The House Republican’s Faux Statistics

The AP does some serious fact checking on the House Republican’s claim that the health care law will “kill jobs”. The bottom line is that the claim is utter bullshit.

A recent report by House GOP leaders says “independent analyses have determined that the health care law will cause significant job losses for the U.S. economy.”

It cites the 650,000 lost jobs as Exhibit A, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as the source of the original analysis behind that estimate. But the budget office, which referees the costs and consequences of legislation, never produced the number.

What follows is a story of how statistics get used and abused in Washington.

Here is what the CBO said:

“The legislation, on net, will reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by a small amount roughly half a percent — primarily by reducing the amount of labor that workers choose to supply.”

And here is the Wingnut mis-translation of the CBO report:

CBO “has determined that the law will reduce the ‘amount of labor used in the economy by roughly half a percent,’ an estimate that adds up to roughly 650,000 jobs lost.”

Besides a seemingly fabricated estimate of 650,000 “jobs” lost, here is the big difference:

For example, CBO said some people might decide to retire earlier because it would be easier to get health care, instead of waiting until they become eligible for Medicare at age 65.

The law “reduces the amount of labor supplied, but it’s not reducing the ability of people to find jobs, which is what the job-killing slogan is intended to convey,” said economist Paul Van de Water of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

So…if the Democrats allowed themselves the luxury of stretching the truth a wee bit, they could argue that the CBO report clearly CREATES some number of jobs (say, 650,000) because, under the new law, more people would have the option to voluntarily remove themselves from the workforce, thereby creating employment opportunities for others. It isn’t quite what the CBO report says. But what the House Wingnuts are claiming is the opposite of what the CBO report is stating!

The House Republicans are not stretching the truth. Rather, they are declaring a perpetual opposite day and shamelessly lying in our faces.

The Feline and the Ungulate

Awww…it’s simply adorable:

Clearly, this is destined to be the next Viral Video.

But is it the sign of End Times? I mean, it is (figuratively) the lion lying with the lamb. Sure…some literalist will point out that it is actually a kitten lying with a deer but, hey, the Bible itself never says anything about the lion lying with the lamb. It does mention (in Isaiah) a wolf dwelling with a lamb, and a leopard lying with a kid, and a threesome with a calf, a lion cub and a fatling. Fatling? I suppose the fatling could be a lamb. In any case, what has made it into popular culture (”lion lying with the lamb”) is a bit of a mis-translation of the bible which, itself, may have encountered some mistranslations along the way. So a kitten lying with a deer could have been there in the original….

So…watch the video, and then prepare yourself for the Rapture!!!!

Or maybe not. I mean, the book of the bible that talks about a feline lying with an ungulate (HA!) doesn’t really talk about “heaven” (as some etherial dwelling place). Rather it talks about a peaceful kingdom on earth. So maybe no End Times. You have to go elsewhere in the bible to find an actual Rapture.

Okay…so maybe it is just an adorable video. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The Words of Obama and Palin

Cool graphic of the day is from The Guardian’s Datablog. It gives these word clouds of Obama’s and Palin’s recent speeches:


A much larger version is available by clicking on the graphic in the article.

And just in case you want to do some textual analysis of your own, links to the text of each speech along with a spreadsheet with word frequencies are found at the end of the article.

(H/T Mo Jo.)

Obama’s Weekly Address

Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

Newsy: Gabby Gifford’s miraculous recovery:

Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by

Li’l Mrs. Blood Libel:

Liberal Viewer: Lethal injection a life saver?

Roy Zimmerman music: Today Is Tomorrow’s Yesterday:

Jon on the Mark Tawin controversy (via OneGoodMove).

Guns, Violence, and Political Rhetoric:

O’Donnell does the felon Tom DeLay.

Gibbs’ last presser (via HorsesAss):

Sen. Mike Lee: Put those kiddies back to work! (via DailyKos).
Jon does Tim Pawlenty.

No More Man of Steele:

Young Turks: Racist school board wants student segregation.

Obama speaks at the memorial service.

Last week’s Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza can be found here.

House Republican Will Resume Trying to Kill Americans Next Week

Via the New York Times:

Republicans are carefully trying to return to normal business in the House, announcing on Thursday that lawmakers will next week consider the effort to repeal the health care law that was pulled from the agenda after the Saturday shooting rampage in Arizona.

In other words, the House Republicans are trying to kill the country’s 50 million uninsured—the great majority of whose health care fortunes would turn around from abysmal to okay as provisions of the health care bill come into effect over time. It’s true. An inability to obtain health care and health insurance leads to lower rates of preventive medicine, more frequent illness, lower quality health care, and health care shortcuts dictated by economic concerns (via Urban Institute study, my emphasis):

The absence of health insurance creates a range of consequences, including lower quality of life, increased morbidity and mortality, and higher financial burdens. This paper focuses on just one aspect of this harm—namely, greater risk of death—and seeks to illustrate its general order of magnitude.

In 2002, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) estimated that 18,000 Americans died in 2000 because they were uninsured. Since then, the number of uninsured has grown. Based on the IOM’s methodology and subsequent Census Bureau estimates of insurance coverage, 137,000 people died from 2000 through 2006 because they lacked health insurance, including 22,000 people in 2006.

The huge number of uninsured people in the U.S. is one reason why our nation’s health statistics are rather abysmal compared to many other developed countries. From World Health Organization rankings:

…[I]n 2006, the United States was number 1 in terms of health care spending per capita but ranked 39th for infant mortality, 43rd for adult female mortality, 42nd for adult male mortality, and 36th for life expectancy.

The bottom line is that the Republican efforts to kill the health care reforms enacted by the last Congress amounts to [attempts at] killing more American men and women, their children, and their babies. Why do Republicans want to kill Americans?

Sarah Breaks Her Silence

Huh. Just 3 hours after I wrote:

I understand Sarah Palin’s silence completely. [...]

Sarah went to her crib sheet for some talking points, where….

She found blood on her hands.

…Sarah broke her silence.

Apparently she did find blood on her hands, and reacted as any good Wingnut would: by playing the victim card.

“Blood libel?” Really, Sarah?!?

Whence the question: profoundly stupid, or appallingly contemptuous?

Sarah’s Silence

I understand Sarah Palin’s silence completely. It is both understandable and justifiable.

After the massacre in Arizona, Sarah fell under intense scrutiny for her speech that bordered on eliminationist. In response, Sarah went to her crib sheet for some talking points, where….

She found blood on her hands.

DeLayed Justice

From Dancing with the Stars to dancing behind bars, Tom DeLay gets three years:

DeLay… was sentenced by a state judge on Monday to three years in prison for illegally plotting to funnel corporate contributions to Texas legislative candidates.

State Senior Judge Pat Priest, citing the need for those who write the laws to “be bound by them,” rejected DeLay’s impassioned argument that he was the victim of political persecution and was improperly accused of breaking the law for doing what “everybody was doing.”

Priest said he agreed with a jury’s verdict in November that DeLay had committed a felony by conspiring to launder corporate money into the state election, and ordered bailiffs to take DeLay – wearing a navy blue suit and his trademark American-flag lapel pin – to jail immediately.

When I first read about the charges, I recognized it was going to be a long, boring, and technical trial, and not much of a sensation:

The indictment of Tom DeLay is, of course, the big national story. I must admit to a little difficulty getting excited about the actual case. It sounds like DeLay pushed the limits of Texas campaign finance laws and may have knowingly allowed corporate money to fund campaigns. The case is serious, of course, and I am happy to see the very slippery DeLay indicted (finally). I just wish the details of the case were more interesting. Whitewater, of course, started out as a pretty uninteresting case, too, so perhaps there is hope!

There was hope! I mean…it was over five years in the making, and DeLay is appealing the decision. But for now he is a felon.

Time to Renew the Federal Assault Weapons Ban?

The Federal Assault Weapons Ban passed in 1994 had a ten year sunset clause. In 2004…the ban expired.

A renewal amendment did get a vote in the Senate. Sen. Diane Feinstein introduced Amendment 2637 to Senate Bill 1805. The Bill, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, introduced by Larry Craig essentially protected gun manufacturers from liability for misuse of their products. The Amendment would have provided a 10-year extension for the Federal Assault Weapons ban. The Amendment passed in the Senate 52 to 47. But the entire Bill 1805 was soundly rejected by 8 to 90. Apparently the NRA-sponsored bill with a number of pro-gun-control amendments was untenable to nearly everyone. Even Sen. Feinstein voted against it. Sen. John McCain and Sen. Joseph Lieberman were two of the eight who voted in favor of the bill.

Subsequent attempts at a renewal didn’t even make it that far.

Under Obama, lawmakers have tried to introduce a renewal of the ban with no success. Maybe it is time to try again. Here’s why:

According to police and media reports, the alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, legally purchased a semiautomatic Glock 19 with a high-capacity magazine in November at a gun store in Tucson. Under the assault weapons ban, it was illegal to manufacture or sell new high-capacity magazines, defined as those that hold more than 10 rounds. The magazines used by Loughner had 31 rounds each, according to police.

If Loughner had been using a traditional magazine, “it would have drastically reduced the number of shots he got off before he had to pause, unload and reload — and he could have been stopped,” Daniel Vice, senior attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, tells Salon.

It is only unfortunate that it takes an unspeakable, senseless tragedy like this to get Congresspersons off their asses to pass legislation that is so sensible. Hunters don’t need a semi-automatic with a 31 round capacity. And it seems unlikely that in a realistic situation a semiautomatic Glock with 31 rounds will provide better self defense than one with only 10 rounds. But a Glock with 31 rounds is sure an effective way to commit mass murder.

And this time maybe Congress can just pass the ban and not include a sunset clause.

Obama’s Weekly Address

Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

Jon with the top of the GOP (via TalkingPointsMemo).

The Christie and Bloomberg team is Worst Person in the World!

Ed and Pap: The GOP 2012 Nut-case race begins.

Sam Seder on Countdown: The global warming denying forecast.

Greenman: Winter Weirding:

Young Turks: Poll shows Americans are Progressive on key issues.

Ann Telnaes: Lindsey Graham proposes permanent U.S. bases in Afghanistan.

Sam Seder: Dick Cheney has no pulse, indictments.

Jon with Obama the Payback Kid (via Political Wire).

The Republican Fun House:

Isaac Asimov in 1989 on the Greenhouse Effect.

Pap on FAUX News: New GOP agenda will be disastrous for America.

Ann Telnaes: Justice Scalia and the 14th amendment.

Jon: Let’s all stand on John McCain’s lawn (via OneGoodMove).

David Williams is Worst Person in the World!

Ted Nuget goes all Birfer on Anderson Cooper.

Sam Seder: Most Americans say “tax the rich” to balance budget.

The Black Republican:

Young Turks: Some top Republicans who are terrorist sympathizers.

Last week’s Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza can be found here.

The New House

The mighty Republicans now rule the House. How they doin’ on day 2?

They mangled and downright screwed up the reading of the Constitution. How hard can it be to read some “damn piece of paper”? Perhaps they should have been using a Teleprompter?

Two Republicans missed the swearing-in. No biggie…they were engaged in a very important humanitarian mission. Oh…wait, no…they were doing a freaking political fundraiser! I guess when you hate government to this extent, simple self-loathing can overpower what should be the honor of one’s lifetime—being sworn in as a Representative.

But it doesn’t stop there. The two bandit non-Congressmen proceeded to participate in House business and actually cast illegitimate votes. How many times must I point out that when Republicans engage in hand-wringing over “voting fraud,” they are engaging in textbook psychological projection. In any case, the whole thing has been an embarrassment and is now stalling some legislation….

What legislation? It is the Orwellian-titled “HR 2, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act”. In fact, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office today provided a preliminary analysis that shows HR 2 would:

…[P]robably increase federal budget deficits over the 2012–2019 period by a total of roughly $145 billion…. Adding two more years (through 2021) brings the projected increase in deficits to something in the vicinity of $230 billion, plus or minus the effects of technical and economic changes.

Yet…somehow Republicans decided that this fiscally irresponsible bill didn’t need to conform to the Democrat’s “pay-go” rules or the Republican’s “cut-go” modifications of them. That is, they completely bailed on fiscal responsibility (and at $230 billion over the next decade, they bailed big-time)…at the second bill to be introduced to the new Congress. It would seem they have…some, ummm, weaknesses.

But the CBO didn’t stop their analysis there. HR 2 also means:

…about 32 million fewer nonelderly people would have health insurance in 2019, leaving a total of about 54 million nonelderly people uninsured.

Lack of health care kills, which is why the U.S. ranks 37th in the world for health system performance according to the World Health Organization. (That is…non-politician health assessment professionals do not find that the U.S. has the “best health care system in the world.)

If we were to be honest about it, HR 2 should be known as the Spending Like Drunk Sailors to Kill More Americans and Raising their Health Insurance Rates by Repealing the Health Care Law Act.

Finally, a group of 50 reality-challenged House Republicans introduced legislation to “amend the Clean Air Act to declare that greenhouse gases are not subject to the law”. Science be damned because…well, um, because it doesn’t make them feel like they are all comfy and fetal in the womb with a thumb stuck in their mouth.

Conclusion on Day 2: UBER! FAIL!

Shouldn’t expect better from our elected officials?

Rep. King’s Alternative (Constitution-lite) Reality

I will cost taxpayers about $1.1 million for the Republicans to have the Constitution read in the House chamber tomorrow.

Don’t these dummies do like I do and carry a copy of the Constitution in their pockets or on their smartphones? Sheesh! But, as long as we are paying a hefty price for their remedial education/political theater, lets give ‘em a quiz afterward. Some of them need it.

It seems there is a handful of “Constitutionally challenged” lawmakers. Consider Rep. Steve King (R-IA) who seems blissfully unaware of the words and stuff that are actually in the Constitution. Here is what he did:

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) isn’t wasting any time with his immigration agenda, dropping a bill on the first day of Congress that goes after birthright citizenship.

King’s measure would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act, ending automatic citizenship for anyone born in the country. Instead, the measure requires that only the children of citizens, legal immigrants permanently living in the country or immigrants in the military, be granted citizenship.

Rep. King has some fine company in his Constitutionally-challenged alternative reality. The Act’s co-sponsors are: Reps. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), Gary Miller (R-CA), Rob Woodall (R-GA), Brian Bilbray (R-CA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). (Question: Is it something in the water in California and Georgia?!?)

Here is what the Constitution says:

1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States….

5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. (Amendment 14, Ratified in 1868.)

I mean, WTF?!? Is this pack of Wingnut Retards really that stupid? Or do they purposefully eschew the Bill of Rights, as some kind of second class, not-quite-binding section of the Constitution?

Silly Steve…YOU CAN’T PASS AN ACT OF CONGRESS that undoes a plainly-worded, unambiguous right ratified by the states simply because you’re afraid of brown people!

Preexisting Condition

Kudos to Congressman-elect Joe Walsh (R-IL), who:

…told CNN’s Jim Acosta that he and his wife will not accept the insurance offered to members of Congress because he made a pledge during the campaign last January.

“My wife and I are going to struggle a little bit because of it.

Nice…Shouldn’t every one of the whackjobs trying to “repeal” the health care reforms hold themselves to this standard?

And even though I applaud Walsh, his reasoning is utterly incomprehensible:

“I don’t want to burden the American taxpayer with my health care bill. The federal government is my employer. Right now, the health care system has a real bias against folks who need to shop out there in the individual market.”

It is hard to understand what he is getting at here. Has it become un-American to join one’s employer’s insurance pool? And isn’t the “bias against folks…in the individual market” exactly the kind of thing the reforms are designed to fix?

“My wife and I now are going to have to go through the struggles that a lot of Americans go through, trying to find insurance in the individual market and having to deal with problems of preexisting conditions.”

WTF?!? He CERTAINLY will have “preexisting conditions” problems if the legislation is “repealed”!

But repeal or not, nothing seems likely to help with his most severe preexisting condition: abject stupidity!

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