Friday, May 02, 2014

What'd I miss?

While I was gone?

-- The fallout from last week's tirade by soon-to-be-former Cippers' owner Donald Sterling continues.

  • He's been treated for prostate cancer for some extended period of time.
  • The head of the LA NAACP resigns over the furor.
  • Even the Houston Clippers changed their name (to Cyclones).

-- Cliven Bundy's neighbors are worn out from his antics.

Travelers from around the country are calling, wondering if it's safe to pass on Interstate 15, where Bundy and his supporters, some armed with military-style weapons, faced down federal officials in an April 12 standoff over his cattle grazing on federal land.

Police Chief Troy Tanner tells callers it's safe. But local authorities and Bundy's neighbors are growing weary of the attention and the unresolved dispute. Since the standoff, Bundy went from being proclaimed a patriot by some for his resistance to a racist for comments he made about blacks being better off under slavery.

"Most of our neighbors have about the same opinions we have. They don't like it," said John Booth, a resident of nearby Bunkerville who drove this week with his wife, Peggie, past the State Route 170 encampments. "But they're not really going to say anything about it."

As triple-digit temperatures of a Mojave Desert summer approach, militia members vow to stay and protect Bundy and his family from government police, though it's unclear what the immediate threat is.


"We haven't been told by the Bundys that they're ready for us to go," said Jerry DeLemus, a former U.S. Marine from New Hampshire.

DeLemus heads a self-styled militia protection force of perhaps 30 people who sleep in tents, clean their military-style AR-15 and AK-47 weapons, and form work crews to help build watering bins for cattle on and around the Bundy ranch.


Bundy acknowledged creating a stir when he and his family showed up at the Mormon church with armed bodyguards for Easter Sunday services.

"The militia have been going with me everywhere," Bundy said Tuesday. "When I got to church, I said, 'Leave your weapons in the car.' They did. I guess there could have been weapons in the parking lot, but there were no weapons in the church house."

That sentiment officially puts Bundy to the left of Greg Abbott.  And Wendy Davis, for that matter.  But not Leticia Van de Putte or the Texas Democratic Party.

-- I say again to Democrats: RUN ON OBAMACARE.

Here’s another unexpected way the politics of Obamacare are going to get scrambled in the days ahead – and not necessarily in the GOP’s favor — as the reality of mounting sign-ups sinks in.

It turns out that several of the states with some of the hardest fought races of the cycle are also boasting some of the highest Obamacare sign-up numbers in the country.


In Florida, some 983,000 people are now signed up for private insurance through the federal exchange — up from 442,000 at the end of February. This is in a state where the Dem candidate for Governor — Charlie Crist — happens to be running on a very pro-Obamacare message. Crist is already seizing on the new data to attack GOP incumbent Governor Rick Scott for opposing the law — and over the consequences of repeal.


In North Carolina, some 357,000 people have now signed up for coverage through the federal exchange — up from 200,000 at the end of February. This could become more of an issue in the days ahead: Senator Kay Hagan has previously attacked likely GOP foe Thom Tillis for opposing setting up a state exchange and opposing the Medicaid expansion as state House speaker. Now the new numbers will provide fodder for Dems in the state to argue that North Carolinians wanted access to expanded health coverage — despite Tillis’ efforts to block it – underscoring the Dem message that Tillis’ state policies have been hostile to the middle class.

In Georgia, the sign-ups are now at around 316,000, and in Louisiana they’re at around 101,000.

In Texas the numbers are 734,000. Courtesy Philip Martin at Progress Texas...

  • 55% are women
  • 30% are age 18-34 -- slightly higher than the 28% national rate
  • 439k signed up after March 1. 295k had signed up prior to March 1
  • 84% used financial assistance

The target number from the White House was in the 650K range.  Medicaid enrollees also showed a small increase.  Expanding this program -- and accepting the billions of dollars of federal funding to do so -- would create hundreds of thousands of jobs, particularly in places like the Texas Medical Center in Houston.

Last year, Texas took $17 billion in federal money for its $28 billion Medicaid program. It currently covers 3.6 million children, pregnant women, seniors and disabled Texans.

More than 1 million poor adults of working age would be added to the program by 2016 if Texas changed course and embraced expansion, according to the state Health and Human Services Commission.

Texas would receive $9 billion to fund the program in the first year alone, spending a bit over $1 billion more than we do now.  The state budget  is projected to have a surplus approaching $11 billion by the beginning of the next legislative session (in January of 2015).  And yes, we need increased spending on infrastructure (particularly water, with continuing drought concerns), and education -- not tax cuts, goddammit.

Democrats will press this political advantage over the next six months -- if they want to win, that is.  Update: Kuff with a whole lot more.

-- The ineptitude of the Houston Astros reaches a new lowUpdate: A serious question is asked as to whether their fan base is vanishing.  I say yes -- since I consider myself part of the erosion.  Now that the Rockets have been eliminated from the playoffs, I suspect all eyes and ears locally will turn to the NFL draft.

-- May Day was celebrated around the world, but in the United States, they always try to drown it out with something else.  Yesterday it was the obnoxious National Day of Prayer, and locally they co-opted it for disaster preparation.  That didn't work out so well in downtown Houston.

This nation -- hell, this planet, since wage slavery has been outsourced around the globe -- is in dire need of a significant workers' uprising.  Maybe the US can catch up a little next year.

Update: Well lookie here.  A Seattle confrontation all but unmentioned by US media.  Thanks to Brian H for this.

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

D-Backs are still worse, at least for now.

On Sterling's cancer? "Don't be a dick" jokes write themselves, eh?

On Obamacare, several "borderline" Senate Dems in this year's races are being encouraged to run on its pluses.