called for impeachment or who can’t stop talking about unspecified “impeachable offenses”) join the White House staff or cross the aisle to the Dem side when we weren’t looking?
John Boehner knows the lessons of history. He knows that the doomed impeachment effort against President Bill Clinton caused Clinton’s popularity ratings to skyrocket. He also knows that while impeachment is a big seller among Republicans, less than a third of the general electorate favors it, and 63 percent of independents flat out oppose it.
So, in a weak imitation of the Great and Powerful Oz, Orange John is bellowing for us to “pay no attention to those Republicans behind the curtain!” while pushing his own substitute: a lawsuit against President Obama’s delay in enacting a law the House has tried to repeal so many times I’ve lost count.

Sadly, Boehner is neither great nor powerful. His caucus is out of control and pushing not solutions to problems, but bogus lawsuits and political grandstanding. That’s what the Democrats are raising money to fight. They’re right to do so.

Via: J.D. Rhoades


Truth or Parody?

By JD Rhoades
The Pilot Newspaper: Opinion

Lord, it’s hot out there. It’s hot enough to make a bishop cuss. Birds are pulling worms out of the ground using potholders. I saw a dog chasing a cat and they were both walking.

So, since it’s too hot to go outside, let’s stay inside and play a game. How about one of my favorite games: “Truth or Parody”? I’ll tell you an occurrence and you tell me if it actually happened, or if it’s satire.
Ready? Here we go:
1. A Republican congressman from Florida created a series of awkward moments during a congressional hearing when he warmly welcomed a pair of witnesses with brown skin and East Asian names by talking about how he wanted closer relations with their country and how fond he was of “Bollywood” movies (a genre of musical cinema made in India). Unfortunately, the witnesses were both Americans who are senior officials in the U.S. government.
2. Ex-Alaska Gov. and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin recently unveiled an online subscription video service where her fans can pay $9.95 a month to watch messages from Palin and hear her commentaries on a variety of issues. Unfortunately, the launch of the service was spoiled by a glitch in which all of the videos quit halfway through playback.
3. Outgoing Minnesota Rep. and potential presidential candidate Michele Bachmann recently proposed solving the problem of unaccompanied immigrant children by creating labor camps, or as she called them, “Americanization facilities.” She said, “We’d get private-sector business leaders to locate to those facilities and give these children low-risk jobs to do. And they’d learn about the American way of life, earn their keep, and everyone wins in the end.”
4. An Arizona state legislator spoke out against national Common Core standards by claiming he’d heard they used “fuzzy math” that “substitutes letters for numbers at some points” — a description of algebra.
And now, the answers:
1. True. Last Thursday, freshman Rep. Curt Clawson, despite having a list of witnesses to a congressional hearing before him, mistook Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal and Assistant Secretary of Commerce Arun Kumar as representatives of the Indian government.
According to an article in Foreign Policy Magazine, “Although both Biswal and Kumar were introduced as U.S. officials by the chairman of the Asia and Pacific subcommittee, Clawson repeatedly asked them questions about ‘your country’ and ‘your government,’ in reference to the state of India.”
Clawson (the tea party candidate, naturally) later used a basketball metaphor, describing the incident as “throwing an air ball” on his part. I’d say it’s more like he came on the court and tackled one of his assistant coaches after unsuccessfully trying to throw him out at third.
2. Half true. Sarah Palin’s new Internet subscription website is designed, in her words, to “go beyond the sound bites and cut through the media’s politically correct filter.” And, one suspects, avoid those pesky confrontations with reality that even the formerly fawning Fox News has been forcing on her.
But the part about the videos cutting off halfway through was my little joke. Given half-term governor Palin’s track record in regard to sticking with things, however, I wouldn’t spring for the long-term subscription.
3. Parody. One that caught quite a few people, because when it comes to Congresswoman Crazy Eyes, no pronouncement seems too bizarre. This is, after all, the woman who recently said that the unaccompanied children flooding the U.S. Southern border came from “Yemen, Iran, Iraq and other terrorist nations,” and that they might be carrying “Ebola and other diseases like that,” even though there is not a shred of evidence for either claim.
4. True. State Sen. Al Melvin, R-Tucson, told a Senate education committee that he was suspicious of Common Core standards because they’d been “hijacked by Washington.” Asked by another legislator if he’d actually seen the standards, Melvin said he’d been “exposed to them” and that there was “fuzzy math that substitutes letters for numbers.” For God’s sake, let’s not expose the poor man to calculus. Those Greek letters will blow his little mind.
A maxim developed on the Internet, known as Poe’s Law, states that “without a clear indication of the author’s intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between an expression of sincere extremism and a parody of extremism” (definition via Wikipedia).
Or, as I put it, “The hard part about satire is staying ahead of reality.” This difficulty is particularly pronounced when you’re dealing with the party of proud ignorance, manic xenophobia, and general craziness.

Enjoy your August!

Via: J.D. Rhoades


An Obamacare Challenge for Kay Hagan and Clay Aiken-Show Us Who’s Side You’re On!

By JD Rhoades
The Pilot Newspaper: Opinion

“Death Blow Against Obamacare,” The Huffington Post blared. “Big Blow to Obamacare Subsidies,” claimed The Washington Times. As usual, however, the reports of the demise of the Affordable Care Act have been greatly exaggerated.

Here’s what happened: The ACA set up a system of insurance “exchanges,” where people can go online, shop among various insurance plans, and check to see if they qualify for assistance (in the form of tax subsidies regulated by the IRS) to buy them. The law provided that the states could set up their own exchanges, but if for some reason they couldn’t or wouldn’t, then the Feds would do it for them.
Some states, such as California, Kentucky and Minnesota, set up their own exchanges. Those have enrolled lots of people who are getting access to health care that they’d been unable to afford before. Republican-controlled states, however, out of pure spite over the GOP’s loss on Obamacare, refused to cooperate. They turned up their noses and said, “Let the Feds do it.” Which the Feds did.
Now, however, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in an opinion written by two Bushista judges (one a creature of Bush the Elder, one an appointee of his egregious son Dubbya), ruled that the ACA provided for subsidies only for policies bought on exchanges actually set up by the state, not state exchanges set up by the federal government.
I’m wondering if this ruling will finally get middle-class voters to realize that Republican governments that refused to set up exchanges might end up costing them a boatload of money. Because make no mistake: This decision, if allowed to stand, will end up having serious ill effects, not on the poor (whom the right wing already loathes and despises), but on a substantial percentage of the middle class.
See, the people who qualify for a subsidy, according to the ACA, are people who make between 133 percent and 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. That’s $46,000 for an individual and $94,000 for a family of four.
That’s solidly middle-class, folks. Those subsidies help cover uninsured people who are too well-off for Medicaid, who aren’t covered by their employer, but don’t make enough to buy their own insurance. If that’s you, and your Republican state government refused to set up a state exchange, then they’re trying to yank the rug out from under you.
One study, as reported in The Washington Post, predicts that if the subsidies were withdrawn from federal exchanges, the estimated number of Americans without coverage would increase by 6.5 million.
Another study by consulting firm Avaler Health found that people who’d been getting subsidies would see health care premium costs rise by an average of 76 percent, with some increases in poorer areas going up to 95 percent. People in the Democratic states that set up state exchanges, however, would get to keep the insurance they bargained for.
So I would advise the rabid right not to start doing the Wingnut Monkey Dance of Triumph just yet. Yanking away the health insurance that people just got may not be a winning issue for you.
In addition, a mere two hours after the D.C. Circuit made its ruling, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond ruled in exactly the opposite way. It ruled that the ACA says that the Feds are operating the exchanges “within the state,” which makes it ambiguous as to whether they’d be entitled to subsidies.
It’s a long-standing principle that in a case where a law is worded ambiguously, the agency interpreting it has broad leeway. So the IRS (which, remember, regulates the subsidies) can apply it to both kinds of exchanges.
The defendants in the D.C. Circuit case can (and no doubt will) also get the case heard by the entire panel of D.C. Circuit judges, not just the three-judge panel that issued today’s decision. And if that happens, the case will be reviewed by a court made up of a majority of Democratic appointees.
In the meantime, it remains to be seen if weak-kneed Democratic politicians who have been showing lukewarm support for Obamacare have the gumption to stand up for the people they represent and point out that it’s the GOP that’s cheerleading for millions of middle-class people’s health care to be taken away.
It would be a trivially easy flaw in the wording of the statute to fix, and ACA opponents would then be forced to defend their stance that taking health care away from people who just got it is a good thing.

Sen. Hagan, are you listening? You’ve shown vague signs of having a spine on this issue. Will you brace up and make this the middle-class cause it deserves to be? How about you, Mr. Aiken? Mrs. Clinton? Let us hear from you. Loud and clear.

Via: J.D. Rhoades


Review: AN APRIL SHROUD by Reginald Hill

By JD Rhoades

An April Shroud (Dalziel & Pascoe, #4)

An April Shroud by Reginald Hill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Andy Dalziel, the older, louder, fatter, and cruder member of one of crime fiction’s oddest couples, is pretty much on his own for most of this fourth installment in the series, and that’s not a bad thing. With his more cerebral and often annoying younger partner off on his honeymoon with his equally annoying spouse, Dalziel finds himself on holiday and at loose ends. When he stumbles across a curiously aquatic funeral procession, Dalziel quickly finds himself drying himself and his rain-soaked belongings in an English country house with an assemblage of incessantly bickering oddballs who seem strangely unaffected by the recent death of one of their own.

Like the other books in the series that I’ve read up to now, the plot is a little slow and plodding, and it doesn’t pack much of an emotional charge. Also, the book was originally published in 1975 and a couple of the characters are seriously dated.

What makes the book (and the series) entertaining is the character of Dalziel himself: acerbic, outspoken, cynical, boorish, drunk a fair amount of the time, and generally not giving a rat’s hindquarters about what anyone thinks of him. It’s worth a read just to chuckle over his observations on the cast of characters around him and on life in general. I want to party with this guy sometime.


View all my reviews

Via: J.D. Rhoades


Review: N0S4A2, by Joe Hill

By JD Rhoades


NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great horror novel needs a great villain, and Charlie Manx is one of the greatest: creepy, nearly invincible, with a seductive reasonableness in his alleged motive for doing the horrible things he does. It’s all for the sake of the children. Right? RIGHT?


Everybody knows by now that Joe Hill is the son of mega-best-selling horror novelist Stephen King. It’s true that Hill uses some of the techniques his old man made famous, most notably the use of cultural icons to tether the fantastic and bizarre plot to the real world (let me just say, you may never hear Christmas music the same way again, and if you hated it before, you’ll be terrified by it after this).

All that said, Joe Hill has his own strong, tough, idiosyncratic voice and a real feel for character that makes you ache for the damaged people pitted against the powerful Manx. There were several times in this book when I heard myself whispering, “Oh, no, no, no…” But in a good way.

Pity, fear, and eventual katharsis. You can’t ask for more.

Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Via: J.D. Rhoades