Author: Unknown

"That’s not the way any of this works…"

[Meant to post something about this a month ago but things have been hectic]


Ryssdal was referring to the supremely misguided idea of addressing inflation with stimulus checks.

 From the SF Chronicle. [Emphasis added]

It’s official: Most Californians who filed their taxes in 2020 will get one-time payments totaling about $9.5 billion from the state starting in October to help offset rising inflation.

The Franchise Tax Board has set up a web page with some of the details and a calculator where people can estimate their payment.

The Legislature passed an election-year bill, AB192, authorizing the payments with zero votes against it, and Gov. Gavin Newsom signed it Thursday as part of his budget package.

The bill called these payments Better for Families Refunds, but the tax board is calling them Middle Class Tax Refunds, even though couples making up to $500,000 in 2020 adjusted gross income and individuals making up to $250,000 are eligible.


We shouldn't have to say this but handing out stimulus checks is the worst thing you can do in a period of high inflation. It did, however, make for a nice photo-op.

Tuesday Tweets special edition

I had planned on doing a post on the hot new genre of "the GOP is abandoning Trump" stories, which long-time readers will recognize as a  reboot of the once popular "Trump will never get the nomination" genre. Today's events somehow manage to both undercut and confirm critique I had in mind. On one hand, this could mark the beginning of the end for DJT's political career. On the other, it reminds us that the GOP is still very much Trump's party.

 Here's a good background piece on the story.

And a couple of threads from some excellent legal experts. 

More on the politics of protecting Social Security — the Washington Post weighs in

A couple of weeks ago, I finally ran a post questioning the apparent conventional wisdom among progressive politicians and pundits about not making Republican attacks on Social Security a major campaign issue.

Fast forward to 2022. Republicans are talking about cutting, privatizing, or killing Social Security with an openness they hadn't shown in at least twenty years. Trump himself lost interest in the topic long ago. But among the pundit class and much of the Democratic establishment, a few six-year old statements had permanently inoculated not just Trump, but the entire GOP on this issue.

What's remarkable here is not just the convergence but the certainty. A large part of the Republican Party is pissing on the third rail of American politics and yet no influential Democrats thought it was worth pulling the switch just in case the power was on.

If attacks on Social Security have eroded seniors' support for the GOP, they have done so almost entirely on their own. Progressives seldom mention the issue. AARP has been uncharacteristically quiet on the matter. Talking Points Memo, probably the best progressive political news and analysis site has dropped it entirely as far as I can tell.


Even in Florida, which has a lot of seniors, Val Demings is all but silent on the topic, despite the fact that her opponent and his fellow senator (Read more...)

Ten years ago at the blog — We’ve been banging this particular drum for a long time


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Megafires, incentives and the inactivity bias

One of the recurring themes of my conversations with Joseph is this country's growing disinterest, bordering on antipathy, in getting things done. (If you think I'm bad, you ought to get him started.) From building a badly needed piece of infrastructure to addressing global warming, we seem to focus most of our energy on finding reasons for inactivity.

NPR's excellent series on wildfires has a good example. If you weigh the costs and risks of prescribed burns against the costs and risks of letting current trends continue, the case for action is overwhelming, but we continued to let the situation get worse.

Add climate change to the mix (another situation we've shown lots of interest in discussing and little in solving), and we may have reached the point where there are no good solutions, only less terrible ones.
I remark just how lush his forest is, how the Ponderosa pines almost reach out and touch one another. He doesn't take it as a compliment. "They're a plague," he says. "On this forest, it's averaging about 900 trees per acre. Historically it was probably about 40. Here in the national forest, what we're facing is a tree epidemic."
Armstrong has rubbed some people the wrong way with talk like that. But he says forest this dense is dangerous. "We're standing here on the edge of what is known as the Santa Fe Municipal Watershed," he explains. "Imagine a (Read more...)

Thursday Tweets

Today in undeleted texts news.

Remember when we said the data was thin? Well, it’s getting a little thicker

Very quick addition to our political implications of Dobbs thread. Just to recap...

In May, we argued that the conventional wisdom was underestimating the disconnect between state level views on abortion in the willingness of Republicans to push the most extreme laws imaginable (the Alaska Paradox)

Last month, we pointed to polling that suggested that even in strongly anti-abortion states, overturning Roe and its aftermath were not popular. (The data are thin but still worth keeping an eye on)

Which brings us to today's news.

Kansas is pro-choice, but just barely. By comparison, Oklahoma is moderately pro-choice and Ohio is solidly pro-choice.


In both of those states, the legislatures pushed through extreme anti-abortion laws, recently enough that we don't know how they will play with voters. In Kansas, however...

Kansas voters overwhelmingly shot down an amendment that would have stripped their constitution of its state Supreme Court-interpreted abortion protections Tuesday, a surprising outcome on the heels of a wave of last-minute enthusiasm from those furious at the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

For observers looking to Kansas as a bellwether, the first state to put abortion to a vote since the Dobbs decision, the election may prove a compelling data point given the built-in advantages to the pro-amendment side.


More than 60 percent of voters had rejected the amendment when networks, including NBC and CNN, began to call the race shortly before 11 p.m. ET. Roughly 78 percent of (Read more...)

We have a winner in the 2022 high weirdness category

This one really does have everything...


    Reverse-aging technology

    International Qanon

    Trump waiting in the wings

    Hucksters cashing in on the Tesla brand

    “Life force energy”

    Reanimated JFK

    and the rightful “queen” of Canada.

Kelly Weill writing for the Daily Beast.

An increasingly popular conspiracy theory falsely centers around the existence of “med beds,” a fabled medical instrument that does everything from reversing aging to regrowing missing limbs. The theory has grown in popularity among followers of far-right movements like QAnon, some of whom claim to be urgently awaiting a med bed to treat severe health conditions.


Some QAnon sects have made med beds central to their conspiratorial claims. A Dallas-based group, which follows the Q influencer Michael “Negative 48” Protzman, has promoted med beds, in part because the devices address a plot hole in another conspiracy theory. The group falsely believes that John F. Kennedy is still alive and youthful, and attributes his remarkable longevity to the curative powers of med beds.

Romana Didulo, a QAnon-adjacent conspiracy leader who claims to be the rightful “queen” of Canada, has also hyped med beds. The devices “will be made available for FREE to all Canadians” following her revolution, she wrote in an August post. Followers of YamatoQ, a Japan-based QAnon movement, have also latched onto med bed theories, even making their own attempted version of the device with copper (Read more...)

Tale of two fires

This is strange. It's almost as if what scientists and forestry professionals have been telling us for the past 50 years about active stewardship and controlled burns was exactly right.

 Alex Wigglesworth writing for the LA Times

The two fires started just 17 miles apart in the rugged terrain of California’s western Sierra Nevada — but their outcomes couldn’t have been more different.

The Washburn fire, which ignited July 7 along a forested trail in Yosemite National Park, was nearly contained, with no damage to structures or to the famed Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias.

But the Oak fire, which sparked almost two weeks later in the foothills near Midpines, confounded firefighters as it exploded to four times the size of Washburn and forced thousands to flee as it destroyed at least 106 homes. At times, the wildfire’s smoke plume could be seen from space.

Experts attribute the difference to variations in weather, vegetation and topography. The management history of each landscape also played a role: Yosemite boasts decades of active stewardship, including prescribed burns, while areas outside the park bear a legacy of industrial logging and fire suppression.

Six years ago at the blog: We should have paid more attention to the right-wing’s reaction to those Planned Parenthood "sting" videos

To be honest, I'd forgotten all about this story until I came across this old post.

Friday, July 22, 2016

When catharsis becomes an end to itself

Ed Kilgore does a good job summarizing an important aspect of the GOP convention.
On Wednesday night, Team Trump deliberately provoked what can only be described as a lose-lose confrontation with Ted Cruz that created a nasty and divisive scene overshadowing the maiden speech of the vice-presidential nominee. With each such decision, you get the impression the people in charge of this convention have forgotten that the real "arena" is the general election, and that their real audience is an electorate far beyond this bowl seething with unaccountably angry delegates.

Otherwise it's hard to credit the constant, interminable, over-the-top feeding of red meat to the crowd, beginning with Willie Robertson's first-night taunting of people who are not "real Americans." It may be understandable that speakers are tempted to interact with the people on the floor howling for Hillary Clinton's incarceration, but the job of convention managers is to remind them that these people are TV props — ignore them and remember the whole world's watching!

It's almost as though the Trump people are treating the convention as the culmination of the mogul's campaign: an opportunity to glory in their extremely unlikely conquest of one of America's two major parties, to gloat over the shattered Establishment that's being forced to accept them, and to shake their fists at the unbelievers who still mock their (Read more...)

Thursday Tweets

I was going to give the abortion thread a rest, but these new twists in the story are worth keeping an eye on.


When you read stories about Trump's declining influence in the GOP, remember he can drop below 50%, he can drop below a plurality, but as long as a significant number of people in the party sound like this, he is still (Read more...)